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Swete's Apocalypse

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  • Swete's Apocalypse

    The purpose of this thread is to compare comments by Hort ― excerpts of which I have just finished posting ― with comments by one of his contemporaries who advocated the late date theory.

    From pages ciii-cv of The Apocalypse of St John: The Greek Text with Introduction and Notes and Indices (London: Macmillan, 1907), by Henry Barclay Swete:
    It is clear that these arguments for placing the Apocalypse under Nero or Vespasian rest on more than one presupposition. The unity of the book is assumed, and it is held to be the work of the author of the Fourth Gospel. But the latter hypothesis is open, and perhaps always will be in doubt ; and the former cannot be pressed so far as to exclude the possibility that the extant book is a second edition of an earlier work, or that it incorporates earlier materials, and either hypothesis would sufficiently account for the few indications of a Neronic or Vespasianic date which have been found in it.* When it is added that the great scholars who have been named dealt with the question incidentally and not in a connexion with a special study of the Apocalypse,** it seems permissible to attach less importance to their judgment on this point than on others to which their attention had been more directly turned.

    With all due deference, therefore, to the great authority of Westcott, Lightfoot, and Hort, and of the foreign scholars who have supported an earlier date, adhesion has been given in this edition to the view that the Apocalypse, at least in its present form, belongs, as Irenaeus believed, to the reign of Domitian and to the last years of that reign (90-96). This date appears to be consistent with the general character and purpose of the book. The Apocalypse as a whole presupposes a period when in Asia at least the Church was compelled to choose between Christ and Caesar. And the prophet foresees that this is no local or passing storm, but one which will spread over the whole Empire, and run a long course, ending only with the fall of paganism and Rome. The Coming of the Lord is no longer connected with the Fall of Jerusalem, which is viewed as an event in past history. A new Jerusalem has taken the place of the old city of God, and the Apocalyptist can already see its ideal glories revealed. But for the moment Babylon is in the foreground of the picture, and Babylon must fall before the end, and after Babylon the Beast and the False Prophet. Even the triumph that follows their destruction is not final, for the dragon remains to be overcome. So the Coming is postponed indefinitely, though the old watchword, ἰδοὺ ἔρχομαι ταχύ, still rings in our ears. The whole standpoint is that of the closing years of the first century, when the Church knew herself to be entering upon a struggle of which she could not foresee the end, although of the victorious issue she entertained no doubt.***
    *E.g. the cryptic representation of Nero's name in xiii. 18, and the apparent reference to Vespasian as the reigning Emperor in c. xvii. 10.
    **Since the above was written, I have learned that Dr Hort lectured upon Apoc. i.―iii. in 1888, and then argued at some length for the earlier date of the book.
    ***The Bishop of Ely (Dr Chase) has communicated to me a note, based on a lecture delivered by Dr Hort, in which the Bishop maintains that the subject to ἑωράθη in Iren. v. 30 is not ἡ ἀποκάλυψις but ὁ τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν ἑωακώς. The note will appear in the Journal of Theological Studies for April, 1907, to which the reader is referred. The suggested explanation is possible, but not, it seems to me, at all probable. Still, now that it has been pointed out, the possibility must be kept in view that Irenaeus did not intend to assign the Apocalypse to the end of Domitian's reign, and allowance must be made for this consideration in weighing the argument for the Domitianic date which has been urged in the foregoing chapter.

  • #2
    This book can be found online here.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    • #3
      Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
      This book can be found online here.
      Thanks!

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