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The Relevance Of The Roman Imperial Cult For The Book Of Revelation: Exegetical And Hermeneutical Reflections On The Relation Between The Seven Letters And The Visionary Main Part Of The Book

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Chapter Summary

In his magisterial commentary on Revelation, David E. Aune arrives at a very cautious judgment on the relevance of the Roman imperial cult for the composition of Revelation and its addressees. According to the traditional view, Revelation was composed in the later period of Domitian's reign, during a persecution which was caused - by the Christians' refusal to participate in the emperor cult. Revelation seems to be a prophetic adhortation to the addressees to remain faithful to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus and to keep themselves separate from 'Babylon' - or even to leave that city - in order to join the city of God, the New Jerusalem, i.e. eternal salvation. Textually, there is one possible reference to aspects of the imperial cult in the seven letters: the characterization of Pergamon as the place where "the throne of Satan" is, with reference to the hostility towards Christians and the martyrdom of Antipas.

Keywords: 'Babylon' and the beast; book of Revelation; Pergamon; Roman imperial cult; Satan's throne; seven letters



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