Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 113:449 (Jan 56) p. 70
The Relevance Of Apocalyptic. A Study Of Jewish And Christian Apocalypses from Daniel to Revelation. Revised Edition. By H. H. Rowley. Harper and Brothers, New York, 1955. 205 pp. $2.75.
Professor Robert H. Pfeiffer describes this volume in the following tribute: “No treatment in the English of the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses is more accurate, more reliable, more readable and better informed than Professor Rowley’s compact and well-written volume.” While conservative scholars will undoubtedly question many of the conclusions as either “accurate” or “reliable,” Professor Rowley from the University of Manchester has undoubtedly contributed a study to a neglected field. His acceptance of the higher critical view that Daniel was written in the second century B.C. leads to conclusions regarding the contribution of the book which are mostly valueless from the conservative standpoint. His analysis of apocalyptic literature in the last two centuries B.C. as well as during the first century A.D., however, presents much scholarly data which readers will find valuable.
In contrast to his treatment of Daniel, his analysis of the Book of Revelation follows an almost literal interpretation, not too far removed from the futuristic interpretation of conservative scholars. He finds the Book of Revelation far superior to any apocalyptic literature since Daniel.
Professor Rowley also illustrates a trend in modern liberalism toward a more realistic interpretation of the second advent of Christ. He states, “I do not regard the belief in the Second Advent as a delusion of primitive Christianity, but as something which is inherent in the fundamental Christian beliefs” (p. 148). He cites O. Cullmann’s “The Return of Christ, according to the New Testament,” as a “closely similar point of view” (p. 148).
His concluding chapter on “The Enduring Message of Apocalyptic,” while certainly not expressing the viewpoint of conservative theology, nevertheless will prove significant reading. He again defends the concept of a sudden end to human history by a second advent in the following statement: “Unless we believe in the eternity of human history in our world, we must expect that somehow, somewhen, the course of history will come to an end. We can look for it to peter out or we can look for the world to be snuffed out ignominiously. But if we believe that it is God’s world, and that He created it with some
BSac 113:449 (Jan 56) p. 71
purpose, we must find someway of translating the faith of the apocalyptists that that purpose will be achieved” (p. 155). Another significant quote which expresses an apocalyptic idea with which he disagrees, however, is the followi...
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