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Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now (Bible & Liberation Series) Paperback – October 1, 1999
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The two authors of this volume--both committed Christians and social activists--are not interested in the idea of apocalypse as an end-of-the-world phenomenon. Rather, they conclude, St. John's book was a call to "the followers of Jesus in the cities of Roman Asia [the audience for the Revelation] to continue the nonviolent witness practiced by Jesus. This is how the disciples were to live in the midst of empire." In short, "Revelation is a call to have faith in God rather than empire."
Beginning with a chapter connecting the contemporary enthusiasm for apocalypse to such events as UFO sightings, near-death experiences, New Age spirituality, and even the current visions of Mary, the writers then explore the origins of apocalyptic writing in (among other places) the book of Daniel, Isaiah, and the gospels, and place John's vision in the historical context of first-century Rome. From there the book devotes itself to a close study of Revelation itself, concluding with a chapter that returns to the question of the relevance of John's vision to the current global economic empire, which is, the authors suggest, "simply the air we breathe." The deepest goal of this exciting and challenging book--like John's own Revelation--is to challenge that. --Doug Thorpe
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Furthermore, the authors also discuss applications of Revelation to current social justice issues. I really learned a lot form this book. I also used Unveiling Empire to teach an adult education class at my church. The class seemed fairly well received, and part of the reason was due to this book.