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Apocalyptics and gnosis from Job to Jan van Eyck

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Chapter Summary

The biblical book Job belongs to the wisdom literature of Israel. It describes the course of events following a wager between the Lord God and his servant, Satan. The apocalypticism becomes Gnosis when the Kingdom of God on earth fails to take place and men go look for it in heaven. Thus proleptic eschatology is born. The Jewish gnostics of the first centuries of the Common Era ascend on high, where they behold the chariot of Ezechiel and on it the shining Glory of God. Jan Van Eyck was conversant with the tradition of Apocalyptic miniature art. Van Eyck had a good grasp of John. In the background there are medieval cities, and all those flowers show that this is earth, not heaven. But this is not Jerusalem, this is the Second Coming of Christ in Flanders, bringing freedom to its flourishing cities.

Keywords: gnosis; Jan Van Eyck; Jerusalem; Jewish apocalypticism; Job; proleptic eschatology



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