What is Apocalyptic Literature?

Reading Acts

Apocalypse-AheadNext week I am teaching a three-week summer class entitled “Daniel and Revelation.” A major component of this class is learning how to read apocalyptic literature like Daniel 7-12 and most of Revelation. Most students think a class on Revelation sounds fun (and it is), but they also have some strange ideas about apocalyptic literature.

The problem western pop-Christianity has re-defined apocalyptic to refer only to “the end of the world as we know it.” Some students want to read Revelation as if it was in the same genre as The Book of Eli or The Road. Those two films are excellent examples of the modern genre of post-apocalyptic. Some disaster has happened which has nearly wiped out most of the world forcing a tiny community of surviving humans to struggles against extinction.

But that is not at all what the genre of apocalyptic was in the Second Temple…

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