Apocalypse and Revelation


Course Objective

After this course, the student has the following skills:
• Introduction (Dublin descriptor a,b,e): about the student is
acquainted with the genre of apocalyptic literature and its theological
influence in later Christianity and is able to analyse this genre and
its influence;
• Exegesis (Dd b,c): read and interpret apocalyptic sections of biblical
and non-canonical sources of the same period in a way that shows a
scholarly understanding of the relevant texts;
• Interests (Dd b,c,d): analyze the symbolic language and the literary
structures of apocalyptic literature, and grasp the theological
interests of the source(s) studied;
• Justice (Dd c,d): situate the sources studied in this course in their
religious and social contexts, and give a scholarly evaluation of the
idea of ‘revelation’;
• Learning (Dd e): find and use/apply adequate literature to finish his
paper properly;

Nota bene: all these skills and competences are shown by the
participants in this course in their presentations in class as well as
their final exam/paper.

Course Content

This course offers an introduction to the apocalyptic literature of
early Judaism, and early Christianity, studies the impact of
apocalypticism on the rise of Christianity, and focuses on the
apocalyptic context of the idea of ‘revelation’. The student will be
introduced to early Judaism, become acquainted with a number of its
sources, and will gain an understanding of the origins of the
theological discourse of "revelation".

Teaching Methods

Lectures on the introductions to the ancient sources, including
secondary literature on them, followed by the reading of a number of
primary sources. (This will partly have to be done from translations,
since many sources have been transmitted in quite exotic languages).

Method of Assessment

1. Presentation on one of the various sources within the class sessions
(credit: 30% of the grade).
2. Study one source text in particular, to be selected from the list of
texts that will be available on Blackboard when this course starts.
Write an essay on this one particular source text and combine this with
a personal introduction in which you answer the following questions: a)
What are the main characteristics of apocalyptic literature of early
Judaism and early Christianity? and b) How do you credit the influence
of its apocalyptic matrix on the theological concept of "revelation"?
(credit: 70% of the grade).


Obligatory literature:
John J. Collins. The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish
Apocalyptic Literature. Grand Rapids, Cambridge UK: Eerdmans, 2nd ed.,

Some useful books are:
Richard Bauckham, James R. Davila, Alexander Panayotov (eds.). Old
Testament Pseudepigrapha. More Noncanonical Scriptures vol. 1. Grand
Rapids, Cambridge UK: Eerdmans, 2013.
James H. Charlesworth (ed.). The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols.
New York, etc: Doubleday, 1983/1985.
John J. Collins, Daniel C. Harlow (eds.). Early Judaism: A Comprehensive
Overview. Grand Rapids, Cambridge UK: Eerdmans, 2012.
John J. Collins, Daniel C. Harlow (eds.). The Eerdmans Dictionary of
Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Cambridge UK: Eerdmans, 2010.
Anathea E. Portier-Young. Apocalypse against Empire: Theologies of
Resistance in Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Cambridge UK: Eerdmans,
James C. VanderKam. An Introduction to Early Judaism. Grand Rapids,
Cambridge UK: Eerdmans, 2001.
Christopher Rowland. The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism
and Early Christianity. London: SPCK, 1982.

Target Audience

This course aims primarily at students who want to specialize in the
field of Biblical Studies, but is also open for other students (as long
as they master Hebrew and Greek!).

Recommended background knowledge

In order to enroll in this course, the student has to have acquired
competence in reading Hebrew as well as Greek. Students without
knowledge of either of these languages cannot follow the course.
Students will preferably have knowledge of Old and New Testament

General Information

Course Code G_RMEC04
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator prof. dr. L.J. Lietaert Peerbolte
Examiner prof. dr. L.J. Lietaert Peerbolte
Teaching Staff dr. M.L. Folmer

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: