Lecture on the Book of Revelation

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The last class topic of the semester, this lecture begins with a bit of background about apocalyptic literature such as the Book of Daniel, covers general points about the Book of Revelation, and then tackles the number of the Beast, mentioning some prior proposed identifications both frivolous and serious.

  • Gary

    I agree with the Rev 17:10 chart, with the 7 kings starting with Julius, and the 7th as Vespasian. Based upon the time frame of reference (a little while) for Rev being Israel, not Rome. So Galba, Otho and Vitellius didn’t count, since they had no impact on Israel whatsoever. And the “remain only a little while”, refers to Vespasian remaining only a little while in Israel, as the attack was put on hold at Nero’s death. Key for me, is Rev 17:11, the worst one of all (from Israel’s POV), going to perdition, is the 8th, that belongs to the 7th (Vespasian’s son) Titus, who actually destroyed the temple. Also, Josephus referred to Titus as “king”, while in Israel as general, representing Rome and Vespasian. So it is a clear no-brainer. However, I still like Pagels comments about Revelation being so symbolic and generalized, it was included in the bible by the church fathers, because it could also be used as a tool to attack various groups that disagreed with the establishment, like gnostics. I would still call prophecy written after the event, but made to look like it was written before the event, pious fraud. With Daniel in the same boat. The author just didn’t quite wait long enough to write it. Otherwise, he would have got everything right.

  • Gary

    OK, I probably shouldn’t say this, but….you might assign the students a reading assignment before the class. Since you like the NRSV with Apocrypha, you could ask the students to read the preface to the gospel of interest (at the library, so they don’t have to buy it). The ~ 1 page preface in mine gives authorship/date of composition, interpretation, etc. Seems like it might increase the student’s interaction. The students seem to want to be spoon-fed, instead of engaging in active participation. Just my opinion.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I do assign readings before the class. This time I was interested in recording the class and so did it in more of a lecture than a discussion style.


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