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A Survey Of Heaven In The Old Testament And Second Temple Literature

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Chapter Summary

Heaven is a very important and variegated notion in the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, and Second Temple literature. The assorted bodies of literature surveyed in this broad period reveal many consistent threads in the use of heaven, both as a cosmological term and in reference to the divine abode. Yet at the same time, there are noticeable streams of development as the semantic flexibility of heaven is appropriated in different ways at different times. Heaven is an important and frequent word in the Old Testament (OT). Unlike the later apocalyptic and rabbinic literature, nothing can be found in the Bible like the detailed speculations concerning multiple levels of heaven. This chapter explores the general usage of heaven throughout the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, and the Second Temple Jewish literature so as to provide the literary and religious context for an examination of heaven in Matthew.

Keywords: heaven; Hebrew Bible; Matthew; Old Testament (OT); rabbinic literature; Second Temple Jewish literature; Septuagint



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