Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 44, No 1 (2015)

Wasteland America: The United States in Premillennialist Apocalypse Scenarios

Jesse A. Hoover
Issued Date: 17 Mar 2015


One of the more perplexing exegetical difficulties faced by adherents of American-style premillennialism has to do with the question of what role the United States will play in the coming apocalypse. Despite the nearness of the eschaton and the critical role that the United States is often said to play in foreshadowing it, the Mediterranean-based apocalypse scenario that lies at the heart of most premillennialist exegesis seems to leave little room for a strong U.S. presence at the end. In this article, I shall first survey various premillennialist attempts to account for this quandry before turning to my main argument: that premillennialism's very failure to find the U.S. within the pages of prophecy invests the nation with chameleon-like agency, freeing it from the fatalism often implied in apocalyptic speculation – and creating the possibility of a new political theology conceptualized within in the shadow of the end.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v44i1.26859


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