By: Wes Howard-Brook Anthony Gwyther
The two authors of this volume--both committed Christians and social activists--are not interested in the idea of apocalypse as an end-of-the-world phenomenon. Rather, they conclude, St. John's book was a call to "the followers of Jesus in the cities of Roman Asia [the audience for the Revelation] to continue the nonviolent witness practiced by Jesus. This is how the disciples were to live in the midst of empire." In short, "Revelation is a call to have faith in God rather than empire." Beginning with a chapter connecting the contemporary enthusiasm for apocalypse to such events as UFO sightings, near-death experiences, New Age spirituality, and even the current visions of Mary, the writers then explore the origins of apocalyptic writing in (among other places) the book of Daniel, Isaiah, and the gospels, and place John's vision in the historical context of first-century Rome. From there the book devotes itself to a close study of Revelation itself, concluding with a chapter that returns to the question of the relevance of John's vision to the current global economic empire, which is, the authors suggest, "simply the air we breathe." The deepest goal of this exciting and challenging book--like John's own Revelation--is to challenge that. --Doug Thorpe
"Superb both in its historical study of the antecedents and contexts of the Book of Revelation and its analysis of our own contemporary preoccupation with apocalyptic. . . .Unveiling Empire maintains a sharp edge of critical discipline and obedience that belongs to the truth of the gospel."--Walter Brueggemann
Confused by "end of the world" readings or put off by the dense and mysterious imagery, many readers hesitate to explore the Book of Revelation. Unveiling Empire offers a new entrée into this troubling and controversial book of the Bible by examining the roots and social purposes of apocalyptic literature and Revelations own use of traditional imagery. In this way the authors provide readers with the tools for deciphering the texts message--and its urgent applications for Christians today living amidst a new kind of "empire."
Following a career as an attorney in public service, Wes Howard-Brook now teaches at Seattle University and offers presentations and workshops worldwide. His other books include Come Out, My People! God's Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond and The Church Before Christianity.
Activist Anthony Gwyther holds a masters from Sidney (Australia) College of Divinity, and has worked at the Brisbane Catholic Worker community and participated in the Mamre Community for disabled people and their families.