11 September 2015

Book Review: Reversed Thunder

I have been on Eugene Peterson kick recently. The more books that I read from him, the more I am drawn to his writing. He is wise, earthy, and poetic, a wonderful combination. Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination (1988) was the most recent. 

In Reversed Thunder, Peterson explores the creative and imaginative language of St. John in the last book of the Bible. In my experience, many books about the Revelation of John attempt to provide a key to the events of the book as a type of apocalyptic road map. In other words, many books claim to have found the key to the end times and are eager to share their findings. This book is refreshingly different.

In the introduction, Peterson wrote, "I do not read the Revelation to get additional information about the life of faith in Christ. I have read it all before in law and prophet, in gospel and epistle. Everything in the book of Revelation can be found in the previous 65 books of the Bible...I read the Revelation not to get more information, but to revive imagination." Later: " I have taken the position that this book does not primarily call for decipherment, as if it were written in code, but that it evokes wonder, releasing metaphors that resonate meanings and refract insights in the praying imagination."

To be honest, this is the first thing I have read about the book of Revelation that I have actually benefited from, actually enjoyed. Peterson, a poet in his own write, writing about the poetry of St John is a lovely gift. If you are someone who has been confused by the book of Revelation, I would commend Reversed Thunder to you.  It is well worth the time.

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