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Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction

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Apocalypticism is not a specialized or peripheral topic in biblical studies. It represents the central, characteristic transformation of Hebrew thought in the Second Temple period, and it’s the context in which the New Testament books were written. Frederick Murphy defines apocalypticism while discussing its origins, its expressions in the Hebrew Bible, and its bearing on Jesus and the New Testament. This text will be useful for students of early Christianity and will work well as a supplemental text for Second Temple Judaism, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament courses.

The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.

Resource Experts
  • Examines apocalypticism in ancient Judaism and Christianity and similarities between the two
  • Includes various illustrations and sidebars to help enhance study
  • Discusses apocalypticism and viewpoints related to the apocalypse
  • Definitions and Origins
  • Proto-Apocalyptic Biblical Texts
  • Daniel and the Animal Apocalypse
  • The Book of Revelation
  • Ancient Jewish Apocalypses
  • Ancient Jewish Literature Related to Apocalypticism
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Gospels, Q, and Acts of the Apostles
  • Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
  • The Apostle Paul
  • The Rest of the New Testament
  • The Ongoing Legacy of Apocalypticism

Top Highlights

“For Israel’s prophets, the expected future remained this-worldly. For apocalypses, there is an element of postmortem rewards and punishments. This accounts for the most fundamental difference between prophetic and apocalyptic eschatology (Collins 1974a).” (Page 7)

“Many do not realize that Christianity itself is the result of failed prophecy. Jesus apparently expected the kingdom of God to come soon, and this urgent expectation of an imminent end pervades the New Testament. The apostle Paul expected the end to come in his own lifetime.” (Page 24)

“Popular views of apocalypticism are heavily influenced by Revelation. Cosmic disaster is central, so that the very word ‘apocalypse,’ which literally means simply ‘revelation’ and which scholars use to designate the literary genre, has come to mean that disaster itself.” (Page 4)

“Apocalypticism was one way to resist the inroads of empire in Israel (Horsley 2010b; Portier-Young 2011)” (Page 3)

“We reserve ‘apocalypse’ to refer to a literary work of a particular genre” (Page 4)

Years ago Ernst Käsemann asserted that Jewish apocalypticism was the mother of Christian theology. If you want to understand that claim, read Rick Murphy’s masterful guide to all the relevant ancient Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts. This remarkable synthesis is a fitting memorial to a beloved teacher, respected scholar, and fine human being.

Daniel J. Harrington, professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Lucidly written, accessible, and reliable, Murphy’s book is an ideal textbook for college courses. Its distinctive strength lies in its exposition of the role apocalypticism plays in the New Testament.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

A master teacher, Professor Murphy has left us a legacy in this volume that will serve students for years to come. He covers the entire range of apocalyptic imagery and eschatology from its roots in the prophetic texts of the Hebrew Bible through the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish works of the Second Temple period. Text boxes, charts, illustrations, and extensive bibliographies make this a classroom-friendly volume.

Pheme Perkins, professor of theology, Boston College

This book is without a doubt the most comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to apocalypticism available. It was written by a master scholar and teacher whose many years of intimate acquaintance with the ancient texts and whose pedagogical adeptness in communicating the material are evident on every page. This superb study will benefit both those who are new to the apocalyptic genre and worldview and those who are ready for a fresh and deeper look into a subject whose importance for understanding early Judaism and Christianity cannot be exaggerated.

Daniel C. Harlow, professor of religion, Calvin College

  • Title: Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction
  • Author: Frederick J. Murphy
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 448

Frederick J. Murphy (1949–2011) was, for more than 25 years, a professor of New Testament at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He authored numerous books, including Fallen Is Babylon: The Revelation to John, Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Jesus, and An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels.


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