2009 NT & Second Temple Judaism

Session 1

Aaron Sherwood

Israel, the Nations and Humanity in Beginning and End TImes: A Comparison of Genesis 1-2 and 1 Enoch 10:16-11:2

Many early Jewish traditions envisage the eschatological subjugation or even destruction of the nations as the enemies of God and Israel. However, The Book of the Watchers in 1 Enoch 10:16–11:2 instead speaks of God’s judgment upon and removal of all sin, and his preservation and restoration of humanity. What theological patterns of thought account for this perspective, and does it resonate with Jewish Scriptures? Building on recent work by Loren Stuckenbruck, a comparison of 1 Enoch 10:16–11:2 with the creation accounts in the opening chapters of Genesis may reveal the underlying logic of the Enochic narrator’s theology. Genesis 1–2 presents creation as God’s palace-temple, with humanity as his constitutive cultic self-image at its center, in whom the order of creation coheres. The characterization there of creation as a temple and other liturgical features of the text entail that worship is intrinsic to creation, and one of humanity’s creational vocations. Similarly, The Book of the Watchers uses its parallel account of the flood—which in Genesis is a creation text modeled on chapters 1–2—to present God’s eschatological restoration of creation. And by reaching back to the pre-Israelite, antediluvian event of the flood, the Enochic narrator describes the restoration not just of Israel, but of humanity as a whole. And finally, the expression of the restoration of creation and humanity consists in all humanity worshipping the God of Israel. Therefore, a comparison of these traditions may reveal that the Enochic narrator was inspired by the biblical creation accounts to combine the elements of creation, worship and the unification of humanity in his expectation of Israel’s eschatological restoration.

Session 2

Grant Macaskill

The Adam Story in Judaism and Christianity: Revising Adam Christology

In Romans 5:12-19, Paul presents the significance of Jesus' life and death in terms related to the story of Genesis 2-3. Many scholars have seen this as only the most explicit example of a connection between these two figures that runs extensively through Paul's theology. While the presence of the idea in some texts (notably Philippians 2) is debated, its prominence within the logic of Romans is more generally agreed and scholars will speak of an "Adam Christology" that shapes much of this letter.

The background to this theology is seen to be a well developed Adam myth, or a cluster of such myths, that was widespread in Second Temple Judaism and that contained more detail than that found in the account of Genesis 2-3, particularly with regard to Adam's glory. Much recent research, however, has challenged assumptions regarding the provenance of a number of the relevant texts and our understanding of the 2nd Temple Adam myth may need to be revised. This paper will explore this problem and reflect upon the implications it may have for our understanding of "Adam Christology."

Session 3

James R. Davila

The Book of Revelation and the Hekhalot Literature

The Book of Revelation and the strange collection of revelatory texts known as the Hekhalot literature share a striking number of features centered around visionary travel to heaven to gain revelations before a celestial throne room modeled after the vision of the heavenly realm in the Book of Ezekiel. Revelation is a late first century C.E. Christian work and the Hekhalot literature was composed from late antiquity to the Geonic era, with editing continuing into the Middle Ages, so anything like a direct connection between them seems on the face of it unlikely. Nevertheless, there is considerable evidence that the Hekhalot texts drew at times on much earlier material, even going back to Second Temple times. The parallels between the Book of Revelation and the Hekhalot literature have never been thoroughly collected and explored. This paper briefly catalogues some of these parallels and offers some very preliminary reflections on their possible significance

Revd. Dr. Darrell D. Hannah

The Elect Son of Man of the Parables of Enoch

The Elect One or son of man of the Parables of Enoch is one of the most exalted of all the messianic figures in second temple Judaism. Only Jesus of Nazareth of early Christianity and Metatron of later Judaism exceed the Parables' in the claims made for a heavenly mediator. However, the Parables of Enoch is a text which bristles with interpretive difficulties. Two persistent difficulties which concern the interpretation of the Elect One/son of man are the 1) type of pre-existence claimed for the Elect One/son of man and 2) the identification with Enoch which is made in the Parables' final chapter. This paper focuses both these issues as the most important keys to understanding this enigmatic figure.