[Reading] ➻ Apocalypse against Empire ➱ Anathea E. Portier-Young – Dailytradenews.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Apocalypse against Empire

  1. says:

    Apocalypse against Empire discusses Jewish resistance against Seleucid imperial rule at the beginning of the 2nd century BCE written down in three of the earliest Jewish apocalyptic documents the book Daniel of the Hebrew Bible, and two parts of the Jewish pseudepigraphical book 1 Enoch, the Apocalypse of Weeks and the Book of Dreams.The first part of this book theorizes on resistance, with a clear description of domination and hegemony the latter being the softer , less tangible component of imperial rule , and the introduction of the attractive state terror notion The author borrows the latter notion from modern political scholarship, and in the epilogue she mentions the methodological frailty of the application of this modern notion to events of Antiquity A shortcoming of this theoretical part is that the author doesn t answer the question what prompted the Jews to write their first apocalypses exactly while resisting Seleucid oppression In other words in what respect was Seleucid rule so different from earlier foreign rule that the Jews resorted exactly then to encryption of their resistance narratives Part two on Seleucid domination in Judea is the most elucidating part of this work The desecration of the Jerusalem temple in 167 BCE, the Maccabean revolt and the reconsecration of the temple in 164 CE are the political religious highlights of the era, but Portier Young extensively describes the complex imperial and local political situation in the preceding decennia, which provides insight into the actions of Antiochus IV and the events that followed Part three discusses the three texts mentioned above The anti Seleucid character of every word and phrase of these writings is meticulously showed Not surprisingly for a theologian, the emphasis of the analysis is theological, in contrast with the politically oriented second part of this book One conspicuous element of this theologizing analysis is the reluctant discussion of the violence theme The author ends her conclusion with the great vision of the future which the writers of these apocalyptic resistance texts offered their readers a never ending era of justice, righteousness and joy for humankind, Judea and Jerusalem Highly attractive as this prospect may have been and may be , the way to achieve it was a ruthless reversal of the dominator dominated positions This element of large scale violent revenge to achieve a Jewish imperial position, which allowed to oppress and exploit the former oppressor s in turn, is neglected.In the epilogue the author formulates suggestions for further research While reading this book I hoped to find references to later apocalyptic writings, in particular to Revelation, the Synoptic Apocalypse and the final chapter of the Didache, but Portier Young never broadens her scope to these early Christian apocalyptic writings Not even in the suggestions for further research at the very end of this book does she suggest the study of possible links with these important later apocalypses Does the relation between the anti Seleucid and early Christian apocalypses contain a threat While Portier Young convincingly shows that the early apocalypses under consideration are fully anti Seleucid, a side by side study of the anti Seleucid and early Christian apocalypses might yield the suggestion that the early Christian apocalypses were taking a fully anti Roman stance Maybe the study of the oppressor oppressed position in the context of the beginnings of Christianity remains too sensitive.

  2. says:

    This book has two halves The first half tries to explain why assuming that the account in the Book of Maccabees is factually correct Antiochus, the king of the Syria based Selucid Empire, oppressed the Jews, leading to the Maccabees revolt and of course the story of Chanukah arising from the revolt s success The second half addresses the books of Daniel and Enoch, two books which according to the authors may have been Jewish responses to Selucid oppression.To begin with, even before Antiochus ascended the throne, his empire was fiscally stressed because of a nasty habit of making war against the neighboring Egyptian empire So when various Jews sought to buy the Jewish high priesthood from the empire, Selucid officials were all ears The last of these crooked priests, Menelaus, was unable to pay the promised bribe So to make up the deficiency, Menelaus and his friends robbed the Temple, which in turn provoked rioting and eventually a rebellion by former high priest Jason, which Antiochus easily terminated.After ending the revolt, Antiochus begin his reign of terror According to the book of Maccabees, Antiochus began by randomly murdering and enslaving many of Jerusalem s inhabitants The authors suggest that Antiochus s goal in murdering Jews was to create a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness in Judea The empire then enslaved as many Judeans as they killed unlike its murders, this policy was financially profitable, as Judean slaves were sold in nearby markets In addition, the dispersal of Judean captives would weaken Judaism as Jewish slaves were forced to abandon religious rituals and remind pagan purchasers in other parts of the empire that they could just as easily have been enslaved.Antiochus then plundered the Temple s cultic objects The author suggests that this theft communicated to Judeans that they, and even their God, were powerless before the empire s might Antiochus followed theft with an edict prohibiting nearly all forms of Jewish practice and requiring Jews to adopt a number of pagan rituals, essentially remaking Judea in his image Presumably, Antiochus must have thought that his policies would not only end any chance of a Jewish revolt, but would deter nearby pagan peoples from making trouble.Both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Enoch refer to a tyrannical anti Jewish ruler who may according to the authors have been Antiochus But the two books suggest radically different remedies In the book of Daniel, Daniel repeatedly refuses to adopt pagan practices, but rather than react violently, he allows pagans to attempt to kill him, and is always saved by a miracle Thus, the lesson of Daniel appears to be that nonviolent resistance will lead to Divine deliverance.By contrast, the book of Enoch a book which purports to be a revelation to Enoch, the father of Methusaleh states that a sword will be given to all the righteous, to execute righteous judgment on all the wicked This language appears to endorse violent revolt against oppression.To a much greater extent than the first half of the book, the discussion of resistance reads like a Ph.D dissertation, both in its thoroughness and its occasional inaccessibility I am not sure whether there was any way to make the book accessible to nonexperts without reducing its thoroughness However, it would have been nice if the book had included relevant portions of the books of Maccabees, Daniel and Enoch as appendices especially the latter, since the book of Enoch is not part of most Christian versions of the Bible or any Jewish version and is thus much less easily available.

  3. says:

    Some expertise in the dynamics of the subject its history, literature, and religion is a prerequisite to appreciating the treasures of Apocalypse Against Empire A landmark and necessary read of careful research that will alter the way you read Seleucid rule in Judea and apocalypse as theological response.

  4. says:

    An amazing and thought provoking look at the way apocalyptic literature helps communities resist oppressive empires Definitely worth your read if you have the time.

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Apocalypse against Empire download Apocalypse against Empire , read online Apocalypse against Empire , kindle ebook Apocalypse against Empire , Apocalypse against Empire d833111552c1 A Fresh And Daring Take On Ancient Apocalyptic Books The Year BCE Marked The Beginning Of A Period Of Intense Persecution For The People Of Judea, As Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes Attempted Forcibly And Brutally To Eradicate Traditional Jewish Religious Practices In Apocalypse Against Empire Anathea Portier Young Reconstructs The Historical Events And Key Players In This Traumatic Episode In Jewish History And Provides A Sophisticated Treatment Of Resistance In Early Judaism Building On A Solid Contextual Foundation, Portier Young Argues That The First Jewish Apocalypses Emerged As A Literature Of Resistance To Hellenistic Imperial Rule She Makes A Sturdy Case For This Argument By Examining Three Extant Apocalypses, Giving Careful Attention To The Interplay Between Social Theory, History, Textual Studies, And Theological Analysis In Particular, Portier Young Contends, The Book Of Daniel, The Apocalypse Of Weeks, And The Book Of Dreams Were Written To Supply An Oppressed People With A Potent Antidote To The Destructive Propaganda Of The Empire Renewing Their Faith In The God Of The Covenant And Answering State Terror With Radical Visions Of Hope