In the next couple of posts I want to highlight two theological books that sound fascinating; books I’d add to my library if I could. Both are published by Baylor University Press:
“John's apocalyptic revelation tends to be read either as an esoteric mystery or a breathless blueprint for the future. Missing, though, is how Revelation is the most visually stunning and politically salient text in the canon. Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation explores the ways in which Revelation, when read as the last book in the Christian Bible, is in actuality a crafted and contentious word. Senior scholars, including N.T. Wright, Richard Hays, Marianne Meye Thompson, and Stephan Alkier, reveal the intricate intertextual interplay between this apocalyptically charged book, its resonances with the Old Testament, and its political implications. In so doing, the authors show how the church today can read Revelation as both promise and critique.”
This collection of essays originated from a conference that was held at Duke Divinity School in 2010. Here’s the contents:
“What Has the Spirit Been Saying? Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on the Reception/Impact History of the Book of Revelation” (Michael J. Gorman)
“Models for Intertextual Interpretation of Revelation” (Steve Moyise)
“The Reception of Daniel 7 in the Revelation of John” (Thomas Hieke)
“Faithful Witness, Alpha and Omega: The Identity of Jesus in the Apocalypse of John” (Richard B Hays)
“God, Israel, and Ecclesia in the Apocalypse” (Joseph Mangina)
“Revelation and Christian Hope: Political Implications of the Revelation of John” (N.T. Wright)
“Witness or Warrior? How the Book of Revelation Can Help Christians Live Their Political Lives” (Stefan Alkier)
“The Apocalypse in the Framework of the Canon” (Tobias Nicklas)
“Reading What is Written in the Book of Life: Theological Interpretation of the Book of Revelation Today” (Marianne Meye Thompson)
Nijay Gupta helpfully summarises the framework or the assumptions one should come to a reading of The Book of Revelation with. They are spelled out in the Introduction by Hays and Alkier to this collection:
- Revelation’s visions are to be read as poetic symbolism rather than literal description or prediction; literalistic interpretation can lead to disastrous misinterpretation.
- The book’s symbolism must be understood through understanding its intertextual relation to Israel’s Scriptures.
- The book’s message is centered Christologically on the symbolic depiction of Jesus as crucified and triumphant Lord.
- The book summons its readers to follow the pattern of Jesus through countercultural, suffering witness to the one God, rather than through acts of violence.
- In the theological world of the Apocalypse, there can be no separation of the spiritual and political spheres.
- The book points to the future hope of God’s triumphant justice and God’s healing of the created world-not its destruction.
If you go into the study of Revelation with these six in place, you will be deeply transformed by this powerful, even volatile book of Scripture!