Old Testament Eschatology and the Rise of Apocalypticism

Bill T. Arnold

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

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Eschatology does not appear to play a prominent role in the scriptures of ancient Israel, the “Old Testament” of Christian tradition, at least not at first glance. Understood broadly enough, however, and properly associated with other formulations of Israel's theological expressions, it will become clear that eschatology eventually evolved into a prominent role indeed. Israel's theology was intensely grounded in time and space, and especially in the events of its own history. This article considers the eschatology of the Old Testament. First, it discusses the emergence and development of eschatological themes in Israel's scriptures. Second, it examines how prophecy in ancient Israel relates to that of the ancient Near East and the degree to which Israel's eschatological impulses were unique. Finally, the article assesses the complicated and disputed relationship between Old Testament eschatology and the rise of apocalypticism.

Keywords: Old Testament; apocalypticism; Israel; theology; scriptures; prophecy; Near East

Article.  8350 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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