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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

The Structure of the Text.

The text is carefully structured into seven episodes. These episodes are usually called visions although the vision genre only dominates the later parts of 4 Ezra. The divisions between the episodes or visions are clearly marked out by means of a chronological framework—usually, but not always, a seven-day period.

At the deepest level the text is structured by a movement from lament to consolation with the change of mood hinging on the fourth vision (Breech 1973 ). Visions 1–3 have similar internal structural patterns as (to a lesser extent) do visions 4–7. See the table in Stone (1990: 51). The primary literary genre used to structure the lament section is the dialogue between the prophet Ezra and the angel Uriel; in the consolation section the apocalyptic vision is the mould in which the author chooses to write.

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