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07-Jan-2020 13:34

But even when it is transcendent and mystic it is intensely, almost fanatically, national, and surrounded by fanciful and often extravagant accessories.

It lacks the universal outlook of some of the prophets, especially the Deutero-Isaias, and is far from having a uniform and consistent physiognomy.

A wider view of world-politics and a comprehensive cosmological speculation are among the distinctive traits of Jewish apocalyptic.

The Book of Daniel is the one book of the Old Testament to which the non-inspired apocalypses bear the closest affinity, and it evidently furnished ideas to several of the latter.

Hebrew prophecy on its human side had its springs, its occasions, and immediate objects in the present; the prophets were inspired men who found matter for comfort as well as rebuke and warning in the actual conditions of Israel's theocratic life.

But when ages had elapsed, and the glowing Messianic promises of the prophets had not been realized; when the Jewish people had chafed, not through two or three, but many generations, under the bitter yoke of foreign masters or the constantly repeated pressure of heathen states, reflecting and fervent spirits, finding no hope in the actual order of things, looked away from earth and fixed their vision on another and ideal world where God's justice would reign unthwarted, to the everlasting glory of Israel both as a nation and in its faithful individuals, and unto the utter destruction and endless torment of the Gentile oppressors and the unrighteous.

This holds good for the so-called "Wisdom of Solomon", written in Greek and belonging to the Church's sacred canon.

Ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture.Apocalyptic literature was both a message of comfort and an effort to solve the problems of the sufferings of the just and the apparent hopelessness of a fulfilment of the prophecies of Israel's sovereignty on earth.But the inevitable consequence of the apocalyptic distrust of everything present was its assumption of the guise of the remote and classic past; in other words, its pseudonymous character.(See CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.) The original and proper sense of the term as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured.But a clue to it may be recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of Esdras, which relates that Estrus (Era) by divine inspiration composed ninety-four books.

Ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture.Apocalyptic literature was both a message of comfort and an effort to solve the problems of the sufferings of the just and the apparent hopelessness of a fulfilment of the prophecies of Israel's sovereignty on earth.But the inevitable consequence of the apocalyptic distrust of everything present was its assumption of the guise of the remote and classic past; in other words, its pseudonymous character.(See CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.) The original and proper sense of the term as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured.But a clue to it may be recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of Esdras, which relates that Estrus (Era) by divine inspiration composed ninety-four books.The subject will be treated as follows: , hidden, and corresponding to the neuter plural of the adjective.