The current view is that Revelation was composed in the context of a conflict within the Christian community of Asia Minor over whether to engage with, or withdraw from, the far larger non-Christian community: Revelation chastises those Christians who wanted to reach an accommodation with the Roman cult of empire.This is not to say that Christians in Roman Asia were not suffering, for withdrawal from, and defiance against, the wider Roman society imposed very real penalties; Revelation offered a victory over this reality by offering an apocalyptic hope: in the words of professor Adela Yarbro Collins, "What ought to be was experienced as a present reality." Dionysius (248 AD), bishop of Alexandria, disciple of Origen wrote that the Book of Revelation could have been written by Cerinthus although he himself did not adopt the view that Cerinthus was the writer.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 Coming of Jesus.Massyngberde Ford, the Book of Revelation contains ancient pre-Christian texts of Jewish origin dating back to the time of John the Baptist and the communities of Qumran as well as antic Jewish texts.In several verses one can identify the ancient texts and that attributed to John, the latter having just added in the original text the words "Jesus Christ" (Rev 1: 1), "testimony of Jesus Christ "(Rev.Doubts resurfaced during the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther called it "neither apostolic nor prophetic" in the 1522 preface to his translation of the New Testament (he revised his position with a much more favorable assessment in 1530), and it was the only New Testament book on which John Calvin did not write a commentary.
Second century Christian writers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Melito the bishop of Sardis, and Clement of Alexandria and the author of the Muratorian fragment identify John the Apostle as the "John" of Revelation.Tradition links him to John the Apostle, but it is unlikely that the apostle could have lived into the most likely time for the book's composition, the reign of Domitian, and the author never states that he knew Jesus. The beast with seven heads and the number 666 seem to allude directly to the emperor Nero (reigned AD 54–68), but this does not require that Revelation was written in the 60s, as there was a widespread belief in later decades that Nero would return. Massyngberde Ford argues that the core of Revelation, chapters 4-11, was written by John the Baptist and later surrounded with a Christian beginning and ending, although this view is not held by the large majority of scholars.Revelation rarely quotes directly from the Old Testament, almost every verse alludes to or echoes older scriptures.The obscure and extravagant imagery has led to a wide variety of Christian 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.