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2 Esdras (also called 4 Esdras, Latin
Latin
Esdras, or Latin
Latin
Ezra) is the name of an apocalyptic book in many English versions of the Bible[1] (see Naming conventions below).[2][3] Its authorship is ascribed to Ezra.[4] It is reckoned among the apocrypha by Roman Catholics, Protestants, and most Eastern Orthodox Christians.[5] Although Second Esdras was preserved in Latin
Latin
as an appendix to the Vulgate
Vulgate
and passed down as a unified book, it is generally considered to be a tripartite work.

Contents

1 Naming conventions 2 Contents

2.1 5 Ezra 2.2 4 Ezra 2.3 6 Ezra

3 Author and criticism 4 Usage 5 See also 6 Notes 7 External links

Naming conventions[edit] Main article: Esdras § Naming conventions As with 1 Esdras, there is some confusion about the numbering of this book. The Vulgate
Vulgate
of Jerome
Jerome
includes only a single book of Ezra, but in the Clementine Vulgate
Vulgate
1, 2, 3 and 4 Esdras are separate books. Protestant writers, after the Geneva Bible, called 1 and 2 Esdras of the Vulgate
Vulgate
Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah, and called 3 and 4 Esdras of the Vulgate
Vulgate
1 and 2 Esdras which became common in English Bibles.[6] Ambrose
Ambrose
refers to this book as 'Third Esdras', as likely too did Jerome. Medieval Latin
Latin
manuscripts denoted it 4 Esdras, which to this day is the name used for it in modern critical editions,[7][8] which are typically in Latin, the language of its most complete exemplars.[9] It appears in the Appendix to the Old Testament
Old Testament
in the Slavonic Bible, where it is called 3 Esdras, and the Georgian Orthodox
Georgian Orthodox
Bible
Bible
numbers it 3 Ezra. This text is sometimes also known as Apocalypse
Apocalypse
of Ezra (chapters 3–14 known as the Jewish Apocalypse
Apocalypse
of Ezra
Ezra
or 4 Ezra, chapters 1–2 as 5 Ezra, and chapters 15–16 as 6 Ezra). Contents[edit] 5 Ezra[edit] The first two chapters of 2 Esdras are found only in the Latin
Latin
version of the book, and are called 5 Ezra
Ezra
by scholars.[10] They are considered by most scholars to be Christian in origin; they assert God's rejection of the Jews and describe a vision of the Son of God. These are generally considered to be late additions (possibly third century) to the work. 4 Ezra[edit] Chapters 3–14, or the great bulk of 2 Esdras, is a Jewish apocalypse also sometimes known as 4 Ezra,[10] or the Jewish Apocalypse
Apocalypse
of Ezra.[11] The latter name should not be confused with a later work called the Greek Apocalypse
Apocalypse
of Ezra. The Ethiopian Church considers 4 Ezra
Ezra
to be canonical, written during the Babylonian captivity, and calls it Izra Sutuel (ዕዝራ ሱቱኤል). It was also often cited by the Fathers of the Church. In the Eastern Armenian tradition it is called 3 Ezra. It is conjectured by Protestant scholars to have been written in the late 1st century CE following the destruction of the Second Temple.[12] Among Greek Fathers of the Church, 4 Ezra
Ezra
is generally cited as Προφήτης Ἔσδρας Prophetes Esdras ("The Prophet Ezra") or Ἀποκάλυψις Ἔσδρα Apokalupsis Esdra (" Apocalypse
Apocalypse
of Ezra"). Wellhausen, Charles, and Gunkel[citation needed] have shown that the original composition was in Hebrew, which was translated into Greek, and then to Latin, Armenian, Ethiopian and Georgian, but the Hebrew and Greek editions have been lost. Slightly differing Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Georgian, and Armenian translations have survived; the Greek version can be reconstructed (without absolute certainty, of course) from these different translations, while the Hebrew text remains a bit more elusive. 4 Ezra
Ezra
consists of seven visions of Ezra
Ezra
the scribe. The first vision takes place as Ezra
Ezra
is still in Babylon. He asks God
God
how Israel can be kept in misery if God
God
is just. The archangel Uriel
Uriel
is sent to answer the question, responding that God's ways cannot be understood by the human mind. Soon, however, the end would come, and God's justice would be made manifest. Similarly, in the second vision, Ezra
Ezra
asks why Israel was delivered up to the Babylonians, and is again told that man cannot understand this and that the end is near. In the third vision Ezra
Ezra
asks why Israel does not possess the world. Uriel
Uriel
responds that the current state is a period of transition. Here follows a description of the fate of evil-doers and the righteous. Ezra
Ezra
asks whether the righteous may intercede for the unrighteous on Judgment Day, but is told that " Judgment Day
Judgment Day
is final".[13] The next three visions are more symbolic in nature. The fourth is of a woman mourning for her only son, who is transformed into a city when she hears of the desolation of Zion. Uriel
Uriel
says that the woman is a symbol of Zion. The fifth vision concerns an eagle with three heads and twenty wings (twelve large wings and eight smaller wings "over against them"). The eagle is rebuked by a lion and then burned. The explanation of this vision is that the eagle refers to the fourth kingdom of the vision of Daniel, with the wings and heads as rulers. The final scene is the triumph of the Messiah
Messiah
over the empire. The sixth vision is of a man, representing the Messiah, who breathes fire on a crowd that is attacking him. This man then turns to another peaceful multitude, which accepts him. Finally, there is a vision of the restoration of scripture. God appears to Ezra
Ezra
in a bush and commands him to restore the Law. Ezra gathers five scribes and begins to dictate. After forty days, he has produced ninety-four books: the twenty-four books of the Tanakh
Tanakh
and seventy secret works:

Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first, and let the worthy and the unworthy read them; but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people." (2 Esdras 14:45–46 RSV; 4 Ezra
Ezra
12:45–46)

The "seventy" might refer to the Septuagint, most of the apocrypha, or the Lost Books that are described in the Bible. Most Latin
Latin
editions of the text have a large lacuna[14] of seventy verses between 7:35 and 7:36 that is missing due to the fact that they trace their common origin to one early manuscript, Codex Sangermanensis I, which was missing an entire page. In 1895 Robert Lubbock Bensly and James published a critical edition restoring the lost verses; it is this edition that is used in the Stuttgart edition of the Vulgate. The restored verses are numbered 7:35 to 7:105, with the former verses 7:36–7:70 renumbered to 7:106–7:140.[15] For more information, see the article Codex Sangermanensis I. Second Esdras turns around a radical spiritual conversion of Ezra
Ezra
in a vision, where he stops to comfort a sobbing woman who turns instantly into a great city (2 Esd. 10:25–27). On this pivotal event, one scholar writes that Ezra

is badly frightened, he loses consciousness and calls for his angelic guide. The experience described is unique not just in 4 Ezra
Ezra
but in the whole Jewish apocalyptic literature. Its intensity complements the pressure of unrelieved stress evident in the first part of the vision, and it resembles the major orientation of personality usually connected with religious conversion.[16]

The following verses (10:28–59) reveal that Ezra
Ezra
had a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, the true city of Zion, which the angel of the Lord invites him to explore. As the angel tells Ezra
Ezra
at the end of Chapter 10 in the Authorised Version:

And therefore fear not,    let not thine heart be affrighted, but go thy way in,    and see the beauty and greatness of the building, as much as thine eyes be able to see;    and then shalt thou hear as much as thine ears may comprehend. For thou art blessed above many other    and art called with the Highest and so are but few.

But tomorrow at night thou shalt remain here and so shall the Highest show thee visions of the high things which the Most High will do unto them that dwell upon earth in the last days. So I slept that night and another like as he commanded me (2 Esd. 10:55–59).

6 Ezra[edit] The last two chapters, also called 6 Ezra
Ezra
by scholars,[10] and found in the Latin, but not in the Eastern texts, predict wars and rebuke sinners. Many assume that they probably date from a much later period (perhaps late third century) and may be Christian in origin; it is possible, though not certain, that they were added at the same time as the first two chapters of the Latin
Latin
version. It is possible that they are Jewish in origin, however; 15:57–59 have been found in Greek, which most scholars agree was translated from a Hebrew original. Author and criticism[edit] The main body of the book appears to be written for consolation in a period of great distress (one scholarly hypothesis is that it dates to Titus' destruction of the Second Temple
Second Temple
in AD 70).[17] The author seeks answers, similar to Job's quest for understanding the meaning of suffering, but the author doesn't like or desire only the answer that was given to Job. Critics question whether even the main body of the book, not counting the chapters that exist only in the Latin
Latin
version and in Greek fragments, has a single author. Kalisch, De Faye, and Charles hold that no fewer than five people worked on the text. However, Gunkel points to the unity in character and holds that the book is written by a single author; it has also been suggested that the author of II Esdras wrote the Syriac Apocalypse
Apocalypse
of Baruch.[17] In any case, the two texts may date from about the same time, and one almost certainly depends on the other.[17] Critics have widely debated the origin of the book. Hidden under two layers of translation it is impossible to determine if the author was Roman, Alexandrian, or Palestinian. The scholarly interpretation of the eagle being the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(the eagle in the fifth vision, whose heads might be Vespasian, Titus
Titus
and Domitian
Domitian
if such is the case) and the destruction of the temple would indicate that the probable date of composition lies toward the end of the first century, perhaps 90–96, though some suggest a date as late as 218.[17] Usage[edit] The book is considered one of the gems of Jewish apocalyptic literature. Except for the Orthodox Slavonic Bible
Bible
(Ostrog Bible, Elizabeth Bible, and later consequently Russian Synodal Bible), it was not received into European Christian canons. The chapters corresponding to 4 Ezra, i.e. 2 Esdras 3–14, make up the Book
Book
of II Izra, aka Izra Sutuel, canonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox
Ethiopian Orthodox
Church; it was also widely cited by early Fathers of the Church, particularly Ambrose
Ambrose
of Milan. It may also be found in many larger English Bibles included as part of the Biblical Apocrypha, as they exist in the King James version, the Revised Standard Version, and the earliest editions of the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible, among others.[1] The introitus of the traditional Requiem Mass in the Catholic Church is loosely based on 2:34–35: "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them." Several other liturgical prayers are taken from the book.The same chapter, verses 36 and 37, is cited in the Introit of Pentecost Tuesday in the extraordinary liturgy of Missals of 1962 and prior. “Accipite jucunditatem gloriae vestrae, alleluia: gratias agentes Deo, alleluia: qui vos ad caelestia regna vocavit, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 77 Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei. Gloria Patri. Accipite. – Receive the delight of your glory, alleluia, giving thanks to God, alleluia, Who hath called ye to the heavenly kingdoms, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Psalm Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. Glory be. Receive.”[18] In his Vulgate, Clement VIII
Clement VIII
placed the book in an appendix after the New Testament
New Testament
with the rest of the Biblical apocrypha, "lest they perish entirely".[19] Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
quoted verse 6:42, which describes the Earth as being created with 6 parts land and 1 part water, in his appeal to the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
for financial support for his first voyage of exploration.[20] See also[edit]

Esdras 1 Esdras Ostrog Bible Vision of Ezra

Notes[edit]

^ a b Including the KJB, RSV, NRSV, NEB, REB, and GNB ^ NETBible, Apocalyptic Esdras Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine. ^ 4 Ezra
Ezra
is the title used in modern English translations as in Charlesworth's (ISBN 978-0-385-09630-0). See also bibliography there. ^ Stone, Michael Edward (1990). Fourth Ezra; A Commentary on the Book of Fourth Ezra. Hermeneia. Fortress Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-8006-6026-9.  ^ For example, it is listed with the apocrypha in the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. ^ "Esdras." Catholic Encyclopedia. ^ Bensley, R. The Fourth Book
Book
of Ezra, the Latin
Latin
Edition edited form the MSS Cambridge 1895 ^ Metzger, the Fourth Book of Ezra
Book of Ezra
in J. Charlesworth the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha vol 1 pag 517ss ^ See for example the article Esdras in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia ^ a b c See for example B. M. Metzger, "The Fourth Book
Book
of Ezra", in Charlesworth, James H. (ed.) The Old Testament
Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha, Vol 1 (1983). Garden City, NY: Doubleday. p. 517. ISBN 978-0-385-09630-0 ^ Theodore A. Bergren (2010). Michael D. Coogan, ed. The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 317–318. ISBN 9780195289619.  ^ Bergren ^ 2 Esd 7:102–104, GNB ^ Article from Early Jewish Writings ^ Biblia Sacra Vulgata, 4th edition, 1994, ISBN 3-438-05303-9. ^ Stone, 31. ^ a b c d Jewish Encyclopedia article ^ Actual Apocrypha
Apocrypha
in the Liturgy. ^ Clementine Vulgate, Note to the Appendix ^ Longenecker, Bruce W. (1995). Two Esdras. A&C Black. p. 112. ISBN 9781850757269. 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: The King James Version of 2 Esdras

Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims Version, O.T. Part 2 at Project Gutenberg. (See in the appendix: The Fovrth Booke of Esdras in a 1610 translation. Also included is Robert Lubbock Bensly's 1874 translation of a "rediscovered" 70-verse fragment (7:36–105) on a page that was omitted from the 1610 translation, though present in all earlier versions.) Revised Standard Version
Revised Standard Version
(includes the missing page with 7:36–105) 2 Esdras at earlyjewishwritings.com Latin
Latin
text of 2 (4) Esdras World Wide Study Bible: 2 Esdras Catholic Encyclopedia: Esdras: The Books of Esdras: IV Esdras Jewish Encyclopedia: Esdras, Books of: II Esdras  "Ezra, Fourth Book
Book
of". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  2 Esdras 1—NRSV King James version of 2 Esdras. Ezra/ Esdras Chart 2 Ezra: 2012 Critical Translation with Audio Drama at biblicalaudio

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