The Apocalyspe: Crash Course World Mythology #23

The Apocalyspe: Crash Course World Mythology #23

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Mike Rugnetta is going to tell you stories of death, destruction, divine judgment, damnation, and the occasional happy ending. That's right, this week we're talking about the Apocalypse. Actually we're talking about a bunch of ways the world could end. Prepare for stories of the end times from Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam! It's the (mostly) Abrahamic Apocalypses on Crash Course World Mythology.

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&ldquoTricksters: An Introduction: Crash Course World Mythology 20&rdquo

There are pagan news & opinion sites. Technopagan Yearnings is not one. It&rsquos more like a digital binder with interesting pagan stuff. And nudity. Don&rsquot forget the nudity.

Since Wren Walker retired the Wren&rsquos Nest of The Witches&rsquo Voice, there is not really a pagan news site anymore. The Pagan Vigil Reader is a pagan news aggregator.

You won&rsquot find porn or erotica here. I do discuss nudity & sex, but I do not describe sexual events. As a naturist I admire the human body so you will find nudes here. You will not find photos of sex. There is some art showing sex and orgasms in a ritual or mythical context.

Updated weekdays when possible, otherwise irregularly as circumstances permit and the mood strikes.

This is the fourth major version of Technopagan Yearnings. I still have № 3 on file with it&rsquos comments. I&rsquoll convert that bit by bit as I get the chance. This version uses RealMac&rsquos RapidWeaver instead of Lifli&rsquos iBlog.

Depreciated polytheism

There are pagan news & opinion sites. Technopagan Yearnings is not one. It&rsquos more like a digital binder with interesting pagan stuff. And nudity. Don&rsquot forget the nudity.

Since Wren Walker retired the Wren&rsquos Nest of The Witches&rsquo Voice, there is not really a pagan news site anymore. The Pagan Vigil Reader is a pagan news aggregator.

You won&rsquot find porn or erotica here. I do discuss nudity & sex, but I do not describe sexual events. As a naturist I admire the human body so you will find nudes here. You will not find photos of sex. There is some art showing sex and orgasms in a ritual or mythical context.

Updated weekdays when possible, otherwise irregularly as circumstances permit and the mood strikes.

This is the fourth major version of Technopagan Yearnings. I still have № 3 on file with it&rsquos comments. I&rsquoll convert that bit by bit as I get the chance. This version uses RealMac&rsquos RapidWeaver instead of Lifli&rsquos iBlog.


Green was born on August 24, 1977, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Mike and Sydney Green (born 1952). [7] Three weeks after he was born, his family moved to Michigan, then later Birmingham, Alabama, and finally to Orlando, Florida. [8] [9] He attended Glenridge Middle School and Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando. [10] He later attended Indian Springs School outside of Birmingham, Alabama, graduating in 1995. [11] He used Indian Springs as the inspiration for the main setting of his first book, Looking for Alaska. [12] [13] Green graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and religious studies. [14] He has spoken about being bullied and how it had made life as a teenager miserable for him. [15]

After graduating from college, Green spent five months working as a student chaplain at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, while enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School (although he never actually attended the school). [16] He intended to become an Episcopal priest, but his experiences of working in a hospital with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses inspired him to become an author, and later to write The Fault in Our Stars. [17]

Green lived for several years in Chicago, where he worked for the book review journal Booklist as a publishing assistant and production editor while writing Looking for Alaska. [9] While there, he reviewed hundreds of books, particularly literary fiction and books about Islam or conjoined twins. [18] He has also critiqued books for The New York Times Book Review and created original radio essays for NPR's All Things Considered and WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. [18] Green later lived in New York City for two years while his wife attended graduate school. [19]

Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska, published by Dutton Children's Books in 2005, is a school story and teen romance inspired by his experiences at Indian Springs, Alabama, fictionalized as Culver Creek Preparatory High School. [20] The novel was awarded the annual Michael L. Printz Award by the American Library Association, recognizing the year's "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit." [2] It also appeared on the ALA's annual list, "Top 10 Best Books for Young Adults." The film rights were purchased in 2005 by Paramount, which hired Josh Schwartz as writer and director, but five years later, with no progress on the project, Green told fans that, while he "desperately loved" the screenplay, there seemed to be little interest at Paramount. [21] As sales of Looking for Alaska continued to increase in 2011, Green showed mixed feelings about a movie, which he felt would threaten readers' "intense and private connection to the story." [22] In 2012, the book reached The New York Times Best Seller list for children's paperbacks. [23] In May 2018, it was announced that Looking for Alaska would be made into a Hulu series with Schwartz and others on board. [24] [25] The casting was announced in October 2018. [26] Looking for Alaska was released to Hulu on October 18, 2019. [27]

Green's second novel, An Abundance of Katherines (Dutton, 2006) was a runner-up for the Printz Award and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. [28] Starting with An Abundance of Katherines, each of Greens books contains the word "deadpan" exactly once as an easter egg. [29]

With fellow young adult authors Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, Green collaborated on Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances (Speak, 2008), which consists of three interconnected short stories, including Green's "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle," each set in the same small town on Christmas Eve, during a massive snowstorm. In November 2009, the book reached Number 10 on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperback children's books. [30] It was adapted into a film, Let It Snow, by Netflix, which was released in 2019. [31]

In 2008, Green's third novel, Paper Towns, debuted at number five on The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books, and the novel was made into the 2015 film Paper Towns. [32] [33] In 2009, Paper Towns was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel [34] and the 2010 Corine Literature Prize. [35]

After this, Green and his friend, young-adult writer David Levithan, collaborated on the novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, [36] which was published by Dutton in 2010. [37] [38] The novel debuted on The New York Times children's best-seller list after its release and remained there for three weeks. It was the first LGBT-themed young adult novel to make it to that list. [39] [40] It was a runner-up (Honor Book) for two of the annual ALA awards, the Stonewall Book Award (for excellence in LGBT children's and young adult literature), [41] and the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. [42]

In August 2009, Green announced he was writing a new book entitled The Sequel, [43] which was later scrapped. His sixth book, The Fault in Our Stars, was released in January 2012. He crafted the novel by collaborating with Dutton editor Julie Strauss-Gabel. [44] Green explained that several parts of The Sequel were reworked into The Fault in Our Stars. [45] Green signed all 150,000 copies of the first printing and his wife and his brother applied their own symbols, a Yeti and an Anglerfish (known as the "Hanklerfish"), respectively. The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books listed The Fault in Our Stars at number one for two weeks in January and February 2012. [3] [46] The novel has been made into a major motion picture of the same name, released in the United States on June 6, 2014. [47] Green filmed a cameo role for the movie that was not included in the final cut of the film.

In late 2013, Green stated that he was writing a new book with the working title The Racket. [48] He sold 5,000 words of a rough draft on IndieGoGo for $10 each in order to raise money as part of the Project for Awesome charity event. [49] On November 16, 2014, Green wrote on his Tumblr page that he was not working on The Racket but was working on something else with a different title. [50]

In September 2015, Green announced that he would be taking a break from social media to focus on writing his next book. [51] In August 2016, Green stated that over the next ten months he would be limiting his public appearances in order to finish a draft of the new book. [52] But on September 20, Green took to his YouTube channel to say that he may not publish another book, citing his current writing experience as "this intense pressure, like people were watching over my shoulder while I was writing." [53]

On June 22, 2017, it was announced that Green's fifth solo novel would be entitled Turtles All the Way Down. It was released on October 10, 2017, [54] and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. [55] In December 2017, Green announced that a film adaptation was in development by Fox 2000 and Temple Hill Productions. [56] In May 2018, Green confirmed that the film adaptation would be written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the screenwriters for Love, Simon. [57]

On an episode of his podcast, The Anthropocene Reviewed, released on August 27, 2020, Green announced that he was adapting the podcast into a book. The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet was published by Dutton Penguin on May 18, 2021, his first nonfiction book and sixth solo publication. [58]

Green's rapid rise to fame and idiosyncratic voice are credited with creating a major shift in the young adult fiction market. While reviewing the Andrew Smith young-adult novel, Winger, A. J. Jacobs of The New York Times used the term "GreenLit" to describe young adult books that contain "sharp dialogue, defective authority figures, occasional boozing, unrequited crushes, and one or more heartbreaking twists." [59] According to the Wall Street Journal, "[s]ome credit him with ushering in a new golden era for contemporary, realistic, literary teen fiction, following more than a decade of dominance by books about young wizards, sparkly vampires, and dystopia. A blurb or Twitter endorsement from Mr. Green can ricochet around the Internet and boost sales, an effect book bloggers call "the John Green effect." Zareen Jaffery, executive editor of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers said: "What I really like about what people are calling 'the John Green effect' is that there's more of an interest in authentic, genuine, relatable characters." [6]

Young-adult readers and authors, including Green himself, have been critical of the terms. [60] Green has voiced his disagreement with the idea that he is single-handedly responsible for launching or promoting any one individual's career. [60] Green has commented on these arguments: "My concern is that popular work by women receives far more vitriolic criticism from the public (like, in terms of several demeaning jokes. ) than popular work created by men. Also, I would like to see equal attention given to the sexism in popular work by men, from Nicholas Sparks to, for instance J. D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye—although I like it very much—is profoundly and disturbingly misogynistic and yet seems to get a critical pass both online and off. This happens a lot, I think, with books by men, and I don't want male writers (including me!) to get that pass." [61] Relating to this issue, Green has stated that he considers himself to be a feminist. [62]

Although his novels have earned mostly positive critical reception, Green had discussed what he believes to be flaws in his novels when he looked at them in retrospect. [63] Additionally, in response to a fan's tweet, Green apologized for using the word retarded in Paper Towns, stating, "Yeah, I regret it. At the time, I thought an author's responsibility was to reflect language as I found it. Still, now. eight years later, I don't feel like a book about humanizing the other benefited from dehumanizing language," adding, "it's not in the movie. I won't use the word again in a book or elsewhere." [64]

In 2015, a Tumblr post from user "virjn" generated media controversy, as it claimed Green is "a creep who panders to teenage girls so that he can amass some weird cult-like following." [65] [66] Other users commented on the post, criticizing his writing and tagging Green to bring the post to his attention. [65] [66] Green responded to the post, defending himself, stating, "Throwing that kind of accusation around is sick and libelous and most importantly damages the discourse around the actual sexual abuse of children." [66] Green added that he would use the social media website less often, stating, "I'm not angry or anything like that. I need some distance to my well-being." [64] Fellow young-adult authors Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater came to Green's defense. Stiefvater wrote on Tumblr, "You can have your own opinions on Green's books and Internet presence, but the fact remains that he is a very real positive influence on thousands of teens. You're not just making sure you can't have nice things. You're taking away other people's nice things." In a subsequent email to USA Today, Stiefvater stated, "I had to say something. Not because of the nature of the posts, although they were distasteful and borderline libel. But because the grotesquerie was being force-fed to the author." [66]

On July 14, 2015, Greg Ballard, the mayor of Indianapolis, proclaimed that that day would be "John Green Day" in his city. [67] That month, Teresa Jacobs, the mayor of Orange County, Florida, declared that July 17 would also be John Green Day. [68]


In 2007, John and his brother Hank began a video blog project called Brotherhood 2.0 which ran from January 1 to December 31 of that year. The two agreed that they would forgo all text-based communication for the project's duration instead of maintaining their relationship by exchanging video blogs. Each submitted one to the other on each alternate weekday. These videos were uploaded to a YouTube channel called "vlogbrothers" (as well as the brothers' own website) where they reached a wide audience. [69] [70] In what would have been the project's final video, the brothers revealed that they would extend their video correspondence indefinitely, [71] and as of 2020, they have continued exchanging their unique vlogs.

Since the project's inception, the duo has gained a wide-reaching international fanbase whose members identify collectively as "Nerdfighters." [72] The group, in collaboration with the two brothers, promote and participate in several humanitarian efforts, including the Project for Awesome, an annual charity fundraiser, a Nerdfighter lending group on the microfinancing website Kiva which to date has loaned over $4 million to entrepreneurs in the developing world [73] and the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, the brothers' own charity. [74]

In addition to the main VlogBrothers channel, the brothers have also created several side-projects. These include Truth or Fail, a YouTube game show hosted by Hank and a variety of guest hosts, and HankGames (either "with. " or "without Hank"), which consists mostly of screen-capture footage of various videogames. [75]

Crash Course

Crash Course is a project made by Green and his brother, Hank Green, aimed to educate high school students, but it has diversified into another channel specifically aimed at children, called Crash Course Kids. [76]

In 2012, following a grant from Google, the brothers launched a pair of short-format educational video series entitled Crash Course, which presents series on World History, American History, Literature (hosted by John), Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, Ecology, Psychology, and Philosophy (hosted by Hank), Astronomy, Games, Big History, Economics, Intellectual Property, Physics, Film History, Mythology, Sociology and Computer Science (hosted by people other than the two brothers). [77] [78]


VidCon is an annual conference for the online video community. The Greens created the conference in 2010 in response to the growing online video community. Hank states, "We wanted to get as much of the online video community together, in one place, in the real world for a weekend. It's a celebration of the community, with performances, concerts, and parties, but it's also a discussion of the explosion in community-based online video." [79] The event draws many popular YouTube users, as well as their fans, and provides room for the community to interact. The event also contains an industry conference for people and businesses working in the online video field. [80]

Project for Awesome

In 2007, the Greens introduced the charity project entitled the Project for Awesome (P4A), [81] a project in which YouTube users take two days, traditionally December 17 and 18, to create videos promoting charities or non-profit organizations of their choosing. In 2012, they raised a total of $483,446, surpassing their goal of $100,000. [82] The event has continued annually, gaining more support and higher donations each passing year. In 2015, the total of money raised was $1,546,384. [83] Money is raised through donations to an Indiegogo campaign where supporters can pledge money and receive donated perks like signed photographs, books, and art in return. The Green brothers also donate one cent for each comment made on a Project for Awesome video during the event. There is a live stream that lasts for the duration of the Project for Awesome, which is hosted by John Green, Hank Green, and other YouTube personalities.

Mental Floss on YouTube

Green was the frontman for the YouTube channel for the magazine Mental Floss from 2013 to 2018. He had previously been a contributing writer for the magazine for a period in the mid-2000s and had co-edited the book Mental Floss: Scatterbrained, to which his brother Hank had also contributed. [84] [85] Alongside other presenters, like Craig Benzine and Elliott Morgan, John Green presented "The List Show" in which he listed off interesting facts centered on one particular subject, such as "26 amusing facts about amusement parks". [86] These episodes were directed by Mark Olsen and produced by John and Hank Green and Stan Muller. A new format, titled Scatterbrained, was introduced on the channel in 2018 Green was joined by multiple hosts on a single episode each week, which tackled one topic from multiple angles. In 2019, Mental Floss brought its YouTube production in-house and ceased using Green as the host.

Dear Hank & John

In June 2015, John Green and his brother Hank Green started a weekly podcast titled Dear Hank & John. [87] Taking a mainly humorous tone, each podcast consists of the brothers reading a series of questions submitted by listeners and offering their advice. The podcast closes with a news segment with two standard topics: Mars, presented by Hank, and AFC Wimbledon, presented by John.

The Anthropocene Reviewed

In January 2018, Green launched The Anthropocene Reviewed, a new solo podcast where he reviews different facets of the Anthropocene, the epoch that includes significant human impact on the environment, on a five-star scale. This can include completely artificial products like Diet Dr. Pepper, natural species that have had their fates altered by human influence like the Canada goose, or phenomena that only influence humanity such as Halley's Comet. Episodes typically contain Green reviewing two topics, accompanied by stories on how they have impacted his life. [88] Since November 2018 the podcast is produced by Complexly and was previously co-produced by WNYC Studios.

Life's Library book club

In October 2018, Green founded the Life's Library book club with Rosianna Halse Rojas. [89] [90] [91] The book club reads a book approximately every 6 weeks, with online discussion occurring on the Life's Library Discord. Green and Rojas alternate choosing books, with guest curators occasionally making selections. [91] Life's Library is free to participate in, with paid subscription options available to receive digital or physical subscriptions, containing additional materials such as a discussion podcast, or a version of the book itself. All profits from Life's Library are donated to Partners in Health Sierra Leone to help reduce maternal mortality. [91]

Film producing

Green served as an executive producer for the Paper Towns movie. He has also entered into a production deal with the film studio Fox 2000 (which made the adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars). [92] Green announced that Fox 2000 will be making a movie about the formation of AFC Wimbledon, a soccer team that he supports. He will serve as producer along with Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen under their production banner Temple Hill Productions (who produced The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns). [93]

Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife, Sarah Urist Green, whom he married on May 21, 2006. [94] She worked as the Curator of Contemporary Art at Indianapolis Museum of Art before leaving to start The Art Assignment, a web series with PBS. [95] In videos on the VlogBrothers channel, Sarah Green is referred to as "the Yeti" due to her not appearing visibly on camera. [1] She made an appearance on YouTube in a Google Hangout video chat with President Obama, during which she and her husband asked the President whether they should name their unborn daughter Eleanor or Alice. [96] Green endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 United States presidential election and criticized Donald Trump on his policies. [97]

Green has stated that he is an Episcopalian Christian, [98] but mentioned in the tenth episode of his podcast, Dear Hank & John, that he was married in a Catholic church. [99] He has been an advocate for refugees, stating that "for those of you who share my faith, Jesus is awfully unambiguous about the poor, shelterless, and imprisoned". [100]

John is an avid fan of Liverpool F.C. of the Premier League and has publicly discussed English football. [101] As of 2015, John is also a shorts and stand sponsor of English League One club AFC Wimbledon, of whom he is also a keen admirer. [102] John has a gaming series on YouTube where he plays FIFA as the "Wimbly Wombles," a fictionalized version of AFC Wimbledon. Advertising revenue from the series is donated to the team. John has also stated that he is a casual supporter of his local American side Indy Eleven, and has been to some of their games. [103]

Green has obsessive-compulsive disorder [104] and has discussed his struggles with mental illness extensively on YouTube. [105] [106] [107] [108]

On November 6, 2018, Green announced in a Vlogbrothers video that he would be taking one year off all social media, stating, "My attention has become extremely fractured, and I feel this constant pull towards checking [social media]." [109]

Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature

Chapter 1. The Revelation of John and the Genre of Apocalyptic [00:00:00]

Professor Dale Martin: The word “apocalypse” is the Greek word apocalypsis that is translated as “revelation” because that’s exactly what it means, “an uncovering.” You will often hear the Revelation of John also referred to as The Apocalypse because that’s also its title. Now one point, please don’t call it “The Revelations.” I don’t know why people think that “Revelations” is the name of the book. It’s not, and it’s the “Revelation of John,” that’s the title. The word just means “the uncovering,” it refers nowadays in the modern world to an entire genre of literature of the ancient world, most of which is Jewish, but there are some maybe Greek apocalypse, things that people would call a Greek apocalypse or apocalyptic type literature in some Latin texts or in Egyptian or in other near eastern situations. Most of what we call apocalypses comes from either an ancient Jewish or ancient Christian milieu.

This kind of literature has several characteristics the scholars have pointed out, and I’ll go over this very briefly. They tend to be pseudonymous, and they are set deep in the past like we saw in the book of Daniel. In fact, Daniel is where we get a lot of our generic notions of what an apocalypse is. The two apocalyptic, most apocalyptic books in the Bible are Daniel and Revelation. There’s kind of an apocalyptic world view that I’ll talk about also. When we talk about apocalypse we’re talking about first that genre of literature. They’re usually pseudonymous, they’re ascribed to some ancient hero, so we have apocalypses that are titled after Enoch, said to be by Enoch, who lived way, way, way back just after Adam. We have apocalypses attributed to various other Old Testament characters, so that the idea, as we saw with Daniel, is it’s written at one time but the author claims to be writing centuries before. Like we saw in the case of Daniel, they usually tell you what’s going to happen in the future. Of course it’s actually in the past for the writer, all up until a certain point, and then the end of the current society or the end of the world as we know it. It’s not normally the end of the world entirely. Usually it is a destruction and then a resettling or recreation of a physical world. It’s just called in the Kingdom of God or something like that.

They usually have a chronological span of time. They have all kinds of images, angels, demons, sometimes beasts, sometimes monstrous kinds of beasts as you’ve seen also in Revelation and in Daniel. They’re usually constructed as some kind of narrative. The author will say something like, I was in a dream and I saw this and then this angel grabbed me and took me to this part of heaven and to took me to the third heaven, or the fifth heaven, or the 12th heaven, and then I went down to the deep and saw the dead. Think Dante’s Inferno and the way that Dante is led around into the different parts of the cosmos. And they have a cosmology. They usually have a storied structure to the universe with several different layers of heavens and often several different layers of underneath, the different hells or Hades. That’s the genre of an apocalypse.

There’s also the world view of apocalypticism we’ll call it. Why we use this term is because Paul, as far as we know it, never wrote an apocalypse, and yet his letters show strong influence of apocalypticism, that is an apocalyptic world view. You have, for example, three different kinds of dualisms. You’ve already seen in the Gospel of John and other texts how there’s a dualism between good and evil, there are the good guys and the bad guys, there is God and there is Satan, so there’s an ethical kind of dualism. There’s also a spatial dualism. There’s a dualism of up there and down here, and so you have things that go on on the earth are simply shadows of what’s going on actually in the heavens. It’s like every country, according to Daniel, has its own prince, by that he means some kind of angelic being. The Prince of Persia refers in Daniel to some huge angelic super human being who actually rules Persia. The Prince of Judah, the angel of Judah tends to be Michael or some other angel that you’ve probably heard of, like Raphael. Each of the nations has its own angel so you can imagine sort of that Russia has its angel, and so then America has its angel, and if Russia and America were to go to war this would be actually simply an earthly shadow type reflection of the true reality which would be going on as the angel of Russia was battling the angel of America in heaven. So everything that goes on in our cosmos is simply a mirror image of these battles that are going on the heavens. So that’s another dualism of space.

Then there’s of course a dualism of time. We’ve talked a lot about how for Daniel, remember there is a dualism of before time and the after time. There’s a time that Daniel’s writing, which is up to this, and then what will happen is some big cataclysm will happen, and then, according to Daniel, the Son of Man will come down, battle against the bad evil forces, overthrow Antiochus the IV Epiphanes, and set up the Kingdom of God. You have the same kind of structure of the time before and the time after in the New Testament except it’s squirrely, right? Because according, say, to Paul, this is what’s happened: you have the now time which is still going on, and then you have the future time which has already started impinging on the present. The thing that marks the beginning of the end time has been the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was raised–what do you have when people are raised? The end of the world. The dead are supposed to be raised according to Jewish mythology, and this is something that doesn’t happen all the time, and mainly it happens at the end of time.

The early Christians were Jews expecting an apocalyptic Kingdom of God to happen, and Jesus probably taught this sort of thing himself as an apocalyptic prophet. But when Jesus was killed then the whole thing seemed to go awry because the Messiah is not supposed to be killed. The followers of Jesus, though, very quickly believed that they had seen him after he died, so they believed they had seen the resurrected Jesus. We’re not going to talk about what they actually saw or what happened. From a historical point of view all we can say is that they believed they saw him raised from the dead. And that meant they thought, oh the end time must have already started because he has been raised. In other words, remember how Paul talks about Jesus as the “first fruits of those who sleep.” That just means that Jesus is just the first apple on the tree in his resurrection, and all the rest will be raised when the final end comes. But for the early Christians they believed the end had already to in some sense started with the resurrection of Jesus, so that’s this end. But then they also know the full end hasn’t come because we don’t see the Kingdom of God around us. Those damn Romans are still in charge. The bad evil American government is still running things in the world, so this must not be the Kingdom of God. It may be the kingdom of Obama but it’s not yet the Kingdom of God. The Christians expected Jesus to come back down, to come from heaven. This was called the parousia. We’ve already seen it in several texts. In I Thessalonians, for example, Paul talks about Jesus will come and then we’ll fly up in the air and meet him. That’s the parousia, which is a Greek term that just means “presence” or “coming,” and we’ll refer to the time when a king or the emperor would come to visit a city, and all the people in the city, the important people would come out of the city, out of the gates, to meet the king and give him gifts and the king would give them gifts, and they would all accompany the king back into the city. That’s called a parousia. It’s a purely sort of political civic kind of term. This is what early Christians use to call the coming back of Jesus in his parousia. Christians lived, according to Paul’s theology, right in this middle time of an overlap of the before and the after, but that’s still the before and after that you see of apocalyticism. It’s still there. All these different dualisms are one of the characteristics, and you can see these sorts of things even in texts that aren’t themselves apocalypses, but they show influences from this kind of world view and this kind of narrative view of history and the cosmology.

Often apocalypses seem to have served as a form of cultural resistance. They make the most sense often if you see them as being popular among people who either are oppressed by some more powerful entity or at least believed that they are oppressed. They fear themselves to be oppressed. For example, it’s a perfectly natural world view–you can understand how the world view is, if you believe you’re an oppressed minority and you can’t really fight against the more powerful entity. There’s no way these early little Christians groups or even the nation of Israel could rebel against the Roman Empire and win. The idea is that, well, we will resist them and eventually God will intervene in history with his angels and his army and the divine armies will come, and we will fight alongside them to overthrow the Greeks. The earliest apocalypses, Daniel was talking about the Greeks and Syrians, the Greco-Syrian Empire. So the Greeks were the first oppressive power that people thought they could overthrow this way. Then of course the Romans became the more oppressive power later, so in Jesus’ time and Paul’s time it’s the Romans who are the enemy that will be overthrown. But that will all happen.

It’s not always true that the people who believe in these kinds of apocalyptic ideas are themselves in fact an oppressed minority. After all, Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States, and he still believed this stuff. He still believed that God was going to come any day, he thought it was going to happen right then, any day now, and God was going to have a big battle. Israel would be involved in it and all the different nations of the earth, and then God would set up the Kingdom of God in Jerusalem. Reagan talked about this on the phone with different Israeli politicians and leaders. How does this make sense for Ronald Reagan, the most powerful man in the world, to have this apocalyptic world view? Well Reagan spent a lot of his life feeling like he was on the out and feeling like he was not one of the liberal establishment of the east coast and this sort of thing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people who hold these views are themselves discriminated against minorities or oppressed minorities, but it usually means that they perceive themselves that way, because, otherwise, if you really do have power you just make the world like you want it to be. You overthrow somebody or you wage a battle, and wage war, and you fix the problem yourself. It’s when you don’t have the power politically or militarily to fix the problem that this kind of world view becomes very persuasive to you, very believable, plausible.

That’s what the Book of Revelation is. In fact, we use the title of Revelation, the Apocalypse, as the term for the whole genre and for the whole world, and it comes basically from this book because it’s the most famous apocalypse of all, naturally. The weird thing about Revelation, though, is that it’s [not] pseudonymous. We don’t–the book says it’s just written by a guy named John. It’s not the same John who was the brother of Zebedee, it’s not the same John–if there was a John who wrote the Gospel of John and the letters of John, which we don’t really know who wrote them, but whoever wrote Revelation is not the same person who wrote any of that literature. The style is too different, the theology is too different. It’s just clearly not the same person. He doesn’t claim to be any famous John, he just claims to be John, and so we call him often John the Seer or John the prophet or something like that. He doesn’t seem to hide who he is, and, interestingly enough, he doesn’t place the composition of his book centuries in the past. He actually places it in his own time. This is also tells you where he thought he was. He really believed that he was right there and that the end had already begun in a sense with Jesus. He doesn’t feel the need to pass back into the past and prophesy again. He sees himself as a prophetic figure like Daniel, but a prophetic figure not for the future, he doesn’t believe there’s going to be any more future. He believes that Jesus is coming back right now, so he just places himself right at the beginning.

Chapter 2. The Structure of Revelation [00:12:49]

It’s also a little bit unlike some apocalypses because you have these seven letters in the beginning of the book that are addressed to seven different churches in Asia Minor. One of the interesting things about all of Revelation is its structure. I talked about Hebrews last week and I gave you an outline to the letter to the Hebrews to show you that it was a very elaborately structured sermon. Hebrews was very well written. It’s some of the best Greek in the New Testament. Revelation is interestingly structured, and I’ll show you why I say that, but actually it’s not very well written. The Greek is almost illiterate, and scholars have wondered about this, is it just because the writer of this didn’t have a very good education? Or some people have even suggested maybe he’s intentionally writing in kind of a weird way as sort of almost a form of protest against people in power. There are different theories about this, but it’s not very good Greek, and it’s not very well written.

But it does have a fairly intricate and interesting structure, and I call this a structure of cycles, the spiral. I’ve titled your outline “a spiral outline of Revelation” because the story–a lot of people have read Revelation–well, let me also back up and explain what’s different this week from what we did last week. Last week, if you recall, I spent a lot of time talking about Hebrews and medieval interpretation because I was trying to illustrate how the historical, critical interpretation of these texts that I’m teaching you in the semester is not the only way to do it. There are other kinds of allegorical, theological, literary ways to read these texts, and those are perfectly fine. Now, though, I’m completely reverting back to the historical critical way of reading this text. Partly because the way that so many people in popular culture read Revelation, especially very conservative Christians, is to read it about our time. It’s been read over and over again to be about English wars or World War I or World War II, or most recently in The Late Great Planet Earth and these kinds of things, it’s about the Soviet Union versus the United States of America, and everything that it talks about is referring to what’s going to happen in our lifetimes. So the weird animals, the locust type things that have the heads of men and fly through the air, there are all kinds of modern Christians that say, oh those are helicopters. The author didn’t know what a helicopter looked like in the ancient world so he just described kind of what he saw, but we know now those are helicopters, so he’s actually describing a big war that’s going to break out around Israel and in Israel when the whole world’s going to come to this big cataclysmic nuclear war, and it’s all talked about right here in Revelation. Well, obviously I’m not going to do that. What I’m going to show you is how historians read this text precisely by putting it back in its ancient context.

One of the things is, if you notice, the Book Revelation doesn’t give one strict timeline. In fact it seems to have cycles of setting up some kind of weird crisis, having all these terrible things happen, and then have something that looks like a quasi resolution and then starting the cycle again. It ends up being a big cataclysmic crash at the end of the book, so this is why I call this a spiral of cycles that are going on in the Book of Revelation. First though look at just chapters 6-8, and I’m going to walk you through this very rapidly because you can see something of the structure of this book right here. Now this is after you’ve had the letters in the beginning of Revelation, then you’ve had the throne room scene with God, which we’re going to talk about in a minute, and all the songs that everybody’s saying. Let’s just walk through first structure here.

Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures call out with a voice of thunder, “Come!” I looked and there was a white horse. Its rider had a bow, a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.

This is conquering, and warfare is this first horse. “When he opened the second seal,” –where is he going with the seals? – Picture this now: we’ve talked about how books were composed in the ancient world, and we talked about scrolls. Things were in scrolls not in books like this with all the different pages all sewn together. What he’s imagining seeing is there’s this huge scroll in the sky that this angel is holding and doing different things. When you want to finish a letter or a book you roll up the scroll, and then you put a wax seal at the end of the roll and that seals the book. So anybody who wants to read that letter or that book the first time has to break that wax seal. The seals that he’s talking about are the wax seals on the scroll. You imagine that you’ve got this scroll that has one seal and you can break that seal and you can unroll the scroll a little bit, but then you get another seal, so you undo that seal and you can unroll it a little bit more, so he’s gradually unrolling this scroll that’s going to have all these things pop out of it. There’s this big huge scroll that has horses and riders jumping out of it and flying through the air.

He opened the second seal. I heard the second living creature call out, “Come!” And out came another horse bright red. Its writer was permitted to take peace from the earth so that the people would slaughter one another and he was given a great sword.

So the first seal releases this horse that looks like Empire, the conquering of the conqueror the second is just general warfare.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, “Come!” I looked and there was a black horse. Its rider had a pair of scales in his hand, and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s pay and three quarts of barley for a day’s pay, but do not damage the olive oil and the wine.”

The third seal is what? Famine and poverty.

When he opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, “Come!” And I looked and there was a pale green horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed with him. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth to kill with the sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth.

So death is the fourth seal. “When I opened the fifth seal I saw under the altar”–notice we’re not talking about horsemen anymore. You had four horsemen representing four different things. The fifth seal has something like a digression, the fifth seal is not another horse like you expect. In other words, you’re given to expect that you’re going to see another horse that’s going to be some other catastrophe, but you don’t get that, you have a digression.

Under the altar, the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given, they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer until the number would be complete, both of their fellow slaves [it says “slaves” actually in the Greek, not “servants”] and of their brothers.

It doesn’t say sisters. There’s almost no women in this text at all. It’s all men, virgin men who have never been polluted by touching women. It’s not exactly a pro-woman book. You might not get that idea if you have an English translation that keeps putting sisters in here, but there are no sisters in this book. There’s the whore of Babylon, there’s the mother bride, and then there are men. “… your slaves, you fellow brothers, who are soon to be killed as they themselves have been killed.” What’s the fifth seal? Well it gives him a vision of the altar of God, in the temple of God in heaven, and there’s this big altar. And under the altar are the souls of all the followers of Jesus who have been martyred up to this time, and the souls of those people who will be martyred. They’re not punished, they’re saying how long, how long, and he says, oh keep your pants on, here’s a white robe, just sit there and be nice under the altar, we’re going to take care of it all very, very soon. The fifth seal is actually a digression that tells you, the audience, that if you suffer in this present time it will be taken care of by God. You have these four building up of terrible things, and the fifth is a digression that gives you comfort. But now we’re going to get back.

He opened the sixth seal, I looked and I heard a great earthquake, the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, the stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up.

Remember I talked about how the sky in ancient cosmology isn’t just air, it’s actually a firm thing, it’s like a big piece of leather or something like that sits up there, and there’s water on the other side of it in most ancient cosmologies, or something on the other side of it. When he talks about seeing the sky rolled up like a scroll he means that quite literally. The sky goes jrrrjrrjrrrrjrrr and rolls up, and you can see heaven above it. So the sky vanishes like a scroll.

Every mountain and island moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, and the magnates and the generals, and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves, and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

The sixth seal is all hell breaks loose. The cosmos is coming down on top of itself. He’s created an increasing level of anxiety and catastrophe with this, but that fifth seal there’s kind of a digression. “After this I saw four angels…” Now you think, oh man, if the sixth seal is like that you know one more seal is coming up. What’s the seventh seal going to be? Man, I’m eager to hear this! Remember all this was read out loud in the ancient world so you’re hearing all this.

“I saw four angles standing at the four corners of the earth, hurrying back the four winds of the earth.” Now you get a bunch of other stuff, “I saw another angel ascend, and I heard the number of those were sealed.” Now you have all the followers of Jesus are numbered into different tribes of 12,000 a piece, and each of those tribes is sealed themselves. Isn’t that interesting, you have another use of the term seal but now this is a seal that’s put on the faces of all the people who are the true followers, who are the true Israel, twelve tribes like the twelve tribe–the lost ten tribes and the other two tribes of Israel. There’s the reconstituting of Israel now, and they’re sealed, and the seal is a good thing. It means you won’t be harmed if you have this on you. That goes on all of chapter 7. You’re thinking where is the seventh seal? We had six, I know there’s another one coming, where is it? You have to wait all the way through chapter 7 wanting the seventh seal but you’re not getting it yet. In other words, he’s just stringing you along. But he’s stringing you along in a way that’s kind of good because he’s reassuring you. You know the seventh seal is coming, and you’re just–you’re pretty sure it’s going to be really, really, really, really bad because the sixth seal was. But before you get to the seventh seal you have this sealing of you, if you’re a faithful follower of Jesus, with the reassurance of a seal.

And then you have some songs, we’re going to talk about some songs, but everybody comes in and it’s like a Broadway play. You have something happen, and then the chorus all runs on stage and they do a little song, blessed be the lamb, and the blah, blah, blah, halleluiah, halleluiah, and then they run off and you have more action. That’s the way the story is structured, for interesting reasons.

We get to the end of chapter 7, we’re finally to this chapter, so you get to Chapter 8–of course they’re not numbered in the ancient world. But “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal,” you ready for this? “there was silence in heaven for a half an hour.” That’s the seventh seal. What’s going on? The text builds up tension, and you hear this read out loud, and it keeps building up this tension, but then the seventh seal is such a anticlimax: silence in heaven for a half an hour. Then it doesn’t explain anything about that, it just starts over. And then you have another cycle a little bit later. “Another angel of the golden censor came and stood by the altar.”

In other words, what’s you’ve got is something like this. You have these four scrolls–the four seals which are terrible, terrible, terrible awful things, and then you have the fifth which is a digression, and it’s actually a good thing, it’s the telling of the souls who have been martyred, don’t worry, you’ll be saved, here’s a white robe, relax. Then you have the sixth seal which is another worse thing than all of these, it’s really, really bad and its goes on longer, and then you have this long digression again, this is like the fifth seal, it’s a sealing of the followers of Jesus with salvation. Then after that digression then you have this seventh seal which is really kind of anticlimactic. But it’s not bad because, you know, silence in heaven for a half an hour.

Look at your spiral outline now because this kind of structure of having a cycle of catastrophes that are interrupted every once in a while by some kind of digression that then ends with something good, that’s the way the whole book is structured in three different cycles. For example, I said in the fourth chapter of Revelation you have the big heavenly throne room scene. Revelation 5, you have the introduction of the scroll with seven seals and the lamb, and then you have the first cycle of seven, and that’s what I just walked you through just now. Then right after 8:1, the silence in heaven, it starts again with a second cycle, and you have in 8:2 introduction of seven angels with seven trumpets, and then again you have the first, second, third, and fourth trumpet which announce these kind of catastrophes. And then you have an interlude where this eagle comes through and announces woes on everybody. And then you have the fifth trumpet in 9:1-12, and the sixth trumpet in 9:13, and then you have chapter 10 which has another interlude which is about the scroll of prophecy. Chapter 11, you have the talk about the temple, and he has to measure the temple. And then in 11:14 you have the end of the second woe. And finally in 11:15 you have the seventh trumpet. And what does the seventh trumpet introduce? Praise in heaven, sort of like that half hour of silence.

Then you have a long interlude, which is chapters 12, 13, and 14 which is about battles between the woman who’s the mother of church or the mother of the Savior, and the dragon. Chapter 13 is about the dragon and the beast. Chapter 14 is about the lamb, the horned lamb which represents Jesus who’s a horned lamb who is wounded. And then you have starting in 15:1, you have a third cycle of seven angels and seven plagues or bowls. Then you have the great conclusion, which is the very end, the destruction of Rome in chapters 17-19. The final battle which is 19:11-21, the imprisonment and eventual destruction of enemies which is Chapter 20 and the establishment of the new Jerusalem in chapters 21 and 22.

Chapter 3. Crisis, Catharsis, and Politics in Revelation [00:28:00]

What does this structure tell us? Because the structures in these different cycles, it builds up crisis and then it gives you something, a relief at the end. There’s a famous New Testament scholar who teaches at the Divinity School, this time it’s not me, who teaches in the Divinity School, Adela Yarbro Collins. Many years ago when I was still a student I read this book she had wrote called, Crisis and Catharsis. It’s a wonderful book about Revelation. And her thesis was, the very purpose of the Book of Revelation is to build up a sense of crisis in early followers of Jesus. If you’re too comfortable with your world, you don’t know that things are really a lot worse than what you think they are. If it’s addressed to Christians who are, if they’re comfortable, it wants to make them uncomfortable with Roman rule. If they’re uncomfortable with Roman rule, and feel depressed and oppressed, then eventually the book will lead them to feeling comfort. So crisis is created by the book in order to let you experience a catharsis of the salvation. The looping structure of the book tries to work that out psychologically in its hearers. You can see how it’s going to do this.

And, remember, it’s meant to be performed. You’re hearing it read out loud. It’s a long book, but you sit there, and you imagine a bunch of Christians in Asia Minor in some church, say, in Ephesus, and they’re meeting is dark, they’re meeting in some house somewhere, in somebody’s dining room, and somebody has sent around this document and asked it to be read. You’re all sitting around with just some candles going and somebody’s reading this book, and it’s got all these strange things going on, strange creatures, and a lot of these songs and things that people are singing, and angels are singing, and beasts are singing, and elders are singing. It’s sort of like in the fourth chapter, look at the fourth chapter of Revelation. This is where we’re in the throne room of God.

After this I looked, and there in heaven, a door stood open and the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne with one seated on the throne. And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. And around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne were seven flaming torches with the seven spirits of God.

You have all this going on and then the four living creatures, these monstrous combination kind of monster creatures are standing around the throne and they starting singing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Then you see the twenty-four elders, and they’re singing another song. The whole thing is meant to be seen in your mind, not just read silently.

We’re going to do a little experiment here to show how that might happen. We’re going to break up into thirds. You [pointing to a group] get to be the four living creatures. Then we’re going to split the rest of the class right here, you all [pointing to another group] get to be–I think it’s the elders I can’t remember, and then you’ll be another group [pointing to the last third of the class]. These are the quotations. I want you to say this with me very soft at first, all right? Don’t rush, don’t get faster. I’m a musician you know, I’m going to make you stick with the tempo I set.

[Instructs the first group to chant continuously.] “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Say it!

[The next group begins to chant continuously.] “Worthy is the lamb that was slain.” Don’t rush. “Worthy is the lamb that was slain.”

[Last group begins to chant.] “Glory, honor, power to thee, oh Lord, most high. Glory, honor, power to thee oh Lord most high.” Now get a little bit louder.

[All three groups are chanting while Professor Martin speaks.] There’s smoke in the throne room. There are beasts flapping their wings. Now close your eyes and get louder. [Students are chanting.] Shout it! [Students are chanting loudly.] Stop! [Everyone stops.] You feel something? You’re supposed to feel something. You’re supposed to kind of feel weird. You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable just a little bit, you’re supposed to feel a little tingle, because reading Revelation as if it’s a blueprint for Jesus coming back and what’s going to happen with the Republicans and the Democrats kind of misses the point. Because what it really is doing, it’s trying to pull you into a world, a very performative world. That’s the thing–it really is like a stage show except the stage is the whole cosmos and all kind of weird things that are happening all around.

Part of what’s going on here, to use Professor Collins’s phrase, is it introduces this sense of a crisis in the cosmos. It doesn’t do that because it wants you to, in the end, simply live in that crisis. It’s because the author believes God’s going to take care of the crisis eventually but not necessarily today. The book, having this book performed in your church for you, read out loud in the middle of the night, deals with your sense of persecution if you have one. But what if you don’t have a sense of persecution? What if you’re actually fairly comfortable with Rome? What if you’re fairly well off? You’ve got a good business, the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, actually allows you to travel. You can get on a ship and not have to worry about pirates, unlike today [student laughter], or unlike it was a hundred years before this. Pompey was the general who cleaned the pirates out of the Mediterranean in the first century BCE. So if you’re a businessman, and you’re fairly well off, you might think that the Roman peace is a pretty good thing. Sure a few people’s heads got to get cracked every once in a while, to keep the peace, that’s just the way it is.

The Book of Revelation seems to have a dual purpose. It’s like that old saying about what good preaching is, good preaching is supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That’s kind of what the Book of Revelation seems to try to do. Because notice, what is the view of Rome that you get here? Look in Revelation 18 and 19. If all you had was the letters of Paul, what might you think about Rome, what might you think about the government, what might you think about the emperor? If you all you had were certain other books such as the Pastoral Epistles what would you think the–about their politics? There’s no way you could find this author saying something like “honor the emperor,” which is precisely what you get in some other early Christian letters.

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven having great authority and the earth was made bright with his splendor. He called out with a might voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants, and the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.”

This is clearly Rome. Babylon is the code name for Rome here. We know it is because in 17:9,18 he talks about this city being on seven hills, referring to the famous Seven Hills of Rome. Of course in 13:18

… so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark of the beast, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom, let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.

What is 666? Well, back in the 1980s some of us leftists said Ronald Wilson Reagan, or you can come up with all kinds of other things. Scholars think that if you take the word “Nero,” the name of the Emperor and you spell it “Neron,” with a final N like you would, in the Hebrew letters, it comes out to be 666, adding up those three letters. Now you’ll notice there’s also a footnote that says other ancient authorities say 616, so some scribe comes along and sees 666 and said, oh no that can’t be right, it must be 616. It’s actually–that makes a lot sense if this is supposed to refer to Nero because if you spelled Nero’s name slightly differently, in a way that was still possible to spell it for the ancient world, it comes out to be 616 rather than 666, which leads a lot of us scholars just to think the writer is probably referring to Nero in some way. Nero is a beast, and Nero is the whore, Rome is the whore that’s had sex with every rich man and every king throughout the whole world. This is not a very positive view of Rome, and Rome of course is completely destroyed at the end.

The part of Nero is when we don’t when this text was written. Some people actually believe that Revelation was written in the 60s when Nero was himself the emperor. More tend to believe that it’s written toward the end of the century, when Nero had already been dead. This refers to a great myth from the ancient world called Nero redivivus. The myth was that Nero was such a terrible, terrible, terrible bad man that even though he had been assassinated he was going to rise from the dead someday. Or some people believed he wasn’t ever dead, he escaped and he was off living with Parthians, who were these people who lived on the very eastern corner of the Roman Empire. The idea was Nero was still alive somewhere and he was going to raise an army of Parthians, and he was going to come back and he was going to wage war and take over the Roman Empire again. Or he was going to rise from the dead and raise an army and take over the empire again.

This was especially chilling for followers of Jesus because Nero was well known, at the end of the century, for being the first emperor to have persecuted the followers of Jesus in Rome. The famous story is that Nero–there was a big fire in Rome, and Nero was blamed for the fire because he was clearing a bunch of apartment buildings of lower income people out of a certain area of Rome, it’s right by the Coliseum, to build his huge big palace. In fact now, if you go to Rome, they’ve opened up the Golden House, they call it, and this was the palace that Nero built. It’s beautiful, you have to go under the ground to get into it and see it and everything because it’s all covered by the ground. If you go to Rome, get tickets and go to Nero’s palace because it’s only in the last several years that it’s been reopened for the public. The idea was, Nero had actually burned a bunch of tenements in order to make room for his palace, but because this was so unpopular he blamed it on the Christians. He said, the Christians set the fire, the Christians are those really bad people, and the story goes that he had big barbeques in his palace grounds and he put the bodies of Christians covered with tar on stakes and crucified them, and put them on stakes, and lit them and their burning bodies provided the torchlight for his party. This is the story that was circulated about Nero by later Christians and by other people too. For followers of Jesus, Nero was this terrible figure, who they thought he might even rise again from the dead and do battle against us.

Chapter 4. The Social Context of Revelation [00:42:02]

Who does all this make sense of? The writer is giving this big myth, obviously the whore is killed, Babylon is killed, Rome is destroyed, all the wealthy people are destroyed, all the kings of the earth are destroyed by the angels and by Jesus coming down. And then the setting up of the new Jerusalem that’s gold and beautiful, and there’s no night or day there because God is its light and everybody lives happily ever after. What is the kind of situation that this speaks too? We’re going to go back to the beginning of Revelation now.

Look at chapter 2. These are in the letters. We know it was written by a guy named John. He says he was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos in the Mediterranean when he wrote this, and then he circulates it around. He starts off with these seven letters to seven churches. “To the angel of the church in Ephesus.” Ephesus, we’ve seen Ephesus haven’t we? One of pseudo-Paul’s letters may have been addressed to Ephesus. Paul apparently did found a church in Ephesus, and it was one of his bigger churches it seems like. He spent years there.

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lamp stands. I know your works, your toil, and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evil doers, you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. [There are false apostles running around.], I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you …

See some of the letters are mainly letters of praise to the churches and some of them are scolding letters, so it’s interesting to see what does he scold people for, and what does he praise them for?

Remember, then, from what you have fallen, repent. [This is a backslid church he thinks.] Do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit, you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. [Well, we don’t really know anything about the Nicolaitans, so that doesn’t tell us much.] Let anyone who has an ear, listen to what the spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.

Then he goes onto another church. So there are false apostles, but then look at 2:9:

I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews but are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

There is this poverty, he’s praising poverty. He talks about people who -say they’re Jews but they’re not. 2:13: “I know where you are living.” This is to Pergamum which happened to be a huge site of the imperial cult, the cult to the emperor. In fact you can go there now, I’m going to be there in June, aren’t you jealous? You can go to the top of this mountain, the Acropolis in Pergamum, and the Austrian archeologists are rebuilding all these temples to Trajan and Hadrian on the top of this hill. Of course Trajan and Hadrian are after he wrote this, but there was still a big emperor cult there.

I know where you are living, where Satan’s throne is. [well maybe that’s a reference to the emperor cult itself.] You are holding fast to my name, you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my witness, I have some things against you, you have some …

Well, I’m running out of time but let me tell you what basically he really doesn’t like. He doesn’t like a woman named, he calls Jezebel, who is one of the prophets in one the churches. He doesn’t like rich people. He says stuff about idolatry which makes it sound like he doesn’t like people who are eating meat sacrificed to idols. We don’t think there were any of these churches that were actually practicing pagan idolatry. What’s probably going on is, he knows that there are some Christians who eat meat sacrificed to idols, and he calls that idolatry.

Now let’s think about it, which churches are in this area of western Asia Minor that have women as leaders in them, they’ve been told by their apostle that it’s okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols, and some of them are not that poor, like there seem to be people in Corinth who seem to be fairly well off. Maybe this guy, and this is just a theory, but I think it’s fun to think about, maybe he’s actually writing to Paul’s churches precisely because he thinks they’re too comfortable with Roman rule, and he wants to make them uncomfortable with Roman rule in order to turn them against Rome and to convert him to his own vision about this anti-Roman version of the Gospel. And that’s why he constructs the letter to say, as I said, if you’re troubled, if you feel like you’re oppressed you’re supposed to be comforted by this text. But if you’re too comfortable with the Pax Romana you’re supposed to be mad uncomfortable by the text and get on the right side. On Wednesday we’ll talk about some texts that may have been more comfortable with Roman rule.


The apocalypse event may be climatic, such as runaway climate change natural, such as an impact event man-made, such as nuclear holocaust medical, such as a plague or virus, whether natural or man-made or imaginative, such as zombie apocalypse or alien invasion. The story may involve attempts to prevent an apocalypse event, deal with the impact and consequences of the event itself, or may be post-apocalyptic, and be set after the event. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, the way to maintain the human race alive and together as one, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten (or mythologized). Post-apocalyptic stories often take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain.

The scriptural story of Noah and his ark describes the end of the corrupted original civilization and its replacement with a remade world. Noah is assigned the task to build the ark and save the lifeforms so as to reestablish a new post-flood world.

The Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah also has post-apocalyptic elements. The daughters of Lot, who mistakenly believe that the destruction had engulfed the whole world and that they and their father were the only surviving human beings, conclude that in such a situation it would be justified - and indeed vitally needed - to have sex with their father in order to ensure the survival of humanity. Such situations and dilemmas occur in modern post-apocalyptic fiction.

Numerous other societies, including the Babylonians, had produced apocalyptic literature and mythology which dealt with the end of the world and of human society, many of which also included stories that refer back to the Biblical Noah or describe a similar flood. [2] The Epic of Gilgamesh, written ca. 2000–1500 BC, details a myth where the angry gods send floods to punish humanity, but the ancient hero Utnapishtim and his family are saved through the intervention of the god Ea.

A similar story to the Genesis flood narrative is found in the 71st Chapter of the Quran. However, unlike the Biblical story, the Quranic account explicitly claims that the deluge was only sent to the tribe of the Prophet Nūḥ (نُوح) ("Noah" in Arabic), and therefore, the deluge did not engulf the entire world. [3] [4] [5] While the Islamic narrative of Noah is not a true post-apocalyptic tale (as only Noah’s tribe was affected and not the entire human race), it can nevertheless be read with post-apocalyptic themes since Noah builds the ark and escapes the destruction of his tribe along with a handful of the believers and the animals of his tribe. [ non-primary source needed ]

Even in the Hindu Dharmasastra, the apocalyptic deluge plays a prominent part. According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu, informed the King Manu of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon. [6] The King was advised to build a huge boat (ark) which housed his family, nine types of seeds, pairs of all animals and the Saptarishis to repopulate Earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of the deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Vaivasvata Manu fastened the boat to the horn of the fish. [7] [ non-primary source needed ] Variants of this story also appear in Buddhist and Jain scriptures. [ citation needed ]

The 1st centuries AD saw the recording of the Book of Revelation (from which the word apocalypse originated, meaning "revelation of secrets"), which is filled with prophecies of destruction, as well as luminous visions. In the first chapter of Revelation, the writer St. John the Divine explains his divine errand: "Write the things which thou hast seen, the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" (Rev. 1:19). He takes it as his mission to convey—to reveal—to God’s kingdom His promise that justice will prevail and that the suffering will be vindicated (Leigh). The apocalyptist provides a beatific vision of Judgement Day, revealing God’s promise for redemption from suffering and strife. Revelation describes a new Heaven and a new Earth, and its intended Christian audience is often enchanted and inspired, rather than terrified by visions of Judgment Day. These Christians believed themselves chosen for God’s salvation, and so such apocalyptic sensibilities inspired optimism and nostalgia for the end times. [8]

Such works often feature the loss of a global perspective as protagonists are on their own, often with little or no knowledge of the outside world. [9] Furthermore, they often explore a world without modern technology [10] whose rapid progress may overwhelm people as human brains are not adapted to contemporary society, but evolved to deal with issues that have become largely irrelevant, such as immediate physical threats. Such works depict worlds of less complexity, direct contact, [10] and primitive needs, threats and behavior. According to Professor Barry Brummett, it is often the concept of change as much as the concept of destruction that causes public interest in apocalyptic themes. [11]

Such fiction is studied by social sciences and may provide insights into a culture's fears [12] [11] [9] : 16,83 as well as things like the role imagined for public administration. [13]

Since the late 20th century, a surge of popular post-apocalyptic films can be observed. [14] [12] [11] Christopher Schmidt notes that, while the world "goes to waste" for future generations, we distract ourselves from disaster by passively watching it as entertainment. [15] Some have commented on this trend, saying that "it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism". [16] [17] [18] [19]

Lord Byron's 1816 poem "Darkness", included in The Prisoner of Chillon collection, on the apocalyptic end of the world and one man's survival, was one of the earliest English-language works in this genre. The sun was blotted out, leading to darkness and cold which kills off mankind through famine and ice-age conditions. The poem was influential in the emergence of "the last man" theme which appeared in the works of several poets, such as "The Last Man" by Thomas Campbell (1824) and "The Last Man" (1826) by Thomas Hood, as well as "The Last Man" by Thomas Lovell Beddoes. The year 1816 was known as the Year Without a Summer because Mount Tambora had erupted in the Dutch East Indies in 1815 that emitted sulphur into the atmosphere which lowered the temperature and altered weather patterns throughout the world. This was the source for Byron's poem.

Mary Shelley's novel, The Last Man (1826), is a continuation of the apocalyptic theme in fiction. [1] The story follows a group of people as they struggle to survive in a plague-infected world. The story centers on a male protagonist as he struggles to keep his family safe but is inevitably left as the last man alive. However, Shelley's novel is predated by Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville's French epic prose poem Le Dernier Homme (English: The Last Man (1805)) and this work is also sometimes considered the first modern work to depict the end of the world. [20] [21] Published after his death in 1805, de Grainville's work follows the character of Omegarus, the titular "last man," in what is essentially a retelling of the Book of Revelation, combined with themes of the story of Adam and Eve. Unlike most apocalyptic tales, de Grainville's novel approaches the end of the world not as a cautionary tale, or a tale of survival, but as both an inevitable, as well as necessary, step for the spiritual resurrection of mankind.

Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion" (1839) follows the conversation between two souls in the afterlife as they discuss the destruction of the world. The destruction was brought about by a comet that removed nitrogen from Earth's atmosphere this left only oxygen and resulted in a worldwide inferno. Similarly, Giacomo Leopardi's short dialogue "Dialogue between a Goblin and a Gnome" (1824) features a world without the presence of the human beings, most likely because they "violate[d] the laws of nature, and [went] contrary to their welfare". [22]

Richard Jefferies' novel After London (1885) can best be described as genuine post-apocalyptic fiction. After a sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature and the few survivors return to a quasi-medieval way of life. The first chapters consist solely of a description of nature reclaiming England: fields becoming overrun by forest, domesticated animals running wild, roads and towns becoming overgrown, London reverting to lake and poisonous swampland. The rest of the story is a straightforward adventure/quest set many years later in the wild landscape and society, but the opening chapters set an example for many later science fiction stories.

H.G. Wells wrote several novels that have a post-apocalyptic theme. The Time Machine (1895) has the unnamed protagonist traveling to the year 802,701 A.D. after civilization has collapsed and humanity has split into two distinct species, the elfin Eloi and the brutal Morlocks. Later in the story, the time traveler moves forward to a dying Earth beneath a swollen red sun. The War of the Worlds (1898) depicts an invasion of Earth by inhabitants of the planet Mars. The aliens systematically destroy Victorian England with advanced weaponry mounted on nearly indestructible vehicles. Due to the infamous radio adaptation of the novel by Orson Welles on his show, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, the novel has become one of the best known early apocalyptic works. It has subsequently been reproduced or adapted several times in comic books, film, music, radio programming, television programming, and video games.

Aliens Edit

Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke, in which aliens come to Earth, human children develop fantastic powers and the planet is destroyed.

Argentine comic writer Héctor Germán Oesterheld's comic series El Eternauta (1957 to 1959), an alien race only mentioned by the protagonists as Ellos ("Them") invades the Earth starting with a deadly snowfall and then using other alien races to defeat the remaining humans.

In Alice Sheldon's Nebula-winning novelette "The Screwfly Solution" (1977), aliens are wiping out humanity with an airborne agent that changes men's sexual impulse to a violent impulse.

Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide series (1979–2009) [23] is a humorous take on alien invasion stories. Multiple Earths are repeatedly "demolished" by the bureaucratic Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass, to the chagrin of the protagonist Arthur Dent.

In Gene Wolfe's The Urth of the New Sun (1987), aliens (or highly evolved humans) introduce a white hole into the sun to counteract the dimming effect of a black hole, and the resulting global warming causes a sea-level rise that kills most of the population (though this may be redemptive, like Noah's Flood, rather than a disaster).

In Greg Bear's The Forge of God (1987), Earth is destroyed in an alien attack. Just prior to this, a different group of aliens is able to save samples of the biosphere and a small number of people, resettling them on Mars. Some of these form the crew of a ship to hunt down the homeworld of the killers, as described in the sequel, Anvil of Stars (1992).

Al Sarrantonio's Moonbane (1989) concerns the origin of werewolves (which he attributes to the Moon, which is why they are so attracted to it), and an invasion after an explosion on Luna sends meteoric fragments containing latent lycanthropes to Earth, who thrive in our planet's oxygen-rich atmosphere. Moonbane ' s tone is reminiscent of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds (1897).

Charles R. Pellegrino and George Zebrowski's novel The Killing Star (1995) describes a devastating attack on a late-21st-century Earth by an alien civilization. Using relativistic missiles, they are determined to destroy the human race in a preemptive strike, as they are considered, after watching several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation which shows human domination in space, a future threat.

In the video game Chrono Trigger (1995), the giant alien creature Lavos collides with the earth in prehistoric times, subsequently hibernating beneath the earth. As millions of years pass, the monster feeds on the energy of the earth, eventually surfacing in 1999 to wreak complete destruction of the human race, atmosphere, and general life on the planet in the form of a rain of destruction fired from its outer shell, known as the 'Day of Lavos'. [24]

In the video game Half-Life (1998), hostile alien creatures arrive on Earth through a portal after a scientific experiment goes wrong. In its sequel, Half-Life 2 (2004), it is revealed to the player the creatures encountered in the first game are merely the slaves of a much more powerful alien race, the Combine, who have taken over the Earth to drain its resources after subduing the entirety of Earth's governments and military forces in only seven hours.

In the 2000 Don Bluth animated film Titan A.E., Earth has been destroyed by the Drej, due to a human experimental discovery called Project Titan, which made them fear “what humanity will become”.

The 2011 TV series Falling Skies, by Robert Rodat and Steven Spielberg, follows a human resistance force fighting to survive after extraterrestrial aliens attempt to take over Earth by disabling most of the world's technology and destroying its armed forces in a surprise attack. It is implied that the attacking aliens are in reality former victims of an attack on their own planet and are now the slaves of an unseen controller race.

The television series Defiance (2013–2015) is set in an Earth devastated by the "Pale Wars", a war with seven alien races referred to as the "Votan", followed by the "Arkfalls", which terraforms Earth to an almost unrecognizable state. Unlike most apocalyptic works, in this one Earth is not inhospitable, and humanity is not on the verge of extinction.

The World's End is a 2013 British-American comic science fiction film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike. The film follows a group of friends who discover an alien invasion during a pub crawl in their hometown.

In the 2018 horror film A Quiet Place and the 2021 sequel A Quiet Place Part II, society has collapsed in the wake of lethal attacks by (apparently) extraterrestrial creatures who, having no eyesight, hunt humans and other creatures with their highly sensitive hearing the scattered survivors live most of their lives in near-silence as a result.

Astronomical Edit

The Purple Cloud (1901) by M. P. Shiel is a novel in which most of humanity has been killed by a poisonous cloud.

In Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer's novel When Worlds Collide (1933), Earth is destroyed by the rogue planet Bronson Alpha. A selected few escape on a spaceship. In the sequel, After Worlds Collide (1934), the survivors start a new life on the planet's companion Bronson Beta, which has taken over the orbit formerly occupied by Earth.

The horror manga Hellstar Remina, by Junji Ito, presents a similar premise where an extrasolar, and in reality extradimensional, rogue planet sets a collision course for Earth, destroying several solar systems on the way there, and destroying Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars as well. It is eventually discovered that the planet is in reality a massive lifeform that feeds on other planets, and is not only alive, but also home to an extremely deadly ecosystem which kills both an expedition force and a group of affluent survivors that escapes to the planet's surface to avoid death on Earth. A nuclear response fails, and the planet devours Earth, leading to the extinction of mankind aside from a group of characters surviving in a durable, airtight shelter that is left floating in empty space with supplies and air for a year.

In J. T. McIntosh's novel One in Three Hundred (1954), scientists have discovered how to pinpoint the exact minute, hour, and day the Sun will go "nova" – and when it does, it will boil away Earth's seas, beginning with the hemisphere that faces the sun, and as Earth continues to rotate, it will take only 24 hours before all life is eradicated. Super-hurricanes and tornadoes are predicted. Buildings will be blown away. A race is on to build thousands of spaceships for the sole purpose of transferring evacuees on a one-way trip to Mars. When the Sun begins to go nova, everything is on schedule, but most of the spaceships turn out to be defective, and fail en route to Mars.

Brian Aldiss' novel Hothouse (1961) occurs in a distant future where the sun is much hotter and stronger, and the human population has been reduced to a fifth of what it had been.

J. G. Ballard's novel The Drowned World (1962) occurs after a rise in solar radiation that causes worldwide flooding and accelerated mutation of plants and animals.

Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's novel, Lucifer's Hammer (1977), is about a cataclysmic comet hitting Earth and various groups of people struggling to survive the aftermath in southern California.

Hollywood—which previously had explored the idea of the Earth and its population being potentially endangered by a collision with another heavenly body with the When Worlds Collide (1951), a film treatment of the aforementioned 1933 novel – revisited the theme in the late 1990s with a trio of similarly themed projects. Asteroid (1997) is a NBC-TV miniseries about the U.S. government trying to prevent an asteroid from colliding with the Earth. The following year saw dueling big-budget summer blockbuster movies Deep Impact (1998) and Armageddon (1998), both of which involved efforts to save the Earth from, respectively, a rogue comet and an asteroid, by landing crews upon them to detonate nuclear weapons there in hopes of destroying them.

Characters in the six-part ITV television drama serial The Last Train (1999) awaken from a cryogenic sleep after an asteroid the size of Birmingham strikes Africa, causing a worldwide apocalypse.

K. A. Applegate's 2001–2003 book series, Remnants, details the end of the world by asteroid collision. The first book, The Mayflower Project (2001), describes Earth in a sort of hysteria as 80 people are chosen by NASA to board a spacecraft that will go to an unknown destination away from the destroyed Earth. The later books deal with the few survivors waking up from a 500-year hibernation and succumbing to both strange mutations and the will of a strange alien computer/spaceship that they land on. Eventually they return to Earth to find a couple colonies of survivors struggling on a harsh planet completely different from the Earth the Remnants knew.

In the obscure 2013 Australian film These Final Hours, a massive asteroid hits the Atlantic ocean dooming all life. The film follows James, who decides to head to the 'party-to-end-all-parties' and there spend the last 12 hours before the global firestorm reaches Western Australia.

In id Software's video game Rage (2011), Earth is heavily damaged, and humanity nearly wiped out, by the direct collision of the real asteroid 99942 Apophis with the Earth in the year 2029.

Marly Youmans' epic poem Thaliad (2012) tells the story of a group of children after an unspecified apocalypse from the sky, perhaps connected with solar flares or meteor impact, resulting in people and animals having been burned and the skies having filled with ash. The children survive only because they were together on a school visit to a cave.

Cosy catastrophe Edit

The "cosy catastrophe" is a style of post-apocalyptic science fiction that was particularly prevalent after the Second World War among British science fiction writers. [ citation needed ] A "cosy catastrophe" is typically one in which civilization comes to an end and everyone is killed except for the main characters, who survive relatively unscathed and are then freed from the constraints of civilization. The term was coined by Brian Aldiss in Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (1973). [25] [26] Aldiss was directing his remarks at English author John Wyndham, especially his novel The Day of the Triffids (1951), whose protagonists were able to enjoy a relatively comfortable existence with little associated hardship or danger despite the collapse of society. In Catalan author Manuel de Pedrolo's novel Typescript of the Second Origin (Mecanoscrit del segon origen, 1974), two children accidentally survive an alien holocaust that eradicates all life on Earth. They take up the mission of preserving human culture and repopulating the Earth.

Environmental disaster Edit

In Alfred Walter Stewart's 1923 novel Nordenholt's Million, an engineered strain of bacteria denitrifies almost all plants, causing a collapse of food supply. The plutocrat of the title establishes a haven in central Scotland for a chosen group of survivors, while deliberately wrecking all alternative refuges.

In Alfred Bester's story "Adam and No Eve" (1941), an inventor takes off in a rocket whose propulsion uses a dangerous catalyst. From outer space he sees that the entire world has been destroyed by fire in a runaway reaction caused by the catalyst. Fatally injured in a crash landing, he crawls to the sea so that the bacteria in his body can initiate new life on Earth.

In John Christopher's novel The Death of Grass (1956), a mutated virus kills cereal crops and other grasses throughout Eurasia, causing famine.

Kurt Vonnegut 's novel Cat's Cradle (1963) ends with all the bodies of water turning into "ice-nine", a fictional phase of ice that forms at room temperature.

In J. G. Ballard's novel The Burning World (1964, expanded into The Drought in 1965), pollution in the oceans creates a surface layer that resists evaporation, bringing about a worldwide drought.

John Brunner's novel The Sheep Look Up (1972) describes an environmentally-degraded world rapidly collapsing into social chaos, revolution, and anarchy.

Richard Cowper's three-volume novel The White Bird of Kinship (1978–82) envisions a future in which anthropogenic global warming has led to a catastrophic rise in sea level. Most of it takes place two millennia later.

Ursula K. Le Guin's novel Always Coming Home (1985) takes place long after worldwide disasters—apparently largely environmental though nuclear war may also be involved—have drastically reduced the population. It paints an admiring picture of a primitive society that will not repeat the mistakes of civilization. It won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and was a runner-up for a National Book Award.

Palladium Books' Rifts roleplaying game (1990) features an apocalypse caused by various natural disasters including the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano which releases a large amount of magical energy that is amplified by deaths of millions occurring during a solstice, at midnight, during a planetary alignment, creating the titular rifts that bring forth various beings and monstrosities from throughout the Megaverse.

In Octavia Butler's 1993 novel Parable of the Sower, climate change and corporatism are the human-caused reasons for societal collapse.

In the film The Day After Tomorrow (2004), based on Whitley Strieber's speculative non-fiction novel The Coming Global Superstorm (1999), extreme weather events caused by climate change invoke mass destruction across the planet, and eventually result in a new ice age.

The video game The Long Dark (2017) depicts survival in the wilderness of northern Canada during winter after a geomagnetic disaster has disabled all modern technology.

Failure of modern technology Edit

In E. M. Forster's novelette "The Machine Stops" (1909), humanity has been forced underground due to inhospitable conditions on Earth's surface, and is entirely dependent on "the machine," a god-like mechanical entity which has supplanted almost all free will by providing for humankind's every whim. The machine deteriorates and eventually stops, ending the lives of all those dependent upon it, though one of the dying alludes to a group of humans dwelling on the surface who will carry the torch of humanity into the future.

In René Barjavel's novel Ravage (1943), written and published during the German occupation of France, a future France is devastated by the sudden failure of electricity, causing chaos, disease, and famine, with a small band of survivors desperately struggling for survival.

Fred Saberhagen goes one better than Barjavelin with the Empire of the East series which starts, in the 1968 book The Broken Lands, sometime after the "Change" (with sincere nods from Boyett and Stirling), in which a defense designed to temporarily make nukes inoperative, permanently changes some of the laws of science for magic.

Steve Boyett's novel Ariel (1983, sub-titled "A Book of the Change") also has all technology—including electricity, gunpowder, and some physics principles—ceasing to function, while magic becomes real. He also contributed to the 1986 Borderland series, which investigates a return of the Realm of Faery to the world.

The Quiet Earth, a 1985 New Zealand movie notable for its visually stunning ending, follows a scientist's descent into madness after he wakes up to a world where every single member of the kingdom Animalia has seemingly disappeared. After recovering and finding other people, he realizes his experiments with energy transfers through the Earth's magnetic field are to blame, and that unless he shuts down the experiment, it will destroy the planet.

S. M. Stirling also takes a swipe at the inconstant-physical-constants field with the Emberverse series. Dies the Fire (2004), The Protector's War (2005), and A Meeting at Corvallis (2006), depict the world's descent into feudalism after a sudden mysterious "change" alters physical laws so that electricity, gunpowder, and most forms of high-energy-density technology no longer work. Civilization collapses, and two competing groups struggle to re-create medieval technologies and skills, as well as master magic. Like Boyett's novel, Stirling's features Society for Creative Anachronism members as favorably disposed survivors, and a hang glider attack against a building.

Afterworld (first aired in 2007) is a computer-animated American science fiction television series where a network of satellites firing persistent electronic pulses, combined with a strange nanotechnology, has not only destroyed most electronic technology on the planet, but also caused the deaths of 99% of humanity, and is now causing strange mutations to occur in lower forms of life.

NBC's Revolution (2012–2014) also revolved around a "change" after which the principles of electricity and physics are inoperable. However, the focus of the story was how a group of protagonists tried to get the power back on while opposing the efforts of a tyrannical militia leader to understand it first (so that he can take absolute power).

The web series H+: The Digital Series (2012-2013) depicts in part, the aftermath of a world in which a computer virus that infected a popular brain-computer interface killed one-third of the population, leading to a breakdown in order and the lack or shortage of electricity and other modern conveniences.

All Systems Down (2018) is an American novel which describes a cyber war that cripples Western infrastructure, resulting in the collapse of society.

Robert Harris's novel The Second Sleep (2019) is set in a fundamentalist agrarian society several centuries after the collapse of global civilisation, which is inferred to be the result of a sudden breakdown of the internet, possibly as the result of cyberwarfare.

Technological singularity Edit

Other works use Ray Kurzweil's idea of the technological singularity, the creation of a sentient machine using artificial intelligence, as the starting point for an apocalypse. For example:

    's short story "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967), is set after the Cold War, where a super-computer, named AM (Allied Mastercomputer/Adaptive Manipulator), created to run the war office, becomes self-conscious, and destroys all but five human beings. In a vast subterranean complex, the survivors search the shadow of the former world in search of food, whilst being tortured by AM along the way.
  • The Terminator film series (first introduced in 1984) describes an artificial intelligence created by the U.S. military for national defense called Skynet. It becomes sentient, and determines that it must destroy humanity in order to protect itself. It launches US nukes, causing a global thermonuclear war, followed by the near-extermination of the survivors by machines that it builds.
  • The film The Matrix (1999), written and directed by the Wachowskis, describes a future in which the artificial intelligence singularity has destroyed human civilization, and has placed the remaining humans in a virtual reality simulation which is designed to keep them complacent while using them for power. A significant amount of religious iconography pervades the series, including the protagonist being an allegory for the Second Coming, and the name of the supporting character, Trinity.

Fossil fuel supply scarcities Edit

The film Mad Max (1979), directed by George Miller, presents a world in which oil resources have been nearly exhausted. This has resulted in constant energy shortages and a breakdown of law and order. The police do battle with criminal motorcycle gangs, with the end result being the complete breakdown of modern society and nuclear war as depicted in Mad Max 2 (1981). The opening narration of Mad Max 2 implies that the fuel shortage was caused not just by peak oil, but also by oil reserves being destroyed during a large scale conflict in the Middle East. The remnants of society survive either through scavenging, or in one notable case, as depicted in the third sequel Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), by using methane derived from pig feces.

James Howard Kunstler's novel World Made By Hand (2008) imagines life in upstate New York after a declining world oil supply has wreaked havoc on the US economy, and people and society are forced to adjust to daily life without cheap oil.

Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland's book Player One (2010) deals with four individuals taking refuge in a Toronto airport bar while a series of cataclysmic events occurs outside.

Alex Scarrow's novel Last Light and its sequel Afterlight narrate the fall of British civilization after a war in the Middle East eradicates the majority of the Earth's oil supply.

The backstory of the video game series Fallout revolves around the so-called "Resource Wars", beginning circa 2050, when oil supplies become depleted, leading to a disastrous series of wars that include Europe going to war with the Middle East before disintegrating into warring nation-states after all available oil is used up, the United Nations collapsing, the U.S annexing Mexico and Canada, and finally total nuclear war between the U.S and China in 2077 after over 25 years of war.

Pandemic Edit

Comics Edit

Crossed by Garth Ennis is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a bodily fluid-borne virus has destroyed civilization. Carriers of the virus develop a cross-shaped rash on their faces and act without inhibitions, raping, killing and torturing the few remaining uninfected humans.

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra deals with the lives of Yorick Brown and his monkey Ampersand, after a plague wipes out all but three male life forms on the Earth, leaving the whole planet to be controlled by women.

The Walking Dead is a comic book series from IC and was written by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. It was started in 2003 and concluded in 2019. The story follows a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic landscape. The apocalypse in this series was brought about by zombies, and it is strongly suspected that the zombies are victims of a virus. The Walking Dead television series is based on the comic books. They have also spawned a motion comic.

Kamandi is an American comic book character, created by artist Jack Kirby and published by DC Comics. In the eponymous series, Kamandi is a teenage boy on a post-apocalyptic Earth that the textual narrative describes as "Earth A.D. (After Disaster)". The Earth has been ravaged by a mysterious calamity called the Great Disaster. The precise nature of the Great Disaster is never revealed in the original series, although it "had something to do with radiation" (in the series' letter column, Jack Kirby and his then-assistant Steve Sherman repeatedly asserted that the Great Disaster was not a nuclear war, a fact confirmed in issue #35). The Disaster wiped out human civilization and a substantial portion of the human population. A few isolated pockets of humanity survived in underground bunkers, while others quickly reverted to pre-technological savagery.

Xenozoic Tales (also known as Cadillacs & Dinosaurs) is an alternative comic book by Mark Schultz set in a post-apocalyptic future starring mechanic Jack Tenrec and scientist Hannah Dundee. Earth has been ravaged by pollution and natural disasters and humanity survived by building vast underground cities. Some 600 years later, mankind emerged to find that the world had been reclaimed by previously extinct lifeforms (most spectacularly, dinosaurs). In the new 'Xenozoic' era, technology is extremely limited and those with mechanical skills command a great deal of respect and influence.

Killraven (Jonathan Raven) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by co-plotters Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, scriptwriter Gerry Conway, the Martians from H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds return in 2001 for another attempt at conquering the planet (later retconned as extrasolar aliens using Mars as a staging area). After humanity's enslavement, men not used as breeders or collaborators are trained and forced to battle gladiator-style for the Martians' amusement women are used as breeders to supply infants, which are eaten by the Martians as a delicacy. Jonathan Raven, dubbed Killraven as his gladiatorial nom de guerre, escapes with the help of the gladiatorial "keeper", but without his brother, Deathraven. Killraven joins the Freemen, a group of freedom fighters against Martian oppression.

Deathlok is a Marvel comic book character created by Rich Buckler and Doug Moench. Colonel Luther Manning is an American soldier who was fatally injured and reanimated in a post-apocalyptic future (originally given the date of 1990) as the experimental cyborg Deathlok the Demolisher. He verbally communicates with his symbiotic computer, to which he refers as the abbreviated "'Puter". He battles the evil corporate and military regimes that have taken over the United States, while simultaneously struggling not to lose his humanity.

Hercules, as portrayed in the DC comic book series titled Hercules Unbound, featured the adventures of Hercules in a post-apocalyptic future. It made use of characters and concepts, such as the Atomic Knights and the intelligent animals from Jack Kirby's Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth series as an attempt to tie in some of the future series.

Judge Dredd is set in a future Earth damaged by World War III, a nuclear war instigated by corrupt U.S. President "Bad" Bob Booth in 2070. The majority of the world was left an irradiated wasteland filled with hostile mutant lifeforms, with the surviving population being centralized in the so-called Mega-Cities, massive urban sprawls covering entire states created to deal with overpopulation during the 21st century. Further massive conflicts during the comics' present, such as the "Apocalypse War" against East-Meg (the government of the former Soviet territories) and the "Day Of Chaos" has caused even more destruction.

Axa is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 2080. Axa is a woman who, having grown sick of the regimented and stifling society inside a domed city, flees into the untamed wilderness. The strip mixed elements of science fiction and sword-swinging barbarian tales (the lead character herself bears more than a casual similarity to Red Sonja).

Meltdown Man (SAS Sergeant Nick Stone) finds himself flung into the far-future by a nuclear blast, where the last remaining humans are led by a merciless tyrant called Leeshar and rule over the eugenically - modified animal castes known as 'Yujees'. Accompanied by catwoman Liana, bullman T-Bone and loyal wolfman Gruff, Stone is intent on ending Leeshar's dark reign by leading the slave-like Yujees in rebellion.

Mighty Samson was set in the area around New York City, now known as "N'Yark", in an Earth devastated by a nuclear war. The series featured Samson, a barbarian adventurer, and was created by writer Otto Binder and artist Frank Thorne.

Druuna is an erotic science fiction and fantasy comic book character created by Italian cartoonist Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri. Most of Druuna's adventures revolve around a post-apocalyptic future, and the plot is often a vehicle for varied scenes of hardcore pornography and softcore sexual imagery.

Films and television Edit

Director George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), and its five sequels, including Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985), popularized the concept of a zombie apocalypse, focusing on the breakdown of American society in a world where the dead are re-animating as mindless, undead cannibals due to some unknown disease, implied to be extraterrestrial in origin, and anyone bitten but not eaten will soon become a zombie as well.

The BBC television series Survivors (1975–1977) and its 2008 remake series focus on a group of British survivors in the aftermath of a genetically engineered virus that has killed over 90% of the world's population. The first series of both versions examine the immediate after-effects of a pandemic outbreak of the flu, while the subsequent series concentrate on the survivors' attempts to build communities and make contacts with other groups.

The Japanese film Virus (1980) illustrates the global effects of the deadly MM88, a fictional virus that potentiates the effects of any other disease. It also features a doomsday device when it's discovered that the nuclear arsenal could be triggered by an earthquake in a chain reaction.

12 Monkeys (1995) is a science fiction film which depicts the remains of human civilization after an uncontrollable pandemic wipes out 99% of the human population. It is a semi-remake of La Jetée (1962), and both films focus on the theme of fate by introducing the ability to travel through time and make contact with pre-apocalyptic society. 12 Monkeys is also a SyFy television series that premiered in 2015.

The Tribe (1999 - 2003) is a television series that deals with a mysterious virus that kills the adult population, leaving the children of the world to fend for themselves. The kids are divided into different tribes and war against each other for their survival. The show focuses on the tribe called the Mallrats, who take shelter in the city's mall to protect themselves from the dangers outside. However the virus mutates and begins to infect all the children, so the Mallrats are forced to search for the rumoured virus antidote hidden in government buildings.

The film 28 Days Later (2002) and its sequel 28 Weeks Later (2007) revolves around a virus in Britain that turns anyone infected into a mindlessly violent psychotic, though still alive and not undead, in a variation of the classic zombie theme. This also makes the infected more dangerous, as they can run very quickly and as their bodies are not decaying. The plot centers on groups of both uninfected survivors and a handful of virus carriers who are immune to the effects of the disease.

In the comedy film Zombieland (2009), a disease mutates most Americans (the rest of the world is not mentioned) and turns them into animal-like creatures hungry for human flesh. The story is about a group of people who stick together and to try survive against the zombies. Another comedy film, Warm Bodies (2013), adds a romantic twist to its story, as a zombie falls in love with an uninfected woman and protects her from his fellow zombies.

The AMC television series The Walking Dead, based on the comic book series of the same name, premiered in 2010. It centers around a group of people in the state of Georgia who struggle to survive and adapt in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies (here called "walkers") and opposing groups of survivors who are often more dangerous than the walkers themselves. The popularity of the series has led to a spin-off franchise comprising an aftershow (Talking Dead), a companion television series (Fear the Walking Dead, a prequel with different characters from the source material), video games (e.g., The Walking Dead: The Game (Season One), The Walking Dead: Season Two and The Walking Dead: Season Three) webisodes (including The Talking Dead webisodes and the Fear the Walking Dead web series), and numerous parodies and spoofs.

World War Z (2013) is an apocalyptic action horror film based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film focuses on a former United Nations investigator who must travel the world to find a way to stop a zombie pandemic.

The Last Ship (2014) is an American action-drama television series, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by William Brinkley. After a global viral pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 people) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity.

Train to Busan (2016) is an apocalyptic zombie film, based around a South Korean train from Seoul to Busan, hence the name. The virus was created from a chemical accident, and, when it infects any animal, gives the animal have heightened senses and makes humans very violent. While they do get disoriented from darkness, they are very deadly. The story follows Seo Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) and his daughter, Su-an (Kim Su-an), as they find their way through a ravaged South Korea.

The Rain (TV series) (2018) is a Danish post-apocalyptic web-television series. After a rain-borne virus is released over the region of Scandinavia, causing a pandemic. Simone Andersen (played by Alba August) and Rasmus Andersen, along with their mother and father, must make it to an underground bunker. Things soon go awry when the father must leave to find a cure and the children are forced out of the bunker due to lack of food in search for their father.

Last Man on Earth (2015) is a post apocalyptic American comedy TV series over 4 seasons starring Will Forte. It plays the premise for laughs. The original character is essentially a loser and then various other survivors find him and change the dynamic with hilarious and moving consequences.

Novels and short stories Edit

Mary Shelley's The Last Man, published in 1826, is set in the end of the 21st century. It chronicles a group of friends, based on Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and others, moving through Europe as a plague kills most of the world's population. The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, published in 1912, is set in San Francisco in the year 2073, 60 years after a plague has largely depopulated the planet. Written in 1949 by George R. Stewart, Earth Abides is the story of a man who finds most of civilization has been destroyed by a disease. Slowly, a small community forms around him as he struggles to start a new civilization and to preserve knowledge and learning.

Empty World is a 1977 novel by John Christopher about an adolescent boy who survives a plague which has killed most of the world's population. Originally published in 1978, Stephen King's The Stand follows the odyssey of a small number of survivors of a world-ending influenza pandemic, later revealed to be the man-made superflu "Captain Trips". It was eventually adapted for a 1994 miniseries of the same title starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. [27] The novel was semi-inspired by King's earlier short story "Night Surf". Also published in 1977, Graham Masterton's novel titled Plague, tells the story of a mutated (and incurable as well as fatal) version of Yersinia pestis sweeping across the United States. Gore Vidal's 1978 novel Kalki also involves an apocalyptic event caused by a man-made pandemic.

The 1982 novel The White Plague by Frank Herbert has molecular biologist John Roe O'Neill exploring vengeance on a global scale when his wife is killed in an IRA car bombing. He creates a pandemic that kills only women. Written in 1984, the novel Emergence by David R. Palmer is set in a world where a man-made plague destroys the vast majority of the world's population. The novel was nominated for several awards and won the 1985 Compton Crook Award.

José Saramago's 1995 novel Blindness tells the story of a city or country in which a mass epidemic of blindness destroys the social fabric. It was adapted into the film Blindness in 2008. Published in 2003 by Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake is set after a genetically modified virus wipes out the entire population except for the protagonist and a small group of humans that were also genetically modified. A series of flashbacks depicting a world dominated by biocorporations explains the events leading up to the apocalypse. This novel was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A sequel, The Year of the Flood, was published in 2007, followed by MaddAddam in 2013, the trilogy's conclusion. [28]

Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend deals with the life of Robert Neville, the only unaffected survivor of a global pandemic that has turned the world's population into vampire zombie-like creatures. The novel has been adapted to film three times: The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007). Jeff Carlson wrote a trilogy of novels beginning with his 2007 debut, Plague Year, a present-day thriller about a worldwide nanotech contagion that devours all warm-blooded life below 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in elevation. Its two sequels, Plague War and Plague Zone, deal with a cure that allows return to an environment that suffered ecological collapse due to massive increases in insects and reptiles.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006) is an apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks. The book is a collection of individual accounts of desperate struggle during and after a devastating global conflict against a zombie plague, narrated by an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission. It also describes the social, political, religious, and environmental changes that result from the plague.

Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven (2014) takes place in the Great Lakes region after a fictional swine flu pandemic, known as the "Georgia Flu", has devastated the world, killing most of the population. The novel won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in May 2015. [29] The award committee highlighted the novel's focus on the survival of human culture after an apocalypse, as opposed to the survival of humanity itself. [29]

James Dashner's The Maze Runner trilogy (2009–11) takes place after sun flares have scorched the earth. As a result, the governments of the world released a virus to kill off some of the world's population to save resources. The virus turned out to be highly contagious, and it made you lose control of your mind until you were an animal inside your head. This led to it being nicknamed, "The Flare". The series was made into movies by 20th Century Fox, with The Maze Runner released in 2014, The Scorch Trials in 2015 and the third in the series, The Death Cure in 2018.

Video games Edit

Abomination: The Nemesis Project (1999) takes place in 1999 after the United States has been almost wiped out by a deadly plague. The disease started on the East Coast, and communication with the West Coast ceased within 72 hours. The last few groups of survivors stopped broadcasting after six days, and the overwhelming majority of the country's population has been wiped out. The player leads a team of eight genetically altered supersoldiers to defeat an infestation of a global genetic plague which slowly turns into a superorganism.

The Left 4 Dead series (first released in 2008) is set in the days after a pandemic outbreak of a viral strain transforms the majority of the population into zombie-like feral creatures. The games follow the adventures of four survivors attempting to reach safe houses and military rescue while fending off the attacking hordes.

Metro 2033 (2010) is set in the ruins of Moscow following a nuclear war, where the survivors are forced to live in underground metro tunnels. Players control Artyom, a man who must save his home station from the dangers lurking within the Metro. Artyom's story was continued in the sequel Metro: Last Light (2013). [30]

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (2012) takes place years after an artificial virus, called Radical-6, was released, exterminating almost all of humanity. The sequel Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (2016) details the events that lead to the virus being released.

Plague Inc. (2012) focuses not on the survival of humanity after or during an apocalypse, but rather on controlling the disease or creature responsible for the destruction of humanity.

The Last of Us (2013) revolves around the premise of a mutated Cordyceps fungus spreading to humans, resulting in the deterioration of society within the United States. DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014) takes place months before Ellie meets Joel. The sequel The Last of Us Part II (2020) continues the story of Joel and Ellie 5 years after the first game.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) is set in a near future that follows the nuclear destruction of the Middle East. The oil-producing nations of South America form the "Federation of the Americas" in response to the ensuing global economic crisis and quickly grow into a global superpower, swiftly invading and conquering Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Judgment: Apocalypse Survival Simulation (2016) is set during an ongoing Apocalypse, after a Hellgate opens on Earth and a host of demons enter the world. The player controls a group of survivors that found a base to fight back and find a way to repel the invasion.

They Are Billions (2018) is also an example of a post-apocalyptic future, in which players must establish, manage and defend colonies amidst a zombie apocalypse.

Tom Clancy's The Division (2016) takes place in a pandemic-ravaged New York City that's become overrun by escaped prisoners, gang-members and a faction of 'Cleaners' that are determined to end the epidemic by incinerating anything that might possibly be infected.

DOOM Eternal (2020) is set in the year 2163 and the story follows the Doom Slayer once again, on a mission to end Hell's consumption of Earth and foil the alien Maykrs' plans to exterminate humanity.

The Walking Dead (video game series) (2012-2019) deals with the mysterious disease prevalent in all currently living people to become a walker or zombie either by being bit by one or dying with the brain intact. Hostile survivors roam the remaining living world too and the protagonist, Clementine has to deal with them and friends accordingly.

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Two wolves

&ldquo An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed." &rdquo

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Watch the video: The Mwindo Epic: Crash Course World Mythology #29