I have told you before it comes to pass, that, when it comes to pass you will believe. - John 14:29

The Cambridge "Greats" Behind the Neronic Date  

Henry Barclay Swete vs. the Big Three

Notwithstanding  the external and internal evidence which supports the Domitianic date,  the  great Cambridge  theologians  of the last century were  unanimous in regarding  the Apocalypse as a work of the reign of Nero." Henry Barclay Swete.

Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917)  was Regius Professor of Divinity at  Cambridge.   He  was   considered  to  be  an authority on  the dating of the Apocalypse. 

The great Cambridge  theologians  Swete  refers  to above are the familiar trio  Lightfoot, Hort and Westcott.  These  men  were very influential  in  the generation before him at Cambridge and he knew knew them well.

In 1911 he published a special edition of his classic Commentary on the Apocalypse  to refute Dr. Hort on  the date of the Apocalypse. Swete acknowledges  the weight of the "threefold cord of scholarly opinion" of these men but makes three interesting observations:

  1. They had not done any serious work on the subject.
  2. They did not challenge the testimony of the early fathers.
  3. Their arguments on "internal evidence" were not substantiative.

Known  for  his  modesty,  Swete nevertheless took  a  bold stand for the  Domitian  dating  while downplaying  the  "authority" of his Cambridge predecessors.

Swete, Henry Barclay, Commentary on the Apocalypse, Macmillan, London, 1911, 3rd ed., pp 99-110.

Henry Barclay Swete - A big site devoted to his memory