'In The Battle for the Keys Justin Bass leads us through an exceptional exegetical, historical, and theological exploration of the question of both the whether and whither of Christ's descensus ad inferos. Besides providing a thorough and compelling history of the doctrine of Christ's mysterious exploits between his death and resurrection, Dr. Bass drives a foundational pier in the ground of the exegetical and doctrinal debates through a careful and comprehensive examination of Revelation 1:18. By explaining rich imagery that would have been both accessible and meaningful to a first-century Graeco-Roman audience steeped in the claims of Christianity, Dr. Bass demonstrates that the ancient and enduring confession that Christ "descended into hell"--whatever that entailed--reflects the beliefs of the identity-forging leaders and communities of the first century Church. Whatever doubters or believers choose to do with Dr. Bass's competent and convincing evidence, arguments, and conclusions, they cannot choose to ignore them.'
Michael J. Svigel, Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
'This is a book that deserves to be read! While the subject of where Christ spent the time between his death on the cross and his resurrection has been a topic of discussion since the early church fathers, until now no book or article has dealt specifically with the meaning of Revelation 1:18. The present work is a valuable contribution to the study of afterlife and underworld imagery in the New Testament in terms of biblical theology.'
W. Hall Harris III, Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary