Crises and Ancient Jewish and Christian Apocalypses: What is at Stake?


The quest for immortality and the correlated issue of a limited existence have been one of the key concerns of human literary works from the famous epic of Gilgamesh up to the present day. Ancient Jewish and Christian apocalypses are no exception to this. Classically, following John J. Collins’s definition (1979), the apocalyptic genre is understood as reflecting on both temporal and spatial limits. David Hellholm (1986) specifies that apocalyptic literature aims at urging exhortation and/or consoling groups in crisis, locating the notion of crisis at the very heart of the apocalyptic literary genre. From this point, however, one could ask what kinds of crises are we talking about? To what extent were ancient apocalypses written for groups facing crises? To put it another way, what concerns do the various so-called apocalyptic texts respond? This also raises the question of the similarities in the historical production settings of the different ancient Jewish and Christian apocalypses. Specifically, can we identify historical, political, cultural, anthropological or geographical constants? These questions will guide the research efforts of this workshop through the study of several texts, such as, among others: Daniel, Enoch, 4 Ezra, the Apocalypses of Abraham, John, and Peter.


Apocalyptic Literature, Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism, Graeco-Roman Context, Eschatology, Crisis


Luc Bulundwe

University of Geneva

Daniel Maier 
University of Zurich 

Priscille Marschall  
University of Lausanne 

Member Area

Toulouse 2022 Call for Papers

The workshop “Crises and Ancient Jewish and Christian Apocalypses: What is at stake?” welcome papers exploring the historical production setting of one or several ancient Jewish and/or Christian Apocalypses (e.g., Daniel, I Enoch, 4 Ezra, Apocalypse of Abraham,  Apocalypse of John, Apocalypse of Peter). Contributions may deal with social, political, cultural, geographical or anthropological issues, or with any other issue that seems relevant to understand the functions and purposes of apocalyptic literature. Papers may also compare a specific theme or aspect in different Jewish and/or Christian Apocalypses as a means to highlight constants or differences between their purposes. We also welcome research on the notion of crisis or dealing with the link between apocalyptic and eschatology.