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 Early Reception of Revelation

Was the canonical status of Revelation disputed in the early church?

It is often thought that the canonicity of Revelation was widely disputed in the early church, along with such books as 2 Peter, Jude, James, and Hebrews. In fact, Revelation was very well received in the first few centuries, and it first seems to have been rejected by Gaius of Rome at the turn of the third century, who appears to have rejected all of the Johannine books (including John’s Gospel).

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The Early Christians and the Dating of Revelation: Are We Too Late?

Sources do not support a Domitianic Dating

Four factors have contributed to the consensus opinion that early sources dated John’s apocalyptic vision late in Domitian’s reign:

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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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The Martyrdom of Antipas and the Dating of Revelation

What do we know about the martyr Antipas, and does this affect our dating of Revelation?

Antipas , who is remembered on April 11th in the calendar of the Eastern churches, is spoken of as a faithful martyr in Revelation’s letter to the church at Pergamon in Asia (Rev 2:13).

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