The Editor of the Apocalypse.

From the section dealing with the Plan, pp. xxiii-xxviii, we have seen that Jap exhibits, except in short passages, and especially towards the close of chap. 18, a structural unity and a steady development of thought from the beginning of 203. In 204-22, on the other hand, the traditional order of the text exhibits a hopeless mental confusion and a tissue of irreconcilable contradictions. In vol. ii. 144-154 I have gone at length into this question, and shown the necessity for the hypothesis that John died when he had completed 1-203 of his work, and that the materials for its completion, which were for the most part ready in a series of independent documents, were put together by a faithful but unintelligent disciple in the order which he thought right. Such was the solution of the problem I arrived at five years ago, and all my subsequent study has served to confrim the truth of this hypothesis. In the earlier chapters (1-203) I adopted tentatively and occasionally the hypothesis of an editor, but generally that of an interpolator or interpolators, but it was nothing but one hypothesis possible amongst many others, till I came to deal with 204-22. This present section, therefore, represents a brief restudy of the interpolations which can with most probablity be attributed to the editor from the standpoint of the solution of the problem discovered in connection with 204-22. For the main grounds for this hypothesis the reader should consult ii. 144-154 and the commentary that follows.

{li.} On p. lvii sq. we have given a complete list of the interpolations in the text, and marked by an asterik those which appear to proceed from the editor.

Now, if we wish to learn something about this editor we should begin with his editing of 204-22. We are here first of all seeking to learn his grammatical usages, though occasionally we shall consider his opinions so far as they have led him to change the text. He is a more accurate Greek scholar thanour author, and, as he shows no sign of really knowing Hebrew, he was probably a native of Asia Minor.

As regards grammar, the construction in 2011 to.n kaqh,menon evpV // auvtou/ // and 215 o` kaqh,menoj evpi. // tou/ qro,nou //, which is not that of our author (see p. cxxxii), is probably due to him. This construction with the gen. is more usual in classical Greek.(1) Now in the interpolation which he has made in 1415-17 we find this same construction twice: tw/| kaqhme,nw| e`pi. th/j kefa,lhs and o` kaqh,menoj evpi. th/j nefe,lhj; and in 917 we find the same non-Johannine construction t) kaqhme,nouj evpV // auvtw/n //, which may be traced to the editor. In any case, in three passages at least the editor appears to have corrected the Johannine construction into the more usual Greek one. 215 o` kaqh,menoj evpi. // tw/| qro,nw| // seems to be a primitive corruption for evpi. to.n qro,non.

In 204-22 there are three other passages where the editor has changed the text. In 204 the oi[tinej is an insertion of the editor to make the text possible Greek. But the construction without the oi[tinej, i.e. tw/n pepelekisme,nwn kai. ouv proseku,nhsan, is always elsewhere the Hebraism used by our author. See vol. i. 14 sq. Again, in 216 tw/| diyw/nti dw,sw we should expect, in accordance with our author's usage, auvtw/| after dw,sw (which 046 and certain cursives actually add). Here again the editor was improving the author's Greek. In 2212 the order of the words, to. e;rgon evsti.n auvtou/, is the editor's. In any case it is not John's. Here 046 and a few cursives restore John's order.

That the editor was a better Greek scholar than the author is apparent also in his interpolations in 2211. 18b-19. To these passages, which are interpolations (see ii. 221-224), we shall return presently.

But though a fair Greek scholar, the editor is very unintelligent. He has made a chaos of 204-22, and wherever else he has intervened he has introduced confusion and made it impossible in many cases for students, who accepted his interpolations as part of the text, to understand the author. In 14 he has sought {lii.}by his interpolations to make the text enumerate the Persons of the Trinity -- a grotesque conception indeed, but with a parallel in Justin Martyr. His interpolation of 18 is singularly infelicitous as well as being impossible. Not understanding that o` qeo.j o` pantokra,twr is a stock rendering of the Hebrew "God of Hosts," and that accordingly this title cannot be broken into two parts, he actually divides o` qeo,j from o` pantokra,twr by eight words, and next represents the Seer as hearing God speaking this verse, although he has not yet fallen into a trance. The intrusion 87-12 with the necessary changes in the adjoining context is to be traced to him also (see vol. i. 218-223). This fragment is of unknown provenance. In order to introduce this interpolation the editor has, as already observed, made many changes in the adjoining contexts. One of these changes bears clear testimony to his ignorance of our author's style. Thus in 85 he represents our author as saying brontai. kai. fwnai. kai. avstrapai,. But our author knows well that the avstrapai, always precede the brontai,: cf. 45 1119 1618. But apparently this editor neither knew this fact nor his master's usage. This interpolation made it impossible for all interpreters of the Apocalypse to understand the meaning of the clause evge,neto sigh. evn tw/| ouvranw|/ w`j h`miw,rion. Besides, 87-12 is a weaker repetition of what is said elsewhere in our author, and is frequently at variance with its adjoining context.

In 911 the clause kai. evn th/| ~Ellhnikh|/ o;noma e;cei VApollu,wn (which is good Greek) appears to come from the editor's hand. Our author would naturally have written kai. ~Ellhnisti. VApollu,wn, if he had written the words at all, since the preceding words run, o;noma auvtw/| VEbrai?sti. VAbaddw,n, and our author never aims at variety of construction in repeating the same simple fact. o;noma auvtw|/ is frequent in the LXX. See also 68 and the note on 911.

The next interpolation due to this editor is 143e-4ab. If these clauses are from his pen they help us to recognize another trait in his character. He is a narrow ascetic, and introduces into Christianity ideas that had their origin in pagan faiths of unquestionable impurity. According to the teaching of 143e-4ab, neither St. Peter nor any other married apostle nor any woman whatever would be allowed to follow the Lamb on Mt. Zion. But it is chastity not celibacy that is a Christian virtue. To regard marriage as a pollution is impossible in our author, who compares the covenant between Christ and the Church to a marriage, 199, and calls the Church the Bride, 212.9 2217.

In 1414-20, however, the editor reaches the climax of his stupidity. Here by his insertion of the impossible verses, 1415-17, which he found elsewhere, he has first of all divided the Messianic judgment into two acts, the first of whicih -- added by {liii.} him -- is called the harvesting of the earth, 1415-17, and the second of which is called the vintaging of the earth, 1418-20. The first is assigned to the Son of Man! and the second and greater part to an angel. Thus the Son of Man is treated as an angel -- a conception impossible not only in Jap, but in Jewish and Christian literature as a whole. But our author never speaks of the judgment as a harvesting of the earth, but as a vintaging, and this vintaging is described at length in 1911-21 and assigned to the Word of God (o` Lo,goj tou/ qeou/), who "treadeth the winepress of the fierce anger of God Almighty" (1915). The fact that our editor, in the face of this clear assignment of the entire Messianic judgment -- described as a vintaging of the earth -- to the Son of Man, could assign it to an angel, betrays a depth of stupidity all but incomprehensible, and brands him as an arch heretic of the first century though probably an unconscious one. And the irony of it is that, despite his abyssmal stupidity and heresies, he has achieved immortality by securing a covert in the great work which he has done so much to discredt and obscure.(2)

In 151 we have, no doubt, another of his additions. It is designed to introduce the Seven Bowls. Now ever new important section our author begins with the words meta. tau/ta ei=don (see note on 41 in Commentary). Less important divisions are introduced by kai. ei=don. Here, however, we find the latter words used, which at once provokes our astonishment. But that is not all. The vision breaks off, and a new vision -- that of the blessed martyrs in heaven, 152-4 -- is recounted; and then at last we come to the real introduction to the Seven Bowls in 155, which rightly begins with the words kai. meta. tau/ta ei=don -- a fact which shows that the Seven Bowls are here mentioned for the first time. Such an interference with the text can hardly be assigned to any mere scribe (see vol. ii. 30-32).

Passing over 162c, which was most probably interpolated by the editor, since it exhibits a wrong construction of proskunei/n from the standpoint of our author, we come to 165a kai. h;kousa tou/ avgge,lou tw/n u`da,twn -- a clause which he added in order to introduce some actual sentences of our author, i.e 165b-7. These verses belong after 194. The editor may have found them detached on a separate piece of papyrus, and owing to his inability to recognize their true context inserted them after 164. It is true that to the uninstructed mind they present a {liv.} superficial fitness for te place they occupy in the traditional text, but they are in reality wholly unsuited to it, as its technical expressions prove. See vol. ii. 120-123. 1613b-14a (w`j ba,tracoi\ eivsi.n ga.r pneu,amta daimoni,wn poiou/nta shmei/a) was also apparently foisted into the text by the editor. It is against our author's grammar, which would require w`j batra,couj. To adapt the context to the interpolation he has changed evkporeuo,mena into a] evkporeu,ontai. 179b (o;rh eivsi,n o[pou h` gunh. ka,qhtai evpV auvtw/n(3)kai. with e`pta, added after basilei/j), which gives a second explanation of the e`pta, basilei/j, appears also to be from his hand. 199b-10 is quite clearly an interpolation (see vol. ii. p. 128 sq.), and owes its insertion here very probably to the editor. It has dislodged a necessary part of the original text. Was the original undecipherable, or was it simply expunged in order to receive the contributions of the editor?

We now return to 204-22 with which we began. I have shown at length in ii. 144-154 the chaos to which the editor has reduced the work of his master in 204-22. Notwithstanding, it will be instructive to touch here also on a few of the hopeless incongruities he has introduced through his sheer incapacity to understand his master's teaching. In 204-22, as it stood originally, our author sees in a vision the coming evangelization of the world by Christ and the glorified martyrs on the Second Advent. This is already foretold in advance in 154 by the triumphant martyrs before the throne of God, "All the nations shall come and worship before Thee," and in a vision in 146-7, and again in 1115 where proleptically the angelic song declares that "the kingdom of this world hath become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ." The evangelization of the world is thus committed to the glorified martyrs at once as their task and the guerdon of their faithfulness in the past. They preach afresh the Gospel to the nations of the earth, and all who receive it are healed of their diseases, cleansed from their sins, admitted to the Heavenly City, and allowed to eat of the bread of life. Thus the Millennial Reign is one of arduous spiritual toil, and the thrones assigned to these glorified martyrs are simply a symbol of faithful service, which vary in glory in the measure of their service.

Such is our author's teaching, but through the editor's rearrangement of the text the Millennial Reign is emptied of all significance. The glorified martyrs return to earth with Christ and enjoy a dramatic but rather secuular victory, sitting on thrones in splendid idleness for full one thousand years (204-6)!

{lv.}Nearly all the incongruities in 204-22 are due to the editor's incompetence. But in 2013 there is something worse. Dishonesty has taken the part of incapacity. The editor has tampered with his master's text. In order to make the text teach a physical resurrection he has changed some such word as "treasuries" or "chambers" (i.e. the abode of righteous souls -- not of the martyrs who went direct to heaven) and inserted h` qa,lassa. But the sea can only give up bodies, not souls. Yet the phrase "the dead" (tou.j nekrou,j) implies personalities, i.e. souls, just as certainly as it does in the next line, where death and Hades give up "the dead" (t) nekrou,j) in them. Hence it follows that h` qa,lassa cannot have stood originally in the text. Besides, before the final judgment began the sea had already vanished, 2011. On this depravation of his text by the editor, see vol. ii. 194-199, where, as well as in the English trans., I have restored the text.

2211 is written in a form of parallelism unexampled elsewhere in our author, while its subject-matter is in conflict with other passages in our author. The last interpolation,(4) 2218b-19, exhibits the editor at his worst. Having taken the most unwarrantable liberties with his author's text by perverting its teaching in some passages and by his interpolations making it wholly unintelligible in others, he sets the crown on his misdemeanours by invoking an anathema on any person who should in any respect follow the method which had the sanction of his own example.(5) By this and other like unwarrantable devices this shallow-brained fanatic and celibate, whose dogmatism varies directly with the narrowness of his understanding, has often stood between John and his readers for nearly 2000 years. But such obscurantism cannot outlive the limits assigned to it; the reverent and patient research of the present age is steadily discovering and bringing to light the teaching of this great Christian prophet whose work fitly closes the Canon, and closes it with his benediction: "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints."

1. evpi,, c. gen. dat. or acc., is found in our author as elsewhere after ka,qhsqai. But where the idea is resting on is present, the genitive is most natural. But the use of the case after ka,qhsqai evpi in our author is wholly unique. See p. cxxxii.
2. History has here in part repeated itself; for in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs (see my edition, pp. xvi. sq., lvii-lix) for the work of a bitter assailant of the Maccabean priest-kings has gained a place in the heart of a book that was written by an ardent upholder of the earlier members of that dynasty.
3. The editor prefers the genitive always after ka,qhsqai evpi,, as we have seen above.
4. In addition to the arguments advanced in vol. ii. 222-223 against the authenticity of 2118b-19, we should observe that in the writer's use of evpitiqe,nai there is a play on the two meanings of this verb, i.e. "to add" and "to inflict." The latter use is found in Luke 1030, Acts 1623, and frequently in classical Greek. Such a play on words is not found in our author.
5. The use of such anathemas by writers of an inferior stamp was quite common as I have shown in vol. ii. 223-224.


Scanned and edited by Brad Johnson