New exhibition, ‘Apocalypse of John,’ features work of G. Roland Smith

New exhibition, ‘Apocalypse of John,’ features work of G. Roland Smith.

Book of Revelation: End of the Bible and End of the World? Subject explored in talk at Glencairn Museum Sept. 16.

Why, during the 18th century, was there a dramatic rise in interest in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible containing apocalyptic writings?

James Lawrence, an authority on Emanuel Swedenborg, who was a philosopher and theologian during that period, will explore the subject in a talk “Book of Revelation: End of the Bible and End of the World?” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Glencairn Museum, 1001 Cathedral Rd., Bryn Athyn.

Lawrence, a professor at the Pacific School of Religion of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Cal., also will reference the paintings of G. Roland Smith, on exhibit at Glencairn through Nov. 12, and will focus on the story behind the paintings in Swedenborg’s reading of the Revelation.

Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher and theologian, upon whose beliefs and writings the New Church was founded. The denomination’s worldwide headquarters is in Bryn Athyn, near Glencairn which is a museum of religious history and art.

Lawrence teaches in the fields of Christian spirituality, the history of Christianity and Swedenborgian studies, and is dean of the Swedenborgian House of Studies. His research is in the history of biblical interpretation.

Refreshments will be served prior to Lawrence’s discussion, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $8; $6 for seniors, and free for students and museum members. Audience members can meet Lawrence after his talk and can ride Glencairn’s elevator to a nine-story observation deck for a panoramic look at the Philadelphia skyline.

The corresponding art exhibition, “The Apocalypse of John: Twenty-five Paintings by G. Roland Smith,” features works done over the past decade by the British painter and graphic designer illustrating subjects from nearly every chapter of the Apocalypse of John. In his work, Smith attempts to translate word-pictures into visual images. Striking images include a dragon sweeping stars from the sky, a locust army with scorpion stings, and a city of light.

The exhibition is open from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays at Glencairn; weekdays by appointment. Donations are welcome.

For additional information, call Glencairn at 267-502-2600 or visit