Seeing is Feeling

Revelation’s Enthroned Lamb and Ancient Visual Affects

In: Biblical Interpretation
Maia Kotrosits Denison University, USA

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Most scholarship of the last few decades on the book of Revelation has focused on its colonial conditions and heated, even forceful, political engagement, making conflicting conclusions about to what extent it “reproduces” or “resists” imperial ideology. Of particular focus has been the striking image of the lamb on the throne, an image that ambiguously imparts both conquest and victimhood. This essay builds on and steps to the side of this work by addressing the image of the lamb on the throne as an expressive and emotionally, rather than ideologically, ambivalent image. Placing this image alongside other affectively rich spectacles in Revelation’s context, I suggest that the enthroned lamb gives voice to conflicted feelings about imperial life: attachment and loss, extravagant dreams of sovereignty and victory, as well as the painful realities of vulnerability and subjection, all in complex inter-implication.

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