The economics of the apocalypse: Modelling the biblical book of Revelation

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    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)443-457
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999




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