Revelation


#1

Does the Church know or can we speculate when the Book of Revelation was written? Thanks.


#2

The typical dating ranges from somewhere around 68 A.D. to the year 96 A.D. The details seem to indicate that the temple was still there (which puts it before 70 A.D.) Some try to say that it must have been written later for this reason or that. I tend to favor the 68 A.D. part since 96 A.D. would have put John being in his mid to late 90s. Possible? Sure. More likely though that the contextual clues reveal it to be pre temple destruction.


#3

opinions vary between AD 60 and AD 90, or later.

Internally, it refers to Jesus as Jesus Christ, which of course was not Jesus family name. The title ‘Christ’ was added later and seems to be accepted as a settled matter in Ch. 1 of Revelation.

This is a good question. It made me get up and look up “Christ” in my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and I’m actually surprised at how many, many times Jesus is referred to as Christ in the New Testament (of course) – all four gospels, Acts, lots of times in Romans, etc.

So, the use of “Jesus Christ” was well-established by the time Rev was written, apparently, so that doesn’t help with the timing of Revelation – that I can tell. There’s a lot of speculation on when it was written, because it just doesn’t directly say. I hope there’s a better answer out there.


#4

It’s all conjectural, with some saying as late as AD110.

There’s no compelling reason to date it earlier than AD70; reference to the temple could easily refer to the one in Heaven; such things happen often in prophecy. If Saint John were up to 20 years younger than our LORD, as some believe, he could well have been alive in AD110.

ICXC NIKA


#5

The John who penned the book of Revelation is not the same John who wrote the epistles of John (John the Apostle).John of Patmos (from the Greek Island of Patmos) was the one who wrote the book of Revelation.


#6

After further reading it appears this is not true. Please delete. I had read that they were not the same but I was mistaken. Sincerest of apologies.


#7

Just a word of warning, there are those who will date it post AD 70 in an effort to simply place the preterist view aside and claim the Catholic church is the Babylon spoken of etc. While as I Catholic I see no conflict with either view (68, 70, 110, anywhere in the middle) many protestant theologians will conflict anything contemporary with the temple in order to fit their eisegesis.


#8

As everyone said, it’s all a matter of conjecture.

The common idea throughout most of Church history is that Revelation might have been written during or after the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96). St. Irenaeus (who heard St. Polycarp, who in turn was supposedly a disciple of John the apostle) is our earliest source to claim this: “For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.” (Against Heresies 30) This is one of those places where most modern scholars actually accept - or see no reason to dispute - early Church tradition.

That being said, some scholars nowadays do try to pin an earlier date for the work, usually somewhere around the reign of Nero of Vespasian (AD 60s-70s). They argue that the book fits in with the last days of Nero and the impression Nero made on his contemporaries (I mean, the Beast of Revelation 13 is commonly identified with him). (But then again, Nero’s shadow looming over Revelation is not necessarily an indicator of an AD 60s-70s date: I mean, Nero was such a famous emperor - the aristocrats and the Christians didn’t like him, but the commoners did - that people believed or feared that he would return eventually: the belief in Nero redivivus.) Those who push for the earlier date would answer St. Irenaeus’ claim by saying that maybe he was mistaken; maybe he was just guessing like we do now, maybe the memories were muddled by the time Irenaeus wrote. Plus, his dating of Revelation is tied in with his idea that the author was John the apostle. In other words, if John son of Zebedee was not the author of Revelation but a different John, then that may potentially put his claim into question.

Given how the work allows for both intepretations, a further minority segment of scholars would say, what if Revelation actually came in two editions? They would say that the work would have been originally written during the 60s-70s, but was revised later during the time of Domitian.

This is my personal opinion.

Personally, I side with the majority on this one. There’s after all the testimony of Irenaeus. (There are later traditions - from the 4th and the 11th centuries - that claim that John’s exile actually took place in Nero’s reign or even during the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54), but the fact that they’re much later than Irenaeus makes me consider them less seriously.) Plus, just as I mentioned while the shadow of Nero looms over the work, that doesn’t necessarily preclude the work being written after his time - since Nero was still in the minds of most people during the decades following (again, the Nero redivivus idea). In addition, a late 1st century date would allow enough time for the development (or rather, decline) of the seven churches mentioned in the work rather than a mid-1st century date.


#9

That is a question many scholars have debated over. It was very controversial in the Early Church; so controversial that it doesn’t feature in the Orthodox lectionary, because by the time it became accepted as scripture the lectionary had already been established! The traditional belief is that the Apostle John, John the Evangelist and John of Patmos are one and the same, however this view has come under much scrutiny by modern biblical scholars. Even in the Early Church some Fathers brought the issue under scrutiny, noticing differences in the literary style and theological outlook of the two books. 81-96 AD seems to be what most scholars attribute the date too.


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.