Thanks to you and Bob for a stimulating discussion. Hopefully, a few
personal end-notes won't strain the patience of yourself and others
1. 'predict' v. 'foretell'
You may have noticed an absence of the word 'predict' from my later
notes. It does seem to have certain connotations that would seem to
presuppose an answer to the question of what precedes the utterance.
'Foretell' seems more neutral, hence a better choice.
2. the emic/etic distinction
The distinction itself seems clear enough, but the more one mulls
over how it might be applied to what actually goes on in critical
exegesis, the murkier things get. At first, it seemed to be just
the distinction that was needed to differentiate critical from
uncritical scholarship, but that now seems questionable. Important
as this subject might be, however, it's undoubtedly best pursued
This discussion having started before the SBL meeting in Atlanta,
a collection of commentaries caught my eye as I was perusing the
book booths there one day. The commentary on Revelation in this
particular collection was written by Craig Evans. I didn't have
time to do much except scan the first couple pages, but what
particularly struck me was Evans' comment that the term 'prophecy'
was notoriously difficult (my words, not necessarily an exact
quote). Unfortunately, I either didn't read or don't recall
precisely what difficulty he had in mind, or whether he provided a
suggested resolution to it, but it's comforting in a way that we
haven't been just spinning our wheels on questions that've been
answered to everyone else's satisfaction.