So today I spent the better part of the day working on my thesis paper. [With it being so blasted hot, this worked out really nicely.] Anyway, if you're interested, here's the abstract in working form. Enjoy.
To more deeply appreciate these texts and the communities that developed them, we must initially explore the development of apocalyptic literature as a genre and a vehicle for this expression of faith and hope. How did this genre develop and why was it chosen as a central vehicle of the Second Temple Period? Secondarily, we must explore the texts themselves and their relationship to received texts and traditions. How did these authors and redactors see their texts? Were they “scripture” on equal footing as the received texts of their day? How did they use the vehicle of apocalyptic literature to portray their dreams, desires, and understanding of God and his activity in the world? On a broader scale, what can we learn about the category of “scripture” from the texts collected and produced in the Second Temple Period?
The aim of this paper is to explore selected writings of the Second Temple Period in order to gain a vision of how various expressions of Judaism understood their relationship with God and their world. By specifically exploring the nature of their writings, both of content and category, we hope to gain a clearer vision of their self-understanding, along with their vision of God and his activity in the present world. Central to our discussion will be how these communities utilized the writings that had been handed down to them in the development of their own textual traditions. It is in this interaction with received texts that we have an insightful vantage point into their self-understanding and their view of their own particular texts.
We will be examining three main texts produced from three different communities, which exhibit varied nuances of “Judaisms” within the larger Jewish community of the Second Temple Period – 1 Enoch, the book of Daniel, and the Habakkuk pesharim from the community at Qumran. All three texts evidence an unfolding theological trajectory rooted in an apocalyptic worldview. They all display a reliance upon received texts and traditions, which are integrated into new forms and endowed with new meanings, resulting in a wholly new textual creation.