M. Eugene Boring, "'Jesus’ Call to Decision Implies an Ecclesiology'—The Church in the Theology of the Apocalypse," 113-126
This essay explores Revelation's understanding of the church from three perspectives: (1) laterally—the church in its cultural setting; (2) chronologically—the church in its historical setting; (3) vertically—the church in its transcendent setting. Much like the church of twenty-first century America, the church of Revelation carried on its mission as part of a fragmented church in a pluralistic world. In this situation, it both looked back to its origins and history, and forward to future eschatological vindication. It frames its identity with insight drawn from Scripture, as interpreted in the previous generation of the church's life. Revelation calls the church to understand itself as more than a human institution, for it already participates in the transcendent world of God.
Richard B. Vinson, "The Sea of Glass, the Lake of Fire, and the Topography of Heaven in Revelation," 127–138
The paper investigates Revelation’s use of “sea,” its descriptions of God’s throne room, and its use of temporary and permanent means of punishment to try to answer the question of why there is a sea in heaven, and why it disappears at the end of the narrative. The paper suggest that the sea of glass and the lake of fire, both located in the throne room, are the same entity viewed from different perspectives, and that the author expected both to be destroyed along with the old heaven and earth.
Jerry L. Sumney, "The Role (or Lack thereof) of Christ in the Eschaton in Paul and Revelation," 139–151
This essay compares how the early church saw the role of the risen Christ in the Parousia. It compares a tradition Paul quotes in 1 Cor 15:24-28 with Paul’s own view and the book of Revelation, finding differing views about Christ’s role. Paul’s corrections and qualifications of the tradition he cites indicate that he gives Christ a less active role than the tradition he cites. Similarly, the central section of Revelation envisions a less active role for Christ than either its introductory letters to the seven churches and epilogue or the tradition Paul cites. Both Revelation and Paul have a more theocentric scenario than the tradition Paul cites. It is only in the pre-formed tradition Paul cites that Christ, rather than God, is the one who subdues the powers of evil.
David L. Barr, "Jezebel and the Teachings of Balaam: Anti-Pauline Rhetoric in the Apocalypse of John," 153–165
It is impossible to ignore Paul's influence in Roman Asia Minor; yet John did. Both addressed the issues connected with eating food that had been dedicated to another god, but John seems oblivious to Paul's practices. A literary and social examination of their approaches suggests that they differed on more than menus. Their differences in both lifestyle and worldview were rooted in their attitudes toward those outside. For John, the outside world was corrupt and must be avoided. He would build a wall between his community and those outside (the dogs and idolaters—22:15). For Paul, the outside world was his mission; he sought to claim it and transform it. He would build bridges. This fundamental distrust of the world resulted in (and was supported by) John’s vision, which saw the dramatic, violent, and utter destruction of the present world and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, a vision quite unlike Paul’s portrayal of the Parousia.
Tina Pippin, "Fire and Fury: Standing with John at the End of the World," 167–182
Prophecy belief holds to both the violent destruction of the earth in the apocalypse, and its subsequent pristine renewal in the New Jerusalem. Scholars of the Book of Revelation have traditionally read this end time text as a positive environmental statement of a God who recreates the world anew after its fiery ending. From Noah (flood) to John (fire), the earth is in the crosshairs of a wrathful deity. In this article I examine the phenomenon of biblical scholars to rehabilitate the environmental violence and destruction in Revelation. I argue that this vision of the future fuels the U.S. nuclear proliferation and policy, and is not a positive message in the context of caring for the environment in the future.
R. Scott Nash, "The Use of the Book of Revelation by Selected Muslim Apocalypticists," 183–198
The year 1987 witnessed an innovation in Muslim apocalyptic writing when Sa’id Ayyub departed from tradition and drew from Christian sources to produce his book Al-Masīh al-Dajjāl, the anti-christ. Numerous Arabic authors began to do the same. The present study examines how three such modern Muslim apocalypticists (Ayuub, Bashir Muhammad ˁAbdallah, and Safar al-Hawali) interpret the book of Revelation. These modern writers are first placed within a stream of Muslim apocalypticism that has its roots in the Qur’an. The study also follows the growth of Muslim apocalyptic in the hadith traditions and the development of apocalyptic end-time scenarios in the middle ages. The article also examines some of the cause for the modern surge in apocalyptic writings by Muslims.
Greg Carey, "What Counts as 'Resistance' in Revelation?" 199–212
Interpreters commonly identify Revelation as “resistance literature,” meaning that Revelation was written in part to undermine Roman hegemony. Yet we deploy the term “resistance” in diverse ways, often contradicting one another without acknowledging our implicit disagreements. This essay assesses diverse ways in which we might imagine resistance and proposes several ways in which Revelation does – and does not – embody resistance. The ancient Jewish and Christian literary apocalypses generally sympathize with violent revolt but hope instead for messianic and/or eschatological salvation. The term hypomonē figures prominently in Revelation, and we should read it in the context of martyria and nikē: the Lamb’s followers conquer the Beast through their persistent testimony. Revelation develops a multi-leveled critique of Rome: through diverse literary techniques it “unveils” the empire’s corruption, idolatry, cruelty, and exploitation, dehumanizing the empire and imagining its destruction. Revelation attributes true glory to the Lamb and the Bride, not the Beast and the Prostitute. Postcolonial critique enables our understanding that Revelation’s empire-critical literary devices do not escape Rome’s rhetoric of domination and destruction.
R. Alan Culpepper, "The Galilee Quest: The Historical Jesus and the Historical Galilee," 213–227
Scholarship on the historical Jesus and scholarship on Galilee in the first century have been moving on converging tracks for the last 35 to 40 years as historical Jesus studies have away moved from the criterion of dissimilarity and toward a new appreciation for the Jewishness of Jesus. At the same time, recent archaeological discoveries have changed our understanding of first-century Galilee. Mark Chancey revised our understanding of the Hellenization and Romanization of Galilee. Morton Hørning Jensen shed new light on the era of Herod Antipas in Galilee, and Mordechai Aviam documented a more nuanced view of life in the towns and villages of Galilee. The result is that the portraits of the historical Jesus advanced by John Dominic Crossan, Richard Horsley, and others must now be revised. After surveying current scholarship on first-century Galilee, this essay concludes with summaries of what seems to be settled, what is trending, and what is still open to debate.