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Apocalyptic literature, a double review by Amos Yong

Yet, after Murphy, readers will realize that much of the worldview of the New Testament is informed by the apocalypticism that defined Jewish life in the centuries leading up to the apostolic period, and that this persisted long into the second century CE. Another way to put this is that if Chilton helps us comprehend where our understandings of Revelation have derived historically, then Murphy helps us see that the message of Revelation specifically and the New Testament as a whole emerges from within the apocalyptic milieu dominant across the Jewish diaspora during the first centuries of the Christian millennium. If some might argue that the apostolic message in its various New Testament parts is unique in contrast to other apocalypses or to apocalyptic type literature during that time, in some respects we might make the argument that each apocalypse or other apocryphal or Second Temple Jewish text has its own distinctive features.

But another way of receiving the gifts that these two books represent is that they provide us with historical perspective to appreciate the provenance and reception of scripture, in particular apocalyptic texts like but not limited to the book of Revelation. For those committed to the authority of the Bible, Murphy and Chilton will educate us historically, whether in relationship to the Bible or to our interpretation of it. For end-times enthusiasts and others interested in the Apocalypse in particular because they have the task as ministers of the gospel to teach and preach from these sometimes difficult texts, we will be well served to take up and read so we can be better informed in conversation with those who have gone before us. (For those in pentecostal and charismatic movements who want perspectives from those with like commitments, I would recommend the work of Robby Waddell and Melissa Archer especially, but comment on these will have to wait another occasion.) Thankfully, both Murphy and Chilton write well, and will keep most of us engaged with them and with their timely but challenging texts.

Reviewed by Amos Yong

 

Publisher’s page for Frederick J. Murphy, Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/apocalypticism-in-the-bible-and-its-world/336490

Preview Frederick J. Murphy, Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: https://books.google.com/books/about/Apocalypticism_in_the_Bible_and_Its_Worl.html?id=kJvCP1FD6TwC

 

Publisher’s page for Bruce Chilton, Visions of the Apocalypse: http://www.baylorpress.com/Book/392/Visions_of_the_Apocalypse.html

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Category: Biblical Studies, Winter 2016

About the Author: Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degrees in theology, history, and religious studies from Western Evangelical Seminary and Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, and Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, and an undergraduate degree from Bethany University of the Assemblies of God. He is the author of numerous papers and over 30 books. fuller.edu/faculty/ayong/ amosyong@fuller.edu Facebook

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