REVELATION IN SPACE AND TIME
The goals of this study are to produce a historically nuanced, systemic description of imperial cults in Asia for the general period when Revelation was written and to compare fundamental issues addressed in the cults and in the text. The preceding chapters analyze the imperial cult evidence from the province of Asia for the early imperial period (in this case, from Augustus to the early second century). 1 This chapter begins to build a comparison by establishing the spatial and temporal location of the text's author and audiences. Because the issue of place is fairly straightforward, I treat it briefly. After this, much of the chapter develops the main arguments regarding date. The chapter concludes that Revelation studies should focus less on alleged excesses in imperial cults under Nero and Domitian and more on the normative character of imperial cult activity.
There is little debate regarding the geographical origin of the text because of indications in the text itself about the locations of the author and the addressees. John began by remarking that, when the first vision came to him (Rev 1:9–10), he was in the spirit on the island of Patmos, a small island approximately 50 km due west of Didyma. The long, narrow north/south axis of the island measures about 12 km; the widest part of the island—approximately 7 km—is in the north. In the first cen