What if Revelation was written by John…the Baptist?

The first step to writing a commentary is to question the traditional authorship. I don’t know why; it just is. In preparing my paper on Revelation 5, I came across this humble proposal, helpfully summarized by Paige Patterson:

Among the more interesting postulates is the proposal of J. Massyngberde Ford in her Anchor Bible commentary. She posits John the Baptist and the prophetic community associated with him as the probably author. Noting that John of the Apocalypse makes no claim for apostleship. Ford prefers to believe that the origins of the book should be traced to the community surrounding the fiery prophet, John the Baptist, and that at least a portion of the book dates to the time of Christ. This view blends well with the perspectives of those who find similarities with John the Baptist and the Qumran set and find Revelation not dissimilar from the apocalyptic emphases of the Dead Sea documents. (pp. 18-19)

Such a truncated introduction to the proposal can’t possible do it justice, but on face value, it would take much more explanation and argument to be persuasive –problems with chronology and anachronism come immediately to mind. Off the top of my head, for example, how is John the Baptist “in the spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10) if he was beheaded pre-resurrection? (Mark 6:27). But as a creative exercise, it’s really intriguing. I mean, how different is the voice of John in the book of Revelation if he’s the voice crying in the wilderness? In my mind, that gives the narration a totally different timbre.