Apocalyptic Literature

Christopher Rowland

in The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544486
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Apocalyptic Literature

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The term ‘apocalypse’ denotes a particular literary type found in the literature of ancient Judaism, characterized by claims to offer visions or other disclosures of divine mysteries concerning a variety of subjects, especially those to do with the future. Cataclysmic events described in these texts are often labelled ‘apocalyptic’ because they resemble the world-shattering events described in John's visions in the book of Revelation. There is only one apocalypse in the Hebrew Bible, the book of Daniel, though the discovery of fragments of an Enoch apocalypse among the Dead Sea Scrolls suggests that apocalyptic was a widespread phenomenon in Second Temple Judaism. The concern with human history and the vindication of Israel's hopes echo prophetic themes, several of which have contributed to the language of the book of Revelation, particularly Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah.

Keywords: apocalypse; Revelation; ancient Judaism; book of Daniel; Hebrew bible; Enoch apocalypse; Israel

Article.  9492 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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