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Education in times of crisis: Apocalypse as education


  • Library of books - Jewish History


Education in times of crisis: Apocalypse as education


Education in times of crisis: Apocalypse as education


Wednesday 2 June

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This lecture is one of a series of ten lectures that will focus on education in times of national disasters and calamity in Jewish History. These online lectures are held in conjunction with Sydney University’s Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies and Mandelbaum House.

This week’s lecture will focus on the apocalypse as education.

The literary genre “apocalypse,” of which only one example is in the Hebrew Bible (Daniel), confronts modern readers with its bizarre images and cryptic messages. Within the first eight verses of Daniel chapter 7, for example, we are confronted with four unearthly beasts (e.g., a leopard with four wings and four heads), and a horn with human eyes and mouth which uproots other horns from the fourth beast. Recent scholarship has suggested that in fact the purpose of the literature was, even in its ancient context, to shock the reader out of seeing the world in any normal way. This lecture will explore the idea that the apocalypses (focusing on Daniel, and the Enochic Book of the Watchers and Animal Apocalypse) are resistance literature against Hellenistic education, which taught the superiority of Greek culture, and was backed up by overwhelming imperial military might, and opposed this with teaching about the true nature of the universe as revealed to the apocalyptic seers.

A/Prof Ian Young is a lecturer in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew at the University of Sydney. His research is on the ancient manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, focusing on Daniel, and on the related apocalypses in the book of 1 Enoch.

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