Irena Backus, Reformation Readings of the Apocalypse

backusreformation.jpgBackus, Irena Dorota. Reformation Readings of the Apocalypse: Geneva, Zurich, and Wittenberg. Oxford Studies in Historical TheologyOxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. xx + 182 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0195138856.

About the book

Backus, Professor at the Université de Genève, Institute of Reformation History, shows that most important sixteenth-century reformed commentators of Revelation”remained heavily indebted to their patristic and medievas sources and were conservative in their estimation of the text’s eschatological significance.”

“… reformed commentators paid much greater attention to the trials and tribulations of the church, past and present, than to the imminence of the Last Judgment. Lutheran commentators, on the other hand, were more overtly future-oriented and emphasized the importance of the text for their era.”

“Backus also offers new and significant information about methods of commenting on [Revelation] …”

Backus focuses on the commentaries of

  • Antoine du Pinet
  • Leo Jud
  • Theodore Bibliander
  • Heinrich Bullinger
  • Nicolas Colladon
  • David Chytraeus
  • Nicolaus Selnecker

Table of Contents

The Problem of Canonicity  3
Antoine du Pinet and His Models  37
Augustin Marlorat and Nicolas Colladon  61
The Apocalypse and the Zurich Reformers  87
The Lutheran Counterpoint: David Chytraeus and Nikolaus Selnecker  113
Conclusion  135
Notes 139
Bibliography 169
Index 175


This book is, so says the publisher, “essential reading for scholars of theology, Reformation history, the history of biblical exegesis, and anyone interested in the Apocalypse of John and its reception in the West.” Indeed.

The author

Irena Backus is D.Phil. from Oxford University (1976) and Dr.theol. Hab. from Bern (1988). She was awarded a honorary Doctory of Divinity-degree from Edinburgh (2001) and a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford.

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