When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture

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Harvard University Press, 2009 - History - 488 pages
Millions of Americans take the Bible at its word and turn to like-minded local ministers and TV preachers, periodicals and paperbacks for help in finding their place in God's prophetic plan for mankind. And yet, influential as this phenomenon is in the worldview of so many, the belief in biblical prophecy remains a popular mystery, largely unstudied and little understood. When Time Shall Be No More offers for the first time an in-depth look at the subtle, pervasive ways in which prophecy belief shapes contemporary American thought and culture. Belief in prophecy dates back to antiquity, and there Paul Boyer begins, seeking out the origins of this particular brand of faith in early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic writings, then tracing its development over time. Against this broad historical overview, the effect of prophecy belief on the events and themes of recent decades emerges in clear and striking detail. Nuclear war, the Soviet Union, Israel and the Middle East, the destiny of the United States, the rise of a computerized global economic order--Boyer shows how impressive feats of exegesis have incorporated all of these in the popular imagination in terms of the Bible's apocalyptic works. Reflecting finally on the tenacity of prophecy belief in our supposedly secular age, Boyer considers the direction such popular conviction might take--and the forms it might assume--in the post-Cold War era. The product of a four-year immersion in the literature and culture of prophecy belief, When Time Shall Be No More serves as a pathbreaking guide to this vast terra incognita of contemporary American popular thought-a thorough and thoroughly fascinating index to its sources, its implications, and its enduring appeal.

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User Review  - kencf0618 - LibraryThing

"Forcing the end" is in eschatological circles widely considered to be bad form. This book tells why. The political aspect is especially unnerving. Read full review

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You hear a lot of "biblical prophecy", whether it is on tv or from a book or from the pulpit. This is the best book I have ever read about "prophecy". or "apocalyptic". The author really does not take any position, but rather, recounts the history of apocalyptic from the very beginning. It is a little on the dry side at first, but I found myself laughing out loud when some of the hilarious things that have occurred throughout history are recounted, especially in recent ages. I am a Bible-believing Christian, and this book sets a lot of things straight that are many times left in the dark. I would recommend this book for anyone who is a serious Bible student, or even scholar. Boyer does an amazing job. The research for this book must have been astronomical.  

Contents

The Hidden World of Prophecy Belief
xv
The Genre and Its Early Interpreters
17
Origins of the Apocalyptic
19
Rhythms of Prophecy Belief
44
The Premillennial Strand
78
Key Themes after World War II
111
The Atomic Bomb and Nuclear War
113
Ezekiel as the First Cold Warrior
150
Antichrist 666 and the Mark of the Beast
252
The Enduring Apocalyptic Vision
289
The Continuing Appeal of Prophecy Belief
291
Apocalyptic Portents in a PostCold War World
323
NOTES
339
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
443
CREDITS
447
INDEX
449

The Final Chastisement of the Chosen
179
The United States in Prophecy
223

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About the author (2009)

Paul Boyer, Merle Curti Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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