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By James L. Resseguie / Baker Academic / 2009
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As the only book of its kind in the New Testament, Revelation presents interpretive challenges to scholar, student, pastor, and lay reader alike. For readers without specialized training, the historical-critical approach used in many commentaries can provide more complication than illumination. Further, that approach tends to de-emphasize the narrative aspect of the book.
In this new commentary, James Resseguie applies the easily understandable tools introduced in his primer on narrative criticism to this challenging biblical book. As he works his way through the text, Resseguie examines closely how Revelation uses such features as rhetoric, setting, characterization, point of view, plot, symbolism, and style to construct its meaning. This literary approach draws out the theological and homiletical message of the book and shows that Revelation is an organic whole with unifying themes. First, Revelation calls us to listen well. Second, the book stresses an overwhelmingly theocentric perspective we would do well to embrace. The third theme is that of an exodus of God’s people to a new promised land. Here is a valuable contribution to the study of Revelation in both the classroom and pastor’s study.
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As its subtitle implies, James Resseguie’s ‘narrative commentary’ on the book of Revelation helps the reader follow in the footsteps of John the narrator. Much like John’s ‘interpreting angel’ within the book’s visions, the author allows us to hear what John heard and see what John saw, so that the sights and sounds of the book mutually interpret and enrich one another. In his hands, this last book of the Christian Bible becomes neither a coded account of first-century Roman politics nor a timetable of future events, but a story in its own right, a story of judgment and redemption to be heard afresh in every generation, not least our own. Highly recommended.
—J. Ramsey Michaels, professor of religious studies emeritus, Missouri State University
With great skill, Resseguie presents a unified reading of John’s Apocalypse as seen through the lens of narrative criticism in the grand tradition of Northrop Frye. The book provides not only careful discussion of major literary concerns but also a close reading of the text from beginning to end, a reading in constant dialogue with a wide range of scholars. This is a welcome addition to the growing body of work analyzing the Apocalypse as a narrative, and whether you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing on specific points, you will find a stimulating and well-argued commentary.
—David L. Barr, professor of religion, Wright State University
Revelation presents its vivid portrayal of God’s triumph over evil through a dynamic plot, memorable characters, and images that capture the imagination. James Resseguie’s narrative commentary invites contemporary readers to venture into Revelation’s literary world and to sense the transformative power of its text. Written in a clear and accessible style, this study helps readers see Revelation as a whole, guiding them through its scenes of cosmic conflict and into the New Jerusalem.
—Craig R. Koester, professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary
James Resseguie’s narrative commentary on Revelation will be hard to resist even amid the large selection of commentaries now available on this book. In addition to being nicely illustrated and very readable, this book brings the advantage of careful attention to John’s story. Where many commentators read the text of Revelation as though they know the story in advance, allowing their knowledge of the historical realities contemporary to the author to control interpretation, Resseguie leaves the author’s story in control. A case in point is his interpretation of the mysterious number 666, a fascinating test case for most interpretations. This commentary is a breed apart, and a welcome one at that.
—Sigve Tonstad, associate professor of religion and theological studies, Loma Linda University
James L. Resseguie is an emeritus distinguished professor of New Testament at Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio. He is the author of several books and articles, including Narrative Criticism of the New Testament: An Introduction and Spiritual Landscape: Images of the Spiritual Life in the Gospel of Luke.