Thomas Scott on Preterist Idealism (1891)

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But many of the most thoughtful of the Praeterists admit (or strongly advocate) that the visions and these events have lessons for all ages, and look forward as well as back.

Apocalypse and their lessons: being the Donnellan lectures for 1891-92; Preached before the University of Dublin in Trinity College Chapel

By Thomas Lucas Scott, B.D. Rector of S. George’s Parish, and Canon of S. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.



The Praeterists—who think that the events with which the visions were concerned are altogether fulfilled, having taken place in the first centuries of Church history—are very numerous. And at present one section of the School—those who think that the book is concerned almost entirely with contemporaneous history—is very vigorously supported by Archdeacon Farrar. He thinks that the crash, and the coming of the Lord, to which the visions all point, refer to the Lord’s coming at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the breaking up of the entire Jewish polity. Others of this School allow a more extended scope for the visions, and refer the predicted crash to the breaking down of heathenism before Christianity, or to the breaking up of the Roman empire. But many of the most thoughtful of the Praeterists admit (or strongly advocate) that the visions and these events have lessons for all ages, and look forward as well as back.

Thus there are commentators—such as Isaac Williams, Maurice, Hengstenberg, Bossuet, Vaughan, and others—who may be classed among the interpreters of both the Spiritual and Praeterist Schools; and all of the Spiritual School can recognize in the events to which both the Historic and Praeterist Schools point, illustrations of the principles which we think the Apostle depicted in these visions.  But among the adherents of this School, A. Lapide names only Alcazar and Salmeron, though the former proposes in many cases the very interpretations which the present Lectures support; namely, the “world” as the “wild beast,” and fleshly agents as its ” prophet.” Later writers add Wouters, Grotius, Hammond, Bossuet, Calmet, Wetstein, Eichhorn, Hug, Herder, Ewald, Lucke, De Wette, Dusterdieck, Moses Stuart, Maurice, Vaughan, Bleek, Davidson, Volkmar, Renan, Farrar.”


Kurt Simmons

Interesting. But doesn’t the basic preterist paradigm still hold true, that all was fulfilled? I mean, the fact that there are “illustrations of principles” and “lessons for all ages” still assumes the basic prophecies themselves are fulfilled, so that full preterism is accepted as correct even by those applying principles and lessons from fulfillment to today and the future.

August 6, 2011 at 7:26pm

Todd Dennis

In the sense that all the shadows of the OC found their fulfillment in the Advent of Jesus, yes. In the sense that the fulfillment of these shadows equals the fulfillment of the substance, no.  In other words, the parousia, judgment and resurrection were not fulfilled in AD70… all that was fulfilled were the shadows pointing to those realities outside of time. Herod’s Temple is only a shadow temple. Though it is destroyed, there is still a greater Temple yet. FP is a good half-way point in prophetic studies… PP is even better because it doesn’t stand apart from Christian history.

August 6, 2011 at 7:43pm

Dale Stanford

Todd, explain to me why you don’t believe that the substance was fuflilled in AD 70. Do you believe in a future, physical coming of Christ? Did the general resurrection occur in the first century? If you don’t believe that, what scriptures do you use to support your understanding? Do you deny that the “parousia” occurred in AD 70? If so, how do you justify that? Partial Preterism is nothing more than watered down Futurism IMO. When you speak of the greater Temple yet to come, what are you referring to? Do you not believe that Jesus Christ is the Temple of God? I haven’t dialogued with you much, but it appears that you have gone from futurist to full preterist to idealist (partial preterist?) in your search for the truth of scripture. How did that happen Todd?

August 7, 2011 at 6:06pm

Dale Stanford

Even though I understand and agree with Bunyan, I don’t see how that takes away from the importance of the fulfillment of prophecy in AD 70. I guess I’m not intelligent enough to understand where you’re going with this. Do you consider yourself a full preterist? If not, why not? I believe that ALL prophecies (old and new testament) have already been fulfilled, physically by those present in AD 70 and spiritually on-going. I alos believe that we all will experience at least one more “coming” of Christ and personal resurrection/judgment when we die. But I don’t believe that conflicts with full preterist eschatology in any way. It seems to me that you are trying to reject FP based on this. Is that true? I may need a further explanation.

August 7, 2011 at 7:59pm

Kurt Simmons

As I read the lead piece and the comments in this thread, it seems to me that there are three groups cites: 1) those who saw all as being fulfilled in AD 70 (full Preterists); 2) those who saw some continuing fulfillment in the breakdown of heathenism by Christianity (these are partial Preterists); those that saw all as being fulfilled but who also saw continuing relevance in the prophecies (Preterist-Idealists). Thus, the Preterist-Idealists in the quotation by Thomas Scott DID see all as being fulfilled, but ALSO argued for their continuing relevancy by certain “illustrations of principles” and “lessons for all ages.” I agree with this: Revelation, like all scripture, continues to hold lessons for all ages, even if the prophecies themselves are fulfilled. However, I think Todd is saying that he personally does not believe all prophecy has been fulfilled. i.e., the general resurrection from Hades, etc., he does not see have having been accomplished in AD 70. Thus, Todd’s view, if I read aright, departs from those in the quotation, who did see all as being fulfilled. Todd is an “admixture” of No. 2 & 3. Or so it seems. 🙂

August 8, 2011 at 4:26am

Dale Stanford

Or maybe Todd is merely a partial preterist if he doesn’t see all as being fulfilled. As I said earlier, I don’t necessarily disagree with the concept of continued relevancy, but that doesn’t contradict the full preterist position in any way IMO. Maybe Todd and Jerry can explain what they really believe?

August 8, 2011 at 7:59am

Todd Dennis

The Parousia cannot and must not be limited to a single event in one moment of history. Once Futurists and Preterist study themselves past that spot, then the rest falls into place, imo. blessings!

August 8, 2011 at 3:56pm

Dale Stanford

Todd, what was Paul and the apostles talking about when they wrote specifically about His coming again? Were they not looking forward to what happened in AD 70? Were they merely saying that He would come back and take each of them home when they died? I don’t think so! For whatever reason, you have decided to deny the importance of what happened in AD 70, and it doesn’t make sense. What has happened to you? You are now a futurist again. And why do you think that FP’s are so stuck on AD 70 and should “study” themselves past it? What isn’t falling into place Todd? Nobody disagrees that we all have a personal parousia coming in the future. But that parousia is different than the one in AD 70! Scripture is very clear about that. Give me something else to think about rather than just throw inuendos out there like you are the only one with the truth. You are better than that.

August 8, 2011 at 4:02pm

Todd Dennis

Dale, the words of Jesus and the Apostles are meant as personal comfort.. not mere cold prophecy of future events. Martyrdom – not AD70 – is the focal point of eschatology in the NT.  Endure unto the end, and Jesus will usher you into the kingdom when the end comes. True then; true now.

August 8, 2011 at 4:17pm

Dale Stanford

What I hear you saying is that you are a “Panmellienialist”. you believe everything will pan out, so why concern yourself with the deeper things of scripture at all. I have to admit that there are many christians who agree with you on this. I call them “lazy” christians because they won’t take the time to study scripture to understand the depths of it’s intent. Jerry, you and Todd have probably the most wishy-washy eschatological position I have ever heard. What was the relevance of AD 70? When did the resurrection take place, or has it, or will it? Was there a judgment that occurred in AD 70? What was it? How about the marriage supper of the Lamb. Did it take place yet, or will it? Do you believe in a future “physical” coming of Christ? Care to provide your understanding of any of these? Maybe direct answers to those questions will help me understand your position.

August 8, 2011 at 5:39pm

Dale Stanford

Or maybe you are a Universalist. ;-}

August 8, 2011 at 5:47pm

Dale Stanford

Shall I say evasive rather than wishy-washy? I asked you several Yes/No questions in order to understand where you are coming from, but you chose not to answer them and to just generalize. You have given me no concrete reasons to refute the “basic” beliefs of most full preterists, yet you seem focused on rejecting their understanding of fulfilled eschatology. If you refuse to answer specific questions or state your beefs with full preterists, then I guess there is no need for any further discussion. Label yourself what you want. Apparently, this “new” label is more important to both of you than clearly stating your position.

August 8, 2011 at 8:16pm

Todd Dennis

It is difficult to cover the finer points of theology on Facebook. How about shifting it to a private discussion? Its not that answers haven’t been given to your many questions.. it’s that you don’t like the answers. Fair enough.. but lets dispense with the accusations. thanks!

August 8, 2011 at 8:47pm

Dale Stanford

I stand by my accusations. You have evaded my questions. That’s your decision and I’m ok with it. Just don’t expect anyone to take you seriously, that’s all. And I would recommend that you stop bashing full preterists since you have no specifics about what you disagree with.

August 8, 2011 at 8:50pm

Todd Dennis

ok 🙂

August 8, 2011 at 8:54pm

Tami Ramsthel Jelinek

“The Parousia cannot and must not be limited to a single event in one moment of history.” Of course not! I agree completely with you, Todd. 🙂