Fortress Press

The Dawn of Apocalyptic: The Historical & Sociological Roots of Jewish Apocalyptic Eschatology

The Dawn of Apocalyptic

The Historical & Sociological Roots of Jewish Apocalyptic Eschatology

Paul D. Hanson (Author)


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In challenging both traditional and contemporary notions of the nature and history of the Biblical apocalyptic literature, Professor Hanson begins by saying that the origins of apocalyptic cannot be explained by a method which juxtaposes seventh and second century compositions and then proceeds to account for the features of the latter by reference to its immediate environment. "The apocalyptic literature of the second century and after is the result of a long development reaching back to pre-exilic times and beyond, and not the new baby of second century foreign parents. Not only the sources of origin, but the intrinsic nature of late apocalyptic compositions can be understood only by tracing the centuries-long development through which the apocalptic eschatology developed from prophetic and other even more archaic native roots."

In this ground breaking study, Professor Hanson focuses on one strand which can be seen running through the heart of many of the so-called apocalyptic works, the strand of apocalyptic eschatology. He seeks to demonstrate that the rise of apocalyptic eschatology is neither sudden nor anomalous, but follows the pattern of an unbroken development from preexilic and exilic prophecy.

By means of a detailed analysis of the Hebrew text and a new translation of it into English, Professor Hanson demonstrates why scholars must look again at the apocalyptic eschatology. This contextual-typological approach will call for a reexamination of many opinions about this literature.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800618094
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 464
  • Publication Date January 1, 1984

Table of Contents


  1. The Phenomenon of Apocalyptic in Israel: Its Background and Setting

    Excursus: Apocalyptic Eschatology in the Later Apocalyptic Writings

    Excursus: The History of Prophecy in Israel

  2. Isaiah 56-66 and the Visionary Disciples of Second Isaiah

    A. A Third Isaiah?

    B. The Ideal Community Envisioned by the Disciples of Second Isaiah

    1. Isaiah 60-62

    Excursus: Textual Reconstruction and Prosodic Analysis

    2. Isaiah 57:14-21

    C. The Ideal Undermined by Opposition (63:7-64:11)

    D. Tension within the Community Grows (58 and 59)

    1. Isaiah 58:1-12

    2. Isaiah 59:1-20

    E. The Schism Widens, Vindictiveness Increases, Hope Is Deferred, and the Seeds of Apocalyptic Eschatology Are Sown (65:1-25)

    F. Controversy over the Building of the Temple and Expulsion from the Cult (66:1-16)

    G. The Conflict Grows Acrimonious (56:9-57:13)

    H. The Other Edge of the Sword: Judgment against the Nations (63:1-6)

  3. The Origins of the Post-Exilic Hierocracy

    A. The Second Group Competing for Control of the Restoration Cult

    B. The Sociological Background of the Post-Exilic Struggle

    C. The Rise of the Hierocratic Party of the Zadokites

    D. Ezekiel: The Pre-Exilic Zadokite Temple Structures Transformed into a Hierocratic Program of Restoration

    E. Haggai and Zechariah: The Hierocratic Temple Program Receives Prophetic Legitimation

    F. Bitter Controversy and the Zadokite Move to Reform the Hierocratic Tradition along Narrowly Exclusive Lines

    G. The Chronicler: The Victorious Hierocratic Party Returns to a More Conciliatory Position

  4. Zechariah 9-14 and the Development of the Apocalyptic Eschatology of the Visionaries

    A. The Historical and Sociological Background of the Continued Struggle

    B. In Defense of a New Approach to the Oracles of Zechariah 9-14

    Excursus: Past Biblical Research on Zechariah 9-14

    C. A Divine Warrior Hymn Drawing on the Ritual Pattern of the Conflict Myth (9:1-17)

    D. The Divine Warrior Hymn Applied to the Inner-Community Polemic (10:1-12)

    E. A Taunt against Foreign Nations Redirected against Israel's Leaders (11:1-3)

    F. A Commissioning Narrative Transformed into a Prophecy of Doom (11:14-17 and 13:7-9)

    G. An Apocalypse Molded by the Inner-Community Struggle (12:1-13:6)

    Excursus: The Textual Problem of Zechariah 12:2 and an Alternate Interpretation

    H. An Apocalypse Structured upon the Ritual Pattern of the Conflict Myth and Reflecting Bitter Inner-Community Conflict (14:1-21)

    Excursus: Revealed Secrets

    Excursus: The Redactional Framework of Third Isaiah (56:1-8 and 66:17-24)

  5. An Allegory and Its Explication

    Select Bibliography