The Apocalypse: A Brief History / Edition 1

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Overview

For most people, the term "apocalypse" conjures disturbing images of impending doom. Yet historically, apocalypse encompasses far more than the cataclysmic events prophesied in the book of Revelation. The Apocalypse: A Brief History provides us with a concise historical and thematic introduction to the "apocalypses," the ancient Jewish and Christian works concerned not just with popular views of the Last Judgment and violent end of the world, but with reward and punishment after death, the heavenly temple, and the revelation of astronomical phenomena and other secrets of nature.

The book traces the tradition of apocalyptic writing through the Middle Ages, when Jews and Christians continued to record apocalypses and developed related forms of literature. It concludes with a look at the modern era, when the production of apocalypses may have ended, yet movements with intense expectations of the world's imminent demise continue unabated. Accessible and enlightening, this brief history provides readers with insights into the fascinating historical genre of apocalyptic literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is certainly a valuable addition. We look forward to those which are yet to come." (Theological Book Review, 2010)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Martha Himmelfarb is the William H. Danforth Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Her work has focused on Judaism of the Second Temple period and apocalyptic literature in particular. She is the author of Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature (1985), Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (1993), and A Kingdom of Priests: Ancestry and Merit in Ancient Judaism (2006).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Chronology ix

1 Revelation in the Age of the Torah 1

2 The Book of the Watchers and Ascent to Heaven 15

3 The Book of Daniel and the Kingdom of the Holy Ones 31

4 The Heavenly Messiah 49

5 The Heavenly Temple, the Fate of Souls after Death, and Cosmology 75

6 Tours of Paradise and Hell and the Hekhalot Texts 97

7 Eschatology in the Byzantine Empire 117

8 Apocalyptic Movements in the Modern Era 137

Further Reading 161

Index 167

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