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Posted March 24, 2004

Book: What are they saying about New Testament Apocalyptic?
Author: Scott M. Lewis
Paulist Press, New York, pp. 115

An excerpt from the Jacket:

Lewisís book focuses on five areas:

1. The attempts since Schweitzer to define the apocalytic genre and its constituent eschatology and theology;

2. The debate over the nature of Jesusí teaching and proclamation, and whether the apocalyptic statements attributed to him are genuine or products of the early church.

3. The apocalyptic nature of Paulís proclamation and the central role it plays in his moral exhortation, ecclesiology, and spirituality

4. The real message of the Book of Revelation and the different approaches to its interpretation.

5. The application of apocalyptic theology and eschatology to the life of the church in the form of preaching, ethics, spirituality, and social justice.

An excerpt from the book:

The Book of Revelation is and has always been a puzzling and opaque book, and any facile assumption about its origin, meaning, or purpose is sure to be incomplete or off the mark. Much will remain closed to us, because we do not share the worldview or religious sensibilities of its author. The book will not only continue to inspire the hearts and minds of believers in one way or another until the end of time, but also provide material for scholars for some time to come. Research has given us, however, some sound principles to apply when interpreting the book. First of all, it must have been intelligible to its first-century audience. It was not written primarily with our own time in mind. It was in the tradition of Jewish apocalyptic, modified by Christian reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was meant to appeal to the imagination and consciousness, but that does not preclude an expectation on the part of its initial audience of a literal unfolding of many of the events alluded to. Finally, any attempt to appropriate it for our own time, and appropriate it we should, must respect the integrity and meaning of the book in its original context, and not merely as a convenient tool or weapon for our own issues.

Table of Contents:

1. The mother of all theology

2. Jesus and the end of the ages

3. Paulís Apocalyptic Gospel

4. Apocalypse now

5. Apocalyptic, the world, and the church

6. Conclusion