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FHS 22: Selected Topics: Apocalyptic

Lecture Description

Aim

‘This common core of constant elements permits us, then, to formulate a comprehensive definition of the genre: “Apocalypse” as a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial, insofar as it involves another, supernatural world.’ (A definition produced by a group of the Society of Biblical Literature)

This course will seek to explore the validity of this definition, which has been very influential in modern biblical studies. By reference to the prescribed texts, the lectures will explore the ways in which scholars have attempted to delineate the emergence of a distinctive pattern of religion in ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

Objectives

Students who complete this course will have

(a) gained knowledge about and understanding of the primary texts associated with the apocalyptic genre, considering them from historical, literary, and theological perspectives;

(b) reflected upon basic issues of method; and

(c) reflected upon the criteria employed in addressing evidence, and the possibility and desirability of achieving consensus concerning them

Course Delivery

The format will be that of the lecture, though questions and discussion will be encouraged. The topics of the sessions will be as follows:

Week 1: Introduction to Apocalyptic (Daniel 7 and Revelation 13)

Week 2: Daniel and Revelation

Week 3: Isaiah 24-27, Zechariah and Isaiah 40-66

Week 4: 1 Enoch 1-16 and 2 Esdras 3-14

Week 5: Apocalypticism: Historical Phenomena or Scholarly Invention?

Week 6: Question and answer session

Course description

Candidates will be required to show detailed knowledge of one of the following topics. They will be required to comment on passages from the prescribed texts in English (New Revised Standard Version), and will be given an opportunity to comment upon the Hebrew text of certain specified chapters and sections.

(i) Prophecy: 1 Samuel 9; 10; 2 Samuel 7; 1 Kings 13; 18; 22; Isaiah 1; 5-8; 10; 40; 42-4; 49; 51-3; 55; Jeremiah 1-5; 7-9; 11; 12; 26-8; 31; Ezekiel 1-4; 8-11; 14; 18; 20; 23; 36; 37; Amos 1-5; 6-9; Zechariah 1-8; 13; Among these the following may be offered in Hebrew: 1 Kings 13; 18; 22; Isaiah 42-4; Amos 1-5.

(ii) Apocalyptic: Isaiah 24-7; Daniel; Zechariah; 1 Enoch 1-16 (ed. H. F. D. Sparks, The Apocryphal Old Testament, OUP, 1984); 2 Esdras 3-14; Revelation; Among these the following may be offered in Hebrew: Isaiah 24-7; Zechariah 9-14.

Aims and Objectives

Aims:

To enable students to acquire a detailed knowledge of one particular genre of Old Testament literature, to gain insight into the ways in which books of this type can be interpreted, and to develop their critical understanding of the historical and literary context of such books.

Objectives:

(a) Students who have studied for this paper will have a detailed knowledge of the specified texts and be able to comment intelligently on short selected passages from them (optionally from the Hebrew text).

(b) They will be aware of a variety of critical approaches to these texts.

(c) They will have a knowledge of the texts’ historical contexts.

(d) They will have a more general knowledge of the genre represented by the specified texts and be able to distinguish it from other genres within the Old Testament.

Course Delivery

Lectures: 6-8 lectures on Prophecy and 6-8 lectures on Apocalyptic to be given every other year.

Number of tutorials: 8

Assessment: Is by one 3 hour written examination, requiring candidates to write a compulsory ‘gobbet’ question (choosing four passages to comment on) and to write two essays.

(i) Prophecy
1 Samuel 9; 10
2 Samuel 7 1
Kings 13; 18; 22
Isaiah 1; 5-8; 10; 40; 42-44; 49; 51-53; 55
Jeremiah 1-5; 7-9; 11; 12; 26-28; 31
Ezekiel 1-4; 8-11; 14; 18; 20; 23; 36; 37
Amos 1-5; 6-9
Zechariah 1-8; 13
Among these the following may be offered in Hebrew:
1 Kings 13; 18; 22
Isaiah 42-44
Amos 1-5

(ii) Apocalyptic
Isaiah 24-27
Daniel
Zechariah
1 Enoch 1-16 (ed. H.F.D. Sparks, The Apocryphal Old Testament, OUP, 1984)
2 Esdras 3-14
Revelation
Among these the following may be offered in Hebrew:
Isaiah 24-27
Zechariah 9-14

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