medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
OK. I could use some help from the medievalists and byzantinists -- or whomever. I'm trying to explore pre-reformation interpretations of the "mark of the beast" (the number 666, or the variant 616), from Revelation 13. In his classic study of "Antichrist" traditions, Bousset is content to accept the old historical identification of Nero, but many other identifications have been offered over the centuries (before much Protestant polemics pointed to the Papacy in various forms). There is some help from online searches (e.g. Wiki articles), especially on the early period and the spate of anti-Muslim applications, but I haven't yet found much on medieval (broadly speaking) commentators, especially those writing in Latin and Greek and Syriac. The works that I have seen on commentaries (e.g. Francis X. Gumerlock, Patristic Commentaries on Revelation [online] "third through eighth centuries") tend not to address the "666/616" problem directly. I haven't yet checked the following:

E. Ann Matter, “The Apocalypse in Early Medieval Exegesis,” and John Williams, “The Apocalypse Commentary of Beatus of Liébana,” in Emmerson and McGinn, eds., The Apocalypse in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 38-50, 217-33; Emmerson, Antichrist in the Middle Ages (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981); Bernard McGinn, Visions of the End: Apocalyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).

Am I missing anything obvious in the secondary literature? I do have a list of "patristic" texts and authors to check (e.g. I'm told that Hippolytus, Pseudo-Ephraem, Pseudo-Epiphanius, Isidore of Seville (d. 635), and Bede all interpreted Revelation 11-13 in their writings about Antichrist, and that In the second half of the sixth century or in the seventh century, an anonymous author wrote De monogramma [Roger Gryson, ed. CCSL 107:146-57], an explanation of the number of the beast in Revelation 13:18), but more such references would be welcome. I'll be happy to share the results with anyone interested.


Bob Kraft, Emeritus UPenn

On 10/29/2014 8:16 PM, George Ferzoco wrote:
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I used to say it regularly to the list, but perhaps I should do so again: if any of you is facing any difficulties with research, ask the rest of us; given our numbers and our expertise, I think it's likely that help is not far away.

Thanks again, Al -- best wishes, George

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