corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries

Revelation Overview

 

 


Introduction

§ 1. THE TITLE.

1. The Revelation. — The name given to this book in our Bibles is the English form of the Latin equivalent of the Greek title ̓ αποκάλυψις. This Greek title is as old as the book itself, and forms the first word of the original text, where it constitutes an essential member of the opening sentence and paragraph. It was consistent with the Hebrew cast of the whole document that the Hebrew fashion of naming books by their initial words should be followed in this instance; but the classical and modern method of designating a literary work by the name of its principal theme happened here to lead to the same result: ἀποκα ì<sup>λυψις </sup>is not only the initial word of the book, but also a subject-title, descriptive of the largest portion of the contents.

In the Vulgate version the Greek word is retained, both in the title and at the commencement of the test. Its proper Latin equivalent, however, is not found by merely writing it in Latin letters, apocalypsis, but by combining the Latin renderings of its two component parts, taking re to represent ἀπο ì, and velatio as synonymous with κα ì<sup>υψις</sup>. According to the etymological genius of the respective languages, just as the simple substantive velatio, or κα ì<sup>λυψις</sup>, signified the act of covering with a veil, so the compound revelatio, or ἀπο- κα ì<sup>λυψις</sup>, meant the act of removing, turning back, or taking off the veil, in such a manner as to discover what previously was hidden from view.

The Latin compound, unaltered except by the Anglicizing of its termination, has become thoroughly naturalized in our English language; and on that account it is, for biblical and ministerial use, preferable to the original title, which, even in its Anglicized form, "Apocalypse," has never ceased to be "Greek" to ordinary English ears.

2. Of. In the English title the preposition "of" must be taken in the sense of "to" or "by." The Revelation was made by Jesus Christ to his servant John, and then the record of it was penned by John for the information of other servants of God. The things previously hidden were shown to John in visions, and were then described by John in writing, so that his fellowservants might see them in his book. The true author of the primary act of Revelation was Jesus Christ; Saint John wrote an account of what had been by Christ revealed to him, and that written account then became a Revelation to all others who should read it or hear it. The things that were shown to John in a vision were shown to the rest of the world in John's book. This book was not a Revelation to John himself, who merely recorded therein what had been shown to him in vision; but to us it is "The Revelation" of that new knowledge which Christ disclosed to John in another and a more mysterious way.

3. Saint John the Divine. The Greek epithet properly signifies "the one who discoursed about God" — one who not only spake God's messages, buff described God's nature; one who did not confine himself to proclaiming the works of God, but was emboldened to declare the deep mysteries of the Divine existence.

§ 2. AUTHOR.

Both internal and external evidence lead us to accept the theory of the authorship of this book which ascribes it to the Evangelist Saint John. Four times the author designates himself by the name of John (Revelation 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8), and on the first occasion adds that he was the same John "who bare witness of the Word of God," thus identifying himself with the writer of the Fourth Gospel and the first of the Johannine Epistles. Clear external testimony begins with Justin Martyr about the middle of the second century; he refers to "John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied in a Revelation made to him that the believers in our Christ should spend a thousand years in Jerusalem". Irenaeus, in the latter half of the second century, knew the book well, quoted it largely, and plainly attributed it to the John who leaned on Jesus' breast ('Adv. Haer.,' 4:20.11, etc.); he also appeals to genuine and ancient copies, as well as to others in which the text had already become corrupt (ibid., 5:30. 1). Explicit statements that the Apostle John wrote the Apocalypse are also found in Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and many later Fathers.

§ 3. DATE.

There are two principal theories regarding the date of the Apocalypse — the one ascribing it to about the year 69, or even earlier; and the other to about the year 96, or later. The reversed figures are easy to remember. The advocates of the earlier date refer St. John's banishment to the Neronian persecution, and believe the Apocalypse to have preceded the Fourth Gospel by a period of nearly or quite thirty years. Those who support the later date hold that the author was banished under Domitian, and that the Gospel was written before the Apocalypse, or, at latest, very soon after it. We believe that the earlier date is the right one, for the following reasons.

1. The internal evidence in support of it is very strong. The linguistic phenomena, the doctrinal expressions, and the methods of conveying Christian truth, in the two books are such as irresistibly lead the student to the conviction that the Apocalypse is much earlier than the Gospel. This argument has been ably drawn out by Canon Westcott.

(1) Regarding the linguistic phenomena, he says, "Nor is it difficult to see that, in any case, intercourse with a Greek-speaking people would in a short time naturally reduce the style of the author of the Apocalypse to that of the author of the Gospel. It is, however, very difficult to suppose that the language of the writer of the Gospel could pass at a later time, in a Greek-speaking country, into the language of the Apocalypse."

(2) Regarding the doctrinal expressions: "The Apocalypse is doctrinally the uniting link between the synoptists and the Fourth Gospel. It offers the characteristic thoughts of the Fourth Gospel in that form of development which belongs to the earliest apostolic age. It belongs to different historical circumstances, to a different phase of intellectual progress, to a different theological stage, from that of St. John's Gospel; and yet it is not only harmonious with it in teaching, but in the order of thought it is the necessary germ out of which the Gospel proceeded by a process of life."

(3) Regarding the methods of conveying Christian truth: "Of the two books the Apocalypse is the earlier. It is less developed, both in thought and style. The material imagery in which it is composed includes the idea of progress in interpretation. The symbols are living. On the other hand, to go back from the teaching of the Gospel to that of the Apocalypse, to clothe clear thought in figures, to reduce the full expression of truth to its rudimentary beginnings, seems to involve a moral miracle, which would introduce confusion into life."

2. The clear and positive external testimony against it is not strong, being reducible (as it seems to us) to the solitary statement of Irenaeus, near the end of the second century, that the Apocalypse was seen towards the close of Domitian's reign. Domitian was emperor from A.D. 81 to 96. Irenaeus, writing a century after the fact, may easily have made the mistake of putting the name of one famous persecuting emperor instead of the other, and it is remarkable that his statement is supported by no other writer earlier than Victorinus of Pettau, after a second interval of a century. Eusebius and Jerome, in the fourth century, do not strengthen what they merely repeat.

3. The remaining early evidence as to the time when the Apocalypse was written is certainly reconcilable with, and seems rather in favour of, the earlier date. We refer particularly to the oft-quoted passages of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen.

(1) Clement ('Quis Salvus Dives?' § 42, quoted in Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' 3:23) says that St. John went from the island of Patmos to Ephesus "after the tyrant was dead ( τοῦ τυρα ì<sup>ννου τελευτη</sup> ì<sup>σαντος</sup>); " that from Ephesus, as his head-quarters, he used to go when required to the neighboring Gentile districts to appoint bishops in one place, to regulate whole Churches in another, to ordain clergy in a third; that in one of these journeys he entrusted a youth to the bishop's care, with a special charge; that the youth was nurtured and brought up by the ecclesiastic, and at last ( το Ì <sup>τελευταῖον</sup>) baptized; that afterwards ( μετα Ì <sup>τοῦτο</sup>) the guardian's care relaxed, and the youth fell into bad company, who at first ( πρῶτον μεν) enticed him to love their society, then led him on step by step ( εἶτα .... εἶτα ..., κατ οκλι ì<sup>γον προσειθι</sup> ì<sup>ζετο</sup>), until at length ( τελε ì<sup>ως</sup>) he renounced his religion, and became a daring criminal and a chieftain of banditti; that after a lapse of time ( χρο ì<sup>νος ἐν με</sup> ì<sup>σῳ και</sup> Ì) an occasion arose when the apostle's presence was again needed at the same place, the people sent for him, and he came; that after settling the matter for which they had requested his visit, St. John inquired of the bishop respecting that which he had entrusted to his care; that the bishop did not at first understand what was meant, but, when St. John explained himself, told the youth's sad history; that the apostle, exhibiting most poignant grief, demanded a horse and guide, and rode off at once ( ὡ ì<sup>σπερ εἶχεν</sup>) to seek the lost youth, and that he succeeded in reclaiming him.

Clement's language leaves no doubt that he believed the whole of these events of St. John's stay in Asia, with Ephesus as his center of operations, to have been posterior to "the tyrant's" death; and so Eusebius understood him. Clement does not give the name of "the tyrant" to whom he refers: but Eusebius, influenced by the express statement of Irenaeus, with whose writings he was very familiar, takes it for granted that Domitian is meant; and many modern writers agree with him. Archdeacon Lee, for instance, in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' p. 415, goes so far as to say that "the tyrant" could be no other than Domitian. But when we reflect that Domitian's death did not take place till September, 96, and that it is highly improbable that St. John outlived the first century, we feel that it is impossible to compress the events of the foregoing narrative into the short intervening space of three or at the most four years — to say nothing of the difficulty of believing that St. John, in such extreme old age as he must have attained at the time of Domitian's death, could have commenced and carried on the active life which we have abundant reason for supposing he spent at Ephesus, even if we set aside the story of his riding on horseback into the mountains after the guerilla captain. If, therefore, Eusebius was right {as he probably was) in placing the long stay of St. John at Ephesus after his exile in Patmos, we hold that he must have been mistaken in supposing that "the tyrant" mentioned by Clement was Domitian. We differ so completely from Archdeacon Lee on this point, that we avow our conviction that "the tyrant" must be some other than Domitian.

And any schoolboy would perceive the fitness of the designation as applied to Nero, so proverbial for cruel tyranny, and so terrible a persecutor of the Christians. He died in the year 68, and we quite believe that he was the tyrant referred to by Clement. This would allow a period of about thirty years for the apostle's subsequent life and work in and around Ephesus, and some such period seems required by evidence derived from other sources and by the probabilities of the case.

(2) Tertullian is constantly associated with Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria — he completes the trio of eminent contemporaries whose works have in considerable bulk been preserved to us from the latter years of the second century. In a famous passage ('De Praescr. Hair.,' 36) he speaks of Rome as the place "ubi Petrus passioni Dominicae adaequatur; ubi Paulus Joannis exitu coronatur; nbi Apostolus Joannes, postea quam in oleum igneum demersus nihil passus est, in insulam relegatur" — "where Peter suffered a death like our Lord's; where Paul was beheaded like John the Baptist; and where the Apostle John, after being plunged into burninghot oil without being hurt, was banished to an island." We are quite willing to concede that this passage proves nothing as to the date of the Apocalypse, but we claim that it lends more support to the earlier than to the later of the alternative dates proposed. For, in the first place, it closely associates the banishment of St. John with the deaths of St. Peter and St. Paul, who are generally believed to have suffered martyrdom under Nero. And secondly, it expressly states that the banishment of St. John took place at Rome, which answers one objection made against the earlier date, viz. that the Neronian persecution was confined to Rome. Tertullian's view, whether right or wrong, seems to have been that St. John was once at Rome; that there he was accused, tried, and sentenced to exile; and that his place of exile was an island. Another passage of his writings ('Apol.,' 5), sometimes brought forward, as indirectly bearing upon the present question, says that Domitian was a milder persecutor than Nero, and implies that he himself restored those whom he had banished; but makes no mention of St. John. And indeed, upon the supposition that the ease of St. John was in Tertullian's mind when he wrote this passage, it would not agree with the theory most in favor with the advocates of the later date for the Apocalypse, namely, that St. John was one of the exiles set free by Nerva after Domitian's death; neither would the general tenor of it agree with the notion that Domitian rather than Nero was Styled emphatically "the tyrant."

(3) Origen, about the middle of the second century, having occasion in his commentary on St. Matthew to mention that, "as tradition teaches, the Emperor of the Romans condemned John to the island of Patmos," goes apparently out of his way to remark that, in the Apocalypse, John himself does not say who condemned him. But Origen's language does not imply that there was any doubt as to which emperor had banished the apostle; much less does it assert that the name of the emperor was not given because St. John himself had not given it. It simply points out that it was from an external tradition and not from internal evidence (in St. John's own work, the Apocalypse) that people in the third century learnt the fact that St. John was banished by "the (not an) Emperor of the Romans." We cannot tell whether Origen had or had not any definite knowledge or theory as to which emperor the tradition blamed for condemning St. John; he certainly does not repeat Irenaeus's assertion that it was Domitian; and there is nothing to show that he did not think it was Nero.

§4. PLACE.

It has always been the general opinion that the Book of Revelation was written in the same place where the Revelation was seen, that is, in the island of Patmos, situated in the south-east of the AEgaean Sea. Patmos is about the same distance east-south-east of Miletus, as Miletus is to the south of Ephesus. It is situated in about 37� 20' north latitude, and 26� 35' east longitude; in that subdivision of the great AEgaean which classical geographers designate the Icarian Sea; and in that group of its innumerable islands which the ancients well named the "Sporades," i.e. the "scattered" ones. It is quite a small island, mountainous and almost barren. In the side of one of its eminences is the cave which tradition asserts to have been the very place where the apostle was favored with the visions recorded in his book. And in the book itself St. John tells us (Revelation 1:9) that he "was in the isle that is called Patmos." Then he immediately states that he heard a voice, saying, "What thou seest, write in a book;" of which it is fairly inferred that it was in the island of Patmos that the voice was heard, that the visions were seen, and that the book was written. A few commentators have, however, held the opinion that the book was not written until after the apostle had left the island. They have supported their view by alleging the improbability of a banished man in St. John's circumstances possessing the time and materials and opportunity for writing; but such an allegation is not, after all, of very much weight. And one passage of the book itself (Revelation 10:4) seems to imply that what the saint saw and heard he wrote down at once, on the spot; for he says, "When the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." The frequent reiteration of the command to write, which occurs at the beginning of each of the seven Epistles to the Churches, and five times besides (Revelation 1:11, 19; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5), is perhaps best understood on the supposition that the book was written piecemeal, each vision seen and utterance heard being at once recorded by him who beheld and listened.

Therefore, while we readily admit the possibility of the theory that the Book of Revelation was written after the author had left Patmos — a theory as ancient as the time of Victorinus of Pettau, and supported by Arethas, who assigns the Ionian district about Ephesus as the place of writing — we hold that internal evidence concurs with the mass of external opinion in supporting the probability that the book was committed to writing on that same island of Parings, where the visions and voices were vouchsafed to "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

§5. MANUSCRIPTS.

Of the original Greek text of the Apocalypse there are about a hundred and twenty manuscripts known to scholars; and probably there are also in existence others whose existence is not at present known to any one beyond the owners and a small circle of friends, if even to the very owners themselves. It is also possible that some of the manuscripts which are now reckoned among the hundred and twenty containing the Apocalypse, may hereafter be found not really to contain that book at all. The list of Greek Apocalyptic manuscripts has had to be seriously modified during recent years from each of these causes.

The known manuscripts of the Greek text-of the Apocalypse are thus only few in number compared with those of other parts of the New Testament. Of the Acts and Catholic Epistles there are more than twice as many, and of the Pauline Epistles thrice as many, to say nothing of the hundred and twenty-seven copies of the 'Praxapostolos' or 'Lectionary containing the Church Lessons taken from the Acts and Epistles.' Of the holy Gospels there are about eight hundred Greek manuscripts known, besides about four hundred copies of the 'Evangelistarium,' or ' Lectionary containing the Church Lessons taken from the Gospels.' So that we may fairly say there is ten times more material, in the form of Greek manuscripts, for settling the text of the Gospels than there is for that of the Apocalypse. No portion of the Apocalypse seems to occur in any Greek lectionary.

Moreover, we are obliged to confess that the manuscripts which have hitherto been fully used for the criticism of the text of the Apocalypse form only a small portion of those which are paraded in our lists. Tischendorf, in his latest edition, does indeed refer to seventy-seven different manuscripts in the critical apparatus for this book; but to many of them his references are very rare, and it is certain that he had only an imperfect knowledge of more than half of those which he cites. Tregelles, in 1872, only used thirteen, but all of them had been carefully collated throughout. Scrivener, writing after the publication of the Revised Version, states that only thirtyone manuscripts of the Apocalypse had at that time been satisfactorily collated; and we shall therefore be approximately right in supposing that to be the number upon which the Greek text of the Revisers, as well as the special edition of Westcott and Hort, is based. At the present time, there are at least fifty Greek manuscripts of the Apocalypse, the texts of which are practically unknown. The Greek text which is represented by our Authorized Version was probably based upon no more than four manuscripts, two of which — employed by the Complutensian editors and by Lorenzo Valla respectively — are now unknown, or at least unidentified.

As a partial justification of this strange neglect of the materials which have been spared to our times, it ought to be remarked that in all likelihood those manuscripts that have been most carefully examined include those which are intrinsically of the highest value, and that most probably a thorough investigation of all the rest would not seriously affect the form of the Greek text with which critics and Revisers have now made us familiar. But we hold that it is neither dutiful to God nor satisfactory to devout men to rest content with probabilities in such a matter, and that we ought to be ashamed of apathetic idleness, when by industry and effort something more might assuredly be done to restore the true words of God and to purify them from human error and corruption.

All the hundred and twenty known manuscripts are now preserved in European libraries, and are distributed as follows: Italy possesses fortyseven — thirty-five in Rome, five in Florence, four in Venice, one in Turin, one in Ferrara, and one in Messina. France has twenty-three — twenty-two in Paris, and one in Poictiers. England comes next, with twenty-two — ten in London, six in Oxford, two at Cheltenham, two at Parham Park in Surrey, one at Cambridge, and one at Leicester. There are seventeen in Germany — Vienna, Munich, and Dresden have four each; Hamburg, Frank-fort-on-the-Oder, Wolfenbiittel, Mayhingen, and Zittau have one each. Russia claims seven, of which five are at Moscow and two at Petersburg. Ireland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland have one apiece, located in Dublin, the Escurial, Upsal, and Basle respectively.

Those which have been satisfactorily examined are thus distributed: nine in London; four each at Oxford and Moscow; two each at Rome, Paris, Petersburg, and Parham Park; one each at Vienna, Dresden, Frankfort-onthe- Oder, Mayhingen, Leicester, and Cheltenham. It is thus seen that the bulk of those not yet fully known are situated in Rome (thirty-three) and Paris (twenty).

The manuscripts vary in age very widely, the earliest belonging to the fourth century, and the latest having been written as recently as the seventeenth century. The average age is less than in the case of manuscripts of any other portion of the New Testament, and a surprisingly large number were written after the invention of printing. It is not always easy to fix the date of a Greek manuscript, even within a century; and different scholars have expressed different opinions regarding the dates of several of these hundred and twenty manuscripts of the Apocalypse; but they may be approximately classified in date as follows: One belongs to the fourth century, two to the fifth, one to the eighth, one to the ninth, perhaps two to the tenth, sixteen to the eleventh, fifteen to the twelfth, eighteen to the thirteenth, twenty-one to the fourteenth, eighteen to the fifteenth, seventeen to the sixteenth, and one to the seventeenth; of the remaining seven the age is not known.

The five most ancient of these manuscripts are written in uncial characters; all the others in cursive. In critical apparatus the uncials are designated by capital letters (A, B, C, P, and the Hebrew letter א<sup> </sup>[called "Aleph"]); the cursives are indicated by Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). All the five uncials have been well collated.

The usual material of Greek manuscripts is vellum or parchment, and the majority of the manuscripts of the Apocalypse are made of this substance. But it is a natural consequence of the late date at which so many of them were written that no less than forty out of the hundred and twenty are made of paper. Three others are made partly of parchment and partly of paper; the Leicester manuscript is of this kind.

The contents of the Apocalyptic manuscripts are very various, only a few codices (about a dozen) containing the Apocalypse alone of the books of the New Testament. At least four combine St. Paul's Epistles with the Revelation, and at least another four combine the Revelation with one or more of the Gospels. But far larger groups, including more than thirty in each case, contain either the whole New Testament or all except the Gospels. At least ten include some part of the Greek version of the Old Testament. And a large number include much matter which is extraneous to Holy Scripture, such as patristic treatises and lives of the saints.

Often the text of the Apocalypse is accompanied by a Greek commentary, either in full, or epitomized, or in fragmentary parts. Thus, in some form or other, the commentary of Andreas is known to exist in twenty-one of these manuscripts, that of Arethas in seven, and that of OEcumenius in three; while six others are known to contain some Greek commentary, and probably these are not all that are similarly enriched.

Until the manuscripts have been properly examined, it cannot be known how many of them contain the whole of the Book of Revelation, but probably it is only in rare exceptions that this book is mutilated. As may be expected, when a mutilated copy is found, the lost portions are either the beginning or the end of the book. The Basle manuscript is a mere fragment, containing only twenty-seven verses; the Barberini codex at Rome has but seventy-one verses; the one belonging to Moscow University contains about one-third, and "Vaticanus, 1904" at Rome only about one-fifth of the Apocalypse; and eighteen other manuscripts have less considerable mutilations, which in several instances affect only a few verses. But the great majority of the copies are believed to contain the whole of the 405 verses of the Book of Revelation.

The primary authority for the Greek text of our book is the fourth-century uncial, א<sup> </sup>(Aleph), the famous Sinaitic manuscript discovered by Tischendorf in 1844, brought to Europe in 1859, and first published at Petersburg in 1862.

Each of the two fifth-century uncials must also be placed in the front rank of documentary witnesses. They are A, the Alexandrian manuscript in the British Museum, first used for New Testament criticism in Walton's Polyglot; and C, the Ephraemi codex at Paris, first used in Kuster's reprint of Mill's Greek Testament in 1710.

Then, separated by the broad gap of three or four centuries, we have a second rank of authorities, consisting of the two remaining uncials, B and P. B is the manuscript numbered 2066 in the Vatican Library at Rome, first mentioned by Bianchini in 1748, but very imperfectly known until a century later: it must be specially borne in mind that this is a totally distinct manuscript from the one called B in other parts of the New Testament. P is Bishop Porphyry's manuscript at Petersburg, published by Tischendorf in 1865-9.

The cursives have been so imperfectly investigated that it is premature as yet to attempt to classify them as to their relative value. Some of those which are still uncollated may be among the best. If, however, we were asked to select the cursives which seem to us the best among such as are well known, and whose readings have been made accessible to all scholars, we should choose those numbered 1, 7, 38, 93, 94, and 95.

The following tables may be useful for reference: —

Attempts have been made at various times to classify the manuscripts of the Greek text of the Apocalypse into groups, families, or recensions, according to the character of the text which they exhibit. Thus Bengel believed in an African recension, represented by such manuscripts as A and 80; and an Asiatic recension, to which 119 and the bulk of the cursives belonged. Hort would group most of the cursives together as exhibiting the Syrian form of text; and cannot find any manuscript, even among the five uncials, that has preserved in its purity any one of the pre-Syrian forms of text — neutral, Western, Alexandrian. Delitzsch thinks that the most real and useful division is into three groups, viz. —

(1) Andreas-texts, such as A, 1, 7, 28, 80, 81, 96, 119.

(2) Arethas-texts, such as B, 29, 33, 35, 82, 87, 93, 94, 95.

(3) Mixed-texts, such as 8 and 31.

It is strange that manuscripts which Bengel considered typical of different groups should be placed by Delitzsch in the same group; and it is also a significant fact that Delitzsch confesses that the Leicester codex is so peculiar as to defy classification under his system.

Probably one of the most important results of a thorough examination of all the manuscripts would be the discovery of the genealogical relations by which many of them are connected together. When Delitzsch paid special attention to these documents, a quarter of a century ago, he made it appear tolerably certain that the number of independent witnesses for the text could very easily be reduced by such discoveries. For example, he showed that the manuscripts numbered 28, 79, and 80 were probably all copied from the one numbered 99; if so, clearly we ought to strike 28, 79, and 80 out of the list of independent authorities — the four together possess no more weight than any one of them taken separately. Similarly, it seems probable that 35 is a transcript of 100, that 92 was copied from 14, that 101 is a duplicate of 88, and that 82 and B are very closely connected — perhaps copied from the same exemplar.

§6. VERSIONS.

As with Greek manuscripts, so with versions or translations made from the Greek, those available for the Book of Revelation are both few in number and late in date, compared with those of other New Testament books.

1. Syriac. The great Syriac version of the Bible, known as the Peshito, did not contain the Apocalypse. The Caretonian Syriac version, which many critics suppose to be older than the Peshito, does not seem to have extended beyond the four Gospels; and the known range of the much later Jerusalem Syriac is similarly limited. But there are two other versions in Syriae, the Philoxenian and the Harklensian, which have recently been proved to be much more distinct from each other than was once supposed; and each of these includes the Apocalypse. There are eight Syriac manuscripts mentioned in literature as containing this book, but the present locality of three of them is unknown, and one other is a mere fragment. They may be enumerated as follows: —

(1) De Dieu's, in the University Library, at Leyden, designated "Sealiger, 18," of the sixteenth century, first published in 1627. Harklensian.

(2) Ussher's, in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, marked "B. 5. 16," written in the year 1625. HIarklensian.

(3) Gabriel Sionita's, now unknown, used for the Paris Polyglot in 1633; probably the same that was written by Andreas de Leon for Pope Paul V. ttarklensian.

(4) Moses of Mardin's, now unknown, but mentioned by De Dieu. Uncertain.

(5) One mentioned by Adler, formerly in the Library of St. Mark's, at Florence, but now missing. Harklensian.

(6) Earl of Crawford's, of the eleventh or twelfth century; the only known Syriac manuscript which contains the whole New Testament. The Apocalypse is Philoxenian.

(7) B.M. Addit., 17127, with a commentary; eleventh century.

(8) B.M. Addit., 17193, containing eight verses only.? Philoxenian.

For a fuller account of these documents, see the articles on "Polycarpus Choreplscopus" and "Thomas Harklensis" in Smith and Wace's 'Dictionary of Christian Biography,' written by Dr. Gwynn, Regius Professor of Divinity in Trinity College, Dublin, who informs us that he is preparing for publication the Syriac version of the Apocalypse in Lord Crawford's manuscript, with a Greek re-version. The Syriac Lectionaries do not contain any lessons from the Apocalypse, and with this agrees a phenomenon of Lord Crawford's manuscript of which we are assured by Dr. Gwynn, viz. that the Apocalypse "is not included in the lectionarydivisions with which, as regards the Gospels and Acts, the codex is marked." Yet the Apocalypse stands between the Gospels and Acts in this manuscript.

All the printed editions of the Syriac version of the Book of Revelation have been, up to the present time, based upon very modern manuscripts of the Harklensian type; and that version was not made until the seventh century. It evidently follows that the testimony of the Syriac version, as at present published, possesses no great value; the case may be quite different when the older exemplars of the earlier and closely literal Philoxenian translation become better known.

2. Latin. The Latin version, in its various forms, is by far the most valuable of all that are yet published, for the text of this book: perhaps it is also intrinsically and absolutely the best. In its latest form it is known as the Vulgate, and dates from the end of the fourth century. But we fortunately possess continuous texts of the Apocalypse in two earlier (ante- Hieronymian or Old-Latin) forms, known respectively as the African Old- Latin and the European Old-Latin.

The African form of this version is chiefly to be derived from the writings of Primasius, Bishop of Adrumetum, or Justinianopolis, in North Africa, whose commentary on the Apocalypse (in which the text of the book is given piecemeal) is printed in the sixty-eighth volume of Migne's ' Patrologia Latina.' A purely African text is also found in the Paris manuscript numbered "Lat., 6400 G," a palimpsest fragment, of which only parts of three pages of the Apocalypse are legible; it dates from the fifth or sixth century, was transcribed by Mr. Vansittart, and published in the ' Journal of Philology,' vol. 2. It is usually designated by the italic letter h.

The European Old-Latin exists in two manuscripts — one continuous, and the other giving detached passages. The whole book is found in g, 1.e. Codex Gigas Ptolmiensis, at Stockholm, of the thirteenth century, published by Belsheim in 1879. Bishop John Wordsworth intends indicating this copy by the Greek letter 7. The extracts are given in which is at Rome, "Bibl. Sessor. 58," published by Mat, in 1852, and often spoken of as Mat's Speculum; it was formerly, wrongly, ascribed to St. Augustine; it was written in the sixth or seventh century.

Of St. Jerome's Vulgate Latin version the manuscripts are innumerable, and even the printed editions are often referred to in critical matters. The manuscripts which have been selected by Bishop John Wordsworth for use in his forthcoming critical edition of the Vulgate, and which contain the Book of Revelation, are the following: —

(1) F, or fu= Codex Fuldensis, at Fulda, in Hesse Cassel; written for Victor, Bishop of Capua, and corrected by him, A.D. 541-6; published by Ranke in 1868.

(2) A, or am. = Codex Amiatinus, in the Laurentian Library at Florence; written in the county of Durham, at either Jarrow or Wearmouth, by order of the Abbot Ceolfrid, between A.D. 690 and 716; published by Tischendorf in 1850, and again 1854, and also by Tregelles in his Greek Testament; generally considered the best copy of the Vulgate.

(3) Z2, or hurl. = Harleian., 1772, in the British Museum; eighth century; Bentley's M from Rev. 14:16 to the end is lost. The Vulgate text of this copy is so much mixed with Old-Latin readings that it ought, perhaps, to be called an Old-Latin manuscript.

(4) D2, or arm. = The Book of Armagh, at Trinity College, Dublin: of the eighth or ninth century; the Apocalypse stands between the Catholic Epistles and the Acts; represents the British recension of the Vulgate.

(5) G, or germ. = "Germanum Latum," or "Lat., 11553,' at Paris; ninth century; called μ by Walker, who collated it for Bentley; exhibits a mixed text, sometimes cited as Old-Latin under the notation g; considered by Wordsworth to represent the Galliean recension of the Vulgate.

(6) C, or cav. = Cavensis, at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, close to Corpo di Cava, near Salerno; probably ninth century; collated by Wordsworth, who classes this and the next in our list together as representatives of the Spanish recension.

(7) T, or tol. = Toletanus, now in the National Library at Madrid; tenth century; collated in 1588 by Palomares, whose papers were published by Bianchini, in 1740; re-collated by Wordsworth in 1882.

(8) K, or kar. = Karolinus, the noble volume called "Charlemagne's Bible," in the British Museum, Addit., 10548; ninth century; exhibiting the Alcuinian revision executed by order of Charlemagne in 797.

(9) V, or vall.= Vallicellianus, in the Library of Sta. Maria in Vallicclla at Rome; ninth century; also Alcuinian.

(10) θ, or theod. (N.B. This is quite distinct from Tisehendorfs theo. or theotisc., which signifies some fragments of a bilingual manuscript, in Latin and Old-German, of St. Matthew) = Theodulfianus, Lat. 9380 in the [National Library at Paris; ninth century; of great value, as a text thoroughly revised by Theodutfus, Bishop of Orleans from A.D. 788 to 821.

3. Egyptian. The Apocalypse was comprised, as an appendix rather than an integral part of the canonical New Testament, in each of the two great Egyptian versions. These versions were made at so early a date that they would be of first-rate importance if they were well known and carefully published, but unfortunately they are not; and the Latin translations of them, from which alone critical editors have usually drawn their material, are very untrustworthy. The Egyptian text of the Apocalypse has never yet been critically edited, so far as we are aware; it is printed in the S.P.C.K. edition (Tattam's) of the New Testament in Coptic (Memphitie) and Arabic.

The best-known Egyptian version, sometimes loosely designated the Coptic, is now generally called the Memphitic; it is in the dialect formerly spoken by the inhabitants of Lower Egypt, of which the Arabic name was Bahirab, and the ancient capital Memphis. Bishop Lightfoot has devoted much attention to this version, and states that there is not a single authenticated case of a manuscript of it in which the Apocalypse is treated as of equal authority with the other canonical books. In the majority of eases the Apocalypse is contained in a separate manuscript; and in the two known exceptions, where it is bound up with other books, it is distinguished from them in some marked way. Lightfoot enumerates twelve Memphitic copies of the Apocalypse, but they are all of very late date, the earliest being dated A.D. 1321; all but one, if not that one also, are written on paper; and all but one are bilingual, giving the book in Arabic as well as in Memphitic. Four of them are in Great Britain, four in Rome, and two in Paris. No critical collation of any of them has yet been published, and consequently we cannot attach much importance to the testimony of this version as hitherto cited in textual criticism. The first use of it is found in Bishop Fell's Greek Testament, 1675, and Mill, in 1707, quite recognized its importance.

The second great Egyptian version is the Thebaix, in the dialect of Upper Egypt round about ancient Thebes, the district known to the Arabs as Sahid. The extant materials for a good edition of this version of the Apocalypse are much less abundant, or at all events are not so well known to ordinary scholars. We have been assured in conversation by Horts. Amelineau, who has made extensive literary researches in Egypt, that he knows of manuscripts which would enable him to publish a continuous and complete edition of the Thebaic version of this book; but from printed sources we have only been able to obtain information respecting four manuscripts that contain any of it: three are in the Library of the Propaganda at Rome, and one is at Paris; and all four together do not contain one-fourth of the book. Add to these some detached quotations in Tuki's 'Coptic Rudiments,' and parts of four verses (not one in full) printed in Ford's Appendix to Woide, and you have all the available material for a knowledge of the Thebaie version of the Book of Revelation. The book seems to have been excluded from the Thebaic canon of the New Testament, as it was from the Memphitic. Since we at present know nothing of the date of the Thebaic manuscripts, nor even at what time the version of this book was made, we cannot attach any importance whatever to its testimony as regards the Apocalypse. Portions of it were published, for the first time, in 1778, by Tuki; and others in 1810, in Zoega's 'Catalogue.'

4. Armenian. The Apocalypse is included in the Armenian version of the New Testament, which was probably executed in the fifth century, and made directly from the Greek original. The best printed edition is that edited by Zohrab at Venice, in 1789, and many manuscripts of it are in existence. But they are all recent in date, and the original form of the version has certainly been tampered with and corrupted (partly under the influence of the Latin Vulgate) in the intervening centuries. The value of the Armenian version is therefore not great.

5. AEthiopic. The Ethiopic was the earliest printed of all the Oriental versions, our book having been published by some natives of Abyssinia at Rome in 1548. It was reprinted in Walton's Polyglot with many errors of the press, and with "an unusually bad Latin translation." The best critical edition is said to be Bode's. The Ethiopic is a feeble version, and the extant manuscripts of it are even later in date than those of the Memphitic or Armenian.

No other version of the Apocalypse is worth mentioning. The Arabic, as best edited by Erpenius at Leyden, in 1616, seems to have been derived from the Memphitic. The Slavonic, in its present form, cannot be earlier than the sixteenth century.

§ 7. QUOTATIONS.

It is well known that all the available aids for the restoration of the true form of the original text of the New Testament are usually grouped under three divisions, viz. Greek manuscripts, versions, and patristic quotations. Having briefly treated of the first and second, we now come to the consideration of the third of these groups.

The Apocalypse is only seldom quoted by the Greek or Latin Fathers, with the exception of such as have written special commentaries upon this peculiar book. It happens, however, that the commentators are somewhat numerous, and for this reason we have a much greater abundance of Apocalyptic quotations than would otherwise have been the case.

Moreover, the extant manuscript copies of some of the commentaries give the text of the book itself in a complete, or almost complete, form. We have already mentioned the groups of cursives which Delitzsch terms the Andreas-texts and the Arethas texts; and in the Old-Latin version (African form) we have alluded to the continuous text that is furnished in the commentary of Primasius.

Among writers of the second century, Irenaeus is remarkable for citing the Apocalypse by name, although he does not specifically mention any other book of the New Testament; and Tertullian makes quotations from, or allusions to, almost every chapter in this book.

The following list includes all the most famous Fathers whose writings give important testimony to the language of the Book of Revelation. The Roman numerals indicate the century to which their evidence may most fairly be reckoned to belong; and the names marked with an asterisk are those of Fathers who have written commentaries on this book: —

LIST OF FATHERS

Greek.

Latin.

Clement of Alexandria, II. And III.

Cypriah, III.

*Hippolytus, III.

*Tichonius, IV.

Origen, III.

*Victorinus of Pettau, IV.

Methodius, IV.

Ambrose, IV.

Eusebius, IV.

Jerome, V.

Gregory of Nazianzum,

IV Augustine, V.

Gregory of Nyssa, IV.

*Primasius, VI.

Cyril of Alexandria, V.

*Cassiodorus, VI.

*Andreas of Caesarea in Cappadocia, VI.

*Baeda, VIII.

*Arethas of the same, X.

*Ansbertus (Ambrose), VIII

Oecumenius, X.

*Berengaudus, IX.

*Haymo, IX.

Important quotations of the Apocalypse also occur in a Latin work of unknown authorship, entitled ' De Promissionibus' or 'Dimidium Temporis,' often appended to the writings of Prosper of Aquitaine, and sometimes printed with the works of St. Augustine. It is generally believed to belong to the fourth century.

The earliest Apocalyptic commentaries are almost completely lost. That of Hippolytus is only known from an obscure Arabic summary, in which it is mixed up with later views; and that of Tichonius principally from notices in Augustine and Beeda. The work of Victorinus of Pettau is extant in two forms, a longer and a shorter, but both have been undeniably interpolated, and it is impossible to pronounce to what extent. Our next interpretations belong to the sixth century, and there are grave difficulties in ascertaining the true form of the original commentary of Andreas. Nevertheless, there are very many instances where we can feel quite certain as to the text of the Apocalypse used by a commentator, although we may be uncertain about his comment upon it; and the sacred text is, after all, the chief thing we wish to ascertain.

§ 8. HISTORY OF THE PRINTED TEXT.

The Greek text of the Book of Revelation was first printed, together with the other books of the New Testament, in the fifth volume of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, at Aieala or Complutum, in Spain, in the year 1514. The promoter of the undertaking was Cardinal Ximenes, Archbishop of Toledo; the chief editor was James Lopez de Stunica; and the master printer was Arnald William de Brocario. Wetstcin, Matthaei, and other scholars consider it certain that the Complutensian editors only used one Greek manuscript for the Apocalypse; this manuscript has not yet been identified with any in the foregoing lists, but it was decidedly superior in many respects to the one used by Erasmus two years later. Erasmus, in 1516, edited the earliest-published Greek Testament, printed by Frobenius of Basle. He had but one manuscript of the Revelation, that now numbered 1; it was not quite perfect at the end of the book and contained Andreas's commentary written in such a way as not to be always clearly distinguishable from the sacred text. Moreover, Erasmus prepared his edition with great rapidity, and hurried it through the press without due revision and correction. Hence his text, although substantially correct, is full of errors and imperfections in detail. While writers on textual criticism are justified in denouncing this edition as extremely bad, Based on one mutilated manuscript, and that one not represented with the scrupulous accuracy required by modern scholarship, it must yet be borne in mind, and cannot be too often repeated, that as regards doctrine and general drift and practical value, there is no serious difference between the earliest and latest editions, the worst and the best.

It is quite true that Erasmus supplied the deficiencies (real or supposed) of his single copy by Greek of his own composition, taking the Vulgate Latin version as his guide; and that words and phrases which originated in this way, unsupported by any known Greek manuscript, cling to the received text at the present day. But the importance of these errors of judgment has been greatly exaggerated, and unmerited censure has been heaped upon an editor whose achievements, fairly considered, rather deserve our grateful praise.

Three editions of Erasmus's Greek Testament were published before he saw a copy of the Complutensian. He soon recognized the superiority of the text of the Apocalypse in the Spanish Bible, and in his fourth (and fifth) edition he amended from it at least ninety readings in this one book. Thus the later editions of Erasmus may be said to have been based upon two Greek manuscripts, besides a few readings which he found in the Annotations of Lorenzo Valla upon forty-three scattered verses of the book.

The famous French printer, Robert Stephen of Paris, used two other manuscripts, now called 2 and 3, of the Apocalypse, but still his text is in the main a mere reprint of the later Erasmian text. Matters stood thus when the English Authorized Version was made in 1611, and when the famous Textus Receptus of the Greek was published at Leyden in 1633, by the brothers Elzevir.

Indeed, it was not until a hundred and forty-three years after the first printing of the Apocalypse that the readings of a fifth manuscript were made available for the improvement of the text. In 1657 Walton's monumental Polyglot Bible was published, and therein were given all the variants of the Alexandrian manuscript, the excellent uncial in our British Museum.

Exactly half a century afterwards, in 1707, Mill's Greek Testament came from the Oxford press, and astonished the learned world. Besides some readings of foreign manuscripts at present unknown, it contains full collations of six English cursives of the Apocalypse. Kuster, in 1710, added the readings of the uncial C at Paris, and of one other cursive.

To the great Cambridge scholar, Bentley, belongs the credit of making the first attempt to apply all the then available materials to the formation of a more accurate Greek text. In 1720 he made public his Proposals for Printing, which contained the twenty-second chapter of the Book of Revelation in Greek and Latin, by way of specimen; but no further portion of his proposed edition was ever printed.

In 1734, John Albert Bengel published a new Greek text or the whole New Testament, which was very greatly in advance of anything of the kind that had previously appeared. He paid special attention to the Apocalypse, and wrote a valuable essay on the textual criticism relating thereto; he was also a very laborious commentator on the same. He reckons the number of Greek manuscripts of the book, known directly or indirectly to himself, as twenty. Wetstein, in 1752, increased the number to thirty-one, and among the additions was the Vatican uncial B of the Apocalypse.

Matthaei's edition of the Apocalypse, published at Riga in 1785, was the first that was prepared (since the Complutensian) from Greek manuscripts only, without reference to previous printed editions. But, unfortunately, Matthaei's apparatus for this book was limited to five cursives (47, 48, 49, 50, and 90), and he ignored the collations published by previous scholars. In an appendix he gave collations of two other cursives (30 and 32), and in this way increased the stock of materials for future editors. Similarly, F. K. Alter, a German Jesuit, by his independent work, provided additional material, but cannot be said to have used it himself; he collated four copies of the Apocalypse (33, 34, 35, 36), all at Vienna. Also the Lutheran Bishop, Birch, a Dane, published, in 1800, collations, more or less complete, of ten other cursives (37 46), all in Italian libraries.

Griesbach, in 1806, took account of all these materials, besides adding a fresh collation (29) of his own.

Scholz, in 1836, made known the existence of about forty previously unknown manuscripts, but he only gave a thorough collation of one (51).

Lachmann's celebrated edition of the Greek Testament was weakest in the Apocalypse, which was published in 1850. He so restricted himself in the use of authorities that for a hundred and sixty-five verses of this book his sole Greek witness is the uncial manuscript A.

Tregelles, in many respects an imitator of Lachmann, used only thirteen manuscripts in preparing his edition, published in 1872. But most other recent editors, e.g. Tischendorf, Alford, and Wordsworth, have made use of all the material previously published. Probably the most carefully prepared texts of our own day are those edited

(1) by Westcott and Hort, and

(2) by the company of Revisers, both of which were published in 1881; as may be expected, they are very much alike.

Westcott and Hort say, "We are by no means sure that we have done all for the text of the Apocalypse that might be done with existing materials. But we are convinced that the only way to remove such relative insecurity as belongs to it would be by a more minute and complete examination of the genealogical relations of the documents than we have been able to accomplish, nor have we reason to suspect that the result would make any considerable change."

We ought to mention that the Greek text of the Apocalypse has been several times published apart from the rest of the New Testament. The best known of these special editions are those by Tregelles, Wordsworth, and Kelly.

§ 9. CHARACTER OF THE GREEK.

The Greek of the Apocalypse presents wider and more frequent deviations from the ordinary style of classical Greek than that of any other book of the New Testament. It may be generally described as Hellenistic Greek, but it has so many distinctive features that Winer considered it to need special treatment at the hands of any writer on the grammar of the New Testament. Most, if not all, of its peculiarities may be due to the Hebrew braining of the author of the book; and, on the other hand, many of them have parallels in profane Greek literature; but their frequency in this book, and (in some cases) their extreme form, give it a unique character. The writer gives ample proof that he was acquainted with the rules and even the subtleties of Greek grammar; yet he departs from those rules and neglects those subtleties with such apparent carelessness that he has been accused of the grossest ignorance of the Greek language. But to students acquainted with Hebrew, the style of the Apocalyptic Greek presents very little difficulty, and its so-called roughnesses occasion little surprise. Bengel's explanation of the character of the Greek of this Book is as satisfactory as it is simple: "Johannem tibi, lector Apocalypseos, propone Hebraice cogitantem, Graece scribentem; et tute, quae Graece legis, Hebraice recogita: omnia senties expedita."

Without discussing the equally remarkable though less obvious peculiarities in the use of the tenses, the order of the words, and the concatenation of clauses, we will enumerate some of the most easily recognized deviations from ordinary Greek that are found in this book; and for the purpose of this examination we will use the text which has been adopted and published by the recent Revisers.

For the sake of convenience we will arrange these deviations in two divisions, which we will term respectively "soloecisms" and "Hebraisms." But we must not be understood to use these terms in any rigidly scientific or etymologically accurate sense. We acknowledge that many of our socalled soloecisms are capable of being brought under well-known usages, whereby even the best classical authors are held to be justified in departing from ordinary grammatical laws. And we freely allow that Greek writers who never felt any direct Semitic influences are occasionally found to use the particular forms of expression which we are here denominating Hebraisms. We further admit that our classification is not logically defensible, and that our divisions are not mutually exclusive. But we hope that our nomenclature is convenient, and our arrangement practically useful, and therefore we make no further apology for it. The following are the chief superficial peculiarities of the Greek of the Apocalypse: —

I. Soloecisms: deviations from the ordinary rules of Greek grammar.

1. Discords of gender: instances where pronouns, adjectives, and participles, possessing distinction of gender, have not been made to agree with the substantives to which they severally refer; e.g. —

Revelation 2:27, αὐτου Ì<sup>ς</sup>, referring to ἐ ì<sup>θνα</sup>.

Revelation 3:4, ἀ ì<sup>ξιοι</sup>... ὀνο ì<sup>ματα</sup>.

Revelation 4:1, λε ì<sup>γων</sup>... φωνη ì.

So Revelation 9:14; 11:15. 8, λε ì<sup>γοντες</sup>... ζῶα.

Revelation 5:6, ἀπεσταλμε ì<sup>νοι</sup>... πνευ ì<sup>ματα</sup>.

Revelation 6:10, λε ì<sup>γοντες</sup>... ψυχαι ì (in ψυχα ì<sup>ς</sup>).

Revelation 12:5, ἀ ì<sup>ρσεν </sup>... υἷον.

Revelation 14:3, οἱ ἠγορασμε ì<sup>νοι</sup>... χιλια ì<sup>δες </sup>(contrast ver. 1).

Revelation 17:3, γε ì<sup>μοντα</sup>... γυναῖκα. 16, οὗτοι... κε ì<sup>ρτα</sup>, and θηρι ì<sup>ον</sup>.

Revelation 19:14, ἐνδεδυμε ì<sup>νοι</sup>... στρατευ ì<sup>ματα</sup>.

Revelation 21:14, ἐ ì<sup>χων</sup>... τεῖχος (comp. Revelation 4:8).

2. Discords of number: instances where declinable words have not been adapted in number to the other words with which they are connected; e.g. —

Revelation 6:11, ἑκα ì<sup>στῳ</sup>... αὐτοῖς.

Revelation 8:9, διεφθα ì<sup>ρησαν</sup>... το Ì <sup>τρι</sup> ì<sup>τον</sup>.

Revelation 19:1, λεγο ì<sup>ντων</sup>... ὀ ì<sup>χλου</sup>.

Revelation 20:13, ἐκρι ì<sup>θησαν</sup>... ἑ ì<sup>καστος</sup>... αὐτῶν,.

3. Discords of case: examples in which words employed in apposition, or with reference to the same person or thing, are not put in the same case; e.g. —

Revelation 1:5, ἀπο Ì ̓<sup>Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁ μα</sup> ì<sup>ρτυς</sup>, etc.

Revelation 2:20, τη Ì<sup>ν γυναῖκα ̓Ιεζεβελ ἡ λε</sup> ì<sup>γουσα</sup>.

Revelation 3:12, τῆς καινῆς ̔ιερουσαλη ì<sup>μ ἡ καταβαι</sup> ì<sup>νουσα</sup>.

Revelation 6:1, φωνη ì instead of φωνη ì<sup>ν </sup>or φωνῆς.

Revelation 7:9, ἑστῶτες... περιβεβλημε ì<sup>νους</sup>.

Revelation 8:9, τῶν κτισμα ì<sup>των τῶν</sup>... τα Ì <sup>ἐ</sup> ì<sup>χοντα</sup>.

Revelation 9:14, τῷ ἑ ì<sup>κτῳ ἀγγελῳ ὁ ἐ</sup> ì<sup>χων</sup>.

Revelation 10:1, 2, ἀ ì<sup>γγελον</sup>... ἐ ì<sup>ξων</sup>,.

Revelation 11:18. τοῖς φοβουμε ì<sup>νοις</sup>... του Ì<sup>ς μικρου</sup> Ì<sup>ς</sup>, etc.

Revelation 14:6, 7, ἀ ì<sup>γγελον</sup>... λε ì<sup>γων</sup>. 12, τῶν ἁγι ì<sup>ων</sup>... οἱ τηροῦντες.

Revelation 17:4, βδελυγμα ì<sup>των</sup>... τα Ì <sup>ἀκα</sup> ì<sup>θαρτα</sup>. 8, κατοικοῦντες.... βλεπο ì<sup>ντων </sup>(attr. to ὦν,).

Revelation 21:10, 12, τη Ì<sup>ν πο</sup> ì<sup>λιν</sup>... ἐ ì<sup>χουσα</sup>.

4. Ellipse of the transitive verb which is necessary to explain an accusative case; e.g. —

Revelation 4:4, [ εἶδον] before εἰκοσιτε ì<sup>σσαμας πρεσβυτε</sup> ì<sup>ρους</sup>, etc.

Revelation 10:8, [ ἠ ì<sup>κουσα</sup>] repeated before λαλοῦσαν and λε ì<sup>γουισαν</sup>.

Revelation 13:3, [ εἶδον] before μι ì<sup>αν</sup>,

5. Participle used as finite verb; e.g. —

Revelation 1:16, ἐ ì<sup>χων</sup>.

6. Finite verb used as participle; e.g. —

Revelation 1:4, 6 , ἦν.

7. Preposition not followed by its usual case; e.g. —

Revelation 1:4, ἀπο Ì <sup>ὁ ὠ</sup> ì<sup>ν</sup>.

The designation of the Deity in this verse is, when grammatically considered, very remarkable. It may be literally rendered: The "Being" and the "Was" and the "Coming."

II. Hebraisms: deviations from classical Greek style, produced by the influence of a greater familiarity with Hebrew style.

1. Redundancy of personal pronouns —

(1) After a noun or its equivalent (with definite article) which is, by the use of the extra pronoun, left "pendent."

(a) Nominativus pendens; e.g. —

Revelation 2:26, ὁ νικῶν και Ì <sup>ὁ τερῶν</sup>... δω ì<sup>σω αὐτῷ</sup>.

Revelation 3:21, similarly, ὁ νικῶν... δω ì<sup>σω αὐτε͂ͅ</sup>.

Revelation 3:12, ὁ νικῶν ποιη ì<sup>σω αὐτο</sup> ì<sup>ν</sup>.

(b) Dativus pendens; e.g. —

Revelation 2:7, τῷ νικῶντι δω ì<sup>σω αὐτῷ</sup>. So ver. 17.

Revelation 6:4, τῷ καθημε ì<sup>νῳ... ἐδο</sup> ì<sup>θη αὐτῷ</sup>.

(2) After a relative.

(a) After a relative pronoun; e.g. —

Revelation 3:8, ἠ Ì<sup>ν</sup>... αὐτη ì<sup>ν</sup>.

Revelation 7:3, οἶς... αὐτοῖς. 9. ὁ Ì<sup>ν</sup>... αὐτο ì<sup>ν</sup>,.

(b) After a relative adverb; e.g. —

Revelation 17:9, ὁ ì<sup>που</sup>... ἐπ αὐτῶν, with which we may compare Revelation 12:14, ὁ ì<sup>που</sup>... ἐκεῖ

2. The nominative (with definite article) used for the vocative; e.g. —

Revelation 6:10, ὁ δεσπο ì<sup>της ὁ ἁ</sup> ì<sup>γιος και</sup> Ì <sup>ἀληθινο</sup> ì<sup>ς</sup>.

Revelation 11:17, ὁ θεο Ì<sup>ς ὁ παντοκρα</sup> ì<sup>τερ ὁ ὠ</sup> Ì<sup>ν και</sup> Ì <sup>ὁ ἦν</sup>.

Revelation 15:3, ὁ θεο ì<sup>ς ὁ παντοκρα</sup> ì<sup>τωρ</sup>... ὁ βασιλευ Ì<sup>ς τῶν αἰω</sup> ì<sup>νεν</sup>.

Revelation 16:5, ὁ ὦν και Ì <sup>ὁ ἦν ὁ</sup> ì<sup>σιος</sup>. 7, ὁ θεο Ì<sup>ς ὁ παντοκρα</sup> ì<sup>τωρ</sup>.

Revelation 18:4, ὁ λαο ì<sup>ς μου</sup>. 10, ἡ πο ì<sup>λις ἡ μεγα</sup> ì<sup>λη Βαβυ</sup> ì<sup>λων ἡ πο</sup> ì<sup>λις ἡ ἰσχυρα</sup> ì 20, οἱ ἁ ì<sup>γιοι και</sup> Ì <sup>οἱ ἀπο</sup> ì<sup>στολοι και</sup> Ì <sup>οἱ προφῆται</sup>.

3. Free usage of the preposition ἐν, as if it were completely the equivalent of the Hebrew בְּ, and proper wherever that would be employed; e.g. —

Revelation 2:27, ἐν ῥα ì<sup>βδ σιδηρᾷ</sup>. So Revelation 12:5 and 19:15.

Revelation 5:9, ἐν τῷ αἱ ì<sup>ματι</sup> ì <sup>μου</sup>.

Revelation 9:19 (end), ἐν αὐταῖς ("by means of their tails") ἀδικοῦσι.

Revelation 10:6, ὠ ì<sup>μοσεν ἐν</sup>.

Revelation 13:10 (his), ἐμ μαχαι ì<sup>ρᾳ</sup>.

Revelation 14:2, ἐν ταῖς κιθα ì<sup>ραις αὐτῶν</sup>.

Revelation 19:21, ἐν τῇ ῥομηαι ì<sup>ᾳ </sup>(comp. ver. 15).

4. The employment of εἰς after γι ì<sup>φνομαι</sup>, like the Hebrew לְ<sup> </sup>after הָיחָ; e.g. —

Revelation 8:11, ἐγε ì<sup>νετο το</sup> Ì <sup>τρι</sup> ì<sup>τον τῶν ὑδα</sup> ì<sup>των εἰς ἀ</sup> ì<sup>ψινθον</sup>

5. The Hebrew method of expressing a universal negative; e.g. —

Revelation 22:3, πᾶν κατα ì<sup>θεμα οὐκ ἐ</sup> ì<sup>σται ἐ</sup> ì<sup>τι</sup>.

The text is in a few passages so difficult to explain grammatically that we are almost obliged to suspect that the Revisers' text cannot be a faithful representation of what the apostle wrote. We would particularly instance the two following cases: —

(1) Revelation 2:1, τῷ ἐν ̓εφε ì<sup>σῳ ἐκκλησι</sup> ì<sup>ας</sup>. Similarly in ver. 8, but not in the superscriptions of the epistles to the other five Churches.

(2) Revelation 2:13, ἐν ταῖς ἡμε ì<sup>ραις ̓Αντι</sup> ì<sup>πας ὁ με</sup> ì<sup>ρτυς μου</sup>. Perhaps we should group with these the very difficult genitive infinitive in Revelation 12:7, ὁ ΄ιχαη Ì<sup>λ και</sup> Ì <sup>οἱ ἀ</sup> ì<sup>γγελοι αὐτοῦ τοῦ παλεμῆσαι μετα</sup> Ì <sup>τοῦ δρα</sup> ì<sup>κοντος</sup>.

In conformity with the Hebraizing character of the Greek, we find a somewhat frequent use of pure Hebrew words: ἀμη ì<sup>ν</sup>, Revelation 1:6, 7, and often; ἀλληλου ì<sup>ϊα</sup>, Revelation 19:1, and thrice afterwards; ἀβαδδω ì<sup>ν</sup>, Revelation 9:11; and ̔Αρμαγεδών, Revelation 16:16.

The character of the Greek of the Apocalypse has been generally discussed in connection with the question of the authorship of the book. Most frequently it has been compared with the language of the Fourth Gospel. But the evidence of grammar, vocabulary, and style is not conclusive either for or against the identity of authorship between the two books. In 1851 Davidson wrote that from evidence of this kind "men of learning and acuteness have entertained contrary sentiments respecting the authorship of the Apocalypse. Schulze, Donker-Curtius, Seyfarth, Kolthoff, and Dannemann attribute the book to the apostle on the ground of its remarkable agreement with his authentic writings, in ideas, expression, and manner; while Ewald, Lucke, Credner, and De Wette believe the diversity to be so great as to justify a denial of John's authorship."

We are ourselves much impressed by the many and weighty coincidences, and think that (on the theory of the early date of the Apocalypse) there is sufficient reason to be found in the differences of date, subject-matter, and circumstances, to account for the numerous diversities in the language of the two books.

§ 10. AUTHENTICITY.

It is often difficult to see what is intended by writers when they use the term "authenticity," and perhaps a distinction should be drawn between the authenticity of a document and the authenticity of a statement. In the former case the term is almost synonymous with "genuineness;" in the latter, with "credibility" or "trustworthiness."

By the authenticity of the book entitled, 'The Revelation of St. John the Divine,' therefore, we mean the identity of the present book so called with the manuscript original work so called, of which St. John the Divine was the αὐθε ì<sup>ντης</sup>. Taking it for granted that St. John wrote with his own hand a Revelation, when we say that the last book of our New Testament canon is authentic, we aver that it is the same Revelation which St. John wrote. If we adhered to the etymological and strictly literal signification of the epithet, no form of a book could be properly styled "authentic" except the original autograph and such copies as may have been transcribed by the author himself. But for all practical purposes we are justified in calling a book "authentic" when we merely mean that it is substantially and virtually the same as the author originally wrote it; and in this looser sense the epithet is applied to all faithful transcripts and printed copies, and even to translations.

Textual criticism proves that our Authorized Version of the Revelation is unauthentic in many details of words and phrases, most (but not all) of which are of comparatively little importance; but the authenticity of the book, considered as a whole, is not open to doubt. No one has ever hinted that our ' Revelation of St. John the Divine' is a totally different work from the original book similarly entitled; no chapter is supposed to be a later interpolation; no copyist or redactor is accused of having, to any large or serious extent, willfully corrupted the text by mutilating or altering it in any way whatever. All references to the book by name, and M1 express quotations from it, correspond with our present book so exactly as to furnish no ground for the least suspicion that a different book was at any time in circulation under the same title.

The authenticity of the statements contained in the Revelation is peculiarly difficult to establish, owing to the character of its contents. A description of visions, written by the only person who beheld them; a record of words penned by the only human being who heard them; a series of prophecies that belong, at least in part, to the future; these statements are, from their very nature, incapable of being tested and attested, confirmed and verified, supported and illustrated, in the same way as ordinary historical statements of matters of fact. But so far as the narrative can be tested, it stands the tests well. The "isle called Patmos" was suited for a place of banishment; and banishment was a practice common in those times. The epistles to the seven Churches of Asia are singularly in harmony with what is known from other sources concerning the respective communities to which they are addressed. The diction of the whole book remarkably corresponds with the period and the authorship to which it is generally ascribed.

So far, therefore, as the authenticity of the book called, 'The Revelation of St. John the Divine,' and of the statements therein contained, forms a separate subject for consideration, we hold that it is satisfactorily established.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Revelation:4 Overview". The Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/revelation-0.html. 1897.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology