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Between Heaven And Earth: Liminal Visions In 4 Ezra

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Chapter Summary

In the opening chapters of 4 Ezra, "Ezra" is unable, even in sleep, to escape memories of destruction. Jerusalem was the place for the divine presence, priestly ritual, and communal prayer. But after the destruction of the Second Temple, there is no longer even a place to mourn. "Ezra" is surrounded by destruction, uprooted community and discarded relics of the past. "Ezra's" challenge is twofold: 1) to accept the destruction of the Temple as a divine act - the First Temple according to the text, but the Second Temple for its readers - and 2) to assume a position of leadership within the community so that he can receive revelation again at Sinai. We watch the transformation of the uncomprehending "Ezra" into the prophetic "Ezra", who can achieve not only the wisdom of Mosaic revelation, but also the new esoteric mysteries never revealed before.

Keywords: 4 Ezra; destruction; divine act; Jerusalem; Mosaic revelation; prophetic; Second Temple



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