Some of the greatest moments of religious history have occurred when a poignant experience or event flies in the face of the traditional theological worldview cherished by an individual or society. A fascinating case study of one such occurrence lies open in the text of 4 Ezra (2 Esdras 3–14), wherein a learned Jewish scribe of the first century CE rethinks his inherited theological views concerning a transcendent creator who is powerful, loving and just.
This guide introduces the reader in a non-technical but informed manner to the text of 4 Ezra, locating it in its historical, theological and social setting, reviewing interpretive approaches, and demonstrating how the author boldly struggles to understand God’s grand reputation in the light of a world out of joint. The guide also examines 4 Ezra’s influence within the Christian Church, and introduces the historical situations and theologies of the Christian texts, 5 Ezra (2 Esdras 1–2) and 6 Ezra (2 Esdras 15–16).
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