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J. R. Davila (1)

Abstract: "The Macrocosmic Temple, Scriptural Exegesis, and the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice"

James R. Davila

(This paper is forthcoming in Dead Sea Discoveries)

The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice envisions a macrocosmic Temple conceived on the model of the earthly Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem. (Of course, the composers of the work would see it the other way around: the cosmic Temple is the archetype and model for the earthly sanctuaries.) This paper seeks to reconstruct some of the implicit exegetical strategies used by the composers of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, and probably their predecessors, to support their mining of biblical accounts of the Tabernacle, the Temple in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel's imagined Temple for details of the cosmic Temple.

Warrant could be found in Exod 25:9, 40 for use of the descriptions of the Tabernacle, since the "plan" (TBNYT) for it was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai and could be taken to be based on the cosmic Temple. Other strategies offered support for the use of the biblical descriptions of the Temple in Jerusalem. Ezek 40:2 reports that Ezekiel's tour of the prospective Temple (chapters 40-48) came to him in "visions of God," a phrase used in 1:1 to introduce a vision of the celestial chariot and Temple. Likewise, according to 1 Chron 28:11-12, 18-19, David gave the "plan" (TBNYT) of the Temple in Jerusalem to Solomon. This "document" given "from the hand of YHWH," "by means of the Spirit" could also be taken to be based on the plan of the heavenly Temple. Indeed many of the details of the Temple and angelic priesthood in the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice are drawn from 1 Chronicles 28-29.

(c) 2001
Reproduction beyond fair use only on permission of the author.

J.R. Davila (2)

Abstract: "Melchizedek, the 'Youth,' and Jesus: the Dead Sea Scrolls and Messianism, Christology, and Mysticism"

James R. Davila

In an article published in 1999, in a volume of papers presented at a 1998 conference at St. Andrews on the origins of the worship of Jesus, I proposed a two-dimensional typology for categorizing divine mediator figures in the biblical world. This typology combines the three types of mediators described by Larry Hurtado with two others that I proposed, and follows P. G. Davis in arranging them according to the time when they are expected to act.

In that article, I analyzed and compared Enoch/Metatron with Jesus in light of the typology of mediators. In this article I carry out a similar analysis of traditions about three figures: Melchizedek, the "Youth" (Hebrew HN(R; an angelic figure found in the Hekhalot literature), and Jesus. I will make passing reference once again to Enoch/Metatron, mainly to show that in some ways he is less relevant to the study of the figure of the Youth than has generally been thought, but more relevant in others. The Qumran literature is of central importance for my analysis, inasmuch as it provides us with the earliest and most central Jewish text--11Q13--which presents Melchizedek as a divine mediator figure. Scarcely less important is the angelology of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, particularly the shadowy figure of the angelic high priest--apparently Melchizedek--whose profile emerges at the edges of a number of lacunae.

The following are the main points I argue in this paper.

1. The figure Melchizedek, who appears in the Hebrew Bible as a human priest, was known in the Second Temple period both as a celestial high priest acting in the intervention mode and as an eschatological divine warrior in the consummation mode. But as early as Philo and Hebrews, his role as an eschatological warrior was being deliberately downplayed.

2. The identification of the angel known as the Youth with Enoch/Metatron, although attested in _3 Enoch_ and some medieval manuscripts, is secondary and late. The origins of the Youth are separate from the origins of Enoch/Metatron.

3. Rather, it is likely, although not certain, that the Youth is an attenuated reflex of the figure Melchizedek. The two have overlapping roles (celestial high priest in the intervention mode), the texts about them draw on many of the same scriptural passages and describe their realms in very similar terms. The stripping of the human, warrior, and eschatological elements from the tradition are paralleled to a large degree by the development of Enoch into Metatron in the Hekhalot and Jewish magical literature and by the development of the Melchizedek tradition in Christian Gnosticism.

4. Our information about Melchizedek as a divine mediator provides useful background for Jesus as divine mediator. Jesus may have known a Melchizedek tradition like the one in 11Q13 and patterned his ministry on it. It is fairly likely that the early Jesus movement knew such traditions and they influenced early christology.

5. Some Gnostic traditions about Jesus parallel in a general way the evolutionary trajectories of Melchizedek into the Youth and into the Gnostic Melchizedek, and Enoch into Metatron. These traditions seem to exemplify crosscultural trends in the religion of late antiquity and are worthy of further study.

(c) 2001
Reproduction beyond fair use only on permission of the author.

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