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The Elusive Macrostructure of the Apocalypse of John

The Complex Literary Arrangement of an Open Text


Roman Mach

The author applies Umberto Eco’s literary theory of the open work to the perennial problem of the literary macrostructure of the Apocalypse. Revisiting the complexities of its genre, intertextuality, language and communication, he cumulatively traces all indications of literary openness in Revelation. Then the book discusses the extraordinarily diverse scholarly approaches and analyses from this viewpoint. As a result, John’s multiple and varied structural signals are recognised as demonstrably clustered within specific subsections – complex transitions creating a specifically open literary arrangement. More generally, the wider concept of literary openness is offered as a theoretical framework applicable to the specific complexities of some apocalyptic writings.
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This project could not have been successfully completed without the gracious help of other persons. I would, therefore, like to express my gratitude here to those who contributed to this research most significantly.

Dr. Rollin Grams helped me to map the field of research during the initial years. Dr. Stephen Finamore patiently supervised my research after the sad demise of Prof. Popkes. I am indebted to the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague in general for the academic excellence and warm Christian attitude manifested incessantly throughout the years.

My special thanks belong to Prof. Dr. Wiard Popkes, my first specialised supervisor, for his enthusiasm for my research question and its literary direction, his inspiring guidance and uncompromising scholarly requirements; to Dr. Parush R. Parushev for his excellent academic direction of the whole project and for his cordial personal engagement in it; and to Mrs. Nancy Lively for her excellent and creative proofreading of my long text.

My very special thanks belong to my beloved wife Hana. I could not have devoted a great deal of the last 12 years of my life to this research without her precious personal sacrifices.

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