The Book of Revelation
Historical Context of the Revelation
Essay: Historical Context of the Revelation
Question: Describe the context in which Revelation was written and the circumstances in which John's audience finds itself. Show how the context affects the purpose of John's writing and our interpretation of this document.
In his article The Competition, Everett Ferguson makes a significant and perceptive comment in purporting that, "When Christianity came to town, the religious marketplace was already crowded;" going on to assert that Christianity had not entered a "religious vacuum," but that on the contrary it was surrounded by hundreds of well-established and considerably attended beliefs. Indeed, the competition for the faith of the empire was substantial, and Christianity had unwittingly entered a pious hot-bed - a "plethora of paganism" - a religious conundrum of seemingly eschatological proportions. The adherents of the Third Race were undeniably the 'new kids on the block;' misunderstood and ultimately marginalised as atheistic, illicit, incestuous and even cannibalistic!
For the purposes of this investigation we will discuss the nature of the Christian existence and circumstance within the broader context of the Roman Empire of the later First Century CE.
The fundamental intention of this paper will focus on a dialogue pertaining to the existence and essence of Christian persecution and discrimination during this period; supplemented by an ongoing digression noting the impact that this cultural and religious landscape would have had in shaping the apostle's purpose and occasion in penning the text. This will be concluded by a brief note regarding the effect that the context should have on our contemporary reading of the document.
Fundamental to any musing of historical nature is the formulation of a working set of historically accurate boundaries with which to date the...