REVELATION IN THIS WORLD
John's vision for the kingdom of God and his Christ has not yet been realized. Perhaps he would be surprised to learn that it has taken so long, or perhaps not. 1 His text has nevertheless remained viable across millennia. But how has John's religious criticism been received and deployed by later groups?
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza noted that among Christian communities in recent times, Revelation tends to be emphasized by groups at the margins of mainline churches and theology. Among these marginal Christian groups, three reading strategies have emerged for interpreting Revelation. 2 Each strategy can lead to various conclusions, but the generalizations provide a broad orientation to the usefulness of Revelation. One of the strategies has been biblical literalism. This approach to Revelation assumes that John was writing about specific events of the interpreter's time in cryptic codes. By interpreting the language literally and cross-referencing it with other biblical prooftexts, such readers decipher the text and then construct a timetable for the end of history, which is usually imminent. John's critique is thus reinterpreted and applied to contemporary events. His dreams help people imagine the end of this world, thereby relativizing contemporary power relations in particular ways for particular purposes.
Others have read Revelation with the assistance of interpretive strategies based in liberation theology. 3 These readers have been inspired by Revelation as they struggle for justice in specific contemporary settings. For them, the Apocalypse