Apocalyptic 2 Esdras 2

by Doug Mason 10 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • fulltimestudent

    Thnx Doug, for bringing that document to our notice.

    A couple of points, a quick check of the wikipedia entry suggests it has a first century origin. 

    Author and criticism[edit]
    The main body of the book appears to be written for consolation in a period of great distress (one scholarly hypothesis is that it dates to Titus' destruction of theSecond Temple in AD 70).[16] The author seeks answers, similar to Job's quest for understanding the meaning of suffering, but the author doesn't like or desire only the answer that was given to Job.
    Critics question whether even the main body of the book, not counting the chapters that exist only in the Latin version and in Greek fragments, has a single author. Kalisch, De Faye, and Charles hold that no fewer than five people worked on the text. However, Gunkel points to the unity in character and holds that the book is written by a single author; it has also been suggested that the author of II Esdras wrote the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch.[16] In any case, the two texts may date from about the same time, and one almost certainly depends on the other.[16]
    Critics have widely debated the origin of the book. Hidden under two layers of translation it is impossible to determine if the author was Roman, Alexandrian, or Palestinian.
    The scholarly interpretation of the eagle being the Roman Empire (the eagle in the fifth vision, whose heads might be VespasianTitus and Domitian if such is the case) and the destruction of the temple would indicate that the probable date of composition lies toward the end of the first century, perhaps 90–96, though some suggest a date as late as 218.[16]

    If the 90-96 dating was correct, it may be surprisingly close to the suggested date of revelation. 

    And, if we see this from the perspective, that during the first century CE, the Jesus followers were essentially Jewish in religious thought, then we should not be surprised at the similarity of concepts.

    Perhaps there WAS a cross-fertilisation, as my teacher,( Chris Forbes), suggests that the function of the Revelation document in early Christianity was to encourage those affected by persecution. In his opinion it is definitely not 'prophecy' to be read in a lineal fashion, but a reminder that God is in control and will bring an end to persecution and reward the faithful with many blessings.

    I noted also, the reference to "putting on immortality" something not a meme in earlier 2nd temple Judaism.

    And, the question as to the identity of the young man who places the crowns? Likely based on the Daniel 7 document, as argued by Boyarin (whose arguments you also brought to our

    Who is that young man who places crowns on them and puts palms in their hands?” He answered and said to me, “He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world.”


    I'm not covering any Judaism/Christian topics this year,* but I still have access to these guys. I'll bounce it off some of them (three weeks to go before Uni start,)

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