Analyzing J. W. Colenso's Unpublished Comments on the Book of Revelation

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This article was originally published as:

van Wyk, K., & Kim, S. (2018). Analyzing J. W. Colenso's unpublished comments on the Book of Revelation. Sahmyook Theological Review, 20(1), 151-180.

ISSN: 1599-8843


220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)

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John W. Colenso was an Anglican missionary in South Africa in late 19th

century who took a role as a philanthropic legal advocate for the uncivilized. He

also contributed in pioneering linguistics of Zulu, one of the official languages

used by many in South Africa. However, he is known for his destructive views

on interpretation of the biblical texts, to be evaluated as one “smashing the

Old Testament text,” and it caused him to be disgraced by his own church.

His unpublished comments on the Book of Revelation, personally acquired

to this researcher, are selectively presented and analyzed in this study, and his

methodology of interpretation on the biblical texts examined. It was found that

he invented words that are not in the text, transformed those which are in the

text, and conflated some nouns as identical that are syntactically separated.

He foregrounded interpretation with a preteristic model but backgrounded

it now and then with a historicistic model. These findings confirm the

existing evaluations on his theology. His calculated attempt to break down

the inspiration of the Scripture is one of the biggest ironies regarding his

philanthropic services as a missionary.


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This article may be accessed from the publisher here.

At the time of writing Sook-Young Kim and Koot van Wyk were affiliated with KyungPook National University.

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