I was pleased to find out recently that my paper was accepted for the 2019 Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, November 20–22.
Here is the title and abstract of the paper.
Semantic Boundary Markers in Rev 12:1—15:4 and Structural Implications
This paper analyzes Rev 12:1—15:4, which is a neglected section in the Book of Revelation with respect to semantic boundaries and the implications for the larger structure of the book. This paper encourages viewing this unit as a parenthetical section pausing the judgment narrative at the completion of the trumpets septet, in order for John to develop major participants and events in the cosmic drama. After which, John picks up once again the judgment narrative with the bowls septet in Rev 15:5—16:21. This paper will identify signaling discourse devices in this section that indicate these semantic shifts. First, it is explained why this section’s demarcations have not been agreed upon by scholars. Second, the question is explored of how John uses signaling devices to introduce major participants in this apocalyptic episode. Third, the semantic boundary markers are identified establishing Rev 12:1—15:4 as a unified, cohesive section, realizing a strategic function for John’s purpose. Fourth, previous interpreters are surveyed concerning this section as it relates to the larger structure of Revelation. Fifth, a fresh proposal is offered relating the unit to its immediate co-textual units and to the larger structure of Revelation. It should go without saying that no single instance of a discourse marker should be given absolute sufficient weight. It is the cumulative evidence of discourse signals that the interpreter must consider. In addition, some signals are more significant than others so there is a cline of importance.
Incidentally, understanding this major section of the Book of Revelation (12:1—15:4) has implications for the prewrath understanding of the structure of the Book of Revelation, since it functions as a parenthetical section rather than as a progressive section. I believe if the interpreter misconstrues this section, it affects their larger understanding of the structure of the book. For example, not a few interpreters are tripped up by the reference to the beast’s persecution of Christians in chs. 12:1—15:4 mentioned after the narrative of the seals and trumpets, as if the beast arrives on the scene after the trumpet judgments of God’s wrath! The cause of this confusion results from not recognizing the parenthetical nature of chs. 12:1—15:4.