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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John and the Bishops of the Asian Churches

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?


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Polycarp, Smyrna, and the Date of Revelation

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).[1]

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