The Book of Revelation
Are there any good scholarly texts on Revelation that aren't written from the perspective of a believer? Whenever I try to find anything I can barely get more than a few sentences in before the supposed exegesis starts talking about how it applies to us living today and how we all need to get right with Jesus. I want to find a text that isn't coloured by the preconceptions that come with believing it's all real.
It was dude on a mushroom trip. Why bother reading anything further into it?
I doubt it was. There's an entire genre of such writings from that time period.
I can only recommend a partial preterist scholar...David Chilton who wrote "Days of Vengence"...which you can find online.
There are 5 views on Revelation that I am aware of
a. The mushroom trip view
b. The Futurist perspective
C. The Historical View - a chronological fulfillment.
D. The Ongoing View - the idea that history repeats itself age after age.
E. The Preterist/Partial Preterist View - that all or almost all was fulfilled in century one.
I've been on mushroom trips, heavy ones, you don't hallucinate in that kind of way, it's not like dreaming. I will look into Days of Vengeace, thank you.
The ekklesias along the road from Ephesus to Laodicea were all "believers", as was the writer. He was telling them to hang on to their convictions and to behave accordingly, despite the oppressions they were experiencing.
The whole of Revelation is a letter. It was written to give a message that meant something to its recipients at the time it was written and delivered. The culmination -- the Coming -- is repeatedly said to be happening "soon".
There was no idea of giving a message to people living in the future. This is completely in keeping with every other part of the Scriptures. In every instance, the original writer was addressing their own immediate community with the intention of evoking their obedience through superstition, hope, and fear.
Today's religious writers and leaders address today's communities. They are not writing to or speaking to some generation that will be living in thousands of years time.
The Bible writers were not writing to us. The Bible writers were not writing about us.
Why pick on the writer of Revelation as being on a drug-induced trip? He was writing in a style of which there are other examples.
What about the creative imaginings of others, especially Paul? He was a mystic and his ideas and opinions are fanciful.
Could we go further and say that religion is all a matter of superstitious belief in the supernatural?
Although I have not read it yet (should arrive shortly) one book that holds promise for me:
"Soteriology as Motivation in the Apocalypse of John", by Alexander Stewart.
At this stage, I cannot say whether I recommend it or not.
The following is a summary of the book.
John did not write the Apocalypse in order to provide a detailed time-table of events that would unfold thousands of years in the future. Instead, John wrote to affect and move his hearers at the end of the first century-to motivate them to reject idolatrous compromise with the surrounding cultural and political institutions and overcome through repentance, worship, witness, perseverance, and obedience. How does the Apocalypse of John accomplish this motivation and persuade its hearers to adopt a course of action that would put their present lives, income, and security in jeopardy? This monograph employs Stephen Toulmin's model of argumentation analysis to study John's explicit and implicit motivational argumentation and to argue that the two primary grounds for John's argumentation are soteriological. Hearers are motivated positively by the promise of future salvation and negatively by warnings of future judgment. In addition to this main claim, this monograph will (1) argue that the Apocalypse of John is a thoroughly rhetorical text; (2) highlight the centrality of logos, or logical argumentation, in John's argumentation; (3) demonstrate the general applicability of Toulmin's model of argumentation analysis to biblical texts; (4) argue that one's systematic theology of motivation or salvation must be grounded in a comprehensive analysis of the actual motivational argumentation within a text; and (5) explore some of the theological questions raised by the use of soteriology as motivation.