Book review: Revelation: The Way it Happened

by Lee Harmon


“A very interesting book …”

The following is an unsolicited review of my book posted on Amazon by Henry Slofstra. Thanks, Henry!

I found this to be a very interesting book, given my predilection for imaginative Christian literature, such as Dante or Milton, over scholarly work. The book straddles the two genres, and this neither fish nor fowl approach has likely undone some readers and reviewers. In my own view, the book is at its best when Harmon is in story-telling mode, imaginatively reconstructing events in the Mediterranean world during the slice of time in which the last book of the Bible was written. The protaganists are a Jewish Christian father and his son, but the perspective sometimes shifts to that of the writer, John, whoever he may have been. Harmon subscribes to the Preterist view, which means that the events depicted in Revelation correspond with first century Roman and Jewish history, and less so, with a predictive vision of the end of days as given to John by God. You don’t need to accept the Preterist view in order to enjoy the book; but there’s no question that the times in which the book was written were epical. Given one reviewer’s view that the book may shake one’s faith, I’d add only that some faiths could do with a bit of shaking.

The format of the book is unconventional in how different modes of discourse are handled. It’s not bad, and perhaps an improvement. The usual approach is to place background asides in box insets, and corroborating material in footnotes. Harmon has used the approach of setting these asides inline in a different font, and I found that this approach did avoid the kind of annoying page flipping found in other secondary histories.

At least this is a book that works for me, at an imaginative level, given that I’m not a reader interested in questions of scholarship addressed in the extensive bibliography cited by Harmon. I look forward to more from this writer.

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