Apocalypse: A People's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Article excerpt

THIS IS AN EXCITING COMMENTARY on the Apocalypse (the Revelation to John). The author, a leading Latin American biblical scholar and theologian, has taught twice at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia as an adjunct faculty member. He is less interested in historical questions such as the identity of the author and the dating of the book than in the meaning of the text. Two introductory chapters explain his methodology and look at historical, theological, sociological, and literary keys for understanding. Then Richard spends seven chapters analyzing the text of the Apocalypse and adds a brief conclusion. He finds that John consistently uses a pattern of "framing" (A/B/C/B/A) within each section and throughout the whole book. The center of the Apocalypse, and therefore of salvation history, is in 14:1-5. Here Christ's presence is revealed among the faithful on earth; in response, they echo a heavenly chorus which only they can hear.

What are some valuable features of Richard's book? One is his treatment of images. "Heaven" does not refer to a location in outer space but is the deep dimension of history, its inner meaning, which is open to the eyes of faith. …