Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric by Stephen D. O'Leary

By Stephen D. O'Leary

Apocalyptic expectancies of Armageddon and a brand new Age were a fixture of the yank cultural panorama for hundreds of years. With the process of the yr 2000, such millennial visions appear once more to be expanding in acceptance. Stephen O'Leary sheds new mild at the age-old phenomenon of the top of the Age by way of featuring a rhetorical reason for the charm of millennialism. utilizing examples of apocalyptic argument from old to fashionable instances, O'Leary identifies the habitual styles in apocalyptic texts and pursuits and exhibits how and why the Christian Apocalypse has been used to aid quite a few political stances and courses. The publication concludes with a serious evaluate of the new appearances of doomsday eventualities in our politics and tradition, and a meditation at the importance of the Apocalypse within the nuclear age. Arguing the Apocalypse is the main thorough exam of its topic so far: a research of a ignored bankruptcy of our non secular and cultural heritage, a consultant to the politics of Armageddon, and a map of millennial attention.

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Chapter 4 presents a rhetorical history of Millerism, showing how persuasive strategies and themes varied as one man's biblical speculations grew into a movement with tens of thousands of followers. Chapter 5 turns to a close textual analysis of Millerite apocalyptic argument, focusing on the persuasive pamphlets, books, letters, and newspapers produced and disseminated by William Miller and his followers in the years 18321848. The analysis demonstrates how the pattern of Millerite arguments addresses the apocalyptic topoi of authority, time, and evil, and how this pattern was itself affected by the flow of historical time.

Against the threat of its destruction by the anomic forces endemic to the human condition. In religious terms, the sacred order of the cosmos is reaffirmed, over and over again, in the face of chaos. It is evident that this fact poses a problem on the level of human activity in society, inasmuch as this activity must be so institutionalized as to continue despite the recurrent intrusion into individual and collective experience of the anomic . . phenomena of suffering, evil, and above all, death.

32 This dismissal of eschatology can be set aside for two reasons. First, it may be granted from the TIME, EVIL, A U T H O R I T Y 27 rhetorical perspective that the problem of eschatology is "an arbitrary, and not a necessary problem";33 but the concern of this study is not the logical validity of these doctrines, nor their claim to objective truth, but what people actually do believe (however arbitrarily) and what use they make of these beliefs. 34 Throughout history, the question of whether future time is finite or infinite has not failed to excite the interest of many excellent minds.

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