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Rethinking the Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy: A historiographical case study of Second Peter and Jude
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since the beginning of modern New Testament exegesis, the Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy has been influential as a heuristic tool. However, the concept of Hellenism is ambiguous and its historiographical foundation needs rethinking, having been formed out of Hegelian idealism with a Christian bias. Current historiography urges reconsideration of Hellenism, Hellenisation and Hellenistic Judaism.

In exegetical methodology, the dichotomy assumes a paradigmatic function. Hence, 2Peter and Jude, though closely related from a literary standpoint, are often contrasted as emanating from different backgrounds. Jude is considered 'more Jewish' than 2Peter, which is classified as 'Hellenistic' or 'Hellenistic Jewish'.

Applying reversed heuristics, viz., looking for 'Jewish' features where 'Hellenistic' are expected and vice versa, brings about a new picture. An analysis of textual, ideological and historical factors shows that data considered 'Hellenistic' are slighted in Jude, whereas 'Jewish' features are neglected in 2Peter. Thereby the traditional picture is turned upside down. 2Peter probably uses a Hebrew Bible version, has numerous Semitisms and has a distinct Jewish apocalyptic theology. Jude is closer to the Septuagint, may have a calque from Hesiod and has better Greek than 2Peter. Ideological and historical analyses bring the letters together, situating both in a Jewish Christian apocalyptic current.

Methodological consequences are that constructs built an the dichotomy need reconsideration, whereas new discoveries may be seen through reversed heuristics in the well-researched New Testament corpus. The concept of Hellenism should be reserved for the time period and not used for any other description without specifying the level and nature of Greek influence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International , 2001. , 374 p.
, Coniectanea biblica: New Testament series, ISSN 0069-8946 ; 36
Keyword [en]
Religion, New testament, 2 Peter, Jude, Judaism, Hellenism, Hellenistic Judaism, Hegelianism, historiography, dichotomy, Semitisms, rhetorical criticism, midrash, aggadah, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, apocalypticism, cosmology, ethos, soteriology, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, Qumran, angelomorphic christology, 2 Peter 1:4, Jewish mysticism
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
New Testament Exegesis
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-9ISBN: 91-22-01915-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-9DiVA: diva2:172271
Public defence
2001-05-19, Gustavianum, Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2001-04-28 Created: 2001-04-28 Last updated: 2009-03-19Bibliographically approved

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