User:Jeremygbyrne/Revelation mystery

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The Revelation mystery is a dramatic extrapolation from the controversy surrounding the origin and canonicity of the Book of Revelation.

The theory[edit]

Other than Athanasius's dubious and apparently half-hearted reinsertion (he had earlier excluded it) of Revelation into canon, the only "positive listings" before the 16th Century Council of Trent (ie. the Muratorian fragment, Codex_Claromontanus's canon and the Cheltnam/Momsen canon) could easily be later forgeries.


Line counts[edit]

Dubious history of certain books[edit]

The following needs to be edited down and checked

As we have seen above that the books of Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James, Jude and Revelation had quite a dubious history of the entry into the canon, it is time that we have a cursory glance over their comparatively recent history.
Zwingli, at the Berne disputation of 1528, denied that Revelation was a book of the New Testament.[37]
Martin Luther condemned the Epistle of James as worthless, an 'epistle of straw.' Furthermore, he denigrated Jude, Hebrews, and the Apocalypse (Revelation). He did not omit them from his German Bible, but drew a line in the table of contents, putting them on a lower level than the rest of the New Testament. In Prefaces to each of these books, Luther explains his doubts as to their apostolic as well as canonical authority.[38]
The reformer known as Andreas Bodenstein of Karlstadt (1480-1541) divided the New Testament into three ranks of differing dignity. On the lowest level are the seven disputed books of James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, Hebrews, and the Apocalypse (Revelation).[39]
Oecolampadius in 1531 under Wurttemberg Confession declared that while all 27 books should be received, the Apocalypse (Revelation), James, Jude, 2 Peter 2 and 3 John should not be compared to the rest of the books.[40]
Early in his career, Erasmus (d. 1536) doubted that Paul was the author of Hebrews, and James of the epistle bearing the name. He also questioned the authorship of 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. The style of Revelation precludes it from being written by the author of the Fourth Gospel.[41]
The same four books are labeled 'Apocrypha' in a Bible from Hamburg in 1596. In Sweden, beginning in 1618, the Gustavus Adolphus Bible labels the four dubious books as 'Apocryphal New Testament.' This arrangement lasted for more than a century.[42]
The Alogi, about A.D. 200, a sect so called because of their rejection of the logos-doctrine, denied the authenticity of the Apocalypse, assigning it to Cerinthus (Epiphanius, LI, ff, 33; cf. Iren., Adv. Haer., III, 11, 9). Caius, a presbyter in Rome, of about the same time, holds a similar opinion. Eusebius quotes his words taken from his Disputation: "But Cerinthus by means of revelations which he pretended were written by a great Apostle falsely pretended to wonderful things, asserting that after the resurrection there would be an earthly kingdom" (Hist. Eccl., III, 28). The most formidable antagonist of the authority of the Apocalypse is Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, disciple of Origen. He is not opposed to the supposition that Cerinthus is the writer of the Apocalypse. "For", he says, "this is the doctrine of Cerinthus, that there will be an earthly reign of Christ, and as he was a lover of the body he dreamed that he would revel in the gratification of the sensual appetite". He himself did not adopt the view that Cerinthus was the writer. He regarded the Apocalypse as the work of an inspired man but not of an Apostle (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VII, 25). During the fourth and fifth centuries the tendency to exclude the Apocalypse from the list of sacred books continued to increase in the Syro-Palestinian churches. Eusebius expresses no definite opinion. He contents himself with the statement: "The Apocalypse is by some accepted among the canonical books but by others rejected" (Hist. Eccl., III, 25). St. Cyril of Jerusalem does not name it among the canonical books (Catech. IV, 33-36); nor does it occur on the list of the Synod of Laodicea, or on that of Gregory of Nazianzus. Perhaps the most telling argument against the apostolic authorship of the book is its omission from the Peshito, the Syrian Vulgate. But although the authorities giving evidence against the authenticity of the Apocalypse deserve full consideration they cannot annul or impair the older and unanimous testimony of the churches. The opinion of its opponents, moreover, was not free from bias. From the manner in which Dionysius argued the question, it is evident that he thought the book dangerous as occasioning crude and sensual notions concerning the resurrection. In the West the Church persevered in its tradition of apostolic authorship. St. Jerome alone seemed to have been influenced by the doubts of the East.

The strange copyright statement must indicate something[edit]

  • Rev 22:18-19:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
(Mormon response to this.)

Claims of early dates[edit]

  • Biblical canon says "In 405, Pope Innocent I in Letter #6 (to Exuperius) described a canon identical to Trent (without the distinction between protocanonicals and deuterocanonicals)."
  • Catholic Encyclopedia says 3rd Century Vetus Italia included Revelation
  • In 405, Pope Innocent I in Letter #6 (to Exuperius) lists a Trent-like Canon
  • 3rd Synod of Carthage [12]: in 397, ratified the canon accepted previously at the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa, 393, the acts of which have been lost (and thus might not have included Revelation).

Church Fathers[edit]

  • But apparently Origen (and Clement) didn't like its Apocalyptic overtones, quoting it as allegory
  • Note books excepted from the Bible by Tatian (inc. Revelation and much of John), an early Gnostic

Is Revelation a Gnostic document?[edit]

What is gnosticism about?

  • Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes: The Initiatory Teachings of the Last Supper , Mark Gaffney (Inner Traditions, 2004); gnostic scripture revealed in a mainstream denunciation shows belief in "Eastern" concepts such as Chakras and Kundalini; Naassenes, are they Nazarenes?
  • Gnostic gospels like Gospel_of_Philip talk of the need for a mysterious rebirth or resurrection in this life in order to know the secret of the Kingdom
  • Note the redacted Gospel of the Hebrews or "Authentic Matthew" seem to be gnostic, referring to Nazarenes, being used by Origen (and translated by his pupil Jerome)
  • Nazorean means one who knows the secret in Mandaen gnosticism, which claims to be the original religion of Adam (see also Nasoraeans) and rejects all prophets but John the Baptist.
  • But the pre-Christian Jewish sect Nasoraeans — who may have become the Nazoraeans who believed Jesus was a Nazirite (a Jewish ascetic, like Samson, John the Baptist and probably James the Just; see rebuttal of this idea) — were linked with the Mandaens
  • Rastafarians take the Nazirite oath, thus their dreadlocks
  • See also Nazarene for discussion of these groups; note that "the caves and ritually uninhabitable 1st century necropolis where Nazareth now stands" are thought an unlikely site for Jesus' childhood home
  • Mani of Manichean dualism believed in a Syzygos or Holy Twin who reveals Gnosis
  • Note the Paraclete, which only appears in the Gospel of John, may be Muhammad or the Mahdi; Jesus says it be "another" would follow him

The Arian Connection[edit]

  • But even Jerome's treatment of Revelation is cursory:
Treating the last-named book in his cursory fashion, he made use of an excerpt from the commentary of the North African Tichonius, which is preserved as a sort of argument at the beginning of the more extended work of the Spanish presbyter Beatus of Liébana. But before this he had already devoted to the Book of Revelation another treatment, a rather arbitrary recasting of the commentary of Saint Victorinus (d. 303), with whose chiliastic views he was not in accord, substituting for the chiliastic conclusion a spiritualizing exposition of his own, supplying an introduction, and making certain changes in the text.

Who are the Twelve?[edit]

  • Delete couple (need to look them up in Twelve Apostles)
  • Split Jude into Thomas and Bartholemew (?)
  • Split ??? into ?? and ??
  • Rename Mary to John
  • Can it be coincidence alone that John Thomas is a well-known euphemism? (Joke.)

Who is John?[edit]

Who is Thomas?[edit]

Thomas and John are in fundamental conflict (gnosis, represented by the "hand in the wound" vs faith)

  • See "pseudognosticism" and "messalianism" as "heretical" ideas about the relationship of gnosis and faith
  • Apocryphon of John is about gnostic revelations (to John), comdemned by Irenaeus as the Secret Book of John (note refs. to a "Book of Zoroaster")
  • Gospel of Thomas is a book of sayings of Jesus (as per Q document; "original John"?)
  • note Saint Cyril's condemnation of this work
  • note the Illuminist "Thomasine Church"
  • note also that Thomas appears only in John's Gospel, and means "twin"
  • might Thomas be Saint Jude, one of Jesus' four brothers (Mark 6:3 states about Jesus: "Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?") whom the Catholics made Patron of lost causes
  • Note History seems to link both Thomas and Jude to the area

Random thoughts[edit]

Stuff to be re-read[edit]