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Review of Revelations

Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of RevelationRevelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation by Elaine Pagels

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I appreciate this scholar of the Nag Hammadi scrolls describe the context of John of Patmos’ Revelation: the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple was in recent memory; the persecution of the followers of Christ by the Roman Emperors; the existence of other books of revelation and their groups of adherents hoping for some kind of salvation from the Roman empire rule; and the complaints of Jewish followers about Gentile followers of Christ that Paul was bringing into the faith that indicates disunity among the early sects. The author then describes how the term “Satan” that was originally intended to be the Roman Empire by John of Patmos, was then used by early Christian bishops to mean heretics among the followers of Christ. Orthodox bishops won the battle of including the Book of Revelation in the New Testament canon under the tutelage of Emperor Constantine, in fact at the very end for importance, and then moved to outlaw with the power of the Emperor execution all the other books circulating among followers of Christ. The new religion became the Empire’s religion, by the 4th century AD Satan meant no longer the empire but dissidents of the empire religion. Question is, why settle for the empire graft of the 4th century and not know more about the roots?

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