'What is Inscribed in the Book': The Book Motif as a Productive Force in the Apocalypses of Daniel

James Leveque


Apocalyptic literature generally confronts the reader with an array of images, which are often quite difficult to interpret. Yet, the active interpretation of the images and events described is a central aspect of the genre. Using a Marxist framework of productive forces, the article examines one particular recurrent image in the visions of Daniel: the book. The article argues that through the repeated use of images of celestial and terrestrial books, an understanding of history alternative to the normative social relations is developed. Furthermore, a sense of dualism embedded in the theology of the visions justifies the interpretation of a semi-canonized corpus of sacred literature. And finally, textual interpretation extends the possibility of cultural production to marginalized groups. Not only does the content of the apocalyptic visions of Daniel protest against the predominating politics of empire, but the form of the genre itself is a method of reclaiming history and religion for the Daniel community.



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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391