Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nahed Zehr (Director), Eric Bain-Selbo, and Lawrence Snyder

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


With the rise of extremist fundamentalist groups, such as ISIS, it is important to note similar happenings in other traditions. This thesis traces the interpretive tradition of the Book of Revelation, from its composition in 90 C.E. through the dispensationalist usage of it by John Nelson Darby in the 19th century, and how its modern use by American Christian fundamentalist groups leads to rhetorical violence, including feelings of marginalization and societal targeting, and creation of insider/outsider dynamics with those outside the tradition. While rhetorical violence—language and behaviors that harm others and that occur so regularly that they often become routinized and habitual—does not directly involve killing and enacting of physical violence, it can lead to it. This thesis concludes that the instances of rhetorical violence occurring in mainstream American Christian fundamentalism, such as in Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind series and the author’s ethnographic case study of a church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, are problematic because of the possibility for physical violence.


Christianity | Religion

Included in

Christianity Commons