Reading the Book of Revelation

A Resource for Students


This wide-ranging introduction to the interpretation of the Apocalypse comes from scholars who have worked together for over a decade as members of the Society of Biblical Literature Seminar on Reading the Apocalypse: The Intersection of Literary and Social Methods. Each chapter provides an overall reading of Revelation that grows out of a particular methodological approach. The primary approaches include historical, literary, and social analysis, which are then used in combination with other reading strategies including social conflict theory, philosophy, women’s studies, ethics, History of Religions, Postcolonial Studies, and popular culture. Each of the essays focuses on a specific text from Revelation and shows how the method used helps interpret that text, and how diverse methods produce divergent readings of a text. Contributors include David L. Barr, Paul B. Duff, Ronald L. Farmer, Steven J. Friesen, Edith M. Humphrey, Jon Paulien, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, and Leonard L. Thompson. Developed as a resource book for undergraduates, this work will also prove useful to more advanced students, clergy, and others who wish to explore how methods shape our understandings of texts. All will benefit from up-to-date discussions by some of the leading scholars studying Revelation today.

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David L. Barr, Ph.D. (1974) in Humanities/Religion, Florida State University, is Professor of Religion at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
'...this is an introductory book I would recommend to teachers wishing to introduce Revelation... the essays [...] are of a high standard and will provoke much discussion and hopefully inspire interest in Revelation.'
Mark Bredin, Review of Biblical Literature, 2004.
Introduction: Reading Revelation Today: Consensus and Innovations, David L. Barr
The Story John Told: Reading Revelation for Its Plot, David L. Barr
Ordinary Lives: John and His First Readers, Leonard L. Thompson
The Beast from the Land: Revelation 13:11–18 and Social Setting, Steven J. Friesen
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: Literary Opposition and Social Tension in the Revelation of John, Paul B. Duff
A Tale of Two Cities and (At Least) Three Women: Transformation, Continuity, and Contrast in the Apocalypse, Edith M. Humphrey
Doing Violence: Moral Issues in Reading John’s Apocalypse, David L. Barr
Undercurrents and Paradoxes: The Apocalypse to John in Process Hermeneutic, Ronald L. Farmer
Taking a Stand on the Sand of the Seashore: A Postcolonial Exploration of Revelation 131, Jean-Pierre Ruiz
Spirit Possession: Revelation in Religious Studies, Leonard L. Thompson
The Lion/Lamb King: Reading the Apocalypse from Popular Culture, Jon Paulien
Conclusion: Choosing between Readings: Questions and Criteria, David L. Barr
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