Gendered Dispensationalism: An Analysis of Evangelical Prophecy Fiction and Gender Roles in the Twentieth Century United States



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This thesis explores the role of gender in American prophecy fiction from the period 1900-2000. Prophecy fiction, or novels that present an imagined end of the world informed by evangelical readings of the Bible, has been popular with an evangelical audience since the genre’s inception in the late nineteenth century. By choosing who achieves salvation and through what means, authors of prophecy fiction engage in cultural interventions, indicating to readers what elements of larger American culture should be accepted or rejected in order to achieve eternal life in Heaven. In this work I focus on how gender has been understood by prophecy fiction authors and how these understandings have evolved over the twentieth century. I analyze two influential works of prophecy fiction: Joseph Birckbeck Burroughs’ Titan, Son of Saturn: The Coming World Emperor (1905) and Timothy LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind (1995), to understand how their historical context informs their positions on gender roles for men and women during their life on earth with the goal to achieve eternal life after death. I find these novels reflect that evangelical women have experienced a decrease in public facing leadership and religious autonomy in the 90 years between the two publishings.



Premillennial Dispensationalism, Prophecy Fiction, American Evangelicalism, Gender Studies, Women and Religion