Магистерская диссертация KU Leuven

В 2015-2016 Вероника Андросова обучалась на англоязычной магистерской программе Теологического факультета Университета г. Лёвена (KU Leuven, Бельгия). Тема магистерской работы - «Эсхатологическое или историческое толкование видения четырех всадников (Откр 6:1-8): обзор современной литературы» / An Eschatological or Historical Interpretation of the Vision of the Four Riders (Rev 6,1-8): a Survey of Recent Literature. Научным руководителем был профессор, доктор Joseph Verheyden.

Здесь  можно прочитать текст работы на английском языке.

Аннотация работы: The present study analyses a famous motif of the book of Revelation – the vision of the four riders (Rev 6,1-8). The riders appear when the first four seals of the sealed book transmitted from God to the Lamb are broken (Rev 5). The dissertation presents a survey of the scholarly arguments on the status of the four riders and the message they are supposed to bring, with particular attention to the interpretation of the first rider, which is one of the most disputed images in Revelation.

The first chapter discusses three major approaches to the interpretation of Revelation: “futurist” (the emphasis is on the eschatology), “contemporary-historical” (the emphasis is on the response of John to the challenges contemporary for his addressees) and “idealist” (the emphasis is on general theological ideas relevant for Christians of all times). The value of the idealist approach consists in appreciating the metaphoric language of the book; it is often applied in combination with the other two. The contemporary-historical and the futurist approach are also linked: John sees an eschatological dimension in the historical events. This is why one motif can combine several possible backgrounds. The complex character of the book is reflected in the variety of the proposed structural models, which express different views on the linear progression or repetition in the narrative. The vision of the seven seals is more naturally to be understood not as a separate unit, a preparation for the end, rather than a parallel to the septet of the trumpets and bowls, the eschatological Exodus-like plagues.

The second chapter examines Rev 4-5, which provides the setting for Rev 6,1-8. In the vision of the heavenly throne the focus is on God as the Creator and Lamb as the redeemer, who alone is worthy to open the sealed book because it has achieved victory in its death and resurrection.  The book serves as a symbol of authority that Christ receives from God; it also symbolizes God’s salvific plan for the history of mankind till its eschatological end. The content of the book is likely to be shown in the following visions, so its disclosure starts with the vision of the four riders.

The third chapter evaluates the interpretations of that vision. The futurist approach sees the riders either as agents of divine judgment or as eschatological disasters heralding the end, with the first rider as the Antichrist. However, since the septet of seals probably refers to the time preceding the parousia, the contemporary and idealist approach are also applicable. Still, few historical correlations are found persuasive enough to provide a primary background. It is plausible that the last three riders are negative and represent wars, famines and pestilence in a metaphorical way, also expressing a critical view on the cruel and expansionist nature of the Roman empire. The first rider is also mostly viewed negatively, being associated with the Parthians and Apollo. The idealist approach helps to elucidate the general theological meaning of the riders: assuring that God is in control over human history, and that the disasters will be interwoven in His salvific plan. I argue that the riders are to be interpreted primary in an idealist perspective, as referring not only to the contemporary context of John, but to history in general. This view does not exclude the eschatological connotations of the riders because the idealist approach allows to emphasize a sense of realized eschatology in Revelation: eschatological salvation is already present since the victory of the Lamb.