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Eschatology of the Thessalonian Correspondence

A comparative study of 1 Thess 4, 13-5, 11 and 2 Thess 2, 1-12 to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha


Janusz Kucicki

The book refers to universal eschatology contained in the Letters to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 4, 13-5, 11; 2 Thess 2, 1-12). The whole material is divided in two groups (eschatological motifs and apocalyptic motifs). Each of the motifs is analysed in the Biblical context and in the Intertestamental Literature context (the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Qumran Literature). The exegetical analysis and the comparative analysis show similarity and diversity of the way Paul used the motifs. They also show which motifs were created or extensively modified by Paul in order to contribute to the creation of Christian eschatology. After presentation of the importance of eschatological topics in the 1-2 Thess (chapter I), the analyses of prodroms (chapter II) and events connected with the parousia (chapter III) indicate the way of using each of the motifs in different traditions. Based on results of the analyses, the Jewish background and Paul’s original contribution to the New Testament eschatology are presented in chapter IV.
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Chapter II: Events Preceding the Parousia


Chapter IIEvents Preceding the Parousia

In the first part of this chapter, we will gather and discuss texts referring to two themes concerned with the motif of waiting. The first one concerns vigilance and spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord. The second theme is deception, connected with external threats. In the second part of the chapter, we will discuss two of the most mysterious characters in the First Letters to the Thessalonians: namely, “the man of lawlessness” and “the restrainer”. For believers in Thessalonica waiting for the coming of the Lord was a period filled with a strengthening of faith and hope, but at the same time, it was also a time of struggling with a number of uncertainties arising from lack of full knowledge concerning eschatological matters and numerous adversities, which in extreme situations took the form of persecution.

1.  Motifs of Vigilance and Deception

Motifs of vigilance and deception are related to the period preceding the parousia and concern both Christians and non-Christians. For a clearer expression of the required attitude of Christians during this time, Paul contrasts it with the attitude of non-Christians, which leads them to condemnation. Both issues will be discussed within the context of the intertestamental literature in order to identify the common eschatological and apocalyptic motifs, which occur in the Letters to the Thessalonians, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls. ← 51 | 52 →

1.1.  The Motif of Vigilance

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