Latin Commentaries on Revelationby Victorinus of Petovium, Apringius of Beja, Caesarius of Arles, Bede the Venerable
Interest in the book of Revelation in the Western tradition is stronger and earlier than that in the East. The earliest full commentary on the Apocalypse is that of Victorinus of Petovium written in the mid to late third century by the earliest exegete to write in Latin. Victorinus interpreted Revelation in millennialist terms, a mode of interpretation already evident in works by Irenaeus, as well as in modest allegorical terms.
Caesarius of Arles wrote in the early sixth century and offered a thoroughgoing allegorical-ecclesial interpretation of the Apocalypse. Apringius of Beja in Portugal, writing in the mid sixth century, drew on Jerome's edition of Victorinus's commentary yet understood the seven seals christologically as the incarnation, birth, passion, death, resurrection, glory and kingdom.
Bede the Venerable, who died in 735, is the last commentator to be included in this collection. Characteristically, he passes on commentary from earlier exegetes, here including that of Augustine, Gregory the Great, Victorinus, Tyconius and Primasius.
William Weinrich renders a particular service to readers interested in ancient commentary on the Apocalypse by drawing together these significant Latin commentaries. The work of translating these texts was begun in preparing the volume on Revelation in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. We are indebted to William Weinrich for completing this work with his able and fresh translation and notes on these texts.
Meet the Author
William C. Weinrich (D.Theol., Basel) is currently Rector of the Luther Academy, theological seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. Additionally, he is a professor of Early Church History and Patristic Studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He has also served as the Third Vice President (1998-2001) and the Fifth Vice President (2001-2004) of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. For over thirty years he worked as chaplain in the Indiana Air National Guard before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Weinrich is author of Spirit and Martyrdom: A Study of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Contexts of Persecution and Martyrdom in the New Testament and Early Christian Literature and editor of The New Testament Age: Essays in Honor of Bo Reicke. He has written many articles appearing in Concordia Theological Quarterly, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Logia, Issues in Christian Education and others.
Thomas C. Oden (PhD, Yale University), is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and the Ancient Christian Doctrine series as well as the author of Classic Christianity, a revision of his three-volume systematic theology. He is the director of the Center for Early African Christianity at Eastern University in Pennsylvania and he formerly served as the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
Oden is active in the Confessing Movement in America, particularly within the United Methodist Church and is president of The Institute for Classical Christian Studies. He suggests that Christians need to rely upon the wisdom of the historical Church, particularly the early Church, rather than on modern scholarship and theology and says his mission is "to begin to prepare the postmodern Christian community for its third millennium by returning again to the careful study and respectful following of the central tradition of classical Christianity."
Gerald L. Bray (Ph.D., La Sorbonne) is a professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and director of research at Latimer Trust. He has written and edited a number of books on different theological subjects. A priest of the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.
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