The canonical New Testament was written before 70 AD. I have the impression that there are lots of apocryphal gospels, acts and letters, etc. that seem to have arisen around the second century but they make no mention of the war or even current events. Does anyone know of any Christian or Jewish writer who opines on the war and/or eschatology in the second century (other than Josephus, whose two paragraphs that mention Christianity are rather suspicious and at any rate, not related to post 70 AD).

Also, does anyone know, or can they readily find out if any second century Christian (or Jew) discusses eschatology. I would like to check that out.

If not, third century would be of interest as well.


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    Current events (e.g. revolt of 70 ad), eschatology, or both? Also note the revolt of 70 ad is the first of 3 Jewish-Roman wars, the 2nd and 3rd being Kitos war (115-117) and Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136), the last of which had debatably the worst physical consequences on the Jewish community and thus might be even more of a focus in Jewish writings, though the details of B-H revolt are "virtually unknown" according to my professor of Biblical Archaeology. – Alex Strasser Mar 30 '19 at 20:36
  • Eyewitnesses to the 70ad war and its impacts, not the prophetic stuff in the NT (and OT) itself. As to eschatology, I would love to see something that suggests that the post-70ad Christians and Jews still thought the acceptable day of the Lord and the days of vengeance were bearing down on them or if they thought the last days were over now and the Lord's imminent return was still their hope. – Ruminator Mar 30 '19 at 20:45
  • Because according to the scriptures those were the "days of vengeance" promised since Deuteronomy 32 so they are a very big deal. It was the time of the "end": *[Luk 21:20-22 KJV] (20) And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (21) Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. (22) For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. * – Ruminator Mar 30 '19 at 22:01

Three Apocalyptic Responses to the fall of Jerusalem:

  1. 4 Ezra (read it here)

This writing is contained within chapters 3-14 of Second Esdras. It is a fictional writing set in 557 BC after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. The book is dated approximately AD 100. It contains much mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem.

  1. 2 Baruch (read it here)

It is also an apocalypse. It describes Baruch's transformation from one who bittlerly laments the fall of Jerusalem to someone who comforts and prepares his people to transition from his leadership to subsequent teachers. Chapters 1-9 describe the fall of Jerusalem. It is dated to probably end of 1st century of early 2nd century CE.

Both of these apocalypses are attributed to scribes of antiquity and use a fictional setting of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. The scribe disputes with God or His angel about a lack of justice. See a paper discussing these two here.

  1. The Apocalypse of Abraham (read it here)

Dated probably late 1st century or early 2nd century CE. The first part describes Abraham's childhood and his conversion from polytheism to monotheism. It describes the dealings of Abraham and idols and the fire (Ur) of the Chaldeans that is later more fully developed in the Mishnah (see Jewish Encyclopedia). [Per David Wood and other Christian apologists like Matt Slick or Sam Shamoun, Ur=fire is a mistranslation since Ur is "city" in Babylonian and so this entire tradition, which is also integrated into the Qur'an, is based on the mistranslation of a word. I won't die on this hill to support this idea.] It goes on to discuss Abraham and his son's sacrifice and then Abraham's ascension into heaven.

Nickelsburg concludes that the author of this Apocalypse believes the events of AD 70 were a result of judgment for Israel's idolatry. Apparently, the Apocalypse of Abraham "is unique in its explicit indictment of the cult" (idolaters).

Other Jewish works of antiquity of disputed origin:

Many of these works were published in AD 1242, but their origin or date of composition are uncertain. Generally the consensus has been that they are of Jewish origin even though many of them are known now only through Christian scribes (with possible interpolations). Nickelsburg suggests that the default position should be to assume Christian origin though and that the burden of proof should lie on those claiming Jewish origin.

  1. The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs (Testament of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Asher, Joseph)
  2. The Testament of Job
  3. The Testament of Abraham
  4. The Life of Adam and Eve
  5. Joseph and Aseneth
  6. The Prayer of Manessah

These last works are probably much less of what you are looking for, but I included them nonetheless.

Source for the above: Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah by George W. E. Nickelsburg.

The only other work I know of outside these mentioned would be pseudo-Philo (read it here), which is usually dated to late 1st or early 2nd century, though some (a "very small minority") posit even before 100 BC or after 2nd century CE. It contains thematic parallels to 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch.

  • Extremely helpful answer! +1 way up. Thanks! – Ruminator Mar 30 '19 at 22:04
  • The first thing I notice when reading 4 Ezra is that he claims to be a son of Zadok which I believe would place him in company with the Essenes no? – Ruminator Mar 30 '19 at 22:17
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    @Ruminator Sorry I'm actually not super familiar with that. Your guess (or Google search) is as good as mine. – Alex Strasser Mar 30 '19 at 22:44

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