Of Prophets and Propaganda: An Exploration of Modern Christian Dispensationalism Using the Work of Martin Riesebrodt

Author: Reed, Randall

Source: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 51, Number 3, 1 September 2012 , pp. 468-481(14)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Modern dispensationalism in the United States has been a thorny sociological problem. The sociodiscursive mechanism(s) by which dispensationalist preachers are able to propagate their message has yet to be determined. The theoretical work of Martin Riesebrodt, specifically his discussion of salvific demand, legitimation, and discursive and behavior‐regulating practices, sheds light on Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins's best‐selling Left Behind series and the equally popular dispensationalist writings of John Hagee. Dispensationalists create a demand for their message through the interpretation of current events using the apocalyptic lens of the dispensational scenario, which points to the imminence of the rapture and the global doom that will follow. As part of the propagandizing discourse (discursive practices) that promises escape from this cataclysm, dispensationalists preach a set of behavior‐regulating practices that seek to constrain and control the actions of their adherents.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2012.01664.x

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy and Religion, Appalachian State University

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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