Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Rhetorical Setting of Revelation

I am currently reading Michael Gilbertson God and History in the Book of Revelation: New Testament Studies in Dialogue with Pannenberg and Moltmann, and it includes this quote about the rhetorical setting of Revelation in light of recent scholarship:
Yarbro Collins stresses the phenomenon of relative deprivation and perceived crisis; Thompson argues rather for a conflict between two different views of reality; Fiorenza is more ready to assume an element of actual persecution in the background. Ultimately, however, it may be misleading to seek to tie the genesis of the text to one particular social setting. The text itself suggets strongly that the book was addressed to a variety of different settings. The messages to Smyrna, Pergamum and perhaps hiladelphia suggest an atmosphere of oppression, while those to Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea do not appear to refer to any existing persectuion. The book's message of judgement against Babylon (and hence the need to avoid compromise), the expectation that Christian witness will provoke hostility, and the assurane of ultimately vindication are relevant to a variety of different situations (p. 60).

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