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Apocalyptic literature

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Chapter Summary

The apocalypses, as the title indicates, are primarily books of revelations typified by the vision form. Although this chapter is devoted to the apocalypses as a literary genre, some general observations about their worldview are made. The roots of the apocalypse should be sought in biblical literature, first and foremost in prophecy. The chapter highlights that major features may be discerned in the later prophetic literature which point towards extensive developments in apocalyptic literature; these are features both of form and content. Some lines of connection may be discerned between the apocalypses and the wisdom literature. The Testament of Moses, as far as it is preserved, is purely historical-eschatological in interest. In the Sibylline Oracles there is far less sustained development of ideas than in the apocalypses. The tensely eschatological features of the self-understating of the Qumran covenanters have been stressed by historians and other scholars.

Keywords: apocalyptic literature; prophecy; Qumran covenanters; Sibylline Oracles; Testament of Moses; wisdom literature

10.1163/9789004275119_011
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