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In her study of postmodern apocalypticism, Apocalyptic Transformation (xxiii-xxv), Elizabeth Rosen asks what effects secularization has on apocalyptic stories. The most obvious thing is a change in “how the deity is portrayed.” The perfect God of traditional theism is out; “secular deities are often imperfect characters, neither absolutely omniscient and omnipotent, nor absolutely benevolent.” Some writers multiply gods, splitting “traits” of God among characters or conflating deities and devils.
The sense of time changes too: “What we find in the postmodern versions of apocalypse . . . is that the story about the End of Time becomes instead a story about the end of one time.” Rosen sees a reversion to a cyclical understanding of time, and observes, “What is played out more often in postmodern versions is a partial destruction, a surgical strike of sorts, with the result that there occurs a blurring...
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