University of Toronto professor believes religious text Jewish, not Christian

November 22, 1999

An important book of the Bible, believed for centuries to be the work of a Christian author, may have been written by a Jew, says Professor John Marshall, author of Parables of War: Reading John's Jewish Apocalypse.

The book will provide "a new interpretation of the Book of Revelation by understanding it as a document that came out of a Jewish environment, a Jewish religious sensibility and the particular circumstances of the Jewish diaspora," Marshall says. In his initial reading, he found sections of Revelation confusing and inscrutable when read as a Christian document. Yet these sections made sense when examined as a Jewish text.

Marshall contends that Revelation has been misinterpreted over the centuries for a number of reasons. "Scholars have been reading this particular document from within a religious framework for a long time and there is a false idea that whenever any document mentions Christ it must therefore have been authored by a Christian. The control of texts is a continuing area of contention between Jews and Christians and the issue of how to share a text considered sacred is one that escapes a simple resolution."

Parables of War will be published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2000.
Michah Rynor
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-2104

University of Toronto

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