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Bible Literature

성서문학

 

VI. Intertestamental literature

1. NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE

1) Definitions.

2) Texts and versions.

3) Persian and Hellenistic influences.

4) Apocalypticism.

 

2. APOCRYPHAL WRITINGS

1) Apocryphal works indicating Persian influence.

i) Esdras.

ii) Judith.

iii) Tobit.

iv) The Story of Ahikar.

v) Baruch.

2) Apocryphal works lacking strong indications of influence.

i) The Letter of Jeremiah.

ii) Prayer of Manasseh.

3) Additions to Daniel and Esther.

i) The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men.

ii) Susanna.

iii) Bel and the Dragon.

4) Greek additions to Esther.

5) I and II Maccabees.

i) I Maccabees.

ii) II Maccabees.

6) Wisdom literature.

i) Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach).

ii) The Wisdom of Solomon.

 

3. THE PSEUDEPIGRAPHAL WRITINGS

1) Works indicating a Greek influence.

i) The Letter of Aristeas.

ii) IV Maccabees.

iii) III Maccabees.

iv) The Lives of the Prophets.

v) The Ascension of Isaiah.

vi) Paralipomena of Jeremiah.

vii) The Testament of Job.

viii) Life of Adam and Eve.

2) Apocalyptic and eschatological works.

i) III Baruch.

ii) II Enoch.

iii) The Psalms of Solomon.

iv) The Assumption of Moses.

v) The Sibylline Oracles.

vi) II Esdras (or IV Esdras).

vii) The Apocalypse of Baruch.

3) Pseudepigrapha connected with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

i) The Book of Jubilees.

ii) The Book of Enoch.

iii) Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.

 

4. QUMRAN LITERATURE (DEAD SEA SCROLLS)

1) Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

2) Findings and conclusions.

i) Apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings.

ii) Pesharim.

iii) The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.

iv) Books of ordinances.

v) Hodayot.

 

VI. Intertestamental literature

 

1. NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE

 

1) Definitions.

A vast amount of Jewish literature written in the intertestamental period (mainly 2nd and 1st centuries BCE) and from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE was preserved, for the most part, through various Christian churches. A part of this literature is today commonly called the Apocrypha (Hidden; hence, secret books; singular apocryphon). At one time in the early church this was one of the terms for books not regarded by the church as canonical (scripturally acceptable), but in modern usage the Apocrypha is the term for those Jewish books that are called in the Roman Catholic Church deuterocanonical works--i.e., those that are canonical for Catholics but are not a part of the Jewish Bible. (These works are also regarded as canonical in the Eastern Orthodox churches.) When the Protestant churches returned to the Jewish canon (Hebrew Old Testament) during the Reformation period (16th century), the Catholic deuterocanonical works became for the Protestants "apocryphal"--i.e., non-canonical.

In 19th-century biblical scholarship a new term was coined for those ancient Jewish works that were not accepted as canonical by either the Catholic or Protestant churches; such books are now commonly called Pseudepigrapha (Falsely Inscribed; singular pseudepigraphon), i.e., books wrongly ascribed to a biblical author. The term Pseudepigrapha, however, is not an especially well suited one, not only because the pseudepigraphic character is not restricted to the Pseudepigrapha alone--and, indeed, not even all Pseudepigrapha are ascribed to any author, since there are among them anonymous treatises--but also because the group of writings so designated by this name necessarily varies in the different modern collections. Theoretically, the name Pseudepigrapha can designate all ancient Jewish writings that are not canonical in the Catholic Church. The writings of the philosopher Philo of Alexandria (1st century BCE-1st century CE) and the historian Josephus (1st century CE) and fragments of other postbiblical Hellenistic Jewish historians and poets, however, usually are excluded. Rabbinic literature (2nd century BCE-2nd century CE) also is generally excluded; such literature existed for centuries only in oral form. The edition of the Pseudepigrapha edited by the British biblical scholar R.H. Charles in 1913, however, contains a translation of Pirqe Avot ("Sayings of the Fathers"), an ethical tractate from the Mishna (a collection of oral laws), and even the non-Jewish Story of Ahikar (a folklore hero), though other genuine Jewish writings from antiquity are omitted. Some of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha were discovered only in the last two centuries, and the Dead Sea Scrolls (the first of them discovered in the 1940s), most of which belong to this category, are not yet all published. Thus, in the broader meaning of the terms, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha are a bloc of Jewish literature written in antiquity from the later Persian period (c. 4th century BCE) and not canonized by the Jews.

 

2) Texts and versions.

A small portion of this literature is preserved in the original languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Most of the Hebrew or Aramaic works, however, exist today only in various translations: Greek, Latin, Syriac, Ethiopian, Coptic, Old Slavonic, Armenian, and Romanian. All the works of the Apocrypha are preserved in Greek, because they have for the Greek Church a canonical value. Those books not considered canonical by the early church have often fallen into oblivion, and their Greek text was often lost; many of the ancient Jewish Pseudepigrapha are today preserved only in fragments or quotations in various languages, and sometimes only their titles are known from old lists of books that were rejected by the church.

Of this literature only the Apocrypha (contained in Latin and Greek Bibles) were read in the liturgical services of the church. The Pseudepigrapha, in their various versions, were in most cases nearly forgotten; and manuscripts of most of them were rediscovered only in modern times, a process that continues. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in the Judaean desert not only furnished new texts and fragments of unknown and already known Pseudepigrapha but also contributed solutions to problems concerning the origin of other Jewish religious writings (including some Old Testament books), the connection between them, and even their composition and redaction from older sources. The new original texts also strengthened interest in the Jewish literature of the intertestamental period because of its importance for the study of both ancient Judaism and early Christianity. As a result of such discoveries, better critical editions of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, as well as new studies of their content, have been published.

The Apocrypha, whose texts originated mostly before the rise of Christianity, were regarded as canonical in the early church but contain no Christian interpolations. Many of the Pseudepigrapha, however, were interpolated by Christian writers. The nature and the extent of these Christian interpolations are often difficult to define since a Christian interpolator not only changes the text according to Christian views or introduces specific Christian terminology but also may introduce in a Jewish text ideas, motifs, or terminology that are common to both Judaism and Christianity. For these reasons it is sometimes difficult to decide if a passage in a pseudepigraphon, or even sometimes the whole work, is Jewish or Christian.

 

3) Persian and Hellenistic influences.

Some of the Apocrypha (e.g., Judith, Tobit) may have been written already in the Persian period (6th-4th century BCE), but, with these possible exceptions, all the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha were written in the Hellenistic period (c. 300 BC-c. AD 300). Yet the influence of Persian culture and religion sometimes can be detected even in comparatively late Jewish works, especially in Jewish apocalyptic literature (see below Apocalypticism). The Persian influence was facilitated by the fact that both the Jewish and Persian religions are iconoclastic (against the veneration or worship of images) and opposed to paganism and display an interest in eschatology (doctrines of last times).

Although such an affinity did not exist between Judaism and Hellenistic culture, literary activity among Hellenistic Jews was generally Greek in character: the Greek-writing Jewish authors thought mainly in Greek concepts, used genuine Greek terminology, and wrote many of their works in Greek literary forms.

Though Hellenistic Jewish authors sometimes imitated biblical forms, they learned such forms from their Greek Bible (the Septuagint). Many Greek products written by Jews served as religious propaganda and probably influenced many pagans to become proselytes, or at least to abandon their heathen faith and become "God-fearing." Thus, the Jewish literature written in Greek could be used by Christianity for similar purposes later. (see also Index: Hellenistic Judaism)

Greek influence on Jewish writings written in Hebrew or Aramaic in Palestine in the intertestamental period was by no means as significant as upon Jewish works written in Greek among the Hellenistic Diaspora (Jews living outside Palestine). In Palestine, religion and culture formed a unity, and the Hellenization of the upper classes in Jerusalem before the Maccabean wars (167-142 BCE) was restricted to some families who had accepted Greek civilization for practical purposes. Jews in Palestine developed a flourishing autonomous culture based upon religious ideals. Living without interruption in their powerful religious tradition and with their own non-Greek education, the Palestinian Jews were able to produce literary works without significant evidences of Greek influence. The language of this literature was both Aramaic and Hebrew. Under the national revival in the Maccabean period, Hebrew became prevalent as the language of Jewish literature in Palestine; but since Aramaic was a spoken language in Palestine during the whole period, some of the extant literary works of Palestinian Jews in the Maccabean and Roman period probably were originally written also in Aramaic. (see also Index: Aramaic language)

 

4) Apocalypticism.

In intertestamental Jewish literature a special trend developed: namely, apocalypticism. Apokalypsis is a Greek term meaning "revelation of divine mysteries," both about the nature of God and about the last days (eschatology). Apocalyptic writings were composed in both Judaism and Christianity; one of them (the Book of Daniel) was accepted in the Jewish canon and another (the book of Revelation) in the New Testament. Other apocalypses form a part of the Pseudepigrapha, and influences of apocalypticism or similar approaches are found in some of the Apocrypha. The sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls are the works of an apocalyptic movement, though not all are written in the style of apocalypses. The Sibylline Oracles are, in their Jewish passages, a part of Jewish Hellenistic literature; inasmuch as they contain eschatological prophecies of future doom and salvation, they are apocalyptic, but in their polemics against idolatry and their apology for Jewish faith, they are a product of Jewish Hellenistic propagandistic literature. Because one of the central themes of apocalypticism is that of future salvation, messianic hopes involving the advent of a deliverer are usually the object of intertestamental Jewish apocalypticism.

 

2. APOCRYPHAL WRITINGS

 

1) Apocryphal works indicating Persian influence.

 

i) Esdras.

The "Greek Ezra," sometimes named I (or II or III) Esdras, enjoyed considerable popularity in the early church but lost its prestige in the Middle Ages in the Latin Church. At the reforming Council of Trent (1545-63), the Roman Catholic Church no longer recognized it as canonical and relegated it in the Latin Bible to the end, as an appendix to the New Testament. One of the reasons for its non-canonicity in the West is that the "Greek Ezra" contains material parallel to the biblical books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah but differs in textual recension (points of critical revision) and occasionally in the order of the stories. The content of the book is a history of the Jews from the celebration of the Passover in the time of King Josiah (7th century BCE) to the reading of the Law in the time of Ezra (5th century BCE). Though written in an idiomatic Greek, "Greek Ezra" is probably a Greek translation from an unknown Hebrew and Aramaic redaction of the materials contained in the biblical books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. An important part of this book (3:1-5:6), the story of the three youths at the court of Darius, has no parallel in the canonical books. This story concerns a debate between three guardsmen before Darius, king of Persia, about the question of what they consider to be the strongest of all things; the first youth asserts that it is wine, the second says that it is the king, and the third, who is identified with the biblical Zerubbabel (a prince of Davidic lineage who became governor of Judah under Darius), expresses his opinion that "women are strongest, but truth is victor over all things." He is acclaimed as the victor, and, as a reward, he requests that Darius rebuild Jerusalem and its Temple. The story evidently was written in two stages: originally, the competition was about wine, the king, and women, but later, truth was added. Truth is one of the central concepts of Persian religion and the competition itself is before a Persian king; thus it seems likely that the story is Persian in origin and that it became Jewish by the identification of the third youth with Zerubbabel.

 

ii) Judith.

The book of Judith is similar to the biblical Book of Esther in that it also describes how a woman saved her people from impending massacre by her cunning and daring. The name of the heroine occurs already in Gen. 26:34 as a Gentile wife of Esau, but in the book of Judith it evidently has symbolic value. Judith is an exemplary Jewish woman. Her deed is probably invented under the influence of the account of the 12th-century-BCE Kenite woman Jael (Judg. 5:24-27), who killed the Canaanite general Sisera by driving a tent peg through his head. (see also Index: Judith, Book of)

The story is clearly fiction, and the anachronisms in it are intentional: they show that the story itself is a mere fiction. The book speaks about the victory of Nebuchadnezzar, "who reigned over the Assyrians at Nineveh" (the name is of the 7th-6th-century-BCE king of Babylon, Nebuchadrezzar) in the time of an unknown Arphaxad, king of the Medes. Since the western nations of Nebuchadnezzar's empire had refused to come to his aid, the King ordered his commander in chief, Holofernes (a Persian name), to force submission upon the rebellious nations. In subduing these nations Holofernes destroyed their sanctuaries and proclaimed that Nebuchadnezzar alone should henceforth be worshipped as a god. Thus, the Jews, who had recently returned from the Babylonian Captivity (6th century BCE) and rebuilt the Temple, were compelled to prepare for war. Holofernes laid siege to Bethulia (otherwise unknown), described as an important strategic point on the way to Jerusalem. Because of a long siege, the inhabitants wanted to surrender their city, but Judith persuaded the people to delay the surrender for five days. Judith was a virtuous, pious, and beautiful widow. She removed her mourning garments, left the city, entered Holofernes' camp, and was brought before him. On the fourth day, Holofernes decided to seduce Judith and invited her to come into his tent; he then drank more wine than ever before. After he fell into a drunken stupor, Judith cut off his head with his sword and returned with the head to Bethulia. The Jews put Holofernes' head outside the city wall, and the following morning, upon learning of the death of their commander in chief, the Assyrian soldiers dispersed and were pursued by the Jews of Bethulia, who took abundant spoil. The Jews were not threatened again during Judith's lifetime--she lived to be 105--or for long thereafter.

Many suggestions have been made about the book of Judith's date of composition. Though current scholarly opinion is that the book was written in the warlike patriotic atmosphere of the early Maccabean period (c. 150 BCE) by a Palestinian Jew, there are no Maccabean elements in the book. It shows no direct or indirect Greek influences, the deification of kings existed already in the ancient Near East, and the political situation described in the book has nothing in common with the Maccabean period. All the apparently intentional historical mistakes, however, can be understood if it is suggested that the book of Judith was written under Persian rule. Holofernes is, as noted above, a typical Persian name; and the whole political and social situation described in the book fits the Persian world, as do the Jewish life and institutions reflected in the book. Thus, there are no serious indications that the book of Judith is a Maccabean product, and there are many allusions to the time of the Persian rule over Palestine. Only a Greek translation of the book is extant, but, from its style, it is clear that the book was originally written in Hebrew. In his preface to the book of Judith, the Latin biblical scholar Jerome (c. 347-419/420 CE) states that he used for his translation a "Chaldaean" (i.e., Aramaic) text and that he also used an older Latin translation from Greek. His translation differs in many points from the original text.

 

iii) Tobit.

The other Jewish short story possibly dating from Persian times is the book of Tobit, named after the father of its hero. From the fragments of the book discovered at Qumran, scholars now know that the original form of the name was Tobi. Tobit was from the Hebrew tribe of Naphtali and lived as an exile in Nineveh; his son was Tobias. Obeying the tenets of Jewish piety, Tobit buried the corpses of his fellow Israelites who had been executed. One day, when he buried a dead man, the warm dung of sparrows fell in his eyes and blinded him. His family subsequently suffered from poverty, but then Tobit remembered that he had once left a deposit of silver at Rages (today Teheran) in Media. He sent his son Tobias along with a companion, who was in reality the angel Raphael under the guise of an Israelite, to retrieve the deposit. During the journey, while Tobias was washing in the Tigris, a fish threatened to devour his foot. Upon instructions from Raphael, Tobias caught the fish and removed its gall, heart, and liver, since it was believed that the smoke from the heart and liver had the power to exorcise demons and that ointment made from the gall would cure blindness. On the way he stopped at Ecbatana (in Persia), where Raguel, a member of Tobias' family, lived. His daughter Sarah had been married seven times, but the men had been slain by the demon Asmodeus on the wedding night, before they had lain with her. On the counsel of Raphael, Tobias asked to marry Raguel's daughter, and on the wedding night Tobias put Asmodeus to flight through the stench of the burning liver and heart of the fish. Raphael went to Rages and returned with the deposit. When he returned with his young wife and Raphael to Nineveh, Tobias restored his father's sight by applying the gall of the fish to his eyes. Raphael then disclosed that he was one of God's seven angels and ascended into heaven.

The story of the book of Tobit is a historicized and Judaized version of the well-known folktale of "The Grateful Dead" (or "The Grateful Ghost"), in which a young man buries the corpse of a stranger despite injunctions against such an act; later the youth wins a bride through the intercession of the dead man's spirit. Asmodeus (in Persian, Aeshma Daeva, the demon of wrath) occurs as a powerful demon in rabbinic literature as well as in folktales. In the Jewish form of the story, "The Grateful Dead" is replaced by the angel Raphael. According to the Ethiopic Enoch (20:3; 22:3), Raphael is appointed over the spirits of the souls of the dead (for Enoch, see below). Because the cause of this situation is not mentioned in the book of Tobit, the story itself in its Jewish form probably existed before it became the subject of the book of Tobit. The present work is a literary product; the interesting plot gave to the author many occasions to insert religious and moral teachings in the manner of wisdom literature, which is concerned with practical, everyday issues. The book contains prayers, psalms, and aphorisms, most of them put in the mouth of Tobit. It is the oldest Jewish witness of the golden rule (4:15): "And what you hate, do not do to anyone." Eschatological hopes are also described: at the end of time, all Jewish exiles will return, Jerusalem will be rebuilt of precious stones and gold, and all nations will worship the true God. In these eschatological images, however, the figure of the Messiah does not occur.

The religious, social, and literary atmosphere of the book does not contain elements from the Greek period. Thus, the book probably was written already in the Persian period or in the early days of Greek rule (3rd century BCE). The book exists today in three principal recensions, and it is often difficult to determine, in a particular passage, what was the original text. The book was written in Hebrew or Aramaic; the Greek recensions differ, perhaps because they are based on different Semitic versions. These questions may be answered when the Hebrew and Aramaic fragments of the book, which were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, are published.

 

iv) The Story of Ahikar.

According to the book of Tobit, Ahikar, the cupbearer of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon, was Tobit's nephew; he is a secondary personage in the plot, and his own story is mentioned. Ahikar is the hero of a Near Eastern non-Jewish work, The Story of Ahikar. The book exists in medieval translations, the best of them in Syriac. The story was known in the Persian period in the Jewish military colony in Elephantine Island in Egypt, a fact demonstrated by the discovery of fragmentary Aramaic papyri of the work dating from 450-410 BCE. Thus, the author of the book of Tobit probably knew The Story of Ahikar, in which, as in the book of Tobit, the plot is a pretext for the introduction of speeches and wise sayings. Some of Tobit's sayings have close parallels in the words of the wise Ahikar.

 

v) Baruch.

The apocryphon of Baruch, which is extant in Greek and was included in the Septuagint, is attributed to Baruch, secretary to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah (7th-6th century BCE). It was Baruch who read Jeremiah's letter to the exiles in Babylon. After hearing his words, the Jews repented and confessed their sins. The first part of the book of Baruch (1:1-3, 8), containing a confession of sins by the Jews following the destruction of Jerusalem and the exiles' prayer for forgiveness and salvation, may date from the Persian or at least from the pre-Maccabean period. This early section was originally written in Hebrew and seems to be very ancient. The other two parts (3:9-4:4 and 4:5-5:9) were written in Greek or freely translated from Hebrew or Aramaic. The first is a praise of wisdom: only Israel received wisdom from God, which is the Law of Moses. The last part of the book of Baruch contains Jerusalem's lament over her desolation and her consolation.

 

2) Apocryphal works lacking strong indications of influence.

 

i) The Letter of Jeremiah.

The Letter of Jeremiah, like the book of Baruch, was conserved--together with the Greek translation of the Book of Jeremiah--in the Septuagint. The oldest witness of the letter is a fragment of a Greek papyrus, written about 160 BCE and found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. Whether the letter was originally written in Greek or is a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic is difficult to decide. The letter attacks the folly of idolatry as did Jeremiah's letter "to those who were to be taken to Babylon as captives." Though, according to some experts, the idolatry described in the book fits Babylonian cults, the only clear indication of its date is that of the Qumran fragment.

 

ii) Prayer of Manasseh.

In some manuscripts of the Septuagint and in two later Christian writings, a pseudepigraphic Prayer of Manasseh is contained. This prayer was composed with reference to II Chron. 33:11-18, according to which the wicked Judaean king Manasseh repented and prayed. In the present form the prayer is Greek in origin, but it may have existed in a Hebrew version, of which the Greek is a free adaptation. The prayer was probably composed (or translated) in the 1st century BCE.

 

3) Additions to Daniel and Esther.

Two of the Old Testament Hagiographa (Ketuvim; see above The Hebrew canon )-- Daniel and Esther--contain, in their Greek translations, numerous additions.

 

i) The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men.

The first addition to Daniel (in Greek and Latin translations Dan. 3:24-68) contains the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men. These are the prayers of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, the three young men who praised God after they had been placed in the midst of the fiery furnace during a persecution of Jews in Babylon, as told in the Book of Daniel. The first prayer is said by Azariah alone; the second, a thanksgiving prayer, is said by all three after having been saved by God. The two poems are not found in the original Daniel and were never a part of it. They were translated from Hebrew originals or adapted from them. A passage from the second, a liturgical hymn of praise, is a poetic expansion of the doxology that was sung in the Temple when the holy name of God was pronounced. Like the other additions to Daniel, the two prayers were probably composed before 100 BCE.

 

ii) Susanna.

The second addition to Daniel, the story of Susanna, and the third one, Bel and the Dragon, are preserved in two Greek versions. In both stories the hero is the wise Daniel. Susanna was the pious and beautiful wife of Joakim, a wealthy Jew in Babylon. Two aged judges became inflamed with love for her. They tried to force her to yield to their lust, and, when she refused, they accused her of committing adultery with a young man, who escaped. She was condemned to death, but when Daniel cross-examined the two elders separately, the first stated that Susanna had been surprised under a mastic tree, the other under a holm tree. Susanna was thus saved and the two false witnesses executed.

The short story, perhaps invented even before the extant Book of Daniel was composed, could very well be added to Daniel (whose name means God is my Judge). The story was written in its present form in Greek, since it contains two Greek puns, but a written Semitic prototype may have existed.

 

iii) Bel and the Dragon.

The third Greek addition to the Book of Daniel is the story of Bel and the Dragon. The Babylonians worshipped the idol of the god Bel and daily provided him with much food, but Daniel proved to the King that the food was in reality eaten by the priests. The priests were punished by death and Bel's temple destroyed. The Babylonians also worshipped a dragon, but Daniel declined to worship him. To destroy the beast, Daniel boiled pitch, fat, and hair together: the dragon ate it and burst asunder. After Daniel's sacrilege of slaying the dragon, the King was forced to cast Daniel into the lions' den, but nothing happened to him. Indeed, he was given a dinner by the prophet Habakkuk, who was brought there by the hair of his head by an angel. On the seventh day the King found Daniel sitting in the den; so he led Daniel out and cast his enemies into the den, where they were devoured.

The two stories are an attack against idolatry. As the addition ends with the story about Daniel in the lions' den, which is also narrated in the canonical Book of Daniel with another motivation, it is probable that this short treatise originated in a tradition that was parallel to the canonical Book of Daniel and that the two stories were translated from a Hebrew or Aramaic original.

 

4) Greek additions to Esther.

The Hebrew Book of Esther had a religious and social value to the Jews during the time of Greek and Roman anti-Semitism, though the Hebrew short story did not directly mention God's intervention in history--and even God himself is not named. To bring the canonical book up-to-date in connection with contemporary anti-Semitism and to stress the religious meaning of the story, additions were made in its Greek translation. These Greek additions are (1) the dream of Mordecai (Esther's uncle), a symbolic vision written in the spirit of apocalyptic literature; (2) the edict of King Artaxerxes (considered by some to be Artaxerxes II, but more probably Xerxes) against the Jews, containing arguments taken from classical anti-Semitism; (3) the prayers of Mordecai and of Esther, containing apologies for what is said in the Book of Esther--Mordecai saying that he refused to bow before Haman (the grand vizier) because he is flesh and blood and Esther saying that she strongly detests her forced marriage with the heathen king; (4) a description of Esther's audience with the King, during which the King's mood was favourably changed when he saw that Esther had fallen down in a faint; (5) the decree of Artaxerxes on behalf of the Jews, in which Haman is called a Macedonian who plotted against the King to transfer the kingdom of Persia to the Macedonians; and (6) the interpretation of Mordecai's dream and a colophon (inscription at the end of a manuscript with publication facts), where the date, namely, "the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra" (i.e., 114 BCE), is given. This indicates that the additions in the Greek Esther were written in Egypt under the rule of the Ptolemies.

 

5) I and II Maccabees.

 

i) I Maccabees.

The first two of the four books of Maccabees are deuterocanonical (accepted by the Roman Catholic Church). The First Book of the Maccabees is preserved in the Greek translation from the Hebrew original, the original Hebrew name of it having been known to the Christian theologian Origen of Alexandria. At the beginning, the author of the book mentions Alexander the Great, then moves on to the Seleucid king of Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes (died 164/163 BCE), and his persecution of the Jews in Palestine, the desecration of the Jerusalem Temple, and the Maccabean revolt. After the death of the priest Mattathias, who had refused to obey Antiochus, his son Judas Maccabeus succeeded him and led victorious wars against the Syrian Greeks. Exactly three years after its profanation by Antiochus, Judas captured the Temple, cleansed and rededicated it, and in honour of the rededication initiated an annual festival (Hanukka) lasting eight days. After Judas later fell in battle against the Syrian Greeks, his brother Jonathan succeeded him and continued the struggle. Only in the time of Simon, Jonathan's brother and successor, did the Maccabean state become independent. A short mention of the rule of Simon's son John Hyrcanus I (135/134-104 BCE) closes the book. The author, a pious and nationalistic Jew and an ardent adherent of the family of Maccabees, evidently lived in the time of John Hyrcanus. The book imitates the biblical style of the historical books of the Old Testament and contains diplomatic and other important--though not necessarily authentic--official documents.

 

ii) II Maccabees.

The Second Book of the Maccabees, or its source, was probably written in the same period as I Maccabees. The book is preceded by two letters to the Jews of Egypt: the first from the year 124 BCE and the second one written earlier (164 BCE) commemorating the rededication of the Temple. In the preface of the book, the author indicates that he has condensed into one book the lost five-volume history compiled by Jason of Cyrene. II Maccabees describes the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabean wars until the victory of Judas Maccabeus over Nicanor, the commander of the Syrian elephant corps, in 161 BCE. The book, written in Greek, is an important document of Hellenistic historiography. Descriptions of the martyrdom of the priest Eleazar and of the seven brothers under Antiochus, in which Greek dramatic style is linked with Jewish religious spirit, became important for Christian martyrology. The book also furnished proof texts for various Jewish and subsequently Christian doctrines (e.g., doctrines of angels and the resurrection of the flesh).

 

6) Wisdom literature.

 

i) Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach).

There are two deuterocanonical works of the genre known as wisdom literature, one Hebrew and one Greek. The Hebrew work is called Ecclesiasticus, in the Latin Bible and in Greek manuscripts Sophia Iesou hyiou Sirach (the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach); the original Hebrew title was probably Hokhmat Yeshua' Ben-Sira, the Wisdom of Ben-Sira. Written in Hebrew about 180-175 BCE, it was translated into Greek by the author's grandson in Egypt. A Syriac translation also was made. Portions (about three-fifths) of the Hebrew text were found in medieval copies in a synagogue of Cairo and a part of the book in a fragment of a scroll from Massada in Palestine (written c. 75 BCE). Small Hebrew fragments also were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls; one of them, the Psalms scroll, contains a large part of a poem about wisdom that is a part of the appendix (chapter 51) and that was not written by the author. The Proverbs of Ben-Sira are often quoted in rabbinic literature.

The book is written in the poetical style of the wisdom books of the Old Testament (e.g., Proverbs, Job) and deals with the themes of practical and theoretical morality. The religious and moral position of the author is conservative--he does not believe in the afterlife, but he reflects the contemporary religious positions. He identifies wisdom, the origin of which is divine, with "the Law which Moses commanded," an idea that became important for later Judaism. He also reflects contemporary debates about freedom of will and determinism, and, though realistic in his basic opinions, he sometimes expresses eschatological hopes of salvation for his people. His piety is ethical, though lacking in asceticism; and he invites his readers to enjoy life, which is short (in this point some Greek influence is palpable, but it is not very deep). At the end of the book the author praises, in chronological order, "the fathers of old," from the beginning of history to his contemporary, the high priest Simon, whose appearance in the Temple is poetically described. After some verses comes the colophon with the author's name--the last chapter being an appendix not composed by the author.

 

ii) The Wisdom of Solomon.

The other deuterocanonical wisdom book, the Wisdom of Solomon, was written in Greek, though it purports to have been written by King Solomon himself. The hypothesis that the first half of the book was translated from Hebrew seems to be without foundation and probably came into existence because, in this section, the author imitated in Greek the Old Testament poetical style. The Wisdom of Solomon was probably written in Alexandria (Egypt) in the 1st century BCE.

The book has three parts. The first (chapters 1-5) concerns the contrast between pious and righteous Jews and the wicked, sinful, and mundane Jews who persecute the righteous; the lot of the righteous is preferable to the sorrows and final condemnation of the sinners. In the second part (chapters 6-9) Solomon speaks about the essence of wisdom and how he attained it. In the third part (chapters 10-19) the author proves the value of wisdom by telling--not in an exact chronological order--how, in the history of Israel from the beginning until the conquest of Palestine, God exalted Israel and punished the heathens, the Egyptians, and the Canaanites. He also describes the folly of heathenism and its origins in human aberrations.

The author fuses Judaism and Hellenism both in style and in thought. Though he imitates biblical style, he is also influenced by Greek rhetoric. He also freely uses Greek philosophical and other terms and is influenced by Jewish apocalyptic literature. Some close parallels to the Dead Sea sect (at Qumran), both in eschatology and in anthropology (doctrines about man), can be found in the Wisdom of Solomon.

 

3. THE PSEUDEPIGRAPHAL WRITINGS

 

1) Works indicating a Greek influence.

 

i) The Letter of Aristeas.

An important document of Jewish Hellenistic literature is The Letter of Aristeas, a pseudepigraphon ascribed to Aristeas, an official of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, a Greek monarch of Egypt in the 3rd century BCE. The letter is addressed to his brother and gives an account of the translation of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament) into Greek, by order of Ptolemy. According to the legend, reflected in the letter, the translation was made by 72 elders, brought from Jerusalem, in 72 days. The letter, in reality written by an Alexandrian Jew about 100 BCE, attempts to show the superiority of Judaism both as religion and as philosophy. It also contains interesting descriptions of Palestine, of Jerusalem with its Temple, and of the royal gifts to the Temple.

 

ii) IV Maccabees.

Another Jewish Hellenistic work combining history and philosophy is The Fourth Book of Maccabees. The theme of the book, reflecting the views of the Greek Stoics, is "whether the Inspired Reason is supreme ruler over the passions." This thesis is demonstrated by the martyrdom of the elderly scribe Eleazar and the unnamed seven brothers and their mother, taken from II Macc. 6:18-7:41. The idea of the expiatory force of martyrdom is stressed more in IV Maccabees than in its source. The author probably lived in the 1st century BCE and may have been from Antioch (in Syria), where the tombs of the Maccabean martyrs were venerated by the Jews.

 

iii) III Maccabees.

The Greek book called The Third Book of Maccabees itself has nothing to do with the Maccabean period. Its content is a legend, a miraculous story of deliverance, which is also independently told--in another historical context--by Josephus (Against Apion II, 5). In III Maccabees the story takes place during the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator (reigned 221-203 BCE). The central episode of the book is the oppression of Egyptian Jews, culminating with an anti-Jewish decree by the King. The Jews who were registered for execution were brought into the hippodrome outside of Alexandria; the King had ordered 500 elephants to be drugged with incense and wine for the purpose of crushing the Jews, but by God's intercession "the beasts turned round against the armed hosts [of the king] and began to tread them under foot and destroy them." The Jews fixed annual celebrations of this deliverance. The book was probably written at the end of the 1st century BCE by an Alexandrian Jew in a period of high anti-Jewish tension.

 

iv) The Lives of the Prophets.

The little book called the Lives of the Prophets is a collection of Jewish legends about Old Testament prophets. It is preserved in Greek and in versions and recensions in various languages, all based on the Greek. The purpose of the work was to furnish to the readers of the Bible further information about the prophets. The collection evidently passed through Christian hands since it includes an assumed prophecy of Jeremiah about the birth of Christ. Thus, the date of composition of the supposed original Jewish work and the question as to whether it was originally written in Hebrew or Greek are difficult to resolve. Scholars are inclined toward a 1st-century-CE date in Palestine--with the exception of the life of "Jeremiah," which is Egyptian in origin.

 

v) The Ascension of Isaiah.

According to the Lives of the Prophets, Jeremiah was stoned to death and Isaiah was sawn asunder. These two legends are reflected in two originally Jewish works. The Ascension of Isaiah, in which the martyrdom of Isaiah is narrated, is as a whole extant only in Ethiopic, translated from a Greek original, which itself is also known from fragments. The book contains important Christian passages from the 1st century CE, but the story about Isaiah's martyrdom is most likely based upon a Jewish written source. According to this legend, Isaiah was killed by the wicked king Manasseh, who served Beliar-Sammael, the chief of the evil spirits, instead of God. Isaiah, with his followers, had fled to the wilderness, but upon being captured he was sawn asunder with a wooden saw, and his followers fled to the region of Tyre and Sidon. The activity of Beliar is known also from the writings of the sect that preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls and similar writings, and the story itself resembles in some way the history of the Dead Sea sect; but no fragment of the Jewish part of the book was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The original Martyrdom of Isaiah was written probably in Hebrew or Aramaic before the 1st century CE.

 

vi) Paralipomena of Jeremiah.

In the last chapter of the Greek text of the Paralipomena (additional stories) of Jeremiah, there is a hint of the Christian part of the Ascension of Isaiah: the people stoned Jeremiah to death because he, like Isaiah before him, prophesied the coming of Christ. In a parallel legend (preserved in Arabic), both the violent death of Jeremiah and the Christian motif are lacking. The book begins shortly before and ends shortly after the Babylonian Exile and contains mostly otherwise unknown legends. The legend about the long sleep of Abimelech (the biblical Ebed-melech--an Ethiopian eunuch who rescued Jeremiah from a cistern), who slept and so did not see the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians--is based upon a legendary understanding of Psalm 126:1; a similar legend about another person is preserved in the Talmud (the authoritative rabbinical compendium of Jewish law, lore, and commentary). The book is basically Jewish, and the last chapter was Christianized. The Jewish work was probably written at the end of the 1st century CE or at the beginning of the 2nd, originally in either Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek.

 

vii) The Testament of Job.

Though there are scholars who think that the Testament of Job was once written in Hebrew or Aramaic, it is more probable that the existing Greek text of the book is the original or even a rewritten later version of a Greek work; a fragment of an older form is probably preserved in the Greek translation of Job (2:9). Job is identified, according to some Jewish traditions, with the biblical Jobab (king of Edom), and his (second) wife is Dinah, Jacob's daughter. Job knew by revelation that, for destroying an idol, he would undergo suffering but that a happy end would be the final outcome. Thus, in contrast to the biblical Book of Job, this work does not deal with the question of God's righteousness but places great emphasis on resurrection and eternal life. These special motifs in the book indicate that the book probably was written by a member of an unknown Jewish group that upheld a high mystical spirituality. The extreme "pietistic" tendency of the book is noted in the exaggeration of Job's love for suffering and of his charity to the poor. At the end of the book Job's soul was taken to heaven in a heavenly chariot. The book was probably written before 70 CE.

 

viii) Life of Adam and Eve.

The many Christian legends in many languages about the lives of Adam and Eve probably have their origin in a Jewish writing (or writings) about the biblical first man and woman. The most important of these works are the Latin Vita Adae et Evae (Life of Adam and Eve) and a Greek work closely parallel to it, named erroneously by its first editor the Apocalypse of Moses. The narrative runs from the Fall to the deaths of Adam and Eve. The religious message in the story involves the repentance of Adam and Eve after their expulsion from paradise--and the description of their deaths does not show any traces of the idea of original sin, which was important in later Christian theology. Nonetheless, there are definitely Christian passages in the various versions, and the treatment of Adam in the literature of the Ebionites (an early Jewish Christian sect) shows an affinity for the story. Thus, the Jewish source probably was composed in the 1st century CE in Jewish circles that influenced the Ebionites. The original language of this supposed source is unknown.

 

2) Apocalyptic and eschatological works.

 

i) III Baruch.

Apocalyptic literature was much concerned about sources of information about the heavenly world and about the places of the damned and saved souls. In later Jewish and early Christian apocalypses, in which the hero undertakes a heavenly trip and sees the secrets that are hidden from others, these sources of information are highly significant. III Baruch, a book written in Greek--in which Baruch, the disciple of the prophet Jeremiah, visits the universe and sees its secrets and the places of the souls and of the angels--is such an apocalypse. In the Greek text the number of heavens visited by Baruch is five, but it is possible that originally he was said to have seen seven heavens. There are Christian passages in the book, but it seems to have been a Jewish work from the 1st century CE later rewritten by a Christian. (see also Index: apocalyptic literature, "Baruch, Book of")

 

ii) II Enoch.

Similar in content is II Enoch, or The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, which is preserved only in an Old Slavonic translation. The oldest text does not contain any Christian additions nor any passage from which it could be concluded that the book was written in Greek. Thus, the book could have been written originally in Hebrew or Aramaic, probably in the 1st century CE. The hero who visits the heavens is the biblical Enoch (son of Jared). The author of the book knew at least some of the treatises contained in I Enoch. The book also contains the story of the miraculous birth of the biblical priest-king Melchizedek.

 

iii) The Psalms of Solomon.

Other Jewish apocalypses or books containing eschatological elements did not deal with the mysteries of celestial worlds but rather with the political aspect of apocalyptic thought and with the last days and the messianic age. This latter theme is one of the important motifs of the Psalms of Solomon, a book written originally in Hebrew; only the Greek translation of the Psalms is preserved. The title is evidently a later addition--the author himself apparently had no intention to give the impression that his 18 psalms were composed by the biblical king Solomon. The Psalms of Solomon were written in Jerusalem about the middle of the 1st century BCE, and, though persons are not named, they reflect the dramatic events of the Jewish history of that period, especially the Roman general Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem in 63 BCE and his violent death in Egypt. In Psalm 17, the author denounces the Hasmonean dynasty as illegal and describes the coming of the Davidic Messiah (a kingly saviour from the line of David). His religious opinion resembles the teachings of the Pharisees (a sect that espoused a reinterpretation of Jewish laws and customs), especially in his faith in the resurrection of the body and in the question of free will, though he most likely was not a Pharisee but rather a member of the community of Hasidim, a Jewish pietistic group that had joined the Maccabean revolt from its beginning.

 

iv) The Assumption of Moses.

The Assumption of Moses originally contained apocalyptic material--no longer extant--in the form of a legend. According to Origen, the dispute between the archangel Michael and the devil for the body of Moses was narrated in the Assumption of Moses. This legend, which has parallels in the rabbinic literature, probably formed the end of the Assumption of Moses, the first part of which was discovered in a Latin manuscript. The Latin version was translated from Greek, but the original language was Semitic, probably Hebrew.

The main content of the preserved part is Moses' prophecy about the future, from his time until the Kingdom of Heaven will be revealed. According to the custom of apocalyptic literature, names of persons and groups are not mentioned, but from the last events hinted at in the book it can be assumed that it was written at the beginning of the 1st century CE, while Jesus was alive. In its older version, the book apparently was written at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt, some years before the Book of Daniel; after a description of the pre-Maccabean Hellenistic priests (chapter 5) and before the description of the persecutions by Antiochus Epiphanes (chapter 8), chapters 6-7 contain Jewish history from the time of the later Hasmonean rulers to the time of the sons of Herod--as well as polemics against leading religious circles, which are accused of religious hypocrisy, as are the Pharisees in the Christian Gospels. The author of these chapters (6-7), a contemporary of Jesus, evidently erroneously identified the wicked pre-Maccabean priests with the wicked late Maccabean priestly rulers and also interpreted Antiochus Epiphanes as a kind of eschatological Antichrist. No messianic figure is mentioned in the eschatological description of the Kingdom of God: God himself and his angel will bring the salvation.

 

v) The Sibylline Oracles.

The Sibylline Oracles is a collection of oracles in Greek verse containing pagan, Jewish, and Christian material from various periods. It comprised 15 books (books IX, X, and XV are lost), of which 4,240 verses are extant. Sibyl is the name (or title) of a legendary ancient pagan prophetess. In the Hellenistic period, eastern nations fabricated Sibylline oracles as propagandistic literature against Greek and, later, against Roman occupation. The political anti-Roman and anti-pagan tone is typical of the Jewish and Christian parts of Sibylline oracles; they also contain religious propaganda for the respective religion. Because Jewish parts used pagan material and Christian authors interpolated Jewish parts or used Jewish material, it is sometimes difficult to decide what verses are pagan, Jewish, or Christian. The Sibylline Oracles perhaps became a part of Jewish (and Christian) apocalyptic literature because of their emphasis on eschatology. The oldest Jewish "Sibyl" is contained in the third book: it dates from about 140 BCE and describes the coming of the Messiah. Book IV was written by a Jew about 80 CE: the eruption of Vesuvius (79) is viewed as a divine punishment for the massacre of Jews in the Roman war (70). Book V was written by a Jew about 125.

 

vi) II Esdras (or IV Esdras).

Two important apocalyptic pseudepigrapha (II Esdras and the Apocalypse of Baruch), in which the political and eschatological aspects are central to the aim of the books, were written in Palestine at the end of the 1st century CE as a consequence of the catastrophic destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (70). Both were written as if they reflected the doom that befell the people of Israel after the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE) by the Babylonians. II Esdras (or IV Esdras) was written in Hebrew, but only various translations from a lost Greek version are preserved. The Latin version (in which chapters 1-2 and 15-16 have been added by a Christian hand) at one time was printed at the end of the Latin Bible. The book consists of six visions attributed to the biblical Ezra (who is, at the beginning of the book, erroneously identified with Salathiel, the father of Zerubbabel, a leader of the returning exiles from Babylon). The tragedy of his nation evokes in the heart of the author questions about God's righteousness, the human condition, the meaning of history, and the election of Israel; "Ezra" does not find consolation and full answer in the words of the angel who was sent to him, which also contain revelations about the last days. In the fourth vision "Ezra" sees a mourning woman; she disappears and a city (the New Jerusalem) stands in her place. In the fifth vision a monstrous eagle appears, the symbol of the Roman Empire, and a lion, the symbol of the Messiah. The final victory of the Messiah is described in the last vision of the man (Son of man) coming from the sea. In chapter 14 "Ezra" is described as dictating 94 books: 24 are the books of the Hebrew Bible, and the other 70 are esoteric. (see also Index: Babylonia)

 

vii) The Apocalypse of Baruch.

The Apocalypse of Baruch was written about the same time as II (IV) Esdras, and the less profound Apocalypse probably depends much upon II Esdras. The Apocalypse of Baruch survives only in a Syriac version translated from Greek; originally the book was composed in Hebrew or Aramaic and is ascribed to Baruch, the disciple of Jeremiah and a contemporary of the destruction of the First Temple. If II Esdras asks questions about important problems of human history and the tragic situation of Israel after the destruction of the Second Temple, the Apocalypse of Baruch apparently was written to give a positive, traditional answer to these doubts.

 

3) Pseudepigrapha connected with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

There are three Pseudepigrapha that are closely connected with the writings of the Dead Sea sect: the Book of Jubilees, the Ethiopic Book of Enoch, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. It is not accidental that fragments of the two first books and of two sources of the third were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

i) The Book of Jubilees.

From the fragments of the Book of Jubilees among the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars note that the book was originally written in biblical Hebrew. The whole book is preserved in an Ethiopic version translated from Greek.

The book is written in the form of a revealed history of Israel from the creation until the dwelling of Moses on Mt. Sinai, where the content of the book was revealed to Moses by "the angel of the presence." The Book of Jubilees in fact is a legendary rewriting of the book of Genesis and a part of Exodus. One of the main purposes of the author is to promote, in the form of divine revelation, a special sectarian interpretation of Jewish law. All the legal prescriptions noted in the book were practiced by the Dead Sea sect; in connection with the solar calendar of 52 weeks, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls even mentions the Book of Jubilees as the source. The (unpublished) Temple Scroll, a book of sectarian prescriptions that paraphrases--also as divine revelation--a part of the Mosaic Law and was composed by the Dead Sea sect before 100 BCE (i.e., in the same period as the Book of Jubilees), closely resembles some parts of the Book of Jubilees. Thus, the Book of Jubilees could be accepted by the Dead Sea sect and apparently was written in the same circles, immediately before the sect itself came into existence. The apocalyptical hopes expressed in the book are also identical to those of the Dead Sea sect.

 

ii) The Book of Enoch.

Another book that was written during the period of the apocalyptic movement in which the Dead Sea sect came into existence is the Book of Enoch, or I Enoch. It was completely preserved in an Ethiopic translation from Greek, and large parts from the beginning and end of the Greek version have been published from two papyri. Aramaic fragments of many parts of the book were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, as were Hebrew fragments of the Book of Noah, either one of the sources of Enoch or a parallel elaboration of the same material. Passages of the Book of Noah were included in Enoch by its redactor (editor). Scholars generally agree that the somewhat haphazard redaction of the book was made in its Greek stage, when a redactor put together various treatises of the Enochic literature that were written at various times and reflected various trends of the movement. (see also Index: "Enoch, First Book of," )

Besides the passages from the Book of Noah, five treatises are included in the Book of Enoch. The hero of all of them is the biblical Enoch. The first treatise (chapters 1-36) speaks about the fall of the angels, who rebelled before the Flood, and describes Enoch's celestial journeys, in which divine secrets were revealed to him. It was probably written in the late 2nd century BCE.

The second part of the Book of Enoch is the "Parables" (or Similitudes) of Enoch (37-71). These three eschatological sermons of Enoch refer to visions; their original language was probably Hebrew rather than Aramaic. This treatise is an important witness for the belief in the coming of the Son of man, who is expressly identified with the Messiah; in chapters 70-71, which are probably a later addition, the Son of man is identified with Enoch himself. The treatise probably dates from the 1st century BCE.

As Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls show, the astronomical book entitled "The Book of the Heavenly Luminaries" (chapters 72-82) is in the present form abbreviated in the Book of Enoch. All these astronomical mysteries were shown to Enoch by the angel Uriel. The treatise propagates the same solar calendar that is also known from the Book of Jubilees and from the Dead Sea sect. This treatise was probably written before the year 100 BCE.

The fourth treatise (chapters 83-90) contains two visions of Enoch: the first (chapters 83-84), about the Flood, is in reality only a sort of introduction to the second one ("the vision of seventy shepherds"), which describes the history of the world from Adam to the messianic age; the personages of the visions are allegorically described as various kinds of animals. The symbolic description of history continues to the time of Judas Maccabeus; then follows the last assault of Gentiles and the messianic period. Thus, the treatise was written in the early Hasmonean period, some time after the biblical Book of Daniel.

The fifth treatise (chapters 91-107) contains Enoch's speech of moral admonition to his family. The moral stress and the social impact is similar to parts of Jesus' teaching; even the form of beatitudes (blessings) and woes is present. The treatise shows some affinities to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but the author was not a member of the Dead Sea sect; he opposes the central teaching of the sect, the doctrine of predestination (98: 4-5). The treatise apparently was written at the end of the 1st century BCE. Chapter 105, lacking in the Greek version, is a late interpolation, probably of Christian origin.

The author of the treatise himself apparently incorporated into it a small apocalypse, the "Apocalypse of Weeks" (93:1-10; 91:12-17); in it the whole of human history is divided into ten weeks; seven of them belong to the past and the last three to the future.

 

iii) Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.

The third pseudepigraphon that shows important affinities with the Dead Sea sect is the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the last speeches of the 12 sons of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob. In its extant form, containing Christian passages, the book was written in Greek. Fragments of two original Semitic sources of the book were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls: the Aramaic "Testament of Levi" (fragments of it were also discovered in Aramaic in the medieval Geniza, or synagogue storeroom, in Cairo) and a Hebrew fragment of the "Testaments of Naphtali." A Hebrew "Testament of Judah," which was used both by the Book of Jubilees and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs in their description of the wars of the sons of Jacob, also probably existed.

Whether Hebrew and Aramaic prototypes for all the 12 testaments of the patriarchs existed is difficult to ascertain. The present book was originally written in Greek. In it each of the sons of Jacob before his death gives moral advice to his descendants, based upon his own experience. All the testaments, with the exception of Gad, also contain apocalyptic predictions.

Between the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and the Dead Sea sect there is a historical and ideological connection. The sources of the book were found among the scrolls, the source of the "Testament of Levi" is quoted in a sectarian writing (the Damascus Document), a dualistic outlook is common to the book and the sect, and the devil is named Belial in both. There are, however, important differences: in regard to the nature of the dualism between good and evil, there is in the Testaments the concept of the good and bad inclination, known from rabbinical literature, which does not exist in the scrolls; though the sect believed in an afterlife of souls, the Testaments reflect the belief in the resurrection of the body; there are no traces of the doctrine of predestination in the testaments, a doctrine that is so important for the sect. Only the "Testament of Asher" preaches, as did the Dead Sea sect, hatred against sinners; the other testaments stress, as does rabbinic literature and especially Jesus, the precept of love for God and neighbour. Thus, it is probable that the testaments of the patriarchs were composed in circles in which doctrines of the Dead Sea sect were mitigated and combined with some rabbinic doctrines. A similar humanistic position, founded both on doctrines of the Dead Sea sect and of the Pharisees, is typical of Jesus' message, and there are important parallels between his message and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.

 

4. QUMRAN LITERATURE (DEAD SEA SCROLLS)

 

1) Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

New literary documents from the intertestamental period were found in the caves of Qumran in the vicinity of the Dead Sea in the 1940s, but only a portion of them has yet been published. All the Dead Sea Scrolls were written before the destruction of the Second Temple; with the exception of small Greek fragments, they are all in Hebrew and Aramaic. The scrolls formed the library of an ancient Jewish sect, which probably came into existence at the end of the 2nd century BCE and was founded by a religious genius, called in the scrolls the Teacher of Righteousness. Scholars have tried to identify the sect with all possible groups of ancient Judaism, including the Zealots and early Christians, but it is now most often identified with the Essenes; all that the sectarian scrolls contain fits previous information about the Essenes, and the Dead Sea Scrolls help scholars to interpret the descriptions about the Essenes in ancient sources. (see also Index: Qumran community)

2) Findings and conclusions.

 

i) Apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings.

The importance of the discovery is very great; the scrolls of books of the Old Testament caused a new evaluation of the history of the text of the Hebrew Bible; fragments of the Apocrypha (Sirach and Tobit) and of already known and unknown Pseudepigrapha enlarge knowledge about Jewish literature of the intertestamental period, and the properly sectarian scrolls are important witnesses about an ancient sect that influenced, in some points, the origins of Christianity.

Among the previously unknown Pseudepigrapha were large parts of an Aramaic scroll, the Genesis Apocryphon, which retells stories from Genesis in the manner of a number of apocryphal books. The chapters that are preserved are concerned with Lamech, his grandfather Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, and the narrators in the scroll are the respective biblical heroes. There is a close affinity between this scroll and the Book of Jubilees and Book of Enoch, fragments of these books having been also found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Another pseudepigraphon that resembles the Dead Sea sect in spirit is the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs; fragments of two of its sources, namely, the Aramaic "Testament of Levi" and a Hebrew "Testament of Naphtali," are extant in the Qumran library. All these books were composed in an apocalyptic movement in Judaism, in the midst of which the Dead Sea sect originated. It is sometimes difficult to ascertain if a work was written within the sect itself or if it represents the broader movement. The largest scroll, the Temple Scroll, is as yet unpublished. It describes--by the mouth of God himself and in Hebrew--not the Temple of the last days but the Temple as it should have been built. There are strong ties between the Temple Scroll and the Book of Jubilees and the prescriptions in it fit the conceptions of the sect; the work was composed by the sectarians themselves.

 

ii) Pesharim.

An important source of knowledge about the history of the Dead Sea sect is the pesharim ("commentaries"; singular pesher). The sectarian authors commented on the books of Old Testament prophets and the book of Psalms and in the commentaries explained the biblical text as speaking about the history of the sect and of events that happened in the time of its existence. According to the manner of apocalyptic literature in the pesharim, persons and groups are not named with their proper names but are described by symbolic titles--e.g., the Teacher of Righteousness for the founder of the sect. The most important sectarian commentaries are the pesharim on Habakkuk and on Nahum.

 

iii) The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.

One of the most interesting Dead Sea Scrolls is The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, a description of the eschatological war between the Sons of Light--i.e., the sect--and the rest of mankind, first with the other Jews and then with the Gentiles. At the end the Sons of Light will conquer the whole world, and in this war they will be helped by heavenly hosts; the Sons of Darkness, aided by the devil Belial and his demonic army, and, finally, all wicked ones will be destroyed. The work contains prayers and speeches that will be uttered in the eschatological war as well as military and other ordinances. Thus, the book also could be called the Manual of Discipline for the last war.

 

iv) Books of ordinances.

Other books of ordinances of the sect have been preserved, containing prescriptions and other material. Three such compositions are written on one scroll: the Manual of Discipline, the Rule of the Congregation, and the manual of Benedictions. The Manual of Discipline is the rule (or statement of regulations) of the Essene community; the most important part of this work is a treatise about the special theology of the sect. The Rule of the Congregation contains prescriptions for the eschatological future when the sect is expected to be the elite of the nation. The manual of Benedictions, preserved only in a fragmentary state, contains benedictions that are to be said in the eschatological future.

Another sectarian book of ordinances is the Damascus Document (the Zadokite Fragments). The work was already known from two medieval copies before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but fragments of it also were found in Qumran, and the connection between this work and the Dead Sea sect is evident. The Damascus Document was written in a community in Damascus, which was not as rigidly organized as the Essenes. The work contains the rules of this community and reminiscences of the sect's history. Some scholars think that "Damascus" is only a symbolical name for Qumran.

 

v) Hodayot.

One of the most important Essene works is the Hodayot ("Praises")--a modern Hebrew name for the Thanksgiving Psalms. This scroll contains sectarian hymns of praise to God. In its view of the fleshly nature of man, who can be justified only by God's undeserved grace, it resembles St. Paul's approach to the same problem. Some scholars think that the work, or a part of it, was written by the Teacher of Righteousness.

Among other fragments of scrolls liturgical texts of prayers were found, as well as fragments of horoscopes written in a cryptic script.



 ] 위로 ] 성서 개관 ] 신약성서 개관 ] 구약성서 개관 ] 성서 문학 ] I. 문학 서론 ] II.영향과 중요성 ] III. 구약 정경/본문/판 ] IV. 구약 역사 ] V. 구약 문학 ] [ VI. 구/신약 중간 문학 ] VII. 신약 정경/본문/판 ] VIII. 신약 역사 ] IX. 신약 문학 ] X. 신약 외경 ] XI. 예배식 ] XII. 해석과 해석학 ] XIII. 참고 문헌 ]


 
 

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