Monday, November 07, 2005

File 1.40

The Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, has been controversial ever since it was first included in the Bible. It has been given a thousand and more readings, and divined to promise a thousand and more Jerusalems on earth. Exegesis has endowed it with mystical depths of great historical importance. But all the hermeneutics have clouded the literal story the book tells, and it is from this perspective that it becomes acutely troubling in modern times. This inaugural document of hallucinated triumphalism with its vision of righteous war, now informs world leaders' outlook and strategy. [...] The political uses of the book today have shifted from personal illumination to religious "revelation" as a warranty for violence, and a remodelled concept of retributive justice.
Marina Warner, TLS August 19 2005, 14.


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