God, Self, and Death

The Shape of Religious Transformation in the Second Temple Period


This volume considers the emerging Jewish interest in an afterlife during the second temple period in relation to developing views of the deity and the self. In some circles God is understood as increasingly distant from the human sphere, and so justice must occur in another world or after death; at the same time, more autonomous constructions of the self in response to community breakdown suggest that reward and punishment come not only collectively, but also on the individual level in a post-mortem realm. The book traces the interconnections between these themes in Job and Ecclesiastes, Ben Sira and Daniel, then Wisdom of Solomon and 4 Ezra, crossing genre boundaries in an attempt to offer a more encompassing historical investigation.

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Shannon Burkes, Ph.D. (1997) at the University of Chicago in Hebrew Bible, is Assistant Professor of Religion at Florida State University. Her previous book was Death in Qoheleth and Egyptian Biographies of the Late Period (Scholars Press, 1999).
For students and specialists interested in second temple Judaism, wisdom and apocalyptic literature, and the roots of the belief in individual reward and retribution after death.