On a white horse: The triumph of the anti-beast in Revelation 19
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This dissertation is an historical-critical treatment of the apocalyptic symbolism used to describe Christ in Revelation 19:11-21. Chapter 1 presents the dilemma of inadequate explanation for many elements in the text. Along with the history of research, a thesis of resolution is proposed based upon a multiparadigmatic view of the symbolism the passage contains. Since the Divine Warrior myth is already established, the focus falls upon the Roman triumph and the Great King as thematic paradigms that will complete the picture. Chapter 2 begins with a description and a history of the Roman triumph from ancient times through the end of the New Testament era. Its religio-political significance is examined, especially in light of the imperial cult. This information is then applied to the New Testament texts that refer to the ceremony. Finally, the passage in Revelation is examined in light of the triumph. Chapter 3 serves as a pivot, developing the Nero redivivus theme as critical for understanding John's use of the triumph motif as well as the role of the Parthians in Revelation. This chapter addresses the dual role of Nero as evil Roman emperor and invading Parthian king. Chapter 4 provides background information on the Parthians and their monarch, and their relations with the Romans and the Jews. The text of Revelation 19 is then addressed in light of their history and practices. Special attention is given to numismatic evidence. Chapter 5 summarizes the work, concluding that John antithetically applies to Christ the paradigms associated with Nero for the purpose of making a counterclaim. How this uncovered meaning would