Thesis ID: CBB001567184

The Death Wish of Humanity: Religious and Scientific Apocalypticism in the United States, 1859--2001 (2010)


Vox, Lisa Roy (Author)

Emory University
Allitt, Patrick N
Holifield, Brooks J
Harbutt, Fraser J.
Holifield, Brooks J
Harbutt, Fraser J.

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: Advisor: Allitt, Patrick N; Committee Members: Harbutt, Fraser J., Holifield, Brooks J.
Physical Details: 334 pp.
Language: English

Scholars writing about modern American apocalyptic beliefs tend to separate the secular from the religious. The most prominent form of popular religious apocalypticism in the twentieth century U.S., dispensational premillennialism, developed among American conservative Protestants at the same time that the beginnings of a scientific apocalyptic was being articulated in the late nineteenth century. These two forms of apocalypticism matured alongside each other in the United States, ultimately converging on the twin threats of nuclear war and environmental destruction after World War II. Though their adherents usually differed politically, there is a surprising amount of correlation between the two accounts of the end. Conservative evangelicals writing on Bible prophecy believed that scientific revelations about the effects of nuclear weapons as well as environmental threats provided insight into how to interpret prophetic books of the Bible like Revelation. Scientific apocalypticists, in the form of scientists writing popular works and science fiction authors grappling with the same issues, struggled to find solutions to these threats and give meaning to human existence in the face of such catastrophe. The result was that American religious and scientific visions of the end, far from being diametrically opposed to one another, became more compatible during the twentieth century. This continued right up until the millennium, when the slow fracturing of scientific authority that took place over the last half of the twentieth century began to be reflected in both the religious and scientific apocalyptics.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 71/11, May 2011. Proquest Document ID: 759966711.

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Authors & Contributors
Mix, Michael C.
Finn, Megan
Marsha L. Weisiger
Vox, Lisa Roy
Evelev, John
Tindol, Robert
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
European Legacy
Ethics, Place and Environment
Early American Studies
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
University of Georgia Press
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Claremont Graduate University
University of Wisconsin Press
University of Washington Press
University of Pittsburgh Press
Science and literature
Disasters; catastrophes
Science and religion
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Authority of science
Leopold, Aldo
Abbey, Edward
Olmsted. Frederick Law
Verne, Jules
Thoreau, Henry David
Roosevelt, Theodore
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
18th century
17th century
United States
Idaho (U.S.)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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