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Torah and eschatology in the syriac apocalypse of Baruch

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Chapter Summary

When judged by its reception history, 2 Baruch and theological program it advocates must be considered a failure. Shortly after its composition the work suffered a fate most dreaded by every writer - the apocalypse was condemned to damnatio memoriae. 2 Baruch was rediscovered only in nineteenth century in a Syriac biblical manuscript, though Syriac version of the text is only the daughter translation of a no longer extant Greek version. There is nothing in the text to suggest that the author himself felt marginalized, that he wrote from the perspective of a self-imposed exile, imagined or real, that he represented what he considered the view of a minority group. He developed an apocalyptic program for post-70 c.e. Judaism that is focused on Torah obedience, generously draws on past traditions, seeks to overcome social isolation, and vigorously looks to the future - or to what is left of it, until the advent of eschaton.

Keywords: 2 Baruch; apocalypse; eschaton; Judaism; Syriac biblical manuscript; Torah



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