Armageddon: What the Bible Really Says about the End

S. & S. Mar. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781982147990. $27.99. RELIGION
Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina–Chapel Hill; Heaven and Hell) is well known for serious biblical scholarship and the willingness to press provocative implications of it. This book is a continuation of that style, this time bringing the Book of Revelation into view. Much of the discussion covers the history of interpretation, with special focus on fundamentalist approaches, a review of scholarly consensus on apocalypses, and a look at some of the ways readings of Revelation have affected life beyond the text, such as the Branch Davidian siege and views on climate change. The book’s overview is well-sourced, accessible, and rather uncontroversial from an academic standpoint. The second half, however, is where Ehrman makes points that will cause the most contention among Christian audiences. Using his considerable hermeneutic skill, he asks readers to consider whether the author of Revelation truly presents a depiction of Jesus that is in harmony with the Jesus in the Gospels. The book questions whether the images of violence, coercion, and torture in Revelation, even if totally symbolic, represent Christ’s teachings.
VERDICT Lucid and compelling, Ehrman challenges readers to encounter the ancient Book of Revelation once again. This title makes it worthwhile.
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