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Death and Afterlife in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature


This handbook explores beliefs of ancient Jews and Christians surrounding death and the afterlife through the lens of texts ranging from the Old Testament and New Testament, to Second Temple period and rabbinic literature, to early Christian writings. Figueras further brings together eschatological texts from Iran, Egypt, Greece, and Rome as comparanda, and provides context and bibliography to guide readers in their study of ancient Jewish and Christian views of death and the afterlife.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-3919-0
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jan 28,2020
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 221
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3919-0
$78.65
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This handbook explores beliefs of ancient Jews and Christians surrounding death and the afterlife through the lens of texts ranging from the Old Testament and New Testament, to Second Temple period and rabbinic literature, to early Christian writings. Figueras further brings together eschatological texts from Iran, Egypt, Greece, and Rome as comparanda, and provides context and bibliography to guide readers in their study of ancient Jewish and Christian views of death and the afterlife.

This handbook explores beliefs of ancient Jews and Christians surrounding death and the afterlife through the lens of texts ranging from the Old Testament and New Testament, to Second Temple period and rabbinic literature, to early Christian writings. Figueras further brings together eschatological texts from Iran, Egypt, Greece, and Rome as comparanda, and provides context and bibliography to guide readers in their study of ancient Jewish and Christian views of death and the afterlife.

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Contributor Biography

Pau Figueras

Pau Figueras is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. His research focuses on early Christian and Jewish art.

Table of Contents v
Abbreviations xi
Introduction 1
Chapter One. Canonical and Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament 3
The concept of ‘life’ 3
Death and the Tree of Life 4
Death as a phenomenon 4
Sheol and the grave 5
Funerary rites and contact with the dead 6
Ideological development 7
Resurrection of dead and immortality of soul 11
Chapter Two. Apocryphal Literature 13
I Enoch (Ethiopic Enoch) 14
Chapters 1–36 14
Chapters 37–104 (The Parables) 17
Chapters 106–108 (Apocalypse of Noah) 23
The Book of Jubilees 23
The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs 25
Testament of Simeon 26
Testament of Levi 26
Testament of Judah 27
Testament of Issachar 27
Testament of Dan 28
Testament of Naphtali 28
Testament of Gad 28
Testament of Asher 28
Testament of Joseph 29
Testament of Benjamin 29
Genesis Apocryphon 29
The Sibylline Oracles 30
Book III 30
Fragment III 32
The Psalms of Solomon 32
Apocalypse of Elijah 33
Apocryphon of Ezekiel 36
Assumption of Moses 37
Apocalypse of Moses or Life of Adam and Eve 38
The Fourth Book of Ezra (chs. 3–14) 43
The Martyrdom of Isaiah 47
The Lives of the Prophets 48
Isaiah 48
Jeremiah 48
Ezekiel 49
Daniel 50
Hosea 50
Micah the Morashtite 50
Jonah 50
Habakkuk 50
Haggai 50
Zechariah son of Iddo 51
Malachi 51
Nathan 51
Zechariah son of Jehoiada 51
Elijah 51
The Testament of Job 51
The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch 53
Greek Apocalypse of Ezra 58
Paralipomena of Jeremiah 60
Greek Apocalypse of Baruch 61
Apocalypse of Zephaniah 62
Apocalypse of Sedrach 64
Testament of Solomon 64
The Prayer of Joseph 65
II Enoch (Slavonic Enoch) 65
III Enoch (Hebrew Enoch) 69
Chapter Three. The Books of the New Testament 73
Synoptic Gospels 74
The Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven) 74
Resurrection of the Dead 75
‘Parousia’ 75
Judgment 76
Afterlife 76
Jesus’ Death 78
Acts of the Apostles 79
Pauline Epistles 83
I and II Thessalonians 83
I Corinthians 84
II Corinthians and Romans 86
Pastoral and Captivity Epistles 87
Gospel and Epistles of John 88
Catholic Epistles and Hebrews 91
Jude 91
II Peter 92
James 93
I Peter 94
Hebrews 95
Revelation of John 96
Chapter Four. Early Jewish Literature 101
The Dead Sea Scrolls 101
Death and the body 102
Faith in immortality 103
General eschatology and future life 106
Upper World and Nether World 110
Philo of Alexandria 111
The souls of the righteous 112
Exceptional Figures 112
The Condemned 113
Flavius Josephus 113
Portion of the Souls according to the Romans 114
According to the Indians 115
According to the Essenes and the Greek 115
According to the Pharisees 116
According to the Sadduacees 117
According to Josephus himself 117
Rabbinic Literature 118
Death and Its Religious Significance 118
Faith in Immortality and Resurrection 120
Messianic Age 123
The Coming Age and the Upper World 126
The World of the Souls 127
Gehenna 129
Paradise of the Blessed 131
The Throne of God 134
Funerary Epigraphy 137
The Grave 137
Death 139
Resurrection 140
The Dwelling-place of the Souls 140
Chapter Five. Early Christian Literature 143
‘Didache’ or Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles 143
Epistles of Ignatius from Antioch 144
Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 146
Martyrdom of Polycarp 147
Papias from Hierapolis 148
Irenaeus’ Testimony (Adv Haer IV, 33, 3–4) 148
Jerome (De viris illustribus, 18) 149
Philip Sidetes (The Christian History) 149
Anastasius Sinaita (Hexaemeron, VII) 149
Phocius (Bibliotheca) 149
The Presbyters 149
Epistle of Barnaba 150
Epistle to Diognetus 151
I Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 152
II Epistle of Clement 153
The Shepherd of Hermas 154
Visions 154
Precepts 155
Parables 155
Justin the Martyr 156
The First Apology 157
The Second Apology 158
Dialogue with Trypho 159
Odae of Solomon 160
Chapter Six. Excursus on Contemporaneous Foreign
Religions 163
The Iranian Religious World 164
Pre-Zoroastrian Period 164
Early Zoroastrianism 165
The Religion of the Achaemenians 167
The Parthians 167
Egypt 168
Death 169
The grave 170
Afterlife 172
The Hellenic World 175
Classical religion 176
Orphism 178
The Mysteries 179
Rome 180
The legacy of Greece 183
Eastern cults 185
Bibliography 189
Index 201

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