Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
Osborne discusses the text of Revelation in brief. Because the book was not universally recognized in the earliest years of the Christian period there are relatively fewer manuscripts and more textual inconsistencies than for many of the New Testament documents (Osborne 2002, 22). However, Osborne considers that we do have a reliable text.
The issue of canonicity is problematic in the case of Revelation. It was accepted in the West relatively early and appears in canonical lists from the second century. The Eastern church was more hesitant (Osborne 2002, 23).
The grammar of Revelation tends to be odd. Osborne says, “Everyone agrees that the Greek of Revelation is the most difficult of the NT” (Osborne 2002, 24). There are numerous statements using nontraditional grammar and style, often alluding to Old Testament passages (Osborne 2002, 25). Revelation does make many quotations, partial quotations, and allusions to the Old Testament. These allusions tend to appear without citation or other context. As a result it is open to debate whether the author is providing his own illustration or that drawn from elsewhere (Osborne 2002, 25).
The book of Revelation has a complex structure. This can lead scholars to theories of multiple revisions by different editors. Yet the language and thought is very unified. Compared to other apocalyptic writing, though, the text of Revelation is very coherent (Osborne 2002, 27). Osborne does note some theories of compilation, revision in stages, or incorporation of various fragments into a main text. He prefers to accept a complex and repetitive, but coherent original (Osborne 2002, 29).
As to an outline of Revelation, Osborne notes a topical or chronological schema can be found. The nature and size of chiasm is a challenge, as well as the possibility that various passages refer in different symbolic ways to the same event (Osborne 2002, 29). The relationships among different sections are complex because the text is often communicating on several levels at once. Osborne does propose an outline on pp. 30-31, but is clear it is only one of several valid ways of dissecting the text.