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Posted By: John_C Dating the Epistles of John - Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:48 AM
I know there are two schools of thought on the dating of John's Epistles - 66-67 AD or 90-95 AD. What has been the dominant view during the history of the church? I have always thought it was the latter; but I read someone positing it as the former, saying that the dispensational influence moved the dating forward to the 90-95 dating? Is this just partial preteriest post-mill rhetoric? If so, it makes me wonder if they are just out in left field as much as the dispy pre-mills.
Posted By: John_C Re: Dating the Epistles of John - Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:12 PM
3stooges I meant Revelation of John, not his epistles.

Sorry coffee2
Posted By: J_Edwards Re: Dating the Epistles of John - Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:22 PM
Majority view: the majority of modern Biblical scholars that Revelation was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian who ruled from AD 81-96. This view is based “in part” on a passage written by Irenaeus (he died 202 AD) in his book Adversus Haereses, 5:30:3. "If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him (John) who saw the revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian."

However there are questions of what was meant by Irenaeus: (1) the Greek is somewhat ambiguous. "For it was seen…" could be referring to the book itself, BUT Ireneus does say that John lived until the reign of Domitian, (2) Irenaeus is the only source for this late dating of Revelation; all other "sources" appear to be quoting him, and (3) although there was some persecution of Christians during the latter part of Domitian’s reign, he, unlike Nero, at times exiled Christian leaders, allowing them to return a few years later.

Minority View: Revelation was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero who ruled from AD 54-68. There is support for this view in that: (1) there is volumes of evidence supporting widespread Christian persecution during the reign of Nero, (2) the list of the 7 (8) emperors in Revelation chapter 17, and (3) the mention of the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem in Rev. 11:1.

Futurist: viewpoint held by early expositors such as Justin Martyr (died AD 165), Irenaeus (died app AD 195), Hippolytus (died AD 236) and Victorinus (died app AD 303).

Historicist: John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, C. H. Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke and Albert Barnes.

Preterists (interpretation was apparently first developed about 1614 by the Spanish Jesuit Alcasar) understand that the dating of the book is important to their view. See, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation, by Gentry (pre-AD70 dating of the book of Revelation).

Here is their listing (left column) of who holds to what (maybe a little biased) grin

In addition you may find this listing “fairly” helpful (I have not fully checked its accuracy):


Archer, Gleason.
Barnhouse, Donald Grey. Revelation: An Expository Commentary Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971
Barton, B. B., & Osborne, G. R. Revelation. Life application Bible commentary Tyndale House 2000
Chafer, Lewis Sperry.
DeHaan, M. R. (Our Daily Bread. Radio Bible Class).
Duck, Daymond R., Revelation God's Word for the Biblically-Inept Series. Lancaster: Starburst Publishers, 1998.
Feinberg, Charles.
Garland, Anthony: A Testimony of Jesus Christ (Online, free, conservative magnum opus!)
Gaebelein, Arno C., The Revelation: An Analysis and Exposition of the Last Book of the Bible: Loizeaux Brothers, 1915
Geisler, Norman.
Guzik, David. Verse by Verse Commentary: Revelation. Enduring Word Media.
Ironside, H. A. Lectures on the Revelation: Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1920
Johnson, Alan. Revelation in the Expositor's Bible Commentary.
Kaiser, Walter
Lindsey, Hal. There’s a New World Coming: A Prophetic Odyssey: Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1973
MacArthur, J. Revelation 1-11 and 12-22. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999
J. Vernon McGee. Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson December, 1988.
Morris, Henry M. The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Revelation: Tyndale House, 1983
Newell, William R. The Book of the Revelation: Chicago: Moody Press,1935 (devotional flavor)
Pentecost, J. Dwight.
Phillips, John. Exploring Revelation. Chicago: Moody Press. 1874
Ribeira (1537-91) Jesuit scholar held almost all events are future and apply to the end times
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Revelation: Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1968
Seiss, J. A. The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation: Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957
Smith, J.B. A Revelation of Jesus Christ . Scottdale, Pa.: Herald, 1961. (also dispensationalist)
Stedman, Ray C. God’s Final Word: Understanding Revelation: Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1991
Strauss, Lehman. The Book of the Revelation: Neptune, NJ.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1964
Tenney, Merrill C. Interpreting Revelation . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957. (also dispensationalist)
Thomas, Robert L. Revelation 1–7: An Exegetical Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1992.
Thomas, Robert L. Revelation 8–22: An Exegetical Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1995.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ . Chicago: Moody, 1966. (also dispensationalist)
Wiersbe, Warren. Be Victorious. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.


Alford, Henry. The Revelation . Alf. London: Cambridge, 1884
Barnes, Albert. Revelation in Notes on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1884–85
Calvin, John.
Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible: Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967
Edwards, Jonathan
Elliott, E.B. Horae Apocalypticae . 4 vols. Eng. tr. 3d ed. London: Seeley, Burnside, and Seeley, 1828
Gill, John. Commentary of the Whole Bible.
Henry, Matthew. Acts to Revelation, vol. 6 in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell
Knox, John.
Ladd, George E. A Commentary on the Revelation of John . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972. (Historical premillennial, some classify as more futurist, others as preterist-futurist! He is difficult to categorize)
Luther, Martin.
Newton, Sir Issac: The Prophecies of Daniel & the Aopcalypse. 1733.
Torrey, R. A. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: Old Tappan, NJ.: Fleming H. Revell (Historical premillennialist)
Spurgeon, C H is classified as a Historicist: Keep this in mind when reading his sermons on the Revelation
Wesley, John.
Whitefield, George

Idealist (Spiritual)

Alford, Henry. The Revelation in The Greek Testament, revised by Everett R Harrison (Chicago: Moody Press) 1958.
Calkins, Raymond. The Social Message of the Book of Revelation. New York: Woman's, 1920.
Carrington, Philip. The Meaning of the Revelation . New York: Macmillan, 1931.
Cleveland: Corpus Books, 1968. Rissi, Mathias. Time and History. Richmond: John Knox, 1966.
Hendriksen, W. More Than Conquerors . Grand Rapids: Baker, 1940.
Kiddle, Martin. The Revelation of St. John . MNT. New York: Harper, 1940.
Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. New Testament commentary: Exposition of the Book of Revelation. Baker House. 1953-2001.
Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation: Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1943
Milligan, William. The Book of Revelation . ExB. Hodder & Stoughton, 1909.
Minear, Paul S. I Saw a New Earth: An Introduction to the Visions of the Apocalypse. Cleveland: Corpus Books, 1968
Morey, Earl. Notes on Revelation in The Spirit-Filled Life Bible, Jack W. Hayford, Gen. ed: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991
Rissi, Mathias. Time and History . Richmond: John Knox, 1966.
Vincent, Marvin. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers, 1985
Wilcock, Michael. I Saw Heaven Opened: The Message of Revelation: Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1975
Wilson, Geoffrey B. Revelation: Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1985


Adams, Jay. The Time is at Hand: Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co, 1966.
Ashcraft, Morris. Hebrews—Revelation The Broadman Bible Commentary v12: Clifton J. Alien, Gen. ed, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1972
Barclay, William. The Revelation of John. Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1976.
Beasley-Murray, G.R. "The Revelation." NBC rev. Edited by D. Guthrie, et al. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970.
Beckwith, Isbon T. The Apocalypse of John . New York: Macmillan, 1922.
Berkouwer, G. C. The Return of Christ. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972.
Bruce, F.F. "The Revelation to John." In A New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969.
Byrum, C. S., Parvin S. Unlocking the Mysteries 150 FAQs About Revelation and the End of the World. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.
Caird, G.B. The Revelation of St. John the Divine. Harper's New Testament Commentaries . New York: Harper, 1966.
Charles, R.H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John . 2 vols. Edinburgh: 1920.
Chilton, David. The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation: Ft. Worth, Tex.: Dominion Press, 1987
Ford, J. Massyngberde. Revelation . AB. New York: Doubleday, 1975.
Gentry, Kenneth. The Beast of Revelation (2002), Before Jerusalem Fell (1998).
Glasson, T. F. The Revelation of John. The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible . 1965.
Harrington, Wilfred J. The Apocalypse of St. John: A Commentary . London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1969.
Heidt, William G. The Book of the Apocalypse. New Testament Reading Guide . Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1962.
Morris, Leon. The Revelation of St. John . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969 (Also categorized as "Spiritual")
Mounce, Robert H. The Book of Revelation: New International Commentary on the NT: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977 (also categorized as preterist-futurist)
Metzger, Bruce. Breaking the Code Understanding the Book of Revelation. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993.
Pieters, Albertus. Studies in the Revelation of St. John . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954.
Sproul, R. C.: Sproul, R. The last days according to Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker Books. 1998
Summers, Ray. Worthy Is the Lamb. Nashville: Broadman, 1951.
Sweet, J.P.M. Revelation. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1979.
Swete, Henry Barclay. The Apocalypse of St. John. New York: Macmillan, 1906.
Posted By: Peter Re: Dating the Epistles of John - Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:34 AM
I believe Wenham in "Inerrancy" edited by Geisler also argued for early dating of the Gospels I don't know if this puts him in the same category as Gentry et al but I have to say he was the first I ever read, and admittedly I'm not as well read as you Joe, that proposed early dating.
Posted By: J_Edwards Re: Dating the Epistles of John - Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:14 PM
Norman Geisler has acknowledged in Twelve Points that Prove Christianity True that modern scholarship has proven that there really is no reason for dating any of the New Testament books after 70 AD. However, if we include in the phrase modern scholarship such individuals as William Hendriksen, RCH Lenski, and others Geisler is WRONG.

Gordon Wenham (The Place of Biblical Criticism in Theological Study, Themelios 14.3) believes in an early date, but also states, "I think it is very natural for Christians to want to date the gospels as close as possible to the life of Christ, for then surely there is less chance of distortion and corruption creeping in," etc. However, I need more than an “I think” statement to have a valid opinion.

For a brief, but historical study of this read Revelation, by Grant Osborn, pp. 6-9. He does a good job discussing all the facts ... and though not definitive leans towards a late date.

I find myself ascribing to a late date as well, because Osborn’s arguments and what the ECFs state. You noticed that in my previous post I was careful to note that a late date was based “in part on a passage written by Irenaeus (he died 202 AD) in his book Adversus Haereses.” Normally when you read preterists and others concerning an early date they state this is THE ONLY evidence and that everyone else quotes Irenaeus. However, this is not true, because even though IRENAEUS did state in Against Heresies,

If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation,at the end of the reign of Domitian.
and Eusebius around 325 A.D., quoted the same, in his Church History, Book 3,Chap. 18, “The Apostle John and the Apocalypse,” EUSEBIUS also states in Narrative Concerning John the Apostle,

AT that time the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in Asia, and governing the churches of that region, having returned after the death of Domitian from his exile on the island. And that he was still alive at that time may be established by the testimony of two witnesses. They should be trustworthy who have maintained the orthodoxy of the Church; and such indeed were Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. The former in the second book of his work Against Heresies, writes as follows: “And all the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan.” And in the third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words: “But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.” Clement likewise in his book entitled What Rich Man can be saved? indicates the time, and subjoins a narrative which is most attractive to those that enjoy hearing what is beautiful and profitable. Take and read the account which runs as follows: “Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches…
However, we need stop there, for VICTORINUS, in his Commentary on Revelation chapter 17:10, states,

And there are seven kings: five have fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he is come, he will be for a short time.” The time must be understood in which the written Apocalypse was published, since then reigned Caesar Domitian; but before him had been Titus his brother, and Vespasian, Otho, Vitellius, and Galba. These are the five who have fallen. One remains, under whom the Apocalypse was written — Domitian, to wit. “The other has not yet come,” speaks of Nerva; “and when he is come, he will be for a short time,” for he did not complete the period of two years.
and JEROME, in Treatises, Against Jovinianus, states, “John…saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been banished by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr for the Lord, an Apocalypse containing the boundless mysteries of the future.” Thus, I am us'd out and lean toward a late date.
Posted By: Peter Re: Dating the Epistles of John - Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:43 AM
I think Gentry answered a few of those but since I only read the book and don't have it on hand I'll have to bow out.

Besides I am crazy posting this late.
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