Did I mention in the last post that I am writing a book about how the Apostle John came to be remembered as the author of the Fourth Gospel? Well, he also came to be remembered as the author of three New Testament Epistles and the book of Revelation. For another piece of the puzzle, I am planning to present the following paper at The Bible and Critical Theory Seminar in Perth, Australia if it gets accepted. I plan to go either way, so maybe some readers will be interested in checking out this conference too.
Competing Authorial Traditions about John of Patmos and the Mixed Patristic Reception of the Book of Revelation
As early as Justin Martyr, the Apostle John was understood to be the one who prophesied about Christ’s millennial reign before the final judgment (Dial. 81.4; cf. Rev 20:1-6). Dionysius of Alexandria and Eusebius of Caesarea, on the other hand, distanced the John who recorded his visions on the island of Patmos from the prominent apostle of the same name (Eccl. Hist. 3.39.6; 7.25.7, 12). Finally, Gaius of Rome and some Alexandrian critics of the bishop Nepos independently attest to the charge that Revelation was forged by the arch-heretic Cerinthus (Eccl. Hist. 3.28.2-5; 7.25.2-3). These three distinct authorial traditions were partially based on whether the book of Revelation, with its obscure apocalyptic imagery and chiliastic theology, found a receptive or a hostile audience. I will explicate the claims and counterclaims about the legitimate authorship of Revelation in light of the theoretical discussion surrounding the ideological function of authorial claims.