Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review of Collins, Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy

Barr on Collins, 'Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy: On Jewish Apocalyptic Literature'

Author: John J. Collins
Reviewer: David Barr

John J. Collins. Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy: On Jewish Apocalyptic Literature. Grand Rapids: Williamm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2015. 399 pp. $34.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8028-7285-2.

Reviewed by David Barr (Wright State University)
Published on H-Judaic (June, 2016)
Commissioned by Matthew A. Kraus

Jewish Apocalyptic Writings: Reflections and Revelations

The study of apocalyptic literature has progressed very far over the last fifty years, and no one is more responsible for the advances than John J. Collins. In this book, he presents us with twenty essays (most previously published; some new), organized into five categories: the relationships between apocalypse and prophecy, the apocalypse genre, conceptions of the End, the function of pseudepigraphy, and ethical and political problems of apocalyptic literature—with three to five essays in each section. Each essay not only presents Collins's conclusions but also explores how other scholars have reacted to his conclusions—so the book functions somewhat as a history of recent scholarship. This is nowhere more evident than in the introduction, which traces the discussion of the genre apocalypse from the seminal definition of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) genre project (1979) to the present, as a kind of autobiographical reflection that is both entertaining and informative—almost worth the price of admission all by itself.

Earlier posts on the book are here and here.