Armageddon: What the Bible Really Says about the End by Bart D. Ehrman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Apocalypse of John (Revelation) is often interpreted as the herald of Armageddon and the second coming of the Christ. As such, it’s extensive symbolism has been plumbed and twisted into prophetic visions that The End is Coming and the Final Judgement is at hand … again. If only we could all agree on exactly what John is talking about, maybe we can get it right this time. So when I found a book by noted New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman that attempts to explain it all, I was very intrigued … and I was not disappointed. Ehrman was concise and clear in his well organized and very accessible study of the Book of Revelation. I should probably confess at this point that I am an avowed a-millennialist so Ehrman’s scholastic refutation of millennialism was pretty easy for me to accept.
What was new for me … and it probably should not have been … was the now obvious dichotomy between the Jesus of the Gospel and the Christ of the Final Judgement that was a lot starker than I was expecting. More over, I did not connect real-life consequences of a perpetual belief that the end was coming or even the psychological impact of the extremely materialistic and violent imagery in John’s vision. Thankfully Ehrman does an excellent job arguing that John was projecting many of his own hopes and dreams of his eternal reward for the great suffering he and his community endured at the hands of a very brutal Roman Empire when the “wrathful Lamb of the Apocalypse” sweeps it all away. I believe that I now have a much better understanding of this difficult scripture and as well as how to read it in the light of the Gospel.
1. The End is Near
2. The Most Mystifying Book of the Bible
3. A History of False Predictions
4. Real-Life Consequences of the Imminent Apocalypse
5. How to Read the Books of Revelation
6. The Lamb Becomes a Lion: Violence in the Book of Revelation
7. The Ideology of Dominance: Wealth and Power in Revelation
8. The Apocalypse of John and the Gospel of Jesus
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.