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From the Folks Who Brought You Judas…

Now the National Geographic Channel brings you … The Apocalypse. Says their press release: “For nearly 2,000 years, the Book of Revelation has haunted mankind. On Sunday, July 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) premieres Secrets of Revelation, a one-hour special that explores the mysteries behind this ancient and provocative text.”

It’s a pity I have to trim the hedges that night.

I hope you’ll spend your idle moments with Kevin Edgecomb’s translation of the world’s oldest commentary on Revelation instead, St. Victorinus’s third-century In Apocalypsin. Kevin already has the first six chapters ready for your reading.

Hat tip on National Geographic: David Mills of Mere Comments.

UPDATE on Kevin’s progress: Make that eight chapters of Victorinus, and Kevin plans to have the thing finished this weekend.

AMENDED UPDATE on Kevin’s progress: Uh, I mean next weekend.

9 thoughts on “From the Folks Who Brought You Judas…

  1. Mike:
    Errr no, it’s haunted the Anglophones- particularly the British dissenters who saw the English civil war as a fulfilment of the Apocalypse. Curiously, Revelations is one of the cornerstones of Anglophone scifi.
    By contrast, the continential- particularly the Catholics don’t seem particularly haunted by Revelations. In fact, the Acts of the apostles is one the basis of o realismo maravhaloso and magical realism literature.


  2. For years the book of Revelation used to haunt and frighten me. But in recent years, especially after reading “The Lambs Supper” by Scott Hahn it makes more sense to me as a Catholic Christian. I’ll have to look at it in more depth in the future.

  3. Thanks Mike! I’ve got up through chapter 8 since last night. Chapter 7 was just a paragraph, and it felt like cheating to just do that for the night.

    There are several things immediately obvious in Victorinus’ commentary: 1.) devotion to the Church over personal interpretation (which he characterises as “false prophecy”!), 2.) a multivalent system of interpretation working on several levels, far more sophisticated than caricatures of allegory typically are, and relatedly 3.) a non-dogmatism in his interpretation: Victorinus never says ‘my ways are the only ways to look at this text.’ These are all lessons to those who would try to pin down the imagery of the Apocalypse to some specific period, leaders, etc. Stay tuned. I expect to have it all finished by next weekend. Then I’ll go back over and smooth it out some.

  4. Eek! Not this weekend, Mike! Next weekend, the second one in July. I’ve been averaging a chapter or two a day so I figure about 8-10 more days.

    After that, I may expand it into a more paraphrastic version, more like the French one supplied by Dulaey in the SC volume. I think that would make it much easier for most people to understand, as the original is so terse, along the line of scholia instead of the kind of full commentary we’re used to these days.

    Thanks always for the support!

  5. Fascinating observation, Xavier. Do the lit crits generally acknowledge Acts as a model for magical realism? When I read your statement it seemed self-evident — though the thought had never occurred to me before.

    As for you, Kevin: Somebody’s got to crack the whip around here, or nothing would ever get done. ;-)

  6. Mike:
    To my knowledge no. As far as I can conclude, it’s never occurred to them to look at the biblical roots of fantastic/scifi/fantasy literature; I seem to be the only one who’s realized this. However, I should I haven’t read the Romance language lit critics. I’m sure Borga or Alejandro Carpentier might have broached the subject but I’ve never their works or their essays so I dunno ;)
    My observation might be an interesting point of departure for the Grail blog.

  7. I went through and looked, and thought, “Is Mike some kind of prophet?” Though the last chapter is 21, of course (the chapters are numbered according to the subject matter in relation to the chapters of the Apocalypse), there are several chapters that Victorinus, for whatever reason, doesn’t cover. So, I might just end up finishing this weekend after all, without pushing too hard. We’ll see. Anyhow, I hope everyone’s enjoying it. Any taste of Patristic exegesis is good for people.

  8. Stay tuned for my predictions on the All-Star Game.

  9. Just wait for Robert Sungenis’ Catholic Apologetics Bible Vol 2. which will come out soon. It deals with the Apocalypse and takes it verse for verse in mad detail.

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