Friday, July 16, 2010

Jewish Literature and the Afterlife

They say the last 20% of any project is often 80% of the work. I did a Fulbright in Tuebingen in the Winter of 2004, partially to finish a little book on Philo I wrote and also to continue some research I had done on afterlife traditions in Second Temple Judaism. I gave three lectures in Germany on my research, a couple more when I got back. But alas, I never put it into publishable form.

So here's twenty minutes hoping to add a few hours next week to make a viable proposal to someone (T & T?) before the end of the month because of something else I'm applying for.

Die, shadowy and meaningless afterlife
1. Torah and Former Prophets - shadowy afterlife, similar to the Homeric afterlife, deuteronomistic theology
2. Latter Prophets, Psalms, Wisdom Literature - no meaningful afterlife, no resurrection
3. Tobit, Sirach - no sense of afterlife, Sirach's solution to problem of evil
4. Sadducees

Die with reward or punishment elsewhere
5. Jubilees - spirits will have great joy
6. Philo - reward and punishment at death, some later Greek
7. Pseudo-Phocyclades - same
8. Essenes - reward and punishment after death?
9. later Paul - we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (at death?)
10. 4 Maccabees - spiritual afterlife
11. John - I go to prepare a place for you?
12. 1 Peter - made alive in the spirit?
13. Hebrews - spirits of the perfected righteous?
14. Apocalypse of Abraham - reward and punishment at death

Some in future will go somewhere
15. Book of Watchers (22) - some in reward and torment, future moment to settle with those who did not
16. Daniel - some to life, some to contempt, shine like stars
17. Epistle of Enoch - spirits in heaven
18. Some Pharisees may have believed in a kind of spirit resurrection
19. 4 Ezra = at point in future, righteous and wicked get theirs

Return to the earth in future
20. Animal Apocalypse - maybe physical resurrection?
21. LXX of Job - physical resurrection
22. 2 Maccabees - partial bodily resurrection of righteous martyred
23. Pharisees - resurrection of more than one sort perhaps
24. Book of Wisdom - spirits but with resurrection to the earth
25. early Paul - bodily resurrection of dead in Christ
26. Luke - spirits but with resurrection to the earth
27. Revelation - two resurrections to earth
28. Mishnah - all Israel have place in life to come

1 comment:

Bob MacDonald said...

I was reading psalm 22 and came across this: אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ כָּל דִּשְׁנֵי אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו
All who sleep in the earth will worship in his presence
It seems to me to indicate a faith in the presence of those who are 'in the earth' (this phrase 'in the earth' my be idiomatic of 'buried' in some situations)