2 Esdras -
2 Esdras in the Apocrypha of the English Bible consists of three separate works which are found combined together only in manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate Bible dating from the ninth century CE onwards. It has become conventional amongst scholars to distinguish these three works by designating 2 Esd 1–2 as 5 Ezra, 2 Esd 3–14 as 4 Ezra, and 2 Esd 15–16 as 6 Ezra. The core work in the collection to which the others were subsequently added is 4 Ezra. This was written by a Jew not long after the Jewish War against the Romans in 66–73 CE and the destruction of the temple in 70 CE. The author was devastated by these events and felt that they severely threatened his inherited theological beliefs. His text was composed as a kind of catharsis in which he and the reader travel in the early chapters of the book through the dark night of doubt into the shining light of apocalyptic certainty which pervades the end of the book. But his book seems to have had little impact upon that mainstream of Jewish culture which eventually crystallized into Rabbinic Judaism. Its major impact was upon those groups on the periphery of Jewish life in the first century who eventually crystallized into the Christian church. They alone preserved it for posterity and included it in their collections of sacred and authoritative books.