According to Richard himself, the end is near (“within weeks rather than months”) for the publication of his Seven Congregations in a Roman Crucible: A Commentary on Revelation 1-3. A few reasons I am looking forward to reading it:
1. He will interact extensively with primary sources (and not just literary texts!), yet attempt to give context when he does:
This belief [that the early church had significant interaction with its pagan environment] requires the incorporation of primary sources, e.g., Graeco-Roman literature, inscriptions, coins, papyri, and architecture.
. . . My decision to not only reference Graeco-Roman sources but to also quote them at times and to supply some secondary literature certainly required a significant increase of time, energy, and pages.
2. He takes a pedagogical approach:
So, I have attempted to use some images in the book to enhance the reader’s appreciation for the world of John and his first readers.
I was delighted that Wipf & Stock agreed to publish my commentary, but it will be printed with grayscale images, supplemented with color images on this blog, richardoster.com.
[Rabbit Trail: This reminds me why I like The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Context (Burge, Cohick, Green, 2009) for an undergrad (maybe early grad, depending on context) NT Survey/Intro course–in fact I planned an online NT Survey course for an institution and made this the required text book.]
3. He is well equipped to do extensive background study on the seven cities named in Rev 2-3, having focused especially on Ephesus in many of his publications, his Ph.D. studies (Ph.D., Princeton, 1974), and post-doc work at Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut (Vienna, Austria, 1985).
Congratulations on completing it, Richard.
If and when I get a chance to take a look at the book, I will offer a few a brief summary/evaluation here.