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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation

By Elaine Pagels

A profound exploration of the Bible's so much arguable book—from the writer of Beyond Belief and The Gnostic Gospels

The strangest ebook of the recent testomony, choked with visions of the Rapture, the whore of Babylon, and apocalyptic writing of the top of occasions, the ebook of Revelation has interested readers for greater than thousand years, yet the place did it come from? And what are the meanings of its surreal photos of dragons, monsters, angels, and cosmic war?

            Elaine Pagels, New York Times bestselling writer and "the preeminent voice of biblical scholarship to the yankee public" (The Philadelphia Inquirer), elucidates the real background of this debatable ebook, uncovering its origins and the roots of dissent, violence, and department within the world's religions. Brilliantly weaving scholarship with a deep knowing of the human must which faith speaks, Pagels has written what could be the masterwork of her designated occupation.

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Considering Celsus devoutly worshipped the gods and supported the emperors, he despised Christians for aiming their message at disaffected and marginal humans, beautiful essentially to slaves, gullible ladies and kids, pickpockets, thieves, and prostitutes. but who else, he requested, could think their strange tales in regards to the crucified Jew whom they worship as God? Who else could hearken to the “terrors they create” to scare humans into believing, after they say that “God will come down and produce hearth like a torturer”43 to pass judgement on and punish each person who rejects their instructing?

Like Isaiah and Ezekiel earlier than him, John tells the place he used to be, and on what day, while he first bought a imaginative and prescient: “I used to be at the island referred to as Patmos … within the spirit, at the Lord’s day. ”13 John says that presently after he was once invited to ascend into the heavens, he observed flashes of lightning, amazing jewels and crystal, rainbows and hearth, and heard terrifying bursts of thunder: instantly i used to be within the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated at the throne. And the only seated there seems like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne is a rainbow that appears like an emerald.

Ridiculing his accusers, Apuleius declared that being tall and good-looking was once hardly ever a criminal offense; and as for erotic poetry, the emperor Hadrian, famously in love with the younger slave boy Antinous, had written an identical type of poems, and so had the nice thinker Plato; so he was once chuffed to face with them, to blame as charged. in addition, he declared, being a thinker, he came across poverty no disgrace and used to be, in truth, detached to wealth; along with, he acknowledged, fees of creating aphrodisiacs and training magic to get wealthy have been effortless ones to throw at any profitable and charismatic guy.

1, 154–155; forty nine, traces 21–24. fifty eight Treatise at the Resurrection, NHL I, four, in CGL vol. 1, 154–155; forty eight, strains 32–36, 50–151. fifty nine See the Prayer of Thanksgiving, in NHL VI, 7, in CGL vol. three, 378–387, which it sounds as if incorporates a scribe’s extra word that, after praying in unison, these collected for worship “embraced one another and went to devour their holy nutrients, which has no blood in it” (apparently, a “pure” vegetarian meal that incorporates no meat). within the dialogue above, i've got inferred that the switch of stressful within the notice might recommend that these analyzing the Discourse, through the prayer, in devotions, could have then proceeded to proportion a “holy meal.

Many years later, in 367, whilst Athanasius wrote a recognized Easter letter telling Christians what henceforth they can listen, train, and discuss—and what to censor—Theodore collected his clergymen jointly and had the bishop’s letter learn aloud. spotting that the bishop’s letter mandated significant switch, Theodore had it written out in huge letters at the monastery wall. In that letter Athanasius first denounced “spiritual teachers,” in particular these revered for his or her schooling. Then, pointing out unique human considering to be evil, he ordered Christians to reject all “illegitimate mystery books” as “invention[s] of heretics,” choked with “evil teachings they've got essentially created.

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