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introduction and history of scholarship on 4 Ezra

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Chapter Summary

Fourth Ezra, a Jewish apocalypse written around 100 C.E., stands out within the apocalyptic literature for the daring way in which it addresses questions of theodicy. Two main problems have been the focus of much of the modern scholarship on 4 Ezra. The first is the status of the disagreements between Ezra and Uriel in the dialogues or both, or neither of them represents the author's own views. The second problem is the relationship of the dialogues to the visions and epilogue, given that the dialogues themselves are inconclusive and the visions and epilogue do not respond directly to the problems raised in the dialogues. This chapter argues that the author of 4 Ezra chose the dialogue form in order to represent a debate among sages over a range of theological issues, all viewed from the perspective of the Destruction, and hence bound together by the underlying problem of theodicy.

Keywords: 4 Ezra; biblical scholarship; Uriel



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