The Intertexture of Apocalyptic Discourse in the New Testament

The Intertexture of Apocalyptic Discourse in the New Testament

The Intertexture of Apocalyptic Discourse in the New Testament

The Intertexture of Apocalyptic Discourse in the New Testament

Synopsis

The essays in this volume identify apocalyptic discourse in the New Testament and examine its intertexture, that is, what the apocalyptic discourse represents, refers to, and uses of phenomena outside itself. Intertexture includes references in the Hebrew Bible, intertestamental texts, and Greco-Roman literature, as well as related social and cultural phenomena. Contributors identify the biblical writer's selection and use of the intertextural references in argumentative strategies in apocalyptic discourse. They identify topics and argumentation that might be distinctive to apocalyptic discourse, refining the definition of the apocalyptic genre and determining more precisely the social and cultural placement of early Christianity. This volume arises out of a special session of the Rhetoric and the New Testament Section of the Society of Biblical Literature 1999 Annual Meeting. The contributors to the volume are include L. Gregory Bloomquist, David A. deSilva, James D. Hester, Edith M. Humphrey, B. J. Oropeza, Vernon K. Robbins, Russell B. Sisson, Wesley Hiram Wachob, and Duane F. Watson. Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).

Excerpt

Duane F. Watson

The contributions to this volume were presented in a panel discussion on the topic of “The Intertexture of Apocalyptic Discourse in the New Testament.” The panel was part of the program of the Rhetoric and the New Testament Section of the Society of Biblical Literature at the Annual Meeting in Boston in 1999. The steering committee of this section chose the following definition of apocalyptic discourse that was used by all the panelists to guide the discussion and the writing and rewriting of these contributions: “Apocalyptic discourse reconfigures our perception of all regions of time and space, in the world and in the body, in light of the conviction that God will intervene to judge at some time in the future.” In addition, another helpful way to define further the nature and components of apocalyptic discourse was used by several contributors:

Apocalyptic discourse refers to the constellation of apocalyptic topics as
they function in larger early Jewish and Christian literary and social con
texts. Thus, apocalyptic discourse should be treated as a flexible set of
resources that early Jews and Christians could employ for a variety of per
suasive tasks. Whenever early Jews and Christians appealed to such topics
as visions and revelations, heavenly journeys, final catastrophes, and the
like, they were using apocalyptic discourse.

Using these definitions, contributors identified apocalyptic discourse and topoi in their assigned portions of the New Testament. They then proceeded to identify the intertexture of the apocalyptic discourse. Intertexture involves the use of tradition and texts in a new text and the relationship between the old and the new as meaning is created. It also explores how social and cultural systems provide the meaning in textual composition. In its initial ventures into intertextuality, biblical studies has

Greg Carey and L. Gregory Bloomquist, eds., Vision and Persuasion: Rhetori
cal Dimensions of Apocalyptic Discourse (St. Louis: Chalice, 1999), 10.

Resources on intertextuality include Jay Clayton and Eric Rothstein, eds., Influ
ence and Intertextuality in Literary History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press,
1991); John Hollander, The Figure of Echo: A Mode of Allusion in Milton and After . . .

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