Order of Contents
What is Partial-Preterism?
. 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.
Roman Catholic, in Latin
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 (1583-1645) was an Arminian, Latitudinarian, Erastian, Anglican, who wrote a commentary on the whole Bible.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
“[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 “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.”
The History of Israel, vol. 7: The Apostolic Age (from the death of Christ to A.D. 73)
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 (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