, meaning "unveiling" or"revelation". The author of the work identifies himself in the text as "John" and saysthat he was onPatmos,an island in theAegean,when he "heard a great voice"instructing him to write the book. This John is traditionally supposed to beJohn theApostle,although recent scholarship has suggested other possibilities including aputative figure given the nameJohn of Patmos.Most modern scholars believe it waswritten around 95 AD, with some believing it dates from around 70 AD.The book spans three literary genres:epistolary,apocalyptic,andprophetic.It beginswith an epistolary address to the reader followed by an apocalyptic description of acomplex series of events derived from propheticvisionswhich the author claims to haveseen. These include the appearance of a number of figures and images which havebecome important in Christian eschatology, such as theWhore of BabylonandtheBeast,and culminate in theSecond Comingof Jesus Christ.The obscure andextravagant
interpretations consider that Revelation does not refer toactual people or events, but is anallegoryof the spiritual path and the ongoing strugglebetweengood and evil.The Book of Revelation is the only apocalyptic document in the New Testamentcanon,though there are short apocalyptic passages in various places inthe Gospelsand theEpistles.
The author of the work provided no title for it. However, a title came into usage fromthe first word of the book inKoine Greek :
, meaning "unveiling" or"revelation". It is also known as the
Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine
Apocalypse of John
(both in reference to its author), or the
Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ
(in reference to its opening line), or simply
in contrast to the singular in the original Koine), or the
.The word "apocalypse" is also used for other works of a similar nature in theliterarygenreof apocalyptic literature.Such literature is "marked by distinctive literary features,particularly prediction of future events and accounts of visionaryexperiences or journeys to heaven, often involving vivid symbolism."