Preview of Nov 2, Week 6

I propose to start our session with a review of the narrative so far.  Keeping our eye on “evil”, we’ll discuss again what evil is and what the explanation for evil has been in polytheism, monolatry, and monotheism (cosmic monism).

Now that we’ve seen what Hayes calls the “really huge problem” with monotheism (and I call the “fatal flaw”), we’ll go on to explore the Jewish reaction called apocalypticism.  Bart Ehrman does his usual outstanding job setting the scene and we go on to read five examples including the enormously influential vision in Daniel 7.  Note that “son of man” was a normal colloquialism for human being but because the phrase was picked up and used to refer to a heavenly being who descended on the clouds to render judgment (and had the appearance of a human) we need to amend the JSB translation “human being.”  Note the absence of any battle in Daniel 7 and its appearance in Daniel 11-12.

We now enter an age when eschatology (the study of the end times) looms large. Although there were previous prophetic visions of the renewal of Israel (Ezekiel’s dry bones), the idea of a climactic battle in which YHWH forever vanquishes the demonic force had to wait until the idea of a demonic force entered the picture, perhaps in the late third century BCE.

Note that the “kingdom of God” was expected by apocalypticists to be an earthly kingdom.