J. K. Elliott

in The Apocryphal New Testament

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780198261827
Published online April 2009 |

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Although apocalyptic passages within the New Testament Gospels and Epistles and the Book of Revelation in the canon may be considered to have been a model that inspired later Christian apocalyptic literature much of it seems rather to be based on Jewish models. To follow a definition adopted by A. Y. Collins in her ANRW article: Apocalypse is a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial insofar as it involves another, supernatural world. (p. 4670)Such a definition would of course apply to Jewish apocalypses as well. An apocalypse was obviously not a literary genre that was the original creation of Christians. In any case, it is difficult to see the apocalypses following one pattern. Within this category come dialogues of the saviour usually in a question and answer form, otherworldly journeys, oracles, and (if we include 5 and 6 Ezra and the Sibyllines) apocalyptic prophecy. The Apocalypse of Peter and the Apocalypse of Paul, included here, give visions of the next world; the Apocalypse of Thomas is a prophecy about the end of this one.

Chapter.  415 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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