Revelation mailing list: Dissertation Abstracts 6.001: Philip McCormack: The Nature of Judgment in the Book of the Revelation

The Nature of Judgment in the Book of the Revelation

Philip McCormack (philipmccormack@fsmail.net)

This 272 page D.Phil.-thesis was successfully defended at The Faculty of Humanities, The Institute of Theology, The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, on June 15th, 2001 and the D.Phil.-degree awarded July 4th, 2001. The examiners were the Reverend Doctor Steven Motyer of the London Bible College and the Reverend Professor J. Cecil McCullough of Union Theological College Belfast and Queen's University. Copies of the thesis are available in the University library.

This investigation into the nature of judgment in Revelation will demonstrate that John's use of this theme is highly developed and consistently woven throughout the Apocalypse. It is multivariate in its employment of its images and global in its effect.

This thesis will also establish, through a consideration of the theme of judgment in Apocalyptic works contemporary to Revelation and models of judgment found in the Old Testament, that John utilised images and ideas from a number of sources and freely modified them for his own purposes.

It will also prove that John's presentation of this theme shares more similarities with contemporary apocalypses, than with the model identified in the Old Testament.

The main conclusion which follows from an examination of the nature of judgment, covered in chapters two and three of this thesis, is to propose that the nature of judgment in Revelation is primarily punitive upon the unregenerate at the eschaton.

When this major theme is considered exegetically in the context of the parousia, in which it is set in the text of Revelation, judgment has no didactic or salvific element in John's understanding of it. This presentation of the nature of judgment may seem initially to be somewhat out of step with the clear images of hope contained in chapter 21-22v5, in which there is the clear revelation of the conversion of the nations. However, a consideration of three other important themes found in the Apocalypse, the combat motif, the salvation of the nations and the function and use of witness in Revelation, will reveal that a punitive understanding of judgment upon the ungodly may not only be defended but is consistent with these themes.

This thesis will endeavour to reach this conclusion and therefore make a contribution to scholarly research on the theme of judgment through; 1) the reading strategy employed - Biblical Literatlist; 2) the methodology utilized in considering the subject material - exegetical; 3) the comparison of the nature of judgment in Revelation with that in contemporary Apocalyptic works and the Old Testament.

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Date of original posting on Revelation mailing list: February 20th, 2002
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