Magical Motifs in the Book of Revelation
Rodney Thomas addresses the question of whether the book of Revelation was written as an ‘anti-magical’ polemic and explores the concept and definition of ‘magic’ from both modern and first-century standpoints. Thomas presents the first century as a time dominated by belief in spiritual forces and magical activity which the author of Revelation sought to put into proper perspective.
This aim was achieved through a variety of highly creative literary techniques which Thomas examines in this book. At times it is possible to argue that unacceptable magical practices are condemned by being labelled as farmakeia. At other times such practices are carefully placed within the context of Israel’s ancient enemies. In addition standard polemical material against magical practices Thomas asserts that it is also possible to identify instances where the author of Revelation wholly appropriates imagery commonly associated with ‘magic’ and recasts it into a new Christian context. As a result it is possible to view the magical motifs within Revelation as weighty polemic aimed against certain practices and beliefs in the first century.