The study explores the textual history of the book of Revelation with special regard
to the angels of the congregation in chapters 2–3. These angels has been interpreted
in the reception history as either earthly or heavenly beings. Both interpretations are
accounted for in the most ancient textual traditions. The A-text, normally regarded
as the best text of Revelation, mirrors an earthly location of the “angels” (see esp.
2:1, 18, 20a). The S-text ( א and accompanying manuscripts) allows their nowadays
preferred heavenly location (angels in strong sense). The prototype may be a middle
text speaking of “angels” in the sense of representatives mediating between heaven
and earth through an earthly presence.
The contribution correlates interpretational history and textual history and shows
that the interpretation of the texts influenced the history/development of the Greek
text as well as the history/development of the Greek text influenced the interpretation.
Thus, the interdependency of textual history and interpretation needs to be Taken note
of when dealing with the book of Revelation. The apparatus in the present critical
edition (Nestle-Aland27) of Revelation, which selects manuscripts and variants, shows
the problems insufficiently. Therefore the currently starting Editio critica maior of
Revelation will be very helpful. It must rework the apparatus and perhaps will correct
the critical text (“Obertext”) in some of the addresses to the congregations (2:1, 18).