HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
NEL, Marius. Socio-economic context(s) within which apocalyptic texts flourished during the inter-testamentary period. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.3, pp. 1327-1345. ISSN 2072-8050.
Social contexts form the perspective or symbolic framework of interpretation in which texts are to be read and understood because these texts originated within these contexts. An important question in the research into Jewish apocalyptic texts which originated in the period from 200 BCE to 100 CE is: What were the socio-economic context or contexts within which these texts originated and functioned? Various answers have been given: Apocalyptic has been viewed as the result of the wisdom tradition, of a pessimistic view of history, as a continuation and discontinuation with prophecy, as a reinstitution of myth in Hebrew thinking, as a result of orientation to a symbolic universe oriented to a supernatural world, and as a sociological matrix of alienation. Today many researchers agree that the origins of apocalyptic can only be described in terms of each apocalypse itself, in the light of Jewish experience during the Seleucid and Hasmonean periods.