Dueling Apocalypses

I have been posting about some apocalyptic sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, which are found in the collections known as the Hadith. Such sayings are numerous, and at so many points, they echo the lore found among contemporary Christians. Taken with those Christian documents, in fact, they suggest the depth of the apocalyptic fascination [Read More...]

Mani and the Giants

Last time, I described the Book of the Giants. Probably written in the third or second centuries BC, this text is closely related to the Book of 1 Enoch and its story of fallen angels begetting monstrous offspring on human women. The book probably originated and circulated in the Jewish world, probably in the sectarian [Read More...]

The Book of the Giants

No, whatever the title suggests, that is not the name of a forthcoming novel from Neil Gaiman. The Book of the Giants is an ancient Jewish text, part of the pseudepigrapha, the “falsely titled” writings usually attributed to some ancient sage or prophet. Although it is not well known by non-specialists, the Book of the [Read More...]

Reading Noah

In my last post, I discussed the Book of Noah, a semi-lost text that presently survives in very partial form in the Book of 1 Enoch. Here, I want to suggest some of the things we can learn from reading this book. Why should we read Noah? I should add that, as I mentioned in [Read More...]

Noah’s Book

At my church not long ago, the Sunday reading was from 2 Samuel, giving David’s unforgettable lament for Jonathan. Preceding that, though, was a cryptic reference attributing a statement to the Book of Jasher. That is not the only Biblical reference to a now lost book: we have (or to be more precise, don’t have) [Read More...]

Zechariah’s Angels

The Old Testament book of Zechariah challenges a lot of conventional assumptions about the development of Second Temple Judaism, and its chronology. Conventionally, historians of Jewish thought trace a series of very significant trends that emerged from the fifth century BC onwards, and which reached fruition only in the second century BC. Most strikingly, these [Read More...]

Zechariah’s Apocalypse

I have posted a few times on the Old Testament Book of Zechariah, and especially its final chapters, which are known as Second or Deutero-Zechariah. The text is a huge influence on the gospels, and arguably on Jesus’s own circle. But Zechariah as a whole also stands in a very unusual and significant relationship to [Read More...]

Wisdom and Apocalyptic

I posted about the rise of apocalyptic literature, and the theory that it evolved from the prophecy that we know from the Old Testament. For over a century, though, there has been a rival theory to explain apocalyptic, which suggests that its real origins lie in Wisdom literature rather than prophecy. Understanding this debate helps [Read More...]

The Enoch Code

Raleigh

This is puzzling. On multiple occasions, I have written about the ancient text known as 1 Enoch, which the early church regarded as almost canonical. From the early Middle Ages, though, the book was mostly lost to the West, and was only rediscovered in the eighteenth century in Ethiopian translations. Although this lengthy book deals [Read More...]

In Many Tongues

Over the past year, I have been making heavy use of a magnificent scholarly resource called Outside the Bible, which presents new translations of apocryphal and non-canonical works related to the Hebrew Bible, with extensive commentaries. The full reference is Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel and Lawrence H. Schiffman, eds., Outside the Bible: Ancient [Read More...]


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