By Jonathan Kirsch
"[The booklet of] Revelation has served as a "language arsenal" in an exceptional a few of the social, cultural, and political conflicts in Western background. many times, Revelation has stirred a few risky women and men to behave out their very own deepest apocalypses. exceptionally, the ethical calculus of Revelation—the demonization of one's enemies, the sanctification of revenge taking, and the suggestion that background needs to lead to catastrophe—can be detected in many of the worst atrocities and excesses of all ages, together with our personal. For all of those purposes, the remainder of us forget about the ebook of Revelation basically at our impoverishment and, extra to the purpose, at our personal peril."
The mysterious writer of the e-book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse, because the final e-book of the hot testomony is usually identified) by no means thought of that his sermon at the coming near near finish instances might final past his personal lifestyles. in truth, he envisioned that the destruction of the earth will be witnessed by means of his contemporaries. but Revelation not just outlived its writer; this shiny and violent revenge delusion has performed an important position within the march of Western civilization.
Ever considering that Revelation used to be first preached because the printed note of Jesus Christ, it has haunted and encouraged hearers and readers alike. The mark of the beast, the Antichrist, 666, the Whore of Babylon, Armageddon, and the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse are only many of the photos, words, and codes that experience burned their method into the material of our tradition. The questions raised move directly to the guts of the human worry of demise and obsession with the afterlife. do we, separately or jointly, experience off to glory, or can we drown in hellfire for all eternity? As those that most sensible control this darkish imaginative and prescient realized, which facet we fall on is usually a topic of lifestyles or loss of life. Honed right into a weapon within the ongoing tradition wars among states, religions, and citizenry, Revelation has considerably altered the process historical past.
Kirsch, whom the Washington Post calls "a wonderful storyteller with an inherent ability for rendering historic stories appropriate and attractive to trendy audiences," can provide a far-ranging, exciting, and surprising heritage of this scandalous publication, which used to be approximately lower from the recent testomony. From the autumn of the Roman Empire to the Black dying, the Inquisition to the Protestant Reformation, the recent international to the increase of the non secular correct, this chronicle of the use and abuse of the booklet of Revelation tells the story of the unfolding of historical past and the hopes, fears, desires, and nightmares of all humanity.
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Extra info for A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization
His conclusions are ( 1 ) that the reasons for wanting to dispense with the idea are clearly and simply theological and apologetic, not aca demic; (2) that the evidence, research, and reasons for the hypothesis have not been engaged or called into question by its critics; and (3) that the hypothesis and its significance for Christian origins deserves thorough study and investigation by New Testament scholars. This assessment of the furor about the Cynic hypothesis is a statement of some importance about the way in which New Testament scholarship has gone about its business.
My own assessment of the situation he describes is that such scholars have not worked through the texts and argu ments for the document Q in order to show the weakness of the hypothesis and propose alternative theories to explain the data some other way. They would like to dispense with "the Q hypothesis" on the basis that it is an hypothesis, as if their own views are not based on hypotheses, as if all of our knowledge won through thinking, scholarly investigation and scientific experiments has not been won by constructing hypotheses, and as if a hypothesis does not have to be taken seriously because it is "just" a hypothesis.
They decided to work it out for themselves by making a fresh start. The American quest was launched in the late sixties and early seventies. Robert Funk organized a seminar on the parables ofJesus for the Society of Biblical Literature and provided the first example of a critical approach to their interpretation with his Language, Her meneutic and Word of God in 1966. This was a clever move, for it started with Bulnnann's insight about the importance of the teach ings ofJesus, and agreed with the post-Bulnnannian effort to render an existentialist interpretation of the teachings.
A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization by Jonathan Kirsch