From The New York Times:
Many people mistakenly call the last book of the Christian Bible “Revelations.” It is actually the (one) Revelation to John. Elaine Pagels may be playing on that common error with the title of her latest book, “Revelations,” though in this case it is accurate: she places the biblical Book of Revelation in the context of other ancient narratives of visions and prophecy. Her account highlights several prophetic works and visionaries, from Ezekiel to Paul to the ancient sect of prophesying Christians called the Montanists, and others. Pagels also discusses the afterlife of Revelation in the Christianity of late antiquity through the fourth century. Her thesis is that apocalyptic literature — visions, prophecies, predictions of cataclysm — has always carried political ramifications, both revolutionary and
“Revelation” is from the Latin translation of the Greek word apocalypsis, which can designate any unveiling or revealing, fantastic or ordinary. Scholars also refer to the document as the Apocalypse of John. And that same Greek word provides the label for all sorts of ancient literature that scholars call “apocalyptic.” The biblical text purports to relate a real vision experienced by an otherwise unknown Jew named John — not the Apostle John, nor the same person as the anonymous author of what we call the Gospel of John. But we have no reason to doubt that his name was really John. It wasn’t an unusual name for a Jew.