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The Cup of God’s Wrath: Libation and Early Christian Meal Practice in Revelation

Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RA, UK
Religions 2018, 9(12), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120413
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacrifice and Religion)
This article examines how the use of libation imagery, such as bowls (phialai) and wine, in the Book of Revelation to showcase the ways in which early Christians negotiated the language of sacrifice into their own praxis. As opposed to embracing libation imagery, as occurs in other New Testament texts (e.g., Luke’s cup in 22:20; Philippians 2:17), Revelation uses such imagery to point to wrong religious practice. Libation practice is used as a metaphor for God’s wrath (e.g., “wine poured … unmixed into the cup of [God’s] anger” in Revelation 14:10); the libations that are poured out in the vision of the Bowls of Wrath, in chapter 16, pour out plagues. The implications of this judgmental imagery for early Christian hearers of this text in Asia Minor, and for their own meal practices, are significant. I argue that the edicts against the Thyatirans and the Pergamians in the letters of Revelation refer to their use of wine in Eucharistic practice—a practice which John condemns. View Full-Text
Keywords: Revelation; libation; wine; ritual; Apocalypse; Eucharist; Asia Minor Revelation; libation; wine; ritual; Apocalypse; Eucharist; Asia Minor
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Warren, M.J.C. The Cup of God’s Wrath: Libation and Early Christian Meal Practice in Revelation. Religions 2018, 9, 413.

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