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Die Sternenfrau und ihre Kinder (Offb 12): Zur Wiederentdeckung eines Mythos

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 May 2007

Universität Münster, Kath.-Theol. Fakultät, Johannisstr. 8–10, D-48143 Münster, Deutschland


Various interpretations have been offered to identify the woman of Rev 12, attributed with the sun, the moon, and twelve stars: Mary, Israel, or the church, or a combination of the items church and eschatological Israel. My article tries first to detect tradition historically the semantics of the sign of the woman in labour and her newborn son and arrives at the conclusion that it represents a new eschatological beginning in Israel. Then a reader-oriented approach shows the possibility of a recipient familiar with the hellenistic constructions of society to view Rev 12 as a Christian myth, narrated with elements of well-known hellenistic myths, for example, that of Telephos or of Isis/Osiris. The comparison leads to the conclusion that Rev 12 functions to induce its readers to be aware of their own eschatological identity in contrast to the identity of their social environment and to engage consciously in a cultural conflict.

Research Article
© 2007 Cambridge University Press

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