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Title: Bischof contra Prophet
Subtitle: Das kleinasiatische Christentum des 2. Jahrhunderts zwischen lokaler Verfaßtheit und universaler Freiheit
Author(s): WITULSKI, Thomas
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 91    Issue: 1   Date: 2015   
Pages: 55-86
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.91.1.3078148

Abstract :
The author of the book of Rev preaches the conception of a 'heavenly leadership of the church' which consists of God himself as universal ἐπίσκοπος and the twenty-four presbyters/elders connected to him as πρεσβυτέριον. This 'heavenly' board exercises a governing church function for the community of earthly Christians characterised by the momentum of equality by stating its will to chosen people via revelatory messages. With this conception of a church constitution which he developed as a contrasting analogy he polemicises implicitly against the model of a hierarchically structured local church contoured for example in the letters of Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch. This model began to take ground in the Roman province Asia, amongst other places, in the first half of the second century AD to remove the basis of existence of free prophetic circles, like for instance the circle of supporters of Rev. The concept of a 'heavenly leadership of the church' becoming visible in Rev within which Christendom is structured in an egalitarian manner shows clear parallels to the structural organization of the so-called 'Johannine school' appearing for example in the three letters of John, an observation which makes the assumption of a positive relationship between the latter and the circle of supporters of Rev seem very likely.

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