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Re: [revelation-list] Re: Nero

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  • Charles Larkin
    Dear List Members: Gettting back to the question of what the early Christians thought about all this, the answer must be, sadly, that we have no way of
    Message 1 of 47 , Dec 6, 2007
      Dear List Members:

      Gettting back to the question of what the early Christians
      thought about all this, the answer must be, sadly, that we
      have no way of telling.

      "Revelation" is the most frequently cited NT text in
      Christian writings of the 2nd century but, to my
      knowledge, none of these
      postulate Nero of as being signified by 666.

      Justin in his "Dialogue with Trypho" (ch. 80 end)
      references the reign [of Christ]
      of 1000 years in Jerusalem, and Irenaeus in his "Against
      Heresies" (ch. 28) with clear reference to the question
      of the 666,
      revives the suggestion (found earlier in Barnabas, etc)
      the mystery must be considered in the context of the
      allegory of the 6000 years of human history (or perhaps
      scriptural reckoning):
      "For in as many days as this world was made,
      in so many thousand years shall it be concluded." In ch.
      23 Irenaeus cites II Peter as his authority for the
      equation that "a day of the Lord
      is as a thousand years [for mankind]." (II Peter 3.8)
      This is where Archbishop Ussher's 17th century
      come into play.

      It seems clear that for the author of II Peter (fairly
      early) disappointment about
      Christ's failure to return was quite widespread. By that
      time any "rumours" about Nero
      "reviduus" must surely have dissipated.

      Father Just's point about the alternative 616 in some of
      the ancient manuscripts is well taken, although the
      of an MS is no assurance of its authenticity vis-a-vis the

      Dr. Ian Paul's observation that Baukham's preference
      for the reading 666 is based on its "triangularity" is
      quite fascinating.

      It is precisely the "triangularity" of 666 which comes
      through so strikingly in Ronald Knox's brilliant
      translation -- which I provide here for those without
      to Monsignor Knox's masterly rendition:

      "Here is room for discernment; let the reader, if he has
      the skill, cast up the sum
      of the figures in the beast's name, after our human
      fashion, and the number will be
      six hundred and sixty-six."

      This rendering suggests that the solution to
      this ancient "riddle" resides not with Hebrew gemmatria
      or numerology but rather with what was considered cutting
      edge "science" at the time Revelation was written: i.e.,

      Seen in the astrological context, the 666 suggests the end
      of the Sign of Jonah (Pisces) and the beginning of the Age
      of Aquarius (i.e.,
      the sign of the Son of Man). For those so inclined, no
      of the significance of the sign of the fishes for early
      Christianity can surpass that of C.G. Jung in his final
      masterpiece "Aion."

      If Nero himself has not come back to life, it is
      encouraging to see that this
      List has!

      Charles G. Larkin
      Department of Philosophy and Religion
      Saint Leo University -- Savannah Center (USA)

      On Thu, 6 Dec 2007 13:58:11 -0800 (PST)
      "fjust2000@..." <fjust2000@...> wrote:
      > Thanks, Paul. Like many or most readers of this list,
      >I'm familiar with gematria and the value of Hebrew nun,
      >and how "Nero(n) Kaisar" could be either 666 or 616, with
      >or without the extra nun.
      > But my question was one of textual criticism. Is it so
      >certain which is the more likely original reading?
      > There are plenty of reasons why an original 616 would
      >have been changed by later scribes to 666, and I've heard
      >of a few explantions for the opposite direction: why 666
      >might have been changed to 616. But I thought the ancient
      >manuscript evidence leaned towards 616 as the original
      > So, for all those who take 666 for granted and ignore
      >616, may I repeat the core of my question? Is it so
      >certain, on the basis of all the ancient manuscript
      >evidence, that 666 is the original reading?
      > Felix
      > Paul Anderson <panderso@...> wrote:
      > With Hebrew gematria, the letter "nun" is worth
      >50 points, so "Nero Kaisar" = 616. As the second beast
      >rising up out of the sea, however, the pressing affliction
      >at the time of Revelation's finalization is likely
      >Domitian, who is just as bad (if not worse) as Nero.
      > Eugene Boring in his Interpretation commentary on
      >Revelation has an excellent treatment of gematria, as do
      >several others.
      > Paul Anderson
      > -----Original Message-----
      >From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      >[mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      >George F Somsel
      > Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 1:03 PM
      > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re: Nero
      > In order for 666 to be construed as referring to Nero it
      >must be transliterated into Hebrew and read as "Neròn
      >Kaisar." This is likely the reason that the reading 616
      >arose since it does not require such change. This
      >apparently arose at an early date as is evidenced by
      >P.Oxy. 4499.
      > http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/POxy/beast/beast616.html
      > george
      > gfsomsel
      > Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear
      > learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the
      > defend the truth till death.
      > - Jan Hus
      > _________
      > ----- Original Message ----
      >From: "fjust2000@..." <fjust2000@...>
      > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2007 3:19:27 PM
      > Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re: Nero
      > I haven't had a chance to read Bauckham yet on this, but
      >does he also deal with the variant reading 616 ? Could
      >someone summarize his position? And is there any consensus
      >these days, at least among members of this group, about
      >whether the text of Rev 13:18 originally read 616 or 666 ?
      >I'm rather surprised that all of the recent postings on
      >this forum have mentioned only 666, and no one (that I can
      >recall) has discussed the implicatins for the question of
      >dating if the original was actually 616.
      > And could a change from 616 to 666 also be an indication
      >that there may have been multiple editions of Rev, one of
      >which might be earlier (ca. Nero), and one (or more)
      >editions later?
      > Ian Paul <editor@grovebooks. co.uk> wrote:
      > Yes, Bauckham does discuss the idea of Nero as beast
      > extensively. But he relates it in particular to the myth
      >of Nero
      > redivivus as an eschatological rival to the return of
      > The chapter on this is so substantial that I think I
      >would counsel
      > against anyone saying anything about 666 or Nero without
      >having read
      > this very carefully, and being able to offer some very
      > replies to the position Bauckham sets out!
      > On 6 Dec 2007, at 05:24, neroad70 wrote:
      >> Thanks Rob; I have just ordered the book! Does he
      >>discuss early
      >> Christian belief that Nero was the beast? I guess what I
      >>am trying to
      >> nail down, is whether the early Christians did indeed
      >>believe this.
      >> Kistemaker in his commentary suggests that the idea that
      >>Nero was the
      >> beast was a very recent notion.
      >> So in short, either there is documentation proving that
      >>the early
      >> church or at least some in the church believed Nero to
      >>be the beast or
      >> Kistemaker is right. Thats what I want to nail down.
      > Ian
      > ____________ _____
      > Revd Dr Ian Paul
      > Dean of Studies, St John's College, Bramcote, Nottm NG9
      > w 0115 925 1114 x 254 h 0115 922 9699 m 07974
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      > http://www.stjohns- nottm.ac. uk
      > Also Managing Editor, Grove Books Ltd Ridley Hall Road
      > CB3 9HU
      > 01223 464748 Fax 01223 464849
      > http://www.groveboo ks.co.uk
      > ____________ _____
      > ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~
      > Rev. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
      > Director of Biblical Education
      > Loyola Institute for Spirituality
      > 480 S. Batavia St.
      > Orange, CA 92868-3907
      > office: 714-997-9587
      > email: fjust@calprov. org
      > http://catholic- resources. org
      > ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~
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    • Laszlo Hubbes
      Dear Dr. Ian R. Brown, I would full-heartedly suggest among many others Christopher Rowland s and Judith Kovacs s volume on Revelation in the Blackwell Bible
      Message 47 of 47 , Dec 10, 2007
        Dear Dr. Ian R. Brown,

        I would full-heartedly suggest among many others

        Christopher Rowland's and Judith Kovacs's volume on Revelation in the
        Blackwell Bible Commentaries series. (Blackwell Publishing, 2004) - A
        brilliant multi-aspect and multi-level commentary on the Apocalypse, with an
        added emphasis on its reception history.

        Best regards,

        Hubbes Laszlo


        HUBBES L�szl�-Attila, PhD

        Str. Gabor Aron ut 14,
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        judetul Covasna.
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        Tel./Fax: + 40 (267) 351609
        e-mail: biblio@....

        visiting lecturer
        530104 Miercurea Ciuc (Csikszereda)
        Piata Libertatii (Szabadsag ter) 1
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        Web: www.csik.sapientia.ro

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