"The Book of Revelation has served as a "language arsenal" in a great many of the social, cultural, and political conflicts in Western history.
Above all, the moral calculus of Revelationthe demonization of one's enemies, the sanctification of revenge taking, and the notion that history must end in catastrophecan be detected in some of the worst atrocities and excesses of every age, including our own.
For all of these reasons, the rest of us ignore the book of Revelation only at our impoverishment and, more to the point, at our own peril." The mysterious author of the Book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse, as the last book of the New Testament is also known) never considered that his sermon on the impending end times would last beyond his own life.
As those who best manipulate this dark vision learned, which side we fall on is often a matter of life or death.
Honed into a weapon in the ongoing culture wars between states, religions, and citizenry, Revelation has significantly altered the course of history.Kirsch, whom the Washington Post calls "a fine storyteller with a flair for rendering ancient tales relevant and appealing to modern audiences," delivers a far-ranging, entertaining, and shocking history of this scandalous book, which was nearly cut from the New Testament.
From the fall of the Roman Empire to the Black Death, the Inquisition to the Protestant Reformation, the New World to the rise of the Religious Right, this chronicle of the use and abuse of the Book of Revelation tells the tale of the unfolding of history and the hopes, fears, dreams, and nightmares of all humanity.