Friedrich Gotthold Hartwig
Pastor at Grosshartmannsdorf, near Freiberg
“the first who suggested the idea of the Apocalypse being a drama”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“One of the most valuable among the apologetic treatises of this time in favour of the Apocalypse is the following: Apologie der Apokalypse wider falschen Tadel und falscb.es Lob. Chemnitz 4 Theile, 1780-83. The writer is Friedrich Gotthold Hartwig, pastor at Grosshartmannsdorf, near Freiberg. The first part of the work, written with much circumspection and calmness, but with too great diffuseness, is chiefly taken up with the investigation of the testimony of the presbyter Caius, and with the refutation of the view that the Apocalypse teaches an earthly kingdom of Christ; the second part, among others, with the investigation of the testimony of Dionysius of Alexandria ; the third part answers Semler’s reply to the two first parts (in his Theolog. Briefe), and then seeks to unfold the plan of the book as a symbolic-dramatic poem in several acts and scenes ; the fourth part treats of (1) the apostolic genuineness of the Apocalypse from internal signs—(«) from the seven epistles (ch. ii. and iii.); and (6) from the exact agreement of the book with the other writings and entire character of John; giving (2) an answer to the historical grounds of doubt still remaining, including a historical proof of the genuineness of the book. ” (p. 58)
“The case is similar with regard to the visions of the first part till ch. xi. end, where, from ch. vi. and onward, the seven seals of the book of the future are opened; and, from ch. viii. onwards, what is shut up in the contents of the seventh seal is gradually brought to light at the trumpeting of the seven angels. These, too, are for the most part plagues which shall be poured out upon the earth, and therefore we cannot but expect them to be plagues preceding the appearing of the Lord, i.e. such as, according to the purport of the book, would appear shortly. But it is a question who is to be smitten by these plagues; and how they are related to the time of the seer. Here many interpreters are of opinion that the visions all refer to Judaism and Jerusalem; not merely such interpreters as Abauzit, Hartwig, Herder, &c., who even in the second part understand Jerusalem by Babylon, but also those who interpret them rightly of Rome, as, for example, Eichhorn. The contents of these visions are referred to events and relations which immediately preceded the destruction of Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish-Roman war, whether they be taken as prophetic indications of the same; or, with Eichhorn, as poetical representations of occurrences which the seer lived to see. The latter is decidedly false. Ch. xi. has given occasion for referring the whole to the destruction of the Jewish land, and particularly of Jerusalem. Here, undoubtedly, Jerusalem and a divine punishment to be inflicted on it are expressly mentioned. But the manner in which they are spoken of clearly shows that the Temple and city still existed at the time of the vision.” (Lectures of the Apocalypse, p. 106)
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