Take a guided tour on how to interpret prophecy and apocalyptic literature. Leland Ryken shows pastors and students and teachers of the Bible how to appreciate the challenges and beauty of prophecy. In Symbols and Reality, he explores the intersection of the Bible and visionary literature. And he goes one step further than merely explaining these literary genres—he includes exercises to help students of the Bible master them.
In the Reading the Bible as Literature series, Leland Ryken explores the intersection of the Bible and literature. In the series preface he writes, “It is my belief that a literary approach to the Bible is the common reader’s friend, in contrast to the more specialized types of scholarship on the Bible.”
Leland Ryken has been a pacesetter in the literary study of the Bible, especially within the evangelical community. Those of us who find this approach to Scripture especially enriching are always ready to listen when Ryken speaks. Readers who master Ryken’s principles will find the Bible open up to them in new, exciting ways.
—Robert B. Chisholm Jr., Chair and Professor of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
“An oracle is a pronouncement or message from God to people.” (Page 31)
“We need to begin with a statement of what prophecy is not: the primary trait of prophecy in the Bible is not that it foretells the future. Much less of the prophetic books is futuristic than is commonly thought.” (Pages 19–20)
“The adjective ‘visionary’ is synonymous with literary fantasy. It includes a heavy incidence of unlifelikeness.” (Page 25)
“Realism is based on the principle of verisimilitude, meaning lifelikeness” (Page 25)
“In visionary writing in the Bible, the unlifelike details portray real people and events. The visionary element is the unrealistic or unlifelike vehicle by which reality is delineated.” (Page 25)
Leland Ryken (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is Professor of English Emeritus at Wheaton College, where he has taught since 1968. He is the author of more than 50 books, including How to Read the Bible as Literature, Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible, Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective, and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible.