Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Bibliography on Revelation

Here’s the promised bibliography to help our churches reject the fantasy of the “Left Behind” series and see the real nonviolent message of Revelation.

Helps for Understanding the Revolutionary Meaning of John’s Apocalypse

Apocalyptic writing like the book of Revelation is born out of settings of oppression. Often its best interpreters either come from such settings themselves or are made sensitive to issues of oppression along the way. I have chosen the following works with this perspective in mind.

Aune, David E. Revelation. 3 vols. Word Biblical Commentary. Word Books, 1997- 1998. Currently the most exhaustively detailed critical commentary in English.

Bauckham, Richard. The Theology of the Book of Revelation. New Testament Theology Series. Cambridge University Press, 1993. Excellent work from a British scholar who is very sensitive to the political agenda of the New Testament.

Beasley-Murray, George R. The Book of Revelation. New Century Bible. Greenwood Press, 1974. Now dated, but still helpful. Beasley-Murray takes a “classic premillenialist” approach, but rejects dispensationalism and the Christian Zionism which builds on the dispensationalist heresy.

Blevins, James L. Revelation as Drama. Broadman Press, 1984. Though I was never entirely convinced of Blevins’ thesis that Revelation was written as an ancient Greek drama and meant to be seen in a Greek theatre, this is nevertheless a powerful work that gives far more insight into the book than much of what is commonly read in the churches.

Blount, Brian K. Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation Through African-American Culture. Westminster/John Knox Press, 2005. An excellent work of cultural criticism.

Boesak, Allan A. Comfort and Protest: Reflections on the Apocalypse of John of Patmos. Westminster Press, 1987. An excellent work from the perspective of a Black South African theologian writing during the era of apartheid.Caird, G. B. A Commentary on the Revelation to St. John the Divine. Harper’s New Testament Commentaries. Harper & Row, 1966. Nearly a lifetime after it was written, I still find this to be one of the most helpful of commentaries. Written by an Anglican pacifist who was a brilliant biblical scholar very sensitive to the way that verbal imagery functions in Scripture.

Collins, Adela Yarbro. Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse. Westminster Press, 1984.

Fiorenza, Elizabeth Schuessler. Revelation: Justice and Judgement. Fortress Press, 1985.

___________. Revelation: Vision of a Just World. Proclamation Commentaries. Fortress Press, 1991. Two excellent works by one of the great pioneers of feminist biblical criticism.

Gonzalez, Catherine Gunsalas and Justo L. Gonzalez. Revelation. Westminster Bible Companion. Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997.

Gonzalez, Justo L. Three Months with Revelation. Abingdon Press, 2004.

__________. For the Healing of the Nations: The Book of Revelation in an Age of Cultural Conflict. Orbis Books, 1999. Three excellent works from a U.S. Latino perspective.

Harrington, Wilfred. Revelation. Sacra Pagina. Michael Glazier Books, 1993.

Howard-Brook, Wes and Anthony Gwyer. Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now. Orbis Books, 1999. Howard-Brook consistently reads Scripture from the viewpoint of the marginalized and oppressed, with a commitment to nonviolent discipleship. Further, he writes in a very engaging way, unlike many biblical scholars. Both traits are on full display in this work.

Reddish, G. Mitchell. Revelation. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Smyth & Helwys Press, 2001. An excellent work that does note the way that Revelation is to function as a call to nonviolent discipleship although the focus of Reddish’s work is elsewhere.

Richard, Pablo. Apocalypse: A People’s Commentary on the Book of Revelation. Orbis Books, 1995. An excellent work from the perspective of Latin American liberation theology.

Talbert, Charles H. The Apocalypse: A Reading of the Revelation of John. Westminster/John Knox, 1994. Talbert was one of the first Baptist biblical scholars to fully embrace a post-modern, literary-critical approach to Scripture and his works are very powerful in that regard. This is no exception.

Yeats, John R. Revelation. The Believers’ Church Bible Commentary. Herald Press, 2003. This series is completely written from the perspective of the “historic peace churches.”

I hope you find these helpful.

August 16, 2006 - Posted by | Bible, books

1 Comment

  1. Hello Michael,

    I pose to you and others that the context and meaning of these ancient texts have been lost on those confused by the assertions of religious leaders and founders. Ancient wisdom has been purposely recast and obfuscated into religion and mysticism. Consequently, the interpretations presented about the sources and meaning of these texts and the philosophy and cosmology of ancient Hebrew sages is completely wrong. Before you scoff and write me off, you should understand that I speak from personal experience…

    Understanding the Fatal Flaws in Judeo-Christian-Islamic Prophecy

    Remember the saying that “the truth will set you (and others) free?” How does “opening one’s eyes to the truth” relate to “making the blind see again” or “shining the light” or “illuminating a subject?” Notice the inherent symbolism associated with this supposed New Testament “miracle?”

    As certain world leaders strive to instigate a fabricated “battle of Armageddon,” it is vital to understand and spread the truth about these ancient texts to help bring about an end to such abominable evil. You can never expect philosophies based on lies and great error to lead to peace and harmony. How many more millennia of terrible proof is necessary before humanity finally gets a clue that most have been utterly deceived by the very concept of religion.

    Without it, Bush, the Neo-Cons, and their cohorts could never have gained and retained political power by manipulating an already deluded and susceptible constituency. Likewise, their thinly veiled partners in crime, Bin Laden and his ilk, could never have succeeded in their roles in this centuries-old Vatican-led grand deception.

    We are all trapped by a web of deception formed by money, religion, and politics. The great evils that bedevil us all will never cease until humanity finally awakens, shakes off these strong delusions, and forges a new path to the future.

    Here is Wisdom…


    Comment by Seven Star Hand | August 21, 2006

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