Ireneaus’ “Stupid” Mistake:

PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY Forums Forum Ireneaus’ “Stupid” Mistake:

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    The following is a quote taken from Foy E. Wallace Jr.’s The Book of Revelation: “In a short and concise Commentary On Revelation published prior to 1885, by Robert Young, author of Young’s Analytical Concordance, he states: “It [the Book of Revelation] was written in Patmos about A.D. 68, whither John had been banished by Domitius Nero, as stated in the title of the Syriac version of the book; and with this concurs the express statement of Irenaeus in A.D. 175, who says it happened in the reign of Domitianou-i.e., Domitius (Nero). Sulpicius, Orosius, etc., stupidly mistaking Domitianou for Domitianikos, supposed Irenaeus to refer to Domitian, A.D. 95, and most succeeding writers have fallen into the same blunder. The internal testimony is wholly in favor of the earlier date.” (Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation, (Fort Smith, AR: Foy E. Wallace Jr. Publications, 1966), 23-24.)

    The following is another quote taken from Albert A. Bell, Jr.’s The Date of John’s Apocalypse: Evidence of Some Roman Historians Reconsidered: “Irenaeus’ statement is the only direct evidence for dating the Apocalypse to 95-6. But ‘second-century traditions about the apostles are demonstrably unreliable’, (Adv. haer. 5. 30, 3. The Greek is preserved in Eus. HE 3. 1) and Irenaeus’ testimony is not without difficulties. (G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 4. A case in point is Irenaeus’ confusion of the apostle James with James, the brother of the Lord (Adv. haer. 3. 12, 14).)  Albert A. Bell also writes, “The fact that all later witnesses to this date seem to derive directly from Irenaeus makes him ‘ of minimal and negative value for determining the original context of the Apocalypse’.” (B. Newman, ‘The fallacy of the Domitian hypothesis’, N.T.S. x (1962-63), 138) If Ireneaus’ testimony is found to be so suspiciously in error in the above mentioned way, why is his testimony regarding the time of composition of Revelation held in such high regard?

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