Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image

Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image

Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image

Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image

Synopsis

Apocalyptic Bodies traces the biblical notions of the end of the world as represented in ancient and modern texts, art, music and popular culture, for example the paintings of Bosch. Tina Pippin addresses the question of how far we, in the late twentieth century, are capable of reading and responding to the 'signs of the times'. It will appeal not only to those studying religion, but also to those fascinated with interpretations of the end of the world.

Excerpt

What are your favorite scary parts of the Bible? Do you try not to think about them, to avoid them, or look to the more pleasant parts of the Bible? One of my arguments in this book is that “apocalypse” is in excess in the Bible and in Western culture; apocalypse is not relegated to a fenced-in area in certain prophetic texts or gospels or the back of the Book. I explore several scenes of apocalypse in this book, scattered throughout the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. By “apocalypse” I want to employ a broader definition that is about the end of the world but also any total destruction, or any revelation about “any catastrophe of such a scale that it seems to put this world in jeopardy” (Collins 1997:1). My choices are a few among many, since there is much death and destruction in the Bible. I am also committed to a feminist reading that remembers and reveals the destruction of the human body, particularly women’s bodies. The scary parts of the Bible I seek out in this study involve body parts. As in the film Blue Velvet, I have found a human ear on the ground, and it leads me into a world of horror. “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Apoc. 2:11).

The Apocalypse of John (aka the Book of Revelation) provides the biggest crunch at the end of the Christian Bible, and I spend the most time in this book gazing at its horrors. I am fidgety in the Apocalypse of John; I think it opens forward and backward and sideways and all ways into other spaces. The excess is evident in the final “s” that so many people, including some biblical scholars, put on the end of the name of the last book, Revelations. I imagine some of the academics are being cynical in their renaming of this narrative. Nonetheless, the Book of Revelations is a created object, texts outside the text, excessive reading and writing. The Revelations are legion and can only be tamed and regulated by

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