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The Uses of Apocalyptic Eschatology

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Chapter Summary

Both the author of 4Ezra and Paul cited and alluded to the scriptures of Israel in articulating their apocalyptic eschatology. It can be inferred from 1Thessalonians that Paul initially taught the Thessalonians a doctrine similar to 4Ezra 13:23-24: the Messiah will protect those alive at the time of his coming from peril or wrath and those who are alive at that time are more blessed that those who have died. They agree that the present age is evil. This chapter compares the apocalyptic eschatology in 4Ezra to that of the letters of Paul. To some degree these writings reflect current teachings or doctrines with respect to the last things. Each of these works employs apocalyptic ideas and expectations to make particular rhetorical points in particular circumstances. The chapter compares, therefore, both the ideas and teachings of these texts as well as the rhetorical purposes for which they are invoked.

Keywords: 1Thessalonians; 4Ezra; apocalyptic eschatology; letters of Paul; Messiah; scriptures of Israel

10.1163/9789004258815_014
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