Arethas of Caesarea
Here, then, were manifestly shown to the Evangelist what things were to befall the Jews in their war against the Romans, in the way of avenging the sufferings inflicted upon Christ.
Byzantine Scholar | Pupil of Photius | Deacon at Constantinople | Named Archbishop of Caesarea in 901
“In his explanation of the sixth seal he applies it to the destruction of Jerusalem ; and he does so expressly on the authority of preceding interpreters.”
- Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Graeca
- Arethas Supports Early Date of the Book of Revelation
- 1805: John Chappel Woodhouse, Commentary on Revelation (PDF)
- 1906: Henry Barclay Swete, The Apocalypse of John: The Greek Text, 1E | 3E (PDF)
- 1999: Eschatology Towards the End of the First Millennium (PDF)
- 2008: Ron Bigalke, Preterism and Antiquity – Was Preterism a View of the Early Church? (PDF)
- 2008: Eugenia Constantinou, Andrew and the Apocalypse in the Near East (PDF)
- 2009: Georg Adamsen, Constantinou, Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse
(On the Early Dating of Revelation)
“The destruction caused by the Romans had not fallen upon the Jews when the evangelist received these (Apocalyptic) instructions.”
“For there were many, yea, a countless multitude from among the Jews, who believed in Christ : as even they testify, who said to St Paul on his arrival at Jerusalem : Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe. (Acts xxi. 20.) And He who gave this revelation to the Evangelist, declares, that these men shall not share the destruction inflicted by the Romans. For the ruin brought by the Romans had not yet fallen upon the Jews, when this Evangelist received these prophecies : and he did not receive them at Jerusalem, but in Ionia near Ephesus. For after the suffering of the Lord he remained only fourteen years at Jerusalem, during which time the tabernacle of the mother of the Lord, which had conceived this Divine offspring, was preserved in this temporal life, after the suffering and resurrection of her incorruptible Son. For he continued with her as with a mother committed to him by the Lord. For after her death it is reported that he no longer chose to remain in Judaea, but passed over to Ephesus, where, as we have said, this present Apocalypse also was composed ; which is a revelation of future things, inasmuch as forty years after the ascension of the Lord this tribulation came upon the Jews.”
(On the Early Date of Revelation – As declared by Elliot in Horae Apocalypticae) “Or again, [what of] the commentator Arethas, promulgated still two or three centuries later, to the effect that the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem” (vol. I, p. 39)
(On Revelation 1:1)
“Wherefore also the Lord saith ; Behold I come quickly : for after that tribulation I come quickly ; that is, without delay : for this is the meaning of ‘quickly,’ — I will tread, as it were, in the very footsteps of these excited persecutions. Therefore also I entreat you to preserve the treasure of faith inviolate, lest our crown of patience should be lost.”
(On Revelation 1:16)
“He is said to shine as the sun in his strength, because He himself is the sun of righteousness, according to the prophet Malachi: (iv.2.) which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world. (John i.9.). But he enlightens, not as a shining body, in a manner obvious to our senses, but after a spiritual manner. Therefore also it is added: In his strength : as if he had said, that the light of Christ works by its own inherent energy, not enlightening the countenance in a bodily manner, but spiritually illuminating the eyes of the soul.” (Rev. i.16)
(On Revelation 6:12)
“Some refer this to the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian.”
(On Revelation 7:1)
“Here, then, were manifestly shown to the Evangelist what things were to befall the Jews in their war against the Romans, in the way of avenging the sufferings inflicted upon Christ.”
(On Revelation 7:4)
“When the Evangelist received these oracles, the destruction in which the Jews were involved was not yet inflicted by the Romans.” (Taken From Before Jerusalem Fell, and Rapture Madness)
Henry Cowles (1881)
“On the other hand the Syriac translation of the Apocalypse has this superscription: “The Revelation which was made by God to John the Evangelist in the Island of Patmos to which he was banished by Nero the Emperor.” Most of the Syriac New Testament (known as the “Peshito”), i. e., all the unquestioned books, are supposed to have been translated late in the first century or very early in the second; but the Syriac version of the Apocalypse is not so old. Yet Ephraim the Syrian of Nisibis [died A. D. 378] wrote commentaries on nearly the whole Bible; often appeals to the Apocalypse; but wrote only in Syriac and probably was unacquainted with Greek and therefore must have had this book in the Syrian tongue. This superscription seems to testify, to a current tradition in Syria at least as far back as his day, assuming the date of the book to the age of Nero.—Of later witnesses, Andreas of Cappadocia [flourished about A. D. 500], in a commentary on this book, favors the Neronian date. Arethas also, his successor [about A. D. 540], yet more decisively. He assumes the book to have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, for he explains chapters 6 and 7 as predictions of that event.—Plainly then the traditions of the early ages and the testimony of the fathers were not all in favor of the Domitian date.—Some incidental circumstances strongly favor the earlier date;e. g., the account given in much detail by Eusebius [Ec. His. 3: 23], who quotes Clement to the effect that John after his return from this banishment in Patmos, mounted his horse and pushed away into the fastnesses of the mountains to reach a robber chief who had apostatized from the Christian faith. But Jerome represents John in the last years of his life (i. e., at the time of Domitian’s persecution) as being so weak and infirm that he was carried by other hands with difficulty to his church-meetings to say in tremulous tones: “My little children, love one another.”—These traditions of the aged apostle, compared with each other and with the probabilities of the case, seem to forbid us to assign the date of the Apocalypse to the reign of Domitian.” (The Book of Revelation)
F.W. Farrar (1882)
“Epiphanius says that St. John was banished in the reign of Claudius, and the earliest Apocalyptic commentators, as well as the Syriac and Theophylact, all place the writing of the Apocalypse in the reign of Nero. To these must be added the author of the “Life of Timotheus,” of which extracts are preserved by Photius. Clemens of Alexandria and Origen only say that “John was banished by the tyrant,” and this on Christian lips may mean Nero much more naturally than Domitian – See Epiphan. Haer. li 23 and 33 ; Andreas on Rev. vi. 12 ; Arethas on Rev. vii. 1-8 ; Syriac MS. No. 18 ; Theophylact.Comment. in Joann.” (Apocalypse)
Henry Hammond (1653)
“The arguments that induced this conclusion where these: first, that this was again immediately inculcated, v.3, for the time is nigh, and that rendered as proof that these seven Churches, to whom the prophecie was written, were concerned to observe and consider the contents of it, Blessed is he that reads, and he that hears, &c. (saith Arethas, that so hears as to practise) for the time, or season, the point of time is near at hand. Secondly, that as here in the front, so c. 22.6, at the close, or shutting up of all these Visions, and of S. John’s Epistle to the Seven Churches, which contained them, ’tis there again added, that God hath sent his Angel to shew to his servants the things that must presently, or speedily, or suddanly ; and immediately upon the back of that are set the words of Christ, the Author of this prophecie, Behold I come quickly, not in the notion of his final coming to judgment (which hath been the cause of a great deal of mistake, see Note on Mat. 24.b.) but of his coming to destroy his enemies, the Jewes, &c. and then, Blessed is he that observes, orvkeeps, the prophecies of this book, parallel to what had been said at the beginning, c.1.3. Thirdly, that v.10. the command is given to John, not to seal the prophecies of the book, which that it signifies that they were of present use to those times, and therefore to be kept open, and not to be laid up as things that posterity was only or principally concern’d in, appears by that reason rendered of it, because the time is nigh, the same which had here at the beginning been given, as the reason that he that considered the prophecies was blessed in so doing.” (A Paraphrase.., Revelation Preface)
William Hurte (1884)
“That John saw these visions in the reign of Nero, and that they were written by him during his banishment by that emperor, is confirmed by Theophylact,Andreas, Arethas, and others. We judge, therefore, that this book was written about A.D. 68, and this agrees with other facts of history.. There are also several statements in this book which can only be understood on the ground that the judgment upon Jerusalem was then future.” (Catechetical Commentary: Edinburgh, Scotland, 1884)
Robert Jamieson (On The Early Date of Revelation)
“The Epistle of the churches of Lyons and Vienne to the churches of Asia and Phrygia (in EUSEBIUS, [Ecclesiastical History, 5.1-3]), in the persecution under Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 77) quotes Re 1:5 3:14 14:4 22:11, as Scripture.”
“The following arguments favor an earlier date, namely, under Nero: (1) EUSEBIUS [Demonstration of the Gospel] unites in the same sentence John’s banishment with the stoning of James and the beheading of Paul, which were under Nero. (2) CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA’S’S story of the robber reclaimed by John, after he had pursued, and with difficulty overtaken him, accords better with John then being a younger man than under Domitian, when he was one hundred years old. Arethas, in the sixth century, applies the sixth seal to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), adding that the Apocalypse was written before that event. So the Syriac version states he was banished by Nero the Cæsar. Laodicea was overthrown by an earthquake (A.D. 60) but was immediately rebuilt, so that its being called “rich and increased with goods” is not incompatible with this book having been written under the Neronian persecution (A.D. 64).” (JFB Commentary, Introduction to Revelation)
“Elliott adds this footnote which explains that Domitian was sometimes given the title of Nero. “May not the mistake have arisen from Domitian having sometimes the title of Nero given him; and in fact the original writer of the Syriac subscription have meant Domitian, not Nero?” He includes in this footnote further proofs given in Latin of this title applying to Domitian. (vol. I pg. 39, footnote 1) Arethas born in 860 A.D. was archbishop of Caesarea and had great influence at the Byzantine court. His commentary on the Apocalypse was mostly a compilation, in which he mainly follows Andreas, who questioned the commonly accepted writing date of 96 A.D. — “Or again, [what of] the commentator Arethas, promulgated still two or three centuries later, to the effect that the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem; an opinion contradicted indeed elsewhere in the body of his work by himself?” (vol. I, p. 39) ” (Refuting the Early Writing of Revelation)
Moses Stuart (1845)
“Near the commencement of the seventeenth century (1614), the Spanish Jesuit Ludovicus ab Alcasar published his Vestigatio arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi, a performance distinguished by one remarkable feature, which was then new. He declared the Apocalypse to be a continous and connected work, making regular advancement from beginning to end, as parts of one general plan in the mind of the writer. In conformity with this he brought out a result which has been of great importance to succeeding commentators. Rev. v-vi, he thinks, applies to the Jewish enemies of the Christian Church; xi-xix to heathen Rome and carnal and worldly powers, xx-xxii to the final conquests to be made by the church, and also to its rest, and its ultimate glorification. This view of the contents of the book had been merely hinted at before, by Hentenius, in the Preface to his Latin version of Arethas, Par. 1547. 8vo; and by Salmeron in his Preludia in Apoc. But no one had ever developed this idea fully, and endeavoured to illustrate and enforce it, in such a way as Alcasar … Although he puts the time of composing the Apocalypse down to the exile of John under Domitian, yet he still applies ch. v-xi to the Jews, and of course regards the book as partly embracing the past.
“It might be expected, that a commentary that thus freed the Romish church from the assaults of the Protestants, would be popular among the advocates of the papacy. Alcasar met, of course, with general approbation and reception among the Romish community. “‘(Stuart, Moses, “Commentary on the Apocalypse”, Allen, Morrill and Wardell, Andover, 1845, Volume 1, p. 464.)
“Arethas, a successor of Andreas, and in the same bishopric, wrote a still more copious commentary on the Apocalypse, and in the same style. He treads closely in the steps of his predecessor, and epitomizes him in some places, while he enlarges in others. Yet he is not destitute of independence of opinion. He gives some hints, here and there, of different views; and more than once seems to intimate that Rev. iv— xi. applies to the Jews and Jerusalem, although he would not exclude an ultimate reference to Antichrist. Here and there, too, he intersperses grammatical remarks, which are not without value.” (A Historical Sketch of the Exegesis of the Apocalypse: An Excerpt from A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Volume 1 (1845 PDF)
Alexander Tilloch (1832)
“The commentator Arethas, who quotes Irenaeus’ opinion, does not follow it. In his explanation of the sixth seal he applies it to the destruction of Jerusalem ; and he does so expressly on the authority of preceding interpreters.” (Dissertations introductory to the study and right understanding of the Apocalypse. p. 9)
“Arethas seems to have been of “opinion that things which had come to pass ” long before might be represented in the Revelation,” does not apply to the case before us: for Arethas says, and Lardner has himself quoted the words, that ” The destruction caused ” by the Romans had not fallen upon the Jews, ” when the evangelist received these (Apocalyptic) instructions. Nor was he at Jerusalem, ” but in Ionia, where is Ephesus: for he stayed ” at Jerusalem no more than fourteen years—i ” And, after the death of our Lord’s mother, he ” left Judea, and went to Ephesus, as tradition ” says : where also, as is said, he had the Reve”lation of future things.” These words are quoted by Lardner for the purpose of assailing them. ” How can we rely (says he) on a writer ” of the sixth century for these particulars; that ” John did not stay at Jerusalem more than ” fourteen years, that he left Judea upon the ” death of our Lord’s mother, and then went to ” Ephesus: when we can evidently perceive ” from the history in the Acts, that in the four” teenth year after our Lord’s ascension, there ” were no Christian converts at Ephesus : and ” that the church at Ephesus was not founded ” by St. Paul till several years afterwards ? What ” avails it to refer to such passages as these ?”— What avails it! To show that there were other traditions besides that derived from Jrenaeus, and that some preferred them to his. Nor is the fact that others, before Arethas, believed the Revelation to have been given prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, set aside or even weakened by his running into the same sentence other traditions, which might appear incredible to Lardner, or which might even be false. Arethas was not an original commentator, but exhibited a synopsis of what had been advanced by Andrew of Caesarea (who lived about the year 500) and others ; and this very Andrew quotes, in his commentary, the same application of a passage in the Apocalypse to the destruction of Jerusalem, though he rejects it himself. The testimony of Arethas is offered—not as having authority, merely because it is his, but—as evidence, that the opinion which he delivers, was held by other commentators before his time. Michaelis remarks that ” we know of no commentators be” fore him but Andrew of Caesarea, and Hippo” litus, who lived at the end of the second ” century.” This, however, it must be allowed is no proof that his authority was Hippolitus: it might have been one later;—but, it is also possible that it might have been one earlier; for though Michaelis has here overlooked the fact, the Apocalypse was the subject of a treatise written by Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in the early part of the second century, of which nothing remains but its title, which is preserved in Eusebius.1 I stop not to examine the other facts, which Lardner thinks cannot be true ; for, if false, it does not follow that the simple fact, of early commentators having held the opinion, that the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, must also be false—any more than it will follow, if it can be proved that Iron-urns is wrong, in ascribing the book to the reign of Domitian, that, therefore, his authority is to be questioned on all other points.—But why, after quoting the words of Arethas, has Lardner repeated them, with amplification? Arethas does not say that, on the death of our Lord’s mother John left Judea and Then went to Ephesus ; but that, after that event he left Judea and went to Ephesus. It might be some time afier. But what has Ephesus to do with the question ? Could John by no possibility have visited Patmos, “for the word of God,” or to preach the gospel, till after he had taken up his residence at Ephesus ?
1 Hist. Eccles. iv. 26.
I mean not, however, to enter into the question, how long John stayed at Jerusalem? for it is possible, though that city might for a long time be his usual place of residence, that, like the other Apostles, he sometimes travelled, preaching the glad news of salvation. Luke’s history is confined chiefly to the travels of Paul, which accounts sufficiently for his recording nothing respecting those of John. It is therefore a mere assumption, that John could not be in Patmos before the reign of Domitian, and that he was banished to that island. Could it even be proved, that he was actually banished to Patmos by that Emperor, this would be no proof whatever, that he had not been there before. Nay, more; he must have been in that island long before, if the evidence, to be submitted hereafter to the reader, be well founded.
The title of the Syriac version of the Apocalypse has also been offered as an evidence for a date prior to the reign of Domitian. It runs thus: ” The Revelation which was made to John ” the Evangelist, by God, in the island of Patmos, ” into which he was banished by Nero the Caesar.” To this evidence it is objected that the Apocalypse was not in the first Syriac Version, which was made very early. This may be true; but it is equally true that Ephrem the Syrian, who lived about the year 370, several times quotes the Apocalypse in his sermons, which yields a strong argument (though not a positive proof) that a translation must then have been in existence, and known to the members of the Syrian congregations. But even had no translation existed prior to the Philoxenian version, which was made in the year 508, the argument remains, that the tradition of the Syrian churches ascribed the Apocalypse to the days of Nero; and the presumption is, that the Greek manuscripts whence they made their version exhibited the above title.
I will not detain the reader longer on Ecclesiastical traditions respecting the time at which the Apocalypse was written. (Those who wish for farther information on this subject should consult Lardner, who has collected the whole with great labor; also Michaelis’ Introduction to the JNew Testament.) But it should be constantly recollected, that, however numerous the authors are, who ascribe it to the end of Domitian’s reign, the testimony of all of them may be resolved into that of one individual, whom they copied, namely Irenaeus ; that another tradition placed the date in the reign of Nero ; and another in that of Claudius : and hence it follows, that the true date, if it can be settled, must be ascertained on some other evidence. That is, their conflicting testimonies must, if possible, be tried by some standard on which reliance may be placed, to ascertain which of them should be received as true. It may be proper, however, to examine another argument against an early date, brought forward by Vitringa, also by Lenfant and Beausobre in their preface to the Revelation, and quoted with approbation by Lardner; and this shall be attempted in the next section. I pass unnoticed a fourth tradition, which says that John was banished to Patmos in the reign of Trajan; and a fifth, which places his banishment in that of Hadrian; as both these necessarily pre-suppose that the Apocalypse was not written by the apostle John—a question which has been so well treated of by Newton, Lardiier, Woodhouse, and other British Critics, to say nothing of foreigners, that it does not deserve another moment’s consideration.
2.Of the Arguments for a late Date, founded on the supposed State of the Asiatic Churches when the Apocalypse was written.
John Chappel Woodhouse
“A certain degree of external evidence is attempted to be derived from Arethas, who, in hisCommentary on the Apocalypse, has endeavoured to explain some of its prophecies, as fulfilled in the Jewish wars; and he has certainly affirmed, that “
could this be, but Hippolitus,or [mucus?” Hippolitus would have been a valuable evidence, if any proof could he adduced of his having held such opinion. The testimony of Irenaeus would be yet more decisive, could it be procured.” (Commentary on Revelation)
OTHER AREAS OF INTEREST
Fr. Demetrius (1998)
“The event of the transport of the holy relics from Kition to Constantinople was immortalized by Arethas, bishop of Caesarea, in two of his famous speeches, made on the occasion. In the first speech he praises the arrival of the sacred relics from Kition to Constantinople, and in the second one he describes in detail the procession which the emperor formed to carry the relics from Chrysoupolis to the great cathedral of Saint Sophia. Leo, besides the church he had built at Kition after the Saint’s name, he also built a second one in Constantinople in honor of the Saint.” (St. Lazarus, Friend of Christ)
Jeremiah Genest (1998)
“The written word was of great importance in Byzantium, for the transmission of the Bible (the biblos par excellence) and patristic literature, and for the preservation of classical antiquity. The number of preserved Greek MSS today is about 55,000 of which perhaps 40,000 are Byzantine. They are mainly in the form of a codex, but the roll survived in the transmission of liturgical texts and in the imperial chancery. Few pre-10th century MSS survive. The numbers of MSS produced increased dramatically with the introduction of miniscule script. Most MSS were liturgical or theological; these books predominate both in modern collections and in medieval inventories of monastic libraries. Literary, scientific and historical books were generally found in the private collections of the literati. Books were a rare and expensive commodity in Byzantium, because of the shortage of writing materials and the length of time it took a scribe to copy a MS. N. Wilson has shown that in the 9th century a MS of about 400 folios cost 15-20 nomismata, a sum reckoned by C. Mango as equivalent to the annual salary of a civil servant (Books and Bookman (Dumbarton oaks, 1975), 3f, 38f).
Private libraries rarely exceeded 25 volumes. Booksellers are scarcely ever mentioned; books were obtained by borrowing from friends, commissioning the copying of a MS at a scriptorium, or using a library. Hence books were highly valued by clergy and intellectuals; MSS from libraries frequently contain an imprecation against anyone who would dare steal a book. The designation of a book for a certain use might change in the course of the centuries; thus the Vienna Dioskorides was originally dedicated to the princess Anicia Juliana in the 6th century but served as a herbal for a hospital in Constantinople in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many monasteries such as Stoudios, Hodegin and Galesios housed important scriptoria.
The Book trade, in the strict sense hardly ever existed in Byzantium, in contrast to the flourishing book production and distribution of late antiquity. There was a certain market for old and rare books, while new books were always produced on commission for the private library of the commissioner or for the library of a public or ecclesiastical institution. Some MSS contain indications about the price, the charges for the copying and those for the material being calculated separately. Arethas of Caesarea paid around 15-20 nomismata on the average for a MS, about a third of this amount being for the parchment. In other cases the data concerning book prices are much less clear. Because the size and format of the books in question are often unknown, the average prince of a Byzantine book cannot be determined, much less related to the purchasing power of the currency during the period in question. Writing material remained expensive even after the introduction of paper and only in the last centuries of the empire were costs reduced by the importation of western paper. Under these circumstances acquiring and collecting books was a privilege of institutions and of a very few wealthy individuals. Owing to the high prices, intellectuals rarely could satisfy their need for books through purchase; as a result, scholars often borrowed books from one another and copied them personally.
Libraries underwent a substantial change during late antiquity: municipal libraries disappeared and the public libraries organized by Constatius II and Theodosius II were state institutions. Byzantine libraries could be imperial, patriarchial, monastic or private. As Wilson stresses, “the university of Constantinople has left no trace of a central library,” though Constantine IX’s foundation charter for the School of Law makes provision for one. Some libraries had inventories, several of which (e.g., the catalog of the library of the monastery of Patmos) have survived. The books had shelfmarks and were placed on shelves accordingly. Some libraries had their own scriptoria and professionals to repair and bind books. In the early 13th century the Patmos library had approximately 330 books, the library of Lavra possessed 960 MSS. Most libraries, especially private ones, were much smaller; the library of Eustathios Boilas in the late 11th century, for example, contained 81 books.
The contents of libraries differed significantly: the inventories of monastic libraries usually contained chronicles and biblical, patristic and hagiographical text. Th library of the patriarchate of Constantinople reportedly possessed a special chest of heretical books. The private library varied accordingly to the individual: many had wide collections dedicated to rhetoricians and the classical poets; the bibliophile Arethas of Caesarea acquired primarily secular classics. John Komnenos Synadenos, late 13th century, collected religious books. ” (Books and Libraries in Byzantium)
“Through the sixth century, interest in Plato was mainly centered in the Platonic schools of Athens and Alexandria, where the standard curriculum, inherited from Iamblichos, consisted of 12 dialogues. An edict of Justinian I in 529 had a serious effect on the Academy of Athens, but in Alexandria the pagan Olympiodoros was still lecturing on Plato 40 years later, thanks to a compromise philosophical approach that avoided a clash with Christian monotheism, and the Alexandrian Monophysite John Philoponos commented on the Phaedrus. Thereafter the fate of Plato’s texts and of interest in them lay principally in the hands of learned individuals, most of whom were careful to keep a certain distance from the pagan philosopher. In the 9th to 10th century, such men were Leo the Mathematician, Photios and Arethas of Caesarea. Photios and Arethas commissioned copies of Plato that must have played a pivotal role in the transmission. In the 11th century, Psellos and John Italos caused a renewed interest in Plato. Later Plato received the attention of Theodore Metochites.” (Plato)
“And have made us…” (v. 9) this is supported by the Textus Receptus (16th century), Codex Fuldensis (sixth century Latin version), Codex Coislinianus (10th century), and quoted by Arethas, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (10th century). And we shall reign on the Earth…” (10) This text is supported by Textus Receptus (16th century), Mss. Demidovianus (12th century), Mss. Lipsienses (14th and 15th centuries), and quoted by Arethas (10th century), Primasius (6th century), Julius Firmicus (AD 345), Idacius (the name under which Vigilius of Thapsis, AD 484 published his work). ” (Anthropology)
A Minuscule Parchment – Plato, Phaedrus, 895 CE. Uncial, (Steffens 8: Bodleian, Clarke MS 39, fol.224), with transcription part 1 and transcription part 2. This MS is interesting in itself. It was written for Arethas of Patras (later of Caesarea), one of the most important figures in the history of Byzantine books. It was bought by Dr. E.D. Clarke in 1802 from the monastery of St. John on Patmos.” (Byzantine Paleography)
“The Qur’an is the only book in Islam for which Divine inspiration has been declared, however most miracle claims for Muhammad do not occur in the Qur’an but in the Hadith (Islamic Tradition), and do not rely on eyewitnesses* but on stories passed on orally for generations. Muslim scholars have no generally accepted list of authentic miracles from the Hadith and Bukhari, who is considered to be the most reliable collector of all admitted that of the 300,000 Hadith he collected only 7275 may be true, thus eliminating over 290,000 of them. In fact Islamic miracle stories began to appear after two Christian Bishops (Abu Qurra from Edessa and Arethas from Caesarea) made a point of Muhammad’s lack of authenticating miracles. In fact these stories are contrary to the spirit of Muhammad in the Qur’an. He repeatedly refused to perform a miracle for unbeliever’s who challenged him (sura 3:181-84: 4:153; 6:8-9) “
“We have now reached the oldest surviving complete copy of the Elements written in minuscule in 888 AD. Arethas, bishop of Caesarea Cappadociae (now in central Turkey), built up a library of religious and mathematical works and one of the eight works from this library to survive is the Elements copied by the scribe Stephanus for Arethas. The cost to Arethas was 14 gold pieces, about one fifth of what a scribe would expect to receive in a year. Let us call this manuscript of Euclid‘s Elements E888 to make reference to it easier.” (Greek Sources)
Elias V. Oiconomou
“Ιn the tenth century, Arethas, Bishop of Caesarea, a systematic commentator of St. John’s Revelation, defined the meaning of Revelation in three ways. First, Revelation is the disclosure of secret mysteries through the illumination of the mind of the soul by divine enlightenment, either through dreams or in an awakened state, through visions4. Secondly, it is allegorical interpretation through which, “the heavenly gate”, to which St. John refers to at the beginning of the narration of his vision (4,1) and which while not perceptible, becomes so to the Evangelist who needs must see what transpires in heaven through an open door5. Thirdly, it is again allegorical interpretation through which the prophet is summoned to ascend to heaven, not as to a place but rather as an elevation of his mind above all that is earthly and human..
The first authority mentioned, by way of introduction, is that of eternal God. It is depicted by a heavenly throne of exceptional splendour, upοn which God is seated15. This is the fascinosum of the Philosophy of Religion. Arethas16 explains that God, being indescribable, is symbolized both by a jasper stone, signifying that which flourishes and is therefore eternal and life-bearing, and by a sard stone, signifying that which is terrible, the tremendum of the Philosophy of Religion…
This failure nοw enrages the dragon, who nοw turns to the rest of her descendants. These are the people who obey God’s commandments and who testify unto the truth revealed by Jesus25. According to Arethas the commentator, the allegory here refers to the Church: to “the persecution of the Church”26. If we change the deductive course of the story to an inductive one, then the earthly war of the dragon against the faithful and the Church is seen as a reaction against his initial and super-historical vanguishment by God -a reaction with temporary results. The conclusion is evident. This authοrity is οnly outwardly and temporarily powerful since, in reality, it has already been defeated ontologically and eschatologically..
The charging horseman of the second seal (Rev. 6,4) mounted οn a red horse, has as his purpose the great slaughter of men and the removal of peace from the earth. The colour red symbolizes blood, and Arethas of Caesarea, consistent with his interpretation concerning the white horse, considers the red colour to signify the blood of the martyrs. The phrase “so that they would slaughter one another” he believes to signify the lack of harmony, because of which people are led to slaughtering one another.
The ancient exegetes such as Arethas of Caesarea (P.G. 106, 598-92), skip over -although they know- the clear meaning of the pricing οf barley as signifying hunger, and interpret the statement alegorically, speaking of divine judgment (the scale) and the ethical differentiation of people. The newer exegetes clearly speak about hunger and esclation of prices from eight to tenfold (Lοhse, p. 46).
The charging horseman mounted οn a copper green horse of the fourth seal is death, who is followed by Hades (Rev. 6,8). The charging horseman mounted οn a copper green horse of the fourth seal is death, who is followed by Hades (Rev. 6,8). Arethas (P.G. 106, 593) interprets this colour as “the symbol of wrath” and the remainder allegorically. Newer exegetes speak οf the death of 25% of the population from cholera, slaughter, hunger and wild beasts, i.e. people will be captured by wild beasts.
Arethas, P.G. 106,525 gives the interpretation that the number of the seven stars indicates “the decoration of all” i.e. of the universal whole. Following this interpretation, we must accept that what is stated refers to the world-wide Church.” (Home of the Greek Bible)
“914: Codex Parisinus Graecus 451. Parchment. The “Arethas” codex. Written by Baanes for Arethas, then Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Contains books 1-5 on ff. 188r-322r. A quaternion is missing, so the PE starts at I, 3, 5, and the end of Justin’ Cohortatio and Tatian Discourse to the Greeks are missing. A second quaternion has dropped out, creating another lacuna at II, 3, 12-6, 21. PE. bk. 2 starts on f. 213v; 3 on 231v; 4 on 259v; 5 on 289r. Written in minuscule, very clear and beautifully. The running titles in uncial or semi-uncial. The MS was copied from an exemplar in uncials. Arethas, the proprietor and corrector of the MS (A2), covered it with notes. It also contains notes from many hands of the XIV and XVth centuries (A3). Originally in the royal collection at Fontainbleu in the 16th century. There are two old numbers on f.1r – 1169 and 2271. On the last page is the numeral ‘403’. It consists of 59 quaternions and two extra leaves. 10 quaternions and a leaf have fallen out and been lost. Cover: 25cm x 19 cm. Pages: 24.5cm x 18.5 cm. Written area: 14.5 cm (‘bis’ 15) x 11 cm. Margins: top=4cm, bottom=6cm, sides 6.5-7cm. 26 lines per page, 40 characters a line.”
Codex Arethae Contents: 1. Clement of Alexandria, Protrepicus; 2. Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus; 3. Justini epistulam ad Zenam; 4. Justin, Cohortatio ad gentiles; 5. Eusebius, P.E. bks 1-5; 6. Athenagoras, Apology for the Christians; 7. Athenagoras on the Resurrection; 8. Eusebius, Against Hierocles.” (Source)
“Arethas was a prominent name in the Byzantine world of the Middle East because of the fame of “Arethas king of all Arabs.” (Arethas was the Greek form of the Arabic name Harith; several Nabataean kings had the same name, more commonly known as Aretas in Greek).”
Works: Comm. on. Apocalypse: MPG 106, 487 FF. Lit.: Karl Krumbacher, Gesch. byzantin. Lit., 1897 2 , 129 FF; – S. B. Kugeas, A. v. K., Athens 1913; – J. Schmid, the Apc text of the A. v. K., ebd. 1936; – Ders., in: MThS Hist. Abbott. I. ErgBd., Einl., 1956, 96 f. 230 FF; – Psuly Wissowa IIITH Hbd., 1895, 675 FF; – RH II, 1 FF; XXIII, 111; – RGG I, 591; – LThK I, 832.
List of exegetical authorities found in some mss. of an East-Syrian Psalm Commentary as well as in one branch of the ms. tradition of the Gannat Bussame (Garden of Delights), a commentary on the East-Syrian lectionary; see Vandenhoff (1899), Chabot (1906) 491-492, Reinink (1977) 125, n. 74. .
“(3) B = Bodleian MS., D’Orville X. 1 inf. 2, 30, 4to; A.D. 888. This MS. contains the Elements I.–XV. with many scholia. Leaves 15-118 contain I. 14 (from about the middle of the proposition) to the end of Book VI., and leaves 123-387 (wrongly numbered 397) Books VII.–XV. in one and the same elegant hand (9th c.). The leaves preceding leaf 15 seem to have been lost at some time, leaves 6 to 14 (containing Elem. I. to the place in I. 14 above referred to) being carelessly written by a later hand on thick and common parchment (13th c.). On leaves 2 to 4 and 122 are certain notes in the hand of Arethas, who also wrote a two-line epigram on leaf 5, the greater part of the scholia in uncial letters, a few notes and corrections, and two sentences on the last leaf, the first of which states that the MS. was written by one Stephen clericus in the year of the world 6397 [p. 48] (= 888 A.D.), while the second records Arethas’ own acquisition of it. Arethas lived from, say, 865 to 939 A.D. He was Archbishop of Caesarea and wrote a commentary on the Apocalypse. The portions of his library which survive are of the greatest interest to palaeography on account of his exact notes of dates, names of copyists, prices of parchment etc. It is to him also that we owe the famous Plato MS. from Patmos (Cod. Clarkianus) which was written for him in November 8953 .” (Euclid)
“Other Armenian translators encountered various difficulties, which they overcame with great effort. In the colophon of the Armenian translation of Arethas of Caesarea’s Commentary on the Revelation of John, Nerses Lambronats’i describes his tremendous efforts and tireless research. “After reading the Revelation of John, I was troubled in my soul, since I did not comprehend the meaning of the wonderful words. Having searched here and there for a commentary on it in our tongue, I could find nothing. Thereafter I happened to go to the great city of Antioch and with the desire set ablaze in my mind, I toured the Greek and Frankish [Latin] monasteries there. While looking around, I found among the books in the renowned St. Paul Monastery of that town a commentary on the Revelation which two exegetes had composed in the Lombardic tongue and in characters employed by the Franks. Wishing to acquire a translation, I found no one who could translate it from that tongue into Armenian. Leaving the city [and going] to one of the Greek monasteries in the mountains to the north, which was called Bethias, I found what I sought under seal with a lonely hermit called Basil. It was written in Greek characters, correctly and handsomely. The book had belonged to the Patriarch Athanasius of that city. Seeking it through the mediation of well-meaning people, I acquired the book and made haste to go to the residence of the patriarch, my lord the saintly Catholicos Grigorios. When the latter was informed of this, he was overjoyed and ordered [me] to translate it with the assistance of Constantine, Metropolitan of Hieropolis, who lived there under the protection of the saintly patriarch. With the help of God and the Holy Lord, he began to translate and I put it to writing. In this way we made this commentary on the Divine Revelation available to the children of the Armenian Church who love learning.” (Old Armenian Translations)
Mary Whitby (1996)
“Psellus lived in a period of high renaissance. The revival of classical learning is associated with the appearance of a new, easily-written minuscule script, perhaps about 790, and in the ninth century the recovery and preservation of texts from the classical past became a major occupation among the small scholarly elite. The luxury manuscripts of Arethas of Caesarea, which date from the turn of the ninth and tenth centuries, are only the most spectacular manifestation of this activity.”
Arethas of Caesarea was born at Patrae, Greece, about 860; was, like all the eminent men of that time, a disciple of Photius. He became Archbishop of Caesarea early in the 10th century, and is reckoned one of the most scholarly theologians of the Greek Church.
He is the compiler of the oldest extant Greek commentary (scholia) on the Apocalypse, for which he made considerable use of the similar work of his predecessor, Andrew of Caesarea. It was first printed in 1535 as an appendix to the works of Oecumenius and is found in P.G., CVI, 493. Dr. Ehrhard inclines to the opinion that he wrote other scriptural commentaries. To his interest in the earliest Christian literature, caught perhaps from the above-named Andrew, we owe the Arethas Codex (Paris, Gr. 451), through which the text of the Greek Christian Apologists has, in great measure, reached us (Otto Bardenhewer, Patrologie, 40).
He is also known as a commentator of Plato and Lucian; the famous manuscript of Plato (Codex Clarkianus), taken from Patmos to London, was copied by order of Arethas. Other important Greek manuscripts, e.g. of Euclides, the rhetor Aristides, and perhaps of Dio Chrysostom, are owing to him. Not a few of his minor writings, contained in a Moscow manuscript, are said still to await an editor (see P.G., loc. cit., 787). Krumbacher emphasizes his fondness for ancient classical Greek literature and the original sources of Christian theology, in spite of the feet that he lived in a “dark” century, and was far away from any of the few remaining centres of erudition. The latest known date of his life is 932.