Circulation and Reception

§ 1. There are most probable but not absolutely certain traces of Jap in the Apostolic Fathers. -- In the Shepherd of Hermas Vis. ii. 2. 7, there is a very probable connection with our author.(1) Thus u`mei/j o[soi u`pome,nete th.n qli,yin th.n evrcome,nhn th.n mega,lhn: iv. 2. 5, qli,yewj th/j mellou,shj th/j mega,lhj, and in iv. 3. 6, th/j qli,yewj th/j evrcome,nhj mega,lhj, all but certainly recall Rev 714 th/j qli,yewj th/j mega,lhj( and 310 th/j w[raj ) ) ) th/j mellou, {xcviii.}shj e;rcesqai( i. 1. 3, pneu/ma ) ) ) avph,negke,n me dia. avnodi,aj( is reminiscent of 173avph,negke,n me eivj e;rhmon evn pneu,mati) Barn. xxi. 3, evggu.j o` ku,rioj kai. o` misqo.j auvtou/( seems to suggest some dependence on Rev 2210. 12 o` kairo.j ga.r evggu,j evstin ) ) ) ivdou. e;rcomai tacu. kai. o` misqo,j mou metV evmou/) (See, however, Is 4010.) Barn. vii. 9, evpeidh. o;yontai auvto.n to,te th/| h`me,ra| to.n podh,rh e;conta ) ) ) kai. evrou/sin Ouvc ou-to,j evstin o[n pote h`mei/j evstaurw,samen( has affinities with Rev 17. 13 o;yetai auvto.n pa/j ovfqalmo.j kai. oi[tinej auvto.n evxeke,nthsan ) ) ) evndedume,non podh,rh) (See, however, N.T. in the Apostolic Fathers, p. 16) But as for the passages in Ignatius, Ad Phil. vi. 1 (see vol. i. 92) has nothing to do with Rev 312, nor Ad Eph. xv. 3, i[na w=men auvtou/ naoi,( kai. auvto.j h=| evn h`mi/n qeo,j( with Rev 213: nor does Barn. vi. 13, le,gei de. Ku,rioj VIdou. poiw/ ta. e;scata w`j ta. prw/ta( reflect Rev 215VIdou. kaina. poiw/ pa,nta (see vol. ii. 203): for the sense is absolutely different. Nor should we connect Clem. Rom. Ad Cor. xxxiv. 3 (see p. lxxvii, footnote) with Rev. 2212

§ 2. In the 2nd cent. Jap was all but universally accepted in Asia Minor, Western Syria, Africa, Rome, South Gaul.

     In Asia Minor. -- Papias was the first, according to Andreas in the prologue to his Commentary on Jap, to attest, not its apostolic authorship, but its credibility. (Peri. me,ntoi tou/ qeopneu,stou th/j bi,blou peritto.n mhku,nein to.n lo,gon h`gou,meqa( tw/n makari,wn Grhgori,ou ) ) ) kai. Kuri,llou( prose,ti de. kai. tw/n avrcaiote,rwn Papi,ou( Eivrhnai,ou( Meqodi,ou kai. ~Ippolu,tou prosmarturou,ntwn to. avxio,piston)) Eusebius, however, never definitely says that Jap was known to Papias (H.E. iii. 39). The statement, however, in iii. 39. 12 which he attributes to Papias, seems to be an echo of Jap (cilia,da tina, fhsin evtw/n e;sesqai meta. th.n evk nekrw/n avna,stasin( swmatikw/j th/j Cristou/ Basilei,aj evpi. tauthsi. th/j gh/j u`posthsome,nhnj ). But Eusebius proceeds to say that this statement of Papias was due to his misunderstanding of certain apostolic statements (avpostolika.j ) ) ) dihgh,seij), which he took literally instead of figuratively.

Melito, bishop of Sardis (160-190 A.D.), wrote a commentary (Ta. peri. tou/ diabo,lou kai. th/j avpokalu,yewj VIwa,nnou), Eus. iv. 26. 2: Jerome, De vir. illustr. 9, understands this title to refer to two distinct books. This work of Melito is noteworthy, since Sardis was one of the Seven Churches. Justin, who lived at Ephesus (circ. 135) before he went to Rome, is the first to declare that Jap was written by John, one of the apostles of Christ: Dial. lxxxi. 15, parV h`mi/n avnh,r tij( w-| o;noma VIwa,nnhj( ei-j tw/n avposto,lwn tou/ Cristou/( evn avpokalu,yei genome,nh| auvtw/| ci,lia e;th| poih,sein evn ~Ierousalh,m tou.j tw/| h`meterw| Cristw|/ pisteu,santaj proefh,teuse : cf. also Apol. i. 28 (which refers to Apoc. 129); Eus. iv. 18. 8. Irenaeus maintained the apostolic authorship of all the Johannine {xcix.} writings in the N.T., but the evidence for his views has to be drawn from the great work which he wrote as bishop of Lyons: see below. Apollonius, a writer against the Montanists in Phrygia (circ. 210 A.D.), used Jap of John as an authority in his controversy (Eus. v. 18. 14).

     In Western Syria. -- Theophilus, bishop of Antioch in the latter half of the 2nd century, cites Jap in a treatise against Hermogenes (Eus. iv. 24), evn w|- evk th/j avpokalu,yewj VIwa,nnou ke,crhtai marturi,aj)

     In South Gaul. -- Irenaeus, who defended the apostolic authorship of all the N.T. Johannine writings, carried with him to Gaul the views that prevailed in Asia Minor ; and there, as Bishop of Lyons (177-202 A.D.), he wrote his great work, Against all Heresies. In this work he uses such expressions as Ioannes in Apocalypsi, iv. 14. 2, 17. 6, 18. 6, 21. 3, v. 28. 2, 34. 2. Ioannes Domini discipulus in Apocalypsi, iv. 20 11, v. 26. 1; in Apocalypsi videt Ioannes, v. 35. 2; per Ioannis Apocalypsin, i. 26. 3. See Zahn, Gesch. N.T. Kanons, i. 202, note 2. At a slightly earlier date, 177, the Churches of Vienne and Lyons addressed an epistle to the Churches in Asia and Phrygia (Eus. v. 1. 10, 45 (where th/| parqe,nw| mhtri, = the Christian Church), 55, 58) in which reference is made to Apoc. 144 121 199 2211, the last being introduced by the N.T. formula of Canonical Scripture -- i[na h` grafh. plhrwqh|/)

     In Alexandria. -- Clement follows the general tradition of the Church, and cites Jap as scripture, Paed. ii. 119 (to. sumboliko.n tw/n grafw/n), and the work of John the apostle, Quis dives, 42, Strom. vi. 106-107 (see Zahn, Gesch. d. N.T. Kanons, i. 205). Origen accepts John the Apostle as the author of the Jap, the Gospel, and the first Epistle (In Ioann. tom. v. 3; Lommatzsch, i. 165; Eus. vi. 25. 9). The upholders of Millenarianism in Egypt, against whom Dionysius wrote, appealed to the Apocalypse (Eus. vii. 24).

     In Rome. -- On the very probable use of our author by Hermas we have adverted above. Of this work the Muratorian Canon writes: "Pastorem vero nuperrime temporibus nostris in urbe Roma Hermas conscripsit." But whether Hermas used our author or not, this Canon implies that Jap was universally recognized at Rome: "Iohannes enim in apocalypsi, licet septem ecclesiis scribat, tamen omnibus dicit," while a few lines later, according to the most natural restoration of the text, he states that the Apocalypse of Peter had not such recognition. Hippolytus (190-235 fl.), in his Peri. tou/ VAnticristou/ (ed. Achelis, 1897), constantly quotes the Apocalypse. He speaks of it as h` grafh, (chap. 5) and its author avpo,stoloj kai. maqhth.j tou/ Kuri,ou (36). See Zahn, i. 203 (note).

     {c.}In Carthage. -- In this Church, which was the daughter of the Roman Church, Jap enjoyed an unquestioned authority at the close of the 2nd century. Tertullian cites quotations from eighteen out of its twenty-two chapters. He knows of only one John, the Apostle, and he is unacquainted with any doubts of its canonicity save on the part of Marcion. He names it the instrumentum Joannis (De Resurrectione, 38) and the instrumentum apostolicum (Pud. 12). See Zahn, i. 111, 203 sq. The Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas show many traces of dependence on our author, as § 4, "circumstantes candidatos milia multa": § 12, "introeuntes vestierunt stolas candidas . . . et audivimus vocem unitam dicentium Agios agios agios sine cessatione . . . et vidimus in medio loco sendentem quasi hominem canum . . . et in dextra et in sinistra seniores viginti quattuor." See Zahn, i. 203 sq.

Thus throughout the Christian Church during the 2nd cent. there is hardly any other book of the N.T. so well attested and received as Jap.

§ 3. There were, however, two distinct protests against its Johannine authorship and validity in the 2nd century. -- (a) The first of these came from Marcion. He rejected it on the ground of its strongly Jewish character (Tert. Adv. Marc. iv. 5), and he refused to recognize John as a canonical writer (iii. 14, "Quodsi Ioannem agnitum non vis, habes communem magistrum Paulum").

(b) The more important attack came from the Alogi -- the name given to them by Epiphanius (Haer. li. 3).(2) This sect attributed them to Cerinthus. They objected to the sensuous symbolism of the book, and urged that it contained errors in matters of fact, seeing that there was no Church at Thyatira. Since Epiphanius draws most probably upon Hippolytus (190-235) for his information, we have in Epiphanius a nearly contemporaneous account of these opponents of Jap

With these Alogi, as Zahn urges (i. 223-227, 237-262, ii. 967-973), the sect mentioned by Irenaeus (iii. 2. 9) is to be identified. This sect was anti-Montanist. It rejected the Johannine books because of the support they gave -- the Gospel through the doctrine of the Spirit and the Apocalyse through its prophetic character -- to this Montanist party. Caius, a Roman Churchman, though not one of the Alogi, also rejected Jap in a manifesto (circ. 210 A.D.) against Proclus the Montanist on the ground of its marvels and its sensuous doctrine of the Millennium, and ascribed it to Cerinthus (Eus. H.E. iii. 28. 1-2). There is no conclusive evidence that Caius and his school rejected the Gospel.

{ci.} The writing of Caius was answered by Hippolytus(3) (215 A.D.) in a work entitled Kefa,laia kata. Gai,ou kai. avpologi,a u`pe.r t) avpokalu,yewj VIwa,nou, fragments of which have been preserved in a Commentary of Bar-Salibi (Gwynn, Hermathena, vi. 397-418, vii. 137-150). From this date forward no Western Churchman seriously doubted Jap. In Africa, Cyprian repeatedly makes use of it. 

§ 4. The question of the authenticity of Jap reopened by Dionysius of Alexandria, bishop of Alexandria, 247-265 A.D. -- Fragments of this scholarly and temperate criticism of the Apocalypse (Peri. VEpaggeliw/n) are preserved in Eusebius (vii. 24-25). This book was written as a refutation of a work by Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, entitled :Elegcoj VAllhgoristw/n( which sought to prove that the promises made to the saints in the Scriptures were to be taken literally in a Jewish sense and particularly with regard to the Millennium (Eus. vii. 24). In his refutation of this book Dionysius advances many grounds to prove that Jap was not written by the author of the Gospel and 1 John. He admits its claims to have been written by a John, but not by the Apostle. Some of the arguments we have given elsewhere (see p. xl).

If modern scholars had followed the lines of criticism laid down by Dionysius their labours would have been immeasurably more fruitful.

§ 5. Jap rejected for some time by the Syro-Palestinian Church and by the Churches of Asia Minor. -- The criticism of Dionysius in discrediting the apostolic authorship of Jap discredited also its canonicity. Eusebius (260-340 A.D.) evidently agreed with the conclusions of Dionysius. Seeking to carry further the conclusions of that scholar, he suggests that Jap was written by John the Elder of whom Papias wrote (Eus. iii. 39. 6). He is doubtful (iii. 24. 18, 25. 4) whether to reckon it among the accepted (o`mologou,mena) or the rejected (no,qa). Some years later Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) not only excluded it from the lsit of canonical books, but also forbade its use in public and private. After enumerating the books of the N.T. in which the Apocalypse is not mentioned, he proceeds to say (Catech. iv. 36, ta. de. loipa,( pa,nta e;xw kei,sqw evn deute,rw|) kai. o[sa me.n evn evkklhsi,aij mh. avnaginw,sketai( tau/ta mhde. kata. sauto.n avnagi,nwske).

The influence of Dionysius' criticism spread also to Asia Minor. Thus Jap does not appear in Canon 60 of the Synod of Laodicea (circ. 360), nor in Canon 85 of the Apost. Constitutions{cii.} (Zahn, ii. 177, sqq., 197 sqq.), nor in the list of Gregory of Nazianzus (ob. 389). Amphilochius of Iconium (ob. 394) states that Jap is rejected by most authorities (oi` plei,ouj de, ge // no,qon le,gousin).

The school of Antioch did not look with favour on Jap. Chrysostom (ob. 407) represented this school in Constantinople. Theodore (350-428) carried with him the views of this school to Mopsuestia in Cilicia, and Theodoret (386-457) to the east to Cyrrhus. None of the three appears to have mentioned it.

Other lists from which it is excluded are the so-called Synopsis of Chrysostom, the List of 60 Books, and the Chronography of Nicephorus.

§ 6. Quite independently of the criticism of Alexandria, Jap was either ignored or unknown in the Eastern-Syrian and Armenian Churches for some centuries. -- The Apocalypse formed no part of the Peshitto Version of the N.T. which was made by Rabula of Edessa, 411 (Burkitt, St. Ephraem's Quotations, p. 57). The gap was afterwards supplied by a translation in 508 by Polycarpus for Philoxenus of Mabug, and by that of Thomas of Harkel, 616. On these the reader should consult Gwynn, The Apocalypse of John in Syria, pp. xc-cv, and Bousset's Offenbarung, 26-28. But it took centuries for Jap to establish itself in the Syrian Churches. Junilius (De partibus divinae legis, i. 4), who reproduces the lectures of Paul of Nisibis, writes (551 A.D.), "De Ioannis apocalypsi apud Orientales admodum dubitatur." Jacob of Edessa (ob. 708) cites it as Scripture, and yet Bar Hebraeus (ob. 1208) regards it as the work of Cerinthus or the other John. In the Armenian Church it first appears as a canoncial book in the 12 century (Conybeare, Armenian Version of Revelation, p. 64).

§ 7. Jap was always accepted as canonical in the West, and this same attitude towards it was gradually adopted by the Eastern Churches. -- In the Church of the West, notwithstanding the attacks of Gaius and the rejection of its apostolic authorship by Dionysius, writers were unanimous after the elaborate defence by Hippolytus of the canonicty of Jap. Only Jerome takes up a doubtful attitude towards it; for, while in Ep. ad Dardanum, 129, he appears inclined to accept it, elsewhere (In Ps. 149) he ranks it in a class midway between canonical and apocryphal. Jap found a succession of expounders in Victorinus of Pettau (ob. 303), Tyconius, Primasius, and is duly recorded in all the Western lists of the canonical books.

In Alexandria, Athanasius (293-373) recognized its Johannine authorship and canonicity, and in due course the Greek commentaries of Oecumenius, Andreas, and Arethas.

Thus throughout the world the full canonicity of the Apocalypse was accepted in the 13th century save in the {ciii.} Nestorian Church. With the views of later times the present work is not here concerned. For these, readers may consult Bousset, Offenbarung, 19-34; or the present writer's Studies in the Apocalypse, 1-78.

1. The fact that Hermas used the same imagery as Jap may be rightly used as evidence that he knew it. Thus the Church, Vis. ii. 4, is represented by a woman (cf. Jap 121sqq.); the enemy of the Church by a beast (qhri,on), Vis. iv. 6-10, Jap 13: out of the mouth of the beasts proceed fiery locusts, Vis. iv. 1, 6, Jap 93: whereas the foundation stones of the Heavenly Jerusalem bear the names of the Twelve Apostles, Jap 2114, and those who overcome are made pillars in the spiritual temple, Jap 312, in Hermas the apostles and other teachers of the Church form the stones of the heavenly tower erected by the archangels, Vis. iii. 5. 1. The faithful in both are clothed in white and are given crowns to wear, Jap 611 etc., 210 311; Hermas, Sim. viii. 2. 1, 3.
2. Ti, fa,skousi toi,nun oi` :Alogoi: tau,thn ga.r auvtoij ti,qhmi th.n evpwnumi,an)
3. Another work of Hippolytus in defence of the Johannine writings may be inferred from the list of works engraven on the back of the chair on which the statue of the bishop was seated: u`pe.r tou/ kata. VIwa,nnhn euvaggeli,ou kai. avpokalu,yewj. See Lightfoot, St. Clement, 1. ii. 420.


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