The Structure of the Apocalypse: Recapitulation or Progression?

Robert L. Thomas | May 18, 2010

The number of divisions of the Apocalypse, a longstanding problematic issue, finds its best resolution in allowing for the structural dominance of the numbered series in the book. Though a theory of recapitulation in dealing with those series has its merits, stronger evidence militates against such a system. A telescopic form of progression is not without its difficulties, but stronger evidence in its favor leads to the conclusion that it is the best solution. Attempts to combine recapitulation and progression fail because of the procedure’s hermeneutical shortsightedness. A number of chronological considerations bolster the conclusion that the telescopic explanation is correct. Recapitulation does play a supporting role in some of the book’s sections of intercalation, but the overall scheme of the book is that of progression, not repetition.

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