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This book is the first of its kind: an innovative socio-rhetorical commentary on the Book of Revelation. Without sacrificing scholarly perspective or academic rigor, it is written to be accessible for a wide audience—including pastors, scholars, teachers, seminarians, and interested lay people. A "Suggested Reading List"—a feature of all volumes in the New Cambridge Bible Commentary—will serve as point of entry for the new serious student of Revelation and as a helpful annotated bibliography for all readers. Frequent "Closer-Look" sections examine key elements of the Roman-Greco world that bear on the text's meaning while "Bridging the Horizons" sub-chapters connect this world with the cultural, political, and religious environments of today. The entire NRSV translation is provided throughout the text as a convenience to the reader. Award-winning author Ben Witherington III brings a New Testament scholar's insight to the often opaque passages of the last book of the New Testament.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Witherington has such felicitious turns of phrase and a manner of writing that makes reading such dense material delightful. I would especially recommend this book for faculty in the humanities who wish to learn about the Book of Revelation without getting bogged down in the usual inside exchange among biblical scholars; that sort of exclusive conversation does not happen in the text for its notes. I would also recommend this book to the biblical scholar who still thinks that the historical critical method is the only real tool at our disposal; W. has convincingly demonstrated that socio-rhetorical criticism can meaningfully enhance the findings of historical criticism (and, so, yes, Witherington has also shown that historical criticism is still the most fundamental tool in the box)." —Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Written by a prolific evangelical scholar, this is a solid commentary on the New Testament's most enigmatic book. Witherington brings to this work his characteristic emphasis on the social context and literary stucture of the book in question. His extensive introduction is particularly helpful because it traces the history of interpretation of Revelation and charts where recent writings on the book stand. Along the way, the commentary is enhanced with explanations in bold print that take up particular historical issues or problems of interpretation." The Bible Today

"this commentary would serve as a useful introduction to one of the most complex books of the Bible. It is especially helpful for dealing with the practical value of the Apocalypse for the modern day. However, its brevity would demand that the preacher/teacher consult more extensive commentaries such as those of Osborne or Beale." - Mark D. Owens, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Witherington offers a 'socio-rhetorical' approach, but does this by rooting Revelation in the first century. The commentary offers suggested reading early on, and this gives a good overview of scholarship on Revelation. Witherington appears to be in touch with the major streams of thinking in the areas noted above, and his commentary is impressively concise." —Ian Paul, The Expository Times

"...introduces the reader to recent mainstream, sound research on Revelation, it fruitfully engages in debate with questionable literalist readings, it opens the eyes for Revelation as a book of the first century, it applies responsible hermeneutical strategies, and, finally, it also assists readers who are interested in more contemporary application of its material." —Pieter G.R. de Villiers, University of the Free State: Neotestamentica

"Ben Witherington has written a well-informed commentary on John's Apocalypse that will aid undergraduates and other adult learners in exploring the texts in its ancient context...this commentary does a fine job of explicating a difficult biblical book in a way that is accessible to the intended audience." —Vincent Skemp, The College of St Catherine: The Catholic Bible Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521806091
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Series: New Cambridge Bible Commentary Series
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. Authorship, date and audience of the apocalypse; 2. The resources, rhetoric and restructuring of Revelation; 3. Revelation in its social setting in West Asia Minor; 4. The christology of Revelation; 5. The genre of Revelation; 6. A brief tour of the Book of Revelation; Part II. Suggested Reading on Revelation: 1. The genre of Revelation; 2. Commentaries; 3. Rhetorical studies; 4. Sociological and anthropological approaches; 5. Classical and archaeological resources; 6. History of interpretation; 7. Theology; 8. Important monographs; 9. Articles of interest; Part III. Commentary: 1. Rev. 1.1–3: Visionary material: handle carefully; 2. Rev. 1.4–1.20: The Heavenly Son of Man; 3. Rev. 2–3: postcards from the edge; 4. Rev. 4–5: the throne room vision; 5. Rev. 6.1–8.5: The Seven Seals; 6. Rev. 8.5–11: The Seven Trumpets; 7. Rev. 12: The woman and the dragon; 8. Rev. 13.1–14.5: 666 and his spokesman; 9. Rev. 14.6–14.20: Three angelic messengers; 10. Rev. 15.1–16.21: The seven eschatological plagues; 11. Rev. 17.1–19.10: Babylon the Harlot; 12. Rev. 19.11–21.8: The rider on the white horse, redemptive-judgment and the messianic millennium; 13. Rev. 21.9–22.5: The tour of the New Jerusalem; 14. Rev. 22.6–22.21: The epilogue; Part IV. Appendix: A Millennial Problem; Index.

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