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5 Stars Out Of 5
Asks the right questions
January 28, 2011
I found this book while preparing a sermon series on the Book of Revelation. I understand that rhetoric is re-emerging as a useful study, and deSilva helps me see how this is useful. However, it is in the questions that deSilva asks, and the way he frames those questions, that I have been delighted. The outstanding final chapter, "John's Vision beyond the Roman World: What Might the Spirit Continue to Say to the Churches?" especially gave me joy in finding a passionate yet measured voice to an issue of great importance to me, that of "boundaries of confession and practice" in the "maintenance of Christian witness." "A perpetual tension exists between the need for creative reformulation of Christian identity and pracice and for the discovery of those boundaries beyond which Christian discourse ceases to be Christian (word in original is italized) discourse, where practice ceases to be witness." (p.331,332) The discussion in that final chapter of how to think about feminist concerns was also helpful, but this focus leading out of the Book of Revelation on the interaction of tolerance and plurality and Christian faithfulness in terms that resonate with my lived reality was an encouragement and a challenge. Also the statement that this kind of faithful living cannot be done alone, but requires a faithful community within which to be a Christian, articulated my own hopeless longings for our congregation. On the mundane side, the book is well made and pleasing to the hand; price I suppose is to be expected.
With all the different ways people interpret the Book of Revelation, its nice to find someone who really knows what hes talking about. The author, David deSilva, is a New Testament Professor at Ashland Seminary who has done extensive research on Revelation. His newest book, Seeing Things Johns Way, helps readers understand what the author of Revelation was trying to communicate to his original audiencefirst century Christians. Using his expertise in the ancient art of rhetoric, deSilva brings John and his world to life by carefully unpacking Johns imagery. Although this is a scholarly work, it is not dry and difficult to read, but very interesting and thought-provoking. Pastors, ministers and priests who are unsure of how to approach Revelation from the pulpit can find tremendous help here, and anyone else interested in the Book of Revelation will also find it inspiring. The last chapter also provides a good deal of food for thought with regard to what Revelation might be saying to us today. After reading this book, I gained a much better understanding of Revelation without the author forcing his own end times point-of-view down my throat. No matter what your beliefs about the last days are, you can learn a tremendous amount about the days of the early church by reading Seeing Things Johns Way. I highly recommend it.