Historical Settings Of Apocalyptic Texts

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During the second temple period, Jews faced persecution at the hands of the Greeks and the Romans. They struggled to make sense of their suffering and define the place of their religion in an increasingly assimilated world. Jews had to define who they were and how they would interact with or separate themselves from other cultures and traditions. One of the ways in which people did this was by writing texts to define who they were, where they came from, and what they stood for. Jewish authors during the second temple period used the historical settings in their writings to forward agendas, which were often shaped by present concerns. These historical settings were sometimes fallacious and were written not to accurately depict past events,…show more content…
The author further uses the destruction of Babylon to give instructions to Jews as to how they should behave under Roman rule, warning against assimilation of Jews into Roman society. In Revelation, the author quotes God as saying, “come out of here, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins and so that you do not share in her plagues” (Revelation 18.4). The authors use the word of God in an apocalyptic situation to caution against joining in Roman society, an empire which the authors argue is one of sin and which will ultimately be cast down by God.
Similarly, the authors of 2 Baruch set the narrative after the Babylonian exile and destruction to actually discuss the events surrounding the destruction of the second temple. The authors use the the destruction of the first temple to comment on the resilience of the Jewish people, reminding contemporary readers that the Jewish people survived the destruction of one temple and that they will be able to survive the destruction of another one. Additionally, by setting 2 Baruch hundreds of years in the past, authors are again able to make the argument that the destruction of the second temple was preordained (2 Baruch 32.2-4). By arguing that the destruction of the second temple was willed by God, contemporary readers could feel that
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