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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Publication details for Professor Mathew Guest

Guest, Mathew (2012). Keeping the End in Mind: Left Behind, the Apocalypse and the Evangelical Imagination. Literature and Theology 26(4): 474-488.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The Left Behind novels, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, illustrate how rapture fiction has become established as a highly successful subgenre of Christian literature. However, their public reception—within popular and scholarly contexts—reflects an instrumentalisation of the novel that obscures their significance as cultural expressions of evangelical identity. This article challenges this tendency, drawing from social scientific research into reader negotiation of texts within the evangelical world, and argues that both processes of engaging with the novels, and the novels themselves, mirror an evangelicalism that is not simple, univocal or homogeneous, but is complex and conflicted.