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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 IV: Paul’s Eschatological Concept in the Thessalonians Corespondence


Chapter IV Paul’s Eschatological Concept in the Thessalonians Corespondence

The analysis of eschatological motifs used by the apostle in 1 Thess 4, 13–5, 11 and 2 Thess 2, 1–12, allow us to draw important conclusions. In the first part of this chapter, we will look at the relationship between eschatological and apocalyptic motifs, which appear in the Letters to the Thessalonians, and similar motifs, which are found in the intertestamental literature1. This comparative analysis aims to determine the extent to which Paul used existing eschatological and apocalyptic motifs to contribute to the development of Christian eschatology. Another goal is to show the way in which the apostle used the various eschatological and apocalyptic motifs in order to achieve his desired effect2. Pointing up the instrumental use of numerous eschatological and apocalyptic motifs by the apostle, we will offer proofs supporting the thesis that the Second Letter to the Thessalonians does not contain a compact and comprehensive eschatology. Then we give a reason for the different presentation of eschatological and apocalyptic motifs in 1 Thess 5, 1–4 and 2 Thess 2, 1–3. ← 271 | 272 →

1.  Eschatological and Apocalyptic Motives in the Letters to the Thessalonians and in the Intertestamental Literature

Concepts relating to eschatology, as presented in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, appear to be the result of several factors. These are his comprehensive knowledge of the Old Testament eschatology; his knowledge of non-biblical eschatological trends; his contacts with eschatological concepts...

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