Dating the writing of a Bible book

by stirred but not shaken 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • kaik

    Welcome into the JWN stirred. I had run into this debate over the dating of the Revelation in the past and even here on the board. There are scholars that believe that it was written before 70AD and others who disagree. I read both opinions, but I could not decide which one was the correct one. There are good arguments that the Revelation was written before 70AD. However, there are several issues like idenfication of Rome as the Babylon, which Jews referred, because Babylon in the past destroyed Jerusalem. In the 18th and 19th century, it was proposed that the epistles to the seven churches was written much later during Domitian, while the rest of the book was written between 68-70AD.

  • Phizzy

    An understanding of the Genre of writing is often helpful. For example "Matthew" is supposedly written by an Apostle shortly after Jesus death, according to how the material within is presented. The consensus is that it was in fact written in the 80's C.E , so, as it is presenting itself as written earlier, it will not record the Temple destruction, but it will appear to "Prophecy" the event.

    A good book I purchased a number of years ago, before I left the WT in fact, is "The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings" by Udo Schnelle.

    Udo was Professor of New Testament studies at the University of Halle, maybe still is.

    He presents the various arguments over time of writing, authorship and the Theology of each book, and gives his own worthy opinion. Very informative.

  • stirred but not shaken
    stirred but not shaken


    There's certainly more than a few theories as to the identity of Babylon the Great. At least a couple of the commentators that I've read have suggested that it is none other than Jerusalem. It seems to be used cryptically. Much like when in Rev. 11:8 says "in a spiritual sense called Sodom" and later in that verse "in a spiritual sense called...Egypt". The only city likened to Sodom in the Bible is Jerusalem. (Deut. 29:22-29; Isa. 1:10;Isa. 3:9; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:46). Rev. 11:8 continues, "the great city...where their Lord was also impaled". Luke 13:33 states: "Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the following day, because it is not admissible for a prophet to be destroyed outside of Jerusalem."

    There are quite a few more biblical references that indicate or suggest that it would be Jerusalem. Getting a historical background on Sodom and Egypt and their dealings with Jerusalem seem to fit. Many prefer to say that it was Rome, but there's a good case for it being Jerusalem. This is a really abreviated rendering, but there's quite a bit more to add. Food for thought. It sure beats the heck out of the "worldwide empire of false religion", shortly to be destroyed by the UN.

  • kaik

    Probably the author of Revelation is the only person who knows the meaning. It was also a Roman power that killed Jesus. I do not think we can look into the Revelation with a present Christian thinking, nor Christianity that was defined after 325. The author was Jew and has to be looked upon the way in the context of time in the 1st century. I do not think there will be satisfying answer unless archeology discover scrolls with traces of the book before 70AD. Philip Charles Soulbieu in 1855 wrote that post 70AD authorship rests with the authority of Ireneus and was accepted by catholic church in earlier centuries. He proposed Jerusalem due analysis of the book which could not be settled by external evidence. He also points to older work written before him. However, I cannot agree with his comparision of Jerusalem with Rome as he attempts to do, as did/ do other Protestant writers to show how magnificient this city was before its sack of 70AD. Jerusalem was not the largest Jewish city anymore and more Jews lived outside Judea, especially in Alexandria than they lived in Jerusalem during 1st century. Some really moderate estimates put population of the city into 70,000, which was rather medium sized city of the antiquity. Rome had 1 million, and Alexandria and Antioch several hundred thousands. Does provincial city on Roman Empire standard sounds like a place with sailors [in landlocked city] lamenting destruction of wealth, where cinnamon, ivory, and silver is extensivelly traded? While temple was realy loaded with a wealth and Titus brought a lot of loot into the Rome, I have hard time to compare it with other large cities of the ancient world at that time that were really merchent centers (Antioch, Athens, Ephesus, Carthage). The temple was 90 years old building when it was looted out.

    Any case, I have not put much into the reading of Revelation anymore to look for hidden messages and understanding. Some Protestant scholars put it before 70AD to show and prove that it was divinely inspired and the author had seen the future.

  • HowTheBibleWasCreated

    Check out this guy's Revelation series. The dating is flawless.

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