Revelation 11:1-13 : history of interpretation
The thesis provides a descriptive survey of the history of interpretation of Revelation 11:1-13. Prior to 1000 AD it aims to be comprehensive, but after this date concentrates on Western interpretation. Ch. 1 - Prior to 1000 AD. Rev 11:1-13 is examined in relation to the wider complex of traditions concerning Antichrist and the return of Enoch and Elijah. The commentary tradition on Revelation is examined, including an extensive reconstruction of Tyconius. The passage is applied in two ways: 1. to two eschatological figures, usually Enoch and Elijah. 2. to the Church from the time of Christ's first advent until his return. Ch. 2 -1000-1516 Exegesis similar to that of chapter 1 is found. There is new exegesis from Joachim of Fiore, who believes that the two witnesses will be two religious orders, and Alexander Minorita, who reads the entirety of the Apocalypse as a sequential narrative of Church history, arriving at the sixth century for 11:1-13. Ch. 3 -1516-1700 Protestants interpret the beast as the papacy/Roman Church, and the two witnesses as proto-Protestants prior to the Reformation, often interpreting their 1260 day ministry as 1260 years. Catholics respond by applying the passage either to the eschatological future or the distant past. Ch. 4 -1701-2004 Protestants continue to see the 1260 days as 1260 years, although this interpretation declines markedly in the nineteenth century. Both Catholics and Protestants apply the passage to the distant past of the early Church. Historical critical exegesis introduces a new exegesis, where John is regarded as having incorrectly predicted the return of two individuals shortly after his time of writing. Applications to the entirety of the time of the time of the Church increase in popularity in the twentieth century.