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2 Esdras

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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).


Save more when you purchase this volume as part of the Second Temple Period Collection (19 Vols.)!

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Top Highlights

“The author is clearly writing after 70 ce, since the event that drives his inquest took place in that year: the destruction of Jerusalem by the military forces of the Roman empire.” (Page 13)

“Have the promises of God failed? Is the world running out of his control? Has he been overthrown by the forces of evil? Does he even exist any more, and if so, is he still up to the job? Has he simply grown tired, impotent, careless or unconcerned with the things of this world?” (Page 12)

“The behaviour of the eagle’s three heads in 11:29–35 corresponds to what we know of the three Roman emperors, Vespasian (69–79 ce), Titus (79–81 ce), and Domitian (81–96 ce), allowing this part of the text to be dated in Domitian’s reign.” (Pages 13–14)

“the sea represents the primordial abyss, often thought to be the abode of evil and its instruments” (Page 73)

“ appears that 4 Ezra can be dated at around the end of the first century ce.” (Page 13)

Product Details

  • Title: 2 Esdras
  • Author: Bruce Longenecker
  • Publisher: Sheffield
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 128

Bruce W. Longenecker is a graduate professor of Religion and the W. W. Melton Chair in the Department of Religion at Baylor University. He is the author or editor of numerous books includingThe Lost Letters of PergamumPaul, Luke, and the Graeco-Roman WorldNarrative Dynamics in PaulThe Triumph of Abraham’s God2 Esdras, and Eschatology and the Covenant.


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    Digital list price: $17.99
    Save $5.00 (27%)