Concerning the Dating of Revelation

Peter Leithart writes:

In a revealing article tracing the Domitianic date of Revelation back to JB Lightfoot (who, ironically, agreed with the 19th-century consensus that the book was written before 70), Christian Wilson notes that confidence in a date in the 90s increased after the first generation of English commentators adopted it at the beginning of the 20th century (Charles, Swete, Beckwith especially).

Wilson observes: “Confidence could still be seen in a commentary such as that of G.R. Beasley-Murray in 1974, who argues simply ‘Christian tradition unanimously represents Domitian to be the first persecutor of Christians after Nero.’”  He wryly comments, “This statement is correct if by unanimous Christian tradition one means Eusebius.”

Of EF Scott’s 1940 statement that the book was written in 96, under Domitian, when “the church was subjected to the first serious persecution, which raged most fiercely in Asia minor, and was occasioned by the Christian refusal to worship the emperor,” Wilson says that “Not a single point in Scott’s statement is accurate.”

With Yabro Collins, we have the odd situation of a scholar who has abandoned the notion of a Domitianic persecution yet still clings to a Domitianic date for the book.  ”Perceived” crisis and “relative” deprivation motivates the millennial vision: “the crucial element is not so much whether one is actually oppressed as whether one feels oppressed.”  Wilson comments that she has trouble finding any specific “traumatic” events to pin the book to.  She relies instead on later evidence (Trajan-Pliny) and on earlier evidence, oddly enough on evidence from the Neronian persecution and the destruction of the temple.  In other words, Revelation itself seems to fit best in the 60s, but Yabro Collins remains convinced on other grounds that the book is from the 90s.


About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
This entry was posted in Peter Leithart, Revelation. Bookmark the permalink.

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