The Multiform Jewish Heritage of Early Christianity*

by Robert A. Kraft University of Pennsylvania

Partly revised version, update 21 September 1992; copyright R. A. Kraft (originally appeared in Christianity, Judaism and Other Greco-Roman Cults: Studies for Morton Smith at Sixty, ed Jacob Neusner, vol 3 (Leiden: Brill, 1975) 174-199.

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* The substance of this paper was delivered as a lecture to the Brown University Graduate Colloquium on Religious Studies in February 1967, and to the Philadelphia Society for Jewish Studies in May 1967. It has been updated to September 1992. The following abbreviations are used in the notes:

AOT = The Apocryphal Old Testament, ed H. F. D. Sparks (Oxford-Clarendon, 1984);

APOT = The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, ed Robert H. Charles (Oxford-Clarendon, 1913);

EJMI = Early Judaism and its Modern Interpreters, ed R. Α. Kraft and G. W. E. Nickelsburg (Fortress, 1986);

OTP = The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed James H. Charlesworth, 2 vols (Doubleday, 1985).


If it were not that it is such a devastatingly dull way of doing things, one could argue that attempts to communicate at a formal level such as in books, essays, and lectures, should be prefaced first of all by a section on definitions -- what do we think we are talking about and how are we using terms and slogans in our treatment? And secondly by a section on methodology or approach -- how do we go about our work? What are our presuppositions and aims? etc. For the subject matter at hand, such a prolegomenon might well require more space than is available, if done thoroughly. But in the firm belief that it ought to be attempted, even though inadequately, the following remarks are offered.


. With regard to methodology, I am a convinced devotee of that type of historical approach that attempts to identify the problems through a careful analysis of the sources before modern problems are imposed upon the sources. The sources certainly raise enough problems of their own, if we only give them a hearing -- if we encourage them to speak in terms of their own situation, as nearly as that can be determined. It is so easy for us to look back over the centuries, and in full consciousness of what has survived and flourished in our times, to trace the stages of development that have contributed most directly to the surviving phenomena. What survives is important, we argue; let the dead bury their dead.

Understandable though this latter attitude and approach may be, it can be extremely misleading if one is interested in rediscovering what actually went on at any given time and place in the past. Questions of contemporary relevance are often irrelevant in historical studies. Oversimplifications distort as well as streamline the picture. I suppose that it is inevitable that one who attempts to talk about the interrelationships of men and movements and [[175]] ideas in history must employ generalizations to set the scene and to establish perspective in which the details can be considered. But when we do this, we lie to some extent. We leave the impression that history, and life "back then," were somehow less complicated than is true now, and we pick and choose what most directly relates to us. As a point of method, however, let me emphasize that I am entirely in favor of encouraging those who reconstruct history to allow it to remain as complicated as were the real life situations from which it derives. Although I may sometimes be guilty of falling into the subtle trap of historical generalization in what follows, it is not with the intent of blinding anyone to the way things must have looked, in all their complexity, at any given time and place -- to the extent that such a picture can be recreated!


. On the matter of terminology, my intention is to use such designations as "Jewish" or "Christian" in their most inclusive and most neutral senses, as indications of the self-consciousness of a person or group, insofar as that can be determined, rather than in any normative sense as value judgements about historical phenomena. If a Marcion or a Valentinus seems to have thought of himself as standing in continuity with what he considered to be the "Christian" tradition, in a broad sense, that does not offend me. By discussing the materials on this basis, by accepting them on their own terms, we will at least have attempted to avoid prejudging the situation.

Thus I do not necessarily mean by "Judaism" or by "Christianity" some specific and well defined historical entity concerning which all the people in history who are included in these general categories would have been in basic agreement. Just because Tertullian, on the one hand, and Marcion, on the other, would have accepted the self-designation "Christian" does not mean that each would use the word of the other in the same sense! There are, to be sure, some general characteristics that would apply, almost by definition, to all to whom the designation "Christian" could legitimately be used (whether or not they employed that exact term of themselves); above all, they would admit to revering Jesus/(Joshua), called "Christ"/(Messiah), as one who plays a special role in connection with man's relationship to the divine. Similarly, those for whom "Jewish" could serve as a convenient self- designation would be united in their belief in the one God who has transmitted instructions about how his people should live [[176]] (although both monotheism and torah could be interpreted in various ways) and in feeling a continuity with such revered figures of the past as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, various other "prophets," and probably Ezra. It should be emphasized at this point that there is nothing inherently incompatible about a person applying to himself, at the same time, both designations --"Jewish" and "Christian." If we wish to let the materials speak, as it were, for themselves, this possibility should not be excluded a priori.

The temptation to use such terms as "Judaism" and "Christianity" primarily in connection with what has survived in one's own tradition as "Judaism" or "Christianity" is understandable. It is also extremely misleading. That which resulted when a certain type of Christianity achieved official status in the Roman Empire of the fourth century, and standardized for itself certain doctrinal and liturgical norms, should not be used to judge the earlier centuries, according to what I would like to believe is sound historical methodology.1 Similarly, the fact that after the Jewish revolts against Rome in 66-73 and again in 132-35, Judaism comes to mean primarily that torah (law)- oriented type of Rabbi-led Pharisaism which compiled and transmitted the Talmud and related Semitic literature (henceforth called "rabbinic" Judaism), should not blind us to the complexities of the earlier situation. For Christianity, the reign of Constantine became a major turning-point; for Judaism, the catastrophes of 66-73 and 132-135 were equally pivotal. We must be careful in any attempt to move behind these major developments that we do not simply read later Christian and Jewish history back into the earlier periods.


1 See further my comments in W. Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, with supplements by G. Strecker (English ed. by R. A. Kraft and G. Krodel; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971), 311-314. [Electronic edition available from R. A. Kraft at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Religious Studies, Philadelphia PA 19104-6303.]


The Subject at Hand

. To attempt some sort of comprehensive survey of early Christianity's "Jewish heritage" would require treatment of at least two different facets of the problem:

(1) a characterization of "Judaism" as it existed during the period in which "Christianity" emerged, and

(2) a survey of the ways in which early Christians explicitly or implicitly affirmed some kind of continuity with various aspects of the Judaism known to them; e.g. in actual "Jewish- Christian" groups such as the Elkesaites or the Ebionites- Nazoreans, [[177]] in the preservation and adaptation of Jewish literature by Christians, and in other "borrowings" of practices, traditions, terminology, etc.

These are, obviously interrelated aspects. What Christian materials tell us about Judaism contributes to our picture of "pre-rabbinic" and also "rabbinic" Judaism; conversely, an awareness of Jewish history and thought during the early decades of the common era assists one in understanding the Jewish origins of Christianity as well as identifying Jewish materials that influenced early Christians. Furthermore, each of these approaches in itself covers a great expanse of often complicated material which is of great interest for the student of history and thought in the hellenistic world. We can scarcely hope to do justice to the entire subject in the space available. What I propose to do is first to discuss some of the uses of Jewish materials by early Christians, and then to attempt some sort of brief synthetic overview of the types and problems of Judaism that may be detected in the sources at the time when Christianity began.

Christian Transmission of Jewish Sources

It is truly amazing how little we would know about pre- and non-rabbinic Judaism if we were solely dependent on the literature and traditions preserved by Judaism itself. There are tantalizing clues in rabbinic literature to such groups as the "Zadduqim" (Sadducees), the "Sicarin" (political revolutionaries), the "Alexandriim," the "minim" (heterodox Jews, from the viewpoint of the emerging mainstream), and the "<hb>Notzrim" (Christians), with occasional polemic against this or that position; one even finds references to early figures like Elisha ben Abuya, dubbed "<hb>A&h.;er," (the other-minded one, or apostate), whose image appears to have been such that his successors did not choose to ignore him although his ideas did not conform with developing rabbinic orthodoxy. Jesus/(Joshua) also seems to receive mention in a few polemical passages.2 But on the whole, rabbinic literature is concerned with [[178]] its own development and its own internal problems. It has little to tell us about what it left behind with the ruins of Jerusalem and of its temple, such as the Sadducees or the Essenes, or of non-Semitic-speaking Judaism in its various aspects. Rabbinic Judaism built its hedges rather carefully and effectively. They are not completely opaque, but one must expend considerable effort and risk eye- strain in an attempt to penetrate through them.


2 As a starting point for uncovering rabbinic references to such items as the above, the newer Encyclopaedia Judaica (ed. C. Roth in 16 vols.; New York: MacMillan, 1972) and the older Jewish Encyclopedia (ed. L. Singer in 12 vols.; New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1901-1906) are convenient if not exhaustive. On Jesus/Joshua and early Christians in rabbinic literature, see also H. L. Strack, Jesus . . . nach den &a%;ltesten J&u%;dischen Angaben (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1910).


It is from Christian transcribers, and not from Judaism, that we have inherited the well known works of such persons as Philo,3 the Greek speaking Jewish philosopher-apologete of Alexandria who was a contemporary of Jesus and Paul, or of the Palestinian apolegetic-historian Josephus,4 who fought with the Jewish insurgents at the outbreak of the revolt in 66 and survived to defend Judaism in Rome itself under the patronage of the Flavian emperors in the closing decades of the first century. With the exception of a few works which continued to circulate for a time in Semitic forms, such as the Wisdom of Joshua ben Sira (known also as Sirach or Ecclesiasticus),5 the story of Tobit,5 or the Apocalypse known as 3 Enoch,6 rabbinic Judaism seems to have abandoned to the Christians literature circulating mainly in Greek or dealing primarily with apocalyptic themes -- with the details about God's [[179]] expected cataclysmic intervention into human affairs in order to defeat ungodliness and establish divine justice forever. Much of what remained in Semitic dress seems to have been abandoned to the Karaites and similar non- or anti-rabbinic groups of the middle ages, or to have filtered into the so-called "mystical" or "esoteric" Kabbalistic materials.7


3 Greek text ed. by L. Cohn and P. Wendland (6 vols.; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1896-1515) with an index vol. by H. Leisegang (1930); trans. by F. H. Colson, G. H. Whittaker, and R. Marcus in the Loeb Classical Library series (10 vols. plus 2 supplementary vols.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 1929-1962).

4 Greek text ed. by B. Niese (7 vols.; Berlin: Weidmann, 1890-1894); trans. by H. St. J. Thackeray, R. Marcus, and L. Feldman in the Loeb series (9 vols., 1926-65). A Hebrew history is preserved by Jews in the middle ages under the name of Josephus/Josippon, but it has little apparent relationship to the extant Greek form of Josephus' works. See D. Flusser, "Josippon," Ency. Jud. 10, 256-298. The Hebrew text with Latin translation was ed. by J. F. Brerthaupt, Josippon ben Gurion sive Josephus Hebraicus (Gotha: Schall, 1710); for a recent edition of the Hebrew, see the modern Hebrew publication by A. J. Wertheimer and H. Hominer (Jerusalem: privately published by Hominer, 19673). [Cite more recent studies by Flusser as well ??]

5 See the information provided in the introductions to the respective books in APOT 1 (Box and Oesterley on Sirach, Simpson on Tobit), and by Robert H. Pfeiffer History of New Testament Times, with and Introduction to the Apocrypha (Harper, 1949). Semitic fragments of both these works have been recovered in recent discoveries at Qumran (both) and Masada (Sirach); see P. W. Skehan and A. A. Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira (Anchor Bible 39; Doubleday, 1987).

6 It is not clear to what extent this representative of the Enoch materials reflects traditions that are pre-rabbinic in date; see G. S. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941, 19462), 44f., who classes it among the medieval "Hekhaloth Books," and more recently the extensive discussion (with bibliography) by P. Alexander in OTP 1.

7 On Jewish "mysticism" in general, see Scholem, Major Trends, and his lengthy article on "Kabbalah" in Encyc. Judaica. Remnants of literature used by some Karaites were preserved in the Cairo Geniza materials recovered approximately a century ago. [Update Karaite literature ??]


It is from the libraries and monasteries of Christendom, and especially of eastern Christendom in its various linguistic traditions such as Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Arabic, Armenian, and old church Slavic, that the mass of miscellaneous materials popularly known as the "pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament" flows,8 not to mention the ancient Jewish Greek scriptural translations themselves, collectively dubbed the "Septuagint," including the contingent of so-called "apocryphal" books.9


8 See especially the discussions and translations in OTP and AOT. The most well-known pseudepigrapha may also be found in the classic older collection APOT. There is also an extensive collection in German trans., with brief introductions, by P. Riessler, Altj&u%;disches Schrifttum ausserhalb der Bibel (Augsburg: Filser, 1928; repr. Darmstadt, 1966). For introductory information on many of these works, see A.-M. Denis, Introduction aus Pseud&e/;pigraphes grecs d'Ancien Testament (Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha 1; Leiden: Brill, 1970).

9 The most convenient critical ed. is that by A. Rahlfs, Septuaginta (2 vols., Stuttgart: Bibelanstalt, 1935). Editions of most books, with more extensive critical apparatuses, are available in the "Larger Cambridge Septuagint" ed. by Brooke and McLean (using the Vaticanus MS, where available, as base text), or in the "G&o%;ttingen Septuagint" ed. by Ziegler, Kappler, Hanhart, Wevers, et al. (critical eclectic editions). See S. Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), for further bibliography and discussion. Properly speaking, "Septuagint" refers to the oldest recoverable Greek translation of the Pentateuch, then by extension to the heterogeneous collection that was built up (with varying contents and formats at various times and places) by juxtaposing translations of other Jewish scriptural materials ("Old Greek" translations; the totality also can be referred to as the "Old Greek" Jewish scriptures).


Any attempt to distinguish clearly between "Jewish" material and its Christian use in this literature is subject to serious difficulties. After all, it is preserved as Christian literature even when what we consider to be characteristically Christian interests and ideas are not obvious.10 Apparently the orientation of the various Christian users was flexible enough to allow some sort of positive status to these materials without it causing serious conflict with [[180]] "Christian" ideas. Many early Christian groups seem to have developed directly out of Jewish backgrounds and settings ("Christianity began as a sect of Judaism" is the oversimplified slogan), reacting to some things and modifying others, but also preserving a large part of the Jewish heritage, with which positive contacts were sometimes maintained for long periods of time. Jewish and Christian interests often coincide. It cannot be assumed that every Christian author would have included something "characteristically Christian" in his work. Clearly, many Christian copyists did not do so. A Christian might well originate homiletic or hortatory materials indistinguishable from Jewish counterparts, or record similar apocalyptic visions, or argue from the same historical/traditional precedents, or present identical ethical handbooks or liturgical poems and prayers.


10 I do not wish to attempt to draw sharp distinctions between what has been called Christian "interpolation" and Christian "redaction." As I prefer to use those words here, the former relates more to particular, ad hoc insertions by involved "copyists" and/or incidental "emenders," and the latter to more consciously thoroughgoing efforts by an "editor." But a series of related "interpolations" would then look very much like an inconsistent or sporadic "redaction." The descriptive slogans are less significant to me than the particular evidence they are used to explain.


The clues we possess for identifying what is "Christian" are to some extent artificial and arbitrary. They can, to be sure, tell us where Christian interests are clearly present; but they cannot be used justifiably to exclude from the category of "Christian in origin" materials which do not betray "characteristically Christian" evidences. But perhaps that is not such a crucial task after all, as the areas of continuity and conflict between the developing Jewish and Christian traditions come to be more fully and precisely recognized.

It would be valuable to make a systematic study of what could be considered "clearly Christian" passages in the materials with which we are dealing. As we will notice, some Christians seem to have felt it important to have "predictive" texts (especially apocalyptic) in which aspects of the career and functions of their messiah were somehow noted, even if only cryptically or in passing. Christian ideas about Jesus' nature (e.g. preexistence, deity) and the salvation he provides (e.g. sacrificial redemption from sin) also find their place in some of the abovementioned texts. As Christians develop their own special scriptures (in addition to what they appropriate from Judaism) and as characteristically Christian formulae and slogans emerge, additional clues are provided by which Christian authors, editors, and interpolators may be identified. But in many instances, such clues are not present or are not obvious, despite the Christian context in which the materials have been preserved for us. With regard to the presence or absence of "obviously Christian" passages, the materials which seem to [[181]] be the best candidates as witnesses to pre- and non-rabbinic Judaism may be divided conveniently into the following broad categories:

(1) There are writings such as those contained in Greek Jewish Scriptures which we also possess in forms preserved by Jewish communities (Jewish Bible). Even as Greek translations, most of these books are demonstrably Jewish and pre-Christian in origin, and are virtually free from characteristically Christian editing, at least in the best recoverable forms.11 A number of other writings that seem, for a variety of reasons, to derive from Jewish authors, have also been preserved without any characteristically Christian editing in the best available texts. Certain works of Philo and Josephus (but see further below) are good examples, along with the Greek "apocryphal" writings such as 1-2 Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, Sirach (also preserved for a long time in semitic Jewish circles), Baruch, 1 Esdras, Wisdom of Solomon, Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, and additional Greek materials in Esther and Daniel. Several of the so called "pseudepigrapha" show little or no obviously Christian effect from centuries of Christian transmission (and even Christian translation into various languages). The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch) and the collection known as 1 Enoch (preserved most extensively in Ethiopic) seem to have been through a relatively lengthy period of large-scale literary development before reaching their present forms, but it is not clear how much, if any, of this development occurred in a Christian context.12 Other "pseudepigrapha" that seem virtually free from characteristically Christian editing include the so-called Epistle of Aristeas (an Alexandrian text antedating Philo), 3-4 Maccabees, Psalms of Solomon, Jubilees, 2 Enoch (preserved [[182]] in Old Church Slavic), Assumption of Moses (but this text, preserved in Latin, breaks off before the end), Testament of Abraham (at least in version B), Testament of Job, 4 Ezra (RSV "2 Esdras" 3-14), and the Biblical Antiquities attributed to Philo.13


11 Methodologically, it is true by definition that the best recoverable text of such a book will be free from Christian editing if it is believed that the translation(s) used by Christians were also of pre-Christian Jewish origin. If a "Christian" passage is discovered, even in the oldest available witness, it will be considered as a "secondary" gloss or interpolation.

12 See OTP (A. F. J. Klijn on Baruch, E. Isaac on Enoch), AOT (introductions by Sparks, translations respectively by L. H. Brockington and M. A. Knibb), and APOT (Charles for both) for summaries of the main views. The discussion of the possible Christian origin of the "similitudes" section of 1 Enoch (chs. 37-71) has been enlivened by the discovery of the Qumran fragments, which seem to represent every other section of the collection except this; see J. T. Milik. "Probl&e\;mes de la litt&e/;rature H&e/;nochique &a\; la lumi&e\;re des fragments Aram&e/;ens de Qumra^n." Harvard Theological Review 64 (1971) 333-378. Nevertheless, even in the "similitudes" section, unambiguously Christian passages do not appear.

13 See OTP and AOT, and the bibliographies provided there. We might also include in this list the brief untitled apocalypse (sometimes called "6 Ezra") presently preserved as chs. 15-16 of the Latin text of 4 Ezra; see E. Hennecke and W. Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha 2 (ed. R. McL. Wilson; Philadelphia, Westminster, 1965), 689- 703. Some manuscripts and/or versions of some of the texts listed above sometimes betray what appears to be explicit Christian influence in particular passages: e.g. T. Abraham 13 (manuscripts of recension A) has "the 12 apostles judging the 12 tribes of Israel"; on Christian influence in the Slavonic version of Josephus, see n. 14 below; a "classic" example of apparent Christian "interpolation" is the Latin of 4 Ezra 7.28f (although the possibility of a pre-Christian Joshua/Jesus expectation somewhere in the background cannot be excluded a priori: see my "Did Judaism Expect a Messianic Deliverer Modeled on the Joshua Traditions?," IOUDAIOS ListServ [1992]).

Latin my son Jesus ... my son (Jesus) Christ/Messiah
Syriac my son the Messiah ... my son the Messiah
Ethiopic my Messiah ... my servant
Arabic2 my son the Messiah ... (?)
Arabic2 the Messiah ... (?)
Armenian the Messiah of God ... (?)


(2) Certain other presumably Jewish documents seem to have been touched up to some degree, in terms of Christian interests, in the process of transmission. In some instances, this is a relatively minor problem, as with the famous passage found in all Greek manuscripts of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews in which Jesus is described as a "wise man, if it is right to call him a man. . . -- He was the Messiah/Christ. . . . [After his death] he appeared again on the third day alive to [those who loved him], just as the divine prophets had spoken these and many other marvelous things about him" (18.[3.3].63).14 In an apocalypse known as 3 Baruch,15 in [[183]] which Baruch is shown the mysteries of the heavens in terms consistent with other Jewish apocalypses, one unexpectedly meets a reference to "Jesus Christ the Immanuel" in one place (4.15), and to "entering the Church" in a passage towards the end of the work (13.4). More extensive is the Christianizing of the closing section of the legends in Paraleipomena Jeremiou16 in which Jeremiah is stoned by the irate populace of Jerusalem when he relates a vision he received about "God's Son who awakens us, Jesus Christ/Messiah the light of all the ages, the inextinguishable lamp, the life of faith" (9.14). Prior to this concluding section, however, the book has no trace of characteristically Christian interests. If space permitted, I would linger over certain other documents that seem to be predominantly Jewish in tone and interests, but in which some possibly (probably) Christian passages appear, such as:


14 The question of the origin and history of this passage has received renewed attention through S. Pines' publication of An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its Implications (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1971). Much more extensive emendation of this sort occurs in the old church Slavic version of Josephus' work on the Jewish War, were several references to Jesus and to matters of special interest to Christians appear. A selection of these Slavonic "additions" is printed in vol. 3 of the Loeb edition, pp. 635-658.

15 Introduction and bibliography by H. Gaylord in OTP 1, and Sparks in AOT. Gaylord (655) notes that the Slavonic version, which he is editing, lacks most of the allegedly Christian phenomena found in the Greek witnesses, including the words "through Jesus Christ Emmanuel" in 4.15.

16 Sometimes called "4 Baruch," as in OTP 2 (ed. S. E. Robinson). Par.Jer is a good example of a text that came to circulate also in what seems to be an "abridged" form as well. On the Roumanian versions, see E. Turdeanu [[get full ref ??]]


-- the Apocalypse of Abraham,17 with its ambiguous reference to a "man worshipped by the Gentiles" (ch. 29);

-- the Joseph and Aseneth Saga,18 which repeatedly refers to partaking of the "blessed bread of life and cup of immortality and anointing of incorruptibility" (chs. 8, 15, 16, cf. 19);

-- the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,19 with its tantalizingly ambiguous passages such as the reference to the spirit of holiness descending from heaven onto a future "new priest" while he is "in the water" (T.Levi 18), or its abrupt statement that "God has taken a body and has eaten with men" (T.Simeon 6.7; see T.Asher 7.3);

-- the Lives of the Prophets,20 with its passing allusions to the arrival in Egypt of "a virgin bearing a child of divine appearance" and to gentiles who "worship a piece of wood" (Life of Jeremiah 7 and 10);

-- the brief work sometimes called 5 Ezra (now preserved as chs. 1-2 of the Latin 4 Ezra),21 with its vision of "the son of God" whom the faithful witnesses had "confessed in the world" (2.47). [[184]]


17 See the somewhat confusing, but instructive, introduction (with H. G. Lunt) and translation by R. Rubinkiewicz in Charlesworth's OTP 1.

18 Discussed and translated by C. Burchard in OTP 2, where the complexity of transmission and preservation of these materials is noted, although one of the relatively longer recensions is chosen as the base text. For a somewhat different perception, see Sparks' introduction and D. Cook's translation of the shorter recension in AOT.

19 See the introduction and translation by H. C. Kee in OTP 1, which mentions but does not discuss the arguments by M. de Jonge (see, e.g. "Christian Influence in the Testaments. . . ," Novum Testamentum 4 (1960) 182-235, and 5 (1961) 311-319) for defining the best preserved form of this text as "Christian." Sparks, in his introduction to de Jonge's translation in AOT, provides a viewpoint more favorable to the latter.

20 Introduced and translated by D. R. A. Hare in OTP 2. See his discussion of Christian evidences in the manuscript traditions on p. 380 (under "Date").

21 See the RSV "2 Esdras" chs. 1-2; also Hennecke- Schneemelcher 2, 689-703. While I have tried to argue that the possibility of 5 Ezra being Jewish in origin is not precluded by its apparently "Christian" references ("Towards Assessing the Latin Text of '5 Ezra'," pp. 158-169 in the Stendahl Festschrift Christians among Jews and Gentiles ed G. Nickelsburg and G. MacRae; Fortress, 1986), I have not been able to convince Theodore Bergren of that liklihood in his careful analysis of the Latin traditions, Fifth Ezra: The Text, Origin and Early History (SBLSCS 25 (Scholars Press, 1990).


(3) Sufficiently different from the previous groupings to deserve separate treatment are those documents in which the allegedly Jewish materials have not simply been touched up here and there in an apparently Christian manner, but have been extensively recast and incorporated into larger, obviously Christian compilations without losing much of the strongly "Jewish" flavor. A number of writings which refer to Israel's past and/or future fit this category. Perhaps the cycle of materials about Adam and Eve ("Apocalypse of Moses"), in various forms and recensions, finds its best home in this category of extensively reworked Jewish texts, although some of its representatives might qualify for the previous grouping.22 The so-called "Ascension of Isaiah"23 is similar -- it begins with the Jewish legend about Isaiah being martyred by means of a wooden saw, but moves on to visions attributed to Isaiah in which there is not only explicit mention of "Christ who will be called Jesus," but references also appear to the virgin Mary, Joseph, the town of Nazareth in Galilee, and the supposed birth of Jesus, which only seemed to be a real birth in this description. The so-called Sibylline Oracles24 are, in their own way, an excellent example of extensively mixed "Jewish" and "Christian" materials. In form, they attempt to initiate and adapt the old hellenistic and Roman collections of prophetic pronouncements -- the words of the Sibyl(s). Twelve books have been preserved from a collection that circulated among Christians in the Byzantine period, with presumably Jewish materials appearing most consistently in books 1-5 and 9-12, as well as elsewhere. The overtly Christian portions are themselves quite diverse in content and origin, and [[185]] the total work provides an excellent example of how some types of literature were not "authored" in any normal sense of the word but evolved in stages over the years.25 Large-scale adoption and adaptation of apparently Jewish materials regarding past and/or future may also be illustrated in various other clearly Christian writings such as the Johannine Apocalypse, or in "historical" examples used in early Christian homilies (e.g. 1 Clement), to mention only two obvious examples from a storehouse of possibilities.26


22 On the complicated issue of these closely reIated texts, see L. S. A. Welles in Charles, Pseudepigrapha, and Denis, Introduction, 3-14. Some other writings which show only minimal Christianization of an overt sort, and thus might well be listed here, are the Testament of Isaac (and Jacob 1) trans. by W. E. Barnes in M. R. James, The Testament of Abraham (Texts and Studies 2.2; Cambridge, University Press, 1892), 140-151; and the Testament of Solomon, ed. C. C. McCown (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1922) -- see pp. 50f. on Christian passages.

23 Ed. and trans. by R. H. Charles (London: Black, 1900); his trans. also appears in the SPCK Series (1918); trans. also in Hennecke-Schneemelcher 2, 642-663.

24 Greek ed. J. Geffcken in the series Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller [= GCS] (Leipzig/Berlin: Hinrichs, 1902); trans. by M. S. Terry (New York: Eaton and Mains, 18902). See also trans. of books 3-5 by H. C. O. Lanchester in Charles, Pseudepigrapha. Trans. of parts of books 1-2 and 6-8 are also available in Hennecke-Schneemelcher 2, 703-745.

25 Almost all of the literature with which we are dealing here fits into the category of "evolved literature"; on this matter see further my comments in Barnabas and the Didache, vol. 3 of The Apostolic Fathers: a New Translation and Commentary (ed. R. M. Grant; New York: Nelson, 1965), 1f.

26 Numerous other apocalypses of a more or less Jewish cast were transmitted in Christian circles and deserve notice here; e.g. the Apocalypse of Elijah (see Denis, Introduction, 163-169 and J.-M. Rosentiehl, Textes et Etudes pour. . . Judai&%;sme Intertestamentaire (Paris: Geuthner, 19721), the (Greek) Apocalypse of Ezra (Denis, 91- 96), and the Apocalypse of Sedrach (Denis, 97-99) -- compare also the so-called Vision of Ezra which is closely related to the Ezra and Sedrach apocalypses (see Riessler, Schrifttum, item 28). For a general survey, see H. Weinel, "Die sp&a%;tere christliche Apokalyptik," in Eucharisterion (for H. Gunkel = Fosch. Rel. Lit. A.u.N.T. 19.2, 1923), 141-173. Other examples of Jewish "historical" traditions appropriated into Christian literature also abound - - the "Cave of Treasures" which traces history from creation through the appearance of Messiah Jesus is an excellent illustration (see Riessler, item 50).


As has already been suggested, even greater difficulties present themselves when one encounters material of an ethical or liturgical nature, insofar as it is even more difficult to distinguish "Jewish" expressions of praise and prayer from "Christian" than it is to distinguish apocalyptic hopes, and it is all but impossible to draw a clear line between Jewish and Christian ethical instructions and ideals. The collection known as the Odes of Solomon27 amply illustrates this problem. It is obviously Christian in its preserved composite form, but just as obviously many of the Odes derive from a Jewish environment of some sort -- compare, for example, Odes 32, 37, and 39. Similarly, both the early Christian community handbook known as the Didache or "Teaching of the Lord through the Apostles"28 and the final section of the early Christian epistolary treatise that came to circulate under the name of Barnabas [[186]] contain a formal ethical section similar to known Jewish materials.29 It is very likely that these Christian sources have independently used a Jewish ethical tractate in which the two choices facing man were contrasted -- the way of life/light and the way of death/darkness. Didache has added other materials to the basic source, some of them Jewish, some Christian. For example, there is an excellent illustration of how the method of "building fences" around the commandments, which came to be applied so widely in rabbinic Judaism, has left its impact on Christian materials:

My child, . . . be not prone to anger,
for the path of anger leads to murder.
neither be exciteable nor quarrelsome nor hot-tempered,
for from all these are born murders.

The formula is repeated for lust/adultery, sorcery/idolatry, lying/theft, complaining/blasphemy (3.1-6). In a later section dealing with community liturgy, Didache also includes some prayers that seem to be adapted from Jewish models:

You, almighty Master, created everything for your name's sake;
You have given food and drink to men for their pleasure,
so that they might give you thanks.
And to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink,
and life eternal through Jesus your servant. (10.3)


27 Syriac text ed. and trans. by J. R. Harris and A. Mingana (2 vols.; Manchester: University Press, 1916-1920).

28 Text ed. J.-P. Audet, Etudes Bibliques (Paris: Gabalda, 1958). English trans. by R. A. Kraft (above n. 25). [[186]]

29 For a convenient parallel translation of this material, see Kraft, ibid.


Indeed, the subsequent literary history of Didache is extremely instructive for our attempt to appreciate in all its complexity the ways in which early Christians adopted and adapted material from their Jewish heritage, as well as the way ancient literature, Jewish, Christian or pagan, sometimes was produced. By the fourth century, the relatively small Didache document had become swallowed up as part of a much longer work known as the Apostolic Constitutions, composed of 8 books.30 The first 6 books were drawn primarily from an earlier manual known as the Didascalia or "Teaching/Instruction." Although no large section of the Didascalia seems to be borrowed directly from Judaism in the a same sense as the ethical two ways material of Barnabas-Didache, presumably Jewish influences are found such as the reverence [[187]] for Sabbath as a day of rest alongside of Sunday as a day of rejoicing. Jewish passover customs also seem to have left their mark on the instructions concerning the observance of Easter (e.g. the fasting associated with it). The adapted form of Didache is found in book 7 of the Apostolic Constitutions, along with some other materials, primarily prayers, which often seem to be as "Jewish" as anything in the compilation. The same can be said of some of the liturgical materials (prayers) in book 8 of the Constitutions, a book which for the most part adapts an earlier work known as the Apostolic Traditions of Hippolytus.31 Thus in the 8 books of the Apostolic Constitutions we have one of the more detailed pictures available of how certain types of early Christian literature evolved, and how Jewish traditions supplied a significant amount of ethical and liturgical materials with which to build.32


30 Greek text ed. F. X. Funk (Paderborn: Schoeningh, 1905; repr. Turin: Erasmus, 1960); trans. in vol. 7 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers series (repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951). [[187]]

31 See the separate editions of Hippolytus' work (with translation) by B. S. Easton (Cambridge: University Press, 19341 and G. Dix (London: SPCK, 1937; supplemented repr., 1968).

32 A similar analysis of the so-called Ps-Clementine literature would also be rewarding for the present purposes. See e.g. G. Strecker. Das Judenchristentum in den Pseudoklementinen (Texte und Untersuchungen 70; Berlin: Akademie Verlag. 1958). and his appendix to Bauer (above n. 1).


(4) We have now reached a point in our inquiry at which it would seem advisable to consider briefly another way in which early Christian literary endeavor directly bears witness to its Jewish heritage. Not only in the actual Jewish documents transmitted by Christians, sometimes in reworked forms, but also in excerpts drawn from otherwise unavailable writings and in less formal, but equally obvious uses of Jewish materials, are we able to journey back towards the pre-rabbinic situation in Judaism. At the time of Constantine, we find that famous compiler of Church traditions, Eusebius of Caesarea, writing a lengthy work entitled Preparation for the Gospel33 in which he attempts to clear the ground for what he considers to be a proper presentation of "the gospel." In the course of this work he explains why Christianity has preferred the "philosophy and religion" of the Hebrews to Greek and pagan philosophy and mythology. He quotes from various hellenistic Jewish writings, some of which have not been preserved as such elsewhere (e.g. Aristobulus of Alexandria, a predecessor of Philo), as well as from some otherwise unavailable [[188]] Greek historians who mention various aspects of Jewish history and tradition.34 To a lesser extent, quotations and allusions to Jewish materials that are no longer extant are sprinkled through the works of such authors/writings as 1-2 Clement, Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement and Origen of Alexandria, Lactantius, Ephraim, Jerome, and others.35 Apocalyptic and esoteric Jewish traditions form the basis for numerous Christian, and sometimes not particularly Jewish or Christian (e.g. Hermetic36) works and comments. Hebrew magical formulas have even found a place in certain Christian writings (notably in the Acts of Philip37), just as Jewish traditions are frequent in the numerous magical papyri of the late hellenistic and early Byzantine periods.38 The ideas of such famous Jewish figures as Philo are often repeated almost verbatim in Christian commentaries with nary a footnote, and are passed along from commentator to commentator as stock Christian materials.


33 Greek text ed. K. Mras GCS 2 vols 1954-56) Translation by E. H. Gifford (2 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1903).

34 These and related materials are collected in T. Reinach, Textes d'auteurs grecs et romains relatifs au Judai&%;sme (Paris: Leroux, 1895; repr. 1963), which should be supplemented with the material mentioned by H. Willrich in his review in Berliner Philologische Wochenschaft 15 (1895) 987-989.

35 See, for example, the collection by M. R. James, The Lost Apocrypha of the OT: Their Titles and Fragments (London: SPCK, 1920).

36 Greek text ed. by A. D. Nock with French trans. by A. J. Festugi&e\;re, Corpus Hermeticum (4 vols.; Paris: Budg ed., 1945-54); transl. by W'. Scott and A. S. Ferguson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1924-1936).

37 Greek text ed. M. Bonnet (Leipzig: Mendelssohn, 1903; repr. Darmstadt 1959), partially transl. by M. R. James, The Apocryphal NT (Oxford: Clarendon, 1924, 19532), 439ff. See also the cryptic Semitic formula in the Book of Elchasai, fragment 9 (Hennecke-Schneemelcher 2, 750).

38 See K. Preisendanz, Papyri Graecae Magicae (Leipzig: Teubner 1928-31).


Towards a Profile of Judaism around the Turn of the Era

In this rapid survey of various ways in which various Christians showed their debt to Judaism we have barely scratched the surface. Nevertheless, in the space that remains let us give some attention to attempting an overview of the evidence provided by Christian and other sources concerning pre-rabbinic Judaism. The material can be examined from several different points of view:

(1) We might list and discuss the various groups within Judaism as they are mentioned and described in certain of the sources (notably in Josephus). This is probably the most widely used approach, and has the advantage of appearing to be relatively [[189]] concrete, with the different attitudes neatly labeled -- Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, Nazarenes, Therapeutae, and so on.39 A major shortcoming of this approach is, however, that it tends to focus primarily on a very limited sub-section of the overall picture since it deals mostly with the Palestinian situation, and even then, it ignores the great masses of the people who do not seem to have been "card-carrying members" of any formal group. Furthermore, this approach fails seriously to pay sufficient attention to many of the sources we have just catalogued as preserved by Christianity, with the most obvious exceptions of Josephus and Philo.


39 An excellent semi-popular survey of this sort is available in Marcel Simon's Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1967; translated from the 1960 French).


(2) Another way of slicing the cake would be to concentrate on the preserved primary evidence -- the actual texts and remains -- including contributions from the archaeological side of things (like the Dead Sea Scrolls,40 Egyptian Papyri,41 inscriptions and art42) and from medieval Judaism (rabbinic43 and Karaite44) and related groups (Samaritans44 and Muslims45), as well as that preserved by Christians, to see what patterns emerge. This type of approach is, to my way of thinking, basic and necessary if one hopes to achieve an adequate picture of the situation. But this [[190]] avenue through the actual first-hand remains themselves cannot in itself hope to provide a coherent and comprehensive outline insofar as the selection of materials available is to such a large degree the product of later interests (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.) and/or of historical coincidence. It is extremely difficult, on the whole, to correlate the evidence derived from the primary sources themselves with the ancient but secondary descriptions of Jewish groups as found in Josephus or Philo or various other early writers both Christian and pagan (Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Justin, Hegesippus).46 For example, we do not, to my knowledge, have a single source in which the author identifies himself as an "Essene"; nor do we have any sources that can with confidence be identified as "Sadducean" in origin. To what extent should we attempt to align the literature with the known Jewish groups and vice-versa? To what extent does the preserved literature reflect the ideas of "non- affiliated" Jews or of hitherto unidentified Jewish groups? Such are the problems that perennially plague this type of investigation.


40 See the convenient translations by M. Gaster (Garden City, New York: Doubleday-Anchor, 19642), or G. Vermes (Baltimore: Penguin, 1962). For an up-to-date survey of the discoveries and their impact, see J. A. Sanders, "The Dead Sea Scrolls -- A Quarter Century of Study," Biblical Archaeologist 36 (1973) 110-148.

41 See V. A. Tcherikover and A. Fuks, Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum (3 vols.; Cambridge: Harvard, 1957-1960-1964).

42 See E. R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period (12 vols.; New York: Bollingen Series, 1953- 65), and the review article by Morton Smith in JBL 86 (1967) 53-58.

43 See the literature treated in H. L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1931); for a recent attempt to break new ground in sifting this material, see J. Neusner, The Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees before 70 (3 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1971).

44 On Karaites and Samaritans, see Encyc. Judaica. The former have received special attention in connection with the Dead Sea Discoveries -- see N. Wieder, The Judean Scrolls and Karaism (London: East and West Library, 1962). On the latter, John MacDonald, The Theology of the Samaritans (London: SCM, 1964).

45 The preservation of pre- or non-rabbinic materials in Muslim writings is a largely unmined field. See C. C. Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam (New York: Jewish Institute of Religion Press, 1933).

46 See the texts in Reinach's collection (above n. 34).


(3) The most comprehensive attempt at synthesis, then, would require a combination of the approaches outlined above -- the approach through the actual remains of Judaism and that through descriptions of various groups of Judaism.47 From the viewpoint of sound historical method, we should encourage each of the available sources to furnish us with a rough outline of the situation to which it addressed itself, from which we can in turn seek to obtain broader perspective and to fill in the gaps. Although it is not possible to do this in any great detail in this presentation, I will attempt to provide a few samples of how this approach works, along with an outline of related areas for consideration.


47 Still the most comprehensive modern attempt in English would seem to be E. Sch&u%;rer, History of the Jewish People at the Time of Jesus (5 vols., 1890f.; 3-4 German ed. 1901- 11); portions have been reprinted recently by Schocken Books (New York), abridged and updated bibliographically by N. N. Glatzer (1961, 1972). For a stimulating recent survey of part of the picture see Morton Smith, "Palestinian Judaism in the First Century." See also my "Judaism on the World Scene [around the turn of the era]," in The Catacombs and the Colosseum, ed. S. Benko and J. J. O'Rourke (Valley Forge, PA: Judson, 1971), 81-98, and the literature cited there.


Philo affords a good starting point insofar as he is clearly "pre-rabbinic" in date (that is, pre-70), has provided us with ample [[191]] material for examination, and represents an important center of hellenistic culture, the great city of Alexandria. How large a segment of Judaism he can be said to represent is quite another matter. In any event, Philo considers himself Jewish as well as Greek-Alexandrian. He even risked his life by pleading the cause of Alexandrian Judaism before the unsympathetic Roman emperor, Gaius Caligula, around the year 40 of the common era, a task for which he seems to have been chosen, along with others, by his Jewish countrymen in Alexandria.48


48 See his own account in his treatise called "Embassy to Gaius" (Loeb vol. 10).


What problems does Philo attest as present in the Judaism known to him? In various ways, both implicit and explicit, he fights a battle on two fronts concerning the basic meaning of Jewish law and culture.49 There are some, he reveals, who are for his own tastes merely literal in their approach. God prohibits the eating of pig, so pig must not be eaten; no discussion is called for. Philo cannot agree with this arbitrary outlook; behind each law, he feels, is an ethical or philosophical meaning which God wishes to have his people grasp. The laws symbolize in a tangible way what the underlying point is. Thus Philo himself keeps the laws not simply for their own sake, but because of what they symbolize. But Philo knows of other Jews for whom the meaning of the laws is all that really counts. Since the prohibition against eating pig was intended to warn men not to associate with piggish, that is with selfish and imperceptive men, one can eat whatever one wishes as long as one observes the meaning of the laws!


49 An important passage on this subject occurs in Philo's "Migration of Abraham" 89-91 (Loeb vol. 4). See also M. J. Shroyer, "Alexandrian Jewish Literalists," JBL 55 (1936) 261-284, for additional references. For somewhat conflicting interpretations of Philo in general, compare E. R. Goodenough, Introduction to Philo Judaeus (Oxford: Blackwells, 19622) and H. A. Wolfson, Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1947).


Philo all but states that he knows of Alexandrian Jews who are not circumcised. Indeed this is not hard to believe since Tiberius Alexander, the son of Philo's wealthy brother, became the Roman procurator of Judea (ca 46), then governor of (Alexandria and) Egypt, and a staff general of Titus in the siege of Jerusalem in 70. This would not have been easy for a circumcised person to do at that time. Josephus even accuses Tiberius Alexander of not continuing "in the practices [[192]] of his countrymen" but we do not know how the nephew of Philo would have reacted to this charge!50


50 Antiq 20.(5.2.)100 (Loeb vol. 9). A convenient summary of the career of Tiberius Julius Alexander may be found in Tcherikover-Fuks (above n. 41) 2, no. 418 (pp. 188-190); also in the Loeb editor's note to Josephus, War 2.(18.7.)220 (Loeb vol. 2).


Philo's personal involvement in this problem of the relation between what is said and what is meant in Jewish tradition and scripture is immense. On several occasions he even speaks of Judaism in terms common to the hellenistic mystery cults -- Moses and the prophets have "initiated" him into the "divine mysteries," into the deeper meaning of God's word.51 For Philo, many Jews were to be censured or at least pitied for failing to appreciate this avenue of approach; theirs is a skin-deep religion. Nor does Philo consistently leave us with the impression that his moderate position between the extreme rationalists and the mere literalists is a completely happy one. As a man with responsibilities in Alexandrian Jewish society, he perhaps would have defended his attitude as advisable and necessary, but occasionally we hear Philo wishing that he could be free to pursue his ethical- philosophical approach unencumbered by the social realities around him.52 He devotes an entire treatise to eulogize the so-called "Therapeutae" ("servants"/"healers," according to Philo) who have separated themselves from society to pursue the "contemplative life" in a sort of early monastic setting.53 There can be little doubt that although Philo seems to have attempted to remain true to his understanding of both the letter of the law and its intended meaning, he considered the meaning to be the real foundation of Judaism. Thus he devoted much of his literary talent to defending his interpretation of Judaism as the most valid philosophy available in the hellenistic world -- open to all reasonable people who are searching for divine reality and for right guidance in living. [[193]]


51 See the references collected by E. R. Goodenough, By Light, Light: the Mystic Gospel of Hellenistic Judaism (New Haven: Yale Univ., 1935), which should be read in the light of the review by A. D. Nock in Gnomon 13 (1937) 156-165.

52 See Goodenough, Introduction, 5-6 and 62-64; also his Politics of Philo (New Haven: Yale Univ., 1938), ch. 4.

53 "On the Contemplative Life" (Loeb vol. 9). A few scholars still question whether this is the work of Philo; e.g. J. L. Teicher, as reported by M. Burrows, More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking, 1958), 269, revives the older view that it is a Christian composition.


A basically Palestinian, quite probably Pharisaic author54 writing a decade or two later struggled with similar problems but from a quite different point of view and with radically different results. I am referring to a man named Paul, who is claimed by the Christian tradition, but who also continued to consider himself a Jew (Hebrew, Israelite).55 That literal torah-observance is not the be-all and end-all of Judaism is a position shared by Philo and Paul -- a true Jew is one inwardly, says Paul;56 the letter kills but the spirit gives life.57 But it is also precisely at this point that Philo and Paul part company. Paul's entire cast of thought is apocalyptic; Messiah has come, thus the new age has begun and the new life in the spirit is already available although the old life in the flesh had not yet been entirely eliminated.58 For Paul, the antithesis to literalism is eschatological new life, existence on the level of spirit -- the privilege of already experiencing what the long awaited "world to come" has to offer before the present evil era has been completely eradicated. Philo all but ignores eschatology in his approach. On a couple of occasions he comes close to expressing a hope for Messiah to come,59 but on the whole he finds the ideal world already present not in πνευμα [pneuma]-spirit, as for Paul, but in λογος [logos]-reason, a concept that would meaningfully relate to the general philosophical climate of Philo's situation. For Philo, the antithesis to literalism is Judaism as the best of philosophies -- the best way of life, leading to mystical contemplation of God. In a sense, the approach represented by Philo has "demythologized" what is fundamental for Paul; not eschatological expectation/fulfillment, but rational-philosophical awareness is focal.


54 Philippians 3.5, assuming that these are authentic words of Paul. See also the claims attributed to him by the author of Acts in 23.6, 26.5.

55 See Galatians 2.15, Romans 11.1, 2 Corinthians 11.22 (Philippians 3.5).

56 Romans 2.17-29.

57 2 Corinthians 3.

58 E.g. Galatians 3.2-9, 28-29; 5.16-26; Romans 8.1-25, etc.

59 See Philo's "On Rewards and Punishments" 95 and 165ff. (Loeb vol. 8).


It is interesting to notice that an even later Palestinian priest and sometime Pharisee,60 Josephus, seems at first glance to agree more with Philo than with Paul on this matter of eschatology, for in his preserved writings Josephus does not talk very much about "messiah" or about an age of vindication for God's people. [[194]] Nevertheless, there is a good deal of likelihood that Josephus' position is to be understood, to some extent, from the fact that he writes after the abortive first revolt as one who rather early in the game recognized the futility of it all. Furthermore, one of his main purposes seems to be to gain for Judaism a hearing in the Roman-hellenistic world, a purpose that would hardly be helped by preaching a sort of apocalyptic blackmail about divine vengeance to come on those who have oppressed God's people!61 What is more interesting about Josephus is the presence after 70 of a self- described Pharisee who seems ready and anxious to make peace with the world at large by fitting himself and his religion into it rather than by withdrawing from it as rabbinic Judaism increasingly would tend to do.


60 See his Autobiography 1-12 (Loeb vol. 1, "Life of Josephus").

61 Notice how Josephus in Antiq 10.(10.4.)210, evades the question of how the vision in Daniel 2 relates to Rome and its future. The stone that pulverizes the statue probably was seen as God's (messianic?) judgment on Rome. On Josephus' apologetic approach see further Morton Smith, "Palestinian Judaism," 74-77.


What I have said about the attitude towards eschatology of Philo, and to a lesser extent of the later Josephus as an apologist, does not necessarily mean that Alexandria, or Greek speaking Judaism at large, was without apocalyptically oriented Jews. Philo does not make an issue of this, but certain other evidence is highly suggestive in this connection. We have already noted that Christians inherited a large bulk of Jewish material and passed it along for centuries mainly in Greek. Much of this literature seems to have originated in Semitic linguistic dress (Hebrew or Aramaic), and much of it is either directly or indirectly apocalyptic in thrust. Who translated it from Semitic into Greek? When were such translation projects undertaken and where? Almost no scholarly work has been done on these technical but important questions, although the possibility of achieving significant results becomes increasingly better as we recognize the various sorts of translation techniques used in the production of Jewish scripture translations into Greek.62 I suspect that a good deal of the translation work on these apocalypses and other documents was also done by and for Jews in pre-rabbinic times, and thus that there was a significant reading public for these works in Greek speaking [[195]] Judaism. We have from the Qumran caves various scraps in Semitic that are directly related to such works as 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and the Testaments of the Patriarchs.63 Could it be that such Greek speaking communities as the "Therapeutae" described by Philo, with their own peculiar "writings of men of old" and their own hymnic compositions, were actually hellenistic counterparts to Semitic communities like that at Qumran? Many scholars consider this to be a strong possibility,64 and the presence of some Greek scraps in the Qumran caves encourages the theory.65 This would provide sufficient reason for the translation of certain types of Semitic material into Greek. It might also help to explain the wholesale passage of much of this material into Christian hands -- that is, into hellenistic Christian hands where it survived through the centuries. In any event, we know that from the time of Philo onward through the first century, the unrest and disasters in Palestine influenced many Palestinians to make their way to Alexandria and Egypt for various reasons.66 The letter of the newly established Roman Emperor Claudius to the Alexandrians in the year 41 forbids the Jews to "bring in or invite Jews coming from Syria or Egypt," apparently for fear of further incentives to riot. In connection with the Jewish revolt in 66-73, which undoubtedly had apocalyptic significance for many of its participants and observers, Palestinian rebels and their ideas also found their way to Alexandria and its environs.67 In short, to use Philo as characteristic of "hellenistic Judaism" in general, or even of Alexandrian Jews in particular, is to ignore the evidence which includes Philo's [[196]] own testimony to variety of ideas encountered by him, and is to deprive history of its dimension of real complexity. It is likely that much of what went on in Semitic speaking Judaism around the turn of the era had a significant impact on some Greek speaking Jews, especially in the main urban centers of civilization.


62 See D. Barth&e/;lemy, Les Devanciers d'Aquila.... (Suppl. to Vetus Testamentum 10; Leiden: Brill, 1963), and my review in Gnomon 37 (1965) 474-483. On the matter of the relationship of Jews to their Greek world, see K. Treu, "Die Bedeutung des Griechischen f&u%;r die Juden im r&o%;mischen Reich," Kairos 15 (1973) 123-144.

63 See F. M. Cross, Jr., The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies (Garden City, New York: Doubleday-Anchor, 19612), index; also above, notes 12 and 40.

64 E.g. J.M. Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls: a Reappraisal (Baltimore: Penguin, 19642), 147f.; J. Dani&e/;lou, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Primitive Christianity (London: Mentor, 1958), 90; K. G. Kuhn according to M. Burrows (above, n. 53), 368 (see also p. 109). Philos' report about the Therapeutae (see above, n. 53) also is included in the collection of Antike Berichte &u%;ber die Essener, ed. A. Adam (Kleine Texts 182; Berlin: Gruyter, 1961, 19722), in a matter-of-fact manner.

65 From cave 4, Greek fragments of Leviticus and Numbers, and from cave 7, Greek fragments of Exodus and the Epistle of Jeremiah. See Treu (above, n. 62), 140.

66 For a summary of the evidence, see Tcherikover's essay in Tcherikover-Fuks (above, n. 44) 1, 69-93 (esp. 79f.).

67 Claudius' letter is reedited with extensive notes in Tcherikover-Fuks 2, no. 153.


In mentioning such groups as the Qumranites and Philo's "Therapeutae," as well as Judaism in Egypt after Philo, we skirt another area of investigation that holds wide interest for this survey, namely, the relation between Jews and ancient "magical" or semi-magical techniques. We are immediately confronted by a semantic problem here, for "magic" often is a word reserved for unfavorable contexts. A "healer" or "prophet" towards whom I am favorable might well be called a "magician" by less sympathetic observers, or I might call him a "magician" if he were my opponent. For the sake of this discussion, I am attempting to reserve the word "magic", without prejudice, for the use of mysterious formulae, actions and/or practices to accomplish results not expected in the normal course of events -- a sort of mechanical harnessing (performed often according to recipe) of what are considered to be extra-human powers, both favorable and unfavorable.68


68 For a valuable brief discussion of attitudes toward "magic" and "magicians" in the ancient hellenistic-Roman world, see Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1973), 220-222. A facile distinction between "magician" and "mystic" or "prophet" or "holy person" is not always possible (see also Smith, ibid., 227-229).


The reputations of such revered figures as Moses or Solomon in the field of "magic" are well established in our period. Indeed, Josephus boasts about the skill in exorcisms and healing incantations passed down from Solomon to his own time, and describes in some detail the techniques used by the Jewish exorcist Eleazar in the presence of Vespasian.69 Moses is listed along with Zoroaster and others as a leading patriarch of magic by such hellenistic authors as Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and Apuleius,70 and various traditions in this vein have survived in later Judaism and Christianity.71 [[197]]


69 Antiq 8.(2.5.)45ff. (Loeb vol. 5); See also War 7.(6- 3.)178ff. (Loeb vol. 3) on the plant called Baaras.

70 E.g. Pliny, Natural History 30.11; Apuleius, Apology 90.

71 See articles on "magic (Jewish)," "amulets," etc. in the various encyclopedias. Of a special note are "The Sword of Moses," ed. and transl. by M. Gaster (1896) and the "Eighth Book of Moses," (see Gaster's Introduction). This material has been reprinted in Gaster, Studies and Texts in Folklore, Magic, Medieval Romance, Hebrew Apocrypha and Samaritan [[197]] Archaeology (3 vols.; London: Maggs, 1925-28). See also the chapter on "Moses and Magic" in J. Gager, Moses in Greco-Roman Paganism (SBL Monograph 16; New York: Abingdon, 1972).


The world of which we are speaking was full of magical practices, and the evidence strongly suggests that Jews, both in Palestine and abroad, were not immune to such phenomena, whatever we wish to call them. And Christians clearly followed suit in various ways and to varying degrees; I already have referred to the Semitic healing formulae in the Acts of Philip (above n. 37). The existence of numerous "horoscope"-like fragments at Qumran72 and the materials from a "Book of Secrets" (Sefer Ha-Razim) recovered from the various Cairo Geniza collections by D. Margalioth73 serve to illustrate the deep hold that this sort of approach seems to have had in some Jewish circles during the period under consideration and on into the middle ages, where it can be documented more extensively.


72 See Burrows (above n. 53), 293, on "astrological speculation" at Qumran. Some of these documents have subsequently been published by Milik and Allegro; see H. Bardtke's bibliography of Qumran publications (2 vols.).

73 M. Margalioth. Sefer ha-Razim (Jerusalem: 1966) [Hebrew].


Were we to continue with this kind of sifting of the preserved materials in order to uncover the problems and points of discussion within pre-rabbinic Judaism itself, we would ultimately cover a wide range of subjects including many that are developed in the rabbinic literature itself. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has assisted greatly in pin-pointing some of these areas of which there had long been some sort of general awareness based on allusions to Essenes and to Essene- like groups by ancient authors. For example, we find: -- problems as to the Jerusalem cult itself -- who should be recognized as the legitimate priesthood, etc? (Note the presence of related temples for a time at Gerizim [Samaritan] and Leontopolis in Egypt [Jewish] as well as the role of the Jewish synagogues in the hellenistic world.) -- problems as to what calendar to follow in observing Jewish holy days -- should one prefer the solar calendar of the Qumranites and others, or the lunar calculations of the Pharisees and Jerusalem leaders?74 [[198]]


74 See J. van Goudoever, Biblical Calenders (Leiden: Brill 1959 19612); A. Jaubert, The Date of the Last Supper (trans. I. Rafferty; Staten Island, ); N.Y.: Alba House, 1965); E. Ruckstuhl Chronology of the Last Days of Jesus [[198]] (trans. V. J. Drapela; New York: Desclee, 1965); and the literature cited in these works.


-- problems as to who constitutes God's true people -- how are God's "elect" identified? What role do genealogy, cultic observances, and relation to everyday life in society play?75


75 Paul also struggles with this problem; e.g. Romans 2.17-29 and chs. 9-11.


-- problems as to standards for conduct and piety -- can one who is celibate be a good Jew? How is torah to be applied in daily life? Where is torah to be found (oral, written)? Who has authority to interpret torah?

-- problems concerning the element of determinism and free will in human action -- is Judaism compatible with horoscopes and seemingly magical practices? what is involved in divine justice if man's fate is determined beforehand? (see above, n. 72).

-- problems concerning the authority of religious literature -- what books are authoritative for establishing standards to guide worship and conduct? (Note the various attitudes exhibited in Qumran, Therapeutae, [Samaritans], Sadducees, etc.)

-- problems as to special divine activity among men in the present -- what is one to think of the alleged phenomenon of prophecy claimed by Essenes, Christians, and even Josephus, in contrast to the (later?) rabbinic emphasis that it had vanished after the Persian period.76


76 See, e.g., the article on "prophets" (etc.) by Friedrich in Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (trans. G. Bromiley; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968).


-- problems relating to messianic expectations -- is a Messiah figure to be expected? Is he to be a Davidic-military figure, a priestly-Levitic leader, or what? Will there be more than one messiah figure in the course of history, or even at the same time?77


77 For a discussion of the evidence, see A. J. B. Higgins, "The Priestly Messiah," NT Studies 13 (1967) 211-239 (with older literature cited).


When one has exhausted the contributions of Essenic and Qumranic Judaism to the discussion, attention might then be turned to the wider question of so-called "baptizing" groups in general in pre-rabbinic Judaism,78 or to the relationship of Samaritan beliefs to the overall situation (although strictly speaking, one might hesitate to include the Samaritans in the category of "Judaism" --that is, Judahite79). Indeed, the literature has preserved sufficient hints to make entirely legitimate the question whether the heritage [[199]] of early Christianity from Judaism might also have included ideas and materials that proved extremely congenial to those movements that came to be called "gnostic,"80 in addition to the "magic" connection already noted (above, nn. 69-73). The closer one examines the evidence in its own setting and for its own sake, the more complicated the picture becomes.


78 The "classical" treatment is by J. Thomas, Le Mouvement baptiste en Palestine et Syria (Gembloux: Duculot, 1935).

79 Although Josephus claims that when it seems advantageous, Samaritans sometimes designated themselves as "Jews", Antiq 1 1.(8.6.)340-344 (Loeb vol. 6); see also (and the Loeb note there).

80 The various works of G. Scholem on Jewish mysticism (see above, nn. 6-7) should be consulted in this regard. See also H. Tonas, The Gnostic Religion (Boston: Beacon, 1063i), esp. 33f., 307f. and the bibliographies.


The ties between early Christian groups and Jewish groups in the hellenistic world (including Palestine) were, I suspect, much more numerous than has usually been acknowledged. But the extremely complicated nature of the preserved evidence makes it difficult to identify the lines of development and relationship with sufficient clarity. Our picture of Judaism at the turn of the era is blurred and partial, and our picture of Christianity in the first century and a half of its existence is perhaps even less clear. Only careful attention to a controlled, consistent method in working with the evidence can provide an avenue to producing the new historical syntheses that are so sorely needed. It is along the lines indicated above, that "the multiform Jewish heritage of early Christianity" is to some extent available to be rediscovered today. Unfortunately, few people seem willing or able to expend the time and energy necessary to equip themselves for the task. Hopefully this all- too-rapid survey will serve to display some of the less emphasized dimensions of the problem, and perhaps will help to stimulate further discussion about these and other aspects of this multifaceted subject.81


81 My debt to Morton Smith in examining these matters goes far deeper than his published writings, stimulating as they are. His insistence on the need for constant reevaluation of available evidence and his extensive acquaintance with the evidence serve as beacons that can only lead to progress in historical studies. An example of his synthetic treatment of some of the above topics, in a somewhat different context, has already been mentioned: "Palestinian Judaism in the First Century." See also "The Dead Sea Scrolls in Relation to Ancient Judaism," NTS 7 (1961) 347-360.


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