A Book To Know About

A Book To Know About October 22, 2018

I love the series from Princeton called Lives of Great Religious Books.

So far I have enjoyed the following:

Alan Jacobs, The Book of Common Prayer

Ronald Hendel, The Book of Genesis

Bruce Gordon, John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion”

But this new one is beyond tempting to drop everything to read:

Timothy Beal, The Book of Revelation

Beal’s teenage world was mine:

I had tried and failed to read the actual text of the biblical book of Revelation. Like many before me, I got lost in all the overwhelmingly graphic descriptions of bloody, incredibly destructive battles involving myriad angels, gods, and monsters, all of whom I assumed carried symbolic meanings that were beyond my powers of decryption. For me, as for so many others throughout its history, Revelation was not so much a book to be read and interpreted as a simultaneously fascinating and disturbing multimedia mythosphere, a dense constellation of images, stories, and story-shaped images that scattered, overlapped and formed confused patterns in my religious imagination. …

Thus, I felt the little chill when my global, too-big-to-fail bank sent me a credit card with the number 666 as its security code.

In fact, there is a name for this fear of the number 666: hexakosioibexekontahexaphobia (Greek hexakosioi, “six hundred,” plus hexekonta, “sixty,” plus hex, “six,” plus phobia). This phobia is indeed prevalent in our Revelation-infused Western society. …

And, yes, in 2017 when religious studies professor Timothy Beal received a new credit card with the number 666 as its security code, he cut it up and closed the account.

This is gonna be fun.


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