Apocalypticism In The Dead Sea Scrolls (The Dead Sea Scrolls by John J. Collins

By John J. Collins

Because the images of the lifeless Sea Scrolls have been published in 1992, there was an explosion of curiosity in them. This quantity explores the problem of apocalypticism within the Scrolls; how the notions of the 'end', Messianic expectation and everlasting lifestyles affected the useless Sea sect, inspired Judaism and filtered into Christianity. Collins' quantity presents a invaluable and available creation to the translation of the Scrolls, that's an informative addition to the sequence interpreting the foremost issues of the Scroll texts.

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He presents a highly schematized overview of history, divided into weeks (presumably weeks of years). ” Division of history into both ten and seven periods is well attested in Jewish apocalyptic literature (Yarbro Collins 1984). The tenfold division is probably derived ultimately from the Persian idea of the millennium. Multiples of seven are suggested by the system of sabbatical and jubilee years in the Israelite priestly tradition (Leviticus 25). The Apocalypse of Weeks is probably older than Daniel 9, and so cannot be influenced by Daniel’s prophecy of seventy weeks of years.

Jubilees is an expansionistic paraphrase of Genesis and, more briefly, of Exodus down to the revelation on Mount Sinai. Its focus is on halakhic matters. The account of creation highlights the sabbath in chapter 2, and the book concludes with instructions for the sabbath in chapter 59. Great attention is paid to the festivals and to rituals such as circumcision. Notably, Jubilees defends the 364-day calendar and warns against “the feasts of the Gentiles” and the aberration of the moon (6:32–8).

If the reference to 390 years is taken literally, it should point to a date early in the second century BCE, even allowing for the fact that the author’s chronology may have differed from ours. This is also the time that seems to be implied for the emergence of the “chosen righteous from the chosen plant of righteousness” in the Enochic apocalypses. It is tempting, then, to assume that the groups in question are one and the same. We should, however, bear in mind that the 390 years is a symbolic number derived from Ezekiel 4:5, and that it is by no means certain that it can be treated as reliable chronological information.

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