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3. Reading, Libraries, and Urban Change in the Shadow of Capitalism and Apocalypse: Reading Walter Benjamin and John of Patmos

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1. Title Title of document 3. Reading, Libraries, and Urban Change in the Shadow of Capitalism and Apocalypse: Reading Walter Benjamin and John of Patmos - Critical Theory and Early Christianity
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Robert Seesengood; Albright College;
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religion; Philosophy
4. Subject Keyword(s) Walter Benjamin; Early Christian Thought; Critical Theory; John of Patmos; capitalism; ownership; commodification of ideas
5. Subject Subject classification Early Christian Thought; History of Ideas; Critical Theory
6. Description Abstract Walter Benjamin’s Marxist critique of urban spaces, as exemplified in his description of the gritty French seaport Marseille in his essay “Chambermaids’ Romances of the Past City” and in his Arcades Project, focused upon the transformation of urban space through the forces of capitalism. Urban spaces become gentrified and made docile by the growth of capital and wealth. In his essay “Unpacking my Library”, Benjamin brings his attention to book collection and ownership as a secret attempt to commodify and control ideas, a capitalistic urge that shapes the center of even philosophy and spiritual transformation. The canonical Apocalypse of John also features urban transformations: the city of Rome (called “Babylon”) and its commercial enterprises are replaced with the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 17; 20). Revelation also has a library; its catalog includes a seven sealed scroll (Rev. 4 and 5) and a Living Book (Rev. 20:12-15). In this essay, Seesengood reads John alongside Benjamin. How does John view the city, view reading, and view the dynamics of the two together? Public libraries began in American civic space with the goal of broad, populist access to knowledge and intellectualism.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 28-Oct-2022
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.30147
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Critical Theory and Early Christianity
16. Language English=en English
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.) 4th Century CE; contemporary
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd