THE APOCALYPSE OF Si'. JOHN: a Christian vision of history, ,by H. M. Feret, 0.P. (Blackfristrs, 21s.).
THIS is a useful book, though A one can hardly concur wholeheartedly with the enthusiasm of the publisher, who claims that it brings the document of which it treats "vividly to life". The fact is that, obscure as the Apocalypse may be in detail, in its general sweep it impresses and inspires the reader, who has no great need of commentary.
Fr. Feret has, however, performed an important service in his two appendices, in which he has disclosed the structure of the book and also has printed out the text in a way which links it up, by the use of italics and by precise references, to those passages of the Bible which seem chiefly to have inspired the author.
Readers will be well advised to read Appendix It before anything else, and then, if they find particular passages obscure, to turn to the earlier chapters.
THE first chapter, which attempts A to put 'the Apocalypse into its historical setting and its general literary context, is too sketchily done to be entirely satisfactory. It may well be that to attempt too close a correlation of the somewhat ambiguous allusions in the text with this or that event in world history, whether it be the persecution of Domitian or the collapse of the Roman Empire, is to impoverish the abiding lesson of St. John's vision.
For whilst, in a sense, the Apocalypse is always topical it is equally true to say that its message transcends history. It would he a mistake to turn the Seer of Patmos into a sort of Nostradamus.