Original Research

Reviewing history in apocalyptic literature as ideological strategy

P.M. Venter
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 60, No 3 | a574 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v60i3.574 | © 2004 P.M. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2004 | Published: 17 December 2004

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P.M. Venter, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

Reviews of history are ideological constructions. This article investigates historical reviews in the apocalyptic literature of Daniel and Ethiopic Enoch. In Daniel 2 a fourfold scheme of successive kingdoms/empires/eras is used to persuade the hearers that their political trials will come to an end. In Daniel 7 a theology of history is formulated in terms of animal symbols and four consecutive eras. This review is used to proclaim God’s total sovereignty over kings and kingdoms. The faithful can only wait with patience for God to bring history to its finalisation. In Enoch’s Apocalypse of the Weeks a historical review of humanity’s history is used to advocate the eschatological hope of the annihilation of sin and eternal vindication of righteousness. Summaries of history in the form of the traditional biblical history (1 Enoch 85-89) and an Animal Vision (1 Enoch 89-90) of seventy periods is used to appraise contemporary political-military events and advocate the reader’s participation in these actions as eschatological liberating events.

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