Revelation mailing list: Dissertation Abstracts 2.001: Wilson: A Pie in a Very Bleak Sky?
A Pie in a Very Bleak sky? Analysis and Appropriation of the Promise
Sayings in the Seven Letters to the Churches in Revelation 2-3.
Mark Wayne Wilson (email@example.com)
Oral Roberts University
submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in the subject Biblical Studies
at the University of South Africa
Promoter: Prof H.A. Lombard
This study of the promise sayings elucidates the motif of victory as
the book's macrodynamic theme. Through intentional examination, the
thesis finds the issue epitomized throughout Revelation on two
levels_formally (re structure) and materially (re content). Jesus as
Victor over death and the dragon desires the Asian believers to be
prepared for his soon coming. The victors are promised
eschatological rewards if they overcome various internal and external
In mapping out the dramatic scenario Chapter 1 explores afresh such
background issues as authorship and audience. The pagan religious
environment, represented by the Artemis and emperor cults, is
demonstrated to be adversarial.
Chapter 2 looks at four situations in Revelation_the rhetorical,
historical, apocalyptic, and prophetic. Their composite exigences
point to an early dating in the late 60s.
Chapter 3 postulates that chiasmus is Revelation's macro-structure,
and a chiastic model is proposed.
Chapter 4 examines several proposed forms for the seven letters, such
as edicts, oracles, and epistles. We conclude that they are a mixtum
compositum_best called prophetic letters.
Chapter 5 explores the sociological significance of victory in the
Greco-Roman world. Through the use of language such as nikao and
images like the palm branch, John motivates his audience toward the
ideal of victory.
Chapter 6 investigates the text of the promises and their co-texts as
reflected intertextually in traditions of biblical literature. Local
references are also determined to contribute to a multivalent
interpretation of the promise imagery.
Chapter 7 surveys the eschatological fulfillment of the promises,
especially in the new Jerusalem. The rewards of spiritual provision,
heavenly place, and divine person serve to incite the saints to
Chapter 8 investigates the appropriation of the promises for the time
and the text world of Revelation. A multiplicity of functions for the
promise sayings is established. This study shows that the promises
function as prophetic parenesis to help the saints endure the coming
tribulation. The possibility and reality of such a fulfillment and
the appropriation of the promises allow us to postulate that these
promises to the victors are not vain pies in a very bleak sky!
Date of original posting on Revelation mailing list: 11 Jan 1998
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Opdateret d. 3.11.2001