By Study and Also by Faith  >  Early Christian Millenarianist Interpretation of the Two Witnesses in John's Apocalypse 11:3–13

Early Christian Millenarianist Interpretation of the Two Witnesses in John's Apocalypse 11:

Early Christian Millenarianist
Interpretation of the Two Witnesses in John’s Apocalypse 11:3–13

W. Mackay

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

One of the curious aspects of early
Christian interpretation of the Apocalypse (or the book of Revelation) of John
is that a literal view of the Millennium, together with the precise
identification of the two witnesses or prophets at Jerusalem who herald the
Second Coming of the Lord, later came to be rejected by the “spiritualized”
— the “de-mythologized” and, to use Hugh Nibley’s expression,1
“de-eschatologized” — forms of Christian exegesis of the
scriptures that predominated after the late fourth century. Thereafter, the two
witnesses were taken to be the Old and New Testaments, or the Church preaching
the gospel to the world, or some other such allegorical interpretation. Thus,
in the explanation of Apocalypse 11 and related scriptures, we find a direct
and specific manifestation of the shift from literal to allegorical exegesis
that characterized Christianity in the patristic era, an era corresponding
roughly to the end of the ancient world (from the accession of Diocletian to
the death of Justinian). This period of cultural and political transition
heralds the emergence of the Byzantine Empire in the East, and simultaneously
in the West it displays the fragmented remnants of the Roman world, the “Dark
Ages” of European civilization that ended with the Carolingian Renaissance
in the late eighth and early ninth centuries. The dramatic results of the
change from literal to allegorical interpretation of the scriptures are
manifest in the medieval Christian exegetical and homiletic traditions in
Europe. I shall sketch some of these developments by analyzing references to
the two witnesses from the second century to the beginning of the Carolingian

In order to appreciate more fully the
nature of differing approaches to the scriptures, I will treat some background
material. I will first consider the textual tradition of the Apocalypse. Next,
a brief historical overview of the exegesis of the Apocalypse will familiarize
us both with the names and with the literary and intellectual relationships of
many of the authors I will later quote. With a sketch of the exegetical
tradition, its sources, tensions and development, we can better grasp why the
interpretation changes over the centuries. Although the passages I have
selected and translated are extensive, the sheer weight of the evidence leads
irresistably to the conclusions that are also corroborated by artistic evidence
in manuscripts.

History of the Text of the Apocalypse

The Apocalypse was not warmly received
in many Christian circles. While the second-century apologist Justin Martyr,
and he alone, relates “tradition reposing on historical memory”
— namely that John wrote it and that he believed in a literal Millennium
— later objections to literalist exegesis “were based either on
dogmatic or on literary grounds.”2
In the third century, the Roman presbyter Gaius was “still attacking the
book in violent terms, and attributing its authorship to St. John’s traditional
enemy, the heretic Cerinthus.”3
To comprehend the distrust Christians held for the Apocalypse in the third to
fifth centuries, we need only to note how reluctantly, and how late, the book
gained approval of the councils to become part of the New Testament. Eusebius
records that while many of the books gained ready acceptance (the anantirreta, or “undisputed books”
and homologoumena, or “agreed-upon
books”), James, 2 Peter, Jude, and some others were in the “disputed”
class or antilegomena, but they were
not rejected as outright spurious — en
tois nothois.
4 The Apocalypse was esteemed to be
undisputed by some leaders, spurious by others: at Historia Ecclesiastica III, 25, 2, Eusebius classes it among the homologoumena,5
but later in that same chapter he notes that others claim it is not genuine:


Among the books that are not genuine,
let there be included the scripture of the Acts of Paul, the
work called the Shepherd <sc., of
Hermas>, the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the epistle
attributed to Barnabas and the so-called Didachai
or Teachings of the Apostles and besides, as I stated, the Apocalypse of John,
if it should seem . As I said, some
people reject it, while others judge it to be one of the undisputed [lit., agreed-upon] books.

Because of this hesitation to receive
the Apocalypse, the text is not as strongly attested in Greek manuscripts as
other books.7 While there are more than five thousand
manuscripts containing at least a portion of the Greek New Testament —
and granted most have some of the gospels — only about 250 have the
Apocalypse. Vaticanus is missing the last leaves, including the Apocalypse; the
text is found in Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus as
well as Leningrad P, the Chester
Beatty papyrus P47 (late third century), P18 (end of third/beginning of fourth
century), and P24 (fourth century). It is also in uncials 046, 051, 052, 0207,
and 0229 and in some notable minuscules: 1, 88, 94, 104, 1006, 1611, 1828,
1854, 1859, 2020, 2042, 2053, 2065, 2073, 2081, 2138, 2344, 2432, and 2495.

On ne connait jusqu’ici que 250
manuscrits eviron du texte original de l’Apocalypse; très peu
sont antérieurs au xe siècle (sept [ou
8] onciaux et un ou deux miniscules) et les derniers sont du xviie siècle. La modicité relative de ce
chiffre s’explique naturellement par toutes les discussions qui se prolongèrent
dans l’Eglise grecque au sujet de la canonicité du livre. Il existe aussi
quelques fragments sur papyrus, et des citations des anciens Pères, Origène,
Hippolyte et Méthodius.8

Up to the present we only know of about
250 manuscripts of the original text of the Apocalypse. Very few are earlier
than the tenth century (seven [or eight] uncials and one or two minuscules) and
the latest [i.e., most recent] are
from the seventeenth century. The relative paucity of this number can be
naturally explained by all the discussions that took place over time in the
Greek church on the subject of the canonicity of the book. Also extant are some
papyrus fragments and citations of the early fathers, Origen, Hippolytus, and

The suspicion of the Apocalypse in the
Christian east was such that it never came to be used in the liturgy, and it
was never admitted into the Peshitta or Syriac New Testament.9
So, while only a restricted number of fathers referred to one passage or
another of the Apocalypse, far fewer composed extensive commentaries on it than
they did on the Gospels.


The earliest references to the
Apocalypse are not in systematic exegetical commentaries but are, rather,
passing or incidental comments in apocrypha or in early patristic treatises.
According to Eusebius, Papias, bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor in the early
second century,10 was heir to such unwritten traditions as a
belief in a literal thousand-year reign after the resurrection of the dead, and
he personally listened to John teach.


Among these he asserts that there
will also be some sort of millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when
the kingdom of Christ will be physically set up on this earth. I suppose that
he got these notions by accepting the apostolic accounts, simply
because he failed to understand that the utterances in their memoirs had been
spoken mystically [or, allegorically]
by them.

Jerome reports that:

Hic dicitur annorum mille iudaeicam
edidisse deuterosin.
Quem secuti sunt Irenaeus et Apollinaris et ceteri, qui post resurrectionem
aiunt in carne cum sanctis Dominum regnaturum. Tertullianus quoque in libro de
Spe fidelium et Victorinus Pitabionensis et Lactantius hac opinione ducuntur.12

[Papias] is said to have promulgated
the Jewish tradition of a millennium, and he is followed by Irenaeus,
Apollinaris, and others, who say that after the resurrection the Lord will
reign in the flesh with the saints. Tertullian too in his book on the “Hope
of the Faithful” and Victorinus Pitabionensis [sic = Petovionensis, i.e.,
of Pettau] and Lactantius are led by this belief.

We do not have information about the
Apocalypse from other orthodox writers contemporary with Papias — writers
such as Ignatius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, and even the archheretic
Cerinthus (early second century) was reputed to have believed in a literal
millennium.13 In the middle of the second century, scarcely
sixty years after the composition of the Apocalypse, Justin Martyr attributes
the millennial belief to John — a doctrinal position in harmony with
Isaiah and others:


And next, also [v.l., and this is true since] a certain man among us named John,
one of Christ’s apostles, when he had received a revelation, prophesied that
those who had faith in our Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand
years, and that afterwards the universal and, to state it briefly, everlasting
resurrection and judgment of all would take place with one accord.

[This is probably the source of Jerome’s
statement at De Viris Illustribus 9
and in his Chronicle that Justin had
written a commentary on the Apocalypse, an assertion for which there is no
other evidence.] A few decades later, Irenaeus interprets a number of passages
and words from the Apocalypse,15
stating that John received it near the end of the reign of Domitian.


But if it had been necessary to
proclaim his [i.e., John’s] name
openly at the present time, it would have been spoken by him who in fact beheld
the apocalypse. For it was seen not long ago but almost in our own generation,
near the end of the reign of Domitian.

As Jerome stated in the passage quoted
above about Papias, Irenaeus, too, follows the early Christian tradition of a
literal millennium and attendant doctrines, although in other matters his
exegesis was allegorical:

Millenarianism is one of the most
robust elements in his [i.e.,
Irenaeus’] thought and piety. . . . The sheet-anchor of all is the assertion,
so utterly contrary to his general expository usage when other parts of the
Bible are in review, that apocalyptical Scripture must not be interpreted in an
allegorical or symbolical manner. It is fundamental that a literal
interpretation is alone legitimate. . . . In final token that the religious
experience of Irenaeus was robust and prophetic rather than quiet and
speculative is his Millenarianism. This too is a Biblical and primitive

Bishop Melito of Sardis, a contemporary
of Irenaeus, is reported to have written on the Apocalypse,18
but the text is not extant.

At the close of the second and the
beginning of the third century, Tertullian, the famous Latin lawyer-convert
from North Africa who died some time after 220, often cited the Apocalypse,
giving a literal interpretation to the Millennium. The idea of recapitulatio or anakephalaiosis is usually traced to Tertullian and
Irenaeus, although it is later developed by others, including Victorinus and
Lactantius, but particularly Tyconius (see below). John of Damascus has
preserved a tantalizing quotation from Irenaeus about the beast that is to come
forth: anakephalaiosis ginetai
pases adikias.
. . . [“it is
the recapitulation of all evil”].19
In contrast to his predecessors, Tertullian’s contemporary, Hippolytus (who
died after 235), produced a commentary on the Apocalypse that has not survived
intact.20 But his ideas are retained in a number of
fragments and in his other works (especially De Christo et Antichristo),21
including citations by Bar Salibi (see below). Hippolytus comments on the two
witnesses and Antichrist in his fragmentary commentary on Daniel.22
His, too, is a chiliastic approach: the earth awaits its “sabbath”
rest after six thousand years of existence. For Hippolytus, following the early
Christian tradition, the two witnesses are to be Enoch and Elijah; and, as in
Irenaeus, the Antichrist will come from the tribe of Dan.23
This interpretation persisted: Quoduultdeus in the fifth century states,

Hic ostenditur quod ex Iudaeis, de
tribu Dan quae hodieque in Perside est, ueniat Antichristus iuxta propheticam
benedictionem Iacob patriarchae dicentis: Dan iudicabit populum sicut aliae
tribus. Fiat Dan coluber in uia, cerastes in semita, mordens ungulas equi ut
cadat ascensor eius retro.

It is shown here that Antichrist will
come from the Jews, from the tribe of Dan which even today is in the land of
Persia, according to the prophetic blessing of the patriarch Jacob when he
said, “Dan shall judge his people, just as the other tribes. Dan shall be
a serpent along the road, an adder in the path, biting the horse’s hooves so
that [or, with the result that] the
rider fall backwards” (Genesis 49:16-17).

And Primasius succinctly writes “De
tribu enim Dan antichristus traditur nasciturus” (“For it is the
tradition that from the tribe of Dan will the Antichrist be born”).25
Quoting Ambrosius Autpertus, his major source, Alcuin puts it thus:

Dan ergo de spiritali catalogo eiectus,
ipsa nominis sui interpretatione docet, quia in sexta mundi aetate occulto
quidem, sed iusto iudicio, iudaica plebs perfida prorsus sedibus expulsa
sacerdotii dignitatem perdidit.26

Therefore Dan, who has been excluded
from this spiritual catalogue, instructs us by the very meaning of his name,
because in the sixth age of the world by a hidden but just judgment, the Jewish
people lose the honor of the priesthood, for they have been rejected from their
abode because they are faithless.

And Bede on Apocalypse 7:5 states:

Conuenienter et a Iuda inchoat ex qua
tribu ortus est dominus noster: et Dan praetermisit ex quo dicitur antichristus
esse nascendus sicut scriptum est: Fiat Dan coluber in uia cerastes in semita
mordens ungulas equi ut cadat ascensor eius.

Appropriately he begins from Judah,
from which tribe our Lord came forth; and he omits Dan from whom it is said
that the Antichrist must be born, just as it is written: (Bede then quotes Genesis 49:17).

In his work De Antichristo, Hippolytus apparently used an extracanonical
source, an unnamed “prophet,” and expressed a similar doctrinal
stance.28 About the middle of the third century,
Commodian wrote his Carmen de duobus
using the Sibylline books and various apocryphal texts, but it is
virtually useless for exegetical purposes.29
Similarly, in his Diuinae Institutiones,
Lactantius (early fourth century) uses the Sibylline books, apocrypha, and the
Apocalypse to produce a fanciful eschatology that is neither fully in harmony
with the primitive church nor with post-fourth-century Christianity, though he
does retain some ties to Irenaeus and Hippolytus, for Lactantius, too, is

Haec eos ratio fefellit, quod resurgent
defuncti non post mille annos mortis suae, sed ut restituti rursus in uitam
mille annis cum Deo regnent. Deus enim ueniet, ut orbe hoc ab omne labe purgato
rediuiuas iustorum animas corporibus innouatis ad sempiternam beatitudinem

This explanation completely escapes
them [i.e., the pagan poets], because
the dead will rise not one thousand years after their own death (each
individual, respectively), but so that, when restored again to life, they will
reign with God during one thousand years. For God will come, so that when this
world has been cleansed of every spot, he may raise up the souls of the just,
alive once more with their renewed bodies to eternal blessedness.

Clement of Alexandria, whose life ended
by 215, appears to have taken a “spiritual” or allegorical approach
in his Hypotyposes.31
He was followed by Origen (ca. 185-253), who proposed writing a commentary on
the Apocalypse (according to a Latin fragment of his Commentary on Matthew 24), and a text of the scholia was
published from a manuscript at the Meteora monastery in 1911.32
But Origen, like Clement, eschewed limiting himself to the literal approach,
favoring an allegorical mode built upon but transcending the literal.33
When Origen departed from Alexandria for Caesarea, his successor as head of the
Catechetical School was Dionysius of Alexandria, who was later bishop of the
city. In response to Nepos’ treatise against allegorical interpretation of the
scriptures (Refutation of the Allegorists),
Dionysius composed various treatises on the scriptures, including the
Apocalypse, but little remains of his writings; the few extant fragments of the
Apocalypse commentary are doubtfully ascribed to him.34
Methodius of Olympus, who died about 311, wrote a Platonic dialogue explaining
some passages of the Apocalypse (but particularly Apocalypse 12:1-6) in a
purely spiritual or allegorical mode, although he did retain a chiliastic
belief in the literal millennium.35
He also rejected Origen’s doctrine of the antemortal existence of the soul and
also his nonmaterialistic or “spiritualistic concept of the resurrection
of the body.”36 He uses recapitulatio
as in Irenaeus: the sense is a summing up of past revelations in the
incarnation of Christ and of restoring fallen humanity by obedience to Christ.
So the text of the Apocalypse stands still in time, as it were, to summarize
God’s past dealings with mankind.

In contrast to most of the earlier
writers, Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau (Poetovio) in Pannonia and martyr under
Diocletian (i.e., probably about the
beginning of the fourth century), composed a running commentary on the
Apocalypse.37 Like Tertullian, Commodian, and later
Lactantius, Victorinus used recapitulation as a means of explaining the
scriptural text and its relation to history. Furthermore, he still maintained a
literal view of the Millennium, as did Lactantius in the ensuing decades.
However, they are among the last writers of note who were chiliastic. The
growing animosity towards the literal millennium propounded by the early
Christians is manifest in Eusebius’ and Jerome’s scorn of Papias and in the
writings of many fathers of the fourth century.38
A notable exception is Apollinarius (or Apollinaris) of Laodicea (ca. 310-390),
who also wrote on the Apocalypse among his many commentaries on the books of
the Old and New Testaments. But most of his works are lost; fragments of the
commentaries may be found in the Catenae
or chains of quotations by the fathers on scriptures,39
and there are also some fragments of his work Recapitulatio.40 According to Jerome, in his description of
Papias quoted above, Apollinarius held the earlier, literalist position in
contrast to the later allegorical approach. However his contemporary, Didymos
the Blind of Alexandria
(ca. 313-397), followed Origen’s multifaceted mode of
exegesis, and, as head of the Christian Catechetical School at Alexandria, he
propagated the allegorical approach and taught it to Jerome, among others.41
Didymos dictated numerous works, particularly explanations of the scriptures,
and among his many compositions was a commentary on the Apocalypse that,
unfortunately, has not survived. But he attests to the work in his commentary
on Zechariah, for there Didymos says:


Undeniable clearness [or, irrefutable interpretation] of these
has been made in my commentaries on the Apocalypse of John and on the
Epistle of Paul to the Romans.

For the history of the text and
commentary of the Apocalypse in the West, the pivotal figure is Tyconius, a
Donatist Christian living in North Africa in the second half of the fourth
century.43 Although his commentary, written about 380, is
not extant in its entirety, it was the basis for the commentaries by Primasius,
Caesarius, Bede, Beatus, and perhaps even Ambrosius Autpertus, as well as the
Turin Fragments
44 of Tyconius where the commentary appears
greatly abbreviated and retouched by a Roman Catholic writer.45
For Tyconius, the two witnesses are the two Testaments, the Old and New.
Tyconius made a complete rupture with the old tradition of literal
interpretation, giving preference to the Alexandrian allegorical and “spiritualizing”
approach. He even established seven basic rules for interpreting the
scriptures, his Liber Regularum,
which Augustine summarized in De Doctrina

Tout en recommandant de ne lire
Tyconius qu’avec précaution, saint Augustin incorpora les sept règles
exégétiques son de Doctrina christiana,
perpéuant ainsi l’influence de cet esprit vigoureux, original, et, en plus d’un
cas, déncertant.47

While recommending that Tyconius should
only be read with due care, St Augustine embodied his seven rules of exegesis
in his De Doctrina Christiana, thus
perpetuating the influence of this vigorous, original, and in more than one
case, disconcerting mind.48

Bede adopted the approach from
Augustine; his verbal echoes demonstrate that only Tyconius’ commentary, and
not the Liber Regularum, was known in
Bede’s Anglo-Saxon England. But because of the dramatic and complete shift in
exegesis which Tyconius’ commentary on the Apocalypse represents, and because
of Jerome’s and Augustine’s influence on later writers, the de-eschatologizing
or “spiritualizing” mode of interpretation held sway.

Thus, Jerome (331-420), the justly
famous exegete and scholar who prepared the monumental Vulgate version of the
Bible (the form known and used in the West for more than a millennium), revised
Victorinus’ commentary and in so doing rejected the earlier chiliastic interpretation.49
He had learned his allegorical approach from Didymos the Blind at Alexandria
both in person and from his writings; he even translated Didymos’ De Sancto Spiritu.50
Jerome may have known Tyconius’ commentary, but there are few verbal echoes of
Tyconius in Jerome, and those which do exist were apparently passages already
in Victorinus. Tyconius in fact seems to have borrowed a few quotes from
Victorinus, but most of what can be recovered was Tyconius’ own expression. We
are also hindered from a complete analysis of the Victorinus-Jerome commentary
because the text is incomplete and because the manuscript tradition is complex.
Perhaps an uncollated manuscript I have noted will be of some assistance, but
it is not likely. Yet Jerome’s views of the Apocalypse pepper his works, and
his approach is allegorical.

Apocalypsis Iohannis tot habet
sacramenta, quot uerba. Parum dixi et pro merito uoluminis laus omnis inferior
est. In uerbis singulis multiplices latent intellegentiae.51

The Apocalypse of John has as many
mysteries as words. Yet I have said almost nothing, and any praise is less than
the book deserves. In each individual word multiple levels of meaning lie

In his introduction to book XVIII of
his Commentary on Isaiah, Jerome states

nec ignoro quanta inter homines
sententiarum diuersitas sit. Non dico de mysterio trinitatis . . . sed de aliis
ecclesiasticis dogmatibus . . . et qua ratione intelligenda sit Apocalypsis
Iohannis, quam, si iuxta litteram accipimus, iudaizandum est; si spiritualiter,
ut scripta est, disserimus, multorum ueterum uidebimur opinionibus contraire;
Latinorum, Tertulliani, Victorini, Lactantii; Graecorum . . . Irenaei, etc.52

I well understand how great a
difference of opinion men have. I am not speaking of the mystery of the trinity
but concerning other church doctrines and also how the Apocalypse of John is to
be understood: if we take it literally, it has to be viewed as Jews would take
it [i.e., literal millennium, etc.];
if we discuss it allegorically, as it is written, then we will seem to
contradict the opinions of many earlier writers: Tertullian, Victorinus, and
Lactantius, among the Latin writers, and among the Greeks, Irenaeus, etc.

Both in the same prologue and
elsewhere, Jerome labels the Millennium a fabula.53
For the two witnesses, he vacillates between Enoch-Elijah or Elijah-Moses and
the two testaments or some other allegorical meaning.54

Of all the figures in late antiquity,
however, Augustine is the one who exercised the greatest lasting influence on
Western civilization. In his City of God
book 20, he discusses at length matters pertaining to the Apocalypse—the
Antichrist, the beast, the two cities, the Millennium, and the judgment. Yet,
in treating 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he cites the scripture using
the Old Latin word refuga (i.e., apostates, an individual
Antichrist) instead of apostasia.
(Let it be noted that when Paul, who came from a Greek city, Tarsus, wrote to
Greeks, they understood the word apostasia
in its fundamental meaning: a military and political revolt against leaders, in
the deliberate attempt to subvert and overthrow the ruling powers and the
cultural mores they espoused.)
Although Augustine refers to Malachi’s prophecy of Elijah, he states, Ipse quippe ante aduentum iudicis saluatoris
non immerito speratur esse uenturus, qui [v.l., quia] etiam nunc uiuere non
immerito creditur
“Indeed it may very properly be hoped that he will
come before the coming of the Savior as judge, because he is believed on good
cause to be living even at the present moment.”55
Also, while he had earlier spoken of a sabbath-like millennium,56
in de Ciuitate Dei 20.7 he scorns
chiliasm as ridiculous fables: in quasdam
ridiculas fabulas
.57 The “thousand years” are equated
with the spiritual reign of the Church, inauguated by the First Coming of the
Lord; the “abyss” where Satan is chained is the heart of the
infidels.58 Augustine does assent to the notion of
recapitulation to explain the events that John prophesies:

Et in hoc quidem libro, cuius nomen est
apocalypsis, obscure multa dicuntur, ut mentem legentis exerceant, et pauca in
eo sunt, ex quorum manifestatione indagentur cetera cum labore; maxime quia sic
eadem multis modis repetit, ut alia atque alia dicere uideatur, cum aliter
atque aliter haec ipsa dicere uestigetur.59

And in this book, the name of which is
the Apocalypse, many things are obscurely stated, with the result that they
exercise the mind [i.e., test the
understanding] of the reader; and there are few things in it which, when
understood, clarify the rest with some effort; and this is especially true
since he so repeats the same things in so many different ways that he seems to
be dealing with various different subjects, although the very same subject is
being dealt with in various ways.

But viewed in the larger perspective,
Augustine has borrowed heavily from Tyconius’ approach. In the hands of the
great Latin church father, the interpretation of the Apocalypse has become “spiritualized”
and allegorized (or de-eschatologized), for the literalism of chiliastic
interpretation has been rejected. All other points, including the identity of
the two witnesses, have been readjusted accordingly. Though Augustine speaks of
Elijah’s return, he does not equate him directly with the two witnesses who
oppose Antichrist.60 A successor as bishop at Carthage,
Quoduultdeus, also explained some passages from the Apocalypse in his writings,
especially Dimidium Temporis in Signis Antichristi.61

In the Greek church, the Apocalypse was
not warmly received and only later was it admitted into the canon. Hence,
Theodoret of Cyr included in his writings some discussion about the Apocalypse,62
as did Procopius of Gaza in the sixth century.63
Of Theodoret Quasten writes:

Theodoret is one of the most successful
writers of the Eastern Church and his literary bequest has greater variety than
that of the other theologians of Antioch. . . . Though Theodoret does not
pretend to originality, his exegetical writings are among the finest specimens
of the Antiochene School and remarkable for their combination of terseness and
lucidity. In his interpretation of Holy Scripture he adopts a middle course,
avoiding the radicalism of Theodore of Mopsuestia and his excessive literalness
and allowing an allegorical and typological explanation, whenever this appears

But the earliest systematic Greek
commentator was Oecumenius, bishop of Tricca (Thessaly), who produced his
commentary in the late sixth century, and the editio princeps was finally
published in 1928.65 According to Hoskier, the editor of
Oecumenius, his work antedated that of Andreas.66
The author of another full Greek commentary is Andreas of Caesarea, a
contemporary, or perhaps predecessor, of Oecumenius writing in Cappadocia about
550-600.67 (The dating traditionally depends on two
matters: he cites Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, hence he writes later than
476; but he makes no allusion to the Islamic invasion of 637.) Andreas is
important in that he eclectically records differing interpretations of the same
passage, and he apparently uses Oecumenius (scholarly debate used to favor
Andreas preceding Oecumenius; now he is viewed as following and quoting from
Oecumenius, as Hoskier noted). While he is attached to the spiritualizing approach,
he records many of the ideas of Irenaeus and Hippolytus (e.g., he states that
the Antichrist will issue from the tribe of Dan, and so that tribe is omitted
in the list of the 144,000 in Apocalypse 7), though he rejects their
millenarianism. But he does assent to recapitulation. Furthermore, Andreas’
text of the Apocalypse greatly influenced later manuscripts of that book.68
Other incidental comments about the Apocalypse are found in the Chronicon
69 and in John of Damascus, who preserves
excerpts from previous writers.70
In the ninth century, Photius compiled his magnificent Bibliotheca at Constantinople where he summarizes, among other
books, patristic comments on scriptures.71
Finally, Arethas of Caesarea made use of Andreas in Cappadocia about 900.72
So great is the antipathy toward the Apocalypse in Greek Christianity that in
the eleventh century the exegete Theophylact composed “a series of
commentaries on several OT Books and on the whole of the NT except Rev. [the

Elsewhere in the East we do not have
much written about the Apocalypse. Ephraem the Syrian (306-373), a
fourth-century contemporary of Didymos the Blind who wrote at Nisibis and
especially at Edessa, composed a wide array of works in Syriac, including
comments on the Apocalypse. Many of his writings were translated into Greek and
Armenian, and some from Greek into Latin and Slavonic. But his style, “characterized
by repetitions and the accumulation of metaphors, is alien to modern taste.”74
As Angelo de Berardino observes: “The works of Ephrem in Latin present a
complete mystery. It is certain that after the deaths of Augustine and Cassian,
the Western world showed a greater interest for this type of work than for the
speculations of Greek theology.”75
In the ninth century, the Byzantine writer Photius, mentioned above, devoted a
section of his famous Bibliotheca to
a summary of Ephraem’s works translated into Greek. Dionysius bar Salibi (who
died in 1171) is notable for providing us with fragments from Hippolytus’ Capita contra Gaium.76
Also, Stan Larson has discovered and edited a twelfth-century Syriac
commentary. But the Nestorians and Monophysites did not comment much on the
Apocalypse, and the other commentaries which may have been composed were lost
or ignored. Recently Leslie MacCoull called attention to a Coptic commentary in
an unpublished manuscript at the J. P. Morgan Library. Though written after the
Arab Conquest, the text is purportedly from Cyril of Alexandria, and it
apparently does incorporate earlier patristic sources as well as an utterly
fantastic numerology.77

It is in the Latin West, especially in
the Roman church, that the exegetical tradition of the Apocalypse became well
developed. Primasius, bishop of Hadrumetum in North Africa (modern Sousse,
Tunisia), prepared a massive commentary about 540.78
He was greatly dependent on Tyconius and Augustine, and though it appears that
he knew Victorinus, it may have been through Tyconius. He has an elaborate
development of recapitulation. The two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah; the
Antichrist is personal — a king of the Jews. But on the whole, his
interpretation is allegorical, not literal. A contemporary, the famous scholar
Cassiodorus, also composed some notes on Acts and the Apocalypse, but he
probably did not use Tyconius though he did know Primasius and the
Victorinus-Jerome commentary. His work lies outside the mainstream of the
exegetical tradition and, in fact, only survives in a single manuscript at
Verona.79 Another writer of the sixth century, Caesarius
of Arles,
produced nineteen discourses on the Apocalypse. Although they were
long known as Pseudo-Augustine or incorrectly attributed to Gennadius, they
were finally identified as belonging to Caesarius, and Germain Morin has edited
them.80 Caesarius has used Tyconius but not Primasius,
and so he becomes an important witness in establishing the text of Tyconius.
Yet another commentator contemporary with these three was Apringius Bishop of
(now Portugal). The incomplete text was edited by Férotin81
and depends on the Victorinus-Jerome tradition but has no affinities to the
Tyconius tradition. At the end of the sixth century, Gregory the Great, who
widely used the allegorical method of exegesis, referred to the Apocalypse in
several compositions, though he devoted none to that book alone. His quotations
on the Apocalypse were later gathered by Alulfus and circulated separately.82

In the late seventh or eighth century
an extremely compressed anonymous Irish commentary on the Apocalypse was
composed,83 and this may have been preceded by a
commentary, not now extant, composed in the late sixth or early seventh century
by a disciple of Saint Columba (ca. 521-97), namely, by a certain Cominus
Scotus, although the evidence is highly questionable.84
The anonymous Irish commentary cites Jerome and names as interpreters of the

(1) librum antiquitum nobis exploratum
super hoc qui in priscis temporibus tractatum est, tamen auctor non inuenitur,
(2) XII omaeliae Originis, (3) tractatus Anticonii Donatiste, (4) expositio . .
. Primasii.85

(1) a very old book examined by us on
this topic; it was composed in the pristine Christian times, but its author is
nevertheless not known; (2) twelve homilies of Origen; (3) the commentary by
Tyconius [for ms. Anticonius] the Donatist; and (4) the exposition of
the Apocalypse by Primasius.

This commentary most likely antedates
what may be called the Irish Reference Bible, a work that draws on Bede and
other patristic sources for its brief, basically allegorical comments.86
Recently Joseph Kelly has asserted that the early insular oral sources of Irish
Reference Bible work were known to Bede of Jarrow (673-735), the most imposing
exegete of the early eighth century.87
However, the evidence is extremely thin and tenuous and does not conform to
Bede’s normal method of citation, as may also be stated of Bede’s possible use
of the anonymous Irish commentary on the General Epistles.88
Still, Bede did know the Apocalypse
commentaries by Tyconius and Primasius as well as Augustine’s extensive
discussion of the text in the City of
and Bede and the anonymous Irish work probably drew upon similar
written material as well as perhaps also being influenced by an oral exegetical
tradition of insular origin. Since Bede did not have access to Caesarius of
Arles, these two writers may be treated as independent witnesses of the text of
Tyconius. Furthermore, Bede’s position in the exegetical tradition and the
extent of his library make him very important for any examination of patristic
and early medieval scriptural interpretation. In his fine assessment of Bede’s
method and contribution, Roger Ray summarizes thus:

Bede’s biblical commentaries are the
largest single group of his extant writings, the embodiment of his avowed
lifework, and the cornerstone of his immense medieval fame. Critical study of
them has just begun, but it has already become clear that they shed important
light on his better known works, like the Historia
It is also certain that they can no longer be dismissed as
merely derivative and allegorical. This essay argues that their patristic
contents serve a well-conceived program of pastoral instruction for a new
Christian people and that their allegorical aspects spring from a lively method
of rhetorical analysis.89

In northern Italy in the second half of
the eighth century, Ambrosius Autpertus wrote a lengthy treatise on the
Apocalypse. He compiled the ten books, composed in two major segments, during
the years 758-67. Until a few years ago, the most recent printed edition was
1677; it has now been critically edited for Corpus
.90 The monumental commentary by Beatus of
in Spain (ca. 776) is based on Tyconius as well as Victorinus and
Apringius.91 Finally, Alcuin of York, the famous minister
of education under Charlemagne, undertook to compose his own commentary at the
end of the eighth century. Cardinal Angelo Mai discovered and published it in
1838; it exists only in a single manuscript, Vat. lat. 651 of the ninth
century, and the commentary covers only through Apocalypse 12:12.92
Alcuin’s primary source was not his fellow Anglo-Saxon Bede (whom he greatly
admired and read)93 but rather Ambrosius Autpertus, from whom he
drew many of the words and phrases for his own commentary.94
Yet Alcuin names many of his predecessors in the preface, and the prominence of
Bede patently indicates his respect:

Beatus Beda in septem periochis dicit
Apocalypsin consistere. In prima post salutationem commemorat Domini passiones
et glorias ad confirmandos infirmos: deinde commemoratis quae in septem
ecclesiis gesta uel gerenda sunt, describit pugnas et uictorias uniuersalis
ecclesiae. In secunda uidet quattuor animalia, et uiginti quattuor seniores, et
agnum stantem, et librum septem sigillis signatum: narrat etiam pugnas et
triumphos ecclesiae. In tertia sub specie septem angelorum tuba canentium
uarios euentus ecclesiae describit. In quarta sub figura mulieris et draconis,
pugnas et uictorias ecclesiae narrat, ubi 95
septem angelos dicta et facta commemorat, etsi non ut prius. In quinta per
septem angelos septem plagis terram percutit. In sexta damnationem meretricis
narrat. In septima uxorem agni dicit ornatam de caelo descendere.

De septem regulis Tychonii; quarum
prima est de Domino, eiusque corpore; secunda de Domini corpore uero et
simulato; tertia de promissis et lege; quarta de specie et genere; quinta de
temporibus; sexta recapitulatio. Septima de diabolo, eiusque corpore. Hae
septem regulae, non solum in Apocalypsi, sed et in aliis libris inueniuntur,
maxime autem in propheticis.

In Apocalypsin primus commentatus
martyr Victorinus; quem sequens beatus Hieronymus quaedam quae ille iuxta
litteram intellexerat auferens, quaedam ex proprio adiciens, unum in eam
condidit librum, promittens, se in ea potissime laboraturum, si uitae spatium
adesset: sed opus illud utrum impletum fuerit, incertum est. Donatista etiam
Tichonius multiplicem in eam edidit expositionem; sed perfidiae ueneno
commiscuit. Post quem Primasius africanae ecclesiae antistes, uir per omnia
catholicus, et in diuinis scripturis eruditus, quinque eam libris enodauit, in
quibus, ut ipse asserit, non tam propria, quam aliena contexuit, eiusdem
scilicet Tichonii bene intellecta deflorans; nihilominus et beati Augustini
quaedam exposita capitula adnectens. Et quamuis eam plenius quam alii
exposuerit, altissimo tamen sermone composuit. Denique etsi numero pauca,
luculentissime tamen a sancto Gregorio exposita sunt capitula per eius diuersa
opuscula. Postremo beatus Ambrosius Autpertus presbyter quaedam ex his, multa
uero ex suo ponens, pulcherrime pertractauit.96

Saint [lit., blessed] Bede states that the Apocalypse is comprised of
seven units. In the first, after his greetings, he recalls the sufferings and
glories of the Lord to strengthen the weak. Next, after mentioning the deeds
that have happened in the seven churches and what must
happen, he describes the battles and victories of the universal [i.e., Catholic] church. In the second
section, he sees four animals and twenty-four elders and the lamb standing and
a book sealed with seven seals. He also narrates the battles and triumphs of
the church. In the third, he describes various events of the church under the
appearance of seven angels sounding trumpets. In the fourth, under the figure
of a woman and a dragon [i.e., a
great snake], he narrates battles and victories of the church when he recalls
the sayings and deeds through the seven angels although differently than before
[lit., although not as before = but
differently than previously]. In the fifth, through the seven angels he strikes
the earth with seven plagues. In the sixth, he recounts the damnation of the
whore. In the seventh, he says that the woman, adorned with the lamb, descends
from heaven.

Concerning Tyconius’ seven rules [sc., of exegesis], the first of which is
about the Lord and his body; the second about the true and apparent body
of the Lord; the third about covenants and the law; the fourth about
species and type [group]; the fifth about times; the sixth
recapitulation. The seventh about the devil and his body. These seven
rules are found <sc., to be valid>
not only in the Apocalypse but also in other books, and especially in the
prophetic ones.

The first commentator on the Apocalypse
was the martyr Victorinus. While he [sc.,
generally] followed Victorinus, Saint Jerome removed some matters that
Victorinus had understood literally, added some things on his own, and
constructed one book on the Apocalypse; furthermore, he promised that he was
going to exert himself very much, if he lived long enough. But it is unknown
whether that work was ever completed. Also, the Donatist Tyconius brought forth
an extensive exposition on the Apocalypse, but he mixed into it some of his
heretical poison. After him, Primasius, a leader [i.e., priest, bishop, or spokesman] for the African church, and a
man who was absolutely orthodox Catholic and extremely learned in the holy
scriptures, elucidated the Apocalypse in five books. In these he stitched
together, as he himself plainly says, not so much his own thoughts and
observations but those of others, namely by culling matters that this same
Tyconius had correctly understood. Nevertheless, he also added Augustine’s
exposition in some chapters. And although he made a fuller exposition on the
book than others, still he composed in a very elevated style. Next, Saint
Gregory the Great explained some portions, though numerically few, in his
various works. Finally, blessed Ambrosius Autpertus, a priest, very beautifully
made exegetical interpretation by putting into his work some quotations and
paraphrases from his predecessors but also adding much on his own.

Relations among the Commentators

Alcuin’s preface gives the general
perspective of early Christian allusions to as well as commentaries and
discussions of the Apocalypse.97
The early writers follow Papias, Tertullian, and Hippolytus in a literal
approach to the Millennium, resurrection, and judgment. At the beginning of the
fourth century, Victorinus and Apollinarius were the last major exegetes in
this tradition. Following the lead of Clement, the Alexandrian school developed
an allegorical method of interpretation and applied it systematically to all
scriptures, including the Apocalypse. This became the underlying approach of
virtually all patristic authors after the midfourth century. Jerome’s
commentary reworked Victorinus’ to produce a more allegorical and less literal
explanation, but neither Victorinus’ commentary, nor even Jerome’s, had wide
circulation. Even Cassiodorus did not draw heavily on Jerome.

But Jerome’s contemporary, Tyconius,
had a major influence on subsequent writers. Augustine used the commentary of
Tyconius, his fellow North African, and also his Liber Regularum in commenting on the scriptures, especially on the
Apocalypse in de Ciuitate Dei XX, and
in describing the allegorical approach in de
Doctrina Christiana
III. Furthermore, Primasius, Caesarius of Arles, Bede
of Jarrow, and Beatus of Liebana all made direct quotations and paraphrases
from Tyconius, and Primasius also became the primary immediate source of
Ambrosius Autpertus. In turn, Ambrosius Autpertus and Bede underlie Alcuin and
Carolingian commentators. This line of interpretation from Tyconius and
Primasius through Bede and, to a much lesser degree, Ambrosius Autpertus is the
major exegetical tradition in the West. Consequently, a deepened appreciation
for and awareness of Tyconius’ interpretation can be very helpful to any
serious study both of the exegetical tradition itself and of the changing
meaning ascribed to individual passages from ante-Nicean times to late
antiquity and continuing to the early Middle Ages.


Tyconius’ Commentary on the Apocalypse

The last recorded possession of a
manuscript of Tyconius’ commentary on the Apocalypse is in the first catalogue
of Saint Gall in the ninth century, where the notation is added that the
manuscript was “old” — uetus.98
Because of the close interrelations of the continental monasteries with insular
origins and because of the doctrinally and textually “maverick”
nature of Northern Italy and nearby Switzerland, it is not surprising to
discover a copy of Tyconius at Saint Gall. It was probably akin to the one
known to Bede and to the one that was the source for the anonymous Turin
fragments in a manuscript from Bobbio.

Since there is no extant manuscript of
Tyconius’ commentary on the Apocalypse, we must design a method for recovery.
Tyconius was known to Caesarius, Bede, Beatus, and to the redactor of the Turin
fragments. He was also used by Primasius, who in turn was known to and used by
Bede and Ambrosius Autpertus. The question of Ambrosius Autpertus’ first-hand
knowledge of Tyconius has not been answered, although the modern editor of
Ambrosius for Corpus Christianorum
was inclined to believe that Ambrosius did not have a copy of Tyconius. Since
Bede, Caesarius, Beatus, and the Turin fragments are fully independent of each
other, if we can find passages in two or more commentaries where the wording is
precisely the same or so close as to leave no doubt as to quotation from a
common source, we may conclude that these comments derive directly from
Tyconius. Also, Bede, Caesarius, and Beatus all attribute statements to
Tyconius, and these, too, we may accept, even though there is no collaborating
witness. Where Primasius has statements that are reflected in Beatus and
Caesarius, though they did not have his commentary, we may safely take them to
have been drawn from Tyconius. We suspect the same for many quotations of
Primasius in Bede, but without confirming evidence of Caesarius or Beatus, we
cannot be certain whether Bede has incorporated the words from Tyconius or
Primasius, since he knew both. In my edition of Bede’s Explanatio Apocalypseos for Corpus
I will cite the identifiable Tyconian verbal parallels of
Primasius, Caesarius, Bede, Beatus, and other early commentaries.

Tyconius’ Liber Regularum

Finally, there are a number of passages
in those commentaries where the interpretation accords entirely with the
principles (and occasionally even with the wording) of Tyconius’ Liber Regularum.99
There are only three manuscripts of the Liber
It was not a popular medieval treatise. However, Augustine
summarized the seven rules at the conclusion of the third book of De Doctrina Christiana, and this was
widely known and followed both directly and in Eugippius’ extracts. Hence, the
method was adopted and propounded by Augustine through whose influence and text
Bede, too, summarized the rules in the preface to his Apocalypse commentary.
Because Tyconius’ methodical description of his allegorical approach accorded
with that used by Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory, it became part of
the exegetical tradition in the West. Hence, even in a late thirteenth-century
manuscript at Laon, the seven rules are listed and attributed to Tyconius, though
without any mention of his Donatist affiliation:

Regulae Ticonii

Regula prima caput nostrum cum corpore
Corpore de uero loquitur mistoque
Tertia describit quid lex, quid gratia
Quarta genus, speciem, totum partemque
Tempora disiungit maiora minoraque
Sexta refert iterum qu(a)e primo facta
Septima serpentis sibi membra caputque

The first rule joins our head with the

The second speaks concerning the true
body and the mixed one.

The third describes what the Law and
what Grace can do.

The fourth depends on genus and species
and the part and the whole.

The fifth separates [or, distinguishes] greater and lesser

The sixth speaks again of what happened
in the beginning.

The seventh undoes the strength of the
serpent’s head and limbs.

The Liber
contained ideas appropriate to a pivotal shift of scriptural
interpretation at a crucial time of development in the western church. This
shift includes the notion of recapitulatio
mentioned by Tertullian but developed by Tyconius. The likelihood is that when
commentators use Tyconius’ catch-words and categories, much of the passage has
originally come from Tyconius’ commentary on the Apocalypse, not the Liber Regularum. Such an approach to
identifying Tyconian quotations is strengthened by the fact that Bede and
Beatus often quote their sources at length with little or no verbal change, an
editorial practice which Bede progressively but only moderately deserted in his
later commentaries.

Tyconian Quotations in Modern Editions
of the Commentaries

One of the fundamental problems in such
a search for Tyconian quotations has been the deplorable condition of the texts
of these commentaries. Yet, we now have good critical editions for Caesarius,
the Turin fragments, Ambrosius Autpertus, Primasius, and a new edition of
Beatus, supplementing that by Sanders, has recently been published.101
My editions of the commentaries by Bede and Alcuin will include source
references and exegetical parallels. For with critical editions and with the
aid of computer-generated concordances and word-searches, we can more
completely and accurately ascertain the verbal remnants of Tyconius imbedded in
later commentaries. Fortunately, modern editors have been cognizant of the
Tyconian origin of many statements in late antique and early medieval
commentaries, and often they have identified such passages. However, since
Apringius, Cassiodorus, Jerome, and the anonymous Irish commentary lie outside
of the circle of Tyconius’ influence, they have nothing to offer the effort to
recover Tyconius. But for our broader interest in early Christian interpretation
of Apocalypse 11, they too are important, even if they only touch on the issue


Anciently there were various approaches
to understanding the scriptures. One very respected mode of interpretation,
associated with the School of Antioch, emphasized the traditional early
Christian practice of interpreting the text literally.102
A leading exponent was a late contemporary of Didymos and Jerome, Theodore of
Mopsuestia (350-428), but unfortunately he apparently did not comment on the
Apocalypse.103 He was followed by Theodoret of Cyr, a
notable fifth-century proponent of Antiochene literalist exegesis, although, as
was noted above, Theodoret cautiously admitted some allegorical meanings. He
thus sought to unify the competing traditions by fusing the best parts of the
two approaches into a new amalgam.

However, since it is primarily from
fourth-century Alexandria — location both of the Museion, the justly
famous center for scholarship on classical literature, and of the Christian
Catechetical School — that later mainstream Christianity, both Greek
Orthodox and Roman Catholic, derives its exegetical tradition, and since most
of the patristic commentators date to the fourth century or later, they use an
extremely refined mode of allegorical interpretation of the scriptures. This
tradition had been developed at the famous Christian Catechetical School at
Alexandria in the late second and early third centuries by Clement of
Alexandria, following the example of the Jewish scholar, Philo, and it was
furthered by Origen in the third century. Origen left Alexandria and went to
Caesarea, taking manuscripts of texts and commentaries with him, and there he
propagated his method. Ironically, in later centuries Origen was anathematized
for teaching incorrect doctrines; however, many of these doctrines were early
Christian teachings later rejected by the church.104
But the tradition of the Catechetical School also persisted and flourished at
Alexandria. During the last half of the fourth century, Didymos the Blind was the
teacher of Jerome, Rufinus, and some of the Greek fathers, including Gregory of
Nazianzus; he was, in essence, the disseminating force by which the allegorical
method developed by Clement and Origen was widely transmitted to influential
Christian writers and teachers. But he came under the same condemnation as
Origen, and for the same early doctrines; his commentaries were repressed and
unknown until the discovery of five papyrus codices in 1941.105
Thus the survival of texts became linked to doctrinal stance and exegetical
method, for “orthodox” and “heretical” were labels subject
to changing and conflicting values in the complex world of Christian polemics
of the first centuries of our era.106

Moreover, Christians were not alone in
approaching texts allegorically. This had been a time-honored practice in the
ancient Near East, especially in Egypt, and the great scholars associated with
the Museum (or Mouseion) also
employed it. But it was particularly with the Neoplatonists of the second and
third centuries that allegorical interpretation flourished, and it was widely
applied to classical authors.107
It was in this intellectual environment and with the tradition of the Jewish
scholar Philo of Alexandria108
that the Catechetical School systematized their allegorical and spiritual
interpretation of the scriptures.

Among Christian exegetical authors of
the Alexandrian School and their intellectual heirs in the Middle Ages, there
was, as Henri de Lubac and others have noted, a systematic approach that
allowed for four different levels of interpretation. The first is the literal (iuxta litteram or ad litteram — “to the letter”) mode of
understanding, that is, reading the text grammatically and making appropriate
references to linguistic (including morphological, syntactical, and lexical or
philological), historical, and cultural matters. The other three we tend to
group broadly into the term allegorical, but anciently the three levels were
called allegorical, tropological and anagogical; their generic term was “spiritual.”
We recognize in Didymos’ commentaries all four levels, just as they are used by
Origen, but Didymos and church fathers of the late fourth and fifth centuries
paid greater attention to the allegorical than to the literal meaning. And even
Jerome, who used the allegorical method himself, lamented that Didymos
distanced himself too much from the literal approach.110
Occasionally a medieval commentator began to develop and to apply the literal
mode of interpretation, but it was only in the twelfth century at Paris that it
again became strongly linked to the allegorical levels.111

One example of the shift from literal
to allegorical interpretation is the rejection of a literal millennium,
mentioned above.112 This could not be reconciled with the
de-eschatologized exegesis of the scriptures:

Throughout its long history, the church
has been the steady enemy of the old Christian eschatology which, as Harnack
says, emerges only at critical moments. When, as has happened in every century,
groups and individuals within the church have sought the old literalism in
normal times, they have been held to display exceedingly bad taste, and
vigorously suppressed.113

The same churchmen who gloried in the
irrestible forward march of their invincible church suddenly remembered, when
that church suffered collapse and dissolution before their eyes, that the real
church of Christ was not to be a triumphant world church at all; they remember
what they had forgotten: that Christ’s church is only to be victorious at the
end of the world. “The Apocalyptic element of Chiliasm,” Harnack
wrote, “it is true, lay dormant for long periods, but at critical moments
constantly emerged.”114

Similarly, the Christian fathers viewed
the temple with apprehension and misgiving, and they could only interpret the
temple in the Apocalypse allegorically:115

It is commonly admitted that John’s
reference to the Temple is to be taken symbolically and not literally. Nearly
all Catholic interpreters explain the Temple allegorically, although all do not
explain the allegory in the same way, some referring it to the Church militant
and others to the Church triumphant. This symbolical interpretation can be
traced from Victorinus through the Middle Ages, for instance through Albert the
Great,116 to the present time. This also is the meaning
given to the Temple by most orthodox Protestants and by some independent
critics. Unless it is taken symbolically it has no meaning in the passage, for
when John wrote, the Temple of Jerusalem was already in ruins for many years.117

Another significant example of the
allegorical approach coming into conflict with pristine Christian literalism is
in the identification of the two witnesses in Apocalypse 11:3-13, also
identified as the two lampstands and the two olive trees (Zechariah 4:3). The earliest Christian tradition
holds firmly that the witnesses are to be identified with Enoch and Elijah.
Such was the meaning given by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, and others whom
Eusebius castigated for the millenarianist or chiliastic views, for the fourth
century was inimical to pristine Christian literalism and eschatology. Yet, the
tradition of Enoch and Elijah was strong enough to gain mention in Primasius,
Cassiodorus, and even in one of Jerome’s letters.118
Similarly, some late apocalypses inspired by this scripture include such an
identification. Although Origen’s brief scholia do not discuss Apocalypse
11:3-13, Andreas later asserts that many Doctors of the eastern or Greek church
even in his day held the position that the witnesses are Enoch and Elijah, and
Arethas notes that it is the traditional view. Even the Coptic commentary of
Pseudo-Cyril of Alexandria gives Enoch and Elijah as the witnesses. In the
Latin west, Victorinus asserts that the witnesses are Elijah and Jeremiah or Elijah
and Moses, the latter probably influenced by the type of plagues that the
prophets invoke against their enemies as well as by the Transfiguration account
in Matthew 17. Yet, even this shift points to the
progressive loss that the church endured in those first centuries, for the
interest shown early in Enoch and Melchizedek subsides and then is lost. So
when Augustine speaks of the eschatological return of Elijah, it is with reference
only to Malachi, not to the Apocalypse.119

In Tyconius, the typological and
allegorical interpretation is systematically expanded and applied. Hence, to
follow Caesarius, Beatus, Bede, and the Turin fragments, we must conclude that
Tyconius, motivated by a strong ecclesiological interest, used the witnesses as
types of the unified power and tradition of the church, in particular calling
them the two testaments, New and Old. Variations of this idea can be found
throughout the Middle Ages, and the notion persists today. But it was not what
the Primitive Church believed. Since the fifth century, interpreters have
variously identified the two witnesses with individuals such as Peter and Paul;
“for Nicholas of Lyra, the Two Witnesses are Pope Sylvester and Mennas,
the Patriarch of Constantinople at the time of the Monothelite heresy”;
yet others suggest two prophets similar to Elijah and Moses. Alcazar asserts “that
the Two Witnesses are types of persecuted and resuscitated Christianity. . . .
For Bousset, the Two Witnesses are not Elias and Henoch but the might and power
of the Church, although he hesitates to deny the tradition relating to Elias
and Henoch.”120 In the twelfth century, Peter Cantor, one of
the great “masters of the sacred page,”121
wrote in his commentary on the Apocalypse:

Et dabo ad consolationem et auxilium
electorum; dabo supple officium predicationis testibus Helye et Enoch per quos
alii praedicatores intelliguntur. hii sunt commendat Helyam et Enoch ostendens
quanti sint meriti quantaeue potestatis et in ill(is) commendat omnes

“And I shall give” to the
comfort and help of the elect; “I shall give” supply the
responsibility of preaching; “to the witnesses” Elijah and Enoch,
through whom other preachers are understood. “These are” he commends
Elijah and Enoch by demonstrating how much merit and power is in them, and in
them he commends all the preachers.

Jewish pre-Christian traditions,
including the Pseudo-Philo Liber
Antiquitatum Biblicarum,
123 often associated Elijah and Enoch as two
precursors who would return and be slain; and the Apocalypse of Elijah
recognizes sixty such precursors.124
Because of this confusing welter of explanations, and because the allegorical
and typological interpretations permeate the tradition, at the expense of the
literal approach, we present the actual quotations from the early Christian
writers through Alcuin of York in the West and through Photius and Arethas in
the East.


Descensus Christi ad inferos

9. Dominus autem tenens manum Adae
tradidit Michaeli archangelo: et omnes sancti sequebantur Michaelem
archangelum, et introduxit omnes in paradisi gratiam gloriosam. Et occurrerunt
eis obuiam duo uiri uetusti dierum. Interrogati autem a sanctis: Qui estis uos
qui nobiscum in inferis mortui nondum fuistis et in paradiso corpore collocati
estis? respondens unus ex eis dixit: Ego sum Enoch, qui uerbo domini translatus
sum huc; iste autem qui mecum est Elias Thesbites est, qui curru igneo
assumptus est hic, et usque nunc non gustauimus mortem, sed in aduentum
Antichristi reseruati sumus, diuinis signis et prodigiis proeliaturi cum eo, et
ab eo occisi in Ierusalem, post triduum et dimidium diei iterum uiui in nubibus

Christ’s Descent into Hell: The Gospel
of Nicodemus

Thus the Lord went into paradise
holding the hand of Adam and entrusted him to Michael the archangel; and all
the saints were following Michael the archangel, and he led them all through
the glorious door into paradise. Two very old men met them there. When they
were asked by the saints, “Who are you who, though dead, have not yet been
with us in hades but have been placed in paradise with your bodies?” one
of them replied and said, “I am Enoch who was translated hither by the
word of the lord. And this man who is with me is Elijah the Tishbite, who was
caught up here in a chariot of fire. And we have not tasted death until the
present moment, but rather we have been preserved to counter the coming of
Antichrist. Using divine signs and prodigies [miracles], we shall battle
against him, and when we have been killed at Jerusalem, after three and a half
days we shall assuredly be raised up in clouds, alive once again.”126

Historia Iosephi Fabri Lignarii

32. Et diximus: O domine noster, deus
et seruator noster, quinam sunt illi quattuor, quos dixisti e medio sublaturum
esse Antichristum ob exprobationem eorum? Respondit seruator: Illi sunt Henoch,
Elias, Schila, et Tabitha.127

And we said, “Our Lord, our God
and Savior, whoever are these four whom you have said the Antichrist will bear
off from the midst [sc., of the
people] because of them being proved? The Savior replied, these are Enoch,
Elijah, Schila, and Tabitha.


Translatus est Enoch et Helias nec mors
eorum reperta est, dilata scilicet; ceterum morituri reseruantur, ut
antichristum sanguine suo exstinguant. Obiit et Iohannes, quem in aduentum domini
remansurum frustra fuerat spes.128

Enoch and Elijah were translated nor
did they experience death; it was postponed. However that may be, although they
are going to die, they are preserved so that by their blood they may destroy
the Antichrist. Even John died who had vainly hoped that he would remain alive
until the second coming of the Lord.

Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses


Quid autem de illis dicimus, quando
quidem Enoch placens Deo in quo placuit corpore translatus est, translationem
iustorum praemonstrans, et Helias sicut erat in plasmatis substantia assumptus
est, assumptionem patrum prophetans? Et nihil impediit eos corpus in
translationem et assumtionem eorum: per illas enim manus per quas in initio
plasmati sunt, per ipsas assumptionem et translationem acceperunt.

And what do we say of them? Wherever
Enoch is, the one who well pleased God, he was translated in his body, thus
proclaiming in advance the change of the righteous. And Elijah, when he was in
the hypostasis [i.e., the substance,
essence, or foundation] of the
creation [lit., plasma, image, or the shaped creation], was caught up,
prophesying the event of the spiritual [i.e.,
the righteous] people being caught up to heaven. And their bodies did not
impede them at all in the change and being caught up. For they received their
change and ascension through the hands of those by whom they were fashioned in
the beginning.

Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses

Manifestius adhuc etiam de nouissimo
tempore et de his qui sunt in eo decem regibus in quos diuidetur quod nunc
regnat imperium significauit Iohannes, domini discipulus, in Apocalypsi,
edisserens quae fuerint decem cornua quae a Daniele uisa sunt dicens sic dictum
esse sibi [quotes Apocalypse 17:12-14; then Daniel 2:33-45].

Illo enim ueniente, et sua sententia
apostasiam recapitulante in semetipsum et sua uoluntate et arbitrio operante
quaecumque operabitur et in templo dei sedente, ut sicut Christum adorent illum
qui seducentur ab illo, quapropter et iuste in stagnum proicietur ignis
[Apocalypse 19:20], deo autem secundum suam prouidentiam praesciente omnia et
apto tempore eum qui talis futurus erat, immittente, ut credant falso, ut
iudicentur omnes, qui non crediderunt ueritati, sed consenserunt iniquitati
[2 Thessalonians 2:11-12].

Cuius aduentum Iohannes in Apocalypsi
significauit ita [quotes Apocalypse 13:2-10].

Nouissimus enim agon hic iustorum, in
quo uincentes coronantur incorruptelam. Et propter hoc in bestia ueniente
recapitulatio fit uniuersae iniquitatis et omnis doli ut in ea confluens et
conclusa omnis uirtus apostatica in caminum mittatur ignis.130

Rather plainly to this point has John,
the Lord’s disciple, indicated in the Apocalypse concerning the very last time
and concerning those who are at that time the ten kings among whom the current
ruling power is to be divided. John explains what the ten horns, seen by
Daniel, were to be, stating that it had been told to him as follows [Irenaeus
then quotes Apocalypse 17:12-14 and Daniel 2:33-45]. . . . For he [sc., the Antichrist] will come, and his
intention will summarize [lit.,
recapitulate] the apostasy in and for himself, and his will and desire will
accomplish whatever is to be done [i.e.,
whatever he wants he will do], and he will sit in the temple of God so that
those who are seduced by him may worship him as though he were Christ. Hence,
justly “he will be cast into the lake of fire” [Apocalypse 19:20].
But God, who because of his providence, knows all things, and at the apt time
he will send forth him who was to be such “that they believe in a
falsehood and that there be judged all who did not have faith in the truth but
consented to iniquity” [2 Thessalonians 2:11-12]. In the Apocalypse John
thus indicated the coming of that person [sc.,
the Antichrist; Irenaeus then quotes Apocalypse 13:2-10]. . . .

For this is the very last conflict of
the righteous, and if they are victorious in it, they will be crowned with an
incorruptible crown [sc., of glory].
And consequently with the arrival of the beast there is produced a
recapitulation of all evil and of every deceitfulness so that the entire power
of apostasy, flowing together and being enclosed in the beast may be sent with
it into the fiery furnace.

Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses

His autem sic se habentibus, et in
omnibus antiquis et probatissimis et ueteribus scripturis numero hoc posito, et
testimonium perhibentibus his qui facie ad faciem Iohannem uiderunt . . .
(numerus enim qui dicitur sex similiter custoditus recapitulationem ostendit
uniuersae apostasiae eius quae initio et quae in mediis temporibus et quae in
fine erit). . . .

Cum autem deuastauerit Antichristus hic
omnia in hoc mundo, regnauerit annis tribus et mensibus sex et sederit in
templo Hierosolymis, tunc ueniet dominus de caelis in nubibus in gloria patris,
illum quidem et obaudientes ei in stagnum ignis mittens, adducens autem iustis
regni tempora, hoc est requietionem, septimam diem sanctificatam, et restituens
Abrahae promissionem hereditatis.131

Since that is the way matters stand,
and since this number is found in all of the most ancient and proven [or, approved] copies of the
scriptures, and since those who saw John face to face bear testimony of it . .
. (for the number that constitutes the digit six, consistently preserved points out the recapitulations of its universal
[worldwide] apostasy that occurred in the beginning, in the meridian of time [lit., the middle times], and that will
occur at the end). . . .

But when this Antichrist shall have
destroyed everything in this world, he will reign for three years and six
months, and he will even sit down in the temple at Jerusalem. Then shall the
Lord come from heaven in clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man
[the Antichrist] and those who obey him into the lake of fire. But he shall
bring forth for the righteous the times of his kingdom, that is, the rest, the
hallowed seventh day, and restore to Abraham the covenanted inheritance.

Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses

Si autem quidam tentauerint
allegorizare haec quae eiusmodi sunt, neque in omnibus poterunt consonantes
sibimetipsis inueniri, et conuincentur ab ipsis dictionibus disserentibus [v.l., differentibus]. . . . Haec enim
alia uniuersa in resurrectionem iustorum sine controuersia dicta sunt, quae fit
post aduentum Antichristi et perditionem omnium gentium sub eo exsistentium, in
qua regnabunt iusti in terra, crescentes ex uisione domini, et per ipsum
assuescent capere gloriam dei patris, et cum sanctis angelis conuersationem et
communionem et unitatem spiritalium in regno capient. et illi quos dominus in
carne inueniet exspectantes eum de caelis et perpessos tribulationem, qui et effugerint
iniqui manus.132

But if certain individuals shall
attempt to allegorize these matters, which are of that sort, they shall not be
found agreeing among themselves on all issues, and they will be found guilty by
the very people who argue with their public statements [v.l., by themselves because of their conflicting statements]. . . .
For all these other points and issues have been stated without controversy
about the resurrection of the just, that it happens after the coming of
Antichrist, and also about the destruction of all nations that exist under him
[i.e., under his domination and
control]. At the time of that destruction the righteous shall reign upon the
earth, growing because of the overseeing and revelations of the Lord, and
through him they will become accustomed to receive the glory of God the father,
and, with the holy angels, they shall receive in the kingdom the behavior,
communion, and unity of spiritual beings. And those whom the Lord will find [sc., still living] in the flesh, waiting
for him [sc., to come] from the
heavens, and suffering tribulation, these will also flee from the hands of the
evil one.

Hippolytus, De Christo et Antichristo


When he said one week [v.l., By one week of years], therefore,
he signified the last week that is to be at the end of the whole world. The two
prophets, Enoch and Elijah, will take up half of the week. For they will preach
1,260 days clothed in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the [sc., chosen] people and to all the

Hippolytus, De Christo et Antichristo


He must assuredly cause his forerunners
to appear first, just as he says through Malachi, his messenger: “I shall
send to you Elijah the Tishbite before the arrival of the great and glorious
day of the Lord. And he shall restore [establish] the hearts of the fathers
upon the children, and the disobedient in [= to or by] the thought [= wisdom] of the righteous, so that I might not
ever come and utterly strike down the earth” [Malachi 4:5-6]. These will [v.l., therefore] come and proclaim the impending appearance of
Christ from heaven. And they shall also perform signs and wonders that they
might shame men and turn them to repentance, because of their haughty
lawlessness [wickedness] and disobedience [impiety].

For John says, “And I shall grant
to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in
sackcloth” [Apocalypse 11:3]. That is, the half of a week, that which [v.l., of which] Daniel spoke.

Hippolytus, Capita contra Gaium

Et dabo duos testes meos et
et cetera. H(oc) e(st) uenient duo testes, prophetae Henoch et
Elias. Et uocat eos duas oliuas, sicut eos uocauit Zacharias [Zechariah 4:3, 11, 14]. Et de Elia dixit Dominus noster: “Eliam
oportet uenire ut stabiliat omnia” [Matthew 17:11]. Illos dicit facturos esse
miracula et signa et adducturos plagas super infideles ut sit requies

Illi duo prophetae surgent aduersus
Antichristum. . . . Dicit Iohannes: accipient potestatem Henoch et Elias et
praedicabunt dies mille et ducentos et sexaginta, amicti saccis, et docentes
poenitentiam populum et gentes. Illi dies sunt dimidium hebdomadis, et illae
duae oliuae et duo candelabra sunt, sicut dixit Zacharias, Henoch et Elias.135

“And I shall give my two witnesses
and they shall prophesy, etc.” That is, two witnesses shall come, the
prophets Enoch and Elijah. And he calls them two olive trees, just as Zechariah
called them. And our Lord said of Elijah, “it is necessary for Elijah to
come to restore all things.” He says that they are going to perform
miracles and signs and that they will bring plagues on the faithless
[disobedient] so that there may be peace for the faithful.

These two prophets shall rise up
against the Antichrist. . . . John says, Enoch and Elijah “shall receive
power and shall prophesy during 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth,” and
teaching repentance to the [God’s] people and to the gentile nations. These
days are “half a week,” and “the two olive trees and the two
candlesticks,” just as Zechariah said, are Enoch and Elijah.

Hippolytus, In Danielem


For when the sixty-two weeks shall be
completed, and Christ shall have come, and the
gospel shall be preached in every place — when these critical times shall
be fulfilled, one week — the last — shall remain. During this time
there shall appear Elijah and Enoch, and at the middle of the week shall appear
the “abomination of desolation,” that is the Antichrist, proclaiming
desolation to the world.

Hippolytus, In Danielem


[Daniel 9:27], [Daniel 12:11-12].138

Therefore the prophet thoroughly
explains about the Antichrist: he will be shameless; he will nurture himself on
war [i.e., be a war-monger]; he will
be a tyrant . . . who will audaciously exalt himself above all kings and every
god; he will build up the city of Jerusalem and will restore the sanctuary of
the temple; . . . and the disobedient will worship him as though he were God
and will bow their knee to him, deeming him to be the Christ.

He shall destroy the two witnesses and
precursors of Christ as they proclaim his glorious coming [v.l., kingdom] from heaven, as says:
[quotes Apocalypse 11:3] and according to what [v.l., just as] was also stated by Daniel: [quotes Daniel 9:27] — that the one week might be
shown to be divided into two parts. So, the two witnesses preach during three
and a half years, and during the rest of the week the Antichrist makes war upon
the saints and devastates the world, that the scripture [lit., utterance, what has been spoken ] may be
fulfilled: [quotes Daniel 12:11-12].

(Pseudo-)Methodios, Apocalypsis


Therefore he shall soon send forth his
very own and legitimate servants, Enoch and Elijah, to expose [refute] the


Therefore he shall soon send forth his
very own and legitimate servants, Enoch and Elijah, who shall expose his error
to all nations.


But he shall send his own servants,
Enoch, Elijah, and John the theologian, to the confrontation with the


Sed priusquam ille ueniat, prophetabit
Tempore partito, medio ebdomadis axe[m].
Conpleto spatio succedit ille nefandus,
Quem et Iudaei simul tunc cum Romanis
Quamquam erit alius, quem expectent ab
In nostra caede tamen saeuient cum rege
Ergo cum Helias in Iudea terra
signat populum in nomine Christi;
De quibus quam multi quoniam illi
credere nolunt,
Supplicat iratus Altissimum, ne pluat
Clausum erit caelum ex eo nec rore
Flumina quoque iratus in sanguine

But before he comes, Elijah shall
prophesy at the division of time, the midaxis of the week. After the space of
time is filled, that accursed man will come forth whom the Jews together with
the Romans worship. Although there will be another whom they anticipate from
the east, nevertheless, they will rage with the King [= Emperor] Nero in our
slaughter. Therefore while Elijah prophesies in the land of Judah and with a
mark seals the people in the name of Christ, since many of them refuse to
believe in him, in anger he will pray to the most high [God] that it not rain
henceforth. From that time heaven will be closed nor will it become wet from
dew. Furthermore, because of his anger he will turn rivers to blood.


Aquila uolans medio caelo: spiritus
sanctus significatur in duobus prophetis contestans magnam plagarum iram
imminere, si quo modo, quamuis sit nouissimum tempus, aliquis adhuc saluus esse

An eagle flying through the midst of
heaven; by the two prophets is the Holy Spirit signified, opposing the great
anger of the plagues that is ready at hand, [to see] whether perchance,
although it is the very last time, someone can yet be saved.


uidi unam aquilam uolantem per medium caelum.
] Aquila magna medio caelo
uolans: spiritus sanctus significatur in duobus prophetis contestans magnam
plagarum iram imminere, si quo modo, quisque uolens sit nouissimo tempore
conuersus, ut aliquis adhuc saluus esse possit.144

A great eagle flying in the midst of
heaven; by the two prophets is the Holy Spirit signified, opposing the great
anger of the plagues that is ready at hand, [to see] whether perchance, anyone
willingly might be converted at the last time, so that anyone could be saved up
to the present moment.


Multi putant cum Helia esse Heliseum
aut Moysen, sed utrique mortui sunt. Hieremiae autem mors non inuenitur. Per
omnia ueteres nostri tradiderunt illum esse Hieremiam.145

Many people think that Elisha or Moses
is [going to be coming] with Elijah, but both of them died. However, the death
of Jeremiah is not found [recorded in the scriptures]. Through all matters, our
predecessors have passed down the tradition that this [other] person is


Multi putant cum Helia esse Heliseum
aut Moysen, sed utrique mortui sunt. Hieremiae autem mors non inuenitur. Perque
omnia ueteres nostri tradiderunt illum esse Hieremiam.146

Many people think that Elisha or Moses
is [going to be coming] with Elijah, but both of them died. However, the death
of Jeremiah is not found [recorded in the scriptures]. And through all matters,
our predecessors have passed down the tradition that this [other] person is


Deinde ait: factum est in caelo bellum:
Michael et nuntii eius pugnauerunt cum dracone, et draco pugnauit et nuntii
eius, et non est inuentus ei locus in caelo. et iactatus est draco magnus,
anguis antiquus, recidit in terram.
hoc est initium aduentus Antichristi. ante
tamen oportet praedicare Heliam et pacifica tempora esse, et sic postea
consummato triennio et mensibus sex praedicationis Heliae iactari Antichristum
de caelo, ubi habuit potestatem ascendendi usque ad illud tempus, et angelos
refugas uniuersos. sic Antichristum de inferno suscitari, hoc et Paulus
apostolus ait: nisi prius uenerit homo peccati, filius perditionis,
aduersarius, qui se eleuabit super omne quod nominatur deus aut colitur.

Then he says: “There was war in
heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and his
angels fought; and there was not found any place in heaven for the dragon. And
that great dragon, the old viper, was hurled out and fell to the earth.”
This is the beginning of the coming of the Antichrist. For before that time it
is necessary for Elijah to preach and for the times to be peaceful; and thus
after the completion of three years and six months of the preaching of Elijah,
the Antichrist is thrown from heaven, where he had the power of ascending until
that time, he and all his apostate angels. That Antichrist is thus raised up
from hell, even the apostle Paul says: “except there should first come the
man of sin, the son of perdition, the adversary, who will lift up himself above
all that is called God or that is worshipped.”


Deinde ait: [factum est proelium in
caelo: Michael et angeli eius pugnabant cum dracone, et draco proeliatus est et
angeli eius, et non ualuerunt neque inuentus est eorum locus etiamnunc in
caelo. et proiectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, proiectus est in
terram.] factum est bellum in caelo: Michael et nuntii eius pugnauerunt cum
dracone, et draco pugnauit et nuntii eius, et non est inuentus ei locus in
caelo. et iactatus est draco magnus, anguis antiquus, iactatus in terram.
est initium Antichristi. ante tamen oportet praedicare Heliam et pacis tempora
esse, et postea consummato triennio et sex mensibus praedicationis Heliae
iactari eum de caelo, ubi habuit potestatem ascendendi usque ad illud tempus,
et angelos refugas uniuersos. sic et Antichristum de inferno suscitari Paulus
apostolus ait: nisi prius uenerit homo peccati, filius perditionis,
aduersarius, qui se eleuabit super omne quod nominatur deus aut colitur.

Then he says [twice quoting Apocalypse
12:7-9]: This is the beginning of Antichrist. However, before that time, it is
necessary that Elijah preach and that there be times of peace; later, after the
completion of the three years and six months of Elijah’s preaching, he [the
Antichrist], together with all his apostate angels, is cast from heaven where
he had power of ascending up until that time. Thus Paul the apostle says that
the Antichrist is raised up from Hades: “except there first come the time
of the apostasy and that there appear the man of sin, the son of perdition, the
adversary who will raise himself up above all that is called God or above all
that is worshipped” [2 Thessalonians 2:3-4].

(Tyconius) Turin Fragments

332 Et dabo duobus testibus meis, et
prophetabunt dies mille ducenti sexaginta. 333
Id est, ante dixerat: Oportet te
iterum prophetare,
hoc nunc de duobus testibus suis uoluit demonstrare. 334
Duos enim testes quos dicit, duo testamenta intellegi uoluit, in quibus
ecclesia ipsius gubernatur ac regitur. 335 Non enim dixit: facio mihi testes,
tanquam qui non fuerint, sed Dabo testibus, qui ab initio mecum sunt et a me
penitus non discesserunt. 336 Dies autem mille ducenti sexaginta, non tempus
est pacis sed nouissimae persecutionis, in quibus in christianos diabolus
exardescet, quando ad probandum ecclesiam potestatem acceperit. 337 Et sicut ante
diluuium, quando peccata hominum usque ad caelum extulerant caput, non defuit
qui iram Domini pereuntibus praedicaret, ita tunc non deerunt qui regnum Dei et
nouissimum diem adnuncient, exemplo suo peccatoribus paenitentiae uiam
demonstrent. 338 Saccis, inquit, induti. Id est, in exomologesim constituti,
339 sicut propheta dicit: cum mihi molesti essent, induebam me cilicium. 340 Et
Iob: Adsuerunt, inquit, cutibus meis cilicium. 341 Deinde qui sunt isti duo
testes in consequentibus dicit.149

332 “And I shall grant . . .”
333 That is what he had previously said: “you must prophesy again,”
this is what is now wanted to demonstrate about his two witnesses. 334 For the
two witnesses whom he mentions he wanted to be understood as the two
testaments, whereby his own church is governed and ruled. 335 For he did not
say: I shall make witnesses for myself, as if they didn’t exist, but “I
shall grant unto my witnesses” who have been with me from the beginning
and have not at all defected from me. 336 Moreover, the 1,260 days are not a
time of peace but of the very last persecution. On those days the devil will
burn with rage against the Christians, since he will have power to try the
church. 337 And just as before the flood, when the sins of men had raised their
head [i.e., the summary titles in a
list] to heaven, there was no lack of a person who was to prophesy the wrath of
God to those who were about to perish, so then there will not be a lack for people
who will proclaim the kingdom of God and the very last day [i.e., the judgment day] and who, by
their own example, will point out the way of repentance unto the sinners. 338 “Dressed,”
he said, “in sackcloth.” That is , established to bear witness
[or, to confess], 339 just as the
prophet said: “although they were a nuisance to
me, I dressed myself in sackcloth” [Vulgate Psalm 34:13]. 340 And Job: “they have
placed,” he says, “sackcloth on my skin [Old Latin Job 16:16]. 341 Then he states who these two
witnesses are in what follows.

(Tyconius) Turin Fragments

342 Hi sunt duo olivae et duo
candelabra, qui in conspectu Domini terra stant. 343 Hi sunt qui stant,

ait. Non autem dixit stabunt, sicut stare non possint. 344 In duo candelabra
ecclesia signata est, quae duorum testamentorum munitione uallata est. 345 Nam
et in septem angelis et septem candelabris unam ecclesiam designauit, ita ut
cum unum nominauerit etiam caetera nominauit. 346 Nam cum Zacharias propheta in
figura nostra e somno excitaretur ut ecclesiae lumen aspiceret, unum
candelabrum septiformem uidit, in quo mysterium septiformis ecclesiae
declarauit. 347 Nam duae oliuae duo sunt testamenta, oleum scientiae candelabro

342 “These are the two olive trees
and the two candlesticks. . . .” 343 “These are those who stand,”
he says. However, he did not say “they will stand” as if they could
not stand. 344 In “two candlesticks” the church is signified, which
is protected by the fortification of the two testaments. 345 For both in the
seven angels and in the seven candlesticks he has designated one church, so
that when he named the one he also named the others. 346 For when the prophet
Zechariah was aroused from sleep in our image, so that he might look upon the
light of the church, he beheld a sevenfold candlestick whereby he stated that
the mystery of the sevenfold church was made plain. 347 For the two olive trees
are the two testaments, pouring forth the oil of knowledge upon [or, into] the candlestick.

Ambrosius, Commentarii in Epistolam I ad Corinthios

Sicut passuri sunt Enoch et Elias, qui
ultimo tempore futuri sunt apostoli. Mitti enim habent ante Christum ad
praeparandum populum Dei, et muniendas omnes Ecclesias, ad resistendum
Antichristo, quos et persecutiones pati et occidi lectio Apocalypsis testatur
(Apocalypse 11:8-9).151

Just as Enoch and Elijah, who will be
sent forth [lit., apostles] at the
last time, are going to suffer. For people hold that they are sent before
Christ to prepare the people of God and to fortify all the churches to combat
against the Antichrist. Reading the Apocalypse bears witness that these two
will suffer persecutions and be killed.

Didymos the Blind, In Genesim


“And Enoch pleased God, and he was
not found any more, because God transported him” [Genesis 5:24]. . . . Concerning him [sc., Enoch] it is said that “he was
transported” [Genesis 5:24], about whom we understand that
either, like Elijah, “he was taken up” [sc., to heaven; 2 Kings 2:11] or “he was caught up” [2 Corinthians 12:4] in some other manner to a
divine place. . . .

Therefore, this matter [or, what has earlier been put forth, namely the verb in Genesis 5:24 translated “and he was
transported”] has an explanation appropriate [or, an appropriate consideration],
although they [sc., Enoch and Elijah]
have not partaken of [lit., shared
in] the death usual to men nowadays; but rather
it is requisite for us to understand, according to the ineffable word of God [or, using God’s explanation that is
secret to us], their mortal condition by their having laid aside their material
life [or, by the fact that their
material life has now thoroughly been laid aside].

And if someone enjoys reading [or, is willing to read] The Book of the Testament [sc., of Enoch], he will realize that
Enoch is said to have been caught up to paradise. And in fact it is not bizarre
to know this [i.e., to learn or
ascertain this fact from this source], even though it is not from an
irrefutable book.

Didymos the Blind, In Zachariam


Because he says that the entire
lampstand is gold, it is obvious that the lampstand, entirely filled with
lights, is spiritual and immaterial.

Didymos the Blind, In Zachariam

[lemma: Zechariah 4:11–14]

[Didymos quotes Hebrews 11:5 and 2 Kings 2:11 as proof.]154

335. When the angel who spoke with the
prophet asked the question, “what do you see?” he replied by
inquiring, “who are the two olive trees at the right and at the left of
the lampstand?” Since no response was given to him, he asked a second time
concerning the two branches of the olive trees who have in their hands the
golden lamp-oil containers of the two spouts that pour out and bring up the oil
. The angel replied, “don’t you know what
these things are?” So when the prophet said, “not at all, my Lord,”
the angel said, “these two sons of the anointing [lit., children of fatness] stand before the lord of all the earth.”

336. To him who has the beginning
of initiation into the mysteries it is not at all possible for him to know the
identity of the olive trees on the right and left of the lampstand. Hence, a
second time he inquires about the branches of the two olive trees. It has been
made adequately clear in the preceding comments that there are topics of divine
practice [study] that are called olive trees because their fruit increases and
nurtures the light. 337. Therefore, since it is not possible for the person who
“knows and prophesies in part” [1 Corinthians 13:9] to contemplate completely the
trunks and branches of the aforementioned plants, he (the prophet) asks a
second time about the two branches of the olive trees. For to acquire knowledge
is scarcely possible [= only with great difficulty] for a person who devotes
himself to the truth “through [or,
in] a mirror and with uncertainty” [1 Corinthians 13:12 “see through a glass
darkly”]. And this is that by not being concerned about details, he might
sometime be about to come to know who the olive trees happen to be.

338. And since this is one explanation according to one of the exegetes [probably Athanasius] of this
passage, a person who took the two olive trees to mean the study of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit, consider whether the branches of these olive trees might
receive [= admit, understand] matters accessible to one who knows only in part.
And so if the olive tree should be [= signify] Christ, then the branch would be
the word made [lit., become] flesh [or, the incarnation of the word], but if
it should be [= signify] the Holy Spirit, then it would be the introductory
(spiritual) contemplation, something called “the earnest” [or, down payment, first installment of
the Spirit] [2 Corinthians 5:5]. . . .

342. Come to understand whether you are
able to accept that the two sons of the anointing who stand in the presence of
the lord of all the earth are or, the same as]> Moses and Elijah — obviously the word of
the Law and the prophetic word — who were seen in glory on the mount with
Jesus. For just as the spiritual law happens to be the son of the anointing as
has been explained, even so it is with the word of the prophet that has been
brought up [or, that we have been
discussing; alternatively, even so it
is with the anagogical or allegorical word of the prophet]. I have read in an
apocryphal book that Enoch and Elijah are the two sons of the anointing, as is
likely because of their having an advantage in comparison with the rest of

Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam

Dicamus igitur singula percurrentes,
primum quid uideatur Hebraeis, a quibus in ueteri testamento eruditi sumus;
deinde per hos quasi gradus ad Ecclesiae culmina conscendamus. Candelabrum
aureum solidum, legem, id est, nomon interpretantur. Lampadem autem, id est flammam in uertice
candelabri lucentem atque fulgentem, Christum, qui caput legis sit, et omnem
mundum illuminet. Septem lucernas super candelabrum, septem gratias Spiritus
sancti, de quibus supra diximus, quod in lapide uno septem oculi sint. Nulli
enim dubium quin lex, Spiritu sancto dictante, conscripta sit. Septem autem
infusoria in quibus oleum sit, quod mittatur in lucernas, quae super candelabro
luceant, hoc intellegi uolunt, septem istas gratias de caelo ad homines per
legem descendere. Duas autem oliuas super candelabrum a dextera parte et
sinistra, inter quas media lampas luceat, legem et prophetiam interpretantur.155

Therefore, as we examine each
particular issue, let us state first what seemed best to the Jews, from whom we
have been educated in the Old Testament. Next, let us ascend through these
people the steps, as it were, to the heights of the church. The solid gold
candlestick they interpret to be the Law, that is, the nomos. But the lampstand on the candlestick, which is the flame
shining and burning, illumines Christ, who is the head of the Law, and the
entire world. The seven lamps upon the candle-stick are the seven graces of the
Holy Spirit, concerning which we spoke above, that there are seven eyes in one
rock. For no one has any doubts but that the Law was written as the Holy Spirit
dictated it. Moreover, the seven pipes through which there is oil that can be
put into the lamps, they want this to be understood as the seven graces that
descend from heaven upon men through the Law. Moreover, interpret the two olives above the candlestick on the right and left, such that
a balanced brilliance shines between them, to be the law and prophecy.

Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam

Haec ab Hebreis dicta reperimus. Nunc
quid ab ecclesiasticis uiris in commentariis scriptum sit disseramus. . . .
Duas oliuas super candelabrum, et ipsi Moysen et Heliam intellegunt, qui cum
Domino loquebatur in monte, et significabant quid in Hierusalem passurus esset.
Omnis enim lex et prophetae de Christi praedicant passione. Alii duas oliuas a
dextris, et a sinistris, legem et euangelium interpretantur, ut in dextra
euangelium sit, in sinistra lex . . . . Mons ibi aperte diabolus accipitur.
Alii autem temeritate non parua, hoc quod manifeste de diabolo dicitur, ad
Christum referunt, qui in scripturis sanctis mons saepius dicitur. Nec necesse
est dare exempla, quorum magna copia est. . . . Et ab Hebraeis et a nostris
multa dicuntur, quorum pleraque sectantes, et alia repudiantes, quid nobis
placeat, inferamus, seruantes historiae ueritatem, ut ex hac possimus eum, qui
per historiam prophetatur, agnoscere.156

This is what we find stated by the
Jewish . Now let us discuss what has been
written in commentaries by men of the Church. . . . They themselves understand
the two olive trees above the candlestick as Moses and Elijah, who spoke with
the Lord on the Mount [sc., of
Transfiguration], and they indicated what he would have to suffer at Jerusalem.
For all of the law and the prophets foretell of the passion of Christ. Other
exegetes interpret the two olives — on the right and on the left —
to be the law and the gospel, such that the gospel is on the right and the law
on the left. . . . There obviously the mount is to be taken as the devil. But
others, with extreme audacity, apply this [sc.,
notion], that clearly is spoken about the devil, to Christ, as he is very often
called a mountain in the scriptures. And there is no need to provide examples,
for there is a great abundance of them. . . . Many things are stated both by
the Jews and by ours [i.e., by the
Christian scholars]; though we follow much of what they say, and though we
repudiate other parts, let us accept and admit what might please us, while
preserving the historical truth, so that we may be able to recognize him, for
he was prophesied throughout history.

Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam

Cumque et de duobus ramis propheta
quaereret, et rursum interrogaretur ab angelo, utrumnam sciret quid duo rami
significarent, et ille dixisset: Non, domine [Zechariah 4:13], respondit angelus Domini: Isti
sunt duo filii olei,
ut Symmachus uoluit, siue zilpnotetos, ut interpretatus est Aquila, id est splendoris; uel piotetos, hoc est pinguedinis, ut
uerterunt Septuaginta; aut lamprotetos,
id est claritatis, ut Theodotio transtulit, qui assistunt Dominatori uniuersae
[Zechariah 4:14]. De duabus oliuis quae erant ad
dextram lampadis et sinistram, supra legimus. Et idcirco nunc interrogans super
his propheta, non meretur audire, quia priora non retinet, siue quod ibi
obscurius dictum est, hic manifestius audire desiderat, aut certe silentio
angeli confutatur eius pertinacia, quod maiora se scire contendat: quamquam
Hebraei ideo eum de oliuis interrogantem, nihil audisse confirment, quia non
bene interrogauit, nec totum quaesierit quod scire debuerat. Denique postea
plenius sciscitatur addens, spicas uel ramos oliuarum, de quibus supra
tacuerat. Ibi enim dixit: Quid sunt duae oliuae istae? Hic interrogat: Quid
sunt duae spicae oliuarum?
quod in morem spicarum rectae sint arbores, et quasi spicae aristis, sic istae
uallo quodam ramorum atque foliorum tectae sint et in sublime surgentes. Duas
oliuas quidam e nostris Filium interpretantur, et Spiritum sanctum, et mediam
lampadem Deum Patrem. Sed nescio quomodo absque blasphemia, alterum a dextris,
et alterum accipiant a sinistris. Ramos quoque siue spicas oliuarum,
incarnationem Saluatoris et similitudinemque columbae Spiritus sancti
edisserunt, quia totas oliuas uidere nequeamus, sed partem quandam et, ut ita
dicam ramusculos incarnationis Christi, et ostensionis Spiritus sancti nobis
esse monstratos. Alii duo intellegunt testamenta, a dextris euangelium, a
sinistris legem, eo quod in altero spiritalis sensus sit, in altero corporalis;
et quod nec totum euangelium, nec totam legem explanare possimus: Et nunc ex
parte cognoscamus, et ex parte prophetemus,
et necdum possimus intellegere quod
perfectum est. Sunt qui duos ramos oliuarum uel duas spicas, et filios
pinguedinis uel splendoris, sacerdotium interpretentur et legem, quae praebeant
gaudium uniuersae terrae. Alii Henoch et Heliam, quorum alter in praeputio,
alter in circumcisione placuit Deo, et cum corpore raptus in caelum est. Pro
splendore et oleo, et pinguedine et claritate, in Hebraico legimus Isaar, iuxta
illud quod de gaudio et felicitate sanctorum in psalmis scriptum est:
Inebriabuntur ab ubertate, siue pinguedine domus tuae: piotes
enim magis pinguedinem quam ubertatem sonat. Haec ut quiuimus, et ut uires
ingenioli nostri ferre potuerunt, locuti sumus, et Hebraeorum et nostrorum
uarias opiniones breuiter perstringentes, si quis melius immo uerius dixerit,
et nos libenter melioribus acquiescimus.157

And when the prophet inquired about the
two branches, and again while he was being questioned by the angel as to
whether he knew what the two branches signified, when he said “No, Lord [Zechariah 4:13],” the angel of the Lord
replied, “These are the two sons of the olive oil,” as Symmachus
wanted it, or zilpnotetos, as
Aquila translated it — that is “of brilliance” — or else piotetos, that is “of fatness or
richness,” as the Septuagint translated it; or lamprotetos, that is “of shining or gleaming light,” as
Theodotion translated it [sc., in his
version of the Septuagint Old Testament], “who stand beside the Lord of
the whole earth” [Zechariah 4:14]. Concerning the two olive trees
that were at the right and left of the lampstand, we read above. And therefore
when the prophet now asks about them, he does not deserve to hear because he
does not retain the previous answers whether here he wants to hear it stated
more openly, because it was stated there too obtusely [or, in a rather obscure fashion], or his impertinence is castigated
[refuted] by the angel’s silence, because the prophet seeks to know greater
matters [sc., than he ought to know].
However, the Jewish writers thus assert that the prophet heard nothing when he
inquired about the olive trees, on the grounds that he was not asking well his
question nor did he ask everything that he ought to know.

Next, he later seeks to know more
fully, adding a question about the spikes or branches of the olives, about
which he had been silent earlier. For there he said, “what are these two
olive trees?” [Zechariah 4:12] He inquires, “what are the
two twigs of the olives?” [Zechariah 4:13]
metaphorically, because the trees are standing straight up, in the same way as
spikes of grain, and as though they were shoots with ears of grain, so these
have been covered by a sort of wall of branches and leaves, and they ascend
upwards. Some of our people interpret the two olives as the Son and the Holy
Spirit, and the lampstand in the midst as God the Father. But I do not
comprehend how they can take one on the right and the other on the left without
blaspheming. They explain that the branches or twigs of the olives are the
incarnation of the Savior and the likeness of the Holy Spirit to a dove,
because we are unable to see the entire olive trees, but just a certain part,
and, if I say it this way, the branches of the incarnation of Christ and also
of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit have been shown to us. Others
understand [sc., the two olive
branches or trees to be] the two testaments, the gospel on the right, on the
left the law [sc., of Moses], because
in the one is a spiritual [or allegorical] sense, in the other a corporal [or
material sense], and because we can neither explain the totality of the gospel
nor all of the law: “And now we know in part, and we prophesy in part”
[1 Corinthians 13:9], and we are not yet capable
of understanding that which is perfect. Some people interpret the two branches
of the olives or the two twigs, as well as the sons of richness or brilliance,
as the priest and the law, that furnish joy to all the earth. Others Enoch and Elijah — the one pleased God because of the
foreskin [i.e., although he lived
prior to the covenant with Abraham] and the other because of circumcision [i.e., he complied with circumcision as a
mark of the covenant with Abraham] — and each was taken to heaven with
[in] his body. Pertaining to brilliance and olive oil, and also richness and
glory, in the Hebrew we read “Isaar” following which concerning the
joy and felicity of the saints it is written in the Psalms: “They will
become drunk from the plenty” or “from the richness of thy house.”
For piotes
corresponds more closely to richness than to plenty and copiousness. We have
said what we could and as the strength of our feeble mind has allowed, briefly
grazing [or, touching] diverse opinions held by Jewish and Christian
scholars, whoever said anything a little better and more accurately, and we now
freely yield to others better than us.

Jerome, Commentarii in Amos

Et si ascenderint, inquit, usque ad
caelum, inde detraham eos, quia et Henoch et Helias rapti cum corporibus in
caelum, Dei reguntur arbitrio.158

And so, he says, if they shall ascend
into heaven, from whence I shall draw them down, because both Enoch and Elijah
were caught up to heaven with their bodies [i.e.,
corporeally; and there] they are ruled [or,
governed] by the will of God.

Jerome, Epistula LIX

Cum et dominus noster mortuus sit et
Enoch atque Helias secundum Apocalypsin Iohannis morituri esse dicantur. . . .
De Enoch autem et Helia, quos uenturos Apocalypsis refert et esse morituros,
non est istius temporis disputatio, cum omnis ille liber aut spiritaliter
intellegendus sit, ut nos aestimamus, aut, si carnalem interpretationem
sequimur, Iudaicis fabulis adquiescendum sit, ut rursum aedificetur Hierusalem
et hostiae offerantur in templo et spiritali cultu inminuto carnales obtineant

Since even our Lord died, and Enoch and
Elijah are said to be going to die, according to the Apocalypse of John. But
now is not the time to discuss Enoch and Elijah, who, as the Apocalypse states,
will come [back to earth] and die, since that entire book either must be
allegorically understood, as we believe and assert, or, if we follow a literal
[mundane] interpretation, we must acquiesce to Jewish myths that Jerusalem will
again be built up and that [blood] sacrifices will be made in the temple and that the carnal rituals will prevail because spiritual
worship will abate.

Augustine, Epistula CXCIII

Illud uero, quod in litteris tuis
commemorasti obicere nobis Enoch et Heliam, quod mortui non fuerint, sed cum
suis corporibus ex ista hominum conuersatione translati, quid eos ad hoc, unde
agitur, adiuuet, non intellego, ut enim omittam, quod ipsi quoque morituri
postea perhibentur, sicut plerique exponunt Apocalypsin Iohannis de duobus
illis prophetis, de quibus tacitis eorum nominibus loquitur, quod isti duo
sancti cum suis tunc corporibus apparebunt, in quibus nunc uiuunt, ut etiam
ipsi quem ad modum ceteri martyres pro Christi ueritate moriantur, ut ergo hoc
omittam, ista questione dilata.160

As to the matter you have called to our
attention in your letters, that Enoch and Elijah are not dead but have been
translated with their bodies from this life among men, I don’t understand what
that can do to help them in the present issue. For let me postpone the question
because they, too, are said to be going to die later, just as many commentators
explain the Apocalypse of John about these two prophets, concerning whom John
spoke although he did not mention their names, that these two saints shall
appear with their bodies as they now have them and in which they now live, so
that they, too, may die for Christ’s truth the same as the other martyrs. As I
say, let me pass over the matter and postpone the question for later.

Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram

Nam si Enoch et Elias, in Adam mortui
mortisque propaginem in carne gestantes, quo debitum ut soluant creduntur etiam
redituri ad hanc uitam et, quod tamdiu dilatum est, morituri, nunc tamen in
alia uita sunt ubi, ante resurrectionem carnis, antequam animale corpus in
spiritale mutetur, nec morbo nec senectute deficiunt.161

For if Enoch and Elijah, who died in [=
because of] Adam and who bear the seed of death in their flesh, whereby it is
required that they should die, are believed to be going to return to this life
and to die — though it is temporarily postponed — but that they are
now in another condition of life where, before the resurrection of the flesh,
before the animate [living, mortal] body be changed into a spiritual one, they
are not overwhelmed by disease or old age.

Theodoret of Cyr (Pseudo-Justin Martyr)


For that reason they did not die again
but remain in an immortal condition, just like Enoch and Elijah, and they are
with them in paradise awaiting the eternal life of the resurrection of Christ,
the condition produced by an interchange, according to which, as the divine
apostle says, “we shall all be changed” [1 Corinthians 15:51].

Quoduultdeus, Liber Promissionum

Pro Abel quem Cain occidit natus est
Seth, ex quo per ordinem successionis uenit Enoch; qui deo dum placeret,
translatus est ne gustaret mortem, Heliae sociandus ut duo testes idonei
secundo Christi aduentui praepararentur, in confutatione Antichristi et in
gloria iudicantis filii dei: de quibus suo loco testimonia proferemus.163

In the place of Abel, whom Cain killed,
was born Seth; from him in the order of succession came Enoch. While he pleased
God, he was translated so that he should never tasted death, and he is to be
associated with Elijah so that the two may be prepared as ideal witnesses for the
second coming of Christ, readied for the confrontation with Antichrist and in the glory of the son of God who will judge. Concerning these two we
will bring forth testimony in the appropriate place.

Quoduultdeus, Dimidium Temporis in Signis Antichristi

22. [Apocalypse 11:3-4, 6, Old Latin
version]. Ecce et hic tripertita etiam testium diuisio. Contra Pharaonem duo
testes Dei missi sunt, Moyses et Aaron, et duo magi Pharaonis Iamnes et Mambres
resistentes Moysi qui simul cum suo rege perierunt. Et contra Neronem duo
Petrus et Paulus apostoli; a contrario Simon magus qui et se perdidit et
Neronem decepit. Et contra Antichristum duo Enoch et Helias prophetae aduersus
quos tres pseudoprophetae Antichristi exsurgent.164

22. [Quotes for lemma Apocalypse
11:3-4, 6, Old Latin version]. Here, too, we find a tripartite division of
witnesses. Against Pharaoh two witnesses were sent, Moses and Aaron, and there
were two magicians of Pharaoh, Iamnes and Mambres, who opposed Moses; they
perished with the king. And against Nero there were the apostles Peter and
Paul; opposing was Simon Magus (the magician) who both deceived Nero and
destroyed himself. Also, against Antichrist there will be two prophets, Enoch
and Elijah, against whom three false prophets of Antichrist will rise up.

Quoduultdeus, Dimidium Temporis in Signis Antichristi

24. In Apocalypsi Iohanni dicitur:
[Apocalypse 11:7-8, Old Latin version]. Haec platea conscientia est omnium
impiorum in mundo plaudentium in morte sanctorum quod acerrimos quasi caruerint
inimicos. . . .

25. Apocalypsis Iohannis dicit: Post
tres et dimidium diem spiritus uitae a Deo intrauit in illos et steterunt super
pedes suos
. De his arbitror apostolum dixisse Paulum: Et mortui in Christo
resurgent primi
. Tres igitur et dimidius dies tribus annis et sex mensibus
respondent quibus potestas erit Antichristo; eisque suppletis coram oculis
inimicorum Helias et Enoch ascendentes in caelum occursum ire Christo uero regi
et iudici uenienti; qui Antichristum omnesque eius interficiet spiritu oris
ut regnet in domo Iacob ipse de quo dictum est: Regni eius non erit finis.165

24. In the Apocalypse it is stated by
John: [quotes for lemma Apocalypse 11:3-4, 6, Old Latin version]. This plaza
[open city square] is the conscience of all the wicked in this world who give
praise at the death of the saints because, , they are freed, as
it were, from their most terrible enemies. . . .

25. The Apocalypse of John says: “After
three and a half days, the spirit of life from God entered them and they stood
up on their feet” (Apocalypse 11:11). Concerning them I think the apostle
Paul said: “And those who died in Christ will resurrect the first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Therefore, three and a
half days correspond to the three years and six months in which power is
granted to Antichrist. And when they are filled
before the eyes of their enemies, Elijah and Enoch
ascending into heaven to meet Christ, the true king and judge, as he comes. And
he will “slay with the breath of his mouth” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) Antichrist and all his
so that he may rule and reign in the house of Jacob, of him it is said: “And
of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).

Procopius of Gaza


Also, the righteous Enoch was taken up
so that he might not be slain because of Lamech. He had faith “so that he
not see death” [Hebrews 11:5], and his faith furnished grace to
his natural condition. And since he did not die, though mortal, he also
reproached Adam, who had died and was not mortal, because he had not
kept the commandment. For whereas the one entered into paradise, the other was
cast out. But neither Enoch nor Elijah were snatched away from
death. Just as Christ set on the proper path nature itself in himself, so, too,
upon them, who were mortal by nature, he bestowed immortality with all , although through them he provided a type of future immortality, so that
he might not hurl the choir of the righteous into despair. For he demonstrated
through Enoch how the just are going to be separated from the wicked in the
future; and in the case of Enoch, how the bodies are lifted up into the air.

Caesarius of Arles

Et dabo duobus testibus meis, id est,
duobus testamentis. . . . Duo candelabra ecclesia est, sed pro numero
testamentorum dixit duo; sicut quattuor angelos dixit ecclesiam, cum sint
septem pro numero angelorum terrae, ita ex septem candelabris, si unum uel
amplius pro locis nominet, tota ecclesia est. Nam Zacharias unum candelabrum
uidit septiforme; et has duas oliuas, id est testamenta, infundere oleum
candelabro, id est ecclesiae.167

“And I shall give to my two
witnesses,” that is, to the two testaments. . . . The two candlesticks are
the church, but he said two because of the number of the testaments. Just as he
says four angels for the church, since there are seven for the number of the
angels, so the whole church is from the seven candlesticks, if he names one or
two for the places. For Zechariah saw one sevenfold candlestick; and these two
olive trees, that is, the testaments, pour the olive oil into the candlestick,
that is, upon the church.


Et dabo inquit duobus martyribus meis,
ut prophetent diebus mille ducentis sexaginta, saccis amicti.
Quod dixerat
oportet te iterum prophetare, hoc est dabo duobus testibus meis et
; quod est enim Ioannes, hoc duo testes, id est ecclesia duobus
Testamentis praedicans et prophetans. Aliter duo genera esse martyrii ueritas
protestatur, unum in habitu, alterum in actu.168

“And I shall grant,” he says,
“to my two witnesses, that they prophesy 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.”
What he had said, “it is necessary for you to prophesy again,” that
is, “I shall grant to my two witnesses and they shall prophesy,” that
is what John says — they are the two witnesses, that is
the church preaching and prophesying with its two testaments. Another way to
interpret is that the truth puts forth two types of witness, the one in manner
of dress, the other in action and deed.

Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus

Hi sunt qui in finem saeculi per tres
et semis annos, Antichriste regnante, in martyrum sanguinem bacchabuntur. Fit
quoque Enoch et Eliae commemoratio, quod palam iacebunt, et insepulti triduo,
donec uocati subito ascendere uideantur in caelum.169

These are those who at the end of the world
during three and a half years, while the Antichrist reigns, will revel in the
blood of the witnesses. He also recalls Enoch and Elijah who will openly lie
and be unburied for three days, until when they are called [summoned], they
will seem immediately to ascend into heaven.

Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Hiezechihelem prophetam

8. Reprobis ergo tunc praedicatorum
scientia tacere compellitur. Unde et hic subditur: Et linguam tuam adhaerescere
faciam palato tuo et eris mutus, nec quasi uir obiurgans, quia domus exasperans
[Ezekiel 3:26]. Sed quia, Enoch et Helia
praedicante, multi ex his qui tunc ex Iudaeis in infidelitate remanserint ad
cognitionem ueritatis redeunt, sicut de eodem Helia dicitur: Helias ueniet, et
ipse restituet omnia
[Matthew 17:11], qui utrique per Zachariam duae
oliuae, et per Iohannem duo candelabra nominantur, recte hic quoque subiungitur:

9. Cum autem locutus fuero tibi,
aperies os tuum, et dices ad eos: Haec dicit Dominus Deus
[Ezekiel 3:27]. Tunc enim uelut in extremo os
prophetae aperitur, cum in praedicatione Enoch et Heliae a Iudaeis ad fidem
redeuntibus prophetia sacri eloquii de Christo fuisse cognoscitur. Sed quia
haec typice diximus, nunc uerba eadem caritati uestrae moraliter disseramus.170

Therefore the knowledge of the
preachers is then obliged to silence the wicked. Consequently it is also added
for them: “And I shall cause that your tongue shall cleave to your palate
and you will be mute, nor will you be like a man who rebukes and finds fault,
because his house is blazing” [Ezekiel 3:26]. But while Enoch and Elijah preach
many of those who then shall have remained in the infidelity from the
Jews shall return to the knowledge of the truth, just as it is said of the same
Elijah: “Elijah shall come and he himself shall restore all things” [Matthew 17:11]. The two of them are the two olive
trees, according to Zechariah, and they are called the two candlestickes by
John; and so he also correctly adds:

9. “But when I shall have spoken
to you, open your mouth and you shall say to them: ‘Thus saith the Lord God'”
[Ezekiel 3:27]. For then the mouth of the prophet
is opened, as it were at the last moment, when in [= by or through] the preaching of Enoch and Elijah the prophecy of the
holy word is recognized by the Jews, who come back to the faith, to have been
concerning Christ. But because we have said these things allegorically [or, by types and shadows], now we shall
explain morally the same things for [sc.,
the benefit of] your love.

Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob

Hi qui in fine mundi electi reperientur
in morte carnis prosternendi sunt, et illi etiam qui a prioribus mundi partibus
processerunt; Enoch scilicet et Elias, ad medium reuocabuntur et crudelitatis
eius saeuitiam in sua adhuc mortali carne passuri sunt.171

Those who at the end of the world will
be found to be chosen must be cast down to the earth in the death of the flesh,
even those who had departed from the earlier parts [times and places] of the
world; namely, Enoch and Elijah will be summoned back
to the midst and will suffer the fierceness of his [the Antichrist’s] cruelty
in their own flesh that is still mortal.

Isidore of Seville

Enoch filius Iared, septimus ab Adam,
placens Deo, malorum nescius, mortis ignarus, qui sceleratorum hominum non
ferens angustias, a perniciosis contractibus mundi subtractus . . . trecentorum
sexaginta quinque. Manet autem hactenus in corpore; in consummatione mundi
restituet cum Elia mortalem uitae conditionem.172

Enoch was the son of Jared, the seventh
from Adam; because he pleased God and knew not evil, he did not experience
death, although he was subjected to the tight straights of wicked men, he was
snatched away from the difficulties of the world at age 365. Moreover, he is
still in his body, even to today. And at the end of the world, he and Elijah
will recover a mortal condition of life.

Cosmas Indicopleustes


The long-lived and unaging man, the
general preserved for [i.e., against]
the Antichrist, he who is positioned as his adversary and reproaches his deceit
and his arrogance.

Pseudo-Hilarius (Pseudo-Isidore, An
Anonymous Irish Commentator)

<17> Helias homo erat, licet diuina
opera perfecerit. Similis nobis passibilis. Inferiorem se prophetis imponit
apostolus. Sed sciendum est, passio ista de ieiunio et edulio specialiter
intellegi. Et orationem orauit. Philosophicae et mysticae loquitur, ut est
illud: Locutus est ore mysticae. Haec est oratio exortatio quae sanctis
hominibus in angelos transfertur; et oratioOO exortationeque, quod orat,
implorat. ut non plueret super terram. et ipse Dominus noster dicit: Serui mei
potestatem habent claudere caelum. Sicut in peccatum primi hominis factum est,
ita in peccato scelestissimi actum est, ut cooperatores sint creaturae peccato,
sicut dictum est: Maledicta terra in operibus tuis. Annos tres et menses sex,
id est ante legem et in lege et post legem. Moraliter autem intellegi debet
annos tres paenitentiae delinquentibus imponi. Sciendum est temptationem istam
omni terrae insidisse, sicut in euangelio Lucae legitur, quae facta est in omni

“Elijah was a man,” although
he fulfilled divine works. “Like us he was subject to passions.” The
apostle places himself lower than the prophets. But we must learn that this
passion must be especially understood about fasting and feasting. “And he
prayed” a prayer. He speaks philosophically and allegorically, as in this:
“he spoke with his mouth allegorically.” This prayer is the
imprecation that is passed by holy men to the angels, and he implores what he
prays for by prayer and imprecation. “That it should not rain upon the
earth.” And our Lord himself said: My servants “have power to close
the heaven.” Just as the deed of the first man was [sc., counted or esteemed]
for sin, so it happened in the sin of the most wicked one that we became
coworkers in the sin, just as it says: “Cursed be the earth because of
your deeds.” “During three years and six months,” that is,
before the law and in [= during or
under] the law and after the law. It ought to be understood morally [i.e., allegorically] that the “three
years” are placed upon those who need repentance. We must understand that
this temptation has afflicted all the earth, just as we read in the Gospel of
Luke that “it happened upon the entire earth.”

Anonymous Irish Commentator (Pseudo-Isidore)

Heliam et Enoch, spiritualiter

Elijah and Enoch, spiritually
[allegorically] understood, of course

duos testes Heliam et Enoch.176

“the two witnesses” Elijah
and Enoch.

Andreas of Caesarea


These [two witnesses], Enoch and
Elijah, many of the teachers have thought, will receive from God to
prophesy at the end of the world for three years, counting from the 360 days.
And because of their being encircled with sackcloth, they show
to those who are being deceived a countenance that is sad and worthy of
mourning, and those who are found at that time they lead from the deception of
the Antichrist. Zechariah spoke of these allegorically in his vision of the two
olive trees and the two lampstands, because of providing the nourishment of
knowing the light by the olive oil of deeds pleasing to God.

Chronicon Paschale (ca. s. vii1 A.D.)


This is Enoch who was translated to
life as a demonstration of God-s power to later generations, for it has the
power so that mortals die not but rather, while still alive, that they may wait
for a change to a better condition.

This is the one who, together with
Elijah, will be set up to oppose the Antichrist in the last days, and he shall
reproach his erroneous way against the entrusted tradition of the church.

John of Damascus (ca. 675-749)

[cf. Malachi 4:6],179

Enoch and Elijah the Tishbite will be
sent forth, and they shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children
[cf. Malachi 4:6], that is to say, they shall turn the
synagogue to our Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the apostles, and they
shall be destroyed by him [Antichrist].

Enoch et Elias cum Antichristo
. Mittentur autem Enoch et Elias Thesbites, qui Patrum corda in
filios, hoc est, Synagogam ad Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, atque apostolorum
doctrinam conuertent: ab eoque trucidabuntur.180

Enoch and Elijah will battle with the
Antichrist. But Enoch and Elijah the Tishbite will be sent forth to turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children, that is, they shall convert the
synagogue to our Lord Jesus Christ and to the teaching of the apostles; and by
him [the Antichrist] they will be cut down.


[Oecumenius then quotes Malachi 4:5–6; Matthew 11:14] . . . [Genesis 5:24] [Hebrews 11:5].181

Just as if because of returning [i.e., because of the body returning to
the earth upon death], these matters are now taught about them
— that the holy scripture has proclaimed to us how Elijah the Tishbite
will indeed come, it is everywhere obvious [quoting Malachi 4:5–6; Matthew 11:14]. Concerning the other precursor,
we have nowhere heard anything clear, except that Genesis says of Enoch that “because
he pleased God he was taken to another place [i.e., translated]” and the wise apostle
about him, “on account of his faith Enoch was translated so that he not
see death, and he was not found because God had translated him” [Hebrews 11:5]. The time-honored [lit., old] word from tradition is still
valid in the church: with Elijah the Tishbite Enoch, too, will come as a
precursor of the second coming of Christ who will oppose the Antichrist. For
they say that they [sc., Enoch and
Elijah] will precede and will affirm by their testimony that the signs that
shall be produced by him are a deception and also that people should not have
faith in the vagrant deceiver. Now of these two , the divine vision
relates that they shall prophesy so many days either uttering a mystical [or, allegorical] number or else one that
is actually going to occur. And they shall do this “clothed,” he
says, “in sackcloth.” For they shall mourn at the lack of faith of
people at that time. “These,” he says, “are the two olive trees
and the two lampstands standing before the face of the Lord upon the earth”
[Apocalypse 11:4]. Zechariah the divine prophet saw the lampstand, providing
seven lamps, and also the two branches of the olive trees, but the branches standing in the two nostrils [i.e.,
wick feeder pipes] of the lamps.

Andreas of Caesarea

. . . [quoting Malachi 4:5–6; Matthew 11:14] . . . .182

And it is clear that Elijah the prophet
will come . . . [quoting Malachi 4:5-6 and Matthew 11:14]. So much about Elijah. Concerning
Enoch, we do not have witness [evidence] from the scriptures so much concerning
his coming except that he became immortal because of a change of state [i.e., he was transported to a different
condition or sphere], but the report is that he too will come with Elijah the
Tishbite (for they [i.e., earlier
ecclesiastical writers] state that they will come at the time of the Antichrist
and first suffer martyrdom with those who live at that time, so that they not
be overcome [or, led astray] by the
false miracles of the Antichrist) and they will suffer this martyrdom over a
time of three and a half years. For the 1,260 days fill this time interval.

Arethas of Caesarea (Cappadocia) [=
shorter version of Andreas]

. . . [quotes Apocalypse 11:3-6 for the
lemma]. . . . . [quotes Malachi 4:5-6]183

[Arethas quotes Apocalypse 11:3-6 for
his lemma.] And it is clear that Elijah the prophet will come . . . [quoting Malachi 4:5-6]. So much about Elijah. Concerning
Enoch, we do not have witness [evidence] from the scriptures so much concerning
his coming except that he became immortal because of a change of state [i.e., he was transported to a different
condition or sphere], but the report is that he too will come with Elijah the
Tishbite (for they both will come suffer martyrdom with those who live at that
time, so that they not be overcome [or,
led astray] by the false miracles of the Antichrist) and they will suffer this
martyrdom over a time of three and a half years. For the 1,260 days fill this
time interval.

Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin

11:3A Et dabo duobus testibus meis et
prophetabunt diebus mille ducentis sexaginta
. Ne saeuitia prauorum terreret
audientem ecclesiam quoque duobus ex populis unitam gratia commemorat
inlustrandam esse uirtutum. Quae et ipsa caput suum Christum uidelicet in carne
docentem semper intuens tribus semis annis prophetatura narratur. Menses enim
trium semis annorum id est tricies quadrageni et bini mille ducentos sexaginta
dies efficiunt. Danihel autem scribit dies mille ducentos nonaginta temporis
eiusdem quo ponenda sit abominatio in desolatione.184

“And I shall grant unto my two
witnesses and they shall prophesy 1,260 days.” So that the fierceness of
depraved people not frighten the church, united from the two peoples, as it
listens, he recalls that it [the church] must be made illustrious by the grace
of virtues. The church, he relates, while ever beholding Christ, its head, as
he taught in the flesh, will prophesy during three and a half years. For the
months of three and half years, that is thirty times forty and two
, make 1,260 days. Moreover, Daniel writes 1,290 of the same period of
time when the abomination must be placed in [or, sent to] desolation.

Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin

11:4 Hi sunt duae oliuae et duo
candelabra in conspectu domini terrae stantes.
Ecclesia duorum testamentorum
lumine radiata domini semper iussis adsistit. Nam et propheta Zacharias unum
candelabrum uidit septiforme et has duas oliuas id est testamenta infundere
oleum candelabro. Haec est ecclesia cum oleo suo indeficiente quod eam facit in
lumine orbis ardere.185

“These are the two olive trees and
the two candlesticks standing in the view of the Lord of the earth.” The
church, radiant with the light of the two testaments, carefully abides by
[hearkens to] the Lord’s commands. For the prophet Zechariah, too, saw a single
sevenfold candlestick and the two olive trees, that is the testaments, pouring
the oil into the candlestick. This is the church with its never-failing supply
of oil which makes the church burn in the light of the world.

Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin

11:6 Hi habent potestatem claudendi
caelum ne pluat diebus prophetiae ipsorum
. Data est ecclesiae in Christo omnis
potestas in caelo et in terra clauibus ei ligandi atque soluendi dimissis. Sed
et spiritaliter caelum clauditur ne imbrem pluat ne super terram sterilem de
ecclesia benedictio descendat.186

“These have the power of sealing
the heavens so that it not rain in the days of their prophecy.” All power
in heaven and on earth has been given to the church in Christ with the keys of
binding and of loosing sent forth. But heaven is also spiritually closed lest
it rain, lest any blessing from the church fall upon sterile ground.

Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin

11:13e Et dederunt gloriam deo caeli.
Isti sunt super petram aedificati qui aliis terrae motu ruentibus de
stabilitate sua recta deum confessione clarificant. Laetabitur enim iustus cum
uiderit uindictam impiorum. Quidam duos prophetas Enoch et Heliam
interpretantur qui tribus semis annis praedicantes contra mox secuturam
antichristi perfidiam fidelium corda confirment illisque occisis tantundem
temporis saeuitiam eiusdem grassaturam . . . dicente Danihele, confirmabit [v.l., confirmauit] pactum multis
ebdomadas una et in dimidio ebdomadis deficiet hostia et sacrificium et in
templo erit abominatio desolationis
[Daniel 9:27]. Et in subsequentibus, Et posita
fuerit abominatio in desolatione dies mille ducentos nonaginta
[Daniel 12:11]. Qui numerus circa trium annorum et
sex mensium curricula diuersatur. Denique Helias igne quondam perdidit
aduersarios et tres semis annos latitans imbres continuit, tandemque
pseudoprophetis interfectis per sacrificium quod ablatum fuerat conuertit
Israel ad dominum. Hucusque recapitulatio.187

“And they gave glory to the God of
heaven.” These are those built upon the rock who glorify God with correct
confession because of their own stability while others are falling into ruins
because of the earthquake. For the just will rejoice when he sees the
vindictive judgment of [upon] the wicked. Some people interpret the two
prophets as Enoch and Elijah who will strengthen the hearts of the faithful,
while preaching for three and half years against Antichrist’s heresy that is
soon to follow. When at last they are killed, the fierceness of that time will
proceed violently.

According to the statement of Daniel, “he
will confirm the covenant of one week to many, and in the half of the
week [i.e., under the rule of
Antichrist] the eucharist and sacrifice will fail, and in the temple there will
be the abomination of desolation” [Daniel 9:27; KJV: “And he shall confirm the
covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause
the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of
abominations he shall make it desolate”]. And in the following , “And the abomination in desolation shall be placed for 1,290
days” [Daniel 12:11]. This number is about equivalent to
three years and six months. Next, Elijah once destroyed his enemies by fire and
while in hiding for three and a half years, he withheld the rains; at long last
Israel killed the false prophets and returned [or, converted] to the Lord with the sacrifice that had been
omitted. A recapitulation to this point .

Beda, De Temporum Ratione

Duo sane certissima necdum instantis
diei iudicii habemus indicia, fidem uidelicet Israheliticae gentis et regnum
persecutionemque Antichristi, quam uidelicet persecutionem trium semis annorum
futurum [v.l., futuram] fides
ecclesiae tenet. Sed ne haec improuisa ueniens omnes passim quos inparatos
inuenerit, inuoluat, Enoch et Heliam maximos prophetas et doctores ante huius
exortum uenturos in mundum, qui Israheliticam plebem ad fidei conuertant
gratiam atque ad pressuram tanti turbinis in parte electorum insuperabilem
reddant. Qui cum ipsi primo tres semis annos praedicauerint, et sicut de uno eorum
Helia propheta Malachias praedixit, conuerterint corda patrum in filios, id
est, antiquorum fidem dilectionemque sanctorum in eorum qui tunc uicturi sunt
mente plantauerint, tunc excandescens illa horrenda persecutio ipsos inprimis
martirii uirtute coronet, dein ceteros fideles corripiens uel martyres Christi
gloriosissimos uel damnatos apostatas faciat. Quod significare uidetur
apostolus Iohannes ita scribens in Apocalypsi: Atrium autem quod est foris
templum eice foras et ne metieris eum, quoniam datum est gentibus, et ciuitatem
sanctam calcabunt mensibus XLII
, id est eos qui nomine tenus fideles sola
exteriora diligunt, ab electorum sorte separatos ostende. Quia et ipsi ad
persequendam ecclesiam conuertentur nouissima illa persecutione trium semis annorum.
Et dabo, inquit, duobus testibus meis, et prophetabunt diebus mille CCLX amicti
, id est, artissimis continentiae et praessurarum laboribus accincti

Indeed, we have two absolutely positive
indications that the day of judgment is not at hand, namely the faith of the
house of Israel and the kingdom and persecution of Antichrist. The
faith of the church holds that this persecution will last for three and a half
years. But lest this come unforeseen and swirl upon all, here and there, whom
it discovers unprepared, Enoch and Elijah, the greatest
prophets and teachers, shall come into the world before he [Antichrist] arises.
They shall convert the people of Israel to the grace of faith and
render it invincible to the tribulation of such a great storm [sc., of persecution] in the midst of the
elect. After they have first preached for three and a half years, and when
— as Malachi prophesied about one of them, namely the prophet Elijah
— they “have turned the hearts of the fathers to the children,”
that is, when they have grafted the faith of the ancestors and the love of the
saints in the minds of those who will then be victorious, then at that time
that horrifying persecution will flare up and crown these two [sc., Enoch and Elijah] with the virtue [or, power] of martyrdom. Next, as it
violently attacks others of the faithful, it will make them
either the most glorious martyrs of Christ or utterly damned apostates. The
apostle John seems to indicate this when he wrote in the Apocalypse thus: “But
the court . . . and they shall trample under foot the holy city for forty-two
months” [quoting Apocalypse 11:2], that is, show as separated from the lot
of the elect those who, while nominally faithful, love only the exterior
matters. Because they, too, shall be turned [or, converted] at the last persecution of three and a half years to
persecute the church. “And I shall grant,” he says, “unto my two
witnesses, and, being clothed in sackcloth, they shall prophesy for 1,260 days”
[Apocalypse 11:3], that is, they shall preach girded about by the most strict
labors of continence and tribulations.

Beda, In Genesim

[The relevant passage was directly
quoted from Augustine; see above, Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram].189


Et dabo duobus testibus meis, et
prophetabunt dies mille ducentos nonaginta
. Hi dies mille ducenti nonaginta
anni sunt tres et menses sex. hoc erit praedicatio Eliae, et regnum antichristi
alterum tantum, quod fiunt sub uno septem anni. ceterum uero spiritualiter in
ecclesia duo testes duo sunt testamenta, id est, lex et euangelium. . . . haec
omne tempus est a passione domini usque ad antichristum. et nunc spiritualiter
in tipo Eliae, et qui cum eo uenerit, duo testes, id est, lex et euangelium, ab
eis occiditur, a quibus non obseruabatur; hoc sunt duo testes, id est, ecclesia
duobus testamentis prophetans. qui sunt enim testes domini nisi Christiani?190

“And I shall grant to my two
witnesses, and they shall prophesy for 1,290 days.” The 1,290 days are
three years and six months. This will be the prediction of Elijah, and the
kingdom of the Antichrist is something entirely different because the seven
years will occur under one [i.e.,
under just the kingdom]. Moreover allegorically [lit., spiritually] in the church the “two witnesses” are
the two Testaments, that is, the Law and the Gospel. . . . All these are the entire period of time from the passion of our Lord until the
Antichrist. And now spiritually in the type [i.e., likeness, manner, or imitation] of Elijah and him who shall
come with him, the two witnesses, that is, the Law and the Gospel, are killed
by those who do not preserve it [i.e.,
keep the commandments]. These are the two witnesses, that is, the church,
prophesying, with the two testaments. For who are the witnesses of the Lord if
not the Christians?


Hi sunt duae oliuae et duo candelabra
. hi sunt, inquit, qui stant, quod nunc est in praedicatione. duo candelabra
ecclesia est . . . nam Zacharias propheta unum candelabrum uidit septiformem et
duas oliuas
, id est, duo testamenta infundere oleum candelabro, haec est
ecclesia cum olio suo indeficiente . . . et de oliuis, quod sunt duo
testamenta, interroganti sic ait.191

“These are the two olive trees and
the two candlesticks,” etc. These are, he says, those who stand because now it [i.e., the
church] is in preaching. The two candlesticks are the church, for
Zechariah the prophet saw “one sevenfold candlestick and two olive trees,”
that is, the two testaments pouring the oil into the candlestick, that is the
church with its unfailing oil, and concerning the olive trees, because they are
the two testaments, it is so said to the one who inquires.

Alcuin (summarizing Ambrosius

Et dabo duobus testibus meis, et
prophetabunt diebus mille ducentis sexaginta, amicti saccos
. Victorinus martyr
duos testes Eliam, et Hieremiam intellegit; dicit enim quia nusquam Hieremiae
legatur interitus. Sed melius alii Eliam et Enoch. Nos autem etiam in specie
genus intellegamus; id est per duos testes ecclesiam, et per dies mille
•CC••192 non solum Antichristi tempus sed etiam
retroacta tempora uoluuntur. Et bene per duos testes ecclesia, propter duo
testamenta, duos populos, duo mandata dilectionis, et duo martyrii genera. Per
saccum uero intellegimus humilitatis confessionem, uel despectam malis
claritatem sanctorum.

Hi sunt duo oliuae, et duo candelabra
in conspectu Domini terrae stantes
. Ecclesia siue in illis duobus, siue
generaliter in omnibus praedicatoribus propter unctionem sancti Spiritus, per
oliuam; propter lumen fidei et operationis, per candelabra exprimitur. Cum
autem una sit ex duobus populis, oliua et unum candelabrum propter duo
testamenta duae oliuae et duo candelabra dicuntur. In conspectu Domini stant,
quia intima contemplatione conditori suo inhaerent. Hinc Elias cui specialiter
ista adscribuntur dicit; uiuit Dominus in cuius conspectu sto [4 Reg. 3:14].
Potest hoc sub alio intellectu specialiter ad Eliam et Enoch referri, qui
humanis aspectibus subtracti Deo secretius inhaerent.193

“And I shall grant unto my two
witnesses and they shall prophesy 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.”
Victorinus the martyr understands that the two witnesses are Elijah and
Jeremiah; for he says that nowhere do we read of the burial of Jeremiah. But
better, others maintain that the two are Elijah and Enoch. Moreover, let us
understand the genus in the species, that is, through the two witnesses the
church and through the 1,260 days not only the time of the Antichrist but also
past times roll back again. And well does he identify the church with the two
witnesses, because of the two testaments, the two peoples, the two mandates of
choosing, and the two types of witness. Through the sackcloth we understand the
confession of humility or the brightness of the saints looking down upon the

“These are the two olive trees and
the two candlesticks standing in the presence of the Lord.” Through the
olive the church , whether in these two , or
whether more generally in all preachers because of the anointing of the Spirit.
It is expressed by the candlestick because of the light of faith and works.
However, since it comes from the two peoples, the olive tree and a single
candlestick are called the two olive trees and the two candlesticks because of
the two testaments. “They stand in the presence of the Lord” because
they cling to their creator with intimate contemplation. At this place he
mentions Elijah, to whom these responsibilities are ascribed; “the Lord
lives in whose presence I stand” [2 Kings 3:14]. Taken in another way, this can
especially be making reference to Elijah and Enoch who, when they were taken
from human view, came to cling closely to God.

Photius, Bibliotheca (summarizing Ephraem the Syrian)


And a person could not say that the
body has changed into the essence of the spirit at a specific moment. For
although it becomes lighter and more luminous, it still preserves the
characteristic appearance of the body; and it is human [i.e., mortal], since it bears the identifying marks of a human
being. Since they still remain [or,
survive] in their bodies, Enoch and Elijah and John, the son of thunder, bear
witness to these statements. For in fact the creator took these as [or, so as to become] the firstfruits of
our entire human compound [or,
existence; i.e., with reference to
our mortal bodies as being temporarily mixed and joined together]. Thus he
showed to all that if Adam had not sinned, he would have continued to exist
with his mortal body. But these, too, [i.e.,
Enoch, Elijah, and John] while effecting a lengthy life will at some time taste
of death, even if it should be in the blink [or, twinkling] of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52).

But consider the
faith because of them — how it is brought forth from the three
different generations: Enoch was taken up before the law , Elijah after
the law , and the preferred disciple after grace [i.e., “the gospel”] was given.
And so it is obvious that if Adam had been keeping the commandment, he would
have assuredly continued to survive with them .

Furthermore, as to the precise point
you attempted to search out — that the virgin John still survives alive
— our tradition attests that he, too, is alive, just as it
also attests to Enoch and Elijah. . . . For no one asserts that he [John] is
immortal but rather that he continues to live [lit., to continue to remain or
to abide] with Enoch and Elijah until the second coming of our Lord.


This much we see in the texts
themselves. But an especially curious circumstance is found in some of the
manuscripts of Beatus of Liebana. Beatus’ commentary on Apocalypse 11 is
clearly allegorical, as we have just quoted. Several manuscripts of Beatus also
exhibit some beautiful illustrations of the text.195
One is called the Gerona Apocalypse. I will refer to it inasmuch as it is
available in facsimile form.196
On three different folios the two witnesses are portrayed, and twice [on fol.
164r and on 167v] the artist has included their names: Henoch et Elias! Obviously, since this interpretation does not
correspond to Beatus’ contextual identification, the tenth-century artist did
not derive the names from the text of his commentary. Moreover, the Gerona
Apocalypse is only one of thirty-four illuminated manuscripts of Beatus, so the
complex artistic heritage is to be sought in their common source, the original
manuscript of Beatus. But that still would not explain the discrepancy between
picture and text, for Beatus himself would not have designed miniatures in
direct conflict with his own composition. What, then, is the origin of the
iconographic tradition? It is probable that the pictures were copied directly from
Beatus’ manuscript of Tyconius where the pictures again did not illustrate the text but rather reproduced some
earlier series of paintings developed from a traditional Christian
interpretation of the Apocalypse, antedating the fourth century, that may underlie
some of Tyconius’ text just as Victorinus’ underlies Jerome’s. Thus, the early
Christian identification of the two witnesses with Enoch and Elijah was so
deeply imbedded that even when Tyconius shifted to an allegorical and
typological approach in the late fourth century, the earlier view persisted in

Such a transmission of the artistic
tradition from antiquity to the early Middle Ages is not limited to Tyconius
and Beatus. There are a number of manuscripts from late antiquity which have
full- or half-page color illustrations. Among classical authors, such
manuscripts exist for Vergil, Homer, and Terence,197
and it is curious to see a ninth-century copy of Terence exhibiting actors with
authentic antique Roman masks.198
For the artist must have copied these from his source manuscript since the live
comic tradition had long before ceased.

In the same manner, the Gerona
Apocalypse of Beatus and its kindred manuscripts reproduce pictures from the
fourth or fifth centuries whose artistic tradition seems to hark back to the
second or third centuries. The implication is that at least one late antique
manuscript of Tyconius displayed such pictures and that they too were
derivative. Were they perchance developed for an early fourth-century
manuscript of Victorinus? The answer to that question is probably not, since
Victorinus identified the witnesses with Elijah and Jeremiah or alternatively
with Elijah and Moses, and also since Beatus’ exegetical discussion is highly
dependent textually on Tyconius and apparently not on Victorinus. But the mere
fact that there is such an extensive set of illustrations of the Apocalypse in
Beatus and that at least the representation of the two witnesses antedates the
late fourth century demonstrates that the artistic tradition developed rather
early before Alexandrian allegorical interpretation gained sway among
commentators. So even the art becomes an independent attestation of the early
Christian identification of the two witnesses as Enoch and Elijah.199


Thus we can see that Tyconius, by
precept and by example, helped to infuse into the Christian exegetical
tradition in the West Alexandrian allegorical, typological, and “spiritual”
interpretation of the scriptures. Through his Liber Regularum and its summary by Augustine in De Doctrina Christiana, these principles
were widely taught. Through his commentary on the Apocalypse, which became the
basis for the major exegetical tradition of that book, he provided an
allegorical paradigm, applying the theory in practice. Although we do not
possess that commentary, its influence can be traced in quotations and in the
approach found in later writers. Tyconius’ allegorical method — his
systematic exposition of the Alexandrian exegesis — underlies Augustine’s
synthesis and mode of interpretation and, through him, the western exegetical

But while the “spiritualizing”
approach of Origen, Didymos, Jerome, Tyconius, and Augustine changed the future
of Christian exegesis, our earliest sources — and some remnants even in
later sources, such as the commentary Pseudo-Cyril of Alexandria and the
artistic tradition accompanying the text of Beatus — concur in naming
Enoch and Elijah as two literal prophets ushering in a literal millennium upon
the earth. This identification goes back to the second century, to an era not far
removed from John’s composition and promulgation of the Apocalypse, and Papias,
who knew and listened to John, is squarely in the literal tradition of
scriptural exegesis. Given the evidence, the preallegorical interpretation and
identification of Enoch and Elijah, of Dan as the source of Antichrist, of the
restoration of a literal temple, and of a literal millennium on earth may well
reflect John’s own oral explanations of his text.


Note: Some common abbreviations used in
the footnotes are: AB = Anchor Bible
(Garden City, NY: Doubleday); BT =
Bibliotheca Teubneriana
(Leipzig: Teubner); CCCM = Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis (Turnhout,
Belgium: Brepols); CCSL = Corpus
Christianorum, Series Latina
(Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols); CPG = Clavis Patrum Graecorum
(Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols); CPL =
Clavis Patrum Latinorum
(Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols) [SE = Sacris Erudiri 3, 2nd ed. (1961)]; CSEL = Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum
(Vienna); DS = Dictionnaire
de Spiritualité
(Paris: Beauchesne, 1937–); GCS = Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei
(Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, and Berlin: Akademie, 1897–); ICC = International Critical Commentary
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark); ODCC = F.
L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., Oxford
Dictionary of the Christian Church,
2nd ed., rev. (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1983); PG = Patrologiae
Cursus Completus, Series Graeca
(Paris; repr. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols); PL = Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series
(Paris; repr. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols); PLS = Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Supplementa (Paris; repr.
Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols); PTS =
Patristische Texte und Studien
(Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter); RBMA = F. Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols.
(Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigationes Cientficas, 1940–); SC = Sources Chrétiennes (Paris:
Société d’Édition, “Les Belles Lettres”); TU = Texte und Untersuchungen (Leipzig
and Berlin).

1. Hugh Nibley, “The
Way of the Church,” in Mormonism and
Early Christianity,
vol. 4, The
Collected Works of Hugh Nibley
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and
F.A.R.M.S., 1987), 300–13; see also Hugh Nibley, “The Passing of the
Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme,” in Mormonism and Early Christianity,
183–90, and Hugh Nibley, “Prophets and Crisis,” in The World and the Prophets, vol. 3, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book and F.A.R.M.S., 1987), 191–99.

2. Austin Farrer, The Revelation of St. John the Divine
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1964), 2–3.

3. Farrer, The Revelation of St. John, 2; cf.
Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III,
25, 2, in SC 41:204–5, quoting Dionysius of Alexandria.

4. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III, 25, 4, in
SC 31:134; for the development of the canon, see Henry C. Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand
Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1943), 3–30, and especially Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin,
Development, and Significance
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).
English translations accompanying the quotations in the text and footnotes were
prepared by the author. Significant variant readings [v.l.] of manuscripts (and editions) are in square brackets within
the Greek or Latin text, and alternate English renderings are also enclosed in
square brackets in the translation. Scriptural quotations within the Greek and
Latin passages are in bold-face type.

5. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III, 25, 2, in
SC 31:133.

6. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III, 25, 4, in
SC 31:134.

7. Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament, 8.

8. E.-B. Allo, Saint Jean l’Apocalypse, 2nd ed. (Paris:
J. Gabalda, 1921), ccli; for a fuller discussion of the manuscripts, see
Bernhard Weiss, Die Johannes-Apokalypse,
7.1 (1891); Wilhelm Bousset, Textkritische
Studien zum neuen Testament, TU
11.4 (1894): 1–44; R. H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Revelation of St. John, ICC
1 (1920; repr. 1985): clx–clxxxiii; Allo, Saint Jean l’Apocalypse, ccli–cclxiv;
and especially H. C. Hoskier, Concerning
the Text of the Apocalypse,
2 vols. (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1929).

9. Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament,
15–16, 318. See also Henry B. Swete, Commentary
on Revelation
(Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1977; repr. of The Apocalypse of St. John, 3rd ed.
[London: Macmillan, 1911]), clxxxvi–cxcvi for matters of text and versions.

10. For the Greek
Christian writers discussed below, an older but still valuable survey is Aimé
Puech, Histoire de la Littérature Grecque
3 vols. (Paris: Société d’Édition “Les Belles
Lettres,” 1928–30); similarly for the Latin, see Pierre de Labriolle, Histoire de la Littérature latine chrétienne,
rev. by Gustav Bardy, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (Paris: Société d’ÁEdition “Les
Belles Lettres,” 1947) and the English translation, The History and Literature of Christianity from Tertullian to Boethius,
tr. Herbert Wilson (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1968); see also Pierre
Monceaux, Histoire littéraire de l’Afrique
7 vols. (Paris, 1901–1923; repr. Brussels: Culture et
Civilization, 1963); and Frances M. Young, From
Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and Its Background
SCM, 1983). The best starting point is Johannes Quasten, Patrology, 3 vols. (Utrecht: Spectrum, 1950, 1953, 1960) and Angelo
de Berardino and Johannes Quasten, Patrology
4 (tr. Placid Solari; Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986).

11. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III, 39, 12, in SC
31:156; for the fragments of Papias see CPG
1:10.1047; cf. ODCC 1028.

12. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus 18, ed. E. C.
Richardson, TU 14.1A (1896): 19; and
ed. Wilhelm Herding, BT (1879), 22.

13. Gustave Bardy, “Cérinthe,”
Revue Biblique 30 (1921): 344–73;
Hippolytus, Refutatio Omnium Haeresium
VII, 33 in PG 16:3342A; see the recently
published critical edition, Miroslav Marcovich, ed., Hippolytus. Refutatio Omnium Haeresium, PTS 25 (1986): 317; cf.
Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses I, 26, in
PG 7:686A-B; 264:344–46.

14. Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone Iudaeo 81, in PG 6:609A; Edgar J. Goodspeed, ed., Die ältesten Apologeten
(Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1914), 193–94, the text I have quoted; CPG 1:31–32.1076.

15. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses especially in V, in SC
152–53; cf. CPG 1:110–111.1306.

16. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 30, 3, in PG 7:1207A-B; SC 153:384, with the Greek
text quoted in Eusebius, Historia
III, 18, 3, in SC 31:122, and repeated at Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica V, 8, 6, in SC
41:36, where Eusebius’ text reads almost exactly as at III, 18, 3, noted above.
Only after the end of Domitian’s reign did John return: Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III, 23, 1, in
SC 31:126.

17. John Lawson, The Biblical Theology of Saint Irenaeus
(London: Epworth, 1948), 279 and 293, with specific reference to Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 35, 1–2, in PG 7:1218B-1219A; SC 153:436–52, from which
the key excerpt is quoted below.

18. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica IV, 24, in
SC 31:206; for Melito see ODCC 900; DS 10:979–90.

19. John of Damascus,
Sacra Parallela, in PG 96:525B.

20. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus 61, in Richardson,
35; Herding, 41–42; cf. CPG
1:268–69.1890; see P. Prigent and R. Stehly, “Les Fragments du De
Apocalypsi d’Hippolyte,” Theologische
29 (1973): 313–33; cf. John A. Green, “Hippolytus of Rome
and the Apostolic Tradition,” Improvement
67 (August 1964): 648–51, 672–74; ODCC
652–53; DS 7:531–71.

21. Text in PG 10:725–88 and GCS 1.2:3–47; cf. CPG

22. Hippolytus, In Danielem, in PG 10:637–69, 669–700; GCS
1.1:2–340; SC 14; cf. CPG 1:259–60.1873.
See Marcel Richard, “Les Difficultés d’une
édition des oeuvres de S. Hippolyte,” Studia
(1971 Oxford Conference on Patristic Studies), 12.1, TU 115 (1975): 51–70; Marcel Richard, “Les
difficultés d’une édition du commentaire de S. Hippolyte
sur Daniel,” Revue d’Histoire des
2 (1972): 5–7; and also Marcel Richard, “Pour une nouvelle
ÁEdition du Commentaire de S. Hippolyte sur Daniel,” in Patrick Granfield
and Josef A. Jungmann, ed., Kyriakon:
Festschrift Johannes Quasten,
2 vols. (Münster: Aschendorff, 1970),

23. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 30, 2, in PG 7:1205B; SC 153:376–78; cf. Hans
Achelis, Hippolytstudien, TU 16.1.4
(1897): 3–16, 169–84 and also Charles, ICC
1:208–9. The reference to Enoch in 1 Clement 9 comes from Genesis 5:24 and does not associate him with
Elijah. At Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses
V, 5, 1, in PG 7:1123B-C; SC 153:62,
quoted below, Enoch and Elijah are mentioned, though they are not specifically
identified as the two prophets or witnesses at Jerusalem.

24. Quoduultdeus, Dimidium Temporis in Signis Antichristi
IX, 17: “Praedictio implenda in moribus Antichristi,” in CCSL 60:202.13–18; SC 102:620.

25. Primasius, Commentarii in Apocalypsin III, 11:7, in
CCSL 92:169.91; PL 68:867D.

26. Alcuin, Commentarii in Apocalypsin IV, 7:5, in
Angelo Mai, ed., Alcuini Commentariorum
in Apocalypsin Libri Quinque,
Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio e Vaticanis
Codicibus edita 9 (Rome: Vatican, 1837): 308–11; PL 100:1132C; for Alcuin’s principal source cf. Robert Weber, ed., Ambrosii Autperti Opera, pars I:
Expositionis in Apocalypsin Libri I-V; pars II: Expositionis in Apocalypsin
Libri VI-X,
in CCCM 27–27A. For
the parallel and source of the passage cited from Alcuin, see Ambrosius
Autpertus, Expositio in Apocalypsin
IV, 7:5–8, in CCCM 27:306.238–42.
Alcuin omits mediatore nostro adueniente
between aetate and occulto, and he also makes a minor
inversion and omission for his source’s iudaica
perfida plebs propriis sedibus expulsa.

27. Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin I, 7:5, in PL 93:150B–C.

28. Hippolytus, De Antichristo 15 and 54, in PG 10:737C-740A; GCS 1.2:11.20; and PG
10:773AB; GCS 1.2:28.10.

29. Commodian, Carmen de duobus populis, ed. Joseph
Martin; CCSL 128:73–113.

30. Lactantius, Diuinae Institutiones VII, 22, 8, ed. S.
Brandt and G. Laubmann; CSEL 19:654;
cf. CPL 18.85; ODCC 791–92; DS 9:48–59
(54 for a discussion of “les fins dernières”).

31. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica VI, 14, in SC
41:106–7; ODCC 303; DS 2:950–61; see CPG 1:138.1380 for the extant fragments.

32. C. Diobouniotis
and A. von Harnack, eds., Der
Scholien-Kommentar des Origenes zur Apokalypse Johannis, TU
38.3 (1911):
21–44, and C. H. Turner, “Document: Origen, Scholia in Apocalypsin,” Journal of Theological Studies 25
(1923):1–15; CPG 1:167.1468. But see
also A. de Boysson “Avons-nous un commentaire d’Origène sur l’Apocalypse?”
Revue Biblique 22 [n.s. 5] (1913):

33. See Karen Jo
Torjesen, Hermeneutical Procedure and
Theological Method in Origen’s Exegesis, PTS
28 (1986); also P. Nautin, Origène: Sa Vie et son Oeuvre,
Christianisme Antique 1 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1977); Jean Daniélou, Origen, tr. Walter Mitchell (New York:
Sheed and Ward, 1955); and Charles Kannengiesser and William L. Petersen, eds.,
Origen of Alexandria: His World and His
Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity 1 (Notre Dame, IN: University
of Notre Dame Press, 1988). For other studies on Origen, see Henri Crouzel, Bibliographie Critique d’Origène, 2
vols., Instrumenta Patristica 8–8A (Le Hague: Martinus Nijhoff and Steenbrugge,
Belgium: Abbatia Sancti Petri, 1971 and 1982).

34. Eusebius, VII, 24–25,
in SC 41:201–10, for his two books On the
the first against Nepos, the second treating the Apocalypse.
Eusebius gives a lengthy summary and quotation from Dionysius on the
Apocalypse. See Wolfgang A. Bienert, Dionysius
von Alexandrien zur Frage des Origenismus im dritten Jahrhundert, PTS
(1978), especially 197–200.

35. Anastasios Lolos,
ed., Die Apokalypse des Ps.-Methodios,
Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie 83 (1976) and also Die dritte und vierte Redaktion des
Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie 94 (1978). See
Paul J. Alexander, The Byzantine
Apocalyptic Tradition
(Berkeley: University of California, 1985); Quasten, Patrology, 2:129–37; CPG 1:252–53.1830. See also Methodius Symposium 8.4–11, in PG 18:143B-158B) and 9.1–5, in PG 18:175C-192B; for Methodius see ODCC 910–11; DS 10:1109–1117.

36. Quasten, Patrology, 2:129.

37. Victorinus
Petovionensis, Commentarii in
ed. Iohannes Haussleiter, CSEL
49; PLS 1:103–72; CPL 80. An early edition is PL 5:317–44, but it is not textually

38. Cf. Manlio
Simonetti, “Il Millenarismo in Oriente da Origene a Metodio,” in
Eligius Dekker, ed., Corona Gratiarum,
2 vols., Instrumenta Patristica 10–11 (Brugge: Sint Pietersabdij, 1975),

39. ODCC 72–73; see J. A. Cramer, Catena in Epistolas Catholicas accesserunt
[sic] et Arethae
Commentarii in Apocalypsin ad fidem Codd. Mss.,
vol. 8 of Catenae Graecorum
Patrum in Novum Testamentum, 8 vols. (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1967; repr. of
Oxford, 1840).

40. CPG 2:308.3658.

41. ODCC 402; DS 3:868–71; see also Thomas W. Mackay, “Didymos the Blind on Psalm 28 (LXX): Text from Unpublished Leaves of
the Tura Commentary,” Studia
20 (1987 Oxford Conference on Patristic Studies; Louvain,
Belgium: Peeters, 1989): 40–41. In addition to five papyrus codices of the
writings of Didymos, the cache at Tura also included a previously unknown work
by Origen on Easter: Octave Guéraud and Pierre Nautin, Origène sur la Pâque, Christianisme Antique 2 (Paris: Beauchesne,

42. Didymus Caecus
Alexandrinus, In Zachariam III, 73 =
ZaT 200.14–16, in Louis Doutreleau, ed., Didyme
l’Aveugle sur Zacharie
[SC 83–85], SC 84:654. ZaT is the technical abbreviation
for the Didymos commentary on Zechariah in the papyrus from Tura. Doutreleau
has also given book and paragraph notations to the commentary, hence the double
reference. Doutreleau, in SC 83:123, credits Devresse, in an article on the Catena or “chain” of patristic
quotations, with the tentative discovery that Didymos had written on the
Apocalypse: “peut-être aussi un fragment de Didyme (Schol. 1),” R.
Devresse, “Chaînes exégétiques grecques,” in F. G. Vigouroux, ed., Dictionnaire de la Bible, 5 vols.
(Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1895–1912), with Supplément, ed. Louis Pirot, A.
Robert, Henri Cazelles, and André Feuillet, 10 vols. to date (Paris: Letouzey
et Ané, 1928–), Suppl. 1:1228.

43. ODCC 1400; Monceaux, Histoire littéraire de l’Afrique chrétienne,

44. Francesco Lo Bue,
The Turin Fragments of Tyconius’
Commentary on Revelation
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963);
repr. PLS 1:621–52, 1749–50. The text
is found in Turin Biblioteca Nazionale F.iv.18, from Bobbio.

45. See Gerald
Bonner, Saint Bede in the Tradition of
Western Apocalyptic Commentary,
Jarrow Lecture, 1966 (Jarrow: The Rector,
1966), 6; cf. Lo Bue, 23: the Turin manuscript “does not preserve the
Tyconian text which other commentators had before them, but a text which at a
certain period of its history underwent some degree of modification.” See
also Alexander Souter, “Tyconius’s Text of the Apocalypse: A Partial
Restoration,” Journal of Theological
14 (1913): 338–58; Gerald Bonner, “Towards a Text of Tyconius,”
Studia Patristica 10.1 (1967 Oxford
Patristic Studies Conference), TU 107
(1970): 9–13; and, in a recent study, K. Steinhauser, The Apocalypse Commentary of Tyconius: A History of Its Reception and
(Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1987).

46. Thomas W. Mackay,
“Bede’s Biblical Criticism: The Venerable Bede’s Summary of Tyconius’ Liber Regularum,” in Margot H. King
and Wesley M. Stevens, eds., Saints,
Scholars and Heroes: Studies of Medieval Culture in Honour of Charles W. Jones,

2 vols. (Collegeville, MN: Saint John’s Abbey and University, 1979), 1:209–231;
see George Brown, Bede the Venerable,
Twayne’s English Authors Series 443 (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987), 50 and 119, n.
17. For Tyconius’ influence on Augustine, see Alberto Pincherle, “Da
Ticonio a Sant’Agostino,” Ricerche
1 (1925): 443–46, but particularly now Charles Kannengiesser and
Pamela Bright, A Conflict of Christian
Hermeneutics in Roman Africa: Tyconius and Augustine
(Berkeley: Center for
Hermeneutical Studies and University of California, 1989).

47. De Labriolle, Histoire de la Littérature latine chrétienne,

48. De Labriolle, The History and Literature of Christianity
from Tertullian to Boethius,

49. J. Hausleitter, “Die
Commentare des Victorinus, Tichonius und Hieronymus zur Apokalypse,” Zeitschrift für kirchliche
Wissenschaft und kirchliches Leben
7 (1886): 241.

50. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus 135, in Richardson,
55-56, and Herding, 66: “De Spiritu
Sancto Didymi,
quem in Latinum transtuli, librum unum” “On the Holy Spirit by Didymos, one book
that I translated into Latin”; cf. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus 109, in Richardson, 50, and Herding, 59: “et
De Spiritu Sancto librum unum quem
ego in Latinum uerti.” See J. N. D. Kelly, Jerome: His Life, Writings, and Controversies (New York: Harper and
Row, 1975), 85, 121-26, 142-43. The text is preserved in several manuscripts,
probably because of the association with Jerome. Bede quoted three passages
from a copy of the text for his Expositio
in Actuus Apostolorum,
and his text is quite close to (but usually better
than) British Library Royal 5 B VII, fol. 22v–56r (quotations are parallel to
text found on fol. 23r-v, 39v, and 54r-v). But curiously no extant manuscript
of De Sancto Spiritu, including
Oxford Jesus College 3, Durham Cathedral Library B.III.2 (fol. 1r-18v) and
B.IV.16, and the British Library manuscript Royal 5 B VII—all from the
early or mid-twelfth century, comes from Anglo-Saxon England; Helmut Gneuss, “A
Preliminary List of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1100,” Anglo-Saxon England 9 (1981): 1-60.

51. Jerome, Epistula LIII, 9 [ad Paulinum], in CSEL

52. Jerome, Commentarii in Isaiam XVIII, prologue,
in CCSL 73A:740.9-741.19.

53. Jerome, Commentarii in Danielem II, on Daniel 7:17–18A, in CCSL 75A:848.713–14: “Cessat ergo mille annorum fabula” “so
let the fable of a millennium cease!” Elsewhere he says: [Dionysius
Alexandrinus] “irridens mille annorum fabulam et . . . instaurationem
templi.” “[Dionysius of Alexandria] ridiculing the fable of the
millennium and the restoration of the temple.” Jerome, Commentarii in Isaiam XVIII, prologue,
in CCSL 73A:741.22-24.

54. Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam I, on Zechariah 4:11–14, M. Adriaen, ed., in CCSL 76A:784.267–85.286; cf. Commentarii in Amos III, on Amos 9:2-5, M. Adriaen, ed., in CCSL 76:337.79-82.

55. Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei XX, 29, in CCSL 48:752.11-13.

56. Augustine, Sermo CCLIX, in PL 38:1196-1201, esp. 1197-98.

57. Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei XX, 7, in CCSL 48:708.4.

58. Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei XX, 9, in CCSL 48:715.1-719.139.

59. Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei XX, 17, in CCSL 48:728.48-729.53; cf. De Ciuitate Dei XX, 9, in CCSL 48:717.56-59.

60. Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei XX, 29, in CCSL 48:752.1-753.43.

61. His writings are
edited in CCSL 60 and SC 101-2. For
Quoduultdeus, see de Berardino and Quasten, Patrology,
4:501-3; DS 12:2882-89.

62. The texts Expositio Rectae Fidei and Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos
were formerly attributed to Justin Martyr; see CPG 3:218.6284-85 and Quasten, Patrology,
3:536-54. For Theodoret, see ODCC

63. ODCC 1130; CPG 7430 (for his commentary on Genesis).

64. Quasten, Patrology, 3:538-39.

65. H. C. Hoskier, The Complete Commentary of Oecumenius on the
University of Michigan Humanistic Series 23 (Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press, 1928): 29-260. CPG 3:394.7470; ODCC 993;
DS 11:681-82.

66. Hoskier, Commentary of Oecumenius, 4.

67. In PG 106:207-458; CPG 3:395-96.7478.

68. See Allo, Saint Jean l’Apocalypse, ccxxv. Some
sixty manuscripts of the Apocalypse text—about one-fourth of the
total—also contain Andreas’ commentary (Swete, Commentary on Revelation, cxcix). An anonymous abridgment of
Andreas is in Cramer, Catena,
8:497-582. This was formerly, but quite incorrectly, attributed to Oecumenius.

69. ODCC 284.

70. ODCC 748-49; DS 8:452-66.

71. ODCC 1087-88; DS 12:1397-1408.

72. In PG 106:487-786.

73. ODCC 1364.

74. ODCC 463. For Ephraem, see DS 4:788-822; ODCC 462-63. Older but still of value is Guiseppe Ricciotti, Sant’ Ephrem Siro. Biografia, Scritti,
(Turin and Rome: Marietti, 1925).

75. De Berardino and
Quasten, Patrology, 4:207.

76. Latin translation
from Syriac by I. Sedlacek, in CSCO
60:1-22; CPG 1:269.1891.

77. Stan Larson, “The
Earliest Syriac Commentary on the Apocalypse,” Studia Patristica 18.4 (1983 Oxford Conference on Patristic Studies;
Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, forthcoming). Leslie S. B. MacCoull, “MS.
Morgan 591: The Apocalypse Commentary of Pseudo-Cyril of Alexandria,” Studia Patristica 20 (1987 Oxford
Conference on Patristic Studies; Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 1989): 33-39.

78. A. W. Adams, ed.,
Primasius Episcopus Hadrumetinus,
Commentarius in Apocalypsin,
92; the previous edition, with defective text is PL 68:793-936. For additions and corrections to the PL text of Primasius, see PLS 4:1207-21; but Adam’s text in CCSL now supersedes all other editions.
For Primasius, see RBMA
4:480-82.6988; ODCC 1124; DS 12:2351-53; CPL 873; Johannes Haussleiter, Die
lateinische Apokalypse der alten afrikanischen Kanon,
in T. Zahn, ed.,
Forschungen zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, 4 (Erlangen and
Leipzig: Andr. Deichert’ches Verlagsbuchhandlung Nachf. [G. Böhme], 1891). A
fine study of the manuscript Oxford Bodl. Douce 140, an important early copy of
Primasius very close to that known to the Venerable Bede in Anglo-Saxon England
in the late seventh century, is A. C. Clark, The Descent of Manuscripts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1918; repr. 1969),

79. E. A. Lowe, Codices Latini Antiquiores 4 (Oxford:
Clarendon 1947): 27.496; RBMA
2:238.1918; PL 70:1405-1918; ODCC 246-47; DS 2:276-77; James O’Donnell, Cassiodorus
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), 225-29.

80. Caesarius of
Arles, Expositio in Apocalypsim, in
Germain Morin, ed. Opera Omnia, 2
vols. (Maredsous, Belgium: Abbaye de Maredsous, 1942): 2:209-77; see also Germain
Morin, “Le Commentaire Homilétique de S. Césaire
sur l’Apocalypse,” Revue
45 (1933): 43–61; CPL
1016; RBMA 2:146-47.1495, and also
2:335.2445, where it was attributed to Gennadius. For Caesarius see ODCC 218; DS 2:420-29. The earlier edition is reprinted in PL 35:2417-52.

81. M. Férotin, Apringius de Béja: Son Commentaire de l’Apocalypse
(Paris: Alphonse Picard, 1900); text is reprinted in PLS Roman 4:1221-48. RBMA

82. Alulfus, De Expositione Noui Testamenti, in PL 79:1137-1424, with 1397C-1424C for
the Apocalypse citations, but there is nothing on the two witnesses. Alulfus
(d. 1143/44) was a monk at Saint Martin’s in Tournai (DS 1:403).

83. Joseph F. Kelly, “Bede
and the Irish Exegetical Tradition on the Apocalypse,” Revue Bénédictine 92 (1982): 393-406.
This text was edited by Hartung from Bamberg MS Patr. 102 (B.V. 18), with
frequent reference to Munich clm 14469: K. Hartung, Ein Traktat zur Apokalypse des Apostels Johannes in einer
Pergamenthandschrift der K. Bibliothek in Bamberg
(Bamberg: Gustav
Duckstein, 1904). Later G. Lo Menzo Rapisarda made a full analysis of the
manuscript tradition, Miscellanea di Studi di Letterature Cristiana Antica, 15
(Catania: Centro di Studi sull’Antico Cristianesimo, 1965): 119-40, and edited
the text: G. Lo Menzo Rapisarda, Incerti
Auctoris Commentarius in Apocalypsin,
Miscellanea di Studi di Letterature
Cristiana Antica, 16 (Catania: Centro di Studi sull’Antico Cristianesimo,
1967), and the text was reprinted in PLS
4:1850–63, with a note on the manuscripts and editions at PLS 4:1844; RBMA
3:491.5271 (= 3:86.3461); CPL
276.1221. The seminal study for early Irish exegesis is Berhard Bischoff, “Turning-Points
in the History of Latin Exegesis in the Early Irish Church: A.D. 650-800,”
in Martin MacNamara, ed., Biblical
Studies: The Medieval Irish Contribution
(Dublin: Dominican Publications,
1976), 74-160, a translation of “Wendepunkte in der Geschichte der
lateinischen Exegese im Frühmittelalter,” published in Bischoff’s Mittelalterliche Studien 1 (Stuttgart:
Hiersemann, 1966): 205-73, and revised from original article in Sacris Erudiri 6 (1954): 189-279. For
this text see Bischoff, “Turning-Points in the History of Latin Exegesis,”
143 (= Bischoff, Mittelalterliche Studien

84. J. F. Kelly, “Bede
and the Irish Exegetical Tradition on the Apocalypse,” 394 and n. 2, names
and characterizes the source: “according to the notorious Thomas Dempster,
Scottish patriot and liar.” RBMA

85. Bischoff, “Turning-Points
in the History of Latin Exegesis in the Early Irish Church: A.D. 650-800,”
143 (= Bischoff, Mittelalterliche Studien

86. J. F. Kelly, “Bede
and the Irish Exegetical Tradition on the Apocalypse,” 395, citing Paris
BN lat. 11561, fol. 1v-217v, a manuscript from the second half of the ninth
century. Primasius is the only patristic authority named in the Reference Bible
commentary on the Apocalypse (Paris BN lat. 11561, fol. 203r). Consult also
Joseph F. Kely, “Hiberno-Latin Exegesis and Exegetes,” Annuale Mediaevale 21 (1981): 46–60, and
Charles D. Wright’s entry on Hiberno-Latin exegesis in the forthcoming volume,
Fred Biggs, Tom Hill, and Paul E. Szarmach, eds., Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture: A Trial Version
(Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1990).

87. J. F. Kelly, “Bede
and the Irish Exegetical Tradition on the Apocalypse,” 405–6; see Bonner, Saint Bede; Brown, Bede the Venerable, 42–61; Henry Mayr-Harting, The Coming of Christianity to England (New York: Schocken, 1971),
140, 209-19; and Claudio Leonardi, “Il Venerabile Beda e la Cultura del
Secolo VIII,” I Problemi dell’Occidente
nel Secolo VIII,
Settimane di Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto
Medioevo, 20 (Spoleto: Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 1973):
603-58. A fine assessment of Bede’s method and of the importance of his
contribution is Roger Ray, “What Do We Know about Bede’s Commentaries?”
Recherches de Théologie ancienne et médiévale
49 (1982): 5-20. Roger Ray has also prepared an excellent article on Bede for a
future volume in the series Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt (Berlin
and New York: De Gruyter, forthcoming). Bede’s Apocalypse commentary is CPL 1393, RBMA 2:185.1640.

88. Robert McNally, Scriptores Hiberniae Minores, Pars I, CCSL 108B: xii–xiii; but for a different
assessment, see Rand H. Johnson, Bedae
Venerabilis Explanatio Epistolae Iudae Apostoli,
master’s thesis, Brigham
Young University, 1979, 4–6.

89. Ray, “What
Do We Know about Bede’s Commentaries?” 20.

90. Weber, Ambrosii Autperti Opera (CCCM 27-27A). RBMA 2:95.1275; DS 1:429.
The date of composition is established by the author’s words preserved at the
end of book X (CCCM 27A:872) only by
Vat. Reg. lat. 96 and Oxford Bodl. Laud. misc. 464 (767).

91. H. A. Sanders,
ed., Beati in Apocalypsim Libri XII,
Papers and Monographs of the American Academy at Rome 7 (Rome: American Academy
at Rome, 1930); also E. Romero-Pose, ed., Sancti
Beati A Liebana Commentarius in Apocalypsin,
2 vols.; Scriptores Graeci et
Latina Consilio Academiae Lynceorum Editi (Rome: Accademia dei Lyncei, 1985). RBMA 2:172–74.1597.

92. Mai, Alcuini Commentariorum in Apocalypsin Libri
257-338; reprinted in PL
100:1055C-1156C; cf. RBMA 2:62.1102.
See Marcus Vatasso and Pius Franchi de’ Cavalieri, Codies Vaticani Latini 1 (codd. 1-678; Rome: Vatican, 1902): 505.

93. For Alcuin
letters requesting Bede’s commentaries, see E. Dümmler, ed., Epistolae Alcuini, MGH, Epistolae 4
(Karolingi Aevi 2), 2, no. 216. A few decades earlier Saint Boniface,
Anglo-Saxon missionary to Germany, called Bede a “candle of the Church”
[candela ecclesiae]: M. Tangl, ed., Die Briefe des heiligen Bonifatius und
in Monumenta Germaniae
Epistolae selectae, 1, nos. 75, 76, 125, and 131.

94. The details of
this will appear in my forthcoming article on Alcuin’s commentary. For an
example of his close quotation and paraphrasing, see above, n. 26.

95. Mai inserts ;
alternatively, read “septem angelor(um) dicta et facta commemorat” or
else punctuate the passage” septem angelos—dicta et facta [sc. eorum]—commemorat.”

96. Alcuin, Commentarii in Apocalypsin praefatio, in
Mai, Alcuini Commentariorum in
Apocalypsin Libri Quinque,
257-58; PL
100:1057A-58A. The first two paragraphs summarize Bede’s praefatio, including his brief account of Tyconius’ rules; see
Mackay, “Bede’s Biblical Criticism,” 1:209–31. The final paragraph
comes from Ambrosius Autpertus’ own preface (CCCM 27:5.8–31).

97. For the exegetical
tradition, see Swete, Commentary on
cxcvii–ccxix; Allo, Saint
Jean l’Apocalypse,
ccxvii–ccl; and Devresse, “Chaînes exégétiques
grecques,” Suppl. 1:1228-31.

98. Gustav Becker, Catalogi Bibliothecarum Antiqui (Bonn:
M. Cohen, 1885; repr. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1973), 48. Becker has reprinted
the catalog from Saint Gall MS 728 (also recopied in the early tenth century in
MS 267). Becker’s entry reads: 242. Expositio tichonii donatistae in
apocalipsim vol. I vetus. 243. Expos(itio) primasii in apocalipsim libri. V. et
glosule gregorii in apocalipsi(m) sp(ir)italis intelligentie in volumine I.

99. F. C. Burkitt,
ed., The Book of Rules of Tyconius Newly
Edited from the Manuscripts,
Texts and Studies: Contributions to Biblical
and Patristic Literature 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1894); D. L.
Anderson, “The Book of Rules of Tyconius: An Introduction and Translation
with Commentary,” Ph.D. diss., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,
Louisville, 1974. For fine recent analysis see Pamela Bright, The Book of Rules of Tyconius: Its Purpose
and Inner Logic
(Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1987).

100. Laon
Bibliothèque Municipale 89 (from Laon) on verso of last leaf; Catalogue Général des Manuscrits des
Bibliothèques publiques des Départements,
1 (Paris: Imprimérie Nationale,
1849): 88; see also Bright, 15-16.

101. See n. 91 above.

102. Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages,
2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952; repr. Notre Dame, 1964), 14-19.

103. Louis Pirot, L’Oeuvre Exégétique de Thédore de Mopsueste
(Rome: Sumptibus Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 1913) and Robert Devresse, Essai sur Thédore de Mopsueste, Studi e
Testi 141 (Rome: Vatican, 1948): 53-92 (= ch. 2 “La Méthode d’Exégèse”);
cf. ODCC 1358-59.

104. The teachings
include antemortal existence of spirits and apokatastasis,
the doctrine that punishment is not ever-enduring but that after punishment the
souls may still be granted some sort of reward in the kingdom of God. This
doctrine was propounded by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Didymos, and Gregory
of Nyssa but rejected by Augustine; it was formally condemned at the Council of
Constantinople in A.D. 553 (ODCC
69-70). For the rejection of the early Christian doctrine of the antemortal
existence of spirits, see Edictum
Iustiniani imperatoris contra Origenem
3:303.6880). For the text of the Edict
of the Third Council of Constantinople, see Joannes Dominicus Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum noua et amplissima
54 vols. (Graz: Akademische, 1960-61; repr. of Paris and
Leipzig: Hubert Welter, 1901-27), 9:488D-533D; Eduardus Schwartz, Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum 4 tomes,
15 vols., in 29 parts (Berlin and Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter, 1914–),
3:189-214; also PG 86:945-94 and PL 69:177-226. The Edict states:

in PG
86:953A; Mansi, 9:496A; “si autem anima praeexistebat, ut delirat
Origenes,” in PL 69:186A; Mansi,
9:495A: “But if the soul existed before this life [preexisted], as Origen
deliriously babbles.”

105. Thomas W.
Mackay, “Didymos the Blind on Psalm 28,” 2:40-41; J. N. D. Kelly, Jerome, 142; ODCC 402; DS 3:868-71;
for Didymos’ method see also W. A. Beinert, “Allegoria”
und “Anagoge” bei Didymos dem Blindem von Alexandrie, PTS

106. The seminal work
on this subject is Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy
and Heresy in Earliest Christianity,
tr. Robert A. Kraft, Gerhard Krodel,
et al. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971).

107. R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from the
Beginnings to the End of the Hellenistic Age
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1968); D.
A. Russell, Criticism in Antiquity
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); cf. D. A. Russell and M.
Winterbottom, Ancient Literary Criticism:
The Principal Texts in New Translations
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1972), and G.
M. A. Grube, The Greek and Roman Critics
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965), esp. 122-49, 325-56.

108. ODCC 1083-84; a fine overview is Samuel
Sandmel, Philo of Alexandria: An
(Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1979); see also
Ronald Williamson, Jews in the
Hellenistic World: Philo,
Cambridge Commentaries on Writings of the Jewish
and Christian World 200 B.C. to A.D. 200, vol. 1, part 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1989).

109. ODCC 37; see D. E. Nineham, The Church’s Use of the Bible, Past and
(London: SPCK, 1963) and K. Froelich, Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church, in Sources of Early
Christian Thought (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984). For the setting of the
Alexandrian school and Christianity in Egypt in the first four centuries, see
C. Wilfred Griggs, Early Egyptian
(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1989) and Birger A. Pearson and James E.
Goehring, eds., The Roots of Egyptian
Studies in Antiquity and Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1986); note also Colin H. Roberts, Manuscript,
Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt,
Schweich Lecture of the
British Academy 1977 (London: Oxford University Press for the British Academy,

110. J. N. D. Kelly, Jerome, 125.

111. Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages,
87-88, 97, 106-95 (on Andrew of St. Victor). For medieval exegesis, see also C.
Spicq, Esquisse d’une Histoire de l’Exégèse

latine au Moyen Age (Paris: J. Vrin, 1944), and Henri de
Lubac, L’Exégèse
médiévale: Les Quatre Sens de l’Écriture,
2 vols. in 4 parts
(Paris: Aubier, 1959-60); Robert Kaske et al., Medieval Christian Literary Imagery: A Guide to Interpretation,
Toronto Medieval Bibliographies 11 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,

112. For a discussion
of the issue, see Simonetti, “Il Millenarismo in Oriente da Origene a
Metodio,” 37-58; also Robert E. Lerner, “Refreshment of the Saints:
The Time after Antichrist as a Station for Earthly Progress in Medieval
Thought,” Traditio 32 (1976):

113. Nibley, The World and the Prophets; 178; also n.
1 above and Thomas W. Mackay, “Early Christian Exegesis of the Apocalypse,”
Studia Biblica 1978, Journal for the
Study of the New Testament,
Supplement Series 3 (1980): 257-63.

114. Nibley, The World and the Prophets; 176, citing
A. von Harnack, Monasticism and the
Confessions of St. Augustine
(London, 1901), 69; see Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary
Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages,
2nd ed., rev.
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970), and Werner Verbeke, Daniel Verhelst,
and Andries Welkenhuysen, ed., The Use
and Abuse of Eschatology in the Middle Ages,
Mediaevalia Lovaniensia,
Series 1, Studia 15 (Louvain, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1988).

115. Hugh Nibley, “Christian
Envy of the Temple,” in Mormonism
and Early Christianity,

116. Albertus Magnus,
Enarrationes in Apocalypsim, Opera
Omnia, 38 vols. (Paris: Ludovicum Vives, 1895-99), 38:465-792; listed in RBMA 2:47.1041 under Pseudo-Albertus Magnus.

117. Joseph S.
Considine, “The Two Witnesses: Apoc. 11:3-13,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 8 (1946): 390.

118. Jerome, Epistula LIX, 3, in CSEL 54:543–44.

119. Augustine, De Ciuitate Dei XX, 29, in CCSL 48:752.1-753.43.

120. Considine, “The
Two Witnesses: Apoc. 11:3-13,” 390-91; see Matthew Black, “The ‘Two
Witnesses’ of Rev. 11:3f. in Jewish and Christian Apocalyptic
Tradition,” in E. Bammel, C. K. Barrett, and W. D. Davies, eds., Donum Gentilicium. New Testament Studies in
Honour of David Daube
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1978), 227-37; Charles, ICC 1:281; Kenneth A. Strand, “The
Two Witnesses of Rev 11:3-12,” Andrews
University Seminary Studies
19 (1981): 127; J. M. Ford, Revelation, AB (1975), 177-78; André
Feuillet, “Essai d’Interpretation du Chapître XI de l’Apocalypse,” New Testament Studies 4 (1957-58):
183-200; and G. B. Caird, A Commentary on
the Revelation of St. John the Divine
(New York: Harper and Row, 1966),

121. The expression
is the title of Smalley’s chapter 5 (196-263), entitled “Masters of the
Sacred Page: The Comestor, The Chanter, Stephen Langton.” On pages 196-97
of The Study of the Bible in the Middle
Smalley writes, “The masters who made themselves responsible for
continuing the Victorine tradition are the trio we met in the last chapter:
Peter Comestor, Peter the Chanter, Stephen Langton. Mgr. Grabmann has grouped
them together as the ‘biblical moral school'; they have a common interest in
biblical studies and in practical moral questions, which distinguishes them
from those who were primarily theologians and dialecticians: Peter Lombard,
Peter of Poitiers, Adam of the Petit Pont.”

122. Peter Cantor, In Apocalypsim on Apocalyse 11:3;
unpublished text in a manuscript at Brigham Young University, fol. 117v. I will
publish a critical edition of this important text in CCCM and SC.

123. Black, “The
‘Two Witnesses’ of Rev. 11:3f.,” 231; Guido Kisch, Pseudo-Philo’s “Liber Antiquitatum
Publications in Mediaeval Studies, 10 (Paris and Notre
Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1949).

124. Allo, Saint Jean l’Apocalypse, 131; Considine,
“The Two Witnesses: Apoc. 11:3-13,” 390.

125. Descensus Christi ad inferos 9 (= Evangelium Nicodemi or Acta Pilati, 25; Evangelia Apocrypha, C. von Tischendorff, ed., 2nd ed. [Leipzig,
1876; repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 1966], 404-6).

126. Because of the
preponderance of the Latin tradition, I have taken my translation from
Tischendorff’s Latin text given above, and it represents well the meaning of
the Greek, though it adds a few words (as correctly construing the genitive
absolute at the beginning of chapter 10: tauta
touton legonton
by “Et cum haec loquerentur sanctis Enoch et Elias”
“and while Enoch and Elijah were saying these things to the saints”).
Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, tr. R.
McL. Wilson, 2 vols (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1963), have used the Greek: “While
they were saying this . . .” (1:475).

127. Historia Iosephi 32 (Tischendorff, Evangelia Apocrypha, 139).

128. Tertullian, De Anima L, 5; see J. H. Waszink, ed., Septimi Florentis Tertulliani De Anima
(Amsterdam: J. M. Meulenhoff, 1947), 68 and commentary on 525, with reference
to W. Bousset, Der Antichrist,
134-39. Bousset’s valuable book has been translated into English by A. H. Keane
as The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in
Christian and Jewish Folklore
(London: Hutchinson, 1896; repr. New York:
AMS, 1985).

129. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 5, 1, in PG 7:1134B-C; SC 153:62 (with Greek quoted
from John of Damascus’ Sacra Parallela;
cf. CPG 3:517-18.8056).

130. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 26, in PG 7:1192B; SC 153:324; V, 28, 2, in PG 7:1198BC; SC 153:350-52; V, 29, 1-2, in PG 7:1201C-1202A; SC 153:364-66.

131. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 30, 1, in PG 7:1203AB; SC 153:370 (with Greek quoted
at Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica
V, 8, in SC 41:36) and PG 7:1203B;
SC 153:372; V, 30, 4, in PG
7:1207B-1208A; SC 153:386.

132. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses V, 35, in PG 7:1218B-1219A; SC 153:436-38.

133. Hippolytus, De Christo et Antichristo 43, in PG 10:761A; GCS 1.2:27-28.

134. Hippolytus, De Christo et Antichristo 46-47, in PG 10:764C-765A; GCS 1.2:29-30, with some manuscripts quoting an old form of the
Septuagint or Greek Old Testament.

135. Hippolytus, Capita contra Gaium (Latin translation
of Syriac I. Sedlacek, in CSCO

136. Hippolytus, In Danielem, on Daniel 4:35, in PG 10:656D; GCS
1.1:278-80; 14:201.

137. In a sixteenth-century manuscript,
Munich Staatsbibliothek gr. 53, fol. 271r, but in no other manuscript copy of
this text, there is a passage — perhaps inserted from a gloss —
that reads:

“Enoch and Elijah, the two
prophets, will proclaim [or, let them
proclaim] the second coming of the Lord while wearing sackcloth, as it has been
written through the prophet” (GCS
1.1:314.14, critical apparatus).

138. Hippolytus, In Danielem, on Danielem 4:49-50, in PG 10:665A-B; GCS 1.1:314-16; 14:215-17; the text is somewhat more extensive for
this passage than I have quoted.

139. Pseudo-Methodios
14.11, ed. 1 (Lolos 1976, 138.49-50).

140. Pseudo-Methodios
14.11, ed. 2 (Lolos 1976, 139.37-39).

141. Pseudo-Methodios
14.11, ed. 3 (Lolos 1978, 73.46-47).

142. Commodian, De Duobus Populis 833-44, in CCSL 128:103-4.

143. Editio Victorini
8.3, on Apocalyse 8:13, in CSEL
49:86; PLS 1:140.

144. Recensio
Hieronymi 8.3, on Apocalyse 8:13, in CSEL
49:87; PLS 1:140.

145. Editio Victorini
11.3, on Apocalyse 11:3, in CSEL
49:98; PLS 1:146.

146. Recensio
Hieronymi 11.3, on Apocalyse 11:3, in CSEL
49:99; PLS 1:146.

147. Editio Victorini
12.6, on Apocalyse 12:7-9, in CSEL
49:114; PLS 1:153-54.

148. Recensio
Hieronymi 12.6, on Apocalyse 12:7-9, in CSEL
49:115; PLS 1:153-54. The quotation
in square brackets is the Vulgate; the repetition with its variants (n.b. nuntii for angeli, anguis for serpens,
etc.) is the Old Latin biblical text known to Victorinus and other early Latin

149. (Tyconius) Turin
Fragments 332-41, in Lo Bue, 142-44; PLS

150. (Tyconius) Turin
Fragments 342-47 in Lo Bue, 145-46; PLS

151. Ambrose, Commentarii in Epistolam I ad Corinthios
4:8, in PL 17:216A.

152. Didymus Caecus
Alexandrinus (Didymos the Blind), In
GnT 148.1-149.18 (actual quotes come from 148.6-7, 15-17, 23-27 and
149.5-8) on Genesis 5:21-24, in Pierre Nautin and Louis
Doutreleau, eds., Didyme l’Aveugle sur la
[SC 233, 244], SC 244:14-18.

153. Didymus Caecus
Alexandrinus, In Zachariam 1.277 =
ZaT 63.12-14, in 83:336-38.

154. Didymus Caecus
Alexandrinus, In Zachariam 1.334-42 =
ZaT 75.16-77.24, in 83:370-76.

155. Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam I, on Zechariah 4:2-7, in CCSL 76A:778.54-779.70.

156. Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam I, on Zechariah 4:2-7, in CCSL 76A:780.93-94, 780.106-782.170.

157. Jerome, Commentarii in Zachariam I, on Zechariah 4:11-14, in CCSL 76A:784.246-785.294.

158. Jerome, Commentarii in Amos III, on Amos 9:2-5, in CCSL 76:337.79-82.

159. Jerome, Epistula LIX, 3, in CSEL 54:543-44.

160. Augustine, Epistula CXCIII, 3, 5, in CSEL 57:170.

161. Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram, in CSEL 28:271-72, later quoted by Bede in
his In Genesim I, 2, 18, in CCSL 118A:53-54; see below. To judge
from the variants in the critical apparatus, Bede’s textual source must have
been a manuscript closely akin to Rome Biblioteca Vittorio Emmanuele 2094 (olim Sessorianus XIII) and Saint Gall
161 since, for example, they both give in
as does Bede at 118A:53.1681 while other manuscripts of Augustine
omit in; but for Bede 118A:54.1702 corporalium vs. corporalibus in Augustine, in CSEL
28:272.11, the closest manuscript is that underlying the 1689 St. Maur edition
of Augustine.

162. Theodoret of Cyr
(Pseudo-Justin Martyr), Quaestiones et
Responsiones ad Orthodoxos
85, in PG

163. Quoduultdeus, Liber Promissionum I, VI, 9 “Praedictio
Figurata Duorum Scilicet Populorum,” in CCSL 60:18.35-40; 101:170-72.

164. Quoduultdeus, Dimidium Temporis in Signis Antichristi
XIII, 22 “Promissio Implenda in Missione Heliae et Enoch,” in CCSL 60:206.11-207.24; SC 102:632.

165. Quoduultdeus, Dimidium Temporis in Signis Antichristi
XV, 24 “Praedictio Implenda in passione Heliae et Enoch” and XVI, 25 “Promissio
in eorum resurrectione Heliae et Enoch,” in CCSL 60:208-9; 102:636-38.

166. Procopius of
Gaza, Commentarii in Genesin IV, 91,
in PG 87:260C-D.

167. Caesarius, Expositio in Apocalypsim 8, in Morin, Opera Omnia, 2:239.

168. Primasius, Commentarius in Apocalypsin III, 11:3,
in CCSL 92:166.28–34; PL 68:866C.

169. Magnus Aurelius
Cassiodorus, Complexiones in Apocalypsin
15, in PL 70:1411.

170. Gregory the
Great, Homiliae in Hiezechihelem
I, Homilia XII, 8-9, in CCSL
142:187-88; SC 327:500.

171. Gregory the
Great, Moralia in Iob 14.(xxiii) 27
on Job 18:20, in CCSL
143A:714; PL 75:1053D.

172. Isidore of
Seville, De Ortu et Obitu Patrum 3,
in PL 83:131-32.

173. Cosmas
Indicopleustes, Topographia Christiana
V, 140, in PG 88:260AB; SC 159:205.

174. Tractatus Hilarii in Septem Epistolas
Robert E. McNally, ed., in CCSL
108B:75 on James 5:17; RBMA
3:93-94.3525-31; cf. Bischoff, “Turning-Points in the History of Latin
Exegesis in the Early Irish Church: A.D. 650-800,” 141-43.

175. Anonymous Irish,
Rapisarda, ed., 94, in PLS 4:1858.

176. Anonymous Irish,
Rapisarda, ed., 94, in PLS 4:1859.

177. Andreas of
Caesarea, Commentarii in Apocalypsin
30, “De Enocho et Elia,” in PG

178. Chronicon Paschale, “De Prophetia
Enoch,” in PG 92:105A; cf. G.
Mercati, “A Study of the Paschal
Journal of
Theological Studies
7 (1906): 397-412; CPG

179. John of
Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa 4, in PG 94:1217B-C; CPG 3:512.8043.

180. John of
Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa 4, in PG 94:1218B-C.

181. Oecumenius, Commentarius in Apocalypsin, in Hoskier,
The Complete Commentary of Oecumenius on
the Apocalypse,
128-29, on Apocalypse 11:1-7.

182. Andreas of
Caesarea, Commentarius in Apocalypsin
30: [Concerning Enoch and Elijah who are going to refute and expose the
Antichrist] in Cramer, Catena,
8:339-40, commentary on Apocalyse 11:3-6, based on Oecumenius.

183. Arethas, Commentarius in Apocalypsin 30, in PG 106:648C-689B, abbreviating Andreas
of Caesarea on Apocalyse 11:3-6.

184. Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin II, 11:3, in PL 93:162C.

185. Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin II, 11:4, in PL 93:162D.

186. Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin II, 11:6, in PL 93:163A.

187. Beda, Expositio in Apocalypsin II, 11:13e, in PL 93:164C-D, with the expression hucusque recapitulatio taken from the
early manuscripts of Bede.

188. Beda, De Temporum Ratione LXIX, 600-601 ‘De
Temporibus Antichristi,’ in CCSL

189. Beda, In Genesim I, 1703-9, on Genesis 2:18, in CCSL 118A:54.

190. Beatus of
Liebana V, Explanatio 11, 1-5, in Sanders, Beati
in Apocalypsim Libri XII,
445; Romero-Pose, Sancti Beati A Liebana Commentarius in Apocalypsin, 2:67-68.

191. Beatus of
Liebana V, Explanatio 11, 8, 10, 13, in Sanders, Beati in Apocalypsim Libri XII, 446-47; Romero-Pose, Sancti Beati A Liebana Commentarius in

192. The manuscript
reads mille •CC• •XL• perhaps by misreading Ambrosius Autpertus or Victorinus
with reference to MCCLX dies, id est XLII
thus causing a confusion in the number.

193. Alcuin, Commentarii in Apocalypsin V, 11:3-4;
Mai, Alcuini Commentariorum in
Apocalypsin Libri Quinque,
328-29; PL
100:1147C-1148A); cf. Ambrosius Autpertus, Expositio
in Apocalypsin
V, 11:3-4, in CCCM
27:413.1-416.33. Alcuin draws upon Ambrosius but plainly shows the radical
compression of his exegetical source in his paraphrasing. For example, whereas
Ambrosius has eighty-six lines of printed commentary on Apocalyse 11:3, Alcuin
has scarcely the equivalent of ten or eleven printed lines. Nevertheless,
Alcuin still tends to use significant words and phrases that can be directly
traced to Ambrosius. Also, Alcuin proceeds in the same order as Ambrosius, and
so the summary must be deliberate, intentionally based upon his immediate
literary and exegetical source.

194. Photius, Bibliotheca 229, in PG 103:985AB, D; ed. R. Henry, 4 (Paris: Société d’Édition
“Les Belles Lettres,” 1965): 139-40 in the series ‘Collection
Byzantine’ of the Association Guillaume Budé. This section comprises some of
his notes from reading works by Ephraem the Syrian, a prominent fourth-century
church writer mentioned above. The quotation is from his summary of a treatise
in reply to the attorney Anatolius, and Ephraem apparently quoted from various
authorities, but especially from the Cappadocian Fathers. So this quotation is
a ninth-century statement of fourth-century theological views.

195. Luis Revenga,
ed., Los Beatos: Europalia 85 España,
26 September-30 November 1985, Chapelle de Nassau, Bibliothèque royale Albert
Ier, Brussels (Madrid: Graficen, 1985), 102-35 for a brief description of each
manuscript and a collation of illustrations.

196. Gerona Cathedral
MS 7, written in A.D. 975 at the monastery of San Salvador, Zamora, by the
priest Senior at the request of Abbot Dominicus, and decorated with 114
full-page miniatures by the monk Emeterius and the lady En; manuscript
published in facsimile and with analyses in J. M. Casanovas, C. E. Dubler, W.
Neuss, J. Marqués,
eds., Sancti Beati a Liebana in
Apocalypsin Codex Gerundensis
(Olten and Lausanne: Urs Graf, 1962), and
also G. Sanders, ed., with J. Camón, T. Marn, and J. Marqués,
Beati in Apocalipsin libri duodecim,
Codex Gerundensis
(Madrid: Ediln, 1975).

197. Kurt Weitzmann, Ancient Book Illumination, Martin
Classical Lectures 16 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959). The
Homer manuscript is the Ilias Ambrosiana,
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, F 205 inf. Only some of the miniatures and a bit
of text remain: see the reproductions and descriptive analyses in Ranuccio
Bianchi-Bandinelli, Hellenistic-Byzantine
Miniatures of the Iliad (Ilias Ambrosiana)
(Bern and Olten: Urs Graf,
1955). For Vergil, see L. D. Reynolds, ed., Texts
and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1983),
433-36; the great manuscript, frequently studied, is Vat. lat. 3867, the Vergilius Romanus. See Erwin Rosenthal, The Illuminations of the Vergilius Romanus
(Cod. Vat. Lat. 3867): A Stylistic and Iconographical Analysis
and Zürich: Urs Graf, 1972). For Terence, see Reynolds, Texts and Transmission, 412-20, and also
L. W. Jones and C. R. Morey, The
Miniatures of the Manuscripts of Terence prior to the Thirteenth Century,
vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1930-31). “Someone soon
after A.D. 400, to judge from the style of the illustrations, illustrated the
text in accordance with the scene-headings of his manuscript, and these
illustrations survive in descendants of .” Reynolds, Texts and Transmission, 413, citing A. W. Byvanck, “Antike Malerei,
II: Das Vorbild der Terenzillustrationen,” Mnemosyne 3rd series, 7 (1939): 115-35. The manuscripts include
Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Vaticanus lat. 3868 (ca. 820-30, Corvey;
written by Hrodgarius, illustrated by Adelricus; facsimile ed. Gunther
Jachmann, Terentius: Codex Vaticanus
Latinus 3868 picturis insignis
[Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz, 1929]); Paris,
Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 7899 (s. ix2 from near Reims]); Paris,
Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 7900 (s. ix3/4 from Corbie); and Lyon,
Bibliothèque de la ville, MS 788 (s. ix3/4 from near Paris).

198. Specifically in
manuscript family and its antecedent, Σ; see John N. Grant, “The Miniatures
and the Date of Σ,” Studies in the
Textual Tradition of Terence
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986),

199. For other
examples of the persistence of Enoch and Elijah in the artistic tradition even
in the Greek world, see Harold R. Willoughby, The Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse, vol. 1: A Greek Corpus of
Revelation Iconography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940).