Neill Hamilton: The Beloved City – Jerusalem (1977)

Prophecy and Apocalyptic are not opposed to each other, essentially; for fundamentally they have a common basis, they use for the most part the same methods, and are both alike radically ethical.

The “Beloved City” – Jerusalem

By Neill Q. Hamilton

Cambridge Theological Seminary

Dollar Professor of New Testament, San Francisco Theological Seminary and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. He graduated from Duke University, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Basel, Switzerland (D. Th.). Jesus for a No-God World was published in 1969 by Westminster Press. This material prepared for Religion Online by Richard and Sue Kendall.

Chapter I: The Dawn of the World to Come

The major adventure in contemporary Christian theology has been the attempt to create a theology for this world. From Bonhoeffer to Bishop Robinson’s Honest to God to Cox’s The Secular City and the no-God theologians, the common conviction is: this world has achieved such importance, maturity, and status that Christian thinkers must make it their primary concern.

Among some theologians the world is a more important theme than God in the sense that if one has to choose, it is better to talk about the world and keep silent about God. This is a curious but understandable twist of events. A careful regard for the empirical data of nature and history has rewarded man with understanding, control, and enjoyment of his situation in this world unparalleled in man’s previous experience.

But this has meant just as studious a disregard of the future world where tradition says God will reign. This world’s gain has been the other world’s loss. And God has gotten lost along with that world to come because tradition associates him primarily with the heavens. It is this traditional heavenly—or otherworldly—association of God that is the greatest obstacle to the creation of an adequate theology for our time.

This chapter aims to take the first step necessary to overcome this obstacle; namely, to recall how that world to come arose in the first place. Then we shall be in a better position to decide what to do with it. We may even come to realize in the light of its dawning that circumstances have so changed that it is time simply to let that other world go.

The trouble with Christian tradition is that it never advertises the fact that the future world was not always there. This is a way to shield us from doubt. But unless we are willing to test Christian tradition’s firmest convictions we shall never be able to save that tradition from the prevailing doubt that the whole thing is becoming obsolete.The next world is not the special property of Christianity. It was inherited from Judaism. It was no sudden creation. It emerged as the result of a long process that includes at least• the periods when the Jewish people were Persian subjects and• then subjects of Alexander the Great and his successors. The Persian period produced the presuppositions that prepared Israel for the doctrine of a world to come. The Hellenistic period saw a situation in Judaism that made adoption of that doctrine seem imperative.

The Persian Empire lasted for roughly two centuries. In 539 B.C. it defeated Babylon and replaced it as the dominant world power. Persian suzerainty in Palestine ended with the arrival there of Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. In the time between these two events, Judaism experienced the collapse of the prophetic interpretation of history. This failure of the prophetic movement cleared the way for the emergence of the heavenly world.

The idea of the failure of the prophetic movement is difficult for Christians to entertain. The conventional Christian view is that the prophetic movement was the crowning achievement of Israelite religion and that the “legalism” of Ezra and late Judaism was the result of Judaism’s failure to appreciate what was best in its own heritage. But however difficult, history demands that we recognize that prophetism simply did not provide an adequate basis for the continuation of Judaism, fine as prophecy’s contributions were. At the end of the prophetic period Israel was faced with the decision to find an alternative to the prophets or have its religion end with them!

We know that the absence of prophecy was a dogma of Maccabean times. (I Macc. 4:469:2714:41) [1] This may even have been the view in the time of Nehemiah, if his priest of the future with Urim and Thummim refers to a return of the gift of prophecy. (Neh. 7:64-65). [2] When did the demise come?

The time of the end of the prophetic movement is easy to mark. Malachi, the last of the literary prophets, was written sometime in the first half of the fifth century B.C.[3] The author speaks of a divine messenger to precede the coming of the Lord for Final Judgment. Later an editor of the book equates the author with this messenger in the superscription he adds at Mal. 1:1. This editor still considers the prophetic movement alive and its predictions capable of immediate fulfillment. A later editor changes the identity of the messenger of ch. 3:1 to Elijah (ch. 4:5), working from the assumption that prophecy will not be fulfilled in historical fashion. Instead of a prophetic viewpoint he is using a late Jewish apocalyptic point of view which expects the return of some ancient prophet as a substitute. This second editor no longer expects that Israel is capable of producing prophets in the usual way. Prophecy will return only when God intervenes in history at the end. So it happened that the end of prophecy as a lively option came between the first and second editors of Malachi.

The prophetic movement collapsed because it failed to produce an adequate interpretation of Israel’s experience in history. Things just did not work out the way the prophets of the Persian period claimed they should. The prophets in question are mainly Deutero-Isaiah, Trito-Isaiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. A brief survey of their chief expectations will illustrate the point. [4]Deutero-Isaiah was heir to certain prophetic traditions. The cardinal feature of his theory of history was that history is the unfolding of a previous prophetic message. But the weakness of this position was already being exposed in the necessity of Deutero-Isaiah to modify some of the traditions he inherited. According to one tradition, sovereignty over all the peoples of the earth was to be given to Israel by the reestablishment of God’s anointed on the throne of David. He acknowledges this tradition in Isa. 55:3 but substitutes the whole people of Israel for David in v. 4. He is forced to some such modification be cause he sees that the throne will not come to an Israelite, let alone to a descendant of David. The actual anointed sovereign will be the Persian, Cyrus. By substituting Cyrus for David he repairs the prophecy that came to him. But his own explanation of what God is doing in history has no more success than the Davidic tradition.

For Deutero-Isaiah the main event in God’s program of redemption was to be the return home of Israelite refugees from Babylon made possible by the Persian conquest of Babylon. The exiles were to be accompanied by Yahweh himself. The event was to include the same kind of miraculous signs that had attended the exodus, which is Deutero-Isaiah’s model for redemption.As a matter of historical fact this main event of the prophet’s message did not come off. As Olmstead somewhat cynically points out, it was scarcely to be expected that Jews already rich would abandon fertile Babylonia for the barren hills of Judah. [5] Whatever the reason, there was no glorious return to Zion either of the exiles or of Yahweh.

(This criticism of Deutero-Isaiah does not do him full justice. It is beside the point of this survey to enumerate the enduring contributions of each prophet to the Jewish and Christian traditions. This would include in Deutero-Isaiah’s case elements such as the hopeful character of his vision of redemption, the scope of his vision which included creation, and his penetrating insights into the redemptive role of man suffering. Our purpose here is to show one thing: each prophet failed to provide a viable explanation of the course of history for his time.)Trito-Isaiah inherited the disillusionment of his predecessor’s unfulfilled hopes. He was unable to make any comforting innovation. He simply but courageously repeated and reinforced the promise of Yahweh’s advent to Jerusalem.[6]

Haggai and Zechariah carried forward the same promise but with an addition. They introduced a condition upon which the return of Yahweh depended. The Temple must first be rebuilt before God will come to establish his Kingdom.The Persian government actually did provide for the building of the Temple, but Haggai was careful to exclude any such outsider from receiving credit along with God no matter what he contributed. Perhaps Haggai’s exclusivistic attitude was partly based on hope of the breakup of the Persian Empire. Writing in the second year of Darius (520), he may have been encouraged by the widespread revolt going on at that time. In the process of Bardiya displacing Cambyses as king only to be displaced himself by Darius, the empire became so unsettled that in the first year of his reign Darius recorded revolts in Parsa, Elam, Media, Assyria, Egypt, Parthia, Sattagydia, and Saka. [7] For whatever reason, so confident was Haggai of a new chance of freedom for Judah that he took the unprecedented step of naming the promised anointed occupant-to-be of David’s throne. He designated Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jehoiachin. Jeremiah had used a plucked-off ring to symbolize the rejection of Jehoiaehin. Haggai used the same symbol for the divine appointment of the grandson: [8] “I will take you, 0 Zerubbabel my servant….,says the Lord and make you like a signet ring” (Hag. 2:23).

Zechariah, Haggai’s contemporary, supported the Temple project and the nomination of Zerubbabel with an equally open announcement of him as the “shoot,” a play on the name Zerubbabel, “seed of Babylon.” In the context of Haggai’s and Zechariah’s prophecies and disturbances actually existing in the empire, Zerubbabel’s superior, Tattenai, governor of Across the River, challenged the authority for the construction of the Temple. Fortunately for the Temple project, the archives of Ecbatana produced the register roll of Cyrus’ enabling decree.

There was, of course, no authorization for the promotion of Zerubbabel from rank of a third-class governor to the rank of an independent king, nor did that ever happen. Zerubbabel simply disappears from the record. In the following year Darius himself passed through Palestine on his way to settle affairs in Egypt. In all probability he put down the incipient revolt in Judah and executed Zerubbabel as an insurgent. Perhaps Zechariah referred to just such a suppression when he wrote, “For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in; for I set every man against his fellow” (Zech. 8:10). [9]The resulting loss of confidence in prophecy must have been enormous. Not only had Haggai and Zechariah been mistaken in their reading of history but they had almost brought the vengeance of the dominant world power upon the whole of the Jewish people. Perhaps the opposition of Joshua, the high priest, to Zerubbabel had made it possible to dissociate Joshua and the rest of the Jewish community from the rebellious faction. The memory of the Zerubbabel fiasco would long have deterred anyone from placing his own political career or the future of the Jerusalem community in the hands of prophets.

The author of Malachi represented the last brief spasm of the prophetic movement’s claim to the religious leadership of the community. He mainly polemicized against abuses within the community. He did, however, repeat the promise of Yahweh’s imminent coming but with his own innovation. The sudden advent of the Lord to his Temple was to be preceded by a heavenly messenger. As we have noted above, a later editor turned this messenger into a shadowy figure of late Jewish apocalyptic, who waits in heaven until the end of history arrives. In this fashion the prophetic movement was laid to rest with the comforting promise of its revival in some indefinite, eschatological future.Religious leadership in the Jewish community then passed to other types altogether. Priestly lawyers like Ezra and Nehemiah undertook responsibility to preserve true religion and ensure the destiny of the people of God. For an interpretation of history in the fourth century, the prophets gave way to the Chronicler. [10] This new writer did not look at history as a place of potential upheaval where some great act of redemption would radically alter the circumstances of the devotees of yahweh. His key to the understanding of Israel’s history lay in the concept of retribution. Whoever transgressed the will of God expressed in the Torah always suffered while pious kings always enjoyed prosperity.

The function of the prophets ac cording to the Chronicler was to warn the wicked of the impending judgment of God. The culmination of Israel’s his tory was not the national independence and geopolitical superiority of prophecy but rather the restoration of Temple and Law under Persian rule. Far from expecting a revival of the prophetic movement, the whole conception of the Chronicler showed that he wrote as if Persian rule was destined for eternity. The union between the altar in Jerusalem and the throne at Susa seemed to be natural and indestructible. [11] However, before its end, the fourth century was to bear witness to both the eclipse of the prophetic understanding of history as well as its replacement by the Chronicler’s understanding of history.

It is important to reiterate, before pressing on, that the prophetic movement made other contributions more lasting than its theory of history. Our theme requires that we emphasize the failure of this theory because this failure prepared the path for an alternate understanding of history that called for the creation of a second, future world. Even when we do turn to the teachings of the prophets which Christian scholars usually consider their chief and abiding contribution, just these teachings merely further illustrate that the prophetic explanation of history had reached the limit of its usefulness. We may take, for example, Gerhard von Rad’s suggestion that Jeremiah and Ezekiel came to the fullest expression of their genius with the contention that Israel was completely incapable of obeying God’s will.[12]

The bright side of that judgment was a promise of a radically new operation of God upon men to give them new hearts capable of obeying or, according to Ezekiel’s metaphor, to raise dead, dry bones to new life. To this, they and Deutero Isaiah added the promise of a new covenant. However meaningful these ideas came to be to Christians in much later times, in the prophets’ own times they were signs that the prophetic theory of history was approaching exhaustion. The main factors in their theory of history were God, historical environment, and man. If, in order to explain their interrelation, they found it necessary to change the constitution of one of these given factors (namely, man) before their theory would work, they are perilously close to confessing that they simply had no viable solution for the actual problem.

It was just such visions of extraordinary capabilities for man and marvelous events designed to replace the saving events of conventional history that anticipated the solution to history that would follow the Chronicler. The time was ripe for another world in which the failures and frustrations of ordinary history would be displaced by success and fulfillment.

Actually, this idea of a future world was already available to the Jewish people in Persian culture. It was more than avail able. Certain religious aspects of Persian culture were so con genial to Jewish culture that this new solution was in a position to commend itself.The Persian Empire was a most impressive bearer of its culture. When Cyrus fulfilled the prophecy of Deutero-Isaiah to the extent that he removed the yoke of Babylon, he was king of the greatest empire yet known to history.

It must have seemed no exaggeration in his time for him to proclaim, “I am Cyrus, king of the world . . . king of the four rims of the earth. [13] His epitaph read, “king of kings.” Following the model of Assyrian organization, Cyrus divided the empire into twenty sections called satrapies, each larger than any previous kingdom. Submission to the central authority was ensured by excellent communication, annual inspection of each province by an agent of Cyrus. Also there was a secretary, finance officer, and commanding general in each province responsible directly to the king of kings. Subject peoples were encouraged to continue their native style of life. In return for loyalty and taxes paid, they received efficient and just government.

It was as friendly a regime as it was impressive. We have already alluded to Cyrus’ decree authorizing the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem at his own expense. It was in the very first year of his reign, 538 B.C., that he decreed: “Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices are offered and burnt offerings are brought; . . . let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; you shall put them in the house of God.” (Ezra 6:3—5.)

This confirmed Deutero-Isaiah’s estimate of Cyrus as God’s “anointed” (Isa. 45:1) and “shepherd” (Isa. 44:28). Interpreters of the Old Testament tend to underestimate the messianic role of Cyrus for Israel. In the light of what Cyrus accomplished for the community of Jerusalem as well as the whole of Judaism dispersed throughout the Persian Empire, it would be fair to say that he inaugurated an epoch in the history of Israel more effective for their long-term well-being than any epoch arranged by Israel’s own political leaders before or since. This is not intended to belittle the vitality and creativity of Israel. Albright is certainly correct in rejecting the curious opinion that the Persian Empire created Judaism. [14] It would, I think, be fair to say that the Persian Empire provided the supportive atmosphere in which Israel could develop a durable style of life.If Ezra is reckoned as the founder of Judaism, then the Persians must be given appropriate credit for their role. The royal rescript of Artaxerxes I, the Persian king at the time, enabled Ezra to reform the religious organization of Jerusalem according to “the law of the God of heaven.”

The Persian central authority even provided a kind of arbitration of religious disputes between Jewish communities. The incident of the destruction of the Jewish temple at Elephantine on the upper Nile is a case in point. Egyptian priests success fully bribed the Persian governor to have the Jewish temple there destroyed in 411 B.C. In the process of attempting to arrange its reconstruction, the Jews at Elephantine appealed to Jerusalem. But Jerusalem would not welcome a competing temple. Next, an appeal was made to the Persian governors of Judea and to the sons of the governor of Samaria. This resulted in a compromise recommendation to the satrap of Egypt that the Elephantine temple be rebuilt but not for animal sacrifices. This would please the Egyptian priests who objected to animal sacrifices and would satisfy Jerusalem by reducing the competitor to a status beneath the central sanctuary.” [15]

The friendly relations between the Jews and Persian authority are illustrated in the Chronicler’s theory of history. We have already noted that he was so satisfied with Persian rule that he never expected any other situation for Judaism. Accordingly the Chronicler advocated a pacifist dependence upon the Lord and an abhorrence of military power.

It may well be that The Book of Jonah belonged in the Persian period and had as its main purpose the rebuttal of the particularistic attitude of most of the prophets of that time. If this were the case, then Nineveh, the ancient capital of Assyria, would be an archaic symbol for the Persian Empire. The Book of Jonah found these foreigners more than friendly. They were capable of a positive response to the word of Yahweh. This suggests that the religious side of Persian culture may have been in some way congenial to the religion of Israel. The possibility is worth exploring.

We have already observed that Deutero-Isaiah and the Chronicler considered Persian kings God’s appointed guardians of Israel. In fact there was an important monotheistic element common to both the theologies of the Persian kings and the theology of Israel due in large part to the religious creativity of Zoroaster.

Zoroaster, a prophet who lived about 628—551 B.C., [16] exercised his mission under the protection of King Vishtãspa, whom he converted. Vishtãspa was king of Chorasmia until that country was overthrown by Cyrus. Although Chorasmia was the place of his prophetic activity—an area that today includes Persian Khorasan, Western Afghanistan, and the Turkmen Republic of the Soviet Union—he may have been born in Media. Zoroaster is interesting not only because of the possible influence his religion and its variations had upon the Jews of his time but also because he is the one great creative religious genius which the Aryan race has produced.

Zoroaster proclaimed a single god, Ahura Mazdah, which means “the wise Lord.” The religious tradition around him posited many gods in two classes, daevas and ahuras. He dethroned the daevas, making them evil powers who refused to obey the wise Lord. He ignored all other ahuras with the clear result that Ahura Mazdah alone was god.

It is easy to see in Zoroaster’s doctrine of God themes common to Judaism. Like Yahweh he is the one God who created the world and operates in the world by his Holy Spirit. Yah~veh, like Ahura Mazdãh, deserves to be king now but will rule as king in some eschatological future. [17] What contact was there between this congenial doctrine and the Jews in the Persian Empire?

Probably there was very little cultural exchange between Zoroaster or his followers and the prophets of Yahweh or their followers during Zoroaster’s lifetime. Chorasmia was situated far from the center of Babylonian power and even farther from Palestine. It is likely that Zoroaster’s influence spread only during the time when Persian kings were representing that influence to their empire in their own personal religion.

Vishtãspa’s conversion was the initial link between Zoroastrian tradition and the line of Persian kings. Subsequent to his conversion by Zoroaster, Vishtãspa had his first son in 550 B.C. We know he had been converted because he gave the boy a Zoroastrian name which the Greeks simplified to Darius. Five years later Cyrus took eastern Iran, and Vishtaspa exchanged his minor kingship for the mor important post of satrap in the expanding Persian Empire. His son became spear bearer to Emperor Cambysses. Thus Darius, the son of a Zoroastrian family, was put in a position to claim kingship of the empire even though Vishtaspa belonged to only a collateral branch of the Achaemenid family which had a claim to the Persian throne.

Darias went on to make the claim good by killing a certain Gaumata who had seized the throne from Cambyses, even though his father and grandfather were still alive and by rights should have preceded him to the throne. After the young boy had become king, he championed an element of Persian culture that would have recommended itself to the Jewish people’s respect for law as the divinely appointed medium of order in history. Persian respect for truth and abhorrence of lies had long been legendary in Heroditus’ time [18]. But the great lawgiver among the Persians was Darius. This is what Plato remembered him for and there is evidence that his law still carried weight toward the end of the third century—more than a hundred years after the breakup of the Persian Empire. [19]

After establishing the capital at Susa in 521 B.C., Darius turned immediately to the compilation and publication of a labook. It was modeled on the code of Hammurabi which accounts for its similarity to Jewish law. And, like that code, Darius also that his god, Ahura Mazdah, was the lawgiver. An inscription reads, “O man, what is the command of Ahura Mazdah, let this not seem repugnant to you; do not depart from righteousness, do not revolt.” [20] It is perhaps significant that Darius uses dat for his law which is the equivalent of the Hebrew dath found in in Esther and Ezra. [21] There is evidence that Darius’ lawbook was published almost immediately and that it quickly became obligatory throughout the empire. [22] Daniel and Esther reveal the atmosphere of awe and respect this law engendered among the Jews when they refer to Darius’ code as “the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked” (Dan.6:81215Esth.1:19).

The point of the establishment of this congeniality of religious cultures is to posit the possibility of a contribution of Persian to Jewish religious thought. Such a possibility exists wherever a dominant culture is in chronological and geographical proximity to a subject culture. We have seen that Darius communicated his religious convictions throughout the empire in the very first years of his reign by means of his lawbook. This put Persian religious culture in the requisite chronological and geographical proximity to Jewish culture. But we must be more precise in our description of the religious culture the Persian kings represented. It was not the pure doctrine of Zoroaster.Darius must have had direct contact with Zoroaster in the court of his father, Vishtaspa, under whose shelter Zoroaster worked. But Darius was not a pure Zoroastrian, although he probably held the basic doctrines of Zoroaster. [23] He shows the influence of Zoroaster’s monotheistic reform in his recognition of Ahura Mazdãh as the supreme Lord. But he does not deny the existence of other gods. Consequently he did not destroy any national cult which he found among the subject peoples of his empire.

Xerxes, Darius’ son, also shows the influence of Zoroaster in his religious policy in the empire. [24] Like his father, he worshiped Ahura Mazdãh as the creator of heaven and earth, but he acknowledged other gods. His special connection with Zoroastrian tradition comes to the fore in a proclamation he issued forbidding the worship of daevas in the empire. We noted above that this had been Zoroaster’s way of reforming the polytheistic tradition that came to him.But our primary interest in Zoroastrian religious culture is not its monotheistic strain. Judaism certainly did not borrow that. We have mentioned that only to establish an important positive relationship between the two cultures. Our main concern has to do with another doctrine of Zoroaster that appears in Xerxes’ daeva inscription. The conclusion of that inscription reads: “The man who has respect for the law which Ahura Mazdãh has established and who worships Ahura Mazdah in accordance with Trust and using the proper rite, may he be both happy when alive and blessed when dead.” [25] The last phrase is the pivotal one. Zoroaster believed in a life after death and Xerxes not only believed in it but depended upon it as the sanction to enforce the law of the empire. Judaism has left no record of such a belief in life after death in the Persian period. This inscription of Xerxes at Persepolis is the first documentation in the period under discussion when the dominant, friendly, and religiously congenial Persian culture offered the doctrine of another world to the subject Jewish culture. But we need to return to Zoroaster to appreciate the full connotation of Xerxes’ offer to be “blessed when dead.”

In Zoroaster’s teaching, postmortem blessing for the individual was only one side of a more inclusive doctrine of another world. The other side had to do with the renewal and continuation of communal life worked out in terms of a kingdom. In Zoroaster’s doctrine of God we have already seen that Ahura Mazdãh dwelt in a kingdom that would be purified of evil in the last days. In this purified kingdom there was no rejection of material existence as inferior to spiritual. The future kingdom was a place where material blessings abound and where the individual experienced these blessings in a body. Zoroaster embraced the material universe as warmly as the Israelite.Zaehner traces a probable development in Zoroaster’s thought from a stage when he expected to reform life on earth to a stage when it became necessary for him to posit another life and another world for the blessing which Ahura Mazdah guaranteed. [26] In one of the earliest portions of the Zoroastrian sacred texts, called the Gatha of the Seven Chapters, probably composed not long after Zoroaster’s death, there is a specific reference to two worlds. It occurs in a prayer to “attain to thy good kingdom, 0 Ahura Mazdäh, for ever and ever. May a good ruler, whether man or woman, rule over the two worlds, 0 most wise among existent beings.” [27]

It will illumine Judaism’s eventual adoption of this future world if we note the occasions that prompted Zoroastrians to develop the doctrine in the first place. Zoroaster originally had a vision of purity and righteousness for this world which would be realized by the powers which Ahura Mazdah gave his devotees. This vision took the form of a kingdom free of the lies and darkness that oppose the spirit of truth and light. But Zoroaster came to see that this could not be accomplished within one world so he put the victory and blessing off to another world. The other world, therefore, first developed as a compensation for the frustrations of history. It provided a new opportunity to realize hopes that had been dashed by history. Zoroaster’s followers experienced a comparable frustration when they lost their official standing as the religion of the ruling power. This happened when Cyrus became king and the court of Vishtãspa ceased to have a privileged position. Now Zoroastrianism became merely one religion in a vast empire with a multiplicity of religious traditions. Just when Zoroastrianism lost its special status, Zaehner detects in the Gatha of the Seven Chapters the emergence of reliance on another world.

Through the medium of a friendly and religiously congenial Persian Empire we have seen how the idea of a future world was made available to Judaism. So we may reasonably expect that when the Jewish people met with a severe enough frustration of their own hopes for history, they would follow the lead of the impressive culture under which they prospered for two centuries.

To complete the story of Zoroastrianism’s relation to the Persian Empire in the reign of Artaxerxes I, which began in 465 B.C., Zoroastrianism became the official religion of the Achaemenian kings. The name Artaxerxes, “kingdom of righteousness,” shows that his father intended that he should rule the empire under the guidance of Zoroastrian doctrine. The decisive indication that Zoroastrianism became official under this king is the new calendar adopted about 441 B.C. This calendar named the months after the chief deities of popular Zoroastrianism. [28] Zoroastrianism continued to be the official religion through the reign of Darius III until the empire ended in defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. This official Zoroastrianism of the Achaemenian kings no longer championed the strict monotheism of the founding prophet, although a reforming community of his followers who retained monotheism probably always continued to have an influence in the empire.

Whatever the regressions of official Zoroastrianism to preZoroaster polytheism, the Magi, the priests who administered the religion, always preserved the tradition of some other world where an all-powerful, righteous Lord would repair the disappointments of common life. When the Jews were under Persian hegemony the situation was pleasant enough not to need that option. But the time was coming when the Jews would suffer such blasting of their own hopes that they would be happy to follow the lead of their former masters.

With the coming of Alexander the Great, the cultural climate changed. If it was accurate to describe Persian culture as friendly and congenial and therefore relatively permissive, it would be equally accurate by contrast to describe Hellenistic culture as aggressive. Alexander’s campaign was a crusade to bring civilized Greek culture to Orientals. [29] In the course of Alexander’s campaign and during its aftermath, the Jews of Palestine were simply at the mercy of the ebb and flow of competing powers. The settled times were over. The persecution of Jews for adherence to their religion no doubt had the effect of destroying the illusion of the adequacy of the Chronicler’s view of history as the sphere of rewards or punishments for obedience or disobedience of the law. The historical situation of the Jews was similar to the situation at the time of the collapse of the prophetic view and the available Jewish theories of history had no adequate explanation for the flood of world events that now engulfed them.

Alexander crossed the Hellespont in 334 B.C. Palestinian Syria including Judea, submitted in 332 B.C. While preparing to a maritime route from Babylon to Egypt around Arabia in 323 B.C. Alexander died, and, no provision having been made for a successor, his empire soon broke apart. It was not until 275 B.C. that the situation finally stabilized. At that time, three dynasties, descended from three of Alexander’s generals, emerged: the Seleucids ruled most of what had been Persian Asia, now called Syria; the Ptolemies ruled Egypt; the Antigonids ruled Macedonia.

A fourth European dynasty sponsored by Rome, the Attalids of Pergamum, gained influence in Asia Minor. In 212 B.C. Rome began to exercise what became a controlling interest in Hellenistic affairs. As events worked themselves out, Ptolemaic Egypt acquired Judea in 301 B.C. and held it until 200 B.C.

The first hundred years of Hellenistic rule were quiet enough not to precipitate the crisis toward which Jewish history was steadily moving. The movement to homogenize the cultures of what had been the Persian Empire under the banner of Greek civilization would soon reach its high point. Then the indigenous cultures would react against the cultural imperialism of the crusade Alexander had unleashed.

The ironic thing about the Jewish reaction was that Jews provoked it, not Hellenistic kings. Certain elements within Judaism were willing to be more aggressive about assimilating Judaism to Greek ways than any of their Hellenistic overlords. [30] This must have been felt as an especially aggravating factor in the collapse of history for the Jews.

The familiar story of this collapse builds toward its climax under Jason. He purchased the high priesthood from Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria, by offering 140 talents in addition to the usual tribute of 300. Revolutionary political reform followed the appointment of Jason. For an additional 150 talents Jason received permission to convert Jerusalem into a Greek polis named Antioch in honor of its patron, Antiochus. This enabled Jason to build a gymnasium and ephebeum, which was the school system designed to prepare young men for citizenship in the polis.

He also registered a portion of the people of Jerusalem as official citizens. The council of elders, which had been the ruling body before, probably became the boule of `the new city.Now the devotees of Hellas had the institutions by which they could enjoy the advantages of civilization in style. The gymnasium was built under the fortress on the Temple hill and young men, including priests, flocked to it. They wore distinctive hats that marked them as patrons of the gymnasium and of course exercised unclothed. Antioch of Jerusalem could now send envoys to the athletic games held every fifth year at Tyre.The most revolutionary aspect of Jason’s return was the change of constitution involved in becoming a city. Under the prior political arrangement Jews were permitted to live according to their ancestral laws, which included, of course, the conduct of life according to the Mosaic law. [31] The “ancestral laws” had served as the constitution. Jason made a substitution. As reported in I and II Maccabees. “He set aside the existing royal concessions to the Jews. ..; and he destroyed the lawful ways of living and introduced new customs contrary to the law.” (II Macc. 4:11.) “And some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinance of the Gentiles.” (I Mace. 1:13.) This did not mean that those Jews who preferred to be observant were hindered from following the law of Moses. It did mean that it ceased to be part of the law of the land in Judea. A Hellenistic way of life was now provided for constitutionally. This was a fundamental change. Not since Ezra had any other way of life been legal for Jews in Jerusalem. Jason’s reform was the undoing of Ezra’s reform. This defeat of the Jewish way of life, asked for and arranged for by Jewish leaders, must have inspired horror in the eyes of traditional Jews. They would have had to wonder how the Lord of history could permit such a development.

Already before Jason’s reform there was a loss of confidence in the Chronicler’s interpretation of history as the arena where justice, under law, is done. The “gentle cynic” who wrote Ecclesiastes, perhaps in the third century B.C., had ceased to be able to believe the conventional wisdom about history in his fine. [32] He reduced to absurdity the traditional view that the wise were rewarded appropriately by pointing out that life goes as badly for the wise as it does for the foolish. Only a residual confidence in the possibility of some modest enjoyment of life preserved him from despair. If we ask where the blame lay for this pessimism, surely it cannot be the author’s. He believed in God. But he was being asked to believe in a theory of God’s activity in history that could not be supported by the facts of experience. If the orthodox theory of history failed in normal times, it is not difficult to imagine the threat that the developments under Jason posed to that theory. The worst was not yet.Jason had apparently been a compromise candidate for the Hellenizing faction. He was willing to be the instrument of opening the doors legally for a Hellenized way of life, but belonging as he did to the high-priestly family with its deeply ingrained respect for the Jewish way of life, perhaps he could not be induced to act in contempt of the law. The Hellenizers found such a Jew in Menelaus. Since the availability of the high priesthood to the highest bidder had been established when Jason took office, this precedent was now used against Jason. Menelaus took the office away from Jason by offering the ldng three hundred talents more than Jason had paid.

This must have come as a shock to all who respected Jewish tradition, for this high priest had no hereditary right to his office. Tcherikover conjectures that popular revolt broke out at this point. There is no evidence of it in the records, but Menelaus soon provided the stimulus for revolt that was recorded.

Menelaus had bid more for his post than he was able to pay at the time. When pressed for the money he went to Antioch to placate the king. Antiochus was not in residence, but Menelaus won over the king’s deputy by a present of several gold vessels confiscated from the Temple. This disregard for the sanctity of the Temple produced two immediate reactions. A former high priest, residing in Antioch, and learning of the gift, issued a public rebuke there. In Jerusalem, Menelaus’ brother and deputy, Lysimachus, who had removed the vessels from the Temple for his brother, had to face popular unrest at his sacrilege. The author of II Maccabees used one of the worst epithets available in the Hellenistic world when he called Lysimachus a “temple robber” (II Macc. 4:42). Before the populace could act, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men and attacked the people of Jerusalem. In the riot that ensued, the crowds overwhelmed the soldiers and killed Lysimachus.

The Jews appealed to the king against the sacrilege of Menelaus but to no avail. The three Jerusalem envoys who carried the protest to Antiochus were put to death. The frustration of this appeal to the final court of justice left the Jews no recourse but revolt. Curiously enough, Jason, the ex-high priest, was the leader of the first organized assault.

Antiochus himself exacerbated the situation by appropriating Temple funds upon his return from a campaign in Egypt in 169 B.C. From Antiochus’ point of view this may have been justified by his financial needs, but the removal of the furniture of the Temple used in connection with the cult could only strike Jews as an outrageous act directed against their deepest religious convictions. Under the circumstances it is surprising that the first armed attack on Jerusalem did not come then. A rumor that Antiochus had been killed on a second campaign against Egypt brought it on. Jason gathered a force of about a thousand men and attacked Jerusalem from Transjordan. He controlled the city for a time, forcing Menelaus into the citadel, but his senseless killing of his fellow Jews produced a popular reaction and he withdrew.

This was enough to convince Antiochus that Jerusalem was out of control. He came personally to put down the revolt. His soldiers killed thousands of inhabitants and sold thousands into slavery. As part of the punishment and security of the city, Jerusalem was settled with aliens—Syrian soldiers who brought their own religious rites with them. With typical Hellenistic readiness to equate the god of one nation with the god of another, the Syrian soldiers probably commandeered the Jerusalem Temple for their own worship. This would account for the prostitution in the Temple—a horror to Jews and a perfectly natural adjunct to worship for Syrians [33]

The final outrage of Antiochus was the outlawing of the Jewish way of life. (II Macc. 6:1 if.) Under Jason the non-Jewish, Hellenistic way of life had become constitutional. Now it became obligatory. Circumcision was prohibited upon pain of death as was the observance of Sabbaths and annual feasts. Even confession of adherence to the Jewish religion was denied to Jews. They were forced to participate in pagan festivals. The culmination was the erection in the Temple of the famous “abomination of desolation” mentioned in Dan. 11:31I Macc. 1:54; and Mark 13:14. It was probably an idol or stone appropriate to the Syrian cult which, however, II Macc. 6:2 calls Zeus Olympus. Judaism was outlawed even in the Greek cities around Judea.

How could religious persecution such as this get started in a culture that was noted for its religious tolerance? We can assume that events in Judea must have convinced Antiochus that the religion of the Jews was the source of, or at least an important stimulus to, political unrest. Most probably he concluded that this people could only become loyal subjects if they were denied their strange seditious religion. Although Antiochus’ interest in the matter was strictly political, this persecution touched Judaism at a much deeper level. It called for a revolution in religious outlook.

The problem for Judaism was: How could the God of history permit something like the persecution of Antiochus to happen? The prophets had promised the Jews some saving act comparable to the exodus. Instead, God’s people were being destroyed. The Chronicler had promised blessing in return for obedience, instead true religion was being punished. The persecution fell precisely upon the faithful. History rewarded faithfulness with death. Attempts to preserve the Jewish reigion ended in defilement of its Temple and the destruction of all its public institutions. The crisis this involved for Jewish belief cannot be exaggerated. Jews had been distinguished by their belief in a God who was the Lord of history. Now history had failed them. Could they continue to believe in their God and the value of history that he represented? They could if somewhere history’s frustrated promises might still be fulfilled. Such a place had been available in Israel’s cultural heritage since Cyrus.Credit goes to the author of The Book of Daniel for bringing to life this other place for Judaism. This other place was a future world where the faithful individual would rise from death to a new life, and where God’s will would be the rule for a new worldwide order called the Kingdom of God.

It is perhaps indicative of the Persian influence that some of Daniel’s stories took place in the reigns of the Persian kings, Cyrus and Darius. Of course the idea of life after death was current in Hellenislic culture, but their conception did not include either the body or history, as did the life after death as it had been conceived in Persian culture. And since the Palestinian Jewish community was suffering at the hands of Hellenistic culture, it is unlikely that it would choose this culture as its source for the other world anyway. The process we have been describing in this chapter seems the more likely explanation of this tremendous step into a future world: Persian culture had made the idea of another world available in a friendly and congenial setting. Once Israel had exhausted the possibilities of history in some way similar to Zoroaster’s experience of the frustration of his hopes, it became ready for this new leap of faith.

The leap into the future world of personal and communal fulfillment was not a simple leap away from history. It would be too cynical to describe what Daniel found as merely a way to escape history. In fact, the opposite was more the case. The future world made it possible for Judaism to continue to stay with history by offering a new vantage point from which a more adequate understanding of history could unfold. [34]

The persecution of Antiochus proved that the prophetic view o f history and the Chronicler’s view of history both took inadequate account of the God-contrary and chaotic forces in history. Judaism had been too optimistic about history and too trusting in what even omnipotence could accomplish. The future world freed Judaism for a more realistic reading of history and renewed its courage to participate in its affairs. The resultant view of history is usually called apocalyptic.

The apocalyptic reading of history was the recovery of the prophetic vision of history with the inclusion of a future world for God’s decisive saving action. It also included a larger canvas upon which to paint the history of this world, with room for the roles of the powerful nations and their failure to serve God’s plan. There was even scope for a mythical head of the opposition.It is curious how many Christian scholars are embarrassed by the development of apocalyptic thought.

They prefer to see the crown of Israel’s reflection on history in the prophets. Martin Noth attempts to discredit the Daniel scheme of the successive world powers, culminating in the collapse that heralded the end of this world and the beginning of God’s kingdom. Noth maintains that Daniel’s scheme was not a serious reading of history since it pointed finally to a brief and calculated interval after which the future world would replace the present evil world. [35] One can only ask what other viable reading of history was possible for Judaism under the pressure of Antiochus’ persecution and with a theological heritage that featured a powerful and just God of history. Given the depths of godlessness to which history had sunk, if Yahweh were just and powerful, believers had to expect him to do something soon. It is important to realize how complete the failure of history must have been for the victims of Antiochus’ persecution. There could be no point in continuing a simple faith in history. Its possibilities had been exhausted.

The apocalyptic view of history was an extension of the prophetic view of history adjusted in the light of the Antiochus experience. Here too we find that Christian scholars are embarrassed with the apocalyptic solution and wish to dissociate it from the prophets. [36] Gerhard von Rad’s main objection is that this literature neglects a prophetic recitation of Israel’s saving history for a concentration upon the last generation of Israel.” [37] But surely this misses the point of the experience under Antiochus. This experience persuaded Judaism that history offered no further possibility of a redemption in history like the exodus. This is what I mean by what I have called the collapse of the prophetic view. Only a view that could explain the demise of history was of any use at all. This was the contribution of Daniel and his later imitators. They were courageous and imaginative enough to absorb the worst that history could do to them and still make provision for the triumph of God and the salvation of his people.

Professor Muilenburg is fairer to apocalyptic than either Noth or von Rad. “Apocalyptic actually represents a deepening of Israel’s prophetic consciousness in the light of the destruction of the nation and the somber years of suffering and tragedy which followed. [38]Daniel’s solution to history became the standard one for Judaism. His vision of the future world with its everlasting life for the righteous individual and an everlasting kingdom of peace and justice for the people of God was repeated with variations by the whole class of literature called apocalyptic which stretched from Daniel, written sometime between 167 and 163 B.C., to the book of Revelation, written toward the end of the first century AD. [39]

This expectation of the next world became one of the distinctive doctrines of the most influential party in Judaism. The Pharisees came to prominence in the Maccabean period when the doctrine of a future life was the supportive companion to their main doctrine of obedience to the Law at all costs. No doubt a large part of their success in winning popular support was due to their adoption of the future world which their political adversaries, the Sadducees, were unwilling to accept. [40] The other great party in Judaism, the Essenes, shared the doctrine of the future world with the Pharisees. This is well documented in the literature of the Qumran community which drew from Daniel and other apocalyptics, and also created some of its own. And finally, the Jewish sect that followed Jesus of Nazareth eventually gave a Platonic form to the future world and it became part of the heritage of Western civilization.

How are we to evaluate this step into another world? First, we must insist that it happened naturally enough. Until the crisis that culminated in the repressive measures of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Jewish people had a grand but incomplete theology of history. They assumed that history was directed by the irresistible power of the same just and saving God who had brought Israel out of Egypt. It was incomplete as a theory because it did not take adequate account of the ability of the world in which they lived to resist the just and saving purposes even of the God of the exodus. But under the Persians the Jewish people were exposed to a more complete theology—one that took the recalcitrance of history fully into account without giving way to despair. This theory of history was worked out by Zoroaster in terms of a dualism that explained the recalcitrance by attributing it to an evil mythical opponent of the supreme God. Then, resultant conflict was resolved by the evolution of a future world where efforts in behalf of the supreme God would be rewarded by life after death and dualistic history would be replaced by an everlasting kingdom of good.It was natural for Judaism to adopt this Persian solution as its own once the resistance of history to the purposes of God became strong enough. What made the Persian solution even more natural was its own parallels to Jewish monotheism.

Until now I have avoided one aspect of the question of Jewish dependence upon Persian culture for its doctrine of another world; namely, its relation to a theory of revelation. In the theological opinion of some, the people of God can never learn anything substantial from another culture. Their only source of doctrine must be direct communication from God and these doctrines so revealed must be distinguished by being quite unique compared to similar doctrines in other cultures. I do not share that theory of revelation. My assumption is that the experiences the Jewish religious community had in common with its surrounding culture formed the basis of many of its own doctrines. Further, when the surrounding culture had formulated some conviction about the nature of reality on the basis of a more mature experience than the Jewish religious community possessed, that community was wise to enlarge the scope of its “revelation” to include such a formulation. [41]

The step into the other world was a natural one. It was also a wise one. It was wise because, given the world of the time, there was no feasible way to preserve the values for human life in a history enshrined in Jewish religion without banking them in the safety of another world. The other world was a safe bank because it was not open to moth and rust and thievery—the corroding effects of unfortunate historical experience.

Historical experience was almost bound to be unfortunate for the vast majority of people who lived in Hellenistic times. The Hellenistic world was not open to much improvement from within. Slave labor was the basis of civilized accomplishment and would continue until some substitute came along to make it dispensable. The economic organization was a kind of laissez-faire capitalism with little protection for the poor and indebted. Its effect was to confine affluence to an ever-smaller number of wealthy men while it tended to strip the poor of what means they had. The theory of Hellenistic kingship made the political system unresponsive to the needs of the common man. International relations were so unstable that constant wars robbed most men of even the modest security and economic and political arrangements permitted.

With such instability and want, it is no wonder that the Kingdom of God often came to be envisioned as a peaceful feast. Far from being merely a flight from the world in which they lived, the next world of the Jews in mid-second century B.C. made it possible for them to continue to live humanely. It will, I think, be no exaggeration to say that until recently the W7estern world has only remained as civilized as it has because it has lived off the interest deposited in the future world. But whether this happy influence upon history can maintain itself now is the question that prompts my third evaluation.

The Danielic step into another world was so timely that it was also probably temporary. Any step that was so in tune with its particular times, so much a product of its own times, will probably need to be replaced with choreography more apt for our times. Our times are fundamentally different from Hellenistic times in that now there are the technological means and political theories that make possible a long, affluent, and highly civilized life on earth for most of its inhabitants. By technological means, I refer to birth control, scientific agriculture, the automated production of goods and services, together with modern scientific medical care. By political theories, I refer to those which aim at a political process that enlists the involvement of all those affected by political decisions. By highly civilized life, I mean the possibility of exploring meaning and fulfillment in life free from material needs, physical needs, and organized threats to individuals and communities. Given that the world around us now does offer these new possibilities for life, it must be reevaluated. Perhaps now there is a real prospect of achieving on earth what the Jews in the Hellenistic age could only hope for in heaven.

An equally weighty argument for phasing out the next world is the growing, spreading conviction in our time that there is little credible evidence that it exists. This is not just a matter of religious conviction. Dreams, visions, appearances, heavenly messengers ascending and descending, simply do not count now in the way they did in the Hellenistic age. Therefore large numbers of men have very little reason now, compared to then, to need a second world, let alone bank our most precious values in it. Christianity without another world, does not seem so unnatural as it may have before we review the story of that world’s dawning. If our fathers in the second century B.C. had the opportunity to usher in an extra world, their sons in the twentieth century A.D. should have the opportunity to usher it out. That generation lived to see it rise. This generation may live to see it set.

If the next world were to be phased out in our time, it would have momentous ramifications. But this happening need not destroy or impoverish true religion. Any decision against the future world should be with the same intention that prompted Daniel, namely, to preserve, enrich, and implement the redeeming purpose of God for his people as this has been declared all along in the tradition. The step back from another world should be as logical for respecters of tradition now as the step into it was for traditionalists then.

Just as naturally, there will be dissent from the new step we are exploring now—as there was then. The Sadducees refused to step into another world because tradition up until that time did not prescribe it and their experience of history did not dispose them to want it. They were certainly correct about the tradition. They were equally correct about their own experience of history. The Sadducees belonged largely to the rising bourgeoisie class of the Hellenistic age who shared whatever achievements of civilization and political power their age made available in the cities. For such people, also among the Jews, this world still offered means of providing for their own well-being. Their experience of history was not so frustrating as their poorer, less powerful, compatriots, whose religion brought them into collision with Hellenistic ways.

There are those today who will point out that tradition does not prescribe withdrawal from the other world. They will certainly be correct. They will also appeal to their experience of frustration in history, which cannot be denied them. Room must be allowed for this dissent. The conversation it provokes should be illuminating. For example, the this-worldly man might ask the otherworldly man if he has taken adequate account of the new means available to advance mankind’s well-being. The otherworldly man might ask the this-worldly man if he has not noticed the unprecedented tragedy these new means make possible. The discussion is already well under way. This book wishes to be part of it.

But insofar as the conversation involves Christians, it assumes a special complication. When Judaism added its doctrine of the other world, massive as this addition was, no special saving act of God accompanied it to stamp it with special divine authority. This leaves the Jew freer to discuss the doctrine because to question it is not tantamount to questioning something like the exodus. For Christians the doctrine of another world is complicated by its connection with the resurrection of Christ. This is the definitive saving act of God for Christian tradition. It is often taken as the basis for belief in the other world to which Christ rose and to which Christians are to rise. To deny the other world seems to involve denial of the resurrection. This is taken to mean the denial of Christianity, of Christ. To this supposed complication we now turn to see that it is neither so necessary nor so complicated as it may seem.


1. Written in the last quarter of the second century B.C.

2. Possibly from the second half of the fourth century B.C.

3. Otto Eissfeldt, The Old Testament: An Introduction (Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1965), p. 442.

4. For what follows, see mainly Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology: The Theology of Israel’s Prophet Traditions (Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1965), Vol. II, pp. 238—300.

5. Albert Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire (The University of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 57.

6. Deutero-Isaiah comes between 550 and 538 B.C. (Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 337); Trito-Isaiah, in the last third of the sixth century B.C. (ibid., p. 349).

7. Olmstead, op. cit., p. 113.

8. Ibid., p. 138.

9. Ibid., pp. 141—142.

10. Elias J. Bickerman places him in the first half of the fourth century. (“The Historical Foundations of Postbiblical Judaism,” in The Jews: Their History, Culture, and Religion, ed. by Louis Finkelstein, 1st ed., Vol. I, p. 81; Harper & Brothers, 1949). Eissfeldt prefers the middle or last half of that century (op. cit., p. 540).

11. Bickerman, op. cit., p. 81, and for the above interpretation of the Chronicler, see pp. 77—82.

12. Ibid., p. 269.

13. This translation of the Cyrus cylinder is from James B. Pritchard, The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton University Press, 1958), 9.207.

14. William Foxwell Albright, “The Biblical Period,” in Bickerman, op. cit., p. 53, referring to the judgments of Eduard Meyer and Hans Heinrich Schaeder.

15. For this interpretation of the agreement, see Bickerman, op. cit., p. 95.

16. R. C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1961), p. 33; Olmstead, 01) cit., p. 94.

17. Zaehner, op. cit., p. 60.

18. “They hold it unlawful to talk of anything which it is unlawful to do. The most disgraceful thing in the world, they think, is to tell a lie.” (Herodotus I. 139.)

19. Olmstead, op. cit., p. 130.

20. Quoted in ibid., p. 123, from Nagsh-i-Rustam A6.

21. Esth. 1:812—15, and elsewhere; Ezra 7:26, where the law of Yahweh and the law of king Artaxerxes are both declared obligatory for the Jews.

22. Olmstead, op. cit., p. 119, where he cites a text that refers to the lawbook in Babylonia in 519.

23. Cf. Zaehner, op. cit., on “The Zoroastrianism of Darius,” pp. 156—160,

24. For a description of Xerxes’ Zoroastrianism, see Zaehner, Op. cit., pp. 159—160.

25. Cited in Zaehner, op. cit., p. 159. Cf. Olmstead, op. cit., p. 232.

26. Zaehner, op. cit., pp. 58—59.

27. Ibid., pp. 7374.

28. Ibid., p. 155.

29. The crusade was advocated as far back as 370 by Isocrates, who desired that all Greeks should unite to attack Persia. (W. \V. Tarn, Hellenistic Civilization, 3d ed., rev, by Tarn and G. T. Griffith, p. 80; The World Publishing Company, 1952.)

30. The account given follows the reconstruction of events of Victor Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and time Jews, tr. by S. Applebaum (The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1961).

31. Josephus, Antiquities, xii. 138 if.

32. Eissfeldt, op. cit., p. 495.

33. Bickerman isolated the Syrian character of the cult instituted at the time of Antioch’s persecution. Tcherikover explains this cult as the native religion the new Syrian element brought with them into Jerusalem.

34. The Maccabean activity proves Judaism’s continued interest in history.

35. Martin Noth, Das Geschichtsverständnis der alttestamentlichen Apokalyptik, Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Heft 21 (Köln: \Vestdeutscher Verlag, 1953).

36. Cf. von Rad’s opinion: “It might seem appropriate to understand apocalyptic literature as a child of prophecy. To my mind, however, this is completely out of the question.” (Old Testament Theology, Vol. II, p. 303.)

37. Ibid., p. 304.

38. James Muilenburg, in The Interpreter’s Bible (Abingdon Press, 1952), Vol. 1, p. 340. Cf. R. H. Charles: “Prophecy and Apocalyptic are not opposed to each other, essentially; for fundamentally they have a common basis, they use for the most part the same methods, and are both alike radically ethical.” (Eschatology, p. 173; Schocken Books, Inc., 1913.) H. H. Rowley, in The Relevance of Apocalyptic (3d ed., Association Press, 1963), shares this opinion.

39. Eissfeldt, op. cit., pp. 520—521. Cf. Rowley, op. cit., for a brief survey of the other world in each apocalyptic work.

40. Louis Finkeistein, The Pharisees (The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962), Vol. I, p. 157.

41. There is a vast and inconclusive literature on the relation of Persian religion to Jewish doctrine. Mostly it reflects the theory of revelation each author assumes but seldom states. The possibility of Judaism’s borrowing from Persian religious tradition in the second century B.C. is established even for those most opposed to such borrowing by the ease of the obviously Persian doctrine of the two spirits which appears in the Qumran Manual of Discipline, 111.13 to IV.26. Cf. Bo Reicke: “Hier konnte eine direkte Ubernahme iraniseher Traditionen vorliegen” (“Iranische Religion, Judentum und Urchristentum,” Die Religion in Geschichte und Cegenwart, Vol. III, col. 283, where also the literature is given). In the midst of a section that rejects the influence of pagan myth on Israel’s hope of salvation because of the widely differing views of history. Walther Eichrodt must admit, if only in a footnote: “Eine Ausnahme bildet nur die Zarathustra-Religion; sic ist charakteristiseherweise wie die mosaische Religion eine Stifterreligion, die im Gegensatz zu den alten Kultreligionen steht. Ihr Einfluss auf die spatjudische Religion, der oben beruhrt wurde. ist im emzelnen schwer festzustellen” (Theologie des Alten Testaments, Teil I, p. 338, n. 124). A. von Gall, in Basileia tou Theou (Heidelberg: Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1926), makes the most detailed case for Jewish use of Persian eschatology. For literature on Zoroastrianism, cf. Zaehner, op. cit., pp. 339—348.


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