Samples

Revelation through the Centuries
Christopher Rowland and Judith L. Kovacs

Below you will find samples of:

From the Introduction

The Apocalypse in History: The Place of the Book of Revelation in Christian Theology and Life

On the day after the deaths of thousands of people in the World Trade Center in New York City, a British tabloid newspaper had a single caption to accompany its terrible picture: ‘APOCALYPSE’. One word was considered sufficient to epitomize the destruction, the cataclysm and the sheer horror it inspired, and the book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, otherwise so neglected and despised, provided a way of evaluating this awesome event. In the popular view, Apocalypse is about cataclysm, death and destruction, or, as another paper described the events of that day in September 2001, ‘the end of the world’. It offers images that convey the magnitude and malignity of our experience, not only at a national, international and social level, but in individual lives as well. At another time and in another place, in the north-east of Brazil in 1990, a group of campesinos were talking about their lives. One elderly man started speaking about the upcoming Brazilian elections and the campaigning going on in the state of Ceará. Without any prompting he described the candidates Introduction (particularly those on the right) as the representatives of the dragon of the Apocalypse, whose heads were manifested in corrupt practices, bribes and blandishments, whereas there was little but injustice for ordinary people and persecution by the large landowners of those who dared to stand up for a modicum of justice. It was a totally surprising, unaffected and spontaneous appropriation of the Apocalypse.

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From Chapter 1 of the Commentary

This opening chapter offers interpretative clues regarding the character of the
Apocalypse. According to the eighteenth-century Roman Catholic commentator
Robert Witham, there are three ways of expounding its visions:

The Visions are only to be fulfilled in Antichrist’s time, a little before the End of the World … The visions may be applied to particular Events which happened in the first three of four Ages of the church, under the persecuting Heathens, by Constantine, and the succeeding Christian Emperors … Finally, ‘by the great city of Babylon, is signified all wicked great Cities in the World, all the multitude of the wicked in all nations, their short and Vain Happiness; their Persecutions and oppressions of the good and faithful Servants of God, who live piously in this world, and who are call’d to be Citizens of the Celestial Jerusalem in the Kingdom of God’ (Annotations, ii.510–11 in Newport 2000: 86) …

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