Robyn J. Whitaker

Ekphrasis, Vision, and Persuasion in the Book of Revelation

[Ekphrasis, Vision und Überzeugung in der Offenbarung des Johannes.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-153978-7
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Published in English.
Robyn J. Whitaker interprets the Book of Revelation within the context of ancient rhetoric and religion. She argues that the author of Revelation uses a popular rhetorical tool, ekphrasis, to paint word-pictures of God that compete with material images to both critique image-making and simultaneously make an absent God present.
Robyn J. Whitaker demonstrates how a rhetorical analysis of the visions of God in the Book of Revelation reveals the persuasive role of the visions of God and the Lamb in John's argument against cultic images and worship. Through the rhetorical technique of ekphrasis, the author adapts his Jewish sources to make present a God who is perceived to be spatially or temporally absent. In doing so, he offers a verbal-visual image that seeks to combat the power of imperial cult images. Locating the text in its religious and rhetorical context, Robyn J. Whitaker argues that the author participates in an ongoing debate over whether writers or sculptors (artists) could best represent the gods; that is, whether God is best represented by words or images. John ultimately mounts an argument for the epiphanic power of words and of his text in particular as a way to encounter divine presence and, moreover, to facilitate worship of the divine.

Robyn J. Whitaker Born 1974; 2014 PhD in Bible (New Testament), University of Chicago Divinity School; has taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, The University of Chicago Divinity School, and New Brunswick Seminary; currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Instructor of Biblical Languages at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.


The following reviews are known:

In: Catholic Biblical Quarterly — 80 (2018), S. 545–547 (Scott D. Mackie)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 60 (2016), S. 178
In: Journal for the Study of the NT — 39.5 (2017), S. 94–95 (Pieter J. Lalleman)
In: Theologische Revue — 113 (2017), S. 295–297 (Beate Kowalski)