Did authors of Second Temple texts concern themselves with “salvation?” If so, on what terms? What does one need “salvation” from? Are the parameters of who is included in or excluded from “salvation” defined? Daniel Gurtner’s vision in compiling this collection is to collect contributions on a single topic as it is addressed in individual books from the Second Temple period. Working from a sound methodological basis, the contributors assess the theme in different books, taking into account issues of genre and provenance. This allows an acute comparison of how this topic is present across a myriad of Second Temple Jewish texts. Throughout the course of the work the notion of “soteriology” is very broadly conceived. While acknowledging the Christian connotation of the term “soteriology,” the volume similarly acknowledges the usefulness of the term as a heuristic category for careful analysis.
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Soteriology in this volume serves as shorthand for the state of well-being that is the goal of life. The contributors are a distinguished selection of older and younger scholars, including some of the most prominent names in the field. The essays emphasize the diversity of ‘soteriologies’ in the literature of Second Temple Judaism. They provide a fascinating window on the theological diversity of Judaism in the era in which Christianity was born.
—John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale University