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23:43, January 27, 2013
Canonicity of Revelation:
If I can help, other than my edit-one-when-I-see-it method, just let me know. [[User:Paharwell|Phil Harwell (paharwell)]] 08:36, December 11, 2012 (HST)
== Canonicity of Revelation ==
27 January 2013
I am in research on a book dealing with the issues surrounding the acceptance of the book of Revelation into the New Testament. (Definitely not an exegetical commentary – there are many hundreds of them already!) I would appreciate some advice on a specific area of research that is giving me difficulty: the history of Revelation’s acceptance in the Eastern church in the 2nd through 5th centuries, and perhaps later.
In publications I have found so far, there is sometimes a distinction drawn between the acceptance of Revelation in early Western vs Eastern Christianity: acceptance was much more rapid and widespread in the West. I have yet to find, however, much insight into why acceptance was slower in the East. What was the nature of the misgivings that the fathers of the Eastern church evidently had? Who, by name, expressed those misgivings? When, how, and under what circumstances? What finally prompted the Eastern Christian churches to accept Revelation? Did they do so gladly or grudgingly? How do Orthodox Christians tend to see Revelation today? Is it often preached? Were there other issues or background that I seem not to have contemplated? Can you recommend books or articles that address these matters?
To hit only some highlights, these are factors that perturbed the acceptance of Revelation in the Western church; perhaps they were voiced in the Eastern church as well:
• Questions of apostolicity.
o Revelation was probably written about 95 A.D. The disciple John (son of Zebedee) would have been quite old at this time, beyond normal life expectancy. There is reason to believe he died about 70 A.D.
o The Greek language of Revelation is quite different from the Greek of the Fourth Gospel, strongly indicating they could not have been written by the same person.
o John bar Zebedee was not known to have had an oversight responsibility of the seven churches to whom Revelation was addressed.
• Questions of orthodoxy.
o Revelation shares characteristics with many Gnostic writings, especially in its good-evil dualism and its frequent focus on secret knowledge.
o Revelation speaks of the Millennium, the thousand-year period after Christ’s return when all believers live happily with Him on earth before the final confrontation with Satan. This concept is absent from the Gospels and Epistles, and it is one of the reasons that Cerinthus (active in Asia Minor at the time Revelation was written there) was declared a heretic.
o It is not difficult to read in Revelation a theology of salvation by works rather than of salvation by grace through faith in Christ.
Any insights or recommendations on the Orthodox perspective on the canonicity of Revelation would be most welcome. I expect to be in research for the rest of 2013, with writing in early 2014.
Thanks very much
[[User:Mullerjrd|Mullerjrd]] 13:43, January 27, 2013 (HST)
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