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The question of how and when the world will end has captivated thinkers for centuries. Wars, natural disasters, social upheaval and personal suffering often send believers back to the writings of their prophets and seers, whose gift is to bring satisfying answers to such questions. The book most studied in the Western tradition is Revelation, the last entry in the Christian canon. Kirsch, an attorney and book columnist for the Los Angeles Times, takes the reader on a delightful 2,000-year journey as he explores a text he describes as "a romantic tale, full of intrigue and suspense" and shows how churches, philosophers, clergy and armchair interpreters have promoted their political, social and religious agendas based on their belief that the end was imminent. Some of this history can be quite sobering, as the powerful have waged wars and built societies based on their varying perceptions of Revelation's message. However, consistent with Kirsch's earlier literary efforts, in particular The Harlot by the Side of the Road, the author exercises great care while treating his material with both sobriety and a healthy sense of the ironic. Written clearly and for a general audience, this is a fine book that merits wide readership. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Kirsch has written an important study of the "little book" that almost didn't make it into the New Testament: the book of Revelations. For many, Revelations is a pastiche of symbolism impossible to wade through, so difficult that even scholarly St. Jerome threw up his hands. Christians have often been advised to read it symbolically, but throughout history, it has been read very literally indeed, with adherents calculating dates for the last days and condemning others to a lake of fire. Today it has a massive effect on politics, popular culture, and even foreign policy, evident especially in Lehaye and Jenkins' popular Left Behind series. Kirsch, author of the best-selling The Harlot by the Side of the Road (1997), does a masterful job of leading readers through the labyrinth of Revelations, exploring why it was written (and with sound speculation on who wrote it), what it means, and how it has affected history. Kirsch is like a tour guide, making stops in Florence, to show how Savonarola used Revelations as he stoked the bonfire of the vanities; in America, to explore how Protestants used the book's imagery; and in Israel, to elucidate how the predictions in Revelations have formed the basis of an unlikely alliance between Jews and the Christian Religious Right. Throughout, in highly readable style, Kirsch highlights how Revelations has been used as a justification for culture wars from the earliest times to the present. Fascinating--and sure to provoke heated discussion. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As usual Kirsch does a wonderful job of presenting esoteric academic information in an engaging comprehensible way. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gail McDermid
Kirsch's primary thesis is that the literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation caused the church to turn to violence against its enemies and the fourth and fifth century... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kevin Timothy O'Kane
While some reviewers credit this as not a "scholarly" work, I would venture to say that it succeeds on many levels, not the least of which is the author formatting it in a... Read morePublished 6 months ago by L. A. Veronie II
This was a gift. I have not received any comment from the recipient.Published 8 months ago by Satisfied grand mother
Well written, keep your interest level high . A history of how the book of Revelation has impacted life through the ages to the present. Great food for thought.Published 14 months ago by Blanche Sullivan
The author repeats himself granted within slightly different contexts. I enjoyed about a quarter of the way through and then found him making the same point over and over. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Chester D Rose
I recall reading the last book of the Bible when I was 12 or 13 and being baffled and horrified at its total divergence from the teachings of Jesus in the rest of the New... Read morePublished 16 months ago by J. Tullis