Silence and praise: Rhetorical Cosmology and Political Theology in the Book of Revelation

Cosmology is a central focus in John's Apocalypse, Ryan Leif Hansen argues, but not in the sense that John envisions a stable cosmos. Rather, John employs cosmological themes for persuasive purposes that include a critique of Roman imperial cultic discourse. Hansen's argument requires a discussion of the apocalyptic genre and rhetoric, the ways in which apocalyptic literature makes meaning especially through the construction of symbolic worlds, and then a comparison of this means with cosmological themes in which eternal Rome lies at the center of the cosmos. John seeks to persuade his hearers that the world, as governed and sustained by Caesar and the Roman gods and perpetuated through the Roman cult and economy, is a false order, passing away in order that God's new creation, narrated by truthful worship and costly witness to the Lamb, can emerge as gift. The book concludes with suggestions for fruitful conversation with recent work in apocalyptic theology.