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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics…
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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (Original 2012; 2012. Auflage)

von Elaine Pagels

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
5912030,936 (3.67)21
A world-renowned scholar of religion and bestselling author of "The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief," and" Reading Judas" explores the strangest and most controversial book in the Bible: the Book of Revelation.
Mitglied:neilandlisa
Titel:Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation
Autoren:Elaine Pagels
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation von Elaine Pagels (2012)

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    Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World von James Carroll (bibliothequaire)
    bibliothequaire: Both discuss the early history of Christianity and how interpretations of the religion have changed over time.
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(Review to come) ( )
  RAD66 | Nov 12, 2020 |
Het laatste Bijbelboek, de Openbaring (van Johannes) heeft al eeuwenlang voor controversie en verwondering gezorgd. Wat moet de lezer maken van de beesten, schalen vol toorn, de ruiters, het duizendjarig vrederijk, de zeven brieven aan de zeven gemeenten in Klein-Azië, of de enorme kubus die uit de hemel als het nieuwe Jeruzalem neerdaalt en eeuwige poel van vuur waarin alle kwaadstichters, inclusief satan en de dood uiteindelijk naartoe veroordeeld worden? De Amerikaanse religiewetenschapper en schrijfster Elaine Pagels beschrijft in Het vreemdste Bijbelboek : visioenen, voorspellingen en politiek in Openbaring een aantal aspecten. Ze gaat in op het vreemde de auteur te vereenzelvigen met Jezus' discipel en broer van Jakobus, beide zonen van Zebedeus. Scherp is de analyse van de leerstellige verschillen tussen de Joodse gelovigen in het nog jonge christendom waartoe ook Petrus behoorde, en de lijn van Paulus c.s. die Christus bekend wilden maken aan de heidenen (niet-Joden) zonder de verplichtingen van de Joodse Thora.

Johannes heeft met zijn openbaring boek ook anderen geïnspireerd. Ook deze geschriften komen langs in de analyse. Is het Romeinse Rijk of de heersende keizer in bedekte termen beschreven, komt het vrederijk op aarde nog tijdens het leven van de gelovigen eind 1e eeuw, de 2e, 4e, 16e, 20e of 21e eeuw? Van de schrijver zelf tot Maarten Luther, de boeken van Hal Lindsey en de Left Behind serie van Jerry B. Jenkins en Tim LaHaye en de 144.000 Jehova's Getuigen die behouden worden; ze grijpen allemaal terug op de profetieën en visioenen in Openbaring. Politieke tegenstanders, scheiding van religie en politiek en verkettering hebben hun basis in dit Bijbelboek. In het vierde deel neemt Pagels de lezer mee in de geschiedenis van de 4e eeuw, waar keizer Constantijn christen wordt, concilies belangrijke theologische kwesties als de drie-eenheid, goddelijkheid van Jezus Christus en de rooms-katholieke hoofdstroom van het christendom proberen op te lossen.

De invloedrijke Athanasius van Alexandrië (296-373) heeft, strijdend tegen ketterse kloostergemeenschappen in Egypte, met het opstellen van een uitputtende lijst van Bijbelboeken Openbaring van Johannes opgenomen en als sluitstuk gemaakt, waar diverse tijdgenoten Openbaring als ketters zagen. Openbaring is anders dan andere Bijbelboeken. Samen met andere 'geheime' geschriften "nodigen, anders dan degenen die benadrukken dat ze alle antwoorden die ze nodig hebben al weten, deze geschriften ons uit om onze eigen waarheden te ontdekken, onze eigen stem te vinden en niet alleen te zoeken naar een voorbije, maar naar een voortgaande openbaring." Verwacht van Pagels geen exegese van Openbaring, wel een mogelijk ontnuchterende schets van de ontstaansgeschiedenis, interpretatie en zingeving ervan. ( )
  hjvanderklis | Nov 17, 2019 |
My problem with the book is that alot of it is speculative. I understand that when tackling really old and complex issues such as early religion requires some postulation, the overall use of "might have" and then later the use of the same statement as if it were fact turns the book from non-fiction more into imagination and historical fiction. That said, still alot of interesting facts and tidbits along with some strong and new thesis that drives the book. Not as dense as some other religious history books but I almost wish that it was a little denser. ( )
  vhl219 | Jun 1, 2019 |
I learned a lot of new things from this; it was … a revelation. Elaine Pagels has written several popular yet solidly researched books about early Christianity, specializing in what you might call “alternative Scripture”; the Gnostic gospels, the Nag Hammadi papyri, and other texts that didn’t make it into the orthodox Bible. In this case, it’s Revelations, which did make it – but Pagels notes it was a near thing. I hadn’t realized that there were a lot of “revelations” available to early Christians, and that Patriarch Athanasius was responsible for seeing to it that only one made it into the Bible. It was my understanding that the various Beasts, Whores, and whatnot in Revelation were supposed to be assorted Roman emperors or perhaps the Empire of Rome as a whole; Pagels suggests instead that they intended to represent early Christian groups that John of Patmos didn’t like. By the time Athanasius got a hold of it, that was the default; the apocalyptic figures were co-opted to be prophecies of Christian heresies; in particular anybody who disagreed with Athanasius. (A millennium later Martin Luther initially rejected Revelations and wanted it removed from the canon, but changed his mind on realizing that the Beasts and Whore could be used to symbolize the Catholic Church).


Short, easy read; Pagels is simultaneously scholarly and accessible. No bibliography; references are given in the endnotes. Index seems a little sparse. No illustrations. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 17, 2017 |
• Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, author of the classic History of the Church, and a contemporary of the emperor Constantine, was ambivalent: the Book of Revelation was both “universally accepted” by Christian believers, and yet on the list of “illegitimate” books. Pagels notes similarities of Revelation to 4th Ezra, a prophetic book excluded from the Christian Old Testament canon.
• As in Reza Aslan’s Zealot, Christianity and religion are inseparable from politics. Roman religion was part of Roman imperial authority. As quid pro quo, the Romans adopted the gods of peoples they conquered in exchange for the conquered people’s acceptance of the Roman gods. The Romans tolerated the separateness of the Jewish religion up to a point, but friction eventually led to the razing of the temple at Jerusalem by the empire’s military. The Romans viewed the followers of Jesus as another Jewish sect and were accordingly held under suspicion and eventually persecuted them as subversives – potential terrorists as some consider the Muslims in the US and Europe today. So to the followers of Jesus, Rome was the evil empire. Again, while Pagels acknowledges the external references, the Christian/Roman (pagan) conflict is covered in more detail in Aslan’s Zealot.
• There may also be internal references within the religious community. The author of Revelation is most likely a Jew in a sect following Jesus; Christianity as such is still in the embryonic stage. Pagels refers to him as John of Patmos and distinguishes him from John son of Zebedee, the purported author of the gospel; the two were merged as the canon was developed, to lend greater authority to Revelation. Pagels believes that some of the animus driving the vision/prophecy applies also to gentile (non-Jewish) followers of Jesus. While Paul of Tarsus courted the gentiles, other followers within the Jesus sect believed that Jesus’ message was aimed only at the Jews themselves. As the gentiles eventually took over the Jesus cult and turned it into Christianity, reinterpretation made the Jews into the enemy, at least in one interpretative stream. But the internal conflict would also be applied to Christian heretics – see below.
• Revelation follows the model of Hebrew prophecy, using allegory, metaphor, and other styles of secret messaging to refer to contemporary events in order to ward off unmetaphorical reprisals from the powers that be. The prophetic tradition predates the Roman empire and was used to refer to the Babylonian conquerors of the Jews in earlier history. So, logically, references to Babylon in Revelation can be interpreted as references to Rome. At the time of its writing in the later 1st century CE (AD), the reference is to external politics, and the return of the Messiah (Jesus) to bring down the evil empire is expected in the near future. This didn’t happen, and perhaps this accounts for Revelation’s whiff of illegitimacy in early Christianity.
• In the transition from followers of Jesus to orthodox Christianity (the Catholic Church), reaching its culmination with the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, the evil Empire is now the benefactor of the church, so Babylon now refers to internal politics, and the judgment formerly reserved for the Romans and their religion, is now assigned to heretics within the Christian community. Pagels appears to be suggesting that Revelation becomes the final chapter of the Christian canon, because Athanasius, the Christian with the most political authority within the Church, was using it to cement the Church’s authority over heretical thought. Although the Antichrist is not mentioned in Revelation, anti-heretical interpretation found the book to be rich in potential references to the AC. The Antichrist concept is important, because heretics may call themselves Christians but they are really minions of the AC, pod people like the invasion of the body snatchers. Heresy and paranoia go hand in hand.
• Pagels is an expert in the gnostic gospels, uncanonical spiritual writings employed by monasteries outside the authority of the orthodox, Catholic church. In her view, the gnostic gospels are more inclusive and multicultural. In contrast, Revelation’s stories are good guys versus bad guys (whoever they are), and the bad guys are thoroughly stomped. They burn in hell as Jesus’ revenge for the burning of his followers at the stake. Good guys/bad guys is probably a more expedient way of supporting authority, so Revelation is the perfect capstone for anti-heretical orthodoxy. And so, the gnostic gospels were condemned, hidden by sympathetic monks in jars to be unearthed in the deserts of Egypt after the second world war. ( )
  featherbear | Oct 3, 2017 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Elaine PagelsHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Raver, LornaErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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A world-renowned scholar of religion and bestselling author of "The Gnostic Gospels, Beyond Belief," and" Reading Judas" explores the strangest and most controversial book in the Bible: the Book of Revelation.

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