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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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3 Other dimensions of literary openness in Revelation


3   Other dimensions of literary openness in Revelation

Now we are going to verify whether the genre-related indications of literary openness are continued also along other important lines of John’s writing, that is: the book’s unique language, intertextuality, and literary function (more specifically: communication). However, the literary logic of our observations leads us toward a different order: it will be more transparent if we begin with John’s intensive intertextuality here.

3.1   The intertextual dimension

Intertextuality represents an important (and intensive) literary quality of Revelation on the one hand, and a possible aspect of its literary openness on the other hand (as noted above). In order to substantiate the latter view, we are going to briefly review John’s intertextual strategy in the book.

3.1.1   The types of John’s use of the OT

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