By Jonathan Kirsch
"[The publication of] Revelation has served as a "language arsenal" in an excellent a number of the social, cultural, and political conflicts in Western background. repeatedly, Revelation has stirred a few risky women and men to behave out their very own inner most apocalypses. exceptionally, the ethical calculus of Revelation—the demonization of one's enemies, the sanctification of revenge taking, and the inspiration that background needs to result in catastrophe—can be detected in a few 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 publication of Revelation in basic terms at our impoverishment and, extra to the purpose, at our personal peril."
The mysterious writer of the ebook of Revelation (or the Apocalypse, because the final ebook of the recent testomony can be recognized) by no means thought of that his sermon at the coming near near finish occasions might final past his personal lifestyles. in truth, he anticipated that the destruction of the earth will be witnessed via his contemporaries. but Revelation not just outlived its author; this brilliant and violent revenge fable has performed an important function within the march of Western civilization.
Ever considering the fact 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 some of the photos, words, and codes that experience burned their means into the material of our tradition. The questions raised move instantly to the guts of the human worry of loss of life and obsession with the afterlife. can we, separately or jointly, journey 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 subject of existence or dying. Honed right into a weapon within the ongoing tradition wars among states, religions, and citizenry, Revelation has considerably altered the process heritage.
Kirsch, whom the Washington Post calls "a positive storyteller with an aptitude for rendering old stories suitable and attractive to trendy audiences," can provide a far-ranging, wonderful, and surprising heritage of this scandalous publication, which was once approximately minimize from the hot testomony. From the autumn of the Roman Empire to the Black loss of life, 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 ebook of Revelation tells the story of the unfolding of historical past and the hopes, fears, goals, and nightmares of all humanity.
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Extra resources for A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization
Defining Fundamentalism? 21 the use of the word focuses on its utility when used to describe groups who are not American Protestants. Can we really label groups, across different religions, with diverse histories and cultural contexts, as the same? Many theorists, such as Munson (1995) argue that we cannot apply to different religious movements a word (‘fundamentalist’) that was used originally to refer to specific theological concerns within American Protestantism. Can we really compare the Taliban with the Gush Emunim or the Westboro Baptist church?
Increasingly conservative Protestants did not recognise the nation as their own, perceiving their national identity to be under threat (Marsden, 1980, Ammerman, 1991, Scott, 2001). Given that, Protestants also viewed themselves as doubly ‘chosen’ both as individuals and as Americans (Ahlstrom, 1975); this sense of threat was deeply disturbing and couched in spiritual terms as a threat not just to their way of life but also to God’s broader spiritual master plan. The consequences of modernisation therefore supplied a number of catalysts for what would become Protestant fundamentalism.
Using a label or category does not necessarily imply that one cannot also emphasise the importance of context. Others have called for an outright rejection of the word within the social sciences (Elias, 1999). Rejecting the use of words that are already part of the common language seems pointless as colloquial understandings will remain. Marty and Appleby (1991) and Bruce (2008) make the same important point that academics love participating in semantic debates; indeed the sociology of religion alone is riddled with such examples.
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