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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelationby Elaine Pagels
Synopses & Reviews
A startling exploration of the history of the most controversial book of the Bible, by the bestselling author of Beyond Belief.
Through the bestselling books of Elaine Pagels, thousands of readers have come to know and treasure the suppressed biblical texts known as the Gnostic Gospels. As one of the world's foremost religion scholars, she has been a pioneer in interpreting these books and illuminating their place in the early history of Christianity. Her new book, however, tackles a text that is firmly, dramatically within the New Testament canon: The Book of Revelation, the surreal apocalyptic vision of the end of the world . . . or is it?
In this startling and timely book, Pagels returns The Book of Revelation to its historical origin, written as its author John of Patmos took aim at the Roman Empire after what is now known as "the Jewish War," in 66 CE. Militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome's occupation of Judea and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple. Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. Soon after, however, a new sect known as "Christians" seized on John's text as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds-Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies.
In a time when global religious violence surges, Revelations explores how often those in power throughout history have sought to force "God's enemies" to submit or be killed. It is sure to appeal to Pagels's committed readers and bring her a whole new audience who want to understand the roots of dissent, violence, and division in the world's religions, and to appreciate the lasting appeal of this extraordinary text.
A profound exploration of the Bible's most controversial book—from the author of Beyond Belief and The Gnostic Gospels
The strangest book of the New Testament, filled with visions of the Rapture, the whore of Babylon, and apocalyptic writing of the end of times, the Book of Revelation has fascinated readers for more than two thousand years, but where did it come from? And what are the meanings of its surreal images of dragons, monsters, angels, and cosmic war?Elaine Pagels, New York Times bestselling author and "the preeminent voice of biblical scholarship to the American public" (The Philadelphia Inquirer), elucidates the true history of this controversial book, uncovering its origins and the roots of dissent, violence, and division in the world's religions. Brilliantly weaving scholarship with a deep understanding of the human needs to which religion speaks, Pagels has written what may be the masterwork of her unique career.
A provocative history of the role of silence in Christianity by the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author
In this essential work of religious history, the New York Times bestselling author of Christianity explores the vital role of silence in the Christian story.
How should one speak to God? Are our prayers more likely to be heard if we offer them quietly at home or loudly in church? How can we really know if God is listening? From the earliest days, Christians have struggled with these questions. Their varied answers have defined the boundaries of Christian faith and established the language of our most intimate appeals for guidance or forgiveness.
MacCulloch shows how Jesus chose to emphasize silence as an essential part of his message and how silence shaped the great medieval monastic communities of Europe. He also examines the darker forms of religious silence, from the churchs embrace of slavery and its muted reaction to the Holocaust to the cover-up by Catholic authorities of devastating sexual scandals.
A groundbreaking work that will change our understanding of the most fundamental wish to be heard by God, Silence gives voice to the greatest mysteries of faith.
About the Author
Elaine Pagels is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University and the author of Reading Judas, The Gnostic Gospels-winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award- and the New York Times bestseller Beyond Belief. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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