Revelation resources -- FAQs

Most recent revision May 26th, 2002

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Description: This page contains Frequently Asked Questions and hopefully some answers to them ;-). The answers will not necessarily give any solution to a problem. This would be rather difficult in many cases, and quite unscholarly in most cases. So the answers will be restricted to indicate the more or less exact nature of the problem, some often proposed scholarly solutions and perhaps critique of non-scholarly soluations indicating why the solutions are less than persuasive in my view. Whether I ever will dare to publish any answers here, well, only time will show! (31 Dec 1996)


Why does everybody interpret Revelation in his or her own way?


Why does everybody interpret Revelation in his or her own way?
The reasons are many. First, the text is more elusive because of the many (networks of) metaphors. than, e.g., Paul's letter to the Romans (although this letter is being interpreted in many different ways, too). Second, scholars have not been able to agree on the principles of interpretation. There are several hermeneutical aspects and each of these have many possible answers. A communicational model may include the author, the message and the audience and the relationship of these three to their contemporary context with regard to, e.g., theology, church relationship, culture, education, language, politics, gender and history. The various possible positions in this multi-dimensional hermeneutical matrix are almost infinite. This does not mean that every position is necessarily a good one, quite to the contrary, but it does in fact explain why so many different interpretations exist. Personally, I want to point to several aspects which should guide the interpretation: 1. The christological presentation must guide the theological interpretation of Revelation. 2. The many OT allusions should be carefully evaluated in order to see how they are used to establish an authorial intention. (Yes, I know this concept is controversial today, but as I wrote, it my personal recommendation). My research has shown me that it is impossible to interpret Revelation without a thorough study of the Old Testament. (This is certainly one of the reasons that Revelation is so difficult for us to understand. We know too little of the Old Testament). 3. Historical information, broadly speaking, should be used, although with caution and care. Parallelomania should be avoided. This point, however, is not without difficulties. Too tidy up all the problems is a rather complicated task and I am not qualified to do that after only a few years study. (16 Mar 1997)
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© 1996-2001 Georg S. Adamsen Opdateret d. 26.5.2002