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The Economics of the Apocalypse: Modelling the Biblical Book of Revelation

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  • Ian Smith

Abstract

This paper constructs an economic model of the argument of the biblical book of Revelation. The apocalypse of John addresses Christian participation in pagan religion. The early Christian believers faced an intertemporal trade-off between consumption in this life and the next. Nonparticipation in pagan idolatry incurred present costs but would be compensated with future rewards. Conversely, accommodation to pagan religion risked incurring severe future divine penalties. Using extensive symbolic imagery, John augments the imagination capital of believers, seeking to reduce their discount on afterlife outcomes and remove the incentive to participate in pagan idolatry.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Smith, 1999. "The Economics of the Apocalypse: Modelling the Biblical Book of Revelation," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(3), pages 443-443, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(199909)155:3_443:teotam_2.0.tx_2-m
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    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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