Essay about Revelation

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"Revelation, n. A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing."1 The book of Revelation, the only apocalypse among the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, has always occupied a marginal role within the field of Biblical interpretation. Its bizarre visions of beasts, dragons, plagues, and cataclysms have inspired poets and artists while confounding more traditionally minded scholars for centuries. England in the early seventeenth century proved an exception to this rule. The flowering of apocalyptic exegesis in this period among academic circles bestowed a new respectability on the book of Revelation as a literal roadmap of church history …show more content…
Although these later scholars cited Luther as an important figure in church history, they did not acknowledge (or realize) any methodological debt to him; adopting a mode of interpretation outlined by Luther, they redirected these ideas towards a scheme which was Calvinist in its hope for worldly improvement.

The phrase "Calvinist millenarian," upon further examination, joins two sets of seemingly incompatible ideas without explaining the origins of this odd combination. Calvin himself expressed little interest in either history or eschatology. William M. Lamont has noticed that like St. Augustine, Calvin "viewed the Apocalypse with detachment: it had a circumscribed, allegorical significance, and that was all. Calvin remained wedded to a view of God as, in all significant things, Unknowable."2 He concerned himself more with personal salvation than with the salvation of the world, and his sparse and unsystematic views on history tended to look for progressive improvement rather than rapid upheaval. Calvin spoke in terms of a "zeal for daily progress" among the community, and his followers expanded his ideas to encompass the betterment of a much larger group. "Indeed, despite Calvins Augustinian avoidance of historically oriented eschatology," writes Robin Bruce Barnes, "the hint of progressivism in his thought
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