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246 pages, Hardcover
First published March 1, 2012
"What John did in the Book of Revelation, among other things, was create anti-Roman propaganda that drew its imagery from Israel’s prophetic traditions--above all, the writing of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel." (p.16)However, Pagels' understanding of to whom the book is addressed is different from my previous understanding. According to Pagels, the warnings contained in the messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor (modern western Turkey) were aimed against second generation descendants of the gentile converts of the Apostle Paul (i.e. those who "say they are Jews and are not"). John of Patmos was a messianic Jew who believed in strict observance of Jewish laws and did not approve of the relatively loose standards of Paul's gentile converts. The irony is that he used words of such obscure meanings that few people (Pagels excepted) in subsequent generations understood toward whom his barbs were directed. If John of Patmos were brought back to life today he would be shocked to learn that his book was combined with the letters written by Paul and titled The New Testament to served as sacred Christian scriptures.
1. It is the only book in the New Testament where the writer claims divine inspiration of his writing.That second item is what makes it the ideal book to place at the end of the list books for the New Testament canon.
2. It's the only book in the NT where the writer warns copyist not to make any changes and not to add anything to his writing.