Johannes’ Åbenbaring kap. 13 Overvejelser over tekstens aktualitet1


  • Geert Hallbäck



The Revelation of John, Translation as exegetical practice, Reception history, The genre of apocalyptic, The beasts of Revelation, Nero redivivus, The hermeneutics of ‘productive malaise’


The apocalyptic beasts in Revelation chap. 13 have been identifi
ed with a variety of historical persons. Such interpretive practice
reveals a sort of hermeneutical narcissism. Before considering the contemporary
relevance one has to consider the historical context. Chap.
12 introduces the mythological explanation of God’s will to destroy
the whole world as revealed in the fi rst part of the book. The Dragon
(Satan) is expelled from heaven, but reigns now on earth; therefore the
earth has to be destroyed and Satan to be conquered once again. In
chap. 13 two apocalyptic beasts are revealed, one from the sea and one
from the land. They are fantastic representations of the Roman Empire
and of the local supporters that worship the emperor. In this way
the text is bound to its historical context. To ponder the contemporary
relevance of the text we need to recognize its ‘productive malaise’. I suggest
fi nding this malaise in the revelation of an ongoing competition
between political power and religious faith, and I point to two low-key
examples in contemporary Danish society: The decision of the Danish
Parliament to impose homosexual weddings on the Danish Church,
and the discussion of abandoning certain church holidays for economic





Hallbäck, G. (2012). Johannes’ Åbenbaring kap. 13 Overvejelser over tekstens aktualitet1. Dansk Teologisk Tidsskrift, 75(3), 162–169.