Good morning! Today we’ll start on the 19th century books. I have far too many to use all of them (though I will be looking at all of them when we’re doing the verse by verse) so we’ll just try to look at some representative books. Depending on how much you are into reading commentaries, you might recognize some of the authors.

We’ll start with John C. Woodhouse’s book THE APOCALYPSE, OR, REVELATION OF SAINT JOHN, TRANSLATED; WITH NOTES, published in 1805. This is from the Introduction:

The Prophecies of the Apocalypse, though illustrated by commentators of all ages, have not been so successfully explained, as to afford general satisfaction. From the interpretations most commonly received, many of the learned have withheld their assent; and doubts have been expressed, whether we are yet in possession of the fortunate clues to be derived from human sagacity or Divine inspiration; or of the necessary aids of learning; or of the events in history; which, at some future period, may be destined to ascertain the completion of these predictions. 

   “Under such circumstances, opportunity is fairly afforded for attempts to explain this mystical book by new methods of inquiry. And, while the rash precipitancy of the enthusiastic and unqualified interpreter is to be discouraged, indulgence will justly be thought due to those, who with pious caution, with laborious investigations, and literary research, endeavor to explore its sacred recesses. To illustrate it in all its parts, to prove the completion of all its predictions, to exhibit it as that perfect evidence of the divine origin of our religion, for which it is perhaps intended, ‘in the latter days’, can only be the work of time, and must employ the labors of succeeding generations.

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Good morning! Today we’ll start with Johann David Michaelis’ INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT, first published in 1750. Michaelis was Prussian by some accounts, and German by others; he was also a Lutheran, and a very well-known scholar of his time. He was specifically a scholar in Hebrew and Arabic, and through the study of these languages and the customs of the people who spoke them, he attempted to throw some additional light on interpreting Scripture. Also, he is claimed as a Preterist by preteristarchive.org .

I have quite a bit of his material I want to share. It comes from chapter 33 of the fourth volume:

“…The various questions, which here present themselves for examination, whether they relate to the style of the Apocalypse, or the year in which it was published, or the qualifications, which every man must necessarily possess, who attempts to expound it, depend entirely on the main question, whether it is a genuine work of St. John the Evangelist, or not.  And on the main question I candidly confess, that I have not been able to obtain that certainty, which I have obtained in respect to other books of the New Testament…

“Irenaeus undoubtedly received the Apocalypse as a genuine work of St. John the Apostle; and like wise asserted, at least according to the common interpretation of his words, that the visions were seen by St. John, in the reign of Domitian. This last assertion would in my opinion, extremely weaken the testimony of Irenaeus, the Apocalypse can hardly be a canonical work, if it was written so late, as the reign of Domitian…”

I don’t really understand his logic here regarding “the weakness” of Irenaeus’ argument, and while he goes on to talk about someone else’s refutation of this problem, he doesn’t give any details of what those refutations are. More than that, Irenaeus is a very respected source, so it’s odd that the only reason Michaelis gave for doubting him involved his own preterist leanings and no other, more scholarly debate.

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