An Aural-Performance Analysis of Revelation 1 and 11

by Kayle B. de Waal (Author)
©2015 Monographs XVIII, 210 Pages
Series: Studies in Biblical Literature, Volume 163


This book breaks fresh ground in the interpretation of the Apocalypse with an interdisciplinary methodology called aural-performance criticism that assesses how the first-century audience would have heard the Apocalypse. First-century media culture is probed by assessing the dynamics of literacy, orality, aurality, and performance in the Gospels, parts of the Pauline corpus, and also Jewish apocalyptic literature. The audience constructs of informed, minimal, and competent assist the interpreter to apply the methodology. Sound maps and an aural-performance commentary of Revelation 1 and 11 are developed that analyze aural markers, sound style, identity markers, repetition, themes, and the appropriation of the message by the audience. The book concludes by examining the sociological, theological, and communal aspects of aurality and performance and its implications for interpreting the Apocalypse.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Advance Praise For An Aural-Performance Analysis Of Revelation 1 And 11
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Editor’s Preface
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction and Procedure
  • Chapter One: Literature Review and Methodology
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Oral-Biblical Criticism and Oral Patterning
  • Biblical Performance Criticism
  • Sound Mapping
  • Auditory NeuroScience
  • The Auditory Process
  • Methodology: An Aural-Performance Analysis
  • Chapter Two: The Authorial Audience and the Culture in John’s World
  • Introduction
  • A Brief Introduction to the Hearing Community in Revelation
  • An Audience-Oriented Approach
  • Audience Constructs
  • The Informed Audience
  • The Minimal Audience
  • The Competent Audience
  • Audience Markers
  • The Communicative Environment: A Rhetorical Culture
  • The Oral-Auricular Setting
  • Reader Recognition
  • Chapter Three: Ancient Performances and the Audience
  • Introduction
  • The Signficance of Oral Performance
  • The Influence of Greek Drama
  • Revelation’s Liturgical Setting
  • The Role of the Prophet-Performer
  • The Role of Gesture
  • Chapter Four: Aurality in the Ancient Literature
  • Introduction
  • The Importance of Hearing and Repetition
  • Hearing the Gospel of Mark
  • Hearing in Luke-Acts
  • Hearing the Gospel of John
  • Hearing Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
  • The Apocalypse of Abraham
  • Sound Map of Apocalypse Abraham 20
  • 2 Baruch
  • Hearing the Book of Revelation
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Five: An Aural-Performance Analysis of Revelation 1:1–21
  • Introduction
  • Sound Map of Revelation 1:1–20
  • Performance Translation
  • Word and Aural Analysis
  • Aural-Performance Commentary
  • To the Seven Churches
  • Coming with the Clouds
  • The Prophet-Performer, the Author, Authority and Character
  • The Day of the Visions
  • The “One like the Son of Man”
  • The Resurrected One
  • The Significance of Numbers
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Six: An Aural-Performance Analysis of Rev. 11:1–19
  • Introduction
  • Sound Map of Rev. 11:1–19
  • Performance Translation
  • Word and Aural Analysis
  • Aural-Performance Commentary
  • The Two Witnesses
  • The Beast and the City
  • The Seventh Trumpet
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Seven: Summary and Implications of This Study
  • Introduction
  • Summary
  • Aurality and Collective Identity
  • Aural-Performance, Narrative and Collective Memory
  • Performance as a Social Act
  • Re-hearing Revelation
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Select Index of Authors
  • Select Subject Index
  • Series index


Editor’s Preface

More than ever the horizons in biblical literature are being expanded beyond that which is immediately imagined; important new methodological, theological, and hermeneutical directions are being explored, often resulting in significant contributions to the world of biblical scholarship. It is an exciting time for the academy as engagement in biblical studies continues to be heightened.

This series seeks to make available to scholars and institutions, scholarship of a high order, and which will make a significant contribution to the ongoing biblical discourse. This series includes established and innovative directions, covering general and particular areas in biblical study. For every volume considered for this series, we explore the question as to whether the study will push the horizons of biblical scholarship. The answer must be yes for inclusion.

In this volume, Kayle de Waal analyses Revelation 1 and 11 from an aural performance perspective. While there have been an enormous number of scholarly studies done on the various aspects of the book of Revelation, this particular study explores a direction that generates an expanded perspective. The author focuses on ancient media culture and this expands the literary, social and theological trajectories of the book. The book explores the manner in which the message of Revelation would have been heard by the early Christian community for whom it was intended. He notes that “Insights from oral biblical criticism, oral patterning, sound mapping, auditory neuroscience and biblical performance criticism” are all ← xi | xii → incorporated into an interdisciplinary methodology. The result is a study that is certain to generate ongoing discourse, and will not only further expand the biblical horizon, but will do so in a direction that invites further conversation.

The horizon has been expanded.

Hemchand Gossai

Series Editor
← xii | xiii →



This book owes its existence to the generosity of my employer, Avondale College of Higher Education, and the research leave I was granted for the first six months of 2013. I was able to travel to the UK and spend a productive few weeks at Tyndale House in Cambridge. The staff were gracious and helpful and the environment was stimulating for serious writing and reflection. I came home calling Tyndale House “research heaven” for the outstanding facilities, the ability to work late into the night and the Christian spirit present among all the researchers there. For the rest of that time I was either in the Avondale library, the Moore College library in Sydney or at home on the dining room table. I must thank Drs Norman Young and Lindsay Morton for reading my work and making helpful comments to improve its quality. Any deficiencies that remain are solely my fault. I would also like to thank Drs David Barr and David Rhoads for writing endorsements. I must also thank Peter Lang for accepting it for publication.

My wife and children were kind enough to put up with piles of books being moved around the dining room and gracious to listen to all of my new ideas on how to understand the book of Revelation. My children spoiled me with neck rubs and asked questions of this novice on life in Asia Minor in the time of the Roman Empire. In fact their questions helped me to become a better teacher. My mum and dad, Allan and Margaret de Waal, showed a keen interest in my research and writing and would listen with intent as I explained my views to them. I will ← xiii | xiv → miss my conversations with my dad, who has now passed on. My wife, as always, supported my research endeavours, believed in me and kept me grounded with the importance of everyday life. I dedicate this work to my wife, Charmaine and our children Kerryn and Chare’. They mean the world to me and continue to bless me with the richness, beauty and wonder of life together. ← xiv | xv →



General and biblical abbreviations and citation conventions follow the The SBL Handbook of Style For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. Edited by Patrick H. Alexander, et al. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999.


XVIII, 210
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (July)
Apocalypse John's World aurality pauline
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XVIII, 210 pp.

Biographical notes

Kayle B. de Waal (Author)

Kayle B. de Waal is Head of the Avondale Seminary and Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Avondale College of Higher Education in Cooranbong, Australia. He received his MA in theology from the University of Kwazulu-Natal and his PhD in theology from the University of Auckland. He is the author of A Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation as well as a number of book chapters and peer-reviewed articles.


Title: An Aural-Performance Analysis of Revelation 1 and 11
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