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The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Com (Eerdmans)) Hardcover – Dec 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1245 pages
  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080282174X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802821744
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 983,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


America Beale . . . is a master not only of the biblical text but also of the secondary literature. His work will serve primarily as a reference commentary to be consulted when the reader wants a comprehensive and fair presentation of the evidence regarding a disputed point coupled with a clear line of argumentation and the author's own conclusion. . . . A reliable guide to the many literary, historical, and theological problems encountered in reading Revelation. Interpretation A strong contribution to scholarship and a valuable resource for a more general audience. . . . Beale has performed a distinctive service. His bold positions are thoroughly argued. His erudition and depth of research are admirable. And he displays strong skills in historical reconstruction and exegesis. His treatment of John's work with the Hebrew scriptures alone make his commentary worth consulting. Journal of Biblical Literature A significant contribution to our understanding of Revelation. . . . This commentary will certainly provide considerable insight into John's often perplexing vision. In particular, Beale's grasp of the Greek grammar of Revelation is outstanding. Too few scholars today have the linguistic expertise to furnish the reader with such extensive and thoughtful notes. . . . A truly important work that should be consulted as a reference by serious scholars of the Apocalypse. The Bible Today A massive and thorough commentary on Revelation. . . . Takes its place as one of several important resources for interpreting this fascinating New Testament book. Grant Osborne-- Trinity Evangelical Divinity Schools This is an incredibly learned study, a magisterial commentary on one of the most difficult books in the Bible. There has never been a deeper probing of the Old Testament allusions in the Apocalypse, nor a better presentation of the idealist interpretation. This work will be essential for all scholars and students of the book of Revelation for years to come. M. Eugene Boring-- Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University Beale has provided the academic community with an excellent contribution to the expanding library of reference works for interpreting the Apocalypse. . . . This volume will undoubtedly take its place as a standard work to be considered in responsible study of Revelation. Richard Bauckham-- University of St. Andrews This long-awaited commentary is a magnificent achievement and will be an invaluable guide and resource for all future study of Revelation. Beale's particular emphasis on interpreting the text by reference to the Old Testament Scriptures and Jewish exegetical traditions is one that the text itself invites, while the orientation to theological reflection is also very welcome in a commentary on this profoundly theological text. J. P. M. Sweet-- Cambridge University Beale has an unrivaled knowledge of Revelation and its Jewish background. His work will be invaluable both to scholars and students who want a thorough treatment of the textual and critical problems and to pastors and laypeople who want to know what Revelation meant -- and means -- in its own terms. " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By rossuk TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I do have Beale, along with 40+ other commentaries on Revelation, as I wrote a commentary on Revelation myself in the 1990's. He has written the most detailed commentary on Revelation there is. He is however, rather verbose. He relies a little too much on Daniel, and as a result he gets the mighty angel of ch. 10 wrong, by calling it/him Christ rather than Christ's angel (compare Rev 1:1 with 22:6). If I have a difficult question on Revelation then I look at Beale, Osborne and Mounce, in that order. For the scholar Beale is a must have, but most ordinary mortals, will however, find Osborne more useful. Note, Osborne also cites both Beale and Aune.

For a link to Osborne see here Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 33 reviews
162 of 167 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Amillennial Evangelical Perspective 28 Dec. 2000
By Chris Lee - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bill Mounce (son of Dr. Robert Mounce, who wrote another Revelation commentary, also colleague of Dr. Beale at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) once joked and said that "you know it's good when it's so thick."
I took a New Testament Interpretation class with Dr. Beale, and also have his Revelation class notes.
Indeed, this is a brilliantly written book, which is well-written and thoroughly done from an amillennial perspective. Although this camp is not particularly big within evangelicalism (the predominant view being premillennialism), this particular camp has some advantages of being supported by strong scholarship. Beale's book is one of the best in terms of applying interpretational methods.
Beale starts off with about 69 pages of background on symbolism of numbers and the symbolic nature of Revelation. His main premise is that the beginning of the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1) begins with "he revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John..." The word "made it known" (RSV) in greek is esemanen (aorist active indicative, 3rd singular for semaino ... which should be rendered "to be communicated in symbols"). Thus, Beale takes the view that the book of Revelation should be read primarily symbolically unless there is ample evidence that it should not be rendered symbolically. He would note some of those symbols include numbers, lampstands, sword, etc. Thus, because of the symbolic nature of the book, the "1000 years" of Rev. 20:4-6 is to be understood symbolically rather than a literal 1000 years, rendering his view as "amillennial".
Beale does a great job in scholarship in interacting with other views, namely the premillennial and postmillennial views (especially readings of Revelation 20:4-6 ... close to 100 pages here), and also with other theories of the horsemen (e.g., Beasly-Murray, etc.) He even interacts with other commentaries and papers written on Revelation, as well as incorporating other literature (e.g., Jewish apocryphal writings) to analyze the text. Excellent scholarship!
To utilize this commentary well, you will need some basic Greek training (as Beale does utilize the Greek New Testament a lot, including doing textual criticism analysis, sentence flow analysis), like at least a first-year biblical Greek course.
This is indeed the best amillennial commentary (and probably the best commentary) that I've seen of Revelation. The two that are typically suggested by scholars include Dr. Robert Mounce's and this one!
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
One of the definitive commentaries on Revelation 22 Jun. 2000
By Todd Grotenhuis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a scholar's dream on Revelation. Beale is to be commended for offering both the current scholarly range of interpretation on Revelation and for lucidly giving his own point of view -- many commentaries today only offer one or the other. The reader will come away with an appreciation of the major interpretive views of Reveltion as well as an excellently argued defense of Beale's idealist viewpoint. Those who do not share the Idealist bias should still be able to benefit from the wide range of differing viewpoints that Beale mentions, although any serious study of Revelation in the future will have to account for Beale's scholarship. Beale uses the Old Testament as his primary (although not only) key for interpreting the myriad puzzling passages in Revelation, and what results is a convincing analysis of a very confusing book. The only problem I could find with this commentary was its length: it is so exhaustive that its length is somewhat prohibitive against frequent usage (researching any passage is a major undertaking). However, this is a small criticism, as a shorter treatment of the subject matter would have prevented Beale from analyzing the text with such impressive depth. If you can afford the expensive cover price you will get all of your money's worth, and more, with this brilliant work.
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Beale Set Me On Fire for Revelation Study & Preaching 3 Sept. 2006
By David A. Bielby - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pastor a church (10+ yrs now) about 2 hours from Wheaton College where Beale currently teaches. I audited his Spring 2006 course on Revelation in Greek. I have to say that the man is on fire for God's word. He's got a contagious zeal for the book of Revelation. We had a Greek student (from Greece) in class and visitors from Greece. Apparently they like him a lot.

His exegetical method weighs heavily on a unique approach that includes a relatively rare Discourse Analysis process that Wheaton and about 6 other schools now teach in their Biblical Interpretations Courses. I think someone at Fuller developed it. The Discourse Analysis process is a nice addition to the regular NT Exegesis that Gordon Fee has outlined for everyone in "NT Exegesis". It seems to help the students catch the flow of the text and to connect ideas in a more complex and systematic way than a regular flow analysis.

The linkages to the OT Prophetic books are overwhelming. Beale literally drips with quotations...his live course is about the same as the book. Just compare the quotes on one of his pages to any other commentary and you get way more for your money with Beale.

If you are preaching through Revelation, get Beale and Poythress (The Returning King). I recommend Poythress' outline for a sermon series...and Beale for more exegetical tips and references than you could possibly study for a typical sermon in a week. If you don't know Greek, then Poythress will really help you. His outlines preach well. My main criticism of Beale's work is that his Exegetical Summaries for each section sound very much like a summary that a scholar who does not have to speak to regular folks very often would give. It's not will have to rework it to keep people with you if you are preaching. That's why Poythress is great...he gives preachable phrases that harmonize well with Beale's material.

I think a reviewers' criticism of Beale's failure to interact as clearly with the Preterist is accurate. I don't think Beale needs to interact with them as the reviewer claims. Beale's reasons for rejecting the Preterists approach are solid and difficult to get past (he convinced me). For example, he sees a problem with substituting a world-wide judgement with what happened in Jerusalem. He doesn't think the text warrants that sort of conclusion. He sees a problem with denying a phsyical resurrection. Because of these reasons, (and he has others listed in his book as well), he chooses to interact with the Premillenial view more.

I think another book that must be recognized by Revelation students is Regnum Caloreum (see my review on that). He also interacts a lot with Osborne. He recommends Regnum Caloreum and Poythress among other commentators. He seems to interact the most with Mounce, Osborne, Aune, Smalley to name a few.

I think that the argument one reviewer criticizes on 'show' in Revelation 1:1 is convincing (the other reviewer says it is confusing...but it really is quite simple) when we look at the useage of 'SEMAINW' throughout the NT-and the stuff of Revelation itself. One clear example of this is the famous use of the term in John 3:14-16 where Jesus interprets the symbol from the desert story about the serpent on a pole being lifted up to provide healing for all who look on it. I cannot recall if Beale uses that exact illustration, but that is the sort of thing he does throughout this book. Sometimes you do have to read slowly to really grasp what he is saying...because he's quite technical.

Also-Beale makes a case for a strong link to Daniel. He wrote a book about this. Really his case in the NIGTC Revelation rests on that as well. He builds a very strong case for tying the book of Revelation to the Daniel 2:29-45 dream story about Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel. He shows that phrase in Revelation 1:1; 4:1, and 22:6 'hA Dei Genesthai...' is found only in Daniel 2:28/29 Theo and Daniel 2:45. This grammatically points Revelation 1:1; 4:1 and 22:6 to the dream Daniel interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar...and is therefore an interpretive key to Revelation. The Kingdom which Nebuchadnezzar sees starting during the reign of the Roman Empire Kings (if we follow the typical view on that dream) that the Kingdom of God which will never end is NOT something of the future is something that has started...inaugurated by Jesus Christ Himself and will ultimately culminate in the justice of all wrongs and the new Jerusalem/new community.

So Beale really is laying out a case for an "Inaugurated Kingdom" which began in the first century...and is prophetically and apocalyptically portrayed in Revelation. This "Inaugurated Kingdom" is expanding and will never be overthrown.

The densely packed inferences to OT and Jewish apocalypic literature reinforces the fact that John is portraying the coming Kingdom has now come. The grammatical links to Daniel 2 matching the beginning and end of a story has a similar feeling the the phrase 'In the beginning'...which reminds the reader who knows the bible of two passages...Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. The fact that there are connections between those two passages should not be lost. Similarly there are links between Daniel 2 and Revelation...not only in the verses quoted...but throughout the entire book. Revelation 1:1, 4:1 and 22:6 all point to Daniel 2:28/45 in the exact way that John 1:1 points to Genesis 1:1. The three word phrase is a direct quote. In Revelation 1, 4 and 22 these are the only places in the entire LXX/GNT where the phrase is quoted from Daniel 2.

I think if you read him with a hungry and open heart you will catch fire for the most complex and detailed work of the New Testament...the book of Revelation.

Beale's capturing of extensive extrabiblical references to support the inferences from OT scripture is also overwhelming.

He contends, successfully, in my view, that the OT is consistently interpreted with the same hermeneutic that is recommended today. He's very good. I have to say that he is a scholar's scholar. Tough to disprove and no one can ignore him on the book of Revelation and maintain a convincing argument. Many fail to convincingly refute him. Many of his points are overwhelmingly convincing...some are not as powerful, but his overall perspective won over every single student in our class (that I could see) and there were some of the sharpest students I've ever sat with in that class. The material in this book is essentially what we I would not be surprised if you are not stretched beyond normal for a commentary of this sort.

You will use it over and over if you buy it. I heartily give this one a five star rating.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
A massive and scholarly commentary 1 Feb. 2002
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There are a lot of great things to say about this commentary. First of all, from reading it, it is easy to see that there are few things to do with the book of Revelation that Beale has not thought long and hard about. He is especially helpful at elucidating how much John utilizes Old Testament imagery in describing his revelatory visions. The commentary's introduction is 180 pages long and deals with the symbolism in the book of Revelation as well as the grammar and the theology and the political and cultural life setting.
But there are a number of points where the reader will definitely want to question some of Beale's conclusions. Not everyone will follow him in his interpretation of the word 'show' in Rev 1:1, or follow him in his idealistic amillennial understanding of Revelation. The reader may question Beale's reluctance to interpret literally at certain points in the commentary as well. But you can't possibly come away from a careful reading of this volume without learning something. For the educated clergyman, this is a great commentary to get, alongside the more accessible volumes of Craig Koester and Robert Mounce.
42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
an up-to-date but not exhaustive work concentrating on OT 13 April 1999
By Mark Tate ( - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Although narrow in its interpretative framwork, this commentary is a goldmine of references to the OT allusions contained within Revelation. Its Greek commentary is solid. The author does not fall into the trap of being too exhaustive to be of use to busy pastors, yet too shallow to be of use to the experienced Greek student. Although I did not agree with his basic interpretation, his text and language work made this commentary of more use than most. The symbolism of Revelation is well-handled. Any interpretative framwork will have to come to terms with this solid work on Revelation and provide solutions to the many difficulties presented by the text of this most difficult of all NT epistles.
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