At the 1988 annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in
Chicago I presented a paper entitled "Looking Both Ways: A Study of the
Duodirectionality of the Structural Seams in the Apocalypse." In that
paper I argued for a deliberate literary strategy of duodirectionality
on the part of the author. For me duodirectionality means that the
structural seams of the Book of Revelation function both as the climax
of a preceding structure and the introduction to the next. I would
understand Rev 21:1-8 to be such a duodirectional seam. I include the
abstract below. Copies of the paper (never got around to preparing it
for publication) are available from me upon request at jonp@...
Recent literature has noted that the structural seams or
boundaries of the Apocalypse are not hard and fast, but allow for
thematic and structural interaction between sections of the book.
Schüssler Fiorenza, for example, describes what she calls "intercalation
of texts," a compositional technique that divides elements that belong
together, making attempts at structuring the book quite difficult.
Leonard Thompson, in his paper presented at the 1985 Annual Meeting in
Anaheim, implied that the structural seams of the Apocalypse are "soft
boundaries." Sufficient attention has not been given, however, to the
boundary structures themselves.
Perhaps the most significant structural seam in the book of
Revelation comes at the center of the book, Rev 11:18,19. While 11:18
contains the content of the seventh trumpet, which climaxes the seven
trumpet structure, it also incorporates a cryptic summary of the rest of
the book. Similarly, Rev 3:21; 8:1,2; 14:9-11 and 17:18 all function as
both the climax of a preceding structure and the introduction to the
next. This duodirectional language structure, therefore, appears to be
intentional on the part of the author. Since commentators have observed
that passages in the Gospel of John such as 2:1-11 and 4:46-54 are
similarly duodirectional, the structural parallelism between the two
books may suggest that they in some way partake of a common tradition.
Jon Paulien, Chair
New Testament Department
From: Ariel Alvarez Valdes [mailto:arialvavaldes@...
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2003 12:04 PM
Subject: [revelation-list] On Rev 21
I am working on Rev 21:1-8. I would like to know what
do you think about the possibility to join this
paragraph with the precedent or posterior section of
the book. IN fact, Aune´s commentary joins 21:1-8 with
the precedent section, i.e. 19:11-21:8 as "The final
defeat of God´s remaining foes". But according with F.
Comblin it is part of 21:1-22:5. Thank you.
Ariel Alvarez Valdes
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