Prolepsis: Scratchwork…

Prolepsis & Analepsis: In English literature, thought of as flashforwards and flashbacks.

In street parlance, it may be used in the following manner: “In my eyes, Bill is a dead man.”

~ In theology, Pannenberg & Moltman discussed this … not clear on these guys.

~ In theology also… imo, this is a good way to think of it:

“… calleth those things which be not as though they were.” ~ Romans 4:17 (KJV)

“… the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do.”30 The NET Bible

~ There is another common rendering of this verse found in the ESV and such. I prefer the above KJV / NET Bible versions. Here is an explanation from the NET Bible:

30tn Or “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” The translation of ὡς ὄντα (Jw” onta) allows for two different interpretations. If it has the force of result, then creatio ex nihilo is in view and the variant rendering is to be accepted (so C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans [ICC], 1:244). A problem with this view is the scarcity of ὡς plus participle to indicate result (though for the telic idea with ὡς plus participle, cf. Rom 15:15; 1 Thess 2:4). If it has a comparative force, then the translation given in the text is to be accepted: “this interpretation fits the immediate context better than a reference to God’s creative power, for it explains the assurance with which God can speak of the ‘many nations’ that will be descended from Abraham” (D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 282; so also W. Sanday and A. C. Headlam, Romans [ICC], 113). Further, this view is in line with a Pauline idiom, viz., verb followed by ὡς plus participle (of the same verb or, in certain contexts, its antonym) to compare present reality with what is not a present reality (cf. 1 Cor 4:7; 5:3; 7:29, 30 (three times), 31; Col 2:20 [similarly, 2 Cor 6:9, 10]).

~ So I think prolepsis is when you speak of a flashforward as though it were a flashback.

~ It is speaking of a prophecy as though it were a totally done deal.


In the movie Gladiator, Quintus looks at the enemy armies of the Romans and says: “A people should know when they are conquered.”

Now here he is speaking proleptically.

~ The thing is… in theory, he/Rome cannot guarantee the outcome of their pending battle. For all he knows, Rome will be defeated.

God on the other, when He speaks proleptically, it is because its is a done deal for him. He can make good on it. Its guaranteed.

~ Moving on…

– Strong robust faith that something will go down – thats prolepsis.

– There are different kinds of prophecy.  Some prophecy is conditional for example.

Prolepsis is prophecy with a thud. The thud of the gavel coming down.  {Think about this later.}


2 thoughts on “Prolepsis: Scratchwork…

  1. “Prolepsis is prophecy with a thud. The thud of the gavel coming down.”

    Excellent statement.

    Since God is eternal, He does not see things as future and as past, He sees things as settled, done. In proleptic prophecy, He gives us a glimpse of His eternal nature, for the purpose you have stated — so we can see the prophecy with a thud, the thud of the gavel coming down.

Comments are closed.