David deSilva on John’s Critique of Roman Power in Book of Revelation

Great quote from David deSilva about the significance of John’s critique of Roman power in the Book of Revelation:

John raises his voice alongside those of other protestors like the authors of 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch. John was not a solitary, raving lunatic. The asylum was full of people who just couldn’t ‘see things’ in line with the official picture. The multiplicity of voices calling out against Rome’s injustices at the close of the first century, of which John’s voice was one, help us to see that Jews and Christians in Asia Minor were not only concerned about local affairs, internecine strife, or throwing stones at the church or synagogue across the way. The ‘system,’ together with all its local manifestations, was also a major problem. Uniting the practice of exerting control and maintaining peace through violent suppression of dissent, the promotion of an economy arranged for the great benefit of the few, and the prominent use of religious language and ritual claim sacral legitimation for these arrangements – uniting these is both the genius of Rome and the heap of her sins for which John excoriates here (Seeing Things John’s Way, 48).


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