Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Drunk from Blood (17.6–7)


And I saw the woman drunk from the blood of the holy ones and from the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And seeing her, I was incredibly amazed. And the angel said to me, ‘Why are you amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and the wild animal carrying her—the one that has seven heads and ten horns.


Because the apocalyptic genre commonly featured elaborate symbolism that could sometimes be difficult to decipher, apocalyptic authors devised a trope which allowed them to provided interpretation for the symbols within the book itself, allowing readers to properly understand the message. On the surface level, the central character of the text was the self-insert for the anonymous author (e.g. the patriarch Abraham in the Revelation of Abraham). This self-insert character received visions from God, representing the surface-level notion that the author believed his ideas were divine in origin. Yet the visionary would often express awe or confusion at the symbolism of his visions, which would prompt another character—usually an angel—to step in as a guide. This second character was the true self-insert for the author, providing a diegetic interpretation of his own text for his intended audience. The book briefly used the trope in chapter 7, where the author used the voice of the heavenly elder to interpret for his readers the identity of the uncountable crowd. This chapter, which uses the trope more extensively, functions as a key for symbolism found throughout chapters 11–14 and 16, granting a much larger understanding of the author’s message.



9.4–6 ‘Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life. Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.’


7.26–27 You must not eat any blood whatever, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. Any one of you who eats any blood shall be cut off from your kin.

17.14 For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.


8.15–16 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man, and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, ‘Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.’

3 Baruch

1.8 And the angel of hosts said to me, ‘Come and I shall disclose to you the mysteries of God.’

4 Ezra

12.10 He said to me, ‘This is the interpretation of this vision that you have seen’

2 Baruch

55.3, 56.1 And while I was pondering these and similar things, behold, Ramael, the angel who is set over true visions, was sent to me and said to me […] ‘But now, since you have asked the Most High to reveal to you the explanation of the vision which you have seen, I have been sent’

70.1 ‘So, hear the exposition of the last black waters which will come after the black waters. This is the word.’

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