The Poetics of Angelic Discourse: Revelation 2–3 and the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice

Noam Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Revelation extensively employs the number seven not only as a symbolic figure, but also as a structural principle for constructing sevenfold literary units, and yet some specific aspects of this literary hallmark remain obscure. Among other things, no satisfactory rationale has been found, so far, for the series of proclamations to seven churches of Asia Minor that comprise the literary unit of Rev. 2–3. This mystery, however, can be illuminated (at least to some degree) by reading Revelation against the background of poetic traditions of the Second Temple period. Analysis of a poem included in the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice – a liturgical composition whose fragmentary copies were discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls – prompts a new solution to the questions posed by Rev. 2–3. At the same time, the comparison also sheds light on some literary peculiarities of the Songs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • Revelation 2–3
  • Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice
  • angelology
  • literary structure
  • liturgy
  • numerical symbolism
  • seven


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