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By Reynolds, Bennie H.

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To von Rad’s credit, he only knew about the first of these texts. A final important point about the language of apocalypses from von Rad is that the literary conventions used by the writers of apocalypses make some apocalypses malleable and easily appropriated for different times and purposes. While he held that the symbolic ciphers used in Daniel originally referred to particular people or entities, he believed the referents of some symbols changed even within the literary development of the Book of Daniel (and certainly in later interpretation).

Beyond the use of “figurative discourses” von Rad found other ways in which the language of apocalypse was to be distinguished from the language of prophecy. One such distinction is to be found in their varying strategies for describing history: The prophets certainly used allegorical code to present historical events of a certain kind (Is. VIII. 5-8, Ezek. , XXXI. ): but what they dealt with was isolated events in history, whereas apocalyptic literature tries to take the whole historical process together and objectify it conceptually.

D. Stalker; vol. II; New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 301-15. 61 Von Rad’s position is well known and often described. His main critique is that the respective conceptions of history in Prophecy and Apokalyptik are irreconcilable. , 303-08. Criticisms of von Rad have become more muted since scholars have recognized that the origin of apocalypses cannot be expressed in “either/or” terms. For example, Hans Peter Müller has outlined the important connection between features of apocalypses and Near Eastern mantic wisdom and his argument has been widely accepted.

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