Home>Wilhelm Martin Leberecht De Wette

Wilhelm Martin Leberecht De Wette


Doctor of Theology and Professor in the University of Basel



Preterist Commentaries By Historical Preterism


“However strongly the historic standpoint is to be asserted, we must yet insist also that the work contains an ideally prophetic element, which has force even for us.”


Edward Robinson
(On the “end of the world” prophecy)
“One is that of De Wette and others, who do not hesitate to regard our Lord as here announcing, that the coming of the Messiah to the judgment of the last day would take place immediately after the fall of Jerusalem. This idea, according to De Wette, is clearly expressed by our Lord, both here and elsewhere ; and was likewise held by Paul. But as the day of judgment has not yet come, it follows, either that our Lord, if correctly reported, was himself mistaken, and spoke here of things which he knew not; or else, that the sacred writers have not truly related his discourse. The latter horn of this dilemma is preferred by De Wette. According to him the disciples entertained the idea of their Lord’s return with such vividness of faith and hope, that they overlooked the relations of time, which Jesus himself had left indefinite; and they thus connected his final coming immediately with his coming to destroy Jerusalem. They give here, therefore, their own conception of our Lord’s language, rather than the language itself as it fell from his lips. They mistook his meaning; they acted upon this mistake in their own belief and preaching ; and in their writings have perpetuated it to the world throughout all time.” 
(The Berean, 811-816)

“The ascription of a symbolical character to the Gospel history is a characteristic of the speculations of De Wette.” (
Remarks on the German School (PDF), p. 301)

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)

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