Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

William Wright IV

Committee Member

Bogdan Bucur

Committee Member

Radu Bordeianu


theology, Revelation, Biblical Study, Performative exegesis, Liturgical Hermeneutics, patristic, Apocalyptic



The subject of these hermeneutical and performative approaches to the biblical texts and the liturgical dimensions and metaphors in the Book of Revelation are of particular interest to this dissertation, whose ultimate goal is to ask how the Byzantine rites, as practiced in the Orthodox Church, actualize the liturgical dimensions of the Book of the Revelation. The question will focus on a case study of the clothing metaphor as used in Revelation and related apocalyptic texts.


The question of this dissertation is framed within this context of the liturgical performative exegesis. The question will be approached in its broader state before applying the case study to three Orthodox rites which are the Proskomide, the vesting of the clergy, and the rite of Baptism.

Chapter 1 of this dissertation states the problem and samples the state of the question. This chapter also notes the exegetical and the hermeneutical approach to be employed in later chapters. Chapter 2 introduce the area of performative exegesis identifying its relation to the early Christian reception of the Christophanic visions. This chapter will also be aided with three examples of the early Christian Christological and trinitarian exegeses. Chapter 3 focuses on the liturgical dimensions of the book of Revelation through analyzing the root and the usage of the image of the throne and its components. Tracking down the image of the throne-room in the apocalyptic, biblical, and apocryphal literature reveals the importance of Revelation as a liturgical book. Chapter 4 presents the clothing metaphor in the biblical realm with special focus on how the book of Revelation has employed this metaphor within the liturgical context of the book. In this chapter selected texts that relates to the later chapter will be studied to posit the functionality of the metaphor and its role in revealing the function of the figure clothed. Based on the research in previous chapters, chapter 5 examines three rites of the Orthodox Church: The Proskomide, the Baptism, and the rite of the vesting of the clergy. In the Proskomide rite, the study focuses on the prayer that accompanies the extracting of the piece of the bread that resembles the Theotokos, showing the biblical exegesis implemented in this liturgical praxis. In the Baptism rite, the clothing and the garment of incorruption will be shown as performative exegesis of biblical and apocalyptic traditions. Lastly, the prayer accompanies the wearing of the Sticharion vestment will be shown as performative exegesis of the white robes of the Book of Revelation and Isaiah 61:10. Chapter 6 presents the results of this study, its implications, and possible direction for future research.

Results and Conclusions

This dissertation consequently concludes that the liturgical praxis and the liturgical hymnography, iconography and writings collaborate and presented as performative exegesis of the apocalyptic and biblical themes. The results of this study suggest three major implications in regard to the performative exegesis of the liturgical praxis in general, and to the clothing imagery of the book of Revelation in particular. First, the book of Revelation is a liturgical book, and applying liturgical performative exegesis to its chapters provides the scholarship with an authentic exegesis and interpretation. This new level of exegesis moves the majority of interpretations from the time and event predicting type to a more authentic Christological and soteriological level. Situating the Revelation imageries within their adequate and suitable liturgical frames is the way to see the book as performative exegesis of the apocalyptic heritage on one hand, and on the other as a text to be performed in the liturgical setting of today’s Christian communities that retain a sacramental theology and praxis).

Second, the clothing imageries and metaphors are prevalent in the book of Revelation and in the other apocalyptic literatures. It indicates significant meanings and functions such as the identity, the role, and liturgical place in some instances. This study demonstrates the clothing imagery with twofold functions. First, it surpasses being a mere symbol and indicates hermeneutical and exegetical heritage that have been used in the sacred texts in Judaism and Christianity. Second, applying this metaphor into liturgical performance transform the rites from being merely performed to becoming more rooted in the early Christian reception of the Christological and soteriological understanding. As I discussed in Chapter 5, the clothing metaphor in the vesting of the clergy, gives the priesthood prominent meanings such as human kenosis, relocating to the heavenly throne room and renewing the pledge to martyrdom we have taken through our Baptism.

The final implication of this study is that the Christological approach of the Scriptural visions (such as the ones we have discussed in Chapter 2, the theophany at Mamre, Isaiah 6, and the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7) is authentic to the early Christian exegesis. This approach is manifested in a liturgical setting and within liturgical elements such as hymnology, sermons, iconography, and I believe above all liturgical praxis. These elements challenge the scholarship to move to a new horizon of approaching the sacred texts.