A critical edition of John Bunyan's posthumously published treatise Of Antichrist, and His Ruine (1692)

Owens, W. R. (1983). A critical edition of John Bunyan's posthumously published treatise Of Antichrist, and His Ruine (1692). PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000de3d


This thesis is a scholarly edition of Bunyan's treatise Of Antichrist, and His Ruine. The text is based on the first edition of 1692, retaining the spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitalization and italicization of the original. Printer's errors have been corrected; inaccurate Scriptural references have been corrected in the text, and the original references noted in the apparatus. Explanatory notes to the text provide additional Scriptural references., definitions of words or phrases now obsolete or liable to misinterpretation, and cross-references to other works by Bunyan and his contemporaries.

The Introduction discusses first the circumstances of the publication of the treatise in a Folio collection of Bunyan's works edited by his friend and disciple, Charles Doe. It goes on to argue, on internal evidence, that the composition of the treatise can be dated to the early 1680s. There follows a brief account of the Antichrist legend, tracing its inception in the early church, its development in medieval thought and art, and early Protestant identification of Antichrist with the papacy. The views of seventeenth-century Protestant commentators concerning the fall of Antichrist and the commencement of Christ's millennial reign on earth are outlined, and the extent. of millenarian expectation in the 1640s and 1650S is described. Bunyan's early millenarian beliefs are discussed especially as set forth in his treatise The Holy City (1665). Although some historians have argued that interest in Antichrist and the millennium died away after the Restoration, evidence is presented to show that Bunyan's concern with the fall of Antichrist was not unusual in the early 1680s. The main features of his treatise are discussed and set in context, particularly its style, Bunyan's concept of Antichrist, his account of the slaying of the witnesses, and his belief that God would use Kings to destroy the physical body of Antichrist.

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