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RE: [revelation-list] The Seven Thunders

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  • Jon Newton
    My research also involves interacting with Hellenistic thinking. Please tell me more about Momigliano (like where can I get hold of it?) and other good sources
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 11, 2004
      My research also involves interacting with Hellenistic thinking. Please tell
      me more about Momigliano (like where can I get hold of it?) and other good
      sources on ancient astrology and Hellenistic thought relevant to Rev. I've
      read Malina's provocative book.

      jon Newton

      -----Original Message-----
      From: STAFF FACULTY [mailto:charles.larkin@...]
      Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 10:00 AM
      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [revelation-list] The Seven Thunders

      Dear Keith, et al:

      I'm new to the list and appreciate my inclusion.

      I find myself approaching much of the NT from the
      background of the classics and Hellenistic philosophy,
      with due regard, of course, for the Hebrew background.

      I concur with Polycarp that the "seven thunders" imply a
      context of judgment. A Greek or Roman, on hearing of
      "thunders" would have immediately thought of the
      thunderbolts of Zeus. That's just the way the ancients

      It is perhaps helpful to recall that John's target
      audience is Graeco-Roman and that interest in astrology
      and the movements and nature of the stars continued to
      exercise a major influence in ancient "divination". Varro,
      Cicero and Nigidius Figulus, of course, stand out as
      Rome's three major sources on matters "divine".

      In his characteristically brilliant collection of essays
      "On Pagans, Jews and Christians", A. Momigliano tells us
      that the interests of Nigidius included "occultism,
      astrology, and Persian doctrines about the ages of the
      world. He wrote on grammar, on gods, on the
      interpretation of dreams, and augurium privatum, on
      animals, men, and land, and on stars and thunders." (p.60)

      Interpreters of "Revelation" are often hindered by today's
      widespread ignorance of the Greek and Roman classics, and
      by the modern prejudice against astrological wisdom. The
      latter may be fine for us, but failing to appreciate the
      central role of astrology among the ancients is often
      fatal to understanding the meaning of their texts.

      A case in point is the figure of "the son of man" in
      Daniel which later assumes prominence in the Gospels. New
      Testament scholars engage in all kinds of contortionist
      mental gymnastics trying to derive the awkward Greek
      phrase in the New Testament from a postulated Aramaic
      original. With all due respect to Mel Gibson, the use of
      Aramaic in Hellenistic Galilee is greatly overrated. Greek
      would have been the normal language by the first century

      In any event, in astrological science, the "son of man" is
      obviously Aquarius, the only human figure among the signs
      of the Zodiac. Thus, when in the Little Apocalypses of
      the Gospels, Jesus says that "when you see the SIGN of the
      son of man coming in the clouds of heaven", he is speaking
      in the language of the day and pointing to the end of the
      Age of Pisces (The Fish), which had then just begun, and
      was looking forward to the Age of Aquarius, which has now
      just dawned, since astrological ages run just short of
      2,000 years. An invaluable treatment of all this can be
      found in Carl G. Jung's great final masterpiece "AION:
      Researches Into The Phenomenolgy of the Self", (Princeton
      University Press, 1959).

      Thus, too, when Jesus tells his disciples to go into
      Jerusalem and look for a man carrying a jug of water on
      his shoulder (something a Semite never would be caught
      dead doing!)in order to lead them to the place where they
      would celebrate the Last Supper, Jesus is signifying that
      the Messianic Banquet is to be held at the time of dawning
      of the Age of Aquarius, i.e., just about the year AD 2000,
      since the Sign of Aquarius is precisely the man carrying a
      jug of water on his shoulder.

      The sacred system of Sevens found in "Revelation" also has
      astrological significance in terms of the "ages of the
      world" and in terms of the "six days of creation" followed
      by the great Seventh Day. On 'the ages of the world', see
      also A. Momigliano's "The Origins of Universal History" in
      the above referenced collection of essays. The genius of
      Momigliano lies in his unique ability to wed Talmudic
      wisdom with classical scholarship. Would that we all
      could even approximate the vast fund of learning which he
      had so graciously mastered.

      Hope this may be helpful -- and glad to be aboard!

      Charles Gerard Larkin
      Department of Philosophy and Religion
      Saint Leo University / Savannah Center
      (912) 234-5687 Home

      On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 02:24:55 EST
      polycarp66@... wrote:
      >In a message dated 3/6/2004 2:16:05 AM Eastern Standard
      >Time, keith_starkey@... writes:
      >Once the thunders are uttered and their contents
      >conceiled, the open-scroll is given to John; he must
      >prophecy again (either in style of a Genesis chapter two
      >recap of chapter one, or with brand-new information) about
      >many peoples, nations, languages, etc. His prophecy
      >is--what else--judgement. I believe, therefore, that
      >John's scroll is not specifically the contents of the
      >thunders--since John does, in fact, reveal his "again"
      >prophecies as irrupting from having eaten the scroll--but
      >that the thunders are in the context of the scroll. What
      >this means is that we are not to loose site of the hidden
      >specifics of the thunders--they are not directly uttered
      >in John's prophecy--but, from OT passages, are directly
      >linked to the scroll. If nothing else, they are
      >contextualized in judgement(s).
      >What function then do the thunders serve? Is it in the
      >nature of thunders, etc. in a theophany? The problem is
      >that such thunders are not said to have been intelligible.

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