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Tuesday, March 08, 2005


The Revelation to John as a Visual Experience 

Today, in New Testament II class, we discussed the book of the Revelation (Apocalypse) to John, wherein at the outset, we agreed that the book was, above all, weird. If you can, for a moment, suspend all prior conceptions you may have about the book of Revelation, suspend all previous analogies or metaphorical allusions you may have or have received through various media, put away from your mind anything that you might think something like the following quote from the book may mean, and just read it, taking it at face value, we'll be on an even turf for what I want to suggest next.

Revelation 13:1-3 - "And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems; and on its heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And the dragon gave it his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads seemed to have received a death-blow, but its mortal wound had been healed. In amazement the whole earth followed the beast."

What a strange and captivating sight this must have been! Ten horns, but only seven heads! What?! What's up with the leopard and the bear and the lion? A death-blow/mortal wound? Where did that come from? What does it all mean???

Forget it. Just forget that last question. It doesn't matter what it means. What matters is that St. John saw it. Think what that experience must have been like to see this vision.

What AKMA and I were talking about after class was the prospect of a movie that takes the Book of Revelation and depicts it as literally as possible, without added plot, character development or editorialization. The visuals for such a movie would need to be on par with the precision, imagination, and scope that Tarsem Singh accomplished in the dream and inner mind scenes of "The Cell", or better. AKMA suggested it being on par with something from the mind of Terry Gilliam, only with a theologically tuned mind. I mean, a well done, visually imaginative and stunning piece. I mean NO EDITORIALIZATION. What I want is something as close to the visual experience that John must have had. I don't want another person telling me what it means. How can I even begin to try to figure out what it means without first having the/a visual experience? How can anyone?

The thing is, if someone would front the money for this kind of project, it would make big numbers. Anyone willing to produce it? Who knows...but it's something I would love to see.

And now, to Evensong.

-R

2 Comments:

You need to have the Johnny Cash song "The Man Comes Around on the Soundtrack...it has a lot of Revelationallusions in it.

By Anonymous Ryan H., at 10:53 AM  


Ooo...you're right, that would a good choice, Ryan.

So, that's the next questions: should there be a soundtrack - I'm tempted to say yes. But, would that count as editorialization? Perhaps instrumental?

Also, another classmate wanted to know if someone would be reading the text in the background? Or perhaps even more appropriate, a cacophany of voices overlapping one another. Surely James Earl Jones would agree to be worked in...

-R

By Blogger Ryan, at 1:04 AM  


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