THE NERO THEORY & THE PROBLEM OF PATRISTIC EVIDENCE
In Revelation 13:18 John says that the number of the beast is that of a man. For almost two centuries a multitude of scholars have suggested that the “man” was the Roman emperor Nero. Although according to certain authors the Nero identification is “the most widely accepted” interpretation, one of it main problems is the lack of substantiation for it in patristic literature. This paper introduces a fifth-century chronicle from North African Christianity, entitled Liber Genealogus or Book of Genealogy, that has bearing on the question of whether or not early Christians used Nero’s name in their calculations of the number of the beast. It will provide a translation of the relevant portion, contextualize and explain the passage, bring it into dialogue with a statement from Irenaeus, and discuss its implications for biblical studies.
Francis X. Gumerlock
Westminster Seminary Journal 68 (2006):347-360
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NERO ANTICHRIST: Patristic Evidence of the Use of Nero’s Name in Calculating the Number of the Beast