10 research outputs found

    Spirits and the Proclamation of Christ: 1 Peter 3:18-22 in Its Tradition-Historical and Literary Context

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    1 Peter 3:18-22 records Christ’s proclamation to the “imprisoned spirits.” Interpreting this passage has challenged even the most competent exegetes. Earliest interpretations understood these imprisoned spirits as the souls of humans to whom Christ preached during his “harrowing of Hades” between his death and resurrection. Augustine identified them as the humans living prior to the flood who were heralded to by the pre-existent Christ through the person of Noah. Scholars from the beginning of the twentieth century through the present have read these verses through the lens of the fall of the watchers tradition first recorded in the Book of Watchers, thus reckoning these spirits as imprisoned angels. Yet contemporary scholarship has failed to acknowledge the development, conflation, and even multiplicity of the fallen angel sin and punishment myths that are found throughout much of early Jewish and Christian literature. This thesis traces the major developments of the fallen angel, giant, evil spirit, and human sin and punishment traditions throughout 1 Enoch, Jubilees, Dead Sea Scroll material, and other relevant works that may have played a role in the formative history of 1 Peter 3:18-22. This thesis also attempts, based upon the conflation of previous traditions, to ascertain the identity of imprisoned spirits, the content of Christ’s proclamation, and the relevance of these questions to the original readers. Finally, this work attempts to ascertain the relationship between baptism in verse 22 and the warding off of evil spirits

    El fin del mundo de los gigantes. Las tradiciones literarias de Qumrán y su contribución al pensamiento apocalíptico judío sobre el desastre

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    Apocalyptic scenarios of disaster have frequently been understood in terms of fate and as product of a struggle between otherworldly beings, angels and demons. The archetypical story of the world which ended with the flood in 1 Enoch is significantly supplemented by Qumran literature. The end of the world of giants as described in the Qumran Book of Giants provides a unique narrative personification of this world, highlighting human dimensions of responsibility, warfare and great injustice, and aspects of social organization, and providing references to the Mesopotamian epic hero Gilgamesh who envisaged an end to his mythical strength, when his warfare against all flesh came to a turning point of heavenly vindication. Differently from 1 Enoch 14.8-22 and from Daniel 7,9-10, the Book of Giants situates a throne vision of divine judgement on earth rather than in heaven. The Qumran Book of Giants narrates aspects of the thought world of the giants, describing the anguish of the giants through their conversations and their unsettling dreams. Literary parallels between the book of Daniel, Enochic literature, and the Book of Giants suggest that cultural memory about the destructive use of power in the Babylonian age belongs among the ingredients of the archetypical stories of the giants in the Book of Watchers and the Book of Giants.Los escenarios apocalípticos de desastre han sido frecuentemente entendidos en términos de destino y como resultado de una lucha entre seres sobrenaturales, ángeles y demonios. La historia arquetípica del mundo que terminaba con la inundación en 1 Enoc está suple­mentada significativamente por la literatura de Qumrán. El fin del mundo de los gigantes tal y como es descrito en el Libro de los Gigantes de Qumrán provee una personificación narrativa única de este mundo, destacando las dimensiones humanas de responsabilidad, guerra y gran injusticia, aspectos de organización social y provee referencias al héroe épico mesopotámico Gilgamesh, que previó un final a su mítica fuerza, cuando su guerra contra toda carne llegó a un punto de inflexión de venganza celestial. A diferencia de 1 Enoc 14.8-22 y de Daniel 7, 9-10, el Libro de los Gigantes muestra una visión del trono del juicio divino en la tierra, más que en el cielo. El Libro de los Gigantes de Qumrán narra aspectos del mundo concebido de los gigantes, describiendo su angustia a través de sus conversaciones y sus inquietantes sueños. Los paralelos literarios entre los libros de Daniel, la literatura enoica y el Libro de los Gigantes sugieren que la memoria cultural sobre el uso destructivo del poder en la edad babilónica se encuentra entre los ingredientes de las historias arquetípicas de los gigantes en el Libro de los Vigilantes y el Libro de los Gigantes

    The Enochic Watchers\u27 Template and the Gospel of Matthew

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    The writer of the Gospel according to Matthew was familiar with themes and traditions about the antediluvian patriarch Enoch, including the story of the fall of the watchers, and shows that Jesus brings about the eschatological repair of the consequences of the watchers\u27 fall. In Matthew\u27s Gospel, the foreshadowing of repair and then the repair itself are seen in the evangelist\u27s genealogy and infancy narrative, the focus of this dissertation. According to the Enochic watchers\u27 template, evil came into the world when the watchers transgressed their heavenly boundary to engage in illicit sexual contact with women and teach them illicit arts. The consequences of the watchers\u27 transgression are violence, unrighteousness, evil, idolatry, and disease. Some of these consequences come from human use of the skills taught by the watchers, skills for seduction, war-making, sorcery, and astrology. The women of the Hebrew Bible named by Matthew in his genealogy of Jesus foreshadow the reversal of the watchers\u27 transgression. All four of them are connected with the Enochic watchers\u27 template. They use the illicit arts, but the use of these skills leads to righteousness rather than evil. The women are also connected with other aspects of the Enochic watchers\u27 template, including sexual interaction which connects the earthly and heavenly realms, interaction with angels, unusual aspects of their offspring, and connections with giants. In Matthew\u27s infancy narrative, he shows that the birth of Jesus repairs the effects of the watchers\u27 template by using the very elements of that template. Joseph\u27s suspicion of Mary\u27s pregnancy; the child as the product of a woman and the Holy Spirit, who may have been regarded as angelomorphic; dreams that direct human agents in divine plans; and the magi who are connected with, and make use of illicit arts to find the child all reflect elements of the Enochic watchers\u27 template. The repair begun by Jesus\u27 birth is completed by the adult Jesus and shows in the chapters following Matthew\u27s genealogy and infancy narrative

    Silenced Voices: Hearing Biblical Women Through the Genesis Apocryphon

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    The #MeToo movement broke the silence around abuse of women. Within the church, women’s voices have been dismissed, disbelieved, or intimidated into silence, reflecting the Bible’s depiction of women as passive and silent, if mentioned. In stark contrast, a new text found in the Dead Sea Scrolls – called the Genesis Apocryphon – contains a retelling of Genesis stories in which the women are named, identified, and given speech and action. Why did these ancient scribes choose to expand the female characters? This study employs both biblical and feminist studies to examine the four stories of women in the Genesis Apocryphon: the women of the Watchers myth, Batenosh, Emzara, and Sarai. It finds the Second Temple authors expanding female characters’ identities in order to emphasize endogamous marriages. The Genesis Apocryphon’s inclusion of women’s voices illuminates the deafening silence of Genesis and points a way forward for biblical interpretation and feminist praxis today.Dead Sea ScrollsGenesis ApocryphonsilenceGenesisAramaicMeToo Movementwomenendogam

    Rulers of the Air: Demonic Bodies and the Making of the Ancient Christian Cosmos

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    This dissertation uses demonology as a lens through which to explore early Christian theorizations of the body’s entanglement with nonhuman entities. Through four case studies on Christian demonologies in the first three centuries of the Common Era, I demonstrate that early Christians held to a wide variety of views on the demonic body. Early texts such as the Gospel of Mark and Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Smyrnaeans, for example, portray demons as “incorporeal.” Writings from Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian of Carthage, however, depict the demonic body in ways that stress its corpulence. Despite these demonological discrepancies, in each case differences in demonic corporeality run parallel to divergences in Christian characterizations of the ideal Christian body. The hybridity of the demonic body, then, reflects broader multiplicities in Christian modes of corporeality. This suggests that the bodies of demons served as fruitful sites of negotiation and invention for Christians as they fashioned the contours of human corporeality within and among other cosmic forces. The propinquity between demonic and human corporealities, moreover, materialized in the ritual activities of early Christians. I point out that ideas regarding demonic bodies informed early Christian rites such as exorcism, the Eucharist, ritual contemplation, and baptism. In such a way, demonic bodies came to play a central role in the ritualization of Christian corporeality as an embodied repudiation of its demonic assailants. In this way, the contours of the demonic body both reflected and reproduced Christian corporeal ideologies. The tandem construction of demonic and human corporeality demonstrates how early Christian authors constructed the bodies that populated their cosmos – human, demon, and otherwise – as part of broader cosmic networks. Configurations of the human body, on the one hand, took shape in light of the many bodies and objects adjacent to it. Similarly, the cosmos and its denizens were fashioned relative to ideals regarding the makeup and performance of Christian embodiment. By tracing this close interconnection, my project serves the broader purposes of re-centering the nonhuman in our study of early Christianity while enriching the cosmic contexts in which the Christian body took shape.Doctor of Philosoph

    History and prophecy in the Qumran Pesharim: an examination of the key figures and groups in the Dead Sea Scrolls by way of their prophetic designations.

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    The thesis examines the Qumran pesharim and seeks to test the claim that these texts are solely 'historically' based. Instead, it finds that the interpretations are driven by prophetic concerns, founded on and guided by the biblical concept of 'pesher' as dream-interpretation. The study concentrates on the various sobriquets in the pesharim, and is loosely divided into two main parts. Part one examines those designations of groups, including the Kittim, Ephraim and Manasseh, and the Seekers of Smooth Things. Part two, meanwhile, focuses on the interrelationship between the Teacher of Righteousness, the Wicked Priest, and the Man of Falsehood. One of the dominating themes of the thesis is the stress laid on the relationship between the Teacher and the Man of Falsehood, while the thesis also proposes that 'Ephraim' and 'Seekers of Smooth Things' are an offshoot of the Man of Falsehood's original followers. This allows the opposition to this group in 4QpNahum to be properly understood, and suggests a lurk between the Qumran group and the proto-Pharisaic movement. In concluding, the study condemns the suggestion that the 'masking' by sobriquets intentionally conceals these subjects' identity. Rather, such masking links the intended target with prophetic expectations. In short, the thesis finds that although the two are often distinguished in modem scholarship, the correct interpretation of any aspect of the 'historical' pesharim inevitably relies on the understanding of the prophetic term 'pesher' - and vice versa. The thesis does not tackle the issue of the dating of these texts. Rather, it assumes the consensus view that the pesharim were composed during the first century BCE. Occasionally, it will be evident that a text requires a composition before or after a particular date or event, or even that it must postdate another Qumran text, but in general the question has not been an overriding concern

    Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

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    This volume is a collection of scholarly articles on the Aramaic Dead Sea scrolls, some of the oldest and most fascinating literary compositions among the ancient Jewish manuscripts found in the Qumran caves. Readership: Anyone interested in the Bible, ancient Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, biblical interpretation, and the history of religion

    Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

    Get PDF
    This volume is a collection of scholarly articles on the Aramaic Dead Sea scrolls, some of the oldest and most fascinating literary compositions among the ancient Jewish manuscripts found in the Qumran caves. Readership: Anyone interested in the Bible, ancient Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, biblical interpretation, and the history of religion

    The Book of Jubilees Among the Apocalypses

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    The Book of Jubilees uses the genre “apocalypse” to express a worldview that differs significantly from the cluster of ideas typically expressed by contemporary apocalypses. Jubilees has often been viewed as a borderline or ambiguous case among apocalypses. When viewed with the proper distinctions and definitions, Jubilees is indeed atypical but not ambiguous. Jubilees does use the genre “apocalypse,” but uses it ironically. Typically, the revelatory framework of apocalypses authorizes new esoteric wisdom. Transcendence on the spatial axis typically emphasizes the influence of cosmic powers and limits human agency. Transcendence on the temporal axis typically conveys a view of history in exponential decline culminating in “final woes” and a future restoration. Although the apocalypses express great variety in worldview, they form a cluster of compatible views around these issues inherent in the use of the genre. The genre creates a reader expectation that the typical worldview will be conveyed. Jubilees, however, uses the genre to address the definitive issues of the apocalyptic worldview, and consistently presents views radically different from the typical cluster of views. Thus, the revelation in Jubilees is a re-revelation of the single eternal revelation already familiar and accessible to all of Israel. Humans are primarily responsible for sin, suffering, and the eschatological turning point. The eschatological turning point is natural, gradual, and most importantly, realized. The inversion of reader expectations can be called irony on purely literary grounds. The intent of the author is more speculative, but the quantity and quality of the subversions of the apocalyptic worldview by means of the literary genre suggest deliberate use of irony

    Influence of the Enochic tradition on Qumran: reception and adaptation of the Watchers and Giants as a case study

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    Es evidente la confluencia de diferentes tradiciones judías en la biblioteca de Qumrán. Las tradiciones henóquicas no solo se cuentan como las influencias más antiguas en Qumrán, también le dan cierta unidad teológica. Esto es aún más cierto en el caso de la demonología. En la figura de Belial se reúne una rica tradición lexicográfica en la cual se integran diferentes tradiciones bajo las características de los vigilantes y gigantes de la tradición henóquica (1Hen6—8). El presente estudio analiza la caracterización teológica de las figuras demonológicas presentes en Qumrán con el fin de precisar la influencia henóquica en dicha caracterización.The confluence of different Jewish traditions in the Qumran library is evident. The Enochic traditions are not only counted as the oldest influences in Qumran, they also give it a certain theological unity. This is even more true in the case of demonology. Belial’s figure brings together a rich lexicographic heritage in which different traditions are integrated under the characteristics of the Watchers and Giants of the Enochic tradition (1 En 6—8). This study analyzes the theological characterization of the demonological figures found in Qumran to specify the Enochic influence on it
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