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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Identities of the Beast from the Sea and the Beast from the Land in Revelation 13
Poon, Joseph

Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2017 pp. xiii + 183. $25.00


Description: This book aims to identify the beast from the sea and the beast from the land in Revelation 13 by studying their unique link together with the dragon in Revelation 12: the land beast is subordinate to the sea beast, which in turn is subordinate to the dragon. The early sections of the book provide a review of previous scholarship, the influence of Daniel 7 in understanding Revelation 13, and the Leviathan-Behemoth motif in several apocalyptic writings. The core of the book, however, seeks to demonstrate that the relationship of the two beasts and the dragon fits well with the tripartite hierarchy that Georges Dumezil has discovered as one of the dominant structures of relationships in Indo-European mythological traditions. In congruence with the criteria of the three hierarchical levels in Dumezil's system, the dragon concerns the ultimate sovereignty in a supernatural sphere, while the sea beast and land beast are found, respectively, as a warlike figure in a war context and as a figure relating to the economic theme. Based on this finding, the book concludes that the two beasts represent the imperial power and the imperial cult, as most commentators believe.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Revelation, Literature

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Review by Martin Karrer
Published 7/12/2018
Citation: Martin Karrer, review of Joseph Poon, The Identities of the Beast from the Sea and the Beast from the Land in Revelation 13, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).


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