Friday, March 16, 2007

The Prologue of Revelation in the Syriac Text

In reading the latest issue of JETS the article by John Noe includes a reference (derived from James M. MacDonald) to the “Syriac version of the Bible” which apparently entitles Revelation as “The Revelation which was made by God to John the evangelist on the island of Patmos, into which he was thrown by Nero Caesar.” Is this peculiar to one particular ms or is it widespread? It would provide evidence that some in the Syriac church dated Revelation to the 60s.

The prologue to Revelation includes up to 60 different wordings (cited by H.C. Hoskier, Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse: Collations of All Existing GreekDocuments [1929], 25-27). I think the TR includes a reference to “John the Theologian” and 1775 includes the longest description: “The Revelation of the all-glorious Evangelist, bosom-friend [of Jesus], virgin, beloved to Christ, John the theologian, son of Salome and Zebedee, but adopted son of Mary the Mother of God, and Son of Thunder” -- that’s quite an introduction!
Interesting stuff!


  1. The Syriac Peshitta NT (generally dated to the late C4 or early C5) lacked Revelation, 2 Peter, 2-3 John and Jude. Thus the translation of Revelation into Syriac is not part of the early Syriac tradition. Any tradition about the date of the Apocalypse needs to be treated in the light of this.

  2. I recall Bruce Metzger humorously noting that the only thing 1775 left out was "Apostle"!