Dating the book of revelation debate
Caird (no doubt overstating the case), remarks that, “…second-century traditions about the apostles are demonstrably unreliable.” Whether or not this generalization is fair, in Irenaeus’ case there is legitimate reason for us to remain skeptical.Regardless, the overwhelming majority of scholars take a late date of John anyway, and this, if correct, would only fit better with an early date of Revelation.In other words, the authorship question is not crucial here. In reality, these writers are merely returning to what was once the foregone conclusion of nearly the entire New Testament studies world.Moreover, it is pivotal that we recognize clearly the questionable quality of this witness for one crucial reason: the so-called “unanimity” of the fathers’ witness on the matter apparently stems entirely from the Irenaean source.
1:1, 1:3, , 4:1, et al.), and the second is short on evidence when we consider the parallels in other Jewish apocalypses that employ the ex eventu technique.And yet, in recent years, a number of highly reputable scholars are reconsidering the party line and have come out in favor of the pre-70 position. To answer these questions and get a grasp on the issues regarding the time of the Apocalypse’s writing, we will consider the areas of evidence that seem to be most compelling to modern scholars.These fall largely into three major arenas discussed below: the historical testimony of writers in the church, the nature of the imperial reign of Domitian Caesar, and certain important internal indications of date.What is crucial is the question of why the date under the Roman emperor Domitian has become so widely accepted. As Wilson notes, “Throughout the nineteenth century the majority of New Testament scholars favored a pre-70 dating of the Book of Revelation.” How then did the pendulum swing?It seems in many circles to be an issue one dares not question. Before the turn of the century, the date seemed unshakable, and by the middle of the twentieth, the same had become true for the opposing position! Why are so few willing to come out in favor of an earlier date today?