Apocalyptic Literature Dr K. Southwood
Apocalyptic interpretations of history. • ἀποκάλυψις: revelation. • From ἀπο (apo, “from” ) and κάλυπτω (kalupto, “I cover) • Revelation by a designated messenger • Explanation of past • Description of end time • Dualism • Hope for future • Surreal imagery • Stylized language
Definition An apocalypse is a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial, insofar as it involves another, supernatural world. It also recognizes a common core of content: an apocalypse envisages eschatological salvation and involves a supernatural world
Origins Apocalyptic writings ‘are the lineal descendants of the old tales about prophets who had been admitted to the council of Yahweh … they are immensely more complex and elaborate, reflecting the taste of a later time.’ • Unfulfilled prophecy • Day of the Lord • New Heavens and a New Earth
Apocalyptic literature Mainstream works • Daniel 7-12 • 1 Enoch (Apocalypse of Weeks) • 4 Ezra • 2 Baruch
Definitions • “Apocalypse” is a literary definition (a genre) • “Apocalyptic eschatology” the perspective which provides the conceptual framework within which the diverse materials encompassed by the apocalyptic writings are interpreted. • “Apocalypticism” is the world view or “symbolic universe” which is extrapolated from the apocalypses.
Setting and Function? He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,And shall intend to change times and law.Then the saints shall be given into his handFor a time and times and half a time.(Dan. 7). • Crisis literature?
Setting and Function? • Protest Literature • Texts of cultural loss • Program for life • Nationalistic • Atomization and contextualization of texts – a way of reinterpreting texts • Concern about the origin of evil • Disenfranchised groups • Consolation of the righteous
Social scientific methods • Davies – scribal setting • Grabbe – millenarian groups • Esler – maintenance of social identity • Zerbe – passive resistance