Partial-Preterist Commentaries on Revelation

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Order of Contents

What is Partial-Preterism?
Commentaries  15

.        1500’s  2
.        1600’s  4
.        1800’s  1
.        Early 1900’s  2
.        Contemporary, Evangelical  3
.        Liberal  3



What is Partial-Preterism?

Partial-Preterism is the view that:

“[Most of] The prophecies contained in the Apocalypse were fulfilled with the destruction of the Jerusalem and the fall of heathen Rome.  This is the view of Bossuet, Grotius, Hammond, Wetstein, Eichhorn, Ewald, De Wette, Lucke, and others, among whom is the American expositor, Moses Stuart.” – Charles Spurgeon

The Preterist, which holds that all, or nearly all, the prophecies of the book were fulfilled in the early Christian ages, either in the history of  the Jewish race up to A.D. 70, or in that of Pagan Rome up to the fourth or fifth century.  With  Hentensius and Salmeron as forerunners, the Jesuit Alcasar (1614) was the father of this school.  To it belong Grotius, Bossuet, Hammond, LeClerc, Wetstein, Eichhorn, Herder, Hartwig,  Koppe, Hug, Heinrichs, Ewald, De Wette, Bleek,  Reuss, Reville, Renan, Desprez, S. Davidson, Stuart, Lucke, Dusterdieck, Maurice, Farrar, etc. ” – B.B. Warfield

The view hinges on an early date of the Book of Revelation (though not all those who hold to an early date are partial-preterists).  The Antichrist is often taken as Nero, Titus, Caligula, or another prominent person during the 1st century.  

Partial-Preterism can be further divided into Premillennial (Gordon Clark), Amillennial (Jay Adams) and Postmilllennial (American Reconstructionism, Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth Gentry, American Vision, etc.).  

Hyper-Preterism, sometimes calling itself ‘consistent preterism’ or ‘full preterism’, which says that the 2nd Coming of Christ has already happened, involves an erroneous hermeneutic, serious heresy and is a repudiation of historic Christianity.

Regarding the Book of Revelation, we recommend a cross between Historicism and Idealism.



Partial-Preterist Commentaries



Roman Catholic, in Latin

Henten, John – Enarrationes vetustissimorum theologorum, in acta quidem apostolorum et in omnes D. Pauli ac catholicas epistolas ab Oecumenio : in apocalypsim vero  1545

Henten (1499-1566) was a Roman Catholic.

Salmeron, Alfonso – Disputationum in Epistolas Canonicas, et Apocalypsim: tomus quartus ac omnium operum postremus  1602

Salmeron (1515-1585) was a Roman Catholic, Jesuit.




Roman Catholic, in Latin

Alcazar, Luis – Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi  1619

Alcazar (1554–1613) was a Roman Catholic,Spanish Jesuit.

“The praeterist view… is said to have been first promulgated in anything like completeness by the Jesuit Alcasar, in his “Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi” (1604).  Very nearly, the same plan was adopted by Grotius. The next great name among this school of interpreters is that of Bossuet the great antagonist of Protestantism.” – Henry Alford, as quoted by Ron Cooke 



Grotius, Hugo – Annotationes In Novum Testamentum, vol. 8: Continens Annotationes In Epistolas Catholicas Et Iohannis Apocalypsin

Grotius (1583-1645) was an Arminian, Latitudinarian, Erastian, Anglican, who wrote a commentary on the whole Bible.

Hammond, Henry – A Paraphrase of RevelationAnnotations on the Revelation  The first 12 pages of the Annotations is ‘A Premonition Concerning the Interpretation of the Apocalypse’

Hammond (1605–1660) was an Arminian Anglican.


Roman Catholic, in French

Bousset, Jacques – L’Apocalypse avec Une Explication  1690

Bousset (1627-1704) was a Roman Catholic Bishop, supporter of the absolute Divine Right of kings and was an antagonist to Protestantism.

“In 1688, Jesuit-educated and Preterist, Bishop Bossuet dropped a bombshell on Protestants by publishing his scathing indictment of Protestantism, The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches.  Bossuet’s purpose is so doing was to show the lack of unity and succession of Protestant doctrines through the ages (which the Calvinists claimed), unlike the unity and apostolic doctrines of the Catholic Church, thus fulfilling the promise of Jesus in Matt. 16:18. Using the Protestant belief (that there have always been believers who have held to their anti-Catholic doctrines) against them, he proposes arguments proving the unorthodox Christianity of all the groups Protestants claimed as forefathers.” – Rand Winburn




Simple and Brief

Godet, Frederick – Essay  upon the Apocalypse  1895  104 pp. in Studies on the New Testament

Godet holds that Revelation was written in the latter half of A.D. 68 and that the Beast was Nero.



Stuart, Moses – A Commentary on the Apocalypse, vol. 1 (Introduction), 2 (Commentary)

Stuart was an American, evangelical scholar who has been called the father of exegetical studies in America.

**  “Stuart rejects the historical interpretations generally given; but his textual criticism and his preliminary disquisitions are very helpful.  This work has laid us under great obligations.” – Spurgeon



Early 1900’s

Beckwith, Isbon T. – The Apocalypse of John: Studies in Introduction with a Critical and Exegetical Commentary  1919  810 pp.

It has not been discerned whether Beckwith was a conservative or a liberal.  He argues that the Beast was Nero.

“A critical and exegetical commentary by a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church first published in 1919.  Extensive introductory material, followed by over 400 pages of commentary.  A work of impeccable scholarship.  Amillennial.” – Cyril J. Barber

Mauro, Philip – Of Things which Soon Must Come to Pass: a Commentary on the Book of Revelation  1933  650 pp.



Contemporary Evangelical Works

Adams, Jay – The Time is at Hand  Buy  1966  114 pp.

This work is an explanation and defense of Preterism, but includes a brief commentary on the Book of Revelation in chapters  6 & 7.  Adams was amillennial.

Gentry, Kenneth 

The Divorce of Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation of Revelation  not-yet-published  1,000+ pp.

Gentry is postmillennial and is currently working on finishing this ‘full-length… in-depth, fully exegetical, technical commentary on Revelation’.  The title is tentative.

Before Jerusalem Fell, Dating the Book of Revelation  Buy

This is the most in depth defense of the early dating of the authorship of the book of Revelation to the late A.D. 60’s, as opposed to the more common later dating in the A.D. 90’s.  This may be the most exhaustive contemporary defense to date of the partial preterist position.  

Chilton, David

Days of Vengeance, an Exposition of the Book of Revelation  Buy 

This is a fascinating commentary, though rather innovative.  Chilton uses the ‘interpretive maximalism’ hermeneutic, which tries to get as much out of a Biblical passage as possible, including using trains of allegory from across the Bible.  Such is not recommended.  Chilton at times also follows Greek Orthodox themes and commentators regarding the unfolding of Revelation as a liturgical worship service.  Chilton takes as the outline of Revelation a five point structure according to Ray Sutton’s hyper-covenantal framework of: (1) Transcendence, (2) Hierarchy, (3) Ethics, (4) Oaths, (5) Sanctions.  Needless to say, few, if any, other commentators before Chilton have found this to be the structure of the book.

Authors like Gentry tend to be 1/3 preterist: using normal historical-grammatical hermeneutics in interpreting the New Testament and only taking a passage in a preterist sense where it is necessarily, contextually called for, and has been interpreted that way through much of Church history.  Chilton is a 2/3 preterist: imposing as an interpretive grid the preterist interpretation on every N.T. passage that can conceivably take it; doing so for all such prophecies except the 2nd coming and a few other last straws.  Before Chilton died in the 80’s those last straws gave way and he professed Hyper-Preterism.  Beware.

Greg Bahnsen gave three points of critique to Chilton’s commentary here.

Paradise Restored  Buy  1985

This is an exposition of Chilton’s Reconstructionist, partial-preterist, postmillennial eschatology, through his hermeneutic of Interpretive Maximalism (which hermeneutic is seriously off track).  Part 4, chapters 17-23 give his interpretation of Revelation’s major prophetic issues and passages.



Liberal Commentaries

1800’s Liberals

“[There] were German interpreters who, denying any real prediction of the future, confine the views of Daniel and John to their contemporary history.”
Charles Hodge

Charles Hodge “lists some of the liberal scholars such as Ewald, DeWette and Lucke, who not only denied the predictive element in Scripture but also denied the inspiration and authority of the Word of God.”
Ron Cooke


Ewald, Heinrich

Revelation: its Nature and Record  1884

Ewald (1803-1875)

The History of Israel, vol. 7: The Apostolic Age (from the death of Christ to A.D. 73)

Commentarius in Apocalypsin Johannis Exegeticus et Criticus  1828  330 pp.

De Wette, Wilhelm – The Revelation of St. John  being ch. 12 of his An Historico-Critical Introduction to the Canonical Books of the New Testament

De Wette (1780–1849) was a German Biblical scholar.

Farrar, F.W.

‘The Rise of the Antichrist’, ‘The Features of the Antichrist’, & ‘Th Burning of Rome and the First Persecution’  34 pp.  being chs. 2-4 of The Early Days of Christianity  1882    

Farrar (1831–1903) was a liberal scholar in the Church of England.

Chs. 27-29 on the Apocalypse  90 pp. in  The Early Days of Christianity  1882    




Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries