Shushma Malik

Jul 6, 2021

The Nero-Antichrist

Founding and Fashioning a Paradigm

Cambridge University Press 2020

In The Nero-Antichrist: Founding and Fashioning a Paradigm (Cambridge UP, 2020), Shushma Malik reconstructs the means by which the emperor Nero came to be identified with the New Testament's antichrist. Malik surveys the first four Christian centuries to show how Nero mythology developed, often in ways that were much more positive than we might expect, and how early Christians appropriated this tradition as an apologetic weapon, to demonstrate that their scriptures had in fact predicted the character of his reign. By the fifth century, this argument was less appealing, and largely dropped out of view among Christian expositors until its revival in the nineteenth century, by, among other writers, Oscar Wilde. 

Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast.

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