By Ian Boxall

This monograph explores the importance accorded to John's island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9) in the wider reception background of the Apocalypse. unlike the rather scant consciousness paid to John's island in glossy commentaries, this reception-historical survey finds either the higher prominence accorded to Patmos by means of previous interpreters, and the richer variety of readings the textual content has provoked.
These contain curiosity within the actual personality of Patmos and its value as an island; the date and cause of John's sojourn there; makes an attempt to find Patmos in a geography that's occasionally extra legendary than literal; the which means of the identify "Patmos" within the context of a biblical e-book which treats different place-names symbolically. This variety is supported via a detailed examining of Rev. 1:9, which highlights the level to which even its literal feel is very ambiguous.
Ian Boxall brings jointly for the 1st time in a coherent narrative a variety of interpretations of Patmos, reflecting varied chronological sessions, cultural contexts, and Christian traditions. Boxall is aware biblical interpretation generally, to incorporate interpretations in biographical traditions approximately John, sermons, liturgy, and visible artwork in addition to biblical commentaries.He additionally considers renowned and marginal readings along magisterial and centrist ones, and attracts analogies among related hermeneutical innovations around the centuries. within the ultimate bankruptcy Boxall explores the broader implications of his learn for biblical scholarship, advocating an process which inspires use of the mind's eye and reader participation, and which matches with a broader suggestion of 'meaning' than conventional old feedback.

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22 Tertullian thus underscores the involuntary nature of John’s time on Patmos. John did not seek Patmos out, either as a place of reflection or escape, but was exiled there by Roman authorities. Second, despite the choice of the verb relegatur, Tertullian clearly knows the form of the legend (common in later lives of John) whereby the Emperor Domitian had John plunged into boiling oil outside the Latin Gate in Rome, before banishing him to Patmos. 23 The fact that he does not expand on it suggests that it was a well-known tradition among Latin Christians, alongside that of Peter’s crucifixion and Paul’s beheading.

Doubts about the apostolic identity of John of Patmos were expressed, for example, by Dionysius of Alexandria and Eusebius. Neither Justin nor Dionysius refers specifically to Patmos, however. 2 Culpepper 2000. 3 Allenbach et al. 1975–1982; Gumerlock 2003. 5 An additional explanation lies in the essentially theological interests of those patristic authors whose interpretations of Revelation have survived, leading them to focus less on the narrative setting of John’s visions than on the content of the visions themselves, and prioritizing certain of these visions to the detriment of others.

Moreover, unlike modern historical critics, they recount this broader narrative for didactic and even imitative purposes. They are as concerned to invite reader participation as to recount the historia of the apostle. Within this early literal-biographical interpretation of Patmos, two strands emerge fairly consistently. The first interprets ‘on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus’ at Rev. 1:9 in terms of John’s exile to the island, normally though not universally attributed to a decree of the Emperor Domitian.

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