New Readings of the Gabriel Revelation
Edited by Matthias Henze
The roots of early Jewish apocalypticism are diverse. Within the realm of ancient Israel, one of the main contributory streams is the wisdom tradition. The present essay examines the impact of Israel's sapiential tradition, and specifically of that of the book of Qoheleth, on the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, a Jewish apocalypse of the late first century C.E. My thesis is that, while both authors agree in their assessment of the present human condition, they draw dramatically different conclusions. Qoheleth persistently points to the limits and fallibility of this world and advises his readers to enjoy life before they die, whereas the author of 2 Baruch looks to the world to come and, in the meantime, calls on his readers to live their lives in compliance with the Mosaic Torah.