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Additional resources for Between symbolism and realism: The use of symbolic and non-symbolic language in ancient Jewish apocalypses 333--63 BCE

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Russell’s description of the language of apocalypses begs the question: From which “fairly well-defined tradition” do the “stereotyped language and symbols” of Jewish apocalypses derive? We have seen that Noth already speculated about this and von Rad attempted to provide some explanation for it. Unfortunately, Russell does not adequately answer this question. 72 There is nothing wrong with proposing that Israelite and Jewish literature borrows from earlier Near Eastern myths – sometimes allegorizing myths or even re-allegorizing allegories.

33 George Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981), 280-7. Gwendolyn Sayler, Have the Promises Failed: A Literary Analysis of 2 Baruch (SBLDS; Chico: Scholars Press, 1984). 34 Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 39-40. 13 preservation makes a systematic study of their language all but impossible. 35 While these texts are not analyzed individually, several of them are discussed in my analysis of other texts. Finally, I do not analyze the Book of Jubilees or the Apocalypse of Weeks (1 Enoch 93 + 91:11-17) systematically.

Collins admits this and locates antecedents for the other symbols elsewhere: It has long been realized that the choice of symbols for the kingdoms of Greece and Persia is determined by the astral geography of the Hellenistic age. The ram is the constellation Aries which presides over Persia, according to the astrologer Teucer of Babylon. The goat represents Capricorn in the Zodiac, and according to Teucer, Capricorn presided over Syria. 95 For now I simply highlight that Collins’s primary methodology of understanding the symbolic language of apocalypses is unable to account for most of the symbols in Daniel 8 and is almost entirely unable to explain any of the data analyzed in the second part of this study: Daniel 10-12, Apocryphon of Jeremiah C, and 4QPsDana-b ar.

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