Saturday, November 22, 2014

Richard Bauckham, Assessing the Lost Gospel, Part 2

Here is the second instalment of Richard Bauckham's assessment of the new book by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson, The Lost Gospel:

Assessing The Lost Gospel
Part 2: Misinterpreting Ephrem


by Richard Bauckham

The above link is to a PDF of the article.  A Word version is also available.  Part 1 is here.


14 comments:

Geoff Hudson said...

Richard,

Joseph and Aseneth seems to me to be a prophetic document replete with prophetic language, reveres prophets and makes no mention of sacrifice for sins.

Stephen Goranson said...

Thanks.
Ephraim is mentioned only once in Joseph and Asenath (Burchard ed.) so he does not appear to be of special interest there. Unlike, say, in the Essene subset of Qumran texts, where he is associated with seekers of smooth things, and, many think, Pharisees. I think Ephraim (despite Messiah of Ephraim refs. in rabbinic lit.) is conspicuously absent from resurrection in Essene influenced Rev. See online "The Exclusion of Ephraim in Rev. 7: 4-8 and Essene Polemic Against Pharisees" DSD 1995. Also, I suggest that although Philo names Essenes but not Pharisees and Sadducees, at least explicitly, consider Every Good Man is Free 89-91. There, two sorts of rulers have opposed Essenes. Some, ferocious like wild beasts; others, with soft-worded hypocrisy. In online "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene" pages 34-36, I suggest the possibility that the former may include (according to Philo's source, maybe Posidonius or Strabo) Sadducee-influenced rulers (such as the Lion of Wrath, Jannaeus) and the latter, those influenced by Pharisees/seekers of smooth things.

Stephen Goranson said...

Thanks.
Asenath is presumably an Egyptian name. But, perhaps little known fact, Paul Riessler, Altjudaisches Schiftum Ausserhalb der Bibel (1929) p. 1303 sought to associate Asenath with Akkadian for maidservant and with the Theraputae and with the Etymology for Essenes. (Allen H. Godbey, once a Duke Prof., 1930, also looked to Akkadian.) Riessler's is one of over 50 proposed published etymologies for Essenes. The etymology imo is from Hebrew 'asah as in 'osey hatorah, as found in Qumran Essene (pesharim) mss. Perhaps interesting that (as far as I know, please correct me if I'm mistaken), there ate no papyrus fragments of J&A, nor known Coptic versions.

Stephen Goranson said...

Thanks.
Leontopolis.
Btw, Jodi Magness at this 2014 SBL proposed that there were limited sacrifices at Qumran, though not a full temple replacement, unlike, perhaps, Leontopolis. Qumran texts disapprove of the "house of Peleg" (Leontopolis?). Cf. R. White in Vermes FS, House of Peleg in the DSS, 1990 pp. 67-98. Hey, it even involves a tower!

Geoff Hudson said...

Stephen, where is the proof that Leontopolis (in the area of Heliopolis where significantly the sun was worshipped) was a full temple replacement? Why would the texts found at Qumran (and elsewhere) disapprove of the house of Peleg which you suggest was Leontopolis? The Qumran texts clearly favoured priests and denigrated the seekers of smooth things. Essenes are a misnomer. Joseph and Aseneth was a document which favoured prophets. There is no mention of Jewish priests.

Geoff Hudson said...

Stephen, Ephraim may be mentioned once in Joseph and Aseneth, but the mention is of special interest, especially in the light of the scrolls found in the Judean desert. "Aseneth conceived by Joseph and bore Manasseh and his brother Ephraim in Joseph's house." XXI.8 Thus Joseph and Ephraim are in the same 'house'. They are seen as prophets. The writers of the Scrolls regard the seekers of smooth things, as false prophets who flout the Law. They do not mention Essenes, Pharisees or Sadducees.

Geoff Hudson said...

For me to read Joseph and Aseneth for the first time has been a truly amazing experience. I had thought that no such document could ever exist. On reading the text, I was thinking that this was something like Jewish Midrash. This was confirmed when I read the article on Joseph and Aseneth by Chestnut in The Anchor Bible Dictionary.

Joseph is seen as the arch prophet who lived before Moses and before the Law was written. Prophets thus had a higher degree of authority than priests. The silence on priests and animal sacrifice shows that Joseph and Aseneth was written at a time when there was in effect war between priests and prophets. Similarly, the Scrolls are fairly silent about Prophets. They were the unmentionables, with the writers (priests) preferring terms like seekers of smooth things, instead of calling them prophets. Prophets were seen as not following the correct procedures as laid down by the priests. They were thought of as taking an easy way. Prophets saw themselves as not relying on obeying any Law, but on obeying God.

James D. Tabor said...

Simcha has offered a response to Richard's Part 1 here: http://www.simchajtv.com/response-to-prof-bauckhams-critique-of-the-lost-gospel/

Richard Bauckham said...

I shall respond to Simcha's response in due course.

James D. Tabor said...

Looking forward to hearing your response Richard. Simcha's response to Part II is now posted as well: http://www.simchajtv.com/response-to-prof-bauckhams-critique-of-the-lost-gospel-2/

Richard Bauckham said...

I have now responded to Simcha's comments on my Parts 1 and 2, in a Part 4 that I guess Mark will be posting here quite soon (though I hope not by disturbing his Thanksgiving meal).

Jeff said...

I've been following this and all I can say is that I've never before seen so many people get so engaged about a manuscript that so far only a handful of scholars have been aware of. Kudos to Jacobovici and Wilson and kudos to Professor Bauckham for providing a reasoned discussion. I've now read Jacobovici's response and I must say his argument is convincing. I'm making my way through the book now and again it's quite a revelation.

Richard Bauckham said...

Be sure to read Joseph and Aseneth itself. It is an intriguing and entrancing text, from time to time quite beautiful.

Geoff Hudson said...

Stephen, you say that Magness recently proposed that there were limited sacrifices at Qumran. In their report on their excavations during the 10 years 1993 to 2004, Magen and Peleg write (Page 63): "Still another hypothesis that has been shown to be groundless is that animals were sacrificed at Qumran. In fact all the animal bones that have been analyzed were cooked and not burned as offerings."

Interestingly, they do say (Page 61): "In our opinion, a synagogue was built at the site, not long before the destruction. It was fitted with plastered benches and was located south of the tower in L-4. It should be pointed out that
in recent years it has become clear that nearly every site that continued in existence until the destruction of the second temple contained a synagogue." Masada is just one example of where there was a synagogue. Why would priests go to synagogues, except to cause trouble?