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date: 21 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Over a period of some fifty years spanning the late first to early second century CE, four major Christian apocalypses with similar literary frameworks emerged: Revelation, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Ascension of Isaiah. These works demonstrate significant diversity, and each narrates a visionary revelation that features guidance from a heavenly intermediary. In addition, they demonstrate the remarkable flexibility and adaptability of early Christian apocalyptic rhetoric. In apocalyptic literature, the defining interest of rhetorical interpretation is marked by purposes for which people wrote. This chapter focuses on early Christian apocalyptic rhetoric. It begins with a discussion of primary and secondary apocalyptic discourse before turning to revelation and apocalyptic authority, apocalyptic argumentation, and apocalyptic literature’s appeal to the emotions such as anxiety.

Keywords: apocalypse, revelation, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Ascension of Isaiah, rhetoric, apocalyptic literature, authority, argumentation, emotions

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