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Apocalyptic Eschatology in Joel 4 and Its Function: Highlighting Yahweh’s Reigning as King in Zion and Coming of the New World

Hong, Seong Hyuk 1

1서울신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The book of Joel presents us with difficult historical and interpretive problems. The date and unity of the book’s composition have been very controversial issues. Another debate persisted, revolving mainly around the location of the apocalyptic motif in the book of Joel and its function. Scholars have generally been occupied by bifurcation of the book of Joel, which has divided the book at the end of Joel 2:27. Namely, they considered Joel 1:1-2:27 to be Joel’s account of a historical locust plague, while they attributed Joel 3:1-4:21 to a later apocalyptic works. As for the function of the apocalyptic motif, the scholars regarded the conflict between the central priestly group and the peripheral visionary group as the major reason for the appearance of the apocalyptic. This study starts from doubt about the aforementioned standpoint. This study shows that the book does not sharply divide into two sections at the end of Joel 2:27, because the apocalyptic motif appears even in the first section, e. g. Joel 2:1-11. The motif is scattered throughout the book. Even if the locust plague may have had some effect on the emergence of the apocalyptic idea, the locust plague was not decisive in the production of the apocalyptic idea. The event that is decisive to the production of the apocalyptic idea is the ceaseless control of the big enemy country. In this regard, the function of the motif is not related to the conflict between the central cult members and peripheral groups. Its function rather refers to the struggle of the post-exilic religious community featured by the central priest group’s encouraging the people who were deeply discouraged under the persistent oppression of the heathen imperialism to hold onto hope. In oder to arrive at this conclusion, I will first analyze the content and function of the apocalyptic motif through the integration of historical and literary analysis. Then I will be focused on the analysis of the apocalyptic motif of eschatology on the basis of Joel 4 which makes prominent the reigning of Yahweh and the coming of the new world. I will also mention how the literary structure of Joel 4 highlights an aspect of the apocalyptic eschatology. Finally, I will mention how the motif of the apocalyptic eschatology socially functioned in the post-exilic cultic community between 515 and 450 BCE.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.