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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Apocalypse as Holy War: Divine Politics and Polemics in the Letters of Paul
Wasserman, Emma

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018 pp. xi + 339. $65.00

Series Information
Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library


Description: Prevailing theories of apocalypticism assert that in a world that rebels against God, a cataclysmic battle between good and evil is needed to reassert Godís dominion. Emma Wasserman, a rising scholar of early Christian history, challenges this interpretation and reframes Paulís apocalyptic texts as myths about politics in the world of divinity. Wasserman argues that the most dominant historical-critical theories about Christian apocalypticism are ahistorical and tend to work with apologetic formulations of Christís victory and the uniqueness of Christianity. Assessing Paulís claims about immanent war, divine enemies, and the transformation that will accompany Christís return, Wasserman sees him as envisioning a single, righteously ruled cosmic kingdom, the true nature of which will soon be revealed to all. A major scholarly contribution that ranges across Mediterranean and West Asian religious thought, this volume has broad implications for understanding Paulís myth of heroic submission as well as his most distinctive ethical teachings.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Greco-Roman Period, Social-Scientific Approaches, Ideological Critique

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Review by Valťrie Nicolet
Published 8/15/2019
Citation: Valťrie Nicolet, review of Emma Wasserman, Apocalypse as Holy War: Divine Politics and Polemics in the Letters of Paul, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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