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TitleRevelationsSubtitleVisions, Prophecy, and Politics In The book Of RevelationAuthorElaine H. Pagels

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The publication of Revelation, the final book of the new Testament, has actually some the the many dramatic and also frightening language in the Bible.

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In her new book Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the publication of Revelation, Princeton University spiritual professor Elaine Pagels locations the publication of Revelation in its historic context and also explores wherein the book"s apocalyptic vision of the end of the people comes from.

"The book of Revelation fascinates me because it"s very different 보다 anything else you find in the brand-new Testament," Pagels tells Fresh Air"s terrycloth Gross. "There"s no ethical sermons or ethical principles or edifying things. It"s all visions. That"s why the appeals so lot to artists and musicians and also poets transparent the century."

Pagels says the book of Revelation"s author, who calls self John, was most likely a refugees whose residence in Jerusalem had been leveled by the Romans in response to a Jewish rebellion versus the roman inn Empire.

"I don"t think we recognize this book until we recognize that it"s wartime literature," she says. "It comes the end of the war, and it comes out of human being who have been damaged by war."

Other images in Revelation — which encompass bright red beasts with 7 heads, and dragons, monsters and also cosmic eruptions — to be likely influenced by the eruption of mountain Vesuvius, which buried and destroyed the city that Pompeii, she says.


"Most civilization think john was creating at about the year 90 in the first century. That would certainly be 60 years after the fatality of Jesus, and also the eruption that Vesuvius occurred in the year 79," she says. "Much the what we discover in the book of Revelation couched in the an excellent imagery room descriptions of events that for man were very close — the war in Jerusalem, the eruption of mountain Vesuvius, the Roman emperors who were judgment at the time. ... It seems as despite reacted to that, saying, "Jesus is coming and he is going come destroy every one of this." It to be John"s conviction the the damage of Jerusalem was the start of the finish of time that Jesus had predicted."

Many the the images in the book, she says, room thinly disguised metaphors for images connected with the ruling powers in Rome. The good scarlet beast with seven heads and seven crowns, because that example, may represent the kings from the empire of Julius Caesar, states Pagels. And the name of the beast — which is no named but is stood for by the numbers 666 — might refer to Emperor Nero.


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Shortly after John created the publication of Revelation, christians fearing persecution indigenous the Romans seized top top his message, seeing it together a method of deliverance from evil. For the previous 2000 years, Christians have actually been reading Revelation together if it uses to conflicts and struggles in their own time, states Pagels.

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"If you check out it as john intended, you think, "God is on ours side; we of course space on the next of good," " she says. "Now we could be Lutherans fighting versus the Catholic Church, we could be Catholics fighting versus Lutherans. ... What I found so remarkable is the method that human being on both sides of a dispute could read that exact same book versus each other."

In the polite War, she says, Northerners were reading John"s prophecies together God"s judgments for America"s sins of slavery.

" "The fight Hymn that the Republic" resounds with every one of those imageries the the book of Revelation," she says. "People in the South, in the Confederacy, were additionally using the book of Revelation, see the battle as the battle of Armageddon in ~ the end times, and using it against the North. And that"s the means it was read in civilization War II. That"s also the method it was check out in the battle in Iraq."