These are basically the minutes from 1999, with some revision and supplementation for use in subsequent classes [update Sept 2003]
Class Notes #01, 09 SEPTEMBER 1999
by Jeffrey Gaillard
Syllabus/Bibliography, etc., are linked from the class homepage:
Vocabulary Alert [see also the electronic glossary
to RelSt 002 (indexed version)]:
"Eschatological" = "relating to the study of last things," not only personal (death and its results) but also more general and even cosmic ("Messiah," judgment, end destiny of humankind, end of the world, etc.), frequently communicated by means of "apocalyptic" (revelatory) writings or reports. Much of the surviving evidence from early Judaism reflects eschatological orientation.
Requirements (in addition to class participation):
Oral exam (cumulative/comprehensive) of about 30 minutes will be required for each student at the end of the class (unless other arrangements are requested), which will count for about 1/3 of course grade.
Research paper10-15 pages (up to 5000 words), topic to be cleared with Dr. Kraft, preferably a comparative analysis. A 5-10 minute summary may be requested for presentation in class. (Also about 1/3 of course grade.)
Book Review (summarized in class, if there is opportunity): each student is to choose an approved modern study that is directly relevant to the course, and submit a brief review (about 500 words) which may also be requested for oral presentation in class.
For Lester Grabbe's two volumes, which apparently are now out of print, and other hardcopy volumes, discounts may be available through the CBD catalog (http://www.christianbook.com). For other suggested readings see the class syllabus (e.g. books on Early Judaism by M. Jaffee, or by J. VanderKam).
Definitions and Chronological Distinctions:
"Intertestamental Period" -- from the last of the "Old Testament" (OT, TaNaKh, Jewish scriptures, Hebrew Bible) writings until the beginnings of Christianity.
"Second Temple Period," subsequent to the destruction of the "First Temple" (ca. 960 BCE-587/6 BCE, begun by David and Solomon in Jerusalem; a "cultic" development in the "history of Israel") is the period from about 516 bce (return from exile in Babylon) to 70 ce (first revolt against Rome). This is a properly "Jewish" (Judahite) Temple.
"Greco-Roman Period," beginning with Alexander the Great (died 323 bce) until Constantine the Great (for easy memorization, the Council of Nicea in 325 ce is a convenient terminus). The Roman Emperor Constantine has his "vision" in 311/313 CE, which results in the Christain religion becoming "tolerated" (legal) for the first time. Western historical conventions call the subsequent period of (eastern) Roman history the "Byzantine Period" (with Constantinople/Byzantium as the main city).
Digression on Pliny the Younger (nephew of the famous Roman encyclopedist Pliny "the Elder") who became governor of Bithynia around 112 CE under the Roman ruler Trajan, when he encountered problems with the Christians, he sought counsel from Trajan, and the correspondence is preserved.
Basic Focus of the Course:
1. Pre-Rabbinic Jewish Evidence
2. Alexander of Macedon to Emperor Hadrian
Highly Recommended, excellent reference source is "ABD" = Anchor Bible Dictionary, six volumes (1992).
Comments on Primary Sources:
Josephus, born 37 CE,
right after the execution of Joshua/Jesus. Writes three major works, the biggest
one, "The Antiquities of the Jews," which consist of twenty "books,"
or more accurately twenty scrolls/volumes,
beginning with creation and extending to almost the end of the first century CE. An earlier work of seven scrolls is "The Jewish War."
Philo of Alexandria was an older contemporary of Josephus, perhaps around 50 years old at the time of Josephus' birth, who left us many volumes of his interpretations of Jewish scriptures, especially the Pentateuch (the first five books, "of Moses"). Philo is a master of allegorical/psychological interpretation.
Apocrypha = early Jewish writings included in the Greek ("LXX/OG" = Septuagint/Old Greek) and Latin ("OL" [=Old Latin translations] and Vulgate) collections, but excluded from the Jewish/Protestant canon. See the chart on the RelSt 135 home page.
Psuedepigrapha refers to other Jewish writings from the period, often attributed to famous figures of the past (Enoch, Moses, Elijah, Ezra), but not included in traditional Jewish or Christian canons of scripture. Most of these books survived because of Christian interests (as also Philo and Josephus!).
Recommended reading for next class, articles by Dr. Kraft, "Psuedepigrapha in Christianity," and "Judaism on the World Scene." Both are accessible from the course webpage.
Next class, will continue with orientation.
//end of notes 99.01//
Religious Studies 525: Varieties of Early Judaism
Class notes #02, for 16 September 1999
by Chip Gruen
The first hour of class was spent examining and browsing web resources that will be helpful for the class. Dr. Kraft and Deb Bucher (who is also a librarian at Van Pelt) steered the class through a number of sites.
We started at http://www.library.upenn.edu
Click on "E-Resources"
Click on "Religious Studies" to get to the web resources page for this topic area.
We looked at the "Electronic Journals" section. Of particular importance is Biblica (and especially its spinoff Elenchus Bibliographicus, from the mid 1960s), which provides good bibliography; and Ioudaios Review, for reviews of recent literature. Ioudaios Review developed from the IOUDAIOS-L discussion group (see below) and has been indexed to make it searchable by title, author, keyword, etc. Another excellent electronic book review source is the Bryn Mawr Reviews (especially classical and medieval works).
The Religious Studies resource page also contains links to primary sources in their original languages and in translation. In addition to Dr. Kraft's page at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/kraft.html, there are other local faculty home pages that link to many resources for the study of Judaism and Christianity. See Jay Treat's page at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/hot.html and Jim O'Donnell's page at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/jod.html (now updated at his Georgetown site) and also Alan Humm's pages linked from http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/humm. Many of the resources will be duplicated in each page. However, each does contain a certain amount of different links. Additionally, they organized differently, so you may find something in one page that eludes you in another.
For the purposes of our course, there are discussion groups on which you might want to "lurk," or perhaps participate, such as IOUDAIOS-L (subscribe at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ioudaios/sub.html).
Additionally, check out the various links from Dr. Kraft's page to his other course pages (RelSt 002, 015, 135, 225, 435, 436, 535, 735) and to other relevant sites.
The sources for this period and topic fall into four categories
1) texts from inside a Jewish community (vast majority of the sources, often preserved only in Christian contexts)
2) archaeological remains (and interpretations)
4) outside textual sources
We briefly examined the career of Tiberius Julius Alexander, nephew of Philo, to illustrate some of the aspects of using ancient sources.
Tiberius Julius Alexander (TJA)
TJA was the nephew of Philo. He entered political life in approximately 40 CE. He became the prefect of Judaea around 46 CE. A few years later he served Rome as a military advisor on the eastern frontier (Parthia). In the mid 60's he became the governor of Egypt and Alexandria. During the turmoil of the year of the four emperors (69 C.E.) TJA supported Vespasian's claim to emperorship.
Josephus mentions TJA in his Antiquites and contrasts TJA's conduct
in relation to Judaism with the fidelity of TJA's father Alexander (Philo's
brother). Because TJA is said not to have maintained the "traditions of
his ancestors," he has traditionally been labeled an "apostate." However, there is now an attempt to reevaluate the stance of TJA in view of our better understanding of the options in early Judaism as well as our
assessment of the perspectives and biases of the sources (especially Josephus).
For next time: Look at the on-line syllabus and find the topics that might interest you for papers.
//end of notes 99.02//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #03, 23 September 1999
Josephus (Joseph ben Matthias), born about 37 ce, priestly family, raised in Jerusalem. Connection to Macc. Made general in 64 to fight the Romans; despite internal strife with another general. Josephus and his soldiers are defeated; Josephus decides against suicide and is taken captive. He writes The Jewish War (note: not "Wars") from Rome, and all we know about him and his part in the war is from his own pen.
Vespasian is Roman general at the time; later becomes emperor. Gives Josephus a slave as a wife, but later dismissed by Josephus, probably because of his priestly Jewish traditions that forbid such wives. Wrote his first version of the War in Aramaic, but this is no longer extant. Later wrote it in Greek and claims to have gotten help with writing in this language.
Some of Josephus' information in writing on the Maccabean/Hasmonean revolt (and civil war!) seems to be gleaned from 1 Maccabees, but there are aome divergences. Questions: did he have the text available, whether he wanted his text to be close to that text, did he use other sources? How confident should we be in making assertions about two texts which seem very similar? Also there can be textual problems of later variations due to copying procedures and updating; the earliest Greek manuscripts of Josephus that we have are no earlier than the 10th century ce.
Many factors are involved in analyzing ancient texts, and we need to be aware
of the fact that as we make decisions, we are usually following the editorial
work of a scholar or school and making a large number of
assumptions. Need to get to the point where we learn to distinguish between the assumptions, and where we can make educated and confident assumptions of our own.
We read from the Life of Josephus (Vita)
Digressed to Leontopolis (= Heliopolis), temple built in Egypt by head of high priestly house (Onias IV) who fled from Jerusalem at start of the Maccabean uprising.
An earlier Jewish temple found in Egypt on an island (Elephantine), excavated in 1920-30. Found an archive of Aramaic documents from about 500 bce.
Did these temples have sacrifices? Josephus doesn't even mention the Elephantine temple, but does claim in passing that there are/were several Jewish "temples" in Egypt.
Much of the information regarding these situations is only becoming accessible recently.
We read from Jewish War, book 2, chapter 8, sections 2-14 = paragraphs 119-166 (note two different systems of identifying textual locations, the older in Whiston [2.8.2-14], the newer in the Loeb edition [2.119-166]; both are now found in the recent inexpensive one volume edition by Hendrickson Publishers).
Three "philosophical" groups among the Jews during this time: Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees
Josephus explicitly claims that the Essenes are Jews by birth; perhaps there were accusations at the time that they were not, or traditions that failed to mention the Jewish connection -- e.g. Pliny the Elder mentions the Essenes, but doesn't call them "Jewish." Josephus makes a point of describing them as such. He resents them as an ideal group (just as Philo also does). Conquer passions and so on. They don't marry (Josephus notes an exception among some); adopt kids from other families and raise them as their own. Live as a commune, whereby all possessions belong to all members of the group.
They don't all live together in one place, but many dwell in many cities, and a network of hospitality exists, so they can always stay with one of their own when they travel.
Their piety is described by Josephus as being very extraordinary, and they seem to pray to the sun for its rising. Can't do anything of their own will, but obey the traditions of the community. Only two things they can do liberally: to help others and show mercy.
Anyone who wants to join goes through a long period of testing: several years of following the laws, but during this time they are not yet allowed to live with the Essenes. Josephus mentions elsewhere (Vita) that he tried various forms of Judaism, lived in the desert with a man called Banus, who was probably Essene-like, and (Josephus) later associated with the "Pharisee-way"; does not mention explicitly that he tried the Essene way of life, presumably because they were too withdrawn from society, whereas Josephus wants to maintain good social relations.
They have prophets who foretell the future, and use "holy books".
There are other groups of Essenes who are more "liberal" in that they marry and procreate.
Pharisees -- considered to be most skillful in interpreting their laws. They seem to combine a divine predestination with a human free-will. Those who have done what is good in life have their souls migrated into another body upon death. The others are condemned to eternal punishment. Sounds like they have no chance of resurrection or re-incarnation. Pharisees are friendly to each other.
Saduccees -- do not believe in predestination of any sort. God is not involved in what men do or decide to do. Are not friendly, rather "barbarous."
Mention of the Essenes in Philo:
Found in a fragment of the "Hypothetica" or "Apology for the Jews" (quoted in Eusebius). Philo has another account in Every Good Man is Free. The details differ somewhat in these two accounts.
Mentions another sect called the "Therapeutae," in The Contemplative
Life (a companion essay to Every Good Man is Free). Josephus does
not speak of them, nor does any other ancient source. Term is used in the LXX
as a translation of the Hebrew word for "servant," so has sense of
service, but also of medical service. Philo sees them as both servants of God
and healers. Are described as being very similar to the
Essenes, so may have been a subgroup of theirs, found all over, but especially in the vicinity of Alexandria. They read and write books, have poetry and hymns . . . .
READ Philo's description of both the Essenes and the Therapeutae for next class.
//end notes 99.03//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #04, 30 September 1999
By Christina Van Norman
CD (or CDC) stands for the Cairo Damascus Covenant. It is sort of a
Dead Sea scroll found (in two seprate manuscripts) before the Dead Sea
scrolls were discovered. It is from the Cairo Geniza and was published
in 1910 by Zalman (Solomon) Schecter. Fragments of the same material
were found in some of the Qumran caves as well. A good question is,
How did it survive to the 10th and 12th centuries in the manuscripts
from the Cairo Ganiza storeroom when so much other stuff didn't? Maybe
a copy was found in a cave around the year 800 and impressed the
people of the time. A Syrian bishop named Timotheos around that time
reported discovery of Hebrew manuscripts in a cave. Could it have been
this? A medieval Muslim source also refers to the "cave dwellers."
Could they be related to this?
Something called the "Angel Scroll" was in the news last week. A
Benedictine monastary in N. Germany supposedly leaked the information
that they had a six foot scroll dealing with a revelation by an angel
to a man named Yeshua/Jesus. The claim is that it was found on the
east side of the Dead Sea. A respected American scholar of the Dead
Sea scrolls in Israel named Steven Pfann has issued a report about it.
He basically said that it sounds interesting but no one can really
know until it is properly examined if it is authentic or not.
Pliny the elder was a non Jewish first century author who was a
contemporary with Philo and Josephus.
-he was a Greek writing scientist/geographer/traveler who gathered his
own and other peoples travels into a natural history.
-Pliny the elder died in 79 after the eruption of Vesuvius
-he provides a survey of Palestine and Judea and the Dead Sea (which
he called Asphalites because of the asphalt found there). He located
the Essenes in the Northwest area of it. He is the first author to
identify the Essenes as being located in a specific place as opposed
to living all over. He does not refer to them as "Jews."
-Pliny was a major source used in the development of the "Essene
Hypothesis" which claims that it was the Essenes who occupied Qumran
and wrote the Dead Sea scrolls. Pliny reports the Essenes as having no
women, stifling every urge, without money, and being "consorts of
Philo also has left us two separate accounts of the "Essenes" --
computer text for a useful translation of Philo.
There are many conjectures on the origin of the name "Essene." Philo
associates the name with "hosios" which means "pious" in Greek. Some
others see in the name a variation of the Hebrew word "hasidim" means
those faithful to God's covenant, and recently (see the ORION
discussion list on the Dead Sea scrolls) Stephen Goranson (Duke) has
revived an old theory that the name derives from Hebrew "asah" = "to
do" (the law).
-there is also much discussion and many questions about how the
manuscripts in the caves relate to the archeological ruins at Qumran
and the date of the scrolls. Most of the scrolls that have been tested
by carbon-14 methods seem to date to before the turn of the era. The
Babata archive found near Masada which (about 50 miles south of
Qumran) has scrolls dating from 132-35 ce. The Samaritan papyri found
to the northwest of Qumran are earlier than the Dead Sea scrolls.
One of Philo's two accounts of the Essenes was preserved by Eusebius,
an early 4th century Christian "historian" and apologist -- the
original treatise from which it comes has not survived. Eusebius sees
Philo's Therapeutae as the first Christian monastics in Egypt.
-Philo seems to call the Hebrews "Chaldeans" before his trip to Rome
around 40 ce. After the Rome trip he refers to them as "Hebrews." This
theory assumes that he learned about negative connotations of
"Chaldean" in Rome.
-Philo was a Platonist and really liked number theory, especially the
-in his account the man referred to as the "lawgiver" and the "founder
of the constitution of the Jews" is Moses.
-he clearly puts the Essenes into a Jewish context and greatly admires
them and their practices.
*find and read his treatise on the Essenes (Every Good Man is Free)*
-Philo describes the Therapeutae as similar to the Essenes, but in
Egypt, near Alexandria (by the Mareotic lake)*
*find and read the material on the Therapeutae (On the Contemplative
//end of notes 99.04//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #05, 07 October 1999
By Debra B. Bucher
Best Greek edition: Cohn, Wendland, eds. _Philonis Alexandrini Opera quae
supersunt._ Berolini : Typis et impensis G. Reimerii, 1896-1915.
Yonge, ed. _The Works of Philo : complete and unabridged._ New updated
edition. Peabody, MA : Hendrickson Publishers, c1993.
Colson and Whitaker, eds. _ Philo : in ten volumes (and two
supplementary volumes) : with an English translation._ Cambridge, Mass. :
Harvard University Press ; London : W. Heinemann, 1968-1981. (Loeb
classical library ; no. 226-227, 247, 261, 275, 289, 341, 379, 380, 401).
1. Goodenough, E.R. _An Introduction to Philo Judaeus._ 2d ed. Oxford:
Very detailed. Introduces Philo's religious sentiments, politics, and
3. Goodenough, E.R. _By Light, Light: Mystic Gospel of Hellenistic
Judaism._ New Haven, Yale university press, 1935.
Goodenough sees Philo as a transitional figure between Platonism and the
neo-Platonism of Plotinus (205-270 CE). Neo-Platonism described as
contact with God at a more than rational level (an experience). This
theme can already be seen in Philo.
2. Sandmel, Samuel, _Philo of Alexandria: An Introduction._ New
York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.
Easier to read than Goodenough. Includes a chapter on Goodenough's
theory about Philo.
3. Wolfson, Harry Austryn. _ Philo; foundations of religious philosophy
in Judaism,Christianity, and Islam._ Cambridge, Harvard University
Described the Greek elements in Philo as a 'veneer' upon his Judaism. Was
reluctant to describe Philo as a *Hellenistic* Jew, influenced by
Hellenism and Greek thought.
Scholars don't know much about Philo the person. More is known about
his brother and his two nephews: Marcus Julius Alexander, who died
young, but lived long enough to marry Berenice, Agrippa II's (44-94?
CE) sister (Berenice later had an affair with Titus (79-81 CE) before
he became Emperor); and Tiberius Julius Alexander, who was in the
Roman military, became governor of Judea (46?-48 CE), governor of
Egypt (66-69 CE), and then as a staff general for Titus in the siege
of Jerusalem in 70. Philo's brother was involved in finance
in some way. Josephus says that Philo's brother lent money to Herod,
and gave funds for a gate of the Jerusalem temple. Most likely, the
entire family were Roman citizens.
Philo's familiarity with Greco-Roman thought is demonstrated through
the similar type of allegorical interpretations he uses in his
writings. Allegory was used throughout the Greco-Roman world.
However, he does use other methods. His "Questions and Answers on
Genesis" are examples of another type of scholarly or academic
approach. Many of his writings seem to have been intended for highly
trained readers, skilled in allegory.
Philo was very much interested in interpreting the books of Moses
(Pentateuch). He felt that Moses was a divine man (theos aner). In
true allegorical fashion, his teachings concerning these books go
well beyond what the literal meaning is on the page. His philosophy
might be described today as a kind of psychology, in that he was
interested in attitudes, states of mind, and how individuals interact
with one another and the world.
Philo was well known in the community. Both he ("Flaccum" and
"Gaium") and Josephus (Ant. 18.8.1 #257-60) relate that he was part of
an embassy to Gaius Caligula (37-41 CE) to restore special privileges
to the Jews of Alexandria.
Although Grabbe puts Philo's dates at ca. 20 BCE-50 CE, Bob would like
him to be around until just before the Jewish revolt in Palestine, 66-
70 CE. Philo's treatment of the rise of Joseph in Egypt may reflect
his view of the rise of his nephew, TJA.
What does Philo teach us about Judaism in the Greco-Roman world?
1. Philo was a *Greco-Roman* Jew. There is no separating his
Greco-Roman-ness from his Jewish-ness.
2. He is representative of a kind of Judaism--conscientious about
community and about following the laws, even though he uses an
allegorical interpretation of scripture. His perceptions of other
varieties of Judaism can be seen in his "On the Migration of Abraham"
(89-93). In this work, he criticizes those who distinguish a pure
rationalism without reference to a community--those who perhaps take
an even more allegorical approach to scripture than he. He believes
in the platonic ideal in which, after a person has been enlightened,
s/he must go back into the darkness of the cave in order to teach
those still there. He seems to wants to take a more moderate
approach: *not only* be aware of the meaning, but *also* obey the law.
Discussion of "Every Good Man is Free"
#74 sets you up with strange non-Greek moral groups, then discusses the
Essenes, whom he describes as "devout in the service (therapeuo) of
God." He later calls them "holy ones."
A brief sidetrack into population figures. Philo claims that there are
"more than 4,000" Essenes. However, there is really no way to know.
Other population figures cited by ancient authors are just as difficult
to understand. Whom exactly did the population figures include? Only
Roman citizens? But the criteria for determining Roman citizenship
changed over time. And a person could be a citizen of Alexandria, for
example, without being a Roman citizen.
Questions/Things to think about concerning the Essenes and Therapeutae:
1. What were associations in the Greco-Roman world like? And do the
Essenes and Therapeutae resemble them?
2. Philo uses the word "synagogue" seldom. He tends to use
"proseuche" (prayer locale) much more often to describe the *place*
of worship (or whatever happened in a proseuche).
"On the Contemplative Life"
1. Men and women are both there. Not, apparently, at Qumran, although
it's very difficult to tell--at least there are few literary
references to women.
2. Philo describes them as healers, but also uses the word therapeuo
in the sense of "service."
3. Philo is loaded with intertextuality with the LXX/OG (especially
4. Important point: Most Jews outside of Palestine in the Greco-
Roman world probably did NOT know Hebrew. Certainly the Jews in
Alexandria used the Septuagint and Old Greek translations of their
scriptures, not the Hebrew.
For next week: continue with "On the Contemplative Life," esp. #18-40.
Also read Grabbe!
//end of notes 99.05//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #06, 14 October 1999
By Tammy J. Jacobowitz
1. Show and Tell
1.1. Tammy: Follow-up about the Septuagint legends. She talked about
the letter from Aristeas to Philocrates, an excerpt from Philo (On
Moses 2.25-4.4) and a passage from the Talmud (Babylonian Talmud
Megilla 9a). A few main points:
1.1.1. There is much debate about the authenticity and dating of
Aristeas which purports to be by a Greek, writing very soon after the
translation of the Septuagint. One factor in dating the Epistle is its
allegorical interpretation of the Law -- if Philo is considered the
first to do this, wouldn't he be after Philo? But then again, even if
Philo were the first recorded Jewish allegorical interpreter, this
would not necessarily mean he was the first. Again, it takes us back
to the different approaches to understanding Philo's position in his
age, and to understanding the wide range of perspectives within early
1.1.2. There is wide variety amongst the three above sources as to the
inspired nature of the translation. Philo is the most extreme: claims
that the translators were possessed, wrote every word the same, that
every Greek expression used was perfectly matched to the Chaldean.
(Seems to be motivated to equalize the Greek with the Hebrew; to
maintain that the Greek is just as good. Talmud: God gave them help/
advice, that they all had the same results -- except that they all
changed 14 verses in order to avoid offending the King or presenting
misleading info about Jewish theology. Aristeas: that they conferred
with one another at the end of each day and mututally changed their
translations to emerge with one version.
1.2. Chip: Reported on modes of execution in Roman Law.
In the Theodotion Code (late 4th cent ce) -- an attempt to consolidate
Roman legal material stretching many centuries back -- there seem to
be 2 strata of punishment: 1) lower class: crucifixion or being
thrown to beasts. 2) Roman citizens: capital punishment --
decapitation, or just being "beheaded" in society (losing property,
exile). RAK: There were lots of suicides in Roman history because
people were afraid of losing their property (for ther heirs, etc.) if
convicted of charges of which they were accused.
2. "Other Resources" -- linked on RAK's page through our class page.
We looked at the Philo page -- we should read Treu's article!!
3. Discussion of canon, inspiration, authoritativeness: difficulty
of using these terms for the ancient world -- meant different things
to different folks in different situations (also today!).
*When Josephus talks about the 22 books, he talks about their
relationship to Jewish claims of antiquity instead of to revelation,
etc. Antiquity is an important point of polemic as a criterion for
privilege in the ancient world (see Against Apion).
Note that the Greek scriptures were translated over a period of a
couple of hundred years by different people probably in different
places. The term "Septuagint" basically refers to the Greek
Pentateuch, while the other books/sections are often referred to as
"Old Greek" (OG) -- thus the designation "LXX/OG" for the entire
4. Quick Review of LXX/OG and Latin Vulgate History
Ptolemaic Times (up to the late 1st cent bce)
LXX Proper -- 250-200 (3rd century)
Ben Sira/Sirach (prob. written around 200 bce by a certain
Joshua/Jesus, the grandfather of the person who translated it perhaps
70 or so years later. The grandson also writes a Greek prologue
that mentions the problems of translation and makes a general
reference to other respected Hebrew writings that had already been
translated into Greek.
Aristeas -- sometime between the original LXX and Josephus (who
seems to be acquainted with the Aristeas materials). Most scholars
date Aristeas before Philo.
Roman Times (from late 1st cent bce)
Philo -- mid 1st cent ce (Philo mostly uses the Pentateuch, plus a few
other books -- is that because he did not have the rest? Because it
did not exist or he just did not have access or he didn't think it as
Paul (about the same time) -- makes much wider use of Greek Jewish
scriptures in service of his Jewish eschatological message.
Josephus (last quarter of 1st century ce) -- uses especially the more
"historical" scriptural materials, plus other sources not subsequently
included in the Jewish Bible.
late 2nd cent. Melito of Sardis -- quotes Jewish scriptures widely,
gives a list of books that is almost identical to the Jewish canonical
list. Similarly Origen in the first half of the third century (but
with some additional books as well).
Around this time, Latin translations appeared (unclear whether they
were Jewish or Christian translators). These "Old Latin" translations
of Jewish scriptures were made from the available Greek. Many
different ones were being produced.
Around the year 400, Jerome is commissioned to make a more homogeneous
Latin translation. He learns Hebrew, Greek, moves to Bethlehem. He
mostly pays attention to the scriptural books accepted by his Jewish
informants (much like Luther, later). Pope instructs him to include
the traditional apocrypha as well; Jerome takes the existing OL
versions and does superficial revisions. For Psalms, he does both a
new translation from the Hebrew Bible and revises the Old Latin.
Sidepoints: even 200 years before ce, there were thriving Jewish
communities all over the place that we know very little about -- North
Africa, Asia Minor, Greece, Parthia/Babylonia, etc. With regard to
"Bible" as a collective term, the development of the large-scale codex
in the 4th century ce was a major factor; before that, the focus was
necessarily more on the smaller units (scrolls, small-scale codices).
5. Reading more about the Therapeutae in Philo
(Some scattered notes I wrote down as we read through the passages):
In his opening statements about the Therapeutae, it is hard to know
what to make of Philo's assessments: he often writes in hyperbole and
it is unclear if he means that there are many such communities
generally or only in the Jewish world (loosely defined, of course).
Chip's point: there were retirement villages throughout Egypt. In any
event, Philo claims to describe a specific group in an identified
locale (between the Mareotic Lake and the Mediterranean Sea, near
(25) oracles: could be a generaly poetic term or God-spoken word
different from laws.
These people have a revelatory, literary and musical tradition.
What does "allegorical writing" mean? Is is coded writing? Is Philo
attributing his sense of allegorical to these people?
"moasteries" - alone places; in isolation.
They have both private and public holy places.
_law_ as supreme
RAK: probably a term for the Pentateuch.
Philo never explicitly calls these people "Jews," but he makes several
references that seem to require Jewish affiliation (e.g. section 64
-- Moses as law-giver. Or at the end, Philo's description of their
ritual to reenact the Song of the Sea from Exodus 15).
THey had no slaves -- like the Essenes (as described by Philo).
Their assemblies: both at the end of each week and it seems, after
every 7 weeks -- is this the holiday of Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks)?
A type of Sabbatical year motif? Pentecost?
Read to the end of the Therapeutae section.
Next: compare the treatment of the Therapeutae and the Essenes.
Start reading Jubilees and Enoch (samples of "apocalyptic").
//end of notes 99.06//
[[Where are Notes 99.07, from 21 October?]]
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #08, for 28 October 1999
By Danmjaza; Semjaza's name comes up in ch. 8 also. Does this reflect
different traditions of name lists for these angels? Is Azazel
another name for Semjaza, their leader? Note the possibility of
multiple traditions (see L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews).
Q: How do we know what literary genres were used back then? For
instance, if remote future generations want to find out what late 20th
century society was like, but all their available sources are only
some 'trashy' novels, what would they conclude? What if 1 Enoch, for
example, is a representative of such a genre?
RAK: We are not confident what we are talking about when we speak of
"that time" (back then) -- 300-400 years is a long time; also, the
aspects of location and language are debatable, and likewise, the
issue of genre. Apocalypticism seems to have been popular for a
while, but one could argue that all the apocalyptic writings came out
of the same "publishing house."
Digression: An interesting example of transmission within Judaism is
the Damascus Document which was found (before the DSS fragments came
to light) in two copies in the medieval Cairo geniza. How did it get
there? Was the Qumran-type organization widely spread and did it
survive that long?
RAK believes that Timotheus' Letter might throw some light on the
issue (see the "texts" section of RelSt 225 for a translation).
Written about 800 CE, it states that, "about 10 years ago in the
region of Jericho books had been found in a cave." It is plausible
that one of these books was the Damascus Document, and copies of it
ended up in the Cairo geniza (possibly as a claim to antiquity of a
subset of Judaism -- the Karaite movement -- that was criticizing
Rabbinic Judaism in the late 8th century CE and afterwards).
Q: How do we know a writing is Jewish, and not influenced by
Christianity, especially when the latter is responsible for preserving
RAK: With 1 Enoch it is easier, for we have the DSS (fragments) of 1
Enoch which look much like the 15th-16th centuries manuscripts of the
Ethiopic (Ge'ez) translation. In some documents, a Jewish substratum
could usually be discerned, and sometimes Christian additions could be
identified. However, caution needs to be exercised here, for the
tendency exists to attribute too much to Christianity, and not realize
how rich the world of Jewish thought was at the turn of the era.
Concepts that look Christian (such as the Messiah being the Son of
God) could very well fit within the pre-Christian Jewish thought
On questions of definition and methodology, see: Smith, Jonathan Z.
Map is not territory : studies in the history of religions. Leiden :
Brill, 1978. (Series: Studies in Judaism in late antiquity. v. 23;
Location: Van Pelt Library Call Number: BS540 .S62) -- also his Divine
Drudgery, and other studies.
Read/Sample Hodayot, Psalms of Solomon, and Odes of Solomon
//end notes 99.08//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #09, 04 November 1999
By Elizabeth M. Jackson
Hymns and "Wisdom" Literatures
Sirach (Wisdom of Joshua Ben Sira)
Psalms of Solomon
Odes of Solomon
A book of "Hodayot" (1QH) and various other Hymns/Psalms were found
among the DSS, as well as biblical psalter copies. These indicate
the importance of this type of material for those readers.
The Wisdom of Ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus begins with a prologue by
Joshua ben Sira's grandson which discusses the translation. This is
one of the most serious commentaries on translation from antiquity.
The prologue mentions three groups of other Greek translations: the
Law, the prophets, and the rest of the books. Presumably, the Law
refers to the Pentateuch. The category of prophets is ambiguous -- two
different understandings of "prophets" are found in later listings:
the Christian category of prophets focuses on Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Ezekiel, and the twelve "Minor Prophets." The Jewish category calls
these "latter prophets" and also includes "former prophets" such as
Joshua, 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings. In the Christian tradition, prophets
tend to be seen in terms of predictions; in Jewish tradition, prophets
tell the message of God's dealings with the chosen people. The Greek
word <gk>profhths</> has both senses.
Manuscripts: In addition to the Greek translation (probably done in
Alexandria, 130-117 B.C.E.), there are numerous Hebrew fragments, at
least five in the Cairo Genizah manuscripts, and one fragment in the
Qumran caves (cave 5?) and another from Masada. (Masada lies south of
Qumran, and held out against Roman forces in the first Jewish
rebellion until 73, longer than Qumran and Jerusalem.)
In the middle ages, Sadia mentions the Hebrew Ben Sira as a useful
book, but apparently does not class it with scripture. Ben Wright
argues that there are echoes of Ben Sira in rabbinic literature.
Question: The prologue states that the translation is made for those
who live within the law. What is the thrust of such a statement
relative to varieties of Judaism in the period?
There are no references to a particular book, so conclusions about
what the law is must be inferred from the text. A common conclusion
is that the writer is a teacher in Palestine. The address of "my
children" would bear this out, and the description of Joshua ben Sira
in the prologue could be made to support it. The law may refer to the
Pentateuch, but specific definitions are difficult to make.
In Ben Sira, there is a "seam" at Chapter 44. A new heading appears,
marking a conceptual separation, and perhaps also a physical one. At
this point, a historical survey of great people begins, including the
lessons to be drawn from them. Some examples follow:
Enoch and translation: According to the biblical tradition, Enoch
walked with God and disappeared. Here, he is translated to paradise.
Noah was just: "Noah" means consolation. This is probably word play,
an implied etymology in a tradition of etymologies. A remnant
surviving the flood: eschatological terms used, whether consciously or
not, in a book which is not really eschatological. Covenants after the
flood: In plural. Sometimes the covenant made with Noah appears as
a more general covenant than that of Abraham or Moses, one made to all
people. Noahic laws may describe what God expects of human kind
generally, often with language like that in this passage. Abraham,
father of may nations: as in Philo's word play, father of a multitude.
(Philo also suggests the etymology, "father of a great noise.")
Covenant established in the flesh: singular, probably circumcision.
Found faithful in temptation: Probably offering to sacrifice Isaac.
Keeping the law: Here before the law had been given to Moses. Could
be a reference to Noahic laws or to the heavenly tablets. Keeping the
law was important to different Jewish groups, and the law was
interpreted broadly enough to include various grades of rituals.
After Moses, there is a strong connection between Moses and the law.
God's oath: Promise to Abraham often invoked for alleviation of
suffering. From the river: One of the four in Eden? The Euphrates in
Chapter 45: Moses and the holy ones: Perhaps hagios in the Greek,
kadosh in Hebrew? Through cultural and linguistic translations,
hagios comes to mean saint (through Latin sanctus). It could refer to
the angels. Analysis would require comparison with the new DSS
sources. Such a change might influence the eschatological content of
the passage. Aaron and the tribe of Levi: The importance of the
priesthood in Sirach. Later, there is a eulogy for Simon the high
priest (probably of the late third century). The author seems to be
connected to the Jerusalem priesthood. There follows a long passage
about Aaron and the priesthood in which God makes an everlasting
covenant with Aaron. Phinehas son of Eleazar is third in glory: Moses
Aaron, Phinehas? Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas? An eternal covenant is
made with Phinehas in the Pentateuch. Phinehas the priest who
condemns the mixing of the sons of Israel and the daughters of Moab;
he spears a copulating couple. David: Appears here chronologically out
of place, perhaps through the theme of blessing.
Chapter 46: Joshua son of Nun, but in Greek, Jesus the son of Nave.
Perhaps the name Nave was changed to Nun to avoid the similarity
between Nave and the Tetragrammaton, which differ only in the bottom
stroke of the nun. However, if Nave is changed to the Tetragrammaton,
the phrase strongly resembles the Christian phrase "son of God." This
could be made to support the theory that Jesus Christ was not a
historical figure, but a fictive or accidental creation. Research on
the historical Jesus has driven this theory out of popularity. Joshua
was great according to his name: The name means "God saves." In other
literature, Joshua is the successor of Moses among the prophets; he
overthrows the enemies of Israel, brings their inheritance, and stops
the sun in the sky. Caleb: Appears in the hexateuch and leads Israel
into the promised land after Moses.
Chapter 47: The days of David: David appears again, with a eulogy on
his acts. Solomon is wise and builds a temple: A summary of the
tradition also in the biblical Psalms, Enoch, Jubilees, and Stephen's
speech in the book of Acts. Riddles, perils, fame, canticles,
proverbs, interpretation, magic, and copper mines are associated with
Solomon. Solomon is brought down through his body, through women.
Magic is not mentioned in this passage, but other sources associated
both Solomon and Moses with magic, and Solomon with control over
demons. In one story, Solomon gains mastery over the spirits which
are sent to test him, and compels them to construct his building
projects. Ephraim: symbolizes the northern kingdom that splits away.
Mercy: Hesed, that is, loyalty to a covenant. It shares a common root
with Hasidim. Jeroboam: rebelled against the taxes and public works
program of Rehoboam.
Chapter 48: Hezekiah (Ezechias): Makes the sun move backward according
to Isaiah's orders to lengthen the king's life.
Chapter 49: Josiah: Repentance and recovery of the law. David,
Hezikiah, and Josiah all committed no sins. Judah: Saul does not
appear here. Other kings are passed over. There is an allusion here
to Nebuchadnezzar and the burning of Jerusalem. Ezekiel: The bones and
the chariot appear in the book of Ezekiel. Zerubbabel: One of the last
Davidic kings. He and Joshua the son of Jozadek come to symbolize the
joining of king and priest (the two candlesticks in Zachariah).
Nehemiah: is here but Ezra is not. Ezra was the restorer of the law
after the fall of the city. Enoch: a return; Seth and Shem, and
Abraham and Joseph glorified.
Chapter 50: This is probably also a separate section. Simon son of
Onias, high priest, is eulogized.
Chapter 51: This prayer does not appear in all of the Greek
manuscripts. It does appear separately in the Dead Sea Scrolls, not
with Ben Sira, but in a collection of Psalms.
Question: Could chapter 51 have been included in Ben Sira by a copyist
because there was extra room on the end of the scroll? Sometimes extra
space on a scroll is used for other material, but this is more common
with the codex because the codex contains a fixed number of pages.
With a scroll, the extra papyrus or leather could be cut off and
attached to something else.
Dating: The text was probably written around 200 bce, which would put
the translation (by the author's grandson) in the second century bce.
The family of Onias, and Simon who is eulogized in ben Sira, was a
priestly family that may have resisted Seleucid efforts. Simon is
understood to be a contemporary of Joshua ben Sira.
Question: Why does Ben Sira refer to Nehemiah but not Daniel? The Book
of Ben Sira is not particularly eschatological; perhaps the author was
not interested in Daniel's eschatology. Perhaps both books were
written near the same time.
Question: Does Daniel praise the Hasidim in opposition to the
Maccabeans? The evidence for this argument comes from chapters 11-12 ,
in the interpretation of the visions. Daniel was probably written
before the Maccabeans were really successful. The Jewish community
had various perspectives on the revolt. Some refused to fight on the
Sabbath and were slaughtered. This lead to a change in halakic
interpretation allowing for self-defense on the Sabbath. Some Jews
went along with the Roman program; they are called sinners in
Maccabean literature, probably for appearing to compromise religion,
but they are clearly Jews.
Organization of text: The section beginning with chapter 44 seems to
be connected to the rest of Ben Sira. The rest is organized in
separate elements, but not entirely clearly to modern eyes. The first
section shows an inclination to personify wisdom.
Question: Are the titles at the beginnings of the chapters in Sirach
editorial, or are they translated from the manuscript? The headings
for chapters 11 and 44 are in some Greek manuscripts. There is a
textcritical question of variance in the manuscripts, as with the
headings in the Psalms and the Song of Songs. Titles may have been
added or abandoned by scribes, and those changes may not be possible
to date, or even detect. A certifiably ancient document with a header
would be good evidence. Instructions in scrolls for teachers are not
unknown, but they may have been introduced at various times. There is
a paper from the Dead Sea Scroll class on the positioning of blanks in
the DSS, concluding that they sometimes have a dividing function,
which addresses the question of format. This question is one that has
been eclipsed by the study of content. Imanuel Tov is the expert on
the relationship between presentation and subject in the DSS. Psalm
151, which is about David going out to slay Goliath, only appears in
some Latin manuscripts and varies widely in the ancient traditions.
It represents a good example of highly revised material.
Psalms of Solomon:
This appears in some Greek manuscripts among the deuterocanonical
books. Alfred Rahlfs includes it in his two volume Greek Septuagint.
It also has a Latin and Syriac history. Robert Wright (Temple) has
done a great deal of work on the text of the Psalms of Solomon.
Criteria for righteousness: Righteousness is judged by prosperity and
progeny. This often leads to questions of why the righteous suffer.
Some passages in the Psalms of Solomon are interpreted as referring to
historical events, for example, Pompey's conquests of Palestine in 63
bce. One problem with this approach is that the book is a collection
of psalms and, like other books of psalms and proverbs may not be the
work of a single author or even a collection of contemporary work.
The book belongs to a genera of collections.
Historical references in Psalm 17: Psalm 17 begins, as is usual, with
a paean of praise. It moves to hold God to his promises, and touches
on sins and exile (perhaps, but not necessarily from Jerusalem),
monarchy, despoil, David, the overthrow of Israel and the uprooting of
the descendants. Is this Nebuchadnezzar? The changeover from
Seleucid to Maccabean rule? A man alien to the race rises up against
it -- this is associated with Psalm 8 and Pompey. However, the genera
does not draw clear distinctions between history and apocalypse --
events are likely to be symbolic and ahistorical. Any historical
content may not be identifiable.
Question: In what language were the Psalms originally composed?
The consensus is that the book was written in Hebrew and translated
from Hebrew into Greek. The Syriac texts are of uncertain origin:
although Syriac is more closely related to Hebrew, the translations
sometimes more closely resemble the Greek.
Dating: The texts have been dated by references interpreted to Pompey to
about 63 bce. However, since the history of Parthians, the Bedouins,
and much of Central Asia at the time is unknown, it may be impossible to
clearly understand historical references.
Question: When translations are made from Greek to Latin, is this in a
Jewish context or a Christian one?
This question is not asked often; usually such Latin texts are assumed
to come from a Christian community. Fourth Ezra (Second Esdras in the
Revised Standard Version), also known as the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra,
exists in Latin but not in Greek or Hebrew. In 7:25 some versions
refer to a 400 year millennium with a dying messiah. Others add "my
son the messiah, Jesus." The text is accepted as a Jewish text with
Christian influence, but it is not known when the translations was
done, or when the emendations were made. Similarly, the Greek
Testaments of the Patriarchs picks up some explicit Christian
The reference in First John to the father, the son, and the holy
spirit appears only in late manuscripts. According to one story, when
Erasmus was editing the Greek NT, he couldn't find this passage in any
available Greek manuscripts, and so he was not going to include it in
his edition. Very quickly, Greek manuscripts were "discovered" and
shown to him, so that he included the passage. Bart Ehrman's book
Orthodox Corruptions of the Scriptures (NC Chapel Hill) proposes a
model of textual emendations by orthodox believers to make the meaning
of the text more explicit.
Question: Is the phrase "my son the messiah" explicitly Christian? In
the Psalms, David is called the son of God; he is often understood as
the progenitor of the messiah. A more flexible perspective on Judaism
could be created out of this sort of material. There is no explicit
evidence for the phrase in Jewish writings, but similar language
appears in the DSS.
What do Christians create and what do they adapt? The doctrine of the
trinity may itself be an adaptation. Philo writes that God is
ineffable, but reveals himself in three ways: as king (theos), as
sustainer (kyrios), and as law (nomos). When doctrine has it that
Jesus is not created, and he is identified with Wisdom, what do you do
with a passage that says Wisdom was begotten? Begotten is understood
to explain a relationship, not a temporal sequence. It is useful to
look for this sort of drive behind a reading of scripture. Probably
very little of Christianity was not developed from somewhere else.
Question: Why is the millennium at 400 years in 4 Ezra 7? Most texts
use a figure around 1000 (mille is Latin for 1000) instead; this is
unusual. Other variations in numbers include three/seven/ten heavens,
and 70/72 nations, translators of LXX, or disciples sent out by Jesus!
Question: How accurate is the dating of the first year "of the Lord"
(AD = anno domini)? If we accept most traditions, Jesus was born under
Herod the Great, who dies around 4 bce. How much before that? A
recent article in Lingua Franca on the star of Bethlehem has
conjectures by different astronomers. One argument is for 6 bce,
another for 5 bce. It depends what sort of thing you are looking for,
a comet, a meteor shower, etc. Even dating by Herod, which seems like
the clearest information, is problematic. How long before Herod's
death? And who would have recorded Jesus' birth? In pre-industrial
societies, people often don't keep track of their ages. The earliest
of Jesus' followers seem to have focussed on his death and
resurrection. The census described in Luke's nativity narrative took
place in 6 ce, as far as the evidence shows.
//end of notes 99.09//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #10, 11 November 1999
By Dorothea Mueller
When does classical Judaism achieve the forms that survive today in
This question is hard to answer due to a severe lack of knowledge
concerning different aspects of early Judaism. An important landmark in
the development of classical Judaism, however, is the compilation of the
two Talmudim (Palestinian and Babylonian). It is associated with the
establishment of the authority of a group called "the rabbis"/"ha-
rabbanim," who are seen as the founding fathers of classical rabbinic
The Talmudim are rabbinic sources edited in the 4th-6th century
(Palestinian Talmud seems the earlier), which create an ideal world
built on a particular perception and interpretation of Jewish law and
its ideas of purity. (Some earlier Midrashim already show the same
ideals.) A whole historic construct tries to identify the origins of
rabbinic law with 2nd century figures, e.g. Rabbi Akiva or Jehuda ha-
Nasi, and the developments they brought about. But only one single
tractate in the Talmud itself, Pirqe Avot, tries to trace back earlier
traditions. The understanding rabbinic Judaism shows of its own history
is a construct that often does not correspond with other information
(archaeological, etc.) from the same period.
[[Excursion. The Persian period in Palestine began around the year 539
BCE and is associated with Cyrus the Great. Apparently during his
reign, permission was granted to the Jews to return to Judaea from
their exile in Babylon. Those who returned struggled for a
purification of their civil and cultic life (e.g. by means of the
prohibition of mixed marriages). This period is usually identified
with the work of Ezra. It also stands for the beginning of something
that can properly be called "Judaism" since from this time on one can
see some kind of continuity in the development of Jewish religious
Rabbinic sources represent only one of many different aspects of
Judaism, which existed in numerous varieties throughout antiquity.
Their value for historic research is often doubted. This skepticism
has been emphasized by Jacob Neusner and his recently developed
approach to rabbinic scholarship. Neusner accomplished to open up
Jewish scholarship to the awareness of all sorts of constructs in
rabbinic literature which make it difficult to use rabbinic writings
as historic sources. Among other contemporary scholars, who are aware
that the rabbinic sources are partly contradictory and often not very
trusworthy in terms of their historical value for the earlier periods,
Lester Grabbe is one of those who treats the material rather
The final emergence of classical rabbinic Judaism seems to have been
visible by the 5th century CE. At that time, however, it probably
represented only a minority among Jews and seemingly had far less
authority and prestige than one might expect from its influence on
later periods. Around the 9th/10th century, it had to struggle with
the problem of the Karaites who rejected rabbinic authority and wanted
to return to a purer form of Judaism. Another phenomenon emerging in
the Middle Ages was the splitting up of rabbinic Judaism into
Ashkenazim (especially Germany and eastern Europe) and Sephardim
[Excursion. A short discussion on the numbering of Greek manuscripts
in critical editions of Jewish scriptures, illustrated by RAK's story
of discovering and identifying a fragmentary Greek manuscript of
Joshua from around the 5th century ce.]
There is no evidence for a single point of time at which Christianity
can be said to have split off from Judaism. Jerome mentions the
existence of "Jewish-Christians" in the late 4th century, while Tertullian
opposes them already in the 2nd century. Justin Martyr's Dialogue with
Trypho the Jew clearly refers (in a not unsympathetic manner) to Jews
who believe in Jesus in the mid 2nd century.
HODAYOT (1QH). "Hodayot" is the Hebrew term for the Cave 1 Hymnbook
among the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Cave 1, as well as cave 11, is not
located directly at the ruins of Qumran but contains better preserved
materials than the Qumran caves themselves.) The parts of the damaged
manuscript of the hymns were put together by the original team of
researchers who worked on the DSS materials for years, but more recent
publications show a reordering of the hymns (following Puech's
research) and give both the old and the new numbers for columnation.
(See e.g.the new edition by Garcia-Martinez or that by Geza Vermes.)
It is not clear whether the hymns and songs from the DSS were actually
sung in harmonies, i.e. in different tonal levels. Philo's description
of the Therapeutae and their melodious singing might suggest that the
Dead Sea sect also sang its hymns. R.Altmann (on the ORION electronic
discussion group) argues that the blanks in the text of the scrolls
(see edition by Garcia-Martinez) were significant for the musical
intonation of the DSS poetry.
The early conjecture that the Hodayot or at least some of them might
have been written by the Teacher of Righteousness seems to be
questioned by many scholars today. Some of the Hodayot reveal personal
nuances, which could be due to the imitation of biblical psalms or the
actual integration of biblical material in the Dead Sea poetry. The
authors of the Dead Sea hymns especially mention David in connection
with the biblical psalms. They see him in the tradition that
associates him with psalms and songs, i.e. with the composition and
musical oralization of poetry.
One of the motifs that appears in the DSS materials is the dualism of
"cleanness" and "uncleanness" but it is not clear whether the two are
seen as formal categories or whether a distinction is made between
moral and ritual impurity. It is possible that some of the DSS
writings represent a step towards this distinction that is made
clearly in later sources.
//end notes 99.10//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #11, 18 November 1999
By Uri Cohen
As a response to a question at the beginning of class Dr. Kraft
mentioned that the Dead Sea Scrolls took as long as they did to come
out because of that fact that the project was severely underestimated
in reference to time and size of the "team," as well as reference to
money. Because of this there were many monetary and logistical
problems that had to be overcome before the works could be published.
We visited 4Q184 "Wiles of the Wicked Woman" off of Alan Humm's
website. It explains the beginnings of all paths to evil.
We then visited Horoscopes, 4Q186.
People at this time were very pre-destination minded, though how this
horoscope relates to the destination is unclear. The body seems to have
been divided into parts, though exactly how this is, is also unclear, such
as descriptions of positions and their relationships to the parts of the
body, such as the nails.
4Q561 -- Eyes between clear and dark -- a physical description of what
seem to be non-physical characteristics.
The Elect of God Text, 4Q534
Knows of three books, prudence, visions, he will live to old age.
Wisdom will extend far, antagonists will fail, he is the chosen one of
God. His work is like taht of the watchers. A note of interest is that
there are 2 other descriptions like this -- the Epistle of Titus in
the Acts of Paul (a physical description of Paul), and the Apocalypse
of Elijah (only exists in Armenian; the antichrist is described very
much like this as well), Perhaps this style of description can be
found elsewhere as well.
They had pretty much the same Zodiak as we do. There isn't a lot of
Zodiak-related material, but there are some that are interesting,
including the fact that Zodiak-related images can be found on the
floors of some synagogues in Palestine from the early medieval period.
Wisdom of Solomon
This is a long book, in poetic form. It is an apocryphal work in
Greek. We found it on the web at http://www.ht.umich.edu, off of Alan
Humm's page in the "Bibles" section.
The book is attributed to Solomon. The first five chapters have images
similar to some in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as to Christian
understandings of Jesus -- the motif of the righteous man who is
persecuted. This seems to be a template for a righteous person.
Second-Isaiah is similar with the "suffering servant" idea.
Righteousness is good and characterizes the child of God. The
righteous person avoids those who are not righteous, considering them
to be "base." People test him with insults. This picture is startling
as seen through the eyes of the church.
The book is believed to have been authored in Greek as a sermonic
work. The latter part is a sophistocated sermon on the Exodus. This
doesn't reflect the translation of the LXX to the extent we might
expect, although WisdSol was written after LXX Exodus.
The book was probably written in the late 1st Century BCE in
Alexandria by a Jew. Wisd 2.24 mentions the devil -- possibly the
Greek word for devil is a translation of the Hebrew "satan" or
"adversary"; by this time there seems to be a concept of the devil as
an independent being. This idea may have come from Persia. Scott
pointed out that the word "diabolos" is mentioned 22 times in the
Greek Jewish scriptures, but he didn't remember the history.
The righteous man is seen as getting clobbered. Then followed a
discussion of the fact that Wisdom is seen as feminine. Woman is used
as a philosophical category by Philo. Here wisdom is used in relation
to living life the "correct" way. It is rampant in the literature of
this time. Widsom protected Adam, Cain, Abel, Noah. A hymn to Wisdom
exists. In Exodus, Wisdom entered Moses, helped the people to escape
Ex. 19.18 The elements change -- blindness occurs, as the Plague of
Darkness is recorded. The elements change places with each other, as
in some Greek "scientific" speculations. God has glorified the people
Israel, not neglected them.
Did people care who wrote the texts? If the claim was that a great
person (Enoch, Solomon) wrote about it, then yes, they probably did
care. If authorship by such people is not claimed, then it is
probably not so important who it was that wrote the material. A
similar phenomenon occurs with reference to the Jesus traditions. He
is talked about the same way, by attributing the accounts to famous
early Christian authors. The WisdSol material is thought to have been
written in Alexandria because of its more "philosophical" content.
Some of the Odes of Solomon were seen at www.abc.org/odes.htm Not all
of the Odes are explicitly Christian. We don't know whether or not
some of this material came from a Jewish source.
Ode 10: Parallelism is used -- typical of Semitic poetry. Note how a
figure like the Messiah/Christ is described as conquering the world.
Looks like a Christ figure... salvation as key. Is it possible that
this could have come from a Jewish background with this very
Christian sounding language?
Ode 36: "I rested on the spirit of the Lord" -- Syriac says "she".
mystical descent is described. Christ talks about his ascent, he is
called son of man and of God (referred to as Light, son of God). This
doesn't sound necessarily Christian, since the son of man aspect is
not a particularly Christian notion and is also found in pre-Christian
Jewish sources. The book doesn't seem to say that it is by Solomon,
but it is attributed to him anyway. Some of it sounds very much like
good Christian hymns.
There are 4 books with the title "Maccabees". 1 and 2 have to do
the Maccabean revolt. The Third has nothing to do with the Maccabees
but deals with an Alexandrian problem of a different time. The fourth
book is a treatise that argues that reason subdues and is more
powerful than the passions, using the story of the seven Jewish
"martyrs" and their mother. In the story, each son is told to denouce
Judaism but refuses and dies as a consequence. Thus reason (i.e.
faithfulness to God and the law) is better than passion (i.e. holding
on to life). All of this is presented in a philosophical framework.
The Greek of the book is often very hard to translate... very specific
torture devices are referred to. This text became widely used in
Christian circles because of references to martyrdom, death for God.
It was also widely used in Jewish circles, as it mentions faith until
For next time we are told to read the intros to the sources mentioned
in the syllabus (Fall 1992) to get a sense of what is there.
//end notes 99.11//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #12, 02 December 1999
Daniel A. Gabriel
1. Report on Meeting of American Academy of Religious / Society of
Biblical Literature -- The annual meeting took place in Boston during
the weekend (Sat - Tues) preceding Thanksgiving, with over 8000 people
One of the sessions at the SBL conference included discussion of where
Dead Sea Scrolls research stands at present, with a particular focus
on the cemeteries which have been located at Qumran. The main cemetery
found thus far contains over 1100 graves, less than 50 of which have
been dug thus far. Most of the skeletons recovered from that site have
been identified as male, although there has been much discussion as to
whether some of them might have, in fact, been women. It had been
suggested that DNA tests be employed to resolve this question, but
this may not work because of the age of the bones. For bones this old,
even Carbon 14 testing is not always effective in gathering
information, and at present, determinations of the sex of the persons
are made by measuring the pelvises, height, and similar physical
features. This main cemetery is also interesting because the graves
and bones found here had been oriented in a north-south position (most
heads to the south), whereas the bodies at other, smaller, adjacent
cemeteries did not have graves all organized one direction. The
adjacent cemeteries seem clearly to include bones of women and
children, which has been taken to challenge the idea that the nearby
community was composed of male ascetics. The report in Boston claimed
that the main adjacent cemetery was not ancient, but was a bedouin
burial site no more than two centuries old! One major problem
hindering research into these questions is that fact that the Israeli
government will not, at present, allow more graves to be dug, out of
deference to the Orthodox Israelis who oppose this practice on
2. Revolt against Trajan
Other noteworthy sessions at the SBL conference dealt with Philo, the
Greco Roman world, and the tearing down of the temple of idolaters as
recorded in the Testament of Job. It was suggested that the
description of this destruction may be a reference to the aftermath of
the revolt against Trajan. This revolt occurred in approximately 115
CE, and ended with the apparent destruction of the Egyptian Jewish
community. In fact, this destruction was so complete that
Modrzejewski, in his work Jews of Egypt (written in French, recently
translated to English), who traced the history of Jewish communities
in Egypt ended his book with their annihilation in 116 CE. In addition
to declaring that Jews were destroyed at this time, he argued that
Jewish-Christians were also killed at the conclusion of this revolt.
As a result, he believed that the first Egyptian Christians formed
independently of Jewish-Christians. Archaeological evidence for the
destruction of the Jewish Community can be found in the tax receipts
at Edfu, a town in Egypt which was located far from Alexandria and
other centers of power. Jews had been compelled to pay a special tax,
and so it can be determined that when the tax receipts end, so did the
Jewish community. Excavations and tests have revealed that the tax
receipts ended in approximately 115 CE. The fact that Edfu is off the
beaten path, yet still saw the destruction of its Jewish community in
this revolt indicates how widespread the massacre of the Egyptian Jews
may have been. Although the revolt had a major effect on Jews in
Egypt, it seems to have had little effect on the Palestinian Jewish
community. Nevertheless, one may be skeptical that such a major event
could not have had cultural and political implications for Jews
throughout all of the Roman empire. The revolt of the Egyptian Jews
against Trajan is recorded by few historians of the time, but those
who do write about these events all label it as a great crisis. One
writer claims that 500,000 people were slaughtered in the revolt, and
other even record that the Jews were initially successful before
finally succumbing to the power of Rome.
3. Sibylline Oracles
In the 4th century BCE there were various female oracles in the Greek
world representing early Greek traditions of about divine revelation.
Unlike other oracles who spoke for themselves, these women spoke
ecstatically so that their utterances needed to be interpreted by
their associated priests. It is told that they would sit in stools
which were placed above cracks in the earth out of which certain gases
would be emitted. This contributed to the air of mystery which
surrounded them. The oracles were so prominent in their time that they
were intertwined in cultural structures and were compiled and
transmitted through the ages since. When the Romans took over the
Greek world they placed great value on the proclamations of the
oracles. This respect was so great in fact that the oracles were
collected in written form and an office of the Keeper of Sibylline
Oracles was established in Rome. This person was charged with
protecting/maintaining the collection and consulting them when needed.
Before undertaking major decisions such as war, the oracles were
usually consulted by the Roman leaders. The original collection
perished in a fire in 82 bce, and subsequent efforts to restore it
encouraged various developments including the production of the
surviving materials by that name, which clearly have come through
Jewish and Christian filters.
4. Jewish (and Christian) Sibylline Oracles
Over time, Jewish writings and ideology were interspersed with and/or
created in imitation of the traditional utterances of the oracles.
Similarly, Christian materials were also interjected into the
Sibylline collections and copies resulting in the surviving
(Christian) Sibylline Oracles. It is not clear how much, if any, of
the "official" Roman collection(s) have survived in these materials.
Collection of such writings had already become a literary tradition by
the time the Jewish and Christian influences were added. When
examining this collection in John Collins' translation (in
Charlesworth) it will be evident that certain sections are
particularly Christian in outlook while others can be seen as
primarily Jewish and still others as not obviously reflecting either
5. Sampling the Extant Sibylline Oracles
John Collins translated and edited the collection of Sibylline
material which is found in Charlesworth:
Book 1. Prologue: a connection is made to Jewish traditions. Line 324:
there is cryptic letter imagery about Jesus' name. The numerical value
of the name of Jesus in Greek may have special meanings when the sum
of all the letters is computed. This reference to Jesus' name is a
clear example of Christian contributions to the Sibylline material.
Book 5. This book is much less Christian than the first book and there
is only one "probable" Christian reference that can still be found
(lines 256-259). Of course, Jewish and Christian interests often
The Return of Nero ("Nero redivivus"):
5.214ff highlights the apocalyptic and eschatological aspects of this
collection. Some significant references in this line include:
5.214: Corinth was an important shipping port in antiquity, and a
major city in Greece
5.218: Bronze -- Nero is said to have had bronze tools with which to
cut out the rocks near Corinth
5.222: Cutting off the roots of three heads -- this may refer to the
three empires and be an allusion to Daniel 7.8 and/or other
apocalyptic traditions (e.g. 4 Ezra, Revelation) --"three empires" is
a common theme in Jewish and Christian eschatology.
On Egypt, see e.g. 5.179ff: this section contains a mixture of
geographical-historical identifications and condemnation
5.52ff already refers to calamaties in Egypt
Some noteworthy references in this section include:
5.53: Isis was the most famous goddess for Greco-Roman Egyptians as
evidenced by the statues erected to her throughout the land. Many of
these images were defaced by Christians and Muslims in later eras. She
is said to have had phallic symbols erected in honor of her murdered
husband, Osiris, and doubtless also connected with fertility issues
in the "mystery religion" that is called by their names.
5.56: Mention of the Nile River -- its flooding was crucial to
agriculture and consequently to life in Egypt
5.88: Alexandria is mentioned as part of Egypt (but the text seems
corrupt). This is unusual as Alexandria thought of itself as an
independent city-state under Rome and ruling Egypt, but not as a part
of Egypt. There was a sense of pride at being an "Alexandrian," and
this title carried status in the Greco-Roman world. As a result people
who could do so usually referred to themselves as Alexandrians and did
not identify with Egypt as such.
6. Oral Exam
- We will be examined on our knowledge of the material pertinent to
the course, and not simply for knowing specific texts such as Grabbe.
That is, not all material covered on the exam will necessarily be
found in the specific texts which we bought or used for the course;
one point in such an exam is to test the scope and limits of our
knowledge of the overall subject matter, obtained from whatever
sources (including class discussions and the minutes!).
- The minutes which have been recorded by students are being loaded
onto the website after Dr. Kraft has had a chance to edit them (be
forewarned that he may have made some corrections or additions to your
minutes, so if they are not exactly as you submitted them, do not be
too surprised). We will be responsible for the material that was
covered in class as recorded in the minutes as well as material in
- The oral exam is generally administered after a student has had
his/her paper returned to him/her and has had a chance to review Dr.
Kraft's questions and comments. The subject matter and approach taken
in one's paper are topics that may also be expected to be discussed in
- We are permitted to retake the oral exam if we (or Dr. Kraft) are
not satisfied by our performance the first time, and would like the
opportunity to review other parts of the material that we may not have
- It will not be a "rote memory" test for dates, data, etc. (although
memory will certainly be crucial to a successful performance!).
Relational information about various events may be important (knowing
the order of major movements and texts may be relevant), but specific
dates are usually not -- except for a few obvious "pegs" such as the
Maccabean/Hasmonean uprisings around 165 bce and the destruction of
the second Temple in 70 CE.
7. Research Paper
- The paper is graded based upon how the student deals with data that
has been collected.
- In addition, methodological selfconsciousness will be an important
factor. One should attempt to demonstrate an understanding of where
assumptions have been made in the material which is collected, and
which assumptions are being made in the course of this research. One
should be careful in dealing with such assumptions and Dr. Kraft will
be alert to the ways in which the papers show their awareness. Clear
definitions are basic to successful communication and consistent
- Dr. Kraft often reads a research paper and permits students to add
comments or an appendix dealing with certain problems in greater
detail or with more sophistication. He has, on occasion, asked people
to rewrite parts or all of a paper, but it is more likely that one
would be asked to add a section rather than to do a rewrite.
The word Hanukkah is literally derived from the words <hb>Hannukkat ha
bayeet</> which means "dedication of the house," referring to the
dedication of the Temple which was undertaken by the Maccabees after
defeating the Seleukids and their supporters around 165 bce. The
Seleukid ruler, Antiocus IV Epiphanes, had ordered a Greek deity's
statue to be erected in the Temple, and after reconquering the Temple,
the Hasmoneans needed to clean and rededicate it to remove
this impurity. Following victory in the revolt, the Hasmonean dynasty
ruled Palestine for about 100 years until Rome took over with the
arrival of Pompey in 63 bce. John Hyrcanus, the most famous Hasmonean
king, who ruled from 135-104 bce, is a hero of Josephus, and has come
to be an icon of this dynasty. Some people saw the Hasmoneans as
having betrayed their own cause, as they merely set up a kingdom in
place of the one which they had rejected. Rather than restore the
legitimate and traditional High Priests to their positions, they took
this role for themselves. Although they came from priestly backgrounds
themselves, their were not from the lineage of Zaddok, the family of
priests that occupied the High Priesthood at the time of the uprising.
The designation "Hasmonean" (family name, clan) is used in Semitic
sources and the name "Maccabean" is found in Greek sources. There is
no mention of the holiday of Hanukkah in the rabbinic Mishna (or, so
far, in the Dead Sea Scrolls), but it is discussed in the Gemara.
9. Books of Maccabees
The holiday ostensibly commemorates the miracle of a single day's
worth of oil for lighting the lamps in the Jerusalem Temple lasting
for eight days. However, this legend is not found at all in the books
of the Maccabees! The first book of Maccabees discusses the uprising
in the context of the history of the Greek Empire from the time of
Alexander until the accession of John Hyrcanus in 135 bce. The second
book focuses on the immediate background and the uprising itself,
including the dismantling and storage of the Temple implements to
protect them from being defiled. Third Maccabees has nothing to do
with these events but deals with an earlier problem in Alexandria!
Fourth Maccabees uses the Maccabean "martyrs" mentioned more briefly
in 2 Maccabees as subject of a treatise on reason controlling
//end of notes 99.12//
Religious Studies 525, Varieties of Early Judaism
Class Notes #13, 09 December 1999
by Dwight Singer
Introduction to Chip Gruen's ongoing graduate project -- display of
the available parallel column Greek and Hebrew (unpointed, at present)
texts of the Pentateuch (the project will include other books of the
Hebrew Bible at a later date). The texts were prepared during the
past two decades by the CATSS (Computer Assisted Tools for
Septuagint/Scriptural Studies) project and can be accessed through
RAK's home page under CCAT Gopher, Religious Texts. RAK indicated that
the Hebrew text is the BHS3 text and the Greek text is the Rahlfs text
(to be modified to the Gottingen text where it exists). He also
distinguished between diplomatic vs. eclectic texts. The first
approach selects the best (or most useful) actual manuscript and
provides variants in a textual apparatus while the second choses from
the various readings in the manuscripts (plus hypothetical
reconstructions when needed) and recreates what is thought to be the
oldest recoverable text, with the ideal of recovering the original.
The Greek text that Chip is using is eclectic, while the Hebrew is
diplomatic (the Leningrad codex). The presentation of the project also
included some discussion of the format of the larger CATSS project and
sources that could be accessed in conjunction with that project.
Review of the course in preparation for the final commenced.
Throughout the class RAK sought to allay student frustration/dread(?)
over the vast amount of material from this period -- in view of the
impending oral exam. He will examine how far each student's knowledge
goes, what each student does not know, in order to foster continued
learning and familiarity with the material.
The review began with an extended line of questioning concerning the
various groups within Judaism during the Hellenistic Era. RAK's
questions were formulated to encourage students to be self-conscious
about their methodology.
He mentioned that Marcel Simon's little book on Jewish sects deals
briefly with varieties of Judaism beyond those mentioned by
Josephus. He asked if anyone knew who the "Hemerobaptists" were.
Apparently, from their name, they baptized daily. He admitted that
this group is quite obscure, along with several other named groups.
He began a series of questions on the Samaritans in relation to
Judaism in the period. What did Josephus think? What information do we
have outside Palestine (location where we know the Samaritans were)
regarding not just the Samaritans but also "Jews" as a designation
(however we may classify Samaritans)? In the West we know Jews lived
in Asia Minor (Ephesus and other cities mentioned). In the East, in
Babylon, we know very little. Christian anti-heresy authors sometimes
mention Jewish sub-groups, sometimes including "Samaritans." It
appears that some Samaritans may have lived in a Graeco-Roman
community on the island of Delos.
The "geographical survey" of locations of Jews and especially
Samaritans leads us to the awareness of the difficulty of
identification in the world outside of Joesphus' Palestine, where
there are no known standard "labels" for the various varieties
of Judaism. RAK supplied the general illustration of Alexandria, which
though in Egypt did not consider itself as Egyptian. Josephus in
Against Apion "took a swipe" against Apion for claiming to be an
Alexandrian because he was actually (says Josephus) an Egyptian. RAK
further observes that in Alexandria, where we know Jews lived,
nevertheless, we do not know if Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes
had communities/synagogues there.
What label would you put on Philo? This question initiates the next
extended line of questioning. Again, RAK's interrogation forces self-
consciousness in methodology. This is evidenced in his follow-up
question: What would you base your answer on? Other relevant matters
that would help us in attempting to "label" Philo: What does he tell
about himself? What is his view of eschatology and resurrection
(noting the reported difference in views between Pharisees and
Sadducees)? Is he concerned about the law (but this question would not
be too helpful since it would be unusual to find any Jew unconcerned
about the law)? How he interpreted the law would be the issue that
might better distinguish between groups. RAK then focused the class's
probings. He notes the Pharisees interest in eschatology and the
absence of it in Philo (he "stifles" eschatology). Thus, Philo
probably should not be labeled a Pharisee -- at least not of the
What about Sadducee? We assume, on the basis of Josephus' accounts as
well as others, that Sadducees were closely associated with the Temple
in Jerusalem. However, Philo pays little attention to the Temple in
Jerusalem except in the Embassy to Gaius (where the threat to Temple
sanctity is central), the treatment of "special laws" (reflecting
Pentateuchal passages; see below), and a few other passing references.
Could he have been associated with the Jewish Temple in Egypt in
Heliopolis/Leontopolis? He also does not explicitly mention this
Temple, although it is likely that he would have known about it. RAK
asks the class to consider also what others may have said about
whether Philo was associated with the Jerusalem Temple. Josephus says
that Philo's brother Alexander (father of Tiberius Julius Alexander)
donated the silver and gold for nine "gates" of the Jerusalem Temple
(War 5.[3.]205). Philo alludes to pilgrimages to the Temple (Special
Laws 1.69, in a lengthy passage playing on Pentateuchal references to
"the holy place" where the priests are active, festivals are observed,
etc.). Thus, we may conclude that Philo was quite conscious of the
Jerusalem Temple. Moreover, that the Jews of the Graeco-Roman Period
sent an annual tax contribution to the Temple further suggests that he
(as all Jews) would at least be well aware of the Temple and its
functions. Indeed, most of what is known about the Sadducees in
Palestine is "tied to the Temple." But Philo's failure to give any
special attention to the Jerusalem Temple suggests that he doesn't fit
the (artificial?) stereotype of a Sadducee.
A question arose from the class concerning the association of the
Sadducees with the Jewish state. RAK asks: Can such an association be
extended to other locations (leaving open the possibility that
Sadducees may be found outside Palestine)? We do not have any data,
but RAK contends that guessing about what the Sadducees may have done
in other places is not bad, for it keeps the researcher open-minded.
RAK notes that Sadducees are mentioned in later centuries by Christian
writers. Is this a frozen polemic or an actual group? In addition,
should we associate the sons of Zadok mentioned in the 10th-12th
century copies of the Damascus Document with the Sadducees? RAK's
answer: they do not fit with Josephus' description. However, is a
survival/revival of the group possible? The discussion moved to the
consideration of changes within communities. In understanding those
groups that have lived on, how have they transformed themselves?
The DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls) were the next area of discussion. RAK: Who
left us the scrolls? Student queries: Do you mean what group is
responsible for them? RAK points out that the question assumes
homogeneity of origin. RAK notes that the composers of the Damascus
Document sound more like the Essenes of Josephus and Philo than like
other groups (perhaps by default), but would they seem like the same
group as those that copied the 10th-12th century CD manuscripts? The
different editions of CD illustrate the "great dilemma," i.e., how do
we understand the changes within communities over time. How much
change can go on in a group without destroying the meaning of our
labels? In different times and locations is the group the same? Let us
consider the DSS community and assume it was one group. We may note
changes in some concepts, e.g., the Messiah. Can we say that the group
remained the same within such development? RAK observes that Jewish
vs. Christian scholars have often come from different perspectives in
attempting to answer such a question. A Jewish "lever" for
understanding could be continuity of Halakah while that of the
Christian might be eschatology (to oversimplify matters!). Today we
struggle to find balanced ways of approach to recreate the
most historically believable situation.
Digression to exam concerns and another challenge concerning self-
conscious methodology. RAK alerts us that we have elementary decisions
to make regarding the vast amount of material. The challenging issue:
Whom do you trust? We may consider the bones at Qumran (cf. class
#12). Is the discrepancy over the reported length of the spike in one
report from an "expert" (e.g. 2 1/2 vs. 3 inches), any reason to
dismiss all other arguments of that particular scholar? How can we
identify with assurance the difference between female and male
skeletons? We are dependent upon the work of others. RAK's lesson in
this covers one of his pedagogical goals: How do you do research? /
How do you use another's research? (Thus, we need to be self-conscious
of our methodology.)
RAK concludes. For the assumed DSS community, as for most early
Judaism of which we are aware, and to some extent even for the Judaism
that became "classical," eschatology is central, pervasive.
Eschatology also became a problem for early Christianity. So we are
brought back to the issue of change within communities. The "scroll
people" (assuming that they did not live on) did not make an
effective adjustment. Christian Jews did, however. They marginalized
eschatology. Rabbinic Judaism also adjusted. Eschatology tended to
become an echo in the liturgy, for most. Returning to previous
discussion: did the Sadducees have a significant eschatology? RAK
thinks not. What about an individual like Philo? Philo did not voice
any significant eschatological views. He may not have been happy with
what was voiced by others. A final comment focuses upon Paul, a rabid
Jewish eschatologist in contrast to Philo). RAK appreciates Paul,
while not necessarily agreeing with him, for on the basis of Paul's
writings it is possible to predict Paul's responses to issues even if
he might not address them directly. To some extent that can also be
done with Philo. Unfortunately, such opportunities are rare in
historical scholarship, and we are often left in the dark about
things we would like to know.
[Scribal note: Thanks for your flexibility in allowing us to work (on
course requirements) at a pace slower than that of the academic
schedule. Response: That way I can legitimately expect more! I look
forward to reading your research papers and discussing it all with you
as an end event of sorts.]]
//end of 1999 class notes//