Matthew Goff

A Blessed Rage for OrderApocalypticism, Esoteric Revelation, and the Cultural Politics of Knowledge in the Hellenistic Age

Volume 5 () / Issue 3, pp. 193-211 (19)

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The production of knowledge is a core element of the apocalyptic literature of Second Temple Judaism. Critical for understanding this trope is the legitimization of esoteric knowledge as heavenly revelation. Apocalypses in this way put forward totalizing systems of knowledge by which the world can be understood. The presentation of such knowledge as revelation transforms it into an intellectual commodity that various social groups can utilize. This essay argues that the theme of supernatural revelation in apocalyptic literature should be understood not simply in the context of political crises, such as the Maccabean revolt, but also in terms of the cultural politics of knowledge in the Hellenistic Age.

Matthew Goff is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism in the Department of Religion at Florida State University.