Article

Ancient Near Eastern Millennialism

Robert Gnuse

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195301052.003.0012

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Ancient Near Eastern Millennialism

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Although there existed no real millennial text prior to late Jewish and early Christian texts, there exists an overabundance of resources that heavily draw on millennial texts. This article deals with the “Apocrypha” or the Hebrew Bible, which is wrought with apocalyptic literature. Similar literature is also to be found in Mesopotamian scriptures, a string of texts known as the “Akkadian Prophecies”. Ancient Zoroastrian texts, predating both Jewish and Christian counterparts, too seem to have substantial pre-millennial texts, similar in subjective elements such as an unhappy end of time with subsequent salvation, resurrection, personified angels etc. The common factors between these texts are: they commonly draw on general crisis contexts and most immediate and obvious hurdles in projecting the evils of the world; secondly, the geographical origins of these texts were unified by the common factor of their unequivocal resistance to Hellenic expansionism, something that figures prominently in the subjective interpretation of these texts.

Keywords: apocrypha; Hebrew Bible; Akkadian Prophecies; Zoroastrian texts; Hellenic expansionism; pre-millennial texts

Article.  8772 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Religion in the Ancient World ; Religious Studies ; Comparative Religion

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