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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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In my search for a topic for a doctoral dissertation, I was drawn to examining the problem of New Testament eschatology. However, it seemed unlikely that anything new or interesting on that topic had been left unexplored. In the course of a preliminary examination of the subject and of the related literature, I was unable to find any coherent account of the eschatological teaching found in the Thessalonian Correspondence. This was the beginning of a journey through Paul’s eschatology. After prolonged discussions with the promoter of the dissertation, Prof. W. Rakocy, the project took its present shape. An examination of the earliest written stage of Paul’s eschatology in the context of intertestamental eschatological thought became the focus of my research during the following years. This book is a result of that exploration.

Although the task of sifting through unknown paths was necessarily something to be done personally, I did not travel the road alone. I owe special thanks to many people who contributed during the writing the thesis and afterwards during the process of translating, correcting and preparing the manuscript for publication.

I would like first to thank the promoter Prof. W. Rakocy and all the professors of John Paul II Catholic University, Lublin (Poland), where the thesis was written and accepted.

I own sincere thanks to the École Biblique in Jerusalem for hospitality shown during the periods of research I spent there.

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