James Rochford (MTS Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) of Xenos Christian Fellowship will be defending the view that Revelation was written late in Domitian’s reign (c. 95). He has written a popular web article defending this view.
I, Dean Furlong (PhD VU Amsterdam, MTS Notre Dame), will be arguing that the early Christians placed Revelation/John’s exile in Nero’s reign.
Was this debate a definitive defeat for the early date? Some thoughts.
I recently had cause to listen once again–the first time in years–to the debate between Hanegraaff and Hitchcock on the dating of Revelation. First off, it is clear that Hanegraaff was out of his depth when it came to the external evidence for the date of Revelation. One wonders what kind of edifying discussion it could have been had it been held with Kenneth Gentry instead, who could have presented a case for both the external and internal evidence for the early date (though I don’t accept his preterist interpretations).
Examining the claim that “Domitian’s reign” in Irenaeus referred to Nero (Domitius), not Domitian
The most cited passage employed as evidence that the early Christians placed John’s exile and apocalyptic vision (of Revelation) late in the first century, late in Domitian’s reign, is found in Irenaeus:
John’s ministry in Asia Minor and the Dating of John’s Gospel and Revelation
According to a number of ancient writers, John founded the bishoprics in the churches of the province of Asia.
What was the historical situation of these ordinations, according to early Christian tradition, and what can it tell us about when early sources placed the writing of the Gospel and Revelation of John?
Was the church of Smyrna founded too late for an early dating of Revelation?
Some claim that according to Polycarp, the Christians at Smyrna (one of the seven churches of Asia addressed in Revelation) had not known the Lord at the time of Paul’s ministry, which ended with his death (c. 66).