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This book examines the significance accorded to St John's visionary island of Patmos in the reception of the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) from the second to the twenty-first century. It is written out of the conviction that attention to the diverse understandings of Patmos through the centuries will open up interpretative possibilities long forgotten by the 'received wisdom' of the academy. Its approach is broad and interdisciplinary, incorporatingbiographical writings, sermons, hymns, poetry and visual art as well as commentaries and other scholarly works, and popular and maverick as well as mainstream and magisterial interpretations, and locating the interpretations discovered in an unfolding historical narrative. The conclusion of this extensivestudy is that biblical scholars need reception history in order to understand where they have come from, as well as to reshape their scholarly task, according a greater role to the imagination and reader participation.
Ian Boxall is Senior Tutor and Tutorial Fellow in New Testament at St Stephen's House, Oxford.