Saturday, June 05, 2010

Book Notice: Revelation by Brian K. Blount

Brian K. Blount
Revelation: A Commentary
NTL; Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2009.
$32.97 at

This volume is an exegetical commentary on Revelation with liberationist sympathies. Blount defends Revelation against those who think it is sub-canonical because it is too violent. In dialogue with Miroslav Volf and Allan Boesak, he responds that those who criticize Revelation as violent do so from a perspective of a "suburban ideology" that is detached from those who experience pain, evil, and terror in their living rooms. Or as I would say, we can only be Pacificists if God isn't one. A good summary of Blount's approach can be found in the preface: "While Mark's Jesus asks his disciples to take up their crosses and follow, John's Christ demands that they witness to the same testimony to which Jesus testified the very declaration of the lordship that took Jesus to his own cross. Both are asking the Jesus/Christ followers to emulate their Lords' defiant belief that he, and not any human power, was master and Lord of human history. All the many visions of the Apocalypse testify to this single revelation, which was declared by Jesus and demanded by Jesus of his followers: Jesus Christ is Lord! That declaration of faith has powerful implications for the construction and maintenance of social and political life. In other words, what is revealed in and from heaven dramatically alters how humans should expect to conduct life here on earth" (ix-x). On the millennium (since that is what everyone is interested in as a test case for Revelation commentaries), Blount starts with the observation that "too much has been made of a concept to which John gave very little attention" (366). The main function of the millennium in Revelation 20 is, according to Blount, that it is symbolic of a transitory period of time that precedes God's reward of the faithful. It looks forward to God's vindication and that believers will rule over the very world that has persecuted and destroyed them (367).

I confess that I still like Beale, Witherington, Aune, and Caird as my top Revelation commentaries, but this one is very well written and thought provoking at several points to deserve consultation.


jeff miller said...

I like the way your comment sounds: "we can only be pacifists if God isn't one". Am I understanding it correctly? Do you mean that we can afford to "turn the other cheek", knowing that God will vindicate us in the way that he has, and will further, vindicate His own Son?

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