A History of the End of the World: How the Most by Jonathan Kirsch

By Jonathan Kirsch

"[The ebook of] Revelation has served as a "language arsenal" in an exceptional the various social, cultural, and political conflicts in Western background. time and again, Revelation has stirred a few harmful women and men to behave out their very own inner most apocalypses. specially, the ethical calculus of Revelation—the demonization of one's enemies, the sanctification of revenge taking, and the idea that historical past needs to result in catastrophe—can be detected in many of the worst atrocities and excesses of all ages, together with our personal. For all of those purposes, the remainder of us forget about the booklet of Revelation in basic terms at our impoverishment and, extra to the purpose, at our personal peril."

The mysterious writer of the ebook of Revelation (or the Apocalypse, because the final e-book of the hot testomony can also be recognized) by no means thought of that his sermon at the approaching finish instances might final past his personal existence. in truth, he expected that the destruction of the earth will be witnessed via his contemporaries. but Revelation not just outlived its writer; this shiny and violent revenge fable has performed an important position within the march of Western civilization.

Ever because Revelation used to be first preached because the published note of Jesus Christ, it has haunted and encouraged hearers and readers alike. The mark of the beast, the Antichrist, 666, the Whore of Babylon, Armageddon, and the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse are only many of the photographs, words, and codes that experience burned their means into the material of our tradition. The questions raised cross immediately to the guts of the human worry of demise and obsession with the afterlife. do we, separately or jointly, trip off to glory, or do we drown in hellfire for all eternity? As those that top manage this darkish imaginative and prescient discovered, which part we fall on is usually a subject of lifestyles or loss of life. Honed right into a weapon within the ongoing tradition wars among states, religions, and citizenry, Revelation has considerably altered the process heritage.

Kirsch, whom the Washington Post calls "a fantastic storyteller with an aptitude for rendering historical stories proper and attractive to fashionable audiences," supplies a far-ranging, pleasing, and surprising background of this scandalous booklet, which used to be approximately minimize from the recent testomony. From the autumn of the Roman Empire to the Black demise, the Inquisition to the Protestant Reformation, the recent international to the increase of the spiritual correct, this chronicle of the use and abuse of the ebook of Revelation tells the story of the unfolding of heritage and the hopes, fears, goals, and nightmares of all humanity.

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Extra info for A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization

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11 From Despair to Faith between a system of Christian doctrine and the upbuilding. 32 The latter, on the other hand, concerns the development of an individual human life. ”34 It neither beguiles nor diverts, but strengthens. Similarly, Kierkegaard also makes clear that the upbuilding should not be conflated with authoritative Christian communication. That is not to say, of course, that such communication necessarily fails to edify. 35 This conclusion is partly grounded in Kierkegaard’s analysis of the human self—an analysis that, as will be discussed in the next chapter, obtains for all human beings, regardless of their religious background.

32 From an earthly perspective, the person of great wisdom is distinguished by his indifference to material luxury and by his quest for self-sufficiency. ”34 But why is this the case? What is it about the human self that makes its dependence on God a necessity and, indeed, a perfection? The answer has to do with the self’s inner dynamics. ”36 Here Kierkegaard is already working with material that will characterize The Sickness unto Death. ”37 The former finds both sanctuary and pleasure in external phenomena such as material 31.

God as the Origin of the Self The theme of exitus-reditus or “exit and return” is a common one in Christian thinking. One can see it, for example, in the structure of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, which proceeds from the nature of God to the act of creation and on to the restoration of humanity to God through the moral and religious life. According to this model, God is both the origin and the end, the alpha and the omega (Rev. 1:8), of all being. In turn, God’s creative activity is brought to the forefront, thereby showing that redemption—the journey back to God—satisfies the most basic impulse of the creature.

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