Worlds at War, Nations in Song: Dialogic Imagination and Moral Vision in the Hymns of the Book of Revelation

Worlds at War, Nations in Song: Dialogic Imagination and Moral Vision in the Hymns of the Book of Revelation

by Kendra Haloviak Valentine


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Rather than representing the book of Revelation as a single "apocalyptic" genre, Kendra Haloviak Valentine demonstrates that the work in fact reflects several genres—apocalyptic, prophetic and liturgical—within the overall framework of an epistle. This study focuses on the sixteen hymns, a largely neglected part of the literary construction of the work. Responding to the insight of Mikhail Bakhtin that literary genres carry ways of thinking about the world, this important study calls attention to the multiple voices within the text that need to be heard—voices that soften the book's transcendent, future focus so that it is not allowed complete dominance.

Hymns, as the sites of colliding and collaborating genres, engage the reader. Worlds at War, Nations in Song explores the role of these liturgical elements within the moral enterprise to suggest that the book of Revelation provides readers with a moral vision linking the future with the present. Readers are called to respond in worship and witness. By calling attention to the multiple voices within Revelation, Haloviak Valentine demonstrates the invalidity of seeking "one" correct interpretation. Recognizing this dialogic approach may help prevent the misinterpretations that led to such tragedies as Waco and Jonestown.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498204880
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 01/12/2015
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kendra Haloviak Valentine is an associate professor and chair of the department of New Testament Studies at the H.M.S. Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University in California. She completed doctoral studies at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, is an ordained pastor, and has taught in the United States and Australia. Recent publications include "The Book of Revelation" in The Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (2011) and Signs to Life: Reading and Responding to John's Gospel (2013).

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From the Publisher

"Kendra Haloviak Valentine directs the reader to look around the worshipping assembly of John's heavenly liturgies and witness how the gathered community symbolizes the common hope of an eschaton saturated in righteousness. . . . This book is a great resource for preachers who want to give voice in earthly liturgies to the heavenly visions of John's worshipping communities. Preachers who read this commentary will, like the voices in the visions, also be able to lead worship and preach with multiple voices."

—Maury D. Jackson, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry, HMS Richards Divinity School, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA

"The Book of Revelation may touch off delusion—or moral passion worthy of the Hebrew prophets. Seeing it as a puzzle with a final answer makes interpretation an exercise of (delusion-prone) ego. But if the book itself contains colliding points of view, and if interpretation is a never-final dialogue, then Revelation becomes a call to worship and witness, repentance and justice. The author makes this latter case, and makes it brilliantly."

—Charles Scriven, former President, Kettering College, Kettering, OH

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