Remarks on structure

The entries marked structure deal with the problem of structure, one of the more controversial, but also important issues as regards the interpretation of Revelation.

This issue has two aspects: First, the question of the textual organisation of Revelation (i.e. its “outline”), and, second, the relationship between the text and the events to which the text refers. The first is dealt with as structure, the second as the narratological relationship between discourse and story, which, of course, cannot ignore the first.

One of the views is the so-called recapitulationist view (see Hendriksen, More than Conquerors).

Various strategies for analysis of this issue have been proposed. Some very good places to start are the dissertations by Kempson and Mazzaferri, and the introductory chapter in Bauckham, Climax. Mazzaferri’s analysis of the outline is very good, although some refinements may be made. Bauckham argues that Revelation is designed for reading, which means that the structural markers must be aurally. Among the most important aurally structural markers are the numbers.

In his commentary, J. R. Michaels, among others, further argues that the so-called interlude in chapter 7 is not really an interlude. This may suggest that the analysis of the structure of Revelation should pay careful attention to the numberings as structural markers as well as reconsider the whole concept of interludes.

Professor Felix Just has compiled some five different proposals of Revelation outlines as well as given his own. This is a good on-line place to start.

Today one should not attempt to analyse the structure without paying careful attention to the insights gained by narratological analysis.

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