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4Ezra and 2Baruch with the (Dis-) Advantage of Rabbinic Hindsight

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Chapter Summary

The "late" Jewish apocalypses of 4Ezra and 2Baruch, usually dated to the very end of first century or beginning of second century ce, and considered to have been composed in Palestine in either Hebrew or Aramaic, are often thought to represent a transitional period in the history of ancient Judaism between the end of the Second Temple period and the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism. Although both 4Ezra and 2Baruch are composite texts that include a variety of literary forms, two stand out in the overall structure of these texts, with both functioning as central media of revelation: visions and dialogues. The author reads these texts from the perspective of someone more schooled in early rabbinic literature than in apocalyptic literature, in order to see what lines of similarity and difference might emerge, without presuming any direct contact or familiarity between the two, or any overall confluence of form or content.

Keywords: 2Baruch; 4Ezra; Jewish apocalypses; Judaism; rabbinic literature; revelation; Second Temple period



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