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Seeing Things John's Way: The Rhetoric of the Book of Revelation Paperback – June 29, 2009

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0664224493 ISBN-10: 0664224490

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a clear, well-written analysis of Revelation that would be an excellent resource for use in the classroom or for private study." -- Mitchell Reddish, Interpretation

"deSilva's manuscript certainly complements a range of contemporary biblical scholars who present Revelation as a subversive critique of empire that inspires ancient and contemporary ethics of critical distance from oppressive imperial practices." -- Jacqueline Hidalgo, Biblical Interpretation

About the Author

David A. deSilva (Ph.D., Emory University) is Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and an ordained elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He is the author of over twenty books, including The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude: What Earliest Christianity Learned from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (2012), Global Readings: A Sri Lankan Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Galatians (2011), An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation (2004), Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance (2002), and Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation through the Book of Common Prayer (2008), as well as over one hundred journal articles and contributions to reference works and collections of essays.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (June 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664224490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664224493
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,145,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David deSilva majored in English at Princeton University (AB, 1987), received a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary (1990), and completed a doctorate in New Testament studies at Emory University (1995). He has taught on the faculty of Ashland Theological Seminary since 1995 and has been named Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek since 2005. David is also ordained in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served as an organist and choir director in Episcopal, Lutheran, and United Methodist churches since 1985. He is married to Donna Jean Heitman deSilva, with whom he shares three sons. For a complete list of publications, including journal articles and contributions to reference works, please visit his web site at https://sites.google.com/a/ashland.edu/daviddesilvaphd/home.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
A four and one-half!

Readers of Prof. deSilva's new book will find what they expect-- lively and intriguing prose, his commitment to the tradition of the larger Church and a conversation with contemporary scholars. Especially helpful is his insistence upon the "timely" challenge of Revelation, so that the reader may see the book in its first context as well understand what it might have to say to the 21st c. Church. We are helped to see how Revelation is informed by literary conventions as well as by the conventions of classical rhetoric, whether situated in the courtroom, the assembly or the council. Though his arguments are at times complex, not only deSilva's peers but also the careful non-specialist will be enriched.

The author leads us appreciate Revelation for its artistry, without assuming that John is merely a poet, and not also a visionary to whom God has shown mysteries, for the benefit of the Church. Especially refreshing is the author's cogent defense of John's work against those who have charged him with authoritarian power-plays. In this vein, deSilva shows how Revelation is part of the life-giving rule of faith found in the Old Testament tradition, the work of Jesus, and the apostolic preaching.

Because the author is dealing with rhetoric, and thus with how the Apocalypse speaks to our day, he makes himself vulnerable to criticism from other Christians who may not share all his values. Some, for example, will not follow him when he sees the New Jerusalem as wholly nonhierarchical, given its foundation upon the apostles themselves, and not simply upon apostolic teaching. Others may wish that issues such as abortion and sexuality had been tackled alongside pacifism and consumerism, in an appropriation of the book's countercultural critique.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on September 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Desilva does a nice job of explaining and interpreting Revelation. He sees the beast as a representation of the evil empire of Domitian and that Christ is promising churches that they can experience victory the beast by doing His will to the end. He sees Revelation as a powerful piece of rhetoric aimed at convincing churches to stay true to the One who has triumphed by the cross and will triumph again at the end of time. For Desilva, staying true to Christ means avoiding idolatrous ties with the beast.

He disagrees with Witherington about Revelation being a piece of forensic rhetoric, but instead he sees epideictic and deliberative strains of rhetoric, although Revelation is largely driven by the latter. He also highlights the importance of the Exodus narratives for the author of Revelation. Later, Desilva does a good job of acquitting John of misogynistic charges leveled at him by Schussler-Fiorenza.

This book truly does unlock Revelation in meaningful ways for readers. It should be read once, then consulted again after DeSilva's forthcoming Revelation commentary is available. This is a great book for scholarly pastors and pastoral scholars, but perhaps not so much for the average layperson, who might be better served with Craig Koester's Revelation and the End of All Things, or something like that.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg Carey on August 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
DeSilva has written the most thorough rhetorical study of Revelation to date. He asks how Revelation was written to persuade its audience to see and live in the world differently, to "see things John's way." Engaged with the best contemporary scholarship, but written with a crisp, straightforward style, this book will make Revelation accessible to lots of people. A concluding section explores how Revelation can speak to the church today.
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