Plotting ApocalypseReading, Agency, and Identity in the Left Behind Series

Plotting ApocalypseReading, Agency, and Identity in the Left Behind Series

Jennie Chapman

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781617039034

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

The Left Behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have been instrumental in disseminating and popularizing ‘rapture theology’ in the contemporary period, selling some 65 million copies worldwide and revitalizing the evangelical publishing industry in the U.S. Plotting Apocalypse develops an in-depth critical analysis of LaHaye and Jenkins’ bestselling series, including the sequel and prequels. In particular, the book unpicks the paradoxical conception of individual agency found in the series, which claims that all humans are powerless before an almighty God while simultaneously stressing the importance of personal responsibility and individual autonomy. Through attentive close readings underpinned by an understanding of the nuances and subtleties of contemporary evangelical prophecy belief, the book shows how the Left Behind series functions as a space where the conundrum of evangelical agency can be staged and, perhaps, resolved.