Talk:Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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Defining the idiom Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse[edit]

I would ask that Ruakh stop reverting the definition and work constructively with me to improve the definition. Thank you. WritersCramp 17:43, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Summoning the beasts[edit]

O.K., let's start with the basics. Your definition claims that the term does not, in fact, refer to the horsemen themselves, but rather to the act of Jesus that results in their being summoned. Do you have any evidence for that claim? —RuakhTALK 17:50, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Hello Ruakh, I hope we can work together in the spirit of cooperation to improve the definition. I note that the Random House Webster Unabridged Dictionary electronic format provides the following bare bones definition.
  • Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,four riders on white, red, black, and pale horses symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death, respectively. Rev. 6:2–8.Also called Four Horsemen.
In response to your question, I am willing to modify the definition. I added the section involving Jesus Christ to show where the Four Horsemen originated from rather than just stating the bare bones definition in Random House. Would you please provide a constructive suggestion to modify the definition to reflect the origin of the Four Horsemen? WritersCramp 18:02, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
The current definition already explains that they were summoned by Jesus. —RuakhTALK 18:12, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
My definition states: "where Jesus Christ opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons forth the four beasts"
Ruakh definition states: "Four beasts summoned by Jesus Christ"
The seven seals were not created by Jesus; he was the only one righteous enough to open the seals, so the "act" of opening the first four seals summoned the beasts, not Jesus. With respect, I believe my definition is more clear; however, I would be will to remove the first word "where". WritersCramp 18:54, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Removing the word "where" is not enough. This idiom acts as a noun, it needs to be defined as a noun, not as a story. —RuakhTALK 21:06, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
How about this more concise definition to start:
"(biblical) the four beasts that ride on white, red, black, and pale horses symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death, respectively, to set a divine apocalypse upon the world, as described in the Book of Revelation 6:1-8." WritersCramp 23:39, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Keep in mind that Wiktionary is not Christian, so we can't treat the Four Horsemen as real beasts and tack on an "as described in Revelation" at the end. I would say that their most fundamental attribute is that they're characters in Revelation; that needs to appear as close to the beginning of the definition as possible. —RuakhTALK 13:13, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Hi Ruakh, it does have (biblical) at the beginning of the definition; however, based on your suggestion, how about this revised definition:
"(biblical) as described in the Book of Revelation 6:1-8, the four beasts ride on white, red, black, and pale horses symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death, respectively, to set a divine apocalypse upon the world." WritersCramp 16:29, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Firstly, as I said before, this term is a noun, and should be defined as one. Don't write a complete sentence about "the four beasts", whoever those might be; rather, write a noun phrase that defines the term. One approach is to imagine a sentence of the form "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are _______"; the definition, then, is what fills the blank. Secondly, your definition has way too many links; someone looking up Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is not going to need a link to our entry for red. Thirdly, as I said before, Wiktionary is not Christian; these are not beasts that will do such-and-such "as described in Revelation", but rather, characters in Revelation who, according to that work, do such-and-such. (A phrasing such as "four beasts in Revelation 6:1–8 who [] " can be used to remain neutral about the veracity of John of Patmos' prophecy.) — RuakhTALK 00:15, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Hi Ruakh, I am going to create one final revised version of the definition. If you still do not agree, I will get an administrator to help us passed the impasse, so we can move on to other things:
"(biblical) as described in the Book of Revelation 6:1-8, the four beasts ride on white, red, black, and pale horses symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death, respectively, to set a divine apocalypse upon the world."
Please let me know within 24-hours. Thank you. WritersCramp 21:32, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Obviously I don't agree: you de-linkified a few words, thanks, but otherwise made a point of ignoring my comments. —RuakhTALK 22:11, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
I concur with Ruakh; obviously, encyclopedic detail is appropriate to be related in the Wikipedia article - not here. bd2412 T 00:45, 27 February 2010 (UTC)


Note to SemperBlotto, the Book of Revelation 6:1 states: "And I saw when the Lamb (Jesus Christ) opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see."
Each of the "four beasts" represents one of the horsemen on one of the horses, so I think describing them as "beasts" in the definition is accurate. WritersCramp 17:55, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
What are you talking about? SemperBlotto hasn't edited the entry, except to add the Italian translation; and I don't see anyone objecting to your use of the term "beast". — Ruakh TALK 18:02, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Encyclopedia articles[edit]

To provide some background information and reflect the errors in Ruakh's definition, I am providing the following encyclopedia articles as background for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I will let someone else make the necessary changes to the definition. I have given my input and I am not interested in an edit war. Thanks WritersCramp 23:19, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Funk and Wagnal

FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, in the Bible, elements of the scenes of the Last Judgment depicted in the Book of Revelation. In chapter 6 of his apocalyptic vision of God’s purpose in the world, John the Evangelist describes four horses, signifying war (a red horse), civil strife (a white horse), hunger (a black horse), and death (a pale horse). The horses and their riders are frequently depicted in art and have come to be a symbol of the evils of the earthly world.

New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. 2nd ed. Detroit
Gale, 2003. p182-187:

Transported to the heavenly temple, John sees in God's hand a seven-sealed scroll, containing the divine decrees that govern all history. Only Christ as Redeemer can open and disclose the contents of the scroll. As the first four seals are successively broken (ch. 6), four horsemen appear—white [representing either the victory of the Gospel (cf. Mk 13.10) or imperialism], red (war), black (famine), and pale green (pestilence and death); the scene is like that in Jesus' apocalyptic discourse (Mk 13.5–8 and parallels, especially Lk 21.8–11).

World Book

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pronounced uh POK uh lips, are beings mentioned in the sixth chapter of the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, The Revelation of St. John the Divine. The chapter tells of a scroll in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals. When the first four of these seals are opened, four horsemen appear. Their horses are white, red, black, and pale (literally, greenish-yellow). The horsemen represent various hardships that the human race must endure before the end of the world, specifically Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. The four horsemen are often featured in art and literature. The German artist Albrecht Durer included a picture of them in a series of woodcuts illustrating the Book of Revelation.

Do you see the problem for citing encyclopedias to establish what content should go in a dictionary (which happens to be attached to an encyclopedia that has an article covering such things)? bd2412 T 02:50, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Use them as a guide not a definition. WritersCramp 11:50, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Dictionary Definitions[edit]

Here are some dictionary definitions, to provide guidance. If someone has other dictionary definitions and access to the OED online version, perhaps you can post those definitions here. WritersCramp 16:30, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Random House Websters Unabridged Dictionary

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, four riders on white, red, black, and pale horses symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death, respectively. Rev. 6:2–8. Also called Four Horsemen.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the in the Bible, four men who ride horses and represent the four things that cause people the greatest pain and suffering, namely war, famine (=lack of food), death, and pestilence (=serious disease)

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

Four Horsemen Function: noun plural Etymology: from the apocalyptic vision in Rev 6:2–8 Date: 1918 : war, famine, pestilence, and death personified as the four major plagues of humankind

Webster's New World College Dictionary

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Bible four figures representing pestilence, war, famine, and death, whose appearance signals that the end of the world is near: Rev. 6:2-8

American Heritage Dictionary

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pl.n. In the Book of Revelation, four horsemen that personify pestilence, war, famine, and death, sent as harbingers of the end of the world. Also called Four Horsemen.

  • Only one of those mentions the color of the horses - and none of them are attached to an encyclopedia which handily offers full coverage of all aspects of the phrase. bd2412 T 04:47, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Beasts vs. beings[edit]

According to the King James version, chapter six of Book of Revelation, the first three verses read:

  1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
  2. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
  3. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. —Stephen 01:42, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Still, a beast is a kind of being. If there's any doubt, "being" is not inaccurate. bd2412 T 04:46, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Beast is the correct term, it is used over and over again in the 6:1-8. The current definition is wrong in several respects and should be rewritten. 13:07, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
  • By all means, rewrite it. The current definition is a result of an incompetent definition-writer (who shall remain nameless) followed by an editor who knows nothing about the subject (me). If you're capable of writing an accurate definition that actually makes sense, please do so. — RuakhTALK 14:28, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Ruakh I made my best attempt to work constructively with you, but you were not interested. You have displayed definition ownership since you arrived. It was obvious from your definition that you were not familiar with the idiom, yet you felt compelled to display it with incorrect definitions. I provided encyclopedic and dictionary citations in an attempt to show you the light rather than edit war. I have done nothing wrong, you are the one that is out of line. Cordially, WritersCramp 00:18, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
I am familiar with the idiom, I am not familiar with the details of the topic. I didn't think that would be a problem, because there was nothing in my definitions that wasn't in yours. The problem, in other words, was that I trusted you too much rather than too little. —RuakhTALK 01:31, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Should we really trust the KJV? Both the NIV and NASB use "creatures", and they are probably the more scholarly ones. —Internoob (Disc.Cont.) 00:25, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Colour of horses and what beasts stand for[edit]

Does anyone agree with the idea of expanding the definition to include both the colour of the horses and what each beast stands for? I cite the Random House Websters Unabridged Dictionary definition as follows: "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, four riders on white, red, black, and pale horses symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death, respectively." I prefer conquest rather than pestilence as it is the term used in Revelation. WritersCramp 00:23, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

The definition should be concise; it should capture the essence of what people mean by the expression. Your quoted definition includes information about colors and what they symbolize, but omits any information about context — it doesn't mention Revelation, for example, or the Bible or John the Evangelist; and it doesn't mention the Apocalypse or the end of the world. I'm O.K. with that trade-off if you are. (After all, we can add an etymology section that mentions Revelation, and the Apocalypse is already implicit in the phrase.) — RuakhTALK 01:43, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Ruakh please read what I wrote: "expanding the definition...". WritersCramp 12:50, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
The properties of the horses should be noted in its Wikipedia article, not in the definition. I am sorry that I have to disagree with you, but there is no reason to expand on the definition indefinitely when there is a perfectly good article to accompany it. JamesjiaoT C 12:56, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
I did read what you wrote. Then I replied. Then you noticed that my reply didn't fully agree with you. Then you decided somehow that I simply hadn't read what you wrote. Then you commented, and I commented, and now my comment is up-to-date. :-)   —RuakhTALK 15:02, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

RFV discussion[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

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  • The Merriam-Webster Unabridged dictionary states as an idiom: Four threatening forces of any kind (the four horsemen...scarcities, subsidies, doles and inflation - Raymond Moley. WritersCramp 21:47, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Striking. AuthorityTam (talkcontribs) removed the tag quite a while ago and added two quasi-quotations, and I don't feel a need to argue about it. —RuakhTALK 17:51, 13 July 2010 (UTC)