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Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2011
Series: New Testament for Everyone
N. T. Wright is the Chair in New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and is a prolific author and noted New Testament scholar. His books include Scripture and the Authority of God, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, and Evil and the Justice of God.
"Readers who have been frustrated by the lack of accessible biblical commentaries for laypersons will welcome the series." --Publishers Weekly
"Well grounded in scholarship, accessible, and intensely contemporary. The series is a most welcome one!" --Walter Brueggemann, Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Wright has accomplished a feat in this series. All the time, I tell Bible readers, 'Begin here!'" --Scot McKnight, North Park University
JoelynnAge: 18-24Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Finally, a book on revelation that makes sense!January 18, 2014JoelynnAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I think Wright does a great job getting the key points of Revelation across. He sets straight ( in my opinion) many misconceptions about this book. Too many people fear the "end times" when in reality we should be excited to see our Lord returning to us; it is then that we will be resurrected! If you want an understandable and truthful look at Revelation, get this!
entwstleOntario, CanadaAge: Over 65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5November 16, 2012entwstleOntario, CanadaAge: Over 65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Easy to get your mind around. Your pastor may not get it, but you should!
Gregory AlanFortuna, CAAge: 55-65Gender: male1 Stars Out Of 5September 14, 2012Gregory AlanFortuna, CAAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 3Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1Wright interprets much of the book of Revelation symbolically. For example: Regarding the thousand years of Revelation 20:1-6, Wright says we should interpret this symbolically (p. 179), and then asks, "But what is the actual reality to which the symbol points?" (p. 180). He offers several suggestions, none of which he fully endorses, and concludes, "... [I]t doesn't do to be too dogmatic. We must hold on to the central things which John has made crystal clear: the victory of the lamb, and the call to share his victory through faith and patience. God will then do what God will then do" (p. 181). In other words, the book of Revelation is symbolic (or allegorical) and does not tell us what the "actual reality" is, i.e. what really and literally takes place on earth during the last days. All that Revelation tells us is that "God will do what God will do." Wright's conclusion here epitomizes his treatment of Revelation.
Wright is inconsistent in his interpretations. Regarding the battle of Gog and Magog of Revelation 20:7-10, he says, "The whole thing is a set of pictures, of shifting, kaleidoscopic images, pointing beyond themselves to the deepest and darkest mysteries of iniquity. The same is true for the geographical symbol of the nations surrounding ... [Jerusalem] ... This has nothing ... to do with a location in the Middle East, or indeed elsewhere ..." (p. 183). Here Wright is clearly saying that this account cannot be taken literally. Yet in the next paragraph he discusses the event as if it actually happens as described, saying that, "satan summons the nations for a battle" and "on this occasion ... fire comes down from heaven and consumes them. Then, and only then, the devil is thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, along with the monster [beast] and the false prophet" (p. 183). Wright is contradicting himself. Is the account a set of "shifting, kaleidoscopic images, pointing beyond themselves to the deepest and darkest mysteries" which have "nothing to do" with any geographical locations, or is it an actual event taking place at a real location with real characters? Wright leaves us confused.
I would not recommend this book. Wright's method of interpretation is unsound, and his explanations are inconsistent and muddled. His interpretations are as mysterious as the passages which he is trying to explain; by his own admission, he provides no information about the "actual reality" of the apocalypse.
LawrenceOGlasgow, UKAge: 55-65Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Accessible introduction to the book of RevelationNovember 6, 2011LawrenceOGlasgow, UKAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4This brief introduction to the book of Revelation is part of a series which has the rationale that the books of the Bible should be available for everyone and not just Biblical specialists. Tom Wright's uses his own translation of the text, which is straightforward without dumbing down the text or being patronizing to the readers.
There is a useful glossary of the key theological terms that appear throughout the book. In the early sections there are paragraphs on context. However, there is none of the background material on context or authorship you would expect to find in an introduction to a New Testament book.
Wright splits the text of Revelation into bite-sized chunks following a fairly standard division of the text. Each section begins with his translation of the passage, which is generally followed by a scene-setting story. Then he spells out what he sees as the central message of the section, offering his interpretation of the text with no space being devoted to alternative readings. You will not find any references to other approaches to the interpretation of the text. The overall feel is very much that of a series of short sermons.
As you would expect of a leading Anglican evangelical, Wright takes the text seriously. He demonstrates that the Revelation of John is as relevant to us as it was to its first readers because it presents us with a clear vision of God's ultimate purpose for the whole of creation: the overthrow of evil and the victory of God. But he sees it very much as a unified vision, rather than a history of the future, and the various episodes of the text are understood as different symbolic perspectives on that single vision.
My main reservation is that it lacks any guidance for readers who wish to take their study of Revelation any further. At the very least, it could have included a short guide to further reading. That apart, this volume is accessible, interesting and helpful.