Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Patmos in the Reception History of the Apocalypse
Boxall, Ian

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013 pp. xiv + 273. $125

Series Information
Oxford Theology & Religion Monographs

Description: This monograph explores the significance accorded to John's island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9) within the wider reception history of the Apocalypse. In contrast to the relatively scant attention paid to John's island in modern commentaries, this reception-historical survey reveals both the greater prominence accorded to Patmos by earlier interpreters, and the richer diversity of readings the text has provoked. These include interest in the physical character of Patmos and its significance as an island; the date and reason for John's sojourn there; attempts to locate Patmos in a geography which is sometimes more mythical than literal; the meaning of the name "Patmos" in the context of a biblical book which treats other place-names symbolically. This diversity is supported by a close reading of Rev. 1:9, which highlights the extent to which even its literal sense is highly ambiguous.

Ian Boxall brings together for the first time in a coherent narrative a wide range of interpretations of Patmos, reflecting different chronological periods, cultural contexts, and Christian traditions. Boxall understands biblical interpretation broadly, to include interpretations in biographical traditions about John, sermons, liturgy, and visual art as well as biblical commentaries.He also considers popular and marginal readings alongside magisterial and centrist ones, and draws analogies between similar hermeneutical strategies across the centuries. In the final chapter Boxall explores the wider implications of his study for biblical scholarship, advocating an approach which encourages use of the imagination and reader participation, and which works with a broader concept of 'meaning' than traditional historical criticism.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Revelation, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). Enter your SBL Member ID and click the "Log in" button. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBLís Terms of Use.

I donít remember my SBL Member ID.

Join SBL or renew your membership to read the review(s).



SBL Membership Id:  


Review by Craig R. Koester
Published 11/11/2014
Citation: Craig R. Koester, review of Ian Boxall, Patmos in the Reception History of the Apocalypse, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us