Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Revelation: Authority of the Book

3. The Authority of the book, impugned by some of the ancients, called into question by some orthodox men as well, following Dionysius of Alexandria.



But, not only was the Divine authority of this book rejected by various heretics of old, Cerdon,[1] Marcion, as Tertullian testifies, the Alogi and Theodotians,[2] as Augustine and Epiphanius testify: but it was also called into question by Orthodox men, namely, of the Greek Church following Dionysius of Alexandria,[3] as Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, book VII, section 25, and Jerome, Epistola ad Dardanum, relate; and in a later age, by Eramus, Luther, and others: Nevertheless, for good reason was it received already of old among the Divine books, so that Epiphanius hesitated not to refer among the heretics however many despised its authority. And that is solidly founded upon the holiness and truth of its doctrine concerning Christ’s person, office, benefits, worship, and kingdom standing in opposition to the Kingdom of Antichrist, agreeing exactly with the other Canonical books, especially the Prophetic ones, a Paraphrast of which John is elegantly styled by Œcolampadius: upon its sayings and forms of expression, unique to the sacred Writers: upon its types, proper to Scripture, not found in human Writers: upon its style or structure of speech: upon its κυριολογία, propriety of expression, whereby he discourses concerning the individual matters in a manner suitable to their nature and grave: upon its Prophecies concerning the state of the Church, marvelously confirmed hitherto in the very events and fulfillment: upon its mysteries, found in Sacred Scripture. And so the most ancient, Irenæus and Justin, according to the testimony of Jerome in his de Viris Illustribus, illustrated this book with commentaries; and following those, Theophilus of Antioch, Melito of Sardis,[4] Dionysius of Alexandria, according to the testimony of Eusebius in his Historia Ecclesiastica, book IV, sections 23, 25, book VI, section 24, book VII, section 24, Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, Jerome, and a number of others admired the Divine authority of this book. Moreover, the Arguments whereby some of the ancients, following Dionysius of Alexandria, and more recent men, have tried to overthrow its Divine authority, are solidly refuted by the Venerable Bullinger, Præfatione in Apocalypsin, page 4, and also by the Most Illustrious Gomarus, Explicatione Priorum Capitum Apocalypseos, Opera, page 745.

[1] Cerdon was an early second century Docetic Gnostic of Syria. He taught that there were two Gods: the vengeful and demanding creator God of the Old Testament, and the loving and merciful God of the New Testament revealed in Jesus Christ. [2] The Theodotians were followers of Theodotus of Byzantium, a second century heretic. They believed that the man Jesus became the Christ only after His baptism. [3] Dionysius of Alexandria (died 267) was a pagan convert to Christianity. This student of Origen was eventually raised to the bishopric of Alexandria in 247. Dionysius is remembered for his opposition to the Novatians and Sabellians. He wrote commentaries on Luke, John, and Revelation. [4] Melito (died c. 180) was Bishop of Sardis, near Smyrna in Asia Minor. Melito provides what may be the earliest surving list of the Christian canon of the Old Testament which closely parallels that received by Protestants, excepting its omission of Esther.

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