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Apocalypticism arose in ancient Judaism in the last centuries BCE and played a crucial role in the rise of Christianity. It is not only of historical interest: there has been a growing awareness, especially since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, of the prevalence of apocalyptic beliefs in the contemporary world. To understand these beliefs, it is necessary to appreciate their complex roots in the ancient world, and the multi-faceted character of the phenomenon of apocalypticism.
The Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature is a thematic and phenomenological exploration of apocalypticism in the Judaic and Christian traditions. Most of the volume is devoted to the apocalyptic literature of antiquity. Essays explore the relationship between apocalypticism and prophecy, wisdom and mysticism; the social function of apocalypticism and its role as resistance literature; apocalyptic rhetoric from both historical and postmodern perspectives; and apocalyptic theology, focusing on phenomena of determinism and dualism and exploring apocalyptic theology's role in ancient Judaism, early Christianity, and Gnosticism.
The final chapters of the volume are devoted to the appropriation of apocalypticism in the modern world, reviewing the role of apocalypticism in contemporary Judaism and Christianity, and more broadly in popular culture, addressing the increasingly studied relation between apocalypticism and violence, and discussing the relationship between apocalypticism and trauma, which speaks to the underlying causes of the popularity of apocalyptic beliefs. This volume will further the understanding of a vital religious phenomenon too often dismissed as alien and irrational by secular western society.
John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School.
Table of Contents
1. What is Apocalyptic Literature? - John J. Collins
Part I. The Literary and Phenomenological Context 2. Apocalyptic Prophecy - Stephen L. Cook 3. The Inheritance of Prophecy in Apocalypse - Hindy Najman 4. Wisdom and Apocalypticism - Matthew Goff 5. Scriptural Interpretation in Early Jewish Apocalypses - Alex P. Jassen 6. Apocalyptic Literature and the Study of Early Jewish Mysticism - Ra'anan Boustan and Patrick G. McCullough 7. Dreams and Visions in Early Jewish and Early Christian Apocalypses and Apocalypticism - Frances Flannery
Part II. The Social Function of Apocalyptic Literature 8. Social-Scientific Approaches to Apocalyptic Literature - Philip F. Esler 9. Jewish Apocalyptic Literature as Resistance Literature - Anathea Portier-Young 10. Apocalypse and Empire - Stephen J. Friesen 11. A Postcolonial Reading of Apocalyptic Literature - Daniel L. Smith-Christopher
Part III. Literary Features of Apocalyptic Literature 12. The Rhetoric of Jewish Apocalyptic Literature - Carol A. Newsom 13. Early Christian Apocalyptic Rhetoric - Greg Carey 14. Deconstructing Apocalyptic Literalist Allegory - Erin Runions
Part IV. Apocalyptic Theology 15. Apocalyptic Determinism - Mladen Popovic 16. Apocalyptic Dualism - Jörg Frey 17. Apocalyptic Ethics and Behavior - Dale C. Allison, Jr. 18. Apocalypse and Torah in Ancient Judaism - Matthias Henze 19. Apocalypticism and Christian Origins - Adela Yarbro Collins 20. Descents to Hell and Ascents to Heaven in Apocalyptic Literature - Jan N. Bremmer 21. Apocalypses amongst Gnostics and Manichaeans - Dylan M. Burns 22. The Imagined World of the Apocalypses - Stefan Beyerle
Part V. Apocalypse Now 23. Messianism as a Political Power in Contemporary Judaism - Motti Inbari 24. Apocalypticism and Radicalism - Christopher Rowland 25. Apocalypse and Violence - Catherine Wessinger 26. Apocalypticism in Contemporary Christianity - Amy Johnson Frykholm 27. Apocalypse and Trauma - Dereck Daschke 28. Apocalypticism and Popular Culture - Lorenzo DiTommaso