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The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History

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Presenting one of the best TTC courses I've recently enjoyed (even better than Ehrman, though obviously much more limited in scope)" The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History, by Craig R. Koester.

What are we to make of the book of Revelation, with all its dramatic events and rich symbolism? Get an authoritative guide to this extraordinary work in 24 thought-provoking and enlightening lectures, divided into three parts: the historical and intellectual background of the Apocalypse; a close reading of John's text, focusing on the meaning of its images; and the wide-ranging impact of the book on Christian and Western history.

Throughout these lectures, Professor Koester focuses on what John actually wrote in the Apocalypse, what his situation tells us about his meaning, how that meaning can be applied to our own lives, and how contemporary biblical scholars relate Revelation to the modern world. He also introduces major figures in history who have been powerfully drawn to the Apocalypse, among them St. Augustine (who saw it as timeless and symbolic rather than literal), Martin Luther (who decoded it to reach a remarkable theological insight), and Sojourner Truth (who was inspired by the book to work tirelessly for women's rights and the abolition of slavery).

Describing the Apocalypse as a roller coaster that hurtles you down into the abyss amid scenes of monsters and plagues, only to send you flying upward toward views of pure light, Professor Koester stresses that if you are reading Revelation and want to despair, then you've stopped reading too soon. You need to turn the page and look to the next chapter, because there will be a wonderful message of hope waiting for you. And as you learn with this lecture series, you'll find that the Apocalypse you've heard about pales beside the real one.

Episodes include:

  • 1 Revelation and the Apocalyptic Tradition
  • 2 Apocalyptic Worldview in Judaism
  • 3 Apocalyptic Dimension of Early Christianity
  • 4 Origins of the Book of Revelation
  • 5 Issues Facing Revelation’s First Readers
  • 6 God, the Lamb, and the Seven Seals
  • 7 Seven Trumpets, Temple, and Celebration
  • 8 The Dragon and the Problem of Evil
  • 9 The Beasts and Evil in the Political Sphere
  • 10 The Harlot and the Imperial Economy
  • 11 The Battle, the Kingdom, and Last Judgment
  • 12 New Creation and New Jerusalem
  • 13 Antichrist and the Millennium
  • 14 Revelation’s Place in the Christian Bible
  • 15 The Apocalypse and Spiritual Life
  • 16 The Key to the Meaning of History
  • 17 Apocalyptic Fervor in the Late Middle Ages
  • 18 Luther, Radicals, and Roman Catholics
  • 19 Revelation Takes Musical Form
  • 20 Revelation in African American Culture
  • 21 The Apocalypse and Social Progress
  • 22 Awaiting the End in 1844 and Beyond
  • 23 Rapture, Tribulation, and Armageddon
  • 24 The Modern Apocalyptic Renaissance