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2 Two Essential Qualities of Jewish Apocalyptic

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Chapter Summary

The earliest datable documents are probably those referred to by Józef Milik as The Books of Enoch. The relevant texts and the Aramaic in which they are written were dated, on linguistic grounds, by Jonas Greenfield in a lecture in 1976. This chapter discusses the place which Jewish apocalyptic occupies in the history of Jewish religious thought and literature. It then focuses on two religious phenomena in Scripture, and specifically in Prophecy and Wisdom, and in their light examines some of the particular qualities of Jewish apocalyptic. The chapter touches on the two fields (biblical prophecy and wisdom literature) only inasmuch as they can help us in outlining what is new and original in apocalypticism. Medieval Jewish Kabbalah is a notable example of how completely novel ways of expression and thought could be introduced as the hidden and, for that matter, symbolic content of Scripture.

Keywords: biblical prophecy; Józef Milik; Jewish apocalyptic; Medieval Jewish Kabbalah; The Books of Enoch; wisdom literature

10.1163/9789004279209_004
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