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Introduction and Key


Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator




Daniel ; or, The Apocalypse of the Old Testament


Philip S. Desprez



Introduction by Rowland Williams

Reverend Professor Rowland Williams (1817-1870) was vice-principal and Professor of Hebrew at St David’s College, Lampeter from 1849 to 1862 and was one of the most influential theologians of the nineteenth century. He supported biblical criticism and pioneered comparative Religious Studies in Britain.

Life and Letters | Volume 2

He is also credited with introducing Rugby to Wales - Lampeter's team was the first to be established in the nation.

Following the publication of Essays and Reviews in 1860, in which Williams compared those opposed to the new biblical criticism then coming out of Germany to “degenerate senators before Tiberius”, the editor of the paper and Williams were tried and condemned for heresy in the court of arches; their acquittal, on appeal to the judicial committee of the privy council, afforded a valuable protection to liberty of thought within the church of England.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, opened a new research centre at the University of Wales, Lampeter on Friday 8 April 2005, named in honour of Williams: The Rowland Williams Research Centre for Theology and Religion.

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070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World




1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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Written 12 Years After Full Preterist Commentary on Revelation

Daniel; or, The Apocalypse of the Old Testament

Philip S. Desprez, B.D.

Written when Desprez left full preterism:

"something more was intended by the coming itself and the unearthly scenes with which it is said to be accompanied, than the destruction of Jerusalem and the subsequent establishment of Christianity.  However momentous the ruin of their city might have been to the Jews, it could not have materially affected the Gentile converts to whom the warnings relating to the advent were principally addressed"



"The far more serious ground of alarm is that, if the horizon of Daniel's Messianic kingdom was merely Maccabaic or temporal, it suggests a similar construction for kindred passages in the Gospels, and raises the question how far the horizon of these latter was eternal- Considering the vast number of features in the Gospels and the Apocalypse, which seem to identify Christ's second coming with the fall of Jerusalem, and to shut up the completion of the promises within the range of a renovation of society, or the establishment of better sentiments and reformed institutions in the world, have we any longer a Gospel to preach, not merely of "the coming age," but of life eternal ? Does the whole story resolve itself into the Idea bursting its mould, and developing a new one; the thought of God fulfilling itself in many ways ? I can neither think such questions trivial, nor follow those who resolve them in a merely temporal sense." (Rowland Williams, p. lix)

"To the first of these theories it has been objected that the second advent of Christ was not so much the destruction  of Jerusalem, as an event connected with that destruction ; and that the sublime description of his coming with all the holy angels with him in power and great glory scarcely finds an adequate fulfilment in the scenes, terrible as they were, which accompanied the overthrow of the Jewish state and polity.

It must be conceded that the objection is not without weight; and that after making due allowance for Oriental phraseology and rhetorical figure, something more was intended by the coming itself and the unearthly scenes with which it is said to be accompanied, than the destruction of Jerusalem and the subsequent establishment of Christianity.  However momentous the ruin of their city might have been to the Jews, it could not have materially affected the Gentile converts to whom the warnings relating to the advent were principally addressed ; and it is evident that S. Barnabas, in the epistle ascribed to him, and such of the apostolical fathers as wrote after the event, did not see in the destruction of Jerusalem the coming of Christ in his kingdom."

An argument for the accomplishment of the eschatological prophecies recorded in the gospels at the period of the destruction of Jerusalem, may be seen in the author's " Apocalypse fulfilled in the Consummation of the Mosaic Economy and the Coming of the Son of Man." On the supposition that our Lord's predictions, as delivered to us, can be adequately explained of the phenomena with which that event was accompanied, a harmony may be maintained between them and the facts themselves. On the contrary hypothesis, that the historical events of that time do not answer to the scope and magnificence of the terms employed, the expectations of our Lord and his disciples must be considered to have been tinged by the Messianic ideas of their contemporaries."

The foundation of all the mistakes of these learned men (Wetstein, Grotius, Hammond, Le Clerc, and Whitby) is their interpreting the coming of Christ of the destruction of Jerusalem : whereas the context, as it hath been shown, plainly evinces, and they themselves at other times acknowledge, that it is to be understood of his coming to judge the world."—NEWTON, on the Prophecies.

"No reasonable ground appears to us for doubt, in the face of such testimonies, that there was an original Daniel, whose remarkable life and superlative wisdom laid the foundation of the present narrative. But an acceptance of the reality of Daniel's personal existence does not involve any conclusion as to the authorship and age of the book in which, for the most part, his history is recorded. Evidence of a powerful, and as we think, unanswerable kind, points to a later period than that of the Babylonian Captivity as the time of authorship, and brings down the date of the book in its present state to an age subsequent to the events therein described. This, while it does not invalidate the general history, is likely to have some influence upon the way in which its particulars may be interpreted. It transforms the book from a declaration by anticipation of things yet future into an historical relation of past occurrences.1 It excludes the predictive element altogether. It assigns limits for its interpretation beyond which criticism dares not pass, and demands that its meaning shall be sought in the past, and not in the future. As a preliminary, then, of the utmost importance towards a correct interpretation, it will be necessary to state the arguments on which we build the theory of a late authorship for the book of Daniel. If these shall be found trustworthy we may reject schemes of interpretation which have repeatedly been found fallacious, for those pointed out by criticism and the necessities of the case. And in so doing we shall be guilty neither of rashness nor of a want of due regard to the Sacred Record. " To suppose that we can serve God's cause by shutting our eyes to the light; much more to suppose that we can serve it by asserting that we see what we do not see, because we wish to see it, is simply intellectual atheism."  (pp. 3,4)

"A satisfactory proof, that a Judaic kingdom, as of the Asmonean princes, however magnified in presentiment, was more intended by the writer than such a spiritual and eternal kingdom as God set up by Christ in the hearts of faithful men, may be found in chap. ii. 44, " the kingdom shall not be left to another people." This is the stumbling-block of national Messianism, which Christ destroyed by inverting it, and by disappointing the expectation of which He in part, if not principally, shocked the feelings of his nation (Luke iv. 28 ; Luke iii. 8; Acts xxii. 22)."

  "We are not ashamed to confess our inability to reconcile the proximity under which these phenomena are announced with the actual course of events. We seem to be painfully conscious of the existence of a serious discrepancy between the latter-day anticipations of the New Testament and what might be considered their due and legitimate fulfillment: a conviction arising not from a superficial or deceitful handling of the sacred text, but from a reverent and careful examination, extended over many years, of this particular question ; and we think it the part of exegetical consistency to endeavour to grapple with it, before we stereotype with too great confidence traditional opinions which appear unable to stand the test of searching and out-spoken criticism. " (p. 288)

"The non-fulfillment, however, of these Messianic expectations within the time appointed for their accomplishment need not detract from the perfection of that inimitable teaching whose "remedial, and reconciling, and sanctifying, and self-sacrificing, and sorrow-assuaging, and heaven-aspiring words were addressed to the universal human heart;" neither should it be suffered to weaken the obligation, or impair the authority, of a single moral precept which commends itself by its intrinsic worth as the perfect law of love and liberty to mankind." (p. 295)


C.H. Spurgeon
"This work is of the Essays and Reviews school. The author cannot see the Messiah in Daniel. It is worse than useless." (Commenting on Commentaries, Daniel)

The Theological Review (1866)
"Mr. Desprez's learned and judicious work on Daniel is preceded by a long and most interesting introduction by Dr. Rowland Williams, which, partly anticipating the arguments of the book itself, partly expatiating over a wide range of kindred subjects, is everywhere distinguished both by lucidity of thought and vigour of style. We have lately devoted so large a portion of our space to the controversies which gather round the book of Daniel, as to make it inexpedient to follow Mr. Desprez through the details of his clear and convincing argument.

His conclusions, which substantially agree with those arrived at in the articles referred to, may be briefly stated in his own words (p. 29):

"To recapitulate—1. The diversity of languages in which the book is written ; 2. The place it occupies in the Hebrew Canon ; 3. The use of Greek words ; 4. The style of the book differing from the writings of the captivity; 5. The historical character of the book extending to, but not beyond, the age of Antiochus Epiphanes; 6. The seemingly marvellous narrations and historical inaccuracies which have aroused suspicion from the earliest times;—are so many distinct and strong reasons for affixing a date later than that usually assigned to the book of Daniel . .... It may not perhaps be unreasonable to infer that it is partly a compilation and re-arrangement of more ancient annals, and partly the original composition of some learned and pious Jew, who lived at a period subsequent to the scenes it describes—probably whilst his countrymen were still engaged in their patriotic struggle against Demetrius, and following up the advantages they had won from Antiochus Epiphanes. At this juncture, when the issue of the contest hung doubtful in the balance, the writer of this remarkable book throws the weight of prophetic influence into the scale, and by recounting the heroic endurance of the sainted martyrs of their race, oracularly animates the holy people to perseverance in the strife. With this view he avails himself of the prestige of a character celebrated in Jewish story, and enunciates his historico-prophetic visions under the name and authority of Daniel."

Mr. Desprez's book, both in the moderation of its tone and the scientific character of its procedure, contrasts most favourably with Dr. Pusey's unhappy work on the same subject, which nevertheless is being rapidly bought by students of orthodox theology—an evil omen for the prospects of sound Biblical criticism in England ! We observe with pleasure that Mr. Desprez is about to publish a similar work on " John, or the Apocalypse of the New Testament," and shall await its issue with interest."   (The Theological Review, Vol. III, Numbers 12-15, p. 309-310)


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