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Old 06-24-2005, 02:27 AM
John_for_Christ John_for_Christ is offline
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John the Apostle wrote Revelation

In the article, Who wrote the Bible? (Part 4) , the last paragraph states that it seems implausible that the same John that wrote the Gospel also wrote the Revelation because, (1) The Greek style is different, (2) He mentions himself repeatedly in the Revelation but not in the Gospel, and (3) He doesn't call himself an apostle but only a prophet. Also, as indicated by this article, many believe that the book of the Revelation was written about 95-100 A.D.

John the Apostle is traditionally believed to have written the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and the Revelation. While the Greek style differs little between the first four, the difference is dramatic in the Revelation. This however, does not indicate that it was not written by John for two reasons, the second which is a bit more complicated than the first.

The first reason the Greek style does not necessarily indicate another author is that several of the New Testament writers used secretaries to write their works. While the words may belong to the author, the style would be the secretary's particular style. Thus, John COULD have used a secretary, especially in view of his advanced age at the time (he would have been around 100 years old in the traditional view).

The second reason is that the Revelation was probably written much earlier than the Gospel or John's three epistles. The text of the Revelation indicates a rougher Greek than the Gospel or the epistles. If all were written by John personally, then it would indicate that the Revelation was written EARLIER and that his Greek had improved over time. This is precisely what a number of credible scholars now believe.

The dating of the book of Revelation was traditionally based upon Irenaeus' account of John. The passage from Irenaeus which supports this conclusion is somewhat ambiguous in its translation, allowing for a much earlier date for the writing of the Revelation. Additionally, internal dating for the book of Revelation indicates that the Temple was still standing at the time, and refers to other earlier contemporary items which would indicate an earlier date for the book.

Thus, it seems more probable that the Revelation was written between 45-68 A.D. as a warning to Christians of the coming judgment on Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The poorer Greek style of the Revelation is then realized as the writing of someone learning his Greek, and John's references to himself were a stage of growth of one who was learning to glorify Christ and humble himself, which he later learned to tone down in the Gospel bearing his name.

While the Greek style between the Gospel and the Revelation differs, the majesty and glory given to God and the style used for that follow the same unique pattern, indicating at least to some that both were written by the same individual.

Contrary to the article, John does not call himself a prophet in the Revelation. An angel (messenger) in Revelation 22:9 says that he (the angel) is one of John's brethren the prophets, which does not indicate that either John nor the angel felt that John was a prophet particularly. Besides that, apostles functioned as evangelists, teachers, and even prophets at various times. John's reluctance to call himself a prophet or an apostle may have been the same as the reluctance to name himself in a gospel that was written to glorify Jesus: humility.

Additionally, the uniquely apocalyptic language of the Revelation may have required the authority of John's name for acceptance by the Christians in and around Jerusalem to warn them of the impending doom upon Israel (which corresponds to Matthew 24 and Luke 21), whereas the Gospel did not require the same namedropping for acceptance by the larger Gentile audience to which it was intended.

For more references to the dating of the book of Revelation, see the Preterist Archive.


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Old 06-24-2005, 08:38 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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As noted several times, especially in the earlier of the "Who Wrote the Bible" series, there are basically two schools of thought on many biblical books -- the traditionalist and the scholarly/modernist. There's no way that anyone will know ever know for sure, unless we find a rough draft of Revelation that explicitly mentions (say) the Emperor Domitian. And even if we found such, those who want to stick to the traditionalist viewpoint will argue that it's either a forgery or a late-date revision rather than a rough draft.

Hence, Eutychus can say that authorship by John is "implausible" and cite the reasons, and you can say that it may be implausible but it's not impossible, and then Eutychus can either answer or can shrug his shoulders and say, sure.

Quote:
Additionally, the uniquely apocalyptic language of the Revelation may have required the authority of John's name for acceptance by the Christians ...
I agree absolutely with this statement, but not in the way you intended it, I think. I quote from the first paragraph of the Staff Report:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Staff Report
It was important for the early church to believe the authors wrote the works attributed to them, since their eminence lent the writings authority.
The same was true for the Old Testament books as well. A book like the Song of Songs would never have been accepted as canonical unless it had some famous and important name attached as author, such as Solomon -- regardless of who really wrote it. A person singing a psalm would have little or no chance of having it preserved, unless he said it was a tradition handed down from David.

The Gospels have the names of apostles attached to them, for the same reason. The Staff Reports says, "Iraneus, the bishop of Lyons in 180 AD, decided that the validity of any work had to be judged by whether it was apostolic. That is, it should have been written by or for one of the twelve apostles." No one would accept as canonical an account of Jesus's life written by Fred the Shoemaker who had a second cousin on his wife's side who once saw Jesus taking a mid-afternoon nap. So, all accounts that we have, even those rejected from the canon, are attributed to some Famous and Important Person. Thus, you are absolutely correct, if the book of Revelation did not have some famous name attached to it (like John), it would not have been accepted by the early Christians.
Quote:
...the Gospel did not require the same namedropping for acceptance by the larger Gentile audience to which it was intended.
An interesting argument, but a book would never have been accepted as a gospel if it weren't associated with some name like John, Luke, etc. Before appealing to the broader gentile world, the gospels needed to be accepted by the first Christians, and they would still have needed to have a recognizable name associated with the authorship.

The remainder of the Series, if anyone is interested:
Part 1 - Pentateuch

Part 2 - Old Testament histories
Part 3 - Old Testament prophets and poetry
Part 4 - New Testament
Part 5 - Compilation
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:42 AM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven
A person singing a psalm would have little or no chance of having it preserved, unless he said it was a tradition handed down from David.
Actually, that doesn't seem to be the case. The attribution of the entire Psalter to David appears to be a late mistake; the text itself indicates prettly clearly that large portions were not originally credited to him.
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:02 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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I'm using analogy and taking a specific example to illustrate a point, John, and I'm not talking about the entire book of Psalms. But that aside, I'm not sure what you mean by "originally" and "late." The question of authorship doesn't arise "originally," but only at some point where scribes need to decide which texts to copy and which not. The question certainly arises at various points of canonization and fixing a text.

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 06-24-2005 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:18 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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I mean that (in the Hebrew, at least), there are various headlines attributing specific Psalms to David, and others to Asaph, while others are attributed to neither. It seems fairly clear that the canon of the Psalms is older than the belief that all of them were written by David.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:56 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Ah. Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying. Some of the psalms are clearly quite old; linguistically, many scholars argue that some of the psalms are linguistically among the oldest biblicatl writings and even pre-date even the J-author. The book of psalms itself was compiled probably between 600 and 200 BC, based on earlier compilations etc.

So, the question is: when did the attributions of individual psalms to David take place? Obviously, if a psalm was actually written by David, the tag-line could have been added at any time from David (say 1000 BC) on. OTOH, if a psalm was not written by David, but a person or group of people wanted it to be included in the collection, then by psaying it was written by David, they were giving it a boost of antiquity and authenticity.

The belief that ALL the psalms were written by David is obviously quite late.

My point earlier was not about the entire book, but about any pspecific psalm. It was probably a distraction from the main point, that attributing an entire book to a famous person was a way of trying to establish the authenticity of the book. Psimilarly, attributing a psalm or prayer to a famous person was a way of trying to establish the authenticity of the psalm or prayer.
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:06 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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There is also the question of what "a Psalm of David" (or Asaph, or the Sons of Korah, etc.) means. While it may indicate authorship, either actual or attributed, it may also mean something like "in the style of." Compare the sonnet, which is traditionally written in one of two styles, referred to after the (near?-)initial and influential authors who first popularized them: Petrarch and Shakespeare. Certainly no one believes that all Shakespearean sonnets were written by the Bard of Avon, though probably all those in the traditional canon of Shakespearean works were. Likewise, "a Psalm of David" may mean, not a Psalm written by David, but rather a Psalm la David, one written in his style.
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Old 06-25-2005, 12:18 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Quote:
The dating of the book of Revelation was traditionally based upon Irenaeus' account of John. The passage from Irenaeus which supports this conclusion is somewhat ambiguous in its translation, allowing for a much earlier date for the writing of the Revelation. Additionally, internal dating for the book of Revelation indicates that the Temple was still standing at the time, and refers to other earlier contemporary items which would indicate an earlier date for the book.
Actually, the arguments favoring a later writing of Revelation are quite strong. The letter is written to the churches of Asia in a time of harsh persecution. Domitian's persecution in the 90s did extend to Asia Minor and was reported to have been quite harsh with the local governor making great effort to enforce the cult of the godhead of Domitian. In contrast, the persecution by Nero was pretty much a local affair in Rome with the Christians and Jews being named as scapegoats to cover Nero's failures in the eyes of the local inhabitants. There was some spillage into other areas of the empire, under Nero, but it had none of the systematic nature of Domitian's persecution.

I am not sure what is ambiguous about the statement from Irenaeus (Contra Haereses V, 30, 3) unless you mean that we don't know that Irenaeus was describing the same work:
Quote:
We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign.
Certainly, the author of the "apocalyptic" work writing toward the end of the reign of Domitian is more consistent with a book dated 90 - 95 than one written 30 years earlier.

References to the Temple are nearly all references to the temple in Heaven, not Jerusalem, and the couple of passages that are not explicit in naming the temple in Heaven are pretty clearly metaphorical references to the same.

There are a few references that seem to point to the time of Nero, but they are easily explained by noting that Domitian was feared as Nero redivivus--Nero come back to life in a new body to persecute the church--and that those references could easily have been included for the purpose of establishing that parallel.
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Old 06-25-2005, 07:37 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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On the "psalms of David," a further confusion is that the Hebrew is L'David which could mean "of", but could also mean "for" or "to." Hence, "a psalm dedicated to the memory of David" is a possible (although unlikely) meaning.

OK, enough rambling on my aside, and back to Revelation, as tomndebb has so nicely led us.
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Old 06-25-2005, 01:06 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Good idea. The longstanding tradition is that the Fourth Gospel, one long letter in a style very close to it, two brief letters addressed to "Electa" and Gaius, and the Revelation were all written by John bar Zebedee, youngest of the Apostles, near the end of his life. On this traditional view, the very clear differences in style are attributable to the difference in genre between the apocalyptic last book and the Gospel and Epistles.

Modern scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel and the First Letter were written by one individual with a rather good Greek style, while Revelation was the work of a different author. Euty did a rather good job of presenting the case for this view, IMO.

There is clearly the hand of an editor in the Gospel, particularly in some of the comments inserted in the last chapter, and in fact its apparent appending to an already complete book.
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Old 06-25-2005, 03:24 PM
andros andros is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
There is clearly the hand of an editor in the Gospel
Or perhaps an Editor?
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:08 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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There is strong evidence that the Gospel of John was at the very least written by John's disciples, men who talked and worked with the Apostle until his death at a very old age in Ephesus. There is internal evidence that said Gospel was- to some extent- dictated by John (to those disciples of his), or at least by one who wanted people to believe that the writer was the "Beloved Disciple". The Oxford Companion to the Bible supports this theory. Having John dictate (at an advanced age) "his" Gospel to a team of scribes and then having that work edited explains the inconsitencies.

There is very little evidence that Revelations was written by the Apostle John. This was simply assumed by Irenaeus. There are some "marks of Johannine theology and expression". Perhaps Revelations was written by one of John's disciples at Ephesus. That disciple perhaps having had a hand in editing and transcribing the Gospel?
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:12 PM
A. I. Wintermute A. I. Wintermute is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_for_Christ
The first reason the Greek style does not necessarily indicate another author is that several of the New Testament writers used secretaries to write their works. While the words may belong to the author, the style would be the secretary's particular style. Thus, John COULD have used a secretary, especially in view of his advanced age at the time (he would have been around 100 years old in the traditional view).

The second reason is that the Revelation was probably written much earlier than the Gospel or John's three epistles. The text of the Revelation indicates a rougher Greek than the Gospel or the epistles. If all were written by John personally, then it would indicate that the Revelation was written EARLIER and that his Greek had improved over time. This is precisely what a number of credible scholars now believe.

[bolding mine]
Aren't these mutually exclusive? Even if one of them is true, you seem to be implying that there isn't enough evidence in favor of either to rule out the other.
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Old 06-26-2005, 07:20 PM
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Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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John_for_Christ, A. I. Wintermute, Welcome to the SDMB. As this thread shows you, we have some uncommonly talented people to discuss thing with.

Come for the Theology, stay for the Pie!

At all events, be welcome.
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Old 06-26-2005, 10:37 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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I certainly echo Bosda's welcome.
I'd also like to point out that the term "evidence" is being used rather loosely here. There's basically no evidence other than the text itself. Thus, textual analysis tends to be the only "evidence": that includes analysis of the grammar and style and vocabulary, comparisons with other texts, etc. So, there's no evidence -- no one has yet turned up, say, a scribal invoice or an early draft with revisions or whatever. There's only conjecture, based on textual analysis (at best a subjective tool.)

Quote:
23rd July 68 AD, Shloimi the Scribe to John the Apostle, Greetings! I had some trouble with your Revelation text, so I just wanted to check a few bits to be sure I got them right. First, you're sure you want the title to be singular? ...
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