Thursday, January 12, 2012


Reading Revelation is a textbook-style, analytic presentation of the Book of Revelation. In it, C. Marvin Pate attempts to contrast four interpretations of Revelation…The Preterist View, The Historical View, The Futurist View and the Idealist View. 

First, let’s talk about the physical book. The review copy we received was an over-sized trade paperback. This is apparently the only format available. Revelation is a book that has fascinated and confounded readers since the earliest of times. I am sure many people will be interested in having this book and its softcover binding costs less, making the book available to a wider audience.

The book utilizes a five-column format which places the original Greek and an English translation on the left with the four interpretations in parallel columns. Because it must be read across rather than down, I worry it may not stand up well to the repeated readings a typical End of Times aficionado will give it.

Reading Revelation is presented as an unbiased, academic presentation of four views of Revelation. In my opinion this is not the case. We all know there are multiple approaches to the Book of Revelation; probably as many as the people who read it. However, I noticed two disturbing trends in this book. First, it is not unusual to find all but the Historistic View given a cursory once over. Secondly, the author doesn’t credit any sources for what he terms the Historistic View.

I am left with the conclusion that the Historistic View is, in actuality, a reflection of Mr. Pate’s personal prejudices. This is most apparent in passages such as 12:1-6 or 12:13-17. Without exception, the Church fathers saw these passages (the woman clothed with the sun and bringing forth her child) as a reference to Mary, the Mother of our Lord, and the infant the dragon wished to devour as the Christ. In Pate’s convoluted hermeneutics these end up being references to the Church.

From beginning to end Pate’s Historistic View is nothing more than an Anti-Catholic rant.  Prejudice and narrow-mindedness are a fact of life, but to see it presented under the guise of a supposed scholarly work is disappointing.  I, for one, expected more.

Kregel Publications provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
—E.G. Lewis

Product Details:
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Kregel Academic & Professional (December 18, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825433673
ISBN-13: 978-0825433672

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