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Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation

Richard B. Hays

Publication Year: 2012

John's apocalyptic revelation tends to be read either as an esoteric mystery or a breathless blueprint for the future. Missing, though, is how Revelation is the most visually stunning and politically salient text in the canon. Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation explores the ways in which Revelation, when read as the last book in the Christian Bible, is in actuality a crafted and contentious word. Senior scholars, including N.T. Wright, Richard Hays, Marianne Meye Thompson, and Stephan Alkier, reveal the intricate intertextual interplay between this apocalyptically charged book, its resonances with the Old Testament, and its political implications. In so doing, the authors show how the church today can read Revelation as both promise and critique.

Published by: Baylor University Press

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pp. 1-9

The Revelation to John has had a huge impact on western culture and politics. It plays a major role in the religious and political worldview of many Christians, particularly in America. Yet it is sometimes regarded as . . .

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1. What Has the Spirit Been Saying?: Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on the Book of Revelation

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pp. 11-30

“If you’re going to marry the church, you ought to know who she’s been with over the years.” So begins the study of church history at St. Mary’s Seminary, as my Catholic colleague addresses his first-year students, all . . .

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2. Models for Intertextual Interpretation of Revelation

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pp. 31-45

The intertextual interpretation of biblical texts is not a new phenomenon but has always been practiced by the Christian church. Texts are not viewed as isolated units of meaning but are interpreted in the light of other texts . . .

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3. The Reception of Daniel 7 in the Revelation of John

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pp. 47-67

The kingdom of God will destroy all the oppressive powers of the present and lead the holy ones to victory. This is the message of the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, and it is also the point that is made in the . . .

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4. Faithful Witness, Alpha and Omega: The Identity of Jesus in the Apocalypse of John

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pp. 69-83

Who is Jesus in the Apocalypse of John? This visionary book deploys a kaleidoscopic profusion of imagery to depict its chief protagonist. Jesus is portrayed as exalted revealer of prophetic mysteries, faithful witness . . .

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5. God, Israel, and Ecclesia in the Apocalypse

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pp. 85-103

The Apocalypse puzzles me. This strange work is “a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the . . .

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6. Revelation and Christian Hope: Political Implications of the Revelation to John

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pp. 105-124

My primary title, “Revelation and Christian Hope,” would have appeared to many in earlier generations quite straightforward. Revelation is, after all, about heaven. Though it does indeed say some complicated and . . .

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7. Witness or Warrior?: How the Book of Revelation Can Help Christians Live Their Political Lives

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pp. 125-141

Readers in different times and cultures have read the book of Revelation not as an autonomous piece of literature and not as a book of mere intertextual relations but rather as a book of extratextual references in need of . . .

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8. The Apocalypse in the Framework of the Canon

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pp. 143-153

While some readers of the Christian Bible may view it as a unified whole, it is a unified whole that nevertheless consists of a “library” of different books coming from different times and contexts and uttering “God’s . . .

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9. Reading What Is Written in the Book of Life: Theological Interpretation of the Book of Revelation Today

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pp. 155-171

Perhaps no book of the Bible has as many monographs, articles, websites, and lecture series devoted to its interpretation as does the Revelation of John, perhaps because no book of the Bible needs them more. One finds . . .


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pp. 173-174


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pp. 175-202

Works Cited

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pp. 203-214


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pp. 215-216

Scripture Index

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pp. 217-225

General Index

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pp. 225-233

E-ISBN-13: 9781602585638
E-ISBN-10: 1602585636
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602585614
Print-ISBN-10: 160258561X

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1

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Subject Headings

  • Bible. N.T. Revelation -- Criticism, interpretation, etc. -- Congresses.
  • Bible. N.T. Revelation -- Hermeneutics -- Congresses.
  • Apocalyptic literature -- History and criticism -- Congresses.
  • Bible -- Hermeneutics -- Congresses.
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