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APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE. A type of Jewish and Christian religious writing that developed between the testaments and had it roots in OT prophecy. The word apocalyptic, derived from the Greek word apokalypsis, means “revelation” or “unveiling,” and is applied to these writings because they contain alleged revelation of the secret purposes of God, the end of the world, and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The same Greek word is translated “revelation” in
After the days of the postexilic prophets, God no longer spoke to Israel through the living voice of inspired prophecy. The prophetic forecasts of the coming of God’s kingdom and the salvation of Israel had not been fulfilled. Instead of God’s kingdom, a succession of evil kingdoms ruled over Israel: Medo-Persia, Greece, and finally Rome. Evil reigned supreme. The hope of God’s kingdom grew dim. God no longer offered words of comfort and salvation to his people.
The apocalypses were written to meet this religious need. Following the pattern of canonical Daniel, various unknown authors wrote alleged revelations of God’s purposes that explained present evils, comforted Israel in her sufferings and afflictions, and gave fresh assurances that God’s kingdom would shortly appear. Many modern critics place Daniel in these times, but there are valid reasons for an earlier date.
A number of other writings are usually included in the discussion of apocalyptic literature, although they are not, properly speaking, apocalypses. The b.c., imitating OT predictive prophecy rather than apocalyptic, contain important eschatological materials. The seventeenth and eighteenth , first century b.c., portray the hope of the coming of the Lord’s Anointed to establish God’s kingdom. The , which follow the pattern of Greek oracular literature, also contain eschatological passages., written in the second century
Certain characteristics mark these apocalypses. (1) Revelation. They describe alleged revelations of God’s purposes given through the media of dreams, visions, or journeys to heaven by which the seer learns the secrets of God’s world and the future. (2) Imitation. These writings seldom embody any genuine subjective visionary experiences. Their “revelations” have become a literary form imitating the visions of the true prophets in a thinly veiled literary fiction. (3) Pseudonymity. These books, although actually written close to NT times, are usually attributed to some OT saint who lived long ago. Pseudonymity was used as a means of validating the message of these authors to their own generation. Since God was no longer speaking through the spirit of prophecy, no man could speak in his own name or directly in the name of the Lord. Instead, the apocalyptists placed their “revelations” in the mouths of OT saints. (4) Symbolism. These works employ an elaborate symbolism, similar to that appearing in Daniel, as a means of conveying their predictions of the future. (5) Pseudo-predictive. The authors take their stand in the distant past and rewrite history under the guise of prophecy down to their own day when the end of the world and the kingdom of God were expected shortly to come.
There are distinct similarities but even more important differences between canonical and noncanonical apocalypses. The visions of Daniel provide the archetype that the later apocalypses imitate, and therecords visions given to the apostle in similar symbolic forms. Both Daniel and the Revelation contain revelations conveyed through symbolism; but they differ from noncanonical apocalypses in that they are genuine experiences rather than imitative literary works, are not pseudonymous, and do not rewrite history under the guise of prophecy.
The importance of these apocalyptic writings is that they reveal first-century Jewish ideas about God, evil, and history, and they disclose Jewish hopes for the future and the coming of God’s kingdom. They show us what such terms as the “kingdom of God,” “Messiah,” and the “Son of Man” meant to first-century Jews to whom our Lord addressed his gospel of the kingdom.
Bibliography: F.C. Burkitt, Jewish and Christian Apocalypses, 1914; H. H. Rowley, The Relevance of Apocalyptic; D. S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, 1964; L. Morris, Apocalyptic, 1973; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishna, 1981.——GEL
The Greek word apokalypsis, from which “apocalyptic” is derived, means “unveiling” (Lat. revelatio) and indicates the unfolding of things hitherto hidden or secret. In the literature thus described, the subject-matter concerns the future rather than the present, the spiritual rather than the material world, the purposes of God rather than the actions of men. It transports the reader out of his immediate existence and allows him to share in the mysteries of what God will finally do with His universe. It is no accident that the period when such writings flourished (c.200 b.c.-a.d 150) was an age of persecution for both Jews and Christians, spanning the Maccabean Wars, the fall of Jerusalem, and the Bar-Kochba uprising, and including the persecutions of Nero and Domitian.
Although a few complete books like Daniel, 2 Esdras (in the Apocrypha*), and Revelation* can be firmly classified under this term, apocalyptic describes a style of writing, elements of which can be discerned in quite different literary categories, such as Isaiah (24-27), Ezekiel (38, 39), Joel (3:9ff.), Zechariah (9-14), and Mark (13). Most apocalyptic writings are noncanonical, however, and are to be found among the Pseudepigrapha* and the sectarian literature of the Qumran* community. Of these the best-known examples are the two, the , the , the , and (from Qumran) the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness, though many other writings with marked apocalyptic features could be added to the list, notably the Christian .
Among the characteristics of apocalyptic are these four elements:
(1) Its esoteric framework: the secrets of the universe and of the last days are revealed to the author or chief character of the book in a series of visions, often through angelic mediation.
(2) Its developed imagery: great use is made of symbols and symmetrical patterns. Numbers play an important part in the unfolding of world history, especially seven (as in Daniel's “week of years” [Dan. 9:24]), forty-nine (as in the Book of Jubilees) and a thousand (cf. the many millennial references). Wild animals appear as representing nations, as also do angels (cf. Dan. 10:13). Apocalyptic literature thus develops a language of its own, which must be interpreted in the light of earlier usage. This is especially important for the correct interpretation of Revelation.
(3) Its eschatological setting: in many visions the whole of history is surveyed from the Creation onward, but the prime interest is always the end of the age. This is frequently preceded by the most dreadful persecution of the faithful and a period of conflict between the forces of good and evil. Satan and his demonic satellites feature strongly, as do messianic and angelic figures. There is great stress on divine judgment, the day of the Lord and the messianic age, and doctrines of resurrection and the afterlife.
(4) Its pseudonymity: because of the ascendance of the Mosaic law in the Judaism of this period, these apocalyptic revelations were often attributed to great men of the past, who were either exponents of the law like Moses and Ezra, or precursors of it like Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs. It does not follow from this, however, that the two canonical books, Daniel and Revelation, are also pseudonymous. Daniel is a composite work, combining narrative episodes with visions, and has unique problems regarding authorship which have to be studied separately. In Revelation, the exiled disciple is using conventional apocalyptic imagery to reveal truths that could be published in no other form without fear of reprisal.
Whereas most apocalyptic writers leaned heavily on the ideas and expressions of their predecessors in the genre, it is less easy to say what actually gave rise to this style of writing. To regard Daniel as the prototype of all subsequent apocalyptic writing ignores both the uniqueness of that book and also the many apocalyptic patterns within prophetic literature. There is a continuity between prophecy and apocalyptic which B.W. Anderson catches well in his description of the latter as “prophecy in a new idiom.” On the other hand, Von Rad traces its origins, not to prophecy, but to wisdom, on the grounds of its totally different theological standpoint and the primacy it gives to inner knowledge and illumination. Certainly there are significant differences between the theologies of prophecy and apocalyptic: the first saw God's activity as being primarily in this world, the latter despaired of the present age and looked to His judgment beyond the limits of time and human history; the first endeavored to apply the ethical demands of God's righteousness to the immediate situations of Israel and her neighbors, the latter applied the principle of God's determinism to the wider setting of national destinies in the last days. Apocalyptic shows signs of a cosmic dualism between good and evil, light and darkness, God and Satan, which the prophets would never have allowed and which may be attributable to Persian influences. It is noteworthy, however, that in the canonical writings at any rate this dualism never degenerates into a power struggle between two equally balanced forces. In both prophecy and biblical apocalyptic God is at all times supreme and the Lord of His creation.
H.H. Rowley, The Relevance of Apocalyptic (1947); D.S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (1964).
APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE. A type of Jewish and early Christian lit., the bulk of which stems from the years 200 b.c.-a.d. 100, containing visions or revelations (hence the term “apocalyptic,” from the Gr. apokalypsis, meaning “a revelation” or “a disclosure”) from God concerning the imminent coming of the end of the present evil age and the final advent of God’s kingdom.
In its broadest sense the term “apocalyptic” is applied to parts of the writings of the OT prophets—specifically to passages in Joel, Amos, Zechariah, and Daniel—as well as to portions of the NT (e.g. the Olivet Discourse,
Examples of apocalyptic writings.
Although apocalyptic has its roots in OT prophecy in general, the real prototype of the non-Biblical Ap. Lit. is the Book of Daniel with its visions of chs. 7-
The b.c. and following. It contains visions of world history and the history of Israel, from the time of Enoch to the present day, and looks toward the impending end. It is by far the most important of the non-Biblical apocalypses. The second section of the book, the “similitudes” or “parables” of Enoch, deals with the times of judgment on the world, and gives assurance to the righteous concerning the certainty of the Messianic hope. The Messiah is referred to by the title “the .” The fifth section of the book contains, among other things, an “apocalypse of weeks”; here history is divided into ten “weeks” (i.e. periods of time of varied length, each marked by a momentous event, usually toward its end), seven belonging to the past and three yet to come. Although there is some question concerning the date of the final ed. of the book—it may have been worked over by a Christian scribe—Enoch throws valuable light on pre-Christian Jewish theology.(1 Enoch), also known as the Ethiopic Enoch (since it is extant only in a fragmentary Ethiopic tr.), is a composite work dating from c. 170
The b.c.) is not, strictly speaking, an apocalyptic book; but it belongs to the same milieu and contains definite apocalyptic features. Its name is derived from its method of dividing history into “jubilee” periods of forty-nine years each; these, in turn, are subdivided into seven weeks of years. The course of history will lead to the Messianic kingdom, which will come as a result of the gradual, spiritual development of mankind and a corresponding transformation of nature; during this time the forces of evil will be restrained and men will live to be a thousand years old.(c. 150
Although parts of it have a Christian origin, the b.c. onward) contain a number of documents of Jewish origin (Books III, IV and V). Written in Gr. by Hel. Jewish apologists who sought to imitate the pagan oracles, words are put into the mouth of a prophetess or Sibyl (identified as Noah’s daughter-in-law) which purport to predict the course of world history and the coming of the Messianic age with its peace and prosperity.(from c. 150
The b.c., with Christian redaction) consist of the last words and testaments of the twelve sons of Jacob to their children. Each testament contains three elements: an account of the significant events in the life of the patriarch, an exhortation based on the foregoing, and a prediction of what will happen in the last days. The apocalyptic element is not very prominent; rather, the stress is laid on ethical admonition. The work is esp. important because of its association of the Messianic hope with Levi as well as with David.(c. 140
Again, although the apocalyptic element in the b.c.) is not the most prominent feature of these writings, it is significant. There are eighteen psalms in the collection; two of them contain apocalyptic or Messianic content. Psalm of Solomon 17 gives a brief review of the history of Israel and describes the glories of the Messianic era in terms which are reminiscent of the OT. Psalm of Solomon 18 continues the same theme, centering on the Davidic Messiah, who will rule the nations with wisdom and righteousness. The author’s sympathies lie with the humble poor and oppressed, who are destined to share the glories of the kingdom and also the resurrection.(c. 50
The a.d. 6-30), written originally in Aram., but extant only in Lat. tr. of an earlier Gr. tr., is only one part of a much longer work. According to R. H. Charles, the greatest of students of Ap. Lit., the longer work was the result of a conflation of a “testament” and an “assumption” of Moses. The part which survives bears more the nature of the “testament” than the “assumption,” in spite of its present title. Moses is portrayed as predicting the history of Israel from the time of the entry into Canaan to the time of the author. The text is somewhat dislocated, but it centers on the persecution under (169-164 b.c.) and a pronouncement concerning the coming kingdom of God and the end of the world.(c.
The Martyrdom of Isaiah (first half of 1st Christian cent.), extant only in Ethiopic, Latin (in part), and Slavonic (fragmentary) trs., forms part of a work known as the
2 Enoch (1st cent. a.d.), also known as the Book of the Secrets of Enoch or the , is prob. the work of a Hel. Jew of Alexandria (though there is some evidence of Christian influence). The first part of the book consists of Enoch’s vision of the seven heavens (on a trip through them!), and a revelation of the history of salvation from the dawn of time down to Enoch’s day, and on to the time of the Flood; this is followed by the present age, which will last for seven millennia and will be brought to a conclusion by the final judgment. The last part of the book contains ethical admonitions directed toward his sons so that they may direct their lives accordingly. This latter section, along with parts of the , represents the high water mark of apocalyptic ethics.
The a.d. 70), also called the Apocalypse of Moses, is a Jewish work which contains a good bit of interpolation. It attempts to supplement the Biblical record concerning the lives of Adam and Eve. The small but significant apocalyptic eleement consists of a brief vision given to Adam of the giving of the Law, the building of the Temple, its destruction, the Exile, the return and rebuilding of the Temple; this is followed by a time during which “iniquity will exceed righteousness,” to be ended by the coming of God to judge the wicked and to save and purify the righteous.(before
The narrative of the a.d.) tells the story of Abraham’s youth and conversion and subsequent attack upon idolatry. This is followed by an ascension to heaven and a vision of the events of the past and the future. The author is deeply concerned with the problem of evil, but he seems to leave it ultimately unresolved.(1st cent.
The a.d.), to be distinguished from the above work, consists of a series of visions or extraordinary experiences of Abraham immediately preceding his death. He is visited by the angel Michael, caught up into the heavens, is given a glimpse of the final judgment of human souls, and has various encounters with death in the form of a radiant angel. In his vision of “the world and all created things,” Abraham is told that history will last for seven ages, each lasting for a thousand years (cf. 2 Enoch). In contrast to other apocalyptic writings, there is no sense of impending judgment in the Testament of Abraham. Its chief concern is with the future destiny of individual souls.(1st cent.
As it stands, 2 Esdras or the Apocalypse of Ezra (4 Esdras in the Vulgate) (c. a.d. 90-100) is prob. a mixture of Christian interpolations (
2 Baruch or the Syriac a.d. 100-130) is closely related to 2 Esdras, and is prob. dependent on the latter. The work begins with a discussion of the problems of suffering and evil. The answer given is this: the present evil age will soon be consummated by a time of “twelve woes,” following which the Messianic age will dawn; the appearance of Messiah will lead to the resurrection of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked.(c.
A number of the writings found at Qumran (cf. DSS) contain apocalyptic elements. The most important of these is the document known as The War of the Sons of Light with the Sons of Darkness (1QM) or The War Scroll, which gives the plan for the final eschatological battle between the forces of good and evil. Although the details of the final battle are more realistically described than in other apocalyptical works, there is no doubt that the book is a theological treatise rather than a military manual. The writer draws on
Many factors concerning the historical milieu of Ap. Lit. are debated among scholars. All are agreed that the Book of Daniel (q.v.) provides the prototype for this literary form and that apocalyptic writings arise out of a context of renewed Jewish nationalism, beginning with the Maccabean revolt. It is also generally agreed that the apocalyptic writings were written during times of intense persecution and crisis. As Russell has written, “It is essentially a literature of the oppressed who saw no hope for the nation simply in terms of politics or on the plane of human history” (The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, p. 17).
But how is this lit. related to the various sects of Judaism? Is it representative of “mainstream” Jewish thinking? Or is it the lit. of a “fringe” movement in Judaism? Does it stem from Palestinian Judaism, or from the Diaspora?
G. F. Moore, R. T. Herford and others have minimized the place of apocalyptic in Judaism, arguing that it had little to do with normative Judaism. On the other hand, C. C. Torrey, W. D. Davies, D. S. Russell and others have written in favor of the view that apocalyptic represents one of the most important developments in Judaism within the intertestamental period. Since (a) there was no such thing as “normative” Judaism prior to c. a.d. 70 (contra Moore) and (b) the extant lit. is so extensive, it is prob. safe to conclude that it was indeed an important feature of the Judaism of the period 200 b.c.-a.d. 100.
Is the lit., then, to be identified with the Pharisees (Bousset, Charles, Zeitlin), the Zealots (Herford, in his earlier writings), or the Essenes (K. Kohler R. P. C. Hanson)? (No one argues in favor of identifying this body of lit. with the Sadduccees, since there is such great emphasis on the resurrection and final judgment.) While it is certain that the Zealots drew some inspiration from apocalyptic writings, that the Essenes read and possibly even wrote some of them, and that there may have existed an “apocalyptic Pharisaism” (to use the phrase of Charles), it seems likely that the writers of Ap. Lit. were scattered throughout the various parties of Judaism. There is also good reason to regard the movement as having arisen in Pal., rather than in the Hel. world outside (though the movement did spread to the Diaspora).
There is much diversity among the apocalyptic writings. Nevertheless, there are certain general features which are characteristic of the lit. as a whole and which justify the distinguishing of “apocalyptic” as a literary type: the presence of a cosmic dualism, visions and revelations; a contrast between the present evil age and the coming eschatological age; pessimism concerning the present age and optimism concerning the age to come; references and allusions to mythology, numerology, and animal symbolism; the idea of the unity of history and a goal toward which history is moving; the development of belief in life after death, and esp. the resurrection of the righteous and the judgment of the wicked (there is no resurrection for the unrighteous dead); and the appearance of a transcendent figure identified as “the Son of Man.”
Russell suggests four distinctly literary characteristics of apocalyptic: “It is esoteric in character, literary in form, symbolic in language, and pseudonymous in authorship” (op. cit., p. 106).
The apocalyptic writings purport to be revelations (Gr. apokalypsis) of divine mysteries to certain illustrious individuals of Israel’s past, which were subsequently recorded in secret books for the instruction of God’s chosen remnant. The secrets are revealed to the seer in the form of a dream or vision, often in the context of a literal or spiritual tr. to heaven. The vision may consist of a review of the history of the world up to the time of the assumed author, or it may take the form of prediction and outline the future destiny of the world and the coming of God’s kingdom. Or it may describe the mysteries of the unseen world, i.e. heaven(s) and hades, the movements of the heavenly bodies, and the forces of nature. What is seen by the seer is written down, to be hidden away for many generations and faithfully preserved until the time of the end.
In spite of the visionary character of Ap. Lit., it is quite clear that the visions are, for the most part, literary creations by the author. That is to say, they are not the descriptions of actual ecstatic experiences, but rather are self-conscious theological statements. While the OT prophets were first men who spoke the Word of God which was given to them and only afterward wrote down their messages, the apocalyptists were primarily authors. Closely related to this feature is the elaborate symbolism through which the various authors convey their messages.
Apocalyptic Lit. is marked by imagery and style which are striking to say the least. Some of the images are taken from the OT (esp. from Dan). Some of it has its origin in ancient Near Eastern mythology, e.g. references to Leviathan, Behemoth and “the dragon” (also alluded to in the OT); the use of animals to symbolize men and nations; allusions to “heavenly tablets” and astral phenomena; etc. In fact, the whole lit. is marked by a carefully developed symbolism, which tends to suit its esoteric character. A study of this symbolism is important for an understanding of thein the NT, as well as the Book of Daniel in the OT.
Apocalyptic Lit. is generally, though not always, pseudonymous. That is to say, the writers put their message into the mouth (or at least the pen) of some honored figure from ancient times (e.g. Enoch, Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, etc.). The reason for the adoption of pseudonymity is not entirely clear. The traditional explanation is that these writers had to attribute their writings to men of God prior to the time of Ezra (when, it was believed, prophecy had come to an end in Israel), in order to have them accepted as authentic revelations. Yet it is questionable whether anyone would have been deceived by this tactic. Another suggestion is that they adopted pseudonyms to avoid persecution by the authorities of the day (but why not simple anonymity?). Another explanation given by some is that pseudonymity was merely a literary custom with no attempt to deceive the reader. More recently, pseudonymity has been explained (by Russell) in terms of “corporate personality,” the peculiar time-consciousness of the ancient Hebrews, and the proper name in Heb. thought; the author identified himself and his message with the ancient seer in whose name he wrote, and wrote as his representative. Whatever the real reason for choosing the medium of pseudonymity, it seems probable that the name of the person in whose name the author wrote is related to the content of the book and, therefore, is not the result of an arbitrary choice.
Biblical vs. non-Biblical apocalyptic.
Although the writings which we have been discussing lie outside the canon of the Bible, they have their roots firmly embedded in the OT prophetic tradition. First, the authors are heirs to the prophetic view of history; alongside the Biblical writers they speak in the name of the One who is sovereign over the whole of human history. Secondly, they call Israel to repentance and bring a message of comfort and encouragement to the faithful. Thirdly, they draw heavily on the visionary imagery of the prophets—chiefly Daniel, but also Joel, Zechariah, Isaiah and Ezekiel.
Many scholars would classify the Book of Daniel (q.v.) itself as apocalyptic in the same sense as the other writings which have been discussed in this article. Conservative scholars, however, tend to emphasize the difference between Daniel (and also Revelation) and the later apocalyptic writings and to classify it as “prophetic-apocalyptic.” Drawing attention to the tendency toward determinism, pessimism, and ethical passivity in non-canonical apocalyptic, G. E. Ladd stresses the contrast between Biblical and non-Biblical apocalyptic books (Jesus and the Kingdom, pp. 75ff.). It must be noted, however, that these features are not present to the same degree in all the extracanonical writings; the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and 2 Enoch lay a greater stress on the ethical implications of eschatology than even Daniel and Revelation, and it is certainly an overstatement to suggest that “the present and future (in Ap. Lit.) are quite unrelated” or that the apocalyptists “lost the dynamic concept of the God who is redemptively active in history” (ibid., pp. 89, 97). Without denying the differences, it is prob. more helpful to emphasize the similarities between Biblical and non-Biblical apocalyptic, esp. as a literary genre. Daniel has links with the prophetic tradition in Israel which the other apocalyptists do not possess, but its ties with the apocalyptic tradition are equally close. The Book of Revelation (q.v.) has its roots squarely in the latter tradition.
Apocalyptic and the.
Although the eschatology of the NT writings is free from the mythological associations and other negative features of non-canonical apocalyptic, it does draw from the store of apocalyptic imagery and occasionally uses its literary forms. References to the Parousia of the Son of Man (the name itself is apocalyptic!) and the coming of God’s kingdom in the teaching of Jesus are replete with apocalyptic images, as are also references to the resurrection and the final judgment in the letters of Paul. There are also passages such as “the little apocalypse” of
D. S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (1964) is the most important recent study of the subject and contains an extensive bibliography. See also R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseud-epigrapha of the, II (1913); F. C. Burkitt, Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (1914); H. H. Rowley, The Relevance of Apocalyptic (1944; 3rd ed. 1963); J. Bloch, On the Apocalyptic in Judaism (JQR Monograph 2) (1952); S. B. Frost, Old Testament Apocalyptic (1952); G. E. Ladd, Jesus and the Kingdom (1964), ch. 3.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
I. BACKGROUND OF APOCALYPTIC 1. Judaism and Hellenism
2. Political Influences
II. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF APOCALYPTIC 1. Differences from Prophecy in Content
2. Differences from Prophecy in Literary Form
III. AUTHORSHIP OF JEWISH APOCALYPTIC WORKS 1. Pseudepigraphic Authors not Known Individually
2. General Resemblance and Mutual Dependence Show Them to be Products of One Sect
3. Three Jewish Sects Comprise Whole Literary Class
4. Not the Product of the Sadducees
5. Nor of the Pharisees
6. Probably Written by the Essenes
WORKS ENTITLED APOCALYPTIC
I. APOCALYPSES PROPER 1. Enoch Books:
(1) History of the Books;
(5) Internal Chronology: The;
(6) External Chronology;
(7) Slavonic Enoch;
(8) Secrets of Enoch
(5) Relation to Other Books;
(6) The Rest of the Words of Baruch
(5) Relation to Other Books
(1) Summary; (2) Structure;
II. LEGENDARY WORKS The:
III. PSALMIC PSEUDEPGRAPHA 1. The Psalter of Solomon:
(1) Relation toand Summary;
IV. TESTAMENTS 1.:
(4) Date and Authorship;
(5) Relation to Other Books
2. Testament of Adam
(4) Date and Authorship
V. SIBYLLINE ORACLES
LITERATURE A series of pseudepigraphic works, mainly of Jewish origin, appeared during the period between 210 BC and 200 AD. They have many features in common. The most striking is the resemblance they all bear to the. Following this model, most of them use "vision" as a literary device by which to introduce their conceptions of the remote future. A side product of this same movement was the composition, mainly in Alexandria, of the Sibylline books. The literary device of "vision" was one used in the Aeneid by Virgil, the classical contemporary of a large number of these works. One peculiarity in regard to the majority of these documents is the fact that while popular among the Christian writers of the first Christian centuries, they disappeared with the advent of the , and remained unknown until the first half of the 19th century was well on in its course.
INTRODUCTORY I. Background of Apocalyptic.
1. Judaism and Hellenism:
When the Jews came back from Babylon to Palestine, though surrounded by heathen of various creeds, they were strongly monotheistic. The hold the Persians had of the empire of Southwest Asia, and their religion-- Zoroastrianism--so closely akin to monotheism, prevented any violent attempts at perverting the Jews. With the advent of the Greek power a new state of things emerged. Certainly at first there does not seem to have been any direct attempt to force them to abandon their religion, but the calm contempt of the Hellene who looked down from the superior height of his artistic culture on all barbarians, and the influence that culture had in the ruling classes tended to seduce the Jews into idolatry. While the governing orders, the priests and the leaders of the Council, those who came in contact with the generals and governors of the Lagids of Egypt, or the Seleucids of Syria, were thus inclined to be seduced into idolatry, there was a large class utterly uninfluenced by Hellenic culture, and no small portion of this class hated fanatically all tampering with idolatry.
When the dominion over Palestine passed out of the hands of the Ptolemies into that of the house of Seleucus, this feeling was intensified, as the Syrian house regarded with less tolerance the religion of Israel. The opposition to Hellenism and the apprehension of it naturally tended to draw together those who shared the feeling. On the one side was the scribist legal party, who developed into the Pharisaic sect; on the other were the mystics, who felt the personal power of Deity. These afterward became first the Chasidim, then later the Essenes. These latter gradually retired from active participation in national life.
As is natural with mystics their feelings led them to see visions and to dream dreams. Others more intellectual, while they welcomed the enlightenment of the Greeks, retained their faith in the one God. To them it seemed obvious that as their God was the true God, all real enlightenment must have proceeded from Him alone. In such thinkers as Plato and Aristotle they saw many things in harmony with the Mosaic law. They were sure that there must have been links which united these thinkers to the current of Divine revelation, and were led to imagine of what sort these links necessarily were. The names of poets such as Orpheus and Linus, who survived only in their names, suggested the source of these links--these resemblances. Hence, the wholesale forgeries, mainly by Jews, of Greek poems. On the other hand, there was the desire to harmonize Moses and his law with the philosophical ideas of the time. Philo the Alexandrian, the most conspicuous example of this effort, could not have been an isolated phenomenon; he must have had many precursors. This latter movement, although most evident in Egypt, and probably in Asia Minor, had a considerable influence in Judea also.
2. Political Influences:
Political events aided in the advance of both these tendencies. The distinct favor that Antiochus the Great showed to the Greeks and to those barbarians who Hellenized, became with his sona direct religious persecution. This emphasized the protest of the Chasidim on the one hand, and excited the imagination of the visionaries to greater vivacity on the other. While the Maccabees and their followers were stirred to deeds of valor, the meditative visionaries saw in God their refuge, and hoped for deliverance at the hand of the Messiah. They pictured to themselves the tyrant smitten down by the direct judgment of Yahweh. After the death of Epiphanes, the Maccabeans had become a power to be reckoned with, and the visionaries had less excitement from external events till the Herodian family found their way into supreme power.
At first the Herodians favored the Pharisaic party as that which supported John Hyrcanus II, the friend of Antipater, the father of Herod the Great, and the Essenes seem to have taken Herod at first into their special favor. However, there was soon a change. In consequence of the compliance with heathen practices, into which their connection with the Romans forced the Herodians, the more religious among the Jews felt themselves compelled to withdraw all favor from the Idumean usurper, and to give up all hope in him. This naturally excited the visionaries to new expectation of Divine intervention. Behind the Herodians was the terrible iron power of Rome. The Romans had intervened in the quarrel between John Hyrcanus and his brother Aristobulus. Pompey had desecrated the temple by intruding into the. The disastrous overthrow that he suffered at the hands of Caesar and his miserable end on the shores of Egypt seemed to be a judgment on him for his impiety. Later, Nero was the especial mark for the Apocalyptists, who by this time had become mainly Christian. Later Roman emperors impressed the imagination of the Apocalyptists, as the Flavians.
II. General Characteristics of Apocalyptic. 1. Differences from Prophecy in Content:
Both in matter and form apocalyptic literal and the writings associated with it differ from the prophetic writings of the preceding periods. As already mentioned, while the predictive element as present in Apocalypses, as in Prophecy, it is more prominent and relates to longer periods and involves a wider grasp of the state of the world at large. Apocalypse could only have been possible under the domination of the great empires. Alike in Prophecy and in Apocalypse there is reference to the coming of the Messiah, but in the latter not only is the Messianic hope more defined, it has a wider reference. In the Prophets and Psalmists the Messiah had mainly to do with Israel. "He will save his people"; "He will die for them"; "His people shall be all righteous." All this applies to Israel; there is no imperial outlook. In the Apocalypses the imperial outlook is prominent, beginning with Daniel in which we find the Messianic kingdom represented by a "son of man" over against the bestial empires that had preceded (
2. Differences from Prophecy in Literary Form:
In the literary form employed there are marked differences between Apocalyptic and Prophecy. Both make use of vision, but in Prophecy, in the more restricted sense of the word, these visions are as a rule implied, rather than being described. Although Isaiah calls the greater part of his Prophecy "vision," yet in only one instance does he describe what he sees; as a rule he assumes throughout that has audience knows what is visible to him. The only instance (
In Ezekiel the dry bones naturally suggest death, and the process by which they are revivified the reader feels is the natural course such an event would take did it come within the sphere of ordinary experience; while in what is told of the horns on the head of the Greek goat there is no natural reason for the changes that take place, only a symbolical one. This is still more marked in the vision of the Eagle in 4 Esdras 11. What may be regarded as yet more related to the form is the fact that while the Prophets wrote in a style of so elevated prose that it always hovered on the border of poetry--indeed, frequently passed into it and employed the form of verse, as
III. Authorship of Jewish Apocalyptic Works.
1. Pseudepigraphic Authors not Known Individually:
In most cases the question of authorship is one that has to be discussed in regard to each work individually. A number of the characteristics of the works render such a procedure impossible in regard to them. If we put to the one side the two Apocalypses that form part of the canon, they are all pseudonymous, as Enoch and Baruch, or anonymous, as the Book of Jubilees. Many of them in addition show traces of interpolation and modification by later hands. If we had a full and clear history of the period during which they were written, and if its literature had to a great extent been preserved to us we might have been in a position to fix on the individual; but as matters stand, this is impossible. At the same time, however, from internal evidence, we may form some idea of the surroundings of those who have written these works.
2. General Resemblance and Mutual Dependence Show Them Products of One Sect:
From the striking resemblance in general style which they exhibit, and from the way in which some of them are related to the others, many of these works seem to have been the product of similar circumstances. Even those most removed from the rest in type and general attitude are nearer them than they are to any other class of work. All affirmative evidence thus points to these works having been composed by authors that were closely associated with each other. The negative evidence for this is the very small traceable influence these works had on later Jewish thought. Many of them axe quoted by the Christian Fathers, some of them bywriters. The whole of these works have been preserved to us through Christian means. A large number have been preserved by being adopted into the canon of the Ethiopic church; a considerable number have been unearthed from Ambrosian Library in Milan; most of them have been written in Palestine by Jewish writers; yet no clear indubitable sign of the knowledge of these books can be found in the Talmud.
3. Three Jewish Sects Comprise Whole Literary Class:
The phenomenon here noted is a striking one. Works, the majority of which are written in Hebrew by Jews, are forgotten by the descendants of these Jews, and are retained by GentileChristians, by nations who were ignorant of Hebrew and preserved them in Greek, Latin or Ethiopic translations. A characteristic of the Judaism during the period in which these books were appearing was the power exercised by certain recognized sects. If one takes the most nearly contemporary historian of the Jews, Josephus, as one’s authority, it is found how prominent the three sects, Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes, were. To a certain extent this is confirmed by the Gospels and the Acts, with this noticeable exception--the Essenes are never mentioned by name.
4. Not the Product of the Sadducees:
The scribes, the literary class among the Jews, all belonged to one or other of these ruling sects. Consequently these works must have proceeded from members of one of those sects. Their mutual resemblance precludes their authors from belonging some to one sect and some to another. We know pretty exactly from Josephus and the New Testament what the character and tenets of the Sadducees were. They were the priestly sacerdotal class, and were above all, political schemers. They received only the Pentateuch as authoritative, and had no share in the Messianic hopes of which the Prophets were full. They believed neither in angel nor spirit, and had no hope of immortality (
5. Nor of the Pharisees: There is greater plausibility in attributing them to the Pharisees. So far as doctrines are concerned, there is no doubt that the agreement is relatively close. There are, however, difficulties in accepting this view of their origin. With the fall of the Jewish state, the Sadducees disappeared when there was no field for political activity, and when with the destruction of the temple there were no more sacrifices to require the services of Aaronic priests. Nearly contemporaneously the Essenes disappeared in Christianity. The Pharisees alone remained to carry on the traditions of Judaism.
We have in the Talmud the result of Pharisaic literary activity. The Mishna is the only part of this miscellaneous conglomeration which is at all nearly contemporary with the works before us. It has none of the characteristics of the apocalyptic writings. The later Hagadi Midrash have more resemblance to some of these, noticeably to the Book of Jubilees. Still, the almost total want of any references to any of the Apocalypses in the recognized Pharisaic writings, and the fact that no Jewish version of any of these books has been preserved, seems conclusive against the idea that the Apocalypses owed their origin to the Pharisaic schools. The books that form the ordinary Apocrypha are in a different position. The majority, if not the whole of them, were received into the Jewish canon of Alexandria. Some of them are found in Hebrew or Aramaic, as Ecclesiasticus, Tobit and Judith. None of the Apocalypses have been so found. This leads necessarily to the conclusion that the Pharisees did not write these books.
6. Probably Written by the Essenes:
By the method of exclusions we are led thus to adopt the conclusion of Hilgenfeld, that they are the work of the Essenes. We have, however, positive evidence. We know from Josephus that the Essenes had many secret sacred books. Those books before us would suit this description. Further, in one of these books (4 Esdras) we find a story which affords an explanation of the existence of these books. 2 (4) Esdras 14:40-48 tells how to Ezra there was given a cup of water as it were fire to drink, and then he dictated to five men. These men wrote in characters which they did not understand "for forty days" until they had written "four score and fourteen books" ((British and American)). He is commanded, "The first that thou hast written publish openly, and let the worthy and unworthy read it: but keep the seventy last that thou mayest deliver them to such as be wise among thy people."
While the twenty-four books of the ordinary canon would be open to all, these other seventy books would only be known by the wise--presumably, the Essenes. This story proceeds on the assumption that all the biblical books had been lost during the Babylonian captivity, but that after he had his memory quickened, Ezra was able to dictate the whole of them; but of these only twenty-four were to be published to all; there were seventy which were to be kept by a society of wise men. This would explain how theand Noah, and the account of the Assumption of Moses could appear upon the scene at proper times and yet not be known before. In the last-named book there is another device. Moses tells Joshua to embalm (hedriare) the writing which gives an account of what is coming upon Israel.
Books so embalmed would be liable to be found when Divine providence saw the occasion ripe. These works are products of a school of associates which could guard sacred books and had prepared hypotheses to explain at once how they had remained unknown, and how at certain crises they became known. All this suits the Essenes, and especially that branch of them that dwelt as Coenobites beside the Dead Sea. We are thus driven to adopt Hilgenfeld’s hypothesis that the Essenes were the authors of these books. Those of them that formed the Community of Engedi by their very dreamy seclusion would be especially ready to see visions and dream dreams. To them it seem no impossible thing for one of the brotherhood to be so possessed by the spirit of Enoch or of Noah that what he wrote were really the words of the patriarch. It would not be inconceivable, or even improbable, that Moses or Joshua might in a dream open to them books written long before and quicken their memories so that what they had read in the night they could recite in the day-time. As all the Essenes were not dwellers by the shores of the Dead Sea, or "associates with the palms of Engedi," some of the writings of this class as we might expect, betray a greater knowledge of the world, and show more the influence of events than those which proceeded from the Coenobites. As to some extent corroborative of this view, there is the slight importance given to sacrifice in most of these works.
WORKS ENTITLED APOCALYPTIC Classes of Books:
In the classification of plants and animals in natural science the various orders and genera present the observer with some classes that have all the features that characterize the general Mass prominent and easily observable, while in others these features are so far from prominent that to the casual observer they are invisible. This may be seen in the apocalyptic writings: there are some that present all the marks of Apocalypses, such as the, the Assumption of Moses and the Apocalypse of Baruch. They all claim to be revelations of the future--a future which begins, however, from the days of some ancient saint--and then, passing over the time of is actual composition, ends with the coming of the Messiah, the setting up of the Messianic kingdom and the end of the world. There are others, like the Book of Jubilees, in which the revelation avowedly looks back, and which thus contain an amount of legendary matter.
One of the books which are usually reckoned in this class, has, unlike most of the Apocalypses, which are in prose, taken theas its model--the Psalter of Solomon. A very considerable number of the works before us take the form of farewell counsels on the part of this or that patriarch. The most famous of these is the Testament of the . Although the great masonry have been written in Hebrew or Aramaic by Jews resident in Palestine, the Sibylline books, composed to a great extent by Jews of Alexandria, present an exception to this.
We shall in the remainder of the art consider these sub-classes in the order now mentioned:
(1) Typical Apocalypses;
(2) Legendary Testaments;
I. Apocalypses Proper.
As above indicated, all these take the Book of Daniel as their model, and imitate it more or less closely. One peculiarity in this connection must be referred to. While we have already said these later Apocalypses were practically unknown by the Jews of a couple of centuries after the Christian era, the Book of Daniel was universally regarded as authoritative alike by Jews and Christians. In considering these works, we shall restrict ourselves to those Apocalypses that, whether Jewish or Christian by religion, are the production of those who were Jews by nation.
1. Enoch Books:
The most important of these is the Book, or rather, Books of Enoch. After having been quoted in Jude and noticed by several of the Fathers, this work disappeared from the knowledge of the Christian church.
(1) History of the Books.
Fairly copious extracts from this collection of books had been made by, the 8th century chronographer. With the exception of those fragments, all the writings attributed to Enoch had disappeared from the ken of European scholars. In the last quarter of the 18th century. Bruce, the Abyssinian traveler, brought to Europe three copies of the Book of Enoch in Ethiopic, which had been regarded as canonical by the Abyssinian church, and had consequently been preserved by them. Of these three copies, one he retained in Kinnaird House, another he presented to the Bodleian Library In Oxford, the third he gave to the Royal Library in Paris. For more than a quarter of a century these manuscripts remained as unknown as if they had still been in Abyssinia. In the year 1800 Sylvestre de Sacy published an article on Enoch in which he gave a translation of the first sixteen chapters. This was drawn from the Parisian copy.
Twenty-one years after Archbishop Laurence published a translation of the whole work from the manuscript in the Bodleian. Seventeen years after he published the text from the same MS. The expedition to Magdala under Lord Napier brought a number of fresh manuscripts to Europe; the German missionaries, for whose release the advance had been undertaken, brought a number to Germany, while a number came to the British Museum. Some other travelers had brought from the East manuscripts of this precious book. Flemming, the latest editor of the text, claims to have used 26 manuscripts. It needs but a cursory study of the Ethiopic text to see that it is a translation from a Greek original. The quotations in George Syncellus confirmed this, with the exception of a small fragment published by Mai.
Until the last decade of last century. Syncellus’ fragments formed the only remains of the Greek text known. In 1892 M. Bouriant published from manuscripts found in Gizeh, Cairo, the Greek of the first 32 chapters. More of the Greek may be discovered in Egypt. Meantime, we have the Greek of chapters 1--32, and from the Vatican fragment a portion of chapter 89. A study of the Greek shows it also to have been a translation from a Hebrew original. Of this Hebrew original, however, no part has come down to us. As we have it, it is very much a conglomeration of fragments of various authorship. It is impossible to say whether the Greek translator was the collector of these fragments or whether, when the mass of material came into his hands, the interpolations had already taken place. However, the probability, judging from the usual practice of translators, is that as he got the book, so he translated it.
The first chapter gives an account of the purpose of the book, Enoch 2-5 an account of his survey of the heavens. With Enoch 6 begins the book proper. Chapters 6-19 give an account of the fallen angels and Enoch’s relation to them. Chapters 20-36 narrate Enoch’s wanderings through the universe, and give an account of the place of punishment, and the secrets of the West and of the center of the earth. This may be regarded as the First Book of Enoch, the Book of the Angels. With chapter 37 begins the Book of Similitudes.
The first Similitude (chapters 37-44) represents the future kingdom of God, the dwelling of the righteous and of the angels; and finally all the secrets of the heavens. This last portion is interesting as revealing the succession of the parts of this conglomeration--the more elaborate the astronomy, the later; the simpler, the earlier. The second Similitude (chapters 46-57) brings in theas a superhuman if not also superangelic being, who is to come to earth as the Messiah. The third Similitude occupies chapters 58-71, and gives an account of the glory of the Messiah and of the subjugation of the kings of the earth under Him. There is interpolated a long account of Leviathan and Behemoth. There are also Noachian fragments inserted.
The Book of the Courses of the Luminaries occupies the next eleven chapters, and subjoined to these are two visions (chapters 83-90), in the latter of which is an account of the history of the world to the Maccabean Struggle. Fourteen chapters which follow may be called "The Exhortations of Enoch." The exhortations are emphasized by an exposition of the history of the world in 10 successive weeks. It may be noted here that there is a dislocation. The passage Enoch 91:12 contains the 8, 9, and 10 weeks, while chapter 93 gives an account of the previous 7. After chapter 104 there are series of sections of varying origin which may be regarded as appendices. There are throughout these books many interpolations. The most observable of these are what are known as "Noachian Fragments," portions in which Noah and not Enoch is the hero and spokesman. There are, besides, a number of universally acknowledged interpolations, and some that are held by some to be interpolated, are regarded by others as intimately related to the immediate context. The literary merit of the different portions is various: of none of them can it be called high. The Book of Similitudes, with its revelations of heaven and hell, is probably the finest.
We have the complete books only in Ethiopic. The Ethiopic, however, is not, as already observed, the original language of the writings. The numerous portions of it which still survive in Greek, prove that at all events our Ethiopic is a translation from the Greek. The question of how far it is the original is easily settled. The angels assemble on Mt. Hermon, we are told (En 6), and bind themselves by an oath or curse: "and they called it Mount Hermon because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecation upon it." This has a meaning only in Hebrew or Aramaic, not in Greek. A very interesting piece of evidence of the original language is obtained from a blunder. In Enoch 90:38 we are told that "they all became white bullocks, and the first was the Word" (nagara). As for the appearance of this term, from its connection it is obvious that some sort of bullocks is intended. In Hebrew the wild ox is called re’em (Aramaic rima). The Greek translators, having no Greek equivalent available, transliterated as rem or rema. This the translators confused with Tema, "a word." It is impossible to decide with anything like certainty which of the two languages, Hebrew or Aramaic, was the original, though from the sacred character ascribed to Enoch the probability is in favor of its being Hebrew.
The question of date is twofold. Since Enoch is really made up of a collection of books and fragments of books, the question of the temporal relation of these to each other is the primary one. The common view is that chapters 1-36 and 72-91 are by the same author, and form the nucleus of the whole. Although the weighty authority of Dr. Charles is against assigning these portions to one author, the resemblances are numerous and seem to us by no means so superficial as he would regard them. He, with most critics, would regard the Book of Similitudes as later.
Nevertheless, we venture to differ from this view, for reasons which we shall assign.
(5) Internal Chronology: The Book of Noah.
The fragments of the Book of Noah above alluded to present an intrusive element in the Book of Enoch. These, though fairly numerous, are not so numerous as Dr. Charles would claim. Those that show clear traces not only of being interpolations, but also of being interpolations from this Book of Noah, are found only in those portions of the Book that appear to be written by the author of Enoch 37-71. In them and in the Noachian fragments there are astronomical portions, as there are also in the portion that seems to proceed from another hand, chapters 1-36; 72- 91. When these are compared, the simplest account of the phenomena of the heavens is found in the non-Noachian portions, the first noted chapters 37-71; 92-107; the next in complexity is that found in the Noachian interpolations; the most complex is that contained in chapters 72-91.
This would seem to indicate that the earliest written portion was chapters 37-71; 92-107. Our view of the date of this middle portion of En, the Book of Similitudes, is opposed by Dr. Stanton (Jewish and Christian Messiah, 60-63; 241-44), who maintains that it is post-Christian. For this decision he rests mainly on the use of the title "Son of Man." This title, he says, as applied to the Messiah, is unknown in rabbinic literature. Rabbinic literature is all so late as to be of no value. The Mishna has few traces of Messianic belief, and was not committed to writing till the end of the 2nd century, when the difference between church and synagogue was accentuated. He further states that it was not understood by the Jews who heard our Lord, and brings as proof
The Greek usage in regard to houtos ho would lead us to translate: "Who is this peculiar kind of Son of Man?" This is the meaning which suits the context. our Lord had not in all the preceding speech used the title "Son of Man" of Himself. This sentence really proves that the multitude regarded the title as equivalent to Messiah or Christ. It might be paraphrased, "The Christ abideth ever; how sayest thou then, the Christ must be lifted up? Who is this Christ?" In fact, our Lord’s adoption of the title is unintelligible unless it were understood by His audience as a claim to being Messiah. It had the advantage that it could not be reported to the Romans as treasonable. There are supplementary portions of Enoch which may be neglected. At first sight 10:1-3 appear to declare themselves as Noacinan, but close inspection shows this to be a misapprehension. If we take the Greek text of Syncellus, Uriel the angel sent to Noah.
The Ethiopic and Gizeh Greek are at this point clearly corrupt. Then the introduction of Raphael implies that the first portion of this chapter and this Raphael section are by the same author. But the Raphael section has to do with the binding of Azazel, a person intimately connected with the earlier history of the Jews. Should it be objected that according to the Massoretic reckoning, as according to that of the Septuagint, Noah and Enoch were not living together, it may be answered that according to the Samaritan they were for 180 years contemporaries. In chapter 68 Noah speaks of Enoch as his grandfather, and assumes him to be a contemporary of himself. Moreover, we must not expect precise accuracy from Apocalyptists.
(6) External chronology.
When the internal chronology of the book is fixed, the way is open for considering the relation of external chronology. Dr. Charles has proved that the Book of Jubilees implies the Noachian portion in the Enoch Books. There are notices of the existence of a Book of Noah (Jub 10:13). There is reference also to a Book of Enoch (Jub 21:10). Dr Charles would date the Book of Jubilees between 135 and 105 BC. If, then, the Book of Noah was already known, and, as we have seen, the Book of Enoch was yet older, it would be impossible to date Enoch earlier than 160 BC. Personally we are not quite convinced of the correctness of Dr. Charles’ reasonings as to the date of the Book of Jubilees, as will be shown at more length later.
There appears to us a reference in Enoch 66:5 to the campaign of Antiochus the Great against the Parthians and the Medes. Early in his reign (220 BC) he had made an expedition to the East against the revolted provinces of Media and Persia, which he subdued. This was followed (217 BC) by a campaign in Palestine, which at first successful, ended in the defeat of Raphia. In the year 212 BC he made a second expedition to the East, in which he invaded India, and subdued into alliance the formidable Parthian and Bactrian kingdoms. The expectation was natural that now, having gained such an access of power and reputation, Antiochus would desire to wipe out the dishonor of Raphia. It was to be anticipated that along with the nationalities from which ordinarily the Syriac armies were recruited, the Parthians would be found, and the earlier subdued Medes.
The description of the treading down of the land of the Elect is too mild for a description of the desecration wrought by Epiphanes. If we are right, we may fix on 205 BC, as the probable date of the nucleus. The Book of the Lummaries of the Heavens which we feel inclined to attribute to the same hand as Enoch 1-36 contains a history of Israel that terminates with the Maccabean Struggle still proceeding. Dr. Charles would date this portion at 161 BC. Personally, we should be inclined to place it a few years earlier. He would place chapters 1-36 before the Maccabean Struggle. According to our thinking the genuine Noachian fragments fall between these. The Book of Noah seems to have existed as a separate book in the time when the Book of Jubilees was written. It is dependent on Enoch, and therefore after it. The use of portions taken from it to interpolate in the Enoch Books must have taken place before the Maccabean Struggle. There are other passages that have every appearance of being interpolations, the date of which it is impossible to fix with any definiteness.
(7) Slavonic Enoch.
In the year 1892 the attention of Dr. Charles was directed to the fact that a Book of Enoch was extant in Slavonic. Perusal proved it not to be a version of the book before us, but another and later pseudepigraphic book, taking, as the earlier had done, the name of Enoch. It is totally independent of the Ethiopic Enoch Book, as is seen by the most cursory consideration. It begins by giving an account of Enoch’s instruction to his descendants how he had been taken up to the seventh heaven. Another manuscript adds other three heavens. In the third (?) heaven Enoch is shown the place of the punishment of the wicked. In the description of the fourth heaven there is an account of the physical conditions of the universe, in which the year is said to be 365 1/4 days; but the course of the sun is stated as a course of 227 days; which appears to be all that is accounted for. Here the independence of the Slavonic Enoch is clear, as the Ethiopic Enoch makes the year 364 days.
There are many points of resemblance which show that the writer of the Slavonic Enoch had before him the book which has come down to us in Ethiopic, but the relationship is not by any means so close as to be called dependence. The definite numbering of the heavens into seven or ten is a proof of its later date. It is related to the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and also to the Ascension of Isaiah. We cannot quite acknowledge the cogency of the proofs that any portion of this Book has been composed in Greek: hence, we cannot agree with Dr. Charles that it was composed in Alexandria. The resemblances to Philo are too few and slight to be convincing. That some of it was originally Hebrew Dr. Charles admits. The date Dr. Charles assigns to it--1-50 AD--seems reasonable, with this qualification, that it seems nearer the later than the earlier of these dates. A double translation, with the certainty of some interpolations and the probability of many more, makes any decided Judgment as to date hazardous, so much has to depend on resemblances between books in cases where it is impossible to decide which is dependent on which. It is at once an interesting and a valuable addition to our knowledge of the mind of the age preceding the publication of the gospel.
(8) Secrets of Enoch.
In imitation of this Book and in some sense in dependence on it was written a rabbinic Book of the Secrets of Enoch. It is attributed to Rabbi Ishmael, who was a prominent figure in the rebellion of Barcochba. Enoch is there noted as Metatron. It follows to some extent the course of the. It is this book that is referred to in the Talmud, not the more important book quoted by Jude.
2. Apocalypse of Baruch:
Though not without its value in estimating the trend of pre-Christian speculation, the Apocalypse of Baruch did not influence thought in the way that the Books of Enoch have done. It is neither quoted nor referred to by any of the Christian Fathers. Irenaeus (V, 33) quotes a saying which he attributes to our Lord on the authority of Papias, who claims to have in this attribution the authority of John behind him. This saying we find in the Apocalypse before us, though considerably expanded. In regard to this, in the first place we have only the Latin version of Irenaeus, not the Greek original. In the next place, even though the Latin may be a faithful translation of the Greek, still it is only a quotation from a lost book, which itself records traditions. The fact that it is in the shortest form in the book before us would seem to indicate that it is the original. If that is so, we may regard it as having a certain vogue among the Essenian school and their sympathizers. In the Syriac Apocrypha published by Lagarde there is a small book entitled "The Epistle of Baruch the Scribe."
This occurs at the end of our Apocalypse of Baruch. In Cyprian’s Test. contra Jud., III, 29 we have a passage of considerable length attributed to Bar, a few words of which agree with a passage in this Apocalypse. Hippolytus quotes an oath used by certain Gnostics which he says is found in the. There are features in the passage thus quoted which seem to be echoes of the book before us. This was all that was known of the Apocalypse of Baruch until the last half-century, when Ceriani discovered a Syriac version of it in the Arabroaian Library in Milan, nearly complete.
It begins after the model of a prophecy: "The word of the Lord came to Baruch, the son of Neriah, saying." In this he follows the phraseology of Jeremiah. He and Jeremiah are commanded to leave Jerusalem as God is about to pour forth His judgment upon it. Baruch entreats God for his city, and God shows him that the punishment will be temporary. Then the Chaldeans come to fulfill what God has threatened, but Baruch is shown the angel ministers of Divine vengeance saving the sacred vessels by calling upon the earth to swallow them up. Then the angels helped the Chaldeans to overthrow the walls of Jerusalem. Notwithstanding that in the canonical
This revelation is introduced by a prayer of Baruch followed by a colloquy with the Almighty. Baruch asks, "Will that tribulation continue a long time?" He is answered that there will be twelve successive different forms of judgment which shall come. Then follows an enigmatic sentence, "Two parts weeks of seven weeks" are "the measure and reckoning of the time" which probably means that each of the parts is a jubilee or half a century. At the termination of this period the Messiah is to appear. Here a description is given of the glories of the Messianic kingdom in the course of which occurs the passage already referred to as quoted by Papias (chapters 21-30). The writer, forgetting what he has already said of the desolation of Jerusalem, makes Baruch assemble the Elders of Jerusalem and announce that he is going to retire into solitude. In his retirement he has a vision of a wooded hill, and at the foot of it is a vine growing and beside the vine a spring of water. This fountain swelled and became tempestuous, sweeping away all the forest on the hill but one great cedar. It, too, falls at length. The interpretation is given The forest is the fourth Empire of Daniel--the Roman--the many magistracies being symbolized by the numerous trees of the forest. The Messiah is the vine and the fountain. It is probable that Pompey is the leader referred to (Baruch 31-40). Then follows a colloquy of Baruch first with God, then with his son and the Elders of the people. A long prayer with God’s answer which includes a description of the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous--the latter is next given with greater fullness (Baruch 41-52). Mother vision is given to Baruch of twelve showers of rain alternately bright and dark and a final torrent blacker than anything else and closed by a bright light. The angel Runnel comes to Baruch to interpret the vision. It represents the history of Israel to the return to Judea under the decree of Cyrus. The last dark waters represent the Maccabean Struggle. It would seem as if the vision carried the conflict on to the fratricidal conflict between John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus (Baruch 53-77). Then follows the epistle to the nine and a half tribes (Baruch 78-87).
Preliminary to anything further is the discussion of the state of the book--how far it is one, how far it is composite or interpolated. That it contains different portions is obvious on the slightest careful study. The first portion that the reader marks off is the "epistle to the nine tribes and a half." As has already been mentioned this portion appears independently and is preserved by Lagarde in his Libri Vet. Test. Apocryphi, in which collection it precedes the ordinary apocryphal Book of Baruch. The last section, which relates how this epistle was sent to the nine tribes and a half by an eagle, is omitted. The last section (chapter 79) has been added, and has been modified in order to introduce this epistle. It is not at all in the spirit of the rest of this Apocalypse that the tribes carried away captive by "Salmanasser, king of Assyria" have any share in the blessings revealed in the vision. The epistle itself merely narrates the capture of the city, and the help of the angels who hid the sacred vessels.
It is to be noted that in the earlier portion of this Apocalypse it is the earth that opens her mouth and swallows down the sacred vessels. Another division reveals itself on further scrutiny. From the beginning to the end of chapter 30 the course of the narrative is fairly continuous. A revelation is promised, and in the end we have a picture of the glory and plenty of the times of the Messiah. The next section begins with an exhortation which has little bearing on what has preceded. Then follows the vision of the forest and the surviving tree. The colloquy and the prayers that follow, to chapter 52, are all connected, though not closely. But close connection is not to be expected from an oriental and an Apocalyptist. Then follow the sections connected with the vision of the twelve showers of rain, and its interpretation. There are thus five independent sections exclusive of interpolations which may be due to different writers.
In the first place it is clear that the Syriac in which the work has come down to us is itself a translation from Greek. The manuscript of Ceriani states this in its title. This is confirmed by Graecisms filtering through, as ho Manasseh in Baruch 65:1, where ho represents the Greek article. In some cases the readings that are unintelligible can be explained by translation back into Greek, as shown by Dr. Charles. The most convincing is the use made of this book by the writer of the "Rest of the Words of Baruch," who wrote in Greek. Although not a few scholars have followed Langen in maintaining that Greek was the original tongue, careful investigation proves that behind the Greek was Hebrew. The strongest of these proofs is that the echoes of Scriptural texts are almost invariably from the Hebrew as against the Septuagint. Thus, in 6:8, Jeremiah three times addresses the earth and calls upon it to hear the word of the Lord. So it is in the Massoretic Text and in the Vulgate, but not in the Septuagint, where the word "earth" is only given twice. There are several other instances.
Dr. Charles has carefully compared the idiomatic phrases and sees proof that usages of the Massoretic Text have been preserved in the Greek, and thence conveyed to the Syriac. The most interesting of these is the peculiar Hebrew idiom of infinitive with finite verb to emphasize the action narrated. This is rendered in Septuagint sometimes by cognate noun and verb, and sometimes by participle and verb. The examples chosen by Dr. Charles have the disadvantage that none of them show the effect on this idiom of passing through the two languages, Greek and Syriac. In Paulus Tellensis there are examples--e.g.
Although the writer assumes the destruction of Jerusalem by the army of the Chaldeans, he evidently has no conception of what such a catastrophe would really mean. He has no conception of the length of time occupied by a siege, the terrors of famine, or the desolation that follows the capture of a city. Josephus tells us (BJ, VII, i, 1) that save a portion of the west wall and three towers, the city was utterly razed to the ground--"there was nothing left to make those who came there believe that ever it had been inhabited." Yet, when endeavoring to realize the similar destruction which had befallen the city under Nebuchadnezzar, he speaks of himself sitting "before the gates of the temple" (Baruch 10:5), when the gates had wholly disappeared. Again, he assembles the people and their elders "after these things" "in the valley of the Kedron." The Apocalypse must be dated at all events considerably before 70 AD. On the other hand, it is subsequent to the first part of En; it assumes it as known (Baruch 56:10-13). But a closer discrimination may be reached. In the vision of the wood and the one tree that survives we have Pompey pointed out clearly. The multitude of trees points to the numerous magistracies of Rome. (Compare description of Senate of Rome in 1 Macc 8:15.)
The seer in his vision sees all these swept away and one remaining. It could not be an emperor, as that title was regarded as equivalent to "king," as Nero in the Ascension of Isaiah is called "the matricide king." The only other besides Pompey likely to be pointed to would be Julius Caesar. But the fall of the great desecrator of the temple, which the seer foresaw, would not have failed to be noted as succeeded by that of Caesar who had conquered him. It is difficult for us to realize the position Pompey occupied in the eyes especially of the eastern world before the outbreak of the civil war. Cicero’s letters and his oration Pro lege Manilia show the way Pompey filled the horizon even in republican Rome, in a society most of the prominent members of which claimed a descent that would have enabled them to look down on Pompey. But in the East he had enjoyed dictatorial powers. His intervention in the contest between the brothers John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus could not fail to impress the Jews, and his desecration of the temple would mark him off for a very special destruction. The date is so far before the death of Pompey (48 BC)--though after the desecration of the temple--that the possibility of anyone entering into conflict with him is not dreamed of. When we turn to the twelve showers, we are led to the time of this struggle also as that which shall immediately precede the coming of the Messiah.
Another note of time is to be found in Baruch 28--"The measure and reckoning of the time are two parts, weeks of seven weeks." This we regard as two jubilees--i.e. approximately a century. The point to be fixed is the time from which this century is to be reckoned. To our idea it must be from some event connected with the temple. Such an event was the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in the 148th year of the Seleucid era--that is, 163 BC. A century brings us exactly to the year of Pompey’s capture of Jerusalem and desecration of the temple. Thus three different lines converge in pointing to 60 or 59 BC as the date at which this book was written.
(5) Relation to Other Books.
The strange mingling of knowledge of Scripture and ignorance of it is a phenomenon to be observed. The very first clause contains a gross anachronism, whatever explanation may be given of the statement. Taken with what follows, the statement is that Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, "in the 25th year of Jeconiah, king of Judah." This naturally ought to mean the 25th year of the reign of Jeconiah, but he only reigned three months. Whether the date is reckoned from his life or his captivity, it will not suit the date of the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. Another strange blunder appears in the subjoined "Epistle of Baruch"; the number of northern tribes who rebelled against Rehoboam is confused, with that of the tribes settled on the west of Jordan, and that of the tribes following the House of David with that of those on the east of Jordan. Yet the general course of Biblical history is quite understood. The author seems fairly well acquainted with Jer and Ps, as there are frequent echoes of these books. Most marked is the connection between this Apocalypse and the other books of the same class.
This connection is not so obvious in quotable sentences as in the general atmosphere. This is very marked in regard to the Enoch books, Ethiopic and Slavonic. In the case of the latter, of course, the resemblance is not imitation on the part of the writer of this Apocalypse. One marked distinction, one that precludes any thought of direct imitation, is the elaborate angelology of the Enoch books as compared with the one name which appears in the Apocalypse of Baruch. The book with which the present Apocalypse has closest relation is 2 (4) Esdras. Dr. Charles has given at the end of his translation of the work before us (Apoc of Baruch, 171) a long list of resemblances, not always of equal value. Sometimes the references are inaccurate.
The main thing to be observed is that while 2 Esdras as we have it has on the one hand a markedly Christian coloring, which it seems impossible to attribute to interpolation, and on the other, to have seen the desolation of Jerusalem under the Romans, there is no Christian element in the genuine Baruch, and the desolation is more sentimental as proved by the inability to realize the conditions consequent on the capture of the city by victorious enemies.
(6) The Rest of the Words of Baruch.
One of the evidences of the influence our Apocalypse had in the Christian community is the composition by a Christian of "The Rest of the Words of Baruch" (or Jer). This was found, like so many other treasures, by Ceriani in the Ambrosian Library, Milan. Jer is the principal spokesman in the book. It is revealed to him that Jerusalem is to be given into the hands of the Chaldeans, and he announces this to Baruch. He is desirous to save Abimelech (Ebedmelech), and prays God for him, and Abimelech is sent away out of the city while the angels are overturning it. He goes to the vineyard of Agrippa and falls asleep. His sleep continues sixty years. When, arising from sleep, he enters Jerusalem again he does not recognize it. An angel leads him to Baruch who had made his abode in a tank. Baruch writes to Jeremiah, who has departed to Babylon. His letter is conveyed by an eagle. Jeremiah on receipt of this epistle collects all the captives and leads them back to Jerusalem. Certain of them would not submit to the law in all its strictness, but, turning aside, founded Samaria. After some time Jeremiah dies, rises again on the third day and preaches Christ as the, and is stoned by the Jews. A noticeable thing is the relatively accurate account of the date of Christ’s appearance after the return from the captivity, 477 years, only it must be calculated from the reign of Artaxerxes and to the resurrection. This, however, would make Jeremiah nearly two hundred years old. Such a thing, however, is not a matter that would disturb a Jewish chronologer. "The Rest of the Words of Baruch" seems to have been written by a Christian Jew in Palestine before the rebellion of Barcochba.
3. The Assumption of Moses:
In theis a reference to a conflict between the archangel Michael and Satan, when they "disputed about the body of Moses" Oregon (de Princip, iii.2) attributes this to a book he calls Ascensio Mosis. Clement Alexandrinus gives an account of the burial of Moses quoted from the same book. There are several references to the book up to the 6th century, but thereafter it disappeared till Ceriani found the fragment of it which is published in the Acta Sacra et Profana (Vol I). This fragment is in Latin. It is full of blunders, some due to transcription, proving that the last scribe had but an imperfect knowledge of the tongue in which he wrote. Some of the blunders go farther back and seem to have been due to the scribe who translated it from Greek. Even such a common word as thilpsis ("affliction") he did not know, but attempted, by no means with conspicuous success, to transliterate it as clipsis. So with allophuloi "foreigners," the common Septuagint equivalent of "Philistine," and yet commoner skene ("a tent") and several others. It probably was dictated, as some of the blunders of the copyist may be better explained as mistakes in hearing, as fynicis for Phoenices, and venient for veniet. Some, however, are due to blunders of sight on the part of the translator, as monses for moyses.
From this we may deduce that he read from a manuscript in cursive characters, in which "n" and "u" were alike. This Milan manuscript has been frequently edited. Dr Charles has suggested with great plausibility that there were two works, a Testament of Moses, and an Assumption, and that these have been combined; and, while
Moses, now in the plain of Moab, calls Joshua to him and gives him commands for the people. He had already blessed them tribe by tribe. Now he calls his successor to him and urges him to be of good courage. He tells him that the world has been created for Israel, and that he, Moses, had been ordained from before the foundation of the world to be the mediator of this covenant. These commands are to be written down and preserved in clay jars full of cedar oil. This sentence is added to explain the discovery and publication. A rapid summary of the history of Israel to the fall of the Northern Kingdom follows. The successive reigns are called years--eighteen years before the division of the kingdom, 15 Judges and Saul, David and Solomon, and nineteen after, the kings from Jeroboam to Hoshea. The Southern Kingdom has twenty years or reigns.
The Southern Kingdom was to fall before Nebuchadnezzar, the king from the East who would cover the land with his cavalry. When they are in captivity one prays for them. Here follows a prayer modeled on
The persecution under Antiochus appears in Assumption of Moses 8 and 9. With Dr. Charles we are inclined to think they have been displaced. In chapter 9 occurs the reference to the mysterious Taxo with his seven sons. Dr. Charles is quite sure the reference is to the seven sons of the widow who suffered before Antiochus Epiphanes as related in 2 Macc 7 (4 Macc 8-17), but the "mother" is the prominent person in all the forms of the story, while in no form of it is their father mentioned. It is to be noted that if T of this mysterious name, represents taw (t) in the Hebrew (= 400), and xi represents the letter camek (c) (= 60) which occupies the same place in the Hebrew alphabet, and if the O represents waw (w) (= 6), adding those numbers together we have the number 466, which is the sum of the letters of Shimeon. But nothing in the history of the second son of Mattathias resembles the history of the mysterious Taxo. On this subject the reader is recommended to study Charles, Assumption of Moses, 32-34. Taxo recommends his sons, having fasted to retire into a cave, and rather to die than to transgress the commands of God. In this conduct there is a suggestion of the action of several of the pious in the beginning of the Antiochus persecutions. Taxo then breaks into a song of praise to God, in the course of which he describes the final discomfiture of the enemies of God and of His people.
The establishment of the Messianic kingdom is to be 250 times after the Assumption of Moses. The interpretation of this is one of the difficulties in regard to this Apocalypse. Langen takes the times as equivalent to decades, and Dr. Charles as year-weeks. The latter seems a more probable meaning of "time," as more in the line of Jewish thought. It should be noted that Dr. Charles thinks illius adventum refers not to the Messiah’s coming, but to the last judgment. In answer to the declaration of Moses as to his approaching death, Joshua rends his garments and breaks forth into lamentations, wondering who will lead on the people when his master has departed. There is one phrase that seems to imply a tincture of classical culture. Joshua says of Moses, "All the world is thy Sepulchre," which seems to be a reminiscence of Pericles’ funeral oration (Thucyd. ii.4), "The whole earth is the monument of men of renown." He then casts himself at the feet of Moses. His master encourages him and promises him success. At this point the fragment ends. It is to be expected that shortly after this would occur the passage quoted by Clement of Alexandria, and still later that quoted in Jude.
It seems to have been united with one, if not two other books, a "Testament of Moses" and our Book of Jubilees. It would seem that in the present work we have mostly the "Testament." The insertion of the word receptione after morte in Assumption of Moses 10:12 indicates that when this copy was made the two writings were united. As above remarked, there appears to have been a displacement of chapters 8 and 9; they ought to have been placed between chapters 4 and 5.
As already mentioned, the manuscript found by Ceriani in the Ambrosian Library is in Latin. No one, however, has maintained that this was the language in which it was originally written. It is evidently a translation from the Greek. A number of Greek words are transliterated, some of them common enough. So clearly does the Greek shine through, that Hilgenfeld has reproduced what he imagines the Greek text to have been. That having been settled, a further question rises, Is the Greek the original tongue, or was it, too, a translation from a Sere original? The first alternative is that adopted by Hilgenfeld. His arguments from the alleged impossibility of certain grammatical constructions being found in Hebrew are due to mistake. The presence of such words as Allofile and Deuteronomion simply prove that in translating a book which claimed to be written about Moses, the writer followed the diction used by the Septuagint, just as Archbishop Laurence in translating Enoch used the diction of theof the Bible These questions have been ably investigated by Dr. Charles in his edition of the Assumption of Moses (42-45). He shows a number of Semitic idioms which have persisted through the Greek-- some cases in which the meaning can only be got by reconstructing the Hebrew text.
Again, corruption can only be explained by means of a Semitic text. It might be suggested that a falsarius writing in Greek would naturally employ the diction of the Septuagint as has been done frequently in English; the diction of the King James Version is used to cover the imitation of a sacred book. The fact that style was so little regarded as a means of settling dates and authorship renders this unlikely. The more delicate question of which of the two Sere tongues--Aramaic or Hebrew--is employed, is more difficult to settle. There are, however, one or two cases in which we seem to see traces of the waw conversive--a construction peculiar to Hebrew--e.g. 8:2, "Those who conceal (their circumcision) he will torture and has delivered up to be led to prison." The ignorance of the scribe may, however, be revoked to explain this. On the other hand the change of tense is so violent that even an ignorant scribe would not be likely to make it by mistake. Over and above, a narrative attributed to Joshua and asserted to be written down by him at the dictation of Moses, would necessarily be in Hebrew. From this we would deduce that Hebrew rather than Aramaic has been the Semitic original.
The identification of the rex petulans with Herod and the statement that he should be succeeded by his sons who should reign a short time, fix the date of the composition of the work before us within narrow limits. It must have been written after the death of Herod and also after the deposition of Archelaus, 6 AD, and before st was seen that Antipas and Philip were secure on their thrones. Thus we cannot date it later than 7 or 8 AD. The intense hatred of the Herodians was a characteristic of this time. Later they came to be admired by the patriotic party.
(5) Relation to Other Books.
The most striking phrase is the name given to Moses--arbiter testamenti, "the mediator of the covenant," which we find repeatedly used in the
There is a fragment published by Ceriani entitled "History and Life (diegesis kai politeia) of Adam, Which, Was Revealed by God to Moses, His Servant." It is an account of the life of our first parents after the death of Abel to their own death. It has been composed to all appearance in Greek, and really belongs not to Mosaic literature, but to that connected with Adam. It is to be noted that to Cain and Abel other names are given besides those so well known. They are called Adiaphotos and Amilabes, names of no assignable origin. There are no evidences of Christian influence; from this one would be led to regard it as a Jewish writing; as the middle of it has been lost, any decision is to be made with caution.
4. The Ascension of Isaiah:
The Ascension of Isaiah was often referred to by name in the works of early Christian Fathers, especially by Origen. It is called by him "The Apocryphon of Isaiah." Epiphanes gives it the title by which it is more commonly known. Now that we have the book, we find numerous echoes of it. Indeed, Origen claims that
In the 26th year of his reign Hezekiah calls Isaiah before him to deliver certain writings into his hand. Isaiah informs him that the devil Sammael Malkira would take possession of his son Manasseh, and that he, Isaiah, will be sawn asunder by his hand. On hearing this, Hezekiah would order his son to be killed, but Isaiah tells him that the Chosen One will render his counsel vain. On the death of his father, Manasseh turned his hand to serve Berial Matanbukes. Isaiah retired to Bethlehem, and thence, with certain prophets--Micah, Joe and Habakkuk--and also Hananiah and his own son Joab, he removed to a desert mountain. Balkira, a Samaritan, discovered their hiding- place. They are brought before Manasseh, and Isaiah is accused of impiety because he has said that he has seen God, yet God had declared to Moses, "There shall no flesh see my face." He had also called Jerusalem, Sodom, and its rulers, those of Gomorrah. For Berial (Belial) had great wrath against Isaiah because he had revealed the coming of Christ and the mission of the apostles.
At this point there appears to be a confusion between the first coming of Christ and His second. Lawless elders and shepherds are referred to as appearing, and it is assumed the elders of the church and the pastors are intended, though this is not necessarily so. There certainly was much contention in the churches, as we know, concerning the question of circumcision. The reference, however, may be to the rulers and elders of Israel who crucified our Lord. Then follows the account of the incarnation of Beliar in Nero, "the matricide monarch," and the persecution of the twelve apostles, of whom one will be delivered into his hand--the reference here being probably to the martyrdom of Peter. If it is Paul, then It is a denial of Peter’s martyrdom at Rome altogether; if it is Peter, it means the denial of Paul’s apostleship. The reign of the Antichrist is to be "three years, seven months and twenty-seven days," that is, on the Roman reckoning, 1,335 days. This would seem to be calculated from Nero’s persecution of the Christians. He makes a singular statement: "The greater number of those who have been associated together in order to receive the Beloved he will turn aside after him"--a statement that implies a vastly greater apostasy under the stress of persecution than we have any record of from other sources.
A good deal is to be said for the insertion of 1,000 in the number 332 in 4:14, so as to make it read 1,332. At the end of this period "the Lord will come with His angels and will drag Beliar into Gehenna with his armies." Then follows a reference to the descent of the Beloved into Sheol. The following chapter gives an account of the martyrdom of Isaiah, how he was "sawn in sunder with a wooden saw," and how Balkira mocked him, and strove to get Isaiah to recant. With Ascension of Isaiah 6 begins the Ascension proper. This chapter, however, is merely the introduction. It is in chapter 7 that the account is given of how the prophet is carried up through the firmament and then through heaven after heaven to the seventh. A great angel leads him upward. In the firmament he found the angels of the devil envying one another. Above this is the first heaven where he found a throne in the midst, and angels on the right and the left, the former of whom were the more excellent. So it was in the second, third, fourth and fifth heavens. Each heaven was more glorious than that beneath. In the sixth heaven there was no throne in the midst nor was there any distraction between angels on the right and left; all were equal. Be is then raised to the seventh heaven--the most glorious of all--where he sees not only, but also the Son and the . As to the Son we are told that he should descend, and having assumed human form should be crucified through the influence of the Prince of this World. Baring descended into Sheol, he spoiled it, and ascended up on high. In chapter 10 there is a more detailed account of the descent of the Son through the successive heavens, how in each He assumed the aspect of the angels that dwelt therein, so that they did not know Him. In the Firmament, the quarreling and envying appeared at first to hinder Him. In chapter 11 we have a semi-docetic account of the miraculous birth With the declaration that it was on account of these revelations that he, Isaiah, was sawn in sunder, the Apocalypse ends.
Dr. Charles has maintained that three works are incorporated--the Testament of Hezekiah, the Martyrdom of Isaiah and the Vision of Isaiah. The names have been taken from those given to this work in patristic literature, and are not strictly descriptive of the contents, at least of the first. The confused chronology of the work as we have it may to some extent be due to transcription and translation. From the opening paragraph, there appears to have been an Apocryphon attributed to Hezekiah. Manasseh is called into his father’s presence in order that here may be delivered into words, of righteousness "which the king himself had seen" "of eternal judgment, the torments of Gehenna and the Prince of this World and his angels and of his principalities and powers"--a phrase which implies a knowledge of theon the part of the writer. The contents given thus summarily are not further detailed. The Vision of Isaiah does not give any account of the powers and principalities of Satan’s kingdom. It would seem better to regard the present work as composed of two--the Martyrdom of Isaiah and the Vision or Ascension proper. The references backward and forward seem to imply a similarity of authorship in both parts. This would seem to suggest that the editor and author were one and the same person. There is a knowledge of Roman affairs at the time of Nero’s fall so much beyond what anyone living in Palestine could attain that Rome would seem to be the place of composition. (3) Language.
The immediate original from which the translation, Ethiopic, Latin and Sclavonic were made appears to have been Greek. It is clear in regard to the Ethiopic where the proper names which end in Hebrew in "h" and in the Greek transcription end in "s", as Bezekias, Isaias, the latter is followed, but Manasseh is Manassa. An interesting case is to be found in Ascension of Isaiah 2:12: Mikayas is called "son of Amida," where "Amida" stands for Imlah. In the Ethiopic transliteration ’aleph is generally used for the initial yodh as a vowel, as it is in "Israel" (Ethiopic Asreal), hence "Imida" might as correctly represent the name. Then as delta (d) and lambda (l) are like each other the change is explained. Although certainly as said above, Greek has been the immediate original, it is possible if not even probable that behind the Greek there was Hebrew. The structure of the sentences suggests the same thing (see 2:5 Gr). The mysterious name given to Berial, Mattanbukus--which, unfortunately, we have not in Greek--seems to be intelligible only in the idea that it has a Hebrew etymology, mattan buqah, "the gift of emptiness," the latter word being equivalent to "the void," "the abyss." The title given to Sammael, Malkira, seems naturally to mean king of "the watchers"--`irim, the angels who, as related in Enoch 10:5, did not continue in their first estate, but defiled themselves with women. So Belkira is "Lord of the fort"--ba`al qir. There thus seems to be a probability that like so many others of this class, the "Ascension" was originally written in Hebrew.
No one reading the "Ascension" can fail to feel that he has to do with a Christian document, and one belonging to the very beginning of Christian history. There may have been an earlier Jewish Apocalypse behind, though to our thinking that does not seem necessary. It is made up of two documents, but the Christian element appears to be woven into the structure of both portions. That it is to be dated early in the history of the church may be seen from the expectation of Christ’s speedy reappearance in the world in His parousia. The conflict in the church between elders and shepherds gives a picture of the struggle between Judaizers and the Pauline Christians on the other side. The emphasis laid on the twelve, the omission of all reference to Paul, indicates that it was Judaizing. The docetic account of the birth of Jesus, its independence of the canonical Gospels, all speak of an early date The date, however, it seems to us, can be fixed with great certainty.
The reign of Berial, who has come down upon Nero and incarnated himself in him is to be three years, seven months and twenty-seven days, in all 1,335 days (Asc
There is a difficulty in the 332 days of Ascension of
5. The Fourth Book of Esdras:
Unlike the books we have been discussing hitherto, 4 Esdras has never disappeared from the knowledge of the church. It has, however, come down to us primarily in a Latin translation of a Greek original. Archbishop Laurence discovered an Ethiopic version of it. Later an Armenian version with Latin translation was published in Venice. An Arabic version is also in existence. It was received into the Apocrypha of the Anglican church, though excluded from that of Germany; by the, 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras of our Apocrypha were excluded from the Roman Catholic canon, and placed after Revelation, along with Pr Man.
The first two chapters contain a prophecy after the model of Isaiah. Not a few passages show the influence of the New Testament on it. Compare 2 (4) Esdras 1:30 with
The portion recently discovered contains an account of the place of punishment, and there is mention of Paradise. The end of this is a prayer of Ezra, which seems an independent composition (2 (4) Esdras 8:20). The fourth vision begins with 4 Esdras 9:26. In it Ezra is shown a woman weeping, who is interpreted to be Zion. She is transformed into a city (2 (4) Esdras 10:27). The fifth vision is the most important. It begins with an eagle appearing, which has three heads and twelve wings. This is interpreted as referring to the Roman empire. It would seem that this had been added to, as in addition to the twelve wings, eight other wings are spoken of. A lion appears who rebukes and destroys the eagle with the twelve wings. This lion is the Messiah and his kingdom. The sixth vision begins with chapter 13 and contains an account of the coming of Christ. In the seventh we have an account of the re-writing of the books at the dictation of Ezra, and the retention of the seventy secret sacred books. In what has preceded we have followed the scheme of Fritzsche. The last chapter proceeds from the same pen as do the opening chapters, and is combined with them by Fritzsche and called the Fifth Book of Esdras.
As has been indicated above, 4 Esdras is marked off into several distinct portions, preceded by Ezra fasting, and introduced by a prayer on the part of the prophet. Kabisch has a more elaborate scheme than Fritzsche. Like him, he recognizes seven visions, and like him he separates off the first chapter and the last 17, 15, 16, as by a different hand from the rest of the book. But in addition, he recognizes additions made by a R throughout the book. To us the scheme appears too elaborate.
As above mentioned, the immediate source of the Latin text appears to have been Greek. There is very little to enable us to settle the question whether Greek was the language in which this book was composed, or whether even the Greek is a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic. There are many echoes of the other Scriptures, but no direct quotations, so there is nothing to show whether the author used the Hebrew text or the Septuagint. The proper names do not supply any clue. Although there are so many versions of the Greek, they are all so paraphrastic that the Greek in most cases is not by any means certain. The few verses quoted in Greek by Clemens Alexandrinus do not afford space enough to discover through them if there is any other language behind. It possibly was written in Hebrew, as it seems to have been written in Palestine.
From the tone of the book there is no doubt that it was written after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus. Had it been due to the later cataclysm, when the rebellion of Barcochba was overthrown, a Christian Jew would not have manifested such sorrow. The break between the church and the synagogue was complete by that time. Further, had this book been written under Hadrian, the previous disaster would have been referred to. Over and above the distinctly and avowedly Christian passages, there are numerous echoes of the New Testament Scriptures. The fifth vision affords notes of time which would be more unambiguous if there had not been additions made. The eagle with the three heads and twelve wings is declared to be the fourth monarchy of Daniel, and by the context this is shown to be imperial Rome.
The question that has exercised critics is the portion of the Roman history referred to. Lucke regarded the reference to be to rulers prominent in the time of Sulla, and the three heads to be the first triumvirate. This view implies a knowledge of Roman politics not possessed by any Jew of the pre-Christian period. Further, the echoes of New Testament language which occur (compare 2 (4) Esdras 5:1 with
The fact that it is the right-hand head that devours the head to the left fits the murder of Geta the younger son, by Caracalla, the elder. Against this view is the fact that the book is quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus. Further, the eight under-wings are said to be kings "whose times shall be small, and their years swift" (2 (4) Esdras 12:20). Though might be said of Nerva, it could not be affirmed of Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Plus or. We are thus restricted to the view which maintains that the three heads are the three Flavians. The twelve wings are the first emperors, beginning with Julius Caesar. The reign of Augustus is longer than any of the monarchs that succeeded him, and it is noted that the second wing was to have that distinction (2 (4) Esdras 12:15). The date then may be placed between the death of Titus and that of Domitian--that is, from 81 to 96. The Lion who rebukes the Eagle for his unrighteousness is the Messiah--the Christ--in His second coming, when He shall come in the glory of His kingdom. The Christians had begun to doubt the speedy coming of the Master, hence He is spoken of as "kept unto the end of days" (2 Esdras 12:32). Such are the Apocalypses, strictly speaking.
II. Legendary Works.
The Book of Jubilees:
The Book of Jubilees is the only one which survives of this class of composition. The portion of Ascension of Isaiah which contains the account of his martyrdom has much of this character. It, however, has been conjoined to the Apocalyptic "Ascension." It would seem that in some copies the Assumption of Moses was added to this work as a supplement. It is frequently cited as lepto Genesis--sometimes lepto-genesis, and again micro-genesis, "the little Genesis." This title cannot be meant to refer to its actual size, for it is considerably longer than the canonical book. It may either mean that this book is to be less regarded than the canonical Genesis or that it is taken up with lepta- -"minutiae." Another, and possibly more plausible explanation is to be found in the Hebrew or Aramaic. There is a rabbinic book known as Bere’shith Rabba’, in which the whole of Genesis is expanded by Midrashic additions, amplifications and explanations, to many times the size of the work before us, which, in comparison, would be Bere’shith ZuTa’--"the small Genesis." The main difficulty is that the Jewish work, B. Rabbah, cannot well be dated earlier than 300 AD. We owe the work before us mainly--in its complete form--like so many others, to its inclusion in the canon of the Ethiopic church. Portions of it in Latin and Syriac have been found in the second main source of apocalyptic literature in recent times, the Ambrosian Library of Milan. There have been several editions of the Ethiopic text.
It is difficult to give anything like a summary of the Book of Jubilees in the ordinary sense of the word. Roughly speaking, the canonical Book of Genesis is the summary. The writer has omitted many features and incidents, but these have been more than compensated for by additions and expansions. Most of these omissions have an apologetic aim. The acts of deception of which Abraham was guilty in Egypt and toward Abimelech in regard to Sarah, the similar act of Isaac, would involve matters difficult to palliate. The way Simeon and Levi entrapped the Shechemites into being circumcised and then took advantage of their condition to murder them, is omitted also. Jacob’s devices to increase his flocks at Laban’s expense are also passed over in silence. The most marked omission is the blessing of Jacob in
The most marked characteristic of the book is that from which it has its most common name, "The Book of Jubilee," the dating of events by successive Jubilees. The whole history of the world is set in a framework of Jubilees and every event is dated by the Jubilee of the world’s history in which it had occurred, and the year-week of that Jubilee and the year of that week. The writer has carried his septenary principle into the year and made the days in it, as did the writer of one of the Enoch books, a multiple of seven, 364 = 7 x 52 days. It does not seem to have been interpolated.
Like so many more of the pseudepigrapha, the Ethiopic, from which our modern translations have been made, has been translated from a Greek original, which in turn has had a Semitic source. It is somewhat difficult to form a decision as to which of the two Semitic languages in use in Palestine was that in which it was composed. Certainly some, as Frankel, have maintained that it was written in Greek first of all. This is contrary to ancient evidence, as Jerome refers to the use of rissah, "a stadium," as used in the Book of Jubilees. More can be said for an Aramaic original The use of Mastema for Satan, and the plurals in "in," point in that direction. Dr. Charles’ arguments seem to us to settle the matter in favor of Hebrew. Compare the case of Jubilees 47:9, in which bath, "a daughter," is confused with bayith, "a house." One of his arguments is not so conclusive: 2:9 wahaba, "gave," appears where "appointed" is the meaning--a confusion of meanings only possible from the double meaning of nathan, as the Aramaic yahabh has the same double force: "See I have made thee (yehebhethakh) a God to Pharaoh" (compare Peshitta
The formidable authority of Dr. Charles and that of Littmann are in favor of an early date--before the quarrel of John Hyrcanus with the Pharisees. Our reading of the history is different from that of either of these scholars. The Hassidh party had been lukewarm to the Maccabeans from the latter portion of the pontificate of Judas Maccabeus; the insult offered to Hyrcanus at his own table was the enmity reaching its height. If with Dr. Charles we assume the author to be a Pharisee, then the date is impossible. The Pharisaid party were never enthusiastic supporters of the Maccabeans, except when Alexandra threw herself into their arms. Two characteristics of this book strike the reader--its apologetic tone, and its hatred of Edom. During the time of John Hyrcanus the nation did not assume an apologetic attitude. It had thrown off the Syrian-Greek domination and repelled the attempt to Helenize its religion. It would be only Greeks, or those under Greek influences, that would necessitate the apologetic attitude. We are driven to the Herodian period when Romans abounded in the court and Greeks and Graeculi were frequent, when those who, being Jews and knowing Hebrew, yet had imbibed Hellenic culture, and readily saw the points where assault might be made on their faith and its sacred literature. This date would explain the hatred of Edom. We therefore would place it about the death of Herod--from 5 BC to 6 AD. Unlike the other books of this class, much of it has been found in the Talmud; hence, though we still think the author to have been an Essene, we think that he had much sympathy with the Pharisaic school in its latest development.
III. Psalmic Pseudepigrapha.
1. The Psalter of Solomon:
The Psalter of Solomon is the one of all the pseudepigrapha which seems to have hovered most nearly on the border of deutero-canonicity. Even 4 Esdras, since not being found in Greek, scarcely can be counted an exception, as it was never admitted into the canon of Alexandria. The famous Codex Alexandrinus, as its table of contents proves, originally contained the book before us. In several catalogues of books that were acknowledged, by some at least, to be authoritative, it is named--sometimes to be declared uncanonical. Like so many other books--Jewish and Christian--during the Middle Ages, sank into oblivion. A manuscript of it was first noticed by Hoeschel the librarian in the Library at Augsburg, in the beginning of the 17th century, and published by de la Cerda in 1626. This manuscript has since been lost. More recently, four other Greek manuscripts have been brought to light. From these, with the assistance of de la Cerda’s text, it has repeatedly been published. The name given to it, "The Psalter of Solomon," seems purely gratuitous; the writer makes no claim, direct or indirect, to be the Son of David.
The present collection consists of 18 psalms closely modeled as to line of thought and diction on the canonical Psalms. The first psalm announces the declaration of war, but is occupied with the denunciation of hypocrites. The second describes a siege of Jerusalem and acknowledges that the distresses of the siege have been deserved, but ends by the description of the death of the besieger on the coast of Egypt. The third psalm is one of thanksgiving on the part of the righteous. In the fourth we have the description and denunciation of a hypocrite in terms which suggest strongly our Lord’s words against the Pharisees. It is evidently directed against a prominent individual member of the Sanhedrin. On the generally received date, Antipater may be the person denounced. The fifth psalm is a prayer for mercy from God and an appeal to His loving-kindness. The sixth is occupied with a description of the blessedness of the righteous.
The short psalm which follows is a prayer of Israel under chastisement, entreating God not to remove His tabernacle from their midst. The eighth psalm describes the siege of the temple and denounces the sins of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, which had brought the Smiter from afar against them, and a prayer for restoration to favor. Israel, a captive, prays to God for forgiveness in the ninth psalm. In the tenth we have the blessedness of the man who submits to the chastening of the Lord. The theme of the eleventh is the return of the captives. The idea of the following psalm is not unlike the middle stanza of
The seventeenth psalm is the most important, as it is Messianic, and exhibits the hopes prevalent among the Jews at the time when it was written. The eighteenth gives a description of the blessedness of the return of the Jews to Divine favor. Messrs. Ryle and James would divide this psalm into two, as there seems to be a conclusion at the tenth verse with the sign diapsalma. Moreover, a slightly different theme is introduced at this point, but there is a reference in the Pistis Sophia to the 19th ps, and this is not the one implied. There seems to be some probability that a Latin translation once existed from references, though few, in the Latin Fathers; but no manuscript of it has yet been discovered. A Syriac translation has been discovered by Dr. Rendel Harris, along with a number of other psalms also attributed to Solomon, which he has called "Odes." Of these more will be said below.
That the Greek of these psalms is a translation from the Hebrew may be proved by what seem to have been errors in translation, as tou eipein, "to say," where sense implies "to destroy," from the double meaning of dabhar, "to say," and later "to destroy"; heos enikese, "till he conquered," where the meaning must be "forever" or "continuously," equivalent to `adh, la-netsach, which might be taken as in Aramaic, and translated as in the Greek. Further, the general character, the frequent occurrence of en in senses strained in Greek but suiting thoroughly the Hebrew preposition "b-", the omission of the substantive verb, the general simplicity in the structure of the sentences, serve to confirm this. For fuller elucidation the reader is directed to Ryle and James edition of this book (lxxviii-lxxxiv). Hilgenfeld has urged some arguments in favor of Greek being the original language. These really prove that the translator was very much influenced in making his translation by the Septuagint version of the canonical Psalter.
While Ewald would place it back in the time of Epiphanes, if not even earlier, and Movers and Delitzsch would place it about the time of Herod, the description of the siege does not suit any siege but that of Pompey. Still more the death of the proud oppressor who besieged the Temple suits down to the minutest detail the death of Pompey, and suits that of no other. This is the opinion of Langen, Hilgenfeld, Drummond, Stanton, Schurer, Ryle and James. The psalms, however, were written at various dates between 64 BC, the year preceding the Pompeian siege, and the death of Pompey 46 BC. The common critical idea is that it is the Psalter of the Pharisees. The singular thing is that though the writer reverences the Temple, he speaks nothing of the sacrifices, and shows no horror at the dishonor of the high priests--the attitude one would expect, not from a Pharisee, but from an Essene.
The main interest of this pseudepigraphon is its Christology, which is principally to be seen in the 17th psalm. The Messiah is to be of the seed of David: He is to come on the downfall of the Asmoneans, to overthrow the Romans in turn. He is to gather the dispersed of Israel, and is to subject the Gentiles to Him rule. The cha racter of this rule is to be spiritual, holy, wise and just. All these features indicate a preparation for the coming of Him who fulfilled the expectation of the Jews in a way which they had so little dreamed of.
2. The Odes of Solomon:
The students of Gnosticism in perusing the Pistis Sophia, one of the few literary remains left us by those bizarre heresies, found repeated quotations from the Psalter of Solomon, not one of which was to be found in the received collection. There was one numbered reference, but it was to the 19th psalm, whereas only eighteen were known to exist. Lactantius has a quotation from the Psalter of Solomon which, like those in Pistis Sophia, has no place in the "eighteen." It was obvious that there were more Solomonic writings that were called Psalms than those ordinarily known. In the beginning of 1909 the learned world was startled by the information that Dr. Rendel Harris had found on his shelves the missing Psalter of Solomon in a Syriac translation. The manuscript was defective both at the beginning and end, but there was, after all, little missing of the whole book. The title and the colophon were of course wanting. It begins with the new Psalms, or, to give them Dr. Harris’ title, "Odes," which are followed by those till now known.
(1) Relation to Pistis Sophia and Summary.
This cannot have been the order of the time when Pistis Sophia was published, as the first of these odes is quoted as the 19th. There are forty-two of them. They are the work of a Christian. The doctrine of the Trinity is present; very prominent is the miraculous birth of the Saviour; the descent upon Mary of thein the form of a dove; the crucifixion, and the descent into Hades; and, though less clearly, the resurrection. One striking thing is the resemblance of the account of the virgin birth to that we find in the Ascension of Isaiah.
Dr. Rendel Harris dates these Christian odes in the last quarter of the 1st century, and there seems every reason to agree with this. The relation the 19th psalm (Ode 37) bears to the Ascension of Isaiah is not discussed by him, but to our thinking, the Ascension of Isaiah seems the more primitive.
Although, strictly speaking, Jewish law had no place for "testamentary dispositions" by those about to die--"the portion of goods" that fell to each being prescribed--yet the dying exhortations of Jacob addressed to his sons, the farewell song of Moses, David’s deathbed counsels to Solomon, were of the nature of spiritual legacies. Under Greek and Roman law testaments were the regularly understood means of arranging heritages; with the thing the name was transferred, as in the Mishna, Babha’ Bathra’ 15 26 f, dayytike, so also in Syriac. The idea of these pseudepigrapha is clearly not drawn from the "Last Will and Testament," but the dying exhortations above referred to.
The first Patriarch whose Testament is given is Reuben. While he bewails the sin that deprived him of his birthright, he gives an account of the various propensities that tend to sin, and accommodates each of these with an evil spirit--spirits of deceit. He gives details of his sin, which, resembling those given in the Book of Jubilees, differs in an apologetic direction. This apologetic effort is carried farther in the Targum of the pseudo-Jonathan. In it Reuben is declared to have disordered the bed of Bilhah because it was put beside his mother’s, and he was accused of impurity with her; but the Spirit revealed to Jacob that he was not guilty.
The next Testament is that of Simeon. The crime that seems to have most affected Jacob, if we may judge by
The Testament of Levi follows. It is mainly apocalyptic. The murder of the Shechemites is regarded as a wholly estimable action, and is commended by God. The treachery of the circumcision is not mentioned at all. He tells how he was admitted in dream to the third heaven. In another vision he is clothed with the garments of the priesthood. After a piece of autobiography followed by general admonitions Levi tells what he had learned from the writing of Enoch. He tells how his descendants will fall away and become corrupt. It is to be noted that fornication becomes very prominent in the picture of the future. The destruction of Jerusalem is foretold, and the captivity of Judah among all nations. This cannot refer to the setting up of the "" by Epiphanes. The Temple was not laid waste, although it was desecrated; and there did not follow on the desecration by Epiphanes the scattering of the Jews unto all nations. It seems necessary to understand by this wasting the capture of Jerusalem by Titus. Consequently, the "new priest" of XII P 18 seems to us the priest "after the order of Melchizedek" according to the New Testament interpretation.
Judah is the next whose Testament is given. He first declares his own great personal prowess, slaying a lion, a bear, a boar, a leopard and a wild bull. When the Canaanite kings assailed Jacob as related in the Book of Jubilee, he showed his courage. Several warlike exploits, of which we only learn here, he relates. The assault made by the descendants of Esau upon the sons of Jacob and Jacob’s victory is related in the manner and nearly in the terms of the account in the Book of Jubilees. He mentions with a number of explanatory and excusatory details his sin in the matter of Tamar. He denounces covetousness, drunkenness and fornication. Then he commands his descendants to look to Levi and reverence him. Then follows a Messianic passage which seems most naturally to bear a Christian interpretation.
The Testament of Issachar is much shorter than either of the two preceding ones. After telling the story of the mandrakes, he dwells on husbandry. As is noted by Dr. Charles, this is at variance with the rabbinic representation of the characteristics of the tribe. He, too, denounces impurity and drunkenness.
Zebulun’s Testament is little longer than that of Issachar. This Testament is greatly occupied with tho history of the sale of Joseph in which Zebulun protests he took only the smallest share and got none of the price.
The Testament of Dan also is short. He confesses his rage against Joseph, and so warns against anger. Here also are warnings against whoredom. The Messiah is to spring from Judah and Levi. Dr. Charles thinks the first of these was not in the original, because it would naturally have been "tribes," not "tribe," as it is. This somewhat hasty, as in
The Testament that follows, that of Naphtali, has apocalyptic elements in it. It opens with the genealogy of Bilhah, his mother, whose father is said to be Rotheus. His vision represents Levi seizing the sun and Judah the moon. The young man with the twelve palm branches seems to be a reference to the Apostles. Joseph seizes a bull and rides on it. He has a further dream in which he sees a storm at sea and the brethren being separated. Again there is a reference to the recurrent theme of sexual relation (XII P 8).
The subject of the Testament of Gad is hatred. Gad is associated with Simeon as being most filled with wrath against Joseph.
Asher urges whole-hearted obedience to righteousness, as the apostle James does in his epistle.
One of the most important of these Testaments is that of Joseph. The opening is occupied with a prolonged description of the temptation of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife. There is in that connection the unhealthy dwelling on sexual matters which is found in monkish writers. There are not a few resemblances to the language of the Gospels (compare XII P 1:6 and
The Testament of Benjamin is very much an appendix to that of Joseph. It opens with the account Joseph gave Benjamin of how he was sold to the Ishmaelites. He exhorts his descendants against deceit, but, as all his brethren, he warns them against fornication. There is a long Christian passage which certainly seems an interpolation, as it is not found in some of the texts, though others have all verses. The text concerning Paul (XII P 11:1,2) appears in varying forms in all versions.
That these "Testaments" have been interpolated is proved by the variations in the different texts. Dr. Charles has, however, gone much farther, and wherever there is a Christian clause has declared it an obvious interpolation. For our part, we would admit as a rule those passages to be genuine that are present in all the forms of the text. The Greek text was first in, so to say, recent times edited by Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, in the 13th century. Since then other manuscripts have been found, and a Slavonic and an Aramaic version. We are thus able to check the interpolations. In essence the Christian passage in T Josephus is found in all versions.
Dr. Charles makes a very strong case for Hebrew being the original language. His numerous arguments are not all of equal value. While some of the alleged Hebraistic constructions may be actually so, not a few may be explained by imitation of the language of the Septuagint. As an example of the first, compare T Jud (XII P 7): ochlos barus = chel kabhedh, "a numerous host." On the other hand T Reub XII P 3:8: "understanding in the Law," is a turn of expression that might quite well be common among Greek-speaking Jews. Of passages that are only explicable by retranslation, as in T Josephus 11:7, "God .... increased him in gold and silver and in work," this last turn is evidently due to the translator’s rendering `abhuddah, "servant," as if it were `abhodhah, "work." On the whole, we are prepared to amend the decision elsewhere, and admit that the probability is that this book, like so many more of the same class, has been translated from Hebrew.
(4) Date and authorship.
Dr. Charles declares the author to have been a Pharisee who wrote in the early part of the reign of John Hyrcanus I. The initial difficulty with this, as with the other pseudepigrapha in attributing a Pharisaic authorship, is the preservation of the book among the Christian communities, and the ignorance or the ignoring of it among the Jews. The only sect of the Jews that survived the destruction of Jerusalem was that of the Pharisees. The Sadducees, who were more a political than a religious party, disappeared with the cessation of the Jewish state. When Judaism became merely a religion--a church--not a nation, their function was gone.
The third sect, the Essenes, disappeared, but did so into the Christian church. If the writer had been an Essene, as we suppose he was, the preservation of this writing by the Christians is easily explicable. If it were the work of a Pharisee, its disappearance from the literature of the synagogue is as inexplicable as its preservation by the Christians. The constant harping on the sin of fornication--in T Naph XII P 8:8 even marital intercourse is looked at askance--indicates a state of mind suitable to the tenets of the Essenes. The date preferred by Dr. Charles, if the author is a Pharisee, appears to us impossible. The Pharisees had, long before the final break, been out of sympathy with the Maccabeans. The Chasidim deserted Judas Maccabeus at Elasa, not improbably in consequence of the alliance he had made with the heathen Romans, and perhaps also his assumption of the high- priesthood. Further, the temple is laid waste and the people driven into captivity unto all nations (T Levi 15:1). This does not suit the desecration of the temple under Epiphanes.
During that time the temple was not laid waste. The orgies of the worship of Bacchus and of Jupiter Olympius dishonored it, but that is a different thing from its being laid waste. The scattering unto all nations did not take place then. Some were taken captive and enslaved, but this was not general. The description would only apply to destruction of the temple by Titus and the enslaving and captivity of the mass of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The "New Priest" cannot refer to the Maccabeans, for they were Aaronites as much as Alcimus or Onias, though not of the high-priestly family. This change of the priesthood only has point if it refers to the priesthood of Christ as in
Further, there are the numerous passages that are directly and indirectly Christian. Dr. Charles certainly marks them all as interpolations, but he gives no reason in most of the cases for doing so. That the omission of such passages does not dislocate the narrative arises from the simpler construction of Semitic narrative, and is therefore not to be regarded as conclusive evidence of interpolation. The reference to Paul in T Ben XII P 11, occurring in all the sources, although with variations, also points to a post-Christian origin. For these reasons, we would venture to differ from Dr. Charles and regard the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs as post-Christian, and to be dated in the first quarter of the 2nd century AD.
(5) Relation to Other Books.
From the decision we have reached in regard to the date of these Testaments, it follows that all the many resemblances which have been noted between them and the books of the New Testament are due to imitation on the part of the Testaments, not the reverse. A case in point is T Josephus XII P 1:6 where the resemblance to
2. Testament of Adam:
The Testament of Adam survives merely in a group of fragments published first by Renan in the Journal Asiatique (1853). A Greek fragment was published by M. R. James. A portion of it is apocalyptic, and gives an account of the adoration offered by all the different classes of God’s creatures. More strictly of the nature of a Testament is a Syriac fragment entitled "More of Adam Our Father." It contains a prophecy of the incarnation, and appears to be of late date. It was used by the Sethires.
3. Testament of Abraham:
The Testament of Abraham is a late document. It opens with representing Abraham at his tent door. One recension declares his age then to be 995 years. Michael comes to him. The purpose for which Michael has been sent is to reveal to Abraham that he must die. He hesitates to do this. When, however, the fatal message is revealed, Abraham will not yield up his spirit at first. He is after a while persuaded, and as reward, before his death he has a revelation: there is given to him a vision of the whole world in the widest sense--the world of spirits as well. Seeing a soul, which, weighed in the balance, is nearly being found wanting, by his intercession the soul is admitted to Paradise.
There are several traces of Christian influence; many of the thoughts and phrases are similar to those to be found in the Gospels. At the same time, although to one who had read John’s Gospel the statement of our Lord that Abraham had seen His day "and was glad" (
4. Testament of Job:
More interesting is the Testament of Job published in Anecdota Apocrypha by M. R. James in 1897. It purports to be an account of his sufferings related by Job himself. It appears to be the work of a Jew, translated by a Christian. The position of Satan in the Midrash is not so subordinate as in the drama. Elihu, when not confused with Eliphaz, is regarded as inspired by Satan.
(1) Summary. It begins with Job, "who is called Jobab," summoning his seven sons and three daughters. The list of the sons forms a singular assemblage of names, most probably of Semitic origin. Most of them are certainly Greek words, though not Greek proper names--Choros and Nike, "dance" and "victory," Huon, "of pigs," Phoros, "tribute." The other names are Tersi, Phiphi, Phrouon. He tells his descendants how he had been called in the night and had had it revealed to him that the sacrifices that had been offered previously in the great temple near him were not offered to God, but to Satan. He was ordered to destroy the temple thus devoted to false worship. He did so, but knew that Satan would seek him, to take his revenge. Satan came disguised as a beggar, and Job, recognizing him, ordered his porteress to give him a burned cake of bread, all ashes. Satan reveals himself and threatens Job. With XII P 9 begins an account of Job’s wealth and lordly beneficence founded on the canonical book.
It continues to XII P 16. This portion is an expansion of the canonical Job. In some portions there are marked variations. Job is a king, and since this is so, the power of Persia is invoked to overthrow him. After twenty years his friends come to condole with him. They also are kings. Sitis his wife is bemoaning her children. Job declares he sees them crowned with heavenly beauty. On learning this, Sitis dies, and so rejoins her children. The speeches of the friends are much condensed, and scarcely of the same character as those in the canonical book. Lyric passages are introduced. The most singular difference from the canonical book is the role assigned to Elihu. Job says, "Elihu inspired by Satan addressed to me rash words" (XII P 42). God then speaks to Job in the whirlwind and blames Elihu. Job sacrifices for the three friends, and Eliphaz in a lyric piece congratulates himself and his friends, and declares that the lamp and glory of Elihu will be quenched (XII P 43).
By a second wife we are told Job had the seven sons and three daughters who are summoned to his bedside. Closing his narrative (XII P 44) Job exhorts kindness to the poor. In the end of the book his successive daughters speak. He had divided his property, now double what it had originally been, among his seven sons and had left the daughters unprovided for. He, however, bestows upon them other gifts. Three golden vessels are brought him and given them, three cords besides, and each one has a several endowment. The first daughter, called, as in the Septuagint, Hemera, (Jemima in the canonical Job), had another heart given her, and she spoke in the tongue of the angels. Casia (Keziah), the second daughter, also had a changed heart, and it was given to her to speak in the dialect of the principalities (archon). Then the third daughter girded herself, and with the changed heart it was given her to speak in the language of the Cherubim. This daughter is called Amaltheias Keras, the rather strange translation of Keren Haphukh adopted by the Septuagint. All the names are transferred from that source. A brother of Job named Nereus (or Nereias) is introduced, who records further gifts to these daughters--a lyre to the first, a censer to the second and a drum to the third. This brother is a relative of whose existence we have no hint elsewhere. He is introduced to supply the conclusion to the narrative.
It would appear that from XII P 1 to 45 is the original Testament in which Job is the speaker. In XII P 46-51 a new state of matters comes into prominence, in which Nereus is the speaker. The last two chapters seem decidedly to be additions: the new gifts to the daughters seem unexplained. Of course, oriental authors do not look so strictly to the unity of parts as do Occidentals.
The dependence on the Septuagint would suggest that Greek was the original tongue. One or two phenomena point to a Semitic tongue being behind the Greek. The names of Job’s daughters are taken from the Septuagint; those of the seven sons have been invented. As we have seen, they are not Greek names, but are probably really Hellenized versions of some Semitic appellations. At the same time, they do not seem to be Hebrew, but rather Aramaic. It would seem to have been translated by one familiar with the New Testament.
(4) Date and authorship.
It has no direct references to Christian doctrines or the facts of Christian history. This seems conclusive against its having a Christian origin. The reason that would lead a Christian to compose such a document would be to give a further prophetic evidence for the mission of his Master. He would have no object in making Job out to be a connection of Israel, unless he were so himself. Dr. James thinks the writer to have been a Jewish Christian of the 2nd century resident in Egypt. By the 2nd century few Jews passed from Judaism to the faith of Jesus: the break between church and synagogue had become complete. That Job is made king of all Egypt (XII P 28) may indicate some relationship to that country, as if the writer had identified Job with Psammeticus, the Egyptian king overthrown by Cambyses. This, however, may have been due to the translator. If the original language were Semitic--Aramaic or Hebrew--the probability is that the author wrote in Palestine. There are no direct signs to indicate the date. There is no appearance of knowledge of Rome. The fire of the opposition to the Seleucids had died down. It may have been written in the reign of Alexander.
V. Sibylline Oracles.
The burning of the Capitol (83 BC) and the destruction of the famous Sibylline books led Sulla to search in Italy and Greece for any Oracles that might replace the contents of the volumes which had been burnt. About half a century later Augustus revived the search for Oracles. Such a demand would naturally produce a supply. It would seem that certain Jews of Alexandria, eager to propagate the faith of their fathers, invented verses in the shape in which these Oracles had been preserved, as we learn from Herodotus--i.e. in hexameter lines and in the epic dialect in which Homer and Hesiod had written. Those in Herodotus are mainly from the Oracle of Delphi. From Pausanias, who quotes several of them, we learn that the Oracles attributed to the various Sibyls were delivered in a similar style. Hence these Jewish forgeries were written in epic hexameters. Later, this industry was pursued with even greater zeal by Christians.
These have been collected into several books--some 15 are named--of which some have been lost. The books are made up of fragments of different ages. The first book begins with the creation, and narrates the history of the race to the flood and the going out of Noah from the ark. Then the history of our Lord is given succinctly, the miracle of the loaves, the crucifixion, and the destruction of Jerusalem. In it Hades is derived from "Adam." Reference is made to the sin of the watchers, as in En, and an arithmograph is given which seems to be fulfilled in Theos Soter. The second book is modeled largely on our Lord’s eschatological discourses, many passages bearing a distinct echo of it. It may be noted that the four archangels of the Book of Enoch--Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel--are introduced. The third is by much the longest, but it is a confused mass of fragments.
There is early reference to the conquest of Egypt by Rome; the building of the tower of Babel, the siege of Troy, the conquest of Alexander and many other events appear. The fourth book is Christian throughout. After praise to the Christians, there is a sketch of the history of the great empires, beginning with the Assyrians and ending with Alexander; then an account of Nero appearing from the East and doing evil fills the end of all things. The fifth book begins with an account of the successive emperors from Julius Caesar to the Antonines. Then a new song begins with Egypt, and wanders off indefinitely, referring to Xerxes crossing the Hellespont, the impurities of Rome, and ending with Egypt and the burning up of all things. The sixth is short--28 lines in praise of the Cross; and the seventh is fragmentary. In the eighth is the arithmogram and acrostic: Iesous christos theou huios soter stauros. The remaining books have similar characteristics. The place of composition is evidently Egypt, as, whatever the immediate context may be, the writer gravitates to Egypt; and the authors are Jews or Jewish Christians. The dates of the various fragments of which this collection is composed fall between the first triumvirate and the age of Diocletian.
There are many points in which theology of the Apocalyptic prepared the way for that of Christianity. These, however, are more naturally taken up under their special headings. Angelology is much more developed in certain apocalyptic writings than it is in Christianity, if we except the writings published under the name of. Most of them are occupied with the coming Messiah. The Christology of these writings is decidedly in advance of that of the Old Testament. That question, however, is discussed under its appropriate heading. Closely connected with this is the doctrine of God, or theology proper. In this, too, there is an approximation to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. With these writers the doctrine of the is always brought into close relationship to that of the Messiah. His coming is the signal for the end of the world, the last judgment, the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous. What we have just said applies mainly to the strictly Jewish and pre-Christian Apocalypses. In the Christian Jewish Apocalypses the place the incarnation and the miraculous birth hold is worthy of special note. The representation in regard to the latter of these subjects is independent of the gospel narrative. Connected with this independence of the written Scriptures are the variations these writings introduce into history. Many of these are due to apologetic reasons, not a few to the desire to enhance the national glory. The reverence for the letter of Scripture, so markedly characteristic of the rabbinic teachings found in the Talmud, is not found in the apocalyptic writings. Apocalyptic thus presents a stage in the doctrine of Scripture.
LITERATURE. On Apocalyptic generally: Deane, Pseudepigrapha; Derembourg, Histoire de la Palestine; Drummond. Jewish Messiah; Ewald,, translation V; Gratz, Geschichte der Juden, III; Hilgenfeld, Messias Judeorum; Judische Apocalyptik; Kautzsch, Die Apocryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Allen Testaments; Langen, Paldstina zur Zeit Christi; Renan, Histoire du Peuple d’Israel; Schurer, Jewish People, translation V; Stanton, Jewish and Christian Messiah; Thomson, Books Which Influenced our Lord. On special books: Enoch (Text, Ethiopic): Laurence, Dillmann, Flemming; (English): Laurence, Schodde, Charles. Slavonic Book of Enoch: Morfill. Baruch (Text, Syriac): Ceriani; (English): Charles, The Assumption of Moses (Text, Latin): Ceriani; (English): Charles, The Ascension of Isaiah (Text, Ethiopic): Laurence, Dillmann; (English): Charles, Fourth Book of Esdras (Text, Latin): Vulgate; (English): Apocrypha the Revised Version (British and American) Book of Jubilees (Text, Ethiopic): Dillmann, Charles; (English): Schodde, Charles, Psalter of Solomon (Text, Greek): Pick, Ryle and James; (English): Whiston, Pick, Ryle and James, Rendel Harris (from Syriac). Odes of Solomon (English): Rendel Harris, Testaments of the XII Patriarchs (Text, Greek): Sinker, Charles; (English): Sinker, Charles, Testaments of Abraham and Job; Texts and Studies; Sibylline Oracles (Text): Alexandre, Rzach.
J. E. H. Thomson