Spring 2013 Meeting
Santa Rosa, California
Early “Christians” seized on the Book of Revelation as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds—Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies. But were they its original targets? Elaine Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. She argues that its author, John of Patmos, was taking aim at the Roman Empire following the “Jewish War” in 66 CE, when militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome’s occupation of Judea, and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple.
Elaine Pagels is Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University and bestselling author of several books, including The Gnostic Gospels (1979), Beyond Belief (2003), Reading Judas (with Karen L. King, 2007), and most recently Revelations (2012).