BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
Josephus: Henry Leeming: Josephus' Jewish War and Its Slavonic Version: A Synoptic Comparison (2003) "This volume presents in English translation the Slavonic version of Josephus Flavius' "Jewish War, long inaccessible to Anglophone readers, according to N.A. Materskej's scholarly edition, together with his erudite and wide-ranging study of literary, historical and philological aspects of the work, a textological apparatus and commentary. The synoptic layout of the Slavonic and Greek versions in parallel columns enables the reader to compare their content in detail. It will be seen that the divergences are far more extensive than those indicated hitherto."
Apocalyptic Genre | Anti-Semitism Study Archive | Masada | The Month of Av | Scientific Date for Destruction of Herod's Temple | Stone Piles that Memorialize Jerusalem's Destruction | Map of The Siege of Jerusalem | The Jewish Struggle Against Roma | Differentiating Judaism from Christianity | The Books of Enoch | Second Destruction of Jerusalem // The Talmud
Historical Jewish Sources
Apocalyptic Genre: "Turn of Era" Lit. Exploring Eschatological Salvation
"Jewish apocalypticism is generally made up by a prophetic revealer figure, by his revelatory message, by a social group receiving the message, by an ideology constructed on the basis of the revelatory message, and, in some cases, by the specific type (genre) of literature containing all these elements." (Steve Mason)
Torah - Or "TaNaKh", an acronym denoting these three sections:
Note: The literary genre called 'apocalyptic' is collected and organized here in such a way as to show the progression of eschatological thought in the late Second Temple period. One goal will be to show the writers' expectations of an imminent end, and how the ultimate expectation of a 'final end of the world' in the events surrounding the great eschatological event (the conquering of the Gentiles to them, the fall of Jerusalem and its temple to us) was a misapprehension of the nature of fulfillment found in the advent of Jesus Christ - who was denied as the Way of Victory. Another goal will be to show how the demise of apocalyptic literature following the final end of the Jewish state lends support to the Preterist idea of prophetic fulfillment associated with that desolation. Christian works written in the first generation following AD70 -- most of which display the sense of vindication felt as a result of the fall of Jerusalem -- will be presented as the capstone of the apocalyptic genre.
Jewish Apocalyptic Genre:
"According to John J. Collins and many others, Jewish apocalypticism is primarily a literary category." (p. 40)
Milton Terry (1898)
"Such apocalyptic forms of speech are not to be assumed to convey in the New Testament a meaning different from that which they bear in the Hebrew Scriptures. They are part and parcel of the genius of prophetic language. The language of Isaiah 13:10, is used in a prophecy of the overthrow of Babylon. That of Isaiah 34:4, refers to the desolation of Edom. The ideal of "the Son of man coming in the clouds" is taken from a prophecy of the Messianic kingdom, which kingdom, as depicted in Daniel 7:13,14, is no other than the one symbolized in the same book by a stone cut out of the mountain (Dan. 2:34,35). It is the same kingdom of heaven which Jesus liken to a grain of mustard seed and to the working of leaven in the meal (Matt. 13:31-33). The other citations we have given above show with equal clearness how both Jesus and his disciples were wont to express themselves in language which must have been very familiar to those who from childhood heard the law and the prophets "read in the synagogues every Sabbath" (Acts 13:27; 15:21). A strictly literal interpretation of such pictorial modes of thought leads only to absurdity. Their import must be studied in the light of the numerous parallels in the Old Testament writers, which have been extensively presented in the foregoing part of this volume. But with what show of reason, or on what principle of "interpreting Scripture by Scripture," can it be maintained that the language of Isaiah, Joel, and Daniel, allowed by all the best exegetes to be metaphorical when employed in the Hebrew Scriptures, must be literally understood when appropriated by Jesus or his apostles?
"We sometimes, indeed, are meet with a disputant who attempts to evade the force of the above question by the plea that if we interpret one part of Jesus's discourse literally we are bound in consistency to treat the entire prophecy in the same way. So, on the other hand, it is urged that if Matt. 24:29-31, for example, be explained metaphorically, we must carry that same principle through all the rest of the chapter; and if the words "sun, moon, and heavens" in verse 29 are to be taken figuratively, so should the words "Judea," and "mountains," and "housetop," and "field" in other parts of the chapter be explained metaphorically! It is difficult to understand how such a superficial plea can be seriously put forward by one who has made a careful study of the Hebrew prophets. Every one of the Old Testament examples which have been cited above stands connected, like these apocalyptic saying of Jesus, with other statements which all readers and expositors have understood literally. The most proasic writer may at times express himself through a whole series of sentences in figurative term, and incorporate the extended metaphor in the midst of the plain narrative of facts. ...
"Our fourth and concluding proposition is that this apocalyptic passage is a sublime symbolic picture of the crisis of ages in the transition from the Old Testament dispensation to the Christian era. The word picture must be taken as a whole, and allowed to convey its grand total impression. The attempt, in a single passage like Mark 13:24,25, to take each metaphor separately and give it a distinct application, ruins the whole picture. ... The picture of a collapsing universe symbolizes the one simple but sublime thought of supernatural interposition in the affairs of the world, involving remarkable revolution and change. The element of time does not appear in the picture. So the Son of man coming on the clouds means here just what it means in Daniel's vision. It is an apocalyptic concept of the Messiah, as King of heaven and earth, executing divine judgment and entering with his people upon the possession and dominion of the kingdoms of the world. Here again the element of time does not enter, except it be the associated thought of Daniel's prophecy that "his dominion is an everlasting dominion" (Dan. 7:14). It is the same coming of the Son of man in his kingdom which is referred to in Matt. 16:27,28, the inception of which was to occur before some of those who heard these words should taste of death. The mourning of all the tribes of the land is the universal wail and lamentation of Judaism over its national overthrow. In the fall of their city and Temple the priests, scribes, and elders saw "the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power" (Matt. 26:64), and thus it was made manifest to all who read the prophecy aright that "Jesus the Galilean" has conquered. The gathering of Christ's elect from the four winds is the true fulfillment of numerous prophecies which promise the chosen people that they shall be gathered out of all lands and established forever in the mountain of God (comp. Amos 9:14,15; Jer. 23:5-8; 32:37-40; Ezek. 37:21-28). The time and manner of this universal ingathering of the elect ones cannot be determined from the language of any of these prophecies. As well might one presume to determine from Jesus's words in John 12:32, where, when, and in what manner, when the Christ is "lifted up out of the earth," he will draw all men unto himself. The point made emphatic, in the eschatological discourse of Jesus, is that all things contemplated in the apocalyptic symbolism employed to depict his coming and reign would follow "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (Matt. 24:29); or, as Mark has it, "in those days, after that tribulation." That is, the coming of the kingdom of the Son of man is coincident with the overthrow of Judaism and its temple, and follows immediately in those very days." (Biblical Apocalyptics, pp. 238-245)
George Eldon Ladd
"Apocalyptic literature, however, is not factual reporting. It is a special kind of literary work, filled with symbolism, figurative imagery, and ancient myths. It is more closely akin to poetry than to prose, more like an abstract painting than a photograph." (Apocalyptic Literature, MA: Hendrickson, 1993, p. 35)
"Those [Jewish apocalyptic books] which be not bear the mark of crisis have nevertheless the same not of urgency that the time is short and the End appointed by God is near at hand." (ibid., p. 17)
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Date: 20 Oct 2010
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