Problematic Claims in Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell

Issues in Gentry’s discussion of the external evidence for Revelation’s early date.

Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell, which defends a preterist interpretation of Revelation, is widely considered the standard work on the early date of Revelation. It was this work that Mark Hitchcock had before him when arguing for the late date in his doctoral dissertation.

The breadth of Gentry’s survey of the external evidence for the early date is impressive, and the work is a must read for anyone with a serious interest in the issue of dating.

The reader should, however, be aware of a few inaccuracies and problematic claims, and it is these I wish to consider in the present post. These are areas in which the book would benefit from correction; they do not seriously detract from the overall value of the book.

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The “Ancient Copies” of Revelation

Kenneth Gentry and others have argued for the early date of Revelation from Irenaeus’ reference to the “ancient copies” of it in existence in his day. Is this correct?

One argument that Irenaeus dated Revelation early is that he referred to the “ancient copies” of the book of Revelation as those containing the number 666, rather than 616 (Haer. 5.30.1).1.

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The Muratorian Canon on the Date of Revelation

The Muratorian Canon’s non-Domitianic exile tradition

source

The Muratorian Canon, which is usually dated to around 170 (before Irenaeus),* provides a list of canonical books that were accepted by the church at Rome at the time of writing.

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