Pirqe Mashiah is an apocalyptic midrash from Palestine (7th/8th centuries) and part of the so-called revival of Jewish apocalyptic literature in Late Antiquity when political events, including the Persian, Byzantine and Arab conquests, were regarded as a sign of the messianic era and the coming age. Pirqe Mashiah is a compilation of eschatological teachings that is supplemented with historical allusions to demonstrate that the major political changes under Arab rule from the seventh century onwards are a sign of the apocalyptic end of time. The portrayal of the “other” in Pirqe Mashiah raises important questions about the development of Jewish apocalyptic beliefs both in terms of the traditions that it preserves, but also how these motifs and concepts are developed in light of the contemporary political situation from the seventh century onwards and what this suggests about relations with the “other” at this formative period.
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Jewish apocalypticism at the
emergence of Islam
University of Southhampton