Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, New Testament PhD

First Advisor

Jon K. Paulien

Second Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Third Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis


The purpose of this dissertation is to carry outa linguistic, structural, and exegetical investigation of the term ἐξουσία as it occurs in the Greek text of the Apocalypse.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the pertinent literature dealing with ἐξουσία. The review follows a chronological order to demonstrate a trend in the development of ἐξουσία studies. Earlier works put more emphasis on the meaning of power or authority, whereas recent studies point to liberty and right as the primary meaning of ἐξουσία. The current tendency emphasizes philosophical and socio-ethical aspects without due consideration of the etymology of the term.

Chapter 2 surveys the usage of ἐξουσία in nonbiblical (Greco-Roman, Papyri and Inscriptions, Jewish apocalyptic, Qumran, Hellenistic Jewish, Rabbinic) and biblical (LXX, Biblia Hebraica, Greek NT) literary sources that are linguistic backgrounds to the meaning of the term. The Greco-Roman and Hellenistic Jewish works generally employ ἐξουσία with regard to human power relationships. The NT use of the term closely follows the LXX and the Jewish apocalyptic usage particularly in the area of delegated power/authority in human and supernatural relationships.

Chapter 3 focuses on the specifics of the twenty-one ἐξουσία occurrences in Revelation. These passages are investigated in the literary context and structure of the book. The role ἐξουσία plays in the overall literary context of the Apocalypse is further demonstrated by microstructural analyses of the passages. The term plays a special focusing role both in the macro- and the microstructures of the Apocalypse. Thus, it significantly contributes to the central message of Revelation, which is the activity and judgment of antidivine powers.

In the summary and conclusions of the dissertation the findings of the research are given. Theological and ethical implications are pointed out, and some areas for further study are suggested.

Subject Area

Authority--Religious aspects--Biblical teaching, Exousia (The Greek word), Bible. Revelation -- Criticism, interpretation, etc


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