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Assigned texts for VTS courses are listed on this guide. To locate the textbooks for a class, click on the tab for the correct academic term. Mouse-over a tab to see the classes for a term.
Nowhere is the world of the biblical text stranger than in the apocalyptic literature of both the Old and New Testaments. In this volume, Stephen Cook makes the puzzling visions and symbols of the biblical apocalyptic literature intelligible to modern readers. He begins with definitions of apocalypticism and apocalyptic literature and introduces the various scholarly approaches to and issues for our understanding of the text. Cook introduces the reader to the social and historical worlds of the apocalyptic groups that gave rise to such literature and leads the reader into a better appreciation and understanding of the theological import of biblical apocalyptic literature. In the second major section of the book, Cook guides the reader through specific examples of the Bible's apocalyptic literature. He addresses both the best-known examples (the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation) and other important but lesser known examples (Zechariah and some words of Jesus and Paul).
Kindle edition is also available.
A book that challenges our most basic assumptions about Judeo-Christian monotheism Contrary to popular belief, Judaism was not always strictly monotheistic. Two Gods in Heaven reveals the long and little-known history of a second, junior god in Judaism, showing how this idea was embraced by rabbis and Jewish mystics in the early centuries of the common era and casting Judaism's relationship with Christianity in an entirely different light. Drawing on an in-depth analysis of ancient sources that have received little attention until now, Peter Schäfer demonstrates how the Jews of the pre-Christian Second Temple period had various names for a second heavenly power--such as Son of Man, Son of the Most High, and Firstborn before All Creation. He traces the development of the concept from the Son of Man vision in the biblical book of Daniel to the Qumran literature, the Ethiopic book of Enoch, and the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the picture changes drastically. While the early Christians of the New Testament took up the idea and developed it further, their Jewish contemporaries were divided. Most rejected the second god, but some--particularly the Jews of Babylonia and the writers of early Jewish mysticism--revived the ancient Jewish notion of two gods in heaven. Describing how early Christianity and certain strands of rabbinic Judaism competed for ownership of a second god to the creator, this boldly argued and elegantly written book radically transforms our understanding of Judeo-Christian monotheism.