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John Reece
07-09-2015, 11:18 PM
When I refer to the the Antichrist as a myth, I am using the word myth as a synonym for legend, or folklore, as in the out-of-copyright but not out-of-print book, The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folkore, Englished from the German by W. Bousset (London: Hutchenson and Co.,1896).

I will begin sharing excerpts from the book in a couple weeks, after I finish another thread or two.

Many associate the Antichrist myth or legend with -- among other biblical figures -- the Man of Lawlessness. For consideration while I wait to complete other threads, I will present in my next post something that came up as a result of a Google search.

John Reece
07-09-2015, 11:43 PM
© Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr
The Man of Lawlessness

By Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

....

During Paul's visit to Thessalonica he preached to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 17:1-3). Though some Jews believed, others were riled to mob action regarding the Christian message (17:4-5). They even dragged "some of the brethren to the rulers of the city" complaining: "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king -- Jesus" (17:6-7). After taking security from Jason and the others, the civil rulers let them go (17:9). This allowed Paul to depart safely to Berea. The Jews were not so easily quieted, however, for "when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds" (17:13). This resulted in the immediate sending away of Paul to Athens (17:14-15).

Paul stayed in Athens only three or four weeks, soon travelling to Corinth (Acts 18:1), where he remained for eighteen months (18:11). But again serious Jewish antipathy arises. Interestingly, it was at Corinth where Paul met Aquila and Priscilla, Christians who had been among the Jews banished from Rome by Claudius Caesar (18:2). According to Suetonius: "As the Jews were indulging in constant riots at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] banished them from Rome." This reference to "Chrestus" is undoubtedly a Latin variant for the name "Christ."

Upon meeting these saints, who had suffered from Jewish riots against Christians in Rome, Paul set about preaching to the Jews in Corinth as he had at Thessalonica that "Jesus is the Christ" (18:5; cp. 17:3). Again the Jews violently resisted him, organizing resistance against him and blaspheming to such an extent that he determined to turn from the Jews to the Gentiles at this point (18:6). Matters were made worse for him by his remarkable success with a certain prominent Jewish leader, Crispus "the ruler of the synagogue" (18:8). Though Paul seldom baptized, he did baptize Crispus (1 Cor. 1:14-16; Acts 18:8). Due to the intensity of the opposition, the Lord provided Paul a special promise of safety for him to remain in Corinth (18:9-11).

All of this explains the strong language against the Jews in the Thessalonian epistles, and helps uncover some of the more subtle concerns therein, as well. In his first letter he wrote: "For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost" (1 Thess. 2:14-16). He complained of a Satan-inspired thwarting of his ministry, which, according to the context, probably indicates Jewish opposition (1 Thess. 2:18, cp. 15-16). He probably alludes to Jewish opposition in 2 Thessalonians 1:4ff, where he mentions their perseverance and afflictions for their faith (1:4ff; cp. Acts 17:4-6). This also may be motivating his request that the Thessalonians pray for his deliverance from such "unreasonable and wicked men" (3:2; cf. Acts 17:4-6, 13; 18:6; 1 Thess. 2:14-16).

This Jewish context is important for grasping the situation Paul confronts. Furthermore, I will show in the exposition to follow that there are a number of allusions to the Olivet Discourse, which speak of the destruction of the Temple and the judgment of the Jews for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah (cp. Matt. 23:35-24:2; cp. Acts 17:3; 18:5).

Our Gathering Together
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. (2 Thess. 2:1-2)

Paul's reference "concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him" (2 Thess. 2:1) is the crux interpretum of this passage. Paul is here speaking of the A.D. 70 judgment on the Jews -- the very judgment given emphasis in the first portion of the Olivet Discourse, the Book of Revelation, and several other passages of Scripture.

Though he speaks of the Second Advent just a few verses before (1:10), he is not dealing with that issue here. Of course, there are similarities between the Day of the Lord upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the universal Day of the Lord associated with the Second Advent. The one is a temporal betokening of the other, being a distant adumbration of it. Orthodox scholars from each of the millennial schools agree that these two events are brought in close union in the Olivet Discourse. Indeed, His disciples almost certainly confused the two (Matt. 24:3). The two comings are here brought together in 2 Thessalonians, as well.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:10 Paul even employs a different word for the coming of Christ (elthe) than he does in 2:1 (parousia). There the Second Advental judgment brings "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (1:9); here a temporal "destruction" (2:8). There the Second Advent includes "his mighty angels" (1:7); here the temporal judgment makes no mention of these mighty angels (2:1-12). Thus, the Second Advent provides an eternal resolution to their suffering; the A.D. 70 Day of the Lord affords temporal resolution (cp. Rev. 6:10).

Furthermore, the "gathering together to Him" mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 picks up on the reference of our Lord in Matthew 24:31. The word translated "gather together" here is episunagoge, which is found elsewhere only in Hebrews 10:25, where, significantly, it speaks of a worship assembly. But its cognate verb form is found in Matthew 24:31, where the gathering is tied to "this generation" (Matt. 24:34) and signifies the calling out of the elect into the body of Christ with the trumpeting in of the archetypical Great Jubilee (cf. 2 Thess. 1:11; 2:14). Here it functions in the same way. With the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Christians would from thenceforth be "gathered together" in a separate and distinct "assembly" (episunagoge; the Church is called a sunagoge in James 2:2). After the Temple's destruction, God would no longer tolerate going up to the Temple to worship (it would be impossible!), as Christians frequently did prior to A.D. 70.

The Day of Christ/Lord here mentioned is in fulfillment of Joel 2:31-32, which is brought to bear upon Jerusalem in Acts 2:16ff. There Peter identifies tongues as a covenantal sign, a curse regarding the coming destruction with blood, fire, and smoke, (Acts 2:19-21, 40). This explains why it was at Jerusalem (and nowhere else) that Christians sold their property and shared the proceeds (Acts 2:44-45): it was soon to be destroyed (Matt. 24:2-34; Luke 23:28-30).

Paul consoles them by denying the false report that "the day of Christ had come" (2 Thess. 2:2). Apparently, the very reason for this epistle so soon after the first one, is that some unscrupulous deceivers forged letters from Paul and falsely claimed charismatic insights relevant to eschatological concerns. In his earlier letter he had to correct their grief over loved ones who had died in the Lord, as if this precluded their sharing in the resurrection (1 Thess. 4:13-17). Now new eschatological deceptions are troubling the young church (2 Thess. 2:1-3a): Some thought that the Day of the Lord had come and, consequently, quit working (2 Thess. 3:6-12). Due to the catastrophic upheaval associated with the looming divine judgment upon Israel, Paul suggests to the Corinthians that they forgo marriage for awhile (1 Cor. 7:26-29). But here the Thessalonians were being tempted to stop all necessary labor, thinking the time had come.

The word "trouble" (Gk: throeo; 2:2) is in the present infinitive form, which signifies a continued state of agitation. It is the same word used elsewhere only in the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:7; Matt. 24:6). There it is even found in the same sort of theological context: one warning of deception and trouble regarding the coming of the Day of Christ. "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will deceive many. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet" (Mark 13:5-7).

The Man of Lawlessness
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (2 Thess. 2:3-7)

Paul is quite concerned about the deception being promoted: "Let no one deceive you by any means" (v. 3a). He uses the strengthened form for deception (exapatese) with a double negative prohibition. To avoid the deception and to clarify the true beginning of the Day of the Lord upon Jerusalem, Paul informs them that "that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thess. 2:3). Before they could say the Day of the Lord "is come," then, there must first (see: RSV) be the falling away and the revelation of the man of lawlessness, who is also called "the son of perdition." These do not have to occur in the chronological order presented, as even dispensationalists admit. Verse nine is clearly out of order and should occur in the midst of verse eight, if strict chronology were important.

The Falling Away
The word "falling away" is apostasia, which occurs only here and in Acts 21:21 in the New Testament. Historically, the word may apply either to a political or to a religious revolt. But to which does it refer here? Does it refer to a future worldwide apostasy from the Christian faith, as per pessimistic eschatologies? Amillennialist William Hendriksen writes that this teaches that "by and large, the visible Church will forsake the true faith." Dispensationalist Constable comments: "This rebellion, which will take place within the professing church, will be a departure from the truth that God has revealed in His Word." Or does the apostasia refer to a political rebellion of some sort?

A good case may be made in support of the view that it speaks of the Jewish apostasy/rebellion against Rome. Josephus certainly speaks of the Jewish War as an apostasia against the Romans (Josephus, Life 4). Probably Paul merges the two concepts of religious and political apostasy here, though emphasizing the outbreak of the Jewish War, which was the result of their apostasy against God.

This may be inferred from 1 Thessalonians 2:16, where Paul states of the Jews that they "always fill up the measure of their sins [i.e., religious apostasia against God]; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost [i.e., the result of political apostasia against Rome]." The apostasia [revolt] Paul mentions will lead to the military devastation of Israel (Luke 21:21-22; 23:28-31; Acts 2:16-20). The filling up of the measure of the sins of the fathers (Matt. 23:32) leads to Israel's judgment, thereby vindicating the righteous slain in Israel (Matt. 23:35; cf. Matt. 24:2-34). The apostasia of the Jews against God by rejecting their Messiah (Matt 21:37-39; 22:2-6), led to God's providentially turning them over to judgment via their apostasia against Rome (Matt. 21:40-42; 22:7). The emphasis must be on the revolt against Rome in that it is future and datable, whereas the revolt against God was ongoing and cumulative. Such is necessary to dispel the deception Paul was concerned with. In conjunction with this final apostasy and the consequent destruction of Jerusalem, Christianity and Judaism were forever separated and both are exposed to the wrath of Rome.

Identifying the Man of Lawlessness
The Man of Lawlessness is Nero Caesar, who also is the Beast of Revelation, as a number of Church Fathers believed. The difficulty of this passage lies in the fact that Paul "describes the Man of Sin with a certain reserve" (Origen, Celsus 6:45) for fear of incurring "the charge of calumny for having spoken evil of the Roman emperor" (Augustine, City of God 20:19). Thus, Paul becomes very obscure, apparently hiding his prophecy regarding the coming evil of and judgment on the Roman emperor. Josephus did the same when speaking about Daniel's fourth kingdom, which applied to Rome (Josephus, Ant. 10:10:4). Paul and his associates had already suffered at the hands of the Thessalonican Jews for "acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king -- Jesus" (Acts 17:7). Wisdom demanded discreetness in his reference to imperial authority; his recent (1 Thess. 2:17) personal ministry among them allowed it: they were to "remember" that while with them he "told [them] these things" (2:5). His personal instruction would allow them to know much more than we can from his discrete allusions in his letters.

It is at least clear from Paul that something is presently (ca. A.D. 52) "restraining" the Man of Lawlessness: "you know what is restraining [Gk. present participle], that he may be revealed in his own time" (2:6). This strongly suggests the preterist understanding of the whole passage: the Thessalonians themselves knew what was presently restraining the Man of Lawlessness; in fact the Man of Lawlessness was alive and waiting to be "revealed." This implies that for the time-being Christians could expect some protection from the Roman government. The Roman laws regarding religio licita were currently in Christianity's favor, while considered a sect of Judaism and before the malevolent Nero ascended the throne. Paul certainly was protected by the Roman judicial apparatus (Acts 18:12ff.) and made important use of these laws in A.D. 59 (Acts 25:11-12; 28:19) as protection from the malignancy of the Jews. And he expressed no ill-feelings against Rome, when writing Romans 13 in A.D. 57-59 -- even during the early reign of Nero, the famous Quinquennium Neronis.

While Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians 2 he was under the reign of Claudius Caesar, who had just banished Jews for persecuting Christians (Suetonius, Claudius 24:5; cp. Acts 18:2). It may be that he employs a word play on Claudius' name. The Latin word for "restraint" is claudere, which is similar to "Claudius." It is interesting that Paul shifts between the neuter and masculine forms of the "the restrainer" (2 Thess. 2:6, 7). This may indicate he includes both the imperial law and the present emperor in his designation "restrainer." While Claudius lived, Nero, the Man of Lawlessnes, was without power to commit public lawlessness. Christianity was free from the imperial sword until the Neronic persecution began in November, A.D 64.

Even early in Nero's reign, his evil was hidden from the public eye by careful tutors -- until he broke free of their influence and was publicly "revealed" for what he was. Roman historians write of Nero: "Although at first his acts of wantonness, lust, extravagance, avarice and cruelty were gradual and secret. . . yet even then their nature was such that no one doubted that they were defects of his character and not due to his time of life" (Suetonius, Nero). "Gradually Nero's vices gained the upper hand: he no longer tried to laugh them off, or hide, or deny them, but openly broke into more serious crime" (Nero, cp. 6). "After this, no considerations of selection or moderation restrained Nero from murdering anyone he please, on whatever pretext" (Nero). "Other murders were meant to follow. But the emperor's tutors, Sextus Afranius Burrus and Lucius Annaeus Seneca, prevented them.... They collaborated in controlling the emperor's perilous adolescence; their policy was to direct his deviations from virtue into licensed channels of indulgence" (Tacitus, Annals).

The Mystery of Lawlessness
Remarkably the Jews were kept so in check by imperial law that they did not kill James the Just in Jerusalem, until about A.D. 62, after the death of the Roman procurator Festus and before the arrival of Albinus (Josephus, Ant. 20:9:1). With these events the "mystery of lawlessness" was being uncovered as the "revelation of the Man of Lawlessness" (the transformation of the Roman imperial line into a persecuting power in the person of Nero) was occurring.

The evil "mystery of lawlessness" was "already working," though restrained in Claudius' day (2 Thess. 2:7). This is perhaps a reference to the evil conniving and plotting of Nero's mother, Agrippina, who may have poisoned Claudius so that Nero could ascend to the purple (Tacitus, Annals 12:62ff; Suetonius, Claudius). This is another indication for the preterist approach. The true nature of lawlessness was already at work in the imperial cultus and its rage for worship, though it had not yet jealously broken out upon the Christian community. In addition, the cunning machinations to secure imperial authority for Nero were afoot.

Showing That He is God
The Roman emperor, according to Paul, "exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped" (2 Thess. 2:4a). A warning of the evil potential of emperor worship was publicly exhibited just a few years before, when the emperor Caligula (Gaius) attempted to put his image in the Temple in Jerusalem (Josephus, Ant. 18:8:2-3).

The phrase "so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" is interesting. When hoste ("so that") is followed by an infinitive (kathisai, "to sit"), it indicates a purpose intended, not necessarily a purpose accomplished. It was Caligula's intention to sit in "the temple of God" in Jerusalem; it was the emperor's desire to "show himself that he is God." In fact Philo tells us that "so great was the caprice of Caius [Caligula] in his conduct toward all, and especially toward the nation of the Jews. The latter he so bitterly hated that he appropriated to himself their places of worship in the other cities, and beginning with Alexandria he filled them with images and statues of himself."

This was for all intents and purposes accomplished by future emperor Titus, who concluded the devastation of Jerusalem set in motion by Nero. Titus actually invaded the Temple in A.D. 70: "And now the Romans . . . brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator, with the greatest acclamations of joy" (Josephus, Wars 6:6:1). By September, A.D. 70, the very Temple of which Paul spoke in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 was forever gone. This fact also supports the preterist understanding of the passage. In fact, it parallels Matthew 24:15 and functions as Paul's abomination of desolation, which was to occur in "this generation" (Matt. 24:34).

Not only so but in Nero the imperial line eventually openly "opposed" (2 Thess. 2:4) Christ by persecuting His followers. Nero even began the persecution of Christians when he presented himself in a chariot as the sun god Apollo, while burning Christians for illumination for his self-glorifying party.

The Lord Will Consume
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders. (2 Thess. 2:8-9)

As just indicated, the lawless one was eventually openly revealed. The mystery form of his character gave way to a revelation of his lawlessness in Nero's wicked acts. This occurred after the restrainer [Claudius, who maintained religio licita] was "taken out of the way," allowing Nero the public stage upon which he could act out his horrendous lawlessness.

According to Hendriksen verse eight destroys any preterist interpretation identifying the Man of Lawlessness with the Roman emperor, because it ties the events to the era of the Second Advent. The strong preteristic indications in the passage heretofore, however, demand a different understanding of the destructive coming of Christ here mentioned. As already shown in the discussion of verse 1, Matthew 24:30 is most relevant here: "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." And that verse is specifically applied to the first century (Matt. 24:34), as is Revelation 1:7 (cp. Rev. 1:1, 3); Matthew 26:63-65; and Mark 9:1. Christ comes in judgment upon Jerusalem in the events of A.D. 67-70.

In that judgment-coming against Jerusalem there is also judgment for the Man of Lawlessness, Nero. There is hope and comfort in the promised relief from the opposition of the Jews and Nero (2 Thess. 2:15-17). Not only was Jerusalem destroyed within twenty years, but Nero himself died a violent death in the midst of the Jewish War (June 8, A.D. 68). His death, then, would occur in the Day of the Lord in conjunction with the judgment-coming of Christ. He will be destroyed by the breath of Christ, much like Assyria was destroyed with the coming and breath of the LORD in the Old Testament (Isa. 30:27-31) and like Israel was crushed by Babylon (Mic. 1:3-5). In fact, by God's providence Nero's death stopped the Jewish War briefly so that Christians trapped in Jerusalem could escape (cp. 1 Thess. 1:10). The Man of Lawlessness/Beast, Nero Caesar, dies in the Day of the Lord with the Great Harlot, Jerusalem (Rev. 19:17-21; cf. Rev. 22:6, 10, 12).

Conclusion
The Man of Lawlessness passage is to be preteristically understood for several reasons:

(1) Obvious parallels with Matthew 24 and Revelation 13 tie it into their era of accomplishment: the late A.D. 60s up to A.D. 70 (Matt. 24:34; Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10).
(2) The reference to the Temple as still standing (2:4).
(3) The present restraining of the Man of Lawlessness (2:6).
(4) The knowledge of the Thessalonians regarding the restrainer (2:6).
(5) The contemporary operation of the Man of Lawlessness in mystery form during Paul's day (2:7).
(6) The overall relevant correspondence of the features with the contemporary situation in which the Thessalonicans found themselves.

The fulfillment of this dreadful prophecy of Scripture does not haunt our future. Its accomplishment lies in our distant past. It was a relevant warning of events looming in the first century.

Faber
07-10-2015, 01:53 AM
I would lean toward identifying the man of sin/lawlessness as Menahem, one of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion. He led the Sicarii on an assault against Masada, took the weapons stored there, returned to Jerusalem, and murdered the high priest Ananias. Menahem then was "without a rival in the conduct of affairs, and became an unsufferable tyrant", "had gone up in state to pay his devotions, arrayed in royal robes and attended by his suite of armed fanatics." (Josephus, War of the Jews (Niese 2:433-444; Whiston ii.17.8-9)) Granted, Josephus doesn't go as far as to say that he "opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship", or "displays himself as being God."

As for who or what restrains until he is taken out of the way, I would lean toward Herod Agrippa II. Whe he arrived in Jerusalem to appeal to the rebels, the Jews expressed their opposition to the abusive governor Gessius Florus. Josephus records a lengthy plea from hAgrippa in tears, begging the rebillion to take out revenge on Florus and the Romans. (Josephus, War of the Jews (Niese 2:345-404; Whiston ii.16.4-5)) At first the people agreed and Agrippa "dispelled the menace of war." But when he told the people to submit to the orders of Gessius Florus, they kicked him out of the city. (Niese 2:405-407; Whiston ii.117.1))

John Reece
07-10-2015, 11:52 AM
I would lean toward identifying the man of sin/lawlessness as Menahem, one of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion. He led the Sicarii on an assault against Masada, took the weapons stored there, returned to Jerusalem, and murdered the high priest Ananias. Menahem then was "without a rival in the conduct of affairs, and became an unsufferable tyrant", "had gone up in state to pay his devotions, arrayed in royal robes and attended by his suite of armed fanatics." (Josephus, War of the Jews (Niese 2:433-444; Whiston ii.17.8-9)) Granted, Josephus doesn't go as far as to say that he "opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship", or "displays himself as being God."

As for who or what restrains until he is taken out of the way, I would lean toward Herod Agrippa II. Whe he arrived in Jerusalem to appeal to the rebels, the Jews expressed their opposition to the abusive governor Gessius Florus. Josephus records a lengthy plea from hAgrippa in tears, begging the rebillion to take out revenge on Florus and the Romans. (Josephus, War of the Jews (Niese 2:345-404; Whiston ii.16.4-5)) At first the people agreed and Agrippa "dispelled the menace of war." But when he told the people to submit to the orders of Gessius Florus, they kicked him out of the city. (Niese 2:405-407; Whiston ii.117.1))

What? Not the Antichrist? Nor a yet future world ruler? Nor a yet future world deceiver? :smile:

John Reece
07-17-2015, 07:06 PM
When I refer to the the Antichrist as a myth, I am using the word myth as a synonym for legend, or folklore, as in the out-of-copyright but not out-of-print book, The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folkore, Englished from the German by W. Bousset (London: Hutchenson and Co.,1896).

From the opening chapter of the book cited above, here is a paragraph from the Prologue on the Babylonian Dragon Myth, by A. H. Keane:

"In some respects I might describe my work as a modest continuation of Gunkel's inquirey. In it proof might be advanced to show that the Antichrist legend is a later anthropomorphic transformation of the Dragon myth, and further that this myth has made itself felt in its traditional form far beyond the time of the New Testament, cropping out again and again now in one now in another feature of its old characterist aspects."

John Reece
07-18-2015, 11:32 PM
From the Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982) which begins with a synopsis of The Antichrist Legend, by M. Bousset (thus saving me from having to compose one) [via Accordance]:


Excursus on Antichrist

1. The background

The personage called “the man of lawlessness” is certainly identical with the personage elsewhere referred to as Antichrist. The earliest literary occurrence of Greek ἀντίχριστος is in 1 John 2:18, but the word and its significance were already known to the readers of that document: “you have heard,” the writer tells them, “that Antichrist is coming.” The teachers against whom the writer warns were so many lesser “antichrists” who presumably were paving the way for the final Antichrist himself. It is a reasonable inference from his language that the final Antichrist would lead a largescale departure from God. He does not say from whom or when his readers had heard of the coming of Antichrist; it was part of the common stock of early Christian eschatology (see Introduction).

The rise and development of the expectation of Antichrist were examined in 1895 by Bousset (The Antichrist Legend). He concluded, from a study of the relevant literature, that the Christian expectation was adapted from an existing Jewish conception. According to Bousset’s reconstruction of the Antichrist expectation, Antichrist would appear among the Jews after the fall of Rome, proclaiming his divine status and installing his cult in the Jerusalem temple. He would himself be a Jew, born of the tribe of Dan (an idea based on Gen 49:17; Deut 33:22; Jer 8:16). Elijah would appear and denounce him, and would be put to death for his pains. Antichrist would reign for three and a half years. True believers, refusing to give him the worship which he demanded, would seek refuge in the wilderness and be pursued by him there, but when they are on the point of being wiped out, he is destroyed by the intervention of God (who may use an agent such as Michael the archangel or the Messiah of David’s line).

All the details in this reconstruction are attested separately in the literature, but they do not add up to a picture which can properly be called “the Antichrist legend.” Some pieces of evidence do point to the idea of a Jewish Antichrist, but those which point to a Gentile Antichrist are more relevant to the NT. The Antichrist expectation was held among Jews and Christians alike, but in both communities it took a wide variety of forms.

A near-synonym of ἀντίχριστος is ψευδόχριστος, which appears in the Olivet discourse of the Gospels; during the coming unparalleled time of distress, says Jesus, “false Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect” (Mark 13:22 par. Matt 24:24). Like the Antichrist of 1 John 4:3, these “false Christs” are linked with false prophets who, speaking by the spirit of error (τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης, 1 John 4:6), lead their hearers astray (ἀποπλανᾶν, Mark 13:22).

The Antichrist himself does this, but he goes farther than the “false Christs” of the Olivet prophecy by claiming divine worship for himself.

The attempt by the Emperor Gaius (Caligula) to set up his statue in the temple at Jerusalem was fresh in the minds of Jews and Christians when the gospel came to Thessalonica, and would be remembered by readers of 2 Thess 2:4, which describes the leader of the end-time rebellion as “exalting himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the sanctuary of God and proclaims himself to be God.” During the critical days of AD 40 some of the disciples of Jesus probably thought that his words about “the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not” (Mark 13:14) were on the point of being fulfilled by Gaius, and published the discourse to which those words belonged so that Christians would know what to do when the appalling horror materialized. The parenthesis “let the reader understand,” attached to the reference to the abomination of desolation, may have been a direction to the reader of this separate leaflet (which was later incorporated in the Gospel of Mark).

In any event, Gaius’s statue was not set up in the temple; it proved unnecessary for the Judean disciples to “flee to the mountains” on that occasion. But the dismay and anxiety of those days remained for long in the memories of those most closely affected, and suggested to them what was likely to happen when the abomination of desolation did indeed stand “where he ought not.”

The phrase “the abomination of desolation” goes back two centuries before the time of Gaius. It was the derogatory designation given by Jews to the installation of the cult of Olympian Zeus in the Jerusalem temple by the Seleucid monarch Antiochus IV toward the end of 167 BC It is applied in 1 Maccabees 1:54 to the altar of Olympian Zeus which Antiochus’s agents erected on top of the altar of Yahweh. But in origin the βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως or rather its Hebrew Vorlage שקוץ שמם (Dan 12:11, etc.), was a mocking pun on בעל שמיו (“the lord of heaven”), the name by which Olympian Zeus was known in the Aramaic-speaking parts of Antiochus’s kingdom (cf Nestle, “Der Greuel der Verwüstung”).

Antiochus’s title Epiphanes (“manifest”) expressed his claim to be the earthly manifestation of his patron deity, Olympian Zeus. It is probably because the god whom he allegedly manifested usurped the place of the God of Israel that Antiochus is said to “exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and . . . speak astonishing things against the God of gods” (Dan 11:36), language which anticipates what is said about the man of lawlessness in 2 Thess 2:4.

Three years after the cult of Olympian Zeus was installed at Jerusalem it was removed, and the temple was restored to its proper use (a restoration commemorated ever since then in the Jewish festival of the Dedication or Hanukkah). The picturesque wording used to describe the idolatrous installation was retained and reapplied to comparable sacrileges. Jesus, as we have seen, spoke of the setting up of the (personal) “abomination [vol. 45, p. 181] of desolation” as a future event which would launch the great tribulation of the last days. The Matthaean form of his discourse envisages the abomination as “standing in the holy place” (Matt 24:15). This has sometimes been thought to point to the Roman legionaries setting up their standards in the temple court while the sanctuary was going up in flames at the end of August, AD 70, and offering sacrifice to them opposite the east gate (Josephus, Bell 6.316). While Josephus may have seen a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in this event (cf Bruce, “Josephus and Daniel”), the Evangelists probably did not; the temple court was not “the holy place,” and there was no demand that the Jews should join in the worship of the Roman standards. Besides, by the time that this act of sacrilege took place, it was too late for those in Judea to “flee to the mountains.”

John Reece
07-19-2015, 01:09 AM
In the last post above (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=219776&viewfull=1#post219776), I failed to say that in his Excursus on Antichrist, F. F. Bruce not only provides a synopsis of Bousset's The Antichrist Legend, Bruce's treatment is also a critique of and an updating of the the Antichrist legend ― by a first-rate scholar who apparently accepts a modified version of the legend as an integral part of legitimate interpretation.

There are 6 parts to his critique/updating of the legend/myth of Antichrist as applied to biblical texts, of which my last post was but the first.

John Reece
07-19-2015, 02:50 PM
Continued from prior post (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=219776&viewfull=1#post219776):


2. In the Apocalypse

Antichrist appears again in the NT in the Apocalypse, although he is not called by that name there. The beast from the abyss which kills the two witnesses of God in Rev 11:7 is introduced more formally in Rev 13. In the first ten verses of that chapter we can hardly fail to recognize a more detailed description of the man of lawlessness of 2 Thess 2, although in Revelation there is some oscillation between the antichristian power and the individual in whom that power is vested for the time being. But for John of Patmos the antichristian power is unambiguously the Roman Empire which, with Nero’s assault on the Christians of Rome in the aftermath of the great fire of AD 64, had embarked on the intermittent course of persecution of the church which was to last for two and a half centuries.

But the fact that the imperial power persecuted Christians would not have sufficed to equate it with Antichrist in their eyes. Nero’s attack on them may have been capricious, but the real issue between church and empire in the generations which followed was a religious one. The imperial power claimed divine honors which Christians could not conscientiously accord it. When the emperor claimed the title κύριος in a divine sense, they were bound to refuse it; to them there was one Lord, Jesus Christ, and to grant the title to anyone else in the sense in which they used it of Christ would have been high treason against him. The emperor’s claim to the title in that sense made him Antichrist, a rival Christ, who treated the refusal of the divine honors which he claimed as high treason against him, or against the Roman state.

John sees this state of affairs developing until it reaches its climax in the first beast of Revelation 13, the ultimate Antichrist. The depiction of this beast represents a conjunction of ancient symbols. Some of these were of great antiquity; his seven heads, for example, link him with Leviathan, the primeval monster that symbolizes the unruly deep, curbed by the Creator’s fiat. His ten horns link him with the fourth beast of Daniel’s vision of judgment (Dan 7:7). (The fact that the great red dragon of Rev 12:3 also has seven heads and ten horns indicates that it is he who energizes the beast, as Rev 13:2b states in less pictorial language.) It is not only with Daniel’s fourth beast that John’s beast is linked; he incorporates features of all four of Daniel’s beasts, and he also takes over the functions of the “little horn” which Daniel saw sprouting from the head of his fourth beast; like the “little horn” (Dan 7:21), he “makes war with the saints and prevails against them” (Rev. 13:7). Like the man of lawlessness, he receives all but universal worship. The duration of his rule (forty-two months) is based on Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7.

In the receiving of worldwide worship, John’s imperial beast is greatly helped by the “false prophet,” portrayed as “another beast which rose out of the earth” in Rev 13:11. It is this false prophet who performs the “mighty works and signs and lying wonders” by which, according to 2 Thess 2:9, 10, people are beguiled into worshiping the man of lawlessness. Here John may have had in mind the priesthood of the emperor-worship which had been established as a popular cult in the province of Asia since 29 BC

John foresees the end-product of the beast’s regime to be a social and economic boycott of all who refuse to worship him, cutting them off from access to the necessities of life. But, as in 2 Thess 2:8, the man of lawlessness is destroyed by the Advent of Christ, so in Rev 19:20 the beast and the false prophet are consigned to perdition by the victorious Word of God at his appearing.

In Rev 17 the imperial beast reappears, serving as a mount for the scarlet woman, the city of Rome. The beast’s seven heads are interpreted incidentally as the city’s seven hills but more importantly as seven emperors, five of whom have come and gone, one of whom is currently on the throne, and the seventh of whom will rule only for a short time. The eighth emperor, who will succeed the short-lived seventh, will be the demonically energized persecuting Antichrist, but in fact he will be one of the seven, restored to life. (He is identical with the head which, according to Rev 13:3, had its mortal wound healed.) It has been supposed by many commentators that this detail reflects the belief in Nero redivivus. The identity of this demonic ruler is not divulged; the numerical value of his name is said to be 666, which might point to Nero Caesar (Heb. נרון קסר, so spelled in Mur 18.1, dated AD 55/56). Certainly there is clear evidence in the generations immediately following that the last Antichrist was envisaged by many Christians as a returning Nero.

John Reece
07-20-2015, 07:10 PM
Continued from last post↑

From the Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982) [via Accordance]:


3. The imperial persecutor

The Ascension of Isaiah, an early Christian document, incorporates a Testament of Hezekiah, in which the ultimate Antichrist appears as an incarnation of Beliar (the Greek spelling of Belial, as in 2 Cor 6:15), the spirit of evil in the world. This expected incarnation of Beliar, moreover, is identified with the returning Nero, described by King Hezekiah as “a lawless king, the slayer of his mother” (Asc Isa 4:2)—a reference to Nero’s widely suspected responsibility for the killing of the younger Agrippina. This king, Hezekiah continues, “will persecute the plant which the twelve apostles of the Beloved have planted” (Asc Isa 4:3).

From about the same date (late first century AD) some of the Sibylline Oracles foretell the domination of Beliar, who will be burned up with “all men of pride, all who put their trust in him” (Or Sib 3.63–75), and also predict the return of Nero (Or Sib 5.137–154), without apparently identifying the two, for Nero is an impious tyrant while Beliar is a false prophet who leads many astray, including “many faithful and elect among the Hebrews.”

Both these manifestations of Antichrist—the false prophet and the persecuting tyrant—are found in early Christian literature. But during the age of imperial repression of the church the persecuting tyrant naturally occupied a prominent place in Christian thought about Antichrist. The author of the Ep. of Barnabas (circa AD 90) seems to have envisaged him as overthrowing the Flavian dynasty of emperors (his interpretation of the three “horns” of Dan 7:8, 20) and ruling in their place (4:4, 5). This author was also moved to the conviction that the last days had set in by a report that the temple in Jerusalem was about to be rebuilt (inevitably, from his viewpoint, an antichristian institution). These last days would consummate the epoch of evil, controlled by the power variously called “the black one” and “the wicked archon” (2:1; 4:9, 13).

Mention has been made above (see comment on 2:2) of the opinion expressed (by a Christian named Judas, in a discourse on the seventy heptads of Dan 9:24–27) that the severity of the persecution of the church under Septimius Severus (AD 202) pointed to the imminent approach of Antichrist.

Christian perspective on the subject was naturally changed when the empire began to show favor to the church instead of persecuting it. On the other hand, the Jews suffered more persecution under the Christian emperors than they had done under their pagan predecessors; it is in the post-Constantinian age that Jewish literature first presents a Roman Antichrist, in the person of Armillus (probably a corruption of Romulus), who is to be slain by the Messiah (Tg Isa 11:4, for example, says of the “shoot from the stump of Jesse,” that “with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked Armillus”).

To be continued...

John Reece
07-21-2015, 06:20 PM
Continued from last post↑

From Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982) [via Accordance] ― the 4th of 6 parts:


4. The false prophet

The portrayal of the Antichrist as a false prophet and misleader of the elect rather than a persecutor is also attested in the NT writings; indeed, the only explicit NT instances of ἀντίχριστος relate to false teaching. John in his letters sees the spirit of Antichrist manifesting itself in contemporary docetic teaching which denied Christ’s coming “in flesh” (1 John 4:2, 3; 2 John 7); those who misled people by such teaching he describes as “many antichrists” whose activity was a token that it was now “the last hour” (1 John 2:18).

While Jude does not use the term ἀντίχριστος, it is probable that, when he denounces certain false teachers as “loud-mouthed boasters” (verse 16), he alludes to the “little hom” of Dan 7:8 with “a mouth speaking great things” and to the self-willed king of Dan 11:36 who “shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods” (the Theodotionic version calls those “astonishing things” ὑπέρογκα, the same adjective as is used of the heretics’ boastful words in Jude 16 and 2 Pet 2:18).

The perspective of John’s letters reappears in Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians (circa AD 120).
“Whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist. And whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil; and whoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and says that there is neither resurrection nor judgment—he is Satan’s firstborn” (7:1).

By “the testimony of the cross” Polycarp perhaps means the witness which the passion and death of Jesus bore to his genuine manhood (cf John 19:35; 1 John 5:6–8). “Satan’s firstborn” is presumably a synonym for “antichrist”; on a later occasion, when Marcion met Polycarp and sought his recognition, Polycarp is said to have replied, “I recognize—Satan’s firstborn” (Euseb Hist Eccl 4.14.7).


To be continued...

John Reece
07-22-2015, 12:11 AM
Continued from prior posts above↑

From Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982) [via Accordance] ― the 4th of 6 parts; correction, 7 parts (I miscounted):


4. The false prophet

The portrayal of the Antichrist as a false prophet and misleader of the elect rather than a persecutor is also attested in the NT writings; indeed, the only explicit NT instances of ἀντίχριστος relate to false teaching. John in his letters sees the spirit of Antichrist manifesting itself in contemporary docetic teaching which denied Christ’s coming “in flesh” (1 John 4:2, 3; 2 John 7); those who misled people by such teaching he describes as “many antichrists” whose activity was a token that it was now “the last hour” (1 John 2:18).

While Jude does not use the term ἀντίχριστος, it is probable that, when he denounces certain false teachers as “loud-mouthed boasters” (verse 16), he alludes to the “little hom” of Dan 7:8 with “a mouth speaking great things” and to the self-willed king of Dan 11:36 who “shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods” (the Theodotionic version calls those “astonishing things” ὑπέρογκα, the same adjective as is used of the heretics’ boastful words in Jude 16 and 2 Pet 2:18).

The perspective of John’s letters reappears in Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians (circa AD 120).
“Whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist. And whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil; and whoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and says that there is neither resurrection nor judgment—he is Satan’s firstborn” (7:1).

By “the testimony of the cross” Polycarp perhaps means the witness which the passion and death of Jesus bore to his genuine manhood (cf John 19:35; 1 John 5:6–8). “Satan’s firstborn” is presumably a synonym for “antichrist”; on a later occasion, when Marcion met Polycarp and sought his recognition, Polycarp is said to have replied, “I recognize—Satan’s firstborn” (Euseb Hist Eccl 4.14.7).


To be continued...

It has been many years since I first read Bruce's commentary on Thessalonians, and my memory being as impaired as it is, I had not remembered any of it. I just this evening finished a contemporary reading the whole of it in full, and find that I have misrepresented it in comments in various posts above. The more of it that I read, and the more often I read it, the more favorably impressed with it I have become.

Rushing Jaws
07-22-2015, 11:33 AM
From the opening chapter of the book cited above, here is a paragraph from the Prologue on the Babylonian Dragon Myth, by A. H. Keane:

"In some respects I might describe my work as a modest continuation of Gunkel's inquirey. In it proof might be advanced to show that the Antichrist legend is a later anthropomorphic transformation of the Dragon myth, and further that this myth has made itself felt in its traditional form far beyond the time of the New Testament, cropping out again and again now in one now in another feature of its old characterist aspects."## The dragonicity of the aforesaid dragon was pretty thoroughly shattered by Alexander Heidel in 1949. There may well be a connection between the Babylonian "Epic of Creation" - a better name might be, "The Exaltation of Marduk" - and Revelation 12-13; but, not because Marduk's enemy Tiamat is a dragon. The link is that Tiamat is both the Divine Sea, and the monster that comes from it. The Great Red Dragon of 12 has a name that reflects the meaning of the word *mush-hush-shu*, which is the emblematic animal associated with Marduk, just as the lion is the animal of Ishtar, or the bull is the emblem of Adad. But as Heidel shows, there is no reason to identify Tiamat as a dragon in form or even as associated with the dragon.

The myth about Marduk and the Sea is a specific version of an ancient and widespread myth. The enemy is variously a deity, a creature sent by a deity, the sea itself, a beast from the sea. The horses of Poseidon that destroy Hippolytus son of Theseus make one variant of the myth, St George and the Dragon is another, Perseus and his sea-monster, the fight of the god Adad with the sea, the Hittite myth of Ishtar and the sea, stories of Apostles and Saints subduing or killing sea-monsters, the goddess Anath and the god Yamm (= Sea) are others; and, not least, Michael and the Great Red Dragon, and the Beast from the Sea, in Rev. 12-13. Not to mention the animals from the sea in Daniel 7. And as Heidel's discussion shows, the OT has many echoes of the myth

But it's misleading to talk of the "Dragon myth", because 1) the antagonist is not always a dragon; & 2) if the myth is so called after the antagonist of Marduk, the antagonist is not a dragon, but simply a goddess who is the ancestor of all things (other than her spouse Apsu, apparently).

For Heidel 1949, see especially page numbers 82-89, 102-114 of https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/misc_genesis.pdf

John Reece
07-22-2015, 12:31 PM
## The dragonicity of the aforesaid dragon was pretty thoroughly shattered by Alexander Heidel in 1949. There may well be a connection between the Babylonian "Epic of Creation" - a better name might be, "The Exaltation of Marduk" - and Revelation 12-13; but, not because Marduk's enemy Tiamat is a dragon. The link is that Tiamat is both the Divine Sea, and the monster that comes from it. The Great Red Dragon of 12 has a name that reflects the meaning of the word *mush-hush-shu*, which is the emblematic animal associated with Marduk, just as the lion is the animal of Ishtar, or the bull is the emblem of Adad. But as Heidel shows, there is no reason to identify Tiamat as a dragon in form or even as associated with the dragon.

The myth about Marduk and the Sea is a specific version of an ancient and widespread myth. The enemy is variously a deity, a creature sent by a deity, the sea itself, a beast from the sea. The horses of Poseidon that destroy Hippolytus son of Theseus make one variant of the myth, St George and the Dragon is another, Perseus and his sea-monster, the fight of the god Adad with the sea, the Hittite myth of Ishtar and the sea, stories of Apostles and Saints subduing or killing sea-monsters, the goddess Anath and the god Yamm (= Sea) are others; and, not least, Michael and the Great Red Dragon, and the Beast from the Sea, in Rev. 12-13. Not to mention the animals from the sea in Daniel 7. And as Heidel's discussion shows, the OT has many echoes of the myth

But it's misleading to talk of the "Dragon myth", because 1) the antagonist is not always a dragon; & 2) if the myth is so called after the antagonist of Marduk, the antagonist is not a dragon, but simply a goddess who is the ancestor of all things (other than her spouse Apsu, apparently).

For Heidel 1949, see especially page numbers 82-89, 102-114 of https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/misc_genesis.pdf

Many thanks, Rushing Jaws, for the updating of scholarly refinements of the myth, whatever it may be named or however it may be described.

:smile:

John Reece
07-22-2015, 04:59 PM
Continued from prior posts↑

From Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982, [via Accordance]) ― the 5th of 7 parts (color emphasis added by JR):


5. In Irenaeus and his successors

The idea that Antichrist will be a Jew is first extant in Irenaeus (circa AD 180). It may have been derived from Papias of Hierapolis, but certainty on this is unattainable because of the fragmentary preservation of his work. (Some have discerned a still earlier reference to the idea in John 5:43, where Jesus says to his critics in Jerusalem, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive”—but this is very uncertain.)

According to Irenaeus, the Roman Empire is to be partitioned among ten kings (cf Rev 17:12), in whose days Antichrist will arise and lead the final apostasy. He is identified with the man of lawlessness (2 Thess 2:3), the abomination of desolation (Matt 24:15 par.), the little horn (Dan 7:8), the “king of bold countenance” (Dan 8:23), the deceiver who is to come in his own name (John 5:43), the beast from the abyss (Rev 11:7; 17:8, etc.). His rule will mark the completion of six millennia of world history; his overthrow will be followed by the seventh (sabbatic) millennium. Irenaeus makes various attempts to solve the riddle of the number of the beast; Euanthas, Lateinos and Teitan are put forward as possible solutions, but he wisely refuses to dogmatize. He bases Antichrist’s Jewish origin—more particularly, his derivation from the tribe of Dan—on Jer 8:16 LXX: “From Dan we shall hear the sound of the speed of his horses; at the sound of the neighing of his cavalry the whole earth shakes; he will come and devour the earth and its fullness, the city and those who dwell therein.” These words, spoken by the prophet with reference to a Gentile invader, are interpreted of Antichrist; “from Dan” is understood not geographically but genealogically, and this, says Irenaeus, is why Dan is omitted from the list of tribes in Rev 7:5–8. Antichrist is thus pictured as an apostate Jew, sitting enthroned in the temple of Jerusalem, and claiming to be worshiped there as God (Adv. Haer. 5.25–30).

Hippolytus’s treatise On Antichrist (circa AD 200) takes over and elaborates the ideas found in Irenaeus, including the derivation of Antichrist from the tribe of Dan. If Jacob says, “Judah is a lion’s whelp” (Gen 49:9), referring to Christ as the lion of the tribe of Judah, Moses says, “Dan is a lion’s whelp” (Deut 33:22), referring to Antichrist as a counterfeit imitation of the true Christ. And when Jacob says, “Dan shall be a serpent in the way” (Gen 49:17), the allusion to the old serpent of Eden (Hippolytus thinks) is too evident to be missed. But Jacob also says, “Dan shall judge his people” (Gen 49:16). This, says Hippolytus (who would probably have been unaware of the play on words in Hebrew), is not (as others thought) a reference to Samson, the judge from the tribe of Dan, but to Antichrist as the unjust judge, in which role he figures in one of the Gospel parables (Luke 18:2–5).

Hippolytus repeats the various identifications of Antichrist made by Irenaeus and other predecessors, but he recognizes him further in the Assyrian of Isaiah 10:12–19, the Babylonian king of Isa 14:4–21, the prince of Tyre of Ezek 28:2–10. (This joining together of distinct enemies of Israel in earlier days and giving them a unitive eschatological interpretation is similar to the method of OT exegesis attested in the Qumran texts.) Antichrist, according to Hippolytus, is also the partridge of Jer 17:11 (he adds a brief excursus on the natural history of the partridge), and the sender of ambassadors in vessels of papyrus described in Isa 18:2, carrying his directives against the saints. Exegesis has here slipped its moorings to drift in the sea of imagination (De Antichristo 7, 14–18, 54–58).

Victorinus of Pettau (martyred AD 303), the earliest Latin commentator on the Apocalypse, is important not only in his own right but also because he preserves material from earlier writers no longer extant, particularly Papias. On Rev 11:7, where the “beast that ascends from the abyss” first appears, Victorinus explains this designation in terms of the Old Latin translation of Ezek 31:3–9 LXX (which he mistakenly attributes to Isaiah, perhaps by confusion with Isa 10:34). In the Greek text of Ezek 31, Assur (the Assyrian) is a cypress in Lebanon nourished by the waters (“the many thousands of men,” says Victorinus, “who will be subject to him”) and caused to grow high by the abyss (which, says Victorinus, “belched him forth”).

Victorinus then quotes from 2 Thess 2:7–12, saying that the statement “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” was intended to show that the coming Antichrist was the man who was even then emperor, i.e. Nero (that Nero was not yet emperor when the letters to the Thessalonians were written would not have occurred to Victorinus).

On Satan’s expulsion from heaven in Rev 12:9 Victorinus says: “This is the beginning of the advent of Antichrist. However, Elijah must first prophesy and there must be times of peace then; so it is after that, when the three years and six months of Elijah’s prophesying have been completed, that Antichrist, with all the renegade angels, is to be cast out of heaven (to which hitherto he has had the right to ascend). That Antichrist is thus raised up from hell is further attested by the apostle Paul when he says, ‘unless first there come the man of sin, the son of perdition, the adversary, who will exalt himself above everything that is called god or that is worshipped.’”

There is some confusion here between Antichrist, who is energized by Satan, and Satan himself; and it is curious to be told that Antichrist is both cast down from heaven and raised up from hell.

Following Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. 5.30.3), Victorinus dates the Apocalypse in the time of Domitian (AD 81–96); therefore Domitian, he reckons, is the sixth ruler of Revelation 17:10 (the “one” who “is”), while the seventh (who “has not yet come”) is Nerva (A.D. 96–98). The eighth is Nero redivivus, the “head” of Rev 12:3, whose “mortal wound was healed.”

But Victorinus’s really original contribution to the understanding of Antichrist is his combining of Nero redivivus with the expectation of a Jewish Antichrist; Nero will come back to life as a Jew, and will indeed demand that all his subjects accept circumcision. It is the new name which he is to bear in his reincarnation that will have (in Greek) the numerical value of 666: this, says Victorinus, will enable the wise to recognize his identity when he appears. He will erect a golden image and require it to be worshiped, as Nebuchadnezzar did. This image, the “abomination of desolation,” representing Antichrist himself, will stand in the temple of Jerusalem. But he will meet his doom at the Advent of Christ, and his dominion will be superseded by the millennial reign of the saints.

With the peace of the church, which dawned ten years after the death of Victorinus, the line of interpretation which he represents died out, until aspects of it were revived by Francisco Ribeira in the sixteenth century and again in a fresh form by the latter-day futurism pioneered by Manuel de Lacunza and others at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries. But a line of interpretation which was reasonable while the Roman Empire still existed as a persecuting power loses something of its persuasiveness when it has to be stretched on a Procrustean bed to make room for a gap of many centuries between the fall of that empire and the rise of Antichrist.

To be continued...

Rushing Jaws
07-22-2015, 05:51 PM
Would it be fair to say that the Church stopped thinking eschatologically sometime before Victorinus, and if so, why ? The sheer variety of methods of interpretation of Rev is bewildering.

John Reece
07-22-2015, 07:16 PM
Would it be fair to say that the Church stopped thinking eschatologically sometime before Victorinus, and if so, why ? The sheer variety of methods of interpretation of Rev is bewildering.

Good question.

At this point in time I would like to leave that question open, hopefully so as to hear opinions from others ― especially students of the Apostolic Fathers, whom I have never read; not because I disdain them so much as the fact that I have always been a slow reader with an inferior memory, so I have of necessity had to narrowly focus my reading so as to harvest something of long-term benefit from it.

I chose the biblical languages as the primary focus of my limited mental capacity.

My mother was an avid reader, but my father told me he never read books because he could not remember anything he read; I, as a book-obsessed teenager at the time, responded that I read for the joy of reading ― I immensely enjoyed the process; and my memory did not become as bad as my father said his was until I entered my 70's, and even more so my 80's.

I used to work for a director of a mental health center who read voluminously and used to trade books with me, as we both read a lot of books about similar subjects of mutual interest ― mostly history, and biographies of historically significant men and women. I remember especially sharing with him one such book: about the three world leaders whose joint efforts led to the fall of the USSR ― Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and Ronald Reagan. IIRC, the author was a Catholic by the name of Malachi (the final "i" pronounced "ee") Martin.

John Reece
07-23-2015, 05:38 PM
Continued from prior posts↑

From Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982, [via Accordance]) ― the 6th of 7 parts (color emphasis added by JR):


6. Later developments

In the post-Constantinian age the form of the expectation of Antichrist was inevitably modified. He was envisaged as an enemy of the Christendom which now comprised both church and empire, but opinions continued to differ on whether he would arise from without or within. On the one hand he was envisaged as an external enemy, like Genseric the Vandal in the fifth century (whose name could be spelled in Greek so as to yield the total 666) or Muhammad in the seventh century. On the other hand he was envisaged as an apostate individual or group arising within Christendom. Such an individual was recognized by some in a pope, like John XII (955–963), or in a secular ruler, like Frederick Barbarossa (Holy Roman Emperor, 1155–90).

If an individual pope was identified with Antichrist, he was regarded as an unworthy occupant of a sacred office, a usurper “taking his seat in the sanctuary of God” (2 Thess 2:4). When Joachim of Fiore met Richard Coeur-de-Lion at Messina in the winter of 1190/91, he may have had such a development in mind when he told him that Antichrist “is already born in the city of Rome and will set himself yet higher in the see apostolic” (Reeves, Joachim, 136). But some of Joachim’s disciples, notably Gerard of Borgo San Donnino (in his introduction to a collection of Joachim’s works, published about 1254 under the title The Eternal Gospel), went farther and identified the Papacy itself with the Antichrist. This idea lived on in some circles throughout the later Middle Ages and was taken up by Luther, Calvin and other reformers in the sixteenth century. It attained confessional status in many churches of the Reformation; for example, according to the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), “the Pope of Rome . . . is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God” (25:6). The first Reformed exegete to abandon the identification of the Papacy with Antichrist was Hugo Grotius (1644).

On the other side, the adherents of the old religion were not slow to recognize the features of Antichrist in Luther and his followers. Luther’s name could, with a modicum of ingenuity, be made to yield the sum of 666; he himself was identified by one exegete with the fallen star which is permitted in Rev 9:1, 2 to unlock the exit from the abyss, and another exegete identified the locusts which thereupon emerged from the abyss (Rev 9:3–11) with the Lutherans.

No identification of the mystery of lawlessness can be acceptable if it would not have been intelligible to the Christians to whom 2 Thessalonians was first addressed. Individuals or systems figuring in the subsequent course of Christian history cannot be considered when the primary application of the apostolic words is being decided. As for a possible further application, the best policy might be for everyone who studies the matter to ask the question which came to the lips of the disciples in the upper room when they were told that one of them was a traitor: “Lord, is it I?” The spirit of Antichrist will be strengthened if Christians allow themselves to be seduced by it and to foster it in their hearts; it will be diminished and weakened if they individually watch for every manifestation of it within themselves, cast it out and wage unceasing war against it, confessing Jesus as Lord and Christ not in word only but in deed and in truth.

To be continued...

John Reece
07-24-2015, 05:03 PM
Continued from prior posts↑

From Excursus on Antichrist in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by F. F. Bruce (WBC: Word, Inc., 1982, [via Accordance]) ― the 7th of 7 parts:


7. The restraining power

Unlike the man of lawlessness, the restraining power does not seem to figure in any NT writing outside 2 Thess 2:6, 7. There is indeed a figure in the Apocalypse who is in a position to exercise restraint in this situation: the “angel of the abyss” whose name is Apollyon (Rev 9:11) holds the key by which he can release the demonic locusts from the abyss and lock the dragon up there (Rev 20:1–3), so that he could presumably have hindered the seven-headed beast from coming up from the abyss (Rev 11:7), but he is not said to have done so.

Since the force being restrained is evil, the restrainer might be thought to be good. God himself is not the restrainer, for the restrainer is to “be taken out of the way” (2 Thess 2:7); yet the restrainer is identified with God by F. J. A. Hort (Life and Letters i, 213), Strobel (Untersuchungen, 98–116), Ernst (Gegenspieler, 55–57) and Aus (“God’s Plan,” 544–552: God’s plan is τὸ κατέχον, God is ultimately ὁ κατέχων and it is the man of lawlessness who is to ‘be taken out of the way“). At the other extreme the restrainer is identified with the devil by Giblin (Threat, 230, 234: the neuter τὸ κατέχον denotes” satanic activity“).

Among other identifications of the restraining power (apart from those referred to in the comments on 2:6, 7) may be mentioned Warfield’s view that it was the continuing existence of the (second) Jewish commonwealth;” so soon as the Jewish apostasy was complete and Jerusalem given over to the Gentiles . . . the separation of Christianity from Judaism, which had already begun, became evident to every eye; the conflict between the new faith and heathenism, culminating in and now alive almost only in the Emperor-worship, became intense, and the persecuting power of the empire was inevitably let loose” (“The Prophecies . . .,” 473).

This interpretation, however, does not account for the reserve with which the restraining power is mentioned, nor does it adequately account for the personal restrainer (ὁ κατέχων). Warfield, indeed, doubts if the masculine participle “demands interpretation as a person,” but if it does, “it might possibly be referred without too great pressure to James of Jerusalem” (474).

One merit of the imperial interpretation preferred in the comment above, is that it accounts at one and the same time for the diplomatic allusiveness of the language and for the alternation between the neuter and masculine genders (τὸ κατέχον and ὁ κατέχων). It may be added that even after the Roman Empire passed away, the principle of the wording did not become obsolete, for when the secular power in any form continues to discharge its divinely ordained commission, it restrains evil and prevents the outburst of anarchy.

If, however, Paul meant that the imperial power held back the advent of Antichrist, while John the seer identified the imperial power with Antichrist, must it be concluded that Paul and John held irreconcilable positions on this matter? Not necessarily. Is it conceivable, then, that the restrainer should himself become the Antichrist? Quite conceivable—the crisis provoked by Gaius, ten years before this letter was written, showed what the imperial power itself was capable of, and what had happened then might happen again, without such timely relief as brought that crisis to an end. But while civil authority was maintained as it was during the principate of Claudius, lawlessness was held at bay and the cause of Christ advanced throughout the Roman world. Indeed, to such an extent was good order maintained even under the persecuting empire that Tertullian, a century and a half later, believed that Antichrist could not appear so long as the Roman state remained intact.

That's it for Bruce's excursus.

My next two posts will be by scholars whose respective commentaries have been ranked by D. A. Carson as the best in their respective fields of study (the first in the sixth edition of his New Testament Commentary Survey, and the second in his seventh edition). That is significant to my mind, because D. A. Carson is a premillennial futurist (as he affirmed to me in a personal letter many years ago, during a series of exchanges via snail mail in which he recommended to me R. T. France's book-form doctoral thesis as the best expression of the preterism to which I was then attracted, and to which Carson was and presumably still is opposed. I say that simply to make the point that Carson's high praise for the next two commentaries I will quote from is not based on any presupposition on his part ― far from it; he just recognizes and honors superb exegesis when he sees it.

John Reece
07-25-2015, 03:54 PM
From Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC: Eerdmans, 1999), by Charles A. Wanamaker:


.... Best (288f.) may well be correct that 2 Thes. 2:3f (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thes.+2%3A3-4&version=NRSV). is related to the emergence of the tradition about false Christs who would appear and lead the faithful astray (Mk. 13:21f. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mar+13%3A21-22&version=NRSV)) and to the development of the Antichrist motif (1 Jn. 2:18 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+2%3A18&version=NRSV); 4:3 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+4%3A2-3&version=NRSV)), which emerged toward the end of the first century AD.

2 Thes. 2:3f (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thes.+2%3A3-4&version=NRSV). is of considerable importance for the understanding of early Christianity. It offers us one of our earliest windows on the imagery of apocalyptic eschatology as found in the initial period of the Christian movement and shows the historicizing description of the eschatological events, which served to make the imminent eschatological expectations of the primitive community realistic to its adherents. This historicized and realistic quality is what gives the passage its prophetic character and causes the chief problem for those who seek to find some abiding validity in the passage.

Much of the language found in various Jewish and Christian apocalypses from the period is highly symbolic and does not purport to be prophetic. 2 Thes. 2:3f. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thes.+2%3A3-4&version=NRSV), however, reads like prophecy about historical events to come, and it is almost certain that this is how Paul and his readers would have understood it. The passage can no longer be understood as valid, since the temple was destroyed in AD 70 without the manifestation of the person of lawlessness or the return of Christ occurring. In order to maintain the continuing validity of the passage, some deny the obvious reference to the historical temple at Jerusalem, as does Marshall (191f.; he mentions others who do so for less plausible reasons than his own). A more straightforward way of treating the problem is to admit that the passage meant something very different to Paul and his original readers than it can mean for us today. Once this is acknowledged, Marshall’s conclusion (192) that the imagery of verses 3f (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thes.+2%3A3-4&version=NRSV). expresses “the reality and menace of the power of evil which attempts to deny the reality and power of God” offers us a meaningful interpretation of the passage, since it is as true today as it was in Paul’s day.

Paul and his contemporaries intuitively recognized that the type of evil that defies God and seeks to usurp his position derives from corrupt and unjust social and political institutions such as imperial rule under Gaius Caesar (cf. the attitude of the writer of Revelation toward Roman power). This insight informs the eschatological scenario of 2 Thes. 2:3–8 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thes.+2%3A3-8&version=NRSV) and reflects the sense of human powerlessness felt by the early Christians in the face of social and political processes that denied the truth of their beliefs in a good and just God and sometimes even led to their persecution, as at Thessalonica.

For Christians of today the problems are often more complex. Political figures and nation states arrogate to themselves Christian symbols to legitimate their unjust and oppressive practices such as apartheid, militarism, and imperialism (see The Road to Damascus: Kairos and Conversion for a discussion of this problem from the perspective of Third World Christians). Contemporary Christians must recognize in this a manifestation of the pervasive and arrogant evil described by Paul in 2 Thes. 2:4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thes.+2%3A4&version=NRSV).

John Reece
07-26-2015, 04:26 PM
Via Accordance, from The Gospel of Matthew, New International Commentary on the NewTestament (NICNT: Eerdmans, 2007), by R. T. France ― commenting on Matthew 24:15 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mat+24%3A15&version=NRSV) (all the many footnotes omitted except the only occurrence of the term "Antichrist" that occurs in the entire book/commentary):


15 The most obvious sign that “the end” is near in Jerusalem is cryptically described in familiar scriptural language. The “devastating pollution” is explicitly identified as a motif from Daniel, though the phrase is sufficiently distinctive to be recognized even without explicit attribution, as Mark clearly believed. In Daniel the phrase stands for the horrifying sacrilege which was to be perpetrated by the “king of the north” when he abolished the regular sacrificial ritual of the Jerusalem temple (Dan 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). The reference is clearly to the events of 167 BC, when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered Jerusalem and prohibited Jewish sacrificial worship, setting up an altar for pagan sacrifices (including the slaughter of pigs) on top of the altar of burnt offering (Josephus, Ant. 12.253); it stood in the temple for three years until Judas Maccabeus regained control of Jerusalem and purified the temple and restored its true worship. 1 Macc 1:54 describes this pagan altar by the same phrase bdelygma erēmōseōs; for the reconsecration of the temple see 1 Macc 4:41–58.

The specific desecration referred to in Daniel was now long in the past, and Jesus is speaking of something still to come. That is why discernment is needed: hence the editorial aside, “let the reader understand this” [Matt, p. 912] which itself recalls the comment in Dan 12:10 that only the wise will understand the secrets revealed to Daniel. The reader is presumably to identify something which is in recognizable continuity with the devastating pollution set up by Antiochus, but just what form it will take is left to the imagination. The wording suggests some sort of offensive pollution “set up in the holy place,” which should mean the temple, and the context requires that it be of such a nature and at such a time as to allow those who see it to escape before it is too late. The neuter participle “set up” (see p. 897, n. 10) is apparently a deliberate change from Mark’s masculine, and so denotes an object or occurrence rather than a person.* Those who believe that this whole section is a “prediction” written up in the light of what actually happened have attempted without much agreement to suggest a suitable identification (see below); those who regard it as genuine prediction may feel that any such specific identification is neither possible nor necessary, and that all that the text asserts is that some act of sacrilege will alert Judeans that disaster is about to fall.

Our limited knowledge of events in first-century Palestine has [Matt, p. 913] prompted three main proposals of historical events which might have been recognized as the “devastating pollution” by those who had heard of Jesus’ prediction. (a) In AD 40 the emperor Gaius gave orders for a statue of himself to be set up in the temple at Jerusalem; fortunately the order had still not been carried out when Gaius was assassinated in AD 41, thus averting what would have been a bloody uprising. (b) Probably during the winter of AD 67/8 the Zealots took over the temple as their headquarters and Josephus speaks with horror of the way they “invaded the sanctuary with polluted feet” and mocked the temple ritual, while the sanctuary was defiled with blood as factional fighting broke out (Josephus, War 4.150–157, 196–207). (c) When the Roman troops eventually broke into the temple the presence of their (idolatrous) standards in the sacred precincts would inevitably remind Jews of Antiochus; Josephus even mentions Roman soldiers offering sacrifices to their standards in the temple courts (War 6.316). Luke’s parallel to this verse (Luke 21:20, “Jerusalem surrounded by armies”) apparently understands the “devastating pollution” in this sense. None of these three events quite fits what this verse says: the Gaius event was too early (and in fact never happened) and the Roman presence in the sanctuary too late to provide a signal for escape before the end came, while the Zealot occupation, which took place at the right time, was perhaps not quite the type of pagan defilement envisaged by Daniel. It seems wiser not to claim a specific tie-up with recorded history, but to recognize that desecration of the temple was an ever-present threat once the Roman invasion had been provoked.

It may be remarked in passing that if, as many claim, Matthew was writing after the event, it is strange that he could not produce a clearer and more convincing account of this preliminary sign. What had he to gain by writing so cryptically, and by failing to achieve a satisfying tie-up with what would then have been quite recent history? It makes better sense of the enigmatic nature of the sign to believe that Matthew was not only recording what Jesus said some decades before the event, but was also himself writing at a time when events were yet to unfold to the climax of the war with Rome.


*A personal identification of this figure has often been proposed on the basis of 2 Thes 2:3–10 which speaks of the παρουσία of the “man of lawlessness” who takes his seat in the temple and uses false signs and wonders to deceive the people; the association is perhaps already made in Did. 16:4 where a personal “deceiver of the world” is linked with the spiritual declension of Matt 24:9–12. Keener, 573–575, has a useful survey of the development of the idea of a personal “antichrist.” But whatever may be the case for Mark, it is most unlikely that if Matthew had such a scenario in mind he would have used the neuter participle here (against Mark), and the signs and wonders that he speaks of in v. 24 are not attributed to the “devastating pollution” but to (plural) messianic pretenders. It is perhaps significant that D. C. Sim, Apocalyptic 101–102, argues that Matthew envisages a personal antichrist not on the basis of what Matthew actually says but on the assumption that he knew the antichrist tradition of 2 Thes 2.

John Reece
07-27-2015, 07:27 PM
Via Accordance, from The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC: Eerdmans, 2002), by R. T. France ― commenting on Mark 13:14 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mar+13%3A14&version=NRSV) (color emphasis added):


14. τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως occurs in LXX Dn. 12:11, and βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως in Thdt Dn. 12:11 and in LXX Dn. 11:31 (where Thdt has βδέλυγμα ἠφανισμένον). In the related text Dn. 9:27 both versions have βδέλυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων, and in Dn. 8:13 both have ἡ αρτία ἐρημώσεως. In all these passages except the last the Hebrew phrase is šiqqûṣ (mᵉ)šômēm (a detested thing [normally used of idols] which desolates’, or perhaps ‘appals’), and in all cases the reference is clearly to the same event of the desecration of the temple sanctuary and the cessation of the regular burnt offering. No other use of this phraseology has been preserved except for 1 Macc. 1:54, where the same phrase is used in the account of the abolition of the temple cult in 167 B.C. (to which the Daniel passages also clearly referred), and is specifically identified as referring to an altar erected on top of the altar of burnt offering (cf. 1 Macc. 1:59). The historical reference is therefore unmistakable, and the additional note that this object stands ὅπου οὐ δεῖ fits the placing of the heathen altar on top of the altar of burnt offering in the temple. What the disciples should be on the lookout for, then, seems to be a repetition in some way of the sacrilege of 167 B.C.

Mark’s masculine participle ἑστηκότα is unexpected. βδέλυγμα is neuter, and the masculine could hardly be taken as a constructio ad sensum when the subject is an altar. There is nothing in the Daniel passages or in 1 Maccabees to suggest giving a personal meaning to the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως. Is Mark then transferring the language to speak of a personal violator of the temple? That has been the conclusion of many who have then associated this passage with the prophecy in Thes. 2:3–4 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+thes+2%3A3-4&version=NRSV) of the ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας who will take his seat in the ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ proclaiming himself to be God, and have taken it as referring not to the events preceding the destruction of the temple but to the eschatological conflict. That is not the only explanation of Mark’s masculine, however, and the fact that Mark’s βδέλυγμα is standing, not sitting like the man of lawlessness, while not in itself a crucial difference, may point us in a different direction. When Antiochus’s emissaries desecrated the temple by setting up a pagan altar, they also designated it the temple of Ζεὺς Ὀλύμπιος (2 Macc. 6:2) and installed a statue of its new god; if Mark had in mind a counterpart to such a statue of the (male) god Zeus, he might well have spoken of ‘him’ standing (masculine) in the temple.

Matthew refers explicitly to Daniel’s prophecy, so that in his version of the discourse the aside ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω could be understood as part of the reported speech, calling on the reader of Daniel to take note. Mark has not left us that option, since he refers to no written text. The clause must therefore be an aside by the author (for similar asides see 2:10; 3:30; 7:3–4, 19), calling on the reader of his discourse to take note of the preceding clause. That is all that νοέω need imply: the aside is an N.B. But in view of the cryptic nature of the reference to a βδέλυγμα standing where he should not it is probably also a warning that the meaning is not on the surface and will need to be thought out if the reader is to be in a position to take appropriate note of this ‘sign’ (cf. Rev. 13:18; 17:9 for the need for νοῦς in order to profit from cryptic symbolism). To perceive the relation of coming events to the desecration of the temple by Antiochus may need some lateral thinking.

Once the presence of the βδέλυγμα is perceived, action must not be delayed (τότε). The summons is not to people in Jerusalem but to those ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ. Mark mentions Judaea as such only three times elsewhere, in two of which Jerusalem is also mentioned as a separate item in the geographical list (1:5; 3:7), while in the third (10:1) it denotes Jesus’ arrival in the province on the way to Jerusalem, where he will not arrive until the next chapter. It seems unlikely, therefore, that he used the term carelessly here as a synonym for Jerusalem (which it is not). It is Judaea as a province which is in danger, and from which people are exhorted to escape εἰς τὰ ὄρη. Since much of Judaea, including Jerusalem and many of the main cities, is in ‘the mountains’, this may be a call not so much to emigrate to another province (Marxsen’s theory that Mark is writing to urge the church to go north to Galilee to await the coming of the Son of Man lacks any basis in the text) as to abandon the towns and hide away in the hills. See on 3:13 for the meaning of εἰς τὰ ὄρη. Cf. Ezk. 7:16 for the hills as a place of survival when Judah was overrun by the Babylonians, and for other OT references to refuge in the hills see, for instance, Gn. 14:10; Je. 16:16. There is a nearer precedent in 1 Macc. 2:28 where we are told that in 167 B.C. Mattathias, as soon as he had declared his opposition to Antiochus’s new religious policy, ἔφυγεν εἰς τὰ ὄρη with his sons, leaving all their possessions in the town (cf. also 2 Macc. 5:27).

Such a call could fit into what we know of the war in Judaea at a number of points. In Josephus’s account the actual siege of Jerusalem does not begin until the early part of A.D. 70, by which time the war in Judaea had already lasted on and off for three and a half years. After the initial abortive campaign of Cestius Gallus in Judaea in late 66, Vespasian concentrated first on Galilee and Peraea, but then brought most of Judaea under control in the early part of 68. Operations were then suspended owing to the Roman civil war, until a further campaign in mid–69 subjugated the rest of the province except Jerusalem and the fortresses of Herodium and Masada. It was not until Passover of A.D. 70, after Vespasian had again suspended the war to become emperor, that Titus’s army arrived before the walls of Jerusalem. At what point in this sequence of events in Judaea it might have been appropriate to escape to the hills is a matter of speculation, but our understanding of Mark’s text, if he wrote before any of these events occurred, is not affected. Judaea is facing a time of great suffering, and ordinary people must be prepared for hard times.

Among suggested historical identifications of the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως, which was to trigger this flight, three merit mention here. (a) The instruction by the emperor Gaius (Caligula) that a statue of himself should be installed in the temple at Jerusalem has the obvious attraction that a male statue might explain the masculine ἑστηκότα, and it is hard to imagine a more horrifying profanation of the temple or one more comparable to that of Antiochus. Two obvious problems, however, outweigh the attraction: the instruction was never carried out, and in any case the date (A.D. 40) is so far in advance of the war in Judaea as to make it a poor ‘sign’, as Mark must have known.

(b) The Roman legions carried standards which were regarded with religious awe by the soldiers, but as idolatrous by Jews; they were therefore never carried into Jerusalem, to avoid provoking Jewish hostility (cf. Pilate’s abortive attempt to do so; Josephus, Ant. 18.55–59). To see such standards in the temple area would be as grave a profanation as Antiochus had perpetrated; Josephus even records that the Roman soldiers offered sacrifices to the standards in the temple courts while the sanctuary was burning (War 6.316). The obvious advantage of this identification is that it links Mark’s βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως with Luke’s ‘parallel’, ‘Jerusalem surrounded by armies’, but again it has no value as a sign to escape: by the time the Roman standards were standing where they ought not escape was impossible, and Judaea’s war was over.

(c) Josephus (War 4.150–57) records than in the winter of 67/8 the Zealots under John of Gischala took over the temple itself as their headquarters and μεμιασμένοις τοῖς ποσὶ παρῄεσαν εἰς τὸ ἅγιον, appointing their own mock high priest to carry out a travesty of temple ritual; popular outrage led to fighting within the temple itself (4.196–207) with Zealot blood defiling the sanctuary (201). Cf. also War 4.388 for an ‘ancient prophecy’ that the city would be taken and the temple burned when ‘native hands’ had first defiled it; Josephus sees this prophecy fulfilled in the Zealots’ actions. Even allowing for the extravagance of Josephus’s language, this outrage might have reminded some of the desecration under Antiochus, and it took place just before the first major campaign of Vespasian in Judaea, when it was still possible to escape into the hills. Might Mark’s reader have recognised in these events the βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως, and possibly even have referred the masculine ἑστηκότα to John of Gischala? Perhaps, but whether that is what either Mark or Jesus had in mind we cannot say.

As mentioned above, the wording of verses 14–16 does not directly suggest that the disciples (who were Galileans) would themselves be involved in the troubles of Judaea. The third-person imperatives are addressed ‘to whom it may concern’. Eusebius, H.E. 3.5.3, records a tradition that πρὸ τοῦ πολέμου the Christian community of Jerusalem emigrated from the city to Pella in the Decapolis (which, as a Gentile city, was not involved), and that they were prompted to do so by ‘a certain oracle given by revelation to the approved people there’. The common suggestion that that oracle was Mk. 13:14 is doubtful in view of the fact that Pella is not in τὰ ὄρη; it is in fact below sea level, some 3,000 feet lower than Jerusalem. A significant number of scholars, following Brandon, doubt the historicity of Eusebius’s report.

John Reece
07-28-2015, 02:33 PM
Read this (http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/eschatology/beast.php#.VbeOl4tRozY) and see how it compares with the description of "antichrist" in the Johannine letters.

Faber
07-29-2015, 12:30 AM
According to Josephus, Antiquities (Whiston xiv.10.2-7; Niese 14:190-212) (but not in Whiston xiv.10.8; Niese 14:213), Julius Caesar was "autokrator" or "imperator" and addressed himself as such in documents quoted by Josephus. It was a title, meaning conqueror, granted to him by the senate in 45 BC. The description definitely fit him. Granted, he was dictator.

But in another sense, the Roman republic didn't become an empire until 27 BC, according to Dio Cassius (Roman History liii.16) and Plutarch (Moralia). The senate granted Octavius the titles of Augustus and Princeps.

If we hold Augustus as the first of five kings who are fallen, then Galba would have been the sixth, and Revelation would have been written during his rule (June 9, AD 68 to January 15, AD 69). Vespasian's conquest of Galilee would have taken place. The seventh king would have been Otho, who was emperor for only two months, shorter than Galba. Aulus Vitellius was afterward established emperor by the senate, but not unanimously accepted by the armies (especially the legions in the eastern part of the empire). He had competition from Vespasian, who returned to Rome, defeated Vitellius and became the next person to be universally recognized as emperor. This line of reasoning would make Vespasian the eighth king.

I understand the logic behind NRWN QSR = 666 in Hebrew, but Revelation was written in Greek and addressed to the seven churches in Asia Minor. I would think that the more logical number for Nero would be 1005, according to popular graffiti at the time, Νερων = ιδιαν μητερα απεκτεινε (Nero killed his own mother), or 50+5+100+800+50 = 10+4+10+1+50+40+8+300+5+100+1+1+80+5+20+300+5+10+5 0+5.

That being said, Kenneth Gentry makes much sense. I just don't think that 1-2 John's reference to antichrists was prophetic in nature. Rather, I think he is warning against heresy known as Docetism. He describes them as once-professing Christians who departed from the fellowship, making it manifest that they were never really part of the fellowship of believers (1 John 2:19). They deny the incarnation, that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 7).

John even stresses the idea on the incarnation of Jesus in his Gospel, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The term comes from the Greek dokesis, meaning “an apparition”. This is the belief that Jesus could not have come in bodily form, because the material world is evil. He only “appeared” to be human, and didn’t actually suffer and die on the cross, nor did He shed His blood for sinners, because apparitions don’t have blood. Docetists would refuse to take part in the Lord’s Supper, which symbolized the body and blood of Jesus.

Docetism existed in the first century, AD. We learn from Jerome, "When the blood of Christ was but lately shed and the apostles were still in Judaea, the Lord’s body was asserted to be a phantom." (Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi (The Dialogue against the Luciferians) trans. by Philip Schaff, and Henry Wace)

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was a disciple under John the Apostle. In a letter he wrote to the church at Smyrna before his martyrdom, he describes a heresy which fits Docetism, "For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death." (Ignatius, The Epistle to the Smyrneans (shorter version) Chapters I-III, V, VII; trans. by A. Cleveland Coxe, DD, LLD)

The bottom line is, I'm really talking about two different issues here: That the term "antichrist" is referring to the first century heresy of docetism, and that the beast of Revelation, popularly referred to as "The Antichrist" could fit Vespasian (or Titus) as well as Nero.

John Reece
07-29-2015, 01:27 AM
According to Josephus, Antiquities (Whiston xiv.10.2-7; Niese 14:190-212) (but not in Whiston xiv.10.8; Niese 14:213), Julius Caesar was "autokrator" or "imperator" and addressed himself as such in documents quoted by Josephus. It was a title, meaning conqueror, granted to him by the senate in 45 BC. The description definitely fit him. Granted, he was dictator.

But in another sense, the Roman republic didn't become an empire until 27 BC, according to Dio Cassius (Roman History liii.16) and Plutarch (Moralia). The senate granted Octavius the titles of Augustus and Princeps.

If we hold Augustus as the first of five kings who are fallen, then Galba would have been the sixth, and Revelation would have been written during his rule (June 9, AD 68 to January 15, AD 69). Vespasian's conquest of Galilee would have taken place. The seventh king would have been Otho, who was emperor for only two months, shorter than Galba. Aulus Vitellius was afterward established emperor by the senate, but not unanimously accepted by the armies (especially the legions in the eastern part of the empire). He had competition from Vespasian, who returned to Rome, defeated Vitellius and became the next person to be universally recognized as emperor. This line of reasoning would make Vespasian the eighth king.

I understand the logic behind NRWN QSR = 666 in Hebrew, but Revelation was written in Greek and addressed to the seven churches in Asia Minor. I would think that the more logical number for Nero would be 1005, according to popular graffiti at the time, Νερων = ιδιαν μητερα απεκτεινε (Nero killed his own mother), or 50+5+100+800+50 = 10+4+10+1+50+40+8+300+5+100+1+1+80+5+20+300+5+10+5 0+5.

That being said, Kenneth Gentry makes much sense. I just don't think that 1-2 John's reference to antichrists was prophetic in nature. Rather, I think he is warning against heresy known as Docetism. He describes them as once-professing Christians who departed from the fellowship, making it manifest that they were never really part of the fellowship of believers (1 John 2:19). They deny the incarnation, that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 7).

John even stresses the idea on the incarnation of Jesus in his Gospel, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The term comes from the Greek dokesis, meaning “an apparition”. This is the belief that Jesus could not have come in bodily form, because the material world is evil. He only “appeared” to be human, and didn’t actually suffer and die on the cross, nor did He shed His blood for sinners, because apparitions don’t have blood. Docetists would refuse to take part in the Lord’s Supper, which symbolized the body and blood of Jesus.

Docetism existed in the first century, AD. We learn from Jerome, "When the blood of Christ was but lately shed and the apostles were still in Judaea, the Lord’s body was asserted to be a phantom." (Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi (The Dialogue against the Luciferians) trans. by Philip Schaff, and Henry Wace)

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was a disciple under John the Apostle. In a letter he wrote to the church at Smyrna before his martyrdom, he describes a heresy which fits Docetism, "For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death." (Ignatius, The Epistle to the Smyrneans (shorter version) Chapters I-III, V, VII; trans. by A. Cleveland Coxe, DD, LLD)

The bottom line is, I'm really talking about two different issues here: That the term "antichrist" is referring to the first century heresy of docetism, and that the beast of Revelation, popularly referred to as "The Antichrist" could fit Vespasian (or Titus) as well as Nero.

Thanks for your contribution.

John Reece
07-29-2015, 10:59 AM
....

I understand the logic behind NRWN QSR = 666 in Hebrew, but Revelation was written in Greek ....


Read this thread (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?1149-The-Apocalypse-of-John-by-Charles-C-Torrey).

John Reece
07-29-2015, 11:26 PM
From time to time if not day by day I propose to post paragraph excerpts from Bousset's book ― The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore — to demonstrate the difference between what is yielded via competent exegesis of biblical texts versus what is projected onto/into biblical texts via legendary Antichrist folklore.



Statement of the Problem

A survey of the eschatological parts of the New Testament, and more especially of those referring to the fearful storms and stress of the last days shortly before the general doom, gives a decided impression that we have here nothing more than the fragmentary survivals of a tradition which points at greater associations now shrouded in mystery. [pages 19-20]

To be continued...

John Reece
07-30-2015, 05:24 PM
Continued from last post (wherein the page number is 19; I mistakenly wrote 19-20 ― which it the correct citation for the post below (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=224090&viewfull=1#post224090)↑

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore, by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 19-20):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

This character of the tradition is most pronounced in chap. xi of the Revelation of S. John. Specially puzzling is here the sudden appearance of the beast that comes up out ot the pit and kills the two witnesses (verse 7). If we suppose that in the expression "the beast that ascendeth out of the pit" the hand of the "editor" of Revelation has been at work, still there is the reference in verse 7 to a demoniacal power by which the two witnesses are slain. As this can by no means be separated, as Spitta would have it, from the general context, the fragment remains all the more puzzling. In any case the sudden cessation of the testimony of the witnesses after three years and a half must still have been brought about by some hostile power. But where are we elsewhere to look for the appearance of the witnesses and the beast? According to verse 8, in Jerusalem. Even apart from the words "where also our [their] Lord was crucified," Jerusalem is unmistakably indicated both by the circumstance that in the earthquake in which the tenth part of the city fell seven thousand men were slain (verse 13). For the assumption that the scene takes place in Rome there is not a particle of evidence. The assertion that Jerusalem could not be called "the great city" can be shown to be groundless, while the fact that Rome is elsewhere in Revelation also called "the great city" proves nothing for the explanation of this quite exceptional chapter.

To be continued...

John Reece
07-31-2015, 05:19 PM
Continued from last post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=224365&viewfull=1#post224365)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore, by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 20-21):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

But if everything thus points to Jerusalem as the theatre of these events, then comes the question, How are we to explain the appearance in Jerusalem of the beast which is elsewhere in Revelation associated with the Roman empire, with Rome itself, or with Nero returning from the Euphrates? Here a too hasty exposition of a single chapter of Revelation would avail nothing. For after all it is quite possible, nay, even tolerably certain, that we have in this book diverse cycles of thought lying close together. Moreover, who are the two witnesses? Why are they introduced at all? Why, and against whom, do they forebode the plagues? In what relation do they stand to the beast? Why does the beast of all others slay the witnesses? Who are the dwellers upon the earth who rejoice and make merry and send gifts to one another during the three days and a half that the witnesses lie dead? If we are to suppose that they gathered about Jerusalem, how did they get thither? Is it the Roman legions that are to tread Jerusalem under foot? But if so, how can these be spoken of as "they that dwell upon the earth"? All these are moot points which can never be solved by discriminating the sources within chapter xi.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-01-2015, 02:40 PM
Continued from last post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=225016&viewfull=1#post225016)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore, by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 21-22):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Now let us take it as unquestioned that in this chapter the figure of the Antichrist appears in Jerusalem, that he here stands in no relation to Rome and the Roman empire, or to the Gentiles, who, as would seem, tread Jerusalem underfoot. Then a parallel passage will at once be found in the eschatological section of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, whose authenticity I accept without however in my researches laying too much weight on this assumption. Here the very mysterious fragmentary manner of the exposition is obviously intentional. The author will not say more than he has said, but refers to his previous oral communications, giving the impression of an allusion to some esoteric teaching. In fact Paul speaks of a mystery in the words―"Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way" (chapter ii, verses 5-7). We read of "the man of sin," a "son of perdition," who is yet to come. This figure also of the Antichrist appears in Jerusalem ; he sitteth in the Temple of God, and proclaims himself God. His advent will be "after the working of Satan"; he will work "signs of lying wonders," and will beguile them that perish "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness,"

To be continued...

John Reece
08-02-2015, 02:34 PM
Continued from last post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=225404&viewfull=1#post225404)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 22):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Here we have also an Antichrist who has nothing whatever to do with the Roman Empire. For the passage is not applicable even to Caligula and his whim to have his statue set up in the Temple of Jerusalem. By such an interpretation we should miss the most essential point―that is to say, the threatened profanation of the Temple by foreign armies. Here we have nothing but signs and wonders and deceits, and it is characteristic of the passage that it contains an altogether unpolitical eschatology―an Antichrist who appears as a false Messiah in Jerusalem and works signs and wonders. And when Paul says that this man of sin will lead astray those destined to perish because "they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved" (verse 10), it is quite evident that he is thinking of the Jews, to whom a false Messiah will be sent because they have rejected the true Messiah. But whence does Paul know all this, and who is the one that "letteth," who has to be "taken out of the way" before the coming of the Antichrist?

To be continued...

John Reece
08-03-2015, 06:35 PM
Continued from last post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=225880&viewfull=1#post225880)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 22-23):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

I turn to a third allied passage, the section of the Lord's discourse in Matthew xxiv. and Mark xiii. on the Second Coming, and I assume, with many recent expositors, that the distinctly apocalyptic part is a fragment of foreign origin introduced amid genuine utterances of the Lord. It is also evident that compared with that of Mark the text of Matthew is the original. Here we have again the same phenomenon of short mysterious forebodings. The writer speaks of the "abomination of desolation" in the holy place, followed by the flight of the faithful (one scarcely knows from what) ; of a shortening of the days (we know not what days, or whether any definite period of time is meant) ; of the "sign of the Son of man," which still remains a puzzle, although treated lightly by most expositors. In any case the view is steadily gaining ground that the allusion to the siege of Jerusalem and the flight of the Christians to Pella is an explanation introduced as an afterthought into Revelation. Yet one is reluctant to understand the passage except in association with the time of Caligula. How then is to be explained the flight after the pollution of the Temple? Was the writer one of the advocates of peace, who wished to dissuade his fellow-countrymen from taking arms? But if so, he might have spoken in plainer language. A life-and-death struggle would after all seem probably to have taken place before the setting up of the emperor's statue.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-04-2015, 12:52 PM
Continued from last post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=226477&viewfull=1#post226477)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 23):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

The simplest way out of the difficulty may be to apply 2 Thessalonians to the explanation of Matthew xxiv. Then the profanation will be the Antichrist who takes his seat in the Temple of Jerusalem, and the flight will be that of the faithful from Antichrist and his persecution.

[Note the projection of the Antichrist legend into the respective biblical texts, rather than faithfully and meticulously allowing the biblical texts to say only what they actually say rather than forcing them to conform to the legend. By way of contrast see the exegesis here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=222130&viewfull=1#post222130), here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=222504&viewfull=1#post222504), and here (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=222923&viewfull=1#post222923) -JR]

To be continued...

tabibito
08-04-2015, 01:20 PM
This is perhaps an intrusion - but - Near as I can tell, no-one in history has yet gone to the extent of exalting himself above ALL the gods.

John Reece
08-04-2015, 01:24 PM
This is perhaps an intrusion - but - Near as I can tell, no-one in history has yet gone to the extent of exalting himself above ALL the gods.

Not at all an intrusion; it is very good to hear from you, tabibito.

John Reece
08-04-2015, 02:23 PM
This is perhaps an intrusion - but - Near as I can tell, no-one in history has yet gone to the extent of exalting himself above ALL the gods.

To what biblical text are you referring, tabibito, and what do you make of it?

tabibito
08-04-2015, 02:40 PM
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

I was sure that something to the same effect was in Revelation - but just now I can't find it.

John Reece
08-04-2015, 03:13 PM
I was sure that something to the same effect was in Revelation - but just now I can't find it.

Are you assuming the traditional, legendary equivalence of texts in Daniel, Thessalonians, Matthew, Mark, the Johannine letters, and Revelation as all being references to one and the same "Antichrist"? ― even though the texts themselves say quite different things? ― even though the term "Antichrist" occurs only in 1 and 2 John, wherein the term is defined in a way that does not correspond with any other text in any other biblical book?

I am currently reading Karen Jobe's recently published (2014) Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: 1, 2, & 3 John; so far, I have not found any text in which she sees any correspondence between references to antichrist in the Johannine letters and texts elsewhere in the Bible.

ETA: How much of this thread have you read?

tabibito
08-04-2015, 03:21 PM
It seems that I inadvertently mapped Daniel into Revelation somehow. I have read a fair amount of the thread, but I'll now be going back through it to make sure of detail.

John Reece
08-04-2015, 04:05 PM
It seems that I inadvertently mapped Daniel into Revelation somehow. I have read a fair amount of the thread, but I'll now be going back through it to make sure of detail.

Regarding your quote of Daniel 11:36 above:

From Daniel (Hermeneia ― A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible: Augsburg Fortress, 1993), by John J. Collins (color and bold emphases added):


36. The king will do as he wishes: Compare above, Dan 8:4; 11:2, 16. Verses 36–39 do not continue in chronological sequence but recapitulate the king’s behavior during the persecution.

and magnify himself against every god: See the Commentary on 8:10, 11, above. Here, as there, the most obvious background is provided by biblical passages such as Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, drawing ultimately on Canaanite myth. Antiochus’s rebellion against the gods was evident in the hubris of the titles on his coins—BASILEOS ANTIOCHOU THEOU EPIPHANOUS—and in his plundering temples, especially that of Jerusalem.

he will speak wondrous things against the God of gods: Compare the “mouth speaking great things” in Dan 7:8, 20 and the assault on the “prince of the host” in 8:11. The word נפלאות is also used with reference to Antiochus in 8:23.

he will succeed until the wrath is finished: On the “wrath,” see the Commentary above, on Dan 8:19. In 11:30, זעם is used as a verb, with Antiochus Epiphanes as subject. In light of this, it would seem that the king is allotted a fixed period to indulge his wrath against Israel (thus “until his wrath is spent”). The alternative interpretation, that the wrath is the Lord’s anger against Israel, is not impossible but goes against the tendency of Daniel to place the blame for the turmoil on the king.

John Reece
08-04-2015, 05:54 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=226857&viewfull=1#post226857)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 24):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

But then the question will again rise, Whence this whole cycle of thought? What was the source of this conception of the Antichrist in the Temple in Jerusalem? Do the last verses of Revelation ii., 2 Thessalonians ii., and Matthew xxiv. all belong to the same legendary matter, and will it be possible again to bring the scattered fragments together? Apart from the New Testament, are there any sources still at all available calculated to afford fresh information on this common tradition? We can now say that there is, in fact, still extant a superabundance of such material.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-05-2015, 12:48 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=227001&viewfull=1#post227001)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 24):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

When we pass on to the eschatological commentaries of the Fathers on Daniel, Revelation, 2 Thessalonians ii., Matthew xxiv., etc. we everywhere observe the same phenomenon, a multiplicity of details, causing us to ask in amazement, How does it happen that these expositors of the Old and New Testament writings are all alike so full of those wonderful and fantastic representations which occur precisely in this particular domain? Even beneath the most arbitrary exegetic fancies and allegorical explanations we may still perceive how this came about. But in this field of research there is opened up a world of fresh eschatological imagery, for which scarcely any support is sought in the Bible, at least beyond suggestions. Yet these very suggestions or assertions everywhere crop out with surprising persistence, so that when the matter is more closely examined we begin to detect order, consistency, and system in what we regarded as a mere congeries of marvelous fancies.

[Note: the "order, consistency, and system" of which Bousset here speaks is not "detected" in the Bible; rather ― as he will go on to explain ― it is "detected" in the Antichrist legend -JR.]

To be continued...

John Reece
08-06-2015, 12:59 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=227364&viewfull=1#post227364)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 24-25):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Doubtless explanations of a chapter in eschatology are not to be sought in the apostolic Fathers or in the apologists. But with Irenaeus the above-mentioned statements already begin to be more clearly formulated and supported by a series of instances. I prefer, however, to illustrate the point from Hippolytus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolytus_of_Rome)' treatise On the Antichrist, reserving for the next section a general survey of the whole material. In chapter vi. Hippolytus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolytus_of_Rome) sets forth the following contrasts: "A lion is Christ, and a lion is the Antichrist; King is Christ, and king is the Antichrist. ... In the circumcision came the Redeemer into the world, and in like manner will the other come; the Lord sent apostles unto all nations, and in the same way will the other send false apostles; the Savior gathered the scattered sheep, and in like manner will the other gather the scattered people. The Lord gave a seal to those that believed in Him, and a seal will the other likewise give; in the form of a man appeared the Saviour, and in the form of a man will the other also come; the Lord stood up and exhibited His holy body as a temple, and the other will also set up the temple of stone in Jerusalem."

To be continued...

John Reece
08-07-2015, 03:58 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=227802#post227802)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 25-26):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Whence did Hippolytus get all these data concerning the Antichrist? In any case it cannot be said that from the figure of Christ the several features in the figure of the Antichrist were inferred by the law of contrasts; it would seem rather that the case was here and there reversed; compare, for instance, the last antithesis, and the other further back, "The Lord gave a seal to those that believed in Him." In what follows a biblical passage is quoted only for the first statement―the Christ, like the Antichrist, was called a lion. Then comes a proof (chapter xv.) that the Antichrist will spring from the tribe of Dan, on the strength of Genesis xlix. 16, 17 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=gen+49%3A16-17&version=NRSV) and Jeremiah viii. 16 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jer+8%3A16&version=NRSV). This last notion, so surprisingly widespread amongst the Fathers, seems, however to have had its origin in those passages of Scripture, though we cannot yet say when it arose. But before any one thought of applying those passages to the Antichrist, the idea must have already prevailed that the Antichrist would spring from the people of Israel.


[Note, again, the phenomenon of projecting into Scripture a fantasy about Antichrist, rather than deriving from Scripture exegetical information about Antichrist -JR.]

To be continued...

John Reece
08-08-2015, 03:09 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=228371&viewfull=1#post228371)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 26):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

This idea is also shared by Hippolytus, and thus is obtained another very important factor to the problem. For Hippolytus, the Roman empire is not the kingdom of the Antichrist, which is all the more remarkable that the Johannine Apocalypse distinctly indicates the Roman empire as the last great foe before the end of the world. Nor could Hippolytus be personally at all opposed to such an assumption, considering the judgment he himself pronounces on the Roman empire at the end of chapter xxxiv. He so far agrees with chapter xiii. of Revelation that he certainly understood the allusion in the first part of the chapter to point at the Roman empire; but then for him the Antichrist is the second beast with the two horns, who will establish his sway after the fall of the Roman empire.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-09-2015, 03:28 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=228676&viewfull=1#post228676)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 26-27):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

By such an exposition we may gather what violence Hippolytus does to the text of Revelation (see chapter xliv.); nor did his exegesis on this point find much approval in after-times. Yet none the less is the conception itself a commonplace for nearly all the Fathers, beginning with Irenaeus. They hold, not that the Roman empire is the Antichrist, but that the Antichrist will appear after its fall. The Roman empire is the power referred to as "he who now letteth" in 2 Thessalonians ii. 7. In this application the Antichrist saga has made its way into history, and in fact acquired a historic mission.

{Note: "the Antichrist saga has made its way into history" ― not by way of sound exegesis of biblical texts but ― by way of "violence [done] to the text of Revelation" (among other biblical texts).}

To be continued...

John Reece
08-10-2015, 03:55 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=229024&viewfull=1#post229024)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 27):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Bearing this (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=229024&viewfull=1#post229024) in view, it becomes extremely remarkable that, despite the after-effect of Revelation, the assumption of the Jewish origin of the Antichrist should acquire such general acceptance as to be so unanimously applied to the solution of the really puzzling passage in 2 Thessalonians. How short-lived, on the other hand, was the notion that the relations in Revelation had reference to Nero, and how infinitely varied and manifold are the interpretations of the passage in question!

To be continued...

John Reece
08-11-2015, 03:53 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=229191&viewfull=1#post229191)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 27):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Here we are again confronted with the puzzling assumption of a Jewish Antichrist who appears in Jerusalem. Hippolytus, like Irenaeus, shows (chapter xliii.) that the two witnesses (Rev. xi.) will be Elias and Enoch. He has of course little difficulty in quoting Scripture for the return of Elias; but he no where tells us how he discovered that Enoch was to be the associate of Elias.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-12-2015, 02:49 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=229624&viewfull=1#post229624)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 27-28):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

This assumption also that Elias and Enoch are the two witnesses is so prevalent in Patristic traditional lore that scarcely any other names are mentioned. How is the firm belief in this traditional lore to be explained? In support of his theory, Hippolytus in one place actually quotes as an inspired authority a document absolutely unknown to us (chapter xv.): "And another prophet says: he [the Antichrist] will gather all his power from the rising to the setting of the sun. Those whom he has called and whom he has not called will go to him. He will make white the sea with the sails of his ships, and the plain black with the shields of his hosts. And whoso will war with him shall fall by the sword." This passage he repeats in chapter liv., and in this and the following chapter he brings together specially remarkable statements regarding the Antichrist, statements the evidence for which we vainly seek in the Old or New Testament. We may assuredly regard as unconvincing the occurrence of the curious combination from Daniel vii. and xi., implying that on his first appearance the Antichrist will overcome the kings of Egypt, of Libya, and Ethiopia, a combination with which again is connected the interpretation of Revelation xvii. In these details, however, Hippolytus is dependent on Irenaeus.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-13-2015, 04:41 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=230006&viewfull=1#post230006)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 28):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

It is again still more difficult to understand how Hippolytus knows that the Antichrist's next exploit will be the destruction of Tyre and Berytus (Beyrút). But so much will suffice to show that in his treatise on the Antichrist Hippolytus is dependent on a tradition which no doubt has something in common with many eschatological parts of the Old and New Testaments, but which none the less stands out quite distinctly as an independent concrete tradition. In fact he may well have borrowed the legend from some document quoted by him as "a prophet."

To be continued...

John Reece
08-14-2015, 03:52 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=230505&viewfull=1#post230505)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 29):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

As a second case in point I may appeal to the Commentary of Victorinus. On the foreboding of the famine under the third seal this writer observes: "But properly speaking the passage has reference to the times of the Antichrist, when a great famine will prevail." The flight of the woman in the second half of Revelation xii. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+12%3A13-17&version=RSV) he refers to the flight of the 144,000 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+7%3A1-8&version=RSV), who are supposed to have received the faith through the preaching of Elias, supporting his interpretation with Luke xxi. 21 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+21%3A21&version=RSV). The water which the Dragon casts out of his mouth after the woman is taken to mean that the Antichrist sends out a host to persecute her, while the earth opening her mouth signifies the woman's miraculous deliverance from the host by the Lord.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-15-2015, 02:06 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=230862&viewfull=1#post230862)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 29):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Although holding fast to the Neronic interpretation, Victorinus connects it in a remarkable way with another. Nero will appear under another name as the Antichrist, and then he continues (chapter xiii.): "He will lust after no women and acknowledge no God of his fathers. For he will be unable to beguile the people of the circumcision, unless he appears as the champion of the law. Nor will he summon the saints to the worship of idols, but only to accept circumcision, should he succeed in leading any astray. Lastly, he will so act that he will be called Christ by them. The false prophet (Rev. xiii. 11 et seq.) will contrive to have a golden statue set up to him in the Temple of Jerusalem. The raising of the dead to life is mentioned among the wonders wrought by the false prophet."

To be continued...

John Reece
08-16-2015, 02:34 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=231221&viewfull=1#post231221)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 30):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

Revelation xiii. 2 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+13%3A2&version=RSV) is explained as indicating the captains or leaders of the Antichrist, who are overtaken by the wrath of God in xiv. 20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+14%3A19-20&version=RSV). Here again we see what a wealth of special traditions is revealed by such interpretation. And again we stand before the figure of the Jewish Antichrist, which is here rarely interwoven with the other figure of Nero redivivus.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-17-2015, 08:11 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=231443&viewfull=1#post231443)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 30-31):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

But to avoid going twice over the same ground, I will break off at this point. Both examples sufficiently bear out the argument as above stated, and it will be enough here to assure the reader that the demonstration might still be carried to a great length. Meanwhile I would draw attention to a few considerations. The farther we advance into the centuries, the richer and more fruitful become the sources. At the same time it is by no means to be supposed that the later documents merely introduce further embellishments into the still extant earlier materials. On the contrary, it is precisely from them that we obtain much supplementary matter needed to fill up the gaps and omissions in the earlier and more fragmentary documents. How is this to be explained? As seems to me the explanation lies in the fact that in many cases the eschatological revelations have been passed on, not in written records, but in oral tradition, as an esoteric doctrine handled with fear and trembling. Hence it is that not till later times does the tradition come to light in all its abundance. We may learn from Hippolytus (chapter xxix.) what in his time was thought of traditional lore: "This, beloved, I communicate to you with fear.... For if the blessed prophets before us, although they knew it, were unwilling openly to proclaim it in order not to prepare any perplexity for the souls of men, but imparted it secretly in parables and enigmas, saying 'whoso readeth let him understand,' how much more danger do we run of we openly utter what was couched by them in covert language!"

To be continued...

John Reece
08-18-2015, 03:27 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=231825#post231825)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 31):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

With this may be compared Sibyll, X. 290: "But not all know this, for not all things are for all." It is very significant That Snlpicius Severus (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14332a.htm) (Hist., II. 14) wrote down the Antichrist legend from an oral deliverance of S. Martin of Tours (http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=81). Hence the secret teaching concerning the Antichrist was still in the time of S. Martin passed on from mouth to mouth. An interesting passage also occurs in Origin on 2 Thessalonians ii. 1 et seq.: "Because perhaps amongst the Jew were certain persons professing to know about the Last Things either from Scripture or from hidden sources, therefore he writes this, teaching his disciples that they may believe no one making such professions" (in Matthaeum Comm, IV. 329). In Commodian's Carmen Apologeticum there also appears the line: "About which, however, I submit a few hidden things of which I have read."

To be continued...

John Reece
08-19-2015, 01:08 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=232067&viewfull=1#post232067)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 31-32):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

In the following chapters I give a survey of the sources here consulted. Besides the Fathers, the later and latest Christian Apocalypses come naturally under consideration. But of course much of this material is still inaccessible, and the Syriac, Coptic, and Slavic manuscripts will yet yield rich fruits. As, however, the tradition of the Antichrist legend is extremely persistent, the still missing documents will change but little in the general character of the tradition.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-20-2015, 07:42 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=232313#post232313)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 33):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

The first group of documents bearing on the subject is connected with that highly interesting Apocalypse which was published in 1890 by Caspari.

As an aside at this point, yesterday I received from Amazon.com a copy of the 1989 doctoral thesis written by Gregory C. Jenks, titled The Origins and Early Development of the Antichrist Myth, which is about the same tradition which Bousset termed The Antichrist Legend. I was intrigued by the fact that the juxtaposed titles confirm the fact that when it comes to the tradition of the Antichrist, "legend" and "myth" are exact synonyms.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-21-2015, 04:08 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=232837&viewfull=1#post232837)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 33-35):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

From chapter i. to iv. the treatise (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=232837&viewfull=1#post232837) has rather the character of a sermon, after which in chapter v. the Apocalypse is related in the usual way in a simple quiet flow of speech. In the very first chapter a clue to its dates is afforded in the following sentences: "And amid all these things are the wars of the Persians ― in those days will two brothers come to the Roman kingdom, and with one mind they stand forward (?); but because one precedes the other, schism will arise between them." Caspari has brought proof to show that these allusions indicate the time of the emperors Valentinian and Valens, the first of whom was raised to the purple in 364, and the second soon after chosen by his brother to share the throne with him. "Schism will arise between them" is referred by Caspari to the division of the empire, which took place soon after. The question might nevertheless be asked, whether with these words the apocalyptic writer does not forebode some dissension foreseen by him, but which has not yet come to pass, whence the future tense "will arise." Caspari, however, is right in supposing the passage was not written before the close of Valentinian's reign, or about the year 373, when the war of the Persians broke out again. At the same time he raises serious doubts against the inference that the treatise was written about 373. For in that case we should have to assume that the writer had projected his own time into the future, after the manner of the Sibylline utterances. But as this Sibylline method is not elsewhere to be detected in the whole treatise, he thinks it more probable that the writer has quite clumsily interwoven some extraneous (Sibylline) matter into the text. If so, we should have nothing but the age of the extant manuscripts to help us in determining the age of the work.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-22-2015, 02:18 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=233160&viewfull=1#post233160)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 33-35):



Chapter II Statement of the Problem

But all these assumptions of Caspari (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=233160&viewfull=1#post233160) are groundless. A mere cursory perusal of the document makes it tolerably clear that the author simply reproduces not a contemporary but an early prophecy regarding the Antichrist, merely superadding a short historical and exhortative introduction. This view will be confirmed by the comparative study of the sources appended below.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-22-2015, 02:59 PM
Time out.

I have only a few minor, insignificant, reservations about details in the following blog post which I just now found on the internet. For the most part, the author expresses my view with regard to the subject of "Antichrist". (http://covenant-theology.blogspot.com/2006/12/antichrist-biblical-view.html)

I am inserting this link (http://covenant-theology.blogspot.com/2006/12/antichrist-biblical-view.html) into the thread as a way of filing it for future reference, as well as to provide readers of the thread with supplemental information with regard to the thesis of the thread ― which is that, except for what is said in four verses in the 1st and 2nd letters of John, supposed references to Antichrist in the Bible are projections onto/into biblical texts matters of myth/legend, rather than biblical prophecy or apostolic teaching.

John Reece
08-23-2015, 12:52 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=233499&viewfull=1#post233499)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 35):


The author speaks in his own person only in the first chapter, where he partly brings the ensuing revelation into connection with current events, partly introduces it with commonplace exhortations. Thus we see that the first chapter alone is available for determining the period. Nor is it easy to imagine that a writer living centuries later would have accepted such a distinct earlier prophecy had he not seen its fulfilment in his own days. In this Apocalypse on the Antichrist we have accordingly a document composed about the year 373.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-23-2015, 02:35 PM
Another time out.

Over a period of many years, Ken Gentry has written and published a number of exegetical studies that refute the notion that certain biblical texts refer to "the Antichrist" when in fact they do no such thing.

One such exegetical study is here (http://againstdispensationalism.blogspot.com/2009/08/man-of-lawlessness.html).

John Reece
08-25-2015, 01:54 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=233808&viewfull=1#post233808)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 35-40):


Caspari then proceeds to discuss with much acumen the relation of the foregoing Apocalypse to the writings of S. Ephrem. Unfortunately he has neglected to clear the ground respecting the tradition of the Ephremite writings under consideration, despite the incredibly careless way that Ephrem had been edited by Assemani. The extant manuscripts have been simply printed off without any attempt at sifting, although from the first a heterogeneous mass of homilies had acquired currency under the name of Ephrem. No doubt some of these formed originally a connected group; but they were for the most part bundled together in the manuscript collection in the most diverse ways. Thus four distinct documents, a, b, c, d, are, for instance, found recurring in such combinations as a + b; a + b + c; c + d, and so on; so that in Assemani the same manuscripts get printed three, four, or five time over―a fact only in the rarest instances noted by the editor.

Because the next several pages consist of such as the above, and even more complex charts of numbers and letters that I cannot duplicate here, in my next post I will skip to the next paragraph that consists of narrative rather than complex charts of letters and numbers.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-25-2015, 02:56 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=234659&viewfull=1#post234659)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 40):


On the whole the relations between the Apocalypse on the Antichrist and the Ephremite writings are correctly set forth by Caspari. That the Antichrist document itself was written by Ephrem is a groundless assumption of one of the copyists. But then Caspari has rightly perceived that the details in Ephrem and in the Antichrist can neither be derived from nor explained by each other (see p. 454).

Another aside: If indeed there is ― contrary to my recent assertion ― an "Antichrist figure" in Revelation, it is the man Nero as head of the Roman Empire: he is the ultimate fulfilment of biblical prophecy re a political ruler that is anti-Christ. See The Beast of Revelation (Revised Edition, 2002), by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. (http://www.amazon.com/Beast-Revelation-Kenneth-Gentry-Jr/dp/0915815419/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440514156&sr=1-1&keywords=the+beast+of+revelation%2C+gentry)


Excerpts from Daniel (Hermeneia: Augsburg-Fortress, 1993) by John J (http://divinity.yale.edu/collins-1). and Adela Yarbro Collins (http://divinity.yale.edu/collins-0) (via Accordance):


Josephus (Ant. 10.11.7 §276) acknowedges that much of Daniel's prophecy was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes but adds that he also "wrote about the empire of the Romans and that Jerusalem would be laid waste." Hippolytus and Jerome refer Dan 12:7, 11-12 to the Antichrist. [page 401, footnote 293]

[Daniel 10:]40. At the time of the end: Modern scholarship marks the transition from ex eventu prophecy to real (and erroneous) prediction at this point. Jerome, in contrast, referred all the passage about Epiphanes, from v 21, to the Antichrist, whereas Porphyry read the entire prophecy as historical. Some conservative scholars still relate vv 40–45 to the Antichrist.173 Porphyry’s claim that Antiochus launched another campaign against Philometor in the eleventh year of his reign is unsupported.174 Instead Antiochus led a campaign to the east in 165 and remained [vol. 27. p. 389] there for the last year and a half of his life.175 The author of Daniel 11 was unaware of the expedition to Persia (which is noted in 1 Macc 3:31–37) and records no actual events after the profanation of the temple.

“The time of the end” here has the same meaning as in 11:35: the period when the crisis comes to its resolution. See the Commentary on Dan 8:17, above. There is nothing to indicate a change of subjects from the preceding passage, so there can be no doubt that the reference is to Antiochus. The passage does, however, recall other eschatological oracles that speak of a final invasion of Israel, where the aggressor is indefinite (Psalm 2; Sib Or 3:663–68; 4 Ezra 13:33–35) or is a mythic figure (Gog in Ezekiel 38–39; Rev 20:7–10). In short, Antiochus is assimilated to a mythic pattern that underlies later Christian traditions about the Antichrist.176


176The classic study of Wilhelm Bousset, The Antichrist Legend (London: Hutchinson, 1896), is still valuable for its wealth of material. On the adaptation of traditions about an eschatological adversary in the NT, see Josef Ernst, Die eschatologischen Gegenspieler in den Schriften des Neuen Testaments (Regensburg: Pustet, 1967); Yarbro Collins, The Combat Myth, 157–90; and Gregory C. Jenks, The Origins and Early Development of the Antichrist Myth (BZAW 59; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1991).

I recommend a book (http://www.amazon.com/Day-Hour-Francis-X-Gumerlock/dp/0915815370/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440513001&sr=1-1&keywords=the+day+and+the+hour%2C+by+Gumerlock) by Latin scholar and historian Francis X. Gumerlock, that Amazon is selling for $3.96 used and $10.89 new. The book presents a chronology of predictions of the end of the world and of manifestations of "Antichrist" and "Gog and Magog", etc., from the 1st century through the 21st century and beyond. It is really quite interesting and telling.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-26-2015, 03:07 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=234805&viewfull=1#post234805)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 40-41):


Yet this conclusion itself needs to be more accurately understood. For Ephrem is by no means to be taken as the source of all the passages in which Caspari shows that parallelisms occur. It seems to me that a connection with Ephrem has been placed beyond doubt only for the exhortative part of chapter ii. And even here it has again to be asked, Whence has Ephrem himself obtained the copious eschatological material which he deals with in his homilies? Here also the only answer can be that he assuredly did not invent it himself, but borrowed it from one or more of the Apocalypses of his time. But then immediately the important inference that in the Antichrist treatise we have the same apocalyptic material still in the relatively original though already embellished form, on which the writer relies in his homilies; it is even more original in so far that we have here the actual form of the Apocalypse but not of the homily.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-27-2015, 03:29 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=235320&viewfull=1#post235320)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 41):


There comes next under consideration the homily bearing the name of Hippolytus (...), and entitled: "About the End of the World, and about the Antichrist, and on the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This document may be dealt with more briefly. In its first part, with which we are here less concerned, it depends on the genuine work of Hippolytus; in the second (beginning with chapter vvii.) on Ephrem's homily bearing the same title, which is included in the original recension, III, pp. 134-143. The proof of this will be given in the third section by a continuous clause for clause comparison of the texts.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-28-2015, 03:39 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=235881&viewfull=1#post235881)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 41-42):


After chapter xxxvi., which again depends on Hippolytus' genuine work, the pseudo-Hippolytus utilizes those documents in Ephrem's homilies which I have above indicated by the letters C and D. In these sections, which deal with the Last Judgement (compare the title, "And on the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"), there also occur many things which are to be referred to some apocalyptic tradition still perhaps known to the pseudo-Hippolytus. But speaking generally the detailed description of the judgment pronounced on the various classes of men should apparently be exclusively credited to the author of the homilies.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-29-2015, 11:15 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=236418&viewfull=1#post236418)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 42):


To this series belong also the pseudo-Johannine Apocalypse, which is comprised in Tischendorf's Apocalypses Apocryphae, xviii. et seq., pp. 70 et seq.; and which varies greatly in the written records. It professes to give certain revelations made to S. John on Mount Tabor after the resurrection, and contains much the same material as the pseudo-Hippolytus (chapter xxii. et seq.). It takes the form of a dialogue, and in the second half shows connections with C and D of Ephrem―that is, the "Questions and Answers." In fact its interrogatory form may probably be due to this source―that is to Ephrem's homilies. Yet in the opening it adheres more to the form of the Apocalypse, and no doubt the writer had direct access to apocalyptic material. Moreover it betrays direct indications of the canonical book of Revelation, as, for instance, chapter xviii.

To be continued...

John Reece
08-30-2015, 12:08 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=236751&viewfull=1#post236751)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 42-43):


With regard to the widely diverging traditions occurring here and there in some of the manuscripts, those are to be considered the best in which the text of the pseudo-John approaches nearest to the apocalyptic tradition of our group. Such is especially E Cod. Venet. Marc. Class II, cod. xc., as is best seen in chapter vi. of the Apocalypse. Here in E alone occurs a report on the first appearance of Antichrist, which corresponds exactly with the tradition contained in our group. After E consideration may next be claimed by B Parisiensis (N. 947, anno [year] 1523), and lastly A Venet. Marc., Class XI, cod. xx. (15th century).

To be continued...

John Reece
08-31-2015, 02:20 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=237126&viewfull=1#post237126)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 43):


Here may further be mentioned Cyril of Jerusalem, who introduces in his fifteenth catechetical lecture the Antichrist legend in the traditional form occurring in our group. It is noteworthy that Cyril already shows correspondence with Ephrem's "Questions and Answers." I am not quite sure whether a more distinct account of the Last Judgment, possibly the common source drawn upon both by Cyril and Ephrem, may not be assumed as already current in some apocalyptic tradition.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-01-2015, 12:36 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=237531&viewfull=1#post237531)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 43):


In the same series is comprised the version occurring in the Dioptra of Philip the Solitary, III. 10 et seq. (in Migne's Patrol. Graec., CXXVII.), which is likewise closely connected with Ephrem. Nevertheless here also are found some interesting details which cannot be traced directly back to Ephrem.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-02-2015, 01:10 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=238027&viewfull=1#post238027)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 43-44):


Lastly, here may be tentatively introduced a fragment to which Professor Bonwetsch has called my attention. It occurs amongst the works of S. Chrysostom (Migne, LXI. 776), under the title, "On the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and about Almsgiving." Here the fragment opens with the judgment (the sign of the Son of man). The corresponding Antichrist legend is completely preserved in Slavonic under the name Palladius.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-03-2015, 01:49 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=238572&viewfull=1#post238572)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 45):


I now come to a second group of extremely interesting documents, whose literary connection, however, presents extraordinary difficulties.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-04-2015, 11:33 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=239089&viewfull=1#post239089)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 45-46):


I begin with the latest, a paraphrase or revised text of some earlier Sibyl, which occurs both in Bede (Migne X. Vol. XC., p. 1183) and in the Pantheon (Book X) of Godfrey of Viterbo (ob. 1190), and which has with some probability been ascribed to Godfrey himself. A description of nine generations of mankind, in which there are many echoes of the predictions of Lactantius, is followed by the account of a ruler bearing the name of C., after which comes a long series of other rulers, who cannot be more definitely determined, all being indicated merely by their initial letters. The list of German emperors, however, may be clearly traced from Charlemagne (K.) to Frederick I and Henry VI. Then follow strange, fantastic fables regarding their successors, and at the end the description of the last ruler, who is spoken of as "king by name and of steadfast mind." Then comes the account of the Antichrist's appearance and of the end of the world.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-05-2015, 02:19 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=239615&viewfull=1#post239615)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 46-47):


Farther on we come upon a similar paraphrase, which has been published by Usinger (op. cit., pp. 621 et seq.), but which is extant only in a fragmentary state. It begins somewhat obscurely with a prediction of the period of the three Othos (tenth century), and then carries on the history down to the time of Henry IV (1050-1108). The account of the reign of Henry merges in that of some Byzantine ruler with the words: "From him is then to proceed a king of Byzantium of the Romans and the Greeks, having written on his forehead that he shall uphold the kingdom of the Christian, overcome the children of Ishmael, and reduce them and rescue the kingdom of the Christians from the most vile yoke of the Saracens. In those days no one under heaven shall be able to overthrow the kingdom of the Christians. Thereafter the nation of Saracens will rise up for seven times, and they will do all evil things throughout the whole world, and nearly destroy all Christian. After these things the kingdom of the Romans will arise and smite them and thereafter there will be peace and the kingdom of the Christians unto the time of the rule of the Antichrist."

To be continued...

John Reece
09-06-2015, 10:11 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=240408&viewfull=1#post240408)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 47):


Then follows a brief reference to the Antichrist's rule, as the appearance of Gog and Magog, and the announcement that the last king will found his throne in Jerusalem.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-07-2015, 02:55 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=240776&viewfull=1#post240776)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 47-48):


Retracing our steps from these Sibylline writers of the end of the twelfth and eleventh centuries, we come to a work which was written in 954 by the monk Adso at the request of Queen Gerberga. From Adso it was borrowed by Albuinus, a priest of Cologne, who embodied it in a comprehensive treatise dedicated to Archbishop Herbert. Thus it happened that the work became current under the name of Albuin, and even got printed both amongst Alcuin's and Austin's works (Migne, CI. 1289, and XL. 1130). It forms a collection of eschatological essays, in the last part of which Adso gives a Sibylline treatise on his own authority. To Zezschwitz is due the credit of having shown that the Sibyl utilized by Adso is the same that lies at the base of the document in Bede. The close agreement begins with the account of the last ruler; whence it must be inferred that the whole of the previous list of rulers, as in Bede, was not found in the common source, according to which the account of the last ruler ran thus:


Bede.

And then will arise a king by name and of steadfast mind. The same will be the steadfast king of the Romans and Greeks.

Adso.

In the time of said king, whose name will be C., king of the Roman empire....

Then follows an account of the glorious appearance of this king, and of the opulence which will prevail in his time; after which we read:


Bede.

And the king himself will have before his eyes the Scripture saying:

Adso.

He will always have before his eyes the Scripture saying:

The king of the Romans [will] claim for himself [acquire] the whole kingdom of the lands [of the Christians]; therefore will he lay waste all the islands and cities [of the heathen], and destroy all the temples of the false gods, and all the pagans will he call to baptism, and the cross of Christ [Jesus] shall be raised over all the temples.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-08-2015, 02:00 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 48-49):


During the reign of this king the Jews are to be converted, and he will vanquish the nations of Gog and Magog with their twelve or twenty-two kingdoms which had been reduced by Alexander the Great; "[and thereafter the king] will come to Jerusalem, and there laying aside his diadem [and all his royal state], he will resign before God the Father and His Son Christ Jesus the Christian kingdom. The length of the king's reign is given in Bede as one hundred and twenty-two, in Adso one hundred and twelve, and in manuscripts twelve years. That this last alone is correct, and the others nothing more than fabulous embellishments, is evident from a surprising parallelism in the Greek Apocalyptic of Daniel, which will be considered farther on: "And after him another sprung of him will reign twelve years. And he, foreseeing his death, went to Jerusalem in order to deliver his kingdom unto God.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-09-2015, 11:25 AM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=241797&viewfull=1#post241797)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 49):


Who is this king whose description is found in all these sources (compare above Usinger's Sibyl)? By a comparison of the various notices, especially those in Bede (the king by name, etc.) and in the account in the Sibyl of Henry IV's time of the victories of the king in question over the Ishmaelites, Gutschmid infers that it was Constans II, so that the common sources would have originated at the beginning of this emperor's reign, a conclusion which is certainly very attractive. At the same time it is to be considered that the reign and personality of Constans II by no means correspond with the description, which would accordingly have to be regarded as purely fantastic; further, that there is no mention of triumphs over the Ishmaelites in the source documents in Adso and Bede; lastly, that the quibble with the name of the king might conceivably point as well to a Constantius or Constantine. The account of the king here introduced also agrees with the fourth century, the early period of the Christian emperors, quite as well as with the seventh century.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-10-2015, 11:10 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 49-50):


On the other hand, Zezschwitz (p. 43) is fully justified in suggesting that in the concluding part of this apocalyptic tradition events are no longer passing in the Western but in the Eastern empire. At the close the prediction points to its Oriental origin, while the idea ot the last Roman emperor going to Jerusalem and there abdicating could have arisen only in times preceding the Crusades. Zezschwitz accordingly extends his investigations to the apocalyptic collection known as the Revelation of the pseudo-Methodius. In the more detailed account of the last emperor's abdication in Jerusalem he shows a direct parallel between the Sibyl of the time of Henry IV. and the pseudo-Methodius (p. 162); he also finds in the description of the appearance of Gog and Magog a parallelism between pseudo-Methodius and Adso.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-12-2015, 07:54 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=242995&viewfull=1#post242995)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 50):


On the pseudo-Methodius itself no clear idea can be formed pending a trustworthy edition of that work. The available text is found in the Montumenta Patrum Orthodoxographa, 2nd ed., Basel, 1569, Vol. I. (Greek 93, Latin 100 pp.). The Greek text, however, is according to Gutschmid (p. 152) a free re-cast dating from the twelfth century. Relatively far more valuable appears to be the editio princeps, Cologne, 1475. The editions of the Latin all derive from that of Augsburg, 1496. Some of the sections of this interesting work, and those the most important for our purpose, have been reproduced by Caspari; The Greek from the second edition of the Orthodoxographa, the Latin from two revised manuscripts.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-13-2015, 03:31 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 50-51):


In Gutschmid's opinion (p. 152) nearly all of the materials are lacking in the original Greek text, on which all attempts have hitherto been made to assign a more accurate date to the document. Such is especially the long section giving a detailed account of some siege of Byzantium. Zezschwitz, who has taken great pains to determine the date of this document, points to the blockade of Byzantium, which took place in 715 and the following years, and to the three rulers whose names occur in this connection ― Philippicus Bardanes, Leo the Isaurian, and Constantine V. (Copronymus). It seems to me that these indications are correct, and I may here point to the interesting parallel passage in the Greek Apocalypse of Daniel (117, 2 et seq.)

To be continued...

John Reece
09-13-2015, 09:00 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 51):


The ruler here described as the liberator and the restorer of peace is Leo the Isaurian. No doubt he reigns according to the Greek text thirty-six, but according to the Slavonic translation thirty-two years, like the Leo of the pseudo-Methodius in the revised text. Farther back (117, 55) occurs the passage: "And the great Philip with eighteen tongues and they shall be gathered together in the Seven Hills and prepare for war." Here we have Philippicus Bardanes, while a perfect parallel passage occurs in 117, 61: "Then shall the ox bellow, and the arid kill lament."

To be continued...

John Reece
09-14-2015, 08:42 PM
This post repeated to correct misspelled word in the last clause

Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=244423&viewfull=1#post244423)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 51):


The ruler here described as the liberator and the restorer of peace is Leo the Isaurian. No doubt he reigns according to the Greek text thirty-six, but according to the Slavonic translation thirty-two years, like the Leo of the pseudo-Methodius in the revised text. Farther back (117, 55) occurs the passage: "And the great Philip with eighteen tongues and they shall be gathered together in the Seven Hills and prepare for war." Here we have Philippicus Bardanes, while a perfect parallel passage occurs in 117, 61: "Then shall the ox bellow, and the arid hill lament."

To be continued...

John Reece
09-14-2015, 08:44 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=244967&viewfull=1#post244967)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 51-52):


There is, however, a discrepancy. The successor to Leo is described in the Apocalypse of Daniel as the last emperor who lays aside his crown in Jerusalem, whereas in the pseudo-Methodus this ruler (Constantine V.) is very unfavourably judged. The passage in Daniel may, however, possibly be older than the corresponding passage foisted into pseudo-Methodius; for the expectation of a good emperor as successor to Leo could only have arisen before the reign of the hated Constantine.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-16-2015, 12:58 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 52):


We thus obtain a standpoint for fixing the age of the pseudoMethodius through the discovery that a document dating from the eighth century had already been interpolated into this work. Gutschmid also thinks that it was certainly composed before the overthrow of the Ommiades, which is again confirmed by the existence of manuscripts of the Latin translation as old as the eighth and ninth centuries. Gutschmid goes even so far as to assert with some confidence that the work was composed between the years 676-678.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-17-2015, 01:27 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 52):


Considering the hopeless confusion of the textual tradition as embodied in this Methodius, it may seem somewhat risky to venture any further opinion on its contents. Nevertheless to me it seems safe to conclude that the Latin and Greek texts in the Orthodoxographa belong to two totally different streams of tradition, so that wherever these two witnesses agree they stand on tolerably safe ground. All the pieces excluded by Gutschmid, on the strength of his better manuscripts, are also shown by a like collation to be interpolation now in the Latin, now in the Greek.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-18-2015, 03:10 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 52-54):


The pseudo-Methodius is, in fact, a collection of apocalyptic materials, which, however, is pervaded by a uniform sentiment. It was obviously composed under the powerful and vivid impressions produced by the ceaseless and irresistible onslaught of Islám against the whole civilized world as at that time constituted. In it may be distinguished about seven different documents. 1. A survey of the early history of nations, beginning with Adam. 2. Gideon's victory over the Ishmaelites, concluding with the ominous foreboding that these nomads will once again issue from their settlements in the wilderness and lay the world in ruins, but that at last the Roman empire will still come out triumphant. 3. The history of Alexander the great; the erection of the rocky barrier against Gog and Magog; the prediction of the irruption of these nations in the last days (compare Bede and Adso); the marriage of Bisas, first king of Byzantium, with Khuseth, mother of Alexander, and of their daughter Bisantia with Romulus, "who is also called Armaelius."* 4. A comment on the Pauline prediction in 2 Thessalonians, chapter ii., with the indication that by the kingdom which lasts to the end is to be understood the Roman empire, despite the ascendency of the Ishmaelites. 5. On the "reign of terror" of Islám. 6. On the brilliant victory of a Roman emperor, who must no doubt be identified with Constantine IV. when he fixes the date of the work at 676-678 A.D.: "Then will suddenly arise a king of the Greeks or of the Romans, like unto a man refreshed with wine from sleep." 7. The end: Gog and Magog and their overthrow by the Roman emperor; the birth of the Antichrist; the emperor's abdication; the sway of the Antichrist; the last judgment.

*"Qui et Armaeleus dictus." This gloss, which is not found in the Greek text, is here introduced because it confirms the identification of the Jewish Antichrist Armillus, Armilaos, with Romulus.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-19-2015, 12:12 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 54):


Now the relationship with the already described sources stands thus. Adso and Bede with their source coincide only in one point with Methodius (see below), but are only more remotely connected with No. 7, while Usinger's Sibyl shows a closer relation to No. 7, and Adso in the first part of his work with Nos. 4 and 7. Adso, however, has here nothing of the further development of the Methodius saga, according to which the crown laid aside in Jerusalem is to be borne heavenwards with the cross.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-20-2015, 11:06 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 54):


These remarks enable us to advance a conjecture regarding the apocalyptic sources which lie far beyond the Methodius itself. This work is not, as was still supposed by Zezschwitz (p. 50), the last link of the chain bearing on the subject. Even Gutschmid has already noticed that Adso, Bede, [and Usinger] lead us back to an earlier document, which, as he thinks, dates from the time of Constans II. (642=668). In the common source of Adso and Bede the above-mentioned expansion of the statement regarding the deposition of the crown is not yet found, though already occurring in Usinger.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-21-2015, 02:46 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 54-55):


Zezschwitz himself retraces his steps, and conjectures that the historical foundation of the apocalyptic expectations of Methodius is to be sought in the reign of the emperor Heraclius. During his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Heraclius is supposed, in accordance with the saga, to have been arrested by an angel at the city gate, and to have laid aside both crown and purple before entering Jerusalem (p. 58). He is supposed to have summoned to his aid against the Saracens the nations of Gog and Magog, whom Alexander the Great had shut up within the Caspian gates (p. 61). The Heraclius saga would thus be the starting-point of that apocalyptic tradition, with which view Gutschmid agrees. But it may well be asked whether its origin may not be traced still further back.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-22-2015, 11:13 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 55):


We are, in fact, now in the fortunate position of being able to follow up the cycle of legends back to a far more remote time.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-23-2015, 11:37 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 55-56):


A glance at Malvenda's comprehensive work de Antichristo (I. 570) might have already brought us, in connection with the Gog and Magog legend, to the paragraph in S. Jerome's epistle to Oceanus (77, 8) to the effect that "the swarms of the Huns burst forth from the remote Maeotis Palus [Sea of Azov] between the gelid Tanais [river Don] and the vast nation of the Massagetae, where the barriers of Alexander [at Derbend] confine the rude populations to the rocks of Caucasus." Then Caspari has called attention to the parallelisms between the pseudo-Methodius and the Discourse of the pseudo-Ephrem (p. 20). Once there occurs an exact parallel in pseudo-Ephrem (chap. iv.) with Methodius in the description of Gog and Magog; and here also we find (chap. v.) the important passage: "And already the kingdom of the Romans is abolished and the empire of the Christians is delivered up to God and the Father, and then comes the consummation, when the kingdom of the Romans shall begin to be consummated and all the principalities and powers be brought to an end.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-24-2015, 01:33 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 56):


Even allowing that Caspari's doubts regarding the date of the discourse (about 373) were justified, we are in any case led back beyond the reign of Heraclius. For there is still no trace in the Ephremite Discourse of the irruption of Islám, the foes of the Roman empire being still the Persians. Thus the apocalyptic tradition in question cannot be founded on the Heraclius saga, which could not possibly have sprung up till after the year 629.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-25-2015, 11:41 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 56-57):


But now comes, on the other hand, a welcome confirmation of the correct epilogue in the pseudo-Ephremite Discourse. Professor W. Meyer directs my attention to Th. J. Lamy's Hymns and Discourses of S. Ephrem the Syrian, where we have a sermon preserved in Syriac "about Agog and Magog and the End and the Consummation," showing the closest connections with the Latin Discourse and with the work of Methodius; thus:


Ephrem, III. 190.

Now, like the Nile, which rising floods the land, the regions shall girdle themselves against the Roman empire, and peoples shall war against peoples and kingdom against kingdom, and from one land unto another shall the Romans hurry as if in flight.

Pseudo-Ephrem, L.

In those days shall many rise up against the Roman state, ... for there shall be commotions amongst the peoples.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-26-2015, 09:20 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 57-58):


But the most striking agreement occurs between Ephrem Syr., chaps. v. et seq., the Discourses of ps.-Ephrem, ch. v., and ps.-Method., VII., chap. v., in the account of the savage peoples of Gog and Magog, "who dwell beyond those gates which Alexander built." Ephrem the Syrian has in common with pseudo-Methodius the enumeration of the twenty-four tribes, while the parallels in the Discourse of Ephrem and the pseudo-Methodius are mere scanty excerpts from the detailed description of these fierce populations. And here are also the mentioned Gog and Magog, that is to say, the Hnns [sic? Huns, see end of sentence], whose irruption into the Edessa district took place during the time of Ephrem himself, as we learn from an Armenian life of him which states that he wrote against the Huns.*

*... With this may be compared the Apocalyptic Commentaries of Andreas, edited by Sylburg (...): "But some consider Gog and Magog to be hyperborean Scythian peoples, whom we call the most numerous and warlike of all the surrounding territory."

To be continued...

John Reece
09-27-2015, 02:25 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 58):


Here, therefore, we have, as conjectured by Caspari, the common source of the Discourse and the pseudo-Methodius, and probably also the historical event whence arose the Gog and Magog saga in the form with which we are concerned. Then follows in Ephrem the Syrian, beginning with chap. viii., the Antichrist legend proper. Here, however, I have not found any special relations between Ephrem and the Discourse; and remembering the great persistence of the saga, we have to be very careful in comparing two independent sources. On the other hand, pseudo-Methodius, VII., is manifestly dependent on Ephrem, as may be seen by comparing the account of the wonders wrought by Antichrist and of Enoch and Elias. In the Antichrist sage Ephrem has introduced a great many archaic elements. The statement (chap. xii.) that Enoch and Elias are awakened by the angels Michael and Gabriel I have met elsewhere only in the Ethiopic Petrine Apocalypse, in which they are also assailants of Antichrist.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-28-2015, 11:33 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 59):


In the account of the destruction of the world by fire the pseudo-Johannine Apocalypse comes nearest to Ephrem, while Gog and Magog are destroyed by Michael the Archangel (chap. xiii.). The same incident occurs also in the Syriac Apocalypse of Ezra (chap. xiii.), which has been published by Baethgen from the manuscript Sachan, 131. This apocalypse will be dealt with further on.

To be continued...

John Reece
09-29-2015, 12:18 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 59):


Lastly it will be necessary to inquire into the mutual relations of the various writings which have been handed down under the name of Ephrem, and which will have to be repeatedly referred to in the course of our inquiry. At the very outset doubts arise with regard especially to the authenticity of Ephrem's Syriac Discourse itself. In chap. iii. occurs the passage: "The saints shall lift their voice, and their clamor shall mount unto heaven, and from the wilderness shall go forth the people of Hagar, hand-maiden of Sarah, who made the covenant with Abraham, husband of Sarah and Hagar, and they shall be stirred so that they may come in the wilderness as the envoy of the son of perdition."

To be continued...

John Reece
09-30-2015, 12:13 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 59-60):


There can scarcely be doubt that the Arabs are here meant, and in the following chapters (iii., iv.) a very vivid description is given of the devastation which will be caused by this people of the wilderness. But all the more decidedly is an earlier period indicated in the description of the Huns, which then follows. If we omit chap. iii., from the words "and from the wilderness," and the whole of chap. iv., then chap. v. will accurately fit in with the words: "Then will the divine Justice summon the kings, that is, Gog and Magog." It is obvious that the twofold description of an irruption of a savage people in chaps. iii., v., et seq. would be absolutely meaningless.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-01-2015, 12:21 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 60):


It may even be more clearly shown that we have a passage interpolated in the text. In the enumeration of the twenty-four peoples of Gog and Magog there is an identical parallelism between Ephrem and the pseudo-Methodius; and from a comparison of the two it is seen that the names Thogarma, Medi, Persae, Armeni, "Turcae" have been interpolated. Then we get also the number twenty-four which is expressly given in the Latin version of Methodius; only the Khusas are reckoned twice over. But in other respects the lists of Ephrem the Syrian and in Methodius (both Greek and Latin texts) fully correspond, which at first sight might scarcely be possible.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-02-2015, 12:28 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 60-61):


In other respects there seems to be no objections to the text as it stands. The vivid description of the Huns brings us to the lifetime of Ephrem, and gives credibility to the tradition which assigns this Syriac discourse to him.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-03-2015, 07:22 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 61):


Coming now to Ephrem's authentic Discourse, full support is given to its assumed date about the year 373 by the correct identification of the Huns with the savage people here described. But to the question, Is the Discourse to be also ascribed to Ephrem himself? I think I must give a negative answer. In the Syriac Discourse Ephrem presents a different picture of the destruction of the Roman Empire. Thus in chap. viii.: "And there shall arise in the place of this people the kingdom of the Romans, which shall subdue the world unto its confines, and there shall be no one to stand up against it. But when wickedness shall be multiplied on the earth, ... then shall arise the divine Justice and shall utterly destroy the people, and the man of wickedness [that is, Antichrist] proceeding from perdition shall come upon the earth."

To be continued...

John Reece
10-04-2015, 12:58 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 61-62):


Remembering that the reigning emperor was tainted with the Arian heresy, we cannot be surprised at this judgment of Ephrem. In the Latin discourse, on the other hand, it is for the first time stated that the Roman Empire shall not perish, but voluntarily deliver up its sway; and for this very reason the Discourse cannot be ascribed to Ephrem. But it originated soon after on the base of the details supplied by Ephrem. But then in what relation does the above-described Greek discourse of Ephrem stand to the Syriac? The fact that it is destitute of any political motives is no reason for doubting its authenticity, because this Discourse deals exclusively with the very last days. It is more important to notice that in the Syriac Ephrem no mention yet occurs of the apparition of the Cross at the universal judgment, a feature to which such prominence is given in the Greek homilies. On the other hand, there is nothing in the Greek Discourse about the part which Michael and Gabriel play in the last days. But on one important and remarkable point the Greek and Syriac are in accord; in both the servants and the messengers of the Antichrist are represented as demons. If we have, in the Greek perhaps, a revision of Ephrem's genuine work, most of the details given by him are doubtless still to be traced back to Ephrem.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-05-2015, 02:58 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 62-63):


Here at last the question of the common source of Adso, II., and of Bede's Sybil can again be discussed. Should not this Sybil, with its allusion to the "king by name and of steadfast mind,"be after all traced back to some period long antecedent to Constans II.? At least the notion that the last Roman emperor delivers up his crown to God already found in a document of the fourth century. It by no means dates from the time of Heraclius, and it may be confidently affirmed that the idea of the Roman empire being destroyed before the appearance of the Antichrist must have very soon undergone some such modification after the empire had become Christian. But if we go beyond the time of Heraclius, then we must assuredly also shift that source back to the fourth century, for the emperor spoken of in it is unanimously described as "king of the Romans and Greeks." Hence there remain but two alternative, to look for the "king by name ... steadfast" ("Constans") either in the fourth century or in the time following the reign of Justinian. It is still, however, possible that in the word "Constans" we have, not the actual name of the king, but merely a play of words; thus here, for instance, the allusion might perhaps be to Constantius, or even, though less probably, Constantius I.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-06-2015, 12:18 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 63):


In determining the point we get little help from the twelve years given as the duration of his reign, and this term must be regarded as a purely apocalyptic fancy. The last king is conceived as the counterpart of Alexander the Great, whose reign lasts twelve years in the pseudo-Methodius. The influence of the history of the Macedonian epoch is similarly felt in the Greek apocalypse of Daniel, where is described yet another partition of the world into four kingdoms, as taking place after the death of the king, who in the last times reigns twelve years.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-07-2015, 12:00 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 63):


An interesting confirmation of this legend is afforded by a remark made by Zezschwitz (p. 21). In the chronicle where Godfrey of Viterbo sings the glories of Alexander, the Conqueror is introduced as saying:


Reddo tibi restituamque thronum
Te solo dominate volo tibi regna relinqui.

That is to say: "To thee I deliver up and restore the throne; to thee sole ruler, will I that the kingdom be resigned." Thus in some particulars are merged together the Alexander and the Antichrist sagas.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-08-2015, 11:35 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 63-64):


Here may, in conclusion, be examined another special feature from the cycle of traditions under consideration. It occurs in the Ludus de Antichristo, a play which was composed about the year 1160, and the author of which has hitherto been quoted as a special authority because he draws his material mainly from Adso. Here we read how the Antichrist overcomes the Greek king by war, the French by gifts, and the German by miracles. The source of these fancies has now been discovered by Meyer in the following passage of Adso: "Against the faithful will he rise up in three ways―that is, by terror, by gifts, and by wonders; to the believers in him will he give gold and silver in abundance; but those whom he shall fail to corrupt by presents he will overcome by fear, and those whom he shall fail to vanquish by fear he will seek to seduce by signs and wonders (1294 A). These fancies, however, are still more widespread, as seen in Elucidarium (treated below), where are enumerated four kinds of temptations used by the Antichrist: 1. divitae (riches); 2. terror; 3. sapientia (wisdom); 4 sigma et prodigia (signs and wonders). In Eterianus also (see below) occurs the passage: "by threats, blandishments, and all [other] ways will he seduce." But in their essence all these passages may be traced back to S. Jerome.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-09-2015, 11:08 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 64-65):


In his commentary on Daniel xi. 39, Jerome is already able to tell us that "Antichrist also will lavish many gifts on the beguiled, and will divide the world among his army, and those whom he shall fail by terror he will overcome by greed." Scarcely has Jerome extracted this information from the obscure passage in Daniel, which he is even unable to translate, as will be shown further on, when he falls completely back on apocalyptic tradition, as will be shown farther on. Here we again clearly see how deep-rooted are even such apparently remote and isolated elements of our apocalyptic tradition. It is noteworthy that we here come for the second time on a parallelism between Jerome and the group of Antichrist documents under consideration. Hence Jerome's apocalyptic tradition, which occurs chiefly in his Commentary on Daniel as well as in his epistle to Algasia (Quaestio XI.), belongs also perhaps to the cycle of traditions in question.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-10-2015, 01:23 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 65):


In the documents just dealt with we have accordingly a literary series which, beginning with Ephrem, extends through pseudo-Methodius and Adso to the medieval Sibylline writers and the miracle play composed of the Hohenstaufen epoch. Thus may be seen how the Antichrist legend gets modified when the Roman Empire embraces Christianity, and how it preserves traces of such events as the beginning of the migrations of the peoples and the irruption of the Huns. It also tells us about the history of the Byzantine emperors and the destructive effects of the flood of Islám bursting over the Eastern provinces. Lastly we find it interwoven with the history of the German empire and the Crusades.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-11-2015, 12:55 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 66):


A third group of sources is from later apocalyptic works now to be considered. In the Stichometry of Nicephorus and in the Synopsis of Athanasius there is a Book of Daniel, while a seventh Vision of Daniel is mentioned in a list of apocrypha by Mekhithar of Airivank in 1290. The text of a Greek Apocalypse of Daniel was first published by Tischendorf (Apocalypses Apocryphae, xxx.-xxxiii.), and again in a legible form by Klostermann (Analecta zur Septuaginta, Leipzig, 1895, pp. 113 et seq.). An Armenian seventh Vision of Daniel has also been published by Gr. Kalemkiar in the Vienna Zeitschr. fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes (Vol. VI. 109 et seq.).

To be continued...

John Reece
10-12-2015, 11:54 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 66):


A comparison of the two documents made by Zahn before the appearance of Klostermann's text showed that both, although quite different, point back to a common source. Here we shall endeavour to bring out this source more distinctly.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-13-2015, 12:37 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 67):


In the opening, couched in the Sibylline style, the two writings have much in common. Yet these predictions, as they are generally considered, defy all interpretation. But both apocalypses agree in one important detail, a prophecy launched against Rome, the city of the seven hills, which clearly points to the end of the Western empire (compare the Armenian, 237, 9, with the Greek, 116, 28). After referring by name to the reign of Olybrius (472) = Orlogios, that is, if Zahn's conjecture is right, the texts run:


Greek.

37. But the sons of perdition standing up will turn their faces to the setting sun.

38. Woe to thee, O Seven-hilled, from such wrath when thou wert girdled round by a great host, and [when] a youth shall rule over thee wretched.

Armenian.

Z. 30. And the king will turn his face towards the west.

Then woe to thee, thou Seven-hilled, when they king is a youth.


To be continued...

John Reece
10-14-2015, 12:50 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 67-68):


Then follows in both a reference to the beginning of the Gothic rule, the dynasty "of another religion, that of Ariannus," as it reads in Ar.; or "of the fair race," [τό ξανθὸν γένος] as it runs in Greek. But whether we are to understand Ar., 238, 29-32 to refer to the Establishment of the exarchate of Ravenna is not quite clear. This particular clause is not found in Greek, hence must be a later insertion.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-15-2015, 12:22 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 68):


Then, immediately after the mention of these events, Ar. gives an account of the rule of the Antichrist and of the end, while the Greek Apocalypse also concludes with the details about the Antichrist.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-16-2015, 03:29 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 68):


The source of both apocalypses now comes out clearly and distinctly. The essential element is the old apocalypse about the Antichrist, who according to remote tradition was to come when the Roman empire lay in ruins. Nothing was more natural than the revival of this old Antichrist legend (introduced with an allusion to current events) at the time when the Western empire was falling to pieces. In any case, the title of this revelation was doubtless the Apocalypse of Daniel. But it is another question whether the common source itself also bore this name.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-17-2015, 12:39 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 68-69):


Thus the two later legends (Ar. and Gr.) had their origin in the earlier Apocalypse. In Ar., 230, 24 et seq. the destinies of the Eastern empire are predicted by anticipation. Marcian is mentioned by name (231, 19); the history of Leo I., of Zeno and of the usurper Basilicus is still clearly related; while Kalemkiar finds events predicted down to the emperor Heraclius―a conjecture, however, which is already questioned by Zahn. If, however, 234 refers to the seven-hilled Babylon, to the reign of a widow, and to a dragon who is to persecute the foreigners, then we have here some elements again borrowed from the common source of Ar. and Gr. In Gr. also there is a prediction entirely independent of Ar. It has reference to the history of the Eastern empire, which, as would seem (117, 42), begins with the fall of the Western empire, and lasts till the reign of Constantine V. Thus it becomes quite clear how the interpolation came about. Like the Armenian, the Greek writer has also forgotten the meaning of the "seven-hilled" (119, 88). He accordingly dissociates the sway of the Antichrist from the fall of the Western empire, his relation passing from the Western to the Eastern empire, whereas in Ar. the order is reversed.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-18-2015, 01:37 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 69):


In the common source a Sibylline style is evident, and is very pronounced, especially in the opening section of the apocalypses. The very word ἑπτάλοφος ("seven-hilled") has also become current in Sibylline literature as the distinctive by-name of Rome.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-19-2015, 02:50 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 69-70):


In this connection I may call attention to the article by Kozak on the apocryphal biblical literature amongst the Slavs in the Yahrbunch für Protest. Theologic, 1892, 128 et seq. From N. xviii. of Kozak's papers it appears that a Vision of Daniel has also been preserved and already printed in the South Slavonic (Serb) and Russian languages, and according to this authority the documents correspond with the Greek Apocalypse of Daniel. In N. xxxviii. mention is made of a Narration about the Antichrist, which, as briefly summarized, contains a record of the Byzantine emperor, a prediction of a famine, and the rule of a virgin who receives the Antichrist as a bird, the appearance of John the Theologian and his contention with the Antichrist, the appearance of Elias and his death, the sway of the Antichrist and the end of the world.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-20-2015, 10:49 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 70):


The mention of the rule of a virgin is interesting. With it is to be compared the frequent reference to the rule of a widow in Ar. and Gr.: "And there being no man available, a polluted woman shall reign in the [city of the] seven hills, and defile the holy altars of God, and standing in the midst of the seven hills shall cry out with a loud voice, saying: Who is God but I, and who shall resist my sway? And forthwith the seven hills shall be shaken and all life cast into the deep." Then follows (119, 100) the domination of the Antichrist.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-21-2015, 10:27 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 70-71):


Perhaps some light is thrown by this passage on an obscure part of the Sibylline literature. In Sibyl III. 75 we read: "And then verily the whole world under the hand of a woman―there shall be a ruler and a prevailer in all things―then when a widow shall rule the whole earth―and cast gold and silver into the vast deep―the bronze and eke the iron of mortal men―shall caste into the sea, then truly all the elements―shall be bereft of order when God dwelling on high―shall roll up the heaven." It is here that the appearance of the Antichrist (Belial) comes first.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-22-2015, 02:34 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 71-72):


On the title of the Apocalypse of Daniel it is further to be noted that Lightfoot (quoted by Zahn, 120) draws attention to a miscellaneous codex of the twelfth century in Wright's Catalogue of Syriac MSS., I. 19, which, after the deuterocanonical additions to Daniel, contains a fragment "from the Little Daniel on our Lord (?) and the End of the World." Here we may perhaps conjecture that we have a part of the Apocalypse, which again lies at the base of the rediscovered source. Zahn is further of opinion that, in accordance with a notice of Ebed Jesu (Assemani, Bibl. Orient., III. 15), Hippolytus had already commented on this apocryphal book of the Little Daniel. Professor Bonwetsch who was consulted by me on the subject, is inclined to see in the notice of "the Little [Young] Daniel and Susanna" only one and the same work―that is, the apocryphal history of Susanna and Daniel of the Old Testament. I should greatly desire to have this matter cleared up, for it would be very important to find that Hippolytus had already known and commented upon an Apocalypse of Daniel. What has been said higher up regarding Hippolytus is no longer an impossibility. The relations of the Greek Apocalypse of Daniel to the pseudo=-Methodius, and especially to the interpolated passage on the siege of Constantinople, has already been discussed (p. 51). Here may further be mentioned the interesting title of a treatise occurring in Fabricius: "The Last Vision of the Great Prophet Daniel," etc.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-23-2015, 03:14 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 72):


At the end of a further group of documents I place the apocalyptic writings, which are still extant in the Arabic, the Ethiopic (Geez), and probably also the Syriac languages under the name of Liber Clementis discipuli S. Petri ("Book of S. Peter's Disciple Clement"), or also Petri Apostoli Apocalypsis per Clementem, etc. ("Apocalypses of the Apostle Peter by Clement," etc.). A review is given by Bratke of the very confused tradition respecting this book. To Dillmann, however, is due the fullest survey of the Ethiopic translation of this work, which has nowhere yet been printed. But we have to consider the special eschatological sections, which, according to Dillmann, are found in the second and fourth parts, the first being a prediction about Islám, the second another about the rule of the Antichrist. Farther down it will be made evident that both of these now separated sections are essential parts of an original apocalypse, probably that of S. Peter.`

To be continued...

John Reece
10-24-2015, 02:22 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 72-73):


The section most interesting to us contains especially a prophesy on the history of Islám, which Dillmann has interpreted with brilliant success. First comes a reference to twelve rulers of the Ommiades (Muhammad to Abu-Bekr II), the first four of whom are indicated by their initial letters (Muhammad, Abu-Bekr, Omar, Othman). Then the history is continued through six rulers down to Merwan II., after which follows an account of battles fought by the King of the South (Merwan) against the King of the East (the Abassides), and we are told how the King of the East conquers Egypt. The author speaks of four empires: the Eagle representing the Babylonian, the Panther the Greek, the Lion the Roman (of which it is remarked "the king of Rome reigns till my second coming"), and a beast called Arnê (Dragon, Snake), the children of Edᵉyô. By this last, which takes the second place, presumably according to rank, is represented the empire of Islám.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-25-2015, 03:15 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 73):


At that time, when the dynasty of the Ommiades was overthrown, the Lion's son arises again and triumphs over Islám, this Lion's son being, according to Dillmann, Constantine Copronymus. Damascus, capital of the Ommiades, is to be destroyed; but when the Lion's son returns from his expeditions, then the end is near, as was known to Peter. Then comes an unintelligible indication of a period of time when all this is to happen. Here should probably immediately follow that section about the Antichrist which is now found in the second part of the book. We have here, therefore, an apocalypse, the solution of which is complete in all its details.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-26-2015, 03:18 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 73-74):


To show that in the Arabic Apocalypse of S. Peter we have an almost identical work, the reader may consult Nicoll's Bibliothecae Bodleianae Codices Manuscr. Orient. Catalog., Oxford, 1821, II. pp. 149 et seq. Unfortunately the contents of chaps. xxxi.-xliv. are not given. In chap. xliv. we have already the mention of the Lion's son; while in chap. xlvii. the four empires are enumerated as above. The second empire is that of the Beni'l Abu, the fourth that of the Romans, of which it is said that "this shall remain till the advent of Christ." Chap. xlviii. has a description of the Beni'l Abu, the beginning of whose rule is determined by the year 923 from Alexander. A discrepancy is shown in chaps. lii. and liii., inasmuch as here the Lion's son is represented as a foe of the Christians, and a promise given of his overthrow by the archangel Michael. In chap. lxvii. we are told of "the going forth of the accursed son of Dan, who is Antichrist, and of the descent of Elias and Enoch, and that these he is to kill and perform great wonders and many marvels."

To be continued...

John Reece
10-27-2015, 12:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 74):


In the second and third parts of the Ethiopic Apocalypse of S. Peter were also comprised the fragments of a "Syriac Apocalypse of Simon Peter," which are published by Bratke (pp. 468 et seq.). A comparison of the two fragments on the Antichrist here given at pp. 471 and 481 shows that in the details great changes naturally occur.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-28-2015, 12:06 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 74):


Here therefore we have in all probability an Ethiopic, an Arabic, and a Syriac rescission of the same work, the apocalyptic elements of which were composed about the time of the fall of Ommiades.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-29-2015, 10:19 AM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 74-75):


By a lucky chance Dillmann has given us a translation of the following fragment touching the Lion's son (p. 73 A): "I will awaken the Lion's son, and he shall slay utterly all the kings and tread them down, for I have given him the power thereunto, and therefore is the appearance of the Lion's son like that of a man who is awakened from his sleep." This stands in obvious relation to the passage quoted above (p. 54) from the book of Methodius (Part VI). But a close connection is also manifest between the Ethiopic Petrine Apocalypse and the pseudo-Methodius. It may therefore be conjectured that the pseudo-Methodius was one of the sources of the Petrine document, even though in other respects Gutschmid may be right in identifying the Byzantine ruler of pseudo-Methodius with Constantine IV.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-30-2015, 03:10 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 75):


Starting from this assumption, we shall now arrive at a solution of the puzzle to which the Syriac Apocalypse of Ezra published by Baethgen gives rise. Obviously the opening of the Apocalypse is a re-cast of the Petrine Apocalypse. In chap. iii. a Serpent appears with twelve horns on its head and nine on its tail. When this is compared with the above given particulars, it becomes evident that here the allusion is to the rule of Ommiades. Certainly the number nine does not agree with the enumeration in the Petrine Apocalypse of the second line of rulers sprung from the House of the Ommiades; but such a slight discrepancy is immaterial. An Eagle coming from the South destroys the last horns of the Serpent―that is the sway of the Abassides.

To be continued...

John Reece
10-31-2015, 04:45 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 75-76):


From the East comes a Viper, which stands in association with the land of Egypt, and therefore represents the Fatimite dynasty. We thus see that the two particulars "from the South," "from the East," are taken from the Petrine Apocalypse and wrongly applied. The four kings of the Euphrates river, the Ravens which come from the East, are the Túrki Sultanates, four of which are already mentioned by contemporary historians. Then comes (chap. vii.) the account of the young Lion's victories concluding with the destruction of Damascus, after which follows (chap. viii.) the description of the time of the Antichrist. It is thus made clear that we have here an adaptation of the Petrine Apocalypse dating from somewhere about the time of the first Crusades.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-02-2015, 08:25 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 76-77):


But another interesting observation has still to be made. I hold that the description of the Lion's son in chap. vii. does not derive directly from the Petrine Apocalypse, but from an earlier one dating from the time of Heraclius, which had already formed the foundation of the Petrine and of the pseudo-Methodius. Here the account turns entirely on a fight between a Lion and a Bull, of which animal no mention had previously been made. But when we find it stated that he is the King of the Ravens (chap. vii.), it becomes clear even from the image itself that we have here a compilation. The Bull who "stirs up the East" is Chosroes, King of Persia. Chosroes marches with three armies against Heraclius; the Bull also has three horns, with which he tosses. One of his horns wages war with the young Lion (Heraclius); with another army Chosroes laid siege to Constantinople, and in pseudo-Ezra the Bull plans an evil design against the seven hills and the city of Constantinople.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-03-2015, 02:33 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 77):


At that time Heraclius summoned Túrki hordes to his aid, while in 4 Ezra the young Lion strikes an alliance with the Leopard of the North, with whom multitudes advance like winged locusts. Then the young Lion leaps up between the horns of the Bull, both of which he breaks. And then we read at the end: "And the young Lion will march with a mighty host to the Land of Promise, ... and up to Jerusalem will he ascend with great pomp, and from thence will he depart and march up to his royal city." I can scarcely believe that the whole of this account can originally have referred to any person except Heraclius and his defeat of Chosroes.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-04-2015, 03:15 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 77-78):


In support of this view the following considerations present themselves. In the Ethiopic version we have a little before the passage dealing with the Lion's son a list of emperors brought down to Heraclius. In pseudo-Methodius also we have the account of the Byzantine emperor making his entry into Jerusalem on his victorious march against Islám. Is this a fancy picture, or, as seems much more probable, an adaptation from some early account dating from Heraclius? When Heraclius made his entry into Constantinople people thought the end of the world was near. Compare the above-quoted passage of the Petrine Apocalypse: "But when the Lion's son shall have returned from his expeditions, let Peter know that the time of the end is near." The author of the Armenian Apocalypse of Daniel probably expected the end to come in the time of Heraclius.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-05-2015, 03:03 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 78):


Thus we have again secured fresh connecting links. The pseudo-Methodius and the kindred recensions of the Petrine Apocalypse show how the Apocalypse of the Antichrist legend became modified with the rising flood of Islám. The luminous picture of the victorious Lion's son delineated on the obscure background is probably of still earlier date, and has its historic foundation in the events of Heraclius' reign. The Syriac Apocalypse of Ezra is a living witness to show how unintelligible predictions were again and again reproduced in ever fresh combinations.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-06-2015, 10:55 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 79):


We now come to a singularly interestingly group, in which the chief documents are Commodian's Carmen Apologeticum and the Sibylline source of the eschatological details embodied in the Institutes of Lactantius. The connecting element in the writings in question is their common recognition of a twofold appearance of an Antichrist―one as a Roman emperor (the Nero redivivus), and another who appears in Jerusalem.

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John Reece
11-07-2015, 06:29 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 79-80):


The eschatological part of Commodian begins with verse 791, for fixing the date of which we have the trustworthy guidance of Ebert. In the interpretation of the work it must be steadily borne in mind that the prophetic fancies of the writer begin with the appearance of Nero redivivus (Cyrus) in verse 823.

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John Reece
11-08-2015, 04:10 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 80-81):


The statement in verse 871 that Nero adopts (sibi addit) two Caesars is not to be explained in the light of contemporary events, but is rather to be interpreted by the passage in 911. In accordance with the early Antichrist legend, this person (the second ruler in Commodian, who nevertheless is the Antichrist proper) on his first appearance overcomes and slays three kings. But these kings had to be found somewhere, and so Commodian has the "happy thought" go make Nero redivivus adopt the two Caesars, for which the Roman empire itself afforded him a precedent. But it would be more than absurd to ask, Who then are these Caesars? Hence there remain but two alternatives to help in determining the date of the poem. Following up the clue afforded by the appearance of the Goths, as described in verse 810, Ebert refers the Apocalypse to the time of Philip the Arab or of Decius, holding, however, that it could scarcely have been written during the severe persecution of Decius. Yet Commodian states (verse 808) that the beginning of the end was the then raging seventh persecution; and it is remarkable that in later accounts of these persecutions of the Christians that of Decius is always recorded as the seventh. Hence it is after all probable enough that Commodian's Carmen Apologeticum was really composed during the Decian persecution.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-09-2015, 04:58 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 81):


The eschatology matter bearing on the present subject, which we owe to Lactantius, occurs in his Institutiones Divinae, VII., chap. x. et seq. He frequently quotes as his authority a Sibyl, VII. 18 alia Sibylla. As in Commodian, here also the Antichrist has a "double." and here also the second Antichrist kills the first, that is, the last ruler of the Roman empire: "There also shall arise another king from Syria, who shall destroy the remnants of that first evil one together with the evil one himself." It is further noteworthy that, whereas elsewhere according to the universal tradition two witnesses appear against the Antichrist, Elias and Enoch, Lactantius knows of nothing except of an appearance of Elias. In Commodian we have a double tradition; in verses 839 and 850 Elias alone is spoken of, but in 853, 856, 858, prophets are mentioned in the plural―evidently an extremely careless fusion of two different traditions.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-10-2015, 01:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 81-82):


But after what has been said, we can scarcely be wrong in conjecturing that the same, or at least very similar, Sibylline sources were accessible to Commodian and Lactantius, between whom in other respects also there is much agreement. Nearest to these assumed common sources comes the passage in the Sibyl II., pp. 154 et seq. Here also we have the appearance of the Antichrist (Beliar) at p. 167, and of Elias alone at p. 187. As in Commodian, the ten (twelve?) tribes appear in the last days, and the destruction of the world is similarly described (pp. 186 et. seq.). The description of the new life resembles that occurring in Lactantius. This Sibyl, however, has been retouched, and is far from covering the whole ground embraced by Lactantius and Commodian.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-11-2015, 04:00 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 82):


Now this Sibylline source utilized by Commodian must stand in some relation to the treatise of Hippolytus on the Antichrist. Higher up (p. 28) I have drawn attention to the unknown quotation twice made by Hippolytus from an unnamed prophet. A parallelism occurs in the Carmen Apologeticum, verse 891 et seq.: "Again shall arise in the slaughter of this Nero―a king from the East with four nations therefrom―and summon to himself very many nations unto the City―who shall bring aid although he be a thousand―and whoso shall also oppose him shall be slain by the sword―and first he takes the captured Tyre and Sidon."

To be continued...

John Reece
11-12-2015, 04:19 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 82-83):


Although the prophecy is based on Daniel xi. 40, still the parallelism between Hippolytus and Commodian is not explained by the passage from Daniel; hence there was some common source other than our Book of Daniel. A parallel to this passage occurs also in Hippolytus a little before the place where he for the second time quoted the unnamed prophet in chap. lii.: "But his assault will first be against Tyre and Berytus." Doubtless a common Sibyl was in any case drawn upon by Commodian and Lactantius, and Hippolytus quotes his authority as prophets. Still both writings cannot have been identical, although they have stood in the closest relation to each other. It may be assumed that the Sibyl was based on the prophet quoted by Hippolytus; but the reverse can scarcely be the case. Moreover, the Antichrist legend, as will be shown farther on, is found in a decidedly more original form in Hippolytus than in Lactantius and Commodian. Can Hippolytus after all have at the end already known and commented upon the Little Daniel, and is this very document that quoted as "another prophet"?

To be continued...

John Reece
11-13-2015, 05:06 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 83):


In his dialogue, II. 14, Sulpicius Severus has left us the oral tradition of S. Martin of Tours on the Antichrist and the end. Here also we find the double of the Antichrist. The Antichrist proper here again makes his appearance in Jerusalem, and it is again distinctly stated that "Nero himself is at last to be destroyed by the Antichrist."

To be continued...

John Reece
11-14-2015, 02:30 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 83-84):


Lastly, here should be mentioned the short treatise comprised in Lagarde's Reliquiae Juris, etc., 80 et seq., "The First Book of Clement called the Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ." Here we read, 81, 15: "But there shall arise in the dissolution a king of another nation, lord of many devises, a godless slayer of men, a beguiler ... hating the faithful, a persecutor." Then (82, 49): "Then shall come the son of perdition, the adversary and boaster and vaunter," etc.

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John Reece
11-15-2015, 03:07 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 84):


As will be shown later, we have in these apocalypses, where the Antichrist appears in double form, a mingling of two cycles of legends―on the one hand the old and simple Antichrist saga, on the other its political adaptation to Nero redivivus. As above already remarked (p. 29), we have in the Commentary of Victorinus another interesting blending of the currents of thought. Victorinus knows of but one appearance of Antichrist, and for him the demonic figure of Nero is still the Antichrist. Of all commentators on Revelation down to the period of the Reformation he is the only one who was aware that the Neronic saga had any bearing on the Johannine Apocalypse. But for him Nero, the Nero redivivus, has now become the Jewish Antichrist, as will be more fully explained below. The work of Victorinus has accordingly to be included in the group of documents now under consideration.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-16-2015, 06:56 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 84):


One branch of the twofold Antichrist tradition, which at last brought about those wonderful combinations, finds its chief witnesses in the still extant Sibylline literature. Here have specially to be considered Books (II.), III., IV., V., VIII. (XII., XIII.), where we have everywhere the fusion of the Neronic with the Antichrist legend. All the chief points will be dealt with lower down.

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John Reece
11-17-2015, 02:38 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 84-85):


Lastly, there remains to be mentioned a fragment of the Visio Jesaiae. In chap. iii. (beginning at about iii. 23) and in chap. iv. we have an interpolated Antichrist Apocalypse, which is especially interesting, because in it the figure of the Nero redivivus has been foisted into an earlier apocalyptic tradition, which can be clearly recognized. This point also will be established farther on.

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John Reece
11-18-2015, 07:41 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 85):


In connection with the foregoing may here be appended a reference to the Antichrist Apocalypse interpolated in the already mentioned Book of Clement. In the Text and Studies (II. iii., pp. 151 et seq.) has recently been published an apocalyptic fragment in Latin, which seems to represent the early source utilized in the Book of Clement. The obviously later detailed description of the destruction of the Church before the coming of Antichrist (Clement, p. 81, 1.―p. 82, 1. 38) now appears in the light of the Latin parallel as an addendum, so that here we have again a relatively ancient source.

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John Reece
11-19-2015, 05:41 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 85):


At the end of the Latin fragment the name of the Antichrist is stated to be Dexius, which James (p. 188) conjectures to be meant for Decius. There is much to support this suggestion, though the weighty objection still remains, that in this (compare Clement), as in all the other apocalypses, no Roman emperor appears to be originally identified with Antichrist. Still the clause might after all be a later gloss, which would then show that our Apocalypse must have already existed in the time of Decius.

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John Reece
11-20-2015, 02:55 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 85-86):


In any case it was composed while the persecutions of the Christians were still raging, at least if we may, as seems probable, refer to it the passage in Clement, p. 81, 1. 15 et seq. : "But there shall arise in the dissolution a king of another nation ... hating the faithful, a persecutor; and he shall rule over barbarous nations and shed much blood, ... and there shall be in all cities and in all places a rapacity and incursions of robbers and bloodshed."

To be continued...

John Reece
11-21-2015, 03:23 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 87):


Quite a special inquiry, such as would be impossible till we had reached this point, is called for by the recently discovered Apocalypse of Zephaniah. A series of fragments from this source are found in the Upper and Lower Sahidic dialects of Coptic, representing two recensions of a single work, as appears from a comparison of the fragments where they run parallel. These have all been collated and translated by Stern, though we are concerned only with the fifth and sixth.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-22-2015, 01:53 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 87-88):


It is no easy matter to fix the time of this Apocalypse. To be sure it is already quoted by Clement of Alexandria; but the passage cited by him, which strongly recalls the Ascensio Jesaiae, does not occur amongst our fragments. Even if it were recovered, it might be assumed with some confidence on à priori grounds that the document quoted by Clement has survived to our time only in a greatly modified form. Such is the inference to be drawn from all the observations hitherto made, and even from a mere comparison of both recensions of the Apocalypse itself.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-23-2015, 03:29 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 88-89):


Stern (p. 135) from their language and contents refers the fragments to the fourth century, which would give us a certain standpoint for estimating the period of the document lying at the base of both recensions. Further determinations of the date can be obtained only from the beginning of the fifth fragment, although here the two recensions show great discrepancies. The details regarding the struggle between the Persian and Assyrian kings with their fabulous imagery are found only in the Upper, not in the Lower Sahidic recension. But both have one characteristic in common. Immediately before the appearance of the Antichrist they each, although even here with great differences, describe the dominion of a ruler, who restores peace and favors Christianity, and is hostile to the heathen. The key to this passage is afforded by the foregoing inquiry into the history of the Antichrist saga. Here we find, although still only half understood and overladen with fantastic accessories, the characteristic element that was added to the saga during the epoch of the first Christian emperors (see page 62 above).* Hence the original draft of the Zephanian Apocalypse, as it now stands, would also date at the earliest from the second half of the fourth century, so that both recensions should perhaps be referred to a somewhat later time than that assigned to them by Stern.

*According to the Zephanian Apocalypse the Antichrist is to come in the fourth year of the peaceful emperor, while elsewhere twelve years are given as the duration of his reign.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-24-2015, 02:19 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 89):


Immediately before the description of the peaceful king the following passage occurs in the Upper Sahidic version:

"And when they shall behold a king rising up in the North, then shall they call him the King of Assyria and the King of Unrighteousness. On Egypt shall he bring his many wars and disorders."

To be continued...

John Reece
11-25-2015, 03:14 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 89):


This abstract vividly recalls Lactantius, VII. 16. In both places a special forerunner of the Antichrist is spoken of; in both this forerunner is called a king from the North, although in Lactantius the second king comes from Syria.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-26-2015, 04:07 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 89-90):


In the Lower Sahidic recension alone (although it cannot be positively asserted that it was not originally found also in the Upper Sahidic) there occurs at p. 124 the following highly remarkable description of the advent of Christ:

"The Christ, when He cometh, shall come in the form of a dove, with a crown of doves about Him, hovering on the clouds of heaven, with the sign of the Cross before Him, whom all the world shall behold like unto the sun shining from the regions of the rising to the regions of the setting thereof."

To be continued...

John Reece
11-29-2015, 12:55 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 90):


We are warned by this fantastic image also not to go too far back in search of the source of our document. Material representations of these apocalyptic fancies may be found even further in later times. From a poem by Paulinus of Nola describing such a conception, F. Wickoff has reconstructed the mosaics of the apsis in the Church of S. Felix of Nola. Here we see the cross appearing in the sky encircled by a crown of doves, emblematic of Christ with the twelve Apostles. A similar picture is seen in the apsis of the Church of S. Clement in Rome.

To be continued...

John Reece
11-30-2015, 03:37 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 90):


With the other writings already discussed the Zephanian Apocalypse shows the most manifold literary relations, as in the account of the wonders worked by the Antichrist with pseudo-Methodius, and the description of the Last Days of the Antichrist (p. 128), and in many other places with the Ephremite group. In the account of the glorious times preceding the Antichrist rule Zephaniah agrees with pseudo-Johannes, with Adso, and the other writings bearing on the subject.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-01-2015, 02:04 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 90-91):


But it is above all noteworthy that the description of the Antichrist (p. 125) stands in the closest literary connection with a series of Jewish apocalypses to be dealt with farther on. Surprising parallels are shown especially by the Apocalypse of Elias found in the Bet-ha-Midrash. It would seem that in this document, before all others, the many earlier records worked into it should be investigated. Moreover, the Zephaniah Apocalypse compromises many other original and archaic elements which shall be discussed in their proper place. Meanwhile the assumption in any case does not lack support that, behind this Coptic Apocalypse of Zephaniah, there stands a much earlier work, which is probably of Jewish origin. In fact the Zephanian work is found, like the Vision of Daniel, the Ascension (Vision) of Jesse and others, in a series of canonical lists amongst the Old Testament Apocrypha.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-02-2015, 01:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 91):


It would be a laborious task to give even an approximate survey of the patristic literature which touches on this subject. Here I must confine myself to the most important, while referring the reader to Malvenda's careful and valuable collations in his work on the Antichrist.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-03-2015, 02:47 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 91-2):


In this connection the foremost place amongst the commentaries on the Johannine Apocalypse is taken by that of Victorinus, which has already been referred to in the Introduction. Thanks especially to its exuberant and archaic exegesis, this work is of the very highest interest. The later Latin commentaries depend all alike on the spiritualistic interpretations of Ticonius. Hence amongst them are only occasionally found some stray realistic features derived from the Antichrist tradition. Valuable also is the Commentary of Andreas, as well as that of his follower, Aretha. In Andreas is comprised a quantity of very important materials, which come at many points in contact with the tradition emanating from Ephrem. Compare, for instance, the identification of God and Magog with the Huns. In the later commentary of Beatus there is a special section showing how the Antichrist is to be recognized.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-04-2015, 05:54 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 92):


Nor can the commentaries on Daniel be overlooked, and especially the interpretations of chaps. vii., xi., and xii., where the commentaries of Jerome and of Theodoretus are of the first importance. Much valuable material is found also in the commentaries on 2 Thessalonians, chap. ii., such as those of the so-called Ambrosiaster, Pelagius, Chrysostom, Theodoretus, and Theophylactus; those on Matthew, chap. xxiv., and the corresponding passage of Mark (Hilarious, Ambrosias, Chrysostom, the author of the unfinished work on Matthew in Chrysostom, Euthymius); on John v. 43 (Chrysostom, Theophylactus, Euthymius); lastly on Genesis xlix. and Deuteronomy xxxii. (Ambrosias, Eucherius).

To be continued...

John Reece
12-05-2015, 03:54 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 92-93):


We have further some more lengthy treatises, such especially as Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, V., chaps. xxviii. et seq., where the details in many places come in contact with Hippolytus, de Antichristo; Jerome, epistle ad Algasiam (121), Quaestio XL.' Prosper Aquitanicus (?), de Promissionibus et Praedictionibus, IV., p. 4, 1. 16; Theodoretus, Haeret. Fabulae, Book V. (see section 23 on the Antichrist); S. John of Damascus, ἔκθεσις τὴς ὀρθοδ. πίστεως, iv. 27. The reader should also consult the Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem included amongst the works of Athanasius (Migne, XXCVIII.).

To be continued...

John Reece
12-06-2015, 03:03 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 93):


But specially important are also some medieval sources, conspicuous amongst which are the Predictions of S. Hildegard (cf. Scivias, Book III.; Migne, CXCVI.), and less so Revelationes Stae Birgittae. Then should above all be mentioned the Elucidarium of Honorius of Autun (Migne, CLXXII.), in which, as in Adso and apparently subordinate to him, the tradition of the Antichrist is included. On Honorius of Autumn and his important position in the history of literature, see E. H. Meyer's Völsupâ, pp. 41 et seq. Lastly I may mention the details in Hugo Eteriannus Liber de Regressu Animarum ab Inferis, chaps. xxiv. et seq. (Migne, CCII., p. 168). I would, however, here state emphatically that for the present I make no attempt to give a complete indication of the authorities on the history of the Antichrist legend in the Mediaeval period. Such an inquiry would greatly exceed my limits.

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John Reece
12-07-2015, 03:23 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 93-94):


But even without extending our researches farther in this direction, the above-mentioned sources cover a very considerable period of time. In the third and fourth chapters the documents coming in some instances down to the eleventh and twelfth centuries led us on the other hand back to the works of Ephrem. In the fifth and sixth chapters is especially seen the development of the apocalyptic outlook during the Byzantine empire, while the seventh carried us far beyond Ephrem to the times of Commodian, Lactantius, Victorinus, Hippolytus, and Irenaeus. A survey of patristic literature reveals the immense extent of the influence exercised by the Antichrist tradition on the early Christian writers. During the first thousand years of the history of Christendom the eschatological expectations of the faithful may be said to have been determined, not by the Revelation of S. John, but by our apocalyptic tradition.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-08-2015, 01:28 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 94):


Hitherto our sources have been carried back no farther than the second century. The eschatological material occurring in the Apostolic Fathers and apologists is too slight for consideration. But a vista has already been opened up of a Jewish tradition reaching farther back than that of the early Fathers of the Church; attention has already been called to some coincidences of our tradition with the Fourth Book of Ezra. This observation, should it be confirmed, brings us at once back to the time of the New Testament and the antecedent period.

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John Reece
12-09-2015, 02:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 95-96):


Here has in the first place to be considered the Sibylline literature, and especially Sibyl III. 46-91. On the strength of a series of parallel passages with Book VIII., Alexandre refers it to a time prior to this book, and considers that the work in question has been put together from every possible part of the Sibylline literature. He gives no reason for this assumption, while a simple comparison of both Messianic descriptions in III. pp. 46 et seq., and VII. pp. 169 et seq., suffices to clearly show that the priority lies with our document. So far from being more recent, this writing is to be regarded as one of the earliest of Sibylline literature. When the Sibyl begins, "But when Rome shall hold sway over Egypt," and then proceeds to speak of three rulers of Rome (p. 51), and later of a widow who reigns over the world, it is obvious that the times of Antony and Cleopatra are here clearly indicated.

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John Reece
12-10-2015, 01:42 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 96):


In its second part the Sibyl contains a short account of the Antichrist and the destruction of the world. Here he is called Beliar, and a difficulty is certainly presented by the statement that this Beliar is to come "from the Sebastenoi"*―that is, the descendants of the Sebasti. It might seem as if such an expression could not have arisen until after the reign of Augustus, or Sebastus as he was called by the Greeks. But since everything else in the document in question points so clearly to the period prior to Augustus, it may here be simply inferred that the title Sebastus was from the first plainly understood by the Eastern peoples as referring to the Roman emperors, and that the Sebasti might consequently have already been spoken of before the time of Augustus.

*ἐκ Σαβαστηνῶν; from Σαβαστός, revered, venerable―hence answering to the Latin Augustus.

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John Reece
12-11-2015, 04:47 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 96-97):


It therefore appears that the Sibyl expects the Antichrist to spring from the dynasty of the Roman Caesar. Hence we have here already a political application of the Antichrist legend, for Beliar, as will be seen farther on, had originally nothing to do with a Roman emperor. It is also evident that this identification of the Antichrist with a Roman ruler was by no means made during or after the reign of Nero, but at a much earlier period. Bearing this in mind, we also begin to understand the puzzling statement of Suetonius (chap. xi.) that to Nero during his lifetime was already foretold the dominion of the East, and even specially that of the kingdom of Judah. Here we have a Sibylline prophecy that Nero is to be the Antichrist, and that he will consequently, like the Antichrist himself, be regarded as the king of the Jews. In this Sibyl, III. 45 et seq., there are no Christian elements. On the contrary, its Jewish origin may be confidently inferred from the verses 69 et seq.; so that from this aspect of the case our deduction is established.

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John Reece
12-12-2015, 11:31 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 97):


This political interpretation of the Beliar Apocalypse points at some earlier source, in which such interpretation had not yet been made.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-13-2015, 07:20 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 97-98):


A description of Beliar, such as might here be postulated, is presented in Sibyl II. 167 et seq. although no doubt in a very summary manner. That a literary connection exists between the two passages at 154 and 213 is shown by a comparison of the two descriptions of the destruction of the world by fire in III. 80-92 and II. 196-213. The original conception of the Beliar saga is found, as we see, in Sibyl II., though even here no longer in its pristine state. For the document, as must be admitted, has already undergone a Christian transformation. But that here also a Jewish Sibyl forms the background must also be frankly admitted. Thoroughly Jewish, for instance, is especially the expectation of the return of the ten (twelve) lost tribes (170 et seq.). The obscure vers. 174 et seq. find their explanation only in the later Jewish tradition. On the assumption of a Christian origin, the account of one precursor of the Thesbite Elias (187 et seq.) also presents something unusual; while the "triple signs" will also probably find their explanation in the Jewish traditions.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-14-2015, 05:24 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 98):


We may go farther. Friedlieb has shown with much probability that Sibyls I. 1-323 and II. 6-33 constitute originally a Jewish prediction, in which the Sibyl foretells the history of the ten generations of man from the beginning to the end. In the Sybil the end seems to be missing; but I now hold that this is really found in a slightly modified form in II. 154-213. For in the fourth Sibyl after the account of the universal doom (47) we read: "But verily all these things shall be accompanied in the tenth generation; but now will I tell who shall be from the first generation." In fact the fourth is merely an echo of an earlier sibyl, in which was described the fate of the ten generations of man down to the judgment. This is clearly shown in what follows, where a strained attempt is made to harmonize the assumption of ten generations (vers. 50, 55) with four universal empires.

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John Reece
12-15-2015, 03:12 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 98-99):


Equally clear is Sibyl VIII. 199: "But when the tenth generation [shall descend] into the house of Hades"; after which comes the account of the rule of a woman, as is also described in Sibyl III. 77 in the last days. That here the consummation is expected after the tenth generation cannot mislead us as to the final result, which may also be described as taking place after the tenth generation in the source drawn upon by Sibyls I. and II. An eleventh generation of men is even spoken of by Sibyl IV. 20.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-16-2015, 12:55 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 99):


Here we may also briefly refer to those passages in which mention is made of the rule of the woman at the end of the world. In Sibyl III. 77 we read: "Then a widow shall rule over the whole world"; and in VIII. 20: "Thereafter great [shall be] the power of a woman; surely shall God himself increase many evils when she shall be crowned with royal honor."

To be continued...

John Reece
12-17-2015, 02:12 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 99):


Have we here merely and allusion to Cleopatra? Or rather the exposition of an earlier mysterious prediction touching the sway of a mighty woman in the last days? The line in Sibyl V. 18, "And an unvanquished woman falling on the waves," gives a picture of Cleopatra distorted to a superhuman demonic form.

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John Reece
12-18-2015, 05:47 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 99):


From this the expectation of a woman's rule would appear to have also found its way into the Greek Apocalypse of Daniel.

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John Reece
12-19-2015, 03:35 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 99-100):


Here I would venture with some hesitation to offer a suggestion. If the Antichrist, as will be shown farther on, is to be regarded as the embodiment in human form of the old figure of the Dragon, may we not have in this woman "falling on the waves" a surviving reminiscence of the same marine monster conceived as of the female sex? The passage, however, may also recall the woman of Babylon "that sittith upon many waters."

To be continued...

John Reece
12-20-2015, 03:56 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 100):


From this a fresh ray of light falls on the Sibyl imbedded in Bede. For here also we have in the opening part a survey of the generations of men. I cannot, however, explain how the ten have shrunk to nine in Bede. But if the decidedly later central part be removed, that account will then be immediately followed by a prediction of the Antichrist and the last things. Thus are completed the links in a chain of written tradition, which embraces a period of about a thousand years.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-21-2015, 04:55 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 100):


In conclusion it may be mentioned that in the Christian re-cast of Sibyl II. the description of hell shows a close relationship with the earlier Petrine Apocalypse. And in this form, as will be more fully explained farther on, the Sibylline document makes its influence felt down even to the Edda poems.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-22-2015, 01:12 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 100-101):


Of Jewish literature there are here also to be considered some sections of 4 Ezra and of the Book of Baruch. Amongst these are especially to be mentioned the accounts of the signs of the last times in 4 Ezra, which are loosely connected with the first three chief visions. Here in the opening of V. 1 et seq. the reference is quite clear to the fall of the Roman Empire. It will be shown below that the prediction "he shall reign whom they expect not" also alludes to the Antichrist. Attention will moreover be drawn to many points of contact occurring elsewhere in the accounts of the signs of the end.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-23-2015, 01:58 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 101):


For reasons which will be fully explained farther on, special attention will have to be paid to the Testament of Dan, comprised amongst the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. Unfortunately the passage bearing on our subject has reached us in a very corrupt form (see above, p. 87). I think I shall be able to show that the passage here interpolated (chaps. iii. and iv.) is of Jewish origin. Further details follow below.

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John Reece
12-24-2015, 02:34 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 101-102):


Coming to the later Jewish apocalyptic writings, I must here confine myself to briefly pointing out that their evolution was completed in direct association with the Antichrist legend. Leaving the exploration of this field to specialists, I will confine myself to a few indications that make no claim to exhaust the subject.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-28-2015, 05:30 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 102):


Higher up attention has already been called to the expectation of the return of the ten tribes of Israel, a notion by which Commodian amongst others was influenced. It belongs to the very earliest elements of the apocalyptic tradition with which we are here concerned, and is already found in Ezra xiii. 34 et seq. Here it is stated that under God'a miraculous aid the ten tribes wander away beyond the Euphrates to a distant land, whence they are some day to return. The same myth occurs again in Commodian's Carmen Apologeticum, where God leads against the second Antichrist a people of whom we read (942): "But enclosed are the Jews [in the land] beyond the Persian stream, where God willed they should bide to the end." Then follows immediately a detailed description of the glorious wonderland where the Israelites dwell.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-29-2015, 01:35 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 102):


So also in the Othoth ha-Mashiakh (for which see below) a glowing description is given of the homeward march of the ten tribes of Israel from the river Gozan out of Khalakh and Khabor, this being the tenth and last sign of the end―that is after the appearance of the Messiah. That the ten tribes dwell beyond a great river is likewise in accordance with an ancient legend, from which were later developed in the Rabbinic traditions monstrous fables about the river Sabbation.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-30-2015, 03:29 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 103):


In Sibyl II. 170-176 we have also an account of the return of the ten tribes and of their victories; and the passage, though very short, is important. It would appear from the extremely obscure text as if the triumph of the ten tribes is not to be final, but that they are again to be overcome by the Gentiles.

To be continued...

John Reece
12-31-2015, 01:37 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 103):


Thus, however, the legend of the ten tribes assumes a close semblance to that of Gog and Magog. From this it also becomes evident that a fusion of both took place in the hands of the medieval Christian writers. We read, for instance, in Godfrey of Viterbo (XI.) that "Alexander shut Gog and Magog for ever. The eleven tribes of the Hebrews he compassed round in the mountains for ever."

To be continued...

John Reece
01-01-2016, 02:53 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 103):


With this is to be mentioned another and later tradition―that is, the assumption of two distinct Messiahs, one overcome and slain in battle, the other triumphant. The notion of a suffering and dying Messiah would seem to have been suggested by disputations with the Christians, by reference, for instance to such telling passages of Scripture as those of Zechariah xii. 10 et seq. Justin, however (Dialogus com Tryphone), knows nothing yet of these speculations, and considering his great familiarity with the Jewish theological treatises, this argument based on his silence is not without weight. A standpoint for approximately determining the date of this conception is afforded by the fact that a very distinct application of Zechariah xii. 10 to the Messiah ben Joseph is already found in the Jerusalem Talmud.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-02-2016, 03:23 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 104):


But then comes the question, "What gave rise to the conception of a Messiah ben Joseph or ben Ephraim? It may presumably have been suggested by the already existing legend of the return of the ten tribes of Israel. The Messiah ben Joseph is the leader of the ten tribes on their return, and in fact he is so described in the later work of Mikweh Israel.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-03-2016, 01:22 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 104):


But it may still be doubted whether all this suffices to sufficiently account for the origin of the two Messiahs.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-09-2016, 03:21 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 104):


Here I would merely raise the question whether the notions both of the two witnesses, widespread in the Christian Apocalyptics, and the two Messiahs, may not both rest upon a common source, which, however, is still to be sought farther back than Jewish tradition. As Victorinus in his Commentary calls the two prophets the eagle wings of the woman, so we read in Yalkut Khadash: "His [Israel's] two wings shall the two Messiah's, the Messiah ben Joseph and the Messiah ben David.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-10-2016, 01:20 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 104-105):


But, to return to the further development of the cycle of legends, that Messiah of the ten tribes had to suffer and perish, and the commentators appear to have assumed that Gog and Magog were the power by which he was to be overthrown. Thus stands the tradition in the Haggaditic or Homiletic Exposition of the Messiah and in the Pesikta Sutarta, and a translation also occurs in Messias Judaeorum. Other evidence of the same tradition may be seen in Wünche, 117.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-11-2016, 03:54 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 105):


At this stage of its development the legend begins to be again influenced by this Jewish apocalyptic tradition through the tradition of the Antichrist.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-12-2016, 03:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 105):


The figure that now stands out in the foreground of the new apocalyptic picture is that of Armillus, which is the Hebrew form of Romulus. This name is itself significant, for the political application of the Antichrist legend, which disappeared in the Christian tradition, was preserved in the Jewish. The Romans―kingdom of Edom, children of Esan, dominion of Sammael―remained the fierce hereditary foes of the Jews, more especially after the Roman empire had become Christian. Hence the Antichrist power, the Antichrist himself, is Armillus (Romulus).

To be continued...

John Reece
01-13-2016, 02:22 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 105):


As already remarked, a trace of this Jewish apocalyptic conception is already found in the Latin, though not in the Greek, text of Methodius, where it is expressly stated that Romulus is Armaeleus.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-14-2016, 03:45 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 105-106):


The following are the writings with which we are here concerned: (1) The Mysteries of Simon ben Yokhai, which Graetz has dealt with in his History of the Jews (...). It gives a clear account of the Period of Merwan II., and was evidently composed at the time of the Overthrow of the Ommiades rulers. (2) A closely related eschatological tractate on the Antichrist and the two Messiahs included in the Midrash va-Yosha on Exodus xiv. 30 ; xv. 1-8. (3) The Othoth ha-Mashiakh, of which there is a translation in Eisenmenger, ... (4) The Book of Zorobabel, which covers the period from the destruction of the Temple to the end, some 990 (970) years, hence cannot have been written later than the eleventh century. The three last-mentioned books, which seem to have had a common history, were published collectively in the year 1524 in Constantinople, but judging from the specimens given by Eisenmenger (...) in a recension showing considerable variants.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-15-2016, 08:48 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 106-107):


In the Mysteries of Simon and in the Signs of the Messiah, the eschatological predictions properly so called begin with the prophecy of a nine months' renewed dominion of the "wicked" Roman (Byzantine) empire. In this characteristic statement we see the connection between the Christian legend and these Jewish apocalypses. Here also, since the time of the book of Methodius, a dominant trait is the expectation that in the end the Byzantine empire will prevail over Islam and conquer Palestine. Then in both apocalypses appears the Messiah ben Joseph, who overthrows the Roman empire and rebuilds the Temple, after which comes Armillus.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-16-2016, 03:14 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 107):


In all the documents except the Midrash va-Yosha we find the puzzling statement that Armillus is to be begotten by Satan of a stone, and in the Signs of the Messiah he is expressly called the Antichrist. Then follows in all except the Book of Zorobabel a description of this Antichrist, who is represented as a frightful monster. Then comes everywhere an account of the flight of Israel to the wilderness, and the death of the Messiah ben Joseph in the battle with Armillus; only in the Midrash va-Yosha this Messiah is slain in Jerusalem. Both of the Signs of the Messiah and in Zorobabel, Armillus is already distinctly described as a false Messiah. But in the other sources also he is prominently mentioned in connection with the Roman-Byzantine empire, which, in fact, is alluded to by his very name. Here again is clearly seen the influence of the Christian legend.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-17-2016, 02:47 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 107-108):


Then comes the Messiah, the son of David, called also the Menakham ben Ammiel, while the Messiah ben Joseph takes also the name of Nehemia ben Uziel. Now the son of David slays Armillus with the breath of his mouth; in the Signs of the Messiah, however, Armillus is killed by God Himself. It is characteristic of these sources that the description of the end does not abruptly break off with this event, as it does in the Christian tradition. For there still follows the description of the revival of the New Jerusalem, and also the resurrection of the dead, and in the Signs of the Messiah the return of the ten tribes. In the Mysteries of Simon we have even the description of a kingdom lasting for two millenniums, after which comes the last judgment. It is noteworthy that in this Jewish tradition there is much more in common with the Johannine Apocalypse that is found in the Christian tradition. We have especially in the Book of Zorobabel some striking points of contact, for instance, with Revelation, chapter xvii. So also the description in the last part of the Mysteries of Simon: "And fire falls from heaven and consumes Jerusalem, and sweeps from the midst of her all strangers and uncircumcised and unclean." Direct parallelisms with John are also found in the interesting Apocalypse of Elias.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-18-2016, 04:09 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 108-109):


It should be mentioned that here this figure of Elias comes on the scene, although quite in the background, together with that of the Messiah ben David. With this may be compared what has been stated above (p. 82) about Lactantius and Commodian; and also Sibyl II. 187.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-19-2016, 02:52 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 109):


In the development of the Jewish legend a special place is taken by an apocalypse which has been preserved in the Persian language, and for the text and translation of which we are indebted to Zotenberg. The title, History of Daniel, is significant, and recalls the evidences brought forward higher up in support of the early existence of an Apocalypse of Daniel.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-20-2016, 03:43 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 109):


The treatise in question begins with a description of the Muhammadan caliphs, Muhammad himself being easily recognized in the opening (407). In the ruler with his three sons we may also confidently recognize Harún ar-Rashid, after whom mention is made of two other rulers. Hence the Apocalypse must date from the first half of the ninth century.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-21-2016, 03:45 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 109-110):


Then follow the eschatological predictions, beginning with an account of the victory of a Roman ruler over Islám, and of his reign lasting for the nine months (see above, p. 106). Then we are told another, whose name is not given, is to come, who will proclaim himself as the Messiah, and whose personal appearance is described in the usual way. With him will come Gog and Magog, while Israel takes refuge in the wilderness. Then we read: "Thereupon a man shall appear in that distant place, and every Israelite shall leave his seat, and they shall be gathered." That man shall be of the children of Ephraim, and they will all of them flock to that wicked one, who says "I am the Messiah, your king, your possession.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-22-2016, 03:48 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 110):


The Israelites will ask signs of him, which he cannot perform; and especially is he unable to raise the dead again. Then he persecutes the Israelites, and Israel flees to the desert. Then are the Israelites made partakers in the grace of God, who opens the floodgates of heaven; a month will be as a week, a week as a day, a day as an hour. Then shall Michael and Gabriel appear to the Israelites in the wilderness, and they shall slay the false Messiah.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-23-2016, 06:09 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 110):


Thereupon comes the Messiah ben David and kills the wicked one (that is, the above-mentioned ruler) with the breath of his mouth; "and the banner of the Messiah, son of David, shall appear." The same shall kill the whole host of Gog and Magog, after which comes Elias. Then shall the new era be announced with four blasts of the trumpet. The dead arise; the Israelites are gathered from all quarters of the world (on the wings of Simurg?); a pillar of fire appears in the Temple, the glory of God is made manifest, and all mountains disappear. Then follows for thirteen hundred years the time of rejoicing and of domination, and the ever lasting great doom.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-24-2016, 01:13 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 110-111):


Obviously the Apocalypse is a genuine collection of manifold traditions, and betrays the influence of the Christian legend in far greater measure than the other sources. From this influence, which may even be closely followed in the style of the composition itself, it also becomes probable that here the Messiah ben Joseph has been transformed to the Antichrist. The statement, however, on this point is not quite clear. Presumably Abar ben-el may have also had a similar tradition in mind, when his work, the Mashmia Yeshua, son of Joseph, whom we expect to come in the beginning of the deliverance, is the Antichrist, whose coming they, the Christians, predict. Or in these few surviving fragments have we not rather a primeval tradition about some false Messiah destined to appear among the Jews? But no final judgment can yet be pronounced at this point. In any case we have in the remarkable document under consideration a great mass of archaic traditions. In its whole composition it also shows the closest connection with the Mysteries of Simon. Let me add that we are here told how at first the Jews do not believe in the Messiah ben David, who thereupon hides himself, until at last he appears to them as the Son of man in the clouds of heaven.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-25-2016, 03:52 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 111):


But on the whole the conclusion may be hazarded that the Jewish cycle of legends taken collectively, with the figure of Armillus and of both Messiahs, was developed in this connection in the seventh and eighth centuries under the influence of the Antichrist saga.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-26-2016, 02:48 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 111-112):


The survey of this Jewish literature has revealed numerous interminglings of the Jewish and Christian traditions of our apocalyptic material. In the light of the evidence brought together in chap. vii., the conjecture becomes a certainty that the expectation of an Antichrist had its origin on Jewish ground. Thus the tradition might have been traced back to a period prior to the New Testament writings, while full confirmation is given to the view advanced in the Introduction that the apocalyptic documents there described imply the existence of an earlier tradition. Thus, while the Antichrist legend was adopted by the Christians from the Jews, the fully developed tradition reacted in its turn on the Jewish eschatology during the sixths, seventh, and eighth centuries.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-27-2016, 03:03 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 112):


But this eschatological tradition of the Antichrist tradition has also made its influence felt beyond the pale of the Christian and Jewish worlds. Here I shall bring together a few notices on the subject, without making any pretense to completeness.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-28-2016, 04:58 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 112-113):


In a full and careful inquiry into the Voluspá of the elder Edda (Berlin, 1889), E. H. Meyer has endeavored to follow step by step the influence of Christian tradition on the poem which covers the whole ground from the creation to the last judgment. Still more definitely has he advanced the view that the author of this poem depends essentially on the theological works of Honorius of Autun, and especially on the Elucidarium. But if the Voluspá depends on the one hand on Honorius, it is influenced on the other by the Antichrist legend, and in fact works up the same material. Still, despite its comprehensive and learned treatment, the question seems to me not yet cleared up. For Meyer's assumption the strongest argument seems to be the fact that the last great battle between the good and evil powers of the world, that is to say the end, begins with the passage:


Brothers will one another slay, and
Murderers one of another become;
Kindred their kinsfolk will kill;
Heavy times are in the world....

To be continued...

John Reece
01-29-2016, 03:47 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 113):


As will be seen further on, this has become an almost stereotyped introduction to the tradition of the Antichrist. The description also recalls the punishments in Hades, while the opening strongly reminds one of the Sibylline literature as known to us. Hence a general connection of the Edda with the Christian literature and with the Antichrist legend admits of no denial.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-30-2016, 03:18 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 113-114):


But in the details much remains uncertain. The difficulties we had to contend with in the elucidation of these poems may be seen, for instance, in strophe 47 (in Meyer, 46). Here the usual translation is, "The world all burns at the blast of the horn"; whereas Meyer (191) here reads, "The Healer shines on that old renowned cross." If Meyer is right, which, however, is doubtful, owing to the express mention that follows of Heimdall's horn, then we have here a characteristic feature of the Antichrist tradition.

To be continued...

John Reece
01-31-2016, 04:54 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 114):


Altogether Meyer seems to me to have gone much too far in his attempt to establish direct Christian influences in the Edda. He greatly underrates the primeval mythological stuff contained in these lays. Take, for instance, what is told in Völuspá (3) of the giant Ymir and of Chaos, and in Vaf-drûonismâl (21) of the creation of the universe. It is a great mistake to derive these primitive myths from a passage in Honorius, where all analogy completely breaks down. According to Honorius the body of (the first) man is formed from the several elements of the earth. From this Meyer argues that the creation myth of the Edda has been evolved by a kind of reverse process! Equally strained and wide of the mark seems Meyer's attempt to derive from Revelation the magnificent description of the five battles of the gods, with which the end of the world is introduced (Völuspá), strophes 50 et seq.). With what an effort the required number five is here obtained by the expedient of tacking on Hades and Death to the three hostile powers, the Beast, the Dragon, and the False Prophet [θηρίον, δρακών, ψευδοπροφήτης]! Nor does Meyer seem to me to establish with his vague parallelisms the identity of Súrtr (strophe 51) with the Antichrist (p. 206). To my mind primeval myths stand in the background of the descriptions of the gods, as well as in the accounts of the two monsters, the Midgard Serpent and Fenris the Wolf.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-01-2016, 05:11 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 115):


But if the influence of the Antichrist saga on the earlier Edda can be spoken of only as slight, it is otherwise with the Muspilli, and old Bavarian poem, dating from the ninth century. In this half-heathen, half-Christian work, the local coloring employed in the description of the destruction of the world is taken bodily from our tradition. This statement needs no further proof, as the parallel passages bearing on the point will be given farther on.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-02-2016, 03:33 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 115-116):


Clear traces of the Antichrist legend are also found in the literature of the Parsees extant in the Pehlevi language. Here attention is claimed especially by the Bahman Yast Apocalypse, of which a translation is contained in the Sacred Books of the East, Vol. V., 191 et seq. As far as I make out, the Bahman Yast is based on an apocalypse which was composed at the time of the overthrow of the Iránian (Persian) monarchy by the Muhammadan Arabs in the seventh century. In II. 14 et seq. Zaratustra (Zoroaster) sees a tree with seven branches, which alludes in the usual way to seven dynasties. The sixth is that of Chosroes (the Sassanides), and in the seventh is described the irruption into happy Irán of the demons with upraised spear and streaming hair. This irruption of Islám was witnessed by the author of the original Apocalypse, who after that event expects the end of the world. It is this consummation that is described under the direct influence of the Antichrist legend, as will appear from the large number of parallel passages quoted farther on.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-03-2016, 01:34 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 116):


This apocalypse appears to have undergone a revision in the time of the Crusades (see especially III. 3 et seq., when an intricate eschatological system with several Messiahs was also foisted into the text.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-04-2016, 01:46 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 116-117):


Last of all the Antichrist legend found its way to the Arab world. In Tabari's Chronicle we have an interesting excursus on the Antichrist. He is to be a king of the Jews, who rules the whole world, whose figure overtops the welkin, and whose name will be Dejjâl. He will appear at the end of time, when Gog and Magog break through the walls built up against them by Alexander the Great. On his march he will be accompanied by monsters, snakes, scorpions, dragons; he will reduce the greater part of mankind, and no one will be able to resist him in war. He will march from east to west, to the north and to the south, and his sway will last forty days. But the faithful will flee before him; and then Jesus, together with the Mahdi (the Guided) Muhammad ben Abdullah, will overthrow the Antichrist.*

*Dietrich, Abraxas 125 (Anmerkung 1), mentions an old Muhammadan tradition that Jesus is to vanquish the Antichrist (Dajjat) before the walls of Lydda.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-05-2016, 05:03 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 117):


This relation with its reminiscences both of Jewish and Christian traditions, the Bahman Yast Apocalypse, and the Jewish eschatologies above collated, all serve to illustrate in a striking manner the religious syncretism (combination, communion) that prevailed during the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries between Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, and Parsees.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-06-2016, 02:48 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 121):


Attention has already been called (p. 86) to the striking analogy between 4 Ezra and the Apocalypse which forms the basis of the Book of Clement in the account of the premonitory signs of the end; and it was further seen how individual traits reappear in Sibyl II. and in Ephr. Gr. Such parallelisms show of themselves that we have here a widely ramifying current of tradition. Our limited space prevents the reproduction of all the excerpts bearing on the point. But the various descriptions of tremendous convulsions in the realm of nature, all cast in the same grove of thought, may be compared, as they are recorded in 4 Ezra v. 1 et seq. and vi. 2l et seq., and again in pseudo-Hippotus, chaps. viii., xcvi. 26, and in Lactantius II. 16.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-07-2016, 02:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 121-122):


But in the Antichrist legend a specially characteristic feature recurs again and again. It turns on the account of the ever-increasing hatred which will be stirred up in the world even between kith and kin, and which goes back to Micah vii. 6: "A man's enemies are the men of his own house." Thus in 4 Ezra v. 9: "And all friends shall overcome one another utterly"; and vi. 24: "And it shall happen in that time [that] friends shall overthrow friends as foes." In pseudo-Hippolytus the section describing the signs of the last days begins with a detailed account of this strife between kindred, with which compare the opening of pseudo-Ephrem, chap. i.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-08-2016, 05:05 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 122-123):


So intimately associated is this trait with the Antichrist tradition that even in quite remote authorities it affords the very first indication of the influence of the legend. Thus, as already seen, we read in the Voluspâ how "brothers will one another slay," etc. So in the Bahman Yast the unmistakable influence of our saga begins with the description (II. 30): "All men will become deceivers, great friends will become of different parties, the affection of the father will depart from the son, and that of the brother from his brother, ... and the mother will be parted and estranged from the daughter." The uprising of nation against nation, as in Matthew xxiv. 7, is also frequently described in the opening of the apocalypses, and lamentations are poured out especially on the discord, the unrighteousness, and misrule prevailing in the world. Here may be mentioned 4 Ezra; the Apocalypse of Baruch, chap. xiix. 32 et seq., and chap. lxx. (cf. xxv. 3); Lactantius, VII. 15, all of which stand in perceptible literary connection with each other.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-09-2016, 03:06 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 123):


In many apocalypses the general descriptions of the forewarnings are replaced by more definite pictures of current events. But the mention of one distinct premonitory sign constantly recurs in nearly all the sources. The end is at hand when the Roman empire perishes.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-10-2016, 03:01 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 123):


In 2 Thessalonians ii. 6, 7 we read: "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." With this compare 4 Ezra v. 3: "And of disorderly condition shall that region be which thou now beholdest dominant, and they shall see it desolate; but if the Most High shall grant thee to live and thou behold [these things which] after the third [hath passed away?] in disorder...." Here the allusion is to the fourth (Roman) empire which succeeds the third (Greek), and after the fall of which the end comes.


To be continued...

John Reece
02-11-2016, 01:43 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 123-124):


Irenaeus (V. 26), drawing on Daniel ii. and Revelation xvii., is able to tell us that in the last days the Roman Empire will be portioned into ten kingdoms, after which the Antichrist will appear in the character of a foreign ruler. Hippolytus (chaps. xxv. and liv.) borrows from Irenaeus, and neither of these writers has derived his knowledge of the future from a mere investigation of Daniel and Revelation.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-12-2016, 04:44 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 124):


Special consideration is next claimed by Tertullian (Apologetics, 32): "There is also a greater need for us to pray for the emperors as also for the whole state of the empire, and for Roman affairs since we know that by the provision [prosperity?] of the Roman empire the mighty power impending on the whole world and threatening the very close of the century with frightful calamities shall be delayed, and as we are loth to suffer these things, while we pray for their postponement we favor the stability of Rome." And again, ad Scapulam (2): "The Christian is hostile to no one, least of all to the emperor, to whom ... he wishes well, with the whole Roman Empire, so long as the world shall last, for so long it shall last," that is, so long as Rome endures.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-13-2016, 01:03 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 124-125):


In VII. 15 (634, 18) Lactantius writes: "The Sibyls, however, openly speak of Rome being destined to perish. Hystaspes also, who was a very ancient king of the Medes, ... predicted long before that the empire and name of Rome should be effaced from the globe." And in 16 (635, 1): "But how this shall come to pass I will explain. ... In the first place, the empire shall be parceled out, and the supreme authority being dissipated and broken up shall be lessened, ... until ten kings exist all together; ... these ... shall squander and impair and consume." VII. 25 (664, 18): "The very fact proclaims the fall and destruction to be near, except that so long as Rome is safe it seems that nothing of this need be feared. But when indeed that head of the world shall fall and the assault begin that the Sibyls speak of coming to pass, who can doubt that the end has already come? ... That is the city that has hitherto upheld all things, and we should pray and beseech the God of heaven, if indeed His decrees and mandates can be postponed, that that detested tyrant may not come sooner than we think."

To be continued...

John Reece
02-14-2016, 02:14 PM
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From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 125):


So in pseudo-Ephrem, 1: "And when the kingdom of the Romans shall begin to be consumed by the sword then the advent of the Evil One is at hand." 5: "And already is the kingdom of the Romans swept away, and the empire of the Christians is delivered unto God and the Father, and when the kingdom of the Romans shall begin to be consumed then shall come the consummation.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-15-2016, 03:10 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=292020&viewfull=1#post292020)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 125):


And Cyril, xv. 11: "The man magician ... seizing for himself the power of the kingdom of the Romans, ... and this predicted Antichrist cometh when are fulfilled the seasons of the kingdom of the Romans."

To be continued...

John Reece
02-16-2016, 12:38 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=292249&viewfull=1#post292249)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (page 125):


In the works of Ephrem (I. 192) we find under the name of Jacob of Edessa an exposition of the prophecy in Genesis xlix. 18 on Dan, where the words "that biteth the horse heels so that his rider shall fall backward" are referred to the Antichrist: "That that empire belongeth to those that are called Latins, the Spirit hath already ... declared and taught through Hippolytus in that book in which he interpreted the Revelation of John the Theologian.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-17-2016, 03:17 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=292688&viewfull=1#post292688)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 125-126):


This widespread accordance acquires extraordinary significance from the following consideration. In the Johannine Apocalypse the Roman empire is plainly enough indicated as the last anti-Christian power, and it might be supposed that those vivid pictures of fierce hatred and sublime imagery would for ever have branded imperial Rome as the anti-Christian power that rises against God. The legend of Nero redivivus survived long enough in association with the prophesies of Revelation; the whole of the Sibylline literature is overshadowed by this weird demoniac personality; even Victorinus was still familiar with the relations of the Johannine Apocalypse to Nero.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-18-2016, 03:59 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=293115&viewfull=1#post293115)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 126-127):


How then, it may once more be asked (see above, p. 26), was it possible that such an Antichrist hostile to Rome could have arisen in the very teeth of Revelation and in direct opposition to its teachings? Surely the Roman empire gave the Christians reason enough to regard it as the last anti-Christian power, and in one of its rulers to see the Antichrist himself, the devil incarnate. How did it come about that the very opposite notion acquired such unlimited prevalence? For now the Roman empire so far from being the Antichrist stands in the way of his coming, while he is declared to be a non-Roman ruler. How was it possible that, even where the Neronic saga still survived, as with Lactantius, Commodian, and S. Martin of Tours, Nero redivivus came to be looked upon as the last Roman emperor, precursor of the Antichrist? Hippolytus fully understands that in the first half of Revelation xiii. the allusion is to the Roman empire. Yet for him (chap. xiix.) the second beast "coming out of the earth" is the Antichrist rule which is to come after the Roman empire. Hence he has to refer the two horns of the beast to the false prophet who, according to the Apocalypse itself, was to accompany the Antichrist. Then the description of the second beast as minister of the first he explains in such a way as to represent the second beast as ruling the world "according to the law of Augustus" (the first). Whence originates this persistent and violent distortion of the clear sense of Revelation?

To be continued...

John Reece
02-19-2016, 03:47 PM
Continued from prior post↑ (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7634-The-Antichrist-Legend&p=293500&viewfull=1#post293500)

From The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (1895), by Wilhelm Bousset (pages 127-128):


It might be pointed out that 2 Thessalonians ii. reacted on the eschatology of the Fathers of the Church. Still it is à priori improbable that this short Pauline allusion could have had a more potent influence than the whole of Revelation, which at least in the first age (Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Victorinus) enjoyed unquestioned authority. But then fresh problems present themselves. Whence did Paul himself, or whoever was the author of 2 Thessalonians, derive this notion? And how does it happen that the extremely enigmatical allusions of this epistle were expounded with such confidence, definiteness, and unanimity by the whole body of patristic writers? Austin alone seems to hesitate, remarking (City of God, XX. 19) that "some think this was said of the Roman Empire." Chrysostom also mentions another interpretation. But with this general unanimity compare the wild gropings of modern expositors, some of whom suppose that in the passage of Thessalonians Paul expresses himself in this mysterious manner in order to avoid openly speaking of the fall of the Roman empire.

To be continued...

John Reece
02-20-2016, 02:09 PM
My posts as composed for this forum are done while standing in front of an iMac. This process is very hard on my severe stasis dermatitis, which is forcing me to reduce the amount of time I spend working at the iMac. So, I must discontinue this tread as well as the The Jewish War by Josephus. These books can be borrowed from a library or purchased from third party book sellers via Amazon.com. Henceforth I must limit myself to three threads in BL301, one clause of.Hebrew, one clause of Greek, and one paragraph of exegetical scholarship.