Religious Criticism

Steven J. Friesen

in Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195131536
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834198 | DOI:
 Religious Criticism

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Lays out a theoretical orientation that allows Friesen to compare the evidence for the imperial cult institutions of mainstream society with a visionary religious text like Revelation, which was produced by a marginal group in society. The chapter begins with a review of critiques of modernity found in the work of three scholars of religion – Mircea Eliade, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, and Charles Long. The chapter then draws on the comparative model of Lawrence E. Sullivan, which describes cosmogony, cosmology, human maturation, and eschatology as the four cornerstones of religious systems. This phenomenological method is amended by the incorporation of Edward Said's concept of contrapuntal interpretation of history and society.

Keywords: contrapuntal interpretation; cosmogony; cosmology; Mircea Eliade; eschatology; human maturation; Charles Long; Edward Said; Wilfred Cantwell Smith; Lawrence E. Sullivan

Chapter.  9030 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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