Friday, 17 July 2009

Another review of my book

The Society for Old Testament Society Book List 2009 has just published a review of my book by John R. Bartlett, who is the former Principal of the Church of Ireland Theological College, and Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He writes:

Woodman eases the reader gently into his complex subject via brief but enlightening comments about genres and apocalyptic content, and different ways (historicist, preterist, futurist, idealist) of reading Revelation. Here his account of millennialism, amillennialism, post- and pre-millennialism is vital preliminary reading. There follows a useful summary of the book 'as seen through the eyes of the author'. The central section introduces us to the main players in the drama-Jesus, God and the Spirit; the People of God; the Inhabitants of Heaven and Earth; the Forces of Evil. The various images and their antecedents are closely examined and identified, for example the beast from the sea symbolizes Babylon/Rome, and the beast from the earth 'depicts Nero as the blasphemous mythology of Rome personified' (p. 168; for the gematria of Nero see pp. 170-71). The final section interprets the imagery of Revelation as 'a metaphor for the destructive effects of human idolatry' (p. 195), Rome being the manifestation of evil, the purveyor of violence, destined for judgment, the Church faithfully witnessing the way to creation's redemption. Revelation's author provides 'an alternative perspective on the life of suffering and death' (p. 229) awaiting his contemporary faithful, witnessing church. Woodman draws fully on modem critical scholarship, expounds clearly the scriptural and other background to John's imagery, invites readers (second-third year university students are in mind) 'to draw their own conclusions' at the end of each chapter, and includes a bibliography and indexes of references and subjects. This impressive exposition of a difficult book invites a second reading.

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