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Revelation of John, The: A Narrative Commentary [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.82"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2009
Publisher   Baker Academic
ISBN  080103213X  
EAN  9780801032134  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
As the only book of its kind in the New Testament, Revelation can be difficult to understand, and for readers without specialized training, the historical-critical approach used in many commentaries can provide more complication than illumination. Here James Resseguie applies the easily understandable tools introduced in his primer on narrative criticism to this challenging book. He shows how Revelation uses such features as rhetoric, setting, character, point of view, plot, symbolism, style, and repertoire to construct its meaning. This literary approach draws out the theological and homiletical message of the book and highlights its major unifying themes: the need to listen well, an overwhelmingly God-centered perspective, and the exodus to a new promised land. Here is a valuable aid for pastor and serious lay reader alike.

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More About James L. Resseguie

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James L. Resseguie (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is the author of several narrative-critical studies, the most recent of which is Spiritual Landscape: Images of the Spiritual Life in the Gospel of Luke. He is the J. Russell Bucher Professor of New Testament at Winebrenner Theological Seminary.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A compelling Commentary for students, teachers, curious beginners and scholars  Mar 7, 2010
Resseguie's, The Revelation of John: A Narrative Commentary, evoked in me a rich sense of enthusiasm and delight for such artful production of a thoroughly readable commentary that "approaches the book as an organic whole, a unity with a beginning, middle, and end." While reference-style commentaries succeed in providing more detailed exegesis, one can easily miss the flow of the plot. Resseguie does a masterful job of including the skillful use of rhetorical devises, character development, archetypal images and the twists and turns of the story line. In short, a narrative commentary should read like a novel with a beginning, middle and ending. Resseguie unpacks the inner logic of John's Revelation with vivid clarity. Immediately, I was drawn into the unique features of this commentary by the aim of producing a highly readable resource, drawing from the disciplines of narrative criticism.

Resseguie's narrative approach in no way sidesteps the invaluable contributions from classic and contemporary scholarship. We are given, on the front end, a forty page introduction and, on the back end, an 11 page bibliography of resources, a subject index and a most helpful index of modern scholars, including page numbers where citations throughout the work is referenced (the researcher will find this useful). If you are one to pay attention to the wide array of Revelation scholarship, you will be delighted with Resseguie's interaction with the likes of Aune, Barr, Bauckham, Beale, Beasley-Murray, Beckwith, Boxall, Caird, Charles, Collins, Farrer, Kiddle, Koester, Krodel, Ladd, Metzger, Minear, Mounce, Osbourne, Roloff, Rowland, Smalley, Sweet, Swete, Thompson, and Witherington, just to name a small sample of scholars, undergirding this work. I appreciate such careful attention to detail for a commentary primarily designed for the student, pastor or curious beginner interested in the beauty and complexities of Revelation. Therefore, I would recommend this commentary as a "first read" and, exceedingly beyond, to those doing serious research in Revelation.

If you're wondering where Resseguie lands on some of the key elements of interpretation, he sees the first seal, the rider on the white horse, as a demonic parody of Christ (p. 127). The 144,000 of chapter 7:4 and 14:1 are the complete number of God's Israel, representing the inward, theological reality; the international multitude depicts the outward reality, the Israel of God includes all those who follow the Lamb - international in scope (pp. 137-138). The two witnesses of chapter 11 represent a paradox of a vulnerable yet protected community of believers, the faithful church in its specific role as witness for God (pp. 161-163).

The woman of chapter 12 is an image of the Church, persecuted by the dragon and subject to the distress and travail of the messianic age, yet protected by God (p. 171). He sees Babylon as more than mere Rome. It is the symbolic city of this world that represents oppression, captivity, and exile. Babylon is the anticity to the new Jerusalem, a Satanic parody of God's city (pp. 198-199). Chapter 20's Millennium is viewed as Amillennial, presenting two perspectives from an earthly and heavenly vantage point. From earth, it appears that the Beast to be victorious; but, from the heavenly view, the reign of the martyrs, God's ways and the martyrs are vindicated by the slain Lamb and faithful martyrs getting the last word (pp 245-247).

Hats off to James Resseguie for giving us a lucid account of John's Apocalypse.
The road to New Jerusalem  Aug 7, 2009
At one time, narrative critics spoke of the five narrative books of the New Testament, meaning the four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. (See, for instance, my review of What Is Narrative Criticism? (Guides to Biblical Scholarship New Testament Series) by Mark Allan Powell.) Professor James Resseguie's commentary on Revelation amply shows there are really six. Previously assigned to the categories of prophetic books or apocalyptic literature, Resseguie now tackles the Revelation of John as a story having a plot, characters, and conflicts that need to be resolved, all leading up to the final denouement. In the process, John, like any good story teller, uses characteristic rhetorical devices to move the plot forward and influence the reader. Resseguie goes through John's story chapter by chapter with thorough and readable explanations. What emerges is that the parts are best understood in relation to the whole, because Revelation is a unified whole. The Introduction deserves careful reading as it lays the groundwork for much that Resseguie writes later on.

Resseguie writes of "Revelation's plot of descent into disaster and its rescue by a messianic deliverer", and "the story of how the Lamb leads his people out of slavery and exile into the new promised land, the new Jerusalem." John makes extensive allusions to the exodus and exile accounts of the OT. Living in the in-between time, the home of Christians is the "wilderness," a spiritual Sinai, the place of both danger and divine succor. As John develops his story, it becomes clear that one of the major themes is of a Church persecuted, yet protected by God. Resseguie frequently points out the grammatical "passive of divine activity" (e.g. 6:2, the horseman was given a crown, or 8:2, the angels were given seven trumpets, etc.) indicating God as the main actor of the drama.

Babylon and New Jerusalem are the two choices John offers his readers. Babylon may stand for first-century Rome, but it is more; it is the archetypal city of this world, representative of fallen creation, where evil has a human face because "it is caused by the rebellion of human wills against the will of God." One of the narrative's major conflict themes is who sits on the throne, who rules, God or those who would usurp his power and glory? Revelation describes a world out of kilter, where everything is not what it seems; a "carnivalesque" world where parody abounds. Thus, Babylon is a satanic parody of the new Jerusalem; evil parodies good and falsehood parodies truth; the beast "who was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit" (17:8) parodies God "who is and who was and who is to come." John's story not only condemns "Babylon", but also warns the Church against compromising with and assimilating the dominant culture. The letters to the seven churches indicate the danger was real, and is real as long as Christians live in this world. Of the church at Laodicea, Resseguie writes, "The church is self-deceived and in need of revelation -- not of the future but of the present." The call of 18:4, "Come out of her [Babylon], my people" is impossible to carry out literally because Christians live in this world, but they can do it figuratively by following the Lamb instead of the beast. For the great reversal that started the rescue had already taken place. The great eschatological battle of Harmagedon (Armageddon) is mentioned in chapter 16 but not described, and in chapter 19 Christ's garment is soaked with blood *before* the battle with "the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies", because in fact the battle had already been waged on the cross and victory won in God's "counterintuitive" way, as Resseguie expresses it.

John writes from an "above point of view," one that gives him the perspective to see things in the world as they are, not as they deceptively appear. Access to that perspective is only possible through revelation. The first words of the book, "The revelation of Jesus Christ," set up the scaffolding that supports the whole book. John tells the story imaginatively, using among other rhetorical devices, metaphors, symbolic numbers, verbal threads that tie various parts of the narrative together, and many contrasts and antitheses that serve to differentiate evil from good. He frequently writes of what he saw and what he heard. Most of the time, what he hears interprets what he sees. Failure to grasp that John's imagery is always metaphorical, not literal, has led to much misunderstanding and fanciful interpretation. Thus, "John's bizarre characters are not thin disguises for historical personages of the first century; they are characters in their own right with archetypical characteristics that reveal the nature of good and evil." Neither does Revelation foretell the future; it tells a story with a message of encouragement as well as warning to Christian readers of all times. Whether you agree with Resseguie's conclusions or not, his commentary is not only interesting but also relevant.


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