Oxford Handbook of the Book of Revelation

Oxford Handbook of the Book of Revelation
“I John, your Brother” (Rev 1:9)
Revelation begins and ends by identifying the writer as “John” (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). From the second century onward, many interpreters thought he was John the apostle, the son of Zebedee (Justin Martyr, Dial. 81.4), and often assumed that he also wrote the Fourth Gospel and Johannine Epistles (Irenaeus, Haer. 3.11.1; 3.16.5; 5.30.3). Elements from all these texts were creatively woven into legendary accounts of the apostle’s life and career (Culpepper 2000). But the writer of Revelation never claims to be an apostle or to have accompanied Jesus during his ministry. John simply calls himself “brother” (Rev 1:9), and Revelation’s distinctive style and content make it highly unlikely that he composed John’s Gospel or Epistles (Koester 2014, 80-83). Some interpreters propose that “John” was a pseudonym or penname, since that was a common practice for apocalyptic writings (Frey 1993, 425-27; Witulski 2007, 344-45). If that were the case, however, we would expect Revelation to identify “John” as an apostle, in order to emphasize the book’s authority; but the book does not do so.
John portrays himself as an early Christian prophet, who calls his book a “prophecy” and recounts his divine commission to “prophesy” (1:3; 10:11; 22:7, 10, 18, 19). Studies of prophecy in the early church indicate that a prophet was understood to deliver messages from God, the risen Jesus, or the Spirit (Boring 1991, 38). As a prophet, John is said to receive his message while “in the Spirit” (1:10), and he sometimes uses the first-person singular when speaking for God (1:8; 21:5), the risen Jesus, and the Spirit (2:1-3:22; 14:13; 22:17). Scenes in which he is commissioned to prophesy are patterned after visions in Dan 10 (Rev 1:9-20), Isa 6 (Rev 4:1-11), and Ezek 1-2 (Rev 10:1-11).
Revelation locates John within a group of prophets, whom he calls “brothers” and who presumably share his views (22:9). Other sources indicate that there were prophets in various early Christian communities (Acts 13:1; 1 Cor 14:29; Aune 1983, 189-217), and in some cases there was rivalry between prophets. According to Revelation, John and the woman he calls “Jezebel” both claimed prophetic status, and the woman had her own circle of associates; yet John differed sharply with her over the extent to which Jesus’s followers could accommodate aspects of Greco-Roman religious practice (Rev 2:20-22; Duff 2001). Visions later in the book contrast the true prophets, who bear witness to the lordship of Israel’s God (11:3-10), and the false prophet or beast from the land, who promotes idolatry (13:11-18; 16:13; 19:10). Through such contrasts, the visionary images challenge readers to discern whether someone claiming to be a prophet in their contexts promotes or undermines what the writer understands to be true worship of God.

Craig R. Koester - The Oxford Handbook of the Book of Revelation 

Oxford University Press, 2020. - 547 pp.
ISBN 978-0-19-065543-3

Craig R. Koester - The Oxford Handbook of the Book of Revelation - Contents

List of Contributors
  • 1. Introduction to Revelation’s Social Setting, Theological Perspective, and Literary Design - Craig R. Koester
  • 2. The Genre of the Book of Revelation - Mitchell G. Reddish
  • 3. Narrative Features of the Book of Revelation - James L. Resseguie
  • 4. Imagery in the Book of Revelation - Konrad Huber
  • 5. Rhetorical Features of the Book of Revelation - David A. deSilva
  • 6. The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation - Steve Moyise
  • 7. Revelation’s Use of the Greek Language - David L. Mathewson
  • 8. The Hymns in Revelation - Justin P. Jeffcoat Schedtler
  • 9. Revelation and Roman Rule in First-Century Asia Minor - Warren Carter
  • 10. Relationships among Christ-Believers and Jewish Communities in First-Century Asia Minor - Mikael Tellbe
  • 11. Greco-Roman Religions and the Context of the Book of Revelation - Richard S. Ascough
  • 12. John’s Apocalypse in Relation to Johannine, Pauline, and Other Forms of Christianity in Asia Minor - Paul Trebilco
  • 13. God in the Book of Revelation - Martin Karrer
  • 14. Jesus in the Book of Revelation - Loren L. Johns
  • 15. The Spirit in the Book of Revelation - John Christopher Thomas
  • 16. Creation and New Creation in the Book of Revelation - Mark B. Stephens
  • 17. Perspectives on Evil in the Book of Revelation - Gregory Stevenson
  • 18. Violence in the Apocalypse of John - David L. Barr
  • 19. The City-Women Babylon and New Jerusalem in Revelation - Lynn R. Huber
  • 20. The People of God in the Book of Revelation - Peter S. Perry
  • 21. The Greek Text of Revelation - Juan Hernandez Jr.
  • 22. Revelation and the New Testament Canon - Tobias Nicklas
  • 23. Reception History and the Interpretation of Revelation - Ian Boxall
  • 24. The Interpretation of the Book of Revelation in Early Christianity - Charles E. Hill
  • 25. The Interpretation of John’s Apocalypse in the Medieval Period - Julia Eva Wannenmacher
  • 26. The Book of Revelation in Music and Liturgy - Paul Westermeyer
  • 27. Forms of Futuristic Interpretation of Revelation in the Modern Period - Joshua T. Searle with Kenneth G. C. Newport
  • 28. Feminist Interpretation of Revelation - Susan E. Hylen
  • 29. Interpreting Revelation through African American Cultural Studies - Thomas B. Slater
  • 30. Post-Colonial Interpretation of the Book of Revelation - Harry O. Maier


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