The genre of the Book of Revelation from a source-critical perspective
This is a small contribution to the current debate regarding the genre of the Book of Revelation. The study is motivated by the observation that John employs prolific sources both uniquely and generically. The results of prior source-critical studies are employed to delineate the scope and nature of John's sources. The specific source-critical contribution of this study is a detailed analysis of the manner in which John employs his sources with generic intent. However, the analysis is conducted in strict compliance with the dictates of the principles of generic criticism. For convenience, these principles and those of source criticism are not discussed until just prior to the generic analysis of Rev itself. But the initial chapters assume the principles to lay the necessary groundwork. A study of authorship and unity indicates that Rev is a unified whole, the work of a single author. Source criticism may therefore be confined alone to John's prolific allusions and punctiliar quotations. Generic definitions are deduced for classical OT prophecy and classical apocalyptic in turn. However, available data is far too sparse to permit similar results for NT prophecy or neo-apocalyptic. Accordingly, only the first two have any possible generic claim upon Rev. In strict generic terms Rev fails to qualify as classical apocalyptic, as indicated as well by source criticism. Generically, Rev also fails to qualify as classical prophecy. However, generic and source criticism concur that John makes strenuous efforts to match this paradigm, and falls only marginally short. He is certainly a neo-classical prophet, albeit with no generic companions. He dips his hands in several diverse families of sources. But he bathes himself in classical OT prophecy alone.