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on 27 October 2015
great research material
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on 18 February 2016
Given as a present. Recipient delighted
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on 24 November 2012
it's just too short. what there was of it was ok, but there is no depth of study in this book. There is some stuff which is beside the point. I would have liked a proper researched study of Revelation, but this isn't it. Bart Erhman's books are much better.
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on 5 April 2015
Book in excellent condition, I look forward to reading it.
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on 19 September 2017
Came punctually. Quality as promised. Super
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on 4 May 2017
Excellent. Product as advertised. Thanks
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on 1 November 2017
Great read
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 June 2013
Elaine Pagels is a scholar of Early Christianity who has produced a series of books, starting with "The Gnostic Gospels," for the non-specialist reader who is interested in the historical and cultural milieu out of which Christianity arose. The discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 has provided scholars with a trove of information to digest and relate to the canonical material, and it has seemed to some readers, as the Amazon reviews of this book so far make clear, that Pagels is privileging the Nag Hammadi material over the canonical stuff. It's important to understand that she is NOT doing that -- she is creating and explaining a context, both literary and historical, that in fact gives interested readers something to take back to their reading of canonical material that will help them understand it better. Readers should also understand that Pagels is not concerned with critique of the substantive claims made by apocalyptic literature -- no doubt she has her own opinions about that, like all of us do, but her focus is context. Readers who are interested in going further than Pagels can find in her own notes a good starting point for further reading in more scholarly sources, including Pagels's own more scholarly productions.

Coming to apocalyptic literature from later periods -- Spenser, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, and Shelley -- I find her starting point convincing: the idea that such literature rises out of times of uncommon stress in a culture. In the writers I just mentioned, the periods of the English Civil War, the French Revolution, etc. were such times. For John of Patmos, it was the Roman conquest of Israel and the divinization of the Roman Imperium that Pagels points to as particularly galling. Her explanation of the equation of Rome and Babylon in relation to John's assumption of the mantle of Old Testament prophets makes all kinds of sense to me. Blake, for example, wrote about Milton (who had been dead for over a hundred years) at a time when the French Revolution raised all kinds of fears and hopes in England, and the idea that the Old Testament language saturates John's expression is well established. Equally interesting is her reading of John of Patmos as a response to Paul's ministry. This might be more controversial -- some American reviewers were clearly bothered by it -- but the passages she chooses to support the point aren't dismissible. I'm not an expert here, but my mind is open to the possibility that she's right about this.

I especially value the chapter in which she quotes some of the other apocalyptic material from the Nag Hammadi library -- wild stuff, different in some respects from John's wild stuff! What an interesting time this was -- and I say that fully aware that it was often a terrible time for those living through it, and too often dying violently in it. Pagels might not be the last word on all this, but she is a great opener of doors.

NOTE: I found Dr. Coulardeau's substantive and specific 2012 review very interesting. I'm not qualified to judge in detail either Pagels's scholarship or Dr. Coulardeau's comments, but other readers who really want to dig into this material need to take notice of his points.
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on 7 September 2015
This book is an eye-opener. After a slow start, it gets better as it goes along. It does not give an opinion of its own about what the prophetic visions of 'Revelation' reveal. It avers that judaizers had a significant profile in the early decades A.D. and includes John of Patmos in their number.
After recounting a lot of historical negativity regarding it, there is a happy ending in this book for this 66th and final canonical book.
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on 18 November 2017
The Apocalypse is a dangerous book for cranks and ambitious alike. I am normally sceptical of this author but she gives a good outline of the book and of how it has been used and misused.
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