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Armageddon: What the Bible Really Says about the End

af Bart D. Ehrman

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977284,599 (4.19)1
"A New York Times bestselling Biblical scholar reveals why our popular understanding of the Apocalypse is all wrong-and why that matters. You'll find nearly everything the Bible has to say about the end in the Book of Revelation: a mystifying prophecy filled with bizarre symbolism, violent imagery, mangled syntax, confounding contradictions, and very firm ideas about the horrors that await us all. But whether you understand the book as a literal description of what will soon come to pass, interpret it as a metaphorical expression of hope for those suffering now, or only recognize its highlights from pop culture, what you think Revelation reveals...is almost certainly wrong. In Armageddon, acclaimed New Testament authority Bart D. Ehrman delves into the most misunderstood-and possibly the most dangerous-book of the Bible, exploring the horrifying social and political consequences of expecting an imminent apocalypse and offering a fascinating tour through three millennia of Judeo-Christian thinking about how our world will end. By turns hilarious, moving, troubling, and provocative, Armageddon presents inspiring insights into how to live our lives in the face of an uncertain future and reveals what the Bible really says about the end"--… (mere)
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New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman treats the Book of Revelation as an outlier in the New Testament canon, presenting a portrait of Jesus as an angry, vengeful, jealous deity who will destroy most of the human race. The book’s author, John of Patmos, was convinced that Jesus would soon return to destroy the Roman empire, saving only his devoted “slaves,” a word he uses in preference to milder words like servants or followers. Jesus, here, is God’s warrior avatar. He and God are out for blood. The Jesus of love and mercy described by the gospel of John is nowhere to be found. Ehrman agrees with Christopher Frillingos that Revelation is “a frankly imperialist narrative” that predicts the establishment of a Christian empire to replace Rome. Ironically, the new empire will be based on the Roman belief that “wealth and domination can be ultimate goods.” Such an ideology, Ehrman says, is contrary to the Jesus presented in the Gospels, who advocated a life of service to others as the ultimate good. ( )
  Tom-e | Feb 13, 2024 |
I am a fan of Professor Ehrman and have read the vast majority of his works. Unfortunately, this was the least appealing of his books.

As always, Ehrman has an excellent writing style that appeals to non-specialists by presenting an easily understandable view of The Book of Revelation. Not surprisingly, he argues that the book was meant to be applied in the context it was written approximately two millennia ago and has no predictive power for future events of our times. His interpretation of the often confusing text is informative and greatly appreciated.

However various digressions were unnecessary. For example, Ehrman argues believers in the end of times are anti-climate change and makes tenuous arguments that those who hold such beliefs are responsible for the establishment and continuing support for the state of Israel. While interesting, these claims are not biblical scholarship but a reflection of Ehrman's political ideology. Further, unfortunately more space than ever was devoted to harsh criticisms of fundamentalist beliefs. ( )
  la2bkk | Jun 15, 2023 |
Former fundamentalist Bart D. Ehrman and current Biblical scholar, analyzes the Book of Revelations, written by John of Patmos (not apostle John, son of Zebedee), and how it's message is damaging in today's society. Points to consider:

1. Writer's write for their contemporaries, not for some unknown future.
2. Understanding what is happening both politically and economically in the time period of history that something is written is is essential
3. Reading the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John delivers Christ's message to eschew all wealth, leave everything behind and follow him. He is not a vengeful, materialistically driven Christ

Put these elements together and the destruction and violence of the Book of Revelations makes no sense and causes harm. ( )
  phoenixcomet | May 18, 2023 |
This reviews the audiobook.
Ehrman only reads the introduction, which is just as well. I hear his voice all the time anyway.
It seems as though he's gotten his overuse of the word "moreover" under control now. He covers a lot of material familiar to his readers, but to my eyes (ears, in this case) there was some fresh ground, notably in his opinions outside of biblical scholarship. As popular as his work is among atheists, this book in particular should be important for believers. Many times Ehrman has admitted his previous commitment to evangelical Christianity, but here I can see how those powerful beliefs still have their hold.
I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that he doesn't think that the Book of Revelation has anything to do with the Jesus of the rest of the New Testament. The material in the famous four Gospels that record Jesus' putative words runs totally contrary to the vengeful Lamb of Revelation. [Pulls out own Bible that is literally bristling with post-it tabs - color coded.] After a report on a Christian movement of men who prefer to think of Jesus as more manly, I went through the Gospels marking passages that indicated Jesus being angry. I had to resort to tagging quotes like "Hypocrites!" and "O foolish men" to pad it out. There are no such tags in Revelation, probably because I don't count someone's vision of a heavenly Jesus/Lamb as an eyewitness account.
Anyway, Ehrman makes a powerful case for the importance of close reading of Revelation and comparison with the Jesus of the Gospels. The consequences of the obsession with the doctrine of Armageddon in politics and society ... are pretty darn scary.
My own view was and still is, if you want Armageddon to happen in your lifetime because you think you aren't going to be one of the ones to suffer, you're crazy. If you also want to hurry it along, you're dangerous as well as delusional. It ain't all about you. ( )
  marfita | Apr 29, 2023 |
I'm a big fan of Bart Ehrman's writing and always glad to see a new title come out. I'll acknowledge that the quality of his books can vary, but they're always interesting—and Armageddon is among the very best.

In Armageddon, Ehrman sets out to explore the New Testament book of Revelations from multiple perspectives—
• The time in which the book was written and how it would likely have been originally understood
• Ways the book has been understood in subsequent historical periods
• The ways in which Revelations is most often understood within fundamentalist communities today
• The values espoused in Revelations
• A comparison with Revelations' values and those expressed in the gospels
• The places where contemporary culture and politics have been affected by Revelations

This is absolutely fascinating material. Ehrman talks readers through it clearly, with plenty of documentation, and a voice that never drifts into a tedious scholasticism. He closes the book with a brief final chapter that challenges readers to acknowledge the differences between the gospels and Revelations and to ponder which version of Christianity (if any) they currently practice.

Whether or not you identify as Christian (I don't), Armageddon offers a powerful read about about the values of our faiths and the consequences of those values.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Apr 10, 2023 |
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"A New York Times bestselling Biblical scholar reveals why our popular understanding of the Apocalypse is all wrong-and why that matters. You'll find nearly everything the Bible has to say about the end in the Book of Revelation: a mystifying prophecy filled with bizarre symbolism, violent imagery, mangled syntax, confounding contradictions, and very firm ideas about the horrors that await us all. But whether you understand the book as a literal description of what will soon come to pass, interpret it as a metaphorical expression of hope for those suffering now, or only recognize its highlights from pop culture, what you think Revelation reveals...is almost certainly wrong. In Armageddon, acclaimed New Testament authority Bart D. Ehrman delves into the most misunderstood-and possibly the most dangerous-book of the Bible, exploring the horrifying social and political consequences of expecting an imminent apocalypse and offering a fascinating tour through three millennia of Judeo-Christian thinking about how our world will end. By turns hilarious, moving, troubling, and provocative, Armageddon presents inspiring insights into how to live our lives in the face of an uncertain future and reveals what the Bible really says about the end"--

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