Rapture Culture: Left Behind in Evangelical America

Paperback | August 22, 2007

byAmy Johnson Frykholm

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In the "twinkling of an eye" Jesus secretly returns to earth and gathers to him all believers. As they are taken to heaven, the world they leave behind is plunged into chaos. Cars and airplanes crash and people search in vain for loved ones. Plagues, famine, and suffering follow. Theantichrist emerges to rule the world and to destroy those who oppose him. Finally, Christ comes again in glory, defeats the antichrist and reigns over the earth. This apocalyptic scenario is anticipated by millions of Americans. These millions have made the Left Behind series--novels that depict therapture and apocalypse--perennial bestsellers, with over 40 million copies now in print. In Rapture Culture , Amy Johnson Frykholm explores this remarkable phenomenon, seeking to understand why American evangelicals find the idea of the rapture so compelling. What is the secret behind the remarkablepopularity of the apocalyptic genre? One answer, she argues, is that the books provide a sense of identification and communal belonging that counters the "social atomization" that characterizes modern life. This also helps explain why they appeal to female readers, despite the deeply patriarchalworldview they promote. Tracing the evolution of the genre of rapture fiction, Frykholm notes that at one time such narratives expressed a sense of alienation from modern life and protest against the loss of tradition and the marginalization of conservative religious views. Now, however,evangelicalism's renewed popular appeal has rendered such themes obsolete. Left Behind evinces a new embrace of technology and consumer goods as tools for God's work, while retaining a protest against modernity's transformation of traditional family life. Drawing on extensive interviews with readersof the novels, Rapture Culture sheds light on a mindset that is little understood and far more common than many of us suppose.

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In the "twinkling of an eye" Jesus secretly returns to earth and gathers to him all believers. As they are taken to heaven, the world they leave behind is plunged into chaos. Cars and airplanes crash and people search in vain for loved ones. Plagues, famine, and suffering follow. Theantichrist emerges to rule the world and to destroy t...

Amy Johnson Frykholm is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Literature, Cultural Studies, and Religion at Colorado Mountain College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.59 inPublished:August 22, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195335678

ISBN - 13:9780195335675

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"This fascinating book is a one-of-a-kind look at how people read religious literature. Thoroughly engaging, it asks us to consider the importance of imagination in the construction of a spiritual life. The author gives us an inside view of often conflicting interpretations that Christiansgive of the drama of the End Times." --Colleen McDannell, author of Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America