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The Structure of the Apocalypse. Re-examining a Perennial Problem

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The ongoing debate on the literary structure of the Apocalypse has invoked to varying degrees the major contributions of A. Yarbro Collins, E. Schüssler Fiorenza, and J. Lambrecht. These have generally argued for an outline based primarily on a septenary pattern (Yarbro Collins), a form-content configuration pattern (Schüssler Fiorenza), or a progressive recapitulation pattern (Lambrecht). Yet few have recognized that these patterns do not necessarily preclude one another and that all three of them pertain to the unique style of the author which a discernment of his structure cannot do without. Taking these three patterns as its starting point, this article would further argue that although largely overlooked, the oralauricular setting of the book and the climactic character of its final New Jerusalem vision are just as critical to a discernment of the author's structure. The resulting blueprint is then verified by means of its transitions, symmetry, and centre.


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