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My basic conten…

My basic contention is that the esoteric interests of the apocalypses are readily understandable in terms of their eschatological worldview, but the same is not true the other way around. This is a major distinction between Jewish apocalypticism on the one hand, and Gnosticism and Merkabah mysticism on the other. While the Nag Hammadi library and the Hekhaloth literature are not completely devoid of eschatology, therein eschatology plays a subordinate role to the mystical and esoteric interests of the literature.

Eschatology, when properly defined so as to include both historical and cosmic dimensions, is what lies at the heart of Second Temple Jewish apocalypticism. Once this point is acknowledged, the interest in the secrets of the heavenly world becomes readily understandable the heavenly world is the place where eschatological rewards and punishments are being stored until the end-time. Hence, knowledge about the heavenly world is highly relevant to those who live out their present existence in light of the future.

Evans, C. A. (2004). Of scribes and sages : early Jewish interpretation and transmission of Scripture: Ancient Versions and Traditions. (Vol. 50–51; 9–10, p. 125). London: T & T Clark International.

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