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. Formerly the Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement , a book series that explores the many aspects of New Testament study including historical perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and theological, cultural and contextual approaches. The Early Christianity in Context series, a part of JSNTS , examines the birth and development of early Christianity up to the end of the third century CE. The series places Christianity in its social, cultural, political and ecomic context. European Seminar on Christian Origins and Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Supplement are also part of JSNTS .
Rodney Thomas serves as Operations Minister for the Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas. He also teaches as Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Lubbock Christian University, Texas, USA