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Re: The Elder John and Revelation

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  • e_s_c_h_a_t_o_n
    Thank you for the information. I didn t know that it was an established fact that John died prior to 70 AD. The references I ve looked at didn t reflect
    Message 1 of 40 , Apr 8 8:31 AM
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      Thank you for the information. I didn't know that it was an established fact that John died prior to 70 AD. The references I've looked at didn't reflect that.

      As you know, Irenaeus claimed to have met Polycarp face to face, and also claimed that Polycarp was a disciple of the apostle John. You are also aware that Irenaeus claimed the apostle John wrote the book about 96 AD. I think that was the testimony of all the church fathers that mentioned it until Dionysus and Eusebius speculated later.

      --- In revelation-list@yahoogroups.com, George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...> wrote:
      >
      > One huge problem with the position that the apostle John was the author of the Apocalypse is that John the Apostle was no longer alive to write it.  It seems that he died in Jerusalem which would put his death prior to 70 ad.  See Charles, R.H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St John. Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1920 for a discussion of this.  As regards Papias, he was frequently wrong (and that in the few fragments we have from him).  I tend to think that John the Elder was the John who wrote both the epistles and the gospel while another wrote the Apocalypse (I'm not sure I wish to state at this point who I think wrote it).
      >  george
      > gfsomsel
      >
      >
      > … search for truth, hear truth,
      > learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
      > defend the truth till death.
      >
      >
      > - Jan Hus
      > _________
      >
    • Kym Smith
      Dear Jon, It would be worth your looking at Geoffrey C. Bingham s The Matter of the Millennium , excerpted from his commentary on the Revelation.
      Message 40 of 40 , Apr 9 5:35 PM
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        Dear Jon,

        It would be worth your looking at Geoffrey C. Bingham's "The Matter of the Millennium", excerpted from his commentary on the Revelation. http://www.newcreation.org.au/books/covers/246.html

        Kym Smith

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Jon Newton
        To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 5:38 PM
        Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Millennium question




        Since we are all talking to each other again, can I raise a different question?

        Can anyone point me to a serious study of intertextual relationship between the thousand years in Rev20 and the same phrase in Ps90 and 2 Pet 3?

        (Dr) Jon Newton

        --- On Fri, 9/4/10, George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...> wrote:

        From: George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...>
        Subject: Re: [revelation-list] The Elder John and Revelation
        To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
        Received: Friday, 9 April, 2010, 3:38 PM



        Basically, what we have are 3 late 2nd or early 3rd cent ascriptions of the Apocalypse to the Apostle John:

        Justin is definitely 2nd cent -- probably slightly after the middle of the 2nd

        Irenaeus is probably late 2nd cent

        Clement of Alexandria may have written early 3rd cent

        It would not be too much of a stretch to conclude that the tradition became confused very early and was based upon the claim of the writer of the Apocalypse to be John who was then understood to be the Apostle. I don't think this is a very firm foundation to assert that John the Apostle wrote the Apocalypse.

        george

        gfsomsel

        … search for truth, hear truth,

        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,

        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus

        _________

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: Paul Anderson <panderso@georgefox. edu>

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 10:04:51 PM

        Subject: RE: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation



        Right, we agree. It could be that John died early, but my point is that such is primarily a modern inference rather than a direct ancient claim.

        Given that diverse corroborative claims from many second-century sources state directly that John the apostle relocated to Ephesus and lived into the late first century, including the prevalent tesimonies presented by Eusebius, one is given critical pause before assenting that the John-Ephesus connection has been decimated by solidly historical evidence of an early death for John.

        Thanks,

        Paul

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com on behalf of George F Somsel

        Sent: Thu 4/8/2010 9:27 PM

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Subject: Re: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        No, there is nothing that specific.

        george

        gfsomsel

        ... search for truth, hear truth,

        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,

        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus

        _________

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: Paul Anderson <panderso@georgefox . edu>

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 9:20:56 PM

        Subject: RE: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        Thanks, George,

        Does either Philip or the Syriac martyrology say John was killed before 70?

        Paul

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com on behalf of George F Somsel

        Sent: Thu 4/8/2010 5:52 PM

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Subject: Re: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        What?!! Am I misunderstanding you? Paul conferred with James and Peter and John IN JERUSALEM. This in no way negates the position that John died an early death in Jerusalem since this was prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 ad. Remember, Paul AGAIN returned to Jerusalem where, according to Acts he took part in a Nazirite vow and was set upon by the Jews (i.e., non-Christian Jews). There was plenty of time for John and James to be killed prior to the fall of Jerusalem after Paul was arrested and spent 2 yrs with Felix in Caesarea and then another 2 yrs in Rome by the close of Acts -- all without there being any mention even by that time of the fall of Jerusalem. Let's see what Philip of Side said

        Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, who was a disciple of John the Theologian and a companion of Polycarp, wrote five books on the sayings of the Lord. In them he made a list of apostles, and after Peter and John, Philip and Thomas and Matthew, he included among disciples of the Lord Aristion and another John, whom he also called "the Elder." So, some think that this John is the author of the two short catholic epistles which circulate under the name of John, because the men of the earliest period accept only the first epistle. And some have mistakenly thought that the Apocalypse was also his. And Papias is also in error regarding the millennium, and so is Irenaeus, who follows him.

        >>>>

        >>>>Papias says in his second book that John the Theologian and James his brother were killed by the Jews. The aforesaid Papias recorded, on the authority of the daughters of Philip, that Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, drank the poison of a snake in the name of Christ when put to the test by the unbelievers and was protected from all harm. He also records other amazing things, in particular one about Manaim's mother, who was raised from the dead. As for those who were raised from the dead by Christ, he states that they survived until the time of Hadrian.

        >>>>

        >>>>Philip of Side (fifth c.), Church History

        Holmes, Michael William. The Apostolic Fathers : Greek Texts and English Translations. Updated ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1999.

        (Philip quoted for his comments on Papias)

        Philip states explicitly that John and James were killed by the Jews -- where? The most logical conclusion would be in Jerusalem (as stated in the Syrian martyrology) . There appears to be some confusion here since Philip associates John with Polycarp which is clearly impossible if John and his brother had already been killed in Jerusalem. Further confusion is introduced by the statement of Eusebius that Papias in no way claimed to being a hearer of the Apostles. It seems obvious to me that some confusion has been introduced into the tradition which is one reason it is not wise to simply accept tradition without some examination.

        george

        gfsomsel

        ... search for truth, hear truth,

        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,

        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus

        _________

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: Paul Anderson <panderso@georgefox . edu>

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 4:13:15 PM

        Subject: RE: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        Good points, George (of course, dollars went a lot further back then--smile) .

        Well, those who claim that James and John were martyred in Jerusalem in the modern era innovate when they make the argument that therefore John cannot have lived until the age of Trajan--on the basis of an early death. That is flawed thinking. Paul apparently conferred with John and other pillars of the church (assuming the James there is James the just?) according to Galatians 2.

        My point is that there is no evidence or tradition that John died an early death other than associations based upon festival commemorations James and John as martyrs many centuries later or inferences made on the basis of speculating about what "must have happened" on the basis of Mark 10:39. That is not a historiographically sound basis for arguing that John died early--just because his brother did. Rather, the great preponderance of traditional reports in the second century, as well as Eusebius' reports, connect John the apostle with Ephesus and Asia Minor Christianity.

        Philip of Sides (430s CE) says that Papias was "a disciple of John the Divine" (ie son of Zebedee) while at the same time claiming that John the Divine and James his brother were "killed by the Jews" (no mention here of Jerusalem--why not killed in Asia Minor?). So, which feature of Philip's testimony should we believe? If you really believe Philip of Sides, Papias was a disciple of John the apostle, thus having lived in Asia Minor, and therefore he cannot have died early. Early-death- of-John purporters conveniently omit this real problem from their discussions. Here's the fuller citation:

        "Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, who was a disciple of John the Divine, and a companion of Polycarp, wrote five books of Oracles of the Lord, wherein, when giving a list of the Apostles, after Peter and John, Philip and Thomas and Matthew he included among the disciples of the Lord Aristion and a second John, whom also he called `The Elder.' So some think that this John is the author of the two short and catholic Epistles, which are published in the name of John; and he gives as the reason that the primitive (fathers) only accept the first epistle. Some too have wrongly considered the Apocalypse also to be his (i.e. the Elder John's) work. Papias too is in error about the Millennium, and from him Irenaeus also.

        Papias in his second book says that John the Divine and James his brother were killed by the Jews. The aforesaid Papias stated on the authority of the daughters of Philip that Barsabas, who is also called Justus, when challenged by the unbelievers drank serpent's poison in the name of the Lord, and was shielded from all harm. He makes also other marvelous statements, and particularly about the mother of Manaim who was raised from the dead. As for those who were raised from the dead by Christ, (he states) that they survived till the time of Hadrian."

        I do not believe Eusebius has been overturned.

        Inquiringly,

        Paul Anderson

        -----Original Message-----

        From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:revelation- list@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of George F Somsel

        Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 2:27 PM

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Subject: Re: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        It isn't necessary to conclude from the Syriac martyrology that James and John were martyred on the same day any more than it is necessary to conclude that Peter and Paul were martyred on the same day. It only says "in Jerusalem" just as Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome (on the same day?). I would say that the acceptance of the tradition of the writing of the Apocalypse by John the Apostle is sloppy historiography. Tradition is not history. Supposedly George Washington threw a silver dollar over the Rappahanock River, but I understand that is a myth.

        Note that Irenaeus does not claim that Papias had direct knowledge of the Apostle John. He states

        2 But Papias himself in the preface to his discourses by no means declares that he was himself a hearer and eye-witness of the holy apostles, but he shows by the words which he uses that he received the doctrines of the faith from those who were their friends.

        Schaff, P. (1997). The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. I. Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine. (170). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

        george

        gfsomsel

        ... search for truth, hear truth,

        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,

        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus

        _________

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: Paul Anderson <panderso@georgefox . edu>

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 12:18:18 PM

        Subject: RE: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        Right, "drinking the cup" and being "baptized with the baptism of Jesus" was a means of emphasizing the Zebedee brothers' suffering with Jesus, but it need not be taken as predicting their being killed at the same time (44 CE) in the same place (Jerusalem). Such inferences are totally speculative- -no historical evidence other than trying to "make Jesus' prediction come true" after their presentation in written form.

        All of the second-century witness as to the long-term ministry and elderly death of John of Zebedee, plus Eusebius' diverse records of such, would have to be sacrificed on the altar of such a conjecture, and such is sloppy historiography. Also, not that this was the same "John", but being banished to Patmos during the reign of Domitian could indeed be interpreted as a form of martyrdom--and indeed it was interpreted as such by Asia Minor Christianity, and fairly univocally.

        The Syriac honoring of James and John and their martyrologies on the 26th of December lumps them together, just as the celebration of the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul in Rome are celebrated on the 28th in the fifth century. Does that prove that Peter and Paul were killed at the same time? Probably they were both martyred in Rome, but other traditions attest to such. No one makes the case that Peter and Paul were killed at the same time based on the Syriac martyrology; why do so with James and John? And, how do we know Zahn was wrong in wondering whether the martyred "John" might have been the Baptist instead of the apostle? Confusions of "John" abound, and in more than one direction.

        Again, John could have been killed in Jerusalem, early, but there is no historical tradition as to such having happened--only the lumping of James and John together on the basis of an inferred outcome based on an interpretation of saying of Jesus in Mark. That, however, is not robust historical-critical data upon which to discount the bulk of second-century testimony.

        And yet, huge platforms of interpretation get leveraged on such conjecture based on what "cannot" have been the contribution of John or the many traditions bearing his name. Of course, the question of Johannine authorship is still a knotty one, and "two Johns in Ephesus" referring to the elder and the disciple still remain to be sorted out, but the early death of John is a modern myth--neither Philip nor George nor Syria argue for an "early" death of John; that content seems to be inferred by more recent scholars seeking to introduce revisionist platforms for dealing with the Johannine riddles.

        Engaging issues, indeed!

        Paul Anderson

        -----Original Message-----

        From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:revelation- list@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of George F Somsel

        Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 9:36 AM

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Subject: Re: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        Correction: It does not rest upon "a fifth century mistake" but upon the Syriac martyrology which is independent of this supposed mistake. You still haven't addressed the gospel logion of Jesus that both James and John would taste the cup of which Jesus partook. Commentators are free to discuss James' death in relation to that but conveniently neglect the rest. Perhaps if one can't counter the evidence then one simply ignores it.

        george

        gfsomsel

        ... search for truth, hear truth,

        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,

        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus

        _________

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: Paul Anderson <panderso@georgefox . edu>

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 8:53:39 AM

        Subject: RE: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        No, the evidence that John the apostle died before 70 CE is entirely flimsy. It rests on a fifth century mistake (Philip of Side) followed by a ninth century flawed conjecture (George the sinner)--nothing to it historically- critically. Just because Jesus said to James and John in Mark 10:38-39 that they will both drink his cup, this does not prove that John was killed along with his brother James in 44 CE; second century witnesses locate John's living into the reign of Trajan, beginning in 98 CE.

        Scholar make a lot of this inference, but it is terribly poor critical scholarship. Martyrdom could have happened in a variety of ways, not necessarily at the same time, either.

        Paul Anderson

        -----Original Message-----

        From: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com on behalf of George F Somsel

        Sent: Thu 4/8/2010 8:15 AM

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Subject: Re: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        One huge problem with the position that the apostle John was the author of the Apocalypse is that John the Apostle was no longer alive to write it. It seems that he died in Jerusalem which would put his death prior to 70 ad. See Charles, R.H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St John. Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1920 for a discussion of this. As regards Papias, he was frequently wrong (and that in the few fragments we have from him). I tend to think that John the Elder was the John who wrote both the epistles and the gospel while another wrote the Apocalypse (I'm not sure I wish to state at this point who I think wrote it).

        george

        gfsomsel

        . search for truth, hear truth,

        learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,

        defend the truth till death.

        - Jan Hus

        _________

        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: e_s_c_h_a_t_ o_n <rocsy@yahoo. com>

        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 7:55:12 AM

        Subject: [revelation- list] The Elder John and Revelation

        Some have said that the book of Revelation was written by the apostle John.

        Some still say that.

        The book of Revelation was attributed to John the apostle by church fathers

        until the third century. Papias and his companion Polycarp were both hearers

        of the apostle John according to Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses III.3.4,V.33. 4).

        Here is what was written by Papias.

        I will not hesitate to add also for you to my interpretations what I formerly

        learned with care from the Presbyters and have carefully stored in memory,

        giving assurance of its truth. For I did not take pleasure as the many do in

        those who speak much, but in those who teach what is true, nor in those who

        relate foreign precepts, but in those who relate the precepts which were given

        by the Lord to the faith and came down from the Truth itself. And also if any

        follower of the Presbyters happened to come, I would inquire for the sayings of

        the Presbyters, what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip or what

        Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples,

        and for the things which other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which

        Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I

        considered that I should not get so much advantage from matter in books as from

        the voice which yet lives and remains.

        Eusebius says this in his church history:

        5. It is worth while observing here that the name John is twice enumerated by

        him. The first one he mentions in connection with Peter and James and Matthew

        and the rest of the apostles, clearly meaning the evangelist; but the other John

        he mentions after an interval, and places him among others outside of the number

        of the apostles, putting Aristion before him, and he distinctly calls him a

        presbyter.

        6. This shows that the statement of those is true, who say that there were two

        persons in Asia that bore the same name, and that there were two tombs in

        Ephesus, each of which, even to the present day, is called John's.

        (Church History Book III.XXXIX.�The Writings of Papias).

        Eusebius also refers to Dionysius who did not believe the Apocalypse was written

        by the apostle John.

        But neither in the reputed second or third epistle of John, though they are very

        short, does the name John appear; but there is written the anonymous phrase,

        `the elder.' (Gr. presbuteros) But this author saw and heard these things.

        (Church History Book VII.25.11)

        Eusebius says that Papias was speaking of two different people. He was the

        first one to reach this conclusion about what Papias said. The second John he

        believes is the presbyter John, a different person than the apostle John. This

        is the opposite conclusion Dionysius reaches. He notes that the John of the

        Apocalypse only refers to himself as John, while in his second and third

        epistles the apostle refers to himself as the elder (presbyter) (2 John 1, 3

        John 1).

        If we read the words of Papias carefully we see that he refers to the apostles

        as both presbyters and disciples. He refers to the second John as both a

        presbyter and a disciple. Ariston he only refers to as a disciple. So what did

        Papias mean by referring to two Johns? I think he explains himself in the very

        next sentence. " For I considered that I should not get so much advantage from

        matter in books as from the voice which yet lives and remains." He wanted to

        know what those who were with Jesus, including John, had said in the past since

        most were departed or were somewhere out of touch. John and Ariston were still

        alive, and he desired what those who remained had to say. This is consistent

        with the the testimony of Irenaeus that Papias was a hearer of John. Papias was

        born before 70 AD and died in 155. John lived to about 100 AD.

        Alan Fuller

        http://www.lulu <http://www.lulu/> <http://www.lulu/> . com/arfuller

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