Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do we need to revive the "Historicist" reading of Revelation.

Greg asks "do we need to revive the Historicist interpretation of Scripture?" I have of course argued in the past that we need to revive the Christological-typological reading of Scripture, as well as other exegetical practices of the Reformers and the orthodox dogmaticians. Nevertheless, in this area, I would not follow the Reformers.

The advantage of the typological-Christological interpretation of Scripture is that it allows the Bible to be its own interpreter. After all, we are told in Revelation that "the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus."

The difficulty with the "Historicist" reading of Revelation is that can very easily turn into free-association. Different authors that I've read in this vein read different events in Church history into Revelation with little or no justification. Therefore there is no control on this particular reading of revelation.

In the same way, this means that the symbolic and typological elements of Scripture are not allowed to interpret themselves, but rather an alien concept of how Church history is working itself out is allow the govern our interpretation. I mean, that, depending on how you see Church history working out and what events you consider to be most significant, you will formulate a basic structure to Church history. You will then, in turn, impose this on the text of Revelation.

Therefore, I think that the Historicist interpretation of the book of Revelation is best left in the past.

1 comment:

  1. Your right about a historicist interpretation being dependant on your reading of Church history. One advantage it does have is that lay people are facinated by it. The futurists have a reading of Prophecy that has great appeal but so do the historicists. The SDA have excite their crowds with their reading of revelation.