Danish writings on Revelation

Here is an overview of the Danish writings on Revelation; I have described most of them in separate entries.

Theses and related works

Dr.theol. Georg S. Adamsen (b. 1963) seems to be the first Danish exegete who wrote a doctoral thesis on Revelation. His thesis (in English) provides the first full-scale analysis of the parousia motif in the Book of Revelation as a whole.

In 1998 Adamsen wrote an essay in which he argues that the millennium is future, but truly a-millennial, i.e. atemporal. He contributed a new 12 page article on Revelation to Lohses Store Bibelleksikon, a Danish translation and revision of The New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed.

A 468 page commentary by Georg S. Adamsen is published September 30th, 2010, in the series Credo Kommentaren. A Danish website, “Den sidste bog” (the last book), is dedicated to the commentary.

See here for a comprehensive list of Adamsen’s Danish and English writings (these lists are temporarily unavailable).

Major scholarly commentaries

Professor Peder Madsen (d. 1911) who studied with, among others, professor Hofmann, in Erlangen, was professor of systematic theology, but he also lectured extensively in New Testament. In 1885-1887 (2nd ed. 1894-1896), he wrote an almost 750 page Revelation commentary, including a lengthy history of interpretation and research.

Professor Holger Mosbech (d. 1953), who studied with professor Bousset in Tübingen, wrote three volumes on Revelation. Like Peder Madsen, he wrote about the history of interpretation and research (1934), undoubtedly as a preparation for the commentary proper (1943). A linguistic commentary completed his “trilogy” (1944).

Academic articles

Although other Danish theologians have also made contributions to the study of Revelation, lecturer Geert Hallbäck (b. 1948), University of Copenhagen, is the one that must be mentioned. Hallbäck has published several articles on Revelation and “apocalyptic” since 1984 (e.g., this one and the dictionary entry on Revelation, “Johannes’ Åbenbaring,” in the 1998-edition of Gads Bibel Leksikon [vol. 1, pp. 384-385]), but as yet no major work or commentary.

See also Hallbäck’s “Johannes’ apokalyptik: Aktuelle tendenser i apokalypse-forskningen.” Præsteforeningens Blad 77 (1987): 50-8 and Jesper Høgenhaven, Aspekter i Åbenbaringsbogen, both of which deal with recent history of research at that time.

Hallbäck’s colleague at the University of Aarhus, Johannes Nissen, has published “Menighed i trængsel: Johannes’ Åbenbaring – historie og teologi.” [approx.: A suffering church: History and theolog in the Book of Revelation]. Dansk Teologisk Tidsskrift 58 (1995): 27-39.

See also Jan Stolt: “Om dateringen” [on the dating of Revelation]. In the same year, A. Greve published ” ‘Mine to Vidner’: Et forsøg på at identificere de to jerusalemitiske vidner (Apok. 11,3-13).” Dansk Teologisk Tidsskrift 40 (1977): 128-38. Greve makes an attempt to identify the two witnesses in Revelation 11.


Nineteenth century

The Grundtvigian theologian and pastor Otto Møller published a 348 page church-historical commentary on Revelation in 1889.

A 160 page critical commentary was published by A. C. Larsen in 1899.

A very small, premillennial commentary by Adam Bülow, a pastor associated with the Inner Mission, was published posthumously in 1906, but very likely written in the nineteenth century.

The first half of the twentieth century

Just after the First World War, another small commentary, by Johannes Loft, was published in Copenhagen (Synerne fra Patmos [The Patmos Visions], 1919), but the lectures were delivered during the early years of the war. This was also the case with another book that consists of six talks on the main visions of Revelation (Hovedsynerne i Johannes’ Aabenbaring. 1919). The author was a (Grundtvigian) rural dean and a doctor of theology, his speciality being exegesis: Anders Andersen (1846-1919 [?]). Erik Thaning, an author, also published a popular reading of Revelation, Rytteren paa den hvide Hest [The Rider on the White Horse] which he originally delivered in Messiaskirken in Copenhagen in the early 1919. Thaning mostly follows the commentary by Peder Madsen.

Also during the war, in 1917, another author associated with the Inner Mission, L. Bostrup, issued a small commentary (Johannes’s Aabenbaring) that argued that the narrative of Revelation is historically progressive and that the current time was described in Revelation 8-9. Bostrup suggested that the millennium was obscure and future, but its actual length symbolic (cf. 2 Pet 3:8). Bostrup refers to the signs of the recent times (p. 3), i.e. the war.

In another minor commentary, Johannes’ Aabenbaring from 1918, pastor Peter Ivertsen of the Danish folk church, interpreted Revelation church-historically. He rejects that Revelation is chronologically progressive (p. 9f) and prefers the recapitulationist view (p. 10).

In 1934, the Danish Bible Society of Copenhagen published a small commentary by Harald Wellejus (Johannes’s Åbenbaring). Wellejus preferred the eschatological approach (p. 13f).

During the Second World War, professor Frederik Torm published a popular commentary that was, in part, based on his academic own lectures on Revelation. Pastor Aage Krohn based his commentary, The Fifth Gospel, on others’ research, but was much more direct in his application of the message of Revelation to his own time and church. Bishop Carl Skovgaard-Petersen of Copenhagen also published a popular commentary in 1942.

The second half of the twentieth century

Popular, minor commentaries were published by pastor Christian Bartholdy, the chairman of the Danish Inner Mission (1955), and by pastor Flemming Frøkjær-Jensen, a long-time board member of the Inner Mission (1993). Both commentaries were part of a series published by the Inner MissionIn 1947 the organisation Ordet og Israel [The Word and Israel] published Bibelstudier over Åbenbaringsbogen [Bible studies of The Book of Revelation], written by K. M. Schmidt (1892-????). The author of this 151 page interpretation refers to Joseph A. Seiss’s The Apocalypse as the best interpretation known to him. The book consists of a series of articles from the Magazine, Budskabet [The Message], published by the mission society Danish Lutheran Mission, which is also an inner mission society closely associated with the legacy of the Swedish Carl Oluf Rosenius. The premillennial, pre-tribulational view is very popular, at least in the Ordet og Israel (cf. also Ole Andersen, the present secretary general), but others are post-tribulational (see here).

Harald Rich (d. 1983), the founder of the present Danish Pentecostal Bible College, published a small dispensational commentary in 1978.

An entry level commentary by the former pastor Andreas Davidsen was published in 1988.

Professor (“docent,” i.e. Reader) Anna Marie Aagaard (b. 1935) is a systematic theologian. Unlike Peder Madsen she did not lecture in New Testament. She has published several articles on eschatology and apocalyptic theology. Aagaard’s commentary from 1999 has a liberation-theological emphasis.

The late professor Ebbe Thestrup Pedersen‘s commentary was published posthumously. One gets the impression that it was written perhaps even decades ago. It is, however, a decent introduction for lay people and, e.g., students of education.

The twenty-first century

Inspired by Frøkjær-Jensen, another author, Gunni Bjørsted, pastor in Det danske Missionsforbund, adapted a primarily symbolic approach to Revelation. Bjørsted’s volume is not a traditional commentary, but verbal “images and messages from the Book of Revelation.” More on this volume later.

See also Adamsen’s commentary mentioned above.

Updated: September 30th, 2010

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