Pagels on Revelation

Yesterday, Elaine Pagels was on NPR’s Fresh Air discussing her new book on Revelation.

The interview was interesting on a number of levels. She discussed the place that the book of Revelation has had in the history of interpretation, and how it was likely intended to be read in its first-century context.

Pagels located John’s Christianity as a Jewish branch that had not experienced disruption with its Jewish roots. I found this perspective to be quite different from what others have intimated about the Apocalypse.

At any rate, the interview is worth listening to, if nothing else to find out once and for all what 666 means.

The book is called Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, & Politics in the Book of Revelation.

5 thoughts on “Pagels on Revelation”

  1. I also found it interesting. Refreshing that it wasn’t a typical “History Channel” approach to Revelation and she directed people back to the legacy of the OT prophets. I agree that it did get a little bumpy at the end. I found her connection to the eruption of Vesuvius interesting, except for confusing Vesuvius with Mt. Etna and noting that the volcano was on Sicily.

  2. I enjoyed the interview and like you was a bit surprised at the assertion that John of Patmos was part of a Christianity that saw itself as she describes it. I’d like to read the book.

    1. Well, somewhat true. Technically, if you transliterate the Hebrew/Aramaic spelling of Caesar Nero into Greek and then calculate the numeric value of the Greek letters, it equals 666. Kind of complicated. Which is probably why Irenaeus doesn’t seem to be aware of this as a possible solution to 666 way back in 180 AD when discussed the matter at length. I only point this out because “Caesar Nero” is an important option, but it’s far from conclusive.

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