Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Apocalypse: The Book of Revelation in History and Culture (DIVI10109)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course studies the New Testament Book of Revelation and its influence in culture up to the present day. We will examine the text in its ancient historical context, and explore some of the many ways it has been interpreted in later art, literature, politics, and film.
Course description Academic Description:
The New Testament Book of Revelation has exerted an exceptional theological and cultural influence. The proposed course will provide students with the chance to study this important text in its historical context, but also to explore its later reception in theology, art, politics and film. The course will begin with a close reading of the text, locating it within its ancient Jewish and Roman imperial context, and drawing on ancient literary and archaeological evidence to explore questions of genre, identity, and response to colonialism. Recent scholarship, including historical-critical, postcolonial, rhetorical, and feminist interpretations, will enable us to engage critically with a variety of approaches to the text. We will then draw on reception studies to explore some of the many ways Revelation has been interpreted in later theology, politics, and culture.

Outline Content:
The course will begin by locating Revelation in its ancient historical and literary context, emphasising the significance of the Jewish experience under Roman imperialism, the Jewish War with Rome, and the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, as well as the diverse nature of Jesus-following groups in the first century and their relationships with (other) Jews. We will address questions of genre and rhetoric, considering different approaches to reading and interpreting this enigmatic text. Our study will include close readings of particular passages, employing historical-critical, postcolonial, feminist and other hermeneutical approaches. In the last weeks of the class, we will examine some selected examples of the reception of revelation in later culture, theology and art and reflect on what these interpretations can tell us about the text and its ongoing influence.

Student Learning Experience:
There will be a 2-hour seminar each week, which will include interactive lectures, discussion, and small group activities. Each student will write one blog post during the course of the semester. There will be a mid-semester essay and a final exam.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students are welcome. Some background in Theology and Religious Studies, Biblical Studies, Classics, Ancient History or other related areas would be beneficial.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  38
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10% blog post on one week's readings

30% mid-semester essay of 1500 words

60% end of semester exam (in person exam)
Feedback Oral feedback in class. Written feedback on blog posts, essay and exam. Formative feedback on an essay plan (optional).
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Analyse Revelation within its historical context.
  2. Understand and critically assess the multiplicity of interpretive approaches to Revelation.
  3. Understand and evaluate scholarly views.
  4. Communicate and discuss ideas and arguments clearly and persuasively.
Reading List
Beal, Timothy. The Book of Revelation: A Biography. Princeton University Press, 2018.
Blackwell, Ben C., et al. Reading Revelation in Context: John's Apocalypse and Second Temple Judaism. Zondervan Academic, 2019.
Blount, Brian K. Revelation: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.
Koester, Craig R. Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Yale University Press, 2014.
Koester, Craig R. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Book of Revelation. Oxford University Press, 2020.
Levine, Amy-Jill. A Feminist Companion to the Apocalypse of John / Edited by Amy-Jill Levine ; with Maria Mayo Robbins. T&T Clark, 2009.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Curiosity for learning about other time periods, cultures and worldviews
Critical and reflective thinking
Appreciating the complexity of interpretation and the possibility of multiple meanings
Understanding and analyzing arguments
Communicating ideas clearly and persuasively
KeywordsNew Testament,Apocalypse,Revelation,Bible,ancient Judaism,Roman Empire
Course organiserDr Philippa Townsend
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information