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I've heard it said that the visions of Daniel 7-12 and the book of Revelation both contain the same "dream-like apocalyptic" language and as such can be interpreted together. So the meaning of symbolism, the way time passes in their visions, their use of numbers, and so on, can all be interpreted in one consistent method across the two.

While it seems to make sense and it was told to me by a very knowledgeable source, I cannot find any major scholarly reference to this idea in published literature. Not by this description.

  • Is this concept supported by any modern scholarship, and, roughly, what is the basis of the claim?

I am looking for published examples of applying this consistent hermeneutical approach to the specifics of Daniel and Revelation's visions, and hopefully their reasons for doing so.

This would assume Daniel and Revelation's visions are the same literary genre, but would be taking it beyond what that necessarily implied by that. Just knowing they are Apocalyptic literature only narrows the field.


I'm not looking for a theological or scriptural verse by verse comparison or interpretation of content or conclusions from applying the approach. Rather, this question is about how the two books relate in form and how far that can affect our approach to their interpretation.

Likewise, the sub-question, of what is the basis of such a position, should be focusing on more technical reasons, not a discussion of content.

Answers should be entirely factual summaries: "This example used this approach and gave these reasons for doing so"

  • Possible duplicate of What is "apocalyptic" literature? – Steve Taylor Mar 8 '16 at 15:19
  • @SteveTaylor This question is not asking for what apocalyptic literature is. It is not asking if Daniel and or Revelation are apocalyptic. It is asking for modern scholarship on the specific connection between Daniel and Revelation's literature type (dream-like apocalyptic) and if they can or should be interpreted with the same interpretational model. Congratulations on partially solving the bonus question though, perhaps? Please read and consider the core question again. – Joshua Mar 8 '16 at 15:30
  • I would welcome suggestions on how to refine my question, as I do not intend it to ask the question on what apocalyptic literature is. – Joshua Mar 8 '16 at 15:32
  • Thanks @Joshua Bigbee. As I understand it the majority of apocalyptic literature follows your 'dream-like' convention with phrases like "and then I saw..." etc. They both follow conventions of the same genre, and so that's why we group the two together. Revelation was clearly written later by somebody familiar with Daniel, so there could be elements carried over. Perhaps a refinement could be to the effect of "what common features show Daniel 7-12 and Revelation to belong to the genre of Apocalypse?" but I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for? – Steve Taylor Mar 8 '16 at 16:04
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    @JoshuaBigbee Both the Preterist and Dispensational confine their interpretations to 'fit' their particular view; the Idealists don't care and the Historicists are all over the map. My "Rule of Thumb" is this: if God indicates what a particular symbol is to be interpreted as(for example: Greek Kingdom=Leopard), then that interpretation remains the same unless God changes it-in the context of the particular passage. So Leopard=Greek Kingdom in both Daniel AND Revelations, since there is no contextual change recorded in Revelations. But you won't(to my knowledge) find a book on that.....;>) – Tau Mar 11 '16 at 4:37
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These sections of scripture belong to a specific genre known as Apocalypse (lit. ἀποκάλυψις: uncovering), and so should be interpreted in line with the conventions of apocalyptic literature. That's not to say that the two are always directly analogic to one another, but rather that their form and conventions will be similar.

Related reading

Common features of this genre are described in response to the question "What is apocalyptic literature?", and some additional background to the apocalyptic genre as used by Jewish theologians is available in this graduate thesis from 2005.

In 1986, G.K. Beale published an article in vol. 67 of Biblica, "A reconsideration of the text of Daniel in the Apocalypse", which examines commonality between the form of the two texts. He also published a previous article in the Tyndale Bulletin in 1980, The Danielic Background for Revelation 13:18 and 17:9

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