The canonical adventure of the Apocalypse of John: An Eastern Orthodox perspective


Michael, George Michael. (2002). The canonical adventure of the Apocalypse of John: An Eastern Orthodox perspective [Thesis].
AuthorsMichael, George Michael
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The dissertation investigates the circulation, reception, and traditional usage of the Apoc in the Ancient Church. It begins with the initial publication of the Seer's book on Patmos AD c. 95, and concludes with Athanasius of Alexandria in the canonical context of his 39th Festal Epistle delivered in AD 367. The fundamental methodology behind the research is the examination of the Apoc's transmission in connection with the criteria of canonicity. Linked to this method (by the present writer), is the canonical criticism approach which considers the function of a sacred book in its reception history and the basis for its commendation by the believing community. This approach, in the framework of Church and/ or Canon Consciousness, proved to share common ground with a theology of Canon from the viewpoint of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the context of Holy Tradition. The criteria alone, however, were not sufficient to guarantee the authoritative reception which would be accorded to an "apostolic" document. So began the second major investigation into what other factors could have combined to secure the Apoc's ultimate entry into the NT Canon. One of these factors is the mixed genre of the book with its strategic ambiguity which enabled it to rise above chiliast and post chiliast interpretations. More important is the high ecclesiology of the Seer's work with its emphasis on the community of faith, a theology which could not be ignored by the book's first flesh-and-blood readers. From the start, as the Apoc was transmitted by successive Christian generations, it was one of the most solid contenders for inclusion in the list of the authoritative writings of the NT. It is a principal aim of the thesis to make this early history of transmission clear and to demonstrate conclusively that the popularly held position that the book was initially poorly received (at least in the East), or that it made it into the NT Canon more so by a combination of accidents than by its own critical right to be there, is demonstrably flawed.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research GroupSchool of Theology
Publication dates
Online01 Jun 2002
Additional information

Please note, some characters in the main body were not successfully ported into PDF, due to the Greek font that was originally used in the thesis. In these instances, reference will need to be made to the original hard copy thesis.

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