Honors Program

Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Joshua Reid

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Joshua Reid, Judith Slagle


As a cultural staple, the Christian faith has been a defining characteristic of the United States for generations. Religion has moved from the spiritual and become integral to many parts of this society’s social gatherings, artistic outlets, and even businesses. Often rooting itself in conservative values and interpretations of The Bible, Evangelicalism’s beliefs regarding damnation and hell contradicts its sola scriptura theological view. Yet, with The Bible’s near silence on hellish matters when looked at as a whole, the human need to have these gaps filled allowed for literary portrayals of hell and explanations of damnation to become part of this subsect of Christianity. Lining sermons with bits and pieces of Faustus’s lost soul, a new tradition was born. Filling churches with paintings of unique layers of hell from Dante’s Inferno, this tradition took on new life. This thesis analyzes how Evangelicalism has bypassed The Bible in favor of Doctor Faustusand Inferno as well as how Christianity in the United States influences literature and biblical interpretations.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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