Monday, November 29, 2010

Revelation from a Historical Critical Approach

Last Sunday I began a series on the book of Revelation. Abandoning the typical approaches, I have opted to teach the Apocalypse using an historical critical method. This means I will attempt to interpret it in its socio-political context and explain what it meant to the original readers. This, of course, is a departure from the spiritual, preterist, and futurist schools of hermeneutics. You can access the lessons via video streaming at:


Barry K. Creamer said...

Not that my opinion matters, but I'm left wondering whether your exposition will simply point out what original readers would have thought or if it will actually imply that the boundaries of their readings limit the futuristic intent of the Revelation. If the former is the case, then it would be worthwhile to understand why immediate readers often get a text wrong, at least when they limit its intent to the immediate historical context (e.g., Isaiah 7:14). On the other hand (the latter case), I'm not quite sure how a divinely inspired text can be bound by its historically limited readers. Just a thought.

Already/Not Yet said...

Thanks Barry for the comment, which gives me an opportunity to clarify a point or two.

John's likely intent was to prepare his readers for the suffering and persecution that was about to be unleashed by Emperor Domitian (chaps 2-18).That seems to be the historical context; yet, he also speaks of the Lord's return to judge the wicked and establish his millennial reign (chaps 19-end). Thus John speaks prophetically on both counts; one dealing with the immediate future and the other a more distant future.

Isa 7:14 had historical relevance for the author, no doubt. But God intended it for something far greater, not intended by the author. Hence there is a sensus plenior or deeper meaning to the text.

I do not believe that a historical critical approach to a text necessarily precludes a deeper meaning.

Barry K. Creamer said...

Excellent. Thanks.