NPR has a nice interview with Elaine Pagels discussing her new book, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation. It will be no surprise to anyone familiar with Pagels that she draws parallels to Gnostic gospels, but she insists on calling non-biblical apocalyptic “Books of Revelation.” She does point out that these other books were never canonical, but there were reserved for the advanced believers since they are filled with secret knowledge. Pagels describes Revelation as anti-Imperial propaganda written after the destruction of Jerusalem by a second generation Jewish follower of Jesus who was more than a little angry at Rome.
NPR’s Terry Gross does a nice job moving the half hour interview along, topics range from the point of Revelation to the impact of evangelicalism on Pagels as a teenager and her conscious departure from Christianity. Towards the end she responds to (fundamentalist) readers who criticize her interpretation of Revelation. As a non-religious religions professor, she has some unique insights into the way people approach Revelation today.
I have the book and will post a review in a few days.