The Book of Revelation, often known simply as Revelation or The Apocalypse, is a book of the New Testament that occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. Its title is derived from the first word of the text, written in Koine Greek: apokalypsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation". The Book of Revelation is the only apocalyptic document in the New Testament canon (although there are short apocalyptic passages in various places in the Gospels and the Epistles).[a]
The author names himself in the text as "John", but his precise identity remains a point of academic debate. Evidence for identifying the author as John the Apostle comes from second-century writers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Melito the bishop of Sardis, and Clement of Alexandria and the Muratorian fragment. Other scholars oppose this view, proposing that nothing can be known about the author except that he was a Christian prophet. The bulk of traditional sources date the book to the reign of the emperor Domitian (AD 81-96), and the external and internal evidence tends to confirm this.
The book spans three literary genres: the epistolary, the apocalyptic, and the prophetic. It begins with John, on the island of Patmos in the Aegean, addressing a letter to the "Seven Churches of Asia". He then describes a series of prophetic visions, including figures such as the Whore of Babylon and the Beast, culminating in the Second Comingof Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 states that God gave the revelation to Jesus who then "made it known" to the author through an angelic messenger.
The obscure and extravagant imagery has led to a wide variety of interpretations: historicist interpretations see in Revelation a broad view of history; preterist interpretations treat Revelation as mostly referring to the events of the apostolic era (1st century), or, at the latest, the fall of the Roman Empire; futurists believe that Revelation describes future events; and idealist or symbolic interpretations consider that Revelation does not refer to actual people or events, but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil.