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課程大綱

本課程的目標(Objectives)

1. 一般性導論(Introductory remarks)

1.1) 約翰的啟示錄在正典和教會中的地位(Rev. - Its place in canon and in the church)

1.2) 它在基督教會的講壇中的地位(Its role in the Christian preaching)

1.2.1) 不願意運用 --- 因為勇氣不足或者知識不足

1.2.2) 很喜愛運用 --- 它被解作是為我們這個時代而寫的。

1.3) 三個啟示錄中的實用例子 怎樣找出合適的的角度

1.3.1) 三個啟示錄中的實用例子

1.3.2) 6:9-11會使我們看得清楚啟示錄的角度:

1.3.3) 神的回答是:『還要安息片時』。

這個回應反映的角度(短時間)在全卷中也何以看到(1:1.3; 22:20)

1.4) 本課程的目的(Aim of this course)

2. 作者問題 (AUTHORSHIP)

2.2) 約翰福音和啟示錄的用語也有相似的地方。

2.3) 對於作者問題要作一個清楚的介定。

2.4) 作者對讀者提及自己的姓名;也指出是與讀者同代的人,值得我們留意:

 

本課程的目標(Objectives)

這個課程會強調約翰的啟示錄(Revelation of St. John)中猶太人啟示文學的特徵,作為這書卷的寫作背景。在研究選取的經文之前,會先探討解釋這書的基本問題(包括歷史性的研究及今日的應用。)

參考書(Text books)

Aune, David. Revelation, Dallas: Word, 1997

Boring, M.E. Revelation, John Knox Press1989

Mounce, R.H. The Book of Revelation, Eerdmans 1977

特別留意引言(the introductory chapters: Mounce pp.18-49; Boring pp. 1-62)

M.G. Reddish, Apocalyptic Literature, A Reader, Abingdon Press 1990.

學員要熟記堂上筆記(lecture notes) 啟示文學的選取段落(apocalyptic texts)

 

1. 一般性導論(Introductory remarks)

1.1) 約翰的啟示錄在正典和教會中的地位(Rev. - Its place in canon and in the church)

這書卷是新約中最難解的一卷。書中不少謎語。象徵性的用語和啟示文學的用語(: 七頭十角的龍; 海中來的獸; 得勝的基督騎著白馬穿著血紅的衣服。)引起了很多的討論甚至在教會中被人則疑它的地位。在新約正典中它曾被一些教父懷疑它的正典地位。特別是東方的教會(優西比烏 Eusebius), 它不被視為使徒的作品。主要是因為千禧年 millenium ( 20). 蒙他奴主義(Montanism)的興起,也影響人接納它進入新約正典。

 

1.2) 它在基督教會的講壇中的地位(Its role in the Christian preaching)

雖然在四世紀以降,啟示錄的正典地位已普通地被接受,但因著信徒對它的無所適從的態度,所以這書很少被應用。主要有兩種基本的立場(兩個極端):

 

1.2.1) 不願意運用 --- 因為勇氣不足 或者 知識不足

很強的距離感: 那些象徵 喻意很奇怪, 對信徒是難處多過安慰。

結果: 啟示錄很少被使用; 除了啟2-3 和一些特別的經節。在神學中它是在邊緣的地位。

 

1.2.2) 很喜愛運用 --- 它被解作是為我們這個時代而寫的。

信徒以它為推測神的時間表的主要參考資料。政治性的事件以啟示錄來解釋。

結果: 啟示錄成為教會的神學和生活的主要部份。

 

1.3) 三個啟示錄中的實用例子 或 怎樣找出合適的的角度

1.3.1) 三個啟示錄中的實用例子

1.3.1.1 例1: 挪威(Norway) - 因為對歐洲共同市場(The European Commonmarket)。

這個政治和經濟的機構是否反映那獸呢? 有以下的觀察:

  1. 羅馬作為啟示錄中神的敵人 羅馬條約(Roman treaty)在歐洲統一的政治角色。
  2. 13:15-17 歐盟在政治和經濟的中央集權。
  3. 13:1中的十角和十個在歐盟中的創始成員。

啟示錄是關於我們這個時代。啟示錄中異象的細節是應用於我們的政治情況。這是一個嚴謹解讀的嘗試,但它代表對啟示錄的一個錯誤解讀(misreading)

結果:推測和苦惱,影響政治上的,而非宗教性的討論。

 

1.3.1.2 例2: 埃塞俄比亞基督徒(Ethiopian Christians):

在共產黨統治之下時,啟示錄和彼得前書皆成為最受歡迎的書卷。在這些書卷中他們找到十分相似的信徒受壓迫的情況。這使他們覺得自己是活在啟示錄所形容的末世的光景中。這不會引起推測,而是在這困境下的安慰。

 

1.3.1.3 例3: 中東之戰(91年): 向伊拉克動武。

引起不必要的推測或猜測。

這些例子反映出:

  1. 這卷書以受壓迫的基督徒的角度來解釋最好;
  2. 不然會產生不必要的猜測。而忽略了啟示錄寫作的主要目的。 

1.3.2) 啟6:9-11會使我們看得清楚啟示錄的角度:

[9]揭開第五印的時候,我看見在祭壇底下,有為神的道,並為作見證,被殺之人的靈魂•

[10]大聲喊著說,聖潔真實的主阿,你不審判住在地上的人給我們伸流血的冤,要到幾時呢?

[11]於是有白衣賜給他們各人•又有話對他們說:『還要安息片時,等著一同作僕人的,和他們的弟兄,也像他們被殺,滿足了數目•』

這段談及為道被殺的人之呼聲。這些人的呼聲好像是失去了,他們唯一的希望是在他們所信的神身上。

1.3.2.1 但這些呼聲應怎樣解讀呢?

  1. 有些人對比耶穌在十架上的禱告 (23:34 『當下耶穌說,父阿,赦免他們•因為他們所作的,他們不曉得•\兵丁/就拈鬮分他的衣服•
  2. 或對比司提反的禱告 (7:60 『又跪下大聲喊著說,主阿,不要將這罪歸於他們•說了這話就睡了•掃羅也喜悅他被害•』

 1.3.2.2 這不是一般的基督徒禱告。

這呼聲不是一種個人報復的慾望,而是他們信仰的確認(validity of their faith)。這是殉道者所關心的。也就是神的信譽(the reputation of God)。這是求伸冤的禱告。

(對比: 79:10; 94:3; 1:2).

[ 94:3] 耶和華阿,惡人誇勝要到幾時呢,要到幾時呢?

[哈 1:2] 他說,耶和華阿,我呼求你,你不應允,要到幾時呢•我因強暴哀求你,你還不拯救•

 

1.3.2.3 最後的答案在乎神,但祂尚未說甚麼。

殉道者求神現在就行動,求神彰顯祂的作為,以致使人知道他們的信仰是真實的。

(對比啟示文學:伸冤/恢復神的名譽: 以斯拉四書4Ezra 5:21-30; 6:55-59; 巴錄二書2 Bar 14.)

以斯拉四書4Ezra 5:21-30

[21] And after seven days the thoughts of my heart were very grievous to me again.

[22] Then my soul recovered the spirit of understanding, and I began once more to speak words in the presence of the Most High.
[23] And I said, "O sovereign Lord, from every forest of the earth and from all its trees Thou hast chosen one vine,
[24] and from all the lands of the world Thou hast chosen for thyself one region, and from all the flowers of the world Thou hast chosen for thyself one lily,
[25] and from all the depths of the sea Thou hast filled for thyself one river, and from all the cities that have been built Thou hast consecrated Zion for thyself,
[26] and from all the birds that have been created Thou hast named for thyself one dove, and from all the flocks that have been made Thou hast provided for thyself one sheep,
[27] and from all the multitude of peoples Thou hast gotten for thyself one people; and to this people, whom Thou hast loved, Thou hast given the law which is approved by all.
[28] And now, O Lord, why hast thou given over the one to the many, and dishonored the one root beyond the others, and scattered thine only one among the many?
[29] And those who opposed thy promises have trodden down those who believed thy covenants.
[30] If thou dost really hate thy people, they should be punished at thy own hands."

 

以斯拉四書4Ezra 6:55-59

[taken from Bible, King James. 4 Ezra OR 2 Esdras, from The holy Bible, King James version (Apocrypha)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=Kjv4Ezr.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=6&division=div2]

55: All this have I spoken before thee, O Lord, because thou madest the world for our sakes
56: As for the other people, which also come of Adam, thou hast said that they are nothing, but be like unto spittle: and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop that falleth from a vessel.
57: And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us.
58: But we thy people, whom thou hast called thy firstborn, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover, are given into their hands.
59: If the world now be made for our sakes, why do we not possess an inheritance with the world? how long shall this endure?

巴錄二書2 Bar 14

[taken from http://www.carm.org/lost/2baruch.htm]

14 1 And I answered and said: 'Lo! Thou hast shown me the method of the times, and that which shall be alter these things, and Thou hast said unto me, that the retribution, which has been spoken of by Thee, shall come upon 2 the nations. And now I know that those who have sinned are many, and they have lived in prosperity, and departed from the world, but that few nations will be left in those times, to whom those words shall be said which Thou didst 3 say. For what advantage is there in this, or what (evil), worse than what we have seen befall us, are we to expect to see? 4, 5 But again I will speak in Thy presence: What have they profited who had knowledge before Thee, and have not walked in vanity as the rest of the nations, and have not said to the dead: "Give 6 us life," but always feared Thee, and have not left Thy ways? And lo! they have been carried off, 7 nor on their account hast Thou had mercy on Zion. And if others did evil, it was due to Zion, that on account of the works of those who wrought good works she should be forgiven, and 8 should not be overwhelmed on account of the works of those who wrought unrighteousness. But who, O Lord, my Lord, will comprehend Thy judgement, Or who will search out the profoundness of Thy way? Or who will think out the weight of Thy path? 9 Or who will be able to think out Thy incomprehensible counsel? Or who of those that are born has ever found The beginning or end of Thy wisdom? 10, 11 For we have all been made like a breath. For as the breath ascends involuntarily, and again dies, so it is with the nature of men, who depart not according to their own will, and know not 12 what will befall them in the end. For the righteous justly hope for the end, and without fear depart from this habitation, because they have with Thee a store of works preserved in treasuries. 13 On this account also these without fear leave this world, and trusting with joy they hope to 14 receive the world which Thou hast promised them. But as for us --- woe to us, who also are 15 now shamefully entreated, and at that time look forward (only) to evils. But Thou knowest accurately what Thou hast done by means of Thy servants; for we are not able to understand 16 that which is good as Thou art, our Creator. But again I will speak in Thy presence, O LORD, 17 my Lord. When of old there was no world with its inhabitants, Thou didst devise and speak 18 with a word, and forthwith the works of creation stood before Thee. And Thou didst say that Thou wouldst make for Thy world man as the administrator of Thy works, that it might be known that he was by no means made on account of the world, but the world on account of him. 19 And now I see that as for the world which was made on account of us, lo! it abides, but we, on account of whom it was made, depart.'

1.3.3) 神的回答是:『還要安息片時』。

這個回應反映的角度(短時間)在全卷中也何以看到(1:1.3; 22:20)

[1]耶穌基督的啟示,就是 神賜給他,叫他將必要成的事指示他的僕人•他就差遣使者,曉諭他的僕人約翰•

[2]約翰便將 神的道,和耶穌基督的見證,凡自己所看見的,都證明出來•

  1. 念這書上豫言的,和那些聽見又遵守其中所記載的,都是有福的•因為日期近了

[啟22:20] 證明這事的說:『是了; 我必快來。』阿們。主耶穌阿!我願你來。

但啟22:20-21有版本問題: 22:20-21在一些重要的版本中是沒有的。

 

1.4) 本課程的目的(Aim of this course)

本課程會集中在主要和最基本的問題。不會每節皆有很詳細的釋經。但主要我們會分析釋經的入手法(我們會分析不同的入手法)。在處理重要的經文時會有較長的釋經。只要掌握重要的問題,釋經的結果便大致可以浮現。例如:

  1. 啟示文學/用語/象徵是甚麼﹖怎樣去解讀它們呢﹖
  2. 啟示錄是關於以往歷史,抑或未來的呢?
  3. 現在應怎樣使用啟示錄呢?

 

2. 作者問題 (AUTHORSHIP)

在書中作者四次自述: 1:1.4.9; 22:8. 對讀者來說,他似乎是很出名的權威人仕。

這位約翰到底是誰呢? 支持論據:

認為使徒約翰是作者, 是基於一個強而舊的傳統。

居住在以弗所的游斯丁(Justin)在其書中(Dial 81)見證使徒約翰是作者。他的見證是重要的,因為他在公元130-135年住在以弗所(一個與啟示錄有緊密關係的地區)。認為是稱為約翰的長老為作者是 由於千禧年爭論所致。

 

2.2) 約翰福音和啟示錄的用語也有相似的地方。

但不同的地方也有。因為兩書是屬於不同的文体(genre),因此它們的相似處的重要性比不同處重要。所以這個古舊的傳統較為可靠。

 

2.3) 對於作者問題要作一個清楚的介定。

基於1:9-11, 我們傾向以為約翰只是將在拔摩鳥(Patmos)的異象寫下來。但因為啟示錄是一個有計劃的文學作品(developed literary composition),所以它不單是寫下所看見的異象,它是最後階段的作品。啟示錄反映出異象和約翰的引申解釋,考慮和反思(visions and Johns elaboration, consideration and re-thinking)。有些學者甚至提以異象只是作者的文學手法,它是啟示文學的智慧傳統多於異象(well-developed apocalyptic wisdom rather than visions)

 

2.4) 作者對讀者提及自己的姓名;也指出是與讀者同代的人,值得我們留意:

在猶太人的啟示文學中(Jewish apocalyptic writings),作者必是說自己是很久以前的人。

例如:以諾書(Enoch), 以斯拉書(Ezra), 巴錄書(Baruch) 。在這些啟示文學中的作者多數是小說式的人物。真正的作者以書中的主角為自己出口,希望藉著古遠的預言而得著權威。但在啟示錄中,這種小說式的手法是公開地拒絕了。為何這樣作的原因不明顯。可能因為古遠的人物對基督徒並不重要,或者可以說唯一的權威是耶穌基督(1:1)

 

參考資料


 

Montanism

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.  2001.
taken from http://www.bartleby.com/65/mo/Montanis.html
Montanism
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright c 2001 Columbia University Press.
(mn'tnzm) (KEY) , apocalyptic movement of the 2d cent. It arose in Phrygia (c.172) under the leadership of a certain Montanus and two female prophets, Prisca and Maximillia, whose entranced utterances were deemed oracles of the Holy Spirit. They had an immediate expectation of Judgment Day, and they encouraged ecstatic prophesying and strict asceticism. They believed that a Christian fallen from grace could never be redeemed, in opposition to the Catholic view that, since the sinner's contrition restored him to grace, the church must receive him again. Montanism antagonized the church because the sect claimed a superior authority arising from divine inspiration. Catholics were told that they should flee persecution, Montanists were told to seek it. When the Montanists began to set up a hierarchy of their own, the Catholic leaders, fearing to lose the cohesion essential to the survivial of persecuted Christianity, denounced the movement. Tertullian was a notable member of the movement, which died (c.220) as a sect, except in isolated areas of Phrygia, where it continued to the 7th cent. But the puristic anti-intellectual movement had many descendantsNovatian, the Donatists (see Donatism), the Cathari, and even Emanuel Swedenborg and Edward Irving.

The Montanists: Tertullian (the following is taken from http://www.tertullian.org/montanism.htm)

The Montanists

-----------------------------

Montanus lived in the Phrygian area of Asia Minor at the back end of the 2nd Century AD. He declared that the Holy Spirit was giving new revelations to the church, and named himself and two women, Priscilla and Maximilla, as prophets, although there were others. This was referred to as the New Prophecy. In the west, among the Montanist leaders was Proclus, with whom the Roman presbyter Gaius published a Debate.4

The emphases of the New Prophecy seem to have been on resisting persecution, fasting, and avoiding remarriage, together with hostility to any compromise with sin. Few of these points were controversial when judged against the ascetism of the next century. Tertullian tells us (in the quote by 'Praedestinatus' and in De Ieiunio) that the Spirit proclaimed no innovation in doctrine, but only gave directions about matters of church discipline, which were coming to be the prerogative of the bishop. It would seem that the Montanists were orthodox in all matters of doctrine.3

Responses to this were quite mixed in the church. A reading of the anti-Montanist writers in Eusebius' Church History reveals a great deal of uncertainty among Christians at all levels as to whether the new prophecy was a genuine move of the Spirit or not. The interested reader is referred to this volume (available in Penguin paperback) to form his own opinion. There are also some notes in Epiphanius' Panarion (Against all Heresies), available in the online Ante-Nicene Fathers.

[The following information (in blue color) is from http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/epiphanius.html]

Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis wrote a huge work in 3 books cataloguing 80 heresies. The work has recently been translated into English for the first time - the only complete translation in a modern language. (Copyright prevents more than extracts being made available). The title of the work is Panarion, meaning Medicine-chest, but the Latin translations of the 16th century had the title Adversus Haereses, meaning Against the heresies.

It seems also possible that Montanism in its homeland may have been heretical, but that it masked a genuine move of the Holy Spirit which in other places was entirely orthodox, and would today be regarded as pentecostal. In reality, it is very difficult to tell from the surviving remains, which include some wild rumours of the sort that circulate, albeit in good faith, where there is little real information and no means to check what is going on.

[The following information (in blue color) is from http://www.bible.ca/history/fathers/ANF-04/anf04-21.htm#P1702_497971 ]

VIII. On Fasting.1 In Opposition to the Psychics.

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.]

Chapter I.-Connection of Gluttony and Lust. Grounds of Psychical Objections Against the Montanists.

I should wonder at the Psychics, if they were enthralled to voluptuousness alone, which leads them to repeated marriages, if they were not likewise bursting with gluttony, which leads them to hate fasts. Lust without voracity would certainly be considered a monstrous phenomenon; since these two are so united and concrete, that, had there been any possibility of disjoining them, the pudenda would not have been affixed to the belly itself rather than elsewhere. Look at the body: the region (of these members) is one and the same. In short, the order of the vices is proportionate to the arrangement of the members. First, the belly; and then immediately the materials of all other species of lasciviousness are laid subordinately to daintiness: through love of eating, love of impurity finds passage. I recognise, therefore, animal2 faith by its care of the flesh (of which it wholly consists)-as prone to manifold feeding as to manifold marrying-so that it deservedly accuses the spiritual discipline, which according to its ability opposes it, in this species of continence as well; imposing, as it does, reins upon the appetite, through taking, sometimes no meals, or late meals, or dry meals, just as upon lust, through allowing but one marriage.

It is really irksome to engage with such: one is really ashamed to wrangle about subjects the very defence of which is offensive to modesty. For how am I to protect chastity and sobriety without taxing their adversaries? What those adversaries are I will once for all mention: they are the exterior and interior botuli of the Psychics. It is these which raise controversy with the Paraclete; it is on this account that the New Prophecies are rejected: not that Montanus and Priscilla and Maximilla preach another God, nor that they disjoin Jesus Christ (from God), nor that they overturn any particular rule of faith or hope, but that they plainly teach more frequent fasting than marrying. Concerning the limit of marrying, we have already published a defence of monogamy.3 Now our battle is the battle of the secondary (or rather the primary) continence, in regard of the chastisement of diet. They charge us with keeping fasts of our own; with prolonging our Stations generally into the evening; with observing xerophagies likewise, keeping our food unmoistened by any flesh, and by any juiciness, and by any kind of specially succulent fruit; and with not eating or drinking anything with a winey flavour; also with abstinence from the bath, congruent with our dry diet. They are therefore constantly reproaching us with Novelty; concerning the unlawfulness of which they lay down a prescriptive rule, that either it must be adjudged heresy, if (the point in dispute) is a human presumption; or else pronounced pseudo-prophecy, if it is a spiritual declaration; provided that, either way, we who reclaim hear (sentence of) anathema.

 

In Africa there was a lot of interest in the new prophecy, and Tertullian came to believe that it was genuine, accordingly mentioning it and defending it in his later works.

Eventually Montanism was condemned by the Bishop of Rome, and the Montanists were pushed out6. They lingered on in Asia Minor for some centuries. Later fathers of the church wrote an occasional polemic against them. Tertullian fiercely attacks those who condemned the new prophecy, and in attacking the church authorities as more interested in their own political power in the church than in listening to the Spirit, he foreshadows the protestant reaction to papal claims.

At the end of the 3rd Century AD, a group known as the Tertullianistae may have marked a brief revival in the west of this group.

Some modern pentecostals see the Montanists as the last flicker of the apostolic gifts of the spirit, although it seems that the apostolic age was already over before the Montanists began.. Whether they were or not, thereafter no-one claiming to have the gift of prophecy was likely to be well-received in the church, and any genuine move of the spirit was certainly quenched.

[Notes added by Philip Yim: Some hold "Pentecostalism is the ancient heresy of Montanism revived"! Though it is strange to me, but it may be related to this self-connection by the pentecostals, I guess.]

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Bibliography:

1. Ancient authors: Eusebius, Church History; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses; Tertullian, Adversus Praxean.

2. Heine, Ronald E, The Montanist Oracles and Testimonia, Patristic Monograph Series 14. Macon, GA: Mercer UP, 1989. (Not Checked)

This collects and translates the vast literature of oracles and testimonia up to the ninth century, though most of these are early. The selections are grouped mainly by geographical area. This is the sourcebook for scholars of Montanism.

Reviews of this: Boring, CBQ 52 (1990): 562-564; Ferguson, RQ 32 (1990): 246-247; Hall, JTS 41 (1990): 643-644; Williams SC 8 (1991): 57-59.

(From Thomas A Robinson, The Early Church: An annotated bibliography of literature in English, 1993).

3. De Labriolle, P., Les sources pour l'histoire de Montanisme, 1913. (From Barnes, p.42,n.7) This apparently backs the conclusion of orthodoxy, and gives a full collection of evidence. (Not checked).

4. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesia, II,25; III, 31; VI, 20. Penguin Edition. (Checked)

5. There is an excellent article on Montanism in the Catholic Encyclopedia, on the net at  http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/10521a.htm.

6.  There is an important article on this subject by D. Powell, Tertullianists and Cataphrygians, Vigiliae Christianae 29 (1975), pp. 33-54.

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