Revelation mailing list: Dissertation Abstracts 4.001: Stenström: The Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation. A Vision of the Ultimate Liberation or the Ultimate Backlash? A study in 20th Century interpretations of Rev 14:1-5, with special emphasis on feminist exegesis

Hanne Stenström (hanna.stenstrom@swipnet.se)

Doctoral dissertation publicly defended at Uppsala University April 10th, 1999 for the Degree of Doctor of Theology (New Testament EXEGESIS)

This 355 page study takes exegetical interpretations of Rev 14:1-5 as the point of departure for a discussion of how biblical scholars have understood their tasks and responsibilities. The study describes and participates in the discussion of the ethical and political dimensions of biblical scholarship. Special attention is paid to works by Pablo Richard, Adela Yarbro Collins, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Tina Pippin.
As a presupposition for the examination of interpretations, it is shown how the female/sexual imagery and purity language used in Rev 14:1-5 functions as basic structuring elements and carriers of meaning throughout Revelation and in the symbolic universe of the text. Rev 14:1-5 it is also shown to be a key text in Revelation’s androcentric construction of Christian identity. Although the female/sexual imagery has been subjected to numerous earlier studies, the function of purity language has often been neglected.
A major concern is to describe and participate in the current feminist exegetical discussion about feminist interpretation and evaluation of Revelation. In the feminist discussion of the interpretation of Revelation, basic differences within feminist biblical scholarship come to the fore, such as the question whether the feminist exegetical task may be limited to critique or if it must also be constructive, making it possible to reclaim the biblical texts for women. In her proposals for further feminist work with Revelation, the author argues that the primary feminist exegetical task in relation to Revelation must be analysis and critique. In response to claims that such a feminist exegetical work is in danger of being depoliticized, the author suggests how it can contribute to feminist work for social change.
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Date of original posting on Revelation mailing list: July 7th, 2000; corrected July 7th, 2000
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Abstracts intended for publication should be sent to the list owner Georg S. Adamsen (gsa@menighedsfakultetet.dk) after successful defence.

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