Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins

By Steven J. Friesen | Go to book overview

9
CENTERING REALITY
Space and Time in Revelation

This chapter examines the way John's text centers spatial and temporal existence and contrasts this method with the centering strategies of the dominant discourse. The argument proceeds through three phases. First comes a description of the kinds of space one encounters in Revelation, followed by a consideration of the qualities of time revealed by John. Finally, I compare these conclusions with the work of Leonard Thompson, one of the few scholars to comment on the cosmological concerns of Revelation. The general lack of interest in these basic facets of the text is understandable. Revelation's view of the world is at odds with modern secular cosmologies and with most modern religious ones as well.


Three Kinds of Space

In a mythic consciousness space in the cosmos is usually associated with different types of beings. 1 Revelation presents at least three levels of spatial reality: heaven, earth, and the underworld (5:3). 2 Two topographical features are difficult to locate within this three-fold spatial schema. The wilderness and the lake of fire remind us that the imagery of Revelation often eludes systematization. But there is a relatively coherent imagined geography in the visionary's world.

Heaven is the most spectacular stratum in Revelation's universe. Although no precise mapping of the heavenly realm is afforded us, several of its features are men

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Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Religious Criticism 5
  • I - The Logic of Participation 23
  • 2 - Provincial Imperial Cults of Asia Under Augustus and Tiberius 25
  • 3 - Provincial Cults from Gaius to Domitian 39
  • 4 - A Survey 56
  • 5 - Two Case Studies 77
  • 6 - Groups and Individuals 104
  • 7 - Imperial Cults as Religion 122
  • II - Revelation, Resistance 133
  • 8 - Revelation in Space and Time 135
  • 9 - Space and Time in Revelation 152
  • 10 - Working with Myth 167
  • 11 - Communities Worshipping Humans 180
  • 12 - Worship and Authority 194
  • 13 - Revelation in This World 210
  • Glossary 219
  • Notes 225
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index of Ancient Sources 273
  • General Index 281
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