Tag Archives: Elaine Pagels

Exploring the Book of Revelation

As was suggested by Jonathan in our previous series, this blog will be an exploration of the Book of Revelation (Book of the Apocalypse) in a mystical vein. In seminary back in the early 1980’s, this last book of the exoteric Bible was classified under Eschatology, or a science of the end-times. Although, it was never directly studied on its own since the excessive symbolic language has led to many false interpretations within the Christian milieu. As a biblical resource, The Jerome Biblical Commentary was our mainstay and we will be utilizing some passages of it under its recent incarnation, The [New] Jerome biblical Commentary. This present study could be considered to be an aberration from a Buddhist stance, since in Buddhism, time is cyclical, not linear, (the universe never begins nor ends) making apocalypse both an end and a beginning; whereas the Book of Revelation is decidedly about an ending to linear time, although scripture as a whole does assert that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The original word in Greek — apokalypsis — refers to an unveiling, a revelation. As we shall come to see it’s not just about the end of the world, but rather an end to a particular cycle in time. Elaine Pagels, in her excellent work, Revelations: Vision, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation, cites that the writer of Revelation was referring to the way “his own” world ended. read more

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Gnostic Notions

An overview of Gnosticism is in order. Etymologically, from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός, romanized: gnōstikós, Koine Greek: [ɣnostiˈkos], ‘having knowledge’ [gnosis]. It’s a composite of mystical and religious ideas which became amalgamated during the latter half of the first century AD, consisting mainly of Jewish and early Christian sects. Their main focus was upon individualized gnosis which sharply contrasted with mainline ecclesiastical institutions. The Gnostics significance is not to be minimized as they were the gate-keepers of the magnificent Library of Alexandria, and as such, they were the guardians of the secret mystery schools of Greece and Egypt. Their main import taught that what was considered to be Supreme Being was in essence a mother-goddess—Sophia—who represented an allegorical function that reflected objective truths that led to the formation of self-realized entities. read more

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