Brief Bibliography of Recommended Books

BIB525 Revelation to John • July 2002 • Loren L. Johns and J. Nelson Kraybill



David E. Aune, Revelation 1-5, 6–16, 17–22 [3 vols.]. Word Commentaries (Dallas: Word Books, 1997–99). An ex­haus­tive collection of literary and historical background material that occasionally sheds light on the text. Aune is reticent about offering theological interpretations or in adjudicating historical debates. REF 220.7 W92 v.52.

David Barr, Tales of the End: A Narrative Commentary on the Book of Revelation. Polebridge Press, 1998. Readable, imagin­a­tive, with accent on the literary and narrative aspects of Revelation.

►G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). Combines extensive historical background with theological interests and sens­i­tivity. Scholarly and detailed. REF 225.7 N53.

M. Eugene Boring, Revelation (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching; Louisville: John Knox, 1989). An excellent commentary for bringing the best of historical background to the service of theo­logi­cal reflection and pastoral ministry. Also available online. REF 220.7 M47.

►G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (Black’s New Testament Commentaries; 2d ed.; London: Adam & Charles Black, 1984). A well-loved classic English commentary on the Apocalypse that emphasizes its pastoral mes­sage (assumes a situation of persecution). REF 225.7 B56.

Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book of the Bible: Making Sense Out of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Eerd­mans, 1974). Pop­ular level, pacifist, and Anabaptist in perspective. Also available online. 228 E45.

►Ted Grimsrud, Triumph of the Lamb: A Self-Study Guide to the Book of Revelation (foreword by W. M. Swartley; Scott­dale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1987). By an AMBS alumnus and EMU professor. Popular, Anabaptist, em­pha­sizes the ethics of Revelation, intended for congregational use. 228.0076 G86.

►Wes Howard-Brook and Anthony Gwyther, Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now (The Bible and Lib­er­a­tion Series; Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1999). 228.06 H84.

Paul S. Minear, I Saw a New Earth: An Introduction to the Visions of the Apocalypse (foreword by M. M. Bourke; Washing­ton and Cleveland: Corpus Books, 1968). A fresh and fascinating guide to Revelation for serious study. 228 M66.

Frederick J. Murphy, Fallen is Babylon: The Revelation to John (Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1998). A scho­lar­ly commentary that pays attention to the political, economic, social, and literary context of Revelation. 228.07 M97.

Christopher Rowland, The Book of Revelation: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections, New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 12 (Nashville: Abingdon, 1998) 501-743. An excellent commentary by someone sensitive to the ethical and polit­i­cal implications of Revelation. Also available on CD. REF 220.7 N534.


History of Interpretation

►Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “Revelation,” The New Testament and Its Modern Interpreters (The Bible and Its Modern Inter­preters; eds E. J. Epp and G. W. MacRae; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989) 407-27. Good over­view of significant studies and some of the major streams of interpretation. 225.60904 N53.

Loren L. Johns. “Bibliography on the Revelation to John.” July 2002. Available online at

Craig R. Koester, “On the Verge of the Millennium: A History of the Interpretation of Revelation,” Word & World 15/2 (1995) 128-36.

F. J. Murphy, “The Book of Revelation,” Current Research in Biblical Studies 2 (1994) 181-225.

R. L. Muse, The Book of Revelation: An Annotated Bibliography (Books of the Bible; gen ed H. O. Thompson; New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1996).

Jon Paulien, “Recent Developments in the Study of the Book of Revelation,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 26/2 (1988) 229-42.

A. W. Wainwright, Mysterious Apocalypse: Interpreting the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993). 228.0609 W13.


Significant Interpretations and Background Studies

David L. Barr, “Towards an Ethical Reading of the Apocalypse: Reflections on John’s Use of Power, Violence, and Mis­o­gyny,” Society of Biblical Literature 1997 Seminar Papers (Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers Series 36; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997) 358-73. 220.6 S67 1997

Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993). 228.06 B33c.

------, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (New Testament Theology; Cambridge and New York: Cambridge Univer­sity Press, 1993). 228.06 B33.

Daniel Berrigan, The Nightmare of God (Sunburst Originals 9; Portland, Or.: Sunburst Press, 1983). Berrigan, a political act­i­vist and lay Episcopalian, offers a fresh and idiosyncratic reading of the Apocalypse as political tract.

Brian K. Blount, “Reading Revelation Today: Witness as Active Resistance,” Interpretation 54/4 (October 2000) 398-412.

►Allan A. Boesak, Comfort and Protest: Reflections on the Apocalypse of John of Patmos (Philadelphia: West­minster Press, 1987). 228.06 B67.

►Paul S. Boyer, “666 and All That: Prophetic Belief in America from the Puritans to the Present,” Chap. 16 in Apoc­a­lyp­ticism and Millennialism: Shaping a Believers Church Eschatology for the Twenty-First Cen­tury, ed. L. Johns (Kitch­ener, Ont.: Pandora Press, 2000), 236-56. 236.9 A64.

B. Brasher and L. Quinby, Engendering the Millennium, a special issue of The Journal of Millennial Studies 2/1, s.i. (1999).

Adela Yarbro Collins, “Numerical Symbolism in Jewish and Early Christian Apocalyptic Literature,” Aufstieg und Nieder­gang der Römischen Welt, II (1984) 1221-87. Principat 21, 2: Hellenistische Judentum (ed. W. Haase).

John J. Collins, Apocalypse: The Morphology of a Genre (Semeia 14 [1979]). Ground-breaking study of apoca­lypse as a genre, along with a definition. 220.605 S47 #14.

------, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to the Jewish Matrix of Christianity (New York: Crossroad, 1984). 229.913 C71.

------, ed. The Origins of Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity (vol. 1 of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apoca­lyp­ticism; New York: Continuum, 1998). REF 291.23 E56 v.1.

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “The Followers of the Lamb: Visionary Rhetoric and Social-Political Situ­a­tion,” Dis­ci­ple­ship in the New Testament (ed. F. Segovia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985) 386-403; re­printed as “Visionary Rhet­oric and Social-Political Situation,” Chap. 7, The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment (Philadel­phia: Fortress Press, 1985) 181-203. 225.6 D61; 228.06 F51b.

►------, Revelation: Vision of a Just World (Proclamation Commentaries; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991) REF 220.7 P96.

Steve Friesen, Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). [being cataloged]

M. R. James, The Apocalypse in Art (The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy, 1927; London: Oxford University Press, 1931). 228 J28.

►Loren L. Johns, “Facing Revelation’s Beasts: The Opportunities and Challenges of Pastoral Ministry at the Edge of His­tory,” Chap. 25 in Apocalypticism and Millennialism: Shaping a Believers Church Eschatology for the Twenty-First Cen­tury, ed. L. Johns (Kitchener, Ont.: Pandora Press, 2000), 364-79. Partially online at 236.9 A64.

------, The Lamb in the Rhetorical Program of the Apocalypse of John,” Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers, vol. 2 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998): 762-84. Online at 220.6 S67 1998 v.2.

►------, The Origins and Rhetorical Force of the Lamb Christology of the Apocalypse of John (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1998). 228.06 J65.

Walter Klaassen, Armageddon and the Peaceable Kingdom: Prophecy and Mystery True to the Gospel (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1999). A hard-hitting critique of the eschatology espoused by premillennial dispensationalists. 236.9 K63.

J. Nelson Kraybill, Apocalypse Now,” Christianity Today 43/12 (Oct. 25, 1999) 30-40. Also available online at

►------, Imperial Cult and Commerce in John’s Apocalypse (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 132; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996). 228.06 K91.

------, “The New Jerusalem as Paradigm for Mission,” Mission Focus Annual Review (1994) 123-31.

►Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988). A devotional, nontechnical reading of the Apocalypse. 228.06 P48.

S. R. F. Price, The Imperial Roman Cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984). An in-depth re­view of the archaeological and literary evidence for the imperial cult.

G. Quispel, The Secret Book of Revelation: The Last Book of the Bible (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979). An excellent resource for interpreting Revelation visually. An approach to understanding Revelation through art.

B. Rossing, The Choice Between Two Cities: Whore, Bride, and Empire in the Apocalypse (Harvard Theological Studies, 48; Har­risburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1999).

Christopher Rowland, “The Apocalypse: Hope, Resistance and the Revelation of Reality,” Ex Auditu 6 (1990) 129-44.

Marla J. Selvidge, “The Book of Revelation,” Woman, Violence, and the Bible, ed. Marla J. Selvidge (Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 1996) 110-28. 220.83054 S46.

Leonard Thompson, The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). 228.06 T66.

►Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992). 235 W77 v.3.

Gordon Zerbe, “‘Pacifism’ and ‘Passive Resistance’ in Apocalyptic Writings: A Critical Evaluation,” The Pseude­pi­gra­pha and Early Biblical Interpretation (Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Supplement Series 14; eds. J. H. Charles­worth and C. A. Evans; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993) 65-95. 229.06 P97.


Popular Premillennial Dispensational Interpretations

(We do not recommend these books, but a teacher or preacher should know about them because of their impact on how Western Christians read Revelation.)


Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind Series [novels] (Tyndale House, 1995– ).

Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970). 220.15 L75.