In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
DE VILLIERS, Pieter G.R.. Violence and non-violence in Revelation. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2015, vol.49, n.2, pp.1-11. ISSN 2305-0853. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/IDS.V49I2.1997.
This article questions the widely accepted interpretation of the Revelation of John in the New Testament as a book with a non-violent message that calls on its readers to refrain from vengeance. First of all, after a discussion of some good reasons for this interpretation, the article subsequently points out how the profound non-violence of the message is combined with and presented in violent language. Attention is therefore paid to Revelation's message to its readers to refrain from violence, to its call to witness, its spiritualising of war-like language and its focus on divine judgement. The article then investigates in more depth how the non-violent message of the book is embedded in and characterised by violent language, how its seemingly positive portrayal of women is in fact permeated by gender violence and how it portrays a divine violence that has an extremely violent nature. The article concludes with brief hermeneutical remarks that reflect on how the violent dimensions of Revelation's non-violence can be interpreted.