Samuel Davidson

Outlines of a commentary on the book of Revelation

Sacred hermeneutics developed and applied | The canon of the Bible: its formation, history, and fluctuations | A letter to the Rev. Samuel Davidson …: in answer to his essay | The ecclesiastical polity of the New Testament unfolded


Preterist Commentaries By Historical Preterism



J. Murray (1863)
Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine. This view, with variations by Grotius, is taken up and expounded by Bossuet, Calmet, De Sacy, Eichhorn, Hug, Herder, Ewald, Moses Stuart, Davidson. The general view of the school is that the Apocalypse described the triumph of Christianity over Judaism in the first, and over Heathenism in the third century.”  (A Dictionary of the Bible)

Benjamin Warfield
(1) The Preterist, which holds that all, or nearly all, the prophecies of the book were fulfilled in the early Christian ages, either in the history of  the Jewish race up to A.D. 70, or in that of Pagan Rome up to the fourth or fifth century.  With  Hentensius and Salmeron as forerunners, the Jesuit Alcasar (1614) was the father of this school.  To it belong Grotius, Bossuet, Hammond, LeClerc, Wetstein, Eichhorn, Herder, Hartwig,  Koppe, Hug, Heinrichs, Ewald, De Wette, Bleek,  Reuss, Reville, Renan, Desprez, S. Davidson, Stuart, Lucke, Dusterdieck, Maurice, Farrar, etc. ” (Revelation)

Samuel Davidson (23 September 1807 – 1 April 1898) was an Irish biblical scholar who was born near Ballymena in Ireland.

He was educated at the Royal College of Belfast, entered the Presbyterian ministry in 1835, and was appointed professor of biblical criticism at his own college. Becoming a Congregationalist, he accepted in 1842 the chair of biblical criticism, literature and oriental languages at the Lancashire Independent College at Manchester; but he was obliged to resign in 1857, being brought into collision with the college authorities by the publication of an introduction to the Old Testament entitled The Text of the Old Testament, and the Interpretation of the Bible, written for a new edition of Homes Introduction to the Sacred Scripture. Its liberal tendencies caused him to be accused of unsound views, and a most exhaustive report prepared by the Lancashire College committee was followed by numerous pamphlets for and against. After his resignation a fund of £3000 was subscribed as a testimonial by his friends.

In 1862 he moved to London to become scripture examiner in the University of London, and he spent the rest of his life in literary work.

Davidson is often mistakenly listed as a member of the Old Testament Revision Committee for the Revised Version of 1881. However, this confusion is due simply to his sharing the same surname as Andrew Bruce Davidson, D. D., Professor of Hebrew, Free Church College, Edinburgh, who in fact was on that committee.[1]


Among his principal works are:

  • Sacred Hermeneutics Developed and Applied (1843), rewritten and republished as A Treatise on Biblical Criticism (1852)
  • Lectures on Ecclesiastical Polity (1848)
  • An Introduction to the New Testament (1848–1851),
  • The Hebrew Text of the Old Testament Revised (1855)
  • Introduction to the Old Testament (1862)
  • On a Fresh Revision of the Old Testament (1873)
  • The Canon of the Bible (1877)
  • The Doctrine of Last Things in the New Testament (1883)

Also translations of the New Testament from Tischendorf‘s text, Gieseler‘s Ecclesiastical History (1846), and Fürst’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon.

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