Further Reflections on the'Begotten'Messiah, P Sigal

Tags: pp, The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Messiah, Jubilees, LXX, Ezekiel, divine conception, David Daube, Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, conception, Klausner, Gordis, Assumption of Moses, Masoretic text, Louis Finkelstein, Mitchell Dahood, logical implication, Joseph Klausner, Dupont-Sommer, A. Dupont-Sommer, Nahum N. Sarna, Judaean Desert I. Qumran Cave I. Oxford, B.C.E., arc, redeemer, Judaism and Christianity, George Nickelsburg, obscure origin, Garden City, New York, Essene Writings from Qumran, New York, Geza Vermes, Raymond Brown, Moses Buttenwieser, the Book of Enoch
Content: FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON THE ·BEGOTTEN' MESSIAH by PHILLIP SIGAL Grand Rapids. Michigan The messianic question is one of the most complex theological enigmas besetting both Judaism and Christianity. Among the puzzling aspects of this obscure problem arc such themes as how this end-time redeemer-figure will appear. what will be his function, and perhaps most importantly, his origin. It is axiomatic and need not here be documented that even the title mtili'ah ·annointcd one,· in reference to the end-time redeemer has an obscure origin. It docs not occur in Hebrew scripture. It makes its first appearance denoting the end-time redeemer in the apocryphal work, the Book of Enoch (48: 10; 52:4)1 This compilation in its complete form. however, was already known in the pre-Christian era. The use of maSi'ah, therefore, denoting the end-time redeemer as a synonym for, and perhaps conflation of Son of Man and Servant of Yhwh, found in the Gos- I. Since I have here referred to the Book of Enoch as -apocryphar the reader should be alened to the fact that although the Book of Enoch is generally classified with the Pscudepi· grapha in !he standard distinction between Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. I find no com· pelling reason to adhere 10 this distinction. All of !he pscudepigraphic works arc assuredly apocryphal. and some of the apocryphal works not included in the traditional collection of Pseudepigrapha. such as Tobit. are pseudonymous. See Charles Cutler Torrey (194S. p. 11 l. and George Nickelsburg ( 1981. p. 6). Because I Enoch is germane to our theme a few words concerning its dating arc in order. Enoch is a compilation of separate collections of traditions ranging over a considerable period of time. from before 200 B.C.E. to the early first century C.E. A recent view (Nickelsburg 1981. p. 48), suggests that I En. 1-36 was known before the death of Judah the Maccabee in 160 B.C.E.; 37-71 were composed around the tum of lhe era, but were definitely pre-Christian (ibid. pp. 221 ff.): 72-82 date to the third century B.C.E. (ibid. p. 47); 83-90 arc taken to be pan of the apocalyptic literature that emerged during the n. reign of An1iochus IV (ibid. pp. 94); 92-IOS arc dated to late in the second or early in the first century, B.C.E.. with an alternative suggestion of early in the second century B.C.E. (ibid. pp. l49f.): 91. 106-1011 were appended later. Additional pre-Christian sources for the use of m4liah to denote the end·time redeemer figure: Psalms of Solomon 17:36: 18:6. 8. 221
PHU.I.IP Slpcls. was part of the pre-Christian vocabulary and already part of the enigmatic complex of ideas surrounding the eschatological expectation. When one postures oneself in the first century and evaluates the then~ circulating notions concerning the messianic figure it becomes clear that the Gospels do not present a new and original idea. What was new in the Gospels was not the complex of ideas but the application of these ideas to Joshua of Nazareth.21t is not necessary to agree with all the particulars of Joseph Klausner's presentation in his Messianic Idea in Israel to credit him with an important thesis on the source of the messianic idea; Klausner ( 1956. pp. 15ff.) saw Moses. the first redeemer (Numbers Rahhah 11 :2), as the paradigm of the Messiah who was to be the end-time redeemer. Understanding Moses as prototype of the ~cssiah compels us to examine the Moses clements found in the Gospels. In this paper I will explore only the birth narrative of the Gospels in tandem with the birth of Moses and divine birth stories in general. In approaching this question Gordis' view on the ..begotten.. Messiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls, alluded to in the Rule Annexe (IQSa 2: 11-15) can be very helpful. This will emerge in due course. Enoch 48:2-3,6; 62:7 inform us that not only the name, but also the person of the one to be the Son of Man was pre-creation. The view expressed at 48:3 in the line ..Yea. before the sun and the signs were created" reflects the early rabbinic exegesis of a very difficult text at Ps. 72: 17 as 1His name] existed before the sun." This is also manifestly an early proto-rabbinic-1 view, found in an anonymous barayta (Babylonian Pesahim 54a).· Enoch 48:6 indicates the Messiah was chosen and hidden before God before creation. This might simply mean his identity was kept secret. or that the person, and not only his name. was pre-existent. Should
2. On the cominuity between Judaism and Early Christianity during the first century sec
Phillip Sigal. ( 1980a. Pan One. Chapter Seven).
l. On the term ·proto-rabbinic- see Sigal I 1980b. Pan Two. Chapter One).
4. The pcnincnt Hebrew of Ps. 72:17b reads: lipnl fll'md-fll'mi>. It would take us too far
afield h~ to review and analyze the critical work relating 10 this ven.c. The obscure conso-
nants of the word missmg above as given in the mason:uc text an: .vuJ-nun-.vod·fllm. The
LXX translates 'may his name remain (endurc] before the sun.' implying remaining as long
as the sun docs. What the Hebrew behind this might have been is a matter of guesswork. All
J,,...,,. modern translations follow the LXX lead. But Targum to Psalms reads: U.,dam nlll'hll'W. Jim.Sa
tnl::atntin havq
'and even before the sun was. his name was designated.· The midrash
at Genesis Rabbah 1:4, however. reads that the name of the Messiah was in the mah.iiihtih.
'in the mind: differently from All Other sources. Thus. although Genesis Rabbah I:4 relied
upon Ps. 72:171> it had a Hebrew text that varied somewhat from that of the targumic ren·
dering. or modified the targumic exegesis for its own reason: or alternatively, both the targum
and m1drash reflect older variant interpretations of Ps. 72: I7b which wcrc in circulation and
the latter be the case, it becomes necessary for those who believe this to also have a belief in an incarnation of this prc.-existent celestial messianic figure in an eanhly being in order to fulfill his mission on earth. This belief, held in some quaners. suggests that a belief in the Divine Nature of the Messiah was an integral aspect of the messianic idea. Klausner (1956, p. 466) is not to be followed in the dogmatic statement that ..there is not a trace" of such an idea ..in the authentic writings of the Tannaitic period." He did not say "'tanaitic writings." but ..authentic writings" of the tanaitic period. Enoch is an authentic writing of the tanaitic period, a period which is to be understood as incorporating the proto-rabbinic era from Ben Sira to Yohanan b. Zakkai, and the early rabbinic era from Yohanan's introduction of ordination to the compilation of the ~ishnah.' That Enoch was ultimately not accepted into the canon does not negate its imponance and wide circulation earlier, especially among messianic groups, a reality verified by its discovery at Qumran. Funhermorc. when the Jew Trypho in Justin·s Dialogue with Trypho (49) expressed the view that all Jews expect the Messiah to be anthropon ex anthropon, ·a man from men.· we must see his argument as part of second-c:ntury polemic in which the argument for a human Messiah would be pan of the argument against the Messiahship of Jesus. This does not mean that prior to the advent of Jesus and for long afterwards Jews had ..not a trace" of an idea of a divine Messiah. The originators of Chrisitianity were Jews. and they found their notion of a divine Messiah in their own heritage. The tensions among various strands within Judaism, including the
accep1able in pro10-rabbinic circles. For efforts 10 deal wi1h this 1ex1 sec Moses Buttenwieser ( 1969. p. 785): Mitchell Dahood (1968. p. 184). At Babylonian Sanhl!Cirin 98b. at whal can hardly be a serious pa5$age. and cenainly la1e, the difficuil word of Ps 72:17b is read as .vlnnbn. and the verse is taken as 'may his name remain fon:ver befon: the sun. yinnim is his name.· This evidenliy renecu an a11ernative tradition. perhaps even a facetious an1i..Chris1ian polemic. The same bdrayttJ also occurs a1 Ba· byluman .l/rdturm )9b: Tanhuma Nas11 11: cf. Palestinian Targum Zech. 4:7 where we read that the Messiah's name was ·proclaimed at the beginning. ·Thus GrM:sls Rahbah 1:4 which stales tha1 the name of the Messiah was only ·con1empla1ed· or "in 1he mind· before crea1ion. but not actually created is alone. Klausner ( 1956. p. 461. n. 17) argues that in early Jewish Literature the name canno1 be identified with lhe person but offers no evidence for that. S. Sigal ( 19!10b. Pan Two. Chapter One): sec especially pp. 19-2J. My dating of Enoch. based upon the plausible analysis of Nickelsburg t 19811 discussed in n. I above. sees Enoch , as falling precisely into 1he proto-rabbinic era. 200 B.C.E. -70 C. E.· the early tanaiuc period. Funhermore. while the whole 1horny quesuon of dating rabbin"= and targumic tex!S cannot be entered into here. it is my judgment that the 1argum1c texts and the anonymous blira.v101 here cited are proto-rabbinic and pn:-Chrisuan. See Daniel Pane ( 1975. pp. 49- 74).
pharisaic, the proto-rabbinic, the priestly-Sadducean, the Christian Jewish and the growing Gentile Christianity motivated the tanaim to suppress this idea along with locking Enoch out of the canon. And yet, its venerability helped it surface again in later midrashim as Klausner (1956, p. 466) concedes. The foregoing has adumbrated three interesting aspects of the compiex we call ..the messianic idea... First, Moses was a prototype Messiah. Second, there was a belief in the pre-existence of the Messiah. Third, this beo lief translated itself at least in some circles into a notion uf a divine Messiah. It is in the light of these considerations that the question of the divine conception of the Messiah is of considerable interest. It appears to me that Klausner has gone far afield in attributing to Christianity the notion that the term '"Son of God" expressed ..an actual genetic relationship ofJesus to God.. (1956, p. 527). It is one thing to speak of divine conception and to see an eminent person such as Pythagoras or Plato as of divine conception, and another to see the object of divine conception as genetically related to God. Even if some gentiles fell into that category when thinking of Jesus in comparable terms to the mangods they adored, there is no evidence for this in Pauline literature or in the early Christian writings.· It must be borne in mind that if Jesus was
6. Cenainly if there were such evidence it would be furnished by Joseph Klausner and others who tend to polemici:u: against Christianity in an effon to place the concept of Jesus u '"Son of God" as being ouuide the pale of Judaism from the outset. Klausner ( 19S6. p. 5281 concedes Paul did not call Jesus ·God." But Klausner also makes too much of other facets of the treatment of Jesus (ibid). For example. the notion that God created the world with the Word (Mishnah Abot 5:1) was a perfectly acceptable Judaic notion arising from the earlier biblical conception of pre-existent Wisdom who was prcsc:nt with God at Creation. The Wis· dom/ Word concept expressed by the tenn logos was not merely ·a son of angelic: being· for Philo as Klausner (1956, p. S281 purpon5. but was a ·second God.- and it was 1his idea of /Offos that materializes in the Gospel of John. See Philo. On HusbanrJr.v 12(51). where logos is God's fintbom son. Although Philo there exegeted Exod. 23:20 which used the term mali:lk 'angel,' it is clear that be takes it in its more literal sense of ·messenger,- and secs the logos as God's "deputy" guiding the government of the cosmos. If a conservative, traditionalist Jew such as Philo anic:ulated this notion, it can be assumed to have been a legitimate Judaic idea. "Heresy" and ·onhodoxyM had not yet been delineated. and later. when Philo was excluded from rabbinically approved literature it might have been because of the rabbinic polemic: with Christianity. But this cannot be argued for the first half of the first century. That is to say, the Philonic: logos which lakes a special place in the person of Jaus in Christianity was an idea c:um:nt durin1 the fint century. Funher· more. deservin1 of greater study is Philo's concept of God as a triad of Himself, Father of all and the Unknowable, and the two ways in which the logos acts. as creative power and as sovereign power, for its influence upon the Christian trinity: Father. Son or lol(os in its sov· erei1n power; and the Holy Spirit in its creative power. See Winston ( 19111. pp. 22-JOI.
made into a '"God·man,.. whatever happened in the process of deification later on. at the time of the early church, when these notions were coming to the surface, there also existed similar ideas about Moses as '"half-God, half-man." (Deuteronomy Rahbah 11 :4). Philo (Moses I: 6. 27) already earlier informs us that people could not determine whether Moses was really human or divine or a mixture of both.7 It would only be gratuitous to attempt to explain away the midrash by delimiting it to metaphor or hyperbole while taking Christian expressions literally. There is no reason not to ta.kc as literally intended the rabbi's remark, ..even in heaven he [Moses] was a god for he had no physical needs" (ibid.). In the light of these considerations we will turn to examine the question of the conception of the Messiah. l am in agreement with the distinction between conception and birth made by Raymond Brown ( 1977, Appendix IV, especially p. 519).· The Messiah might be conceived without a human father. yet born in the natural way of all human births. In other words, when we speak of a divinely ..begotten" Messiah we refer to the conception. The birth would be human. The central question is whether there was a Judaic background to the Christian notion of the divine conception of Jesus. Raymond Brown ( 1977, pp. 523ff.· and notes 18-21) rcjecu all suggestions made previously by other scholars. But some of these sources for a Judaic idea of divine conception deserve further thought. For example, Brown (ibid., p. 524f. n. 21) denies the validity of seeking a source at Jubilees 16: l2f.. because he thinks Jubilees 16: 1..suggests that what 'the Lord did unto her' (verse 12) was to remove her barrenness so that Abraham could beget a child of her . . ."There is no such suggestion at 16: 1. There
7. It would take us too far afield here to review Samaritan speculations on the nature of Moses. and it would be too technical a discussion to digress 10 date the sources. The reader would be rewarded, however, by a study of the Moses of !til'mor Morqoh. a major Samaritan theological tract. Rabbinic: literature presen;ed the tradition that Moses did not die but is presen1 in heaven where he ministers before God I Babylonian Sotoh I3b; Sifrei Deuteronomy 357: and as a heavenly lnten:nsor Paraclete. in the older collection, Assumption of Moses. 12:6). If we understand the rabbinic: terms used of Moses' celestial activity. ml'iammls and ml'iilrft 'to minister.' as priestly ministrations as intermediary we have a synonymous idea with the role of the Paraclete. All of these ideas were Jewish. known and legitimate in their day within Judaism. and were applied to Jesus. The agonizing problem of the first century was no1 whether these ideas were Jewish. bu1 whether to apply them to Jesus. ll. See Brown ( 1977. p. nil where. 1n his c:ommen1ary to Mauhew l:ln he correctly draws auenl11.1n to how Mauhew indicated he intended to ·ay Joseph was not the biological father ol Jesus. This implies thal Jesus was the product I.If divine conc:eption. The 4uest1on of -virginal" c1.1m:eption is not germane to the focus of this -.nicle which is only interested in c:onccpuon by d111ine intc:rvenuon ur miraculous impregnation. I therefore: speak throughout of -d1"nc .:onc:cpuon- and avoid Brown's terminology -virginal c:onc:epuon."
we read ..And on the new moon or the fourth month we appeared unto Abraham . . . and we announced to him that a son would be given to him by Sarah his wire." We have here the annunciation, and Abraham's prospective role as adoptive father, no mention of removal of barrenness. The conception will be by divine fiat. Contrary to Brown, Jubilees 16: I strongly supports a theory of divine conception. Furthermore, when we think of Jesus' self-perception as Isaac or the 'aqediih, the relationship between the tradition of the divine conception of Isaac and that of Jesus becomes even more meaningful.9 Isaac's birth on the fifteenth of Sivan (Jub. 16: 13), the day apparently observed as the festival of the first fruits in the circles that adhered to Jubilees, is striking. For as the 'aqedah he was to be the supreme first fruit offering. 10 Brown ( 1977, p. 524, and n. 19) rejects Philo's discussion (On the Cherubim 12-15) as reflecting a pre-Christian tradition of virginal conception. Nevertheless it is clear that Philo (ibid. 13 (43-44)) indicates that there are certain saintly women who conceive without contact with mortal men and that if they receive seed of generation it is ..the Father or all that is, the unbegotten God, begetter of all things .. who sows the seed within them. Philo supports this explicit meaning of his words when he offers the example of Sarah (ibid. 13 (45) in reference to Gen. 21: I) whom God visits alone in monotheisan, 'her solitude,' at which time she conceived . . . kyowan hote ho theos auten monotheisan episkopei'. . . conceiving when God visted her in her solitude.· Obviously Philo is taking piiqiid of Gen. 21: I to mean 'visit' and not as we generally translate 'remember,' a perfectly legitimate thing for him to do. God visited her and in His own inimicable divine way caused Sarah's conception. In his Appendix to On the Cherubim 13 (45) F. H. Colson wrote, "In her solitude. Apparently a fanciful deduction from the fact that Abraham's presence is not mentioned in Gen. 21:1." Fanciful deduction or not, Philo has grounds to make it, and it might not be so fanciful if we hypothecate two things. First, that Philo himself already had a midrashic tradition of divine conception upon which he was basing himself, as for example, the implications that might have been current from contemplating Jubilees 16. Second, that much midrash is ..fanciful, .. but whether fanciful or not, midrashic exegesis establishes traditions for the future students or the material to .contend with. Brown (1977, p. 524, n. 19) accepts the negative conclusion of P. Grelot (1972, pp. 462-87, 561-85), that there is no divine conception idea in Philo, but offers no significant reason of his own for doing 9. Sigal I 1980a. Vol. I. Pan One. pp. 394 ff.: 399 ff.; 467. n. SO: 470 ff.· n. 62) 10. For '"firsl fruia" concep1 referred to Jesus see I. Cor. 15:20.
so. Grelot 's conclusion might be questioned despite his meticulous analy-
sis, but the focus of this paper does not permit it. While it cannot be pro-
nounced as definitive it appears lo me that we have some ground in
Jubilees 16 and in Philo lo posit a tentative hypothesis that a notion of
divine conception was in the air prior to the development of the Christian
doctrine concerning the conception of Jcsus. 11
It is,.prcciscly here that Robert Gordis' note on the divinely begotten
Messiah can be helpful. The text which Gordis discussed (lQSa 11, 11-22)
is one of pre-Christian venue, and Gordis himself. in the aforementioned
article ( 1957. VT 7: 191-194), concluded that his ..proposed restoration" of
the text would offer evidence for a pre-Christian tradition of a divinely
begotten Messiah, and believed that this reading ..has much to recommend
it"(p. 194).
The pertinent text and commentary arc found in D. Barthelemy and~J.
T. Milik (1956,pp. 108-118), and photographs of the manuscripts arc on
Plate XXIV in the second section of their work. The scroll in question is
that which has been termed the ..Ruic Annexe," (Dupont-Sommer, 1973),
..The Ruic of the Congregation," (Barthelemy, 1956), or ..The Messianic
Ruic" (Vcrmes, 1975). This ..Ruic Annexe" is a supplement to the scroll
variously referred to as ..The Manual of Discipline," Serek hayyahad, ..The
Order of THE COMMUNITY" (Burrows. 1956), '"The Community Rule"
(Vermes, 1975), ..The Ruic" (Dupont-Sommer, 1973). The words under
consideration arc found in Column 2, lines 11-12 and arc here
reproduced in transliteration in accordance with the text rendered by
Barthelemy ( 1956, p. 110). The square brackets indicate missing, indistin-
guishable, or barely recognizable words in the photograph.
Line 11
[zeh mo] §al) /Ude halllm [qerie]
mii'id la'4$at hayyahad im yolid
Line 12
't-1 't-[1jhamm0iiah
This text is translated variously as 1Concerning the mce] ting of the men of renown [called] to assembly for the Council of the Community when [Adonai] will have begotten the Messiah .. .' (Dupont-Sommer, 1973,
11. Many scholarly monographs considering Jesus and the Judaic matrix explain away parallels or argue later datin1t of Judaic materials in order to affirm the uniqueness of Jesus· life and teachings. But in my presentation of him as a lint-century charismatic proto-rabbi with the self·pc:rcc:ption in which he viewed himself as the Servant of Yhwh and in terms of the sonship of Isaac destined for the 'aqtdOh we have a premise upon which to build objective: dialogue: concerning a Judaic approach to the Chnstian concept of Jesus. (See Sigal. 1980a, Emrl'ffl'n··r I. Pt. One. Chapter Seven). Just as Judaic midrash contemplated a divine-human Mo!>iCS. Christian midrash inevitably considered the divine-human Jesus.
p. 108), or ·This is the session of the men of renown, summoned to the meeting for the council of the community when God begets the Messiah' (Burrows, 1958, p. 395). Vermes ( 1975, p. 121) does not translate the word 'el at the beginning of line 12. apparently not accepting that as a proper restoration. Similarly van derWoude ( 1957, pp. 98-99) who wrote before he saw Gordis' article rejected the reading of both yo/id and 'el because, he said, Die . . . scheinen mir nicht gesichert, 'these appear to me not to have been established.· Since D. Barthelemy ( 1956) accepted the proposed restoration of 'el by Milik he printed that word without square brackets. But it is not clear on the photographic plate. The commentary to these lines is found in Barthelemy (1956, pp. 117-118). and it is there indicated that on the basis of the usage elsewhere of the hiJ1' ii holik, 'to cause one to go' or 'to lead' with God as suoject, it is appropriate to understand 'el here as the subject, and to see the original of yOlid to have actually been yo/ik, with Ezek 36:12 in mind, although Barthelemy appears to suggest that the reading yo/id is almost certain: . . . la lecture de ce mot apparait pratiquement certaine. Nevertheless he docs have some reservation. DupontSommer's choice of Adonai as the translation of the questionable 'el is based upon referral to Ps. 2:7 ..Yhwh said to me: . . . l have this day begotten you." Dupont-Sommer adds in his note (ibid), ..According to the terminology of the Psalm, therefore, this Messiah will be the 'son of God.· " Dupont-Sommer, reading this idea into the Rule Annexe. did so after Robert Gordis wrote his article. 12 Returning to Gordis, we find that he suggested the reading of both yo/id at the end of line 11, and 'el at the beginning of line 12. Gordis' conclusions were reached on the basis of Hebrew syntax and usage, neither of which were gone into any great extent by Barthelemy, Dupont-Sommer, Van Der Woude or Vermes in the works cited. It is true that there is a shadow over the edge of the photograph, but Barthelemy, who had the original Ms in front of him said, as noted, yo/id is practically certain. Furthermore, Gordis suggested (1957, pp. 192 f., 194) emphatically that the proposed emendation of J. T. Milik to read yi>lik is to be excluded by consideration of both syntax and usage. It should be emphasized as Gordis
12. A. Dupont-Sommer is still a useful source for an overview of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many monographs and larger works on the individual scrolls have been published since Du· pont·Sommer wrote his book in Fn:nc:h in 1959, but it is not germane to the focus of this paper to supply a bibliography hen:. For the Rule Annexe see Dupont·Sommer. ibid. pp. 104-109. and the French version ( 1959. p. 123. n. I). A later work to that of OupontSommer first published in 1962. revised several times over the years and reprinted, is that of G. Vermcs (197S); for the Messianic: Rule see pp. 118-121.
pointed out, and as Barthelemy was aware (1956, p. 118) that where the Masoretic text of Ezekiel reads veholakli the LXX translator read veh~ lad1i. for he translated as kai genniso 'I will increase'. that is 'cause to be born.· Since there are other instances where the Qumran texts agree with the LXX against our present Masoretic text. it is quite possible that here too the Qumran scribe either selected the LXX reading or had another Hebrew version of Ez. 36:12, if indeed he was thinking of Ez. 36:12 at all. Certainly, it is logical that the original Ezekiel text should have read veholadti, or at least for the Greek translator to have assumed that to be so and therefore corrected the text. For Ezek 36: 10 and 11 read vehirbeli, 'I will increase,' appropriately translated by the LXX as kai pli1hyno, and at 36: 12 we should receive the same sense of 'increase,' very nicely rendered by veholadti, and now rendered by the LXX with an appropriate Greek term. genneso. Nevertheless, whether the Qumran scribe of the Rule Annexe was thinking either of Ezekiel or Ps. 2:7 when he wrote Col. 2 lines 11 and 12. is not germane to our question. B We are only concerned with the question of whether there was a pre-Christian concept of a divinely conceived Messiah. Considering that Gordis, Barthelemy (if not Milik), Burrows and Dupont-Sommer all read yo/id at the end of Col. 2. line 11, it appears reasonable to conclude that the writer of Rule Annexe was indeed reflecting such an idea. The legitimate challenge could be made to this as to what grounds he had for such a notion. The cautious response must be that he might have received it from Jubilees 16. from the logical implication of the incarnation of a pre-existent concealed Messiah at Enoch 48, or from his familiarity with other traditions that also served Philo. The present unavailability of literary evidence of such additional traditions does not negate the possibility that such other traditions existed. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library should caution us to consider that other such literature might yet appear. Furthermore. targumic literature that appeared at Qumran has taught us that the genre was very old and that we must not judge the t·ontent of our extant ..canonical" texts by the dates of the available versions. In any case the widesprc:id use and the importance
13. It should be noted here 1ha1 in a recen1 communication-Dr. Gordis brought to my anenuon his anicle -vinual Quo1a1ions in Job, Sumer and Qumran· ( 1981. pp. 410-427). The analysis of the an of quotation at Qumran might suggest that the scribe of Rule Annexe was quoting Ezekiel. A funher discussion of this. however. would take w; 100 far afield and 1n any case not be possible within the assigned space of this anicle. See also Gordis (1971. pp. 104 159).
PHii.i.ii> SIGAL
of Jubilees and Enoch at Qumran has already been established as was early indicated by Burrows ( 1958, pp. l78f.. 407). 1· Gordis' assistance to the idea that the notion of a divine conception of the Messiah existed before the birth of Christianity compels us to rethink such near-dogmatic statements as that of Rudolf Bultmann ( 1958, p. 316, and n.3) ..that the unheard-of motif of the Virgin Birth could not have been held on Jewish soil."" Much earlier David Daube ( 1956, pp. 5-9) discussed a midrashic use of Exod. 2:25 "and God knew" to interpret ~our affliction" of Deut: 26:7 in the sense of marital continence, that is, that the Israelite men and women were compelled to eschew sexual relations.'" The implication of the polite euphemism is that God ~knew,"' that is, God caused generation, taking the root yada' in its sense of sexual 'knowing.' The underlying assumption was that divine conception was necessary if sexual relations were~not engaged in, and Daube's argument, .therefore, is that such an idea was known in Judaism. Daube recognized that the question of virgin birth was not the issue in Moses' case for Miriam and Aaron had already been born to his mother. What was involved was divine concep· tion. And the antiquity of this Passover midrash makes it quite likely that this can join Jubilees 16. Enoch 48 and Philo. and the Rule Annexe as literary sources that reflect the idea of divine conception in pre-Christian Judaism. Daube (ibid., p. 8) recognized the difficulties of dating the midrash, but he correctly argued the antiquity of the midrash as well as the likelihood that in the post-Jesus environment such an implication would have been suppressed. It may be added in support of Daube's suggestion that the other sources under discussion (Jub. 16, En. 48, Philo, IQSa) were also suppressed in rabbinic Judaism. Louis Finkelstein (1972, pp. 21-26) established the date of this midrash as third century B.C.E. If we are speaking of a time around 200 B.C.E. as Finkelstein posits, before Palestine reverted to Syrian control, we are not far from recent redating of Jubilees. as indicated by Vander Kam ( 1977, pp. 214-285), and others."
14. On Jubilees and Qumran see funher Si11al ( 1980a. pp. 245 247); M. Testuz ( 1960). IS. W. D. Davies ( 1977) made no reference 10 Gordis' article. Davies (ibid.. p. 63) tninslates Bultman: "'that the story of the Virgin Binh could no1 have arisen on Jewish soil. - Bull· mann 119511, p. 316, n. 3) adds tha1 this idea of divine binh is not only strange, ~sondern er ist in ihrer sphiire auch unmoglich. -but. on the contrary. in that sphere it is also impossible. 16. David Daube ( 1956. pp. 5. 9) discusses another possible example of a Judaic source for divine generation. He cites an ancient midrash now only found in lhe Passover Hagadah which comments on Deut. 26:5 II. This midrash is at the hean of the liturgical por1ion of the Seder IMishnah Pe.tuhim 10:4). II is to be noted thal elements ol 1his midrash are sull pre· served at Siji'ei /)eu1. 301 with variations. 17. See Sigai I 19110a. pp. 270 272. n. 66), where I accept a probable era of composition IO be 190 160 B.C.E.
231 In concluding this discussion it might be of interest to note that there are other significant allusions to a pre-existent Messiah which would have to result in an incarnation of that entity through a divine conception. Thus, Micah 5: I. when taken in reference to the cschatological figure, is saying his ..origin is from the earliest time, from eternity,"' and the Hebrew word here translated 'origin' is musa'tl1av. the same term used at Ps 19:6-7 for the sun. The notion of the presence of divine light at the birth of Moses ( B. Sotah 12a, l3a; Exodus Rabbah 1:20, 22) is an allusion to his redeemerstatus, and explains the star at Luke 1:78 as well as anatole in the LXX at Jer. 23:5 for the word semah. 11 Even more telling in the light of the inter- esting relationship between Jesus and Isaac arc the traditions concerning the birth of Isaac in addition to the divine conception.'~ We are told that when Isaac was born all of creation was saved. for had he not been born. the cosmos would have ceased ( Tanhuma Toled01 2); on that day the sun burst forth in such radiance as unknown since the sin of Adam and to be experienced again in the messianic age ( Pesikta Rahati 42:4). In exegeting l:>a. 61: JO "J-~ill greatly rejoice in the Lord- the midrashist brings Sarah's joy into the equation. saying that when Sarah gave birth to Isaac ..... all the deaf were given hearing, all the blind were given sight, all the mute were given speech . . . "and ··. . . added strength to the sun and the moon . . . " The midrashist further alludes to Esther 2: 18 "the king . . . gave a release to the provinces... All of these midrashic state· ments ( Pesikta de R. Kahana 22: I) are intimations of the eschatological passages of Isa. 42:6- 7 and Isa. 61: I. When one takes into consideration the long~ontinuing tradition of a pre-existent Messiah which requires incarnation at the appropriate time, and the various pre-Christian strands that point to an idea of divine conception and the Isaac allusions it might be considered reasonable to hypothccate that this. as in other facets of Christology expressed in the New Testament, we arc dealing with elements of Judaic theology and not with original post-separation Christian concepts or hellenistic philosophical encrustations. llS. In reference to this W. D. Davies ( 1977. pp. 445f.) has an in1eres1ing diSC1.1SSion on the pre-eitis1en1 Messiah. 19. On the question of Isaac and Jesus. in addi1ion 10 the material in Sigal ( 1980) cited above al n.9. tcitt and notes. see now also James Swetnam C1981).
Banhelemy, D. and Milik, J. T. 1956. Discoveries in 1he Judaean Desert I. Qumran Cave I. OxforD. Brown, E. 1977. The Birrh of the Messiah. Garden City, New York. Bultmann, R. 1958. Die Geschfr:hte der Synoptichen Tradition. Gottingen. Burrows, M. 1956. The Dead Sea Scrolls. New York. _ . 1958. More Light On The Dead Sea Scrolls. New York. Buttenwicser, M. 1969. The Psalms. Prolegomenon, Nahum N. Sarna. New York. Dahood, M. 1968. The Anchor Bible Psalms II: 51-100. Garden City New York. Daube, D. 1956. The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism. London. Davies, W. D. 1977. The Setting ofthe Sermon on the Mount. Cambridge- New York. Dupont-Sommer, A. 1973. The Essene Writings from Qumran, trans. Geza Vermes. Gloucester, Massachusetts. - · 1959. Les Ecrits esseniens decouverrs pres de la mer Morre. Paris. Finkelstein, L. 1972. Pharisaism in 1he Making. New York. - - · 1938. "'The Oldest Midrash: Pre-Rabbinic Ideals and Teachings in the Passover Haggadah" Harvard Theological Review 31:291-317. Gordis, R. 1957...The 'Begotten' Messiah in the Qumran Scrolls." Ve1us Tes1amentum 1: 191-194. _ . 1971 ...Quotations in Biblical, Oriental and Rabbinic Literature," Poe1s, Prophets. Sages, Bloomington, Indiana. - - - . 1981. ..Virtual Quotations in Job, Sumer and Qumran." Vetus Teslamentum 31:410-427. Grelot, P. 1972...La naissance d'lsaac et celle de Jesus" Nouvelle Revue Theologique 94:462-87, 561-85. Justin Martyr. 1909. Dialogue Avec Tryphon ed. Georges Archambault. Paris. - - · 1930. The Dialogue With Trypho trans. A. Lukyn Williams. Lon- don. Klausner, J. 1956. The Messianic Idea in Israel trans. W. F. Stinespring. London. Nickelsburg, G. W. E. 1981. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Philadelphia. Patte, D. 1975. Early Jewish Hermeneutic in Palestine. SBL Dissertation Number 22. Missoula, Montana.
Philo. 1966. Moses I and II. Trans. F. H. Colson. Loeb Classical Library. London-Cambridge, Massachuscttcs. Sigal. P. 1980a. The Emergence of Contemporary Judaism Volume One. The Foundation of Judaism From Biblical Origins to the sixth century A. D. Part One: From the Origins to the Separation of Christianity. Pittsburgh. - - - . l980b. The Emergence of Contemporary Judaism. Volume One. The Foundation of Judaism From Biblical Origins to the Sixth Cen· tury A. D. Pan Two: Rabbinic Judaism. Pittsburgh. Swctman, J. 1981. Jesus and Isaac. Rome. Testuz, M. 1960. Les idees religieuses du livre des Jubilees. Paris. Torrey, C. C. 1945. The Apocryphal Literature. New Haven. Vander Kam, J. C. 1977. Textual and Historical Studies in the Book of Jubilees. Missoula, Montana. Vermes. Geza. 1975. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Harmondswonh, England. Winston. D. 1981. Philo of Alexandria. :"!cw York-Toronto. Woude, A. J. Van Der. 1957. Die Messianischen Vorstellungen Der Ge- meinde Von Qumran. Assen.

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