Apocrypha and Apocalypse, 7.5 Credits

Apocrypha and Apocalypse, 7.5 Credits

Spring semester 2018

During the Second Temple period, a large number of Jewish texts, representing a wide variety of genres, were produced in Hebrew as well as in Aramaic and Greek. These texts were never included in the emerging canon of the Hebrew Bible, although some received a place in the Greek Old Testament and a few made their way into other Christian traditions. The role of these apocryphal texts in early Judaism and Christianity alike is often underestimated. In this course, a selection of apocryphal texts is studied with special emphasis on their continuity and relationship with earlier and later Jewish and Christian Scripture. Their specific traits and theologies are analyzed and their influence on Jewish and Christian tradition is highlighted. Special emphasis is given to the apocalyptic genre, its mythological roots, and the beliefs and streams of thought it represents. Texts with apocalyptic features are analyzed with the help of cognitive metaphor theories and with philosophy of religion models for the use and function of mythopoetic language.

At the end of the course, the student is expected to
(master’s level):

  • clearly and systematically account for the roots of apocryphal literature, its relationship to Jewish and Christian Scripture, and its role in the development of early Jewish and Christian tradition and theology 
  • be able to critically analyze apocryphal texts, especially in view of their social, political, and religious contexts 
  • display an in-­depth understanding of the state of research regarding apocalypticism as genre and phenomenon 
  • demonstrate ability to independently read and investigate apocalyptic texts with mythopoetic models and metaphor theory, focusing particularly on world views and values.   


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