Week #05 -- 11 October 2005 -- submitted by Adam P. Moore
The class started out with the playful barbing of Liz for a few misspellings. Google is the new bible!
The plan for this class is to spend time discussing the Enoch materials. Christine has a question about the history of Enoch. It is determined that we will look at the backgrounds and foregrounds of these books.
We consulted the BibleGateway resources page for the Book of Jude (ESV). Jude quotes a passage from "Enoch," similar to some things in "1 Enoch." Since the Enoch materials are noncanonical or parabiblical, there has been debate about what it means for it to have been cited by the canonical book of Jude. There seems to have been a variety of Enoch materials available in antiquity, which can be referred to collectively as an "Enochic corpus" that includes several books (plural) that have survived as well as some that are lost. This is important, and there are other ancient names that acted similarly, as magnets or catalysts for literary productions (e.g. Adam, Moses, Isaiah, Ezra).
The Epistle of Barnabas (4.3) also refers to a book of Enoch, as do the Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs, and some fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls also contribute to the collection of Enochic traditions.
In Jude 14, Enoch is described as the seventh descendant from Adam, and Genesis 5.22 says that he "walked with God." Genesis says that Enoch lived 365 years and fathered Methuselah (known also from Porgy and Bess, "It Ain't Necessarily So"), then "he was not, for God took him." Tradition says that he was "translated," meaning that he did not die, but was taken up into heaven. Genesis records people living extremely long lives in the early period (before Abraham).
The book of Enoch survived among Ethiopic Christians. Tertullian (c 200 ce) quotes from 1 Enoch in his writing, and says that it should be included in the scriptures (On the Apparel of Women 1.3). When Christians created authoritative "canon lists" from the 4th and 5th centuries onward, Enoch was left out. However, it probably survived (or was rescued) in part because Christians built up a whole literature concerning martyrs and other important people, and memorial days were assigned to each "saint." On their specific day, sources were read about them.
Chronologies also became of interest to Christians and by the 9th century George Syncellus (a secretary to the head of the Church in Constantinople) incorporated sections from the Enoch materials into his work.
"1 Enoch" is a library containing five easily identifiable books, preserved as such in Ge'ez ("Ethiopic").
"2 Enoch" was preserved only in Old Church Slavic (aka "Slavonic").
"3 Enoch" was preserved in medieval Hebrew.
Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, fragments of most of the books of "1 Enoch" have been found. It is clear that in pre-Christian times, many copies of these Enoch texts were in existence and available to the people responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The "1 Enoch" anthology contains various eschatological references such as the "book of life," on which the names of the righteous are recorded. Its separable parts are:
First, "Book of the Watchers" (chs 1-36) -- an old source, which also combines various ancient traditions.
Second, "Parables/Similitudes," containing three such analogies (chs 37-71). This section is most widely commented on by scholars studying the Jesus traditions because of the "Son of Man" imagery. There have been debates on whether it was post or pre-Christian in date.
Third, "The Astronomical Book" (chs 72-82), with its concern about the calendar and the movement of heavenly bodies.
Fourth, "The Dream Visions" (chs 83-90), which we will look at in more detail later.
Fifth, "The Epistle of Enoch" and other materials (chs 91-108), organized as poetic lines. Uses parallelism.
The "Book of the Giants" could have been the original second book, according to J. T. Milik. He argues that since no part of the Similitudes has been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, but we do have fragments of what seems to be the hitherto lost "Book of the Giants," there was an Enochic Pentateuch structure. Mani included the "Book of the Giants" in his competing scriptural collection, which is why it would have been pulled from "1 Enoch" by Christian users, who then (wrote and) substituted the Similitudes. But against this hypothesis on the later and Christian origin of the Similitudes, is the impression that they seem consistent with early (pre-Christian) Jewish material.
Christine asked if it was possible that *Enoch* was not written by Enoch. Dr. Kraft does not think that any scholar believes that Enoch really wrote any of these books. However, Enoch was credited with many firsts, including writing. "He was taken up to read the heavenly tablets." Some scholars date the earliest books of Enoch as early as 300 bce.
When did Enoch live? Bishop Ussher from the 17th century worked out a chronology, which dated the creation of the world to 4004 bce. Using the relative chronology provided in the book of Genesis, Enoch would have lived in the fourth millennium bce (about 3400).
Book of the Watchers:
The opening line sets us up into an eschatological sequence. The good guys are the elect or the chosen, or those still alive when the end comes. The bad people are the wicked and the godless. This book has a feature of predestination throughout. It is visionary, apocalyptic, and transportational. Enoch, that main character, was shown things by angels, not at the end times, but in a position to transmit information to readers for the future. This book sometimes uses poetic couplets. Heavenly beings are referred to as "angels" not "sons of God" as in the Hebrew of Genesis 6.1-4. However, the Greek that has been preserved uses both terms in that passage. Not only do we hear about general angels in the Enochic book, but also archangels. Azazel is the leader of the wicked "sons of heaven," and Enoch does interact with him. Lucifer "light bearer" (Greek Phosphoros, also applied to the "morning star" Venus) does not appear in this book, but the concept of fallen heavenly beings is present. Some have seen allusions to the fall of Satan in Isaiah 14.12ff and Ezekiel 281ff. Enoch is called the "scribe of righteousness." When the giants die, their spirits become the bodiless demons.
There is a possibility that there is a second source evidenced by chapter 14. We discussed the term "etiological" – which means, explaining the cause or reason (from the Greek).
Chapter 17: explains causes of natural occurrences like thunder.
Chapter 20: Tatarus = the underworld; Uriel is over the world and Tartarus; Raphael is over the spirits of men. Raquel takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries. Gabriel is over Paradise and the serpents and Cherubim.
Chapter 22: The world goes from order to chaos.
Chapter 35: Enoch sees the 3 portals (gates) of heaven, through which the heavenly bodies travel.
Book 2: Parables: the "second vision" of Enoch. "The Lord of the Spirits" is a favorite phrase. There are also various themes. Chapter 42 talks about "wisdom who finds no dwelling-place." Wisdom is personified as a woman, which is a parallel to Greek Sophia (see also the books of Proverbs and Sirach).
Chapter 46 speaks of the "Head of Days" and "Son of Man," similar to Daniel 7, but not necessarily derived from Daniel. Son of Man appears to be an important person. The phrase "break the teeth" is mentioned here, and is a favorite idiom of some ancient texts.
Chapter 48 "Son of Man" appears again, and will be a "light to the Gentiles." This passage sounds very Messianic. There is an image of the Son of Man, one who is chosen, hidden, and foretold to appear. We also find the term "son of man" which refers to Enoch as a human being. The editor has used upper and lower case letters (which are not distinguished in ancient writing) to avoid confusing this Enoch with the capitalized spelling which usually is taken to refers to a Messianic figure. Whether the ancient compiler of this material would agree is open to discussion.
The role of the Son of Man figure. The Son of Man seems to be an embodiment of the Lord of Spirits. He appears to have judgment functions (e.g. he casts down kings). This is one way that God is depicted as dealing with the power of evil and its agents.
Next time we will look more closely at the "Animal Apocalypse" in book four (Dream Visions). Try your hand, or head, at decoding it.
Paper topics need to be decided after the fall break, and book review presentations.
18 October -- Fall break
Week #06 -- 25 October 2005 -- submitted by Alysha C. Hoven
Class began with general housekeeping:
- Everyone needs to talk with Kraft and decide on a book and time to present for the book reviews.
Research paper topics should also be cleared.
- There was also a note that some of the weekly focus questions have been changed/modified, so take a look at those.
The class discussion mainly revolved around focus questions 5 (Concepts of Jesus, his Origins, and his Relationship to Apocalyptic) and 6 (Jesus as Apocalyptic Revealer). We also discussed the "Jesus Seminar," and looked at some of Paul's writings in reference to Jesus as an apocalyptic figure. Towards the end of class, we looked at Enoch, chapters 85, 89, and 90.
The late Robert Funk founded the "Jesus Seminar" and can be described as perhaps the single most influential biblical scholar of the 2nd half of the 20th century for his earlier accomplishments in the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). During this period, with Robert Funk as secretary, the SBL changed from being made up predominantly of white males in senior academic positions, to a much larger representation of involved people. This was a very successful and influential movement in the SBL for which Funk was primarily responsible.
After his period with the SBL, he began the "Jesus Seminar," which was an attempt to gather scholars and others to discuss the biblical material regarding the teachings (and later the actions) attributed to Jesus. Robert Funk was self-conscious about this becoming a public event. It thus has been an unusual development in the history of scholarly discourse (scholars don't usually seek media attention).
Jesus Seminar: the first order of business for the Jesus Seminar was to look at the "Q" material -- the sayings found primairly in Mathew, Luke, and Thomas. There were early Christians interested in Jesus' sayings, and the Jesus Seminar thoroughly examined each to determine which probably came from Jesus and which were created by his followers for various reasons.
*For the purpose of our class: The general conclusion drawn from by the Jesus Seminar was that in the most probably authentic sayings, Jesus doesn't come across as apocalyptic in orientation (this has led to a lot of discussion among scholars). The book by Bart Ehrman, "Jesus Apocalyptic Prophet of New Millennium," was written largely in response to the Jesus Seminar conclusions.
Jesus seems to have proclaimed that the "kingdom of God" was at hand. But what did this mean to him, or to his earliest hearers (presumably in Aramaic or Hebrew)? See focus Questions 5 and 6 for further discussion and some relevant texts. E.g. whether Jesus thought of himself as "Son of Man" and what that might have meant to him and to his followers. If such terms and perspectives come from Jesus, it is likely that he can be called a Jewish apocalyptic adherent. If they do not come from Jesus, at least those of his followers who described him with those terms were apocalyptically oriented.
-"Son of Man" was also used in non-apocalyptic contexts by "gnostic" Christians to explain interactions of the ultimate deity with the materials created world and humans.
-"Kingdom of God" came to be used non-apocalyptically to refer to the Christian church on earth and its moral and ethical standards.
-Language filter problem in addition to other problems and controversies associated with Jesus' words and his followers -- how much did the ideas change on the trip from semitic speech to Greek transmission?
*For our class purposes: Jesus' followers depicted him as an apocalyptic, regardless of what he may or may not have been.
Paul is our earliest preserved source of "Christian" teachings, and is saturated with apocalyptic ideas that come out in his relatively undisputed letters (Romans, Galatians, and 1 & 2 Corinthians). All of these letters (except perhaps Romans) appear to be addressing situations that Paul had been made aware of, and he was writing to the Christian followers.
Even most of the disputed letters attributed to Paul are also very apocalyptic. The Paul of the book of Acts also sometimes speaks in quasi-apocalyptic language.
Exceptions include "Laodiceans," and the "Prayer of Paul" (found in the Nag Hammadi Gnostic library) -- both are very short and not particularly apocalyptic. The supposed correspondence between Paul and Seneca, a Roman philosopher and a political advisor to Nero, which circulated in Latin during the 4th century, is not very apocalyptic either.
Some examples from the core writings of Paul:
2 Corinthians 4.7-12 "Treasures in Jars of Clay" (moderately-negative concerning the material body). Professor Kraft's Question: What is "apocalyptic" about this passage? Answer: This passage has a very glum feeling. He suffers so much. He talks about qualifications and alludes to end times. You can interpret suffering as good and right, leading to ultimate eternal reward (note verses 16-18). Kraft: elsewhere, Paul includes suffering in his concept of the end times ("Messianic woes").
2 Corinthians 11.1-15 "Paul and the False Apostles":
-When "Christ" appears in Paul's writings, is the referring mainly to Jesus the individual as "Messiah," or to what Paul expected "Messiah" to be even before he had his experience with Jesus? In 11.16, Paul brags about his sufferings as an apostle -how does this make Paul a better servant than the other apostles? Apparently it is linked to his idea that the followers of Jesus constitute some sort of Messianic body ("body of Christ/Messiah") that goes through the apocalyptic suffering stage ("woes of the Messiah").
1 Corinthians 15.12-34 "The Resurrection of the Dead":
-Paul makes the idea of resurrection a central element of his message. Presumably his readers agree that Messiah/Christ was raised, so there is in fact a resurrection. Paul argues from the resurrection of Jesus to the resurrection of those who believe in him (and have somehow shared in his death). Messiah/Christ is seen as the "first fruits of the resurrection," so there will surly be more to come. Here we see the roots of the idea of a "second coming" of Jesus, when his "presence" is realized again in history.
-15.24 "Then comes the end..." -- now apocalyptic ideas are brought in more explicitly. Greek "Thanatos" for death is personified. God is not subjected to Jesus while all else is, and ultimately God is "everything," but individuality also seems to be maintained in resurrection (15.35-57). "The Resurrection Body" is not physical and mortal, but God makes it glorious (like a plant from a seed that dies). Paul even seems to introduce angelic beings into passage. Mortal bodies are like clay vessels (see above on 2 Cor 4). If there is a natural body, there is a spiritual body as well; the first man/Adam is from earth, and the second man/Adam is from heaven. In the end (15.50ff ), the "dead will be raised imperishable" and "in victory" (which perhaps means "forever"). This is the only extended passage in Paul where he gives a timetable for what is expected in the end times.
2 Corinthians 5.16-21: "The Ministry of Reconciliation"
-"In Christ" mysticism of Paul (here and
elsewhere); "realized eschatology" -- end times have already begun.
Those in Christ are dead to the old life/world and already raised in
principle to the new life, but not yet literally. See Romans 6.1-4
"Dead to Sin, Alive to God": participating in Jesus' death makes one
over sin and its consequences, at least in principle, and sets things up for the future resurrection.
1 Corinthians 7.17ff "Remain as you were called":
-Not rhetorical; seeking medical un-circumcision was an actual possibility.
"The Unmarried and the Widowed" do well not to seek change, "for the form of this world is passing away" (7.31). Throughout is the idea of the Church as the "body of the Messiah" -- the manifestation and participant in what "Messiah/Christ" means and does, producing new life and leading to ultimate resurrection.
Returning to the "Dream Visions" of Enoch:
Student Question: Where do the white bulls come from?
Answer: Refer to what is otherwise "common knowledge" about characters (e.g. in Genesis) to guess at the meaning.... Presumably Seth is a white bull, Cain is the black bull, and Abel is the red bull. When you see reference to a "white bull," look for the good guy in the story. This particular apocalyptic presentation (the "animal apocalypse") is virtually unparalleled in other apocalyptic texts. One of the problems with the Genesis account that is perhaps addressed here (see Gen 5.5) is where Cain, Abel, and Seth got their wives.
Chapter 89 and 90:
-Shepherds (89.59) are apparently authority figures (rulers) over sheep (populace). Such images do play roles in some other apocalyptic texts. Similarly, horns (90.9) are usually interpreted as kings. The number 35 (90.1, half of the 70) is broken down further into 23 (90.5) and 12 (90.19). The 70 shepherds (89.59) probably corresponds to Jewish folklore of there being 70 (or 72) nations in the world.
-As this text well illustrates, apocalyptic literature can use a variety of symbolic representations.
For next time, become acquainted with 4 Ezra ("2 Esdras"), 2 Baruch, 3 Baruch, and at least take a look at scholarly opinion regarding 2 Enoch (and/or the text itself).
Week #07 -- 01 November 2005 -- submitted by C. Adrian Austin
Dr. Kraft started the class with a few pertinent announcements concerning links from the class website. They are as follows:
1. Texts on the main page have been
reorgainzed under "cycles" (Enoch,
Daniel, etc.) as of today.
2. The Apocalypse of Daniel site is (was) temporarily unavailable, but will return soon.
3. The Enoch cycle has been reorganized but 3 Enoch is (was) still under construction
4. The site for Paraleipomena Jeremiou (aka "4 Baruch") has been "cleaned up."
After the announcements, Dr. Kraft stated the aims of today's "lecture" portion of class:
Paraleipomena Jeremiou ( means leftovers of Jeremiah) is also called "4 Baruch" and the text that we have is preserved in Greek (and translations from the Greek). There are two versions of this text, a longer and shorter one. This is not uncommon in tradition b/c material dealing w/ revered names was used often used liturgically (e.g. on days commemmorating specific "saints" and revered figures such as Jeremiah). Many of the texts were too long to read in one sitting so they were condensed. This sometimes led to new versions of texts. Comparing the versions to discover the oldest preserved form of a text is called "recension criticism." Even where the extant copies and versions are virtually identical, "textual criticism" attempts to establish the oldest recoverable text. An especially interesting example of this is the Ethiopic Enoch and the Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date a millennium earlier! There are some differences but the texts are very close to each other.
Dr. Kraft noted that we can often draw a family tree to trace versions of texts but they won't always fall into a nice scheme. This can also occur b/c two or more originally separate texts were put together at some point.
Kraft used the example of little red riding hood's grand mom to illustrate the changing of the details of a story over time. Earlier versions of the story stated that grandma was eaten by the wolf and later rescued alive from its belly (undigested). Some later versions have the grandmother hiding in a closet or elsewhere. The story was changed to make it more palatable. Hymns can also change over time and in different settings (example= Holy, Holy, Holy ... God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity, or God over all, bless'd eternally).
After this discussion we moved into our survey of Ezra.
It was noted that the "4 Ezra" site gives us "2 Esdras." Why? The Latin "2 Esdras" (in most English Bibles with Apocrypha) is like "1 Enoch" in that it is a library and not a single book. "2 Esdras" has three units and "1 Enoch" has 5 or 6. How do we know 2 Esdras contains three units? External evidence is provided by the fact that versions of the material in other languages (e.g. Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic) contain only "4 Ezra." Internal evidence includes the fact that the first chapter of "2 Esdras" refers to itself as a book and (in one version) lists a genealogy of Ezra. The third chapter says that Salathiel is Ezra and seems to ignore what is found in chapter one. Furthermore, there is a sudden switch in topics between the end of 2 Esdras 14 and the beginning of 2 Esdras 15. These things lead scholars to believe that the first two chapters of 2 Esdras are one unit (referred to as "5 Ezra"). Chapters 3-14 are another distinct unit (referred to as "4 Ezra") and chapters 15-16 are another unit (referred to as "6 Ezra").
Why the first two chapters are referred to as 5 Ezra and not 4 Ezra is even more complicated, but probably because "4 Ezra" is both the main text in the grouping and has drawn the most attention of scholars from the outset. (Footnote 1: Ted Bergen has studied these Ezra compositions and focuses on 5 and 6 Ezra. He argues that the Spanish version of 5 Ezra is older than the French version. The French version has the genealogy. He argues the opposite for 6 Ezra. The "Spanish" and "French" labels have to do with where the texts were copied or preserved not with their languages. Both texts are in Latin.)
"2 Esdras" is in Latin and is included in Roman Catholic bibles and in "the Apocrypha" but there are also versions of "4 Ezra" in Slavic and Ethiopic (none in Greek). Probably "4 Ezra" was originally written in a semitic dialect (Aramaic?) which was translated into Greek and thence to Latin, but it has not survived in those earlier versions.
The Greek Bible has a book called "1 Esdras." Esdras is Greek for the Hebrew name Ezra. 1 Esdras in the Greek Bible is similar but not identical to the book of Ezra found in the Jewish scriptures and is sufficiently dissimilar so that it is difficult to call it a translation of the Ezra material. It is a Greek retelling of the Ezra material.
The book of Ezra found in the Jewish scriptures is related to the book called Nehemiah and talks about the return from exile in Babylon and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple..
The Greek Orthodox Bible also contains a book called "2 Esdras" which is a combination of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in Greek translation and in sequence. This creates confusion because we also have the unrelated Latin "2 Esdras."
Question: Is there a 1 Ezra? Answer: Yes. It is the biblical book of Ezra.
Question: Why didn't the rest of the Ezras get included in the canon? Answer: We don't have them in Hebrew. This is not a good answer b/c scholars think 4 Esdras was originally in Aramaic. Maybe the compilers of the canon were not much interested in apocalyptic literature so they left them out.
This question led to a discussion of canonization. In Christianity, by the end of the second century (the time of Origen) there were definitive lists of books accepted as authoritative by (some) Christians. There is no corresponding definitive detailed list of Jewish texts, although Josephus and other early sources speak of specific categories (especially law, prophets, psalms). In the Mishnah there are discussions of different books and whether they "soil the hands" due to their ritually super-sanctity (e.g. Esther, which doesn't explicitly mention God). One can't touch the authoritative books b/c they will cause ritual impurity. Kat suggested that perhaps Jews didn't have detailed lists until Christians came up with them.
Josephus (Against Apion 1.8) says the number of books of Jewish scripture is 22 (presumably the same as the number of letters in Hebrew alphabet) in three groupings, law, prophets/histories, hymns/precepts. This brings up the problem how to count multi-volumed books such as 1 and 2 Samuel or 1 and 2 Kings (= 1-4 Kingdoms in Latin and Greek Bibles). Books can be combined or split in order to make them correspond to a specific number. As we will see, 4 Ezra speaks of 24 "public" authoritative books, modern Protestant Christians count 39!
At this point, Dr. Kraft noted that 4 Ezra (2 Esdras Chps 3-14) is the primary apocalyptic Ezra for our purposes. There is also an Apocalypse of Ezra (should we call it "7 Ezra"?). It is preserved in Greek but the form of Greek used is a transitional form between ancient and modern Greek. This leads people to believe that it was written, or at least re-edited, in the ninth or tenth century. There is also a similar Apocalypse of Sedrach which may get its name "Sedrach" from a corruption of the name "Esdras."
Why is Ezra such an important figure? Ezra was thought by some to be God's agent for restoring the Torah and other books after the destruction of Jewish temple. The holy books were destroyed so God chose Ezra to listen to dictation and rewrite the lost books. As we are about to see, this is described in 4 Ezra 14.
After this discussion we moved on to our analysis of the assigned texts
4 Ezra 13:
It starts with an apocalyptic image of the sea. This is similar to imagery in Daniel (and other apocalypses).
The mountain mentioned in verse 6 could be Armageddon. Har is Hebrew for mountain. Megiddo is a site in Israel. This site overlooks the Jezreel valley that is good for warfare so Har Megiddo (Armageddon) plays an important role in apocalypses.
The man from the sea breathes fire in verses 10-11. This is similar to images in the Christian (New Testaament) book of Revelation [NOT REVELATIONS] in which the Savior slays with words from his mouth. This image is very imaginable, and probably originated from stories of dragons or perhaps from people who "breathed fire" in the ancient parallel to our circuses.
Verse 16 is similar to the Little Apocalypse in that it depicts suddenness and hard times. And it doesn't matter whether people are dead or alive. All will be involved. The next few verses speak of the "messianic woes" or the tribulations before the end times.
Verses 25-32 speak of God's son who will deliver those who inhabit earth. This is the man from the sea. In an earlier reference to the "son" in 2 Ezra 7.28-29, some texts identify the son as Jesus. This fact shows the effects of interpretation. The copier added Jesus. The original Semitic probably referred more generally to "my son" or "messiah."
Verse 35 mentions Mount Zion. This is where Jerusalem is located. The image of carving w/o hands in verse 36 is mentioned in other Jewish texts (compare Daniel 2.34-35).
Verses 41-50 mention a new exodus to and from beyond the Euphrates area back to the Holy Land, presumably led by the Son. It also contains the idea of a righteous remnant that have remained in the land and will be rescued at the end of time.
4 Ezra 14:
In verse 1 a voice from a bush talks to Ezra. This image is similar to what happens to Moses in the Jewish scriptures (Exodus 3.4).
Ezra saying "Here I am, Lord" in verse 2 is similar to the story of Samuel's "call" (1 Samuel 3).
At this point, Dr. Kraft noted that the text claims that Moses received understanding of the end of times on Sinai (verse 5). In other traditions, Enoch received this understanding before Moses and Adam before him. There are cycles that hold these people as great figures of revelation.
Verse 6 says Moses produced secret texts separate from the public Pentateuch. This is similar to the Rabbinic Jewish idea of the Oral Law that Moses received on Sinai.
Verse 9 says Ezra that will be taken up (like Enoch and Moses) and will not die (according to Deuteronomy 34.5-6, Moses died but his grave was hidden away). There seems to be a tradition of revelatory figures not ending their lives normally..
The imagery of time in verses 10-11 is similar to imagery in Daniel which speaks of a "time and a time and a time and a half." (Daniel 7.25, 7.7 = 1,290 days in Daniel 12.11?)
Verses 44-45 state that 94 books were written by Ezra (and his staff) in 40 days of which 24 books were made open to the public (compare Josephus' 22) but 70 were to be kept secret for the wise b/c they contain the "fountain of wisdom and river of knowledge.".
A few other notes on 4 Ezra:
In the 3rd chapter Ezra prays b/c he is in captivity in Babylon. The biblical book of Ezra also says that Ezra returns from exile in Babylon to restore the temple.
4 Ezra 12.11 makes a direct tie to Daniel (7.7) so the author is aware of standing in the tradition represented by Daniel's apocalyptic materials. Many apocalyptic images in the broader tradition can be traced back to Daniel or Ezekiel which both probably drew on a common imagery pool that included animals and natural phenomena. The "Animal Apocalypse" included in 1 Enoch is different b/c it talks of domestic animals. The others usually refer to wild animals (lion, bear, leopard, etc.).
We then moved onto a discussion of Baruch:
Baruch was Jeremiah's scribe/right hand man so when Jeremiah yells, Baruch writes. The Bible mentions Baruch and his writings in the book of Jeremiah (e.g. Jeremiah 32). Jeremiah is a book in Jewish scriptures named after the prophet Jeremiah, who was sometimes called the "weeping prophet" because he gave a pessimistic message about the fate of Jerusalem and Judea. The book of Jeremiah refers to events that took place during the period right before fall of Jerusalem and right after (late 600s through the first part of the 5th century bce).
In this book, Jeremiah rebukes kings who don't keep law and says "they have it comin'" from a power to the east (Babylon). He also predicts that Jerusalem will be conquered. The King's other advisors say Jeremiah is crazy (misled, wrong) and that the king should get rid of him b/c he is a demoralizer (traitor). The things that Jeremiah said actually happened so he is remembered in Jewish history.
There is a book purportedly by Baruch in the Apocrypha that can be called "1 Baruch." It is actually two books (or more) divided about down the middle (1.1-3.8, 3.9-end) that have been combined. The first part of 1 Baruch is very similar to Jeremiah in phraseology, and much of it can be retroverted from the surviving Greek translation back into Hebrew based on these parallels.
2 Baruch is also called the Apocalypse of Baruch and it survives in a Syriac translation. Syriac is an eastern Aramaic dialect, and Aramaic was the main semitic language in the ancient Persian world.
We also have fragments of 2 Baruch in Greek that were found at the site of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt around 1896. The fragments of Baruch are in the 3rd volume of the "P.Oxy" series (now up to 80 or so volumes and still continuing). Nevertheless, as with many of these Jewish writings preserved by Christians, 2 Baruch probably was composed originally in Aramaic (or Hebrew), then translated into Greek and ultimately into Syriac, where it has survived intact.
2 Baruch Text Discussion
Chapter 1 starts with an identification of Baruch which is similar to passages in the book of Jeremiah.
1.4 gives as a reason or result of the Jewish exile to benefit the Gentiles.
2.2 states that Baruch (with Jeremiah) is the reason that God hadn't yet destroyed Jerusalem.
3.1 My mother= Jerusalem
The crisis mentioned in chapter 3 is "What happens to the traditions of revelation and ethics if the Jerusalem temple is destroyed?" This crisis is similar to Ezra's worries. Chapter 3 also raises the question of theodicy (from two words in Greek: theos which means God and dikai which means justice). How is God just if he promises things to the people of Jerusalem and then destroys the city. Chapter 4 begins to answer this question by saying that a new Jerusalem will arise.
Chapters 6-7 also deal with problems of
theodicy. The Holy vessels of the temple are buried before the city is
destroyed so the Law probably is not destroyed in this tradition
(compared with 4 Ezra). Furthermore, 2 Baruch says that the angels
destroyed the temple as punishment, so wicked Babylon could not take
credit for destroying Jerusalem.
10.2 says that Jeremiah has to go to Babylon and Baruch stays near Jerusalem to receive revelation. According to the biblical book of Jeremiah, both he and Baruch go to Egypt after the destruction (Jeremiah 43.6) so there is a difference in these two traditions. This difference probably arose due to the location and interests of the people who created and transmitted the texts. Both traditions seem to be relatively old. The story of Jeremiah in Babylon and Baruch in Jerusalem is similar to the narrative in the Paraleipomena Jeremiou. The Paraleipomena Jeremiou also says that the people who intermarried in Babylon but refused to abandon their Babylonian mates broke off and founded Sameria when they were not permitted to enter Jerusalem. The explanation given is that the Jews who intermarried couldn't keep their Babylonian mates and live in Jerusalem, while the mates couldn't (or didn't wish to) return to Babylon.
77.19 Baruch sends a letter to Babylon via an eagle. This is similar to a story in the Paraleipomena Jeremiou. This image is very popular and there is a medieval manuscript that has a picture of Baruch receiving revelation in a cave and an eagle flying with a scroll tied to its leg.
At the conclusion of our discussion of 2
Baruch, Dr. Kraft noted that 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch have common material
and interests. He said that this material probably came from an earlier
apocalyptic tradition that was reinterpreted for the time period of the
writers, after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 ce.
We closed the class with a discussion of 3 Baruch which is preserved in Greek.
3 Baruch 1.2 mentions an Abimelech who was also saved from the destruction. In Hebrew this name can mean "father of the king," but here it seems clearly to refer to the Ebedmelech ("servant of the king") in Jeremiah 38 who pulls Jeremiah out of a muddy pit where he had been imprisoned.
In the Paraleipomena Jeremiou story, Abimelech has a Rip van Winkle experience. He sleeps for 66 or 70 years and wakes up after the exile is over and the Jews are about to return to Jerusalem.
3 Baruch also speaks of an angel taking Baruch on a trip through the heavens. He goes through at least five. This story is similar to stories of Enoch and other revealers in Judaism and Christianity.
Possible paper topics mentioned today:
1. Treatment of Zion/Jerusalem in apocalyptic texts.
2. Uses of numbers in apocalyptic texts.
3. Number of heavens in different apocalyptic texts -- usually 3, 7, or 10.
We'll look at 2
Enoch and the Apocalypses of Zephaniah
Week #08 -- 08 November 2005 -- submitted by Galina Movshovich
The class began with mention of the recent discovery an early Christian church near Megeddo in Israel
We looked at pictures of the mosaic floor that was found and especially one of the Greek dedications, a memorial for a table dedicated to "G(o)d J(es)u(s) Ch(ris)t." Other inscriptions were noticed. With such items is is not clear whether the artisans who created them actually understood what they were spelling out, which sometimes may contribute to difficulty in reading them (although not in this case).
No one is sure about the period in which the church was built. It may date to the 3d century ( before Constantine’s reign), in which case it would have been a dangerous time to exercise Christianity openly. During that time, there is evidence of Christians meeting in private homes and unofficial locations covertly, although this seems to have been a separate church building. There are also opinions that the church dates back to the 4th century ( after Constantine’s accession), during the time in which Constantine’s mother, Helena, was very involved in the proliferation of churches, especially in the Holy Land. This may be from that period of Christian expansion.
There are at least 15 different Slavic manuscripts of 2 Enoch materials, and the manuscripts sometimes vary in length. The particular difference is seen in the addition of the last chapters ( 68 and on) to some of the manuscripts. These chapters discuss what happens when Enoch is “taken away” and mostly refers to his sons and other descendants. All known manuscripts are written in Old Church Slavic. Most manuscripts date no earlier than the 9th or 10th century, and since there is no reference to 2 Enoch beforehand, it makes it difficult to establish the history of the text. Much work still remains to be done in studying and analyzing the origins and content of 2 Enoch.
Considering all this, how can we study when and where 2 Enoch was written, in what language and by whom? Since we have virtually no external evidence, we have to operate inductively on internal evidence – who we think may have said it and who was most likely to have read it. But, different interpretations will arise from scholars of different specialties and backgrounds. Someone familiar with Slavic Christianity may have more insight into what is usual and/or unusual about the text. Someone unfamiliar with it will probably have a different take. It all depends on whom you believe to be methodologically careful in interpreting the manuscripts.
Similar problems arise in 4, 5, and 6 Ezra ( see last week’s notes)
A question: Was 2 Enoch originally written in Slavic or some other language? It was probably written in Greek beforehand, and we can infer this from oddities in the spelling of names, some of which don’t sound Slavic. Then the question that remains – if it was indeed translated into Slavic from Greek, was there another language before the Greek (i.e. Aramaic or Hebrew) ? For that, one would have to look at both vocabulary and sentence development to determine if there are typically Semitic terms or phrases present. This is not a very secure route either, as it could be that these Semitic terms were already present in Greek through the influence of Greek translations of Jewish scriptures.
However, it is likely that the original version of 2 Enoch, if it goes back to the turn of the era, was probably written in Aramaic for 2 reasons:
These are very important aspects of analyzing phraseology, vocabulary, and names as scholars do.
A brief discussion of all the Enoch materials:
Enoch is well-known in parabiblical Jewish and early Christian literature and quoted often. For the example, the “Testament of the 12 Patriarchs,” full of ethical admonitions, quotes Enoch numerous times, but none of the quotes can be placed exactly in surviving Enoch literature. According to 2 Enoch, that patriarch produced some 366 writings, although the relationship to calendric numbers is obvious..
All parts of 1 Enoch, except the similitudes, are represented in fragmented form in the Dead Sea Scrolls and are therefore considered pre-Christian. The "book of the Giants" probably also has associations with Enoch.
2 Enoch may consist of a number of different pieces, but may be impossible to tell unless we can get a more comprehensive edition of it. The last part, which does not express any distinct interest in Enoch, but rather focuses on his descendants, is probably an addition from another work (a similar phenomenon occurs at the end of 1st Enoch).
3 Enoch is exceptional because it is one of the few writings of parabiblical material that was actually preserved in rabbinical Judaism. There are no known quotations of 3 Enoch in Christian sources.
The Theme: Enoch becomes God’s designated agent, a "Metatron" figure whose task is to serve as mediator between heaven and this world. Given this, it is not surprising that some scholars (e.g. Gabriele Boccaccini) argue that there was a type of early Judaism that put Enoch at the center, perhaps in competition with others who placed Moses at the center. To make his case, Boccaccini points out (among many other things) that Moses goes to the mountain to receive the Torah and the Oral Law, but Enoch actually goes to heaven to obtain secret wisdom from the heavenly tablets.
Looking at the Text of 2 Enoch – The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Chapt 1 –68)
Mapping "2 Enoch" -- very confused manuscript tradition (at least 2 versions, long & short)
01-23 Enoch's assisted ascent to the 10th heaven
24-38 Heavenly revelations, from the mouth of God
39-48 Enoch reports to his hearers
49-55 Enoch admonishes his hearers
56-63 Enoch's special admonitions to his children (last testament)
64-68 Final admonitions and departure of Enoch
69-70 Methusaleh's admonishing, introduction of Nir, and death
70.17-73 Nir the
promised priest (brother of Noah), his wife Sofanim, and Melchizedek!
Enoch talks in the first person. On the first day of the month, he is awakened by two giant "men" who appear to be angels – there are references to them like “shining like sun” and “ hands whiter than snow.” They begin to call Enoch by name and he becomes afraid. They tell him – “Have courage, do not fear.” This seemingly double language could be read as a clue to a semitic origin and these terms appear elsewhere as practically synonymous – with a positive as well as a negative thrust. The angels tell Enoch that he will ascend to heaven (“trip apocalypse”) and cross over the 10 heavens.
Enoch hurries to take care of unfinished business and tell his family that he will be gone for some time, but warns them not to come looking for him. He also instructs them not to turn from God and warns that those who do, will be punished.
Chap 3: The Angels take him up to the first heaven on their wings. As he travels, he finds a group of fallen angels in the 2nd heaven (chap. 7) and in the 5th heaven (chap. 18), the leaders of the fallen angels, the "Grigori" (Greek "Gregoroi," translating Mearim, the Hebrew word for watchers), in the 5th heaven. They are old giants of grim appearance, and Enoch wonders why they are grim and silent instead of praising God as they should. He is answered that they rejected the Lord of light in favor of their prince of Satanil. Three of them went down and united with the daughters of men, which caused a mixture between angels and humans – giants were born as a result and became the source of strife on earth. Enoch prayed for the group in the second heaven, but to no avail. God judged them with a great judgment – they weep and will be punished on the Lord’s Great Day of Judgment. Enoch asks those in the fifth heaven why they are not doing liturgy, and their voice goes up in song to the Lord.
In the 7th heaven, something unusual happens when Gabriel puts Enoch in front of the throne of the Lord.
Heavens 8-10 are briefly described as well as given Hebrew names and are thought to have been add-ons.
8th heaven (21.7) – "Muzaloth" – the heart of the sea
9th heaven (21.8) - "Kuchavim" -- heavenly bodies (stars).
10th heaven (20.3, 22) – "Aravoth" -- descriptions of iron made to glow in fire and the emission of sparks and burns – frequently, the throne of the Lord reflects things off itself.
In the 10th heaven (chap. 22), Enoch sees the "appearance of the Lord’s face," but describes it as ineffable. He says that the Lord's throne “it is not made with hands” – similarly, in other early Jewish and Christian literature there are references to the ideal Jewish Temple “not made with hands.”
At this point, Enoch falls prone, but the Lord says with “his lips” (22.4; strange wording, but see also 39.2, 40.1, 47.1) – “do not fear…. arise and stand before me into eternity.” The archangel Michael lifts him up and strips him of his earthly garments, and Enoch is cleansed and robed in glorious garments and covered in fragrances and ointments.
Then, Pravuil, the archangel, is commanded to write down secret information about astronomy, climate, and language and give it over to Enoch [contrast the Similitudes of Enoch 69.9 where the angel "Penemue"(!) is criticized for teaching humans to write]. Then Enoch writes the book of life, for 30 days and nights, and produces 366 books altogether.
Then, the Lord summons him to sit at his left with Gabriel and Enoch is called “beloved” (also appears with reference to Jesus and other great people in various stories). No clear explanation is given as to why Enoch is placed on the Lord’s left. This could be connected to the fact that the right is reserved for someone who is even greater.
Little known and ill-preserved, the entire pseudepigraphon is lost, except for (1) a brief quotation the Clement of Alexandria (ca 200 ce) -- a Christian author and scholar, thought to come originally from Greece. He traveled the world looking for Pantaenus, a famous teacher, and settled in Alexandria when he found him there. He is a great transmitter and quoter of biblical and parabiblical scriptures. There is also (2) a fragment of the Apocalypse of Zephaniah in Sahidic, which is a dialect of the Coptic language, a liturgical language of Egyptian Christianity, and (3) another in Achmimic Coptic.
Next time we will finish up with the Apocalypses attributed to pre-Christian figures -- Adam, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah (and perhaps the Sibyl) -- before moving on to those attributed to Christian heroes.
Week #09 -- 15 November 2005 -- submitted by Christine M. Myers
Professor Kraft won’t be here 29th
Kat Korzow – Montanism Gender Authority and the New Prophecy by Christine Trevett
Montanism – also referred to as the prophecy
catholic church (with a small c) – predecessor to Byzantine churches, who see Montanism as a threat
Trevett challenges assumptions about Montanism
· Started in
· Spreads to
· Tertullian was a Montanist and played a major role
· The destruction of their last meeting place was in the 600’s
· People of the Montanist tradition may have been around up through the 800’s
· Montanists writings have survived though most are anti-Montanist writings
· by spirit of God in person prophesying
· understandable speech and glossolalia (speaking in tongues)
· not first ecstatic prophets
· challenge catholic authority
· function – reveal scripture for present (whereas the catholic church held that the time of prophecy had ended with the apostolic age)
· martyrdom – actually similar in both
· Montanist view was a literalist view rather than militant or millennial
· Montanists were just like other Christians of the time as far as perceiving the end as coming very soon. In other words, they were no more apocalyptic than other Christians of the time (this is a specific perspective of the author, one which the author tried to push throughout the book)
· Montanists believed that the church had the ability to forgive sins, though it should not exercise that ability
· Montanists had mandatory fasts
· Role of women – Quintilla – later than first three prophets
Critique of book
· used languages other than English without translating them
· repeated herself
· there was not a coherent point, just prevailing assumptions – was not clear
· Christine Trevett
· University professor at a University in
· In her studies, she focuses on women
· Published this book in 1996
· Did research for this book 1989-1994
· Comes off as a feminist writer
o Montanists were very big on the letters of Paul – letters were used by both sides of the debate
“catholic” – when is it ok to use that term?
o Used in the 2nd century sources
o Can use proto-catholic or “classical”
o Depends on what you are writing about
· Priscilla and Maximilla– did they have writings?
o Somebody was writing down what they described, theoretically, but we do not have it
· Eusebius – Quotes anti-Montanist sources
o Sees Montanists as Christians – martyred along with everyone else
o Some ability for distinction between groups, though not certain that they knew the specific distinction of the Montanists
o There is much argument about this
o Diverse – topography lent itself to this
o Not united
Sevile Mannickarottu – The Byzantine Apocalyptic
Tradition by Paul J. Alexander
About the work and author
· published in 1985
· not a complete work – it was published after the author’s death
o This is clear particularly when he has noted in his own work at some places that it is largely guessing work
· deals with 7th-11th centuries
· primarily Greek sources
dealt largely with the issue of the Arab and
Islamic Empire creeping in
First part of book – Description of the texts
· longest section of the book
· each story goes through similar timeline/elements of the stories, including:
o Arab invasion
o Re-baptize apostates
o Gives kingdom up to God
o Anti-Christ comes
· all thought to be Greek texts but the first one turns about to be Syriac from the 7th century
o Talks of how the Byzantine Emperor is of Ethiopian descent
§ Tries to make sense of this
· later work – Visions of Daniel
of works that come out of this tradition
Concepts in the stories
· Greeks saw the western emperor as defender against the Arabs
· Idea of last Byzantine Emperor
o Came out of messianic king concept
· Gog & Magog
o After Arabs are vanquished, these guys will pop up as they were locked up by Alex the Great and will reappear in end times
· Discussed the coming of the Anti-Christ
· again – quotes foreign language without translation
o but does provide some of his own translations
· really stretches historical context
· Do Gog and Magog have a connection with the second coming?
o The book did not go into the second coming, but all is described as part of last times era
· End times battles – human beings against God or against Byzantine Emperor as God’s agent?
o The Byzantine Emperor is just leading the people
o Gog & Magog as evil
· Byzantine genre?
o Created genre from Byzantine materials, dealing specifically with materials related to Arab invasion
everything was newly looked at materials.
Some was old, but had this new focus.
· there was an explosion of translation in the late 1800’s
· Big discoverys recently
o Nag Hammadi
· there are fragments all over the place
o a lot of work done with Armenian stuff
o much of the Slavic materials probably are still not available
are apparently an excessive amount of dissertations done on the same
when there’s stuff that has yet to be touched
We look at texts that survive
· General transformation – Jewish to Christian
o Transitions from physical world events to the fate of the soul (including questions of whose soul, to where, when, why)
but still much less after life talk in Jewish sources as opposed to the
· not clearly from Zephaniah (= Sophonias in Greek), one of the minor prophets
· Only in Clement of Alexandria quotation and two extensive Coptic fragments
Identification of the Achmimic Coptic with
“Apocalypse of Zephaniah” is not without problems
· general idea of the end of history
much interest in him in Christian circles
· virtually all of these manuscripts are from Byzantine times
o why did they care about these? – looking for more information on those people mentioned in the Bible
· When and why were explicitly Christian things added to Jewish sources? (happens quite explicitly in the Isaiah material examined below)
· Christians mostly just copied and passed texts along – then why did they sometimes add to them?
o Dealing with individuals – may have had different motivations
o Perhaps they wanted “Jewish materials” to back their own ideas, but it is difficult really to test this theory
vague references to “bad guys” – have to look at
context – often times it is hard to know who they are referring to
· Two such works, one of which -- like 3rd Enoch – survived in Rabbinic Judaism
· In the first version, there is a description of the anti-Christ that resembles the description given of Paul in the Acts of Paul – not very flattering (any relationship?)
· For the 2nd Elijah Apocalypse (Rabbinic), Buttenwieser claims time frame of 260 CE
· Ben Sira (Sirach) also survived in Hebrew and was used in Rabbinic circles
some fragments of Hebrew manuscripts survive
Why did Jewish communities stop using such texts?
· hard to tell (development of biblical “canon” subject)
· easy answer – because Christians were using them
· How much contact was there between Christians and Jews:
· An example: Philo – manuscripts (many from 14th-15th centuries)
· Biblical quotations in some of these manuscripts are much closer to the standard Hebrew text than to the standard Greek translation(s)
· Someone working with Origen’s Hexapla project may have gone back and made the quotations agree more with the available Hebrew – Origen used Philo’s writings extensively, and also worked with the Hebrew scriptural texts (with informants)
Jerome also worked with Hebrew materials and
informants within his monastic setting
Are there lists of extrabiblical quotes of presumably Jewish texts?
· “Agrapha” – unwritten, i.e. not in the Bible and thus extracanonical
Alfred Resch’s study – can go here for
quotations, some gaps (a century old!), but generally pretty good
· birth of Jesus narrated in much detail – chapter 11
· 3 sections of material – the birth of Jesus being the last of these
o Section 1 – the Martyrdom of Isaiah (sawn in half)
2 – Vision of Isaiah (ch. 6 onward)
Focusing here on the 3rd section – Chapter 11
· directly preceded by discussion of
o firmament – below first heaven – stars, where the ruler of heaven dwells
o metamorphosis of redeemer – similar to Gnostic ideas
§ descended – like spirit in air
· quoting gospel tradition – clearly “Christian” material
o Gabriel appears to Joseph
o Joseph did not live with Mary for 2 months (see later in the story for significance – people wonder about such a quick birth!)
o Mary – false pregnancy
o Relatively Gnostic presentation – split of spiritual and physical world
o Great example of explicitly Christian but not in proto-orthodox form
o He (Jesus) snuck in – the contemporaries didn’t know who he was
o Perhaps this sort of tradition was used to explain the relationship of the redeemer Jesus to his “twin” brother Judas Thomas
· Scholars attempt to date and locate the original text based on what kind of Jesus is presented
For next time, Sibylline Oracles, then on into explicitly Christian texts
-- 22 November 2005 -- by Caroline Kelly
Class opened with a discussion of the recent Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting held in Philadelphia.
Next we turned to the first focus topic of the week, the Sibylline oracles. Professor Kraft provided an overview of role of the Sibyls in the Greek world.
The Sibyls were female prophetesses, typically supported by a group of male priests who would interpret the Sibyl's cryptic utterances. Ancient sources list 10 such ancient figures, from different parts of the world (Varro, see Lactantius, Divine Institutes 1.6). Her oracles were collected and circulated, the most famous collection in antiquity being the books of the Roman Sibyl. These were kept by a committee of senators who would consult them for direction in case of disaster or crises. A fire in 83 BCE destroyed the Temple of Jupiter in Rome where the books were housed. When it was rebuilt, efforts were made to collect the oracles (Dionysius of Halicarnassus 4.62.5-6). The total collection seems to have consisted of fifteen books, though not all have survived. Standard editions today consist of 12 books, numbered 1-8 and 11-14 (manuscripts for books nine and ten repeat material found in books 1-8 and so are generally left out). The extant texts were translated into English by Milton Terry in 1899. His translation tries to retain the poetic feel of the oracles (especially meter), sometimes at the expense of the literal sense. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha offers a new translation by John Collins. The time period for the composition of the oracles ranges from the second century BCE through the seventh century CE (so Collins, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha1.317).
Books 1-5 exhibit more connections with Jewish traditions than the other preserved books that tend to be more obviously Christian. The manuscripts are all late (14th century and later) and preserved in Christian contexts.
There is a monotheistic thrust throughout all the books. Constantine quotes one such passage from the Sibyls (perhaps the inspiration for his famed vision in the sky?). Fragmentation of the books was also common in antiquity. It was therefore easy for later Christian redactors to extract passages which were amenable to their views. For example, the Erythrean Sibyl (fragment 7) asks God why he forces "the compulsion of prophecy" on her rather than lifting her up until the day of "your most blessed coming." A Christian author may have worked the idea of the second coming of Jesus into an authentic passage. Greek is the language of the texts. The existence of several author/editors is evident from inconsistencies in terms, as in Hebrews/Jews. It may be possible to break each book down into various authors and analyze their methods/agendas, as Collins attempts to do..
Turning to Terry's translation, we examined several apocalyptic passages:
1.320-334 [Terry p.26-27.235-261]
320 There is in Phrygia on the dark mainland
A steep, tall mountain; Ararat its name,
Because upon it all were to be saved
From death, and there was great desire of heart;
Thence streams of the great river Marsyas spring.
325 There on a lofty peak the ark abode
When the waters ceased, and then again from heaven
The voice divine of the great God this word
Proclaimed: "O Noah, guarded, faithful, just,
Come boldly forth, with thy sons and thy wife
330 And the three brides, and fill ye all the earth,
Increasing, multiplying, rendering justice
To one another through all generations,
Until to judgment every race of men
Shall come; for judgment shall be unto all."
This section is arranged in terms of the generations of men, perhaps somewhat like the Animal Apocalypse in 1Enoch. Noah here represents the 5th generation. Several passages seem to refer to a race of giants, though the chronology seems different from the Enochic literature, apparently with several generations of giants, rather than one.
1.82-105 [Terry p. 18.37-61]
And then indeed the race was multiplied
As the Almighty himself gave command,
And there grew up one people on another
85 Innumerable. And houses they adorned
Of all kinds and made cities and their walls
Well and expertly; and to them was given
A day of long time for a life much-loved;
For they did not worn out with troubles die,
90 But as subdued by sleep; most happy men
Of great heart, whom the immortal Saviour loved,
The King, God. But they also did transgress,
Smitten with folly. For with impudence
They mocked their fathers and their mothers scorned;
95 Kinsmen they knew not, and they formed intrigues
Against their brothers. And they were impure,
Having defiled themselves with human gore,
And they made wars. And then upon them came
The last calamity sent forth from heaven,
100 Which snatched the dreadful men away from life;
And Hades then received them; it was called
Hades since Adam, having tasted death,
Went first and earth encompassed him around.
And therefore all men born upon the earth
105 Are in abodes of Hades called to go.
Lines 96-101 may be the giants who were said to eat humans in the Enochic
1.110-129 [Terry p. 19.62-84]
But even in Hades all these when they came
Had honor, since they were the earliest race.
But when Hades received these, secondly
[Of the surviving and most righteous men]
110 God formed another very subtile race
That cared for lovely works, and noble toils,
Distinguished reverence and solid wisdom;
And they were trained in arts of every kind,
Finding inventions by their lack of means.
115 And one devised to till the land with plows,
Another worked in wood, another cared
For sailing, and another watched the stars
And practiced augury with winged fowls;
And use of drugs had interest for one,
120 While for another magic had a charm;
And others were in every other art
Which men care for instructed, wide awake,
Industrious, worthy of that eponym
Because they had a sleepless mind within
125 And a huge body; stout with mighty form
They were; but, notwithstanding, down they went
Into Tartarean chamber terrible,
Kept in firm chains to pay full penalty
In Gehenna of strong, furious, quenchless fire.
A second race of giants with material parallel to the Enochic. Line 123, which Terry renders "wide awake," is actually "the Watchers." Here we are not told why they are punished but 1 Enoch attributes it to the fact that they gave humans forbidden knowledge.
We find a third generation of giants in 1.130-135, a fourth in 1.136-149; and a 5th in 1.150ff.
These ideas of the generations of men seem closer to known Greco-Roman traditions, rather than Jewish-Christian ones. For example, Hesiod, Works and Days, 108-190 mentions the gold, silver, bronze, and iron ages. The figures of the Titans and Cronos, familiar to us from Hesiod's Theogony, also appear in the Oracles (1.375-383 ; 1.356-357). In Jewish apocalyptic, passages such as Daniel 3 (kingdoms represented by gold, silver, bronze, iron, clay) also bear some similarities.
A clear Christian message is seen in 1.393-400 [Terry p. 30.304-326] which mention a future child of God:
Then also shall a child of the great God
Come, clothed in flesh, to men, and fashioned like
395 To mortals in the earth; and he doth hear
Four vowels, and two consonants in him
Are twice announced; the whole sum I will name:
For eight ones, and as many tens on these,
And yet eight hundred will reveal the name
400 To men insatiate; and do thou discern
In thine own understanding that the Christ
Is child of the immortal God most high.
The seven Greek letters (including only two consonants) which form the name Jesus (IHCOUC) have the numerical values which adds up to 888:
Since the book ends (1.476-485 [Terry p. 33.366-390] with a fall of the Jerusalem Temple, the oracle was last revised sometime after 70CE, although how much after is difficult to determine..
And they will oppress mortals. But great fall
475 Shall be for those men, when they shall begin
Unrighteous arrogance. But when the temple
Of Solomon in the holy land shall fall,
Cast down by barbarous men in brazen mail,
And from the land the Hebrews shall be driven
480 Wandering and wasted, and among the wheat
They shall much darnel mingle, there shall be
Evil contention among, all mankind;
And the cities suffering outrage shall bewail
Each other, in their breasts receiving wrath
485 Of the great God, since they wrought evil work.
Other apocalyptic passages are found throughout, as in book 14:
14.330-340 [Terry p. 249.241-262] consists of a general statement of bad times to come.
14.407-468 [Terry p. 251.285-304]: The references contained in this section may match up with historical events but they seem quite obscure at times.
The book ends with an eschatological prophecy:14.452-468 [Terry p. 253.326-347].
The term "oracle" also comes to be applied to the sayings of Jesus by interpreters of a saying attributed to . Papias (around 130 CE): "Matthew collected the oracles of the Lord in Hebrew and everybody translated them as they would." But the term here is ambiguous as "oracles of the Lord" could also refer to "prophetic" passages from the Jewish scriptures which point to Jesus or consist of end-times prophecies.
Next we briefly examined the apocalypse in Didache 16. The only separate and complete manuscript of the work dates to the 10th century and was found in a codex in Jerusalem in the late 19th century, although it was then realized that this work had been incorporated into an edited and revised section of the Didascalia (4th CE) and had also left its traces elsewhere.
The Didache consists of 4 main sections:
Finally, we took up the Shepherd of Hermas. This work falls into the apocalyptic genre because of its visionary content, rather than any end-time prophecies. The text evolved over time into three main divisions: the visions, the commandments and the similitudes. Set in the suburbs of Rome, the narrator appears to be of the lower class as he mentions his patroness and his former service to her. In the 9th similitude, he envisions the church as a great tower, constructed out of black and white stones, which stand for the good and bad members of the church. These will be sorted out at the end, but there is a chance for repentance. It was this chance for repentance that led Tertuallian to castigate Hermas as "the Shepherd of Adulterers." There were two Latin translations in the West fairly early, but there were controversial elements, even beyond Tertullian's objection. For instance, there is not a clean distinction between the Spirit of God and Jesus.
One final note, Hermas is in close contact with virgins in his visions, and there are obvious parallels to Dante's Beatrice. Should we also see Paul and his "sister-wife" reference (1 Cor 9.5) as related? The Didache mentions prophets who enact in their lives a "wordly mystery" which is allowed to them but not to the average lay person. Does this refer to female ministerial companions in a celibate relationship?
For next week: read Apocalypses identified with Christian heroes: Apocalypse of Paul, Peter, etc.
Week #11 -- 06 December 2005 -- submitted by
Week #12 -- 13 December 2005 -- submitted by
[[last edited 05 December 2005 ]]