Norwegian writings on Revelation

Theses and academic articles

Niels David Theodor Hellholm (b. 1941) is a Swede. Since 1984 Hellholm has served at Norwegian universities (see more in Norwegian here).

In his important contribution to the development of the problem of apocalyptic genre, Professor, dr.theol. David Hellholm, the author of, .e.g., Das Visionenbuch des Hermas als Apokalypse, analysed the Book of Revelation (see David Hellholm’s works). In another very technical article, Hellholm has analysed the prologue of Revelation (see David Hellholm, The Visions He Saw).

See also:

  • “Apokalypse. I. Form und Gattung.” Pp. 585-8 in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 4th ed. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1998.
  • “Apokalyptik. I. Begriffsdefinition als religionsgeschichtliches Problem.” Pp. 590-1 in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 4th ed. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1998.
  • “Apokalyptiken som religionshistoriskt och litterärt fenomen.” [Apocalyptic as a religio-historical and literary phenomenon]. Nordisk Teologisk Tidsskrift 98 (1997): 131-42.

Dr.theol. Jarl Henning Ulrichsen wrote his second thesis on Revelation: “Das eschatologische Zeitschema der Offenbarung des Johannes” in 1988, for which he was awarded the degree of dr.phil. by the University of Trondheim in 1988. He is currently professor at the University of Trondheim.

Related to this work:

  • Ulrichsen, Jarl Henning. “Die sieben Häupter und die zehn Hörner: Zur Datierung der Offenbarung des Johannes.” Studia Theologia 39 (1985): 1-20.
  • Ulrichsen, Jarl Henning. “Dyret i Åpenbaringen: En skisse til tidshistorisk forståelse av kapitlene 13 og 17” (The Beast in The Book of Revelation: Towards a Contemporary-Historcal Understanding of Chapters 13 and 17). Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift 87 (1986): 167-77.

A significant part (pp. 354-509) of Aage Hauken‘s doctoral thesis, “The Greek Vocabulary of the Roman Imperial Cult and the New Testament,” is devoted to Revelation. The thesis is available on-line in a pdf-file. It was submitted as a Dissertatio ad lauream [doctoral thesis] to the Pontificia Universitas S. Thomae de Urbe, [1986-1991]. Aage Hauken’s 278 page book, Roma og de første kristne: En bok om dyrets tall [Rome and the First Christians: A Book on the Number of the Beast] (Oslo: St. Olav forlag, 1998), may be seen as a popularisation of some aspects of his doctoral thesis, according to Hauken. Hauken argues that the contemporary-historical situation is the key to Revelation, namely the Domitianic imperial cult in Ephesus.

Professor Peder Borgen, well-known on account of especially his Philo research, has written at least two articles on the imperial cult and persecution with relevance for Revelation:

  • “Emperor Worship and Persecution in Philo’s In Flaccum and De legatione ad Gaium and the Revelation of John.” Pages 493-509 in Frühes Christentum. Edited by Hubert Cancik, Hermann Lichtenberger, and Peter Schäfer. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1996.
  • “Moses, Jesus, and the Roman Emperor: Observations in Philo’s Writings and the Revelation of John.” Novum Testamentum 38 (1996): 145-59.

Sverre Bøe, assoc. professor at Fjellhaug Skoler, is the author of the thesis Gog and Magog (cf. Bruken).

Sigve Tonstad is the author of a doctoral thesis submitted to St. Andrews University, Scotland: Saving God’s Reputation: The Theologial Function of Pistis Iesou in the Cosmic Narratives of Revelation. Library of New Testament Studies, 337. London; New York: T & T Clark, 2006. [More to follow later]

Johan Lyder Brun, professor of the New Testament at the University of Oslo 1897-1940, argued that Revelation 13 and 17 must be interpreted contemporary-historically, in “Die Römischen Kaiser in Der Apokalypse.” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 26 (1927): 128-51. A short biography is here as well as here.

Martin Synnes, former assoc. Professor at The Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology, made important contributions to the study of the Book of Revelation (cf. “Synnes, Tusenårsrike” and further below). He argues that the resurrection of the martyrs in Rev 20:4-6 primarily functions as a rehabilitation. Olav Hovdelien surveyed the millennial problem as well in his M.Theol.-thesis, Martyrenes belønning. Perhaps one should also mention: Jon Olav Ryen. “Herold og tolk: Englenes funksjon i Johannes’ Åpenbaring.” Tidsskrift for Teologi og Kirke 68 (1997): 25-35.

Major scholarly commentaries

I have found no major scholarly commentary on Revelation originally written in Norwegian. A major commentary by C. H. A. Burger (Karl Heinrich August von Burger) was translated from German and published in 1889. The original Die Offenbarung St. Johannis is 347 pages long.

Other commentaries

A 85 page commentary by J. H. H. Brochmann, providing an a-historical interpretation, was issued in 1917 by the Publishing Company of the Norwegian Luther Foundation (Lutherstiftelsens Forlag).

Apparently no commentary was written in Norwegian between 1917 and 1960 when professor Olaf Moe published his 275 page commentary: Bibelens siste bok [The Last Book of the Bible]. Unlike the Swedish translation that was reprinted twice, it was apparently only printed once.

No commentaries being available for a long time, Lars Eritsland (b. 1913), a lecturer at the Bible School of the Inner Mission Society in Oslo, Norway, was persuaded to write a new commentary. This 231 page volume came out in 1978. It has been reprinted at least twice (1979 and 1990). Eritsland’s commentary is premillennial, but otherwise quite traditional. Eritsland often quotes Madsen, Torm and Moe.

Finally, professor of philosophy Egil A. Wyller (b. 1925) has published a volume, featuring a translation, an introduction and some essays (1986). A second edition was included in the author’s henological series in 1997.

In 1996 Martin Synnes (see above) published a very useful commentary on Revelation 2–3 (cf. Synnes, Sju profetiske budskap).


Translations include professor Frederik Torm’s Danish Johannes’ Aabenbaring (1942) and dr. David Hedegård’s Uppenbarelsebokens budskap till nutiden (1944) as well as von Burger’s commentary mentioned above. “Katolsk sokneprestembete, Arendal” published an exposition of the prophecies of Daniel and the Book of Revelation (“Forklaring av Daniels profetier og Johannes’ åpenbaring”), written by the Dutch J. van den Burg, a dr.theol. This 162 page book came out in Norwegian in 1965 (repr. 1967).

Updated: July 9th, 2008


  1. I have corrected an error. Both the 1965 and the 1967-edition of the Dutch J. van der Burg’s exposition of Daniel and Revelation was published in Norwegian. Thanks to one of my Norwegian readers (Otto N.)!

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