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HUM 186 Apocalyptic Themes in Western History and Culture

Course Description

This course surveys the apocalyptic texts of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, with a view to discovering how these images and themes appear in contemporary popular culture and society. The course begins with an analysis of popular themes such as the Antichrist, the mark of the Beast, the Day of Judgment, the Second Coming and more, as seen in current literature and film. This is followed by a study of the ancient apocalyptic texts in their contexts to understand the origin of these themes. We will also look at how the apocalypse has been understood and anticipated in modern Western history, with emphasis on groups of expectation, such as David Koresh and the Branch-Davidians and Heaven's Gate. Finally, we will delve into how the apocalyptic instinct continues to influence culture, society, and politics today.

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