Digital Jesus documents how like-minded individuals created a large web of religious communication on the Internet devoted to End Times ideology, in essence developing a new type of new religious movement-a virtual church without a central leader or institution. Based on over a decade of interaction with figures both large and small within this community, Robert Glenn Howard offers the first sustained ethnographic account of the movement as well as a realistic and pragmatic view of how new communication technologies can both empower and disem-power the individuals who use them. By tracing the group's origins back to the email lists and "Usenet" groups of the 1980s up to the online forums of today, Digital Jesus also serves as a succinct history of the development of online group communications.
About the Author
Robert Glenn Howard is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently he is associate director of the Folklore Program at Wisconsin and editor of the journal Western Folklore.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction: Vernacular Christian Fundamentalism on the Internet 1
2 9/11 at the Bible Prophecy Corner: Enacting the Virtual Ekklesia 23
3 Networking the Apocalypse: End Times Communication in Newsgroups and Email Lists, 1992 to 1995 46
4 The Millennial Web, 1996 to 2000 70
5 The End Times in Participatory Media: Rapture Ready and Beyond 114
6 Toward a Truer Charity: Tolerance in an Age of Network Media 146
7 Conclusion: Attending to Vernacular Theology 171
About the Author 213