Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature

April 19, 2017 | Comments Off on Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature

Are you planning to lead a study on Daniel or Revelation? Or perhaps some of the prophets who have apocalyptic portions within their pages? If so, Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook by Richard A. Taylor might be a good addition to your library.

This book is clearly an academic book. It’s part of the Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis series, edited by David M. Howard, Jr. and is aimed at folks doing serious exegesis. However, it’s quite readable and doesn’t use an abundance of Hebrew. While it doesn’t transliterate the Hebrew – a weakness in all Kregel Academic books – it does translate the words it uses and probably gives enough information for the lay leader to understand. The book gives an excellent overview of apocalyptic literature – what it is, major themes, interpreting, and proclaiming it. Taylor covers the apocalyptic passages in Daniel, the other prophets, and in extrabiblical texts. While not covering Revelation due to the nature of the series, it’s easy to use the principles based on what he does cover.

Taylor is careful to suggest how to interpret – and how not to interpret – apocalyptic literature. He explains the use of the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, the figures of speech, and several guidelines to interpretation. He argues for a measure of caution in interpreting this literature.

While he focuses primarily on Daniel and to a lesser extent the prophets, one of my favorite sections was his lengthy explanation of 15 extrabiblical Jewish texts. I’ve had very little experience with these, and appreciated his summaries of their content and meanings.

This will remain a good reference book in my library for both apocalyptic literature and the extrabiblical Jewish texts. My thanks to Kregel Academic for the opportunity to review this book.

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