I earlier pointed out that my views of suffering in the 1980s were heavily influenced by the biblical perspective that scholars call apocalypticism. I have discussed the major views of apocalypticism on the blog a couple of times over the years, but some review would be useful at this point, both for those whose memories are as sieve-like as mine, and for those who weren’t around yet for all those years of previous fun on the blog.
Let me stress, Jewish apocalypticism was a very common view in Jesus’ day – it was the view of the Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, of the Pharisees, of John the Baptist, later of the Apostle Paul – and almost certainly of Jesus. This is a widely held view among critical scholars – by far the majority view for over a century, since the writings of none other than Albert Schweitzer.
What did early Jewish apocalypticists believe? Let me break it down into four component themes. I have drawn this discussion from my textbook on the New Testament.
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