Resurrection as the Reward of the Righteous: A Study in 2 Maccabees, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Ethiopic Enoch, and Psalms of Solomon

(This paper is published here as a theological reference for the pastor, teacher, seminary student, scholar, and every thoughtful believer.)

The Jews in Jesus’ time were immersed in the milieu of Judaic religious history and thought which were largely permeated by the literature of Second Temple Judaism, including the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and the Qumran scrolls. In the apocalyptic genre of this literature is found the hope of the eschatological resurrection for the righteous. The purpose of this lecture is to introduce the concept of resurrection as the reward of the righteous, as divine vindication in itself for the torments they received from their oppressors in their lifetimes. We draw this concept primarily from non-canonical sources—2 Maccabees, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, 1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch, and Psalms of Solomon, in that the theme is most prominent in this literature. In what follows, we look into how the writers projected the resurrection—its significant characteristics, purpose, participants, and time—and how it developed or what historical conditions prompted its genesis. We shall see that there is no single, consistent concept of the resurrection in the corpus. The picture we get will help us distinguish similarities and dissimilarities with its Christian shape in the New Testament. . . . more

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