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The original King James version of the Book of Revelation profusely illustrated with rare and magnificent images from the 10th and 11th century Beatus commentaries; the 12th century Bamberg Apocalypse and the 15th century Ottheinrich Bible. 14,500 words, 99 full colour images

  • By Andrew Forbes and David Henley

The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. Also known as Revelations, it is one of the best known and least understood books in the Christian biblical canon.

The complex and mysterious eschatology of the Apocalypse has been studied, analysed, deciphered, explained and puzzled over for almost two millennia - since it was revealed to John of Patmos towards the end of the 1st century CE - and it is not the purpose of the present book to add to these long centuries of exegesis.

The version of the Book of Revelation given here is that of the authorised King James Version of the Bible, begun in 1604 and completed in 1611. The King James Bible is generally regarded as a literary master work, and its version of the Book of Revelation is reproduced here without change or comment as the Authorized Version  of the Church of England.

What distinguishes this edition of the Book of Revelation, then, is not the text but the remarkable and imaginatively beautiful accompanying images. These are derived from various 10th and 11th century illuminated manuscript versions of the Commentaria in Apocalypsin or ‘Commentary on the Apocalypse' originally penned by the Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana in the mid-8th century. To these are added a series of illuminated miniatures of Revelations from the Bamberg Apocalypse created at Reichenau between 1000 and 1020, and from the Ottheinrich Bible, commisioned in c.1425 by the Royal Court of Bavaria and completed in the early 16th century by the artist Matthias Gerung.

The captioned illustrations are interspersed between each of the 22 chapters of the Book of Revelations. This is followed by a final chapter detailing the work of Beatus of Liébana, the surviving Beatus manuscripts from which the illustrations are taken, and notes on the Bamberg Apocalypse and the Ottheinrich Bible.

As far as we have been able to ascertain, this is the first time that a series of miniature illustrations from the various and diverse Beatus manuscripts has been published as an ebook.

  • Andrew Forbes was Lecturer in Religious Studies at King's College, University of Aberdeen from 1982 to 1989. He has an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Leeds in the UK. In 1989 he moved to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where he founded CPA Media together with the photographer David Henley. They have been collecting classical and historic art image since that time and have drawn on their extensive online collection at Pictures From History to illustrate this version of The Book of Revelation.

© 2012 CPA Media &  Cognoscenti Books. All Rights Reserved.

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