To Philadelphia, the Wind

Revelation 3:7-13, NRSV — Performance Criticism

March 29, 2018. Formatted for Snowbunny.

Who is speaking? Πνεῦμα (pneuma) as “the Spirit” — wind, breath.

v. 7: Cousin’s suicide.
v. 8: Bubble blower.
v. 9: Boy who comforts angels.
v. 10: Hugs are blessings.
v. 11: Rainbow photograph.
v. 12: John on the bench.
v. 13: Breath.

Three major ways to view Revelation

Historical: Scholarship’s preference. Revelation unveils the past.
Futurist/Prophetic-predictive: Popular Christianity & mass mainstream. Revelation peers into the future.
Idealist/Symbolic: Across borders. Revelation illuminates universal messages.

The three views, questioning
  • Performance criticism’s emphasis on orality. How do I speak as pneuma?
  • Mystical writings transcribable to physicality. Revelation is apocalyptic, mystical, and visionary.
  • Lessons from our course: Importance of context. “The conviction that God’s word speaks directly to every age has not been accompanied by the appreciation that it does so as mediated through its initial historical expression.” (Johnson, p. 508).
Empowerment breathes for recognition

What would I, a human being, say with the pneuma?

v. 7: Empowerment is refuge.
v. 8: Empowerment says, “I see you.”
v. 9: Empowerment is integrity.
v. 10: Empowerment is offering aegis.
v. 11: Empowerment is affirming.
v. 12: Empowerment is the climax of recognition.
v. 13: Empowerment remembers.

To Philadelphia, the Wind

“Remember me,” is what I would say for the pneuma. The Spirit empowers the people, and the people reveal the Spirit.


AZLyrics. “Here.” Kari Jobe Lyrics. Accessed March 28, 2018.

BibleHub. “Revelation 3:13.” Lexicon. Accessed March 28, 2018.

Botha, Eugene. “Orality, Print Culture and Biblical Interpretation.” Biblical Performance Criticism. Accessed March 6, 2018.

Collins, Adela Yarbro. Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse, 1st edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminster Press, 1984.

Dewey, Dennis. “Biblical Storytelling as Spiritual Discipline Grounded in Scholarship.” The Network of Biblical Storytellers. 2011. Accessed March 6, 2018.

Hemer, C. J. The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1986.

Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation. 3rd edition. Canada: Fortress Press, 2010.

Powell, Mark Allan. Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey. Baker Publishing Group., 2009.

Rhoads, David. Scripture by Heart: A Course Description. Accessed March 6, 2018.

———. “Performance Criticism: An Emerging Methodology in Second Testament Studies—Part I.” Biblical Theology Bulletin (2008) 36: 118-133.

———. “Performance Criticism: An Emerging Methodology in Second Testament Studies—Part II.” Biblical Theology Bulletin (2008) 36: 164-184.

Ruiz, Jean-Pierre.“The Revelation to John.” In The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New Revised Standard Version, 4th edition, edited by Michael D. Coogan et al., 2153-2155, 2159-2160. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Ruge-Jones, Phil. “Preparing to Perform.” Biblical Performance Criticism. Accessed March 6, 2018.

Wendland, Ernst. “Performance Criticism: Assumptions, 
Applications, and Assessment.” TIC Talk (2008) 65: 1-11. Accessed March 6, 2018.

Williamson, Peter S. Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: Revelation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2015.

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