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Scripturalizing Revelation: An African American Postcolonial Reading of Empire
Lynne St. Clair Darden
SemeiaSt 80
Publication Date
September 2015


A fresh contribution to the growing body of New Testament scholarship on empire, both ancient and modern

Darden’s reading of Revelation examines John the Seer’s rhetorical strategy, in general, and imperial cult imagery in chapters 4 and 5, in particular, through the lens of an African American scripturalization supplemented by postcolonial theory. The scripturalization proposes that John the Seer’s signifyin(g) on empire demonstrated that he was well aware of the oppressive nature of Roman imperialism on the lives of provincial Asian Christians. Yet, ironically, John reinscribed imperial processes and practices. Darden argues that African American biblical scholarship must now attend adequately to these complex cultural negotiations lest it find itself inadvertently feeding the imperial beast.


  • Relates the potential for African American cooption by the U.S. Empire to the cooption by the Roman Empire both thematized and performed in Revelation
  • Book-length study on postcolonial African American biblical hermeneutics
  • A reading supplemented by postcolonial theory that better addresses the hybridity of African American identity

Lynne St. Clair Darden is Assistant Professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center.

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