"The object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles." ~ P.G. Wodehouse

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apocalypse Against Empire by Anathea Portier-Young

At the close of last semester, I had the privilege of reviewing Anathea Portier-Young's recent book, Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (Eerdmans, 2011). The review will hopefully be coming out in the Review of Biblical Literature within the next six months (see review here). The book is well done and I recommend it for those interested in early Judaism and Jewish apocalypses, as well as those who work in the area of New Testament. The background that she provides on the Seleucid and Hasmonean periods is stellar.

Portier-Young presents a solid argument that Daniel, the Book of Dreams, and the Apocalypse of Weeks were written as apocalypses against empire. She provides an in depth look at the Seleucid regime under Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the terror of his imperial rule. Portier-Young also gives a helpful reminder that the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid empire is not the same as Jewish rejection of Hellenism. Her book is a valuable look at why apocalypses were written, and it will be a solid resource for years to come. Evidence of the acceptance of her work can be seen in this summer's Nangeroni meeting of the Enoch Seminar in which the topic will be "The Seleucid and Hasmonean Periods and the Apocalyptic Worldview."

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