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Letters and CommunitiesStudies in the Socio-Political Dimensions of Ancient Epistolography$
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Paola Ceccarelli, Lutz Doering, Thorsten Fögen, and Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804208.001.0001

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Configuring Addressee Communities in Ancient Jewish Letters

Configuring Addressee Communities in Ancient Jewish Letters

The Case of the Epistle of Baruch (2 Baruch 78–86)

(p.271) 10 Configuring Addressee Communities in Ancient Jewish Letters
Letters and Communities

Lutz Doering

Oxford University Press

The chapter investigates how the Epistle of Baruch configures Jewish national identity in the first or second century CE. Baruch emphasizes the unity and common lot of the twelve tribes: all of them have left their land; all they can rely on now is God and his Torah. Baruch thus shifts the focus from a this-worldly national expectation to an other-worldly hope. By requesting recurrent rereading of the Epistle and mutual commemoration, the Epistle (and with it the Apocalypse) specifies the preferred mode of its own reception. It is unclear whether it was successful with real communities of readers around 100 CE. But the stand-alone form of the Epistle popular in the Syriac tradition shows that it achieved its aim at least with later Syriac Christian readers.

Keywords:   Baruch, Israel, the twelve tribes, exile, Diaspora, real and implied readers, reception, apocalypticism, Torah, Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch)

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