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These Lectures were delivered in February, 1920, some months before the publication of my Commentary on the Apocalypse by Messrs. T. and T. Clark. Since the publication of this Commentary I have read all the reviews that have come under my notice—English, French, German, and Dutch. The greater number of these have pronounced favourably on most of the new departures, which I have taken alike in regard to the form of the Greek text, its Hebraistic character, its translation, and its interpretation. Practically all my reviewers have been brought to admit the necessity of an exhaustive knowledge of Jewish Apocalyptic, if we are to understand the Christian Apocalypse. This is something to be thankful for; since, as a rule, hitherto, even serious scholars, though possessed of the sorriest equipment in this department of knowledge, readily undertook to expound this great work.
As regards my reconstruction of the order of the text there has been less unanimity. But an examination of the objections that a small minority of my reviewers have advanced to my reconstruction and a renewed study on my own part of the subject as a whole during the last eighteen months have further confirmed me in the conclusion that most if not all of my reconstructions of the order of the text are wholly unaffected by their criticisms. To put the matter as courteously as possible, most of their objections have been due to a very incomplete knowledge alike of the manifold problems of the Apocalypse and of Apocalyptic.
But there is some excuse to be made on behalf of these critics. Their difficulties were aggravated by the fact that they had to criticize a very difficult work of nearly 1100 pages. It is not strange, therefore, that many of the arguments adduced by me in support of a new departure in textual or literary criticism, in interpretation, or the reconstruction of the order of the text, escaped their notice, seeing that the various converging lines of argument bearing on individual passages have not always been summarized, nor made accessible even in the index. Hence in some important questions this task has been left to the reader to do for himself. Now in the present Lectures, which can of course deal only with the main arguments and must perforce refer the reader for the details to my Commentary, I have summarized my new conclusions on the main problems of the Apocalypse, and in some cases the converging lines of evidence on which they are based. The serious student will observe that these conclusions are for the most part logically linked together, and that their evidence is cumulative.
I have mentioned only one of my critics by name, namely Dr. Burney, since his criticism, which accepts my theories of the Hebraistic character of the text, has helped me to correct an error in my translation of the text, though it is an error of which he is, strange to say, twice guilty in his own review. With this criticism I have dealt on pp. 32–4.
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