Only the Third Heaven?

Overview

In Chapter 1 Paula Gooder discusses the problems of interpreting this text and looks at the major debates of its past interpreters. The most popular modern approach is to compare it with other texts of ascent in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, yet even a brief examination of these texts indicate that differences are present. In the remainder of the book Gooder evaluates the extent and significance of these differences. Part One consists of a detailed consideration of a range of texts which superficially seem ...

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Overview

In Chapter 1 Paula Gooder discusses the problems of interpreting this text and looks at the major debates of its past interpreters. The most popular modern approach is to compare it with other texts of ascent in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, yet even a brief examination of these texts indicate that differences are present. In the remainder of the book Gooder evaluates the extent and significance of these differences. Part One consists of a detailed consideration of a range of texts which superficially seem closest to 2 Corinthians 12. Chapter 2 presents a history of scholarship on heavenly ascent. Chapters 3 to 8 each examine a text of ascent from a different period and background in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Chapter 9 draws out the points of similarity between these texts. Part Two considers the text of 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 in the light of the findings of Part One. In the detailed examination of the Pauline ascent in chapter 10, the extent of the differences between this text and the texts examined in Part One becomes clear. Chapter 11 proposes a new interpretation of the account of ascent, arguing that it reports a failed ascent into heaven. The chapter shows that this interpretation makes sense not only of 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 itself but also of chapters 10-13 which surround it. The account is one more example of weakness from the apostle in which he proves that weakness, not strength, is the sign of a true apostle.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paula Gooder is Tutor in Biblical Studies at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, UK

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1General Introduction Preliminary Considerations Pauline visions and revelations elsewhere in the New Testament Past Interpreters The Task of this Study PART 1: Texts of Heavenly Ascent CHAPTER 2Introduction: Heavenly Ascent Texts A History of Scholarship Heavenly Ascent: Methods of Approach The Choice of Texts for Consideration The Treatment of the Texts CHAPTER 3Jewish Apocalyptic Texts Pre-70 AD Examples of Heavenly Ascent in Jewish Apocalyptic Texts Pre-70 AD The Book of the Watchers Major Scholarly Trends in the study of 1 Enoch The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions Excursus: The Testament of Levi The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions Excursus: The Dead Sea Scrolls Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice 4QBerakhot Major Scholarly Trends in the Study of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice and 4QBerakoth The Major Motifs of the Texts Conclusions CHAPTER 4Jewish Apocalyptic Texts Post-70 AD Examples of Heavenly Ascent in Jewish Apocalyptic Texts Post-70 AD Slavonic Enoch Major Scholarly Trends in the study of Slavonic Enoch The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions Excursus: 3 Baruch The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions CHAPTER 5The New Testament Examples of Heavenly Ascent in the New Testament The Revelation to John Major Scholarly Trends in the study of Revelation The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions CHAPTER 6Post-Biblical Early Christian Apocalypses Examples of Heavenly Ascent in Post-Biblical Early Christian Apocalypses The Ascension of Isaiah Major Scholarly Trends in the study of the Ascension of Isaiah The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions CHAPTER 7The Nag Hammadi Codices Examples of Heavenly Ascent in the Nag Hammadi Codices The Coptic Apocalypse of Paul from Nag Hammadi Major Scholarly Trends in the study of the Coptic Apocalypse of Paul The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions CHAPTER 8The Hekhalot Literature Examples of heavenly ascent in the Hekhalot Literature Sepher Hekhalot Major Scholarly Trends in the study of Sepher Hekhalot The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions Excursus: Hekhalot Rabbati The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions Chapter 9Conclusions to Part One A Summary of the Major Characteristics of Heavenly Ascent Texts Overall Conclusions Excursus: The question of the dating of the texts of ascent PART 2: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 and Heavenly Ascent Chapter 102 Corinthians 12: 1-10 as a Heavenly Ascent Major Scholarly Trends in the study of 2 Corinthians 10-13 The Major Motifs of the Ascent Conclusions Chapter 112 Corinthians 12.1-10 as a Subversion of the Heavenly Ascent Tradition 2 Corinthians 12 as a heavenly ascent? A New Proposal for Understanding 2 Corinthians 12:1ff Excursus: 2 Corinthians 12:1ff as a Parody of heavenly ascent The narrative of ascent in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 and 7b-10 The context for the ascent: 2 Corinthians 10-13 Conclusions Chapter 12General Conclusions

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