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March 5.docx

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Sol Goldberg

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March 5, 12
Destruction, Reconstruction and the End Times
Genre of Apocalypse
- Emerged around the 3rdC BCE as major literary genre.
- Books of revelations characterized by vision format.
- Term: Greek apokalypsis uncovering related to revelation,
something that is disclosed (revealed, uncovered)
- Interpretation of symbolic vision as something obscure, requiring
mediator or guide (angel).
- Pseudonymity: vision not published under it writer’s name, but set
deep in the past, ascribed to ancient hero.
- The book of Revelation isn’t under a pseudonym – John isn’t trying
to be the famous John he is just a regular John.
- Two general categories of content: eschatological (expectation of
imminent end, judgment of wicked) and speculative (revelation of
heavenly secrets).
- Narrative framework
- Spatial orientation: action takes place in heavenly as well as earthly
realm; cosmology and cosmogony important here.
- Temporal orientation: chronological span of time, particular view of
- Final judgment and destruction of the wicked prophetic element,
but future hopes belong to different realm in apocalyptic.
Form cultural resistance, situation of persecution or perception of
- Revelation as exception to apocalypse as pseudonymous: difference
in eschatological/historical understanding. 2 quotes (Daniel and
Revelation) John is a prophetic figure in the present thus he
doesn’t have to write in the past.
Worldview of Apocalypticism
- Human life bounded in present by supernatural world of angels and
demons, and in future by inevitability of divine judgment.
- Progress and fate of world determined by superhuman forces.
- Dualism: ethical (good/evil); spatial (up there, down here);
temporal (time before and time after)
- Importance of salvation beyond catastrophe, triumph of good over
evil, final intervention of G-d.
- Appeal to supernatural revelation basis for assurance and
4 Ezra (2 Esdras 3-14)
- Written in period after Jewish Revolt of 66CE, after destruction of
Temple in 70CE.
- Underlying questions shaped in large part by catastrophe of 70 CE
Jewish response to national tragedy.
- Structured in seven visions: first three are dialogues between seer
(pseudonymous: Ezra) and angel, next three symbolic; final one a
narrative of revelation of sacred books to Ezra.
- Central interpretive issue: transition of Ezra from skeptic to
believer, focus on problem of justice of G-d (theodicy).
- Ezra starts off with a pessimistic tone Evil inclination has been
present since the beginning. Fundamental questions of human
- Contrast of human experience of the world and divine experience of
the world.
- Ezra takes on a new role (chapter 10 verse 20) she must let
herself be persuaded At some point everything will be ok things
will get better Apocalyptic cure The woman symbolizes
Book of Revelation (Apocalypse of John)
- Contemporary
- Controversial elements: presented as circular to seven churches in
Asia Minor not pseudonymous
- “visioning” John’s apocalypse
- Symbolism in revelation Chapter 13 verse 18 Number of the
beast 666.
- Nero seen as the beast. most common identification with the