Paul Hanson argued that the antecedent of apocalypses can be found in the prophetic movement of the Hebrew Bible, and distinguished between prophetic eschatology and apocalyptic eschatology. The former is concerned with putting Yahweh’s future actions in history while the latter ditches history in favor of otherworldly elements. Hanson was influential is distinguishing identifying early examples of developing apocalypses in prophetic works of the 6th to 5th centuries and called these “proto-apocalyptic.” Examples of proto-apocalytpic works included Isaiah 24-27, Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 9-13, and Joel 2:28-3:2. As with much of humanities and religious studies, definitions are often key components in decide what constitutes an “apocalypse” and this is largely representative of the a scholar’s approach to genre. Taking a descriptive approach to genre, that sees genre as an accumulation of shared features that certain texts share, cautions against assuming that apocalyptic or apocalypticism has a single antecedent in a single genre or social group. The texts identified in proto-apocalyptic are embedded in prophetic texts, whether or not this tells us about the social group that produced apocalypses or merely generic parallels is could be debated.


Apocalyptic, Dictionary of the Old Testament Prophets

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