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RE: [revelation-list] Question on Revelation 6:2 bow

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  • John W. Marshall
    Steve and Joel, I guess the question circulating between Steve Black and Joel Wilhelm is what are communally accepted presuppositions for scholarly
    Message 1 of 35 , Oct 21, 2002
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      Steve and Joel,

      I guess the question circulating between Steve Black and Joel Wilhelm is
      what are communally accepted presuppositions for "scholarly discussions"
      that are required to be "academic and very professional" ? These
      characterizations are from our moderator, Georg Adamsen, in his description
      of this list. I'm inclined very much to the type of discussion Steve Black
      is gesturing to, though I'll admit that the historical critical
      metanarrative has yet to be succinctly articulated. On the other hand, I
      for one see no place in this place for arguments that are an extension of
      religious creeds. That's not what academic discussion is as far as I can
      tell.

      Responses?

      --jwm
      _____________________________________________________________________
      John W. Marshall Assistant Professor
      Department for the Study of Religion
      University of Toronto
      john.marshall@... 416.978.8122


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steve Black [mailto:sdblack@...]
      Sent: Saturday, October 19, 2002 5:24 PM
      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Question on Revelation 6:2 bow


      >Steve Black wrote:
      >I just realized this reference to the TV series "batman" might not be
      >very clear to anyone born after 1972 or so. What I meant by this
      >criptic reference was that your approach to the canon is a clear case
      >of special pleading, and seems to be based on a fideistic
      >circularity. While this might work in a church or in some
      >confessionalistic setting, it fails to meet acceptable scholarly
      >criteria, so that even if you believe in this fashion, you will need
      >*another argument* if you want to engage at a scholarly level.
      >
      >Steve,
      >I am a Van Tilian presuppositionalist, and believe reason itself
      >makes no sense, if a Transcendent God who is able to preserve His
      >own Scripture is not presumed (it becomes the chemical reactions in
      >your brain vs. the chemical reactions in mine). But of course this
      >is not the place for that debate to take place, and I don't desire
      >to do so, I would refer you to Van Til, Bahnsen, Plantinga, and
      >others for that task. But I would note here that what we start with
      >determines what we finish with, and thinking that John (or whoever)
      >composed an apocalyptic piece outside of Divine inspiration will
      >**obviously** determine very different results from thinking that
      >John was told by the resurrected Jesus to "Write in a book what you
      >see..."
      >I know we don't agree on the foundational issue, but do we agree
      >that the foundation determines the structure raised on it? Regards,
      >J. Wilhelm

      My concerns are not with this point of view, as such - but rather how
      do we engage people who hold views other than our own. In other
      words, is an given argument going to work if my dialogue partner does
      NOT share these certain convictions? To the case in point. The
      question as I understood it was whether John actually had a vision as
      reported in Rev. To base an argument on a particular view, in this
      case a "high" view of scripture will only be a convincing argument if
      my dialogue partner shares that high view of scripture. If they do
      not, then this argument will not work. As I understand the scholarly
      endeavor - the goal is to use arguments and logic that are shared by
      a wide range within the scholarly community, The wider the range the
      better. It very well might be that John had a profound spiritual
      experience that lay behind Rev - but an argument that tries to defend
      this merely be saying that the bible is canon will not be very
      persuasive - unless you happen to *also* believe that the bible is
      canon (canon in this case meaning not just a collective of texts, but
      a range of theological and epistemological commitments as to what
      canon means and includes). This latter approach is confessional - and
      will work just fine in confessional contexts - but it won't fly in
      another context. So if someone believes that John did actually have a
      vision, and they want to convey that understanding to someone else
      who does not so believe - an argument will be required that this
      second person will accept.

      --
      Steve Black
      Vancouver School of Theology
      Vancouver, BC
      ---

      Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...

      -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS



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    • Georg S. Adamsen
      Hi Jason, Interesting message to which I have a few comments. Sorry for the delay. ... It is certainly possible that Hab 3:9 is the OT scriptural basis, or at
      Message 35 of 35 , Nov 3, 2002
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        Hi Jason,

        Interesting message to which I have a few comments. Sorry for the delay.

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: coates [mailto:jasonnola@...]
        > Sent: Friday, October 18, 2002 1:01 PM
        > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [revelation-list] Question on Revelation 6:2 bow
        >
        >
        >
        > David Chilton points out that Habakkuk 3:9 is the OT
        > scriptural basis for
        > Revelation 6. (The Days of Vengeance, Tyler, Texas: Dominion
        > Press, 1987
        > p.186.) Christ is depicted here as the warrior-king of
        > Habakkuk carrying a
        > bow. The victory of the Redeemer over His enemies is seen in
        > Psalm 45 where
        > again the warrior-king is seen going forth conquering and to
        > conquer. (The
        > sense here is that conquest is ongoing and not yet completed.)

        It is certainly possible that Hab 3:9 is the OT scriptural basis, or at
        least, background. It could also be just a parallel. Habakkuk 3,
        however, describes a theophany, and Revelation describes the coming of
        both God and Christ as a theophany, or epiphany, if you like. I have
        argued in my thesis that it is important to be able to explain why God
        features so prominently in Revelation.

        Several scholars point to Psalm 45 as the background. In my thesis I
        have pointed to a large number of parallels between Psalm 45 and
        Revelation, but I was not able to show that Revelation contains any
        certain allusions to Psalm 45. I think, however, it is fair to conclude
        that Psalm 45 may provide us with a model for the understanding of
        Christ as the coming warrior-king. The wedding motif also seems to be
        present in both Psalm 45 and Revelation, as McIlraith, among others, has
        shown. This is one of the reasons why I suggest that Christ is depicted
        as a Warrior-Bridegroom in both texts, but especially in Revelation.


        >
        > I find it interesting that there is no mention of an arrow or
        > quiver of
        > arrows. The bow of the warrior-king is empty. One explanation
        > is that the
        > "one" arrow - Christ's redemption of man - was released, and
        > therefore any
        > act of Christ, such as the judgement and conquest of his enemies, is
        > predicated upon this.

        Bornkamm argued convincingly already in 1937 that it is part of John's
        narrative technique that he does not always mention everything. One of
        his (or his primary) argument was a careful comparison of Rev 14:14-20
        and 19:11-21. This article is rather important, but few seems to have
        read it. That there is no mention of an arrow or a quiver of arrows does
        therefore not necessarily mean that there were no arrows or quiver. It
        may rather be one example of his narrative technique.

        If Revelation employs theophany language -- and it does e.g. here and in
        6,12-17 -- then I think it is important to provide an explanation which
        fits the theophany concept. One could argue that John used theophany
        language without any notion of theophany. However, I wonder how any
        reader well acquainted to the OT (and the pervasive use of the OT in
        Revelation suggests that John assumed that his readers were acquainted
        with the OT) should have been able to see that. It would only have been
        possible if the texts itself makes clear that the theophany language is
        used without the very theophany notion. If this is indeed the case, then
        it should be easy for us to detect. Several studies have, however,
        argued that John makes use of the theophany concept.

        >
        > Chilton continues to offer some very interesting explanations
        > of where the
        > bow comes from, and how it fits in the scheme of judgement on apostate
        > Israel. (Op. cit. p186-7.)

        I am well aware that Chilton and others interpret the plagues as a
        judgment on apostate Israel. It is true that Revelation uses OT texts
        which describe that, but Revelation also uses a number of other texts
        which are concerned with the judgment on other nations. Indeed, I think
        that just as God's people is international, so are those who will be
        judged.

        One problem, which I think it unsatisfactorily answered by Chilton and
        other AD 70-interpreters, is what relevance the AD 70-judgment has for
        the seven cities of Asia. Another is what "every eye" in Rev 1:7 means.

        Georg S. Adamsen
        LSTA, Denmark
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