>What I find most striking about Rev. is that it's saturated with allusions to
>the OT, which John must have known very well.
so are all the gospels, esp the synoptic ones.
>And I understand that it almost
>didn't get included in the NT canon (Council of Trent).
there was an extensive effort to exclude it, esp after the montanists in
the mid 2nd cn. it is actually excluded from most surviving copies of the
NT in greek from the 4th to the 12th cns. and has virtually no role in the
greek orthodox liturgy, as opposed to a more prominent one in the latin.
>Are these two items
>related? Do you mean to imply Rev. could be regarded as "too Jewish," or that
>some people might have seen it in that way?
in general the anti-millennial forces within xnty, both patristic and
"modern" historical, present millennialism (ie the belief that the kingdom
of heaven will be here on earth -- an idea with radical political
consequences), as a jewish notion. (it is -- almost all jewish messianic
scenarios are this-worldly.) it is, in their view, a later addition to a
purely spiritual xn message from jesus (the kingdom of heaven is within, is
not of this world, etc.). the way the church fathers liked to think of it
was that the literal-minded and simplistic believers that thought that
jesus' promises (meek to inherit the earth, etc.) were literally going to
happen in time were like the literal-minded jews who thought that laws like
circumcision and the sabbath were meant to be taken literally.
>Actually, I don't think of looking for signs that might foretell the future
>as particularly Jewish.
no. trying to fortell when the Lord's Day wd come, judgment day, the
Parousia in xn terms, was/is a widespread tendency in all the monotheistic
religions. but the issue with millennialism is what you expect to come,
not the timing.
>It was the pagans who were always checking their tea
>leaves, animal livers, or whatever. The prophets weren't supposed to be
>augurs--more like passive conduits for the word of God.
it's a bit more complicated than that. but grosso-modo, every culture
wants to know what's coming in the future and develops ways to
tell. judaism and its spin-offs, by anticipating that the next major
change wd be a cosmic (total and final) resolution to the problems of evil
in history, upped the ante considerably on what one looked into the future
for evidence of.