E. B. Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae

April 21, 2010

The complete fifth edition of E. B. Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae is now available in PDF format on the Harvest Herald site.

You can get it here.  And the release notes here.

Be warned, this is a large file (189 meg) and may take a while to download.

This PDF edition was created from high quality scans made available at archive.org.  It contains extensive bookmarking, and a pdf pagination scheme which corresponds with the original page numbers making it easy to quickly jump to any page throughout the four volumes.  Also included are all of the original ‘plate’ illustrations, plus the apocalyptic chart.  Extensive hyperlinking of the comprehensive index is underway but is not complete at this time.

From Wikipedia:

Horae Apocalypticae is an eschatological study written by Edward Bishop Elliott. The book is, as its long-title sets out, “A commentary on the apocalypse, critical and historical; including also an examination of the chief prophecies of Daniel illustrated by an apocalyptic chart, and engravings from medals and other extant monuments of antiquity with appendices, containing, besides other matter, a sketch of the history of apocalyptic interpretation, the chief apocalyptic counter-schemes and indices.”

“Horae Apocalypticae (Hours with the Apocalypse) is doubtless the most elaborate work ever produced on the Apocalypse. Without an equal in exhaustive research in its field, it was occasioned by the futurist attack on the Historical School of interpretation. Begun in 1837, its 2,500 pages are buttressed by some 10,000 invaluable references to ancient and modern works. It ran through five editions (1844, 1846, 1847, 1851 and 1862).”

For those who may not be familiar with this work, Eliott’s Horae Apocalypticae is the greatest, most detailed, and most scholarly exposition on the Book of Revelation ever written from the historicist perspective of interpretation.  Sadly, it was also to be the last of its kind.  Beginning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the historicist approach to the Apocalypse was increasingly abandoned as the futurist school of interpretation gained popularity.

While I do not agree with all of Elliott’s conclusions, it’s hard for me to believe that some of the interpretations brought to light in this work could have ever fallen out of favor.

His masterful exposition of the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments (Revelation 9), representing the invasions of Western Christendom by the Saracens and the Turks respectively, is absolutely jaw-dropping.  I remember vividly the first time I read it.  Why had I never heard this information before?  Why in all my years as a Christian had I never been shown this interpretation by those who professed to be Bible teachers?  If this could not convince a skeptic of the divine inspiration of the Apocalypse then nothing could.  Here, it seemed, was proof, absolute proof that God had revealed history beforehand.     How could something so profound and so obviously true have been lost in favor of the wild speculations and sensationalist fantasies that pass for ‘prophetic teaching’ in our day?

Most Christians have never even heard of this work, much less read it.  It’s nearly impossible to find anywhere except in the libraries of theological seminaries.  I present it here as a link to the past and a reminder of the height from which we have fallen.

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