A comprehensive description of how evangelicals in Northern Ireland interpreted the ‘Troubles’ (1966-2007) in the light of biblical wisdom. The rich and diverse landscape of Northern Irish evangelicalism during the ‘Troubles’ is ideally suited to this study of both the light and dark sides of apocalyptic eschatology. Searle demonstrates how the notion of apocalypse influenced evangelical and fundamentalist interpretations of the turbulent events that characterized this dark yet fascinating period in the history of Northern Ireland. The Scarlet Woman and the Red Hand uses this case study to offer a timely reflection on some of the most pressing issues in contemporary negotiations between culture and religion.
Given the current resurgence of religious fundamentalism in the wake of 9/11, together with popular conceptions of a ‘clash of civilizations’ and the so-called War on Terror, this book is not only an engaging academic study; it also resonates with some of the defining cultural issues of our time.
About the Author
Joshua T. Searle, a graduate of Oxford, Prague, and Dublin, is Tutor in Theology and Public Thought at Spurgeon’s College, London.
1. Religion and Apocalyptic in Northern Ireland
2. Texts, Contexts, and Cultures
3. Apocalyptic Fear: “In the last days perilous times shall come”
4. Apocalyptic Hope: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth”
5. Apocalyptic Dualism: “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth”
Endorsements and Reviews
Beyond the historical instance, the book is outstanding in its evocation of the general power of the apocalyptic imagination.
Paul S. Fiddes, Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford
The link between apocalyptic rhetoric and violence is rarely more obvious than in the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The discontents underlying this long ethnic, political, and religious conflict were fueled – and ultimately transformed – by varieties of biblical eschatology. Describing the lethal and creative potential of apocalyptic language in evangelical communities, this book offers a groundbreaking reflection on the question of whether texts are a cause or consequence of their contexts.
Crawford Gribben, Professor of Early Modern British History, Queen’s University, Belfast