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Paradise in Antiquity


  • Page extent: 272 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 296.3/3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: BL540 .P37 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Paradise
    • Future life
    • Paradise--Judaism
    • Paradise--Christianity
    • Future life--Judaism

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521117869)

The social and intellectual vitality of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity was in large part a function of their ability to articulate a viably transcendent hope for the human condition. Narratives of Paradise - based on the concrete symbol of the Garden of Delights - came to play a central role for Jews, Christians, and eventually Muslims too. The essays in this volume highlight the multiple hermeneutical perspectives on biblical Paradise from Second Temple Judaism and Christian origins to the systematic expositions of Augustine and rabbinic literature. They show that while early Christian and Jewish sources draw on texts from the same Bible, their perceptions of Paradise often reflect the highly different structures of the two sister religions. Dealing with a wide variety of texts, these essays explore major themes such as the allegorical and literal interpretations of Paradise, the tension between heaven and earth, and Paradise's physical location in space and time.

• Covers a large spectrum of topics from the Hebrew Bible to Islam, and reflects some major reinterpretations of Paradise in the Western monotheistic tradition • Includes contributions by scholars from different intellectual, cultural and religious backgrounds • Features both synthetic approaches and new groundbreaking studies


1. Introduction Guy G. Stroumsa; Part I. Paradises of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins: 2. The Messiah in the Garden Joachim Schaper; 3. Philo's scholarly inquiries into the story of Paradise Maren R. Niehoff; 4. Paradise in the Biblical Antiquities of Pseudo-Philo Richard Bauckham; 5. Paradise, gardens and the afterlife in the first century CE Martin Goodman; 6. Paradise in the New Testament Grant Macaskill; 7. Quis et Unde? Heavenly obstacles in Gos. Thom. 50 and related literature Simon Gathercole; Part II. Contemporizing Paradise in Late Antiquity: 8. Tertullian and the law of Paradise Sabrina Inowlocki; 9. The language of Paradise: Hebrew or Syriac? Linguistic speculations and linguistic realities in late antiquity Yonatan Moss; 10. The Tree of Life and the turning sword: Jewish biblical interpretation, symbols and theological patterns and their Christian counterparts Menahem Kister; 11. Erotic Eden: a rabbinic nostalgia for Paradise Galit Hasan-Rokem; 12. Augustine on Virgil and Scripture Gillian Clark; 13. Paradise as political theme in Augustine's City of God Emile Perreau-Saussine; 14. Locating Paradise Markus Bockmuehl; Epilogue: a heaven on earth Alessandro Scafi; Bibliography; Index.


'… the following papers included in this collective volume are most closely related to biblical studies: J. Schaper, The Messiah in the Garden: Joyhn 19:38–41, (royal) gardens and messianic concepts, Philo's scholarly inquiries into the story of Paradise; R. Bauckham, Paradise in the Bibical antiquities of Peseudo-Philo; M. Goodman, Paradise, gardens and the afterlife in the first century CE.' International Review of Biblical Studies

'… this is a significant volume which successfully communicates the wide variety of interpretations of Paradise in Late Antiquity and makes a valuable contribution to an already rich field of study.' Theology

'Collections of this kind stand or fall on the ability of their essays to cover their subject meaningfully and intelligently. This volume succeeds.' H-Judaic (


Guy G. Stroumsa, Joachim Schaper, Maren R. Niehoff, Richard Bauckham, Martin Goodman, Grant Macaskill, Simon Gathercole, Sabrina Inowlocki, Yonatan Moss, Menahem Kister, Galit Hasan-Rokem, Gillian Clark, Emile Perreau-Saussine, Markus Bockmuehl, Alessandro Scafi

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