Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Thoughts on Brant Pitre's Jesus, The Tribulation, and the End of the Exile

Has anyone remarked how the texts Brant Pitre compiles to demonstrate a widespread expectation of future tribulation in Second Temple Judaism all (or almost all) describe present crises from the perspective of the authors of those texts? In this case, there is no evidence for belief in future "messianic woes", just evidence that apocalyptic Jews in crisis expected divine intervention.

Alas, the back cover blurbs and, to a lesser degree, book reviews are so gushingly positive that I'll probably still have to give Pitre's 500+ page tome a more careful review.

Bibliography: Pitre, Brant. Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005; repr. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006).


Anonymous said...

I think it would be helpful here to note that this is a function of their pseudonymity. That is, it's because they are written in the name of ancient characters (Enoch, Ezra, Daniel, Baruch, etc) with a fictive ancient setting. The purpose is to comfort those who are in the middle of the suffering by assuring them that it was predicted long ago and is all part of the plan.
So, the real question is, are Jesus (if the Olivet Discourse is at all authentic), John (in Rev), and Paul (in 2 Thess, if authentic) unique in truly predicting a future tribulation?

d. miller said...

Thanks for your helpful comment, Anonymous.

I think pseudonymous apocalypses function a little differently: The claim that present sufferings are all part of a plan assures the readers that predictions about what is still in the future will also come true. There lies the comfort.

Still, even if apocalypses are written in crisis, future readers might not understand the original setting and interpret them with respect to a still future period of tribulation. And you are certainly right that the NT evidence must be taken into account.

I'm sure I will have more second thoughts when I actually read the book. All I've done so far is scan the list of Second Temple texts Pitre discusses.