Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism

Anathea E. Portier-Young

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge, U.K.

© 2011 Anathea E. Portier-Young All rights reserved Published 2011 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2140 Oak Industrial Drive N.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49505 / P.O. Box 163, Cambridge CB3 9PU U.K. Printed in the United States of America 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Portier-Young, Anathea, 1973Apocalypse against empire: theologies of resistance in early Judaism / Anathea E. Portier-Young. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-0-8028-6598-4 (pbk.: alk. paper) 1. Resistance (Philosophy) 2. Jews — History — 586 b.c.–70 a.d. 3. Bible. O.T. Former prophets — History of Biblical events. 4. Ethiopic book of Enoch — Criticism, interpretation, etc. 5. Judaism — Social aspects — Israel. 6. Maccabees. 7. Military history in the Bible. 8. Palestine — History, Military. I. Title. B105.R47.P67 2011 296.3¢82 — dc22 2010022222


To Jim Crenshaw, my teacher, colleague, and friend


Foreword, by John J. Collins Preface Abbreviations Introduction

xii xiv xviii xxi

1. Theorizing Resistance Theology or Theologies of Resistance? Conceptualizing Resistance Forms of Resistance In Search of a Definition
Resistance Limits Power Intentions and Actions Contesting Hegemony and Domination Summary

3 3 5 5 6
6 8 9 10

Hegemony and Domination: The Conditions and Objects of Resistance Hegemony Domination and dominio Resistance to the Hellenistic Empires: Key Studies

11 11 23 27



James C. Scott, the Hidden Transcript, and Apocalyptic Pseudonymity Practice versus Belief? Anonymity or Pseudonymity
Scott on Anonymity Pseudonymity and Contingency

31 35 37
37 41



2. Hellenistic Rule in Judea: Setting the Stage for Resistance The Beginnings of Hellenistic Rule Alexander, the Successors, and the Ideology of Conquest Caught in the Battle for Domination The Transition to Seleucid Rule The Letter to Ptolemy The Programma Peaceful Coexistence? Stressors and Divisions Ancestral Laws, Scripture, and Invented Tradition 3. Interaction and Identity in Seleucid Judea: 188-173 bce The Broader Context: The Seleucid Empire under Roman Hegemony Domination and Interaction in Seleucid Judea The Heliodorus Stele Heliodorus’s Incursion into the Jerusalem Temple: 2 Maccabees 3:1–4:6 Reading the Sources Together Judaism versus Hellenism? Jason’s Hellenizing Reforms Cultural Encounter in the Hellenistic Empires Distinctive Identities Asserting a Threatened Identity

49 49 49 54 55 55 57 62 63 73 78 78 79 80 86 89 91 93 103 108 112


4. Re-creating the Empire: The Sixth Syrian War, Jason’s Revolt, and the Reconquest of Jerusalem Preparing for War The Akra Sacrilege and Riot Civil War and Revolt Antiochus IV, Rome, and the Plan of God The Evidence of Polybius The Evidence of Daniel Revolt and the Re-creation of Empire 5. Seleucid State Terror The Logic of State Terror Massacre Murder in the Home Abduction Plundering the Temple Jerusalem’s Shame Apollonius’s Mission Parade Turned Massacre Exposing the Spectacle, Answering Terror Into the Wilderness The Monstrosity of Imperial Rule Divine Justice Speaking the Unspeakable Time, Memory, and Language Conclusion 6. The Edict of Antiochus: Persecution and the Unmaking of the Judean World Daniel 1 and 2 Maccabees Loss of Autonomia Aims of the Edict and Persecution

115 117 122 124 126 130 130 134 136 140 141 143 145 147 150 155 158 162 168 168 170 172 172 173 174

176 178 185 186 191


Prohibitions Compulsory Practices Resistance Conclusion

193 195 210 215

Introduction to Part Three 7. Daniel The People Who Know Their God Will Stand Strong and Act: Strength, Knowledge, and Faithfulness Prayer and Penitence To Teach, to Fall, and to Make Righteous Daniel 1, 3, and 6: Stories of Faithfulness Waiting for the End Reading and Writing Scripture: Creative Reinterpretation and New Revelation Studying the Scrolls: Seventy Weeks of Years Suffering Servants Commissioning the Reader Conclusion 8. Enochic Authority Distinctive Features of the Early Enochic Literature Astronomical Concerns Alternative Cosmology Alternative Epistemology Elevated Role of Enoch Enochic Authority in the Hellenistic Imperial Context Who Were They? Languages

217 223 235 243 254 258 262 265 267 272 276 277 280 285 286 287 291 292 294 307 310



9. The Apocalypse of Weeks: Witness and Transformation The Righteous The Seventh Week: Witness, Uproot, Enact Justice A Sword to Execute Righteous Judgment Beyond Resistance: Righteous Economy, Temple, and the Kingdom of the Great One Conclusion 10. The Book of Dreams: See and Cry Out Interpreting the Present through the Past The First Dream Vision: Supplication The Second Dream Vision: The Animal Apocalypse They Began to Open Their Eyes and to See . . . And to Cry Out to the Sheep Horns Came Out on Those Lambs They Lamented and Cried Out War Traditions Conclusion Conclusion Epilogue Bibliography Index of Modern Authors Index of Subjects Index of Ancient Sources

313 324 328 337 340 345 346 352 353 363 363 368 372 374 376 379 382 390 401 439 442 450



The last half century has seen intense, if sporadic, study of early Jewish apocalyptic literature. Much of this study has been literary. We have attained a clearer grasp of the apocalyptic genre and of the traditional associations of apocalyptic symbolism. We have also made important advances in the sociological study of apocalypticism, inspired in part by Paul Hanson’s groundbreaking study, The Dawn of Apocalyptic (Fortress Press, 1975) and the lively debate it stimulated, but also by the broader interest in apocalypticism as a social phenomenon at the end of the twentieth century. Scholars have long recognized that apocalyptic literature originated as resistance literature, even if was sometimes co-opted for other purposes in the course of history. We must admit, however, that the study of the social function of apocalyptic writings has lagged somewhat in relation to literary and historico-traditional studies. Anathea Portier-Young bids fair to redress this situation in this sweeping and learned work. She breaks new ground in two important respects. First, she has read widely in the theoretical literature on the subjects of imperial power and resistance thereto. As a result, she brings to this subject a degree of sophistication that has been lacking in previous biblical scholarship on the subject. She sees the exercise of power as a complex phenomenon, sometimes mediated by brute force but often by symbolism and ritual. Equally, resistance is not simplistic rejection but may involve selective appropriation or subversion of the ideology of the dominant power. Both the exercise of power and resistance are processes of negotiation, and each may take a range of forms. Second, Portier-Young has immersed herself in the study of the Seleucid empire in a way that biblical scholars seldom do. Not since the early work of Martin Hengel have we seen such a thick description of Seleucid history and politics in the context of biblical scholarship. Building on the work of such scholars as John Ma, she views the Seleucid empire in terms of its strategies of xii

Foreword domination. This enables her to shed new light on the perennially debated motives of Antiochus Epiphanes in his persecution of the Judeans. Portier-Young views his actions through the lens of Realpolitik, the strategy of a pragmatic ruler intent on asserting and maintaining his own power. Epiphanes was no madman but, rather, a cynical and brutal pragmatist. The theoretical studies and the in-depth historical background of this book establish the context for the early Jewish apocalyptic writings. Apocalyptic literature has often been stereotyped as otherworldly. Portier-Young makes a persuasive case that it is deeply immersed in political reality and cannot be properly understood without seeing it against the foil of Hellenistic imperial rule. This book makes an important contribution to the study of Judea under Seleucid rule and to the social context of apocalyptic literature, but it also does more than that. The use of state terror Portier-Young describes here is in no way peculiar to the Seleucid empire. It is an important phenomenon in the world we live in. Equally, the diverse strategies of resistance that she describes are still employed in the modern world. It is an uncomfortable reality that modern America is most often perceived as empire in the tradition of the Seleucids. Portier-Young’s sympathetic account of the various strategies of resistance should help us understand the motives of people who resist imperial domination and are often labeled as terrorists. But it also shows that recourse to violence is not the only strategy of resistance that is sanctioned and modeled by the scriptures we have inherited from ancient Judaism. John J. Collins Holmes Professor of Old Testament Yale



In 2004 I completed my dissertation, “Theologies of Resistance in Daniel, the Apocalypse of Weeks, the Book of Dreams, and the Testament of Moses,” under the direction of James Crenshaw at Duke University. I thank Jim for granting me the freedom to dream up my own project, for directing me with gentle grace, and for modeling intellectual courage, precision, and care. I offer special thanks, once again, to the other members of my committee, Richard Hays, Eric Meyers, and Ed Sanders. In that earlier project I offered a literary and theological analysis of four resistant responses to Seleucid domination in Judea. I was especially interested in the intersection of theology, hermeneutics, and ethics, in the use of Israel’s war traditions, and in understanding why two of the texts I studied advocated armed revolt while two advocated martyrdom. I thought I would come away with a clear sense of their differences. Instead I came away impressed by how much these four texts had in common. They functioned as resistance literature in remarkably similar ways, owing in large part, it seemed, to their common genre, historical apocalypse (or, in the case of Testament of Moses, an apocalyptic testament that shared many generic features with the historical apocalypses). This conclusion left me with a new set of questions about the genre and the circumstances in which it arose. I have taken them up in this book. A few years ago I sent my dissertation to John Collins, who sent back a reader’s report with copious guidance on how to make this a better book. He challenged me to define resistance, to engage the work of James C. Scott, and to weigh in on emerging debates in the study of Enochic Judaism. He asked me to say more about what, exactly, these writers and their contemporaries were resisting, especially if some of the apocalypses dated earlier than Antiochus’s persecution in 167 bce. The questions seemed straightforward, and I naively thought I could turn it around in a few months. As I dug deeper, I realized there xiv

Preface was a lot to work out. I am grateful to John for the challenges and for the encouragement. Pursuing these questions has not only improved the book but has made me a better scholar. The book you hold in your hands has (heavily) revised versions of three chapters from my dissertation (chs. 7, 9, and 10 of the present book). It also has seven new chapters, including all of Parts One (ch. 1) and Two (chs. 2–6) as well as chapter 8. When I voiced my bold hope to Michael Thomson that this book “fly to press,” I didn’t dare to expect it could happen. To the incredibly supportive team at Eerdmans who gave this book wings, I offer profuse thanks: Michael Thomson, Linda Bieze, Jon Pott, Allen Myers, David Cottingham, and Jenny Hoffman. I owe thanks also to Hindy Najman, for your encouragement and grace. As I was preparing my manuscript for press I had the pleasure of reading Richard Horsley’s Revolt of the Scribes: Resistance and Apocalyptic Origins (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010). Part One of Horsley’s book covers much the same ground as my own book. Yet it would have been disingenuous to insert references to Horsley’s book throughout this manuscript. Instead, I offer a few words here. My hope is that whoever is interested in this subject will read both books. Horsley’s thesis and my own are very similar — I take this as a good sign! Starting from the observation that the surviving “apocalyptic” texts from ancient Judea all “focus on imperial rule and the opposition to it,” Horsley insists on “a more historical approach,” specifically calling for “critical attention to the political-economic-religious structure and dynamics within Judean society in the broader context of conflict with the dominant empires.” I could not agree more, and my reader will find just such critical attention in Part Two. But our approaches, and our accounts of that history, also differ in significant ways, and that impacts our conclusions. Moreover, in shifting the focus to history, Horsley aims to shift the focus away from genre and away from “apocalypticism.” Questioning the distinctiveness of the apocalyptic worldview and discarding the genre label “historical apocalypse,” Horsley prefers to analyze the extant texts apart from constructed genre expectations. I believe this is a mistake. I argue that the characteristic features of the genre historical apocalypse, including such elements as the prophetic review of history, narrative frame, angelic mediation, and revered human recipient of revelation, all play a crucial role in how the text functions as resistant discourse and how the text presents its program of resistance. This is consistent in each of the texts I study in this volume and tells us a great deal about the nascent genre. Reading Horsley’s book makes me all the more excited to think about future work on the history and development of the genre apocalypse. I thank Horsley for bringing a new surge of energy to the questions of empire, resistance, and apocalyptic. xv

preface I completed several chapters in Parts One and Two during a year-long sabbatical in 2008-09. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my colleagues in the Catholic Biblical Association of America, who supported my work for six months of that sabbatical through a Young Scholars’ Fellowship. The great gift of the sabbatical was not only the chance to “get it done” but also to remember why I love my research. Every day of my sabbatical I gave thanks for each of you, and I continue to do so. Duke University supported me during my sabbatical as well, and I thank Dean Greg Jones, the office of Academic Affairs, our library staff, and others at the University for vital support at this time and throughout my years at Duke. As the project grew (and grew) Jon Berquist, Greg Carey, John Collins, Joel Marcus, Bill Portier, Bonnie Portier, Phil Portier, and Lauren Winner all read and commented on multiple chapters and assorted parts, often on very short notice. They gave encouragement when I most needed it and also helped me see weaknesses and ways to remedy them. I incorporated as many of your suggestions as I could. I offer very deep gratitude to each of you. Many colleagues at Duke and elsewhere have been conversation partners as I explored new ways of thinking and tested ideas. I have learned more from you than I can say. I owe special thanks to my colleagues in Old Testament, Ellen Davis and Stephen Chapman, for your mentoring, support, and example. The students in my courses on Daniel and Apocalyptic Literature and Early Jewish Apocalypses created the forum where I worked out many of the ideas in this book. You are a treasure. Anne Weston provided invaluable editorial assistance, first as a colleague and then as a friend. From teaching me about comma splices and restrictive clauses to fixing my dashes, hyphens, and multiform footnotes, Anne’s light but careful touch graces every page. As the project neared its conclusion Anne worked at lightning speed. There aren’t enough honeycomb-filled chocolate bars in the world to convey my thanks for the gift of your patience, time, and expertise. To Judith Heyhoe, for help with indexes, thank you! I thank Sean Burrus, Jay Forth, Tyler Garrard, Jill Hicks, Logan Kruck, Mindy Makant, Dan Rhodes, Candice Ryals, Denise Thorpe, and Jess Wong (quite a team!) for your cheerful help in tracking down references, adding to my piles of folders (you may not have thought I would read them all, but I really did), and assembling the bibliography. I thank Diane Decker for helping them and me with photocopies, scans, printing, and logistics. Even more, I thank Diane for daily moral support, friendship, cheerleading, and the big thermometer-chart that got me to the end. So many friends have loved and supported me and my family along the way. I cannot name everyone here. I thank you. I am incredibly fortunate to count you in my life. xvi

Preface Finally, I thank my family. My mom and dad, Bonnie and Bill Portier, knew when to encourage and when to remind. That was tricky. You did great! You bless me so much. During the past two years my husband Steve has repeatedly made time and space for me to write. I don’t know how. This book would not have happened without Steve’s support. I am truly grateful. No one has wanted this book to end as much as I have, but my son Sebastian comes close. Sebastian, I thank you for your patience and understanding. To you alone of my readers I say, close this book immediately! Let’s get back to our adventures! And let’s start planning for a book we’ll write together one day . . .



Ancient Authors Arist. Aristotle Jos. Josephus Polyb. Polybius Diod. Diodorus Vell. Pat. Velleius Paterculus Xen. Xenophon Primary Sources 1 En. 1 Enoch A.J. Josephus Antiquitates judaicae (Jewish Antiquities) Ad Nic. Isocrates, Ad Nicoclem (To Nicocles) Aem. Plutarch Aemilius Paulus Ages. Xenophon Agesilaeus Anab. Arrian Anabasis Anach. Lucian Anacharsis B.J. Josephus Bellum judaicum (Jewish War) Exod. Rab. Exodus Rabbah Flacc. Philo In Flaccum (Against Flaccus) Ill. Appian Illyriaca (Illyrian Wars) In Dan. Jerome In Danielem Jub. Jubilees L.A.B. Liber antiquitatum biblicarum (Pseudo-Philo) LXX Septuagint Mac. Appian Macedonian Affairs OG Old Greek Or. Dio Chrysostom Orationes xviii

Pol. PV Resp. Sib. Or. Syr. Tg. Isa. T. Mos. Aristotle Politica (Politics) Aeschylus Prometheus Vinctus (Prometheus Bound) Plato Respublica (Republic) Sibylline Oracles Appian Syriaca (Syrian Wars) Targum Isaiah Testament of Moses

Secondary Sources AJA American Journal of Archaeology AJSR Association for Jewish Studies Review BASOR Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research BibInt Biblical Interpretation BDB F. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford, 1907 BTB Biblical Theology Bulletin CBQ Catholic Biblical Quarterly CBQMS Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series CCSL Corpus Christianorum: Series latina. Turnhout, 1953CEJL Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature CT Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum. London, 1896C. Ord. Ptol. Corpus des ordonnances des Ptolémées EA Epigraphica Anatolica FOTL Forms of Old Testament Literature HeyJ Heythrop Journal HTR Harvard Theological Review HUCA Hebrew Union College Annual ICC International Critical Commentary IEJ Israel Exploration Journal IJAHS International Journal of African Historical Studies JAAR Journal of the American Academy of Religion JANESCU Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University JBL Journal of Biblical Literature JCS Journal of Cuneiform Studies JJS Journal of Jewish Studies JRE Journal of Religious Ethics JSJ Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament xix

JSP LSJ Neot NIB NIDOTTE Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. S. Jones. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. with revised supplement. Oxford, 1996 Neotestamentica The New Interpreter’s Bible New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. Edited by W. A. VanGemeren. 5 vols. Grand Rapids, 1997 New Testament Studies Patrologia latina [= Patrologiae cursus completus: Series latina]. Edited by J.-P. Migne. 217 vols. Paris, 1844-64 Perspectives in Religious Studies Revue biblique Revue des études juives Revue de philologie Revue de Qumran Revue Internationale des Droits de l’Antiquité Society of Biblical Literature Society of Biblical Literature Septuagint and Cognate Studies Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Edited by G. Kittel and G. Friedrich. Translated by G. W. Bromiley. 10 vols. Grand Rapids, 1964-76 Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Edited by G. J. Botterweck and H. Ringgren. Translated by J. T. Willis, G. W. Bromiley, and D. E. Green. 15 vols. Grand Rapids, 1974-2006 Union Seminary Quarterly Review Vetus Testamentum Word Biblical Commentary Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik






In 167 bce the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes issued an edict that sought to annul the ancestral laws of Judea, proscribing traditional Jewish religion and mandating new religious practice in its place. According to 2 Maccabees, 22,000 Seleucid troops already occupied the city of Jerusalem, and had already massacred and enslaved thousands among its population. Now they would kill any who did not comply with the king’s edict. Many Judeans did comply with Antiochus’s program of terror. In so doing they saved their lives and the lives of their families. Others resisted. They resisted by remaining faithful to the law of Moses, circumcising their children, reading the scrolls, and refusing to eat pork or sacrifice to other gods. They resisted by preaching and teaching, praying, fasting, and dying. These first martyrs of the Jewish faith have inspired generations of Jews and Christians who have told and retold (and relived) their stories of courage and faithfulness. Others resisted with arms, fighting in self-defense and to reclaim their temple and city, ultimately expelling the occupying Seleucid troops from Judea. They succeeded in establishing Judea as a semi-independent nation-state after over four hundred years of colonial rule. Each year Jews around the world celebrate this accomplishment during the festival of Hanukkah. The reign of Antiochus marked a turning point in the history of Judaism for another reason that, though rarely remarked upon, is no less momentous. For during this period emerged a new literary genre, the historical apocalypse, and with it an apocalyptic worldview and consciousness that would become enormously influential in the history of Judaism and Christianity alike.1 Why
1. Elements of that worldview and consciousness were already taking shape perhaps a century earlier, as evidenced by the Book of the Watchers (1 En. 1–36), commonly considered the first extant apocalypse of the “heavenly journey” type. The two subgenres are closely related. While


introduction this genre at this moment? What is the relationship between apocalypse and empire? I argue that the first Jewish apocalypses emerged as a literature of resistance to empire. Empire claimed the power to order the world. It exercised this power through force, but also through propaganda and ideology. Empire manipulated and co-opted hegemonic social institutions to express and reinforce its values and cosmology. Resisting imperial domination required challenging not only the physical means of coercion, but also empire’s claims about knowledge and the world. The first apocalypses did precisely this. In examining how they resisted empire, this book corrects a common set of misperceptions about apocalypticism and about Judaism in this vital period. It is often thought that early apocalyptic literature represents a flight from reality into fantasy, leading to radical detachment from the world or a disavowal of the visible, embodied realm. It has been imagined that the pseudonymous writers of the apocalypses hid their identities in order to avoid retaliation for their radical critique, or that they belonged to fringe sectarian groups with little connection to mainstream Judaism or centers of influence in Judean society. Nothing could be further from the truth. The early apocalyptic visionaries numbered among Judea’s elite. During the persecution they did not hide, but urged public preaching, aiming to convert a wide audience to their message of faithfulness and hope. And they did not flee painful and even devastating realities, but engaged them head on. This book is divided into three parts, moving through theory, history, and texts to arrive at an understanding of apocalyptic theology and praxis at this crucial juncture in Judean and Jewish history. Part One (ch. 1), “Theorizing Resistance,” lays out a framework for understanding the meaning of resistance, for identifying and analyzing its objects, domination and hegemony, and for understanding the literary genre apocalypse as resistant counterdiscourse. I lay out this framework at the book’s beginning so that it can inform the analysis in subsequent chapters. Yet I risk losing the energy of readers drawn more to the drama of history and ancient text than to theory. I invite readers less inclined toward theory to read the conclusion of chapter one and proceed to Parts Two and Three. Part Two, “Seleucid Domination in Judea” (chs. 2–6), traces the history of Hellenistic rule in Judea, with special attention to the era of Seleucid rule from 200 bce to the persecution in 167 bce. What was happening in Judea at this
my primary focus is on the first historical apocalypses, namely Daniel, the Apocalypse of Weeks (1 En. 93:1-10 + 91:11-17), and the Book of Dreams (1 En. 83–90), I also give attention to the Book of the Watchers, which deeply influenced both the Apocalypse of Weeks and the Book of Dreams.


Introduction time had never happened before. These conditions formed the matrix in which the first apocalypses took shape. A common narrative for this period has painted the early years of Seleucid rule as beneficent and peaceful, suddenly interrupted in 167 bce by the inexplicable and murderous ravings of a mad king. Another explanation characterizes the conflict as a clash of cultures between Judaism and Hellenism. Locating events in Judea in a wider imperial context, I offer a more nuanced account. I examine the violence of conquest and the stressors of imperial rule in Judea from the very beginning of Hellenistic rule and Seleucid domination. I document interaction between ruler and ruled, and offer new lenses for viewing the encounter between Judaism and Hellenism. I then identify the logic that ultimately led to Antiochus’s edict and persecution of Judeans. He aimed to re-create his own empire through the reconquest, decreation, and re-creation of Judea. Judea’s conquest was carried out not only by force but through a program of state terror. The persecution was not something wholly discontinuous after all, but continued a program of terror already well underway. Understanding the logic of Antiochus’s program of terror and decreation, we perceive not only what the apocalyptic writers were resisting, but how they resisted. Trauma stopped time. With visions of a unified past, present, and future, the historical apocalypses put time back together. With vivid symbols they asserted the integrity of a world that had threatened to shatter. They answered terror with radical visions of hope. Part Three (chs. 7–10), “Apocalyptic Theologies of Resistance,” treats in detail the three extant historical apocalypses written in Judea during Antiochus’s reign, namely Daniel (ch. 7), the Apocalypse of Weeks (1 En. 93:1-10 + 91:11-17; ch. 9), and the Book of Dreams (1 En. 83–90; ch. 10). Chapter 8 introduces the two Enochic texts by addressing the relationship between Enochic authority in the early Enochic writings and Israel’s other scriptural traditions as well as the epistemological and cosmological claims of the Hellenistic ruling powers. As resistant discourse, each apocalypse countered the totalizing narrative of the Seleucid empire with an even grander total vision of history, cosmos, and the reign of God. But their resistance did not stop at the level of discourse or belief. Vision and praxis shaped one another. From each apocalyptic discourse emerged a program of radical, embodied resistance rooted in covenant theology and shaped by models from Israel’s scriptures as well as new revelatory paradigms. I examine each text in turn, giving careful attention to the creative interplay between theology, hermeneutics, and ethics, or, put another way, between the framework of belief, practices of reading, and the shaping of resistant action.


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