Apocalypse Recalled: The Book of Revelation after Christendom

Apocalypse Recalled: The Book of Revelation after Christendom

Apocalypse Recalled: The Book of Revelation after Christendom

Apocalypse Recalled: The Book of Revelation after Christendom

Synopsis

"The book of Revelation has often been read as a set of endtime scenarios, glorifying a vengeful God and predicting and even fomenting apocalyptic violence. Yet it continues to exert a profound hold on the dreams and visions, fears and nightmares of our contemporary, first-world, secular culture. Harry Maier insists that, however much one is skeptical of its misuse or awed by its influence, Revelation still harbors a powerful and important message for Christians today. His fascinating book, erudite yet also intensely personal, asks us to recall Apocalypse through a careful exegesis of Revelation's deeper literary currents against the backdrop of imperial Rome. He explores the narrator's literary identity, the plot or journey of the text, its many ocular and aural dimensions, and the ambiguous temporal dimensions of its "past vision of a future time." Revelation, he believes, "offers an inversion of the violent and militaristic ideal of a first-century Roman Empire...insisting the true power belongs to the hero of the Apocalypse, the Slain Lamb."" "In the end, Apocalypse Recalled seeks to free the imprisoned John of Patmos and employ his massively influential and controversial text to awaken a sleeping, sidelined, and culturally assimilated church to new imperatives of discipleship." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Of all the books of the Bible, the Book of Revelation is probably the one that most of us would rather live without. Its strange characters and symbolism, its violent sequences of blood and death and war, its threats of judgment and eternal damnation make of Revelation a horrifying, bewildering, and confusing text. If this were not off-putting enough, the invocations of Revelation for manipulative ends by wild-eyed television evangelists, Christian sects, and leaders of religious cults argue for its best being left to religious fanatics and the weakminded. In mainstream churches, one rarely hears sermons on the Book of Revelation. In fact, one rarely hears from it at all: the Revised Common Lectionary—the list of Scripture readings appointed for Sunday worship in mainstream North American churches—includes Revelation a bare half-dozen times. The response of mainline Christians and their churches has been largely to ignore the Book of Revelation altogether, even to refuse to read it on principle. Some argue that its very presence in the Bible is immoral.

This leads to a peculiar paradox. For, although mainstream Christians are happy to ignore the Book of Revelation, no other biblical writing captures the popular secular imagination more than the Apocalypse. Television shows like The X-Files and movies like The Matrix, not to mention popular books like the best-selling Left Behind series by fundamentalist authors Tim LaHaye and Barry B.jenkins (a fictional account of the end of the world as foretold in the Bible's last book), indicate the hold of Revelation on popular culture. Opinion polls indicate that the majority of North Americans believe that Revelation is a prediction of an . . .

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