n HTS : Theological Studies - All the Apocalypse a stage : the ritual function of apocalyptic literature - research

Volume 75 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050


It has been made clear for quite some time that if the Bible has become a classic of Western culture because of its normativity, then the responsibility of the biblical scholar cannot be restricted to giving readers clear access to the original intentions of the biblical writers. It must also include the question: ‘What does a reading of the biblical text do to someone who submits to its world of vision?’ This is a question that has been especially significant in the study of apocalyptic literature, as all apocalypses are hortatory. The implication is that, even in the historical context in which the text was first produced, there is room to consider the earliest stages of audience interaction with the text. Interestingly, most studies making use of this model do not address what the implications of this kind of ‘reading as performance’ might be for today’s reader. This research argued that in the understanding of the biblical text as an oral performance, there is a need to leave room for all that happens to a text after it leaves the author’s hands. The method proposed urged ‘performers’ of texts to pay attention to how they bring themselves to interpretation. More specifically, this method aimed to make use of ritual and liturgy as the rhetorical or performative context within which biblical texts functioned and still function. This research thus proposed a liturgical-functional reading reading of biblical texts which integrates affective reading and the deliberate move from cognitive to affective processes.

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