Bauckham, Climax of Prophecy

Bauckham, Richard: The Climax of Prophecy. Studies on the Book of Revelation. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993. xviii + 550 pp.

This book is closely connected with Bauckham’s Theology and sometimes provides the arguments or more detailed arguments to the views in The Theology, sometimes extends or develops arguments in depth. Bauckham knows other ancient sources as well as contemporary research very well.

No short review can do justice to this book. Bauckham’s essays are important, regardless of whether you agree or disagree.

After a short introduction, Bauckham analyses the structure and composition of Revelation (ch. 1, pp. 1-37). Bauckham argues that Revelation is designed for reading, which means that the structural markers must be aurally (cf. Barr, Apocalypse as Oral Enactment). Among the most important aurally structural markers are the numbers. In my opinion, this is a very important insight.

In chs. 2 and 3, Bauckham examines the use of apocalyptic traditions (pp. 38-91) and the relationship between the synoptic parousia parables and Revelation (pp. 92-117).

In ch. 4 and 5, Bauckham discusses the worship of Jesus (pp. 118-149) and the role of the Spirit (pp. 150-173).

Ch. 6 is devoted to a study of the Lion, the Lamb and the Dragon (pp. 174-198).

Ch. 7 focuses on one of the important minor themes: the eschatological earthquake (pp. 199-209).

Ch. 8 deals with Revelation as a Christ War Scroll (pp. 210-237).

Ch. 9 is the longest chapter, 99 pages. It studies the Conversion of the Nations (pp. 238-337). The chapter is critiqued in Herms, Apocalypse.

Ch. 10 argues that Revelation 18 is an economic critique of Rome (pp. 338-383).

Ch. 11 studies the theme: Nero and the Beast (pp. 384-452). To my knowledge, it is the longest and, in any case, the most erudite and comprehensive argument for the view that John makes use of the legends of Nero’s return, and that the number and name of the beast is Nero.

The back matter includes a list of abbreviations (pp. 453-462), a 29 page bibliography (pp. 463-492) and indices of passages cited, ancient persons and places, and modern authors (pp. 493-550).

Bauckham’s Climax is already a classic work and will remain so for a long time.

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