Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 14:2 (Spring 1997) p. 88
Revelation, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 52A, by David Aune. Dallas, TX.: Word Books, 1997. Pp. 585.
The long-anticipated volume 52 of the Word Biblical Commentary on the Book of Revelation has at last appeared. Well, 52A has appeared, which includes a 211-page introduction and the first five chapters in an additional 374 pages. Not since the definitive work of R. H. Charles in the International Critical Commentary has there been an assessment in English of the erudition and breadth of David Aune’s commentary on the Apocalypse. The first one-third of this commentary lives up to all of the high expectations of those who have eagerly awaited the volume. For several reasons, any New Testament scholar or theologian interested in eschatology must own, scrutinize, and digest this tome.
First, Aune’s grasp of the extensive literature relating to the Apocalypse is amazing. The Word Commentary’s placement of bibliography germane to each section of a book at the first of that section is a wonderfully helpful expedient. Knowledge of the relevant contributions in German, French, and Italian, as well as English, gives serious students a veritable library of sources to pursue. Aune, who is professor of theology at Loyola University, has produced other significant books and journal articles on the Apocalypse, Apocalyptic literature, and prophecy. Working principally in this area over the past years has allowed him to accumulate a vast bibliography of both common and rare sources, to which he points his readers. He is, of course, thoroughly familiar with the recent contributions of people like Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Adella Yarbro Collins.
Second, Aune’s effort is both thorough and irenic. Positions other than his own are evaluated with fairness and dignity. Even when he obviously determines that a position is for all practical purposes unworkable such as the case of Massyngberde Ford’s Anchor Bible source-critical assessment of the Apocalypse, he deals gently, noting a recent letter from Ford indicating that she no longer embraces her view of the Revelation as a document in large part traceable to John the Baptist. He discusses adequately other source-critical theories such as those of M. E. Boismard, F. Rousseau, and H. Stierlin. He analyzes the revision theories of R. H. Charles, R. Gaechter, H. Kraft, and P. Prigent as well as the fragmentary theories of W. Bousset and R. Bergmeier. He then arrives at his own theory of composition in which he sees Revelation as a literary form produced in two stages, a first and a second edition. He thinks that this explains why some
FM 14:2 (Spring 1997) p. 89
scholars can so confidently date the Apocalypse prior to A.D. 7...
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