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On a Possible Baptismal Background of 4Ezra 13:3–6

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Chapter Summary

In the New Testament and later rabbinic tradition Jonah is a type or precursor of the messiah, and his rescue from fish seems to have been interpreted as a successful return from nether-world which in some strands of early Christianity was equated with baptism. This chapter contends that the man emerging from sea in 4Ezra does indeed refer to Jonah and a tradition of interpretation which understands him as type of messiah; a notion that found its way into baptismal theology as well as rabbinic symbols of salvation. The anthropology of 4Ezra seems to be dualistic, i.e. the book would affirm a separation of body and soul at the time of death and resurrection of dead at the end of time, as is explicitly stated in 7:32. Accordingly, in 4:41-42 resurrection is seen as second birth and as in John 16:21 a metaphor is drawn from a woman in travail.

Keywords: 4Ezra; baptismal theology; Jonah; messiah; New Testament; rabbinic tradition; resurrection; salvation



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