b-greek-digest V1 #649
b-greek-digest Tuesday, 4 April 1995 Volume 01 : Number 649
In this issue:
Re: On Roman emperors in Revelation
genre of revelation
Cluster Analysis of NT Chapters
Re: Revelation and the Canon ...
From: Georg Stubkjaer Adamsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 1995 20:37:56 -0100
Subject: Re: On Roman emperors in Revelation
Greg Doudna <email@example.com> wrote:
> For a variety of reasons I believe the old dating at the time
> of Galba is the correct one. J. Christian Wilson, in his
> articles dismantling the Domitian dating, does not take a
> position on this issue (of whether Nero was fifth or sixth).
> The issue is not nearly as complicated as that chart makes it.
> All systems start from either Julius or Augustus. Then it is
> a matter of counting forward to the sixth, and arriving at
> Nero or Galba.
> Then the other material in Revelation falls into place (well,
> a lot of it): the lust for vengeance on the city "Babylon"
> for its murder of the saints is derivative from the recent
> Neronian persecution of 64; the temple is still standing in
> Rev 11:1-2; the destruction of "Babylon" is the anticipated
> outcome of Vespasian's march on Rome to conquer his rivals;
> 666 is the number of the slain Nero believed to be alive and
> in hiding in Parthia to return; the anticipation that
> 144,000 Jews from the twelve tribes will defeat the whole
> known world reflects someone's optimistic imagination of the
> outcome of the Jewish Revolt; and Josephus's defection and
> prophetic hailing of Vespasian as future emperor and messiah
> is seen (slightly exaggerated) in 13:11-18.
> The Jewish Revolt was a time of signs and wonders, prophets
> and visions, as Josephus reports. Here is the context for
> the production of Revelation, with its terrible visions,
> curses on Rome, natural disasters and calamities depicting
> a time of war, and call to holy war from the twelve tribes.
> This, to me, is what is clearly indicated from the internal
> evidence: the time of Galba, c. 68-69, and the assumption
> of real prophecy deriving from this time, fits.
I'm sorry to say, but to me this seems highly unlikely. Even if it
superficially was possible to make these connections between Revelation
and these more or less historical happenings, I can't really make any
sense of the text. It just doesn't help the interpretation of these
passages in Revelation seen in its context and literary structure.
_Maybe_ it might throw light on some of these individual passages and
what does that tell us? That John perhaps describes something partially
in terms known to his hearers. But to comment on the Josephus' hailing of
Vespasian in 13,11-18, to call that "slightly exaggerated" is an
understatement which is revealing. How do you even make it _possible_
(not to say probable) that all these things were known to both John and
his hearers/readers in Asia? The early Christians were Jewish Christians
or Christian Jews, but that does not mean that they shared all Jewish
assumptions and e.g. agreed with Josephus and (his report on) the Jewish
revolt. I'm ready to accept what we can reasonably say about history but
I'm not ready to take whatever we can more or less surely reconstruct of
history and apply it to Revelation without regard to the text as we have
it in Revelation, with its surface, literary structures and its (network
of metaphors) which can be analyzed to find what is the center and what
Georg S. Adamsen, Denmark
From: "Marmorstein, Art" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 95 15:55:00 CDT
Subject: genre of revelation
Greg is right in noting that classifying works into genres involves primarily
literary considerations. However, as I said before, classifying a work as
part of a specific genre has philosophical/ideological/theological overtones
as well. Many genres (including, I would argue, apocalypse) require a
certain kind of world view in order to work. The great example of this is
tragedy, which, in order to be successful, requires that the audience share
with the writer a sense of a great cosmic moral order. Once the sense of
this order breaks down (as it begins to do in Euripides), tragedy becomes
But as the world view that sustains a genre comes apart, writers often begin
to play games with the genre itself. Note, for example, what Euripides does
with tragedy. Is Euripides still writing tragedy? Maybe--but he
comes awfully close to writing anti-tragedy, i.e. attacking the world view
that sustains tragedy in the first place.
Another example is Duchamp's "Portrait of Renoir, Cezanne, Monet." Now I
suppose you could classify this as art or even as portrait painting(!), but
calling it anti-art gives a better idea of what the Duchamp is actually doing.
Is John painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa? Absolutely. The world view
that sustains/requires the apocalyptic genre insists that the prophetic voice
no longer speaks and that the only way to bring new revelation is to claim
the authority of the great voices of the past. John rejects both of these
ideas, clearly pointing to the restoration of the prophetic voice. What one
has, then, is the prophetic world view mixed (in places) with an apocalyptic
literary style, i.e. anti-apocalypse.
From: Bruce Terry <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 1995 15:20:08 CST
Subject: Re: Baptism
On Sat, 1 Apr 1995, David R. Graham wrote:
>Subject: Re: Baptism
>commands given by God in the first century which were intended to be normative
>for the church for all time, but which failed to find their way into
>This is an intriguing question you put. Would you be willing to give an
>answer in the clear? This is not a trap. I'm actually interested in your
Then on Mon, 3 Apr 1995, Michael I Bushnell wrote:
>The question reflects a very closely delineated approach which can't
>possibly accept that some things are very important and generally not
>to be violated, without being commands of God. It's a sort of sola
>scripture approach, which demands explicit apostolic authority for any
I must plead guilty to a sola scripture approach. I would answer the question
I posed "no."
>Every church I know of is careful to only have ecclesiastical leaders
>baptize, except in extremis. A member of such a church who therefore
>baptizes (and not in extremis) has placed themselves at schism from
I invite you to visit Abilene Christian, where students have been known to
baptize others in the campus fountain. But I have never heard anyone in
authority complain about this.
Bruce Terry E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Box 8426, ACU Station Phone: 915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699 Fax: 915/674-3769
From: Stephen Carlson <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 95 17:44:49 EDT
Subject: Cluster Analysis of NT Chapters
I have finished my own stylometric analysis of the New Testament canon,
but this time I split each book into its chapters and ran a cluster
analysis on them. Basically the results (the charts are much too long
to reproduce here) are in rough accordance with the clustering at the
book level, but the chapters from Paul's letters tended to group
somewhat haphazard together in a much larger cluster without much
distinction between books. I made separate clustering runs, based on
common vocabulary, common phrases, and characteristic phrases. (For
terminology, see my previous post in March.)
There are three interesting clusters that showed up over and again:
1. The Johannine Epistles
They always were clustered with the Gospel of John, but consistently
grouped first with John 14-17 before joining the rest of the gospel.
This true for vocabulary and phrases.
2. Infancy Narratives (Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2)
These four chapters always ended up in a cluster quite distinct from
the rest of Matthew and Luke. Interestingly, Acts 7 (Stephen's speech)
is always with them; and less frequently Acts 6 and 12 join. I have
no idea what to make of this relationship.
Almost all of the Pastoral chapters end up in the same cluster in every
run. As far as common vocabulary is concerned, the Pastorals are quite
distinct from the core Paulines. However, the results for common and
characteristic phrases are strikingly different: they cluster with the
*last* chapters of some of the core Pauline Epistles. For common
phrases, the Pastorals are seen with 1Cor 16, Rom 16, 1Th 3, 5, and Php
1. For characteristic phrases they group with 1Cor 16, Rom 16, Heb 13,
2Cor 11-13, Gal 6, and Php 4. A possible implication is that the
Pastorals, on their face very personal, tend to group with the most
personal sections (i.e, the final exhortations greetings) of Paul's
Stephen Carlson : Poetry speaks of aspirations, : ICL, Inc.
firstname.lastname@example.org : and songs chant the words. : 11490 Commerce Park Dr.
(703) 648-3330 : Shujing 2:35 : Reston, VA 22091 USA
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 22:19:37 -0400
Subject: Re: Revelation and the Canon ...
Larry, you are "preaching to the choir" here, that is, I don't disagree
with anything you have said in your response. You are apparantly responding
to my last note on "RE: Revelation and the Canon" which was an brief (and
unfortunately generalized) explanation of a few things I said earlier in the
But let me make a brief response to clarify myself.
First of all, I think it is somewhat of a MYSTERY as to how the canon
was created. In some ways it is like a detective story with clues left
Yes we have "primary sources", and yet these are mostly clues to how the
process of canonization took place. Some are earlier, some are later, and
there is some dispute of the value of the various primary sources as to their
Other clues include Early father's usage of Scripture, and later
material like Gaius and Proclus' debate and Eusebius' history.
Then there are other clues, such as "motives" the church MIGHT have had
in choosing certain books, and the apostolicity issue is one, although a
secondary issue, for sure (which I totally agree with you). And NOTE: I DID
use the word "possibility" to connote a conjecture, rather than equating my
hypothesis with primary sources.
Since there remains some mystery about the canonical process, I think it
is appropriate to put forth informed hypothesis. Your remark
that such a hypothesis was a....
>mere suggestion that it is so bears about as much weight
>as if I suggested that you were a Martian tapping into the >Net-conjecture
is a waste of bandwidth
may be understandable in that you were responding to my abreviated comments
explaining earlier remarks I made in the thread. I think the fact that we
DON'T have enough primary sources that explain the canonical process lends us
to making hypothesis and conjecture that can be helpful to some degree in
reconstructing early church practice.
I would assume you would agree with this, but if you don't, please
correct me. You yourself make comjectures: e.g., you say that the names of
the NT books were "fixed probably by the last decade of the first century-so
within 20 years of their writing" --- and you proceed then to use this
conjecture to further your argument.
And such discussion is not a waste of bandwidth, but a part of our common
search for truth.
Anyway, like I said, you were responding to my brief explanation of
earlier arguments that included even some of which you said in your response,
which I appreciated.
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 22:59:49 -0400
anyone doubt the identification of Babylon with Rome?)>>
Yes I think it refers to Jerusalem myself. Babylon's destruction is the
destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD Since "John" calls Jerusalem sodom, it is
not to much of a reach to say this. I misspoke a little. I said 60 when I
meant 60's. Anyone who wants to read a defense of this can read Gentry's Book
Before Jerusalem Fell. Or read the appropriate chapter in Robinson's Redating
the New Testament. (Although He advocates Galba as the sixth head)
> book begins by calling itself an apocalypse and is full of
> apocalyptic motifs>>
THis seems a little anachronistic to me. When "John" wrote Revelation
"apocalypse" was not a term that meant what we mean when we say it today.
<<No need to depart from standard and reasonable interpretation
here that these heads of the beast refer to Roman emperors.
Five are past at the time of writing of Revelation: Augustus,
Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. The sixth "is"--
this is Galba, who ruled for a period of only six months,
from June 68 to January 69.>>
4 Ezra also has a monster that clearly is Rome. It has more heads because
Ezra was written later. 4TH EZRA STARTS WITH JULIUS CAESAR! So does Barnabus
(although he counts the 3 emperors and I do not) and the Sibylline Book 5
does too. So the sixth head is Nero. The deadly wound that is healed is the
death of Nero and the end of the Julian dynasty, followed by its healing in
the next series of Emperors, skipping over Galba and going to Vespasian the
seventh and Titus and the eight who is of the seventh.
To me He who restains in II Thess is Claudius I do not think that Neron
Caesar adding up to 666 in hebrew is a coincidence. (OR Nero Caesar to 616 is
no coincidence either)
<< But they do appear to reflect expectations of a
returning, surviving Nero from the east>.
I do not agree. I think the Nero revived is foreigh to Revelation. It is the
concept of Emperior and the empire that is revived.
<<See, for example, the neat chart on page 2330 of the
HarperCollins Study Bible (the SBL-sponsored one, edited by Wayne Meeks).
There are eight--count them, EIGHT--different ways of counting the
emperors signified in Rev. 17.>.
If this means modern ways yes there names are legion. But I am not aware of
any in antiquity that do not begin with Julius. Does anyone recall any? How
we count is not important, how they counted means everything
<<An alternate interpretation for Revelation can be found in an excellent
by David Chilton, called Days of Vengeance, Dominion Press,1987 Ft. Worth
I can not recommend this book. Gentry belongs to the same school,
reconstructionist, but it is much superior and only address the issue under
As to why I believe it is early, in addition to what is already mentioned, it
is the prophecy itself. It says that the book will shorty come to pass. How
short is two thousand years?
Sorry for the delay I just got back from SOR in Tulsa this week end.
From: Rick Strelan <R.Strelan@mailbox.uq.oz.au>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 13:38:35 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: young man
Being that time of the year, I was rereading Mark 14 and thinking again
about the strange young man of 14:51-52. I'm aware of the usual
explanations linking him with baptism and with the resurrection,
but there is another possibility which I'd like to float. What
made me think along these lines was an article (by whom I now forget)
which suggested that the man whose ear was cut off was in fact a priest
who was rendered unclean by the maiming. Now, is it possible that the
young man (neaniskos) is also a servant of a priest, if not some kind of
priest himself? Linen was worn by priests (Lev 6:10; 16:4,32 for example)
and Ex 28:42 makes it clear that the purpose of wearing thelinen was to
cover up their naked flesh. Is this episode some kind of exposure of the
"men of the cloth"?? Is it coincidental that jesus is then immediately
taken to the high priest and charged with being unclean by blaspheming
Just a thought.
Dr Rick Strelan
University of Queensland
From: Carl W Conrad <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 22:42:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Jerusalem/Babylon
One more note on Revelation, with a couple points. (1) I am personally
rather skeptical of any exhaustively elaborated interpretation of the
book such that its imagery and poetry is reduced to philosophic prose (as
it is said Bultmann's demythologization sought to reduce the gospel to
the existentialist philosophy of Heidegger). Maybe this is a hard-headed,
stiff-necked skeptical bent in me, but the book seems to me not to be so
much a sequential representation of salvation history rushing to its
climax so much as a view through a kaleidoscope at salvation history,
such that, a turn of the cylinder (or, to shift the metaphor to that of
Henry James, a turn of the screw) opens up a new vista wherein the same
panorama of events of salvation history is set forth in altered images.
To be sure, however, there is decisive movement to resolution at the end.
(2) Although I have said that I believe Babylon is indeed representative
of Rome, I wouldn't fixate upon a single equation. It is Jerusalem as
well, and it is Sodom, and it is Babylon itself. It seems to me that one
recurrent image that is transformed in course is the CITY, the city as
the focal gathering place of collective human self-worship and supreme
idolatry, the city and civilization symbolized by the Tower of Babel from
which Abraham fled toward a promised land, Jerusalem and Samaria, their
promise and desecration, Rome as an ingathering symbol of human
collective self-worship in the image of Caesar, but ultimately the city
of salvation, the new Jerusalem, the City of God. I think there are other
symbols that run throughout and undergo transformations also, the Woman,
for instance. But I shall not extend this any further.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
End of b-greek-digest V1 #649
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