Friday, September 11, 2009

Apocalyptic Language Is Revolutionary Language

(Apocalyptic Horizon, by Colin Miller)

Biblical apocalyptic language is not "other-wordly" language, but the language of revolution. N.T. Wright writes:

First-century Jewish apocalyptic, is not the same as “end-of-the-world.” Instead, it invests major events within history with their theological significance. It looks, specifically, for the unique and climactic moment in—not the abolition of—Israel’s long historical story. We must: renounce literalism, whether fundamentalist or scholarly. Apocalyptic is the symbolic and richly-charged language of protest, affirming that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven—not in some imagined heavenly realm to be created after the present world has been destroyed. In particular, apocalyptic is the language of revolution: not that YHWH will destroy the world, but that he will act dramatically within it to bring Israel’s long night of suffering to an end, to usher in the new day in which peace and justice will reign.

“Apocalyptic” therefore is the natural context for a truly subversive “wisdom.” Wisdom and folly within this worldview are not abstract or timeless. They consist in recognizing (or failing to recognize) that the long-awaited moment is now arriving. Apocalyptic and wisdom fit snugly together, and are mutually reinforcing."