This is the first study of the reception of the apocryphal Second Book of Esdras (4 Ezra) from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. Professor Hamilton discusses the concepts of biblical apocrypha and canonicity in connection with the increasingly critical attitude to religious authority which developed with the humanists and intensified with the Reformation. The Book owed its initial success to Hebraists such as Pico della Mirandola and Bibliander. It was used to account for the origins of Jewish Kabbalah and to prophesy political and religious events: the fall of the Ottoman empire, or the destruction of the papacy. Anabaptists, dissident Protestants of various persuasions, Rosicrucians and Paracelsians consulted it not only as a work of prophecy but, it is argued, as an emblem of dissent, rejected by the official Churches. At the same time more sober scholars, both Protestants and Catholics, scrutinized 2 Esdras with greater objectivity, endeavouring to date it correctly and establish its authorship. This study also investigates the interaction between their views and those of the Book's enthusiastic supporters.
`This is a book in which the learning would be breathtaking if it were not worn so lightly. It ranges over a full range of confessional and natinal examples, in every case with a clarity of exposition and judicious judgements that are quite faultless. Sensibly, and as one would wish, the complete text of 2 Esdras is provided as an appendix. The bibliography is full, the scholarship impeccable. This is scholarly writing of the highest level.' Ecclesiastical History, vol. 52/4 `This book is especially interesting for the light it sheds on different attitudes to the apocrypha' Ecclesiastical History, vol. 52/4 `This is a delightful book that will repay the attention of almost any reader interested in the scholarship, thought world or contemporary culture of Renaissance and Reformation Europe.' Ecclesiastical History, vol. 52/4 `Hamilton's book is an outstanding and very original contribution to the history of changing religious and scholarly attitudes towards biblical texts; a history in which woof and warp of the rich intellectual texture of dissent and prophecy in early modern times become clearly visible, to the delight of the reader' Church History (Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis Vol.81 No.1) `Alastair Hamilton has rescued this prophetic text from scholarly oblivion' Church History (Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis Vol.81 No.1) `This erudite tour de force is something more than a simple bibliographical examination of 2 Esdras, it is also an important contribution to the intellectual history of the period ... Hamilton's ... study ... fills in some of the gaps left by mainstream histories of ideas that tend to focus on dominant thinkers and their contributions to the development of civilization.' Journal of The Society for Utopian Studies, Vol. 11, No.2, 2000 `Hamilton's study is a fascinating, and different, study of how a relatively obscure apocryphon was made use of at a crucial period in European history by some significant and influential writers, and indeed by a few artists ... This monograph could and should stimulate renewed study of this apocalypse.' J.K. Elliott, Novum Testamentum, Vol.XLII, 2 (2000) `Hamilton's monograph betrays wide learning and scholarship. The bibliography and footnotes are full and impressive. His writing style is clear and fluent' J.K. Elliott, Novum Testamentum, Vol.XLII,2 (2000) `The remarkably thorough and engaging history of hte reception of the apocryphal book of 2 Esdras will be important to historians of the Reformation, particularly those with an interest in dissenting and millenarian movements. ...also worthwhile reading for biblical scholars who are interested in the history of interpretation, because the diversity of hermeneutical approaches during this period is often overlooked. ... Hamilton commands an admirable array of sources, some of them very obsure, and weaves them into a fascinating historical narrative.' Karina Martin Hogan, Journal of Religion, Vol 81, No 1, January 2001. `a significant contribution to our knowledge of the reception of apocryphal writings in the early modern period ... One of the most interesting sections of Hamilton's study is devoted to Wolfgang Lazius' use of the book to prove the eventual triumph of the Church of Rome and the House of Habsburg.' Irena Backus, Comptes Rendus. `we must be grateful to the author for his important and stimulating contribution to the history of biblical literature.' Irena Backus, Comptes Rendus. `a learned and lucid book.' Anthony Grafton, Times Literary Supplement, 21/4/00. `Hamilton traces the textual battles and negotiations with admirable patience and minute attention to detail. Eventually, a compelling story emerges - one that quietly but definitively undermines many widely held beliefs about the history of scholarship in the Renaissance and after.' Anthony Grafton, Times Literary Supplement, 21/4/00. `Hamilton never shows more learning than in his meticulous tally of the many ways in which 2 Esdras provoked and inspired those who believed that the Bible, once deciphered, would reveal the template with which God had shaped the past and future.' Anthony Grafton, Times Literary Supplement, 21/4/00. `Hamilton's erudition, grasp of an immense range of problems and intimate knowledge of an impressive number of past micro-cultures of exegesis and prophecy inform every page of The Apocryphal Apocalypse.' Anthony Grafton, Times Literary Supplement, 21/4/00. `Paradoxical stories ... which unfold along the way, impart a winning tone to this erudite history of a strange book of the Bible and its even stranger modern readers.' Anthony Grafton, Times Literary Supplement, 21/4/00. `a valuable resource for Bible study groups.' C.E.M, Old Testament Abstracts, Vol.23, 2000.
Series: Oxford-Warburg Studies
Number Of Pages: 408
Published: 1st January 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.84 x 14.73 x 3.05
Weight (kg): 0.64