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The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra
 9004381619, 9789004381612

Table of contents :
The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Introductory Note
1 A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible
1.1 The Date of Origin of the Jewish Canon
1.1.1 The Evidence of Qumran
1.1.2 Other Evidence of the First Century CE
1.2 The Problems Concerning Yavneh
2 Some Preliminary Clarifications
2.1 The Codex
2.2 The Printing Press
2.3 “Hebrew Bible”
2.4 “Canon”
3 Methodology and Structure
Part 1: The Twenty-Two Books of the Jews According to Josephus
Introductory Note
4 The Passage of the Against Apion
4.1 The Text
4.2 Possible Identification of the Twenty-Two Books
4.3 The Prophets and Their Succession
4.3.1 The Cessation of Prophecy?
4.3.2 Priests, Philosophers, and Historians
4.3.3 The Interruption of the Prophetic Succession
4.3.4 The Prophet Josephus?
4.4 Assimilation of the Books to the Sacredness of the Torah
4.5 Summing-Up
5 The Twenty-Two Books outside the Against Apion
5.1 The Scriptures in the Jewish War
5.2 The Jewish Antiquities
5.2.1 The Twenty-Two Books
5.2.2 The Succession of Prophets
5.3 The Life
6 Josephus and Some Books on the Borderline of the Canon
6.1 Daniel
6.2 First Esdras, Ezra, and Nehemiah
6.3 Esther
6.4 Tobit and Judith
6.5 Letter of Aristeas, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees
6.6 The Book of Jubilees and the Temple Scroll
6.7 The Apocalyptic Literature and the Case of 1 Enoch
Part 2: The Ninety-Four Books of the Torah According to 4 Ezra
Introductory Note
7 Introduction to 4 Ezra
7.1 Title, Literary Genre, and Jewish Character
7.2 Text and Transmission
7.3 Date and Place of Composition
7.4 Fourth Ezra and 2 Baruch
7.5 Structure and Summary of the Content
7.6 The Unity of the Work and the Importance of the Seventh Section
8 Coordinates for a Comprehensive Understanding of 4 Ezra
8.1 The Debate on the Position of the Author
8.1.1 The Distinction between Narrator and Author
8.1.2 From Gunkel to Stone
8.1.3 From Harnisch to Hogan
8.2 The Planes of the Narrative Point of View
8.3 The Psychological Plane and the Psychologizing Interpretation of 4 Ezra
8.4 The Ideological Plane of the Narrative Point of View
8.4.1 The Various Expressions of the Point of View of God
8.4.2 What God Says about Ezra
9 The Characterization of Ezra
9.1 The Presentation (4 Ezra 3:1–2)
9.1.1 The Allusion to Ezek 1:1
9.1.2 “I, Salathiel, who am also called Ezra”
9.2 Ezra in the Dialogues
9.3 The Visions and the Transformation of Ezra
9.3.1 Ezra in the Fourth Section
9.3.2 Ezra in the Fifth Section
9.3.3 Ezra in the Sixth Section
9.4 Ezra in the Seventh Section: The Scribe of the Most High
10 Function and Meaning of the Ninety-Four Books
10.1 The Teachings Reserved for the Wise: Is 4 Ezra an Esoteric Book?
10.1.1 The “Few” in 4 Ezra
10.1.2 The Wise, the Secret Teachings, and the Esoteric Character of 4 Ezra
10.1.3 “In Characters Which They Did Not Know” (4 Ezra 14:42)
10.2 The Torah in 4 Ezra
10.2.1 The Torah in the Dialogues (and the Problem of Universalism)
10.2.2 The Torah in the Part with the Visions
10.2.3 The Torah in the Seventh Section (4 Ezra 14) and Its Written Expression
10.3 Salvific Value of the Ninety-Four Books
11 Historical Context and Social Function of 4 Ezra
11.1 Why Ezra?
11.1.1 The Figure of Ezra in the Literature of the Second Temple
11.1.2 Ezra’s Functionality for the Message of 4 Ezra
11.1.3 Excursus: Ezra in Rabbinic Literature
11.2 Possible Identification of the Seventy Books
11.2.1 Symbolic Value of the Number Seventy
11.2.2 Contents of the Collection
11.3 Possible Identification of the Twenty-Four Books
11.3.1 “Biblical” Books Quoted or Alluded to in 4 Ezra
11.3.2 Symbolic Value of the Number Twenty-Four
12 Fourth Ezra and the Canon of the Hebrew Bible
12.1 Synthesis of the Message of 4 Ezra
12.2 The Resistance to a Collection of Twenty-Four Books
Part 3: Comparison and Conclusions
Introductory Note
13 A Short Comparison between Josephus and 4 Ezra on the Books
13.1 Number and Characteristics of the Books
13.2 Historical Moment in Which the Collection is Constituted
13.3 The Torah
13.4 Role of Ezra
13.5 Text Transmission
13.6 The Interruption of the Prophetic Succession
13.7 Conclusion
14 Elements for an Hypothesis
14.1 On the Definition of the Biblical Canon
14.2 On the Date of the Canon
14.3 The Reorganization after the War, the Pre-Masoretic Text, and the Synagogal Readings
14.4 The Idealization of the Past
14.5 The Defense of Tradition in Contrast to Other Groups
Bibliography
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Primary Texts

Citation preview

The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible

Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism Editors René Bloch (Institut für Judaistik, Universität Bern) Karina Martin Hogan (Department of Theology, Fordham University) Associate Editors Hindy Najman (Theology & Religion Faculty, University of Oxford) Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar (Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven) Benjamin G. Wright, III (Department of Religion Studies, Lehigh University) Advisory Board A.M. Berlin – K. Berthelot – J.J. Collins – B. Eckhardt Y. Furstenberg – O. Irshai – S. Kattan Gribetz – S. Mason – F. Mirguet J.H. Newman – A.K. Petersen – M. Popović – I. Rosen-Zvi – J.T.A.G.M. van Ruiten – M. Segal – J. Sievers – W. Smelik – G. Stemberger – L.T. Stuckenbruck L. Teugels – J.C. de Vos

VOLUME 186

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/jsjs

The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra By

Juan Carlos Ossandón Widow

LEIDEN | BOSTON

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Ossandon Widow, Juan Carlos, author. Title: The origins of the canon of the Hebrew Bible : an analysis of Josephus  and 4 Ezra / by Juan Carlos Ossandon Widow. Description: Leiden ; Boston : Brill, [2018] | Series: Supplements to the  Journal for the study of Judaism, ISSN 1384-2161 ; volume 186 |  Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018031994 (print) | LCCN 2018032393 (ebook) |  ISBN 9789004381612 (E-book) | ISBN 9789004381605 (hardback : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Bible. Old Testament—Canon—History. | Josephus, Flavius.  Contra Apionem. | Judaism—Apologetic works—History and criticism. |  Bible. Esdras, 2nd—Criticism, interpretation, etc. Classification: LCC BS1135 (ebook) | LCC BS1135 .O87 2018 (print) |  DDC 221.1/2—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018031994

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill-typeface. issn 1384-2161 isbn 978-90-04-38160-5 (hardback) isbn 978-90-04-38161-2 (e-book) Copyright 2019 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi, Brill Sense, Hotei Publishing, mentis Verlag, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh and Wilhelm Fink Verlag. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Contents Acknowledgments ix

Introduction

Introductory Note 3

1 A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible 5 1.1 The Date of Origin of the Jewish Canon 5 1.1.1 The Evidence of Qumran 7 1.1.2 Other Evidence of the First Century CE 8 1.2 The Problems Concerning Yavneh 11 2

Some Preliminary Clarifications 16 2.1 The Codex 18 2.2 The Printing Press 18 2.3 “Hebrew Bible” 19 2.4 “Canon” 22

3

Methodology and Structure 29

PART 1 The Twenty-Two Books of the Jews According to Josephus

Introductory Note 35

4

The Passage of the Against Apion 37 4.1 The Text 40 4.2 Possible Identification of the Twenty-Two Books 42 4.3 The Prophets and Their Succession 46 4.3.1 The Cessation of Prophecy? 47 4.3.2 Priests, Philosophers, and Historians 49 4.3.3 The Interruption of the Prophetic Succession 51 4.3.4 The Prophet Josephus? 52

vi

Contents

4.4 Assimilation of the Books to the Sacredness of the Torah 54 4.5 Summing-Up 56 5

The Twenty-Two Books outside the Against Apion 58 5.1 The Scriptures in the Jewish War 58 5.2 The Jewish Antiquities 61 5.2.1 The Twenty-Two Books 61 5.2.2 The Succession of Prophets 63 5.3 The Life 66

6

Josephus and Some Books on the Borderline of the Canon 68 6.1 Daniel 68 6.2 First Esdras, Ezra, and Nehemiah 71 6.3 Esther 72 6.4 Tobit and Judith 73 6.5 Letter of Aristeas, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees 74 6.6 The Book of Jubilees and the Temple Scroll 75 6.7 The Apocalyptic Literature and the Case of 1 Enoch 76

part 2 The Ninety-Four Books of the Torah According to 4 Ezra

Introductory Note 85

7

Introduction to 4 Ezra 87 7.1 Title, Literary Genre, and Jewish Character 87 7.2 Text and Transmission 88 7.3 Date and Place of Composition 90 7.4 Fourth Ezra and 2 Baruch 91 7.5 Structure and Summary of the Content 92 7.6 The Unity of the Work and the Importance of the Seventh Section 95

8

Coordinates for a Comprehensive Understanding of 4 Ezra 98 8.1 The Debate on the Position of the Author 99 8.1.1 The Distinction between Narrator and Author 99 8.1.2 From Gunkel to Stone 101 8.1.3 From Harnisch to Hogan 102 8.2 The Planes of the Narrative Point of View 105

Contents

vii

8.3 The Psychological Plane and the Psychologizing Interpretation of 4 Ezra 106 8.4 The Ideological Plane of the Narrative Point of View 109 8.4.1 The Various Expressions of the Point of View of God 111 8.4.2 What God Says about Ezra 113 9

The Characterization of Ezra 116 9.1 The Presentation (4 Ezra 3:1–2) 116 9.1.1 The Allusion to Ezek 1:1 117 9.1.2 “I, Salathiel, who am also called Ezra” 120 9.2 Ezra in the Dialogues 122 9.3 The Visions and the Transformation of Ezra 123 9.3.1 Ezra in the Fourth Section 123 9.3.2 Ezra in the Fifth Section 126 9.3.3 Ezra in the Sixth Section 129 9.4 Ezra in the Seventh Section: The Scribe of the Most High 130

10

Function and Meaning of the Ninety-Four Books 135 10.1 The Teachings Reserved for the Wise: Is 4 Ezra an Esoteric Book? 135 10.1.1 The “Few” in 4 Ezra 136 10.1.2 The Wise, the Secret Teachings, and the Esoteric Character of 4 Ezra 137 10.1.3 “In Characters Which They Did Not Know” (4 Ezra 14:42) 141 10.2 The Torah in 4 Ezra 142 10.2.1 The Torah in the Dialogues (and the Problem of Universalism) 145 10.2.2 The Torah in the Part with the Visions 147 10.2.3 The Torah in the Seventh Section (4 Ezra 14) and Its Written Expression 149 10.3 Salvific Value of the Ninety-Four Books 151

11

Historical Context and Social Function of 4 Ezra 156 11.1 Why Ezra? 157 11.1.1 The Figure of Ezra in the Literature of the Second Temple 158 11.1.2 Ezra’s Functionality for the Message of 4 Ezra 162 11.1.3 Excursus: Ezra in Rabbinic Literature 168 11.2 Possible Identification of the Seventy Books 170 11.2.1 Symbolic Value of the Number Seventy 170 11.2.2 Contents of the Collection 172

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Contents

11.3 Possible Identification of the Twenty-Four Books 176 11.3.1 “Biblical” Books Quoted or Alluded to in 4 Ezra 177 11.3.2 Symbolic Value of the Number Twenty-Four 179 12

Fourth Ezra and the Canon of the Hebrew Bible 185 12.1 Synthesis of the Message of 4 Ezra 185 12.2 The Resistance to a Collection of Twenty-Four Books 186

Part 3 Comparison and Conclusions

Introductory Note 193

13

A Short Comparison between Josephus and 4 Ezra on the Books 195 13.1 Number and Characteristics of the Books 195 13.2 Historical Moment in Which the Collection is Constituted 197 13.3 The Torah 199 13.4 Role of Ezra 200 13.5 Text Transmission 200 13.6 The Interruption of the Prophetic Succession 200 13.7 Conclusion 201

14

Elements for an Hypothesis 202 14.1 On the Definition of the Biblical Canon 203 14.2 On the Date of the Canon 205 14.3 The Reorganization after the War, the Pre-Masoretic Text, and the Synagogal Readings 207 14.4 The Idealization of the Past 210 14.5 The Defense of Tradition in Contrast to Other Groups 214 Bibliography 217 Index of Modern Authors 258 Index of Primary Texts 264

Acknowledgments This book is a translated and substantially revised version of my doctoral dissertation, submitted in 2016 at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. The thesis was written in Spanish and its title was Los orígenes del canon de la Biblia Hebrea. Análisis de los testimonios de Flavio Josefo y de 4 Esdras. My first expression of gratitude goes to the supervisor of the thesis, Prof. Joseph Sievers, for his help, his wise advice, and his scientific rigor throughout the development of this project, from its inception as a paper in his seminar on “Josephus and the New Testament” to its completion. Thanks are due to the other members of the examination commission: Stephen Pisano, S.I., John J. Collins, and José María Ábrego de Lacy, S.I. for their observations, and to all the professors and staff of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, especially to Jean Noël Aletti, S.I, and Carlo Valentino. I have received valuable support from my colleagues at my home institution, the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce (Rome). Among them, I am especially grateful to Carlos Jódar, for his encouragement and for his expertise in Syriac, to Eusebio González, Sergio Henríquez, Paul O’Callaghan, Filippo Serafini, and Robert Wielockx for their suggestions, and to the other members of the Department of Biblical Theology for their help and interest in this pro­ ject throughout these years: Michelangelo Tábet, Bernardo Estrada, Giuseppe de Virgilio, Marco Valerio Fabbri, Iranzu Galdeano, Anthony Sepulveda, and James Mwaura Njunge. My thanks go also to Karina M. Hogan and René S. Bloch, editors of the series, for accepting the book, to the two anonymous readers for their comments and suggestions, to the associate editors, Hindy Najman, Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar, and Benjamin G. Wright III, and to the staff of Brill. Further thanks are due to several scholars who have helped me in different ways. I ask forgiveness of anyone whose name I have omitted inadvertently. I am grateful to Vicente Balaguer, Claudio Balzaretti, John Barclay, Juan Chapa, Guy Darshan, Lorenzo DiTommaso, Elena Duggan, Timothy H. Lim, Steve Mason, Lee Martin McDonald, Enrico Norelli, Isaac Oliver, Alexander Rofé, José Manuel Sánchez Caro, Michael Tait, Francisco Varo, Benjamin G. Wright III, Marco Zappella, and Jason Zurawski. To these names, I would like to add those of the chairs of the Sixth Enoch Seminar (2011), Matthias Henze and Gabriele Boccaccini. This meeting allowed me to update myself very rapidly on the scholarship about 4 Ezra so I am in debt to all its participants.

x

Acknowledgments

On a personal level, I cannot forget my Prelate, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, my family, spread over the world, especially my parents Juan Carlos and María Eugenia, and many friends both in my country, Chile, and in Italy. Without their support, this book would never have been written. In closing, I would like to remember in particular three persons who have passed away while this work was coming to an end. Prof. Gonzalo Aranda Pérez (1943–2016) died a few weeks before the public defense of the dissertation. It was during his lessons in the Universidad de Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) on the history of the biblical canon where the seminal idea of this book was born. A couple of years before his premature death, Gabriel Nápole, O.P. (1959–2013) sent me a hard copy of his doctoral dissertation on 4 Ezra from Buenos Aires. I never had occasion to meet him and thank him personally for his generosity. Finally, I am very grateful to my former bishop, Monsignor Javier Echevarría (1932–2016), who will see this book from the place to which Ezra was taken (cf. 4 Ezra 14:49–50).

Introduction



Introductory Note In the last episode of the Jewish apocalypse known as 4 Ezra, written sometime around 100 CE, the protagonist asks God to send him the holy spirit to rewrite the Torah which has been burned (cf. 4 Ezra 14:19–22). The Most High agrees and an inspired Ezra dictates to five scribes for forty days without interruption. As a result, ninety-four books are written. Then God instructs Ezra, telling him that twenty-four of them are to be read by everyone, while the remaining seventy are reserved for the wise among the people (cf. 4 Ezra 14:37–48). At roughly the same time, in a famous passage of Against Apion (Ag. Ap. 1.37–42), Flavius Josephus claims that the Jews have only twenty-two books which contain the account of their history from the creation of the world until the Persian period. Research on the formation of the canon agrees in acknowledging the importance of 4 Ezra and Josephus’ Against Apion as the oldest preserved texts that mention the number of books of the Hebrew Bible. However, so far a comparative analysis of these two texts in relation to the history of the canon has not been performed. Certainly, there are specific publications on one1 or the ­other.2 But we lack a study that elicits from the two—not only from each 1  Cf. Per Bilde, “Contra Apionem 1.28–56: An Essay on Josephus’ View of His Own Work in the Context of the Jewish Canon,” in Josephus’ Contra Apionem: Studies in its Character and Context with a Latin Concordance to the Portion Missing in Greek, ed. Louis H. Feldman and John R. Levison (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 94–114; Peter Höffken, “Zum Kanonsbewusstsein des Josephus Flavius in Contra Apionem und in den Antiquitates,” JSJ 32 (2001): 159–77; Steve Mason, “Josephus and His Twenty-Two Book Canon,” in The Canon Debate: On the Origins and Formation of the Bible, ed. Lee M. McDonald and James A. Sanders (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002), 110–27; Oliver Gussmann, “Flavius Josephus und die Entstehung des Kanons Heiliger Schriften,” in Kanon in Konstruktion und Dekonstruktion: Kanonisierungsprozesse religiöser Texte von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart: ein Handbuch, ed. Eve-Marie Becker and Stefan Scholz (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 345–61; Jonathan G. Campbell, “Josephus’ Twenty-Two Book Canon and the Qumran Scrolls,” in The Scrolls and Biblical Traditions: Proceedings of the Seventh Meeting of the IOQS in Helsinki, ed. George J. Brooke et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 19–46. I quote by date of publication. For the abbreviations, I follow Billie Jean Collins, Bob Buller and John F. Kutsko, eds., The SBL Handbook of Style: Second Edition: For Biblical Studies and Related Disciplines (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014). In the case of authors with numerous publications on the same subject, I mention only the most recent. 2  Cf. Jean-Daniel Kaestli, “Le récit de IV Esdras 14 et sa valeur pour l’histoire du canon de l’Ancien Testament,” in Le canon de l’Ancien Testament: sa formation et son histoire, ed. Jean-Daniel Kaestli and Otto Wermelinger (Genève: Labor et fides, 1984), 71–102; Christian Macholz, “Die Entstehung des hebräischen Bibelkanons nach 4 Esra 14,” in Die Hebräische Bibel und ihre zweifache Nachgeschichte: Festschrift für Rolf Rendtorff zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Erhard Blum, Christian Macholz and Ekkehard W. Stegemann (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1990), 379–91; José Manuel Sánchez Caro, “Inspiración y canon en 4 Esd

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_002

4

Introductory Note

one by itself but also through a comparison—all the relevant information that helps us to understand better the process of formation of the collection of sacred books. Such an analysis is the main objective of this monograph. However, the questions that gave rise to this research were broader, namely, when, how and especially why the twenty-four books that today belong to the Hebrew Bible came into existence as such a collection. In order to explain the transition from these general questions to the configuration of this book as a comparative analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra, it will be convenient to start by providing a status quaestionis of the studies of the origin of the Jewish canon (pp. 5–15). The following section (pp. 16–28) will clarify the terms used in the title, “the canon of the Hebrew Bible”—a necessary step if one wishes to avoid anachronism. Finally, the introduction includes a short description of the methodology and of the structure of the monograph (pp. 29–31). Before all this, it is appropriate to refer briefly to the current debate about the terms “Judaism” and “Jewish.” I will avoid talking about “Judaism,” preferring “Jewish people” (or “Jewish tradition,” “Jewish community,” “Jewish identity,” or the like) so that one does not think of a religion in the modern sense. In the first century CE, being a Ἰουδαῖος meant chiefly belonging to a people or nation (ἔθνος).3 Accordingly, instead of “Second Temple Judaism,” other expressions will be used to refer to the history of Israel from the post-exilic restoration until the first century CE, such as “Second Temple period”.4 Finally, in what follows, the more general “Jewish” will be preferred to “Judaean/Judean”.

14, 1–50: Intento de revisión,” EstBib 64 (2006): 671–97; Michael Becker, “Rewriting the Bible: 4 Ezra and Canonization of Scripture,” in Rewritten Bible Reconsidered: Proceedings of the Conference in Karkku, Finland, August 24–26 2006, ed. Antti J. Laato and Jacques van Ruiten (Turku: Åbo Akademi University Press, 2008), 79–101; Idem, “Grenzziehungen des Kanons im frühen Judentum und die Neuschrift der Bibel nach dem 4. Buch Esra,” in Qumran und der biblische Kanon, ed. Michael Becker and Jörg Frey (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2009), 195–253. 3  See Steve Mason, “Jews, Judaean, Judaizing, Judaism: Problems of Categorization in Ancient History,” JSJ 38 (2007): 457–512, especially 460–80 and 489–510. 4  On this debate, in addition to Idem, “Jews, Judaean,” see Daniel Boyarin, “Rethinking Jewish Christianity: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (to which is Appended a Correction of my Border Lines),” JQR 99 (2009): 7–36, especially 8–12; Seth Schwartz, “How Many Judaisms Were There?: A Critique of Neusner and Smith on Definition and Mason and Boyarin on Categorization,” Journal of Ancient Judaism 2 (2011): 208–38; and John J. Collins, The Invention of Judaism: Torah and Jewish Identity from Deuteronomy to Paul (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), 2–19.

Chapter 1

A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible It is not easy to present the current state of research on the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The relevant publications have multiplied in recent decades. The biblical canon has become an object of cross-sectional study, for which philology, the historiography of the Second Temple period and of early Christianity, the philosophy and sociology of religion, theology, literary theory, and other disciplines show concern. Accordingly, what follows is intended only to justify the choice of 4 Ezra and Josephus in the context of current research, not to report exhaustively on the relevant literature.1 In other words, I will try to explain why it is important to analyze these two sources regarding the history of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. At the same time, the following paragraphs will offer a brief overview of the status of the holy books among the Jews in the first century CE. 1.1

The Date of Origin of the Jewish Canon

For the sake of clarity, it is convenient to present the various opinions as to the presumed “when” of the formation of the canon. Other questions, more interesting than the simple chronological aspect, such as “where,” “by whom,” “how,” or “why,” are less convenient when it comes to summarizing the views of the scholars. To keep things simple, two main positions can be discerned.2 On the one hand, some authors argue that the collection of twenty-four books dates back to a period before 70 CE, the year of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. In this group, R.T. Beckwith is prominent. Relying on 2 Macc 2:13–15, on the Prologue to Sirach, and on some other texts, Beckwith argues that the collection of twenty-four books and their division into Torah, Prophets, and Writings 1  For the history of research, see Stephen B. Chapman, The Law and the Prophets: A Study in Old Testament Canon Formation (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 1–70. 2  Cf. Stephen Dempster, “Canons on the Right and Canons on the Left: Finding a Resolution in the Canon Debate,” JETS 52 (2009): 47–77. A presentation of the debates from another point of view, with no pretense of neutrality, can be seen in Brevard S. Childs, “The Canon in Recent Biblical Studies: Reflections on an Era,” Pro Ecclesia 14 (2005): 26–45.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_003

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Chapter 1

goes back to a list created and imposed by Judas Maccabaeus. He also claims that in the first century CE the canon of the Hebrew Bible was peacefully accepted by Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.3 With some differences, this position is shared by F.F. Bruce, E.E. Ellis, J.W. Miller, A.E. Steinmann, A. Hahn, and T.J. Stone.4 In this group can be included S.B. Chapman, D.M. Carr, and other scholars who have proposed a date earlier than the year 70 CE for the origin of the collection, but with motivations or routes quite different from those of Beckwith.5 Finally, it is worth mentioning in this context A. van der Kooij and P. Davies. They emphasize the importance of the Maccabean crisis for the delimitation of the canon, but do not claim that the list of twenty-four books that make up the current Hebrew Bible was set at this time.6 On the other hand, most scholars—including the present writer—think that the fixing or closing of the Hebrew canon took place later than 70 CE.7 3  Cf. Roger T. Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church and its Background in Early Judaism (London: SPCK, 1985); Idem, “Formation of the Hebrew Canon,” in Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. Martin Jan Mulder and Harry Sysling (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1988), 39–86. Similar conclusions had been advanced before by Sid Z. Leiman, The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture: The Talmudic and Midrashic Evidence (New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1976). 4  Frederick F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1988); Edward Earle Ellis, The Old Testament in Early Christianity: Canon and Interpretation in the Light of Modern Research (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1991); John W. Miller, The Origins of the Bible: Rethinking Canon History (New York: Paulist, 1994); Andrew E. Steinmann, The Oracles of God: The Old Testament Canon (Saint Louis: Concordia, 1999); Andreas Hahn, Canon Hebraeorum—Canon Ecclesiae: Zur deuterokanonischen Frage im Rahmen der Begründung alttestamentlicher Schriftkanonizität in neuerer römisch-katholischer Dogmatik (Zürich: LIT, 2009), 179–255; Timothy J. Stone, The Compilational History of the Megilloth: Canon, Contoured Intertextuality and Meaning in the Writings (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 34–78. 5  Chapman, The Law and the Prophets; Terje Stordalen, “Law or Prophecy? On the Order of the Canonical Books,” TTKi (2001): 131–50; David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 158–79; Guy Darshan, “The Twenty-Four Books of the Hebrew Bible and Alexandrian Scribal Methods,” in Homer and the Bible in the Eyes of Ancient Interpreters, ed. Maren R. Niehoff (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 221–44. 6  Arie van der Kooij, “Canonization of Ancient Hebrew Books and Hasmonean Politics,” in The Biblical Canons, ed. Jean-Marie Auwers and Henk-J. de Jonge (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2003), 27–38; Philip R. Davies, “The Hebrew Canon and the Origins of Judaism,” in The Historian and the Bible: Essays in Honour of Lester L. Grabbe, ed. Philip R. Davies and Diana V. Edelman (London: T&T Clark, 2010), 194–206. 7   Albert C. Sundberg, Jr., The Old Testament of the Early Church (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964), 113–28; James Barr, Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 49–74; Dominique Barthélemy, “L’état de la Bible juive depuis le début de notre ère jusqu’à la deuxième révolte contre Rome (131–135),” in Le canon de l’Ancien Testament: sa formation et son histoire, ed. Jean-Daniel Kaestli and Otto

A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon

7

In support of this position, an important factor has been the discovery of the Qumran scrolls—all of them dated before 70 CE. 1.1.1 The Evidence of Qumran In the first place, it is important to recall that, today, the majority of scholars consider the Qumran scrolls as representative of a relatively significant group in the variegated Jewish world of the Second Temple period, not of a marginal or peripheral sect.8 There is no hint at the Qumran library of a list of books, nor traces of a clear distinction between canonical and extra-canonical materials. One of the most interesting elements emerging from the caves for the history of the canon is the presence of “extra-canonical” works like the Temple Scroll, 1 Enoch, Tobit, Ben Sira, Jubilees, and others. For the members of the community, Jubilees seems to have enjoyed a similar status or authority to that of the books that are now considered canonical, as can be deduced from the quotations or references to it in other works.9 The well-known absence of Esther could be significant Wermelinger (Genève: Labor et fides, 1984), 9–45; John Barton, Oracles of God: Perceptions of Ancient Prophecy in Israel after the Exile (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1986), 35–95; Johann Maier, Le Scritture prima della Bibbia (Brescia: Paideia, 2003); James A. Sanders, “The Canonical Process,” in The Cambridge History of Judaism: 4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, ed. Steven T. Katz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 230–43; Philip S. Alexander, “The Formation of the Biblical Canon in Rabbinic Judaism,” in The Canon of Scripture in Jewish and Christian Tradition = Le canon des Écritures dans les traditions juive et chrétienne, ed. Philip S. Alexander and Jean-Daniel Kaestli (Lausanne: Zèbre, 2007), 57–80; José Manuel Sánchez Caro, “Configuración del canon bíblico: aproximación histórica,” in Canon, Biblia, Iglesia: el canon de la Escritura y la exégesis bíblica, ed. Agustín Giménez González and Luis Sánchez Navarro (Madrid: Publicaciones San Dámaso, 2010), 19–40; Michael E. Stone, Ancient Judaism: New Visions and Views (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 122–50 (especially 133–40); James C. VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 55–60; Timothy H. Lim, The Formation of the Jewish Canon (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013); John J. Collins, “The Penumbra of the Canon: What Do the Deuterocanonical Books Represent?,” in Canonicity, Setting, Wisdom in the Deuterocanonicals: Papers of the Jubilee Meeting of the International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, ed. Géza G. Xeravits, József Zsengellér and Xavér Szabó (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), 1–17; Lee M. McDonald, The Formation of the Biblical Canon: Volume I: The Old Testament: Its Authority and Canonicity (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 483–85. 8  A rich bibliography on Qumran and the canon can be seen in Eileen Schuller, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Canon and Canonization,” in Kanon in Konstruktion und Dekonstruktion: Kanonisierungsprozesse religiöser Texte von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart: ein Handbuch, ed. Eve-Marie Becker and Stefan Scholz (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 293–314; and in Lim, Formation, 119–47. 9  In 4Q228, Jubilees is quoted with the formula “as it is written”; in the Damascus Document there seems to be an explicit reference (CD 16:2–4) and an allusion (CD 10:7–10) to Jubilees. For a discussion of these and similar passages, cf. Idem, Formation, 131–35.

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if we knew that it was consciously rejected, but it could be the result of mere chance. In the epilogue (section C, line 10) of 4QMMT (= 4Q394–399), the author of this halakic letter (commonly dated to the mid-second century BCE) mentions the book of Moses, the books of the prophets and perhaps the writings of David. The text is fragmentary and presents difficulties of various kinds.10 Even if one accepts it as evidence of a tripartite division similar to the one mentioned in the (roughly contemporaneous) Prologue to Sirach or to the current division into Torah, Prophets, and Writings, it would be excessive to deduce that this text implies a closed canon of Scriptures.11 1.1.2 Other Evidence of the First Century CE Those who place the origin of the current canon of the Hebrew Bible after the year 70 CE often cite other evidence, like Philo of Alexandria, the first Christian literature, and other Jewish works of the first century CE. Nobody would doubt that for Philo the Torah forms a closed corpus of divine Scriptures. He is the first author known to us who explicitly states that the Law of Moses is contained in five books (cf. Abr. 1 and Aet. 19). He cites occasionally the following books: Judges, Kingdoms (= 1–2 Sam and 1–2 Kgs), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Zechariah, Proverbs, Psalms, and Job. To many of them he refers as sacred and/or prophetic writings, but it is not clear whether he considered them as a closed collection or not.12 No references are found in the Philonic corpus to other books of the Hebrew Bible or to Jewish literature beyond the boundaries of the traditional canon.13 10  Two contrasting readings can be seen in Schuller, “Dead Sea Scrolls and Canon,” 300–1; and Émile Puech, “L’épilogue de 4QMMT revisité,” in A Teacher for All Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam, ed. Eric F. Mason (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 309–39, 324 and 335. 11  The same can be said of the Prologue of Sirach; see Francis Borchardt, “Prologue of Sirach (Ben Sira) and the Question of Canon,” in Sacra Scriptura: How “Non-Canonical” Texts Functioned in Early Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. James H. Charlesworth, Lee M. McDonald and Blake A. Jurgens (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 64–71. 12  It is unfounded to see a testimony to the tripartite division of the Hebrew Bible in Philo’s references to the books of the Therapeutae in Contempl. 25–29. For a discussion of this text, see Martin Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2002), 98. 13  Cf. Naomi G. Cohen, Philo’s Scriptures: Citations from the Prophets and Writings: Evidence for a Haftarah Cycle in Second Temple Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 2007); Maren R. Niehoff, “Philons Beitrag zur Kanonisierung der griechischen Bibel,” in Kanon in Konstruktion und Dekonstruktion: Kanonisierungsprozesse religiöser Texte von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart: ein Handbuch, ed. Eve-Marie Becker and Stefan Scholz (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 329–43.

A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon

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Although the Torah does not occupy such a prominent place as it does in Philo, a similar result is obtained if we look at the consideration of the Scriptures of Israel by Jesus of Nazareth and his early followers, as reflected in the Christian literature of the first century (regardless of its attribution to a date before or after 70 CE, which in some cases is not easy to establish). I will turn later to the consequences of the figure and the preaching of Jesus upon the concept of “canon” (cf. pp. 22–28). Now we can observe that a list of sacred books or a precise number of them is never referred to. There are mentions of “the Scriptures” and of “the Law and the Prophets,” but these or similar expressions do not imply a fixed and closed collection.14 Especially meaningful in this respect is the Letter of Jude. A passage from the Book of the Watchers is quoted by its author as a prophetic text (cf. Jude 14–15, citing 1 Enoch 1:9). If the current Hebrew Bible of twenty-four books existed then as a closed collection, it was not accepted by everybody. However, it seems better to deduce that “canonical” and “extra-canonical” are not appropriate categories in this case. Moreover, the opinion of Beckwith and others, who see in Luke 11:51 and Matt 23:35 an allusion to the canon—Jesus would be referring to Genesis and 2 Chronicles as the first and the last book of the Hebrew Bible—has been rejected as unfounded. As Gallagher notes, the interpretation that links these words of Jesus with the canon dates back to the late eighteenth century and seems a consequence of the dissemination of the printed editions of the Hebrew Bible, where 2 Chronicles comes last.15 A survey of other Jewish works usually dated to the second half of the first century, such as Testament of Moses, 4 Maccabees, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, Apocalypse of Abraham, or 2 Baruch, does not offer much relevant information about the canon. What comes closest to an ancient testimony about the number of books, like those found in Josephus and in 4 Ezra, is the Gospel of Thomas: His disciples said to him, ‘twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel, and all (of them) have spoken through you.’ He said to them, ‘You have pushed away the Living One from you, and you have begun to speak of the dead’. Gos. Thom. 52, Plisch’s translation

14  Cf. Lim, Formation, 156–77. 15  Cf. Edmon L. Gallagher, “The Blood from Abel to Zechariah in the History of Interpretation,” NTS 60 (2014): 121–38, 137–38. See also H.G.L. Peels, “The Blood ‘from Abel to Zechariah’ (Matthew 23,35; Luke 11,50f.) and the Canon of the Old Testament,” ZAW 113 (2001): 583– 601. The influence of the printing press in the modern representation of the Bible will be discussed on pp. 18–19.

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Jesus’ disciples seem to allude to all the prophets of Israel. Most likely this is a reference to the collection of twenty-four books.16 However, it is difficult to determine when the Gospel of Thomas was written. The proposals range from the year 50 to the second half of the second century, but those advocating an early date usually refer to a core of sayings of Jesus, not the Gospel of Thomas as we have it today.17 In addition, commentators differ on the authenticity of this saying, which could be traced back to Jesus himself or to his first interpreters,18 but more probably we are in front of a development of the mid-second century.19 Consequently, as far as is possible to know with certainty from the sources that have come down to us, the first references to a number of holy books identical or very similar to the number of books of the current Hebrew Bible appear in the Against Apion of Josephus (twenty-two books) and in 4 Ezra (twentyfour public books), both written in the late first century CE, that is, shortly after the First Jewish Revolt.20 More than a century later, the number of twenty-two books “according to the Hebrew tradition” is attested in Origen (apud Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.25.1–2).

16  Cf. Matteo Grosso, Vangelo secondo Tommaso: introduzione, traduzione e commento (Roma: Carocci, 2011), 186–87. Ivan Miroshnikov, “‘In’ or ‘about’? Gospel of Thomas 52 and ‘Hebraizing’ Greek,” Teologinen Aikakauskirja 117 (2012): 179–85, offers bibliography about this passage. 17  Cf. Christopher W. Skinner, What Are They Saying About the Gospel of Thomas? (New York: Paulist, 2012), 9–28. 18  According to Reinhard Nordsieck, Das Thomas-Evangelium: Einleitung—zur Frage des historischen Jesus—Kommentierung aller 114 Logien (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2006), 215, this saying goes back to the historical Jesus. For April D. DeConick, The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation: With a Commentary and New English Translation of the Complete Gospel (London: T&T Clark, 2006), 184–85, it provides a corrective to the earlier Thomasine Christology and therefore it should be dated between 60–100 CE. 19  Uwe-Karsten Plisch, The Gospel of Thomas: Original Text with Commentary (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2008), 134–35, argues that the sentence cannot be authentic, since Jesus relied on the Torah and the Prophets. According to Milton C. Moreland, “The Twenty-Four Prophets of Israel Are Dead: Gospel of Thomas 52 as a Critique of Early Christian Hermeneutics,” in Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity: The Social and Cultural World of the Gospel of Thomas, ed. Jon Ma Asgeirsson, April D. De Conick and Risto I. Uro (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 75–91, it is an affirmation that fits in the discussion of the second century on the value of the Scriptures. 20  According to Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon, 235–40, the reference to twenty-two books in the Greek version of the Book of Jubilees (Jub. 2:23) would go back to the first century CE. However, this hypothesis was solidly refuted by James C. VanderKam, From Revelation to Canon: Studies in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 18–19.

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Probably, Origen knows this because he read it in Josephus; subsequent authors who speak of twenty-two books could depend on Josephus or on Origen.21 Instead, twenty-four is the number that corresponds to the books mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud (b. B. Bat. 14b) and that explicitly appears in other works of rabbinic literature, where the number twenty-two is completely absent.22 At the end of the fourth century, Jerome mentions both numbers of books and presents them as two equivalent ways of counting. It is the first time that the two traditions appear together.23 If looking for reasons that explain why the first references to the number of books appear in the late first century, the simplest thing is to imagine that some kind of fixing of the canon took place as part of the effort to redefine Jewish identity after the events of 70 CE. From the point of view of rabbinic history, these years between 70 and 132 are usually called the “period of Yavneh.” Choosing this historical moment as an object of study involves facing some difficulties. 1.2

The Problems Concerning Yavneh

Studying Josephus and 4 Ezra as the oldest evidence for the number of books of the Hebrew Bible requires examining the old hypothesis that asserted that the third part of the Hebrew canon (the Writings or Ketuvim) was set by an assembly or synod of rabbis held in Yavneh at the end of the first century. This explanation has been completely abandoned, simply because it has no support from historical evidence. One should not speak at this time of a synod of rabbis that takes normative decisions, after the manner of Christian councils, nor of a determination of the canon in the strict sense, as a detailed list of books.24 21  Cf. Edmon L. Gallagher, Hebrew Scripture in Patristic Biblical Theory: Canon, Language, Text (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 27. On the Christian lists of biblical books, see now Edmon L. Gallagher and John D. Meade, The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). 22  All the rabbinic texts are in Leiman, Canonization of Hebrew Scripture, 51–56. 23   Prologus in libro Regum (Prologus Galeatus), text in Robert Weber and Roger Gryson, eds., Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam versionem (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2007), 364–66. 24  On the hypothesis of Yavneh, see Jack P. Lewis, “Jamnia Revisited,” in The Canon Debate: On the Origins and Formation of the Bible, ed. Lee M. McDonald and James A. Sanders (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002), 146–62; Carola Krieg, “Javne und der Kanon: Klärungen,” in

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With the exclusion of the hypothesis of Yavneh, the idea of a fixing of the canon in three stages sinks too. According to it, the Torah would have been canonized in Persian times; the Prophets, around 200 BCE; and the Writings, in the synod of Yavneh. Among other things, this model—the standard explanation during the first half of the twentieth century—was intended to account for the fact that the book of Daniel, whose final shape dates from the Maccabean period, is not among the Prophets.25 Nevertheless, the historiographical problems relating to Yavneh are more complex and cover a broader field than that of the formation of the biblical canon. We can start by noting that the historical significance of the year 70 CE is no longer as obvious as it was a few decades ago, when there was a consensus among scholars on identifying the destruction of the Second Temple as the event that marked the end of “ancient Judaism.” According to the prevailing historiography until the 1980s, it was customary to consider that, after the year 70, a single group had survived from the many existing in the Jewish community, the proto-rabbinic one (sometimes identified as “Hillelite Pharisaism”). From that moment, they replaced the hitherto dominant priestly class and put an end to the pluralism that characterized the period of the Second Temple. In recent decades, this analysis has been reviewed from several perspectives. First, the approach to the historical reliability and dating of the rabbinic literature, one of the main sources for reconstructing the period from 70 to 132 CE, has changed dramatically. Scholars have moved from a somewhat naive confidence to a critical attitude, although the positions on the matter are far from unanimous.26 Kanonisierung—die hebräische Bibel im Werden, ed. Georg Steins and Johannes Taschner (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2010), 132–52. 25  The most influential formulation of this theory is in Herbert Edward Ryle, The Canon of the Old Testament: An Essay on the Gradual Growth and the Formation of the Hebrew Canon of Scripture (London: Macmillan, 1892). On Ryle’s position and background, cf. Stephen B. Chapman, “Modernity’s Canonical Crisis: Historiography and Theology in Collision,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation III/1: The Nineteenth Century: A Century of Modernism and Historicism, ed. Magne Sæbø (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 651–87, 681–87. 26  Cf. Gudrun Holtz, “Rabbinische Literatur und Neues Testament: Alte Schwierigkeiten und neue Möglichkeiten,” ZNW 100 (2009): 173–98; Catherine Hezser, “Correlating Literary, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources,” in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine, ed. Catherine Hezser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 9–27, 10–13; Reimund Bieringer et al., eds., The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 43–132 (Part I, “Methodology in Rabbinic Studies”); Günter Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrash (München: Beck, 2011), 71–75. Clear examples of how the prejudices of historians have affected the image of the ancient rabbis can be seen in Isaiah M. Gafni, “Will the ‘Real’ Rabbis Please Stand Up: On the Repackaging of the

A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon

13

Among other things, this change has led to a delay in the time when the rabbis are supposed to have reached a prominent position among the Jews. Moreover, it is no longer stated that the priests and other groups disappeared immediately after the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. In general, the tendency is to reduce the importance of the Yavneh period in shaping the future development of Rabbinism.27 For example, the rabbinic stories of the flight of Johanan ben Zakkai from a besieged Jerusalem and the foundation of a school and a court in Yavneh with the permission of the Roman authorities are no longer seen as historically reliable information, but rather as a founding myth.28 Rabbinic Model in Modern Times,” in Judaea-Palaestina, Babylon and Rome: Jews in Antiquity, ed. Benjamin Isaac and Yuval Shahar (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 295–307. 27  For a description of these changes, cf. David Goodblatt, “Iudaea Between the Revolts: Trends in Research Scholarship,” in Jüdische Geschichte in hellenistisch-römischer Zeit: Wege der Forschung: Vom alten zum neuen Schürer, ed. Aharon Oppenheimer (München: Oldenbourg, 1999), 101–18; Peter J. Tomson, “Transformations of Post-70 Judaism: Scholarly Reconstructions and Their Implications for Our Perception of Matthew, Didache, and James,” in Matthew, James, and Didache: Three Related Documents in their Jewish and Christian Settings, ed. Huub van de Sandt and Jürgen Zangenberg (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008), 91–121; Lee I. Levine and Daniel R. Schwartz, eds., Jewish Identities in Antiquity: Studies in Memory of Menahem Stern (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 163– 209 (several articles within the section “In the Wake of the Destruction: Was Rabbinic Judaism Normative?”); Daniel R. Schwartz, “Introduction: Was 70 CE a Watershed in Jewish History? Three Stages of Modern Scholarship, and a Renewed Effort,” in Was 70 CE a Watershed in Jewish History?: On Jews and Judaism before and after the Destruction of the Second Temple, ed. Daniel R. Schwartz, Zeev Weiss and Ruth A. Clements (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 1–19; Junghwa Choi, Jewish Leadership in Roman Palestine from 70 CE to 135 CE (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 2–15 and 179–89; Annette Yoshiko Reed, “When Did Rabbis Become Pharisees?: Reflection on Christian Evidence for Post-70 Judaism,” in Envisioning Judaism: Studies in Honor of Peter Schäfer on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, ed. Ra’anan S. Boustan et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 859–95, 859–61; Joshua Schwartz and Peter J. Tomson, eds., Jews and Christians in the First and Second Centuries: How to Write their History (Leiden: Brill, 2014). 28  Cf. Catherine Hezser, “Tannaiten,” TRE 32 (2001): 639–42; Seth Schwartz, Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 101–76; Peter J. Tomson, “The Wars against Rome, the Rise of Rabbinic Judaism and of Apostolic Gentile Christianity, and the Judaeo-Christians: Elements for a Synthesis,” in The Image of the Judaeo-Christians in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature, ed. Doris Lamberts-Petry and Peter J. Tomson (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 1–31; Amram Tropper, “Yohanan ben Zakkai, amicus Caesaris: A Jewish Hero in Rabbinic Eyes,” JSIJ 4 (2005): 133–49; Daniel Boyarin, “The Yavneh-Cycle of the Stammaim and the Invention of the Rabbis,” in Creation and Composition: The Contribution of the Bavli Redactors (Stammaim) to the Aggada, ed. Jeffrey L. Rubenstein (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 237–89; Hayim Lapin, “The Origins and Development of the Rabbinic Movement in the Land of Israel,” in The Cambridge History of Judaism: 4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, ed. Steven T. Katz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 206–29.

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As mentioned above, these changes in the historiography have cast doubt on the assumption that Jewish identity underwent a profound transformation because of the destruction of the Second Temple. At the same time, one should be on guard against the risk of a continuing revisionism which may end up pushing the pendulum too far to the other side. In this case, there may be an error of perspective, as some tend to dismiss too quickly the non-rabbinic evidence concerning the period of Yavneh. Interestingly, when they insist that the rabbis were not so important in the period from 70 to 132 CE as they would be later, many authors still see these years teleologically, i.e., from the point of view of the Rabbinism that would come, falling into a sort of “rabbinocentric” vision, as Seth Schwartz calls it.29 I do not want to enter into a complex debate that is far beyond the scope of this introduction. But the new trends should not lead us to forget the magnitude of the events of 70, undeniable by the trace left in non-rabbinic works such as Josephus, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, the Apocalypse of Abraham, 3 Baruch, and parts of the Sibylline Oracles.30 Moreover, there are archaeological, epigraphic, numismatic, papyrological, and legal sources that provide information about the period,31 as well as nonJewish literary sources—Tacitus, Valerius Flaccus, Suetonius.32 In connection with the biblical canon, the discrediting of both the hypothesis of Yavneh and of the canonization in three stages, coupled with the strong changes of perspective in the studies on the origin of the Rabbinism, have led some authors to delay the date of the closing of the collection of sacred 29  Cf. Schwartz, Imperialism, 103. 30  On the presence of the destruction of the Second Temple in these works, cf. Dereck Daschke, City of Ruins: Mourning the Destruction of Jerusalem through Jewish Apocalypse (Leiden: Brill, 2010); 103–86; Kenneth R. Jones, Jewish Reactions to the Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70: Apocalypses and Related Pseudepigrapha (Leiden: Brill, 2011); John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 240–41; 291–96; 311–15. 31  A survey of the non-literary sources for the years 74–132 CE in Palestine can be seen in Simon Claude Mimouni, Le judaïsme ancien, du VIe siècle avant notre ère au IIIe siècle de notre ère: des prêtres aux rabbins (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2012), 478–79. It is useful to consult, due to the richness of documentation, Gilbert Labbé, L’affirmation de la puissance romaine en Judée (63 a.C.–136 p.C.) (Paris: Belles Lettres, 2012), although he encompasses a broader historical period. 32  Cf. Choi, Jewish Leadership, 19–29. The main texts are available in Menahem Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1974–1984). For an overview of the sources for the history of the Jewish people, see Emil Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.–A.D. 135): Volumen 1 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1973), 17–122; Mimouni, Le judaïsme ancien, 39–92.

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15

writings of the Jewish people to a period subsequent to the third century CE. One of their main arguments consists of recalling the fact that the rabbinic literature after the Mishnah (ca. 200 CE) contains discussions about the sacredness of this or that book, implying that the canon could not be completely fixed.33 But the canon as reflected in rabbinic discussions does not necessarily represent the “official” Jewish canon, all the more if the re-sizing of the importance of the rabbis in the first centuries CE is taken into account. This monograph will try to study this period “by itself,” namely, without projecting into the past situations that correspond to later times. This rather bold statement of principles needs to confront the objection that claims that the question about the origin of the “canon” cannot be valid because it would be intrinsically anachronistic.

33  On these rabbinical discussions, in addition to Leiman, Canonization of Hebrew Scripture, who gathers all the relevant texts, see David Kraemer, “The Formation of Rabbinic Canon: Authority and Boundaries,” JBL 110 (1991): 613–30; Joachim Schaper, “The Rabbinic Canon and the Old Testament of the Early Church: A Social-Historical View,” in Canonization and Decanonization: Papers Presented to the International Conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9–10 January 1997, ed. Arie van der Kooij and Karel van der Toorn (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 93–106; David Stern, “On Canonization in Rabbinic Judaism,” in Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World, ed. Margalit Finkelberg and Guy G. Stroumsa (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 227–52; Günter Stemberger, “La formation et la conception du canon dans la pensée rabbinique,” in Recueils normatifs et canons dans l’Antiquité: Perspectives nouvelles sur la formation des canons juif et chrétien dans leur contexte culturel: Actes du colloque organisé dans le cadre du programme plurifacultaire La Bible à la croisée des savoirs de l’Université de Genève: 11–12 avril 2002, ed. Enrico Norelli (Prahins: Zèbre, 2004), 113–31; Maier, Scritture, 25; Alexander, “Formation,” 57–80; Jack N. Lightstone, “The Early Rabbinic Refashioning of Biblical Heilsgeschichte, the Fashioning of the Rabbinic Canon of Scriptures, and the Formation of the Early Rabbinic Movement,” in The Reception and Interpretation of the Bible in Late Antiquity: Proceedings of the Montréal Colloquium in Honour of Charles Kannengiesser, 11–13 October 2006, ed. Lorenzo DiTommaso and Lucian Turcescu (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 317–35; McDonald, Biblical Canon: I, 415–18.

Chapter 2

Some Preliminary Clarifications It is a fact that today there is a collection of twenty-four books known as the Hebrew Bible. However, neither Josephus nor the author of 4 Ezra nor indeed other sources of the time speak of a “canon” of Scriptures, much less of a “Hebrew Bible.” Apart from the terms, we should bear in mind that starting from the end product to study the historical process that has led to it necessarily entails neglecting many other aspects of the same process because they have not survived or have left no trace. The current distinction between canonical and apocryphal literature is in danger of functioning as a pair of glasses that distorts our view of the past. The simple fact of having applied for centuries the label of “biblical” to some ancient writings implies that the literature which today is not in the Bible can be unconsciously deemed inferior or secondary.1 Objections of this kind have been raised, especially concerning the histories of the biblical canon written in the late nineteenth century that tended to present the formation of the canon as a linear process, teleologically directed, that would have converged in the canon we know today in a natural and almost necessary way.2 Recent attempts to define the canon have been criticized on the same grounds, insofar as ultimately they also want to study the process in the light of the final outcome.3 In the case of the biblical canon, we have to face also the problem of how to define the starting point. Should the canon be taken in a generic sense, as 1  Among many others, cf. Robert A. Kraft, “Para-mania: Beside, Before and Beyond Bible Studies,” JBL 126 (2007): 5–27 (especially 10–18: “The Tyranny of Canonical Assumptions”); John C. Reeves, “Problematizing the Bible … Then and Now,” JQR 100 (2010): 139–52; Stone, Ancient Judaism, 4–16; Gabriele Boccaccini, “Is Biblical Literature Still a Useful Term in Scholarship?,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 41–51, 45–51; Hindy Najman, “The Vitality of Scripture Within and Beyond the ‘Canon’,” JSJ 43 (2012): 497–518; Idem, Losing the Temple and Recovering the Future: An Analysis of 4 Ezra (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 33–47; Eva Mroczek, “The Hegemony of the Biblical in the Study of Second Temple Literature,” Journal of Ancient Judaism 6 (2015): 2–35. 2  Cf. Becker, “Grenzziehungen,” 195–98. 3  Cf. Terje Stordalen, “What Is a Canon of Scriptures?,” in Shaping Culture: A Festschrift in Honor of Gunnlaugur A. Jónsson on His Sixtieth Birthday, ed. Ólafur Egilsson, Kristinn Ólason and Stefán Einar Stefánsson (Reykjavík: Hiđ Íslenska Bókmenntafélag, 2012), 15–33, 21–23, who criticizes Ulrich’s definition of the canon: this definition will be quoted and discussed below, see pp. 24–25.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_004

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understood by most people, or according to a particular religious tradition? Chapman rightly observes that “investigations based upon what ‘most people think’ or on dictionary definitions are especially susceptible to blurring popular understanding and official doctrine.”4 This question is linked with another possible objection to any history of the Jewish canon: the inevitably Christian character of the attempts to reconstruct the process of formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. It would be pointless—it is argued—to apply to the Jewish tradition the question about the canon because the concept is foreign to it.5 Even “Bible” would be an alien notion to the Jewish categories, whose holy book is the Torah and whose normative text is the Talmud.6 I will return to this last criticism later (pp. 22–28). It must be acknowledged that to ignore these objections would be naive or presumptuous. To be sure, one should not project distinctions established subsequently to texts of the first century CE. It is also true that the outcome of the process could have been a different one. Nevertheless, it is perfectly reasonable and fair to take an interest in the historical development of a current reality. The study of the past always begins with questions that arise in the present, from the experience of the historian, who is conditioned by the culture in which he or she is immersed. It is impossible to avoid this starting point; the important thing is that scholars recognize it, and so avoid an undue influence on their task.7 H.-I. Marrou spoke of the need for continued asceticism by the historians, to “purify” themselves of cultural prejudices when knowing the past.8 Therefore, rather than give up the question of the origin of the canon of the Hebrew Bible, it is necessary to clarify the terms and concepts employed to avoid anachronisms or red herrings.

4  Stephen B. Chapman, “How the Biblical Canon Began: Working Models and Open Questions,” in Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World, ed. Margalit Finkelberg and Guy G. Stroumsa (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 29–51, 40. He refers to Ulrich’s definition. 5  Point well exposed by Stern, “On Canonization,” 229–30. 6  Cf. Frederick E. Greenspahn, “Does Judaism Have a Bible?,” in Sacred Text, Secular Times: The Hebrew Bible in the Modern World, ed. Leonard Jay Greenspoon and Bryan F. LeBeau (Omaha: Creighton University Press, 2000), 1–12. 7  All current theories of history recognize that “presentism” is part of the work of the historian, like it or not. Cf. Jaume Aurell Cardona, La escritura de la memoria: de los positi­ vismos a los postmodernismos (Valencia: Universitat de València, 2005); Georg G. Iggers, Geschichtswissenschaft im 20. Jahrhundert: ein kritischer Überblick im internationalen Zusammenhang (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007). 8  Cf. Henri-Irénée Marrou, De la connaissance historique (Paris: Seuil, 1975), 144–47.

18 2.1

Chapter 2

The Codex

One of the cultural prejudices of which we must be aware corresponds to the codex, the current format of books, which is so widespread that it is difficult to imagine the other formats common in antiquity such as the tablet or the roll. By being more manageable than the scroll, the codex can contain a greater quantity of text. In this way, several works can be gathered into a single physical object. When today we speak of the Hebrew Bible, we think of a single artifact which includes twenty-four books in a sequence beginning with Genesis and ending (usually) with 2 Chronicles.9 The point to keep in mind is that the Hebrew Bible began to be copied into codices many centuries after Josephus and the author of 4 Ezra wrote about twenty-two or twenty-four “books.” For them, this number refers to scrolls. The use of the codex to copy the various scrolls of the Hebrew Bible became established only in the IX–X centuries.10 2.2

The Printing Press

Without denying the importance of the codex, the image we have today of the Bible depends to a much larger extent on another technical advance, the printing press, whose impact on the development of Western culture has been gigantic.11 After Gutenberg, we cannot help conceiving the Bible as a single book, whose parts appear in a fixed sequence, and which is available with some ease—printing favored the democratization of knowledge. Before the spread of printed books, literary works were meant to be read aloud to a group of people, not individually and silent as today. Moreover, printing a book like the Bible entails choosing and fixing its text, its title, its internal division and the 9  On the relation of the format of the ancient books (scroll and codex) with the formation of the biblical canon, there is an extensive bibliography, primarily with respect to the Christian canon. For a status quaestionis, cf. Martin Wallraff, Kodex und Kanon: Das Buch im frühen Christentum (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013); Tomas Bokedal, The Formation and Significance of the Christian Biblical Canon: A Study in Text, Ritual and Interpretation (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), 125–55. 10  Cf. David Stern, “The First Jewish Books and the Early History of Jewish Reading,” JQR 98 (2008): 163–202, 163–65 and 195–202. 11  Cf. Anthony Grafton, Elizabeth L. Eisenstein and Adrian Johns, “AHR Forum: How Revolutionary Was the Print Revolution,” AHR 107 (2002): 84–128.

Some Preliminary Clarifications

19

sequence of its different parts, which was done according to the criteria and the contingencies of early modern printers. The first printed editions of the Bible were of particular importance as they were taken as a benchmark for what followed.12 Thanks to the current transition to the electronic format, today we find it a little easier, perhaps, to stand back from the book conceived as a printed codex, and recognize its peculiarities and its weight in understanding the canon. But it remains the main bias of which we should become aware when studying the formation of the biblical canon.13 Important prejudices may be concealed also in the terminology used to describe the collection of books. To realize this, a good approach is to clarify the terms employed in the title of this monograph, “Hebrew Bible” and “canon.” 2.3

“Hebrew Bible”

In today’s terms, “Hebrew Bible” indicates a collection of twenty-four books divided into three parts—Torah, Prophets, and Writings—practically identical with the collection that Christians usually call the Old Testament (I do not enter here into the debate on whether “Old Testament” ought to be replaced by “First Testament”). Neither of these two expressions is free of presuppositions. In the case of “Old Testament,” its theological content is more or less clear. Instead, “Hebrew Bible” aims to be an academic and non-denominational designation, which in fact has become standard. But the simple fact of avoiding “Old Testament” involves taking a position. In this context, “every proposed ‘neutral’ term turns out to be ideological.”14 By distinguishing between a Christian collection, the Old Testament, and a Jewish one, the Hebrew Bible, we should be alert to a possible anachronism. Judaism and Christianity are recognized today as two separate “religions,” each with its own identity, including its own holy books. However, at the end of the

12  The same applies to other collections of texts, such as the corpus of rabbinic literature. Cf. Najman, “Vitality of Scripture,” 508. 13  Cf. Terje Stordalen, “The Canonization of Ancient Hebrew and Confucian Literature,” JSOT 32 (2007): 3–22, 13–14. 14  John Barton, The Old Testament: Canon, Literature and Theology: Collected Essays of John Barton (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 89. See also Chapman, “How the Biblical Canon Began,” 29; Becker, “Grenzziehungen,” 195–96.

20

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first century CE, the distinction between them was still in the making.15 (Recall also what was said on p. 4, concerning the term “Judaism”). It is worth asking when the expression “Hebrew Bible,” to which we are so accustomed today, was coined. The ancient Jewish sources speak of “Scriptures,” “holy writings,” “Mikrá,” “Torah,” or other terms, but certainly they never employ “Hebrew Bible” to refer to the sacred books of Israel. Indeed, the use of “Bible” as a singular feminine noun begins in the Latin of the thirteenth century,16 from where it would pass into most modern languages.17 I have not found any historical study of the title “Hebrew Bible.” It seems to have been born in the context of the first printed editions of the Bible. The first occurrence that I have been able to identify appears in the Latin translation of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible published in 1534 in Basel by the Protestant Hebraist Sebastian Münster.18 On the front page one reads the following words: EN TIBI LECTOR HEBRAICA BIBLIA.19 15  There is a lively debate on the historical process of separation between Jews and Christians and the conceptual categories helpful to describe it. In addition to Boyarin, “Rethinking,” see, for instance, Donald A. Hagner, “Another Look at ‘The Parting of the Ways’,” in Earliest Christian History: History, Literature, and Theology: Essays from the Tyndale Fellowship in Honor of Martin Hengel, ed. Michael F. Bird and Jason Maston (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 381–427; Marius Heemstra, “The Fiscus Iudaicus: Its Social and Legal Impact and a Possible Relation with Josephus’ Antiquities,” in Jews and Christians in the First and Second Centuries: How to Write their History, ed. Joshua Schwartz and Peter J. Tomson (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 327–47; a useful summary of the debate can be seen in Pierluigi Lanfranchi, “Le ‘modèle’ et les ‘faits’: Daniel Boyarin théoricien de la partition entre christianisme et judaïsme,” RSR 103 (2015): 351–67, especially 351–55. 16  Cf. Charles du Fresne Du Cange, Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis (Niort: L. Favre, 1883–1887), s.v. biblia; Eberhard Nestle, “The First English Example of ‘Biblia’,” ExpTim 15 (1904): 565–66; Albert Blaise, Lexicon Latinitatis Medii Aevi: praesertim ad res investigan­ das pertinens = Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs du Moyen-Age (Turnhout: Brepols, 1975), s.v. biblia. 17  The identification of the Luther Bibel (1534) as a decisive factor for the great dissemination of the term “Bible” in modern languages, as proposed by Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange, “Introduction: The Questions of Bible and Biblical,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), xi–xx, xi–xii, is not convincing. One of the first documented occurrences of the term in its current sense comes a hundred years before Luther, in a work that had a huge spread, the Imitation of Christ (ca. 1418): see De imitatione Christi I, 1.3. 18  He was a disciple of Elias Levita. Cf. Godfrey Edmond Silverman and Aya Elyada, “Muenster, Sebastian,” EncJud Second Edition 14 (2007): 599–600. 19  On the same page, Münster also uses ‫ מקדש‬to refer to the Bible: on this Hebrew title, see Naftali Wieder, “‘Sanctuary’ as a Metaphor for Scripture,” JJS 8 (1957): 165–75. For the Hebrew text, Münster drew on the Bomberg edition of 1517. An important reader of Münster’s translation was Luther: cf. Stephen G. Burnett, “The Strange Career of the Biblia Rabbinica among Christian Hebraists, 1517–1620,” in Shaping the Bible in the Reformation:

Some Preliminary Clarifications

21

It should be noted that this is a Christian work. By contrast, the word “Bible” does not appear in the first impressions of the Bible made by Jews.20 The socalled Biblia Rabbinica of 1516–1517 does not carry this title. The first page describes its content as “The twenty-four. The Pentateuch with the Targum of Onkelos and Rashi’s commentary,” and a long etcetera, because it also included the Masorah, other Targumim, and a selection of medieval commentaries. On the last page, the editor, Daniel Bomberg, refers to the work as “the twentyfour” and “the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.” The same applies to other printed editions of the time published by Jews.21 One has to wait more than a century to find “Hebrew Bible” employed by a Jew. The edition of Rabbi Joseph Athias, printed in 1661, is titled Biblia Hebraica correcta et collata cum antiquissimis et accuratissimis exemplaribus manuscrip­ tis et hactenus impressis Amstelodami.22 Beyond these historical minutiae, it is important to underscore the paradoxical nature of the term “Hebrew Bible.” Apart from the fact that the collection does not contain texts only in Hebrew, but also in Aramaic (Dan 2:4–7:28; Ezra 4:8–6:18, 7:12–26), it is striking that a Christian Latin word adopted from the Greek is used to designate a collection that is neither Latin nor Greek nor Christian. In view of its modern and hybrid character, one may wonder whether it makes sense to use “Hebrew Bible” in a study of 4 Ezra and Josephus. But it seems reasonable to keep it for pragmatic reasons: it is the most common term and it is not easy to find another that may be more appropriate.23 “Jewish Bible” Books, Scholars, and Their Readers in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Bruce Gordon and Matthew McLean (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 63–83, 74–75. 20  The very first printed editions even lack a title page. Cf. Christian David Ginsburg, Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible (London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 1897), 881 and 907. For more up-to-date bibliography on these editions, see Adrian K. Offenberg, “Hebrew Printing of the Bible in the XVth Century,” in The Bible as Book: The First Printed Editions, ed. Paul Henry Saenger and Kimberly van Kampen (London: British Library, 1999), 71–77, 71. 21  Cf. Ginsburg, Introduction, 896, 926 and 935–36; easier to consult are Bernhard Pick, “History of the Printed Editions of the Old Testament, together with a Description of the Rabbinic and Polyglot Bibles,” Hebraica 9 (1892/93): 47–116; and Richard Gottheil, “Bible Editions,” JE 3 (1903): 154–62, especially the stemma on p. 161. 22  Cf. Pick, “History of the Printed Editions,” 99. Beate Ego, “Biblical Interpretation—Yes or No? Some Theoretical Considerations,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 53–62, 59–61, identifies the oldest occurrence of “Hebrew Bible” in English in a book of 1655, whose author is apparently Christian. 23   “‘Bible’ and derivatives and composite terms seem to be inevitable,” Hermann Lichtenberger, “What is Bible?: A Response,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 157–70, 170.

22

Chapter 2

is also modern and is not without problems.24 The medieval acronym “Tanak” is rather unusual today and it explicitly refers to a tripartite division that does not appear—at least not in the same terms—either in Josephus or in 4 Ezra.25 2.4 “Canon” As is well known, the Greek word κανών comes from κάννα, a cane used as a measuring instrument.26 Hence derives its sense of “measure” and therefore of “standard,” “norm,” or “rule” that must be followed. In its current usage, the word “canon” admits several meanings, among which is that of a catalogue of sacred Scriptures. The biblical canon denotes the list of books of the Bible; “canonical” books are opposed to extra-canonical or “apocryphal” ones; the former are so called because they contain and agree with the rule or canon of faith.27 It was in the fourth century and only in a Christian context that “canon” began to be used to mean the list of sacred books.28 Its passage to the literary 24  Cf. Bernard M. Levinson, “Developments of the Jewish Bible: Critical Reflections upon the Concept of a ‘Jewish Bible’ and on the Idea of Its ‘Development’,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 377–92, 378–86. 25  The tripartite division is never mentioned in the Mishnah and the acronym Tanak is later than the Babylonian Talmud: cf. Tal Ilan, “The Term and Concept of TaNaKh,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 219–34, 219–20. This is why the term “Tanak” does not appear in Wilhelm Bacher, Die älteste Terminologie der jüdischen Schriftauslegung: Ein Wörterbuch der bibelexegetischen Kunstsprache der Tannaiten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1899). 26  Contrary to what is commonly said, Jan N. Bremmer, “From Holy Books to Holy Bible: An Itinerary from Ancient Greece to Modern Islam Via Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity,” in Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism, ed. Mladen Popović (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 327–60, 358–59, shows that the term came to the Greek from the Akkadian, not from the Hebrew. 27   “Apocryphal” is a term that has had its own semantic evolution. Cf. Edmon L. Gallagher, “Writings Labeled ‘Apocrypha’ in Latin Patristic Sources,” in Sacra Scriptura: How “Non-Canonical” Texts Functioned in Early Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. James H. Charlesworth, Lee M. McDonald and Blake A. Jurgens (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 1–14. On the origin of “pseudepigrapha” as a special category of books, cf. Annette Yoshiko Reed, “The Modern Invention of ‘Old Testament Pseudepigrapha’,” JTS 60 (2009): 403–36. 28  For the etymology of the Greek word and its use in the early centuries of Christianity, cf. Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987), 289–93; Jan Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedächtnis: Schrift, Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen (München: Beck, 1992), 103–29; Hubert Cancik, “Kanon, Ritus, Ritual: Religionsgeschichtliche Anmerkungen zu einem literaturwissenschaftlichen Diskurs,” in Kanon und Theorie, ed. Maria

Some Preliminary Clarifications

23

field, applied to the lists of the best works of ancient authors, occurred only in the eighteenth century.29 In Jewish circles, the term was adopted in relatively recent times, in a cultural context strongly influenced by Christian categories. As far as I can ascertain, the oldest occurrences of “canon” in Jewish authors go back to the nineteenth century in Germany (J. Fürst, H. Graetz).30 It is not a coincidence that this happened in the context of the Wissenschaft des Judentums, which can be defined as an intellectual effort to present the Jewish identity in terms that would be understood and accepted by German society.31 Trying to clarify what is meant by a “canon” of sacred books is no trivial task. The findings of the historical reconstruction largely depend on it. Many of the differences among scholars are due to the lack of clear definitions at the outset.32 For some of them, one can speak of canon to refer to collections of books the holiness of which no one disputes such as the Torah of Moses. But for others, it necessitates an explicit exclusion of the books outside the already accepted collections. Some try to avoid any possible confusion with the distinction between “Scriptures,” as a collection of books considered sacred, and “canon,” as a closed and exclusive list.33 Moog-Grünewald (Heidelberg: Winter, 1997), 1–19; Heinz Ohme, “Kanon I (Begriff),” RAC 20 (2004): 1–28; Bokedal, Formation and Significance, 55–80. 29  The first who uses it in this sense is David Ruhnken in 1768. Cf. Rudolf Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship: From the Beginnings to the End of the Hellenistic Age (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), 207. 30  Julius Fürst, Der Kanon des Alten Testaments nach den Überlieferungen in Talmud und Midrasch (Leipzig: Dörffling und Franke, 1868); Heinrich Graetz, Kohélet oder der Salomonische Prediger (Leipzig: Winter, 1871). 31  Cf. Christian Wiese, Challenging Colonial Discourse: Jewish Studies and Protestant Theology in Wilhelmine Germany (Leiden: Brill, 2005); Klaus S. Davidowicz, “The ‘Science of Judaism’ (Wissenschaft des Judentums) and the Bible,” in What is Bible?, ed. Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 1–12. 32  Barton has clearly shown this point: cf. Barton, Oracles of God, 57–63; Idem, “The Significance of a Fixed Canon of the Hebrew Bible,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, I/1: Antiquity, ed. Magne Sæbø (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996), 67–83, 68–71. More recently, see Becker, “Grenzziehungen,” 198–206; Michael J. Kruger, The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (Downers Grove: IVP, 2013), 27–46. 33  “To speak of ‘scripture’ is to say that there is a group of books such that at least those books have an authoritative status (however this is defined); but to speak of a ‘canon’ is to say that at most this particular group of books has authoritative status—or, to put it another way, that only these books have that status,” Barton, Oracles of God, 56. Similar to this is the distinction between “canon 1” and “canon 2” proposed by Gerald T. Sheppard, “Canon,” in The Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 3, ed. Mircea Eliade (New York: MacMillan, 1987), 62–69, and followed by McDonald, Biblical Canon: I, 99–108.

24

Chapter 2

Undoubtedly, this distinction is valid and necessary, but it is not enough. Things are a bit more complicated. For example, the definition of canon is inseparable from how to account for its formation, namely, from how to reconstruct the criteria of canonicity applied during the process. From the Enlightenment, the canon has often been explained by starting out from the model of political censorship—the leaders of a community impose some books in order to exclude other groups and their literature—as a reaction to the theological model of divine revelation, considered naive.34 More than a perfect definition, which decisively clarifies all possible ambiguities, what is needed is a reflection on what is meant by a holy book, on how a collection of sacred writings works, and to what extent the modern idea of “canon” can be applied to what the ancient sources say. Although there have been studies that have helped to clarify the concepts, the following complaint of K.W. Folkert remains valid: the recognition of scripture as an analyzable phenomenon, and the analysis of it, are tasks that have not been done and were not done in the time when the broad notion of ‘sacred books’ entered the process of organizing and understanding the history of religious traditions. This state of affairs shows itself most clearly in the profusion of names—would-be synonyms?—that litter the field: scripture, holy word, sacred book, sacred literature, Bible, canon, to name only some of the most prominent.35 It is not the purpose of this introduction to embark on the complex task of defining the meaning of the terms by which the sacred literature is designated. In what follows, I will limit myself to pointing out some problems present in the usual definitions of “canon” with the aim of showing the need to carry out a careful analysis of the sources. As a starting point, we can cite the definition proposed by Eugene Ulrich, since it has been widely accepted. Canon is:

34  Cf. Giuseppe Veltri, Libraries, Translations, and “Canonic” Texts: The Septuagint, Aquila, and Ben Sira in the Jewish and Christian Traditions (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 14–17. 35  Kendall W. Folkert, “The ‘Canons’ of ‘Scripture’,” in Rethinking Scripture: Essays from a Comparative Perspective, ed. Miriam Levering (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), 170–79, 172. Along the same lines, cf. Jonathan Z. Smith, “Canons, Catalogues and Classics,” in Canonization and Decanonization: Papers Presented to the International Conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9–10 January 1997, ed. Arie van der Kooij and Karel van der Toorn (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 295–311.

Some Preliminary Clarifications

25

the final, fixed, and closed list of the books of scripture that are officially and permanently accepted as supremely authoritative by a faith tradition, in conscious contradistinction from those books that are not accepted.36 For Ulrich, it is not sufficient to talk about canon as a defined collection of books, but its final, closed and exclusive character is also necessary. A canon is a list of books that includes and excludes at the same time, a list to which nobody can add anything or from which remove anything. Ulrich states further that, when speaking of the books within a canon, he is not including their textual form, which can be fluid.37 According to this definition, Jews and Christians share the same concept of canon. Ulrich has no doubt: although in the ancient Jewish sources the term “canon” is not used, the reality designated by it fits perfectly with Israel’s collection of sacred writings: Clearly the contents of the canon are different for different faith communities, but the concept of canon is the same for each. Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and others will list different books in their canons, but the definition remains the same for all.38 However, one should move cautiously in this field. The application of the term “canon” to different collections of sacred books works appropriately so far as a degree of generalization is being applied. This is not an illicit procedure— human language always involves abstraction—but the extension of the term should not lead to ignoring the differences. Only in generic terms can it be said that Jews and Christians share the same notion of “Scripture,” “holy book,” and 36  Eugene Ulrich, “The Notion and Definition of Canon,” in The Canon Debate: On the Origins and Formation of the Bible, ed. Lee M. McDonald and James A. Sanders (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002), 21–35, 31. He has proposed the same definition in subsequent publications. 37  Cf. Idem, “Notion,” 30–33. 38  Idem, “Notion,” 23. Sarna goes even further: “the concept enshrined in the ‘canon’ is distinctively and characteristically Jewish,” Nahum M. Sarna, “Bible: Canon, Text, and Editions,” EncJud 4 (1972): 816–41, 818 (this sentence remains identical in the second edition: cf. Nahum M. Sarna and S. David Sperling, “Bible: Canon,” EncJud Second Edition 3 (2007): 574–83, 575). A century ago, the same idea was defended by Ludwig Blau, “Bible Canon,” JE 3 (1902): 140–50. More recently, the thesis is shared by Shaye J.D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006), 169; Luc Zaman, Bible and Canon: A Modern Historical Inquiry (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 24–28; and Georg Steins, “Zwei Konzepte—ein Kanon: neue Theorien zur Enstehung und Eigenart der Hebräischen Bibel,” in Kanonisierung—die hebräische Bibel im Werden, ed. Georg Steins and Johannes Taschner (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2010), 8–45, 14–15.

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“canon.” When analyzed more closely, important differences also come to light along with the similarities.39 For example, Ulrich mentions the acceptance of the list as the highest authority (“supremely authoritative”) by a faith tradition. One may wonder what kind of authority is granted to the books: the doctrinal authority of a revelation about the being of God, which is to be believed, or the moral authority of certain rules, which have to be practiced? How is the divine origin of this authority recognized? More concretely, we can wonder whether there may be degrees in the authority attributed to the different parts of the canon. If so, not everything can be “supremely authoritative.” The Jewish tradition clearly distinguishes between the authority and sanctity of the Torah, on the one hand, and that of the Prophets and Writings, on the other. If the definition of Ulrich is applied to the Torah of Moses as described in the Letter of Aristeas, it meets all the requirements to be considered a canon.40 Probably, something similar could be said about the Torah in Philo of Alexandria. If we prefer to think in rabbinic terms, we must take into account the authority attributed to the oral Torah, recorded in the Mishnah, commented on (and canonized) by the Talmud. The distinction proposed by S.Z. Leiman between “canonical and inspired” books (the Scriptures) and “canonical, but uninspired” books such as Megillath Taanith, the Mishnah, and the Talmud is symptomatic of the difficulties of applying the concept of “canon” to Rabbinism.41 More subtle, but equally revealing are the reflections of D. Kraemer, who observes how the Mishnah became canonical in the proper sense since it is a closed and normative text which is an object of commentaries.42 In the same vein, Johann Maier concludes that it is preferable to give up the term “canon” when studying the ancient rabbinic texts.43 39  Veltri, Libraries, 1–14, shows how the application of the terminology of canon to the Jewish tradition has been filled with Christians presuppositions. 40  Cf. Ian W. Scott, “A Jewish Canon before 100 BCE: Israel’s Law in the Book of Aristeas,” in Early Christian Literature and Intertextuality: Volume 1: Thematic Studies, ed. Craig A. Evans and H. Daniel Zacharias (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 42–53. 41  Cf. Leiman, Canonization of Hebrew Scripture, 14–16; 127. On this book, cf. Everett R. Kalin, “How Did the Canon Come to Us: A Response to the Leiman Hypothesis,” CurTM 4 (1977): 47–51. 42  Cf. Kraemer, “Formation,” 626–27, where he tries to clarify the thesis of Neusner, to whom the rabbinic canon is not the written Torah, but the entire Torah. Kraemer refers, among many other publications, to Jacob Neusner and William Scott Green, Writing with Scriptures: The Authority and Uses of the Hebrew Bible in the Torah of Formative Judaism (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989). 43  Cf. Maier, Scritture, 25; see also Gunther Wanke, “Kanon und biblische Theologie: Hermeneutische Überlegungen zum alttestamentlichen Kanon,” in Gott und Mensch im Dialog: Festschrift für Otto Kaiser zum 80. Geburtstag, ed. Markus Witte (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004), 1053–61, 1055–56.

Some Preliminary Clarifications

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Moreover, if the books of a canon are the supreme authority, we should conclude that a canon implies a “religion of the book,” which identifies the Word of God with its written transcription. However, this is not the case with the Christian canon. Its two collections—OT and NT—refer to an authority superior to themselves and of an extratextual kind, that of the person, work, and words of Jesus of Nazareth. “If we go back to the beginnings, in reality, the norm or decisive canon for Christians was the figure of Jesus.”44 G. Stroumsa compares the authority of the New Testament, which reads the Old in light of the traditions about Jesus, with that of the Mishnah, which interprets the written Torah from the oral Torah.45 In both cases, it seems that the “supreme authority” is not to be found in books. From the authority attributed to the canon, we can move to the reasons that may have led to the statement that the collection is closed. Here too one should avoid generalizations. If the Christian canon is a list fixed and closed, this seems to be due to the belief that there has been a change of Aeon with the death and resurrection of Jesus—the “fullness of time” has come (Gal 4:4), the last times have begun. In other words, if divine revelation has been made fully and definitively in Jesus of Nazareth, in whom Israel’s Scriptures are fulfilled, one should not expect new oracles of God. For the followers of the risen Lord, the Scriptures express their faith in a normative way inasmuch as they witness to Jesus. Thus the idea of a “canon” depends on the Christian conviction of the eschatological—and therefore definitive and normative—character of divine revelation in Jesus.46

44  “Si nos remontamos a los orígenes, en realidad la norma o canon decisivo para los cristianos fue la figura de Jesús,” Sánchez Caro, “Configuración del canon,” 35; cf. Einar Thomassen, “Some Notes on the Development of Christian Ideas about a Canon,” in Canon and Canonicity: The Formation and Use of Scripture, ed. Einar Thomassen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2010), 9–28, 15. 45  Cf. Guy G. Stroumsa, “The Body of Truth and its Measures: New Testament Canonization in Context,” in Gnosisforschung und Religionsgeschichte: Festschrift für Kurt Rudolph zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Holger Preissler and Hubert Michael Seiwert (Marburg: DiagonalVerlag, 1994), 307–16, 314–16. 46  For a reflection about the foundations of the Christian idea of canon, cf. Antonio Artola, “El Canon antes del Canon: Los componentes conceptuales del Canon Bíblico,” in Biblia, Exégesis y Cultura: estudios en honor del profesor José María Casciaro, ed. Gonzalo Aranda, Claudio Basevi and Juan Chapa (Pamplona: Eunsa, 1994), 39–52; Gonzalo Aranda Pérez, “Il problema teologico del canone biblico,” in La Sacra Scrittura anima della teologia. Atti del IV Simposio Internazionale della Facoltà di Teologia, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, ed. Michelangelo Tábet (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1999), 13–35; Olivier-Thomas Venard, “Del canon bíblico a la vida cristiana,” in Palabra de Dios, Sagrada Escritura, Iglesia, ed. Vicente Balaguer and Juan Luis Caballero (Pamplona: Eunsa, 2008),

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As is evident, the consideration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Scriptures of Israel or as the final manifestation of the salvific plan of God could not have played any role in the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible, at least not directly. It is not the aim here to describe the characteristics and presuppositions of the Jewish or Christian canons. The goal of the above considerations was a reminder of the risks of being unaware of the generalizations implied when speaking of a “canon” of Jewish Scriptures. What has been said should be sufficient to show that very different approaches can be hidden behind externally similar collections of sacred Scriptures.47 The moral could be formulated like this: it is not appropriate to define the object of study before examining the sources, because of the risk of imposing concepts that are alien to them. A continuous movement back and forth between the questions asked and the answers provided by the documents of the past is to be preferred.48 Therefore, it is not worth extending the discussion about the meaning of the canon and its application to the sacred Scriptures of Israel. It is enough to know that 4 Ezra and Josephus are regarded as important evidence in the history of the formation of what is now called the “canon of the Hebrew Bible” without there being a requirement to produce a complete and precise definition of it a priori. It will be more interesting to reflect a posteriori on the characteristics of the collection of books of which the sources inform us and on the reasons that led to its formation. At the end of the route (pp. 203–205), it will be convenient to return to Ulrich’s definition of canon in order to see how far it corresponds to what has been seen in the sources. 213–36, 213–28; Régis Burnet, “Le canon des Écritures: Vers la fin d’une fausse question?,” Communio 37 (2012): 5–16. 47  An analysis of the differences between the Jewish and Christian concepts of Scripture can be seen in Guy G. Stroumsa, “The Christian Hermeneutical Revolution and its Double Helix,” in The Use of Sacred Books in the Ancient World, ed. Leonard V. Rutgers (Leuven: Peeters, 1998), 9–28; similar observations in Barton, Oracles of God, 57–63; Brevard S. Childs, Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments: Theological Reflection on the Christian Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), 64; Greenspahn, “Does Judaism Have a Bible?,” 1–12; Jacob Neusner, “Rabbinic Judaism, Formative Canon of, I: Defining the Canon,” in The Encyclopaedia of Judaism: v. 3, L-Ra, ed. Jacob Neusner, William Scott Green and Alan Jeffery Avery-Peck (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 2113–20; Benjamin D. Sommer, “Introduction: Scriptures in Jewish Tradition, and Traditions as Jewish Scripture,” in Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction, ed. Benjamin D. Sommer (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 1–14. 48  The interpretation of texts is a dialogue that requires respect, courtesy, or—still better— sympathy from the reader to be fruitful. Cf. Marrou, De la connaissance, 92–95; George Steiner, Real Presences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 137–232, especially 146–65. That human knowledge progresses through dialogue is a thesis as old as Socrates.

Chapter 3

Methodology and Structure Before describing the methodology, a caveat is in order. The following paragraphs will present the method as a linear process: formulation of the questions, selection of sources, literary analysis, and proposed explanation. In practice, however, the various stages overlap and influence one another. The development of this research has entailed a continuous reformulation of the initial questions, and the study of the historical context has led to the rereading of the texts with more attentive eyes. The methodology itself is not an a priori and consequently has also been reformulated as the study unfolded. The first step of an investigation consists in posing the questions. In this case, we want to know when, how, and why the collection of twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible was established. Secondly, the object of study has to be defined more precisely through a selection of the sources. On this occasion, they are the Against Apion of Josephus and 4 Ezra (the reasons for this choice were shown on pp. 5–15). The former questions then become more precise: what do these two authors exactly state about the number of sacred books, and why do they say it? After choosing the sources, a detailed literary analysis is carried out in order to bring out their meaning before attempting historical reconstructions. By “literary analysis,” I do not mean the search for the sources that the author may have used (Literarkritik), but a reading of texts prout iacent, taking seriously their content, form and context. This kind of analysis also implies that the texts are to be considered “first and foremost as literary productions before they are read as sources of social data.”1 Furthermore, as just discussed, if one wishes to respond adequately to the questions concerning the formation of the canon, it is preferable to avoid starting from an a priori definition of the terms to be used. The choice of this method involves—at least in the first instance—renouncing historical visions of a broad type, which often end up collecting data here and there from some texts that have been studied insufficiently. Through a careful literary ­analysis—a longer and more difficult road—we hope to obtain more lasting 1  Elizabeth Ann Clark, History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), 159. I also draw inspiration from the methodological comments on the scientific study of history proposed by Steve Mason, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees: A Composition-Critical Study (Leiden: Brill, 1991), 1–17.

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results, compared with the rather intuitive conclusions that have characterized the accounts of the biblical canon over the last 150 years. Fourth, the texts are to be compared, and a hypothesis is to be developed to explain the data and to answer the questions posed at the beginning. This final explanation must also be open to all sources with information relevant for the reconstruction of history. Within this last step, it is possible to distinguish between a “minimalist” description which is as sober as possible—namely, that avoids speculation—and a bolder and necessarily more hypothetical reconstruction that can be useful because it is able to explain more.2 According to the methodology just described, this book is divided into three parts, in addition to the present introduction. The first part studies the testimony of Josephus about the twenty-two books. The second part analyzes the function and meaning of the ninety-four books of the Torah at the end of 4 Ezra. The third part compares the two texts and formulates a hypothesis to answer the initial questions about the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The second part is considerably longer than the first, as can be seen easily by checking the number of pages devoted to each. This difference can be explained by two reasons. First, the analysis of 4 Ezra has to be more extensive than that of Josephus because of the different nature of the two texts. The passage of 4 Ezra that speaks of the ninety-four books is found at the denouement of the story. Therefore, it will be necessary to consider 4 Ezra as a whole and to provide a global interpretation of this apocalypse to understand that passage properly (as will be argued on pp. 95–97). Instead, the passage of Josephus is at the beginning of Against Apion, which is an apology and not a work with a narrative structure. So, it will be important to take into account the point of the argumentation where Josephus speaks of the twenty-two books, but it is not strictly necessary to offer an interpretation of the whole work. Second, the testimony of 4 Ezra on the sacred books requires more attention than that of Josephus because it has been less studied. Both the old histories of the canon and the most recent studies have come to 4 Ezra 14 as mere raw material for reconstructing the process of formation of the Hebrew Bible. That is, they simply state that it is the oldest evidence of a Hebrew canon of twentyfour books and put it in parallel with the contemporary testimony of Josephus

2  A good example of this distinction can be seen in Sylvie Honigman, The Septuagint and Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria: A Study in the Narrative of the Letter of Aristeas (London: Routledge, 2003).

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without performing an analysis of the meaning of the text within 4 Ezra and without conducting a close comparison with Josephus.3 Some important studies on the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible have not even taken 4 Ezra into account. In The Canon Debate, a collection of articles on the formation of the canon, 4 Ezra has only a couple of marginal mentions that contrast strongly with the chapter devoted to the testimony of Josephus, written by S. Mason. The same phenomenon occurs in Kanon in Konstruktion und Dekonstruktion, where 4 Ezra is mentioned simply as a comparison with Josephus to whom a full-length article is devoted, written by O. Gussmann. It is not easy to explain this disproportion. It is true that the testimony of Josephus is more explicit, but this difference is not enough to understand why 4 Ezra has been considered so little. Perhaps in the past 4 Ezra was seen as unrepresentative or marginal. However, the distinction between what is in the periphery and what is located in the center of the literature of the Second Temple period has become considerably blurred in recent years. Nobody now considers Jewish apocalyptic literature as a product of marginal currents or uneducated circles, contrary to what was common opinion some decades ago.4 The contrast between rabbinic precedents (the roots of the Mishnah) and some messianic or apocalyptic doctrines has also been superseded: the separation between rabbinic and apocalyptic worldviews is more understandable after the year 132 than immediately after the year 70 CE.5 In short, there is no reason to say that Josephus represents more faithfully or more significantly than 4 Ezra the Jewish identity in the late first century CE. Therefore, there is no justification to devote more space to the testimony of Josephus than to that of 4 Ezra where the history of the canon is concerned. 3  Among the classical histories of the canon, cf. Alfred Firmin Loisy, Histoire du canon de l’Ancien Testament: leçons d’Écriture Sainte (Paris: Letouzey & Ané, 1890), 18–20; Frants Peder William Meyer Buhl, Canon and Text of the Old Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1892), 18, 21, 32–33 and 49; Ryle, Canon of the Old Testament, 156–58 and 240–41; Gerrit Wildeboer, The Origin of the Canon of the Old Testament: An Historico-Critical Enquiry (London: Luzac & Co., 1895), 40–42. Among the more recent ones, the situation has not changed much: cf. Sundberg, Old Testament, 115; Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon, 240–41; Steinmann, Oracles of God, 121–22; Lim, Formation, 49–50; McDonald, Biblical Canon: I, 352–56. 4  A pioneer in this area was Jonathan Z. Smith, “Wisdom and Apocalyptic,” in Religious Syncretism in Antiquity: Essays in Conversation with Geo Widengren, ed. Birger A. Pearson (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1975), 131–56. The first scholar who emphasized the educated character of the author of 4 Ezra was Michael A. Knibb, “Apocalyptic and Wisdom in 4 Ezra,” JSJ 13 (1982): 56–74. On these changing trends, cf. Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 46–52. 5  Cf. Michael Becker, “Apokalyptisches nach dem Fall Jerusalems: Anmerkungen zum frührabbinischen Verständnis,” in Apokalyptik als Herausforderung neutestamentlicher Theologie, ed. Michael Becker and Markus Öhler (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 283–360.

PART 1 The Twenty-Two Books of the Jews According to Josephus



Introductory Note As mentioned in the introduction, the first part of this monograph concentrates on Josephus and his testimony about the twenty-two books of the Jews. Not surprisingly, the first chapter of this part—Chapter 4—will be devoted to a close analysis of the context and meaning of the relevant passage of the Against Apion. Chapter 5 will explore the references to the sacred books in the other three works of Josephus, namely, the Jewish War ( J.W.), the Jewish Antiquities (Ant.), and The Life (Life). The final chapter of this part—Chapter 6—completes the picture by investigating whether Josephus knows some books that can be labelled as being on the borderline of the canon and—if the answer is positive—how he refers to them.1

1  I have already published an article on Josephus and the canon that has been substantially rewritten in these pages: Juan Carlos Ossandón Widow, “Flavio Josefo y los veintidós libros: Nuevas preguntas en torno a Contra Apionem I, 37–45,” EstBib 67 (2009): 653–94. This allows me to present some points concisely, referring to this article for a more detailed discussion. In updating and reworking the material, I have paid special attention to three recent monographs on Josephus, although none of them addresses directly the issue that concerns us here: Jonathan Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Michael Tuval, From Jerusalem Priest to Roman Jew: On Josephus and the Paradigms of Ancient Judaism (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013); and William den Hollander, Josephus, the Emperors, and the City of Rome: From Hostage to Historian (Leiden: Brill, 2014). Moreover, two specific studies on Josephus and the canon have been published since 2009: Gussmann, “Josephus und die Entstehung des Kanons,” and Campbell, “Josephus,” to which I will refer below. See also Eva Mroczek, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 162–67.

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Chapter 4

The Passage of the Against Apion After publishing the Jewish War about the year 80 CE, Josephus began to prepare his most extensive work, the Jewish Antiquities.1 According to his own testimony (Ant. 20.267) he concluded it in the thirteenth year of Domitian, at the age of 56, that is, between 93 and 94.2 This date marks the terminus post quem of the Against Apion, necessarily later than the Antiquities, as it alludes several times to this work.3 There is no evidence to establish with certainty a terminus ante quem for the composition of the Against Apion. According to some scholars, it must have been written after the death of Domitian, in 96 CE, but their arguments are not decisive. So it is better to speak of the period 94–100.4 The audience that Josephus has in mind in the Against Apion seems very similar to the readers/listeners whom he addressed in the Jewish Antiquities, namely, Romans concerned with knowing the Jewish people and their history, but not excluding some Jewish readers.5 As for the genre, the Against Apion is considered an apology.6 In the exordium (Ag. Ap. 1.1–5), Josephus explains that many have not believed what he wrote in the Jewish Antiquities concerning the origin of the Jews because there is no reference to them in the Greek historians. For this reason, he undertakes the composition of this new work as a defense of his people, “to 1  On the date of publication of the Jewish War, cf. Mark Andrew Brighton, The Sicarii in Josephus’s Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observations (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), 33–41. 2  Cf. Steve Mason, Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus (Leiden: Brill, 2001), xv. 3  For an introduction to Against Apion, cf. Dagmar Labow, Flavius Josephus, Contra Apionem, Buch I: Einleitung, Text, Textkritischer Apparat, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2005), xi–lxxxiv, and especially John M.G. Barclay, Flavius Josephus: Against Apion (Leiden: Brill, 2007), xvii–lxxi. Barclay’s translation and notes are available online at https://pace.webhosting.rug.nl/york/york/showText?text=apion. 4  The discussion depends on the identification of Epaphroditus, to whom both the Jewish Antiquities and the Against Apion are dedicated. Cf. den Hollander, Josephus, the Emperors, 249, n. 254. 5  Cf. Barclay, Against Apion, xlv–li. 6   Cf. Christine Gerber, Ein Bild des Judentums für Nichtjuden von Flavius Josephus: Untersuchungen zu seiner Schrift Contra Apionem (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 78–93; Martin Goodman, “Josephus’ Treatise Against Apion,” in Apologetics in the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews, and Christians, ed. Mark J. Edwards et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 45–58; Barclay, Against Apion, xxx–xxxvi.

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convict those who insult us as guilty of malice and deliberate falsehood, to correct the ignorance of others, and to instruct all who wish to know the truth on the subject of our antiquity” (Ag. Ap. 1.3; unless otherwise indicated, the quotations of Josephus come from the translations of FJTC; for the Greek text, I have employed both the edition of B. Niese and the more recent one of F. Siegert).7 To gain a proper understanding why Josephus speaks of the twenty-two books of the Jews in Ag. Ap. 1.37–45, it is fundamental to present an overview of the point in the argument in which the passage is located. This permits a knowledge of its function and prevents errors of perspective. The first step is to locate the text within the overall structure of Against Apion. From the indications offered by Josephus himself (Ag. Ap. 1.1–5; 1.58– 59; and especially 2.287–296), the book is easily divided into two parts. In the first one (Ag. Ap. 1.6–218), Josephus tries to demonstrate the antiquity of the Jewish people. In the second part, he refutes the calumnies of Manetho, Chaeremon, Lysimachus, and Apion (Ag. Ap. 1.219–2.144), and he concludes by presenting an encomium of the constitution by which the Jews are governed (Ag. Ap. 2.145–286), which is none other than the Law of Moses.8 As can be seen, the passage of Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 belongs to the first part of the Against Apion, the pars construens. The strategy of Josephus here is to prove the antiquity of the Jews through the use of evidence of peoples other than the Greeks. However, this begins only in Ag. Ap. 1.69. Before resorting to Egyptians or Babylonians, Josephus warns his readers against the risk of relying on Greek sources as if they were the ultimate authority for history. His argument against the reliability of Greek historians is built in three steps: a) in Ag. Ap. 1.6–27, he shows the shortcomings of the Greek historiography: these are due mainly to the lateness of their culture (6–14); and they 7  Benedictus Niese, Flavii Iosephi Opera: Vol. V. De Iudaeorum vetustate sive Contra Apionem libri II (Berlin: Weidmann, 1889); available online at www.perseus.tufts.edu; Flavius Josephus, Folker Siegert, ed. Über die Ursprünglichkeit des Judentums (Contra Apionem) (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008). For the text preserved only in Latin translation (Ag. Ap. 2.52–113), cf. Flavius Iosephus, Karl Boysen, ed. Flavii Iosephi opera ex versione latina antiqua: 6: De Iudaeorum vetustate sive Contra Apionem libri II (Wien: Tempsky, 1898). On the transmission and preservation of the text of Against Apion, cf. Flavius Josephus, Über die Ursprünglichkeit, 1:65–82. See also Tommaso Leoni, “The Text of Josephus’s Works: An Overview,” JSJ 40 (2009): 149–84, 170–75. 8  On the meaning of νόμος and other similar terms in Josephus, which do not always refer to the book of the Torah of Moses, cf. Mason, Josephus on the Pharisees, 96–106; Joseph Sievers, “La Torah in Flavio Giuseppe,” RStB 16 (2004): 231–44; Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies, 137–79, especially 137–39 and 177–79.

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become evident by checking the numerous contradictions among their accounts (15–18); Josephus attributes such deficiencies also to the lack of written records (ἀναγραφαί, 19–22) and to the fact that the Greeks are more concerned with displaying eloquence than with telling the truth (23–27); b) in Ag. Ap. 1.28–56, he exposes the superiority—compared with the Greeks—of archival preservation among Eastern peoples: Egyptians, Babylonians, and especially Jews (28–46); here he inserts a digression to make an apology for what he wrote in the Jewish War (47–56); c) after a transition section (1.57–59), Josephus explains why the Greek sources ignore the existence of the Jewish people (1.60–68). Now we can look in more detail at the point in the argument where the passage of Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 is located. In 1.28, picking up a point he had made in 1.8–9, Josephus recalls that, among the Egyptians, Babylonians and Phoenicians, the task of keeping records of everything that happened among them was entrusted to a particular group from ancient times. Josephus knows that this is familiar to his audience because the role of the Egyptian priests in the preservation of written documents in their temples was notorious, thanks especially to Herodotus’ references to it (Book 2 passim; see also Plato, Tim. 21b–23c). In Ag. Ap. 1.29, Josephus takes the next step: among the Jews there is the same or even more care of records than in the peoples mentioned previously. Then Josephus explains how the written records of his people have been kept to the present. In this case, the task is handled by two different groups: the high priests and the prophets. It should be noted that here Josephus is not interested in specifying what kind of records he is referring to. His goal consists of extending to the Jews the prestige enjoyed by other peoples for their “extremely ancient and extremely stable tradition of memorialization” (Ag. Ap. 1.8) through the preservation of documents. In fact, the line of his reasoning compels Josephus to put two different types of writings on the same level: the genealogical lists of priests and the prophetical books. In Ag. Ap. 1.37–45, he will describe the “records” written by the prophets—it is the text we shall discuss in detail. Immediately above, in 1.30–36, he speaks of the priests, who keep no historical records, but the lists of their succession. The train of thought in Ag. Ap. 1.30–36 is difficult to follow. Josephus fluctuates between priests (Ag. Ap. 1.30–35), and high priests (Ag. Ap. 1.29 and 1.36). In addition, he talks, on the one hand, about the preservation of records and, on the other, about the purity of the priests who are in charge of them, guaranteed in turn by the documents that contain their genealogies.

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To solve these difficulties, R. Gray suggests reconstructing the argument in this way: only the prophets are in charge of writing (cf. 1.37), while the task of the high priests consists of preserving what the former wrote. The allusion to the genealogical records that ensure the purity of the priests (1.31– 35) would be only a parenthesis. However, Gray has to admit that Josephus himself does not distinguish the two functions as she does.9 Indeed, from Ag. Ap. 1.29 it seems that both prophets and high priests perform the same function. A better explanation is that Josephus is consciously avoiding describing the priestly records with precision because they do not contain historical events, but only genealogical lists. As Barclay explains, “from the careful preservation of records Josephus shifts the topic to the preservation of the recordkeepers’ lineage, because the latter is in fact the only evidence he has for the continuous production of ‘records’ within the Judean tradition.”10 In fact, as Josephus acknowledges in the following paragraph, the production of historical records by the prophets was not continuous, but was interrupted in the time of the Persian king Artaxerxes. 4.1

The Text

Before commenting on Ag. Ap. 1.37–45, it is worth quoting it extensively: Naturally, then, or rather necessarily—seeing that it is not open to anyone to write of their own accord, nor is there any disagreement present in what is written, but the prophets alone learned, by inspiration from God, what had happened in the distant and most ancient past and recorded plainly events in their own time just as they occurred—[38] among us there are not thousands of books in disagreement and conflict with each other, but only twenty-two books, containing the record of all time, which are rightly trusted. [39] Five of these are the books of Moses, which contain both the laws and the tradition from the birth of humanity up to his death; this is a period of a little less than 3,000 years. [40] From the death of Moses until Artaxerxes, king of the Persians after Xerxes, the prophets after Moses wrote the history of what took

9  Rebecca Gray, Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Jewish Palestine: The Evidence from Josephus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 10–11. 10  Barclay, Against Apion, 25, n. 125.

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place in their own times in thirteen books; the remaining four books contain hymns to God and instructions for people on life. [41] From Artaxerxes up to our own time every event has been recorded, but this is not judged worthy of the same trust, since the exact line of succession of the prophets did not continue. [42] It is clear in practice how we approach our own writings. Although such a long time has now passed, no-one has dared to add, to take away, or to alter anything; and it is innate in every Judean, right from birth, to regard them as decrees of God, to remain faithful to them and, if necessary, gladly to die on their behalf. [43] Thus, to date many have been seen, on many occasions, as prisoners of war suffering torture and all kinds of deaths in theaters for not letting slip a single word in contravention of the laws and the records associated with them. [44] What Greek would suffer this on behalf of his own writings? He will not face the slightest injury even to save the whole body of Greek literature from obliteration! [45] For they regard these as stories invented at the whim of their authors, and they are right to think this even with regard to the older authors, since they see some of their contemporaries daring to write accounts of events at which they were not present and about which they have not troubled to gain information from those who know the facts. The passage properly ends at 1.46, where Josephus expresses contempt for how some have written about the recent war of the Jews. In this way, he prepares for the digression of Ag. Ap. 1.47–56. But that takes us away from our subject. As can be easily seen, the text contains several points that require a commentary. A first general observation is to recall that the rhetorical context of the passage should never be forgotten. For example, the argument demands the presentation of the Jews as a people who all believe and feel the same way about their Scriptures, something that has been the case for a very long time. Such an insistence on unanimity has a great degree of rhetorical exaggeration. Therefore, it would be wrong to rely on this passage to infer that all Jewish groups accepted and venerated the same books in the same way. However, it would be equally wrong to think the opposite, namely, that Josephus is attempting to defend a particular collection against others who reject it. By itself, the text does not allow us to infer much about the degree of acceptance of the twenty-two books among the various Jewish groups of the time. On this point, the testimony of 4 Ezra is certainly different, as we shall see later (cf. Chapter 12).

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Possible Identification of the Twenty-Two Books

The twenty-two books have undeniable similarities with the Scriptures of Israel. Their religious dimension appears explicitly in Ag. Ap. 1.42. It is true that Josephus does not apply the adjective “sacred” to the books here, as he does in other parts of his works, including Against Apion itself (cf. Ag. Ap. 1.1).11 This omission can be easily explained by the context of the argument, that forces him to present the Scriptures as if they were national historical records.12 Therefore, it is legitimate to take the text as a testimony about the books of what would become the Hebrew Bible. Before attempting to identify the books, it is worth noting something that Josephus does not say: the fact that the number of books corresponds to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (The possible symbolic connotations of the numbers twenty-two and twenty-four will be studied later, on pp. 179–184). Josephus attributes to Moses a narrative spanning three millennia, ranging from the origin of man until Moses’ own death.13 These five books appear identical to those that now make up the Pentateuch, from Genesis 1 to Deuteronomy 34.14 The fact that Moses is explicitly identified as the first prophet-writer is not banal. It makes clear that the collection does not contain any work attributed to figures prior to Moses, such as Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, or the twelve patriarchs.15 (On the possible presence of an anti-Enochic controversy in Josephus, see pp. 76–82).

11  When referring to sacred books, he always uses ἱερός, never ἅγιος. In addition, Josephus never calls the books of other peoples this, except in Ag. Ap. 1.228. Cf. Christine Gerber, “Die Heiligen Schriften des Judentums nach Flavius Josephus,” in Schriftauslegung im antiken Judentum und im Urchristentum, ed. Martin Hengel and Hermut Löhr (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1994), 91–113. 12  Cf. Sid Z. Leiman, “Josephus and the Canon of the Bible,” in Josephus, the Bible, and History, ed. Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata (Leiden: Brill, 1989), 50–58, 51–52. 13  On the ambiguous account of the death of Moses in the Jewish Antiquities, see n. 52 on p. 80. 14  Naturally, I do not mean the text and its variants, which is a different problem. On the text used by Josephus to compose Ant. 1–4, cf. Étienne Nodet, “Josephus and the Pentateuch,” JSJ 28 (1997): 154–94. 15  Cf. Odil Hannes Steck, “Der Kanon des hebräischen Alten Testamentes: historische Materialien für eine ökumenische Perspektive,” in Verbindliches Zeugnis: Vol. 1: Kanon— Schrift—Tradition, ed. Wolfhart Pannenberg and Theodor Schneider (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992), 11–33, 29.

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After Moses, a succession of prophets (cf. Ag. Ap. 1.41) has recorded the events of each generation. Two different things are attributed to the prophetwriters in 1.37 (μέν … δέ): they learn by divine inspiration what happened “in the distant and most ancient past,” and they write the events of their own time. The inspiration appears as the source of knowledge of the past; it does not seem necessary to suppose it regards the knowledge of contemporary events. Therefore, among the writers, it seems that only Moses would have enjoyed this gift, in order to write about the origins of the world and of Israel. The writing down of history by the prophets has an end-point that Josephus sets at the time of “Artaxerxes, king of the Persians after Xerxes” (Ag. Ap. 1.40), without providing further details about him. Why does he mention precisely this character? In Ant. 11.184, Josephus presents Artaxerxes as the son of Xerxes and begins to tell the story of Esther.16 It can be inferred from this that Josephus considers Esther as the last book of the twenty-two to have been written and its author as the last prophet of the succession.17 By contrast, the Persian king who is called Artaxerxes in Ezra-Nehemiah is called Xerxes by Josephus in Ant. 11.120–123. It is important to clarify this point, because it has led to some confusion. It is simply not true that Josephus puts the end of the prophetic succession in the time of Ezra, who would be accordingly the last prophet.18 In the context of the argument against the reliability of Greek historiography, this date shows that the Jewish records end up when the Greeks are just beginning (cf. Ag. Ap. 1.13). However, it is reasonable to wonder why Josephus 16  Josephus follows Esther LXX, which instead of Xerxes says Artaxerxes. Cf. Leiman, “Josephus and the Canon,” 51; Barclay, Against Apion, 30, n. 163. On these names and their equivalence with the ancient Persian, cf. William Stewart McCullough, “s.v. Ahasureus,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica, ed. Ehsan Yarshater (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), I/6: 634–635; an updated version is available online at www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ ahasureus. 17  Josephus seems to believe that Esther was written shortly after the events narrated, an assumption problematic from the point of view of modern exegesis, but suggested by the text itself: cf. Esth 9:20–32; Ant. 11.293. On Book 11 of the Jewish Antiquities, see now Paul Spilsbury and Chris Seeman, Flavius Josephus, Judean Antiquities 11 (Leiden: Brill, 2017). 18  “Wenn Josephus diesen Zeitpunkt unter dem Perserkönig Artaxerxes I. (464–424) ansetzt, dann sieht er in Esra (vgl. Esr 7:1) den letzten Propheten und gleichzeitig den letzten unter den Autoren des Kanons, deren erster Mose war,” Rudolf Smend, “Das Alte Testament,” in Die Entstehung des Alten Testaments, ed. Walter Dietrich et al. (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2014), 17–52, 22. The same mistake appears in Lucio Troiani, Commento storico al “Contro Apione” di Giuseppe: introduzione, commento storico, traduzione e indici (Pisa: Giardini, 1977), 77; in Steck, “Kanon des hebräischen Alten Testamentes,” 28; and in Karel van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 256.

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says that the writing of continuous historical records among the Jews was interrupted at a particular point. He tries to explain it in Ag. Ap. 1.41, a text that calls for careful review. But before that, we should finish the presentation of the twenty-two books in Ag. Ap. 1.39–40 and their possible identification. If one wants to match the twenty-two books of Josephus with the twentyfour of the current Hebrew Bible, one way to achieve this is to assume that the thirteen historical books are Joshua, Judges (with Ruth), Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah (with Lamentations), Ezekiel, the Book of the Twelve, Daniel, Job, and Esther.19 The remaining four would be Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Qoheleth. It is sufficient to consider Ruth and Lamentations separately to move from the twenty-two books of Josephus to the twenty-four of the current Hebrew Bible.20 This way of identifying the twenty-two books of Ag. Ap. 1.37–42 is not impossible. Regarding the traditional authorial attributions, all the books of the Hebrew Bible fall within the time frame Moses-Artaxerxes. In addition, Josephus tells the story of Ruth in Ant. 5.319–337, precisely when the material coming from Judges ends.21 This could be a remote sign that for him Ruth goes with Judges. Historically, this would be the first testimony about it.22 But this identification of the twenty-two books is not without problems. If Job is one of the thirteen books, it could be implied that it narrates facts that happened after Moses which belong to the history of Israel, which is not the case; if the Song of Songs is set in the third group, then it contains “hymns to God and instructions for people on life,” which seems a weird description for a collection of love poems. Moreover, including Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Daniel, Job, and Esther among the prophets is a significant divergence from the usual tripartite structure of the Hebrew Bible. Other differences between the “Bible” of Josephus and the Hebrew Bible will be studied later, in Chapter 6. There we will wonder also whether books that today are not canonical, like Tobit or Jubilees, could be among the twenty-two. 19  Josephus’ mention of twelve prophets who, like Isaiah, wrote predictions (cf. Ant. 10.35) does not help to identify the thirteen books of Ag. Ap. 1.40; in the context it seems a reference to the Book of the Twelve. Cf. Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon, 79, n. 80; Mason, “Josephus and Canon,” 123–24. 20  Cf., among many others who propose this identification of the twenty-two books, Leiman, “Josephus and the Canon,” 53–54; Labow, Contra Apionem, Buch I, 6. 21  Cf. Christopher T. Begg, Flavius Josephus: Judean Antiquities 5–7 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 79, n. 895. 22  The possibility of joining Ruth to Judges, and Lamentations to Jeremiah is attested in the fourth century by Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 4.35 (but Cyril includes with Jeremiah also Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah), and by Jerome in his Prologus Galeatus (lines 45–47 in Weber and Gryson eds., Vulgata, 365).

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If a minimalist position is preferred—one which seeks the highest degree of certainty—among the twenty-two books there must be the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and the “hymns to God,” the Psalms.23 The “instructions for people on life” would include Proverbs. To these we can surely add—considering not only the Against Apion, but the whole corpus of Josephus—Ruth, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, the Book of the Twelve, Chronicles, and Daniel. At the other end of the spectrum, we can put three books of the Hebrew Bible whose existence Josephus could, in theory, be unaware of because he never refers to them: Job, Qoheleth, and the Song of Songs.24 There are many intermediate possibilities between maximalism and minimalism. For example, Martin Hengel considers it likely that Josephus’ collection does not include the Song of Songs and Qoheleth, two works discussed among the rabbis. Then it is sufficient to consider Ruth and Lamentations independently to arrive at the twenty-two.25 Hengel does not say which should then be the four books of the third group. Psalms and Proverbs correspond well to the description. Job could come here too, which would avoid the problem of including it among the prophets who wrote the Jewish history after Moses. The fourth could be Lamentations. As can be seen, all these proposals have in common an hypothetical character. Josephus’ description of the twenty-two books is not only generic but also artificial and somewhat distorted by the controversy with Greek historiography, which forces him to present the Scriptures of Israel as national historical records. Be that as it may, it seems highly likely that the twenty-two books of which Josephus is talking here are roughly the same ones as the twenty-four that form the current Hebrew Bible. The efforts made to identify the twenty-two books should not lead us to lose sight of a surprising detail in the passage, the mention of the four final books which do not contain the history of the Jews. Their presence in the text is a strong argument in favor of a collection that existed independently of its mention here.26 Otherwise, namely if it were an invention created by Josephus simply to strengthen his argument against the Greek historiography, it would have been better to omit these four books (and perhaps some of the thirteen, and certainly the end or interruption of the prophetic succession). 23  Cf. McDonald, Biblical Canon: I, 345. 24  See Seth Schwartz, Josephus and Judaean Politics (Leiden: Brill, 1990), 45–47. 25  Cf. Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, 101. 26  Cf. Gray, Prophetic Figures, 25, n. 64; Höffken, “Zum Kanonsbewusstsein,” 162, n. 9; Gussmann, “Josephus und die Entstehung des Kanons,” 347.

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The artificial character of the mention of these four books explains Josephus’ ambiguity regarding their prophetic character. If the emphasis is placed on the identification between prophet and historian, one should conclude with Chapman that the authors of hymns and precepts are not prophets.27 But Josephus claims additionally that only the prophets are allowed to write (Ag. Ap. 1.37), so it also seems possible to conclude that these four books must be the works of prophets, although they do not contain a record of historical facts. If so, we could infer that they cannot have been written after Artaxerxes, when the exact succession of prophets is over. The book of Ben Sira, for example, is thus excluded. In any case, it should be recognized that the text is ambiguous. On whether the four books should be considered composed by prophets or not, Ag. Ap. 1.39–40 is not clear. Another striking point of the passage is the interruption of the exact succession of the prophets, something which deserves an extended comment. 4.3

The Prophets and Their Succession

In Ag. Ap. 1.38, Josephus assures his readers that the Jews have only twentytwo books, but immediately after (Ag. Ap. 1.41) he has to admit that there are more. In order to preserve consistency, one might think that there are only twenty-two books “which are rightly trusted” (1.38; πεπιστευμένα). In fact, when Josephus recognizes that there is other Jewish literature, the main difference will be that it does not deserve the same confidence (πίστις) as the twenty-two books (cf. Ag. Ap. 1.41). The twenty-two books have been written by a special category of people in Israel, the prophets (with the possible exception of the last four books, as just seen). In Ag. Ap. 1.37, Josephus equates prophet and historian. He does not do so by granting the title of prophet to anyone who has written a book. On the contrary, he intends to indicate that the prophets, beginning with Moses, were the only members of the people allowed to write history, at least while they succeeded one another. It seems implicit that the twenty-two books deserve confidence because they have been written by prophets. Unfortunately, Josephus never explains what he means by ‘prophet’ either here or in the rest of his works.28 From what he says here and there, it can be 27  Chapman, The Law and the Prophets, 274, n. 176. 28  On the concept of “prophet” in Josephus, cf. Louis H. Feldman, “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,” JTS 41 (1990): 386–422; Joseph Sievers, “Michea figlio di Imla e la profezia in Flavio Giuseppe,” RStB 11 (1999): 97–105; Ossandón Widow, “Flavio Josefo,” 668–72.

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shown that, for him, there are no prophets outside Israel. Among Greeks or Chaldeans one may find seers or soothsayers, but they lack true prophets: the ethnic criterion is clearer than the chronological one.29 According to the description of the twenty-two books, the prophets have written about the past and the present, but not about the future. This is in sharp contrast with other passages of the works of Josephus, where the prediction of future facts known through divine inspiration is often presented as a characteristic feature of prophecy. This aspect disappears here because of the context: the twenty-two books fulfill the role of national historical records. 4.3.1 The Cessation of Prophecy? Josephus seems to assert that those who have written after Artaxerxes fall outside the category of prophets. More precisely, such books do not deserve the same credit as the twenty-two, he says, διὰ τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι τὴν τῶν προφητῶν ἀκριβῆ διαδοχήν (Ag. Ap. 1.41). This causal clause does not excel in clarity. It is so terse that the translators have to paraphrase it: “because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets” (Thackeray, LCL), “since the exact line of succession of the prophets did not continue” (Barclay, FJTC), “parce que les prophètes ne se sont plus exactement succédé” (Blum, Les belles lettres). Until a few decades ago, this text was regarded as evidence of a common belief in the cessation of prophecy in Israel during the Second Temple period. The phrase of Ag. Ap. 1.41 was taken as a link in a chain of texts—extending from the prophet Zechariah up to the Babylonian Talmud—that would show a general conviction, sometimes called “dogma,” according to which there are no longer prophets in Israel.30 For example, Hengel affirms that the cessation of prophecy had already become a fixed theory in the Maccabean period (1 Macc. 4:46; 9:27; 14:41). Eschatological movements such as Essenism, the ‘zealot’ prophets of the first century described by Josephus, and early Christianity must count against this theory of the end of prophetic inspiration.31 29  Cf. Feldman, “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,” 416–18; Mason, “Josephus and Canon,” 118. 30  The texts usually quoted in this sense are the following: Ps 74:9; Zech 13:2; Lam 3:9; Dan 3:38; 1 Macc 4:46; 9:27; 14:41; 2 Bar. 85:3; Ag. Ap. 1.41 and several passages of rabbinic literature, such as S. ‘Olam Rab. 30; b. Sanh. 11a; b. Yoma 9b, 21b; b. Soṭah 48b; and especially t. Soṭah 13:2–4. An extended presentation of the ancient sources and the modern debates can be seen in L. Stephen Cook, On the Question of the “Cessation of Prophecy” in Ancient Judaism (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011). 31  Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, 100.

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One of the first scholars who questioned the antiquity and dissemination of this belief was Rudolf Meyer. He notes that, of the texts cited as evidence, only the later properly speak of a cessation of prophecy.32 Therefore, he proposes that this idea should be understood as a rabbinic construct designed to counteract the emergence of charismatic movements, after the disastrous experience of the Jewish wars, and to justify the legitimacy of the rabbis (the ‘wise’), who presented themselves as the successors of the prophets.33 Although there remain many differences of opinion, most authors agree with Meyer on one point: when Josephus wrote, there was not a belief in the cessation of prophecy that was accepted by all Jews. Many of the texts cited do not actually say that prophecy has ceased. Among them, the text of Josephus must be read carefully.34 The phrase itself is not unequivocal and admits various interpretations. According to Troiani, for example, Josephus “non dice in sostanza che i profeti non ci sono più, dice il contrario: i profeti ci sono, ma la loro ‘successione’ non è più precisa.”35 In other words, Josephus would deny only the accuracy or precision of the succession of prophets. This seems a bit extreme. What would it mean to have an inaccurate succession? But Troiani is right in noting that the phrase does not imply the definitive extinction of the prophets, since it does not exclude their sporadic appearance. However, one cannot infer from the text that there are isolated prophets. 32  According to Meyer, the three texts of 1 Maccabees (1 Macc 4:46; 9:27; 14:41) do not refer to the expectation of an eschatological prophet, but to John Hyrcanus. Cf. Rudolf Meyer, “προφήτης κτλ. Prophecy and Prophets in the Judaism of the Hellenistic-Roman Period,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich and Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), 6:812–828, 815–16. 33  Cf. Idem, “προφήτης,” 828. 34  Among the authors who have followed Meyer, see David E. Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 103– 6; and Frederick E. Greenspahn, “Why Prophecy Ceased,” JBL 108 (1989): 37–49. On the contrary, Benjamin D. Sommer, “Did Prophecy Cease? Evaluating a Reevaluation,” JBL 115 (1996): 31–47, rejects the position of Meyer: for him, the appearance of prophets in the first century CE shows that the idea of the cessation of prophecy was real, since they were considered as a sign of the arrival of the end times. Although many of his observations are valid, Sommer fails to prove positively that there was a widespread belief in the cessation of prophecy. 35  Lucio Troiani, “I profeti e la tradizione nell’età greco-romana,” in Biblische und judaistische Studien: Festschrift für Paolo Sacchi, ed. Angelo Vivian (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1990), 245–55, 245. An identical interpretation is proposed by Lester L. Grabbe, “Thus Spake the Prophet Josephus …: The Jewish Historian on Prophets and Prophecy,” in Prophets, Prophecy, and Prophetic Texts in Second Temple Judaism, ed. Michael H. Floyd and Robert D. Haak (New York: T&T Clark, 2006), 240–47, 242.

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Strictly speaking, the phrase says nothing of the existence of prophets after Artaxerxes: if there have been, they have not succeeded one another.36 The denial does not refer to the prophets, but to their accurate succession, which seems to guarantee the authenticity of a prophet and the reliability of what he writes, as we shall see.37 The idea of a succession of prophets has some basis in Scripture. Josephus probably draws on Deut 18:15–22—interpreted as the institution of the prophetic office—and on other texts (cf. 2 Kgs 17:13–23; 2 Chr 24:19; 36:15–16; Jer 7:25; 25:4–7; 35:15; Zech 1:1–6), which suggest that each generation or each king had access to a true prophet, who would remind them of the obligation of obeying the Torah. Similar ideas appear in other texts, for example Bar 1:21; Matt 21:33–46; 23:34–39 and parr.38 But the notion of “succession” (διαδοχή) has a background that goes far beyond the Scriptures of Israel. The peculiar connotations of this concept in the Greco-Roman culture require a comment. 4.3.2 Priests, Philosophers, and Historians Taking into account the whole section of Ag. Ap. 1.28–56, it should be noted that to talk about a prophetic succession creates a parallel between the prophets and the priests. Indeed, Josephus had employed the term “succession” in Ag. Ap. 1.31 when discussing the genealogy of the priests’ wives. Therefore, the phrase in Ag. Ap. 1.41 might suggest that after Artaxerxes it was no longer possible to ascertain the genealogy of the prophets among the Jews.39 But, unlike the priests (or the kings), the succession of the prophets is not genealogical, from parents to children. To our knowledge, the office of prophet was not hereditary in Israel. Nothing leads us to think in these terms either in the Hebrew Bible or in the works of Josephus. It is therefore better 36  Cf. Gray, Prophetic Figures, 8–16. 37  On the importance of ἀκρίβεια in Josephus, both in historiography and in the laws, cf. Mason, Life, 14, n. 65; more extensively in Idem, Josephus on the Pharisees, 75–79. 38  Cf. Yairah Amit, “The Role of Prophecy and Prophets in the Book of Chronicles,” in Prophets, Prophecy, and Prophetic Texts in Second Temple Judaism, ed. Michael H. Floyd and Robert D. Haak (London: T&T Clark, 2006), 80–101; Thomas C. Römer, “Moses, Israel’s First Prophet, and the Formation of the Deuteronomistic and Prophetic Libraries,” in Israelite Prophecy and the Deuteronomistic History: Portrait, Reality, and the Formation of a History, ed. Mignon R. Jacobs and Raymond F. Person Jr. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013), 129–45. Josephus could not have taken the idea of a succession of prophets from Eupolemus, as suggested by Martin Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period (London: SCM, 1981), 136, simply because there is nothing similar to it in the surviving fragments of this author: cf. Ossandón Widow, “Flavio Josefo,” 684–85. 39  Cf. Feldman, “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,” 400.

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to understand the prophetic succession alluded to in Ag. Ap. 1.41 in terms of teacher and pupil, as a chain of transmission of teachings. In fact, in the Greco-Roman cultural context, the word διαδοχή was loaded unequivocally with this connotation because it was used to refer to the succession of the leaders of a philosophical school from the founder to the present time. So common was this way of speaking, that sometimes the term is used directly to designate a school.40 This connotation enables us to understand an implicit point in Josephus’ argument: namely, that an accurate succession implies authenticity or legitimacy. In Ant. 20.224–251, Josephus informs us in detail about the succession of the high priests. He cares about the topic probably because this sequence ensured the legitimate transmission of the law of Moses, founder of the Jewish tradition construed as philosophy.41 Conversely, if there is no exact succession, the chain of transmission is interrupted and then those who come after that moment have no access to the thinking of the original master and so do not deserve equal credit—regardless of whether Josephus attributes the gift of prophecy to an historical figure later than Artaxerxes, as he seems to do with John Hyrcanus (cf. J.W. 1.68–69; Ant. 13.299–300).42 In addition to the genealogical succession of priests and the institutional and intellectual succession within the philosophical schools, there is still a third type of succession that should be mentioned in this context: the consciousness of continuity among the ancient historians. Thucydides wants to start his narrative where Herodotus finishes his; Xenophon, where Thucydides concludes; and so in many other cases.43

40  Cf. Willem Cornelis van Unnik, Flavius Josephus als historischer Schriftsteller (Heidelberg: Schneider, 1978), 48; Elias J. Bickerman, Studies in Jewish and Christian History. Vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 1980), 256–69 (“La chaîne de la tradition pharisienne”), especially 262–63; Troiani, “I profeti e la tradizione,” 252. 41  Cf. Mason, Josephus on the Pharisees, 235–37. 42  Much of the discussion on the belief in the cessation of prophecy has turned on the terminology of “prophet” and “prophecy.” But in Josephus there is no systematic use of these terms: cf. Ossandón Widow, “Flavio Josefo,” 680–82. 43  More examples in John Marincola, Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 237–57; 289–92. Marincola presents in an appendix a list of Greek and Roman historians. Unfortunately, he does not link this awareness of continuity with the succession of the philosophical schools. Cf. also Doron Mendels, “The Formation of an Historical Canon of the Greco-Roman Period: From the Beginnings to Josephus,” in Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond, ed. Joseph Sievers and Gaia Lembi (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 3–19, 7.

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As far as I know, no ancient author uses the term “succession” in this context, because there is no direct contact between a historian and his or her continuer. But we can speak of an ideal or intellectual succession. Josephus knows this tradition and consciously inserts himself therein, as will be discussed below with regard to the prologue of the Jewish War (cf. p. 59). Therefore, it is very likely that, in presenting the prophets as historians in succession—each recounts the events of his own generation—Josephus has in mind the continuity of Greek and Roman historians, although in this case there is not a direct link between succession and legitimacy, as in the other two cases (priests and philosophical schools). 4.3.3 The Interruption of the Prophetic Succession We still have to explain the central point of Ag. Ap. 1.41, namely, why Josephus says that the exact succession of prophets ended at a precise moment during the Persian period. In other words, we have to ask how this assertion could be useful to his argument. According to S. Mason, Josephus seeks to produce a rhetorical effect, supported by the prestige of everything that seems old and remote. His intention would be to suggest that Jewish historiography produced its best when the Greeks had not begun to write history. Thus Josephus would prepare his audience for the demonstration of the antiquity of the Jewish people, which starts in Ag. Ap. 1.69. “Rather than regretting the absence of contemporary prophets (…), Josephus plainly views the long ages since official Judean record-writing ceased as a great advantage over the Greeks.”44 I do not see how this cessation could be “a great advantage over the Greeks.” It is true that Josephus emphasizes the antiquity of the historiography of his people, by contrast with the Greeks. But this intention does not explain or justify saying that the record of the facts did not continue or that its level of reliability decreased. Would it not have been more persuasive to present all historical books as equally reliable? Does it not speak ill of the Jews that the chain of prophets was interrupted? Do they not appear as inferior to the Egyptians and other Eastern peoples whose annals continue to the present? The interruption of which Josephus speaks cannot be explained satisfactorily by the needs of the argument. To be sure, this interruption does not destroy his central point, the antiquity of the Jewish people. But arguing that the succession of prophet-historians has ended hardly helps to underline the reliability of Jewish historiography. Claiming that there is a cut in the succession of prophets makes the more recent Jewish historiography less reliable. 44  Mason, “Josephus and Canon,” 119; see also 115.

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Mason is certainly correct when he recalls that the old was considered better or of greater value than the recent or the new.45 But in some cases the contrary could also be true. An interesting example is found in the Institutio Oratoria, published by Marcus Fabius Quintilian (ca. 35–100 CE) at exactly the same time and place as Josephus’ Against Apion.46 In the tenth book, Quintilian offers a selection of literary works as recommended reading for future speakers who wish to improve their style and vocabulary (cf. Inst. 10.1.1). Quintilian first collects the lists (ordines) of the Alexandrian grammarians (cf. Inst. 10.1.46–84; especially 53–54).47 Then he presents his own selection of the best Latin works (10.1.85–131). Although he does not seek controversy, Quintilian cannot avoid a comparison with the Greeks. He acknowledges that the Romans cannot match the quality of the Greek literature in most genres, but he stresses that at least many of the Latin great works are recent. Quintilian suggests that Greek culture has declined—it does not produce at the same level as in past times—and has been replaced by the younger and stronger Latin culture.48 This contrast with Greek literature goes in the opposite direction from that followed by Josephus in the Against Apion. But the implicit criticism of Quintilian of antiquity qua antiquity illustrates what was said before: the fact that the historical records of Israel have reduced their level of reliability cannot be considered as an advantage over the Greeks. 4.3.4 The Prophet Josephus? Finally, it is worth noting that, if the prophetic succession ended in the Persian period, this is problematic not only for the prestige of Jewish historiography in general but also for the status of Josephus himself as a historian. As is known, 45  Cf. Peter Pilhofer, Presbyteron Kreitton: Der Altersbeweis der jüdischen und christlichen Apologeten und seine Vorgeschichte (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1990). 46  Quintilian wrote the Institutio between 92 and 95 in Rome. Cf. James Jerome Murphy and Cleve Wiese, eds., Quintilian on the Teaching of Speaking and Writing: Translations from Books One, Two, and Ten of the “Institutio Oratoria” (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), xiv–xv. As far as I know, a comparative study between Quintilian and Josephus is still a desideratum. 47  The Alexandrian lists in relation to the canon will be discussed on p. 212. The list of Quintilian is very similar to the one found a century earlier in Greek in the De Imitatione of Dionysius of Halicarnassus; text in Hermann Usener and Ludwig Radermacher, eds., Dionysii Halicarnasei Opuscula (Leipzig: Teubner, 1899–1929), 2:204–14. On the relation of the list of Quintilian to that of Dionysus, cf. Amiel D. Vardi, “Canons of Literary Texts at Rome,” in Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World, ed. Margalit Finkelberg and Guy G. Stroumsa (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 131–52, 136. 48  Cf. Idem, “Canons,” 148.

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immediately after the text we are discussing, Josephus defends the value of his own historical work (cf. Ag. Ap. 1.47–56). Both here and elsewhere, Josephus loves to stress his reliability as a historian by attributing to himself some characteristics that bring him close to the prophets, as has been shown by recent scholarship.49 Therefore, Josephus’ efforts to emphasize the reliability of his own work make even more remarkable the assertion of Ag. Ap. 1.41. Even if the phrase is interpreted in a minimalist way—there are still prophets, only their exact succession was lost—the claim that what has been written after Artaxerxes “is not judged worthy of the same trust” as the books written before cannot be overridden when considering Josephus’ self presentation as a historian. When Josephus tries to present himself as a historian like the prophets who wrote the twenty-two books, he can do it only to a certain extent. By mere chronology, all his work belongs to the group of historical records written after Artaxerxes. According to his scheme, therefore, his own books do not deserve the same credit as those written by the prophets. He cannot be completely equated with them because he cannot claim to be a successor of the prophets. I insist on this because many scholars exaggerate the “prophetic” status of Josephus. For example, Bilde goes too far when he says that: the central idea in CA 1.37–41 seems to be that the Jewish writers of history, from the beginning of Moses and down “to our own time” were divinely appointed “prophets” who were able to write consistent and reliable history.50 In fact, Josephus never equates his books with the Scriptures. Bilde does not wonder why, but the answer seems simple: the Scriptures are already a closed and accepted collection that Josephus does not intend to dispute (unlike the author of 4 Ezra, as we shall see later). 49  Cf. Bilde, “Contra Apionem 1.28–56,” 94–114. Gregory E. Sterling, Historiography and SelfDefinition: Josephos, Luke-Acts and Apologetic Historiography (Leiden: Brill, 1992), 235–38, thinks that, in writing the Jewish Antiquities, Josephus considered himself in line with the prophets. Joseph Blenkinsopp, “Prophecy and Priesthood in Josephus,” JJS 25 (1974): 239–62; Gary Lance Johnson, “Josephus: Heir Apparent to the Prophetic Tradition?,” SBLSP 22 (1983): 337–46; Robert G. Hall, Revealed Histories: Techniques for Ancient Jewish and Christian Historiography (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), 24–30; Gray, Prophetic Figures, 35–79; Robert Karl Gnuse, Dreams and Dream Reports in the Writings of Josephus: A Traditio-Historical Analysis (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 21–33 and 269; and Grabbe, “Thus Spake,” 245–47, argue in the same direction. 50  Bilde, “Contra Apionem 1.28–56,” 103.

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If Josephus had had any objections to the collection of twenty-two books, he should have manifested them in some way. He could have hidden the existence of a collection in which he cannot hope to be included (indeed, he hides it somehow in Ant., as we shall see). Without Ag. Ap. 1.37–45, the hypothesis that Josephus wants to present his work with a status equivalent to that of the prophetic Scriptures would be much more credible. But, as Mason says, we do have this text.51 We will return to the interruption of the prophetic succession on pp. 63–66, to see if these concepts are present in the magnum opus of Josephus, the Jewish Antiquities. Before turning to that question, we must say a word about the last part of our passage, Ag. Ap. 1.42–45. 4.4

Assimilation of the Books to the Sacredness of the Torah

Many Jews considered sacred not only the content of the Torah but also the scroll that contained it. Accordingly, an affront to the book of the Torah was an affront to God (cf. J.W. 2.228–231; Ant. 20.115–116). The destruction of a Torah scroll as an offense against God and the prospect of death for possessing a copy are mentioned for the first time in Jewish history in the context of the Maccabean revolt (1 Macc 1:55–56; cf. Ant. 12.256).52 Josephus mentions frequently the willingness to die for the Torah. In addition to the texts quoted above, see J.W. 1.648–655; 2.152–153; 2.169–177; 7.341–388; 7.416–419; Ant. 18.23–24; 18.55–62; and 18.261–288. In general, Josephus does not show enthusiasm for or approval of those who risk their life or are willing to die for any reason. However, he never manifests ambiguity when speaking of someone who dies for the Jewish law(s). It is always a noble death, though not always a model to be imitated.53 In Ag. Ap. 1.42–45, Josephus speaks of the willingness of the Jews to give their lives for their people’s books as something normal. But to talk about dying for the book of, say, Joshua or Esther sounds a bit artificial. The point 51  “It is fair to say that if we lacked the Against Apion, Josephus himself would offer the clearest case for an open canon. But we do have the Against Apion,” Mason, “Josephus and Canon,” 126. 52  Interestingly, Josephus omits this in J.W. 1.34–35, parallel to Ant. 12.256. For a synopsis of Josephus, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees, cf. Joseph Sievers, Synopsis of the Greek Sources for the Hasmonean Period: 1–2 Maccabees and Josephus, War 1 and Antiquities 12–14 (Roma: Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2001). 53  Cf. Jan Willem van Henten, “Noble Death in Josephus: Just Rethoric?,” in Making History: Josephus and Historical Method, ed. Zuleika Rodgers (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 195–218, 207–11; Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies, 115–36.

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to underline is that here Josephus is extending to other books something that happened, as far as we know, only with the book(s) of the Torah. Later, in the second part of the Against Apion, Josephus will claim that the Jews are willing to die rather than to utter a word against the Torah (Ag. Ap. 2.219 and 233), without mentioning the other books. The omission is not surprising because there Josephus is giving an encomium on Jewish Law. The novelty of the text we are discussing is that Josephus adds to the laws “the records associated with them” (Ag. Ap. 1.42). Thus Josephus extends to the twenty-two books the veneration that in the ancient Jewish world is attested only with respect to the Torah scroll. And this is unique.54 Another element that points in the same direction is the application of the formula “neither adding nor omitting anything” to the twenty-two books. This expression was quite common in antiquity. It is not intended to describe care in the copy and preservation of the manuscripts, as it might seem to a modern reader, but to underline the inviolability of what is considered of divine origin.55 The formula appears with this sense in two texts that Josephus knew well: the book of Deuteronomy, in reference to the observance of the precepts of the Torah (Deut 4:2; 13:1), and the Letter of Aristeas, in reference to the translation of the Torah (Let. Aris. 311). Josephus has no hesitation in applying the formula to the twenty-two books.56 In the context of the Jewish literature of the Second Temple period, equating the sacredness of other books to that of the Torah is quite significant. It seems a consequence of the consideration of the books of the Torah as part of a bigger collection. When other books are added to those of the Torah as their continuation, it is not surprising to attribute to them some features that previously had been applied only to the five books of Moses. Another consequence of presenting the twenty-two books as a collection that tells a continuous narrative is that the Mosaic Torah is not seen as the center, but as the beginning—as in the Christian Old Testament! In this point, Josephus is closer to Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Luke 24:27) than to Philo of Alexandria. The assertions of Ag. Ap. 1.42–45 can be taken as a testimony of a 54  “The Judean martyr-tradition on which Josephus draws was familiar with dying for the laws (or for God), but not with dying for the scriptures—and, indeed, with death for the laws as textual phenomena only inasmuch as they contained the rules and customs obeyed by Judeans, not as written (historical) records in themselves. Josephus, however, needs this addendum to create the following artificial contrast with the attitude of Greeks to their historiography,” Barclay, Against Apion, 32–33, n. 179. 55  Cf. Willem Cornelis van Unnik, “De la règle Μήτε προσθεῖναι μήτε ἀφελεῖν dans l’histoire du canon,” VC 3 (1949): 1–36; Louis H. Feldman, Flavius Josephus: Judean Antiquities 1–4 (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 7–8, n. 22 (commenting Ant. 1.17). 56  For more details, see Ossandón Widow, “Flavio Josefo,” 689–90.

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process of sacralization of some writings by assimilation with the Torah, the sacred book(s) in Israel par excellence. It is difficult to determine whether Josephus reflects a widespread mentality among the Jews or whether his view here is a rather eccentric exaggeration. But his words show that, for a Jew of the late first century CE, it was possible to compare the value of some books to that of the Torah. We will see that this extension of the sacredness of the Torah to all the Scriptures will be much more explicit in 4 Ezra, since all the books are presented there as the divine Torah (cf. pp. 149–150). 4.5 Summing-Up Before moving on to examine the other works of Josephus, it is worth offering a summing-up of what has been said. The characteristics of the twenty-two books of the Jews according to Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 can be summarized in the following points: 1) the books are few in number, only twenty-two; 2) they are unanimous historical records; there is no disagreement among them; 3) they are divided into three groups: five books of Moses, thirteen of other prophets, and “the remaining four”; 4) they were written by prophets, with the possible exception of the last four books; 5) the prophets who recorded the events distant in time wrote inspired by God; 6) the prophet-writers succeeded one another, but the chain was broken in times of the Persian king Artaxerxes (and thus the last prophet is the author of the book of Esther); 7) through being written by a succession of prophets, the books are worthy of trust (or at least more worthy of it than those written later, when there was no exact succession of prophets); 8) from their divine origin, they are immutable: one cannot add or remove anything; 9) the Jews are willing to die for them; 10) the Jews consider them decrees of God. Many of these characteristics can be considered rhetorical exaggerations. But we have shown that Josephus cannot have invented the collection of twentytwo books de novo. He adapts an existing reality very similar to the current

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Hebrew Bible to his polemic against Greek historiography. This claim—important for the history of the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible—is based mainly on two reasons: 1) The mention of four non-historical books has no function in the argument and thus could not be explained if a collection including them did not exist. 2) The assertion that the books written after Artaxerxes do not deserve the same trust as the twenty-two plays no role in the argument; rather, it goes in the opposite direction. The end of the succession of prophets looks like a concept created ad hoc to justify a fact difficult to explain, that is, the interruption of the historical narrative in the Persian period.

Chapter 5

The Twenty-Two Books outside the Against Apion So far the references to the rest of the corpus of Flavius Josephus have been reduced to the minimum necessary to understand what he says in the text of the Against Apion. It is quite natural to ask next if there are references to the collection of twenty-two books, the end of the prophetic succession, and the willingness to give one’s life for books in the other works of Josephus, all written before the Against Apion. On dying for the books, it has just been noticed how in Ag. Ap. 1.42–45 Josephus extends to other books what he claims in other passages only in reference to the book(s) of the Torah. Now we have to examine whether the other claims of Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 find some correspondence elsewhere. We begin with the Jewish War, the first and undoubtedly the less “biblical” work of Josephus. 5.1

The Scriptures in the Jewish War

The discussion about the presence and use of the Scriptures of Israel in the Jewish War has been recently rekindled by Michael Tuval in his book From Jerusalem Priest to Roman Jew: On Josephus and the Paradigms of Ancient Judaism (2013). His central thesis—expressed in the title—is that Josephus changed considerably over the years between the Jewish War and the Jewish Antiquities.1 According to Tuval, when Josephus wrote his first work, he lived and reasoned as a Jerusalem priest whose main concern was the Temple cult. After several years in Rome, however, he became a Diaspora Jew, centered on the Torah of Moses, and this change is reflected in the Jewish Antiquities.2 Among other things, this religious and intellectual evolution manifests itself in the varying degree of Josephus’ familiarity with the Scriptures of Israel. Following Seth Schwartz, Tuval argues that the Jewish War shows a very superficial knowledge of the “biblical” narratives. The presence of elements that 1  Tuval considers the Life and the Against Apion only marginally: cf. Tuval, From Jerusalem Priest, 1. 2  As Tuval acknowledges, his proposal is based mainly on ideas of his thesis director, Daniel R. Schwartz: Idem, From Jerusalem Priest, v. Among the many publications where Schwartz has defended this interpretation of Josephus, cf. Daniel R. Schwartz, Reading the First Century: On Reading Josephus and Studying Jewish History of the First Century (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 146–66.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_008

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do not correspond to what is told in the “biblical” books about Abraham and Sarah, Melchizedek, Elisha, Haggai, and other characters leads Tuval to assume that Josephus was basing himself on what he remembered of priestly traditions, not on the direct reading of the Scriptures, something he would do later when composing the Jewish Antiquities.3 This way of interpreting the Jewish War is problematic for at least two reasons. The first difficulty is that Tuval draws conclusions about Josephus’ knowledge of the Scriptures from a work that is not intended to comment on them and thus refers to them only indirectly. Second, some significant deviations from the “biblical” stories are found also in the Jewish Antiquities, and it would be absurd to consider them signs of ignorance of the text.4 Interestingly, the hypothesis of S. Schwartz and Tuval has led them to gather all the references to the Scriptures throughout the Jewish War. The result, which is independent of their conclusions, shows a list of books that could be described as “traditional”: the Pentateuch, Joshua, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Haggai, Ezra, and the Psalms.5 Among them, the book of Jeremiah is notable for its influence on Josephus’ self-presentation.6 Although not explicitly mentioned, two other books must be added to the list: Lamentations7 and Daniel.8 Josephus probably knew some other books (cf. J.W. 6.109). The most relevant passage of the Jewish War in relation to Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 is certainly the prologue ( J.W. 1.1–30). This is not the place to discuss it in its 3  S. Schwartz doubts that Josephus knew the biblical texts: Schwartz, Josephus and Judaean Politics, 23–35. Tuval, From Jerusalem Priest, 115–28, substantially agrees. 4  For this critical appraisal of Tuval’s work, I rely on Tucker S. Ferda, “Jeremiah 7 and Flavius Josephus on the First Jewish War,” JSJ 44 (2013): 158–73, 165, n. 2; and on Steve Mason, “The Priest Josephus away from the Temple: A Changed Man?,” RevQ 26 (2014): 375–402, 393–95. 5  See the list in Schwartz, Josephus and Judaean Politics, 24–25, who then examines all the possible references to the Scriptures and shows their problematic nature. The largest number of references to the Scriptures is found in Josephus’ speech before the walls of Jerusalem. Cf. Paul Spilsbury, “Reading the Bible in Rome: Josephus and the Constraints of Empire,” in Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond, ed. Joseph Sievers and Gaia Lembi (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 209–27, 212–15. 6  Cf. Ferda, “Jeremiah 7,” 158–173. 7  Helgo Lindner, Die Geschichtsauffassung des Flavius Josephus im Bellum Judaicum: Gleichzeitig Beitrag zur Quellenfrage (Leiden: Brill, 1972), 132–41; Caryn A. Reeder, “Pity the Women and Children: Punishment by Siege in Josephus’s Jewish War,” JSJ 44 (2013): 174–94. 8  Cf. Christopher T. Begg, “Daniel and Josephus: Tracing Connections,” in The Book of Daniel in the Light of New Findings, ed. Adam S. van der Woude (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1993), 539–45; Steve Mason, “Josephus, Daniel, and the Flavian House,” in Josephus and the History of the Greco-Roman Period: Essays in Memory of Morton Smith, ed. Fausto Parente and Joseph Sievers (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 161–91, especially 178–90. For the presence of the book of Daniel in Josephus, see later pp. 68–71.

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entirety or to compare it with parallel passages (especially Ag. Ap. 1.47–56).9 I wish to focus only on one assertion. In J.W. 1.18, Josephus explains that his account begins at the point where “the historians of these events and our prophets” stop.10 The phrase is better understood when it is recalled that since Thucydides it was usual for a historian to begin his narrative where the previous one finished, as mentioned on p. 51.11 The historical narrative of the Jewish War starts in the second century BCE, with the capture of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV and the foundation of a temple in Leontopolis by the high priest Onias (cf. J.W. 1.31ss.). If we had only J.W. 1.18, it would appear that the prophets of Israel had written history well into the Hellenistic period. We must note the tension between this statement and the time frame of the twenty-two books in Ag. Ap. 1.41. If the moment where “the historians of these events” and the prophets of Israel conclude refers to the same historical moment and if this corresponds roughly to the second century BCE, it does not match at all with the end of the succession of the prophets in the time of Artaxerxes.12 Harmonizing both texts, one might think that “our prophets” ended their history in Persian times and then the non-Jewish historians continued. But above all it must be recognized that Josephus is speaking in general terms in the prologue to the Jewish War and it would be unfair to demand a degree of precision not appropriate to the context in which he did not need to provide further explanations. In sum, it is not clear whether Josephus knew and accepted the collection of twenty-two books, or the idea of a breakdown of the Jewish history written by the prophets in the Persian period, when he wrote the Jewish War. However, J.W. 1.18 does show something relevant for our research. Two points affirmed in the Against Apion were already present in Josephus’ mind as he wrote the Jewish War, namely, that those who play the role of historians 9  For a commentary of J.W. 1.1–16, see Idem, Josephus on the Pharisees, 62–75; Sterling, Historiography and Self-Definition, 241–42. 10  In Ag. Ap. 1.213–218, Josephus gives a list of non-Jewish historians who have alluded to his people. Cf. Barclay, Against Apion, ad loc., especially n. 748, where he notes the parallel between Ag. Ap. 1.218 and J.W. 1.17–18. 11  For a brief presentation of Josephus and the conventions of ancient historiography— especially Thucydides and Polybius as models for the Jewish War, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus for the Jewish Antiquities—cf. Jonathan J. Price, “Josephus,” in The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Volume 1, Beginnings to AD 600, ed. Andrew Feldherr and Grant Hardy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 219–43, 25–29. On the possible dependence of Josephus on Dionysus, cf. Louis H. Feldman, Josephus and Modern Scholarship (1937–1980) (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1984), 407–8. 12  Cf. Mason, “Josephus and Canon,” 116.

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among the Jews are the prophets; and that the writing down of history by the prophets did not continue until Josephus’ times, but concluded earlier, some time before Antiochus IV. 5.2 The Jewish Antiquities A comparison between the passage of the Against Apion about twenty-two books and such an extensive work as the Jewish Antiquities can be approached in many different ways. In what follows, I will focus on two questions. – First, we shall see whether the distinction between the twenty-two books and the other books of Jewish history is reflected somehow in the Jewish Antiquities, and whether such a distinction corresponds to a different degree of credibility. – Second, we shall examine if the notion of an exact succession of prophets who wrote history and was interrupted in the time of Artaxerxes finds correspondence in the narrative of the Jewish Antiquities. 5.2.1 The Twenty-Two Books Josephus refers several times to the Jewish Antiquities as a translation of the “Hebrew Scriptures” or “holy books” (cf. Ant. 1.5.13.17.26; 10.218; 20.261; Ag. Ap. 1.1.54.127).13 The same idea is repeated when, in recounting details that could cause difficulty to the reader, Josephus recalls that he is merely referring to what he has found written in the books (cf. Ant. 2.347; 3.81; 9.214; 10.281). This description is puzzling for anyone who knows the content of the twenty books of the Jewish Antiquities, not only because they are not a translation in the modern sense but also because the sources employed and the period narrated go far beyond the “Hebrew Scriptures.” The main sources of the Jewish Antiquities that can be identified—without going into too many details—are the following.14 Books 1–4 correspond roughly to the Pentateuch; books 5–6, to Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel. In books 7–9, Josephus used 2 Samuel, 13  On the problem of what Josephus means by ‘translation’ here, cf. Sabrina Inowlocki, “‘Neither Adding nor Omitting Anything’: Josephus’ Promise not to Modify the Scriptures in Greek and Latin Context,” JJS 56 (2005): 48–65; Louis H. Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 343–60. 14  It is important to note that in general Josephus does not mention his sources, so that their recognition depends largely on the possibility of comparing Josephus’ text with other texts preserved. He might have employed other sources that have not survived and therefore cannot be identified. For what follows, I rely on Sterling, Historiography and SelfDefinition, 248–90.

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1–2 Kings, 1–2 Chronicles, Jonah, and Nahum. Book 10 is based on 2 Kgs 18–24, 2 Chr 32–36, Isaiah 38–39, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel. Book 11 depends on 1 Esdras,15 Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Esther.16 To compose Ant. 12–13, Josephus used the Letter of Aristeas, 1 Maccabees, and Polybius. Finally, regarding books 14–20, Josephus employed Strabo and Nicholas of Damascus.17 Neither at the end of the narration of the story of Esther and Mordecai (Ant. 11.296) nor anywhere else in the Jewish Antiquities, does Josephus make reference to a change in the level of credibility of the sources. After the story of Esther, he reports who were the high priests at the time (Ant. 11.297–303) and then begins to speak of Alexander the Great (Ant. 11.304–347). This rapid enumeration suffices for us to perceive the inconsistency between how Josephus refers generically to the Jewish Antiquities as a translation of the holy books and the sources he effectively used, which were not limited to the “sacred books,” if these correspond to the twenty-two described in Ag. Ap. 1.37–41. By their very content, the Letter of Aristeas and 1 Maccabees are subsequent to the time of Artaxerxes and therefore cannot be part of the twenty-two books. The problem cannot be solved by saying that the collection of twentytwo books is something new in the Against Apion by contrast with the Jewish Antiquities, because, at the beginning of the former, Josephus says again that in his Jewish Antiquities he wrote a history spanning five thousand years “from our sacred books” (Ag. Ap. 1.1; cf. 1.54). This inconsistency does not seem to be problematic for Josephus himself. When speaking in general terms, he can afford a certain degree of imprecision. More concretely, when he affirms in Ant. 1.13 that the sacred books contain a history of five thousand years, he surely knows that this is not completely true. He repeats the same claim at the beginning of the Against Apion, although, 15  First Esdras is a book preserved only in Greek whose content corresponds, with slight variations, to 2 Chr 35–36; Ezra; and Neh 7:38–8:12; with a section of its own material (1 Esd 3:1–5:6). The use of 1 Esdras by Josephus will be discussed below: see p. 71. 16  It is far beyond the scope of this research to study the “biblical” sources of the Jewish Antiquities from the linguistic point of view—a very broad and complex topic. The common view is that Josephus made use of texts in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. For an overview, very useful is Louis H. Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 23–36. 17  On the possible sources of Josephus, cf. Idem, “A Selective Critical Bibliography of Josephus,” in Josephus, the Bible, and History, ed. Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata (Leiden: Brill, 1989), 330–448, 400–5; Joseph Sievers, “Nichtjüdische Autoren im Geschichtswerk des Josephus,” in Juden und Christen unter römischer Herrschaft: Selbstwahrnehmung und Fremdwahrnehmung in den ersten beiden Jahrhunderten n. Chr, ed. Niclas Förster and J. Cornelis de Vos (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015), 164–74.

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shortly after, he will state that the books cover less than five thousand years. So, when composing the Jewish Antiquities, he must have been aware that their content goes beyond what the Scriptures say. Therefore, the problem can be reformulated. What we should wonder is how it can be explained that Josephus mentions only the sacred books as his source when he refers to the Jewish Antiquities. Or, to put it in other words, we should ask why he hides the presence of other sources. Bilde suggests a reasonable answer. One of the main goals of the Jewish Antiquities (and also of the Against Apion) is to show the antiquity of the Jewish people. When Josephus refers generically to this work, he puts it in relation only to the sacred books, as they are the most important and noble part of its sources, being the oldest. Other sources—whether pagan or “late” Jewish— are not worth mentioning in this context, although in some cases Josephus explicitly cites them in the course of his narrative, as he does with the Letter of Aristeas (cf. Ant. 12.100), Polybius (cf. Ant. 12.135–136), or Strabo.18 Thus, it is an application of the principle pars pro toto that can explain why Josephus presents the Jewish Antiquities as a translation of the sacred books, when he knows that their contents and sources are broader.19 This explanation helps us to understand the manner in which Josephus refers to the Jewish Antiquities, but leaves some important questions unanswered. If Josephus lacked the appropriate sources, why did he want to write a story from the creation to his own time? If he knew that the holy books tell the story of his people only up to the Persian period, why did he hide the gap in his sources? Moreover, and especially, why did he never mention the collection of twenty-two books before the Against Apion? It is not easy to answer these questions. However, part of the solution depends on the second point of our comparison between the Against Apion and the Jewish Antiquities, namely, the interruption of the prophetic succession. 5.2.2 The Succession of Prophets After analyzing the most relevant passages of the Jewish Antiquities and the opinions of scholars, the conclusion that I defended in 2009 was that the idea of a succession of prophets was not present in this work.20 In contrast to the 18  Quotations of Strabo are numerous in the Jewish Antiquities: 13.319 and 345–347; 14.34–36; 104; 111–118 and 138–139; 15.8–10. Cf. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors, I:268–85. 19  Cf. Per Bilde, Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome: His Life, His Works, and Their Importance (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1988), 93–94. 20  “Ni BelJ. ni AntJ. manifiestan una creencia en una sucesión profética, ni en su interrupción. Y tampoco muestran una distinción entre un grupo de veintidós libros absolutamente fiables y otros que lo serían menos. En consecuencia (…) el argumento de la

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opinion of S. Mason, for whom Josephus already had in mind the category of prophetic succession when writing the Jewish Antiquities, I argued that the interruption of the prophetic succession is a novelty of Against Apion, following P. Höffken.21 I think that this conclusion can be maintained, but needs to be formulated in a way that highlights better the coherence between the Jewish Antiquities and the Against Apion. Despite the differences in extent and genre, the similarities between the Jewish Antiquities and the Against Apion are so numerous that we can speak of a background consistency between the two works.22 It is true that the concept of prophetic succession and its interruption are not present in the former and therefore are a novelty of the latter. I still think that Mason exaggerates the continuity. However, this idea must be nuanced, with the clarification that this “novelty” does not imply a change of mind or the incorporation of new data. An interpretation related to some source external to Josephus such as Yavneh is possible but it is not required to explain the text.23 Rather, the difference can be expressed by saying that in the Jewish Antiquities Josephus prefers to hide the difference between the collection of sacred Scriptures and other books while in the Against Apion he prefers to expose it openly. It does not seem that information previously ignored has come to him, because, as has been seen, he continues to speak of the Jewish Antiquities in the same terms in the introduction of the Against Apion (Ag. Ap. 1.1). To explain why Josephus changes his strategy regarding the collection of books, it can be assumed that in the Jewish Antiquities he sees no need to explain the difference between the twenty-two books and the others. Instead, in the Against Apion, the context forces him to speak about the Jewish historical records and therefore he cannot avoid acknowledging what previously he had sucesión profética y su interrupción parece creado ad hoc por Flavio Josefo, a partir del paralelo con la genealogía sacerdotal y, más genéricamente, con las escuelas filosóficas de la época, como recurso para justificar la distinción de un grupo especial de libros dentro de las escrituras judías,” Ossandón Widow, “Flavio Josefo,” 684. 21  For the arguments of both, cf. Idem, “Flavio Josefo,” 684–85. In this regard, Gussmann and Campbell are closer to Höffken than to Mason. “In den Antiquitates hatte eine Prophetennachfolge noch keine Rolle gespielt” says Gussmann, “Josephus und die Entstehung des Kanons,” 350; Campbell, “Josephus,” does not quote Höffken, but his article is a criticism of Mason’s reading of the canon in Josephus. 22  A brief comparison between the two can be seen in Paul Spilsbury, “Contra Apionem and Antiquitates Judaicae: Points of Contact,” in Josephus’ Contra Apionem: Studies in its Character and Context with a Latin Concordance to the Portion Missing in Greek, ed. Louis H. Feldman and John R. Levison (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 348–68. 23  Höffken, “Zum Kanonsbewusstsein,” 177, suggests that Josephus could have come to know about a definition of the canon in Yavneh.

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preferred to hide: that the historical narrative of the Scriptures does not extend to his own time. In this context, the interruption of the prophetic succession seems an ingenious explanation of the canon, designed a posteriori, that is, it is the rationale that Josephus elaborates to justify a fixed body of writings that he has received and that he cannot change. Thus he tries to explain why there is a group of twenty-two books different from the rest and why the traditional historical narrative is interrupted. For that purpose he constructs the idea of a prophetic succession interrupted in the Persian period, creating it from the elements we mentioned when commenting on the text (pp. 46–54): the institutional interpretation of Deut 18:15–22, the genealogical succession of high priests, the philosophical schools, and the awareness of continuity among historians. Before concluding this section on the prophetic succession in the Jewish Antiquities, we must note how Josephus changes the references found in 1 Maccabees to the absence of prophets. Three times in 1 Maccabees it is stated that there were no prophets in those times, but that one was expected (1 Macc 4:46; 9:27; 14:41).24 The first of these references—the decision to put the stones of the desecrated altar away until a prophet would come and decide about them—disappears completely in the parallel account of the Jewish Antiquities, perhaps because Josephus does not accept that a prophet has authority in halakic matters.25 The third reference of 1 Maccabees to the absence of prophets (1 Macc 14:41) has no parallel in Josephus, simply because he does not use the last three chapters of this book (1 Macc 14–16).26 The second of the three references to the absence of prophets says: “So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them” (1 Macc 9:27, NRSV). Josephus says instead: “After this calamity had befallen the Jews, which was greater than any they had experienced since their return from Babylon (…)” (Ant. 13.5, Marcus, LCL).

24  For an interesting explanation of the three mentions of the absence of prophets in 1 Maccabees, cf. Doron Mendels, Why Did Paul Go West?: Jewish Historical Narrative and Thought (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 129–43. 25  In a study on how Josephus conceived the application and updating of the Torah and the customary laws, Klawans notes that he systematically omits all the references to a legislative activity carried out by prophets. There is no post-Mosaic prophetic legislation; no Torah of Ezekiel or Ezra’s laws. Only Moses legislates. The activity of the prophets consists above all in predicting future events. This could explain why Josephus omits 1 Macc 4:46. Cf. Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies, 159–62. 26  We shall return to the use of 1 Maccabees by Josephus on p. 74.

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According to some authors, Josephus changes the reference to the absence of prophets because he does not believe that the prophets have ceased to appear.27 But it is also plausible that Josephus simply sought a reference more comprehensible for his readers—the return from the Babylonian exile. He shows en passant that he thinks that the last appearance of a prophet was thought—at least in the times of the Maccabees—to have occurred in the period of the Babylonian exile.28 In the end, the way in which Josephus paraphrases 1 Maccabees in the Jewish Antiquities does not add anything relevant to the interpretation of the statement in Ag. Ap. 1.41. In short, the idea of an interruption of the prophetic succession seems a construct created by Josephus to give a theoretical and historical foundation for the distinction between the twenty-two books and the subsequent historical records.29 This distinction between the books, however, cannot be an ad hoc construction, since it adds nothing to the point he wants to prove. Additionally, the comparison between the Jewish Antiquities and the Against Apion has shown that the distinction between the collection of twenty-two books and those that are outside of it is not as important as it may seem to modern readers. We look at Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 with the “glasses” of the canon (see above, p. 16) and wish to see in the passage a precise description of the Jewish “Bible,” forgetting how much rhetorical exaggeration or imprecision is at play there. 5.3 The Life To complete our tour of the works of Josephus, we still have to mention the Life, a text added as an appendix to the Jewish Antiquities (cf. Ant. 20.266; Life 430), but which later was copied and transmitted as a separate work.30 Towards the end of this autobiography (Life 417–419), Josephus says that he accompanied Titus during the siege of Jerusalem. After the capture of the 27  Cf. van Unnik, Josephus als historischer Schriftsteller, 48 n. 23; Isaiah M. Gafni, “Josephus and I Maccabees,” in Josephus, the Bible, and History, ed. Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata (Leiden: Brill, 1989), 116–31, 119; Gnuse, Dreams and Dream Reports, 27; Étienne Nodet, “Josèphe et 1 Maccabées,” RB 122 (2015): 507–39, 521. 28  Cf. Feldman, “Prophets and Prophecy in Josephus,” 398. 29  “The formation of the OT canon (…) appears to have had no connection with the view that prophecy had ended in Judaism,” Aune, Prophecy, 106; see also McDonald, Biblical Canon: I, 184–86. 30  Cf. Mason, Life, xiii–liv.

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city, Titus told him to take whatever he wanted, and Josephus asked only two things: freedom for some men and “holy books” (βιβλίων ἱερῶν). Titus granted him everything. Unfortunately, Josephus gives us no information on the title and number of these books, nor about their origin. The whole episode could be an invention aimed at showing Josephus’ closeness to the Emperor or something similar.31 If what Josephus narrates is true, it is logical to think that those books helped him to compose the Jewish Antiquities. They could have come from the Temple’s library. In any case, the nature of the Jewish Antiquities requires that Josephus had direct access to many of the books that today form the Hebrew Bible and also to others. It is impossible to know if he obtained them from Titus or got them later through the Jewish community of Rome, or otherwise.32 31  On this passage of the Life, cf. Flavius Josephus, Aus meinem Leben = Vita: kritische Ausgabe, Übersetzung und Kommentar von Folker Siegert, Heinz Schreckenberg, Manuel Vogel und dem Josephus-Arbeitskreis des Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum, Münster (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001), 183; Mason, Life, ad loc.; den Hollander, Josephus, the Emperors, 172–73. 32  Some speculations can be found in Nodet, “Josephus and the Pentateuch,” 191–92.

Chapter 6

Josephus and Some Books on the Borderline of the Canon After covering the works of Josephus to see if his statements in Ag. Ap. 1.37–45 were somehow reflected in his previous writings, we can add as a supplement a review of the Josephan corpus with a new question: if he knew and employed some books located “on the border of the canon,” including under this generic label books that are outside the canon of the Hebrew Bible today, books whose recognition has been problematic, and books that present a very complex textual situation. We can anticipate that there will be no big surprises. But it is worth devoting space to the subject since, as far as I know, nobody has carried it out systematically. There are studies on the presence of one or other work in Josephus, but an overall view is missing. The following lines aim to gather the data, and to see what can be obtained in relation to the text of the Against Apion about the twenty-two books and in relation to the history of the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. 6.1 Daniel The book of Daniel is part of both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its popularity and influence in the first century CE were huge, as shown by its presence in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the early Christian literature, in 4 Ezra and in Josephus himself, among others.1 Therefore, it may be surprising to find Daniel included in a section about books “on the border of the canon.” Nonetheless, its canonicity does deserve some comment. First, the book of Daniel presents an extremely complex textual situation. Although it is accepted as canonical by Jews and Christians, the textual forms included in the respective Bibles are quite different. Moreover, the 1  The bibliography on the reception of Daniel is very extensive. See John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint, eds., The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception (Leiden: Brill, 2002); Katharina Bracht and David S. Du Toit, eds., Die Geschichte der Daniel-Auslegung in Judentum, Christentum und Islam: Studien zur Kommentierung des Danielbuches in Literatur und Kunst (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007).

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biblical book represents only a part of the traditions around the figure of the prophet Daniel.2 Second, despite its wide circulation, the acceptance of Daniel may not have been universal because it is incompatible with the doctrine of the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection.3 Finally, Daniel is not included among the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible but belongs to the group of the Writings, a fact that has been interpreted in various ways.4 For all these reasons, it is not inappropriate to consider the book of Daniel as borderline. Thus, it is relevant to examine how Josephus refers to it and what text he may have known. In the Jewish Antiquities, Josephus devotes considerable space to the story of Daniel (Ant. 10.185–281). As is known, Daniel is never called “prophet” in the book of Daniel itself, but for Josephus he is one of the greatest prophets of Israel.5 In the first part of his account, Josephus follows Dan 1–6 omitting some things and adding others. Then, of the four visions of Dan 7–12, he only recounts that of Dan 8, but he takes some elements from Dan 11 and thus it can be assumed that he knows the other visions too. By contrast, he shows no sign of knowing the so called “deuterocanonical additions” present in the LXX and in Theodotion—there is no trace of the prayer of Azariah and the Song of the three young men, of the story of Susanna, and of the stories of Bel and the dragon. As to the text used by Josephus, the situation is not simple. Josephus never alludes to the bilingual character (Hebrew-Aramaic) of the book of Daniel. He might have used both the LXX and Theodotion, because he seems to follow a Greek text that corresponds sometimes to the former and sometimes to the

2  Lorenzo DiTommaso, The Book of Daniel and the Apocryphal Daniel Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2005); Robert A. Kraft, “Daniel Outside of the Traditional Jewish Canon: In the Footsteps of M.R. James,” in Studies in the Hebrew Bible, Qumran, and Septuagint Presented to Eugene Ulrich, ed. Peter W. Flint, Emanuel Tov and James C. VanderKam (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 121–33. 3  Alan F. Segal, Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 281; 377. On the possible “canon” of the Sadducees, cf. Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon, 86–91; some observations can be seen also in Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies, 28–32. 4  As said in the introduction (p. 12), this was one of Ryle’s arguments to affirm that the collection of the Prophets must have been closed around 200 BCE. See Klaus Koch, “Stages in the Canonization of the Book of Daniel,” in The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception, ed. John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 421–46; Fernando Milán, “¿Un Daniel polifónico?: El libro de Daniel y la tradición del Antiguo Testamento,” ScrTh 45 (2013): 335–62. 5  Cf. Ant. 10.266–268; see also 10.246.249. On the consideration of Daniel as a prophet in other sources, cf. Christopher T. Begg and Paul Spilsbury, Flavius Josephus: Judean Antiquities 8–10 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 308, n. 1126 (note to Ant. 10.267).

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latter. However, we cannot say whether Josephus knew both because he might have had access to a Greek text that we do not know.6 Finally, it must be mentioned that Josephus says twice that Daniel wrote “books” (Ant. 10.267 and 269). Some lines above, he had referred to a single book: concerning the stone that destroys the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Josephus declares that he will not tell its interpretation, but that anyone who is curious can read it in “the book of Daniel, which is among the sacred letters” (Ant. 10.210, my translation).7 Later, he says that “the book of Daniel” was shown to Alexander the Great (Ant. 11.337). Why then use the plural in Ant. 10.267 and 269? The mention of more than one book of Daniel has received several explanations: Josephus may be referring to the visions of Dan 7–12;8 it is a device with which Josephus aims to foster the parallelism between him and Daniel, both of them having written more than one work;9 or it is an allusion to the so-called “apocryphal additions,”10 more specifically to the two stories of Bel and the Dragon.11 I do not see any reason for choosing one of these options and excluding the others, without forgetting that the literal interpretation seems possible too, namely, that Josephus knows more than one book of Daniel.12 At least one of them is among the sacred writings (cf. Ant. 10.210), most likely among the thirteen books of the prophets who write history from Moses to Artaxerxes.

6  Cf. Geza Vermes, “Josephus’ Treatment of the Book of Daniel,” JJS 42 (1991): 149–66, 151–53 and 161; Begg and Spilsbury, Antiquities 8–10, 265–67 (“Excursus: Josephus on Daniel”; they follow Vermes and add more examples). On the book of Daniel in Ant., in addition to the literature cited in n. 8 p. 59, see Frederick F. Bruce, “Josephus and Daniel,” ASTI 4 (1965): 148–62; Otto Kaiser, “Die eschatologische Prophetie im Danielbuch bei Flavius Josephus: Ein Beitrag zu seinem Selbstverständnis,” in Biblical Figures in Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature, ed. Hermann Lichtenberger and Ulrike Mittmann-Richert (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009), 441–70. 7  (…) βιβλίον ἀναγνῶναι τὸ Δανιήλου: εὑρήσει δὲ τοῦτο ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς γράμμασιν. 8  “(…) the reference is probably to the different visions in Daniel 7–12, as there is nothing to indicate that Josephus knew other Danielic literature,” John J. Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1993), 38, n. 335. 9  Cf. Begg, “Daniel and Josephus,” 543 n. 19. 10  “Possibly he is thinking of various apocryphal additions to the book of Daniel current in his time, either in Heb.-Aram. or Greek, although he has not made use of any such apocryphal additions as are still extant,” Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Books IX–XI: With an English Translation by Ralph Marcus (London: Heinemann, 1937), 305 (note to Ant. 10.267). 11  Cf. Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible, 630, n. 4. 12  Cf. DiTommaso, Daniel and the Apocryphal Daniel Literature, 9–10; Kraft, “Daniel Outside,” 125.

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Curiously enough, Josephus also attributed books, in the plural, to Isaiah (Ant. 10.35), to Jeremiah (Ant. 10.79, perhaps thinking of Lamentations), and to Ezekiel, specifying that he wrote “two books” (Ant. 10.79).13 In these cases, it is also unclear whether Josephus refers to specific works or whether it is a rhetorical exaggeration or just an inaccuracy. 6.2

First Esdras, Ezra, and Nehemiah

First Esdras was mentioned above when speaking of the sources used by Josephus to compose the Jewish Antiquities. Indeed, it is certain that he wrote Ant. 11.1–158 following 1 Esdras, not the book of Ezra found in the Hebrew Bible (Masoretic Text) or its Greek translation, as K.-F. Pohlmann demonstrated by a detailed comparison of the texts.14 The source of Ant. 11.159–183 is the book of Nehemiah in a textual form similar to that of the MT, at least in part: Josephus’ paraphrase reflects a text very close to Neh 1:1–7:4 (MT), but, from Neh 7:5, his Vorlage seems to have been quite different.15 This raises a number of questions about the configuration of Ezra-Nehemiah in the current Hebrew Bible.16 In the case of the book of Ezra, one should avoid the temptation of using an argument ex silentio. Strictly speaking, that Josephus did not use the book of Ezra as his main source does not imply that he was completely unaware of its existence. Perhaps he was forced to use 1 Esdras for failing to have another text.17 13   Cf. Mladen Popović, “Prophet, Books and Texts: Ezekiel, Pseudo-Ezekiel and the Authoritativeness of Ezekiel Traditions in Early Judaism,” in Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism, ed. Mladen Popović (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 227–51, 230–31. 14  Cf. Karl-Friedrich Pohlmann, Studien zum dritten Esra: ein Beitrag zur Frage nach dem ursprünglichen Schluss des chronistischen Geschichtswerkes (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970), 74–114; Reinhard Gregor Kratz, “Ezra: Priest and Scribe,” in Scribes, Sages, and Seers: The Sage in the Eastern Mediterranean World, ed. Leo G. Perdue (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 163–88, 176. 15  Cf. Pohlmann, Studien zum dritten Esra, 114–26. 16   On the relationship between 1 Esdras and Ezra-Neh, cf. Dieter Böhler, “On the Relationship between Textual and Literary Criticism: The Two Recensions of the Book of Ezra: Ezra-Neh (MT) and 1 Esdras (LXX),” in The Earliest Text of the Hebrew Bible: The Relationship Between the Masoretic Text and the Hebrew Base of the Septuagint Reconsidered, ed. Adrian Schenker (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), 35–50; Lisbeth S. Fried, ed., Was 1 Esdras First?: An Investigation into the Priority and Nature of 1 Esdras (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011). 17  Feldman accepts that Josephus used 1 Esdras as his main source, but he does not share other of Pohlmann’s conclusions, namely, that Josephus did not use the book of Ezra: cf. Louis H. Feldman, Studies in Josephus’ Rewritten Bible (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 473.

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In current scholarship, 1 Esdras is no longer viewed as a mere compilation of material without structure or message, but as an autonomous literary work.18 We cannot know if Josephus regarded it in this way or rather as a sort of loose Greek translation of Ezra that cannot be distinguished from the text from which it comes. It is opportune to recall that, according to Ulrich’s definition (see pp. 24–25), the canon is a list of books that does not include a definition or selection of their textual form. This clarification is necessary and correct, provided that it is taken as approximate since the boundary between canon and text is not always clear, as illustrated by the case of 1 Esdras and its use by Josephus.19 In any case, the use of 1 Esdras as the main source in Ant. 11 confirms that it cannot be taken for granted that the twenty-two books of Against Apion are exactly the same as the twenty-four of the Hebrew Bible. 6.3 Esther We find a similar situation to that of 1 Esdras in the case of the book (or books) of Esther, whose textual and literary tradition is quite complex. As is known, there are divergences between the Hebrew text and some of the ancient versions that go beyond a mere difference of extent. In recent scholarship, the main ancient versions are considered works that deserve to be studied for themselves and not only in relation to the transmission of the Hebrew text. A symptom of this new sensitivity appears in the Bible version of the Italian Episcopal Conference (La Sacra Bibbia, CEI-UELCI 2008). Two Italian translations of Esther are presented in parallel, one from the Hebrew and one from the Greek, instead of one text translated from Hebrew and completed by the so-called “Greek additions,” as in most modern translations.20 As in the case of Daniel, the question about the text of Esther employed by Josephus in the Jewish Antiquities has no simple answer. In his account 18  Cf. Sara Japhet, “1 Esdras: Its Genre, Literary Form, and Goals,” in Was 1 Esdras First?: An Investigation into the Priority and Nature of 1 Esdras, ed. Lisbeth S. Fried (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 209–23. 19  On the confusions regarding the works that bear the name of Ezra in Latin manuscripts, cf. Pierre-Maurice Bogaert, “Les livres d’Esdras et leur numérotation dans l’histoire du canon de la Bible latine,” RBén 110 (2000): 5–26. 20  On the problem, cf. Idem, “Les formes anciennes du livre d’Esther: Réflexions sur les livres bibliques à traditions multiples à l’occasion de la publication du texte de l’ancienne version latine,” RTL 40 (2009): 66–77; Catherine Vialle, Une analyse comparée d’Esther TM et LXX: regard sur deux récits d’une même histoire (Leuven: Peeters, 2010), xxxvi–lviii.

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(Ant. 11.184–296), he seems to follow the Greek text (it is not possible to determine which one of the two forms of the Greek). However, Josephus includes also some details that are peculiar of the Hebrew text, some others that today are found only in the Vetus Latina, and other elements of unknown origin that could come from a Targum or from a version or recension that has not come to us, if they are not an invention of Josephus himself.21 In short, Josephus is not limited to the Hebrew text of the Book of Esther, something which is a relevant difference with relation to the rabbinic canon. On the other hand, the presence of Esther in the Jewish Antiquities as well as the mention of Artaxerxes in Ag. Ap. 1.41 permit us to affirm with certainty that, for Josephus, the scroll of Esther was part of the twenty-two books of the Jews and that it was written by a prophet. The book of Esther did not enjoy great popularity in the period of the Second Temple. Its recognition as a sacred book seems to have been rather late. Esther and Mordecai do not appear in Ben Sira’s praise of the fathers (Sir 44:1–50:24). The book is not in Qumran, is missing in some Christian lists of the OT (Melito of Sardis, Athanasius), and is subject of discussion among the rabbis. Thus, its consideration as part of the Scriptures of Israel in the first century CE cannot be taken for granted. That Josephus includes it among the sacred books of the Jews becomes quite significant, therefore. In fact, it is the oldest testimony about the “canonicity” of this book.22 6.4

Tobit and Judith

Tobit and Judith are not part of the Hebrew Bible, but they do belong to the canon of a number of Christian churches. Although from their contents both are compatible with the chronological limits set forth in Ag. Ap. 1.39–41, the probability that Josephus considered them as part of the collection of twentytwo books is practically nil. There is almost no trace of them in the works of Josephus, who seems not to have known them.23 21  Cf. Feldman, Josephus (1937–1980), 189–91; Idem, Studies, 525, n. 22. On the way Josephus reworks the story of Esther, cf. Idem, Studies, 513–38. 22  On the fluctuating valuation of Esther in Jewish and Christian traditions over time, cf. Vialle, Une analyse, 397–405, with abundant bibliography. 23  The only author who refers to the absence of Tobit and Judith in Josephus is Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, 102. Hall, Revealed Histories, 27–28, notes some similarity between the speech of Josephus before the walls of Jerusalem (J.W. 5.375–419) and the speech of Achior before Holofernes (Jdt 5:5–21), but he does not discuss a possible dependence.

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Chapter 6

Letter of Aristeas, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees

In Ant. 12.11–118, Josephus tells the story of the translation of the Torah into Greek carried out in Alexandria following closely the so-called Letter of Aristeas or, as he calls it, “the book that Aristaeus composed” (Ant. 12.100, Marcus, LCL).24 First Maccabees is the main source of Ant. 12.241–13.212. Unlike what he does with the Letter of Aristeas, Josephus never mentions 1 Maccabees explicitly, but this is consistent with the fact that he rarely cites his sources. Quite probably he employed the Hebrew original.25 Regarding 2 Maccabees, a few points of contact have led some authors to suppose that Josephus might have known this work.26 But such points can be explained otherwise. Thus, the prevailing view is that Josephus did not know 2 Maccabees.27 Both 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees are currently canonical for Catholics and Orthodox, but they never were recognized as holy books in a Jewish context. The Letter of Aristeas has never been considered as sacred or canonical by anybody. Thus it could be surprising to include them among the books on the border of the canon. However, it was appropriate to mention them here, because, as already noted (cf. pp. 61–66), the use of the Letter of Aristeas and 1 Maccabees by Josephus implies a tension between the description of the 24  The modifications implemented by Josephus have been studied in detail by André Pelletier, Flavius Josèphe adaptateur de la lettre d’Aristée: une réaction atticisante contre la Koinè (Paris: Klincksieck, 1962); see also Idem, “Josephus, the Letter of Aristeas, and the Septuagint,” in Josephus, the Bible, and History, ed. Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata (Leiden: Brill, 1989), 97–115. Other bibliographic indications can be found in Feldman, Josephus (1937–1980), 208–10. 25  According to Gafni, “Josephus and I Maccabees,” 116, Josephus had access to 1 Maccabees only in Greek; for this statement he refers to Heinrich Bloch, Die Quellen des Flavius Josephus in seiner Archäologie (Leipzig: Teubner, 1879), 80. Other scholars think that Josephus also knew the original Hebrew text: cf. Feldman, Josephus (1937–1980), 219–25 and 916–17; Idem, “Selective Critical Bibliography,” 370–71; and more recently Nodet, “Josèphe et 1 Maccabées,” with several examples of how Josephus relied on a Hebrew text. 26  Jonathan A. Goldstein, I Maccabees: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Garden City: Doubleday, 1976), 55–61. A few years later, Goldstein withdrew the claim that Josephus had had access to the five volumes of Jason of Cyrene, but he continued to defend the thesis that Josephus knew 2 Maccabees: cf. Idem, II Maccabees: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Garden City: Doubleday, 1983), 26, n. 80; 302–3. 27   Various opinions can be seen in Feldman, Josephus (1937–1980), 225–26; and in Daniel R. Schwartz, 2 Maccabees (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), 86–87. Schwartz himself thinks that Josephus did not know 2 Maccabees.

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Jewish Antiquities as an interpretation or translation of the sacred books and the fact that other sources are also employed. 6.6

The Book of Jubilees and the Temple Scroll

The Book of Jubilees, composed in the second century BCE, was known and esteemed at Qumran, where it seems to have been regarded as normative (see n. 9 on p. 7). It presents itself as a book containing the revelation of an angel to Moses; its content corresponds to Genesis 1–Exodus 24.28 Both in style and message, Jubilees seems to be very distant from the cultural mentality and social milieu of Josephus, who never quotes or mentions it. However, B. Halpern-Amaru has carried out a comparison between Jubilees and Ant. 1–2, and the results are amazing.29 Putting together the parallels noticed by other authors30 with those that she herself has discovered, she counts nearly fifty. Of these, she distinguishes nineteen cases whose simplest explanation is to assume direct knowledge of Jubilees by Josephus. The proposal is compelling if one takes into account that Halpern-Amaru claims to have shown only that this dependence is very likely, since it is harder to explain the coincidences otherwise.31 This high probability that Josephus knew and employed the Book of Jubilees does not mean that he attributed any special authority to it. Halpern-Amaru highlights how the disagreement on several points between the two makes 28  The literature on Jubilees is very abundant. For a useful guidance, see James C. Vanderkam, “Recent Scholarship on the Book of Jubilees,” CBR 6 (2008): 405–31, see also Veronika Bachmann and Isaac W. Oliver, “The Book of Jubilees: An Annotated Bibliography from the First German Translation of 1850 to the Enoch Seminar of 2007,” Henoch 31 (2009): 123–64. 29  Cf. Betsy Halpern-Amaru, “Flavius Josephus and The Book of Jubilees: A Question of Source,” HUCA 72 (2001): 15–44. 30  Primarily Henry Saint John Thackeray, Josephus, the Man and the Historian (New York: Jewish Institute of Religion Press, 1929); Salomo Rappaport, Agada und Exegese bei Flavius Josephus (Frankfurt am Main: Kauffmann, 1930); Thomas W. Franxman, Genesis and the “Jewish Antiquities” of Flavius Josephus (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1979); and Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible. 31  In recent years, Begg has published several articles comparing Josephus and Jubilees. In one of them, he assumes that Josephus does not know Jubilees: cf. Christopher T. Begg, “Jacob’s Descent into Egypt (Gen 45,25–46,7) according to Josephus, Philo and Jubilees,” ETL 84 (2008): 499–518, 518. In a more recent article, he cites Halpern-Amaru’s article, but, unfortunately, he does not express any judgment on it: cf. Idem, “The Blessing of Isaac according to Josephus and Jubilees,” RCT 35 (2010): 359–72, 371. It would be interesting to know what Begg thinks about Halpern-Amaru’s proposal.

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more interesting the possible appropriation of some exegetical solutions by Josephus.32 In this sense, it is evident that the Book of Jubilees is not part of the twentytwo books of the Jews described in Ag. Ap. 1.37–41. If one imagined the Book of Jubilees as one of the twenty-two books, it should enter into the first group, that is, be one of the five books written by Moses, which would leave out some of the books of the Pentateuch. The Temple Scroll is a work similar to the Book of Jubilees, which also seems to have enjoyed an authoritative status at Qumran.33 Probably, Josephus does not know it. He does not take it into account when presenting the Mosaic legislation in Ant. 3–4,34 or when describing the Jerusalem Temple.35 6.7

The Apocalyptic Literature and the Case of 1 Enoch

It would not be reasonable to conclude this section without a reference to the phenomenon of Jewish apocalyptic literature and its possible relation to the works of Josephus. This topic requires a brief digression, in order to clarify what is meant by “apocalyptic literature” and “apocalypse”—a point which, if not dealt with here, should appear later, when introducing 4 Ezra. According to J.J. Collins’ definition: “Apocalypse” is a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both

32  “Thus, it is quite conceivable that, aware of an exegetical strategy in Jubilees that would appropriately serve his agenda, Josephus might imitate and adapt that strategy to his own needs regardless of how the particular strategy had previously served the polemic within Jubilees,” Halpern-Amaru, “Josephus and Jubilees,” 42. 33  Cf. Florentino García Martínez, “Temple Scroll,” in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 927–33; Heinz-Josef Fabry, “Die Tempelrolle und ihre kanongeschichtliche Bedeutung,” in Qumran und der biblische Kanon, ed. Michael Becker and Jörg Frey (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2009), 121–44. 34  Cf. David Altshuler, “On the Classification of Judaic Laws in the Antiquities of Josephus and the Temple Scroll of Qumran,” AJSR 7–8 (1982–1983): 1–14. 35  Cf. Lawrence H. Schiffman, The Courtyards of the House of the Lord: Studies on the Temple Scroll (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 175–87.

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temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial insofar as it involves another, supernatural world.36 This definition has gained a widespread, though not unanimous, acceptance. The most controversial point is the inclusion in it of eschatological salvation.37 According to C. Rowland, the central element of the apocalyptic genre is to be found in the revelation of celestial secrets, something which does not necessarily relate to the end times.38 The complexity of this debate justifies adopting here a pragmatic way out, which is to give up a strict definition of an apocalypse (is that possible?) and settle for a description allowing a flexible application, which does not exclude what does not entirely correspond to its terms. In fact, both Collins and Rowland admit that ‘apocalyptic’ is a modern category and that there is no strict definition of it. In the following, Collins’ definition will be taken as a reference point. After this digression, we can return to Josephus and to his possible relationship with the apocalyptic literature. In an article published in 1998, P. Bilde looked for points of contact between Josephus and the apocalyptic worldview and mentioned the scriptural interpretation, God’s role in history, and the revelation of divine secrets.39 In those pages, Bilde merely indicated a direction of research, without developing it: his paper was seminal or programmatic. His main goal was to counter a somewhat simplistic view, according to which Josephus has no interest in apocalyptic literature and his works show no traces of its influence.40 36  John J. Collins, “Introduction: Towards the Morphology of a Genre,” in Apocalypse: The Morphology of a Genre (Semeia 14), ed. John J. Collins (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1979), 1–20, 9. 37  On the origin of this definition and its reception, cf. Lorenzo DiTommaso, “Apocalypses and Apocalypticism in Antiquity (Part I),” CBR 5 (2007): 235–86, 238–50; Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 3–14. 38  “Apocalyptic seems essentially to be about the revelation of the divine mysteries through visions or some other form of immediate disclosure of heavenly truths,” Christopher Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (London: SPCK, 1982), 70, cf. 9–72 and Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Jewish Apocalyptic and Apocalypticism,” in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus, ed. Tom Holmén and Stanley E. Porter (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 2:1569–1607, 1575–88. 39  Per Bilde, “Josephus and Jewish Apocalypticism,” in Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives, ed. Steve Mason (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1998), 35–61. Bilde defines ‘apocalypse’ following Rowland: cf. 39–42. 40  Cf. Idem, “Jewish Apocalypticism,” 35–39, where he calls this position a “common view” and exemplifies it quoting Arnaldo Momigliano, “Ciò che Flavio Giuseppe non vide,” Rivista Storica Italiana 91 (1979): 564–74.

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This is not the place to develop Bilde’s program by performing an extended comparison between Josephus and apocalyptic thought and literature in general. I wish only to see if it is possible to establish a direct contact between Josephus and some books that fall into this category. The presence of the book of Daniel—which is partly an apocalypse—in Josephus was discussed above. We have just mentioned the Book of Jubilees, a work that can be considered an apocalypse too.41 In Ant. 1.118, Josephus quotes the words of a Sibyl that resemble a text found in the Sibylline Oracles (cf. Sib. Or. 3.97–104), but there does not seem to be a direct dependence.42 Josephus appears not to have known the apocalypses written in his own time, such as 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch, and the Apocalypse of Abraham, nor other works that date from around the same period such as the Testament of Moses, 4 Maccabees, and the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum.43 For its antiquity and importance, the most interesting case study is certainly that of 1 Enoch, also called the Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch.44 We need not enter into the question of whether a specific group lies behind this literature, perhaps linked to the Essenes, such as the Enochic Judaism proposed by G. Boccaccini45—a category that has raised a lively debate.46 41  Cf. Fletcher-Louis, “Jewish Apocalyptic,” 1588 and passim; Leslie Baynes, The Heavenly Book Motif in Judeo-Christian Apocalypses, 200 B.C.E.–200 C.E. (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 123–24; Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 99–106. 42  On this citation, cf. Feldman, Antiquities 1–4, 42, nn. 300–2 (notes to Ant. 1.118). The Book 3 of Sib. Or. is usually dated to the second century CE. 43  Cf. Idem, Josephus (1937–1980), 409–10 (T.Mos.); 418–19 (LAB). 44  As is known, 1 Enoch is a set of five different works. As an introduction, cf. Matthew Goff, “1 Enoch,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible, ed. Michael David Coogan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 1:224–237. 45  Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998); Idem, “The Evilness of Human Nature in 1 Enoch, Jubilees, Paul, and 4 Ezra: A Second Temple Jewish Debate,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 63–79, 63–66. 46  James C. Vanderkam, “Mapping Second Temple Judaism,” in The Early Enoch Literature, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and John J. Collins (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 1–20; Michael A. Knibb, “Reflections on the Status of the Early Enochic Writings,” in Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism, ed. Mladen Popović (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 143–54; Paul Heger, “1 Enoch: Complementary or Alternative to Mosaic Torah?,” JSJ 41 (2010): 29–62; John J. Collins, “Enochic Judaism: An Assessment,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls and Contemporary Culture: Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem ( July 6–8, 2008), ed. Adolfo Daniel Roitman, Lawrence H. Schiffman and Shani Tzoref (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 219–34; Veronika Bachmann, “The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36): An Anti‐ Mosaic, Non‐Mosaic, or even Pro-Mosaic Writing?,” JHebS 11 (2011): 2–23.

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Josephus never refers explicitly to 1 Enoch or to other Enochic books or to groups that could be characterized as Enochic. However, it is interesting to trace in his works elements that can be linked with the Enochic literature. First, we can ask if Josephus had some knowledge of 1 Enoch. It should be recognized that a certain answer cannot be given to this question and that we are moving in an hypothetical realm. As a possible indication of an indirect knowledge of the Enochic traditions by Josephus, we can remember the high probability that he had access to the Book of Jubilees, as just seen (pp. 75–76). If Josephus read this book, he knew that several works were attributed to the antediluvian patriarch Enoch. Jubilees explicitly refers to various books written by Enoch (cf. Jub 4.17–25; the text refers at least to the Book of the Watchers, the Astronomical Book and the Apocalypse of Animals).47 Josephus speaks twice of Enoch as a character (cf. Ant. 1.79–86 and 9.28). In Ant. 1.85, he states that Enoch “returned to the divinity, wherefore they have not recorded his death.”48 When speaking about Elijah’s heavenly ascent, Josephus says that both Elijah and Enoch “became invisible, and no one knows of their death” (Ant. 9.28). That he remembers Enoch in a place where his direct source (1–2 Kings) does not mention him is significant. If Josephus had wanted to carry out a damnatio memoriae of the patriarch, he would not have mentioned him either here or before. Some scholars even see these two texts (Ant. 1.79–86 and 9.28) as a development of the traditions about Enoch.49 By contrast, the sobriety of the two texts is seen by other authors as an indication that Josephus gives no weight to the Enochic traditions, if he knows 47  Cf. James C. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995), 110–21; Michael A. Knibb, “Which Parts of 1 Enoch were known to Jubilees? A Note on the Interpretation of Jubilees 4.16–25,” in Reading from Right to Left: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honour of David J.A. Clines, ed. J. Cheryl Exum and H.G.M. Williamson (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2003), 254–62; J.T.A.G.M. van Ruiten, “A Literary Dependency of Jubilees on 1 Enoch?,” in Enoch and Qumran Origins: New Light on a Forgotten Connection, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 90–93 (see also the response by VanderKam in the same volume: 163–64); Todd R. Hanneken, “The Watchers in Rewritten Scripture: The Use of the Book of the Watchers in Jubilees,” in The Fallen Angels Traditions: Second Temple Developments and Reception History, ed. Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch and John C. Endres (Washington: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2014), 25–68. 48  The phrase depends on the famous verse of Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him” (NRSV); the LXX says, “And Enoch was well pleasing to God, and he was not found, because God transferred him” (NETS). 49  “Josephus represents one step in the direction of the growing ‘apocalyptic’ interpretation of Gen. 5.18–24 on Enoch,” Bilde, “Jewish Apocalypticism,” 50; cf. Christopher Rowland and Christopher R.A. Morray-Jones, The Mystery of God: Early Jewish Mysticism and the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 45.

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them.50 Others go further and glimpse in the Jewish Antiquities a deliberate attempt to reduce the importance of the figure of Enoch in controversy with those who appealed to his authority.51 Moreover, the way in which Josephus describes Enoch’s disappearance has been subject to conflicting interpretations. The difficulties come from a parallel passage, Ant. 4.326–327 (cf. 3.96), where the death of Moses is told ambiguously.52 However, if one wants to see whether Josephus knows the Enochic literature, one does not obtain any clear information from these debates about the end of the earthly life of Enoch, Elijah, and Moses. In the light of all that has been said, it is difficult to go beyond observing that it is possible or perhaps probable. But it is worth noting that, if we accept as an hypothesis that Josephus knows 1 Enoch, several details of his narrative can be interpreted as controversial. For example, when Josephus tries to defend the long life of the patriarchs before the flood, he says in Ant. 1.105–106 that the fact of living more than 600 50  George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch: Chapters 1–36; 81–108 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), 67, who refers to VanderKam, Man for All Generations, 152–53. Regarding Ant. 1.73, VanderKam acknowledges that it is not impossible that Josephus used the Book of the Watchers as a source. 51  Cf. Elena Dugan, “‘Let No-One Investigate’: Emergent Orthodoxy and Josephus’ Enochic Elision in the Antiquities of the Jews” (MSc (Biblical Studies), School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, 2014). As far as I know, the first scholar who pointed out as possibly significant the little space dedicated to Enoch by Josephus was Robert Kraft: “It is difficult to imagine that Josephus did not know various extra-biblical legends and traditions regarding Enoch (…). Perhaps Josephus is pursuing a consciously low-key approach to Enoch in opposition to other claims made for Enoch (…)—but this cannot be demonstrated for Enoch from Josephus’ own words,” Robert A. Kraft, “Philo (Josephus, Sirach and Wisdom of Solomon) on Enoch,” SBLSP 1 (1978): 253–57, 256–57. 52  Cf. James D. Tabor, “‘Returning to the Divinity’: Josephus’s Portrayal of the Disappearances of Enoch, Elijah, and Moses,” JBL 108 (1989): 225–38; Christopher T. Begg, “Josephus’ Portrayal of the Disappearances of Enoch, Elijah, and Moses: Some Observations,” JBL 109 (1990): 691–93 (Begg rightly criticizes Tabor for not considering Ant. 9.28, but for his part Begg ignores Ant. 4.327, where Josephus clearly states that Moses died); Joseph Sievers, “Josephus and the Afterlife,” in Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives, ed. Steve Mason (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1998), 20–34, 24–25; Feldman, Antiquities 1–4, 472–74, nn. 1121–25 (notes to Ant. 4.326); Gottfried Schimanowski, “LebensendeLebensaufgabe: Die Entrückungen von Henoch, Elia und Moses im ersten Teil der Antiquitates,” in Internationales Josephus-Kolloquium Dortmund 2002: Arbeiten aus dem Institutum Judaicum Delizschianum, ed. Jürgen U. Kalms and Folker Siegert (Münster: Lit, 2003), 132–47; René S. Bloch, Moses und der Mythos: die Auseinandersetzung mit der griechischen Mythologie bei jüdisch-hellenistischen Autoren (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 113–19. Of these authors, only Bloch mentions Ag. Ap. 1.39–40.

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years allowed them to make discoveries in astronomy and geometry. Thus, the relatively short duration of Enoch’s life (365 years, cf. Ant 1.85; Gen 5:23) could appear as a way of undermining the traditions about his wisdom.53 Similarly, in Ant. 1.74, Josephus presents Noah exhorting the descendants of the fallen angels to change their bad actions. This detail can be read as an attempt to reduce the importance of Enoch, to whom a similar behavior is attributed in the Book of Watchers (1 En. 13:3; cf. Jub. 4:22).54 In Ant. 1.68–71, Josephus says that the descendants of Seth discovered the science with regard to the heavenly bodies and their orderly arrangement. To preserve their findings for the future generations, they inscribed them on two pillars, one of brick and the other of stones. This passage has two parallel texts in the Book of the Jubilees: Jub. 4:17, where the same knowledge is attributed to Enoch, and Jub. 8:3, which speaks of the discovery of a stone on which were written the teachings of the Watchers about the heavenly bodies.55 If Josephus has the Book of Jubilees in front of him, it seems clear that he wants to avoid attributing to Enoch the discovery of astronomical knowledge. Therefore, he extends it to the descendants of Seth in general.56 Another sign that indicates that Josephus could have known 1 Enoch is the strong interest in ‘physiological’ aspects (Ant. 1.30) that he manifests when he paraphrases the book of Genesis, which is reminiscent of several sections of 1 Enoch (chapters 14, 17–18, and 72–81).57 But other explanations of this are possible.58 53  Cf. Kraft, “Philo,” 257. 54  Reed notes this point, but she offers a different explanation: “That Josephus uses the Giants to critique the credulity of Greeks, not Jews, suggests that we should not read his comments as a polemic against Enochic texts and traditions. His reading of Gen 6:1–4 fits more plausibly with his broader attempt to correlate the biblical account of early human history with Greco-Roman mythology and historiography and to depict the Jews as an honorably ancient nation,” Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 107. 55  This case alone does not show a direct dependence of Josephus regarding Jubilees, since other sources contain similar information: cf. Halpern-Amaru, “Josephus and Jubilees,” 27. 56  It is suggested as a possibility by Franxman, Genesis, 78–79; and by George H. van Kooten, “Enoch, the Watchers, Seth’s Descendants, and Abraham as Astronomers: Jewish Application of the Greek Motif of the First Inventor (300 BCE–CE 100),” in Recycling Biblical Figures: Papers Read at a NOSTER Colloquium in Amsterdam, 12–13 May 1997, ed. Athalya Brenner and Jan Willem van Henten (Leiden: Deo Publishing, 1999), 292–316, 308. 57  Cf. Bilde, “Jewish Apocalypticism,” 49. 58  Feldman, Antiquities 1–4, 11 n. 44 (note to Ant. 1.30), explains Josephus’ interest in the origin of rain as due to apologetic reasons and points to the closeness of this passage to Job 38 (LXX).

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As can be seen, it is fascinating to look for signs of an anti-Enochic controversy in the Josephan works. However, its existence is based on an unproven hypothesis, namely, that Josephus had some knowledge of 1 Enoch. The argument ex silentio lacks sufficient probative value. The same observation applies a fortiori to the hypothesis, which has been recently proposed again, that Josephus is writing against the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth.59 In the conclusions (pp. 195–216), we will offer a summary and an evaluation of the testimony of Josephus concerning the history of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. Before that, it is necessary to turn our attention to the parallel testimony contained in 4 Ezra. 59   Cf. Fernando Bermejo-Rubio, “Was the Hypothetical Vorlage of the Testimonium Flavianum a “Neutral” Text? Challenging the Common Wisdom on Antiquitates Judaicae,” JSJ 45 (2014): 326–65. Previously, the hypothesis had been defended by Pierpaolo Fornaro, “Il Cristianesimo oggetto di polemica indiretta in Flavio Giuseppe (Ant. Jud. IV 326),” Rivista di Studi Classici 27 (1979): 431–46, and by André Paul, “Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews: An Anti-Christian Manifesto,” NTS 31 (1985): 473–80.

part 2 The Ninety-Four Books of the Torah According to 4 Ezra



Introductory Note Specific studies of 4 Ezra have increased in number and depth in recent decades. Nevertheless, so far, few scholars have taken advantage of these developments to assess the significance of 4 Ezra in the history of the canon. Among them, none has carried out a detailed analysis of the final section of this apocalypse (4 Ezra 14) in the light of a comprehensive understanding of the work as a whole and of its historical context. It is worth filling this gap because 4 Ezra 14 raises many questions both exegetical and historical that require further study.1 A careful examination of the final chapter of 4 Ezra as the conclusion of the whole work should allow us to shed light on the content of the ninety-four books, on the authority and function ascribed to them, and on the difference between the twenty-four and the seventy. We must also ask what is the role of the final passage regarding the message that 4 Ezra wants to transmit or, to put it another way, why this apocalypse ends with the writing of the books of the Torah. This apparently long and indirect route is necessary if we want to discover the assumptions underlying the reference to a precise set of revealed books at the end of 4 Ezra. After presenting the general data (Chapter 7) and the main interpretations of 4 Ezra (Chapter 8), I will focus on the guiding thread of the plot, which is the evolution of the protagonist, paying special attention to the denouement in 4 Ezra 14 (Chapter 9). In Chapter 10, I will address three topics closely related to the function of the ninety-four books, namely, the secret doctrines, the meaning of the Torah, and the salvific value of the books. Chapter 11 will present the historical context and the social function of 4 Ezra, trying to clarify the significance of the figure of Ezra, the function of the story of the writing of the ninety-four books in relation to the historical circumstances of the Jews of the time, and the possible identification of these ninety-four books. Finally, I will see the consequences of the analysis of 4 Ezra on the historical problem of the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible (Chapter 12).

1  For a summary of the history of interpretation of 4 Ezra, cf. Egon Brandenburger, Die Verborgenheit Gottes im Weltgeschehen: das literarische und theologische Problem des 4. Esrabuches (Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1981), 22–57; Karina Martin Hogan, Theologies in Conflict in 4 Ezra: Wisdom Debate and Apocalyptic Solution (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 2–35.

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Chapter 7

Introduction to 4 Ezra In the following pages, I offer such general information about 4 Ezra as is necessary for the interpretation of the writing of the ninety-four books. 7.1

Title, Literary Genre, and Jewish Character

Ezra’s name appears in the title of several ancient works, both Jewish and Christian. Unfortunately, throughout the centuries, the terminology employed has never enjoyed uniformity and this can lead to confusion.1 The current convention restricts the name of 4 Ezra to chapters 3–14 of the work which is called Liber Quartus Esdrae (or Ezrae) in the Latin Vulgate. This Liber Quartus Esdrae is entitled II Esdrae in some Latin manuscripts, with the result that in the Anglo-Saxon tradition the book has usually been called Second Esdras. In addition to this problem of terminology, there is the fact that the book in the Vulgate represents a composition of three different works: 1) chapters 1–2 contain a work, probably Christian, which today has received the name of 5 Ezra; 2) the Jewish apocalypse (4 Ezra 3–14); 3) chapters 15–16 are another work, probably Christian, conventionally referred to as 6 Ezra. It is important to remark that the distinction among these three works is not an hypothesis since the non-Latin versions of 4 Ezra contain neither 5 Ezra nor 6 Ezra. As for the genre, the traditional cataloging of 4 Ezra as an apocalypse has never been in dispute. In fact, it was one of the works used as a starting point to define the apocalyptic genre in Semeia 14 (1979). Even when other definitions are preferred (see above, pp. 76–78), 4 Ezra falls within the genre “apocalypse.”2 This is not identical to say that the work does not include other literary genres, most notably the dialogue, which is absent in other apocalyptic works.3 1  Cf. Bogaert, “Les livres,” 5–26. 2  Cf. Rowland, Open Heaven, 15. 3  See Matthias Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism in Late First Century Israel: Reading ‘Second Baruch’ in Context (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 128–31 and 142–43, who notes that “the dialogue is not the traditional form of the apocalypse” (128) and suggests as antecedents the

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Another point of agreement among scholars is the non-Christian provenance of 4 Ezra. Even when one applies the restrictive criteria of J.R. Davila, 4 Ezra is part of the undoubtedly Jewish corpus.4 However, as in many other cases, the transmission of the text was carried out by Christian hands. Fourth Ezra circulated widely in the ancient and the medieval Church. It was esteemed by some important authors, especially Ambrose of Milan and Priscillian, an appreciation which contributed to its spread in the Latin West and ultimately to its preservation until today.5 Moreover, 4 Ezra was a source of direct inspiration for various Christian works of an apocalyptic type with Ezra as their protagonist.6 Also in modern times this apocalypse has been read with great interest.7 7.2

Text and Transmission

Although nothing remains of the original text, several indications have led scholars to conclude that 4 Ezra was composed in a Semitic language, most likely in Hebrew.8 wisdom dialogue and the prophetic disputation. What Henze claims concerning 2 Baruch is applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the dialogues in 4 Ezra. 4  James R. Davila, The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, or Other? (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 139–41. 5  Cf. Karina Martin Hogan, “The Preservation of 4 Ezra in the Vulgate: Thanks to Ambrose, Not Jerome,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 381–402. Jacob M. Myers, I and II Esdras (Garden City: Doubleday, 1974), 131–34, provides a list of references to 4 Ezra in the ancient Christian literature. 6  Robert A. Kraft, “Ezra Materials in Judaism and Christianity,” in ANRW II: Principat 19/1: Religion ( Judentum: Allgemeines; palästinisches Judentum), ed. Wolfgang Haase (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1979), 119–36; Michael E. Stone, “The Metamorphosis of Ezra: Jewish Apocalypse and Medieval Vision,” JTS 33 (1982): 1–18; E. Ann Matter, “The ‘Revelatio Esdrae’ in Latin and English Traditions,” RBén 92 (1982): 379–87; Stone, Ancient Judaism, 161–66. 7  Cf. Alastair Hamilton, The Apocryphal Apocalypse: The Reception of the Second Book of Esdras (4 Ezra) from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Oxford: Clarendon, 1999); Florentino García Martínez, “La autoridad de 4 Esdras y el descubrimiento de América,” EstBib 70 (2012): 321–44. 8  Stone considers that the original language was Hebrew, after summarizing the discussions between the supporters of an original Hebrew (J. Wellhausen, H. Gunkel, G.H. Box, B. Violet, and others), and L. Gry, who held that 4 Ezra was written in Aramaic: cf. Michael E. Stone, Fourth Ezra: A Commentary on the Book of Fourth Ezra (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1990), 10–11. However, Domingo Muñoz León, “Libro IV de Esdras,” in Apócrifos del Antiguo Testamento: Volumen VI, ed. Alejandro Díez Macho and Antonio Piñero (Madrid: Cristiandad, 2009), 301– 465, 324–30, has recently recalled the need to explain some Aramaisms present in the text and suggests that the original wording could include both languages, as in the case of Daniel.

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Not long after its composition at the end of the first century, 4 Ezra was translated into Greek. In Strom. 3.16 (3.100.3), written about 200 CE, Clement of Alexandria quotes 4 Ezra 5:35, attributing the text to “Ezra the prophet.” This unequivocal reference shows that a Greek translation of 4 Ezra was circulating in Egypt at the end of the second century. However, for unknown reasons, the Greek version of 4 Ezra was lost.9 Only two fragments remain, the quotation in Clement and another in the Apostolic Constitutions (fourth–fifth centuries).10 A.F.J. Klijn assumes that the Greek translation was the work of Christians.11 Bergren and Hogan consider it more likely that the translation was done by a non-Christian Jew and that 4 Ezra was disseminated in Greek already in Jewish circles.12 Be that as it may, it is certain that the Greek version and not the original was the text that became known among Christians: all the ancient versions of 4 Ezra that have come to us depend on it.13 Naturally, the critical editions of 4 Ezra are divided according to their use of the various ancient versions preserved. Among these, the main ones, both for diffusion and quality, are the Latin and the Syriac. There are also three Arabic translations (two from Greek, the other from Syriac), an Ethiopian version, a Georgian, an Armenian, and a Sahidic Coptic (preserved only fragmentarily).14

9  Geert Hallbäck, “The Fall of Zion and the Revelation of the Law: An Interpretation of 4 Ezra,” SJOT 6 (1992): 263–92, 264, mentions, as a possible explanation, the Montanist crisis, which led to the destruction of many apocalyptic works in the third century. 10  The texts can be found in Matthew Black and Albert-Marie Denis, Apocalypsis Henochi graece: Fragmenta pseudepigraphorum quae supersunt graeca: una cum historicorum et auctorum judaeorum hellenistarum fragmentis (Leiden: Brill, 1970), 130–32. Another Greek fragment of 4 Ezra is actually a translation from Latin: cf. Ryszard Rubinkiewicz, “Un fragment grec du IVe Livre d’Esdras (chapitres XI et XII),” Mus 89 (1976): 75–87. 11  Albertus Frederik Johannes Klijn, Die Esra-Apokalypse (IV. Esra) nach dem lateinischen Text unter Benutzung der anderen Versionen (Berlin: Akademie, 1992), xiii. 12  Cf. Theodore A. Bergren, “Christian Influence on the Transmission History of 4, 5, and 6 Ezra,” in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity, ed. William Adler and James C. VanderKam (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1996), 102–27, 106; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 195 (Excursus 2: The Messiah: Son or Servant of the Most High?). Hogan provides an argument: the translator seems to have avoided translating ‫ בן‬as “son,” preferring instead παῖς, a term that explains the oscillation of the ancient versions between “child” and “servant.” 13  For a stemma of the ancient versions, cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 3. 14  A new fragment of the Coptic version has been recently published: Alin Suciu, “On a Bilingual Copto-Arabic Manuscript of 4 Ezra and the Reception of this Pseudepigraphon in Coptic Literature,” JSP 25 (2015): 3–22. For a detailed and accurate description of the preserved manuscripts and of the critical editions of each version, cf. Albert-Marie Denis, et collaborateurs, Introduction à la littérature religieuse judéo-hellénistique (Pseudépigraphes de l’Ancien Testament) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), 831–46.

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The most complete critical edition of the Latin version is the one of Klijn.15 The text proposed by Klijn is almost entirely identical with the text of the Vulgate of Stuttgart from where the Latin text citations will be taken in what follows.16 For the Syriac version, we have the edition of Bidawid.17 As can be seen, the textual situation of 4 Ezra is particularly uncertain, as we have to rely only on the preserved translations of a lost translation. Moreover, it is impossible to reconstruct not only the original Semitic text, but also the Greek version, because of the differences between the old versions. The Greek text of 4 Ezra developed and divided into several recensions before being translated.18 On the other hand, additions or modifications that can be identified unequivocally as Christian are relatively few.19 Among the modern translations of 4 Ezra, the English one of M.E. Stone is essential for his knowledge of the ancient versions, especially the Armenian one, reflected in the textual notes.20 Unless otherwise indicated, all the quotations come from it. Because of the richness of the critical apparatus, the German version of Klijn is also profitable.21 Another useful tool is Box’s English translation from the Syriac version.22 7.3

Date and Place of Composition

According to a broad consensus among scholars, 4 Ezra must have been written near the end of the first century CE. The most important argument is internal: the eagle vision (4 Ezra 10:60–12:36) seems to allude to the three Flavian 15  Albertus Frederik Johannes Klijn, Der lateinische Text der Apokalypse des Esra (Berlin: Akademie, 1983). 16  “Liber Ezrae Quartus,” in Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam versionem, ed. Robert Weber and Roger Gryson (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2007), 1931–74. 17  Sven Dedering and Raphael Bidawid, The Old Testament in Syriac according to the Peshitta Version: 4.3: Apocalypse of Baruch; 4 Esdras (Leiden: Brill, 1973). Both the Syriac text of Bidawid and the Latin of Weber are available at The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha (http://ocp.tyndale.ca/docs/text/4Ezra). 18  Cf. Klijn, Die Esra-Apokalipse, xiii–xiv. 19  Cf. Bergren, “Christian Influence,” 103–127. 20  Stone, Fourth Ezra. Stone’s translation, without the commentary and the notes, is also available in Michael E. Stone and Matthias Henze, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: Translations, Introductions, and Notes (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013). 21  Klijn, Die Esra-Apokalipse. 22  George Herbert Box, The Apocalypse of Ezra (II Esdras III–XIV ): Translated from the Syriac Text (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1917). In her recent commentary, Najman focuses on the Syriac version: cf. Najman, Losing the Temple, 10.

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emperors, leading one to assume that the text was written about the time of the death of Domitian in the year 96 CE.23 As to the place of composition, we have no certain information. The most common view is that 4 Ezra was written in Judea, or at least that its author came from there, since he writes in Hebrew.24 G. Volkmar suggested that the author must have been in Rome because Ezra is located in Babylon, which is taken as equivalent to Rome.25 The proposal is attractive to us because it would bring 4 Ezra close to Josephus. But Volkmar’s argument is weak since it is based on an inadequate understanding of pseudepigraphy or, if preferred, on a confusion between the narrator and the author—a common confusion to which we shall have to return (see below pp. 99–100). 7.4

Fourth Ezra and 2 Baruch

It is sufficient to read a few portions of both texts to perceive the closeness between 4 Ezra and the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, also known as 2 Baruch, not just in genre, but also because of the many similar passages. While no one can deny a link between 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, opinions are divided when scholars try to establish what kind of relationship exists between the two works. In 1969, Bogaert could say that a hundred years of research had failed to establish the relative chronology.26 Half a century later, the situation has not changed

23  Even DiTommaso, who has challenged the consensus by proposing a later date for the final version, thinks that in substance 4 Ezra was written at the end of the first century. Cf. Lorenzo DiTommaso, “Dating the Eagle Vision of 4 Ezra: A New Look at an Old Theory,” JSP 20 (1999): 3–38, 6. For a critique of DiTommaso’s proposal, cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 182–85; Jones, Jewish Reactions, 46–56. The date mentioned at 4 Ezra 3:1—“In the thirtieth year after the destruction of our city”—is primarily an allusion to the book of Ezekiel, as we will argue below: see pp. 117–120. 24  Cf. Lester L. Grabbe, “4 Ezra and 2 Baruch in Social and Historical Perspective,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 221–35, 228; James H. Charlesworth, “4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: Archaeology and Elusive Answers to our Perennial Questions,” in Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Jason Zurawski (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 155–72, 156–62. 25  Gustav Volkmar, Handbuch der Einleitung in die Apokryphen 2: Das vierte Buch Esra (Tübingen: Fues, 1863), 329; cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 56. 26  Pierre-Maurice Bogaert, Apocalypse de Baruch: introduction, traduction du syriaque et commentaire (Paris: Cerf, 1969), 1:26.

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substantially.27 Be that as it may, we shall often make reference to 2 Baruch as a helpful point of comparison for the better understanding of 4 Ezra. 7.5

Structure and Summary of the Content

According to its content, 4 Ezra admits a division into two parts and a conclusion. The first part (4 Ezra 3:1–9:25) contains three dialogues between Ezra and the angel Uriel; the second part consists of three visions of Ezra, each followed by Uriel’s interpretation (4 Ezra 9:26–13:58), while 4 Ezra 14 can be considered the conclusion or denouement. In 1858, G. Volkmar recognized these seven units—three dialogues, three visions, and the denouement—and called them “visions” (Visionen).28 Both the structure and the terminology were popularized by the same Volkmar through the first critical edition of the Latin text.29 The sevenfold structure proposed by the German scholar has been almost universally accepted because it is founded on indications provided by the text itself (see the description below). Nevertheless, the terminology of “visions”— usual since Volkmar—is not accurate because only three of the seven units (the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth) properly contain a vision. The first three “visions” consist of dialogues, while the seventh begins with a dialogue between Ezra and God, and ends with the restoration of the books of the Torah and Ezra’s assumption into heaven. Thus, instead of “visions,” some authors prefer to speak of “parts” or “episodes.”30 However, the term “part” is very ge27  Cf. Daniel M. Gurtner, Second Baruch: A Critical Edition of the Syriac Text: With Greek and Latin Fragments, English Translation, Introduction, and Concordances (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 15–16; Liv Ingeborg Lied, “Recent Scholarship on 2 Baruch: 2000−2009,” CBR 9 (2011): 238–76, 246–47; Matthias Henze, “4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: The Status Quaestionis,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 3–27, 12–15. Idem, Jewish Apocalypticism, 148–186, has proposed an explanation alternative to that of a direct literary dependence. He considers 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch as two parallel results of an editorial process which was partly common and included oral transmission. 28  Gustav Volkmar, Das vierte Buch Esra und apokalyptische Geheimnisse überhaupt (Zürich: Meyer & Zeller, 1858), 11–18. 29  Idem, Handbuch 2: Das vierte Buch Esra. A detailed outline of the structure can be seen in Gabriel Marcelo Nápole, “La estructura de IV Esdras: Reflejo de un itinerario religioso,” in “Donde está el Espíritu, está la libertad”: Homenaje a Luis Heriberto Rivas con motivo de sus 70 años, ed. José Luis D’Amico and Eduardo de la Serna (Buenos Aires: San Benito, 2003), 245–60. 30  Idem, “Liber Ezrae Quartus: Estudio de la obra, y traducción crítica a partir de la versión latina,” Escritos del Vedat 28 (1998): 7–194, 64, uses “parts.” Bruce W. Longenecker, 2 Esdras (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1995), 20; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 1; and

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neric and therefore seems more appropriate for the division of 4 Ezra into two large blocks, the dialogues and the visions. On the other hand, “episode” has a technical meaning, which does not correspond to the seven textual units of 4 Ezra. In narratology, an episode is the minimum text of which it can be said that it has a plot, similar to a “sequence” in a film and to an “act” in a play.31 Some of the seven units of 4 Ezra contain more than one “episode” in this sense. For example, 4 Ezra 5:16–19 is an episode within the first “vision” or textual unit.32 For all these reasons, the seven textual units of 4 Ezra will be called here “sections.”33 In order to facilitate the comprehension of what follows by someone who is unfamiliar with the content of 4 Ezra, I offer now a brief summary of the seven sections. In the first section (4 Ezra 3:1–5:19), Ezra says that he is in Babylon. While lying on his bed, he bitterly prays to the Lord expressing his grief because of the evils that afflict Israel (4 Ezra 3:1–36). The angel Uriel is sent to him (4 Ezra 4:1). He tries to persuade Ezra that he cannot understand the way of the Most High, but Ezra insists on wanting to know why Israel has been handed over to the Gentiles (4 Ezra 4:2–25). Uriel then begins to talk about the end of the world and, seeing Ezra’s interest in the time remaining before the end comes, he describes some of its signs (4 Ezra 4:26–5:12). This first dialogue concludes with an invitation to pray and fast again for seven days (4 Ezra 5:13–15). Thanks to 4 Ezra 5:14 (“I woke up”), the reader finds out that the prayer and the previous dialogue have taken place in a dream. Then an episode of transition follows: a brief dialogue between Ezra and Paltiel, a chief of the people (4 Ezra 5:16–19).

Jonathan A. Moo, Creation, Nature and Hope in 4 Ezra (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011), 29, speak of “episodes.” 31  Jean Louis Ska, “Our Fathers Have Told Us”: Introduction to the Analysis of Hebrew Narratives (Roma: Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1990), 33–36. Therefore, an episode is recognized on the basis of the unity of characters, time, space, and topic: cf. Daniel Marguerat and Yvan Bourquin, Pour lire les récits bibliques: Initiation à l’analyse narrative (Paris: Cerf, 1998), 40–44. 32  Harnisch is right when he says that between 4 Ezra 14:36 and 14:37 there is a change of episode; however, it is not true that he has thus demonstrated the falsity of “das Dogma der Siebenzahl”: Wolfgang Harnisch, “Der Prophet als Widerpart und Zeuge der Offenbarung: Erwägungen zur Interdependenz von Form und Sache im IV. Buch Esra,” in Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Apocalypticism, Uppsala, August 12–17 1979, ed. David Hellholm (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1989), 461–93, 471. 33  Jan du Rand, “Theodicy Provides New Perspectives on God according to 4 Ezra,” ETL 84 (2008): 123–33, uses this term, without offering a justification.

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The second section (4 Ezra 5:20–6:34) maintains the same pattern as the first: a prayer of Ezra, the appearance of the angel, and a dialogue between them. Some repetitions can be detected in the content as well: Ezra asks about the fate of Israel (4 Ezra 5:23–30), the angel responds by reminding him of his inability to understand (4 Ezra 5:31–40), and then Uriel talks about the end of time (4 Ezra 5:41–6:34). The third section (4 Ezra 6:35–9:25) also begins with a prayer of Ezra (4 Ezra 6:38–59) and includes a dialogue about the last times (4 Ezra 7:1–9:22). Unlike the previous two sections, however, the passage in which Uriel reminds Ezra of the limits of human knowledge is lacking. Instead, a new prayer of Ezra is included (4 Ezra 8:4–36). The way in which the dialogue is concluded is different too: in the next seven days, Ezra is not told to fast, as before, but to leave the city and eat only the flowers of the field (4 Ezra 9:23–25). At the beginning of the fourth section (4 Ezra 9:26–10:59), Ezra goes to the field called Ardath. Like the previous ones, this section begins with a prayer of Ezra, who pronounces it while asleep on the hay (4 Ezra 9:26–37). Then, he sees a woman weeping bitterly because her only son has died. Ezra tries to comfort her, but the woman is transformed into a glorious city (4 Ezra 9:38–10:27). Full of fear, Ezra calls Uriel, who comforts him, explains to him the vision—the woman is Zion—and gives him instructions to prepare to receive a new revelation (4 Ezra 10:27–59). Following the order of Uriel, who tells him to stay in the field (4 Ezra 10:50–60), he will remain there until the end of the book, except for a brief interruption in 4 Ezra 14:27–36. The fifth section (4 Ezra 10:60–12:50) also consists of a vision followed by its interpretation. This time Ezra sees an eagle with twelve wings and three heads which rules over the whole earth until a lion appears and speaks harshly to it. The eagle catches fire (4 Ezra 11:1–12:3). Then Uriel comes and provides the interpretation of the vision: the eagle is a kingdom, its wings and heads designate various kings, and the lion is the Davidic Messiah (4 Ezra 12:4–35). Next, the angel says to Ezra that he has to wait again seven days for a subsequent vision, with the same diet as before. Uriel adds an important indication: Ezra must write down everything he has seen, hide it, and teach it only to the wise of the people (4 Ezra 12:36–40). A transitional episode is reported in 4 Ezra 12:41–50, similar to that of 4 Ezra 5:13–19. The people come to Ezra and complain because they think that he has abandoned them. Ezra replies that he has not left them, but has retired to pray. He tells them nothing about the revelations he has just received. The people return to the city and Ezra spends another seven days in the field. In the sixth section (4 Ezra 12:51–13:58), Ezra sees in dreams a man coming up out of the sea and a crowd fighting against him. The man climbs a mountain

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and destroys his opponents with fire sent forth from his mouth. Then he goes down and gathers another crowd, this time a peaceful one. Ezra wakes up and prays to God to show him the interpretation of what he has just seen (4 Ezra 12:51–13:20). The angel announces that the days will come when men will fight each other; then God will reveal his son who is the man of the vision. Uriel adds that the mountain is Zion, the fire is the Torah, and the peaceful crowd are the ten lost tribes of Israel (“ten,” “nine” or “nine and a half” according to the textual variants of 4 Ezra 13:40). Finally, the angel praises Ezra and asks him to wait three days (4 Ezra 13:21–58). The seventh and last section (4 Ezra 14:1–50) contains, among other things, the writing of the ninety-four books and the assumption of Ezra into heaven. For many reasons, this is the most important section of 4 Ezra, as we shall see. 7.6

The Unity of the Work and the Importance of the Seventh Section

The interpretation of 4 Ezra as a unitary work presents some difficulties. In the dialogues, Uriel and Ezra express very different theological positions, and neither is able to convince the other. The three visions that Ezra has next do not seem to solve many of the problems raised in the dialogues. The last section is clearly different from the rest of the book because it is God who speaks, and Ezra no longer expresses doubts or resistance as at the beginning. Moreover, there seem to be some minor inconsistencies in the internal chronology (for example, between 4 Ezra 5:16–19 and 12:41–50). For these reasons— and in accordance with the spirit of the age—the prevailing explanation of 4 Ezra during the first half of the twentieth century was that of Kabisch and Box, who distinguished five different sources, that were brought together by a final editor.34 Nowadays, all scholars recognize the unity of the work, without excluding the possibility that the author has employed previous materials. The difficulties that once led to the thought of a collection of various sources are faced otherwise, with the attempt to resolve them in a way that respects the integrity of the text. Although it does not remove all the difficulties, the consideration of 4 Ezra as a unitary work has allowed for the discovery of a strong coherence,

34  Richard Kabisch, Das vierte Buch Esra auf seine Quellen untersucht (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1889); George Herbert Box, The Ezra-Apocalypse: Being Chapters 3–14 of the Book Commonly Known as 4 Ezra (or II Esdras) (London: Pitman, 1912), xxi–xxxiii.

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more on the narrative level than on the theological one. This narrative consistency helps to explain the tension between the various opinions expressed. That 4 Ezra is a coherent literary work and must be interpreted as such is taken as a starting point in recent studies. Accordingly, the seventh section, in which Ezra dictates the books of the Torah, cannot be understood in isolation without taking into account the preceding sections. Conversely, a comprehensive understanding of 4 Ezra cannot leave out the last section if one accepts that the various parts of a narrative are to be understood from the end—as observed by Aristotle (Poet. 1450a 23). According to H. Gunkel, the final section was added to give an aesthetically pleasing conclusion to the book.35 In the same vein, E. Breech considered 4 Ezra 14 as a mere epilogue since Ezra has been comforted by the previous visions. The seventh section would not provide any significant element.36 The opposite view will be defended here: the seventh section corresponds to the denouement of the plot because it is at this point—as we shall see— that the problem posed at the beginning is completely resolved, namely, Ezra’s anguish because of the destruction of Jerusalem and the triumph of the wicked, and his despair at how difficult it is to attain salvation. The importance of 4 Ezra 14 can also be shown if one considers the characterization of the protagonist, a narrative process which coincides with the development of the plot. Indeed, unlike other recipients of celestial revelations, Ezra does not remain the same throughout the narrative. The seventh section is the ending point of a journey that goes from despair and confusion to a situation of safety and comfort thanks to the received revelations, so that Ezra can instruct and comfort the people and leave behind the restored Torah, as his legacy for the future generations. It is true that some of Ezra’s initial questions remain unanswered, that is, they are not resolved on a logical-argumentative level. But on a personal and social level, Ezra overcomes his doubts: in the seventh section he comforts the people, gives instructions to the wise and is taken “to the place of those who are like him” (4 Ezra 14:49). If the seventh section is the denouement of the plot and the climax of the path of revelation followed by Ezra, it cannot be considered a purely aesthetic conclusion. Rather, the whole story is to be interpreted in the light of what happens in the seventh section. Conversely, if one wishes to understand the 35  Hermann Gunkel, “Das vierte Buch Esra,” in Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments. 2: Die Pseudepigrapha des Alten Testaments, ed. Emil Kautzsch (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1900), 331–401, 348. 36  Earl Breech, “These Fragments I Have Shored against my Ruins: The Form and Function of 4 Ezra,” JBL 92 (1973): 267–74, 274.

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seventh section correctly, it is necessary to take into account what precedes it. Using the structuralist categories of A.J. Greimas, G. Hallbäck expresses even more radically the importance of the seventh section, saying that all the previous sections are a preparation for it, so that the “hero” may acquire the “competences” needed to carry out the final “performance” or principal test, namely, the recovering of the lost Torah.37 Before going further, a methodological remark is in order. We shall propose an interpretation of 4 Ezra that employs some concepts developed in the field of literary theory, more specifically of narratology. The question arises whether it is legitimate to apply these tools to an apocalypse. It is an infrequent path, for obvious reasons: apocalyptic works contain narrative accounts to a reduced extent and possess characteristics that distinguish them from other narratives. Therefore, it is not surprising that few scholars have used narrative criticism to analyze the apocalyptic literature.38 Although it may be presented with a technical jargon that is sometimes obscure, narrative analysis is intended only to make explicit the categories operating in any act of reading a story. In fact, many authors use concepts of narrative order to comment on 4 Ezra without being aware of their technical nature. Indeed, the use of narratological concepts to study 4 Ezra is justified mainly because this work has a narrative framework, that is, a presentation of events that follow one another temporally and are somehow causally linked. The evolution of the protagonist permits the distinguishing of a beginning, a middle, and an end or denouement.39 Ezra’s passage from anguish to comfort and from ignorance to knowledge of the secrets about the end of time will be taken here as the thread of the plot and therefore as the key to understanding the function of 4 Ezra 14 in the whole work (see below Chapter 9).

37  Hallbäck, “Fall of Zion,” 281–83. 38  As mentioned, Idem, “Fall of Zion,” employs a structuralist narratology that is quite different from the one that will be used here, but he comes to similar conclusions. Helge S. Kvanvig, “Jubilees—between Enoch and Moses: A Narrative Reading,” JSJ 35 (2004): 243–61, takes some notions of Aristotle and Ricoeur to interpret the Book of Jubilees, but his effort has little in common with what is going to be done in the following pages. A more extensive application of narrative analysis to apocalyptic works can be seen in Daniel Assefa, L’Apocalypse des animaux (1 Hen 85–90) une propagande militaire?: approches narrative, historico-critique, perspectives théologiques (Leiden: Brill, 2007); and James L. Resseguie, The Revelation of John: A Narrative Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009). 39  For a definition of “story” or “narrative,” cf. Hermann Grosser, Narrativa. Manuale/ Antologia (Milano: Principato, 1985), 1–13; Marguerat and Bourquin, Pour lire, 23–24.

Chapter 8

Coordinates for a Comprehensive Understanding of 4 Ezra It is not my intention to provide complete information about the possible interpretations of 4 Ezra, but to present only the most influential of these and to take a stance on the matter as a necessary step in order to interpret the meaning of the last section and of the ninety-four books. In the last hundred years, the interpretation of 4 Ezra has revolved around two main problems: the author’s position, and the relationship between the dialogues and the visions.1 The first problem refers to the standpoint with which the author is identified. It concerns especially the first part, in which Ezra and Uriel defend opinions very distant from each other. Their talks end without agreement or conclusion, and the continuation of the book seems to leave out many of the issues discussed. At first glance, the most logical answer is to take Uriel as the author’s spokesman since he enjoys the authority of an angel sent by God. However, Ezra does not yield, and expresses his views with such force and conviction that some scholars claim that the most personal ideas of the author are expressed through Ezra’s voice. The second problem of 4 Ezra concerns the relationship between the dialogues and the rest of the book. It is discussed whether the visions should be considered as a correction of the dialogues or rather as their complement; whether they offer a satisfactory response to the initial concerns of Ezra or leave them aside. As can be guessed, this issue is closely related to the unity of 4 Ezra and to the evolution of the protagonist whose behavior in the part with the visions becomes clearly different from his attitude during the dialogues with the angel Uriel. Furthermore, the answer to the second question depends largely on how the first is answered. Therefore, before presenting the seventh section as the culmination of Ezra’s characterization, it will be necessary to examine where and how the point of view of the author is conveyed in 4 Ezra. Or, to put it in the form of questions: with which character does the author identify in the first part? With Ezra, who suffers from the destruction of Jerusalem and is interested in the eternal fate of men, or with Uriel, who seems to give no importance to the fact that very few manage to get saved? 1  Cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 2.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_012

Coordinates for a Comprehensive Understanding of 4 Ezra

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The Debate on the Position of the Author

To understand the following discussion, one should take into account a cultural factor, rarely recognized, which has strongly influenced scholars, often in an unconscious way. Some of the opinions expressed by Ezra in the dialogues are much closer to the modern spirit than those of Uriel so that a modern reader tends to sympathize with Ezra and thus to conclude that he represents the author’s real view. The scholar too is a child of his or her time. A good example are the words of Claude G. Montefiore (1858–1938), the intellectual founder of Anglo-Liberal Judaism, for whom the author of 4 Ezra “hates, and rebels against, the doctrine which he feels obliged to teach,” namely, that “the vast majority of the human race have gone, and are going, to perdition.”2 Before discussing the different opinions on the author’s position, it is convenient to clarify what is meant by author and narrator because sometimes these two concepts are confused. 8.1.1 The Distinction between Narrator and Author To put it briefly and in a somewhat simplified way: the narrator is the one who tells the story, the voice through which the story is heard by the reader, while the author is the one who creates the literary work as a whole.3 A few decades ago, it was common to refer to the author of 4 Ezra as the “Pseudo-Ezra,” something analogous to what happened in other cases, such as speaking of the “Pseudo-Aristeas” to refer to the anonymous author of the Letter of Aristeas. This terminology is inadequate precisely because it does not distinguish between the author and the narrator.4 Behind this way of speaking, there used to be an implicit lack of understanding of so-called “pseudepigraphy,” at least as used in the apocalyptic literature.5 2  Claude G. Montefiore, IV Ezra: A Study in the Development of Universalism (London: Allen & Unwin, 1929), 13, quoted by Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 2. The issue of the salvation of the Gentiles in 4 Ezra will be discussed with regard to the concept of Torah (pp. 142–150). 3  In the case of a memoir or an autobiography, one can speak of a certain identity between narrator and author, but, even in this case, it is not complete: see Grosser, Narrativa, 58–61. 4  Honigman, Septuagint and Homeric Scholarship, 2. 5  Even in recent times, one can find scholars who denounce as fraudulent the attribution of the revelations to characters from the past: see Armin Baum, “Revelatory Experience and Pseudepigraphical Attribution in Early Jewish Apocalypses,” BBR 21 (2011): 65–92. Of course, it “is one thing to say that we should not assume, in the absence of evidence of an operative concept of an ascription’s market value, or of authorial property, that pseudepigraphy is fraudulent. But it is quite another to say what it is,” Najman, Losing the Temple, 47. We will return to the problem of pseudepigraphy when trying to explain why Ezra was chosen as the protagonist of 4 Ezra (see pp. 162–168).

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With respect to the author of 4 Ezra, there are no elements to distinguish between the position of the author that can be reconstructed from the text and that of the real or historical author.6 Neither 4 Ezra nor other sources provide direct information about the author. We know nothing about the person or group who composed 4 Ezra, beyond what can be derived from the work, which is not much. Among other possibilities, it can be deduced, that the author could write in Hebrew, was well versed in the Scriptures of Israel, had mastered the art of composition of what we now call apocalyptic literature, and lived in the late first century CE. Later we shall return to the circumstances of the author and of his addressees, in the light of the external evidence (Chapter 11). In 4 Ezra, the narrator is internal to the story because he is identified throughout the narrative with one of the characters.7 Below, when explaining the psychological plane of the narrative point of view, I will show some consequences of the use of a narrator internal to the story (pp. 106–109). The internal character of the narrator, manifested through the employment of the first person singular, is a continuous characteristic throughout the narrative of 4 Ezra. There are only two exceptions, i.e., two moments in which the narrator speaks in the third person. One is the introduction of the oratio Esdrae: “the beginning of the words of Ezra’s prayer, before he was taken up” (4 Ezra 8:20). However, this sentence does not suppose a real change of narrator, because it works as a parenthesis or gloss.8 The second exception to the narrative in the first person is more interesting. At the end of the book, there is a brief epilogue (4 Ezra 14:49–50), which claims that Ezra was taken to heaven “after he had written all these things” (v. 50).9 That is, a narrator other than Ezra attributes the composition of the 6  On the distinction between real author and implied author, cf. Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978), 148–49. 7  In the terminology of contemporary narrative criticism, it is preferred to speak of the internal or external relationship between the narrator and the story rather than to distinguish between narration in first or third person. The narrator is external if not involved in any way in the story and internal when participating in it, either as a mere witness, or as protagonist, or in intermediate grades. Cf. Grosser, Narrativa, 72–75. 8  Moreover, the sentence is missing in the Syriac version and varies greatly in the Armenian and in the two Arabic ones: cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 269. 9  Verses 49–50 are missing from the Latin version, but present in the others. Cf. Idem, Fourth Ezra, 437–38 and 442. The text is missing in the Latin version probably because of the continuation of the story (6 Ezra) which requires that the protagonist does not disappear, as observed by Muñoz León, “IV Esdras,” 465. The allusions to Ezra’s assumption in 4 Ezra 8:20 and 14:9 can be mentioned in favor of the original nature of the text.

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book to the protagonist and principal narrator. This statement does not nullify the distinction between narrator and author. It is, rather, a resource internal to the story, something typical of pseudepigraphy; it is part of the literary fiction created by the author. 8.1.2 From Gunkel to Stone Formulated more than a century ago, the psychological-religious interpretation of 4 Ezra inaugurated by H. Gunkel (1862–1932) continues to exert a great influence. Some of his statements have inspired many scholars, among whom M.E. Stone is prominent.10 Gunkel did not write a monograph on 4 Ezra, but a rather informative introduction to his translation of the text in the collection of “Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha” edited by E. Kautzsch. Gunkel sees in Ezra’s questions and in the angel’s answers a literary transcription of a monologue of the author, who is suffering for the destruction of Israel but consoles himself thinking that the end is near. Thus, it is the same person who raises the problems and tries to resolve them. The author identifies both with Ezra and with Uriel.11 The tensions and differences contained in 4 Ezra are due to his complex personality. The author has chosen the dialogue as a way to express his own inner conflict, his divided nature. Not surprisingly, Gunkel asserts that the comfort that Ezra gets at the end of the story corresponds to the comfort achieved in real life by the author of the book.12 Although Gunkel does not expressly say so, his interpretation seems to owe much to the attempt to explain the internal contradictions of 4 Ezra which had been brought to light by the source-theory of Kabisch—a theory openly rejected by Gunkel.13 However, Gunkel’s reference to the author’s personal experience goes beyond a means of justifying the tensions or inconsistencies of 4 Ezra. The German scholar poses the question whether the author could really have had visions and expressed them in the book, and responds affirmatively.14 It is especially at this point that Stone follows Gunkel, though with significant 10  Stone, Fourth Ezra, 14–15; 28, and passim. He offers a summary of his interpretation of 4 Ezra in Idem, “On Reading an Apocalypse,” in Mysteries and Revelations: Apocalyptic Studies since the Uppsala Colloquium, ed. James H. Charlesworth and John J. Collins (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), 65–78. 11  Gunkel, “Das vierte Buch Esra,” 335–39. 12  Idem, “Das vierte Buch Esra,” 340. 13  Gunkel had published a critical review of the book of Kabisch in TLZ 16 (1891) 5–11. In the text of 1900, he mentions Kabisch when explaining the part with the visions, where Gunkel is willing to admit that the author of 4 Ezra used written sources: Idem, “Das vierte Buch Esra,” 343–47; cf. also 350–52. 14  Idem, “Das vierte Buch Esra,” 341–42.

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differences. Gunkel appealed to some personal experiences of the author to explain the part with the dialogues, not that with the visions. For Stone, the religious experience of the author can be detected mainly in the fourth section.15 In sum, both Gunkel and Stone see in 4 Ezra a literary work that mirrors closely the experience of its author. Although neither of them claims that the author identifies uniquely with Ezra, they think that the initial standpoint of Ezra reflects the author’s, at least in part, and that Ezra’s evolution throughout the book corresponds to the process of the author’s consolation.16 In this line, some have stated almost a complete identity between the author’s position and the views expressed by Ezra.17 We shall return to this problem in connection with the expression of the psychological point of view in 4 Ezra (pp. 106–109). 8.1.3 From Harnisch to Hogan At the opposite extreme from Gunkel, we find the interpretation of 4 Ezra as a theological debate. According to this way of reading, the dialogues of the first part do not reflect any psychological experience of the author, but a debate between two schools of thought. The author of 4 Ezra agrees with the angel Uriel, whose arguments are directed to contrast with a theological vision opposite to that of the author which appears in the mouth of Ezra.18 For W. Harnisch, the dialogues between Ezra and Uriel reflect a real controversy in which the author of 4 Ezra participated. In 1969, Harnisch went so far as to claim that the position defended by Ezra in the dialogues corresponded to a Jewish heresy close to Gnosticism.19 In his later publications, he does not 15  Recently, he has proposed this thesis again: see Stone, Ancient Judaism, 96–103. 16  Gunkel’s ideas have also had an influence on other scholars, such as Breech, “These Fragments,” 267–74; Longenecker, 2 Esdras; A. Peter Hayman, “2 Esdras,” in The Oxford Bible Commentary, ed. John Barton and John Muddiman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 775–90; and Daschke, City of Ruins. This is not the place to specify the differences between each of them. 17  This is the case of Walter Harrelson, “Ezra among the Wicked in 2 Esdras 3–10,” in The Divine Helmsman: Studies on God’s Control of Human Events, Presented to Lou H. Silberman, ed. James L. Crenshaw and Samuel Sandmel (New York: KTAV, 1980), 21–40, and of Alden Lloyd Thompson, Responsibility for Evil in the Theodicy of IV Ezra: A Study illustrating the Significance of Form and Structure for the Meaning of the Book (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977), 157 and passim. 18  This interpretation of 4 Ezra was first proposed by Egon Brandenburger, Adam und Christus: Exegetisch-religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zu Röm 5:12–21 (1 Kor 15) (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1962), 27–36. It was developed later by Harnisch in his thesis: Wolfgang Harnisch, Verhängnis und Verheissung der Geschichte: Untersuchungen zum Zeit—und Geschichtverständnis im 4. Buch Esra und in der syr. Baruchapokalypse (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1969). 19  Idem, Verhängnis, 65–72; 298.

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insist on this point—which never enjoyed great acceptance—and defines Ezra’s thought as skepticism.20 If a character of the caliber of Ezra has been chosen as the opponent of the author’s own views, the author has done this because he knows that Ezra will eventually accept the theses of Uriel.21 Indeed, Ezra abandons his thoughts in the fourth section to comfort the woman and to demand that she recognize that God is right. Unwittingly, Ezra takes on the same role that Uriel had played before. Later, in the words of consolation that he addresses to the people (4 Ezra 12:46–49), Ezra again assumes the role of Uriel, this time in a conscious way.22 Thus, if the readers had identified themselves with Ezra, at this moment they feel invited to abandon skepticism.23 The seventh section confirms that this is the meaning of 4 Ezra as a whole.24 E. Brandenburger shares with Harnisch the idea that the position of the author of 4 Ezra corresponds to that of Uriel. He also highlights the importance of Ezra’s evolution throughout the narrative. However, his own interpretation of 4 Ezra is in some points more moderate than that of Harnisch. For example, he does not claim that the dialogues reflect a real debate. He is not persuaded by Harnisch’s thesis that the part with the dialogues ends with the victory of Uriel and the defeat of Ezra.25 This survey of the interpretations of 4 Ezra would not be complete if we did not mention the proposal of K.M. Hogan. While presenting her own position as intermediate between Gunkel and Brandenburger, her way of reading 4 Ezra is 20  Idem, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 477. 21  Idem, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 477. 22  Idem, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 479–80. 23  Idem, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 481. 24  Idem, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 481–83. Harnisch thinks that the vision of the eagle and that of the man are later additions: Idem, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 465–72. This is why he jumps directly from the fourth to seventh section. 25  Cf. Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 43–48, where he points out the differences between his interpretation and that of Harnisch; and 60–68, where he analyzes the words of Ezra in 4 Ezra 9:29–37. Other aspects of Brandenburger’s interpretation will be mentioned later. Eckhard J. Schnabel, Law and Wisdom from Ben Sira to Paul: A Tradition Historical Enquiry into the Relation of Law, Wisdom, and Ethics (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1985), 138– 52; Stefan Beyerle, “‘Du bist kein Richter über dem Herrn’: Zur Konzeption von Gesetz und Gericht im 4. Esrabuch,” in Recht und Ethos im Alten Testament—Gestalt und Wirkung: Festschrift für Horst Seebass zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Stefan Beyerle, Günter Mayer and Hans Strauß (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1999), 315–37; Heinrich Hoffmann, Das Gesetz in der frühjüdischen Apokalyptik (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999), 217–57; and Konrad Schmid, “Die Zerstörung Jerusalems und seines Tempels als Heilsparadox: Zur Zusammenführung von Geschichtstheologie und Anthropologie im 4. Esrabuch,” in Zerstörungen des Jerusalemer Tempels: Geschehen—Wahrnehmung— Bewältigung, ed. Johannes Hahn (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), 183–206 share the main points of the interpretation of Harnisch and Brandenburger.

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a little closer to the latter. Hogan sees the part with the dialogues as reflecting a debate between two theological schools. Unlike Brandenburger and Harnisch, however, she does not consider Ezra to be a skeptic. Ezra represents an intellectual tradition similar to that of Ben Sira, a position which Hogan describes as “covenantal wisdom.” The angel Uriel would be an exponent of another stream, this one called “eschatological wisdom,” for which Hogan finds a parallel in 4QInstructiona (4Q418, formerly Sapiential Work A). The most original aspect of Hogan’s interpretation is the claim that the author of 4 Ezra must not be identified with any of these two currents but with a third, of an apocalyptic kind, represented by the visions. What Ezra sees solves in a symbolical or supra-rational way the theological problems that the rational argumentation (the dialogues) had failed to resolve.26 In many respects, Hogan’s book is solid and convincing. Her analysis of the texts is subtle, and her interpretation of 4 Ezra manages to explain both the development of the dialogues and their relationship with the visions. However, one important point is highly debatable: the separation between the standpoint of Uriel in the dialogues and the theology conveyed by the visions. Though she acknowledges that Uriel is the most authoritative voice in the dialogues,27 Hogan stresses too much the differences between the angel’s position in the dialogues and the implicit theology in the heavenly visions.28 It seems more accurate to say that the dialogues and the visions form a unitary plan, prepared by the Most High, which concludes with God’s direct intervention at the end of the book. In my opinion, the attempt to identify Uriel’s arguments in the dialogues with a theological school has led Hogan to underestimate the fact that it is the same Uriel who is with Ezra during the second part and who offers him the interpretation of each vision. For the same reason, it seems wrong to state that Uriel “fails” in his mission to persuade Ezra, as Hogan says.29 In light of the whole, one can deduce, rather, that the function of Uriel in the dialogues was 26  Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 35–40 and passim. 27  Idem, Theologies in Conflict, 149, n. 97. 28  Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 149, n. 1, had already observed (against Hayman) that the apocalyptic genre implies that the voice of the revealing angel has more authority than his earthly counterparts. 29  Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 38, 161, and passim. Unfortunately, Hogan is unaware of two articles that contain valuable insights on the compatibility between Uriel’s statements in the dialogues and the theology implicit in the visions: Konrad Schmid, “Esras Begegnung mit Zion: Die Deutung der Zerstörung Jerusalems im 4. Esrabuch und das Problem des ‘bösen Herzens’,” JJS 29 (1998): 261–77; and Richard Bauckham, “Apocalypses,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: 1, The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, ed. Donald A. Carson, Peter Thomas O’Brien and Mark A. Seifrid (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001), 135–87, especially 166–69.

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not aimed at convincing Ezra, but at disposing him for the following revelations. The angel’s argumentation was propaedeutic to the visions and in this sense he does not fail, but reaches his goal, for Ezra becomes interested in the end of the world. Ezra’s antagonist is not Uriel, but God himself whom Ezra challenges from the start. God responds first by sending an angel and then by showing him visions. The total conversion of Ezra coincides with the moment of the maximal revelation of God, which includes the gift of the Torah.30 To better understand the interpretation of 4 Ezra that will be proposed here, I need to explain the concept of “narrative point of view,” useful to identify the author’s position because it prevents us from following the false trail of taking any of the characters as reflecting the author’s voice directly. 8.2

The Planes of the Narrative Point of View

The same story can be told in different ways, and the way in which a story is told depends largely on the point of view from which it is told. The point of view—also called “narrative perspective,” “focus of narration” or “focalization”—is “the relation in which the narrator stands to the story.”31 Scholars acknowledge that the narrative point of view is a notion that is difficult to define and analyze.32 However, its complexity depends largely 30  “In differentiating the theology of Uriel from the theology of the symbolic visions, Hogan assumes that the author of 4 Ezra imagined heaven to be in conflict with one of its angels. This is a very curious proposition. It is far more probable that the author presumed that the revelations disclosed in the dialogues by Uriel, a representative of the transcendent reality (Heaven), emanated from the same source as the revelations of the symbolic visions. This architecture is axiomatic to apocalypticism: there is no room in it for more than two realities, the mundane and the transcendent, and I cannot think of a single example to the contrary in the corpus of ancient apocalyptic literature,” Lorenzo DiTommaso, “Who Is the ‘I’ of 4 Ezra?,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 119–33, 127. Similar critical observations to Hogan’s thesis can be seen in Moo, Creation, 32–33; Alexander E. Stewart, “Narrative World, Rhetorical Logic, and The Voice of The Author in 4 Ezra,” JBL 132 (2013): 373–91, 375, 383, n. 36; and 389; Najman, Losing the Temple, 81, n. 24, and 127–31; and Lydia Gore-Jones, “The Unity and Coherence of 4 Ezra: Crisis, Response, and Authorial Intention,” JSJ 47 (2016): 212–35, 215. 31  Percy Lubbock, The Craft of Fiction (London: Jonathan Cape, 1921), 251. In what follows, I summarize the explanation of the narrative point of view presented in Juan Carlos Ossandón Widow, “Bartimaeus’ Faith: Plot and Point of View in Mark 10,46–52,” Bib 93 (2012): 377–402, 378–80. 32  Cf. Carlos Reis and Ana Cristina M. Lopes, Diccionario de narratología (Salamanca: Ediciones Colegio de España, 1996), s.v. “perspectiva narrativa”, 200.

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on the need to describe some phenomena characteristic of contemporary narrative, such as the disappearance of the author, the free indirect discourse, or the flow of consciousness, which are not found in ancient literature. This clarification allows us to move forward without having to explain all the opinions and distinctions.33 Although it has some limitations, the most effective way to understand the narrative point of view consists of imagining how a camera films. The camera can move at different speeds, zoom in for a detailed look at a small part of an element, simulate the perception of a character, etc. More important is the fact that the camera always reflects the position in which it is located and that we can see only what it shows us. In the written narrative, there is also a position from which the story is told, expressed in words instead of images. This position is the narrative point of view. In everyday language, the word “point of view” does not only designate the position from which something or someone is observed. It is also frequent to speak of point of view within the semantic field of opinions or valuations. The same amplitude of meaning is applied to the narrative point of view. Accordingly, it is possible to distinguish different planes in it. The most widespread division is that of B. Uspensky, who offers a typology according to five planes or levels: spatial, temporal, psychological, phraseological, and ideological.34 Below I summarize Uspensky’s definitions and apply them to 4 Ezra, limiting myself to the psychological and ideological planes of the point of view since the other three are not relevant for an interpretation of 4 Ezra as a whole. 8.3

The Psychological Plane and the Psychologizing Interpretation of 4 Ezra

The psychological plane of the narrative point of view corresponds to the possibility that the narrator is simulating the consciousness or perception of one of the characters, or of none of them. Indeed, a rather extreme possibility of literary composition is the adoption of a point of view external to all the characters by which the narrator simply describes what they do or say, without 33  On the history of the concept, cf. Gary Yamasaki, Watching a Biblical Narrative: Point of View in Biblical Exegesis (London: T&T Clark, 2007), 1–41. 34  Uspensky is aware of a certain arbitrariness in this scheme: another plane could be added or simply a different system could be used. Cf. Boris Uspensky, A Poetics of Composition: The Structure of the Artistic Text and Typology of a Compositional Form (Berkeley: University of California, 1983), 6–7.

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affording any psychological introspection. At the other extreme, the narrator can consistently assume the psychological point of view of one of the characters. This is the case with every first-person account. The same thing can occur in a third-person narrative in which the narrator not only describes what a character sees, but also says what he or she feels, remembers, imagines, etc.35 As is always the case in a narrative in the first person, the psychological point of view in 4 Ezra is identified with the perception of the narrator, who, in this case, is also the protagonist of the story. Ezra expresses his inner state by using verba sentiendi from the first verse (cf. 4 Ezra 3:1), and frequently throughout the work. Fourth Ezra provides a vivid description of the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist, of his aporias and anxieties. It is interesting to wonder why the author of 4 Ezra chose the form of narration in the first person singular. Although he could have been inspired by Ezra 7:27–9:15, the closest antecedent is found in apocalyptic literature. The visions of Daniel (Dan 7–12), some sections of 1 Enoch, and many other works of this genre, such as the book of Revelation, 2 Baruch, and the Apocalypse of Abraham—these three are contemporary to 4 Ezra—are written in the first person singular.36 In apocalyptic literature, narration in the first person is chosen probably because it is better suited than narration in the third person to recounting visions, which, by definition, are subjective experiences. Saying “Ezra saw” or “John saw” instead of “I saw” introduces a voice that has not seen what Ezra or John have, thus creating a gap that complicates the way of narrating. Without excluding the above, the use of the first person can also be described as a strategy linked to the management of the point of view on the psychological plane. The fact that the narrator permanently identifies with one of the characters implies that the reader receives all the information through a single channel. In 4 Ezra, the reader “sees” only what Ezra sees, and “hears” only what Ezra hears. This way of narrating necessarily entails that the reader is closer to Ezra than to any of the other characters. Thus, the text favors an

35  In both cases, consistency requires that the spatial and temporal point of view of the character is also adopted. The opposite is not always true. In fact, it is common that the narrator follows a character spatially and temporally without taking his or her psychological point of view: Idem, Poetics, 105–7. 36  By contrast, in classical historiography, the authors prefer to speak of themselves in the third person, although they have witnessed or been involved in the events they tell. Probably they do so in imitation of the epics. Cf. Robert Scholes, James Phelan and Robert L. Kellogg, The Nature of Narrative (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 72. Josephus follows this model in his account of the Jewish Revolt.

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identification of the readers with Ezra or at least makes the readers feel that the revelations are directed also to them.37 For our research, it is fundamental to recall that identifying the psychological plane of the narrative point of view with the perception of a character does not imply anything about the author’s position, either on the psychological plane or on the others. The character who narrates—the “I”—is internal to the narrative. In this regard, the position of Gunkel and Stone, whereby behind 4 Ezra there are some real visions of the author, is something that cannot be demonstrated from the text.38 To acknowledge the distance between the world of the text and the world of the author does not mean that the concepts developed by psychology do not contribute anything when interpreting 4 Ezra. Indeed, various parts of the story lend themselves to be explained through psychological categories, such as the transformation of Ezra in the fourth section.39 In the same way, praying, fasting, sleeping, and eating flowers seem ascetic or ritual practices that might have an extratextual correspondence in the author’s world.40 It is permissible to infer that the author of 4 Ezra had a special sensitivity in these fields. But from here to say that the author is reflecting personal visions or ritual practices there is a leap that it does not seem possible to prove. The same can be said

37  I have not found an explanation for the use of first-person narrative in the apocalypses among scholars except for a small allusion with regard to Revelation (Resseguie, Revelation of John, 48), and some suggestions of Loren T. Stuckenbruck, “Pseudepigraphy and First Person Discourse in the Dead Sea Documents: From the Aramaic Texts to Writings of the Yaḥad,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls and Contemporary Culture: Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem ( July 6–8, 2008), ed. Adolfo Daniel Roitman, Lawrence H. Schiffman and Shani Tzoref (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 295–326, 325, who provides a description similar to my own, without using the terminology of “psychological point of view.” 38  Becker, “Apokalyptisches nach dem Fall Jerusalems,” 336, n. 229, makes a similar criticism. 39  Ezra externalizes his own pain and thus he can overcome it: cf. Daschke, City of Ruins, 103– 39, especially 128–36; Daniel Merkur, “Cultivating Visions through Exegetical Meditations,” in With Letters of Light: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Early Jewish Apocalypticism, Magic, and Mysticism in Honor of Rachel Elior, ed. Daphna V. Arbel and Andrei A. Orlov (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011), 62–91. Schmid, “Esras Begegnung mit Zion,” 274, recalls the catharsis, which is one of the effects of tragedy according to Aristotle. 40  Cf. James R. Davila, “The Hekhalot Literature and the Ancient Jewish Apocalypses,” in Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism, ed. April D. DeConick (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006), 105–25, 118–20; Vicente Dobroruka, Second Temple Pseudepigraphy: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Apocalyptic Texts and Related Jewish Literature (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), 123–27. However, the references to fasting and food play a literary function, as shown by Peter-Ben Smit, “Reaching for the Tree of Life: The Role of Eating, Drinking, Fasting, and Symbolic Foodstuffs in 4 Ezra,” JSJ 45 (2014): 1–22.

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of the claim that the author experienced a personal conversion similar to that of Ezra (see above pp. 101–102). Even if the reality of such experiences could ever be demonstrated, the interpretation of the text would not be substantially affected because the main question remains unanswered: why are these experiences recounted in a literary work? What is their function for the message the author wants to convey? In short, when the object of the interpretation is a text and not a person, the psychological analysis must be subordinated to the literary. In sum, it is important to note that the expression of the psychological point of view in 4 Ezra makes it easier for the reader to follow Ezra’s path closely throughout the narrative. The idea—first suggested by Breech—that Ezra is a figure meant to represent Israel and thus also the readers rather than the author is gaining strength today. Ezra’s intellectual and spiritual progress is more likely a rhetorical strategy designed to carry readers who start where Ezra does at the opening of the book through a process of enlightenment, conversion and consolation similar to that which Ezra undergoes.41 Ezra’s evolution provides the community with a guideline or model to overcome a crisis of faith, possibly related to the circumstances of the Jewish people after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (on these circumstances, see below Chapter 11). “Through the renewal of the figure of Ezra, the reader’s attention is deflected from the rebuilding of the Temple and redirected toward the renewal of scripture.”42 8.4

The Ideological Plane of the Narrative Point of View

The point of view on the ideological plane is the position from which the author, the narrator or a character judges or values everything. It can be called “evaluative” too, because in this context “ideology” designates broadly how the world is understood and judged, not a philosophical system. According to Uspensky, the ideological plane is the aspect of the narrative point of view 41  Bauckham, “Apocalypses,” 162. Cf. Breech, “These Fragments,” 271; Philip F. Esler, “The Social Function of 4 Ezra,” JSNT 16 (1994): 99–123, 113–14; Hindy Najman, “How Should We Contextualize Pseudepigrapha? Imitation and Emulation in 4 Ezra,” in Flores Florentino: Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish Studies in Honour of Florentino García Martínez, ed. Anthony Hilhorst, Émile Puech and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 529–36, 533; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 161; Moo, Creation, 33–34. 42  Najman, Losing the Temple, 66.

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most difficult to analyze because it is the one least able to be formalized and thus some “intuition” is required to identify it.43 Actually, a formal analysis of the ideological point of view is not easy because it is expressed more on the semantic level than on the syntactic. Thus, the difficulty of determining it varies according to the degree of subtlety or ambiguity with which it is conveyed.44 Many different ideological points of view may appear in a story. The analysis should determine in each case if there is a dominant one or not. When the dominant point of view belongs to one of the characters, this is usually the protagonist, but it may be also a secondary character, like the chorus in the Greek tragedies.45 Sometimes the author can hide his or her ideological point of view, which must then be deduced from the conflict between two or more views of the characters. This is the normal case in the novels of F. Dostoevsky, where several views are disclosed without the expression of an ideological stance outside them or over them.46 It is clear that in 4 Ezra we find more than one point of view on the ideological plane, especially in the part with the dialogues between Ezra and Uriel which represents precisely the confrontation between two “ideologies.”47 The point of view of a character may vary throughout the work. This factor complicates the analysis. In the case of 4 Ezra, the ideological standpoint of Uriel remains essentially unchanged.48 By contrast, the ideological point of view of Ezra evolves considerably, as will be discussed in detail below (pp. 116–134). The relevant question for us is where the author of 4 Ezra is located with respect to the different ideological points of view expressed in the work. If we wished to answer this question in a rigorous manner, we should examine 4 Ezra from the beginning to the end, which would take up too much 43  As formal features expressing an ideological point of view, Uspensky points only to the use of fixed epithets in folklore and of capital letters in some words, like “God.” Cf. Uspensky, Poetics, 8 and 13–15. Yamasaki adds the analysis of epistemic modality—the relationship of the speaker with respect to the truth of the statement: see Yamasaki, Watching, 49–55; 174–75. 44  For a critique of Uspensky in this aspect, see Paola Pugliatti, Lo sguardo nel racconto: teorie e prassi del punto di vista (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1985), 112–16. 45  Uspensky, Poetics, 11–13. 46  Cf. Idem, Poetics, 8–13. In this case, Uspensky refers to the concept of “polyphony” proposed by Bakhtin. 47  Hogan takes from Bakhtin the notions of “dialogic truth” and “polyphony” and applies them to the dialogues, but she admits that they cannot be applied to 4 Ezra as a whole: cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 101–2. 48  Hogan shows that Uriel slightly moderates his discourse about divine justice in the third dialogue, because of Ezra’s insistence on the mercy of God: Idem, Theologies in Conflict, 143–50.

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space. A reasonable alternative is to study the rhetorical strategies of authority with which the author depicts the different points of view, without analyzing the whole text. We shall try to discover which of them is presented as normative. Taking this aspect into consideration will allow us to obtain a general idea of the author’s position. 8.4.1 The Various Expressions of the Point of View of God In addressing 4 Ezra, we must consider a significant difference from other literary works, such as the novels of Dostoevsky mentioned above. As always in the apocalyptic literature, there is in 4 Ezra an ideological point of view that is normative in an “absolute” way, namely, the point of view of God, the source of the revelations. Some of the characters in 4 Ezra represent God, and God himself is a character who intervenes directly at the end. Although the divine point of view is not external to the story, it is by definition higher than the view of the other characters. Therefore, we can take for granted that the ideas, opinions, or judgments that the author somehow attributes to God should correspond to what he or she considers to be right or true in the highest degree. At the same time, it is fundamental to realize that the fact that the supreme authority corresponds to God does not mean that the viewpoints of the other characters are worthless. The author can also speak through those characters that do not represent the divinity, like Ezra or the people. However, it is important to remember that there is a hierarchy presided over by the point of view of the one who is recognized precisely as “the Most High.”49 As stated above (pp. 103–104), Hogan’s interpretation of 4 Ezra is problematic for not taking sufficient account of this hierarchy. If we ask how the ideological point of view of God is expressed in 4 Ezra, the answer is threefold: 1) through the angel Uriel—first in the dialogues and next in the interpretation of the visions—; 2) through the visions; 3) finally, in the last section, God speaks to Ezra without mediators. In the first place, we have “the angel that had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel” (4 Ezra 4:1). In the part with the visions, his role corresponds to the 49  Both Ezra and Uriel speak of God calling him “the Most High.” The title is frequent in the Greek diaspora and in works close to 4 Ezra, such as Daniel, 1 Enoch, and 2 Baruch. Cf. Bogaert, Apocalypse de Baruch, 1:395–97; Gabriel Marcelo Nápole, “Entre la comprensión y la perplejidad: la revisión de la historia de Israel en IV Esd III,1–36,” in “Testigos … y servidores de la Palabra”, Lc 1, 2: homenaje a Luis Heriberto Rivas, ed. Victor M. Fernández and Carlos M. Galli (Buenos Aires: San Benito, 2008), 135–50, 139–40.

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angelus interpres, as in Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel, or 2 Baruch.50 His role in the part with the dialogues is more original. Uriel is not a mere speaker, a messenger without a voice. Although in his speech the distinction vanishes on many occasions and it seems that it is God himself who is speaking (cf. 4 Ezra 5:40.42; 6:1–6; 8:47.61; 9:17–22), the angel usually refers to the Most High as someone other than himself.51 Especially significant in this regard is his declaration in 4 Ezra 4:52: “I was not sent to tell you concerning your life, for I do not know.” Uriel cannot reveal when Ezra will die because he just does not know it. He does not pretend to be omniscient; he clearly acknowledges the distance between him and God. Therefore, Uriel’s words express the divine point of view, but do not exhaust it. In light of the ensemble of 4 Ezra, this observation is important for two reasons: it leaves open the possibility that Ezra is not completely wrong in the dialogues; and it allows us to understand the differences between Uriel’s theology and that of the visions in terms of complementarity, as both express only a part of the point of view of God. The visions of the second part are the second mode of manifestation of God’s point of view. In both form and content, they differ from the words of Uriel in the dialogues. But as to their authority, which is what is being discussed now, a meaningful distinction cannot be established. Finally, in the seventh section, Ezra listens to the voice of God speaking to him from a bush. There is no mediation. It can be considered therefore as the apex of the divine revelations contained in 4 Ezra. The words pronounced by God in this moment are few compared to the earlier revelations. However, the Most High does not merely speak but gives Ezra a special inspiration to write again the Torah.52 Thus, the ninety-four books appear as the last expression of the ideological point of view of God, which has been so fully assimilated by Ezra that he can leave it as an inheritance to the wise among the people before ascending to heaven. To the readers, it should be clear that they should go to these books, especially the seventy, if they want to know the point of view of God and do not have the help of an angel or of celestial visions (see below Chapter 10).

50  Cf. Benjamin E. Reynolds, “The Otherworldly Mediators in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: A Comparison with Angelic Mediators in Ascent Apocalypses and in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 175–93, 179–93. 51  Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 199; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 107–8. In 4 Ezra 4:36, Uriel quotes the words of another angel, Jeremiel. 52  Cf. Meredith J.C. Warren, “‘My heart poured forth understanding’: 4 Ezra’s Fiery Cup as Hierophagic Consumption,” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 44 (2015): 320–33.

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This progression in the manifestation of God’s point of view confirms the crucial importance of the seventh section in the structure of 4 Ezra.53 8.4.2 What God Says about Ezra The above description would not be complete if we did not take into account the fact that the author of 4 Ezra also expresses the authority of the various points of view in a relative manner, that is, through the statements that one character makes about another. For example, the divine authority of Uriel depends not only on his heavenly status but also on its recognition by Ezra. Actually, both things are inseparable, for it is only through Ezra that the reader knows that Uriel is an angel sent by God (cf. 4 Ezra 4:1). Indeed, Ezra always manifests an attitude of deep respect for the angel, although he directs daring questions to him. He calls him “Lord,” the same title he uses to invoke God.54 On the other hand, to find out the authority of Ezra’s point of view, we must review what the other characters—especially God or his representatives—say about him. Throughout the book, we find several statements concerning Ezra, made by different characters. At the beginning, he identifies himself with the people of Israel and their sins (4 Ezra 4:38). Paltiel considers him as shepherd (4 Ezra 5:17–18) and he is deemed by the people as the last of the prophets (4 Ezra 12:42). These descriptions are part of the characterization of Ezra and we shall return to them later. Now we are interested in seeing only what God or his representatives say about Ezra, to determine to what extent the views of Ezra (his ideological point of view) can be shared by the author. According to Uriel, Ezra cannot know the way of the Most High. Notwithstanding, in 4 Ezra 4:44–50, Uriel recognizes that Ezra is worthy to receive a revelation and he repeats the same in 4 Ezra 7:102–104. A more explicit judgment on Ezra from the divine point of view appears at the end of the second dialogue. In 4 Ezra 6:31, Uriel announces that he will return within seven days. Then he adds the following explanation: Your voice has surely been heard before the Most High; for the Mighty One has seen your uprightness [directionem tuam] and has observed the 53  Following a different path, that considers the ways in which Ezra experiences the divinity, Frances Flannery, “Esoteric Mystical Practice in Fourth Ezra and the Reconfiguration of Social Memory,” in Experientia: Volume 2: Linking Text and Experience, ed. Colleen Shantz and Rodney Alan Werline (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012), 45–70, 57–63, comes to the same conclusion. 54  In general, when Ezra addresses Uriel, he does so as if the angel were identical with God (4 Ezra 4:3.5.22–23.38.41; 5:33–35.38.41.56; 6:11; 7:3.10.17.45.53.58.75; 8:4–14.64, etc.); how­ ever, on a few occasions, he does distinguish between the two (cf. 4 Ezra 4:25; 7:102.132–139).

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purity which you have maintained from your youth. Therefore he sent me to show you all these things.” And he said to me: “Believe and do not be afraid! 4 Ezra 6:32–33

Before God, Ezra is righteous and pure not only in this moment but also before receiving the revelations—that is, from his youth. By itself, this statement precludes the consideration of Ezra as a skeptic, whose position is opposed by the author, as Harnisch claims (see above pp. 102–103). Ezra’s voice has been heard “before the Most High.” That is, the initial lament of Ezra not only has not offended God, but has been listened to. In the scriptural language, “to hear” implies accepting, receiving, heeding.55 We should not conclude that God endorses the whole content of the statements made so far by Ezra, but at least that he has accepted his request to receive a response, as is implied by the simple fact of having sent an angel to him. It is worth taking note of the terms that Uriel employs to describe his mission: he was sent “to show you all these things.” Thus, Uriel’s coming was not intended to answer the questions of Ezra. So far, God’s response to Ezra’s prayer consists of revealing to him the signs of the end.56 Uriel’s statement about Ezra in 4 Ezra 6:32–33 is the first of a series. In the third dialogue, the angel tells him not to identify himself with sinners, for he has a treasure of works in heaven (cf. 4 Ezra 7:76–77). Later, he praises him for his humility, which has led him not to include himself among the righteous, but Uriel urges him not to do this again: Ezra must forget the fate of the wicked and think about the reward that awaits him as righteous (cf. 4 Ezra 8:47–62). In the part with the visions, Ezra shows that he has assimilated this point, as he states that he has been favored beyond many others and has been judged worthy to be shown the end of the times (cf. 4 Ezra 12:7–9). In conclusion, the analysis of the authority of the various narrative points of view on the ideological plane shows that it is not appropriate to interpret the part with the dialogues as if it were a debate between two theological schools. It is not an exchange between equals. Ezra is described as a man worthy of receiving revelations from God but whose views are not completely correct: 55  Cf. Alberto Mello, “Ascolto,” in Temi teologici della Bibbia, ed. Romano Penna, Giacomo Perego and Gianfranco Ravasi (Cinisello Balsamo: San Paolo, 2010), 95–100. 56  As Stone has shown, “the end” has a technical sense in 4 Ezra. It is “the decisive point in the eschatological sequence.” Depending on the context, it is applied to various events: the day of judgment, the fall of the wicked kingdom (Rome), or the beginning of the reign of the Messiah. Cf. Michael E. Stone, “Coherence and Inconsistency in the Apocalypses: The Case of ‘The End’ in 4 Ezra,” JBL 102 (1983): 229–43.

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at least they must be corrected by the superior perspective from which Uriel speaks.57 On the other hand, it would be wrong to take Ezra as a negative figure, lacking any authority. That his view enjoys less authority than that of Uriel does not imply that he has none. He is an exceptionally good member of the people of Israel, as can be inferred from the positive judgments that the angel makes about him.58 As mentioned when discussing the psychological point of view, Ezra serves as a gateway to the reader in the world of the narration. Thus, the author of 4 Ezra wishes to stress not only the revealed truth, but also how one is to assimilate it. The tension between these two points helps in understanding the development of the book. To see how it is done and what are the consequences for the interpretation of the seventh section, we need to review the evolution of Ezra throughout the story. 57  As for the authority of the ideological point of view expressed by Ezra during the talks, a deceptive judgment is found in 4 Ezra 8:37. Ezra has just made his prayer to God, asking him to have mercy on those who lack good deeds. Uriel appears to recognize the value of the statements of Ezra, for he says: “Some things you have spoken rightly, and it will come to pass according to your words.” However, what follows shows that this acceptance goes against what Ezra intended to express. A similar phenomenon occurs in 7:49–51; 7:71; and 7:112–115. Harnisch, Verhängnis, 237, n. 6, speaks of irony; Stone, Fourth Ezra, 283, prefers to describe it as a rhetorical technique. 58  According to A.P. Hayman, if the author of 4 Ezra had wanted to represent the spokesman of a heretical opinion, he would have chosen another character, such as Manasseh or Korah, instead of the venerable Ezra, “the great scribe, restorer of the Law, and founder of the Great Synagogue,” A. Peter Hayman, “The Problem of Pseudonymity in the Ezra Apocalypse,” JSJ 6 (1975): 47–56, 50. It is better to show that the characterization of Ezra in the book itself prevents the interpretation of Harnisch, without resorting to the figure of Ezra outside 4 Ezra, because it is not clear that, at the end of the first century CE, he enjoyed the prestige attached to him by Hayman, as will be discussed in pp. 157–170.

Chapter 9

The Characterization of Ezra Between the protagonist of 4 Ezra and the homonymous scribe of EzraNehemiah and 1 Esdras there are differences so significant that some scholars have wondered whether these texts are referring to the same person.1 However, the dictation of the Torah in 4 Ezra 14 as well as the characterization of the protagonist as “the scribe of the Most High” in 4 Ezra 14:50 (cf. Ezra 7:6.21 and 1 Esd 8:3) convinces most scholars that we are facing a reworking of the same character.2 This assumption is reinforced when one takes the characteristics of pseudepigraphic discourse in Jewish literature into account.3 To understand why Ezra was chosen as the protagonist of 4 Ezra, we shall consider, later, the features of this character in other texts (cf. pp. 157–170). Here, we need to study the figure of Ezra in 4 Ezra: how he is described, how is he related to the other characters, and especially how he evolves. This analysis is aimed at a correct understanding of the function and meaning of the ninetyfour books dictated by Ezra in the last section. 9.1

The Presentation (4 Ezra 3:1–2)

The incipit of an ancient work normally functions as its title and thus deserves special attention. In 4 Ezra, the first words present the protagonist in the following terms:

1  Cf. Montague Rhodes James, “Ego Salathiel qui et Esdras,” JTS 18 (1917): 167–69; Idem, “Salathiel qui et Esdras,” JTS 19 (1918): 347–49. It is not impossible that two independent traditions—Ezra the priest and Ezra the scribe—converge in the figure of Ezra, as suggested by Kraft, “Ezra Materials,” 134–35. However, it seems more likely that the distinction between two persons called Ezra, found in some later sources, derives from the attempt to explain the differences between the Ezra of Ezra-Nehemiah and the Ezra of 4 Ezra: cf. Klijn, Der lateinische Text, 20–21. 2  Cf. Magne Sæbø, “Esra/Esraschriften,” TRE 10 (1982): 374–86, 382. 3  Cf. Jean-Claude Picard, Le continent apocryphe: essai sur les littératures apocryphes juive et chrétienne (Turnhout: Brepols, 1999), 203–9; Hindy Najman, “How to Make Sense of Pseudonymous Attribution: The Cases of 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch,” in A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism, ed. Matthias Henze (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 308–36, 326–27.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_013

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In the thirtieth year after the destruction of our city, I, Salathiel, who am also called Ezra, was in Babylon. I was troubled as I lay on my bed, and my thoughts welled up in my heart, because I saw the desolation of Zion and the wealth of those who lived in Babylon. 4 Ezra 3:1–2

The text places the story in the captivity or exile of Israel (see also 4 Ezra 5:17). Several elements, such as Babylon, the double name of the protagonist, the lying on bed, and the mood, put Ezra in parallel with Daniel (cf. Dan 2:1; 4:5; 7:1; 8:2). This close parallelism is confirmed by several remarks throughout the book. Like Daniel, Ezra receives revelations outside the land of Israel. When Uriel begins to explain the vision of the eagle, he puts both at the same level (“your brother Daniel,” 4 Ezra 12:11).4 Like many prophetic books, 4 Ezra opens with a temporal indication: “in the thirtieth year after the destruction of our city.” The narrative is thus located in a date close to the disaster, but not immediately after it. If forty years is the period of time needed for a full generation to become extinguished (cf. Num 32:13; Josh 5:6), then “thirty years” may indicate here that the generation of those who saw the ruin of the city has not yet disappeared. Among them was Ezra himself, who suggests in 4 Ezra 3:29 that he came to Babylon the same year as the destruction. However, the reference to the “thirtieth year” in 4 Ezra 3:1 contains a wealth of information which may go unnoticed by a modern reader, but which leads to a better understanding of the whole book. Therefore, we should not let this pass by without comment. 9.1.1 The Allusion to Ezek 1:1 If Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 587 BCE, Ezra is in Babylon in 557 BCE. Anyone who knows the previous accounts—Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras— immediately perceives the difference of at least a hundred years from the priest and scribe who goes up from Babylon to Jerusalem in the seventh year of the Persian king Artaxerxes (cf. Ezra 7:7; 1 Esd 8:6).5 How can such a difference be explained? For some, it would be a literary device by which the reader is warned not to take what follows as an historical 4  Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 53 and 55; Marcello Del Verme, “Sui rapporti tra 2 Baruc e 4 Ezra: per un’analisi dell’apocalittica “danielico-storica” del I sec. e.v.,” Orpheus 24 (2003): 30–54. 5  If this is Artaxerxes I, Ezra’s mission would have taken place in 458 BCE; if Artaxerxes II, in 398 BCE. On the problems of the chronological placement of Ezra, cf. Sara Japhet, “Composition and Chronology in the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah,” in Second Temple Studies: 2. Temple Community in the Persian Period, ed. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Kent Harold Richards (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1994), 189–216.

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narrative. The incongruity would play a similar role to the information that appears at the beginning of Tobit or Judith and which represents an impossible historical framework.6 Nevertheless, it must be said that the application of modern chronology to 4 Ezra is anachronistic.7 According to Seder Olam Rabba, the Babylonian exile lasted fifty-two years (cf. 29:8), and the Persian rule, after the rebuilding of the Temple, lasted only thirty-four years (cf. 30:10).8 Moreover, a priest named Ezra is mentioned in Neh 12:1.13 among those who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel.9 According to Ezra 7:1–5 (cf. 1 Esd 8:1–2), Ezra is brother of Jehozadak, the high priest exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 1 Chr 6:4–15) and the father of Joshua (Ezra 3:2). Therefore, to consider Ezra as a member of the first generation that suffered the exile is not as preposterous as it may seem to a modern reader. In any case, at the end of 4 Ezra, Ezra ascends to heaven, leaving no room for a return to Jerusalem, so that there remains a significant inconsistency with the previous tradition about him, regardless of the chronology. It is at this point that it is important to notice that 4 Ezra 3:1 contains an unequivocal allusion to the beginning of the book of Ezekiel. The first verse of Ezekiel is the only occurrence of the expression “in the thirtieth year” in the Hebrew Bible: In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. Ezek 1:1 NRSV

6  Cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 218–21. Hogan is inspired by Wills, who describes the historical incongruities of Tobit and Judith as “indicators of a fictional mode”: Lawrence M. Wills, The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), 51 and 217–24; see also Idem, “Jewish Novellas in a Greek and Roman Age: Fiction and Identity,” JSJ 42 (2011): 141–65. 7  Jason Zurawski, “Ezra Begins: 4 Ezra as Prequel and the Making of a Superhero,” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures, ed. Eibert Tigchelaar (Leuven: Peeters, 2014), 289–304, 290–91, makes the same claim. However, his interpretation moves in a quite different direction from the one followed here. 8  I have used the Spanish translation by Luis-Fernando Girón Blanc, Seder Olam Rabbah = El gran orden del universo: una cronología judía (Estella: Verbo Divino, 1996). 9  I owe this observation to Jürgen C.H. Lebram, “Die Traditionsgeschichte der Esragestalt und die Frage nach dem historischen Esra,” in Achaemenid History I: Sources, Structures and Synthesis: Proceedings of the Groningen Achaemenid History Workshop 1983, ed. Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg (Leiden: Netherlands Institute voor het Nabije Oosten, 1987), 103–38, 135–36.

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All the commentaries on 4 Ezra recognize this allusion, but they do not mention that “in the thirtieth year” is a crux interpretum because it is unclear what it is meant. In Ezek 1:2, the text passes to the third person and speaks of the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, a date that becomes the standard point of reference throughout the book (cf. Ezek 33:21; 40:1; implicitly in 8:1; 20:1; 24:1; 26:1; 29:1.17; 30:20; 31:1; 32:1.17).10 A possible solution—suggestive for its link with the esoteric character of 4 Ezra (cf. pp. 135–142)—consists in recognizing that we cannot retrieve the meaning of the date indicated in Ezek 1:1. With this enigmatic start, the book of Ezekiel would be seeking to distance itself from the general public and to target a restricted range of readers, a group in exile that knew what the prophet was referring to.11 Be that as it may, the relevant question for us is why 4 Ezra begins with a reference to the incipit of Ezekiel. It does not seem to be because of the chariot vision in Ezekiel 1 since the subject of the heavenly journey is completely absent in 4 Ezra. Perhaps the allusion to Ezek 1:1 in 4 Ezra 3:1 is intended to bring to mind the situation of Ezekiel as a prophet in the Babylonian exile. Thus Ezra is presented in parallel not only with Daniel, but also with Ezekiel. All three receive divine revelations in Babylon.12 Without ruling out the above, the reference to the beginning of the book of Ezekiel admits another interpretation, which is worth mentioning because it clarifies the meaning not only of 4 Ezra 3:1, but also of the whole work. I follow here a way opened by Bogaert to explain a parallel case: the allusion to Ezek 40:1 at the beginning of 2 Baruch.13

10  Many solutions to the problem of Ezek 1:1 have been devised. Origen proposed that “the thirtieth year” refers to the birth of the prophet, an ingenious interpretation favored by many modern scholars. Cf. James E. Miller, “The Thirtieth Year of Ezekiel 1:1,” RB 99 (1992): 499–503; Steven Tuell, Ezekiel (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2009), 9 and 18–19. Another ancient solution is the one proposed by the Targum of Ezekiel: the thirtieth year is to be counted from the discovery of the book of the Torah in the time of Josiah. Thus one obtains a date for Ezek 1:1 that is identical with that of Ezek 1:2. Cf. Julie Galambush, “Ezekiel,” in The Oxford Bible Commentary, ed. John Barton and John Muddiman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 533–62, 537–38. The Targum of Ezekiel is a work probably contemporaneous with 4 Ezra: see Samson H. Levey, The Targum of Ezekiel: Translated, with a Critical Introduction, Apparatus, and Notes (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1987), 2; Josep Ribera-Florit, Targum de Ezequiel: introducción, traducción crítica y notas (Estella: Verbo Divino, 2004), 24, cautiously agrees with this dating. 11  Cf. Ellen F. Davis, Swallowing the Scroll: Textuality and the Dynamics of Discourse in Ezekiel’s Prophecy (Sheffield: Almond Press, 1989), 77–85. 12  Cf. Najman, Losing the Temple, 61–66. 13  Bogaert, Apocalypse de Baruch, 1:286–88; see also Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 28–29 and 101–2.

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According to Bogaert, the date given in 2 Bar. 1:1 is intended to indicate that Baruch is in a similar position to that of Ezekiel in the sense of someone who is living in exile and, at the same time, is found in Jerusalem. The text alluded to (Ezek 40:1) is the beginning of a description of the Jerusalem Temple that does not correspond to the reality of the time but is nonetheless presented as the vision of an eyewitness (cf. Ezek 40–48). Similarly, in 2 Bar. 6:3, a spirit lifts Baruch (cf. Ezek 3:12.14) and lays him on the walls of Jerusalem (cf. Ezek 40:2). From there, Baruch can see how four angels destroy the walls! This and other inconsistencies become less shocking when one considers that this is a vision (cf. 2 Bar. 6:4), as in Ezekiel. Thus, the date mentioned in 2 Bar. 1:1 not only produces an incongruity that the competent reader should perceive immediately—according to Jer 43:5–7 Baruch does not stay in Jerusalem, but goes to Egypt—but also recalls the unreal or visionary character of the descriptions contained in the book. It is not difficult to see that the same function can be applied fruitfully to the allusion to Ezek 1:1 in 4 Ezra 3:1. The book begins with this so that the reader does not expect to find in it either an historical account or a fictional narrative—as Tobit or Judith—but a set of visions that attempts to explain the history of Israel and to open up prospects for her future, in a similar way to the visions described in the book of Ezekiel. 9.1.2 “I, Salathiel, who am also called Ezra” Another striking element of 4 Ezra 3:1 is the double name of the protagonist. In the rest of the book, “Salathiel” is not mentioned again; only “Ezra” is used—cf. 4 Ezra 6:10; 7:2.25; 8:2.20; 14:2.38.48. Salathiel is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Shealtiel,” which appears ten times in the Hebrew Bible, always referring to the same person. Shealtiel is a link in the Davidic dynasty and lives in exile in Babylon, which is consistent with the time frame of 4 Ezra 3:1.14 It is not easy to explain why he is identified with Ezra in 4 Ezra 3:1. Elsewhere, they never appear together.15 The relevant question for us can be formulated in this way: what is added to the characterization of Ezra by the name of Salathiel? First, it should be noted that, in contrast to the “biblical” Ezra, but in accordance with his identification with Salathiel as a member of the Davidic dynasty, the Ezra of 4 Ezra is not a priest or, at least, he is never said to be one 14  Shealtiel is usually presented as the father of Zerubbabel (Hag 1:1.12.14; 2:2.23; Ezra 3:2.8; 5:2; Neh 12:1; in 1 Chr 3:17, Shealtiel is introduced as the son of Jeconiah). In 1 Chr 3:19, Zerubbabel is mentioned as the son of Shealtiel’s brother, Pedaiah. See also Matt 1:12–13; Luke 3:27; Ant. 11.73. 15  Possible explanations—none of them really convincing—can be seen in Josef Schreiner, Das 4. Buch Esra (Gütersloh: Mohn, 1981), 311; Stone, Fourth Ezra, 55–56.

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(for a comparison between the Ezra of 4 Ezra and the one of the earlier writings, see below pp. 157–170). H. Bezzel suggests that the mention of Salathiel is an attempt to link the figure of Ezra with the hopes of the restoration of the kingdom of David which maybe were personified in Salathiel during the exile.16 This interpretation is possible, but lacks some kind of confirmation in the rest of the text. Ezra lacks Davidic titles or features, which are attributed to the Messiah instead (cf. 4 Ezra 7:28–29; 12:32; 13:32.37.52; 14:9). Rather than to take up the hopes for a restoration of the Davidic monarchy, I would say that the identification of Salathiel with Ezra is intended to “absorb” these hopes by presenting a different figure who combines features of scribe and prophet and who belongs to the descendants of David without being king.17 In this sense, it is worth noting that, in 4 Ezra, Ezra appears endowed with social authority. In the dialogues with Uriel, Ezra is alone. However, he speaks not only in his own name but in that of the people, whose situation of exile he shares and with whom he is closely identified. Still more, he is a guide recognized by Israel in Babylon. At different moments of the narrative, some characters acknowledge the authority of Ezra. Paltiel, “a chief of the people,” attributes to Ezra an authority superior to his own, as a shepherd to whom Israel in exile has been entrusted (4 Ezra 5:16–19). The people as a collective character are said to have been entrusted to Ezra (4 Ezra 5:17). They go out in search of him and complain because he has spent several days out of the city, leaving them alone (4 Ezra 12:40–50). In the seventh section, God commands Ezra to gather the people, who receive instructions from him (4 Ezra 14:20.27– 36). Finally, the five scribes are subordinate to Ezra (4 Ezra 14:24.42–43). This authority of Salathiel-Ezra replaces that of the Davidic king and recalls again the figure of Ezekiel as a prophet recognized as such by the Jewish community in exile (Ezek 8:1; 20:1). At this point we need to examine briefly how Ezra is described during the dialogues and if an evolution is perceived.18

16  Cf. Hannes Bezzel, “Schealtiël,” Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (2011) http:// www.bibelwissenschaft.de/nc/wibilex/das-bibellexikon. 17  A similar proposal is made by Zurawski, “Ezra Begins,” 292–96. 18  We shall not study the standpoint that Ezra assumes in his dialogues with Uriel. For a detailed analysis of the dialogues, cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 101–58.

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Ezra in the Dialogues

When the three dialogues with the angel have come to an end, the reader has the impression that Ezra is exactly at the same point as before. Three times he has asked why Israel is found in a situation of abandonment, and so far he has not received a satisfactory answer. His lamentation at the beginning of the fourth section (4 Ezra 9:29–37) does not differ essentially from his opening prayer (4 Ezra 3:4–36).19 However, there are some hints that Ezra is not completely the same. In the first dialogue, the angel fails to appease him with his insistence on the human limitation in understanding the ways of the Most High, for Ezra, while accepting it, goes on asking for an explanation (4 Ezra 4:22–25). However, Uriel raises Ezra’s interest in the circumstances of the end of the world (4 Ezra 4:33.44– 46.51). Thus, he does not eliminate Ezra’s anguish at the desolation of Israel, but expands his vision. In fact, Ezra obeys the order to pray and fast for another seven days, to prepare himself to hear “greater signs” (4 Ezra 5:13.20), indicating that the first dialogue has not been totally frustrating for him. The revelation progresses gradually, according to a plan.20 The second dialogue proceeds in the same way. A small change is perceived in the terms that Ezra chooses to pose the problem that afflicts him. More than God’s justice, what Ezra does not understand now is his love for Israel, the chosen people.21 The fruits of the angel’s strategy of “distracting” Ezra, leading him to think more of the future than of the present, are perceived above all in the third section. Uriel no longer has to remind Ezra of the limits of human knowledge, as has already been observed (pp. 93–94). It seems an indication that Ezra is convinced about this point and that it does not need to be insisted on. Another sign of a small evolution in Ezra can be deduced from the topics discussed in the third dialogue. When it comes to salvation, there is a change in Ezra’s

19  Especially important are Ezra’s first words (4 Ezra 3:1–36), because they define the problem that distresses him. On them, besides the commentaries, see Pieter G.R. De Villiers, “Understanding the Way of God: Form, Function and Message of the Historical Review in 4 Ezra 3:4–27,” SBLSP 20 (1981): 357–78; Stewart, “Narrative World,” 377–80. 20  See Flannery, “Esoteric Mystical Practice,” 56–57. 21  On the progress of Ezra from the first to the second section, cf. Michael E. Stone, “The Way of the Most High and the Injustice of God in 4 Ezra,” in Knowledge of God in the GraecoRoman World, ed. Tjitze Baarda, Jaap Mansfeld and Roelof van den Broek (Leiden: Brill, 1988), 132–42.

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concerns. Thanks to the revelations of the angel, he becomes interested in sinful humanity and not just in Israel.22 In the dialogues, Ezra has received revelations that neither console him— they seem rather to aggravate his anguish—nor resolve his concerns, but open up wider perspectives and confront him with new problems. At the end of the third dialogue, Ezra is told by Uriel to leave the city and to go to uninhabited land, not cultivated or built upon by human hands (4 Ezra 9:23–25; see also 10:51), which recalls the wilderness in which Israel received the Torah at Sinai: the angelic instruction should be construed as a way of preparing Ezra to receive a divine revelation.23 9.3

The Visions and the Transformation of Ezra

At the beginning of the part with the visions, Ezra is in a situation that is explicitly related to his previous feelings: “as I lay on the grass, my heart was troubled again as it was before” (4 Ezra 9:27). The words that he next addresses to God (4 Ezra 9:29–37) clearly show that he still has not found any answer to his concerns. He seems even more disconsolate than before, since he has now a keener consciousness of how difficult it is to fulfill the Torah and to attain salvation. This awareness has been added to his anguish because of Israel’s situation by contrast with the welfare of the sinful nations. 9.3.1 Ezra in the Fourth Section Since Breech and Brandenburger, who stressed the importance of the fourth section, scholars agree to consider it as the turning point of the plot.24 The situation of Ezra begins to change when he sees the woman. An important detail—mentioned twice (4 Ezra 9:39 and 10:5)—is that Ezra has to interrupt his own thoughts to try to comfort her. He must leave aside what until then had occupied his mind to be able to face the pain of another. At the same time, 22  Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 109–11; John J. Collins, “The Idea of Election in 4 Ezra,” JSQ 16 (2009): 83–96, 87. In any case, as noted by Katell Berthelot, “Is God Unfair?: The Fourth Book of Ezra as a Response to the Crisis of 70 C.E.,” in Judaism and Crisis: Crisis as a Catalyst in Jewish Cultural History, ed. Armin Lange, Diethard Römheld and Matthias Weigold (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011), 73–89, 80–81, Ezra’s words in 4 Ezra 8:15 reveal that the universalism of salvation (i.e. the fate of non-Jews) is not at the center of problems treated in the book. We shall return to this subject when speaking about the Torah (pp. 142–150). 23  For many parallels texts, see Najman, Losing the Temple, 99–105. 24  Cf. Breech, “These Fragments,” 272; Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 58–90.

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his arguments involve an “externalization” of his own pain: the weeping of the woman compels Ezra to express the cause of his own sufferings, the evils that have befallen Zion, which he enumerates in 4 Ezra 10:20–24. When Ezra addresses the woman, he begins to play a role similar to that which had previously been the role of Uriel, while the woman’s situation corresponds to the previous role of Ezra.25 It is worth stressing that Ezra neither takes the initiative, as before, nor expresses complaints, doubts, or insecurity. This new attitude is not limited to the moment in which he speaks to the woman, but will be maintained until the end of the book. Ezra no longer laments.26 The precise moment in which Ezra changes is debated among scholars. For some, Ezra is completely transformed when the woman is transfigured into Zion and he faints and calls the angel. It seems more precise to say, with Hogan, that, although Ezra begins to change when he sees Jerusalem, this moment is only the beginning of a process that will not be complete until the end of the book. That is, the fifth and sixth sections contribute as well to consoling Ezra and to providing him with that security with which he appears in the seventh section.27 Closely related to this is the problem of defining the change experienced by Ezra. E. Breech proposed to describe it as “consolation.”28 The term has the advantage of appearing in the text (in the Latin text we have the verb consolo in 4 Ezra 10:2–3.20.41.49; 12:8; and 14:13; and the verb conforto in 4 Ezra 5:15; 10:30; 12:6.8). It is appropriate to speak of “consolation” as long as this term is understood in the sense it had in ancient literature.29 That is to say, it is not only the obtaining of a sentimental and temporary relief, but it implies a rational ex25  This change does not imply that Ezra assumes all the theses of the angel. His speech recalls Uriel more by the way of arguing than by the content. The resemblance of Ezra’s argumentation to that of Uriel seems strongly ironical. Moreover, Ezra reaches such a degree of despair that he no longer asks questions: Idem, Verborgenheit Gottes, 65–68; see also Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 153–57; Najman, Losing the Temple, 138–43. By contrast, Harnisch, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 478, thinks that the lament of Ezra supposes that he has accepted at least in part the teachings of Uriel. See also Hoffmann, Gesetz, 245–46. 26  Cf. Loren T. Stuckenbruck, “Ezra’s Vision of the Lady: The Form and Function of a Turning Point,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 137–50. 27  Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 159–204, especially 161; for a summary of the various positions, see 162–63. 28  Breech, “These Fragments,” 269–74. 29  On consolation in the Greco-Roman world (philosophical theories, literary genres, techniques), cf. Paul A. Holloway, Consolation in Philippians: Philosophical Sources and Rhetorical Strategy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 55–83, especially 70.

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hortation that seeks to bring about a profound personal change starting from a painful experience—a change similar to what is nowadays called “conversion” or “regeneration.”30 In this sense, it is worth noting that “birth” and “motherhood” are frequently employed images in the language of 4 Ezra.31 In order to understand what has happened to Ezra, it is important to heed the angel’s statement at the end of the fourth section. In addition to explaining who the woman was, Uriel tells Ezra that he has been deemed worthy to see the glory of Jerusalem because the Most High has seen his pain for her (4 Ezra 10:50). This statement is surprising since, in the dialogues, Uriel had encouraged Ezra not to worry about the present and to ponder the future in his heart (4 Ezra 7:16). Now, for the first time, the angel affirms that God values positively the suffering of Ezra for the destruction of Jerusalem.32 This difference between God and his angel confirms what we said before (see pp. 111–112), namely, that during the dialogues Uriel is faithfully transmitting a message from the Most High but that he does not express the divine point of view exhaustively. Then, the angel addresses to Ezra these mysterious words: Therefore do not be afraid, and do not let your heart be terrified; but go in and see the splendor and vastness of the building, as far as it is possible for your eyes to see it, and afterward you will hear as much as your ears can hear. For you are more blessed than many, and you have been named before the Most High, as but few have been. 4 Ezra 10:55–57

The invitation to enter the city is left pending, that is, nothing is said about its realization and of what Ezra supposedly sees and hears. It seems a way of indicating that it is a revelation that cannot or ought not be put in writing.33 With regard to the characterization of Ezra, the important point is that, according 30  Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 161; Daschke, City of Ruins, 133. 31  Cf. Giovanni Deiana, “Miti di origine, miti di caduta e presenza del femminino nel 4 Esdra e nel 2 Baruch,” RStB 6 (1994): 141–52; Karina Martin Hogan, “Mother Earth as a Conceptual Metaphor in 4 Ezra,” CBQ 73 (2011): 72–91; Frances Flannery, “‘Go, ask a woman’s womb’: Birth and the Maternal Body as Sources of Revelation and Wisdom in 4 Ezra,” JSP 21 (2012): 243–58; Kindalee Pfremmer De Long, “‘Ask a Woman’: Childbearing and Ezra’s Transformation in 4 Ezra,” JSP 22 (2012): 114–45. 32  Schmid, “Esras Begegnung mit Zion,” 272–74, proposes a suggestive hypothesis: Ezra can change because he has suffered ex toto corde, and thus he is rid of the cor malignum. The destruction of Jerusalem can make sense if one uses it to experience compassion, which leads to justice. 33  Interesting parallels can be seen in Michael E. Stone, “The City in 4 Ezra,” JBL 126 (2007): 402–7.

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to the words of the angel, he occupies a privileged position before God that allows him to receive revelations reserved for a few. 9.3.2 Ezra in the Fifth Section We alluded above to a change in Ezra that takes place in the fifth section (pp. 113–115). After the vision of the eagle, Ezra asks God for an explanation of what he has just observed. In this prayer, he finally accepts what Uriel had said to him before, namely, that he is a privileged person, worthy of receiving revelations about the end of time: And I said, “O sovereign Lord, if I have found favor in thy sight, and if I have been favored before thee beyond many others, and if my prayer has indeed come up before thy face, strengthen me and show me, thy servant, the interpretation and meaning of this terrifying vision, that thou mayest fully comfort my soul. For thou hast judged me worthy to be shown the end of the times and the last events of the times”. 4 Ezra 12:7–9

Ezra accepts God’s view of himself. Furthermore, he is aware that he is in a process of consolation that has not ended yet. Then, Ezra receives the interpretation he had asked for. Therefore, God accepts his request and, in passing, seems to confirm his words. If there were doubts yet, the angel insists on the unique position of Ezra at the end of his explanation, saying that he has been the only one worthy to receive “this secret from the Most High” (4 Ezra 12:36). Uriel also orders him to write down what he has seen, to hide it, and to teach it to the wise (4 Ezra 12:37–38). The apparent contradiction between hiding and teaching is resolved if one takes into account that the order to hide refers to hiding it from those who are not wise (we shall return to this passage later, on pp. 135–142). It is not said whether Ezra fulfills this order, but its implementation can be supposed to be included in the dictation of the seventy esoteric books in the last section. After the angel has retired, a brief dialogue between Ezra and the people takes place. With regard to the parallel episode of 4 Ezra 5:16–19, where one of the chiefs spoke to Ezra in the name of the others, now we are told that “they all gathered together, from the least to the greatest” (4 Ezra 12:40). They have come to look for him. The words of the people are important to us because they contain the characterization of Ezra from the point of view of a character who is neither God nor Uriel nor Ezra himself. The text shows the role of Ezra in relation to the community suffering exile in Babylon:

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How have we offended you, and what harm have we done you, that you have forsaken us and sit in this place? For of all the prophets you alone are left to us, like a cluster of grapes from the vintage, and like a lamp in a dark place, and like a haven for a ship saved from a storm. Are not the evils which have befallen us sufficient, that you also forsake us? Therefore if you also forsake us, how much better it would have been for us if we had been consumed in the burning of Zion! 4 Ezra 12:41–44

In the first place, the people consider Ezra a “prophet,” a mediator between them and God.34 The term “prophet” occurs only twice in 4 Ezra: here and in 4 Ezra 7:130, where Uriel employs it to refer to the prophets who have followed Moses. The seventh section, where Ezra receives revelations like Moses and speaks to the people on God’s behalf, confirms that the people’s appreciation is correct. The consideration of Ezra as a prophet is novel in the tradition of Israel, for in Ezra-Nehemiah and in 1 Esdras he is said to be a scribe and a priest, but he is never called a prophet (see pp. 157–170). In the second place, the people say that there are no other prophets apart from Ezra. That is why they express so vividly their need for him. Without his presence, it is not worth living—a strong expression that recalls Ezra’s anguish in the first part (cf. 4 Ezra 4:12; 5:35; 7:45–47.62–69.116–117). The comparisons with the lamp and the port can be understood by themselves and do not seem to have special connotations. In contrast, the comparison with the cluster requires a brief commentary because of its connotations. A cluster of grapes indicates the fertility of the land, as in the story of the spies in Num 13:23–24 or in the description of the Messianic era in 2 Bar. 29:3–30:1. What the people affirm here is that only a small part of the fruits survives. The situation of the people is dramatic, but not totally desperate. It would be if Ezra left them.35 34  Cf. Najman, “How to Make Sense,” 314. 35  At the end of the third section, Uriel had come up with this simile to refer to the small number of people that God manages to save from perdition: “And I saw and spared some with great difficulty, and saved for myself one grape out of a cluster” (4 Ezra 9:21, see also 9:22). The angel is not speaking of Israel. Therefore, the comparison of Israel with a vineyard, which Ezra uses in 4 Ezra 5:23, is not pertinent here. Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 300; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 147, n. 92. Indeed, one of the features of Uriel’s speeches, which distinguishes them not only from Ezra’s standpoint but also from the content of the visions, is his apparent disinterest in Israel and the covenant, although he does speak of the Torah (see pp. 142–150). Cf. Idem, Theologies in Conflict, 126–34; Collins, “Election in 4 Ezra,” 86–90.

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A cluster is mentioned in the sense of a small number of men being saved in Isa 65:8 and in Mic 7:1. The Targum of Isaiah refers the cluster to Noah, while that of Micah interprets it as the godly men who have perished.36 If we keep this in mind when reading 4 Ezra 12:42, then the people seem to consider Ezra the only survivor of all who have been righteous or pious in the history of Israel. In fact, the most important thing in the passage is not that the people call Ezra “prophet,” but that they claim that he is the only one left. He is not explicitly said to be the last, but both the allusion to “all the prophets,” and the fact that later, when Ezra is taken to heaven, he does not leave a successor imply that there is no other after him to replace him. This point recalls the interruption of the succession of the prophets mentioned by Josephus in Against Apion (Ag. Ap. 1.41; see pp. 46–54). When studying the seventh section, we shall see that the role of the ancient prophets passes somehow to the ninety-four books of the Torah. Three aspects can be highlighted in Ezra’s response to the people (4 Ezra 12:46–49). In the first place, Ezra does not reject their description. He accepts as valid the point of view of the people and thus assumes his role of prophet and guide. The second point is that Ezra has overcome his initial anguish. Therefore, unlike what had happened in his encounter with Paltiel in the first section, this time he consoles the people. Finally, Ezra makes no mention of the revelations he has just received. He keeps them hidden on purpose, according to the instructions of the angel in 4 Ezra 12:37–38. Ezra reassures the people, telling them that God has not forgotten them and that he has retired to the camp “to pray on account of the desolation of Zion, and to seek mercy on account of the humiliation of our sanctuary” (4 Ezra 12:48). However, the purpose of Ezra’s retreat to the field, by order of the angel, was not to pray for Jerusalem but to receive new revelations. And his prayer in 4 Ezra 9:29–37 did not contain any petition for mercy. Does Ezra want to deceive the people? His desire to comfort them seems sincere, but we should not forget that the words he addresses to them are extremely limited considering that he has just contemplated the glory of Zion, and the destruction of the Roman Empire in the presence of the Messiah. The people participate neither in the revelations that Ezra has received nor in the consolation deriving from them. The same will happen in the seventh section. 36  Furthermore, Ben Sira compares his pursuit of wisdom with the task of those who gather the clusters (Sir 33:16–18). On these and other texts, cf. Gary G. Porton, “Grape-Cluster in Jewish Literature and Art of Late Antiquity,” JJS 27 (1976): 159–76, who mentions the use of the cluster image in some synagogues, and in the coins minted by the Jews during the Bar Kokhba revolt (Messianic symbol?). Unfortunately, Porton does not include 4 Ezra 12:42 in his study. See Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 147–48.

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9.3.3 Ezra in the Sixth Section In the sixth section, other manifestations of the progressive transformation of Ezra appear. In asking for the interpretation of the vision of the man, Ezra appeals to the fact that God deems him worthy of being heard (4 Ezra 13:14). In this way, it is confirmed that Ezra has assumed God’s view of himself. Even more, now he dares to expose before God a reflection of his own. He affirms that it will be a terrible thing to be alive at the last hour, but that, in comparison with the situation of those who have died before, it is preferable to remain on the earth until the end, for thus the last events can be seen (4 Ezra 13:16–20). The angel immediately confirms the validity of Ezra’s reasoning (4 Ezra 13:21–24).37 It is worth noting the contrast of this attitude with the much more dramatic mode in which Ezra had so far referred to the human condition. In the first dialogue, he states that it would have been better not to have been born than to live in wickedness and ignorance (4 Ezra 4:12). At the beginning of the second dialogue, he asserts that he would have preferred not to be born, so as not to witness the tribulations of Israel (4 Ezra 5:35). In the third dialogue, he repeats similar, even stronger, statements (4 Ezra 7:45–47.62–69.116–117). His reasoning in 4 Ezra 13:16–20 reveals that he has now a much less pessimistic way of looking at human life.38 Finally, the sixth section concludes with an important statement about Ezra’s virtues. The angel says: This is the interpretation of the dream which you saw. And you alone have been enlightened about this, because you have forsaken your own ways and have applied yourself to mine, and have searched out my law; for you have devoted your life to wisdom, and called understanding your mother. 4 Ezra 13:53–55

With regard to the previous positive statements about Ezra, this description is novel. He is praised neither for his humility, as in 4 Ezra 8:46–51, nor because of his compassion for Zion, as in 4 Ezra 10:39, nor for his righteousness, 37  It is not said that it is the angel who speaks at this time, so that it could be God himself who responds to Ezra. However, by analogy with the structure of the previous visions, it seems more consistent to suppose that it is still Uriel. This is confirmed by the solemn presentation of the voice of God in 4 Ezra 14:1–2. In any case, it must be recognized that the text is ambiguous. Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 400. 38  Idem, Fourth Ezra, 389–90, speaks of a reversal of the topos “it were better not to have been born.”

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as in 4 Ezra 10:50. Now he is characterized with terms taken from the sapiential field, among which there is a reference to the Torah (legem meam exquisisti). The claim that Ezra has searched out or investigated the Torah is surprising because up to now the Torah had been the subject of controversy, and Ezra had questioned whether human beings were able to observe it. The Torah is mentioned here mainly to prepare for the seventh section, where Ezra will ask God to restore it and will exhort the people to fulfill it. The sixth section culminates indicating the disposition of Ezra regarding the way of the Most High, in sharp contrast to his initial state of physical and mental prostration: Then I arose and walked in the field, giving great glory and praise to the Most High because of his wonders, which he did from time to time, and because he governs the times and whatever things come to pass, as these dreams show. 4 Ezra 13:57–58

9.4

Ezra in the Seventh Section: The Scribe of the Most High

At this point, I confine myself to highlighting the aspects of the seventh section that refer directly to the characterization of Ezra, leaving for later those referring to the ninety-four books (pp. 149–150). The last section of the book begins in a different way from the previous ones. Ezra is not lying down but sitting. He hears a voice that calls him, but it is neither Uriel nor a vision, but God himself, something which indicates that the climax of revelation is being reached, as was observed above (pp. 111–112). Both the voice that calls him, repeating his name from a bush (4 Ezra 14:2; cf. Exod 3:4), and the explicit mention of Moses in God’s discourse (4 Ezra 14:3–6) leave no room for doubt: the text wants to present Ezra in parallel with Moses.39 Now, it is interesting to ask what aspect of the figure of Moses is being underlined. His role as the liberator of the people is mentioned briefly (4 Ezra 14:3–6). The text concentrates, rather, on the revelations that God communicated to him at Sinai, which included “the end of the times” (4 Ezra 14:5).40 According 39  Macholz, “Die Entstehung,” 382–84, collects all the allusions to Exod 3 and to other scenes of revelation. 40  John Markley, “‘Seer Isolation’ and Apocalyptic Revelation in 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra,” Conversations with the Biblical World 21 (2011): 115–28, 125–28, highlights the presentation of Ezra as the exclusive recipient of the revelations (he is alone), and relates it to the characterization of Moses in Exodus.

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to the references to days or weeks throughout 4 Ezra, forty days have passed since 4 Ezra 3:1 to the beginning of the seventh section, the same time that Moses spent on his first ascent on Sinai (cf. Exod 24:18; Deut 9:9–11).41 The dictation of the books of the Torah (4 Ezra 14:37–48) completes the parallel with Moses. Ezra appears as the recipient of a revelation equivalent to that of Sinai. The dictation lasts another forty days, creating thus a parallel with the second delivery of the tables (cf. Deut 9:25, 10:1–5.10–11).42 In the first place, Ezra is a “new” or “second Moses” because he receives a revelation from God, more precisely, the Lord’s ultimate revelation to Israel, the Torah. Secondly, Ezra resembles Moses because he transmits this revelation to the people and to the wise. Indeed, in response to the words of God at the beginning of the seventh section, Ezra offers no resistance and goes beyond what the Lord has just asked for. He thinks of those who will live when he is no longer on earth and therefore takes the initiative to recover the Torah. He shows himself resolute and sure, without complaints, without doubts, even without pain: Let me speak in thy presence, Lord. For behold, I will go, as thou hast commanded me, and I will reprove the people who are now living; but who will warn those who will be born hereafter? For the world lies in darkness, and its inhabitants are without light. For thy law has been burned, and so no one knows the things which have been done or will be done by thee. If, then, I have found favor before thee, send the holy spirit into me, and I will write everything that has happened in the world from the beginning, the things which were written in thy law, that men may be able to find the path, and that those who wish to live in the last days may live. 4 Ezra 14:19–22

Ezra’s request allows us to understand many things. The written Torah appears as the inheritance that he wants to leave at the end of his journey from anguish to consolation. The books appear as the substitute for the “prophet,” for the direct recipient of revelations. Ezra asks God for the inspiration to restore 41  For these calculations, see Michael P. Knowles, “Moses, the Law, and the Unity of 4 Ezra,” NovT 31 (1989): 257–74, 261–66. 42  Cf. Idem, “Moses,” 265–66. The parallel with Moses is even stronger if one takes into account that the last day of 4 Ezra could correspond to Pentecost, the feast in which the Jewish liturgy remembers the gift of the Torah, as proposed by Basil Lourié, “The Calendar Implied in 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra: Two Modifications of the One Scheme,” in Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Jason Zurawski (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 124–37.

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the Torah because he knows that he will leave soon and is worried about the generations to come. The recovery of the Torah is necessary for a people that is going to be left without prophets. It is implied that there will be no other prophet like Ezra (cf. Deut 34:10–12). After Ezra, the divine revelation, the light to find the path, the guide for living, will have to be sought in the written Torah. If Ezra requests that the Torah becomes available again, he does so because he believes that it can show the path to life amid the darkness of this world.43 After receiving from God the directions on how to proceed to recover the Torah (4 Ezra 14:23–26), Ezra fulfills the divine command to warn and console the people (cf. 4 Ezra 14:13). He gathers them all and addresses to them words that can be labeled as a farewell speech (4 Ezra 14:27–36; cf. Deut 31–32). There is no trace of the accusatory tone with which Ezra addressed the Most High in his first prayer. Now he affirms that only good things have come from God, while infidelity from the people. However, there is hope for them to gain mercy in the post mortem judgment.44 For the characterization of Ezra, this speech confirms his conversion or consolation and the acceptance of part of the teachings of Uriel, as well as his role as a guide. Some scholars go further and consider 4 Ezra 14:27–36 as the climax or apex of the book, since it would reveal that Ezra has completely assumed the position of Uriel, to the point that he proclaims it before the people, urging them to fulfill the “law of life.”45 To be sure, the importance of this discourse cannot be denied. However, even if it contains the last words that Ezra addressed to the people, it is by no means his last word. It is disproportionate to consider the farewell speech as the culminating point of the narrative or to qualify it as a summary of the message of the book, because this implies that one has forgotten what Ezra hides 43  See 2 Bar. 46:1–3; 77:13–15. The Torah as light is a frequent play on words in the literature of the Second Temple: Geza Vermes, “The Torah is a Light,” VT 8 (1958): 436–38; Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 208–11. 44  The fact that Ezra mentions mercy in relation to the judgment after death (4 Ezra 14:34) shows that his standpoint is not completely identical to that of Uriel in the dialogues but that he has integrated the revelations into his own concepts: cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 214. Uriel does not exclude mercy altogether, but only in the judgment: it is possible to repent before death (4 Ezra 9:11–12): cf. Jonathan A. Moo, “The Few Who Obtain Mercy: Soteriology in 4 Ezra,” in This World and the World to Come: Soteriology in Early Judaism, ed. Daniel M. Gurtner (London: T&T Clark, 2011), 98–113, 112–13. 45  Odil Hannes Steck, Israel und das Gewaltsame Geschick der Propheten: Untersuchungen zur Überlieferung des deuteronomistischen Geschichtsbildes im Alten Testament, Spätjudentum und Urchristentum (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1967), 177–80; Harnisch, “Prophet als Widerpart,” 481–83; Schmid, “Esras Begegnung mit Zion,” 264–65; Stewart, “Narrative World,” 387.

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from the people, that is, the secret doctrines. Ezra does not say everything he knows, but only what the people are able to understand.46 We still have to comment on the last element of Ezra’s characterization. In the end, the voice of a narrator different from the protagonist (cf. pp. 99–100) says: In the seventh year of the sixth week, five thousand years and three months and twenty-two days after creation. At that time, Ezra was caught up, and taken to the place of those who are like him, after he had written all these things. And he was called the Scribe of the knowledge of the Most High forever. 4 Ezra 14:49–50

The date, whose precise meaning is not clear to us,47 does not seem to add anything significant to the characterization of Ezra. The idea of being taken or lifted—announced in 4 Ezra 14:9—had been mentioned at the end of the second section, where Uriel explains that among the signs of the end there is the appearance of “the men who were taken up, who from their birth have not tasted death” (4 Ezra 6:26). The angel is probably thinking of Enoch (cf. Gen 5:24), of Elijah (cf. 2 Kgs 2:1–11; Mal 3:23–24), and perhaps also of Moses (cf. Matt 17:3 and parr.).48 Ezra’s being taken is not a euphemism for death: Ezra leaves the earth without dying.49 The term “scribe” is applied here to Ezra for the first and only time in the whole book. This unequivocally identifies him with the traditional figure of Ezra. In this context, the title of scribe does not simply designate someone 46  Cf. Macholz, “Die Entstehung,” 385, n. 16; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 212. 47  Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 442. 48  We can recall that Josephus alludes to the end of the earthly life of these three characters: cf. pp. 76–82. Some parallel texts can be seen in Idem, Fourth Ezra, 172. Muñoz León, “IV Esdras,” 465, adds that the expression “to be raised and to be called scribe” is referred to Enoch in Tg. Ps.-J. to Gen 5:24. On other characters who are taken to heaven, cf. Martha Himmelfarb, “Revelation and Rapture: The Transformation of the Visionary in the Ascent Apocalypses,” in Mysteries and Revelations: Apocalyptic Studies since the Uppsala Colloquium, ed. James H. Charlesworth and John J. Collins (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), 79–90. Deut 30:12; John 3:13; and Acts 2:34 can be understood as claims that wish to contradict these traditions: cf. Jorge Federico Herrera Gabler, Cristo exaltado en la cruz: exégesis y teología contemporáneas (Pamplona: Eunsa, 2012), 62; Eva Mroczek, “‘David did not ascend into the heavens’ (Acts 2:34): Early Jewish Ascent Traditions and the Myth of Exegesis in the New Testament,” Judaïsme Ancien—Ancient Judaism 3 (2015): 219–52. 49  It is not accurate, therefore, to speak of the “death” of Esdras, as does Esler, “Social Function,” 117.

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skilled in the art of writing, a copyist trained “to write rapidly” (4 Ezra 14:24) like the five men who help him. A scribe of God is an authorized interpreter of divine oracles or, more precisely, a promulgator of the Torah of God. Ezra is called the scribe “of the knowledge of the Most High,” in reference to the revelations received, especially the seventy books, the content of which is described in wisdom terms in 4 Ezra 14:47 (cf. pp. 151–155).50 At the end of the book, Ezra has overcome the affliction and the doubts that had tormented him. He appears as a new Moses leading the people, as a scribe who restores the Torah before being taken to heaven, and, implicitly, as the last of the prophets. For the people, Ezra is a guide and a prophet, the last of the righteous. For God, he is one of the few men worthy of receiving a special revelation. For the voice that speaks in the epilogue, Ezra is the scribe of the Most High. The three characterizations complement one another.

50  On the figure of the scribe, I follow the observations of Paul D. Mandel, “The Origins of Midrash in the Second Temple Period,” in Current Trends in the Study of Midrash, ed. Carol Bakhos (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 9–34, especially 14–26. See also Idem, The Origins of Midrash: From Teaching to Text (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 23–86.

Chapter 10

Function and Meaning of the Ninety-Four Books The following pages are intended to take advantage of our analysis of the characterization of Ezra to understand the function and meaning of the writing of the ninety-four books in the last section of 4 Ezra. It will be necessary to consider three themes: the role of the secret teachings, the concept of Torah, and the relationship between books and salvation. 10.1

The Teachings Reserved for the Wise: Is 4 Ezra an Esoteric Book?

The division of the ninety-four books of the Torah into two groups depends on the distinction between two types of revelation, according to two types of recipients: one is public, for all, and the other is destined exclusively for the wise who deserve to share the revelation received by Ezra because they are worthy to read the seventy books. This distinction is prepared for throughout 4 Ezra with various allusions to secret revelations. In all cases, the content of secret revelations refers to the end of time. (That is why it makes little sense to identify the seventy secret books with the oral Torah of the rabbinic tradition. We shall return to this point on pp. 172–175). In his first prayer, Ezra recalls the origins of mankind and Israel (4 Ezra 3:4– 27). He says that God showed Abraham the end of the times in secret and at night (4 Ezra 3:14). Therefore, before Uriel is sent to him, Ezra knows more than what is explicitly stated in the Scriptures.1 Later, it is Uriel who refers to revelations that are not public. In the third dialogue, after describing the signs of the end, he says to Ezra: “I have not shown this to all men, but only to you and a few like you” (4 Ezra 8:62). Uriel does not specify who are these few similar to Ezra who have received the same revelation as he, that is, of eschatological content and reserved character. One can think of the aforementioned Abraham, of Daniel (see 4 Ezra 12:11), and of Moses (see 4 Ezra 14:3–9).2 1  On the function of the revelation of the mysteries in the structure of 4 Ezra, cf. Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 197–201. 2  Also in 2 Baruch there is mention of a special revelation to some biblical characters: God showed the heavenly Jerusalem to Adam, Abraham, and Moses (cf. 2 Bar. 4:3–5). However, there is no hint of secret doctrines or books. Cf. Liv Ingeborg Lied, “Those Who Know and Those Who Don’t: Mystery, Instruction, and Knowledge in 2 Baruch,” in Mystery and Secrecy

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Uriel affirms that these few resemble Ezra. In the epilogue, it is said that Ezra was taken to the place where there are “those who are like him” (4 Ezra 14:49; cf. 14:9). It may be deduced that the few who have received secret revelations coincide with the few righteous who are saved, as opposed to the many who are condemned. Such a conclusion is hasty, as will be seen below. 10.1.1 The “Few” in 4 Ezra In order to clarify the scope of the claims about secret revelations, it is convenient to analyze the references to small groups in 4 Ezra. One can distinguish three of them: – the few who attain salvation, – the few who directly receive secret revelations of eschatological content, and – the wise among the people. These sages are not said to be few, but they are part of the people without being identified with it so that they are a smaller group in relation to the whole (cf. 4 Ezra 12:38; 14:26.46). The attention is mostly devoted to the first group. Of the eleven times that pauci appears in the Latin text (4 Ezra 7:12.47–48.51–52.60.139–8:1; 8:3.62; 10:57), nine refer to those few who attain salvation. The two exceptions are the text just quoted (4 Ezra 8:62), where Uriel speaks of “few” in reference to the recipients of a non-public eschatological revelation, and Uriel’s words to Ezra at the end of the fourth section (4 Ezra 10:57, quoted on p. 125; it is the only occurrence of “few” outside the third section). Accordingly, the contrast between the few and the many in reference to salvation has been one of the most studied subjects of 4 Ezra.3 It seems quite reasonable to suppose that the few worthy of receiving a special revelation belong to the few who are saved, as is explicitly stated of Ezra. The reverse is not true. That is, it cannot be concluded from the text that those who have not been direct recipients of secret revelations are part, ipso facto, of the multitude that will perish forever.4

in the Nag Hammadi Collection and other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices: Studies for Einar Thomassen at Sixty, ed. Christian H. Bull, Liv Ingeborg Lied and John D. Turner (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 427–46, 428–29. 3  Cf. Thompson, Responsibility, 157–256; Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 176–86 (“Exkurs: Viele, fast alle, alle?”); Domingo Muñoz León, “Universalidad de la salvación en la apocalíptica (Daniel, 4º de Esdras, 2º de Baruc),” RevB 56 (1994): 129–40; Bruce W. Longenecker, Eschatology and the Covenant: A Comparison of 4 Ezra and Romans 1–11 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1991); Collins, “Election in 4 Ezra,” 83–96; Berthelot, “Is God Unfair?,” 75–88. 4  Moo, “The Few,” 109.

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The contrast between “few” and “many” is a Semitic way of comparing two quantities.5 Therefore, when it is said that few are saved in contrast to many, what is being affirmed is that those who are saved are less in number than those who are condemned. At the same time, it must be recognized that in 4 Ezra the accent is put on the great disproportion between the two figures.6 By contrast, when speaking of those who receive revelations, their being “few” is not part of an explicit comparison. That they are few seems to be a consequence of the secret nature of these revelations, unknown to most people. The role of the third minority group, the “wise among the people,” can be understood in the same direction. To explain this, we must face the problem of the nature of the secret doctrines. 10.1.2 The Wise, the Secret Teachings, and the Esoteric Character of 4 Ezra The passage where the wise among the people are first mentioned is crucial for understanding their role in 4 Ezra. When Uriel finishes interpreting the vision of the eagle, he tells Ezra that only he has been worthy to know that secret, namely, the destruction of the Roman Empire. Then, the angel gives an order to Ezra: Therefore write all these things that you have seen in a book, and put it in a hidden place; and you shall teach them to the wise among your people, whose hearts you know are able to comprehend and keep these secrets. 4 Ezra 12:37–38

As noted above (pp. 126–128), it is significant that Ezra says nothing about the visions when he meets the people immediately afterwards (4 Ezra 12:40–50). The reader can easily deduce that the heart of the people is not able to receive and keep the secrets. Later, it will be said that some are “unworthy” to read the seventy books (cf. 4 Ezra 14:45). The wise are different from the rest of the people because their hearts can receive and keep the secrets that God has revealed to Ezra. What is meant by this description? Is it an intellectual or moral superiority, or does it depend on belonging to a social category, or to a religious group, or to a theological school? 5  See, for instance, Matt 7:13–14; 9:37; 22:14; Luke 10:2. Cf. Ben F. Meyer, “Many (= all) are called, but few (= not all) are chosen,” NTS 36 (1990): 89–97. 6  Ezra concludes that few will be saved, for almost all men have an evil heart (4 Ezra 7:47–48). Uriel confirms this point, but Ezra refuses to accept it, expressing his concern for the salvation of men, for “there are more who perish than those who will live, as a wave is greater than a drop of water” (4 Ezra 9:15–16).

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In the first place, it is important to distinguish between the wise, recipients of the seventy books, and the “few like Ezra,” that is, the direct recipients of secret revelations, such as Abraham, Moses, or Daniel. The wise do not enjoy direct contact with God. They are at a higher level than the people, for they are worthy to receive the secrets, but they are not prophets nor do they have the responsibility or the capacity to guide Israel in the same way as Ezra. Otherwise, Ezra’s concern for the future generations, who will not have anyone who admonishes them (4 Ezra 14:19–22), would be pointless. Therefore, it is convenient to operate with a triple division, not a double one: the seer (and others like him), the wise, and the rest of the people.7 Secondly, it should be noted that the text does not provide further indications about the wise. It is not said who they are or what they do. They are characters defined by a single characteristic: to be recipients of the secret revelations about the end of time. In A. Berlin’s terminology, these are mere “agents,” that is, characters “about whom nothing is known except what is necessary for the plot; the agent is a function of the plot or part of the setting.”8 If nothing more is said in 4 Ezra about the wise, it is because it is not necessary. Indeed, the subject of the secret doctrines and of those who receive them can be explained as a rhetorical strategy which is a consequence of pseudepigraphy. As in Daniel (cf. Dan 8:26; 12:4.9) and in other works (e.g., T. Mos. 1:16–17), it is an attempt to justify why the contents of 4 Ezra were not known until this moment, despite having been revealed to a figure of the past. Thanks to their claimed secret character, it is plausible that the teachings received by Ezra centuries ago were not in the public domain. This explanation is found in important authors such as Stone or Collins.9 However, the opinions are far from unanimous.10 For other scholars, the issue of secrecy in 4 Ezra is not merely a rhetorical strategy internal to the text, but reflects the social context of the book. They see a correspondence between the wise and the actual recipients of 4 Ezra. For example, García Martínez suggests that the readers 7  Cf. Stone, “On Reading,” 75–77. 8  Adele Berlin, “Characterization in Biblical Narrative: David’s Wives,” JSOT 23 (1982): 69–85, 78. 9  Cf. John J. Collins, “Pseudonymity, Historical Reviews and the Genre of the Revelation of John,” CBQ 39 (1977): 329–43, 340–41; Michael E. Stone, “Apocalyptic Literature,” in Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran Sectarian Writings, Philo, Josephus, ed. Michael E. Stone (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1984), 383–441, 431– 32; Barton, Oracles of God, 283, n. 71. On this theme in Daniel, cf. Collins, Daniel, 341–42; Idem, Apocalyptic Imagination, 138–39; in the Testament of Moses (first century CE), cf. Johannes Tromp, The Assumption of Moses (Leiden: Brill, 1993), 147. 10  Cf. William Adler, “Introduction,” in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity, ed. William Adler and James C. VanderKam (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1996), 1–31, 13–19.

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to whom 4 Ezra is addressed are part of a closed or sectarian group, comparable to the Qumran community. As the recipient of a privileged revelation, Ezra resembles the Teacher of Righteousness, “to whom God has disclosed all the mysteries of the words of his servants, the prophets” (1QpHab 7:4–5).11 The comparison is certainly interesting, but it must be borne in mind that the Teacher of Righteousness designates—according to the most common interpretation—an historical individual who founded or guided the community in which the Pesher Habakkuk was composed, while Ezra is a character of the past, and the last of the prophets, without known connection with the author of 4 Ezra. Ezra is more akin to Habakkuk, Ezekiel or Daniel than to the Teacher of Righteousness. For Hogan, the esotericism of 4 Ezra differs from that of Daniel because the indication to reveal the secret in the final times is lacking. Hence she concludes that 4 Ezra is a genuinely esoteric book in the sense that it is addressed to a restricted audience.12 It is true that in 4 Ezra there is no indication of “sealing the book till the time of the end” or the like, but the other features of apocalyptic esotericism, namely, its link with a figure of the past and with eschatological teachings, remain.13 Furthermore, if the author explicitly presents Ezra as a recipient of revelations in the tradition of Abraham, Moses, and Daniel, as we have seen, it is not arbitrary to apply to 4 Ezra the interpretation of the secret doctrines that most scholars accept in the case of the books containing revelations received by one of these characters. In general, the deductions about the esoteric, marginal, or sectarian character of 4 Ezra’s readers have no clear basis in the text. To the reasons already mentioned, we can add an external argument, suggested by M.E. Stone, in favor of an interpretation of the wise as merely functional characters. The rapid diffusion and translation of 4 Ezra (see above pp. 88–90) is more easily explained if the figure of the sages was understood 11  Florentino García Martínez, “Traditions communes dans le IVe Esdras et dans les mss de Qumrân,” RevQ 15 (1991): 287–301, 292–96. The translation of the Pesher Habakkuk is taken from Idem, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 200. On the issue of secrecy and esotericism at Qumran, see Samuel I. Thomas, The “Mysteries” of Qumran: Mystery, Secrecy, and Esotericism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009). 12  Cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 40 and 227; see also Becker, “Rewriting the Bible,” 98–100; Daschke, City of Ruins, 110–14. 13  Cf. Paul Owen, “The Relationship of Eschatology to Esoteric Wisdom in the Jewish Pseudepigraphical Apocalypses,” in Of Scribes and Sages: Early Jewish Interpretation and Transmission of Scripture: Vol. 1: Ancient Versions and Traditions, ed. Craig A. Evans (London: T&T Clark, 2004), 122–33. See also the discussion on the secret books by GoreJones, “Unity and Coherence,” 228–30.

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from the first reception of the book as a rhetorical resource, not as a reference to a group existing at the time of the composition of the book that had to watch over the inviolability of the secrets.14 Perhaps it is preferable not to oppose a purely literary esotericism to a social or “real” one. It is possible that the readers of 4 Ezra felt different from the ordinary people. It cannot be denied that the text favors an elitist consciousness in the person who reads it.15 However, it does not seem justified to interpret the book as if it were intended for a restricted audience in the sense of a closed social group. One should not identify esotericism with sectarianism.16 Paradoxically, speaking of secrets is a way to attract attention. It is necessary to count on the fascination that existed in antiquity with everything surrounded by a halo of mystery. On the other hand, Stone has recently suggested that 4 Ezra contains allusions to doctrines that are not to be written down, which are not eschatological but mystical.17 Perhaps 4 Ezra is a link in the evolution from apocalyptic to mystical esotericism. Indeed, esoteric currents unrelated to eschatology and pseudepigraphy will develop throughout the centuries in the context of Jewish mysticism. However, this aspect moves away from our subject.18 Finally, the explanation of the wise as an internal resource to the text without direct correspondence with the actual recipients of the book implies taking one’s distance from the interpretation—suggested by M.A. Knibb and developed by B.W. Longenecker—that sees in the wise a reference to the rabbis, considered to be the ruling class of the Jewish people at the end of the

14  Cf. Stone, “Apocalyptic Literature,” 432; Pierluigi Piovanelli, “Why Ezra and not Enoch? Rewriting the Script of the First Exile with the Hope for a Prompt Restoration of Zion’s Fortunes,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 237–49, 246. Also Esler, “Social Function,” 113, n. 27, refuses to consider 4 Ezra as a writing addressed to a marginal or small group. However, his argument is weak because he does not take into account the subject of the secret doctrines. 15  Cf. Baynes, Heavenly Book, 130. 16  Cf. Grabbe, “4 Ezra and 2 Baruch,” 230–31. 17  Cf. Stone, “City;” Idem, “Seeing and Understanding in 4 Ezra,” in Revealed Wisdom: Studies in Apocalyptic in Honour of Christopher Rowland, ed. John Ashton (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 122–37. See also Flannery, “Esoteric Mystical Practice,” 45–70. 18  On the various types of Jewish esotericism, cf. Günter Stemberger, “Esoterik: II. Im Judentum,” TRE 10 (1982): 368–74; Moshe Halbertal, Concealment and Revelation: Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 142–68. On the relationship between apocalyptic literature and mysticism, cf. Lorenzo DiTommaso, “Apocalypses and Apocalypticism in Antiquity (Part II),” CBR 5 (2007): 367–432, 403–7.

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first century.19 Knibb is right in saying that 4 Ezra addresses an educated public.20 Longenecker’s proposal is interesting as a challenge to the tendency to separate Rabbinism from apocalyptic literature. Nevertheless, I do not see any justification in the text for passing from the internal plane of the narration, the wise among the people, to the external, the leaders of nascent Rabbinism. 10.1.3 “In Characters Which They Did Not Know” (4 Ezra 14:42) Before moving on to the next topic, it is worth noting a small element of the account of the writing of the ninety-four books that could be linked to esotericism. When Ezra dictates, the five amanuenses write using characters they do not know (4 Ezra 14:42). The narrative function of this detail is evident: it emphasizes the supernatural or extraordinary character of the dictation of the books. Although only Ezra receives the inspiration through the liquid which he is commanded to drink, God gives to the five scribes the ability to employ signs unknown to themselves. Regarding these mysterious characters, the commentaries on 4 Ezra mention a text of Jerome and one of the Talmud which say that in the time of Ezra the square writing began to be used for the Torah. Thus, 4 Ezra 14:42 could be understood as referring to this tradition.21 Recently, S. Pfann has suggested an alternative explanation. He links the unknown characters to the cryptic or hieratic writing, the use of which is evidenced by various manuscripts of Qumran Cave 4. This could be the background of 4 Ezra 14:42 rather than the supposed allusion to the Hebrew square writing.22 We can add that the idea of books illegible to the uninitiated was present in the cultural context of the time, both Jewish and pagan. For example, at the end of the Latin version of the Life of Adam and Eve, we are informed about a book written by Seth that no one could read until 19  Knibb, “Apocalyptic,” 73, n. 48; Bruce W. Longenecker, “Locating Fourth Ezra: A Consideration of Its Social Setting and Functions,” JSJ 28 (1997): 271–93. 20  Fourth Ezra “is not a popular book; it is a product of learned study intended for a learned audience,” Knibb, “Apocalyptic,” 72. However, for the reasons already stated, I do not share the previous sentence of Knibb: “we must first of all take seriously the evidence of ch. 14 that this book was intended only for a restricted circle, the wise.” 21  Richard J. Coggins and Michael A. Knibb, The First and Second Books of Esdras (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 282; Schreiner, Das 4. Buch Esra, 404; Stone, Fourth Ezra, 411 and 439; Longenecker, 2 Esdras, 90; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 216. The sources are b. Sanh. 21b and Jerome, Prologus Galeatus or Prologus in Libro Regum, lines 5–7 in Weber and Gryson eds., Vulgata, 364. 22  Cf. Stephen Pfann, “The Use of Cryptographic and Esoteric Scripts in Second Temple Judaism and the Surrounding Cultures,” in Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Jason Zurawski (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 173–96.

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King Solomon decoded it with the help of an angel (see LAE 52).23 The motif appears in the context of the mystery religions. For instance, in Apuleius, Metam. 11,22, the priest of Isis shows the protagonist books litteris ignorabilibus praenotatos, written thus to protect them from the curiosity of the uninitiated. Be that as it may, it must be borne in mind that the unknown characters of 4 Ezra 14:42 are employed in the writing of all the books, including the public twenty-four. Therefore, this interpretation cannot be used to tip the scales for a real esotericism in 4 Ezra and against a rhetorical one, because it would not make sense to give to the worthy and the unworthy books that the latter cannot read. 10.2

The Torah in 4 Ezra

Although the ninety-four books are divided into two distinct groups according to their content and recipients, we should assume that they are all part of the recovered Torah. The main argument in favor of this claim is that Ezra asked God to make available again the Torah and the result of the divinely granted inspiration are the ninety four books. Moreover, the books contain a divine instruction or revelation closely related to the one received by Moses at Sinai, which also on that occasion included two types of doctrines, some public and some hidden. The “secrets of the times” and “the end of the times” were also revealed to Moses (see 4 Ezra 14:5–6). Therefore, to affirm that Ezra restores the Torah and that, in addition to it, he dictates another seventy books, as some scholars do, implies a use of the term “Torah” that is not present in 4 Ezra and that goes against what the text emphasizes, that is, that the Torah is wider than the twenty-four books publicly recognized.24 On the other hand, to affirm that the ninety-four books dictated by Ezra are Torah does not imply that Moses had received exactly the same library on Sinai or that the burnt Torah was made of ninety-four books, including 4 Ezra itself. It makes more sense to read the different allusions to the “Torah” in 4 Ezra supposing that the one and divine Torah can assume different forms in 23  On this passage and others similar to it, cf. Gonzalo Aranda Pérez, “El libro sagrado en la literatura apocalíptica,” ScrTh 35 (2003): 319–53, 351–52. 24  This is the case with Moo, Creation, 81, n. 8; Berthelot, “Is God Unfair?,” 74; and Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 259–60. By contrast, Hogan cautiously affirms that “the author probably considered those non-canonical revelations also to be tôrâ, since they are ‘instruction’ for the wise”; “the author implies, but does not state outright, that the wise can find tôrâ (in the sense of divine instruction) in esoteric books,” Karina Martin Hogan, “The Meanings of tôrâ in 4 Ezra,” JSJ 38 (2007): 530–52, 550 and 551.

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its historical and written manifestations to Israel, all of them being Torah, as we shall try to show. If the Torah restored by Ezra consists of ninety-four books, this does not imply an absolute identity between the Torah, divine and eternal, and its written expression, subject to the contingencies of history. What should be clear is that, in order to understand the value of the ninety-four books, it is essential to analyze how the Torah has been described throughout 4 Ezra. The developments of the concept of Torah in the Second Temple period constitute an ample subject, on which there is an abundant bibliography.25 The precise meaning of “Torah” in the literature of the Second Temple period is a debated issue and one of the factors that complicate the study of this term is its different nuances in the texts. This diversity makes reasonable to limit the following analysis to 4 Ezra alone, as far as this limitation is possible. One would look in vain for a precise definition of Torah in 4 Ezra, although the term is employed very often. In the Latin version, lex has nearly thirty occurrences, all in the singular and always connected somehow with God. It is the Dei lex (4 Ezra 7:20). This way of using the word reinforces the natural assumption that both lex in Latin and nāmōsā in Syriac translate νόμος, which, in turn, was a translation of the Hebrew original ‫תורה‬.26 In this kind of research, one must also take into account some terms used as equivalent to lex, such as diligentia, via, praeceptum, constitutio, mandatum, legitima, and also others closely associated with it, such as iudicium, veritas, sensus, sapientia, or sponsio.27 At the same time, since the Latin text is a translation 25  See, for instance, Bernd Ulrich Schipper and David Andrew Teeter, eds. Wisdom and Torah: The Reception of “Torah” in the Wisdom Literature of the Second Temple Period (Leiden: Brill, 2013); Christine Hayes, What’s Divine about Divine Law?: Early Perspectives (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015); Catherine Hezser, “Torah als ‘Gesetz’?: Überlegungen zum Torahverständnis im antiken Judentum,” in Ist die Tora Gesetz?: Zum Gesetzesverständnis im Alten Testament, Frühjudentum und Neuen Testament, ed. Udo Rüterswörden (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017), 119–39; Collins, Invention of Judaism; and the papers presented at the Ninth Enoch Seminar, From tôrāh to Torah: Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity (Camaldoli, June 2017), especially those of William Schniedewind (“State of the Question”), Lutz Doering (“Torah and Halakhah in the Hellenistic Period”), Gabriele Boccaccini (“Torah and Apocalypticism in the Second Temple Period”), and Joachim Schaper (“The ‘Stoic’ Solomon: From Torah to Nomos in the Hellenistic Age, from the Perspective of the Wisdom of Solomon”). This material should be published soon. 26  Cf. Hogan, “Meanings,” 534. 27  Schnabel, Law and Wisdom, 145; and Jürgen Kerner, Die Ethik der Johannes-Apokalypse im Vergleich mit der des 4. Esra: ein Beitrag zum Verhältnis von Apokalyptik und Ethik (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1998), 177–78, present the various terms associated with lex in 4 Ezra. See also Michel Desjardins, “Law in 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra,” SR 14 (1985): 25–37; Hoffmann, Gesetz, 224; Beyerle, “Du bist,” 322–37.

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of a translation, it makes little sense to try to distinguish the nuances proper to each of these terms. It is more important to take the narrative form of 4 Ezra seriously, namely, to consider in each case who makes a statement about the Torah and at what point in the narrative. To attribute directly to the author of 4 Ezra everything that the characters say, or to deduce what he thinks by simply synthesizing what is stated throughout the work is methodologically wrong because it forgets the narrative nature of the text, as should be clear from our analysis of the coordinates for a comprehensive understanding of 4 Ezra (see above, Chapter 8).28 In what follows I take as a starting point the study of Hogan on the meanings of Torah in 4 Ezra, an article that respects the narrative form of this apocalypse and places it within the context of the various conceptions of Torah in the period of the Second Temple.29 In 4 Ezra, we can see an example of what Sheppard described as the “sapientializing” of the Torah, a complex phenomenon that is rooted in Deuteronomy and becomes explicit in Ben Sira and Baruch, among other texts.30 Nevertheless, it is important to clarify a possible misunderstanding. Hogan insists that the “Torah” in 4 Ezra is broader than the Torah of Moses.31 If she means that the Torah exceeds the five books that make up what is now called the Pentateuch, she is certainly right. If she means that the Torah is associated not only with God’s manifestation to Moses on the Sinai, she is also certainly right. My small observation is that her claim does not correspond to the author’s way of speaking. The expression “Torah of Moses” never appears in 4 Ezra. The only legislator is God (see 4 Ezra 7:89). Beyond this minor terminological problem, I agree with Hogan’s main point: the author of 4 Ezra has in mind a single Torah, understood as a divine teaching or wisdom present in creation, which was revealed to Moses in a historical moment and has been manifested also in other ways. The Torah can neither be reduced to the revelation of Sinai nor to its written expression.32 28  This is the problem of some summaries, like that of Kerner, Ethik, 178–82. 29  Hogan, “Meanings,” 530–32; also helpful is Becker, “Apokalyptisches nach dem Fall Jerusalems,” 337–40. 30   Cf. Gerald T. Sheppard, “Wisdom and Torah: The Interpretation of Deuteronomy Underlying Sirach 24:23,” in Biblical and Near Eastern Studies: Essays in Honor of William Sanford LaSor, ed. Gary A. Tuttle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 166–76; Idem, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Construct: A Study in the Sapientializing of the Old Testament (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1980). 31  Hogan, “Meanings,” 533 and passim. 32  Paul Metzger, “Die geheime Offenbarung: Zur Autorität der Schrift im IV Esra,” in Scriptural Authority in Early Judaism and Ancient Christianity, ed. Isaac Kalimi et al. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013), 207–24, 212–15, makes the curious claim that the “law” in 4

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It is worth noting that in 4 Ezra neither God nor the people speak directly about the Torah. The word appears above all in the mouth of Ezra. Uriel refers also to it, especially in the third section, describing it in a very different way from that of Ezra, as we shall see. 10.2.1 The Torah in the Dialogues (and the Problem of Universalism) In his opening prayer, Ezra recalls the divine precept which Adam transgressed (4 Ezra 3:7). Then, he refers to the nations, who scorned God’s precepts (spernebant praecepta tua, 3:8). Nothing is said about whether or how these precepts are related to the Torah. Next, Ezra speaks of the Torah as a special gift of God to Israel, only to call into question its efficacy immediately: it cannot bear fruit because of the evil heart, which, since Adam, remains within every human being (4 Ezra 3:17–22). By “fruit of the Torah” is meant the eternal reward.33 From Ezra’s point of view, the Torah is a divine revelation given to Israel at Sinai (4 Ezra 3:17–19; cf. 5:27). It has a personal, “unwritten,” dimension, as it is located in the heart of the members of the people (4 Ezra 3:22; see Isa 51:7). It is also contained in books: Ezra mentions in parallel “the Torah of our fathers” and the “written covenants” in 4 Ezra 4:23. According to Hogan, in 4 Ezra 3:17–22, Ezra holds that the Torah was given only to Israel. Therefore, she sees Ezra as contradicting himself when he states later (4 Ezra 3:28–36) that Israel has fulfilled the commandments better than the nations.34 However, strictly speaking, Ezra never claims that the Torah is unique to Israel. He notes that other peoples do not fulfill the divine commandments, but he does not say whether they know the Torah. Ezra says that Adam received a commandment and that the Gentiles do not fulfill mandata tua (4 Ezra 3:35–36), and, at the same time, he seems to reserve the term lex for Israel’s Torah. At the beginning of the second section, Ezra says that Israel received the Torah while other nations oppose it (4 Ezra 5:23–29).35 Ezra never explains how the commandments transgressed by the Gentiles and the Torah of Israel are related to each other. We can imagine that this is so because it lies outside his competence. In the third section, he dares to make a statement about the presence of the Torah in every human being (4 Ezra 8:12), Ezra is not identical with the “Torah” for he understands “Torah” as equivalent to the Pentateuch. 33  Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 73. 34  Hogan, “Meanings,” 536. 35  Muñoz León, “IV Esdras,” 376, n. 27, finds in 4 Ezra 4:27 an echo of the rabbinic notion that the Torah was offered to all the nations. However, the meaning of the verse is far from clear. The claim is more clearly stated in 2 Baruch: see Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 202, n. 49.

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but he quickly acknowledges that he is not competent to talk about it and refocuses on the situation of Israel (4 Ezra 8:15). Nevertheless, Ezra’s ambiguity can also be seen as deliberate, for rhetorical reasons. He is trying to show that his people does not deserve punishment at the hands of Babylon whose deeds are worse than Israel’s. Maybe some individuals can be found who have kept the commandments but not entire nations (4 Ezra 3:36). If the Gentiles were absolutely unaware of God’s commandments, their responsibility could be diminished or even completely cancelled. Therefore, they would not be more sinful than Israel with her direct access to God’s will through the Torah. How can the Gentiles know the Torah? Who are the few individuals who have kept the commandments? What precepts must they fulfill in order to be saved? These and similar questions are posed in 4 Ezra, but one will look for an answer in vain. The knowledge of God and of his commandments among the Gentiles and their access to salvation are issues that appear always subordinate to the central theme, Israel’s misfortune. When Ezra recalls the work of creation, he does so to underline that the world was made because of Israel. The other nations that come from Adam, he says, are nothing (4 Ezra 6:54–56).36 Shortly thereafter, Uriel confirms the centrality of Israel (4 Ezra 7:11).37 Although some concern about the nations is referred to several times in the dialogues, this “universalism” is never addressed directly, clearly or completely, and tends to disappear in the part with the visions. What really matters is the final destiny of Israel. Fourth Ezra “is, in its very essence, constricted to the Jewish horizon.”38 36  On the rhetorical use of the creation in 4 Ezra 6:54–56, cf. Odil Hannes Steck, “Die Aufnahme von Genesis 1 in Jubiläen 2 und 4 Esra 6,” JSJ 8 (1977): 154–82, 180; Joan E. Cook, “Creation in IV Ezra: The Biblical Theme in Support of Theodicy,” in Creation in the Biblical Traditions, ed. Richard J. Clifford and John J. Collins (Washington: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1992), 129–39, 134–35. 37  Uriel also corrects Ezra’s statement: not this world but the future one was made because of Israel: cf. Jason Zurawski, “The Two Worlds and Adam’s Sin: The Problem of 4 Ezra 7:10–14,” in Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Jason Zurawski (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 97–106. The difference does not affect the point stated here. 38  Hallbäck, “Fall of Zion,” 290; see also Terence L. Donaldson,  Judaism and the Gentiles: Jewish Patterns of Universalism (to 135 CE) (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2007), 178–85; Collins, “Election in 4 Ezra,” 91–93; Berthelot, “Is God Unfair?,” 80–81; Michael P. Theophilos, “The Portrayal of Gentiles in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature,” in Attitudes to Gentiles in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. David C. Sim and James S. McLaren (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 72–91, 82–85. For other scholars, the author of 4 Ezra shows a sincere concern for the salvation of the Gentiles: cf. Thompson, Responsibility, 268–69; Muñoz León, “Universalidad,” 148.

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Let us see now what the angel Uriel says about the Torah. He relates it neither to Sinai nor to Israel nor to books. Rather than a doctrine or teaching revealed at a historical moment, the Torah appears as a mandate received by every human being who comes into the world insofar as he or she is endowed with intelligence (sensus) and freedom (see 4 Ezra 7:19–25; 8:55–58; and especially 7:70–72). The Torah is a divine regulation that all must follow if they want to be righteous.39 As a messenger of the celestial world, it is not surprising that Uriel speaks of the Torah in such terms. However, he never goes so far as to deny that the revelation of Sinai was an authentic manifestation of the Torah. To be sure, he seems to ignore Ezra’s arguments, when Ezra appeals to the merciful behavior of God reflected in the Scriptures.40 However, in 4 Ezra 7:129, the angel explicitly cites Moses (Deut 30:19), something which involves recognizing his authority, even if he changes the meaning of his words.41 As H. Najman notes, Ezra never quotes texts. This may be a consequence of the narrative framework, for the written Torah has been burned (see 4 Ezra 4:23; 14:21) but it can be seen as a de-textualization as well.42 To sum up, the dialogues reflect two ways of conceiving the Torah which are different but not irreconcilable. For both Ezra and Uriel, the Torah is a norm or instruction of divine origin and its observance guarantees salvation. The differences can be explained in terms of the point of view of the characters: each one talks about what he knows. However, they are speaking of the same reality, as confirmed by the references to the Torah in the part with the visions. 10.2.2 The Torah in the Part with the Visions At the beginning of the fourth section, Ezra manifests a profound bewilderment. After the dialogues, he seems to have accepted the existence of an incorruptible Torah, but neither this idea nor the others expressed by the angel have helped him to solve his anxiety about the dramatic situation of his people. What is the use of a Torah that remains for ever if Israel perishes? 39  Beyerle, “Du bist,” 322–23, thinks that the statutes that Uriel says Adam transgressed (4 Ezra 7:11) are not the Torah, but a Grundgesetz or Magna Carta, similar to the way in which the Decalogue was understood in the Greek Diaspora (Let. Aris., Philo). However, the text is not clear. Uriel may be referring to the Torah according to a more universal comprehension than that of Ezra, not to a different reality. 40  Cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 132. 41  Cf. Norbert Hofmann, “Die Rezeption des Dtn im Buch Tobit, in der Assumptio Mosis und im 4. Esrabuch,” in Das Deuteronomium, ed. Georg Braulik (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2003), 311–42, 333–34; Hogan, “Meanings,” 542. 42  For an interpretation of this, see Najman, Losing the Temple, 67–91.

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The visions console Ezra because they reveal to him that Jerusalem subsists glorious in heaven and that the Messiah of Israel will destroy Israel’s enemies. The traumatic experience of the historical Israel is not the last word. The Torah is not mentioned again until the sixth section. In interpreting the vision of the man who destroys a hostile crowd with fire coming out of his mouth, Uriel says that the man is the son of God and that the fire is the Torah (4 Ezra 13:38). Unfortunately, this occurrence of “Torah” is not entirely certain from the textual point of view.43 If one accepts it, this would be a reference to the universal judicial function of the Torah: the Messiah will judge (and destroy) the nations by it.44 The important point for us is that, by contrast with his standpoint during the dialogues, Uriel recognizes a close link between the Torah and the people of Israel, through the figure of the Messiah. We find a second and more certain reference to the Torah in the sixth section when Uriel explains the meaning of the peaceful crowd which appears at the end of the vision. They are the tribes led captive by Shalmaneser the king of the Assyrians. When they had been deported, they decided to “leave the multitude of the nations and go to a more distant region, where no human race had ever lived, that there at least they might keep their statutes [legitima sua], which they had not kept in their own land” (4 Ezra 13:41–42); instead of “statutes,” the Syriac and the Ethiopic versions have “law”.45 Those who remained in the land of Israel join this crowd and are saved (4 Ezra 13:48).46 Thus, Uriel shows that there are more than a few individuals who have succeeded in observing the Torah, correcting en passant Ezra’s claim in 4 Ezra 3:36.47 Finally, at the end of the sixth section, we find an important mention of the Torah. In Uriel’s praise of Ezra (4 Ezra 13:54, quoted on p. 129), searching out the Torah appears in parallel to applying oneself to the things of God and to devoting one’s life to wisdom. If the angel praises Ezra for seeking the Torah, 43  Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 393. 44  See Hogan, “Meanings,” 547. Hoffmann, Gesetz, 251–52, infers that men are judged not for belonging to the chosen people, but according to their relationship with the Torah. 45  Cf. Stone, Fourth Ezra, 393; 404–5. 46  On this reference to the land of Israel and its relationship to the rest of the book, see Daniel J. Harrington, “The ‘Holy Land’ in Pseudo-Philo, 4 Ezra, and 2 Baruch,” in Emanuel: Studies in Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, and Dead Sea Scrolls in Honor of Emanuel Tov, ed. Shalom M. Paul et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 661–74, 664–67. 47  Cf. Bauckham, “Apocalypses,” 166–69. I think Collins exaggerates when he says: “The apocalyptic salvation will come at its own proper time, whether Israel keeps the law or not. A remnant is saved because it belongs to the chosen people, not because of its moral superiority,” Collins, “Election in 4 Ezra,” 93. Collins’ conclusion owes much to Hogan’s interpretation of 4 Ezra, which distinguishes between the standpoint of Uriel in the dialogues and the theology conveyed by the visions (cf. pp. 104–105).

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it means that the Torah known by Ezra is not different from that of which Uriel spoke before, in the dialogues. 10.2.3 The Torah in the Seventh Section (4 Ezra 14) and Its Written Expression In the last section, Ezra asks God for the inspiration to write the Torah, which has been burned (4 Ezra 14:18–22, quoted on p. 131). Thus, Ezra sees the Torah as closely linked to its written manifestation, since the books appear as the only way the next generations of Israel will be able to know the contents of the Torah, “the things which have been done or will be done by thee.” The Torah is not reduced to its written form, but this is the main channel through which human beings can gain access to it. Moreover, the possibility that God can give the Torah again seems to imply that it subsists independently of its written transcription, a point that Ezra has learned from Uriel. The Torah is divine and therefore dwells in heaven, but it can come down to earth (cf. Sir 24, Bar 4). Lichtenberger is right when he claims that in 4 Ezra one should not speak of a “new” Torah: the Torah is incorruptible, it remains unchanged from the beginning.48 In the first section, Ezra had lamented the disappearance of the written Torah (4 Ezra 4:23). Now he proposes to restore it. His petition highlights one of the most significant changes he has undergone throughout the narrative, as we explained on pp. 130–134. This change is confirmed by Ezra’s speech to the people in 4 Ezra 14:27–36. As in his opening prayer, the Torah appears as a gift given to Israel at one moment in history. The difference is that now Ezra believes in its efficacy. He describes it as “the law of life” where “life” refers to the attainment of the afterlife (4 Ezra 14:34–35). The Torah can bear fruit!49 Although this does not appear explicitly, 4 Ezra seems to suppose the identification of the Torah with the wisdom that governs the world, with the order of creation. Taking this background into account has helped us to see the compatibility between the statements of Ezra and those of Uriel in the dialogues. In the part with the visions, this cosmic-sapiential dimension of the Torah becomes secondary (it is alluded to only in 4 Ezra 13:54), and it does not play 48  Cf. Hermann Lichtenberger, “Zion and the Destruction of the Temple in 4 Ezra 9–10,” in Gemeinde ohne Tempel / Community without Temple: Zur Substituierung und Transformation des Jerusalemer Tempels und seines Kults im Alten Testament, antiken Judentum und frühen Christentum, ed. Beate Ego, Armin Lange and Peter Pilhofer (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999), 239–49, 248. 49  Cf. Knowles, “Moses,” 273. Both Ben Sira and Baruch tie together Torah and life, but they do not think of the life post mortem: see Beyerle, “Du bist,” 322; Shannon Burkes, “‘Life’ Redefined: Wisdom and Law in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch,” CBQ 63 (2001): 55–71.

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a relevant role in the seventh section because it is not linked to the books. However, there is a small detail in the narrative of the dictation of the Torah that perhaps intends to rescue this point. Ezra speaks day and night without stopping, but the scribes work only by day, since they eat during the night (cf. 4 Ezra 14:42–43). In the first place, the detail is intended to show that Ezra does not take any food during the forty days. However, it could also be an indication that even the ninety-four books do not exhaust the Torah, for everything Ezra says at night remains untranscribed. In the account of the dictation of the ninety-four books (4 Ezra 14:37–48), the context shows that the inspiration Ezra receives is the divine response to his earlier request to restore the Torah. Ezra’s petition supposes that it is not possible to recover the divine Torah without a special intervention of the Most High, implying an important thesis, namely, that “real wisdom belongs to God and humans gain access to it only through divine revelation.”50 The sapientializing of the Torah implies a divinisation of wisdom. Other elements of this text, concerning the relationship between books and salvation, will be commented on below, on pp. 151–155. Before going further, we can summarize the relationship between the Torah and the books in 4 Ezra around three points. 1) The Torah is formed not only by what is now called the Pentateuch but also by all the Scriptures of Israel. By the time 4 Ezra was written, it is not surprising that “Torah” is used as equivalent to “Scripture”: see for instance John 10:34–35; 15:25; 1 Cor 14:21; or 2 Baruch.51 2) The written expression of the Torah is to be found not only in the twentyfour books publicly recognized but also in many others of eschatological content. This is the most characteristic statement of 4 Ezra and, consequently, we shall return to it. 3) Thirdly, the Torah is divine and eternal and, therefore, can neither be reduced to its historical manifestation to Israel at Sinai nor to its written expression. At one point in the history of the people, God gave the Torah to Israel, but this pre-exists Israel and subsists independently of her.

50  Daniel J. Harrington, “Wisdom and Apocalyptic in 4QInstruction and 4 Ezra,” in Wisdom and Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Biblical Tradition, ed. Florentino García Martínez (Leuven: Peeters Leuven University Press, 2003), 343–55, 353. 51  “Law can be considered co-terminous with Tanak in 2 Baruch (even though it was known before Moses),” Desjardins, “Law,” 28.

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Salvific Value of the Ninety-Four Books

As we have seen, Ezra overcomes his initial skepticism about the salvific capacity of the Torah and therefore asks God for its restitution so “that men may be able to find the path, and that those who wish to live in the last days may live” (4 Ezra 14:22). In the words he next addresses to the people, Ezra offers a hope of salvation to those who know nothing of the secret revelations but can conform their behavior to the lex vitae (4 Ezra 14:30). If the public Torah is sufficient to obtain mercy or salvation after death, as can be deduced from the final discourse of Ezra to the people, what is the use of the seventy secret books? If, on the other hand, the seventy books are necessary for salvation, what are the twenty-four books for? Before examining the meaning of the ninety-four books in the light of the evidence external to 4 Ezra, we have to face this dilemma which is closely related to the Torah and the secret doctrines. The problem cannot be solved by saying that there are two kinds of salvation, one for the people and another for the wise. Nothing like this is found in 4 Ezra. There is only one salvation that only a few can attain and that depends on the fulfillment of the Torah. As he had done before when speaking to the people (see 4 Ezra 12:46–49), in his farewell speech, Ezra does not say anything about the visions he has had. Nonetheless, there is no reason to think that his words are ironic, or that they are a hoax to distract the people so that they allow him to retreat to the field. There is no trace in 4 Ezra of contempt or of any negative estimate of the people. Ezra is sincerely concerned about the fate of Israel from the beginning to the end. Those who are saved are few, but it is never claimed that the possibility of being saved by fulfilling the Torah is limited to an exclusive and closed group, such as the few who are like Ezra, or the wise among the people.52 It is true that those who do not belong to the group of the wise are said to be “unworthy” to read the seventy books. Nevertheless, this distinction between worthy and unworthy is merely functional, that is, it is mentioned only to justify the novelty of the revelations contained in 4 Ezra (as was shown on pp. 137–141). Hence, if obeying the Torah contained in the twenty-four public books is sufficient to attain eternal life, the question moves on to the value of the seventy

52  Cf. George W.E. Nickelsburg, “Revealed Wisdom as a Criterion for Inclusion and Exclusion: From Jewish Sectarianism to Early Christianity,” in ‘To See Ourselves as Others See Us’: Christians, Jews, ‘Others’ in Late Antiquity, ed. Ernest S. Frerichs and Jacob Neusner (Chico: Scholars Press, 1985), 74–91, 81–82; Bauckham, “Apocalypses,” 174.

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books. Here lies the interpretive problem. To solve it, we need to analyze the way in which the books are described. The distinction between the two groups of books is prepared when it is stated that Moses was to publish some things and keep hidden others of what God revealed to him (4 Ezra 14:5–6). From Ezra’s answer, it can be deduced that the books of the burned Torah contained not only “everything that has happened in the world from the beginning,” but also the things which “will be done by thee” (see 4 Ezra 14:21–22). Finally, God himself establishes the difference between the two groups of books according to their recipients: some books are for all, the others only for the wise (4 Ezra 14:45–47). From the beginning of the seventh section, it is clear that the difference of readers corresponds also to a difference of content: the seventy books contain teachings about the end of the times, which are not found in the twenty-four. Furthermore, from 4 Ezra 12:37–38, we can deduce that the revelations that Ezra has received and written are part of the seventy books. God, the most authoritative character, says that in the seventy secret books “are the springs of understanding, the fountains of wisdom, and the river of knowledge” (4 Ezra 14:47).53 I have not found a detailed explanation of these words in the commentaries, which merely mention some parallel texts.54 The omission is curious, since these words offer the only description in 4 Ezra of the seventy secret books and thus deserve attention. A spring, a fountain, and a river have in common that they carry a content— water—whose origin is different from themselves and that through them becomes accessible to many. Thus, the metaphor indicates that the seventy books work as a mediation, necessary for the eternal Torah to become accessible to human beings, and that the special wisdom carried by them is not something created by their human authors but by God who has inspired Ezra. “Spring,” “fountain,” and “river” are part of the usual vocabulary of 4 Ezra, but until here they have not been related to wisdom terms.55 Also, “understanding” and “wisdom” appear frequently in 4 Ezra, whereas “knowledge” is

53  In their respective translations, Muñoz León and Knibb avoid the definite articles, something which is possible from the Latin text: vena intellectus et sapientiae fons et scientiae flumen. However, in Syriac, the nouns have articles. That is why most of the translators (Stone, Schreiner, Metzger, Myers, and Nápole) use them. 54  The most interesting of them is Sir 24:25–33: see the comments made by Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 216. 55  In the Latin text, vena appears in 4 Ezra 4:7 (2x); 6:24; 13:44.47; 14:47; fons here and in 4 Ezra 6:24; and flumen in 4 Ezra 7:4; 13:40.43–44.47; 14:47.

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used only in this verse.56 Earlier, both “understanding” and “wisdom” are mentioned as a consequence of the inspiration that Ezra receives (4 Ezra 14:40), while the five copyists receive only understanding (4 Ezra 14:42). The most significant precedent is found in Uriel’s final praise of Ezra (4 Ezra 13:55, quoted on p. 129). Ezra has applied himself to the ways of God, has devoted his life to wisdom, and has called understanding (sensus) his mother, characteristics that appear in parallel with having searched out the Torah of God. The absence of a parallel description of the twenty-four books permits us to conclude that they do not contain wisdom in the same way as the seventy. The revelations about the end of time are located on a higher level than the public Torah. To reach full wisdom, in the broad sense that this term has in the tradition of Israel—intellectual, ethical, and religious at the same time—it is necessary to approach the river of eschatological revelations and drink from its water. As in other apocalypses, 4 Ezra sees not only a “sapientializing” of the Torah (see above, p. 144), but also an “eschatologization” of the wisdom of Israel. The application of terms taken from the sapiential sphere to the seventy books certainly seeks to present the eschatological revelations as a superior form of wisdom, that is, as a practical knowledge that allows people to live well and to order their life according to the will of God, since it is also Torah.57 Commenting on the description of the seventy books in 4 Ezra 14:47, Stone asserts that the esoteric knowledge has “redemptive qualities,” but he does not explain what he means.58 This affirmation allows us to return to the problem of the salvific value of the books. We can wonder to what extent the description of the seventy books is linked with salvation. What need is there to know the secrets about the end times if the people can obtain mercy without them? What is the function or utility of the superior wisdom contained in the seventy books? The way in which this dilemma is presented must be reviewed, for the solution depends largely on avoiding the temptation—frequent in the interpretation of 4 Ezra, as we have seen—to see in the internal elements of the narrative a direct reference to the real world of the author. It has been argued above that the wise among the people do not designate a group of real persons to whom 56  In the Latin text, intellectus occurs nine times: 4 Ezra 5:9.22; 8:12; 10:30.40; 14:25.40.42.47; and sapientia has four occurrences: 4 Ezra 8:52; 13:55; 14:40.47. 57  Cf. Hoffmann, Gesetz, 257; DiTommaso, “Apocalypses (Part II),” 374–84. De Villiers, “Understanding,” 368, comes to a similar conclusion, though using other terms. 58  “It is striking that this verse claims the superiority of the esoteric revelation. It is the secret books that are denoted by all of these wisdom terms, for the esoterical knowledge that they contain has redemptive qualities. Such a view is not common in Jewish sources,” Stone, Fourth Ezra, 442.

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4 Ezra is addressed (see pp. 137–141). Now we can add that the people of Israel, as a collective character in the narrative, should not be identified with the Jewish people at the time of the author. In his last speech, Ezra addresses the exiled community in Babylon, not a community in the late first-century CE.59 In this way, the tension between the superior value of the seventy books and the possibility of being saved only thanks to the public Torah disappears. Perhaps the twenty-four books were sufficient for the ordinary people in the time of Ezra. The author of 4 Ezra cannot and does not want to condemn the generations that precede him. However, the important point is that “now” the Jews should read many other books, not only those publicly recognized for centuries. In any case, the author of 4 Ezra does not go so far as to affirm that the knowledge of the eschatological revelations contained in the seventy books is absolutely necessary for salvation. Such a statement is not found in the book where we usually do not find this kind of precise theological thesis.60 A more nuanced formulation is to be preferred. It could be said that the revelations of the last times provide an added value to the public Torah. This added value is linked to the consolation that Ezra obtains thanks to the process which he has experienced. It is not impossible to survive in the dark, knowing almost nothing of the end times, but this would be an anguished, almost desperate life, as shown by Ezra’s initial situation. Thus, 4 Ezra’s central message could be described as an exhortation to abandon concern for the present and to set the mind on the things of the future. To do this, the readers are warned not to limit themselves to the twenty-four books of the public Torah.61 Finally, it is worth noting that, by contrast with the reflection on the Torah in Sir 24, no relationship is ever established in 4 Ezra between the Torah and the liturgy of the Jerusalem Temple. This is certainly consistent with the historical context after the year 70 CE, but also is common in apocalyptic literature before this date.62 If this omission is deliberate, the books of the Torah become 59  Moo, “The Few,” 107–8, supposes this identification; therefore, he explains Ezra’s silence about the revelations he has received regarding the restoration of Israel as a tactic to avoid inflaming nationalist sentiments that might lead to violence. 60   Pace Becker, “Apokalyptisches nach dem Fall Jerusalems,” 339. 61  Without fully sharing his insistence on the dualism of Ezra, the interpretation suggested here owes much to Jürgen C.H. Lebram, “The Piety of the Jewish Apocalyptists,” in Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Apocalypticism, Uppsala, August 12–17 1979, ed. David Hellholm (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1989), 171–210, 199–207. See also Hall, Revealed Histories, 103–4. 62  In this sense, see the criticism addressed to the commentary of H. Najman by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, review of Losing the Temple and Recovering the Future by Hindy Najman, JSJ 46 (2015): 439–42.

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even more important, as the main—perhaps the only—means by which Israel can access the knowledge of the divine will that is necessary to attain salvation. Another silence that is worth noting refers to the absence of mentioning specific contents of precepts, especially when one considers that Torah obedience is a condition to salvation both for Ezra and for the angel. There are neither specific commandments alluded to in 4 Ezra, nor halakic discussions. The author shows no concern about Sabbath observance, circumcision, the calendar, or purity and dietary laws. This confirms that the main content of the Torah consists of eschatological wisdom, of the description of the end times, which is to be found in the seventy secret books.

Chapter 11

Historical Context and Social Function of 4 Ezra Because of its literary characteristics, 4 Ezra does not provide any direct information about the historical and social context in which it was written. However, from the text itself and from its comparison with other sources, it is possible to reconstruct, in an approximate way, the circumstances in which it was composed, and thus to describe, in general terms, what could have been its social function. As a starting point, we can say, with most scholars, that 4 Ezra constitutes both an attempt to explain the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and a response to the Roman political propaganda, within the framework of the reorganization of the Jews after the revolt against the Empire (66–73 CE).1 Before proceeding, a caveat is in order. Strictly speaking, the study of the historical, cultural, and social context of a literary work—that is, all the elements external to the text necessary or useful to a better understanding of it—constitutes an endless task. Any reconstruction is necessarily selective. Furthermore, the distinction between the text itself and its context will always be approximate, since it is impossible to establish a precise border between what is inside a text and what lies outside it. Having performed a literary analysis of 4 Ezra will allow us to look at its environment with some questions in mind. For this reason, we have left this study until now. It would have been possible to follow the reverse path, that is, to begin with a presentation of the historical and social context and to analyze 4 Ezra subsequently. That choice, however, implies the risk of making general considerations that shed little light on the specific features of 4 Ezra.2 1  James R. Mueller, “A Prolegomenon to the Study of the Social Function of 4 Ezra,” SBLSP 20 (1981): 259–68; Esler, “Social Function,” 99–123; Heinz-Martin Döpp, Die Deutung der Zerstörung Jerusalems und des Zweiten Tempels im Jahre 70 in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten n.Chr. (Tübingen: Francke, 1998); Gerbern S. Oegema, Apokalypsen (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2001), 98–101; Flannery, “Esoteric Mystical Practice,” Piovanelli, “Why Ezra and not Enoch?,” 237–49; Grabbe, “4 Ezra and 2 Baruch,” 221–35. On this subject there is an unpublished dissertation: M.L. Gray, “Towards the Reconstruction of 4 Esdras and the Establishment of Its Contemporary Context” (B. Litt. thesis, Oxford University, 1976) (non vidi; a summary can be found in Longenecker, “Locating Fourth Ezra,” 272). 2  One can even conclude that it is very unlikely that someone would ever write such a work. For C. Hezser, with the destruction of the Temple in the year 70, “almost all Palestinian Jewish literary activity seems to have come to a temporary end,” mentioning 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra in a footnote as exceptions: Catherine Hezser, Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001), 426.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004381612_015

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In our case, the task of explaining the historical context is determined by the interest in the account of the writing of the ninety-four books. The epilogue of 4 Ezra raises several questions that cannot be answered only by the narrative or literary analysis of the work. Why Ezra and not another figure? Why does he appear as the restorer of the Torah in the Babylonian exile and not in Jerusalem? Why insist on the need to be interested in the end of time? Is it possible to identify the ninety-four books? Is there any controversy with regard to the twenty-four public books? In summary, we wish to know to what problems the seventh section of 4 Ezra is trying to give an answer. On the other hand, we will not pay attention to many other aspects of the historical context which could be relevant from other points of view, such as whether 4 Ezra is exhorting the renunciation of an armed revolt against the Roman domination.3 Thus, the following pages will be organized around two main issues: the functionality of Ezra the scribe as the protagonist of the apocalypse, and the possible identification of the ninety-four books. 11.1

Why Ezra?

The characterization of Ezra as the protagonist of the book has already been analyzed in some detail (in Chapter 9). Now we wish to ask why the author has chosen Ezra and not another character, something which requires knowing the characteristics of this figure at the time of the composition of 4 Ezra. In this task, we should be wary of anachronism. One must not project onto the first century CE all the traits that will be attributed to Ezra in the later tradition where he will occupy an increasingly prominent position. For example, Isidore of Seville (560–636) claims that Ezra the scribe, under divine inspiration, restored and corrected the Law and the Prophets, which had been corrupted by the Gentiles, and constituted the collection of the Old Testament in twentytwo books, so that there would be as many books as letters of the alphabet (Etymologies 6.3, PL 82:235–236).4 A millennium later, in 1538, developing elements present in rabbinic literature and in medieval Jewish commentators (R. David Kimchi), Elias Levita goes so far as to say that it was Ezra—in union with the other members of the 3  On this point, cf. Jones, Jewish Reactions, 57–77. 4  On this text and others like it (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Priscillian, and others), and on their dependence on 4 Ezra, cf. Kaestli, “Le récit de IV Esdras 14,” 72–83; Veltri, Libraries, 48–50; 79–91; and Pierre-Maurice Bogaert, “Les frontières du canon de l’Ancien Testament dans l’Occident latin,” in La Bible juive dans l’Antiquité, ed. Rémi Gounelle and Jan Joosten (Lausanne: Zèbre, 2014), 41–95, 84–88.

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“great assembly”—who gathered the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible for the first time, divided them into three parts, and promulgated the consonantal text.5 Similar attributions are repeated in more recent times, especially during the nineteenth century, when Ezra was commonly identified as the editor or promulgator of the Pentateuch. He was even considered “the founder of Judaism.”6 However, the further one goes back in time, the less support is found in the sources for these claims, as we shall see. 11.1.1 The Figure of Ezra in the Literature of the Second Temple After the disaster of the year 70, it is reasonable that the traditions about the so-called “Restoration”—that is, the time of the return of the Jewish people to their land after the exile in Babylon—acquired relevance since they could offer a model to overcome the crisis. Figures such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Baruch, Nehemiah, or Ezra take on greater importance, as can be seen by their presence in some works of this period. By contrast, in the Jewish literature from the second century BCE to the first century CE, we find that the Restoration does not receive much attention. For example, Philo of Alexandria says nothing that can be related to it. The proper names “Ezra,” “Zerubbabel,” and “Nehemiah” do not appear in his works. The same can be said of apocalyptic literature in general.7 Even more, many works of this period defend a thesis that goes in the opposite direction: the exile of Israel has not yet been concluded—an idea present not only in the diaspora but also in Judea.8 5  These affirmations must be understood in the context of the debate on the origin of the vowels of the Hebrew text. Against the traditional opinion, Elias Levita maintained that the vocalization is not of Mosaic origin, but was added by the masoretes. Cf. Elias Levita, The Massoreth ha-Massoreth, being an Exposition of the Massoretic Notes on the Hebrew Bible or the Ancient Critical Apparatus of the Old Testament, in Hebrew with an English Translation and Critical and Explanatory Notes by Christian D. Ginsburg (London: Longmans, 1867), 107–21; Ryle, Canon of the Old Testament, 250; 260–61. 6  On Ezra in modern biblical criticism (B. Spinoza, W. de Wette, J. Wellhausen, and others), cf. George F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1927), 1:9–28; Klaus Koch, “Ezra and the Origins of Judaism,” JSS 19 (1974): 173–97; Picard, Le continent apocryphe, 199–200; Lisbeth S. Fried, Ezra and the Law in History and Tradition (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2014), 148–70. 7  Cf. James C. VanderKam, “Exile in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature,” in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions, ed. James M. Scott (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 89–110, 109. On the only exception (the Animal Apocalypse), see below. 8  Cf. Michael A. Knibb, “The Exile in the Literature of the Intertestamental Period,” HeyJ 17 (1976): 253–72; VanderKam, “Exile,” 94–104; Picard, Le continent apocryphe, 195–201; Noah Hacham, “Exile and Self-Identity in the Qumran Sect and in Hellenistic Judaism,” in New Perspectives on Old Texts: Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium of the Orion

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If we analyze the literature of the community of Qumran, the same phenomenon can be verified. Neither the post-exilic restoration in general nor the figure of Ezra in particular play a relevant role.9 The only exception seems to be 4Q390, where a positive allusion is made to the priests who first went up and rebuilt the Temple.10 Nor in the early Christian literature do we find references to the return from the exile or to Ezra. As was said above (pp. 120–121), Salathiel and Zerubbabel are mentioned in the two genealogies of Jesus (Matt 1:12–13; Luke 3:27). However, it is evident that this is not a sign of a specific interest in these figures or in the returning to the land after the exile.11 Even among those few authors who do speak of the return from the Babylonian exile, the figure of Ezra does not seem to have enjoyed any prominence.12 As is well known, both in Ben Sira’s “Praise of the fathers” (Sir 44:1–50:24), and in 2 Maccabees, Nehemiah is mentioned (see Sir 49:13; 2 Macc 1:18.20–21.23.31.33.36; 2:13), whereas Ezra is not.13 It may be a deliberate Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 9–11 January, 2005, ed. Esther G. Chazon and Betsy Halpern-Amaru (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 3–21. There has been much debate about the scope of the idea of a “permanent exile” as a background to the New Testament, especially in connection with the theses of N.T. Wright. In this regard, see the observations of Richard Bauckham, “The Restoration of Israel in Luke-Acts,” in Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives, ed. James M. Scott (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 435–87, 435–37; see also Brant Pitre, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005). 9  In the “non-biblical” texts in Hebrew and Aramaic found in Qumran, neither Ezra nor Nehemiah nor Zerubbabel are mentioned: cf. Martin G. Abegg, “Concordance of Proper Nouns in the Non-Biblical Texts from Qumran,” in The Texts from the Judaean Desert: Indices and an Introduction to the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert Series, ed. Emanuel Tov (Oxford: Clarendon, 2002), 229–84. 10  Cf. Idem, “Exile and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions, ed. James M. Scott (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 111–25, 120–21; Michael A. Knibb, “Exile,” in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 276–77. 11  Cf. Wilhelm Schneemelcher, “Esra,” RAC 6 (1966): 595–612, 608. 12  Cf. Theodore A. Bergren, “Ezra and Nehemiah Square Off in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha,” in Biblical Figures Outside the Bible, ed. Theodore A. Bergren and Michael E. Stone (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998), 340–65. 13  On the problem, cf. Michael W. Duggan, “Ezra, Scribe and Priest, and the Concerns of Ben Sira,” in Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M, ed. Vincent Skemp and Jeremy Corley (Washington: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2004), 201–10; Lester L. Grabbe, A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period: 1: Yehud: A History of the Persian Province of Judah (London: T&T Clark, 2004), 329–31.

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omission. It is simpler, however, to suppose that Ben Sira and the author of 2 Maccabees had never heard of the scribe Ezra.14 There could be an allusion to Ezra in the “Animal Apocalypse” (1 En. 83–89, second century BCE). According to 1 En. 89:72, “three sheep” rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple after the exile. The first two look like Zerubbabel and Joshua; the identity of the third is discussed. Ezra is among the candidates.15 A similar case is that of the Testament of Moses (first century CE): in T. Mos. 4:1–4, it is said that a “mediator” prays for the people. For Tromp, this could be Ezra.16 In both cases, the presence of Ezra is quite uncertain and is not sufficient at all to counteract the impression that Ezra was a figure scarcely known or of little relevance in the period. Regarding the books that do speak of Ezra, there are elements that allow us to affirm that both Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras had already been composed and diffused at the end of the first century CE when 4 Ezra was written. Specifically, the existence and diffusion of 1 Esdras at the end of the first century CE is ensured by the fact that Josephus used this work to compose Ant. 11 (see above p. 71). On the other hand, a manuscript found at Qumran (4Q117 or 4QEzra) seems to correspond to the “biblical” book of Ezra. We have three fragments, two of them very small, that, by the script, had to be composed in the middle of the first century BCE.17 The manuscript can be considered a proof of the existence of the book of Ezra in the first century BCE and, at the same time, an indication of its limited relevance, when compared with the number

14  Cf. Lebram, “Traditionsgeschichte der Esragestalt,” 126–28; Giovanni Garbini, “La figura di Esdra nella letteratura e nella storia,” RStB 10 (1998): 59–67. 15  For Knibb, “Exile,” 196, it could be Ezra or better Nehemiah, as in Sir 49:11–13. Also Christopher T. Begg, “The Identity of the Three Building Sheep in 1 Enoch 89,72–73,” ETL 64 (1988): 152–56, prefers Nehemiah. Other authors think that the third sheep is Sheshbazzar: cf. Patrick Tiller, A Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse of I Enoch (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993), 338–39; Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 394; Daniel C. Olson, A New Reading of the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch: “All Nations Shall be Blessed” (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 199. 16  Cf. Tromp, Assumption of Moses, 174–76. After mentioning this and other interpretations of this passage, Hogan rightly concludes that the important thing is the function of the character, not its identification: Karina Martin Hogan, “Pseudepigraphy and the Periodization of History,” in Pseudepigraphie und Verfasserfiktion in frühchristlichen Briefen = Pseudepigraphy and Author Fiction in Early Christian Letters, ed. Jörg Frey et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 61–83, 70. 17  Cf. Eugene Ulrich et al., eds., Qumrân Cave 4.XI: Psalms to Chronicles (Oxford: Clarendon, 2000), 291–93 (pl. XXXVIII). Photographs of the fragments can be seen at www.deadsea scrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/manuscript/4Q117-1.

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of copies of other books, and considering the fact, already mentioned, of the absence of references to Ezra in the “non-biblical” texts of Qumran.18 This is not the place to address the complex subject of the relationship between Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras, or of the relationship between the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.19 It is enough to say that the author of 4 Ezra knows some of these texts or at least a similar tradition about Ezra. By contrast with Josephus, it is not possible to perform a linguistic analysis of 4 Ezra to show that the author had a specific text in his hands. However, there is a small clue that tilts the balance in favor of Ezra-Nehemiah. Ezra’s speech to the people in 4 Ezra 14:27–36 seems to depend on Neh 9:6–37,20 a passage that has no parallel in 1 Esdras. The narrative of the public reading of the Torah is found in both Ezra-Nehemiah (Neh 7:72–8:12) and 1 Esdras (1 Esd 9:37–55), but with the difference that 1 Esdras ends here and does not contain the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Neh 8:13–18) and the speech of Ezra on the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month (Neh 9), to which the people respond (Neh 10). In any case, in both traditions, Ezra is a scribe, expert in the Torah of Moses, and a member of the priestly class who travels from Babylon to Jerusalem to reorganize the Jewish community after the exile, sometime during the Persian period. He acts as a religious, political, and social leader, with a power explicitly supported by that of the Persian emperor. 18  In the preliminary publication, Ulrich observed: “Since the oldest witness to Ezra/1 Esdras used to be Josephus, who used 1 Esdras for his narrative in the Jewish Antiquities, one valuable factor offered by 4QEzra is that it now provides yet earlier witness to the other form, viz. the MT of Ezra,” Eugene Ulrich, “Ezra and Qoheleth Manuscripts from Qumran (4QEzra and 4QQoha, b),” in Priests, Prophets, and Scribes: Essays on the Formation and Heritage of Second Temple Judaism in Honour of Joseph Blenkinsopp, ed. Eugene Ulrich et al. (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992), 139–57, 155, n. 17. On the other hand, Giovanni Garbini, Il ritorno dall’esilio babilonese (Brescia: Paideia, 2001), 214–16, claims that 4Q117 is a modern forgery. However, his arguments are not very convincing (apart from not mentioning the definitive publication in DJD XVI). In a later publication, Garbini goes on to maintain that the book of Ezra was composed in the first century CE; however, he omits to mention 4Q117: cf. Idem, Mito e storia nella Bibbia (Brescia: Paideia, 2003), 156–57. 19  Cf. Claudio Balzaretti, “Esdra-Neemia: Bilancio di fine secolo,” RivB 52 (2004): 289–338, 289–300. “The Qumran fragments are too meager to affect the debate on the relation between canonical Ezra and I Esdras,” Joseph Blenkinsopp, “Ezra and Nehemiah, Books of,” in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 284–85, 284. J. Charlesworth has identified a fragment of Cave 4 as belonging to Nehemiah (Neh 3:14–15), but it has not yet been published (August 2018). See the photographs at http://foundationjudaismchristianorigins.org/ftp/ dead-sea-scrolls/unpub/nehemiah.html. 20  Becker, “Rewriting the Bible,” 94–95, compares 4 Ezra 14:27–36 with Neh 9:9–37 and notes that the structure is identical.

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Having summarily collected the references to Ezra at the time of composition of 4 Ezra, it is possible to try to answer the question about the motive or the reasons that explain his choice as the protagonist of this apocalypse. If the author of 4 Ezra has chosen Ezra as the protagonist, it is because in some way it was practical for his program. In this context, we must analyze how this figure is assumed and transformed in 4 Ezra. In order to understand the reasons that might lead to choosing a particular figure of the past, it is appropriate first to analyze the work on its own terms and then to take the context into account. As we have seen, the first place in the program of the author of 4 Ezra is not occupied by the political or military reorganization of the Jews after the revolt but by the reaffirmation of their identity as the people of the covenant. This identity depends above all on the Torah, a Torah which includes eschatological revelations. That is why the attention of the book is not directed to aspects related to material reconstruction, such as the Temple or the walls, but to the books of the Torah, since they can guide the people in their new situation. The recovery of the written Torah, therefore, is an important element to take into consideration if one wishes to understand the choice of Ezra. 11.1.2 Ezra’s Functionality for the Message of 4 Ezra The answer to the question of “why Ezra” should be framed in the context of the attribution of the apocalypses to a figure of the past. It is not enough to say that the attribution is an author’s resource to put the work under the authority of a person of the past, much less to deceive readers. Brandenburger was right when he wrote in 1981 that more study and reflection were needed about this phenomenon.21 Since then, much progress has been made in this direction.22 Some scholars explain the choice of the protagonist of an apocalypse by appealing to a certain identity between the figure of the past and the author’s religious situation or experience, in a more or less psychologizing manner depending on the case (see above pp. 101–102 and pp. 106–109). However, the idea that predominates today is that the “pseudepigraphy”—if one wants to go on using this curious term—in apocalyptic literature consists of a commonly accepted convention by which the work is inserted into a particular 21  Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 13. 22  For a status quaestionis about the explanations of pseudepigraphy in the field of apocalyptic literature, cf. Matthias Henze, “From Jeremiah to Baruch: Pseudepigraphy in the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch,” in Biblical Traditions in Trasmission: Essays in Honour of Michael A. Knibb, ed. Charlotte Hempel and Judith M. Lieu (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 157–77, 157–61; Hogan, “Pseudepigraphy,” 61–64.

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intellectual tradition or “discourse.”23 Just as it is possible to recognize a Mosaic or an Enochic discourse, we can enquire whether there is also an “Ezran” one and what would be its characteristics. As far as we know, 4 Ezra is the first apocalypse where the recipient of the revelations is Ezra.24 Indeed, the choice of Ezra is striking, because this scribe does not seem the most adequate figure to have visions about the Messiah and the end of the times, unlike the protagonists of other apocalyptic texts, such as Enoch, who disappeared because God took him (Gen 5:24), or Moses, who spoke to the Lord face to face (Deut. 34:10), or any other prophet of ancient Israel.25 It is interesting to take into consideration the parallel case of 2 Baruch, where a character less related to the Torah than Ezra, but much closer to the destruction of Jerusalem, is chosen as the protagonist.26 The title of scribe is never applied to him in 2 Baruch, but he does receive the title of prophet, successor of Jeremiah.27 It can be observed too that to place Baruch in front of the destroyed Temple does not represent anything inconsistent with the traditional figure. The author of 4 Ezra preferred Ezra, who brings with him the character of restorer of the Torah, something which Baruch lacks.28 Furthermore, the figure of Ezra as it appears in Ezra-Nehemiah reflects a phenomenon that goes in the opposite direction to 4 Ezra and the apocalyptic literature in general, namely, the transition from a religion open to new revelations to one that prefers to focus on the interpretation of the received 23  The notion of discourse was first proposed by Hindy Najman, Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 2003); for 4 Ezra, see Idem, “The Exemplary Protagonist: The Case of 4 Ezra,” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures, ed. Eibert Tigchelaar (Leuven: Peeters, 2014), 261–87, 268–72. In Idem, Losing the Temple, 57, Najman argues that “unlike Moses, the Ezra of Ezra-Nehemiah is perhaps insufficiently rich a character to warrant talk of a discourse tied to Ezra (…)”. However, as a precursor of 4 Ezra, Najman mentions only the figure of Ezra en Ezra-Nehemiah, ignoring 1 Esdras. 24  Others will come later, all in a Christian context: see n. 6 on p. 88. 25  Cf. John J. Collins, “Enoch and Ezra,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 83–98, 90–91. 26  “The destruction of Jerusalem (rather than the Exile) is very much the focus of the book” [2 Baruch], Hogan, “Pseudepigraphy,” 78. 27  Cf. Henze, “From Jeremiah,” 163–70; Najman, “How to Make Sense,” 308–36. 28  Unlike the case of 4 Ezra, the Torah is not put in direct relation to books in 2 Baruch. Cf. Robert A. Kraft, “Scripture and Canon in Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, I/1: Antiquity, ed. Magne Sæbø (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996), 199–216, 210. On the nearly complete absence of books and writing in 2 Baruch, in contrast to other apocalypses, see Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 145–48 and 236.

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tradition, more precisely of the book of the Torah of Moses. The characterization of Ezra in Ezra 7 is particularly significant in this regard. Twice it is affirmed that the hand of the Lord was upon him (Ezra 7:6.9; cf. 7:28; 8:18.22.31), an expression used in other books to speak of the inspiration of the prophets (1 Kgs 18:46; 2 Kgs 3:15; Ezek 1:3; 3:22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1). Moreover, in Ezra 7:10, it is said that Ezra was expert in “seeking” or “scrutinizing” (‫ )לדרוׁש‬the Torah, a verb that previously had God as its object and was used in an oracular sense: “consulting” the Lord through a seer or prophet (Gen 25:22; Exod 18:15; 1 Kgs 14:5; 22:8; 2 Kgs 1:3.6.16; etc.).29 It is, therefore, evident that the strong attention to the eschatological revelations in 4 Ezra is not in harmony with the traditional figure of Ezra. For Bergren, the reason for which Ezra is chosen as the protagonist is discovered if one takes into account that Ezra’s response to the destruction of the Temple consists mainly in the restoration of the (complete) Torah. On the one hand, Ezra would work as an interpreter of the catastrophe of the year 70; on the other, he would symbolize Israel’s restoration after the exile, starting again from the Torah. That is why he fits the program of the author of 4 Ezra.30 Bergren’s explanation can be enriched if one considers that the reason for Ezra’s choice lies precisely in the combination of the restoration of the Torah with a factor which Bergren discards: the revelations about the end of time.31 Indeed, an important aspect of the message of 4 Ezra is that its content is not entirely new but consists of revelations that are part of the Torah, even though they seem novel to those who are familiar only with the twenty-four public books. In Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras, Ezra is a scribe who proclaims and enforces an existing divine instruction, the contents of which had been forgotten, such as the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Neh 8:13–17). In this sense, the figure of Ezra the scribe is perfectly adapted to present what seems new with the prestige and authority of what is supposed to be traditional. 29  Cf. Michael Fishbane, “From Scribalism to Rabbinism: Perspectives on the Emergence of Classical Judaism,” in The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, ed. John G. Gammie and Leo G. Perdue (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 439–56, 440–43. 30  Bergren, “Ezra and Nehemiah,” 360. Collins, “Enoch and Ezra,” 92, finds Bergren’s explanation insufficient because he reads 4 Ezra following Hogan, that is, as a dispute between two schools. He thinks that Ezra is chosen as the representative of the theology of the covenant. On the problems of this interpretation, see pp. 104–105 above. 31  “One important message of the author certainly is that apocalyptic knowledge is the ultimate answer to insistent questions of theodicy. This does not, however, seem particularly relevant to the figure of Ezra in Jewish tradition, since this figure is not, as far as we know, previously connected with eschatological knowledge or with the issue of theodicy,” Bergren, “Ezra and Nehemiah,” 360.

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It could be objected that this tension between innovation and continuity occurs in all the apocalyptic works. The teachings that are placed in the mouth of Enoch are also presented to the readers with the prestige of what is old— very old, in this case. The difference lies in the fact that the visions of Enoch offer a revelation that neither he nor others had previously received. On the other hand, the figure of Ezra is closely linked with a revelation that precedes him: substantially the same Torah that Moses received on Sinai (see above pp. 142–150). Ezra appears as a second Moses in 4 Ezra. The parallelism is undeniable in the last section, as has been said (pp. 130–134). The figure of Moses is one of the most frequent in the literature of the Second Temple, but not always under the same aspect. In 4 Ezra, rather than to Moses as an historical person, the attention is directed to his inheritance, the Torah, that pre-exists him and survives after him.32 Ezra speaks with an angel, has several visions, and the people consider him a prophet. All this seems to contradict what has just been said about his role as a mere transmitter or preserver. However, at the end of the book, all the revelations are transferred to the ninety-four books of the Torah, which include what Ezra has seen. To put it in other words, the author has taken one of the most traditional figures of the history of Israel, Ezra, a scribe expert in the Torah, to defend the thesis that the Torah also includes revelations about the end of time. What Ezra has seen is something new to him, that comforts him, but it is also part of the eternal Torah. The paradox of 4 Ezra is that the author wants to take advantage of the figure of Ezra as a faithful transmitter, as a hero of tradition, of “religious conservatism,” to legitimize revelations that are not in the twenty-four books and therefore might be seen by some as new.33 As is often the case in the development of religious beliefs, a novelty is introduced

32  In this view, Ezra is closer to the Book of Jubilees and the Temple Scroll than to Philo: “whereas texts such as Jubilees and the Temple Scroll subordinate the figure of Moses to the law of Moses, Philo subordinates the Law of Moses to the figure of Moses,” Najman, Seconding Sinai, 106–7. 33  Paul Metzger, “Esra und das vierte Esra-Buch: die Bedeutung des Pseudonyms für die Interpretation einer apokalyptischen Schrift,” in Studien zur Johannesoffenbarung und ihrer Auslegung: Festschrift für Otto Böcher zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Friedrich Wilhelm Horn and Michael Wolter (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2005), 263–90, proposes a similar interpretation.

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in defense of tradition.34 To describe it in sociological categories, it can be said that 4 Ezra attempts to rebuild a world under the mask of keeping it intact.35 We can complete this picture by mentioning other points of contact between the protagonist of 4 Ezra and the scribe of Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras, which may have influenced his choice, in addition to his close relationship with the proclamation and application of the Torah. For example, one can mention his strong religious piety expressed in prayer and fasting; his leadership; and his role as intercessor between the community and God.36 To these similarities, we can add the concentration on the fate of Israel, leaving aside the non-Jews. Indeed, according to Ezra 9–10 and 1 Esd 8:68–9:36, Ezra dissolves the marriages of Jews with foreign women. Similarly, in 4 Ezra, Ezra manifests unconcern for those who are not part of the people of Israel (see especially 4 Ezra 6:35–59 and what was said about the Torah and the Gentiles on pp. 145–147).37 Lastly, it is convenient to consider the main differences between the two Ezras—the one in Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras, on the one hand, and the one in 4 Ezra, on the other—as these can help us to clarify the purpose of his election as the protagonist of the apocalypse. The most evident contrast between the two figures is directly related to the historical context and social function of 4 Ezra, namely, that Ezra is in Babylon and never returns to Jerusalem. Beyond the problems of chronology (see pp. 117–120), the difference is that, in 4 Ezra, the people of Israel are in Babylon, the Temple is still destroyed, and the exile is not over. The author could have chosen either Ezekiel or Daniel as protagonists because they fit better than Ezra in this context. However, they do not have as strong a link with the written Torah as Ezra. Probably this is why they were not 34  See Anders Klostergaard Petersen, “‘Invention’ and ‘Maintenance’ of Religious Traditions: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives,” in Invention, Rewriting, Usurpation: Discursive Fights over Religious Traditions in Antiquity, ed. Jörg Ulrich, Anders-Christian Jacobsen and David Brakke (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2012), 129–60, 142–45 and 155–60. 35  “(…) the author’s position and its expected audience response might be tied up with “world construction” cloaked in the shroud of “world maintenance”. The law is primary. The law referred to is the law which has been the possession of the community since Sinai, and perhaps even since Adam,” Mueller, “A Prolegomenon,” 263, who refers to Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Garden City: Doubleday, 1967), 29–51. 36  Cf. Bergren, “Ezra and Nehemiah,” 360–61. Tzvi Novick, “Test and Temptation in 4 Ezra,” JSP 22 (2013): 238–44, 242, notes the identification of Ezra with the community as a strong element of continuity between the protagonist of 4 Ezra and his “ancestor.” 37  Another point in common is the use of the first person to narrate. Nevertheless, it does not seem relevant to the election of Ezra, since it forms part of the apocalyptic genre (see pp. 106–109).

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chosen. Nevertheless, the author of 4 Ezra does consider the Babylonian exile as the framework that best corresponds to the message he wants to convey to the Jewish community to which the book is addressed.38 The absence of the Temple allows us to understand another of the differences. In 4 Ezra, the priestly condition of Ezra disappears, by contrast with Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras, where he is presented as a priest.39 In 4 Ezra, he is a scribe of God, whom the people consider a prophet (4 Ezra 12:40). It does not matter whether he is a priest or not, since he must face the problem of living according to the Torah without the Temple, while in Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras the mission of Ezra is linked from the beginning with the worship in the rebuilt Temple. The identification with Salathiel is another of 4 Ezra’s novelties. This is not inconsistent with the aspect of political leader in the traditional figure of Ezra, but it adds to it the Davidic lineage (see pp. 120–121). In this sense, we should note the altered position with respect to the political authority of the Empire. While the “biblical” Ezra is an emissary of the central government and recognizes the authority of the Persian empire, in 4 Ezra he shares with the people the subjection to Babylon and announces the destruction of the invading power (the eagle, that is, Rome). Another difference can be seen in the way Ezra addresses God. In the previous accounts, he tears his garments, cries, and asks for forgiveness because of the sins of the people (cf. Ezra 9:3–10:1; 1 Esd 8:71–91), while, in 4 Ezra, although, at the beginning, he considers himself a sinner (4 Ezra 3:1–36; 4:38), he never manifests a penitential attitude, such as that of the “biblical” Ezra or Daniel (cf. Dan 9). His fasting is a ritual preparation for receiving the visions. He appeals to God’s mercy, but—apart from the Confessio Esdrae in 4 Ezra 8:19–36—his prayers are rather accusatory. The angel encourages him not to include himself among sinners, and Ezra ends up accepting this point of view (see pp. 112–115). As a final difference, the way in which the book concludes must not be forgotten. Ezra never returns to Jerusalem, but he is taken to heaven. His departure is prepared for by the words of the people in 4 Ezra 12:41–45 (it is not worth living if you forsake us), and by Ezra’s question to God in the seventh section: who will warn the people when I go? (cf. 4 Ezra 14:20–22). Besides constituting the protagonist’s glorification, the assumption of Ezra opens the door to the 38  Cf. Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, Enduring Exile: The Metaphorization of Exile in the Hebrew Bible (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 11–15. 39  Cf. Ezra 7:11; 10:10.16; Neh 8:2.9; 12:26. In 1 Esdras, he is called “priest” (1 Esd 8:8–9.19; 9:16.42), and also “high priest” (1 Esd 9:39–40.49). On this change, cf. Japhet, “1 Esdras,” 219–20.

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possibility that the Jewish community can keep its identity without prophets and without a temple. Ezra does not name successors; the ninety-four books of the Torah are his inheritance (see pp. 130–134).40 The prophets have disappeared, the temple has been destroyed, the city and the land are lost. Only God and the Torah remain for the people. The consolation is that the Torah, which contains the road to salvation after death, cannot be destroyed. The one divine Torah, understood as a superior wisdom because it contains revelations of the last times, has not been lost, but is available in the ninety-four books which Ezra leaves before going (see pp. 142–150). We can finish by quoting a text of 2 Baruch which expresses a message very similar to that of 4 Ezra, with the difference that the Torah spoken of in 2 Baruch is not the same as that given by Ezra, because it contains no secret revelations. In the epistle directed to the nine and a half tribes of the Assyrian dispersion (2 Bar. 78–87), Baruch writes: Know, then, that in former times and in generations of old our fathers had helpers, righteous men and holy prophets. But, then, we were in our own land. And they helped us when we sinned and they interceded for us with him who has created us, since they trusted in their works. And the Mighty One heard them and forgave us. But now the righteous have been assembled, and the prophets have fallen asleep. And we also have gone from the land, and Zion has been taken from us, and we have nothing now except the Mighty One and his Law. If, then, we direct and dispose our hearts, we will receive everything that we lost with much gain. For whatever we lost was subject to corruption, and whatever we will receive will not be corruptible. 2 Bar. 85:1–5 [Gurtner]

11.1.3 Excursus: Ezra in Rabbinic Literature In studying the figure of Ezra in Jewish literature prior to the writing of 4 Ezra (pp. 158–162), we left aside the Mishnah (ca. 200 CE) and the rest of the rabbinical literature as they are later works. It is true that some of the traditions about Ezra contained in them may be contemporaneous with or even prior to 4 Ezra. However, trying to determine their antiquity is very complex and the

40  Most of the protagonists of the apocalypses serve as a bridge between the past and the present. In this case, thanks to Ezra, the Torah survives in its written form. Cf. Hogan, “Pseudepigraphy,” 81–82.

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conclusions are uncertain.41 Moreover, within the corpus of rabbinical literature, there is evidence that suggests that the importance of Ezra was growing throughout the centuries,42 a process that confirms that not everything that is said of Ezra in rabbinical literature is to be attributed to the time of composition of 4 Ezra. Nevertheless, it is convenient to recall some features attributed to Ezra in rabbinic literature. Although most of them are late, they offer an excellent point of comparison. In 4 Ezra, we are not dealing with a Mosaic discourse but with an Ezran one. Thus, it is useful to compare this discourse briefly with the figure of Ezra in rabbinic literature.43 In general, the rabbinic traditions, although not altogether coherent, coincide in presenting Ezra in very positive terms, as closely linked with the people’s reorganization after the exile, and especially with the Torah of Moses. For the rabbis, Ezra is a scribe who copied, proclaimed, and applied the Torah. The Talmud says that the square writing was adopted for copying the Torah in Ezra’s time (cf. b. Sanh. 21b; see above p. 141). To Ezra is attributed the division of the readings of the Torah.44 Above all, there is the significant statement that, if Moses had not received the Torah, Ezra would have been worthy to receive it (cf. t. Sanh. 4:7; y. Meg. 1:21b; b. Sanh. 21b). This close connection between Ezra and the gift of Torah by God is very consistent with the figure as it appears in 4 Ezra. In Qo. Rab. 1:4:4 and in Midr. Sam. 15:2, it is said that, if Aaron had lived in the time of Ezra, Ezra would have been the greater of the two.45 Therefore, Ezra is considered high priest, as in 1 Esdras. On the other hand, the rabbinic tradition does not directly apply the title of prophet to Ezra. However, in b. Meg. 15a he is identified with the prophet Malachi, and in b. Meg. 16b he is presented as a disciple of Baruch, so that he becomes connected with the prophet Jeremiah. Finally, some texts present Ezra as the head of the men of the “great assembly,”

41  On the dating and historical reliability of rabbinical literature in general, see the bibliography quoted in the introduction (pp. 11–15). 42  Cf. Schneemelcher, “Esra,” 607–8. 43  A broad presentation can be found in Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2003), s.v. “Ezra,” 1121–1126. For the references that follow, I am also basing myself on Gary G. Porton, “Ezra in Rabbinic Literature,” in Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives, ed. James M. Scott (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 305–33. See also Wilhelm T. In der Smitten, Esra: Quellen, Überlieferung und Geschichte (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1973), 80–85; Fried, Ezra and the Law, 137–47. 44  Cf. b. Meg. 31b. The idea also appears among the ten commandments attributed to Ezra: cf. b. B. Qam. 82a–82b; b. Ketub. 5a; b. B. Bat. 22a; y. Meg. 4, 75a. 45  Cf. Porton, “Ezra,” 308.

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who, according to the famous beginning of Pirqé Abot, received the Torah from the prophets.46 It is not difficult to guess why Ezra enjoys the sympathy of the rabbis. His figure—especially as a scribe of the Torah, rather than as a priest or prophet— provides both a model and a justification for their own task, namely, the preservation and interpretation of the Torah of Moses.47 11.2

Possible Identification of the Seventy Books

The time has come to try to identify the ninety-four books of the Torah—or at least to see what are their characteristics—in the light of the evidence external to 4 Ezra. First, we must examine the possible symbolic meaning of the numbers in the context of ancient culture in general and of apocalyptic literature in particular.48 We can anticipate that the total number of books, ninety-four, does not seem to be more than the sum of seventy and twenty-four. By contrast, these two figures have not been chosen at random. They have clear connotations, as we shall see. 11.2.1 Symbolic Value of the Number Seventy The seventy books of the Torah, reserved for the wise, are characterized by containing eschatological revelations so that they convey a wisdom superior to that of the twenty-four public books (see pp. 151–155 above). The famous Talmudist Louis Ginzberg (1873–1953) proposed—as much ingeniously as implausibly—that the seventy books correspond to fifty-eight treatises of the

46  Cf. Ginzberg, Legends, s.v. “The Men of the Great Assembly,” 1126–28. In any case, as noted by Schneemelcher, “Esra,” 607, other texts consider Ezra and the great assembly separately. 47  Kratz offers a synthesis of Ezra’s significance in rabbinic literature that is worth quoting: “Ezra is the Jewish scribe par excellence and the founder of Judaism. It is he who symbolizes the transformation from biblical to rabbinic Judaism or to put it differently, he is responsible for the transformation of the age of the prophets, commencing with Moses, into the time of the sages,” Kratz, “Ezra,” 164. Very similar is the conclusion of Lier, who unfortunately is unaware of the article of Kratz: see Gudrun E. Lier, “Who was Ezra? Deliberations in Oral Torah,” JSem 18 (2009): 57–81, 78–79. 48  On the numbers in the book of Revelation, in other apocalypses, and in the Mediterranean culture, cf. Adela Yarbro Collins, Cosmology and Eschatology in Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 55–138. The neo-Pythagorean elucubrations on numbers had great influence on Greco-Roman culture. However, they say nothing about seventy or twenty-four, because their reflections are limited to the first ten.

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Mishnah plus twelve works of midrashic literature.49 Except for this honorable exception, scholars agree that the author of 4 Ezra has chosen the number seventy in this context because of its symbolism, not because of the need to justify a collection formed by exactly this number of books. In favor of the symbolic interpretation of the number seventy, we can cite a parallel text, found in 2 Enoch. This work is difficult to date, but many consider it prior to 4 Ezra.50 In 2 En. 23, we are told that the angel Vrevoil dictates “all the works of heaven and earth,” to Enoch, for thirty days and thirty nights without interruption, and Enoch writes 360 (or 366) books. It seems evident that the number is not intended to describe a precise collection, but to refer to the days of the solar year (the 364-day solar calendar is an important issue in 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and other texts).51 In the case of 4 Ezra, we may wonder what is it that the author wanted to express in speaking of seventy books. D.S. Russell proposed to explain this figure by virtue of gematria: seventy is the numerical value of the Hebrew term ‫סוד‬, “secret,” so that the number would be alluding to the esoteric character of the books.52 Hogan points out that the primary meaning of ‫ סוד‬is “advice,” not “secret,” and that it is not the number of books but their content that is to be kept secret.53 Both objections are true. However, they do not seem to be sufficient for a complete rejection of Russell’s hypothesis, which is uncertain but not impossible. Be that as it may, a more secure path to discover why the secret books are said to be seventy is to see the use of this number with symbolic meaning in parallel texts. 49  The seventy books refer to the old halakic literature, “which consisted of fifty-eight mishnaic treatises, the nine midrashic books on Leviticus, and the Midrashim on Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy,” Ginzberg, Legends, 1125. 50  According to the most accepted opinion, 2 Enoch was composed in the first century CE, before 70 CE, perhaps in Egypt: cf. George W.E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005), 225; Andrei A. Orlov, “The Sacerdotal Traditions of 2 Enoch and the Date of the Text,” in New Perspectives on 2 Enoch: No Longer Slavonic Only, ed. Andrei A. Orlov and Gabriele Boccaccini (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 103–16; Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 301– 2. However, the complex textual transmission of this work makes it extremely difficult to establish its origin: cf. F.I. Andersen, “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Vol. 1, ed. James H. Charlesworth (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1983), 91–221, 94–97. 51  Cf. Paolo Sacchi, “The Book of the Watchers as an Apocalyptic and Apocryphal Text,” Henoch 30 (2008): 9–26, 25. 52   David S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic 200 BC–AD 100 (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964), 114; The suggestion is mentioned favorably by Longenecker, 2 Esdras, 91–92; and by Bauckham, “Apocalypses,” 174. 53  Hogan, “Meanings,” 549, n. 55.

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In the first place, it should not be forgotten that seventy is a round number and a multiple of seven. Seven usually indicates perfection or completeness. It is the number of days of the week and, as such, it has a strong theological charge in the tradition of Israel. The Sabbath, the seventh day, is the day of the Lord. The jubilee is an application to the annual calendar of the septenary structure of the week. Thus, it is not surprising that Philo of Alexandria, who devoted great attention to the numbers, comments above all on seven.54 For its part, the number seventy (ten times seven) is usually employed to express totality. The nations that come from Noah are seventy (Gen 10): what is meant is that all the peoples descend from him.55 The members of the house of Jacob that go down to Egypt are seventy (Gen 46:27; Exod 1:5; Deut 10:22), that is, none of them remained in the land. The elders of Israel who go up to Sinai (Exod 24:1, Num 11:16.24–25, cf. Ezek 8:11) are also seventy, that is, all of them. Even when it is said that Gideon (Judg 8:30) or Ahab (2 Kgs 10:1) have seventy children, it is only to underline later that none will be left alive! We can also recall that, in a temporal sense, seventy years is the normal length of human life (Ps 90:10; Isa 23:15.17). Jeremiah announces that the exile in Babylon will last seventy years (Jer 25:11–12; 29:10, cf. Zech 1:12; 7:5). In Dan 9, as is known, this oracle is interpreted in the light of the legislation on the jubilee (Lev 25–26).56 Therefore, that the secret books of the Torah are seventy seems to indicate that Ezra recovered all the Scriptures, without losing any of the eschatological revelations previously received by Abraham, Moses, Daniel or others.57 11.2.2 Contents of the Collection Concerning the contents of the seventy books, a first point is to wonder whether they refer to a specific type of literature. A few scholars relate the two groups of books of 4 Ezra 14 to the rabbinic distinction between the written Torah 54  Cf. Yarbro Collins, Cosmology, 98–99. 55  On this figure, its possible origin, and other parallel texts, cf. Noga Ayali-Darshan, “The Seventy Bulls Sacrificed at Sukkot (Num 29:12–34) in Light of a Ritual Text from Emar (Emar 6, 373),” VT 65 (2015): 1–11. 56  In the Animal Apocalypse, the spatial and temporal aspects of the number are combined when it is said that seventy shepherds (the angels of the nations) will shepherd the sheep (Israel) in the last seventy periods of history (cf. 1 En. 89:59; 90:18). Cf. Olson, New Reading, 190–91. We can also recall that, according to Luke, Jesus sends the twelve apostles to preach (Luke 9:1–2) and, later, seventy (or seventy-two) other disciples (Luke 10:1–20). 57  Cf. Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 217; Steven D. Fraade, “4 Ezra and 2 Baruch with the (Dis-)Advantage of Rabbinic Hindsight,” in Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Matthias Henze (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 363–78, 372.

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and the oral Torah so that the seventy books would correspond to rabbinical works.58 It is true that the two sets of books contain the Torah. However, the distinction between the seventy and the twenty-four books does not correspond to the difference between orality and scripture, which underlies the distinction between oral Torah and written Torah. Moreover, it is forced to identify the oral Torah that we know, which deals mainly with halakic issues, with the secret doctrines of 4 Ezra, which refer to the end of time. Most scholars think that the seventy books correspond roughly to what is now called “apocalyptic literature,” inasmuch as it contains revelations about the end of time, including Ezra’s visions.59 From all that has been said so far, this interpretation seems the most likely. In any case, one should not think that the author of 4 Ezra is defending a particular corpus of books, much less a “literary genre.” In this sense, we can mention the opinion—probably exaggerated, but not to be completely discarded—of P. Metzger, who thinks that it is likely that the seventy books include only 4 Ezra.60 As to possible allusions in 4 Ezra to books that do not belong to the current Hebrew Bible or that are on the border of the canon, there is not much that can be said. One could compose a long list of parallel texts. However, it would be of little help, for in most cases these correspond to ideas widely present in the literature of the Second Temple.61 Furthermore, the ability to identify citations or allusions depends on what has been preserved until today. If 4 Ezra alludes to books that have been lost, we cannot identify these references: it is a consequence of the “glasses” of the canon discussed in the introduction (p. 16). 58  In addition to Ginzberg, cited above, cf. Armand Kaminka, Sefer Hazonot ‘Assir She’alti’el (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1936), quoted by Stone, Fourth Ezra, 441; and Mueller, “A Prolegomenon,” 268, n. 29. 59  See, among many others, Brandenburger, Verborgenheit Gottes, 11, n. 8; Macholz, “Die Entstehung,” 388; Stone, Fourth Ezra, 439–41; Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 217. 60  “Es scheint plausibler, dass der IV Esr hier keine konkreten Schriften im Blick hat, sondern lediglich seinen eigenen Text in diesem Zuge verstanden sehen will,” Metzger, “Die geheime Offenbarung,” 220, n. 36. 61  For example, 4 Ezra 4:36–37 recalls Wis 11:20 (cf. 2 Bar. 59:5), while the enumerations of 4 Ezra 4:5–8; 5:36 are parallel to Sir 1 and other wisdom texts: cf. Michael E. Stone, “Lists of Revealed Things in the Apocalyptic Literature,” in Magnalia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God: Essays on the Bible and Archaeology in Memory of G. Ernest Wright, ed. Frank Moore Cross, Werner E. Lemke and Patrick D. Miller Jr (New York: Doubleday, 1976), 414–52, 419–26. Regarding 4 Ezra 10:21–28, Oegema, Apokalypsen, 108, points out contacts with Lamentations, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Psalms of Solomon, Judith, and 2 Baruch. Bruce M. Metzger, “4 Esdras,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Vol. 1, ed. James H. Charlesworth (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1983), 517–60, 522–23, mentions parallels with 2 Baruch, 1 Enoch (especially the Book of Parables or Similitudes of Enoch), and Psalms of Solomon.

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On the other hand, giving up any attempt to identify the seventy books seems excessively cautious. Is it possible to say something more precise about the nature of the seventy books? Based on their secret nature, Henze contrasts the final message of 4 Ezra with that of 2 Baruch: while the latter is to be considered an inclusive work, which would be seeking to unite different Jewish groups of the time, the former would be of a sectarian type, for true wisdom is not to be disclosed to the people.62 It is difficult to come up with arguments to settle this question definitively. However, it is easier to understand the esotericism of 4 Ezra as a rhetorical resource, without an extratextual correspondence, as was argued above (pp. 137–141). In addition to the arguments already mentioned, it can be added that the figure of seventy, even in a merely symbolic sense, seems too broad to describe the literature of a closed group that would wish to reject all other works then in circulation. The fact that the books are seventy is seen by other scholars as an attempt not to leave out any tradition.63 At the same time, a tension between this supposed inclusivism of 4 Ezra and the absence of explicit references to books that could form part of the seventy cannot be denied. The paradox is heightened if it is related to Uriel’s insistence on the limits of the human capacity to know God’s plans, as this idea stands in stark contrast to the “epistemological optimism” of most apocalyptic literature.64 It would be extremely interesting to know what the author of 4 Ezra thinks about other apocalyptic traditions. In this sense, it is very significant that the angel calls Daniel the “brother” of Ezra (4 Ezra 12:11). The book of Daniel occupies a prominent place in 4 Ezra. Unfortunately, we cannot say whether it is among the twenty-four public books of the Torah, as in the future Hebrew Bible, or among the seventy, as might be supposed by its content. The explicit presence of the Danielic tradition makes more notable the absence of others, especially the Enochic one. Abraham, Moses, and Daniel received secret revelations; on the other hand, the patriarch Enoch is never mentioned in 4 Ezra.65 62   Matthias Henze, “Torah and Eschatology in the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch,” in The Significance of Sinai: Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity, ed. George J. Brooke, Hindy Najman and Loren T. Stuckenbruck (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 201–15, 210–11; see also Idem, Jewish Apocalypticism, 238–40. 63  To such a conclusion come Reed, Fallen Angels, 135; 143–45; Becker, “Grenzziehungen,” 248; and Boccaccini, “Evilness,” 78. 64  On this epistemological optimism, see the classical study by Stone, “Lists,” 414–52. 65  The variant Enoch instead of Behemoth in 4 Ezra 6:49.51 in the Latin manuscripts of the French group (followed by the Vulgate of Stuttgart and by the KJV) is undoubtedly an

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It is illustrative to compare 4 Ezra with 1 Enoch, for the common points are several.66 However, as was the case with Josephus (see above pp. 76–82), there are no elements that allow us to establish with certainty a contact between the two works.67 It is probable that the author of 4 Ezra knew some of the Enochic traditions, as seems to be the case in 2 Baruch, and that he rejected them.68 Nevertheless, it is also possible that he never heard or read anything of 1 Enoch.69 Something similar should be said of the possible knowledge of other important works, such as the Book of Jubilees. In summary, there is no explicit presence of the literature that we would now call extra-canonical, at least of the books that have reached us. This is why one wonders about the identity of the literature symbolized by the seventy books. The author shows an open attitude toward books containing eschatological revelations not publicly recognized, but he does not commit to any identifiable tradition or school. On the contrary, some aspects of the message of 4 Ezra seem to lie in the antipodes of much of Jewish apocalyptic literature, at least as far as the capacity of the human intelligence to know the heavenly mysteries is concerned. To describe 4 Ezra as an “anti-apocalyptical apocalypse,” as Tiller proposes, is certainly an exaggeration.70 However, as is often the case with exaggerations, it is certainly thought-provoking. The same can error of the copyist, as seen by the context, by the other versions, and by the rest of Latin manuscripts: cf. Nápole, “Liber Ezrae Quartus,” 125. 66  See Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 68–71; George W.E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch: Chapters 37–82 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012), 68; Veronika Bachmann, “More than the Present: Perspectives on World History in 4 Ezra and the Book of the Watchers,” in Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Jason Zurawski (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 3–21. 67  G. Boccaccini suggests including 4 Ezra within the Enochic Judaism. His main argument is the existence of secret books, other than the public twenty-four, because he identifies Enochic Judaism with the Essenes, who are said to possess secret books. Cf. Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis, 168; see also 13–14. However, Del Verme, “Sui rapporti tra 2 Baruc e 4 Ezra,” 30–54, convincingly shows that 4 Ezra is much closer to the book of Daniel than to the Enochic literature. Boccaccini himself has moderated his position: cf. Boccaccini, “Evilness,” 73–74. 68  In his review of the presence of the traditions about Enoch in Jewish works, VanderKam, Man for All Generations, 143–68, includes 2 Baruch (cf. 2 Bar. 56:9–16), while making no mention of 4 Ezra. 69  “While 4 Ezra is quite explicitly dependent on Daniel in chapters 11–13, it is not clear to me that the author was familiar with the books of Enoch at all,” Collins, “Enoch and Ezra,” 84; see 96–97 for a comparison between 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra. 70   See Patrick Tiller, “Anti-Apocalyptic Apocalypse,” in For a Later Generation: The Transformation of Tradition in Israel, Early Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. Randal A. Argall, Beverly A. Bow and Rodney Alan Werline (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2000), 258–65, and the critical observations of Hogan, “Meanings,” 121.

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be said of the opinion of P. Metzger, mentioned above, that the seventy books include only 4 Ezra.71 11.3

Possible Identification of the Twenty-Four Books

The description of the twenty-four books in 4 Ezra is even more limited than that of the other group. It is said that they are part of the recovered Torah, that they are twenty-four, and that they can be read by worthy and unworthy. From the context, it can be inferred that they do not contain secret revelations about the end of the times, as do the seventy, but that they narrate “everything that has happened in the world from the beginning” (4 Ezra 14:22; ab initio seems to allude to Gen 1:1). It would be unreasonable to take this statement as an accurate and complete description of the contents of the twenty-four books. Nevertheless, it is worth highlighting two elements: it reflects a unitary understanding of the books, and these are presented as a continuous narrative of historical events rather than as a set of precepts and norms. To present the twenty-four books as a historical narrative resembles the way in which Josephus refers to the twenty-two books in the Against Apion, as noted above (see p. 55). In the context of 4 Ezra, the choice of this way of referring to the twenty-four books can be explained in part by the contrast with the other books, which contain revelations about the end of time. One part of the Torah speaks of the past; the other, of the future. The description corresponds roughly to the twenty-four books of the present Hebrew Bible. With more or less certainty, almost all scholars assume that these twenty-four public books of the Torah correspond to the same ones that form the current Hebrew Bible. This identification can be qualified as highly probable, but not as certain. The use of “perhaps” is required, given the absence of a precise enumeration. Moreover—as far as we can know from the sources preserved—the fact that this is the oldest reference to a group of twenty-four books must put us on guard against the danger of anachronism.72 For example, we could conjecture that the book of Esther does not belong to the twenty-four public books of the Torah. Indeed, there is no allusion to this 71  In this sense, Becker’s observation of the literature that 4 Ezra wants to defend is pertinent: “Perhaps it would be better to think not only of the apocalyptic traditions, but also of some other apocryphal literature, especially from the wisdom-tradition,” Becker, “Rewriting the Bible,” 99. 72  Stemberger, “La formation,” 113–14, offers an example of (extreme) caution. He claims that both the number twenty-four in 4 Ezra 14, and the number twenty-two in Against Apion are only symbolic, and that this is why they do not give the list of books.

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book or to the feast of Purim in 4 Ezra. Furthermore, the setting of Esther in the Persian period is utterly strange, if not incompatible, with the idea that Ezra writes all the books during the Babylonian exile. In this sense, the problems are not limited to Esther. The consideration of Ezra as the last of the prophets of Israel (cf. p. 127) does not seem to leave room for any post-exilic prophet, such as Haggai and Zechariah. As a matter of fact, if the twenty-four books are identified with those of the Hebrew Bible, an incoherence occurs: Ezra in the Babylonian exile is presented as the author of books which mention the return of the exile, like 1–2 Chronicles, or which describe the reorganization of the people on the land, like Ezra-Nehemiah! One possible solution would be to suppose that first Moses and then Ezra wrote about future events thanks to the inspiration they received. However, we must say that these incompatibilities are not really relevant. We have shown that the author of 4 Ezra does not care about chronological precision or historical coherence, as was said concerning the mention of the “thirtieth year” in 4 Ezra 3:1 (pp. 117–120). Kaestli deduces from 4 Ezra 14 that Moses wrote only the first twenty-four books, whereas the secret revelations would have been orally transmitted up to Ezra, who would be the first to put them in writing.73 Actually, it is not even said that Moses wrote. The text is not concerned with the origin of the books, but seeks to show that now, when there are no more prophets, eschatological wisdom is available in the written Torah. In any case, these observations should help us to avoid the temptation to make a precipitous identification of the twenty-four books with those of the current Hebrew Bible. At the same time, since this is the first ancient source that alludes to a group of twenty-four books, the interest in trying to extract all possible information about their identity is justified. First, we shall look for clues inside and outside 4 Ezra to try to identify at least some of the twentyfour books. Next, we shall see the possible symbolic values of the figure. 11.3.1 “Biblical” Books Quoted or Alluded to in 4 Ezra In considering what the twenty-four public books of the Torah might be, it is natural to review the quotations and allusions in 4 Ezra to the books that are now part of the Hebrew Bible. Before this attempt, however, two important warnings are in order: – There is no systematic use of books in 4 Ezra which would allow us to deduce what the “canon” of its author was. A few books are alluded to according to the development of the argument or the narrative. Therefore, the argument ex silentio lacks probative value, i.e., from the absence of references to 73  Kaestli, “Le récit de IV Esdras 14,” 91.

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a book, it cannot be deduced that that book was not known to the author of 4 Ezra. – On the other hand, the mere fact of knowing and employing some books that are now part of the Hebrew Bible does not necessarily imply that the author of 4 Ezra considered them sacred or belonging to the twenty-four public books of the Torah. Despite these limitations, it is interesting to speculate about the content of the “library” of the author of 4 Ezra. According to B.H. McLean’s list, useful for a first approximation, 4 Ezra alludes to the Pentateuch, 1–2 Kings, Psalms, Isaiah, and Daniel.74 G.S. Oegema presents three lists: one of quotations, one of characters, and one of “biblical” motifs.75 The list of quotations is very brief, as there is only one. In 4 Ezra 7:129, Uriel quotes partially Deut 30:19 (as was mentioned in speaking of the Torah in the dialogues, see above p. 147).76 The list of “biblical” characters is much longer. Throughout 4 Ezra, mention is made of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Elijah, Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, Hezekiah, Josiah, Daniel, and, of course, Salathiel, who is also Ezra. The references to these people are found mostly in the first part and almost always in the mouth of Ezra. From this list, it may be assumed that the author of 4 Ezra knows the Pentateuch (at least Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy), Joshua, 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings (perhaps also the parallel sections in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and 1–2 Chronicles), EzraNehemiah (maybe also 1 Esdras), and Daniel. Third, Oegema proposes some “biblical motifs” present in 4 Ezra. Here, we touch upon the complex problem of “intertextuality,” which has been the subject of increasing interest in recent years. Before proposing a minimally serious list of allusions to other texts, it would be necessary to pause to explain what is meant by “allusion” and to discuss the criteria to identify it.77 This task

74  Cf. Bradley H. McLean, Citations and Allusions to Jewish Scripture in Early Christian and Jewish Writings through 180 C.E. (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), passim. 75  Oegema, Apokalypsen, 106–9. Unfortunately, neither Stone’s commentary nor others provide something similar. In Metzger, “4 Esdras,” 522, there is a brief section called “Relation to Canonical Books,” but it is limited to possible contacts with the New Testament. Other references can be found in James R. Davila, “Seven Theses Concerning the Use of Scripture in 4 Ezra and the Latin Vision of Ezra,” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures, ed. Eibert Tigchelaar (Leuven: Peeters, 2014), 305–26, 307–15. 76  Curiously enough, a part of the same verse (Deut 30:19) is also the only text explicitly quoted in 2 Baruch (cf. 2 Bar. 19:1; it is God who speaks). 77  The studies on intertextuality have not reached a satisfactory result, at least from a terminological point of view, since there is no uniformity on the precise meaning of terms like “allusion,” “echo,” “imitation,” or “rereading.” Cf. Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg, Sustaining

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requires a study that would lengthen these pages excessively. For this reason, I merely point out a few allusions, taken from the secondary bibliography. The list of characters shows familiarity with the narrative parts of the Pentateuch and with the former Prophets. It is striking that none of the later Prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve—is mentioned by name. However, it is clear that the author of 4 Ezra knows at least some of these books, as shown by the unmistakable allusion to Ezek 1:1 at the beginning of the book (see above pp. 117–120). We can add, with G.M. Nápole, that 4 Ezra 3:12 alludes to Isa 41:8 (cf. 2 Chr 20:8; Jas 2:23) and that 4 Ezra 3:15–16 refers both to Josh 24:3–4 and to Mal 1:2–3.78 H.C. Kee finds links with Ezek 37, Isa 66, Joel 3, Zech 12, and Amos 8.79 With regard to the so-called “Writings,” it is beyond doubt that the author of 4 Ezra knows Job and at least some of the Psalms.80 Interestingly, a more controversial book, the Song of Songs, is also known to him. In a recent article, Stone proposes that both 4 Ezra 4:36–37 and 4 Ezra 5:24.26 allude to the Song of Songs.81 Applying a precise methodology, Kaplan has submitted both cases to examination and has confirmed Stone’s conclusion.82 It would be desirable to have similar studies that analyze carefully the possible presence of other books, such as Ben Sira or Qoheleth.83 In general, we can confirm the paradox noted when speaking about the seventy books: although 4 Ezra defends the value of all the books that are not part of the publicly recognized corpus, the library employed in the work seems to stay within what we could call “traditional” limits. 11.3.2 Symbolic Value of the Number Twenty-Four As we have seen (pp. 170–172), the number of secret books seems to be only symbolic, that is, it is not intended to designate a collection made up of seventy Fictions: Intertextuality, Midrash, Translation, and the Literary Afterlife of the Bible (New York: T&T Clark, 2008). 78  Nápole, “Entre la comprensión,” 144. 79  Howard Clark Kee, “‘The Man’ in Fourth Ezra: Growth of a Tradition,” SBLSP 20 (1981): 199–208, 201–2. 80  The book of Job is often cited as an antecedent of the first part of 4 Ezra: see, among many others, Hogan, Theologies in Conflict, 101–2; Novick, “Test and Temptation,” 240–41. More precisely, the questions with which the angel seeks to confound Ezra recall Job 38: cf. Berthelot, “Is God Unfair?,” 75–83. 81  Michael E. Stone, “The Interpretation of Song of Songs in 4 Ezra,” JSJ 38 (2007): 226–33. 82  Jonathan Kaplan, “The Song of Songs from the Bible to the Mishnah,” HUCA 81 (2013): 43–66, 54–57. 83  Berthelot, “Is God Unfair?,” 79, compares 4 Ezra 7:62–69 with Qoh 3:18–22, but she does not try to determine if there is any relation of dependency.

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books, but to convey the idea of a complete set. From later history, we know instead that the number twenty-four fits into a concrete way of counting books. However, the fact that there is a corpus of books listed as twenty-four—like the Hebrew Bible—does not exclude a priori any symbolic connotation of the number, as is evident in rabbinical literature, where both things coexist. The rabbis’ favorite explanation is that the books are twenty-four in relation to the twenty-four priestly orderings of the Temple service (1 Chr 24:7–18; see also 1 Chr 25:1–31).84 It is, therefore, appropriate to examine the symbolic potential of this figure in the cultural context of 4 Ezra. To achieve this, the most practical way is to consult the commentaries on the book of Revelation, a work close to 4 Ezra in both date and style, and one that mentions the number twenty-four and has received much greater attention from scholars than 4 Ezra. Second Baruch is still closer to 4 Ezra; however, neither twenty-four nor seventy nor ninety-four appear in it. As is well known, some specific numbers, such as seven and twelve, are often used with a symbolic meaning in Revelation. Among them is also twenty-four: John sees twenty-four thrones in heaven in which as many elders sit, praising God (see Rev 4:4.10; 5:8; 11:16; 19:4). In his commentary, D.E. Aune provides an excursus with the various explanations that have been raised, throughout the history of interpretation, as to the identity and function of these twentyfour elders. They have been identified with the twelve tribes of Israel plus the twelve apostles; for others, their number comes from the twelve hours of the day and the twelve hours of the night; or from the twenty-four priestly courses of the Temple, etc. It is worth going through the main examples of these proposals, seeing in each case if they may be applied to the twenty-four books of the Torah in 4 Ezra.85 The earliest interpretation of the twenty-four elders of Revelation is directly related to the biblical canon, as it identifies them with the twenty-four authors of the Old Testament books. It appears for the first time in the second half of the third century, in the commentary on Revelation by Victorinus of 84  The rabbinic texts can be seen in Leiman, Canonization of Hebrew Scripture, 54–55. 85  Cf. David E. Aune, Revelation 1–5 (Dallas: Word Books, 1997), 287–92; a shorter but bibliographically more up-to-date list can be found at Craig R. Koester, Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 360–61. Some of the identifications of the twenty-four elders—the Christian martyrs, the saints of the Old Testament, the angels of the celestial court—will be omitted here as they do not take the number twenty-four into account and, therefore, are irrelevant to 4 Ezra. Neither will I consider the possible allusion to Domitian’s twenty-four lictors, because it is too circumstantial.

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Pettau (Comm. in Apoc. 4.3–5, see also De fabrica mundi 9).86 It reappears later in other sources.87 It is worth noting that Victorinus indicates the Epitomae of Theodore as his source, with respect to the number of books of the Old Testament (cf. Comm. in Apoc. 4.5). We know nothing about this author and this work.88 However, the reference to this source is relevant to the history of the canon, since it shows that Victorinus is not the only Christian author before Jerome who knows the way of counting the books as twenty-four. No modern scholar accepts this explanation of the twenty-four elders of Revelation because it does not seem adequate to the context. If we applied it to 4 Ezra 14, we would obtain a sort of tautology—the public books of the Torah are said to be twenty-four because they are twenty-four—that would imply the existence of an already recognized collection of twenty-four books. Another ancient interpretation of the twenty-four elders sees in them the sum of the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 21:12, cf. Gen 35:22; 49:28) and the twelve “apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14). For obvious reasons, this interpretation cannot be in the background of 4 Ezra. It is pertinent, however, to consider twentyfour as a multiple of twelve, a very meaningful number in the Jewish context. The number twelve refers, first, to the sons of Jacob, heads of the tribes (see Exod 24:4; 1 Kgs 18:31; Matt 19:28; Jas 1:1; among many other texts). In relation to texts, the existence of the Book of the Twelve (the so-called Minor Prophets), already known to Ben Sira (cf. Sir 49:10), provides an example that this number could be used as a criterion for organizing a group of writings. It is not known when and how this edition was carried out, but it is evident that the use of the number twelve cannot have been accidental. In the case of the twenty-four books of the public Torah, alluded to in 4 Ezra, we can suppose that, since the 86  The commentary is usually dated at the end of the third century. M. Dulaey, however, thinks that Victorinus wrote it earlier, around the years 258–260: see Victorin de Pettau, Martine Dulaey, ed. Sur l’Apocalypse, suivi du Fragment chronologique et de La construction du monde (Paris: Cerf, 1997), 15–16. 87  The link between the twenty-four elders and the books of the Old Testament appears in Carmen adversus Marcionitas 4:198–210, and in a fourth century list, known as the “Canon of Mommsen” (text in Erwin Preuschen, Analecta: Kürzere Texte zur Geschichte der alten Kirche und des Kanons (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1909), 138–41). Regarding the Carmen adversus Marcionitas, a work of unknown origin, scholars propose different dates of composition, ranging from the third to the sixth centuries: cf. Karla Pollmann, Das Carmen adversus Marcionitas: Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1991), 28–29. Recently, an author has proposed that the author of the Carmen could have been Victorinus de Pettau: Jonathan J. Armstrong, “Victorinus of Pettau as the Author of the Canon Muratori,” VC 62 (2008): 1–34, 21–22. 88  On the (vain) attempts to identify the Epitomae of Theodore, see Martine Dulaey, Victorin de Poetovio premier exégète latin (Paris: Institut d’études augustiniennes, 1993), 70; 271–72.

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number twelve was not sufficient to include the books of the public Torah, it became necessary to resort to its duplication. The understanding of the number twenty-four as the duplication of twelve appears also in another of the explanations of the elders of Revelation. They are twenty-four as the sum of the twelve hours of the day and the twelve hours of the night, in keeping with the incessant character of their worship in heaven (“day and night,” Rev 4:8).89 By its very nature, the division of the day into twenty-four hours is inseparable from the cosmic order, the calendar, and the liturgy.90 Therefore, this explanation seems to be compatible with the one that sees in the twenty-four elders an echo of the twenty-four stars/gods which lie beyond the circle of the twelve signs of the zodiac, according to a Babylonian belief referred to by Diodorus.91 To the twenty-four hours and the twenty-four stars, one can also add another explanation, which unites the liturgy with the twelve tribes of Israel, namely, the twenty-four priestly courses for the Temple service (cf. 1 Chr 24:7–18). Although the elders of Revelation are not described as priests, linking their praise of God in heaven with the Temple liturgy is suggestive. Applying this to 4 Ezra, it would be tempting to suppose that 4 Ezra speaks of twenty-four books with the intention of presenting them as a substitute for worship now that the Temple has been destroyed. However, such an interpretation has no basis in the text and would leave the seventy secret books somewhat inferior. C.R. Koester is probably right when he says that the use of the number twentyfour in Revelation must be understood in relation to the other multiples of twelve that appear in this work and that, therefore, it is intended to represent the people of God in its totality.92

89  As a parallel text, Aune mentions T. Adam 1:1–2:12, where a prayer is specified for each one of the twenty-four hours. The text is in Stephen Edward Robinson, “Testament of Adam,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Vol. 1, ed. James H. Charlesworth (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1983), 989–95. Bauckham believes that this part of the Testament of Adam—called the Horarium of Adam—must be earlier than 70 CE, as it includes a reference to the incense burned by the priests in the Temple. Cf. Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993), 76–81; more detailed in Idem, The Jewish World around the New Testament: Collected Essays I (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 393–412 (especially 407–8). 90  On the origin of the division of the day into twenty-four hours, cf. Francesca RochbergHalton, “Calendars: Ancient Near East,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 1:810–814. 91  Cf. Diodorus of Sicily, 2:31:4. Interestingly, 2 Enoch speaks of elders who rule the stars (2 En. 4:1). See the comment of Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 110–11. 92  Koester, Revelation, 368.

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Regarding this aspect of totality, it is striking that both Aune and Koester forget to mention that twenty-four is the number of letters of the Greek alphabet and, as such, expresses perfection, in the sense of a complete and harmonious whole. In Metaphysics, Book XIV, Aristotle criticizes the ideas of the Platonists about the numbers. In this context, he quotes the opinion of some who maintain “that the distance in the letters from alpha to omega is equal to that from the lowest note of the flute to the highest, and that the number of this note is equal to that of the whole system of the heavens” (Metaph. 14:6, 1093b, Barnes’ translation). When Philo enumerates the characteristics of the number twenty-four, he notes that it corresponds both to the number of hours of day and night, and to the number of letters of the alphabet.93 The alphabet as a perfect totality appears explicitly in Revelation when the title of “alpha and omega” is applied to God and Jesus in the sense of “first and last,” “beginning and end” (cf. Rev 1:8.17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13).94 It is no coincidence that—probably in the second century BCE—the Greek alphabet was used for the division of Homer’s work into twenty-four songs.95 At first sight, the Homeric tradition may seem distant from the cultural atmosphere of Revelation or 4 Ezra. In this sense, Beckwith rejects any connection between the enumeration of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible and the number of letters of the Greek alphabet, relying on the argument that the number twenty-four appears only in works of Semitic origin.96 However, Homer, who was the “Bible” of classical Greece, the fundamental text of its culture, remained the point of reference for culture and education during the Hellenistic and Roman ages.97 His influence on Jewish literature, therefore, 93  Cf. Philo, QG 2:5; Karl Staehle, Die Zahlenmystik bei Philon von Alexandreia (Leipzig: Teubner, 1931), 62. 94  Cf. David Lincicum, “The Origin of ‘Alpha and Omega’ (Revelation 1.8; 21.6; 22.13): A Suggestion,” JGRChJ 6 (2009): 128–33. The Hebrew poetry of alphabetical type (Ps 119, Lamentations, etc.) might be an echo of such an idea. 95  According to some ancient authors, the division of the text and the assignment of a letter to each part was made in Alexandria and was the work of Aristarchus. The intention to distribute the text according to a number fixed a priori is especially evident in the Odyssey, where the division is a bit forced. Cf. Darshan, “Twenty-Four Books,” 223–26. 96  Cf. Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon, 250–52. 97  Cf. Philip S. Alexander, “‘Homer the Prophet of All’ and ‘Moses Our Teacher’: Late Antique Exegesis of the Homeric Epics and of the Torah of Moses,” in The Use of Sacred Books in the Ancient World, ed. Leonard V. Rutgers et al. (Leuven: Peeters, 1998), 127–42; Ahuvia Kahane, “Homer and the Jews in Antiquity,” Text 25 (2010): 75–115; Margalit Finkelberg, “The Canonicity of Homer,” in Kanon in Konstruktion und Dekonstruktion: Kanonisierungsprozesse religiöser Texte von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart: ein Handbuch, ed. Eve-Marie Becker and Stefan Scholz (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 137–52.

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should not surprise anyone, as if, in the first century CE, Greek and Hebrew cultures were separate and autonomous entities. After all these considerations, we can wonder what symbolic connotation the number twenty-four has in 4 Ezra. None of the symbolisms seen so far is particularly enlightening for 4 Ezra, but neither can be ruled out completely. On the one hand, the number is similar to seventy, as both express totality. It is distinctive, on the other hand, because it contains other allusions: to the Greek alphabet, to Homer, to the hours of day and night, and to the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps, those who gave rise to the collection of twenty-four books that the author of 4 Ezra seems to know wanted to present the Scriptures as Israel’s own literature and, at the same time, as a rival or counterweight to the Homeric corpus. The presentation of the books as twenty-four could be a response to Homer. Some scholars suppose that the twenty-two, the number of letters of the Hebrew alphabet, may have been used to present the books in a second moment, as an alternative, “less Greek,” way of counting the books.98 Such an hypothesis is certainly interesting, but it goes too far from what can be inferred from 4 Ezra. The question remains whether the public Torah of twenty-four books is an ad hoc creation of the author of 4 Ezra or whether, as seems more likely, he is referring to an existing collection, identical or very similar to that of twentytwo books mentioned by Flavius Josephus. In other words, we have come to the main question of our study of 4 Ezra: what is the value of the account of the writing of the ninety-four books for the history of the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible? We now present an answer, which seeks to recapitulate all that has been said so far.

98  Cf. David M. Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 249–51; John Van Seters, The Edited Bible: The Curious History of the “Editor” in Biblical Criticism (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006), 353–55; Darshan, “Twenty-Four Books,” 226–29.

Chapter 12

Fourth Ezra and the Canon of the Hebrew Bible Before comparing 4 Ezra with Josephus’ statements on the twenty-two books, we can summarize our analysis of this apocalypse and to offer some considerations on its relationship with the formation of the canon. 12.1

Synthesis of the Message of 4 Ezra

As has been shown, 4 Ezra is a literary work that tries to give a response to the crisis of 70 CE. In the first part, the angel teaches Ezra about the difficulty of fulfilling the Torah and of attaining salvation. Next, the visions disclose to him the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem and the destruction of the enemies of Israel. Thus, the road map proposed by 4 Ezra can be summarized in two points, one that could be qualified as “negative” and the other as “positive”: – The efforts to articulate a satisfactory explanation of what happened starting only from the traditional categories are vain; Uriel warns Ezra that it is not possible to understand the way of the Most High. Many of the questions raised in the dialogues remain unanswered. – It is necessary to renounce understanding the present and to take an interest in “the things of the future,” that is, one must open oneself to revelations about the end of time—the coming of the Messiah and the triumph of Israel, the signs of the end, the divine judgment, the rewards and punishments, etc.—because they allow one to overcome the anguish and to attain consolation, as reflected in Ezra’s own itinerary. The itinerary of Ezra cannot be applied immediately to the readers of the book since not all can be direct recipients of heavenly revelations. The evolution of Ezra from anguish to consolation does not offer a model that can be imitated directly. How can the exhortation to become interested in the future be translated into practical terms? It is precisely the epilogue of the book that shows the way of access to these revelations, which is the written Torah, especially the seventy secret books. The seventh section (4 Ezra 14), which is the denouement of the plot and the apex of the characterization of the protagonist, presents the books containing revelations about the end of time as part of the divine Torah (see pp. 142–150). They belong to the last and highest manifestation of God’s point of view, which had been expressed before partially, first through the angel and then through the visions (see pp. 111–112).

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Therefore, at the end of 4 Ezra, the readers discover that if they want to obtain consolation through the access to visions like those of Ezra, they have to look for them outside the twenty-four books publicly or commonly recognized as Torah. The seventy secret books are superior to the twenty-four, which prove to be insufficient. In a veiled way, 4 Ezra denounces the poverty of the twentyfour books regarding eschatology and, consequently, their inability to comfort Israel (see pp. 151–155). 12.2

The Resistance to a Collection of Twenty-Four Books

So far the conclusions of the narrative analysis. We have also stressed that the importance of the books, as the main way of accessing divine revelation, is in keeping with the circumstances of the Jewish community at the end of the first century CE, which has to live without the Temple and without its worship, as was said above concerning the functionality of the figure of Ezra (pp. 162–168). Now, after studying the text in the light of its historical and social context, it may be added that it seems highly probable that 4 Ezra expresses a resistance to an attempt to limit revelation to a collection of twenty-four books, consisting of the traditional Scriptures of Israel. Indeed, the precise indication of the number of books, an element which could be dispensed with, makes it difficult to suppose that the collection of twenty-four books is an ad hoc invention of the author of 4 Ezra—a supposition which receives an almost definitive confirmation from the existence of the Hebrew Bible we know today. This resistance is not a frontal opposition, as the author of 4 Ezra accepts the twenty-four books as Torah. He does not want to break with tradition. In this sense, it is possible to speak of inclusivism not only in relation to other literature of apocalyptic type—as some scholars do in relation to the seventy books (see pp. 172–175)—but also with respect to those who prefer to limit themselves to the traditional Scriptures. They are not asked to renounce their legacy; they are asked only to not reject those who claim to develop or expand the divine revelations of the Torah. It is true that this controversy does not appear explicitly in the text, at least for the current reader (perhaps it was evident to the first recipients of the work). It is interesting, however, to wonder whether, in the light of the external evidence, it is possible to determine a real polemic behind the account of 4 Ezra 14. The answer cannot avoid a high degree of uncertainty, for 4 Ezra does not contain references to groups or persons of the period of the composition of the book.

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More than a century ago, G.F. Moore proposed a suggestive hypothesis about the origin of the collection of twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. For him, the closing of the canon was brought about mainly because of the confrontation between the Jewish leaders and some groups of Jewish Christians and their Scriptures.1 Moore’s proposal was almost entirely based on rabbinic literature, with some reference to Christian texts (Jerome’s Epistle 112). Specifically, he appealed to the rabbinical texts that reject the gilyônim, which Moore identified with the Gospels. The hypothesis also depends on the inclusion of the Jewish Christians among the minim (“heretics”), a group which is discussed in several rabbinical texts. However, there is no data to determine with certainty what these expressions refer to and when they originated, as Moore’s early critics noted.2 Moreover, the problems concerning the historical reliability of rabbinic literature (pp. 11–15) make still weaker the attempt to use late texts to reconstruct what happened at the end of the first century CE.3 Despite these problems, Moore’s explanation of the origin of the canon of the Hebrew Bible has never disappeared altogether among scholars.4 Curiously, neither Moore nor some of those who have followed his hypothesis have taken 4 Ezra into account, even though this apocalypse could have offered them an indirect confirmation. In 4 Ezra 14, as we have seen, the legitimacy and value of a literature that is not part of the collection of the twenty-four recognized books is defended, something which seems to be a response to those who have defined and closed this collection. Although Moore does not cite it, 4 Ezra roughly agrees with his hypothesis about the origin of the canon; at least it 1  “It was not the diversity of opinion in the schools about Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs that first made deliverances about the ‘scriptures’ necessary, but the rise of the Christian heresy and the circulation of Christian writings,” George F. Moore, “The Definition of the Jewish Canon and the Repudiation of Christian Scriptures,” in Essays in Modern Theology and Related Subjects, ed. (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1911), 99–125, 101. 2  See already Louis Ginzberg, “Some Observations on the Attitude of the Synagogue Towards the Apocalyptic-Eschatological Writings,” JBL 41 (1922): 115–36. 3  The literature on this subject is very abundant, even more so if it is related to the prayer known as Birkat ha-minim. For a status quaestionis on the latter, cf. John S. Kloppenborg, “Disaffiliation in Associations and the ἀποσυναγωγός of John,” HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 67 (2011): 1–16; Ruth Langer, Cursing the Christians?: A History of the Birkat HaMinim (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 16–39. 4  The thesis reappears in different forms in Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952–1973), 2:144; Joshua Bloch, “Outside Books,” in Mordecai M. Kaplan: Jubilee Volume on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday: 1: English Section, ed. Moshe Davis (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1953), 87–108; Barthélemy, “L’état,” 30–37; Steck, “Kanon des hebräischen Alten Testamentes,” 30; John J. Collins, Seers, Sibyls and Sages in Hellenistic-Roman Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 19–21; Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, 43–47; Smend, “Das Alte Testament,” 22–23.

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supports the view that the confrontation between various groups played a role in the origin of the canon’s determination. In 1984, J.-D. Kaestli proposed seeing 4 Ezra as a reaction against the “Pharisees,” who would have just defined the canon of twenty-four books. They would have closed the canon in order to exclude not only the nascent Christian literature, as Moore and others thought, but also the writings of other apocalyptic movements.5 Kaestli’s reconstruction is problematic because he identifies too quickly those who reject the apocalyptic literature with the rabbis or “Pharisees.” As we have seen in the introduction (pp. 11–15), the view that the rabbis became preponderant by the end of the first century CE is currently under discussion. Moreover, it should not be taken for granted that the rabbis of this time belonged mostly to the sect of the Pharisees.6 Nevertheless, we can say that a polemic with groups of apocalyptic or messianic type—it is simply impossible to specify further—offers the most probable explanation of the importance of delimiting the collection of accepted books. If the followers of Jesus should be included here, as Moore thought, it is a point about which 4 Ezra does not allow us to say anything. Rather, it is difficult to think that 4 Ezra is including the earliest Christian writings within the literature he wants to legitimize. What 4 Ezra seems to confirm is that there were one or more Jewish groups who attempted to defend a literature rejected by others or excluded from their collection.7 With the cautions imposed by the current state of research, the value of this type of assumptions has not disappeared altogether. It is the value of the sources that has changed. What I am trying to affirm here is that, even if the “rabbinical” perspective is abandoned, it is still possible to understand 4 Ezra 14 as an attempt to legitimize an excluded literature or at least to reject a closing of a collection of sacred books. This way of reading 4 Ezra is independent of the rabbinical literature and of the interpretation of its traditions about Yavneh, the minim, the “outside books,” and the gilyônim.8 It is sufficient to leave indeterminate the identity of those who wanted to close the “canon”. As has been said more than once throughout these pages, the most interesting thing in reconstructing the history of the canon is not so much to determine when or how the list of books was set, as why. In this case, it is worth considering what is the underlying motive behind the alleged controversy 5  Kaestli, “Le récit de IV Esdras 14,” 93–97, who does not refer to Moore, but to Barthélemy. 6  Cf. Reed, “When Did Rabbis Become Pharisees?,” 865–71 and 893–95. 7  Cf. Sundberg, Old Testament, 124–25. 8  Alexander Kulik, “Genre without a Name: Was There a Hebrew Term for ‘Apocalypse’?,” JSJ 40 (2009): 540–50, proposes that “gilayon” was a term that referred to what is now called apocalypse.

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around the twenty-four books. This leads us to consider the idea of divine revelation implicit in 4 Ezra, that is, how the communication between God and the people is conceived. According to P. Metzger, with the account of the dictation of the books, 4 Ezra is exhorting its readers not to consider God’s revelation to Israel closed.9 At first glance, this statement is puzzling. Both numbers, twenty-four and seventy, indicate perfection, wholeness, totality, so that one could deduce that nothing can be added to the books dictated by Ezra. Moreover, the fact of presenting Ezra in the Babylonian exile as the “author” of the whole Torah implies that it was fully revealed in the distant past. However, it is not unreasonable to understand 4 Ezra in these terms, namely, as an apology for an open or “still not closed” revelation. The symbolic character of the numbers twenty-four and seventy allows us to suppose that the author does not want to defend any closed collection: he knows one group of twenty-four books and wants to leave room for more. On the other hand, to situate visions in the past is not only something demanded by “pseudepigraphy,” but it can be understood also as a concession, for rhetorical reasons, to a mentality common at the time, but which the author seeks to relativize. Thus, the author of 4 Ezra is trying to manage the tension between two points: on the one hand, the apparently widespread conviction that God “no longer speaks” to Israel, and, on the other, the need to get out of the aporias of recent history through a Torah that has been “sapientialized” and “eschatologized” (see pp. 151–155). These observations provide a starting point for comparing 4 Ezra with the testimony of Josephus, who does not reject the limited number of books, but accepts it and tries to justify it. After comparing them, we shall return to the question about the “why” of the canon. 9  Metzger, “Die geheime Offenbarung,” 215–21.

Part 3 Comparison and Conclusions



Introductory Note The starting point of this study was the discovery that a reference to a precise number of books very similar or identical to that of the Hebrew Bible appears for the first time in recorded history in the Against Apion of Josephus and in 4 Ezra (see above pp. 5–11). After the analysis of both texts, the next step is to consider the similarities and differences between them in their description of the books: their number, content, origin, etc.

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A Short Comparison between Josephus and 4 Ezra on the Books Despite the clear differences of language, style, literary genre, and message, the coincidences between Josephus and 4 Ezra regarding the collection of books, their justification, and their characteristics are surprising. To avoid repetitions, the presentation that follows will be as concise as possible, cutting down the footnotes and the references to a minimum. 13.1

Number and Characteristics of the Books

At first sight, the total number of books is very different: twenty-two in Josephus and ninety-four in 4 Ezra. However, if the seventy secret books of 4 Ezra 14, which have no parallel in the Against Apion, are left out of the comparison, there remain two very similar figures, twenty-two and twenty-four. Both correspond to the number of letters of an alphabet: the Hebrew in one case, the Greek in the other (see above pp. 179–184). However, neither Josephus nor the author of 4 Ezra mentions this symbolism nor seems to give it any importance. They do not appeal to any other connotation of the numbers either. In connection with the Hebrew or Greek alphabets, it should be noted that the language in which the books are written is not mentioned either by Josephus or by 4 Ezra. In Ant. 1.5, Josephus speaks of the “Hebrew Scriptures,” which he is going to translate (cf. “the Hebrew books” in Ant. 9.208; see also 12.36), but in Against Apion he does not mention the language of the twentytwo books. That the ninety-four books of 4 Ezra 14 are in Hebrew seems likely, but nothing is said about it. The copyists write using characters they do not understand, but they are supposed to understand what Ezra dictates to them.1 Josephus points out a division of the twenty-two books into three groups of unequal extent (5 + 13 + 4), whereas 4 Ezra says nothing about an internal division of the twenty-four public books. 1  Neither Josephus nor 4 Ezra alludes to the existence of passages in Aramaic. The only time Josephus alludes to the Aramaic is in Ant. 10.8 (cf. 2 Kgs 18:26 and Isa 36:11), where he says συριστί, “in Syrian,” which is the customary way in which the LXX translates the references to Aramaic.

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As for the status of the books’ authors, they seem to be prophets. Josephus explicitly states this, at least for the books that narrate the history of the people (it is not clear for the last four, see above pp. 42–46). In 4 Ezra, we do not find an explicit affirmation of the prophetic identity of the writers. The restoration of the whole Torah, however, is attributed to one author, Ezra, who is considered a prophet by the people. Both Josephus and 4 Ezra mention some kind of divine assistance in the writing of the books. In the Against Apion, the “inspiration from God” explains how some of the prophet-historians have been able to describe events that happened before their own time (probably this applies only to Moses as author of Genesis). In the case of 4 Ezra, the spirit that Ezra receives acts upon his intelligence and allows him to restore the whole Torah. In terms of content, Josephus presents the books as a continuous narrative of the history of Israel from the origin of mankind to the Persian period (with the exception of the last four books). The very brief description of the twentyfour public books of the Torah in 4 Ezra is similar, for they contain “everything that has happened in the world from the beginning” (4 Ezra 14:22). For both, the collection seems to begin with the book of Genesis. Josephus indicates a point where the narration of the history is interrupted. Nothing is said explicitly about an interruption in 4 Ezra. It might be supposed that the account contained in the books ends no later than Ezra himself, who is taken to heaven after writing everything. Clearly, the most important difference between Josephus and 4 Ezra is the latter’s reference to the collection of seventy books of the Torah reserved to the wise among the people and which contain an eschatologized wisdom. Nothing like this appears in Josephus’ works. Nevertheless, we can ask whether the content of the collection of seventy books—the triumph of Israel, the coming of the Messiah, the end of time, and the like—is present somehow in his works. Certainly, a detailed comparison between Josephus’ claims about the end of the world and 4 Ezra’s complex eschatology lies outside of the scope of these pages. We can say, however, that, in general terms, Josephus shares with the author of 4 Ezra a vision of the history in which God’s power is above all the human empires. Josephus alludes to the hope of a definitive restoration of Israel but speaks little of the subject—because of its political connotations— and it is not easy to determine with more precision what he believed.2 As a 2  Cf. Marinus de Jonge, “Josephus und die Zukunftserwartungen seines Volkes,” in Josephus— Studien: Untersuchungen zu Josephus, dem antiken Judentum und dem Neuen Testament: Otto Michel zum 70. Geburtstag gewidmet, ed. Otto Betz, Klaus Haacker and Martin Hengel (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1974), 205–19; Lester L. Grabbe, “Eschatology in Philo

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matter of fact, we can observe that Josephus does not claim, as 4 Ezra does, that the consolation of Israel depends on an eschatological wisdom contained in books. As to the secret nature of the seventy books, it is interesting to wonder whether Josephus knows any kind of esotericism, and what is his attitude to it. When referring, in a veiled way, to the fulfillment of some prophecies, Josephus knows how to make rhetorical use of the appeal of mysteries.3 However, secrecy as such is not an important element of either his style or message. Moreover, Josephus manifests a clear distance from the mystery cults, very alive in the Roman society in which he is living.4 In any case, if one takes 4 Ezra’s esotericism as a literary resource rather than as a real characteristic (see above pp. 137–141), its absence in Josephus is not an important difference. We do have an interesting difference for the history of the canon if we compare attitudes concerning the exclusionary character of the collection of books. By speaking of seventy books of the Torah written by Ezra under divine inspiration, 4 Ezra wants to defend the legitimacy of some literature that is not part of the twenty-four public books, an attempt which seems to reflect a controversy in the author’s environment (see above pp. 186–189). By contrast, forced by the context of the argument, Josephus insists exactly on the contrary, that is, on the unanimity with which all Jews accept and venerate their records. This point is related to the moment in the history of Israel to which the final redaction of the books is ascribed. 13.2

Historical Moment in Which the Collection is Constituted

According to Josephus’ description, the first prophet-historian is Moses, to whom he attributes the first five books of the twenty-two. In 4 Ezra, it is not

and Josephus,” in Judaism in Late Antiquity: 4: Death, Life-after-Death, Resurrection and the World-to-Come in the Judaisms of Antiquity, ed. Alan Jeffery Avery-Peck and Jacob Neusner (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 163–85, 174–82. 3  In Ant. 10.210, Josephus says that his task is to speak of what happened, not of what will happen, and refers the reader to the book of Daniel (text quoted on p. 70). “He wants to leave the impression that the Jewish scriptures contain all sorts of oriental mysteries beyond what he as a historian can presently discuss,” Mason, “Josephus, Daniel,” 173. See also Bilde, “Jewish Apocalypticism,” 52–55. 4  Cf. Willem Cornelis van Unnik, “Flavius Josephus and the Mysteries,” in Studies in Hellenistic Religions, ed. Maarten Jozef Vermaseren (Leiden: Brill, 1979), 244–79, 277.

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explicitly stated that Moses was the first writer, nor that others wrote after him. It could be supposed that Abraham wrote the revelations he received, but nothing is said about it. From 4 Ezra, we only know that the Torah was revealed to Moses, that later its written expression was burned, and that Ezra recovers it fully in a single moment. It is the divine and incorruptible character of the Torah in 4 Ezra that downplays the importance of the historical circumstances in which the Torah was manifested to Israel and written down in books. Both Josephus and 4 Ezra imply that the collection of books was formed centuries ago, in the distant past. Josephus seems to consider that the last book to be written was Esther; this is why he places the end of the prophetic succession at the time of the Persian king Artaxerxes (see above p. 43). According to 4 Ezra, the restoration of the entire Torah took place before the Persian period, during the Babylonian exile. The dates are not identical, but in both cases it is something that occurs after the destruction of the first Temple and before the Hellenistic period. Josephus acknowledges that, among the Jews, there are books written after the deadline of the end of the exact succession of the prophets. In 4 Ezra, there is no allusion to books written after Ezra, but this is a natural consequence of the narrative framework: it would have been possible to speak of them only in the form of a prophecy or warning about the future. It does not make much sense to think that the author of 4 Ezra wishes to exclude all the books written after the Babylonian exile, such as Haggai, 1–2 Chronicles, or Esther, since this apocalypse is not intended to be taken seriously as to its chronological or historical references (see above pp. 117–120 and pp. 176–184). It seems clear that, for both Josephus and 4 Ezra, the sacred books were written several centuries previously, or at least that they should seem so. Thus, books like Ben Sira or 1 Maccabees cannot be considered on the same level as the Scriptures, since they are incompatible with the chronological framework demanded by the idea of a “prophetic past.” For Josephus, they do not deserve the same confidence or credit as the twenty-two books. In 4 Ezra, despite its “inclusivism,” it is not easy to see how they could belong to the group of the seventy secret books of the Torah. To be sure, the author of 4 Ezra defends the inclusion of books that are not part of the twenty-four. It is precisely this intention that makes more significant the fact that he shares with Josephus the premise that the sacred books must have been written in the distant past. By stating that Ezra writes other seventy books, the door is left open to other literature, but at the same time it is being accepted that the inspired or sacred literature was composed in the past or, at least, that it must be presented as composed in the past. As stated (pp. 188–189), the author of 4 Ezra tries to argue that the divine revelation to Israel is not closed, but expresses this idea within

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a frame of reference shared by those with different views. This idealization of the past offers an interesting point for further study (see below, pp. 210–214). 13.3

The Torah

An extended comparison of the notion of Torah in both authors exceeds the scope of this study. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that, for 4 Ezra, the only lawgiver is God, a thesis that implies a relativization of the importance of Moses, who appears on the same level as Abraham, Daniel, and Ezra himself, that is, among the recipients of divine revelations throughout the history of Israel. For Josephus, on the other hand, Moses is not only the first prophet-writer, but also the central and, by far, the most important character of the Jewish tradition. No figure in the history of Israel can be compared with him.5 Moreover, Moses is the only legislator, not because Josephus excludes the divine origin of the Torah (which is out of the question), but because he does not attribute halakic competence to any other prophet (see above p. 65). As for the relationship between the Torah and the books, all the Scriptures in 4 Ezra—the ninety-four books—are presented as Torah, that is, they contain the divine instruction or wisdom necessary to attain salvation. In Josephus, the Torah is closely associated with Moses and, thus, only with the first five books. There is, however, an approximation of the other books to the prestige of the Torah in a specific aspect: the possibility of giving one’s life for them (see above pp. 54–55). In both, therefore, there is reflected an assimilation of the sacred books to the status of the Torah, an assimilation more explicit and comprehensive in 4 Ezra than in Josephus. At first sight, the assimilation of some books to a corpus already recognized as authoritative may seem a simple rhetorical strategy. Nevertheless, it is actually a far-reaching conceptual development, one which includes an identification between Torah and wisdom (developing Deut 4, Sir 24, Bar 4) and a reflection on the relationship between the eternal and incorruptible divine Torah and its manifestations in the creation of the world, in the history of Israel, and in the books (see above pp. 142–155).

5  On Josephus’ presentation of Moses, cf. Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible, 374–442.

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Role of Ezra

One of the most obvious differences between Josephus and 4 Ezra is the way in which the figure of Ezra is considered. While his role in the restoration of all the books of the Torah is emphasized in 4 Ezra, where he is depicted as the last prophet and the scribe of the Most High, Josephus says absolutely nothing about a writing activity of Ezra either in Against Apion or in Ant. 11 or in the rest of his works. Unlike Ben Sira and 2 Maccabees, Josephus does not ignore Ezra. However, in comparison with his sources (1 Esdras), he greatly diminishes the importance of this scribe.6 On this point, 4 Ezra is much closer to rabbinic literature than Josephus (see pp. 157–170). 13.5

Text Transmission

Neither Josephus nor 4 Ezra says anything that might be related to the transmission of the books, such as fidelity in the copying of the manuscripts, a selection of the best ones, or the fixing of the text. Josephus’ claim that no one of his people has ever “dared to add, to take away, or to alter anything” must not be understood as a reference to a particular care in copying the texts, but rather as the consideration of the books as inviolable because of their divine origin or something similar (see above pp. 54–55). In 4 Ezra, it could be assumed that the seventy secret books have been transmitted up to the present moment by the wise among the people. However, the reference to the wise is an ­explanation of why such books were not publicly known, not an allusion to the process of preservation and copying of the manuscripts (see above pp. 137–141). 13.6

The Interruption of the Prophetic Succession

To justify the canon, Josephus appeals to an interruption of the prophetic ­succession in Israel in the Persian period. After the return from the exile, “in the time of Artaxerxes,” there was no longer the exact succession of prophets, so that the works of those who wrote later do not deserve the same credit as the twenty-two books written by a succession of prophet-historians (see above pp. 46–54). This explanation is absent in 4 Ezra. In this context, however, what is remarkable is the presentation of Ezra as the last of the prophets of Israel, 6  Cf. Idem, Studies, 473–88.

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who leaves as a successor not a disciple, but the books of the Torah (see above pp. 130–134). In the rabbinic literature, Ezra represents the end of the age of the prophets and the beginning of the age of the wise (see pp. 168–170). In 4 Ezra, by contrast, Ezra is not depicted as the first interpreter of the Torah—the first rabbi—but as the last prophet. In both cases, however, Ezra has something to do with the transition from one age to the other. After Ezra has left the earth, the revelations are to be found in the books of the Torah, not in charismatic characters who receive heavenly communications. As was said, the inclusion of the seventy books might be a way of opening the door to new revelations, but supposing that they are presented under the authority of a figure of the past. 13.7 Conclusion The analysis of the texts of Josephus and 4 Ezra has suggested some concepts and factors that may have influenced the process leading to what we now call the Hebrew Bible. From the comparison between them, two conceptual developments can be identified that have played an important role in the configuration or justification of a collection of Scriptures considered to be sacred or divinely revealed. They are the extension of the concept of Torah, on the one hand, and, on the other, the thesis that prophecy belongs to the past—either because the last prophet is no longer present, or because the prophetic succession was interrupted in Persian times. As we have seen, Josephus’ idea of an interruption of prophecy in Israel after the Babylonian exile seems to be a theoretical construct made a posteriori to justify a closed collection, not a historical description or a real factor in the constitution of the canon. It is interesting to link this idea with the idealization of the past, typical of the cultural mentality diffused with Hellenism, which favored the constitution of collections of writings and the appearance of “classics” in literature. These and other possible factors that may have influenced the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible will be discussed below.

Chapter 14

Elements for an Hypothesis J.Z. Smith’s well-known remark about the comparison of texts in the history of religions fits perfectly as an introduction to what follows: “The question is not ‘which is first?’; but ‘why both, at more or less the same time?’ ”.1 The purpose of this book was to study two ancient texts that talk about the number of books and, from this analysis, to try to answer the questions about when and why the collection of books that both testify to was formed. M.E. Stone has formulated in direct terms the same question we have to face here: “Is it pure chance that the first two mentions of total numbers of books were made in the last decade of the first century?” It is worth quoting his response as well: “We have very little data upon which to base answers to these questions.”2 It is true that we have little data and that the coincidence between Josephus and 4 Ezra could be seen as a simple result of chance. Coming to the end of our study, it can be said that the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible remains a subject full of open questions. However, it is worthwhile to try to look for the reasons why, by the end of the first century, it became important to define or disseminate a precise number of sacred books among the Jews. As noted in the introduction (pp. 11–15), the hypothesis of a council or synod of rabbis gathered at Yavneh towards the end of the first century CE that defined the canon of the Scriptures of Israel has been rejected for lack of historical evidence. However, the fact remains that the earliest references to a number of sacred books of the Jews appear at this time. In other words, ruling out the synod of Yavneh should not lead us to forget the evidence provided by Josephus and 4 Ezra, which points to a fixing or at least to a diffusion of a collection of books at the end of the first century CE. Now we should try to complete the picture, looking for ideas, historical causes, or motivations that may be helpful in explaining the origin of a collection of books. Before exploring these possible historical factors, it is convenient to come back to the problem of what is meant by canon, and to refer to the question about when the canon of the Hebrew Bible was formed, a question inseparably attached to the description of its possible causes.

1  Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 114. 2  Stone, Ancient Judaism, 127.

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On the Definition of the Biblical Canon

In the introduction, a section was dedicated to the meaning of the term “canon” (pp. 22–28). The definition of Ulrich was quoted as an example, and some problematic aspects of it were discussed, especially the simplification contained in the fact of assuming that Jews and Christians share the same notion of canon. It was also shown that the idea of books regarded as “supremely authoritative” was too generic, for, in some cases, the supreme authority does not consist of books, and, in other cases, a distinction is made among the authority of the different books. We concluded that a reflection on what a sacred book and a collection of Scriptures mean is more important than the formulation of a precise definition.3 It was also said that it is better to analyze the sources first and then to see what happens with the definition of canon. Thus, as promised, it is time to return to Ulrich’s definition in order to see how far it corresponds to what has been seen in Josephus and 4 Ezra. It is convenient, therefore, to quote the definition again. The canon is: the final, fixed, and closed list of the books of scripture that are officially and permanently accepted as supremely authoritative by a faith tradition, in conscious contradistinction from those books that are not accepted. In the first place, it must be said neither Josephus nor 4 Ezra provides a list of books, but only their number, something which supposes that such a list should exist. (Of course, this is not a problem with Ulrich’s definition). Although Josephus does not provide a detailed list, he would probably agree that the list of twenty-two books is “final, fixed, and closed.” That the books of the canon are accepted “in conscious contradistinction” from those that are not is another element of the definition that is confirmed by the text of Josephus, who claims that his people have only twenty-two books and later explains that there are others but of inferior status. In 4 Ezra, on the other hand, these elements remain in the shadow, probably because the author rejects the exclusionary character of the collection of twenty-four books, and, thus, also its closed and definitive character. If the number of seventy is merely symbolic and, therefore, the books reserved for the wise do not refer to a precise collection, then one can think that 4 Ezra leaves the door open to other 3  Ulrich himself agrees with this: “the definition of canon is a relatively minor matter. Much more important, interesting, and ripe for analysis is the canonical process,” Ulrich, “Notion,” 33.

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writings, although—as was seen—this seems a statement without practical consequences, since, in 4 Ezra, there is neither use of other literature nor an epistemological optimism that would allow the development of many speculations (see above pp. 172–175). Similarly, the fact that the books on the list are “permanently accepted” appears explicitly only in Josephus, not in 4 Ezra. However, this could be seen as implicitly affirmed when the books are presented as a guide for the people without prophets, because that seems to be the permanent situation of Israel after Ezra’s ascension and before the end of times. On the other hand, it is interesting to highlight the elements of Ulrich’s definition that do not appear in the two authors analyzed. In the first place, the expression “faith tradition” as the subject of the canon seems problematic. Both Josephus and the author of 4 Ezra speak of a people—the Jewish people or Israel—not of a “faith,” which seems a way of referring to a belief system, separated or separable from nation, land or culture, and thus equivalent to a “religion” in the modern sense. It must be remembered that, for some scholars, the application of the term “religion” to the ancient sources is an anachronism. Not surprisingly, the discussion is parallel to that about the term “Judaism” as designating a religion.4 Another complex issue of Ulrich’s definition refers to the official character of the list—“officially accepted”—which seems to imply a publicly recognized authority which takes the decision to establish the canon. It is true that every community is structured in such a way that includes a recognized authority that could be called “official.” Although a process of compiling a collection of books may have a certain inertia regarding the closed canon, it needs some kind of decision to actually make it happen.5 Accordingly, to include this element in the definition seems highly reasonable. The problem is that neither Josephus nor 4 Ezra alludes to an official decision or to an institutional authority that has proclaimed the canon. They do not deny its existence either. They just say nothing, an omission that is quite surprising. Perhaps it would be preferable to avoid the word “officially” in the definition of canon and merely 4  See n. 4 on p. 4. 5  Cf. Nicholas Wolterstorff, “The Unity Behind the Canon,” in One Scripture or Many?: Canon from Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Perspectives, ed. Christine Helmer and Christof Landmesser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 217–32. This is why the, somewhat romantic, thesis of S. Talmon is not convincing. He says that, in the absence of evidence of an official promulgation of the canon, it prevailed by vox populi. Cf. Shemaryahu Talmon, “The Crystallization of the ‘Canon of Hebrew Scriptures’ in the Light of the Biblical Scrolls from Qumran,” in The Bible as Book: The Hebrew Bible and the Judean Desert Discoveries, ed. Edward D. Herbert and Emanuel Tov (London: British Library, 2002), 5–20.

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to assert that for the creation and dissemination of a canon there is a necessary moment of reception and acceptance by the community, including here both leaders and followers.6 In addition, it is also convenient to consider that the way of practicing authority can vary greatly from one community to another. Among the ancient Christians, such authority was frequently exercised by bishops, each in his diocese or gathered in synods or councils.7 This model cannot be applied tout court to the Jews, as was attempted, for example, with the hypothesis of a definition of the canon at Yavneh.8 14.2

On the Date of the Canon

In the introduction (see above pp. 5–11), the main proposals for the date of the origin of the Jewish canon were divided into two groups: some scholars speak of the second century BCE, in the context of the Maccabean crisis; while others prefer a date after 70 CE. As noted also in the introduction, the absence of references to a collection of books before the end of the first century CE— Qumran, Philo, the first Christian literature, and other works—makes highly improbable the hypothesis according to which the collection of twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible was established by Judas Maccabaeus or by one of his successors in the second century BCE. In any case, if the collection really went back to the second century BCE, it should be said that this collection (or a similar one of twenty-two books) shows signs of having become relevant only after 70, when we find the first references to it. On the other hand, most scholars defend a date for the formation of the Jewish canon after 70 CE. Among them, some prefer rather late dates. For them, the canon of the Hebrew Bible would have been constituted between the fourth and the sixth centuries, because, in the second and third centuries, some rabbis were still discussing about the sacredness of Ben Sira, Esther, Song of Songs, 6  Regarding the role of authority in determining the canon, it is important to recognize that it is not a movement only from the top down, but there is also an influence in the other direction: the “dominated class” has at least a passive role, as they are not convinced by everything. Cf. Stordalen, “What Is a Canon?,” 23–24; Wanke, “Kanon und biblische Theologie,” 1057–58. As stressed by the aesthetics of reception, a “classic” work becomes such through the critical selection of the readers. 7  Cf. Artola, “Canon antes del Canon,” 41, who refers to Herbert Oppel, Κανών: Zur Bedeutungsgeschichte des Wortes und seiner lateinischen Entsprechungen (regula-norma) (Leipzig: Dieterich, 1937). 8  Cf. David E. Aune, “On the Origins of the ‘Council of Javneh’ Myth,” JBL 110 (1991): 491–93.

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Qoheleth, or Ezekiel.9 This is not the place to discuss this reconstruction in detail. However, it must be noticed that it falls into a certain “rabbinocentrism,” in identifying the Jewish life in Antiquity with what we can reconstruct from the rabbinical literature. In addition, Josephus and 4 Ezra show that, at the end of the first century CE, there was at least the idea of a fixed and closed collection, although we do not know if it was accepted by a majority, by a dominant group, or only by a minority. Unfortunately, it is not possible either to establish a link between the testimonies of Josephus and 4 Ezra, on the one hand, or the rabbinical discussions about the sacredness of some books, on the other. As we have seen, neither Josephus (see above pp. 68–82, where the possible references of Josephus to some books “on the border of the canon” were examined) nor 4 Ezra (see above pp. 170–184) provides information on specific books that would have been excluded from the collection or on others that would have been accepted after some discussion. The main goal of the present study is not to take a position in the debate on the date of the canon, since the starting point has been the selection of Josephus and 4 Ezra as the first witnesses to the number of books. However, it is worth trying to see the consequences of our analysis for this issue. In my view, the hypothesis that best explains the scarce data available is that the number of sacred books was fixed—or, at least, that it acquired a much greater public relevance—shortly after 70 CE, during the period of reorganization of the Jewish people without the Temple. It can be assumed that, at the end of the first century CE, a person or a group with certain authority—an authority recognized by some, rejected by others—proposed a fixed number of books or disseminated an existing collection by presenting it as closed, with the intention of leaving out other books or of preventing them from being assimilated to the traditional Scriptures. It is perfectly possible that the number of books spread independently of a detailed list. Thus, the later discussions among the rabbis on the sacredness of some books become comprehensible even if they knew and accepted a precise number of books. Also, the variations in the earliest lists witnessed by Christian authors—Esther is often missing, while Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah are frequently included—may be due to the very comprehensible fact that the tradition about the number has been transmitted better than the tradition about the precise books that compose that number.10

9  For the bibliography, see n. 33 on p. 15. 10  Perhaps—let us speculate—it was simply stated that the number of the sacred books of Israel coincides with the number of letters of the alphabet. In that case, Josephus

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At the same time, we must admit that we possess no evidence that allows us to know whether there was a formal decision in this regard, whether such a decision was made in Yavneh, Jerusalem, Rome, or elsewhere, whether it was advocated by rabbis, by priests, by another group, or by some prominent member of the Jewish community. In this sense, I see no reason to speak of a “rabbinical” or “Pharisee” canon in the first century CE.11 As a possible objection to the historical value accorded here to the coincidence between Josephus and 4 Ezra, it must be recognized that there are no references to the number of books of the Jews in other works that are commonly dated to the same period, such as 2 Baruch, Testament of Moses, 4 Maccabees, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, the Apocalypse of Abraham or many writings of the early Christian literature. If the number of sacred books became relevant at this historical moment, it does not seem to have been the central question in the reformulation of Jewish identity after the year 70.12 14.3

The Reorganization after the War, the Pre-Masoretic Text, and the Synagogal Readings

It is time to consider the causes that could explain why the number of sacred books of the Jewish people became an important issue precisely at the end of the first century CE. In the first place, it is necessary to take into account the events of the year 70 in Judea, already mentioned several times throughout these pages. It is true that the destruction of the Temple did not imply a radical and immediate rupture, as stressed by the new tendency of the historiography of this period (see above pp. 11–15). In this sense, one might add that the passage in Israel from a Temple-centered to a scriptural-centered form of “religion” began with the Babylonian exile, long before the year 70.13 Much later, the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV can be considered a preparatio understood this, naturally enough, in reference to the Hebrew alphabet and, thus, speaks of twenty-two books, while 4 Ezra prefers to think of the Greek alphabet. 11  The most valuable point of T.H. Lim’s recent book is to have regained the importance of the end of the first century in the constitution of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. Cf. Lim, Formation, 178–88. On the other hand, it is problematic to suppose, as Lim does, that the Pharisees possessed a canon and that they were the majority in Yavneh. 12  In any case, it has not been possible to study in depth in these pages other testimonies of the time on the value of the Scriptures. Such work remains a pending task. 13   Cf. Thomas C. Römer, “Du Temple au livre: l’idéologie de la centralisation dans l’historiographie Deutéronomiste,” in Rethinking the Foundations: Historiography in the Ancient World and in the Bible: Essays in Honour of John Van Seters, ed. Steven L. McKenzie and Thomas C. Römer (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000), 207–25.

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for the destruction of the year 70.14 It is not necessary to see these changes as a one-direction process, teleologically directed to the canon. My point is that a growing process of “scripturalization,” namely, an increase of the importance of the written texts in the way of practicing and of conceiving religious matters began in Hasmonean and Roman times, that is, well before the 70.15 At the same time, it would not be reasonable to deny any link between the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and the first testimonies to a number of books. The military and political defeat and the interruption of the cult could undoubtedly favor some Jews concentrating on what they had not lost, the written Torah, as an identity factor for a people without temple worship and without land, as was indicated when speaking of the functionality of the figure of Ezra (pp. 162–168). As for more precise causes that could have contributed to the importance of the closing or spreading of a canon of Scriptures at the end of the first century CE, some explore the influence of political or legal factors. D. Georgi suggests that, after the war, the new Jewish leaders sought to be recognized by the Roman law as a philosophical school. Therefore, they needed to present succession lists (on this, see above pp. 49–51), a well-defined text (this would be the proto-Masoretic text of the Hebrew Scriptures), and doctrines and rulers known to the political authorities.16 The hypothesis is attractive with reference to rabbinic literature, but has no clear foundation in the sources of the period we are considering here, namely, the end of the first century. With regard to the aforementioned proto-Masoretic text, it is opportune to recall in this context the proposal of F.M. Cross, D. Barthélemy, and other scholars, who link the fixing of the Jewish canon with the stabilization or fixation of the proto-Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible, something which would have

14  Cf. Becker, “Grenzziehungen,” 215. Armin Lange, “From Literature to Scripture: The Unity and Plurality of the Hebrew Scriptures in Light of the Qumran Library,” in One Scripture or Many?: Canon from Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Perspectives, ed. Christine Helmer and Christof Landmesser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 51–107, suggests that it was the “abomination of desolation” of the year 167 BCE that caused Israel’s literature to be transformed into “Scripture,” i.e., into a means to encounter God without the Temple. 15  Cf. Kurt L. Noll, “Did ‘Scripturalization’ Take Place in Second Temple Judaism?,” SJOT 25 (2011): 201–16. 16  Cf. Dieter Georgi, “Die Aristoteles—und Theophrastausgabe des Andronikus von Rhodus: Ein Beitrag zur Kanonsproblematik,” in Konsequente Traditionsgeschichte: Festschrift für Klaus Baltzer zum 65. Geburstag, ed. Rüdiger Bartelmus, Thomas Krüger and Helmut Utzschneider (Freiburg: Universitätsverlag Freiburg, 1993), 45–78, 72–74.

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been done at the end of the first century.17 It must be said that this is extremely speculative terrain because the evidence is scarce and does not always confirm this intuition.18 Moreover, as noted above (p. 200), there is no reference to the textual dimension of the collection of books either in Josephus or in 4 Ezra. It is more profitable to study the formation of the canon and the history of the transmission of the text of the Hebrew Bible separately, although it is evident that both processes are closely related. Another possibility to explain the coincidence between Josephus and 4 Ezra is to try to establish a link between the determination of a number of books and the cycle of synagogue readings. As known, the synagogues were the center of the life and prayer of many Jewish urban communities throughout the Roman Empire, both in the Diaspora and in Palestine. It could be supposed that the reading of the Torah and of other books in the synagogues became more important for Jewish identity after the destruction of the Temple. However, the sources give us no indication either of a list of books read, or of a variation before and after the year 70. Nor do they say anything about the use of some books that were the subject of debate, such as Song of Songs or Qoheleth. The reading of the five Megilloth—Ruth, Song of Songs, Qoheleth, Lamentations, and Esther—at the corresponding festivals seems to have arisen much later, with the exception of the reading of Esther in Purim, which is already mentioned in the Mishnah.19 Furthermore, it is not easy to determine which books were read in the synagogue in the first century CE. Josephus mentions the weekly reading and study of the Torah in the Against Apion, without alluding to the collection of twenty-two books that he has described in the same work. Moses—he says—“ordered that every seven days they should abandon their other activities and gather to hear the law, and to learn it thoroughly and in 17  Barthélemy, “L’état,” 19–22; Frank Moore Cross, From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998), 205–18; Armin Lange, “‘They Confirmed the Reading’ (y. Ta’an 4.68a): The Textual Standardization of Jewish Scriptures in the Second Temple Period,” in From Qumran to Aleppo: A Discussion with Emanuel Tov about the Textual History of Jewish Scriptures in Honor of his 65th Birthday, ed. Armin Lange, Matthias Weigold and József Zsengellér (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009), 29–80. 18  For a critic, see Ian Young, “The Stabilization of the Biblical Text in the Light of Qumran and Masada: A Challenge for Conventional Qumran Chronology?,” DSD 9 (2002): 364–90; Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012), 174–80 (“The Myth of the Stabilization of the Text of Hebrew Scriptures”). Tov urges us not to confuse the existence of a standard text, which may arise by chance alone, with a conscious and official action of stabilization. 19  Cf. Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1993), 149–51 (§27).

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detail” (Ag. Ap. 2.175). The Theodotos inscription of Jerusalem (dating probably from before 70) and several texts of Philo confirm the centrality of the Torah in the synagogue, portions of which were read every Saturday and at some feasts. However, they say nothing about other books. Only Luke-Acts mentions the reading of “the Torah and the Prophets” (Acts 13:14–15; see also 13:27); but, unfortunately, the only specific book outside the Pentateuch which we are told was read on the Sabbath in the synagogue is Isaiah (Luke 4:16–17).20 Therefore, not much can be obtained from here when seeking an explanation of the importance of the collections of twenty-two or twenty-four books at the end of the first century CE. Among other historical factors that may have contributed to the definition of the precise number of books, two will be highlighted in what follows. It is not my intention to affirm that they are the unique ones, but only that they deserve a special attention because they correspond to what is reflected in the two sources analyzed. One is rather generic, related to the cultural atmosphere, and corresponds to the idea that the best has occurred in the past. In Jewish tradition, this mentality is translated into the idea that God’s revelation to Israel finished a long time ago. The second factor is more concrete and precise, but also more hypothetical. Probably, it was the contrast among different groups within the Jewish community that would have led some to propose a closed collection as a norm, and others to oppose this proposal (see below pp. 214–216, and see also what was said about 4 Ezra and the canon on pp. 185–189). 14.4

The Idealization of the Past

As we have said, a factor that can explain, at least in part, the origin, diffusion, and acceptance of a precise collection of sacred books at the end of the first century CE comes from the cultural context. This is the idealization of the distant past, also called “primitivism” or “the golden age point of view,” as opposed to the “progressivist” point of view. From Hesiod onwards, the vision of human history as a process of continuous decline would take several forms in Antiquity. It was accentuated in the Hellenistic period, and persisted

20  See Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (London: Yale University Press, 2005), 57–59 (the Theodotos inscription) and 145–55; Cohen, Philo’s Scriptures, 55–69.

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in Roman times.21 The appreciation of what is old as necessarily better than what is new, so common in Antiquity, and to which we alluded when speaking about Josephus (p. 51), can be seen as a consequence of this mentality. In the Jewish context, we find several expressions that can be labeled as primitivism. We can recall the book of Daniel, which combines the Hesiodic scheme of the four metals with that of the four Empires in the vision and interpretation of the statue (Dan 2).22 The negative judgment on human civilization and technical knowledge found in some sections of 1 Enoch can also be put in parallel with some forms of Greek primitivism.23 Furthermore, the widespread thesis that the Babylonian exile or captivity of Israel had not ended but continued up to the present (see n. 8 on p. 158) can be seen as a Jewish mode of this same belief. It is evident that any idealization of the past, be it of the whole of human kind, of an Empire, or of a particular people, owes much more to the social perception and evaluation of the present historical situation than to a memory or a reconstruction of the past as such. At first sight, one would be tempted to label this perception as a “pessimistic” vision of history. This is certainly the case with many of the ways in which it can be expressed, but not necessarily with all. At least in the Roman age, the description of the present circumstances as a moment of decline, corruption, and darkness was frequently accompanied by the hope of a immediate return to the golden age, as a part of a cyclical process. “The worse we are, the better.” As far as I know, we do not find a cyclical vision of history among the Jews. Although the correspondence between End-Zeit (eschatology) and Ur-Zeit (protology) is well known (compare Rev 21 with Gen 2, for instance), their hopes refer to events—the reunification of Israel, the messianic era, the judgment of the nations, or the end of times—seen as definitive, not as part of a cycle that repeats itself incessantly. To be sure, these affirmations on the Jewish conception of history would require a study that goes far beyond the scope of this book. My point is that the idealization of the past is not necessarily pessimistic. More specifically, it is compatible with the eschatological hopes expressed by Josephus and, much more explicitly and strongly, by 4 Ezra. To get closer to the issue of the books’ collections, we can put this idealization of the past in relation to the Hellenistic notion of the “classics.” After the 21  See Arnaldo Momigliano, “The Origins of Universal History,” in The Poet and the Historian: Essays in Literary and Historical Biblical Criticism, ed. Richard Elliott Friedman (Chico: Scholars Press, 1983), 133–54; Sue Blundell, The Origins of Civilization in Greek and Roman Thought (London: Croom Helm, 1986), 103–224, especially 105–6. 22  See Momigliano, “Origins of Universal History,” 144–48. 23  On this, see Reed, Fallen Angels, 37–44, especially 38–39.

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conquests of Alexander the Great, some intellectuals perceived that there had been a period-change of irreversible character. As a consequence, there appeared the awareness that the cultural legacy that had been received had to be preserved. This then gave rise to the notion of “classic works,” as models to be imitated, but that are strictly unrepeatable. This mentality or “ideology” underlies the production of lists of the best authors in each literary genre, which began to be composed in the third century BCE in the Library of Alexandria and which were widely disseminated in the ancient Mediterranean world.24 It is worth recalling that it was also in the Library of Alexandria that the number of letters of the Greek alphabet was employed to divide Homer’s works into twenty-four chapters. Some recent scholars suggest that the collection of twenty-four books of the Jews might have been formed in the second century BCE as a sort of response of Jerusalem to the cultural and educational influence of Homer and of Greek culture (see above pp. 183–184). However, in order to answer the question as to why the canon of the Hebrew Bible came into being, the image of a past considered to have been much better than the present is more interesting than the lists of the Alexandrian grammarians or the possible allusion of the number twenty-four to the Homeric corpus.25 The 24  The fundamental reference remains Pfeiffer, History: 1, 87–279, especially 87–104. Pfeiffer’s description has been enriched or developed by other scholars: Rudolf Blum, Kallimachos und die Literaturverzeichnung bei den Griechen: Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Biobibliographie (Frankfurt am Main: Buchhändler-Vereinigung, 1977), concentrates on the figure and the role of Callimachus; Honigman, Septuagint and Homeric Scholarship, interprets the Letter of Aristeas as an attempt to put the Greek Torah on a par with the Alexandrian edition of Homer. As a complement or update to Pfeiffer, see Hubert Cancik, “Standardization and Ranking of Texts in Greek and Roman Institutions,” in Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World, ed. Margalit Finkelberg and Guy G. Stroumsa (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 117–30; Vardi, “Canons;” Tomas Hägg, “Canon Formation in Greek Literary Culture,” in Canon and Canonicity: The Formation and Use of Scripture, ed. Einar Thomassen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2010), 109–28; Maren R. Niehoff, Jewish Exegesis and Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Nina Irrgang, “Vom literarischen Kanon zum ‘heiligen Buch’: Einführende Bemerkungen zu den autoritativen Textsammlungen der griechisch-römischen Welt,” in Kanon in Konstruktion und Dekonstruktion: Kanonisierungsprozesse religiöser Texte von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart: ein Handbuch, ed. EveMarie Becker and Stefan Scholz (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 130–35. On the other hand, it is necessary to contrast this literature with the recent work of J.S. du Toit, who shows how the importance and originality of the Library of Alexandria has been unduly exaggerated in modern scholarship: cf. Jaqueline S. du Toit, Textual Memory: Ancient Archives, Libraries and the Hebrew Bible (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2011), 131–38. 25  We can add the proposal of B. Lang, who considers that it was the collection of Ketubim, the third group of the Tanak, that was formed in the second century BCE as a “secular canon” of Hebrew literature, following the model of the Alexandrian lists of the best

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idealization of the past could seem too generic to explain the origin of the canon, but it deserves our attention because it can be related to the testimonies of both Josephus and 4 Ezra, who share it. The idea that God’s revelation to Israel occurred in a distant past, and, more specifically, Ezra’s description as the last prophet in 4 Ezra as well as the interruption of prophetic s­ uccession— which explicitly appears for the first time in Josephus as a justification for considering the collection of Scriptures closed—can be considered as two particular expressions of this same generic mentality: a long time ago, life and men were better or holier than they are now.26 It must be clarified that, both in Josephus and in 4 Ezra, this idealization of the past appears rather as a commonly accepted belief than as a thesis that must be defended. As was discussed above (see pp. 46–54), the prophetic interruption seems an invention of Josephus to offer a justification for something that he cannot deny, that the Scriptures of Israel—which he presents as the historical records of Israel—are thought to have been written several centuries previously and, thus, do not cover the events up to the present moment. This is all the more significant as it goes against the credit claimed by Josephus himself as an historian.27 In the case of 4 Ezra, we observed an analogous tension: the author considers Ezra as the last prophet and places the re-writing of the whole Torah in a distant past, while trying to leave a door open to extra-official books (pp. 186–189). It is the paradox of introducing a new concept under the mask of maintaining and defending tradition, as was noted also when speaking about the choice of the scribe Ezra, a “conservative” figure, as the protagonist of the apocalypse (pp. 164–165).

works in each genre. See Bernhard Lang, “The ‘Writings’: A Hellenistic Literary Canon in the Hebrew Bible,” in Canonization and Decanonization: Papers Presented to the International Conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9–10 January 1997, ed. Arie van der Kooij and Karel van der Toorn (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 41–65. His hypothesis, however, is not convincing; it seems forced to consider the Psalms and other books of the Writings as “humanist” literature. Moreover, the hypothesis requires that the book of Daniel was included in the list—as a novel, together with Ruth and Esther—shortly after it was written, something which seems highly unlikely. 26  Cf. Cohen, From the Maccabees, 170–71 and 184–86. Bibliographical indications can be seen in Cook, On the Question. 27  We can add that Josephus, writing as an historian, does not show any personal nostalgia of the past, in the sense of a personal feeling, but rather a national pride. See Mason, “Josephus and Canon,” 119. Gray, Prophetic Figures, 8, 25, 142, speaks of the Josephus’ idealization of the prophetic past not as a dogma, but as “a vague nostalgia” of the distant past. She follows Barton, Oracles of God, 5–6, 115–16, 121.

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The belief that the divine revelation to Israel took place in the distant past favors the acceptance of the idea of a closed or fixed list of sacred books, insofar as these are believed to include this revelation. By contrast, if a group believes that the golden age or “the fullness of the times” has recently arrived, as the followers of Jesus did (see above p. 27), the closing of their collection of sacred books cannot depend on an idealization of the distant past, but must rely on different grounds. Thus, if the idealization of the past undoubtedly helps us to understand the justification of the collection of books, it is not sufficient to explain why a precise number of books became relevant at the end of the first century CE, as evidenced by Josephus and 4 Ezra. It is necessary to take into account another possible factor: the need to defend tradition against innovations. 14.5

The Defense of Tradition in Contrast to Other Groups

In the passage of the Against Apion about the twenty-two books, there is no allusion to an opposition to this collection within the Jewish people. Josephus insists exactly on the contrary, namely, on the unanimity with which they all venerate the Scriptures “right from birth.” As was said (p. 41), this insistence is easily explained by the argumentative context—the controversy against Greek historiography. Therefore, one should not deduce anything from this text on the degree of acceptance of the collection by the Jewish community of the time, either for or against it. At the end of our analysis of 4 Ezra, emphasis was placed on the controversy that seems to lie behind the account of the writing of the ninety-four books of the Torah which can be read as a protest against a demarcation of the Scriptures of Israel that leaves out some books of eschatological content (see above pp. 186–189). Developing this intuition, it can be assumed that, after the year 70, instead of a canonization of the Ketuvim, as Ryle proposed (see above, pp. 11–12), there was an attempt to draw a line separating books that are “inside” the Scriptures and books that are “outside” them. It is appropriate to speak of a fixing of the number of books that was not intended to add new books, but only to indicate a limit between the traditional ones and all the others in order to defend the inheritance received. In other words, there becomes explicit and operative the idea according to which it is not lawful to add books to the commonly accepted ones. Thus, if there was a “fixing of the canon,” it seems to have consisted in a ratification of the value of some books which were already widely

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accepted, and in the consequent exclusion—not necessarily explicit—of other books.28 It could be said that, after the year 70, the idea that it is not licit to expand the collections received was not only formulated but also somehow put into practice. Such a ratification of the traditional books would have been made by contrast with other groups and their literature or, at least, despite the resistance of other groups. In fact, Josephus and 4 Ezra not only mention a precise number of books but also allude to the exclusion of others—something reasonable for Josephus, but contested by the author of 4 Ezra. In the history of religious beliefs, it is often necessary to introduce a novelty to preserve what has been received by tradition, especially when a group perceives that the tradition is threatened, as noted above in a different context (see pp. 164–165). In this case, what is new is the precise number of books; the actual books of the collection were already accepted. This way of describing the origin of the collection has the advantage of being compatible with the fact that almost all the twenty-four books of the current Hebrew Bible were widely recognized as authoritative at the end of the first century CE—one of the arguments of those who defend the thesis that the canon existed before the year 70. It is suggestive to relate this to the mentality, just described, according to which the old is considered superior to the new, and the distant past is idealized as a golden age. Indeed, the idea that divine revelation took place in the distant past is combined very well with the need to defend the tradition by contrast with other groups. Both factors are mutually reinforcing. Both are present somehow in Josephus and in 4 Ezra. Josephus accepts them without discussion, whereas the author of 4 Ezra ostensibly assumes them, but only to gain acceptance for his work, since he refuses to consider the revelation closed and to exclude books that are not among the twenty-four publicly recognized. To affirm that the canon of the Hebrew Bible was fixed probably as a consequence of a conservative reaction to new tendencies within the Jewish community may seem a negative judgment, if formulated in such terms. As always in a historical reconstruction, the danger of anachronism must be avoided. The negative connotations that terms like “religious conservatism” or “traditionalism” may have nowadays should not be projected on to the past. Before concluding, it is tempting to return to the idea that the canon of the Hebrew Bible was defined by contrast with the followers of Jesus and their new writings, as G.F. Moore and other scholars have proposed (see above p. 187). Indeed, the appeal to the prestige of antiquity is pertinent here. In the context of ancient culture, one of the strongest objections to the Gospel 28  Cf. Sundberg, Old Testament, 125–26.

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was its belatedness.29 Thus, it would be reasonable that the opposition to the Christian writings took the form of a ratification of the traditional books. However, since we have no clear references or allusions to Jesus or to his followers in the sources analyzed, we cannot help concluding with a cautious “perhaps” in this regard. Having come to the end, those readers who expected a more specific historical reconstruction might feel a bit uncomfortable at the insistence on the hypothetical nature of the factors that could explain the origins of the canon of the Hebrew Bible at the end of the first century CE. However, the analysis of the texts of Josephus and of 4 Ezra and the comparison between both has allowed us to suggest some intellectual and social elements that so far have received little attention in the historical research of the canon. Furthermore, I hope to have shown in the previous pages that it is not true that the sources are exhausted, as was affirmed some decades ago in a cultural context marked by positivism.30 What the ancient texts can tell us today depends to a great extent on the degree of attention we give them and the type of questions we address to them. “Progress in our field of study is not only made by “new” material, but also by a very attentive reading of “old” texts.”31 As was observed in the introduction (see pp. 29–30), the histories of the biblical canon written in the last 150 years offer a survey of many different texts analyzed in a rather hurried and superficial way, partly because of the requirements of the genre—it is impossible to write a history of the canon without a degree of simplification—and partly because many of these texts have still not been given the attention they deserve in the academic world. Another difficulty that has not yet been completely overcome depends on the classification of the ancient sources in different categories according to their language or origin—I am referring not only to labels such as “apocryphal” or “biblical” (on which see above, p. 16) but also to others like “apocalypticism” or “Jewish-Hellenistic literature.” These academic boundaries become problematic when lead to neglecting the heuristic possibilities offered by a comparison between two or more different texts, as the one we have carried out between Josephus’ Against Apion and 4 Ezra.

29  See Stroumsa, “Christian Hermeneutical Revolution,” 11–14. 30  Cf., for example, Alfred Jepsen, “Zur Kanongeschichte des Alten Testaments,” ZAW 71 (1959): 114–36, 114: “Der Stoff scheint erschöpft zu sein, da die vorhandenen Quellen nicht mehr hergeben und nach allen Seiten hin befragt sind.” 31  van Unnik, “Josephus and the Mysteries,” 278.

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Index of Modern Authors Abegg, Martin G. 159, 217 Adler, William 89, 138, 217 Alexander, Philip S. 7, 15, 183, 217 Altshuler, David 76, 217 Amit, Yairah 49, 217 Andersen, F.I. 171, 182, 217 Aranda Pérez, Gonzalo 27, 142, 217 Armstrong, Jonathan J. 181, 217 Artola, Antonio 27, 205, 217 Assefa, Daniel 97, 218 Assmann, Jan 22, 218 Aune, David E. 48, 66, 181–183, 205, 218 Aurell Cardona, Jaume 17, 218 Ayali-Darshan, Noga 172, 218 Bacher, Wilhelm 22, 218 Bachmann, Veronika 75, 78, 175, 218 Bakhtin, Mikhail 110 Balzaretti, Claudio 161, 218 Barclay, John M.G. 37, 40, 43, 47, 55, 60, 218 Barnes, Jonathan 183, 218 Baron, Salo Wittmayer 187, 218 Barr, James 6, 218 Barthélemy, Dominique 6, 163, 187, 188, 208, 209, 218 Barton, John 7, 19, 23, 28, 102, 119, 138, 213, 219 Bauckham, Richard 94, 104, 109, 148, 151, 158–159, 171, 182, 219 Baum, Armin 99, 219 Baynes, Leslie 78, 140, 219 Becker, Michael 4, 16, 19, 23, 31, 76, 108, 139, 144, 154, 161, 174, 176, 208, 219 Beckwith, Roger T. 5–6, 9–10, 31, 44, 69, 183, 219 Begg, Christopher T. 44, 59, 69–70, 75, 80, 138, 160, 219–220 Berger, Peter L. 166, 220 Bergren, Theodore A. 89–80, 159, 164, 166, 220 Berlin, Adele 138, 220 Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando 82, 220 Berthelot, Katell 123, 136, 142, 146, 179, 220 Beyerle, Stefan 103, 143, 147, 149, 220 Bezzel, Hannes 121, 220

Bickerman, Elias J. 50, 220 Bidawid, Raphael 90, 226 Bieringer, Reimund 12, 220 Bilde, Per 3, 53, 63, 77–78, 79, 81, 220–221 Black, Matthew 89, 221 Blaise, Albert 20, 221 Blau, Ludwig 25, 221 Blenkinsopp, Joseph 53, 161, 221 Bloch, Heinrich 74, 221 Bloch, Joshua 187, 221 Bloch, René S. 80, 221 Blum, Léon 47, 228 Blum, Rudolf 212, 221 Blundell, Sue 211, 221 Boccaccini, Gabriele 16, 78–79, 88, 174–175, 221 Bogaert, Pierre-Maurice 72, 87, 91, 111, 119–120, 157, 221 Böhler, Dieter 71, 222 Bokedal, Tomas 18, 23, 222 Borchardt, Francis 8, 222 Bourquin, Yvan 93, 97, 240 Box, George Herbert 88, 90, 95, 222 Boyarin, Daniel 4, 13, 20, 222 Boysen, Karl 38, 228 Bracht, Katharina 68, 222 Brandenburger, Egon 85, 102–104, 123, 135, 136, 162, 172, 222 Breech, Earl 96, 102, 109, 123–124, 222 Bremmer, Jan N. 22, 222–223 Brighton, Mark Andrew 37, 223 Bruce, Frederick F. 6, 70, 223 Buhl, Frants Peder William Meyer 31, 223 Burkes, Shannon 149, 223 Burnet, Régis 28, 223 Burnett, Stephen G. 20, 223 Campbell, Jonathan G. 3, 35, 64, 223 Cancik, Hubert 22, 212, 223 Carr, David M. 6, 184, 223 Chapman, Stephen B. 5, 6, 17, 19, 46, 223 Charlesworth, James H. 91, 161, 224 Chatman, Seymour 100, 224 Childs, Brevard S. 5, 28, 224

Index of Modern Authors Choi, Junghwa 13, 14, 224 Clark, Elizabeth Ann 29, 224 Coggins, Richard J. 141, 224 Cohen, Naomi G. 8, 210, 224 Cohen, Shaye J.D. 25, 213, 224 Collins, John J. 4, 7, 14, 31, 68, 69–70, 76–78, 101, 118, 123, 127, 133, 136, 138, 142–143, 146, 148, 163, 164, 171, 175, 187, 224–225 Cook, Joan E. 146, 225 Cook, L. Stephen 47, 213, 225 Cross, Frank Moore 209, 225 Darshan, Guy 6, 183–184, 225 Daschke, Dereck 14, 102, 108, 125, 139, 225 Davidowicz, Klaus S. 23, 225 Davies, Philip R. 6, 225 Davila, James R. 88, 108, 178, 225 Davis, Ellen F. 119, 225 De Long, Kindalee Pfremmer 125, 226 De Villiers, Pieter G.R. 122, 153, 226 DeConick, April D. 10, 226 Dedering, Sven 90, 226 Deiana, Giovanni 125, 226 Del Verme, Marcello 117, 175, 226 Dempster, Stephen 5, 226 Denis, Albert-Marie 89, 221, 226 Desjardins, Michel 143, 150, 226 DiTommaso, Lorenzo 69, 70, 77, 91, 105, 140, 153, 226 Dobroruka, Vicente 108, 226 Doering, Lutz 143 Donaldson, Terence L. 146, 226 Döpp, Heinz-Martin 156, 226 Dostoevsky, Fyodor 110 Du Cange, Charles du Fresne 20, 227 Du Toit, David S. 68, 222 Dugan, Elena 80, 227 Duggan, Michael W. 159, 227 Dulaey, Martine 181, 227, 256 Ego, Beate 21, 227 Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. 18, 231 Elbogen, Ismar 209, 227 Elias Levita 20, 157–158, 227 Ellis, Edward Earle 6, 227 Elyada, Aya 20, 250 Esler, Philip F. 109, 133, 140, 156, 227

259 Fabry, Heinz-Josef 76, 227 Feldman, Louis H. 46, 47, 49, 55, 57, 60, 62, 66, 73–75, 78, 80, 81, 199, 227–228 Ferda, Tucker S. 59, 228 Finkelberg, Margalit 183, 228 Finsterbusch, Karin 20, 228 Fishbane, Michael 164, 228 Flannery, Frances 113, 122, 125, 140, 156, 228 Fletcher-Louis, Crispin 77–78, 228 Flint, Peter W. 68–69, 225 Folkert, Kendall W. 24, 228 Fornaro, Pierpaolo 82, 229 Fraade, Steven D. 172, 229 Franxman, Thomas W. 75, 81, 229 Fried, Lisbeth S. 71–72, 158, 169, 229 Fürst, Julius 23, 229 Gafni, Isaiah M. 12, 66, 74, 229 Galambush, Julie 119, 229 Gallagher, Edmon L. 9, 11, 22, 229 Garbini, Giovanni 160–161, 229 García Martínez, Florentino 76, 88, 138–139, 229 Georgi, Dieter 208, 230 Gerber, Christine 37, 42, 230 Ginsburg, Christian David 21, 230 Ginzberg, Louis 169, 170–171, 173, 187, 230 Girón Blanc, Luis-Fernando 118, 230 Gnuse, Robert Karl 53, 66, 230 Goff, Matthew 78, 230 Goldstein, Jonathan A. 74, 230 Goodblatt, David 13, 230 Goodman, Martin 37, 230 Gore-Jones, Lydia 105, 139, 230 Gottheil, Richard 21, 230 Grabbe, Lester L. 6, 48, 53, 91, 140, 156, 159, 196, 230 Graetz, Heinrich 23, 231 Grafton, Anthony 18, 231 Gray, M.L. 156, 231 Gray, Rebecca 40, 45, 49, 53, 213, 231 Green, William Scott 26, 243 Greenspahn, Frederick E. 17, 28, 48, 231 Greimas, Algirdas Julien 97 Grosser, Hermann 97, 99–100, 231 Grosso, Matteo 10, 231 Gry, Léon 88, 231

260 Gryson, Roger 11, 44, 90, 141, 256 Gunkel, Hermann 82, 96, 101–102, 103, 108, 231 Gurtner, Daniel M. 92, 231 Gussmann, Oliver 3, 31, 35, 45, 64, 198, 231 Hacham, Noah 158, 231–232 Hägg, Tomas 212, 232 Hagner, Donald A. 20, 232 Hahn, Andreas 6, 232 Halbertal, Moshe 140, 232 Hall, Robert G. 54, 73, 154, 232 Hallbäck, Geert 89, 97, 146, 232 Halpern-Amaru, Betsy 75–76, 81, 232 Halvorson-Taylor, Martien A. 167, 232 Hamilton, Alastair 88, 232 Hanneken, Todd R. 79, 232 Harnisch, Wolfgang 93, 102–104, 114–115, 124, 132, 232 Harrelson, Walter 102, 232 Harrington, Daniel J. 149–150, 233 Hayes, Christine 143, 233 Hayman, A. Peter 102, 104, 115, 233 Heemstra, Marius 20, 233 Heger, Paul 78, 233 Hengel, Martin 8, 45, 47, 49, 73, 187, 233 Henten, Jan Willem van 54, 255 Henze, Matthias 87–88, 90, 92, 119, 132, 145, 162, 163, 174, 217, 233 Herrera Gabler, Jorge Federico 133, 233 Hezser, Catherine 12–13, 143, 156, 233–234 Himmelfarb, Martha 133, 234 Höffken, Peter 3, 45, 64, 234 Hoffmann, Heinrich 103, 124, 143, 148, 153, 234 Hofmann, Norbert 147, 234 Hogan, Karina Martin 85, 88–89, 91, 98–99, 102–105, 109–111, 112, 118, 121, 123–125, 127–128, 132–133, 139, 141–142, 143, 144–145, 147–148, 152, 160, 162–164, 168, 171–173, 175, 179, 234 Hollander, William den 35, 37, 67, 226 Holloway, Paul A. 124, 234 Holtz, Gudrun 12, 234 Honigman, Sylvie 30, 99, 212, 234 Iggers, Georg G. 17, 234 Ilan, Tal 22, 235

Index of Modern Authors In der Smitten, Wilhelm T. 146, 235 Inowlocki, Sabrina 61, 235 Irrgang, Nina 212, 235 James, Montague Rhodes 116, 235 Japhet, Sara 72, 117, 167, 235 Jepsen, Alfred 216, 235 Johns, Adrian 18, 231 Johnson, Gary Lance 53, 235 Jones, Kenneth R. 14, 91, 157, 235 Jonge, Marinus de 196, 225 Kabisch, Richard 95, 101, 235 Kaestli, Jean-Daniel 3, 157, 177, 188, 235 Kahane, Ahuvia 183, 235 Kaiser, Otto 70, 235 Kalin, Everett R. 26, 235 Kaminka, Armand 173, 235 Kaplan, Jonathan 179, 236 Kee, Howard Clark 179, 236 Kellogg, Robert L. 107, 248 Kerner, Jürgen 143–144, 236 Klawans, Jonathan 35, 38, 54, 65, 69, 236 Klijn, Albertus Frederik Johannes 89–90, 116, 236 Kloppenborg, John S. 187, 236 Knibb, Michael A. 31, 78–79, 140–141, 152, 158–160, 236 Knowles, Michael P. 131, 149, 236 Koch, Klaus 69, 158, 236 Koester, Craig R. 180, 182–183, 236 Kooij, Arie van der 6, 254 Kooten, George H. van 81, 255 Kraemer, David 15, 26, 236 Kraft, Robert A. 16, 69, 70, 80–81, 88, 116, 163, 236 Kratz, Reinhard Gregor 71, 170, 237 Krieg, Carola 11, 237 Kruger, Michael J. 23, 237 Kulik, Alexander 188, 237 Kvanvig, Helge S. 97, 237 Labbé, Gilbert 14, 237 Labow, Dagmar 37, 44, 237 Lanfranchi, Pierluigi 20, 237 Lang, Bernhard 212–213, 237 Lange, Armin 20, 23, 208–209, 235, 237–238 Langer, Ruth 187, 238

261

Index of Modern Authors Lapin, Hayim 13, 238 Lebram, Jürgen C.H. 118, 154, 160, 238 Leiman, Sid Z. 6, 11, 15, 26, 42–44, 238 Leoni, Tommaso 38, 238 Levey, Samson H. 119, 238 Levine, Lee I. 13, 210, 238 Levinson, Bernard M. 22, 238 Lewis, Jack P. 11, 238 Lichtenberger, Hermann 21, 70, 149, 238–239 Lied, Liv Ingeborg 92, 205, 239 Lier, Gudrun E. 170, 239 Lightstone, Jack N. 15, 239 Lim, Timothy H. 7–9, 31, 207, 239 Lincicum, David 183, 239 Lindner, Helgo 59, 239 Loisy, Alfred Firmin 31, 239 Longenecker, Bruce W. 92, 102, 135, 136, 140–141, 156, 171, 239 Lopes, Ana Cristina M. 105, 246 Lourié, Basil 131, 239 Lubbock, Percy 105, 239 Macholz, Christian 3, 130, 133, 173, 239 Maier, Johann 7, 15, 26, 240 Mandel, Paul D. 134, 240 Marcus, Ralph 65, 70, 74, 228 Marguerat, Daniel 93, 97, 240 Marincola, John 50, 240 Markley, John 130, 240 Marrou, Henri-Irénée 17, 28, 240 Mason, Steve 3–4, 29, 37–38, 44, 47, 49–52, 54, 59–60, 64, 66–67, 197, 213, 240 Matter, E. Ann 88, 240 McCullough, William Stewart 43, 240 McDonald, Lee M. 7, 15, 23, 31, 45, 66, 240 McLean, Bradley H. 178, 240 Meade, John D. 11, 229 Mello, Alberto 114, 240 Mendels, Doron 50, 65, 240–241 Merkur, Daniel 108, 241 Metzger, Bruce M. 22, 155, 173, 241 Metzger, Paul 144, 165, 173, 176, 189, 241 Meyer, Ben F. 137, 241 Meyer, Rudolf 48, 241 Milán, Fernando 69, 241 Miller, James E. 119, 241 Miller, John W. 6, 241

Mimouni, Simon Claude 14, 241 Miroshnikov, Ivan 10, 241 Momigliano, Arnaldo 77, 211, 241 Montefiore, Claude G. 99, 241 Moo, Jonathan A. 93, 105, 109, 132, 136, 142, 154, 241–242 Moore, George F. 158, 187–188, 215, 242 Moreland, Milton C. 10, 242 Morray-Jones, Christopher R.A. 79, 247 Mroczek, Eva 16, 35, 133, 242 Mueller, James R. 156, 166, 173, 242 Muñoz León, Domingo 88, 100, 133, 136, 145–146, 152, 242 Murphy, James Jerome 52, 242 Myers, Jacob M. 88, 152, 242 Najman, Hindy 16, 19, 90, 99, 105, 109, 116, 119, 123, 124, 147, 154, 163, 165, 208, 242–243 Nápole, Gabriel Marcelo 92, 111, 152, 175, 179, 243 Nestle, Eberhard 20, 243 Neusner, Jacob 26, 28, 243 Nickelsburg, George W.E. 80, 151, 160, 171, 175, 243–244 Niehoff, Maren R. 8, 212, 244 Niese, Benedictus 38, 244 Nodet, Étienne 42, 66–67, 74, 244 Noll, Kurt L. 208, 244 Nordsieck, Reinhard 10, 244 Novick, Tzvi 166, 179, 244 Oegema, Gerbern S. 156, 173, 178, 244 Offenberg, Adrian K. 21, 244 Ohme, Heinz 23, 244 Oliver, Isaac W. 75, 218 Olson, Daniel C. 160, 172, 244 Oppel, Herbert 205, 244 Orlov, Andrei A. 171, 244 Ossandón Widow, Juan Carlos 35, 46, 49–50, 55, 64, 210, 244 Owen, Paul 139, 245 Paul, André 82, 245 Peels, H.G.L. 9, 245 Pelletier, André 74, 245 Petersen, Anders Klostergaard 154, 166, 245 Pfann, Stephen 141, 245

262 Pfeiffer, Rudolf 23, 212, 245 Phelan, James 107, 248 Picard, Jean-Claude 116, 158, 245 Pick, Bernhard 21, 245 Pilhofer, Peter 52, 245 Piovanelli, Pierluigi 140, 156, 245 Pitre, Brant 159, 245 Plisch, Uwe-Karsten 9–10, 245 Pohlmann, Karl-Friedrich 71, 246 Pollmann, Karla 181, 246 Popović, Mladen 71, 246 Porton, Gary G. 128, 169, 246 Preuschen, Erwin 181, 246 Price, Jonathan J. 60, 246 Puech, Émile 8, 246 Pugliatti, Paola 110, 246 Radermacher, Ludwig 52, 246 Rand, Jan du 93, 227 Rappaport, Salomo 75, 246 Reed, Annette Yoshiko 13, 22, 81, 174, 188, 211, 246 Reeder, Caryn A. 59, 246 Reeves, John C. 16, 246 Reinach, Théodore 195 Reis, Carlos 105, 246 Resseguie, James L. 97, 108, 246 Reynolds, Benjamin E. 112, 247 Ribera-Florit, Josep 119, 247 Robinson, Stephen Edward 182, 247 Rochberg-Halton, Francesca 182, 247 Römer, Thomas C. 49, 207, 247 Rowland, Christopher 77, 79, 87, 247 Rubinkiewicz, Ryszard 89, 247 Ruiten, J.T.A.G.M. van 79, 255 Russell, David S. 171, 247 Ryle, Herbert Edward 12, 31, 69, 158, 214, 247 Sacchi, Paolo 171, 247 Sæbø, Magne 116, 247 Sánchez Caro, José Manuel 3, 7, 27, 247 Sanders, James A. 7, 248 Sarna, Nahum M. 25, 248 Schaper, Joachim 15, 143, 248 Schiffman, Lawrence H. 76, 248 Schimanowski, Gottfried 80, 248 Schipper, Bernd Ulrich 143, 248

Index of Modern Authors Schmid, Konrad 103–104, 108, 125, 132, 248 Schnabel, Eckhard J. 103, 143, 248 Schneemelcher, Wilhelm 159, 169–170, 248 Schniedewind, William 143 Scholes, Robert 107, 248 Schreckenberg, Heinz 67, 228 Schreiner, Josef 120, 141, 248 Schuller, Eileen 7–8, 248 Schürer, Emil 14, 248 Schwartz, Daniel R. 13, 58, 74, 249 Schwartz, Joshua 13, 248 Schwartz, Seth 4, 13–14, 45, 58–59, 249 Scott, Ian W. 26, 249 Seeman, Chris 43, 250 Segal, Alan F. 69, 249 Sheppard, Gerald T. 23, 144, 249 Siegert, Folker 38, 59, 228 Sievers, Joseph 38, 46, 54, 62, 80, 249 Silverman, Godfrey Edmond 20, 250 Ska, Jean Louis 93, 250 Skinner, Christopher W. 10, 250 Smend, Rudolf 43, 187, 250 Smit, Peter-Ben 108, 250 Smith, Jonathan Z. 24, 31, 202, 250 Sommer, Benjamin D. 28, 48, 250 Sperling, S. David 25, 248 Spilsbury, Paul 43, 59, 64, 69–70, 220, 250 Staehle, Karl 183, 250 Stahlberg, Lesleigh Cushing 178, 251 Steck, Odil Hannes 42–43, 132, 146, 187, 251 Steiner, George 28, 251 Steinmann, Andrew E. 6, 31, 251 Steins, Georg 25, 251 Stemberger, Günter 12, 15, 140, 176, 251 Sterling, Gregory E. 53, 60–61, 251 Stern, David 15, 17–18, 251 Stern, Menahem 13, 63, 251 Stewart, Alexander E. 105, 122, 132, 251 Stone, Michael E. 7, 16, 75–78, 88–90, 91, 100, 101–102, 108, 112, 114–115, 117, 120, 122, 125, 127, 129, 133, 138–141, 145, 148, 152–153, 159, 173–174, 178–179, 202, 252 Stone, Timothy J. 6, 252 Stordalen, Terje 6, 16, 19, 205, 252 Stroumsa, Guy G. 27–28, 216, 252–253 Stuckenbruck, Loren T. 108, 124, 253 Suciu, Alin 89, 253 Sundberg, Albert C., Jr. 6, 31, 188, 215, 253

263

Index of Modern Authors Tabor, James D. 80, 253 Talmon, Shemaryahu 204, 253 Teeter, David Andrew 143, 248 Thackeray, Henry Saint John 47, 75, 228, 253 Theophilos, Michael P. 146, 253 Thomas, Samuel I. 139, 253 Thomassen, Einar 27, 253 Thompson, Alden Lloyd 102, 136, 146, 253 Tiller, Patrick 160, 175, 253 Toit, Jaqueline S. du 212, 227 Tomson, Peter J. 13–14, 249, 254 Toorn, Karel van der 43, 255 Tov, Emanuel 209, 254 Troiani, Lucio 43, 48, 50, 254 Tromp, Johannes 138, 160, 254 Tropper, Amram 13, 254 Tuell, Steven 119, 254 Tuval, Michael 35, 58–59, 254 Ulrich, Eugene 16–17, 24–26, 28, 72, 139, 161, 172–73, 203–204, 219, 254 Unnik, Willem Cornelis van 50, 55, 66, 197, 216, 255 Usener, Hermann 52, 254 Uspensky, Boris 106, 109–110, 254 Van Seters, John 184, 255 VanderKam, James C. 7, 10, 79–80, 158, 175, 244, 255

Vardi, Amiel D. 52, 212, 255 Veltri, Giuseppe 24, 26, 157, 255 Venard, Olivier-Thomas 27, 256 Vermes, Geza 70, 132, 175, 256 Vialle, Catherine 72–73, 256 Violet, Bruno 88, 256 Vogel, Manuel 67, 228 Volkmar, Gustav 91–92, 256 Wallraff, Martin 18, 256 Wanke, Gunther 26, 205, 256 Warren, Meredith J.C. 112, 256 Weber, Robert 11, 90, 141, 256 Wellhausen, Julius 88, 158 Wette, Wilhelm M.L. de 158 Wieder, Naftali 20, 256 Wiese, Christian 23, 256 Wiese, Cleve 52, 242 Wildeboer, Gerrit 31, 256 Wills, Lawrence M. 118, 256 Wolterstorff, Nicholas 204, 257 Wright, Nicholas T. 159 Yamasaki, Gary 106, 110, 257 Yarbro Collins, Adela 170, 172, 257 Young, Ian 209, 257 Zaman, Luc 25, 257 Zurawski, Jason 118, 121, 146, 257

Index of Primary Texts Flavius Josephus Jewish War 37, 58–60 1.1–16 60 1.1–30 59 1.17–18 60 1.18 60 1.34–35 54 1.68–69 50 1.648–655 54 2.152–153 54 2.169–177 54 2.228–231 54 5.375–419 73 6.109 59 7.341–388 54 7.416–419 54 Jewish Antiquities 37–38, 58–59 1–2 75 1.5 61, 195 1.13 61, 62 1.17 61 1.26 61 1.30 81 1.68–71 81 1.73 80 1.74 81 1.79–86 79 1.85 79, 81 1.105–106 80 1.118 8 2.347 61 3–4 76 3.81 61 3.96 72 4.326–327 80 4.327 80 5.319–337 44 9.28 79 9.208 195 9.214 61 10.8 195 10.35 44, 71 10.79 71 10.185–281 69 10.210 70, 197

10.218 61 10.246 69 10.249 69 10.266–268 69 10.267 70 10.269 70 10.281 61 11 160, 200 11.1–158 71 11.73 120 11.120–123 43 11.159–183 71 11.184 43 11.184–296 73 11.293 43 11.296 62 11.297–303 62 11.304–347 62 11.337 70 12.11–118 74 12.36 195 12.100 63, 74 12.135–136 63 12.241–13.212 74 12.256 54 13.5 65 13.299–300 50 13.319 63 13.345–347 63 14.34–36 63 14.104 63 14.111–118 63 14.138–139 63 15.8–10 63 18.23–24 54 18.55–62 54 18.261–288 54 20.115–116 54 20.224–251 50 20.261 61 20.266 66 20.267 37 Against Apion 3, 37–38, 176, 195, 196, 200, 209 1.1 42, 61, 62

265

Index of Primary Texts 1.1–5 38 1.3 38 1.6–27 37–38 1.6–218 38 1.8 39 1.13 43 1.28 39 1.28–56 39, 49 1.29 39–40 1.30–36 39 1.31 49 1.31–35 40 1.36 39 1.37 40, 46 1.37–41 53, 76 1.37–42 3, 44 1.37–45 37, 39–40, 54, 56, 58, 66 1.38 46 1.39–40 44, 46, 72 1.40 43 1.41 43–44, 46–47, 49–51, 53, 60, 66, 73, 128 1.42 42, 55 1.42–45 54–56, 58 1.46 41 1.47–56 41, 53, 60 1.54 61, 62 1.57–59 39 1.60–68 39 1.69 38, 51 1.127 61 1.213–218 60 1.218 60 1.219–2.144 38 1.228 42 2.52–113 38 2.145–286 38 2.175 210 2.219 55 2.233 55 2.287–296 38 Life 37, 66 417–419 66 430 66 Fourth Ezra 10, 14, 76–78 3:1 107, 117, 119, 120, 131, 177 3:1–2 116–117

3:1–5:19 92 3:1–9:25 92 3:1–36 93, 122, 167 3:4–27 135 3:4–36 122 3:7 145 3:8 145 3:12 179 3:14 135 3:15–16 179 3:17–22 145 3:28–36 145 3:29 117 3:35–36 145 3:36 146, 148 4:1 93, 111, 113 4:2–25 93 4:3 113 4:5 113 4:5–8 173 4:7 152 4:12 127, 129 4:22–23 113 4:22–25 122 4:23 145, 147, 149 4:25 113 4:26–5:12 93 4:27 145 4:33 122 4:36 112 4:36–37 173, 179 4:38 113, 167 4:41 100 4:44–46 122 4:44–50 100 4:51 122 4:52 112 5:9 153 5:13 122 5:13–15 93 5:13–19 94 5:14 93 5:15 124 5:16–19 93, 95, 121, 126 5:17 117, 121 5:17–18 113 5:20 122 5:20–6:34 94

266 Fourth Ezra (cont.) 5:22 153 5:23 127 5:23–29 145 5:23–30 94 5:24 179 5:26 179 5:27 145 5:31–40 94 5:33–35 113 5:35 89, 127, 129 5:36 173 5:38 113 5:40 112 5:41 113 5:41–6:34 94 5:42 112 5:56 113 6:1–6 112 6:10 120 6:11 113 6:24 152 6:26 133 6:31 113 6:32–33 113–114 6:35–9:25 94, 166 6:35–59 166 6:38–59 94 6:49 174 6:51 174 6:54–56 146 7:1–9:22 94 7:2 120 7:3 113 7:4 152 7:6.21 116 7:10 113 7:11 146 7:12 136 7:16 125 7:17 113 7:19–25 147 7:20 143 7:25 120 7:28–29 121 7:45 113 7:45–47 127, 129 7:47–48 136

Index of Primary Texts 7:49–51 115 7:51–52 136 7:53 113 7:58 113 7:60 136 7:62–69 127, 129, 179 7:70–72 147 7:71 115 7:75 113 7:76–77 114 7:89 144 7:102 113 7:102–104 113 7:112–115 115 7:116–117 127, 129 7:129 147, 178 7:130 127 7:132–139 113 7:139–8:1 136 8:2 120 8:3 136 8:4–14 113 8:4–36 94 8:12 145, 153 8:15 123, 146 8:19–36 167 8:20 100, 120 8:37 115 8:46–51 129 8:47 112 8:47–62 114 8:52 153 8:55–58 147 8:61 112 8:62 135–136 8:64 113 9:11–12 132 9:15–16 137 9:17–22 112 9:21 127 9:22 127 9:23–25 94, 123 9:26–10:59 94 9:26–13:58 92 9:26–37 94 9:27 123 9:29–37 103, 122–123, 128 9:38–10:27 94

Index of Primary Texts 9:39 123 10:2–3 124 10:5 123 10:20 124 10:20–24 124 10:21–28 173 10:27–59 94 10:30 124, 153 10:39 129 10:40 153 10:41 124 10:49 124 10:50 125, 130 10:50–60 94 10:51 123 10:55–57 125 10:57 136 10:60–12:36 90 10:60–12:50 94 11:1–12:3 94 12:4–35 94 12:6 124 12:7–9 114, 126 12:8 124 12:11 117, 135, 174 12:32 121 12:36 126 12:36–40 94 12:37–38 126, 128, 137, 152 12:38 136 12:40 126, 167 12:40–50 121, 137 12:41–44 127 12:41–45 167 12:41–50 94, 95 12:42 113, 128 12:46–49 128, 151 12:48 128 12:51–13:20 95 12:51–13:58 94–95 13:14 129 13:16–20 129 13:21–24 129 13:21–58 95 13:32 121 13:37 121 13:38 148 13:40 95, 152

267 13:41–42 148 13:43–44 152 13:44 152 13:47 152 13:48 148 13:52 121 13:53–55 129 13:54 148, 149 13:55 153 13:57–58 130 14 96 14:1–2 129 14:1–50 95, 97, 116, 172–173, 176, 177, 181, 185–188, 195 14:2 120, 130 14:3–6 130 14:3–9 135 14:5 130 14:5–6 142, 152 14:9 100, 121, 133, 136 14:13 124, 131 14:18–22 149 14:19–22 3, 131, 138 14:20 121 14:20–22 167 14:21 147 14:21–22 152 14:22 151, 176, 196 14:23–26 131 14:24 121, 134 14:25 153 14:26 136 14:27–36 94, 121, 132, 149, 161 14:30 151 14:34 132 14:34–35 150 14:36 93 14:37 93 14:37–48 3, 131, 150, 152 14:38 120 14:40 153 14:42 141–142, 153 14:42–43 121, 150 14:45 137 14:45–47 152 14:46 136 14:46–49 103 14:47 134, 152, 153

268 Fourth Ezra (cont.) 14:48 120 14:49 96, 136 14:49–50 100–101, 133 14:50 116 Hebrew Bible Genesis 9, 18, 21, 42, 45, 59, 61, 75, 76, 81, 144, 150, 158, 178, 196, 210 1 42 1:1 176 2 211 5:23 81 5:24 79, 133, 163 6:1–4 81 10 172 25:22 164 35:22 181 46:27 172 49:28 181 Exodus  21, 42, 45, 59, 61, 75, 76, 144, 150, 158, 178, 210 1:5 172 3:4 130 18:15 164 24:1 172 24:4 181 24:18 131 Leviticus

2 1, 42, 45, 59, 61, 76, 144, 150, 158, 178, 210 25–26 172

Numbers 21, 42, 45, 59, 61, 76, 144, 150, 158, 178, 210 11:16 172 11:24–25 172 13:23–24 127 32:13 117 Deuteronomy 21, 42, 45, 59, 61, 76, 144, 150, 158, 178, 210 4 199 4:2 55 9:9–11 131

Index of Primary Texts 9:25 131 10:1–5.10–11 131 10:22 172 13:1 55 18:15–22 65 30:12 133 30:19 147, 178 31–32 132 34 42 34:10 163 34:10–12 132 Joshua 44–45, 59, 61, 178 5:6 117 24:3–4 179 Judges 8, 44–45, 61 8:30 172 1 Samuel

61, 178

2 Samuel 178 1 Kings 44–45, 59, 178 14:5 164 18:31 181 18:46 164 22:8 164 2 Kings 8, 44–45, 59, 178 1:3 164 1:6 164 1:16 164 2:1–11 133 3:15 164 10:1 172 17:13–23 49 18–24 62 18:26 195 Isaiah 8, 44–45, 59, 71, 178 23:15 172 23:17 172 36:11 195 38–39 62 41:8 179 51:7 145 65:8 128 66 179

269

Index of Primary Texts Jeremiah  8, 44–45, 59, 62, 71, 178 7:25 49 25:4–7 49 25:11–12 172 29:10 172 35:15 49 43:5–7 120 Ezekiel 44–45, 62, 112, 120, 139, 206 1:1 117–120, 119, 179 1:2 119 1:3 164 3:12 120 3:14 120 3:22 164 8:1 119, 121, 164 8:11 172 20:1 119, 121 24:1 119 26:1 119 29:1 119 29:17 119 30:20 119 31:1 119 32:1 119 32:17 119 33:21 119 33:22 164 37 179 37:1 164 40:1 119, 120, 164 40:2 120 40–48 120 Hosea

8, 44

Nahum

44, 62

Habakkuk

44, 139

Zephaniah

44

Haggai 44, 59, 62, 177, 198 1:1.12.14 120 2:2.23 120 Zechariah 8, 44, 47, 62, 112, 177 1:1–6 49 1:12 172 7:5 172 12 179 13:2 47 Malachi 44 1:2–3 179 3:23–24 133 Psalms 8, 44–45, 59, 178, 179, 213 74:9 47 90:10 172 119 183 Proverbs Job 38

8, 44–45 8, 44–45, 179 81, 179

Song of Songs 44–45, 179, 205–206, 209 Ruth

44–45, 61, 209, 213

Joel 44 3 179

Lamentations 44–45, 59, 71, 173, 183, 209 3:9 47

Amos 44 8 179

Qoheleth 44–45, 161, 179, 206, 209 3:18–22 179

Obadiah

44

Jonah

44, 62

Esther 7, 43, 44–45, 56, 62, 72–73, 177, 198, 205–206, 209, 213 9:20–32 44

Micah 44 7:1 128

270 Daniel 12, 44–45, 59, 62, 68–71, 88, 107, 112, 119, 139, 174, 178, 197, 213 2 211 2:1 117 2:4–7:28 21 3:38 47 4:5 117 7:1 117 8:2 117 8:26 138 9 167, 172 12:4.9 138 Ezra 44–45, 59, 62, 71–72, 117, 127, 160, 163–164, 177, 178 3:1 118 3:2 118, 120 3:8 120 4:8–6:18 21 5:2 120 7:1–5 118 7:6 116, 164 7:7 117 7:9 164 7:10 164 7:11 167 7:12–26 21 7:21 116 7:27–9:15 107 7:28 164 8:18 164 8:22 164 8:31 164 9:3–10:1 167 9–10 166 10:10 167 10:16 167 Nehemiah 44–45, 62, 71–72, 116, 127, 160, 164, 177, 178 3:14–15 161 7:38–8:12 62 7:72–8:12 161 8:2 167 8:9 167 8:13–17 164

Index of Primary Texts 8:13–18 161 9 161 9:6–37 161 9:9–37 161 10 161 12:1 118, 120 12:13 118 12:26 167 1 Chronicles 44–45, 62, 177, 198 3:17 120 3:19 120 6:4–15 118 24:7–18 180, 182 25:1–31 180 2 Chronicles 9, 18, 44–45, 62, 177, 198 20:8 179 24:19 49 35-36 62 36:15–16 49 Other Early Jewish Literature 1 Enoch 76–82, 79, 107, 111, 171, 173, 175, 211 1:9 9 13:3 81 14 81 17–18 81 72–81 81 83–89 160 89:59 172 89:72 160 90:18 172 1 Esdras 62, 71–72, 116, 127, 160, 163, 164, 169, 178, 200 3:1–5:6 62 8:1–2 118 8:3 116 8:6 117 8:8–9.19 167 8:68–9:36 166 8:71–91 167 9:16 167

271

Index of Primary Texts 9:37–55 161 9:39–40.49 167 9:42 167 1 Maccabees 62, 66, 74–75, 173, 198 1:55–56 54 4:46 47, 65 9:27 47, 65 14–16 65 14:41 47, 65 2 Baruch 9, 78, 91–92, 107, 111, 112, 119, 145, 150, 163, 173, 175, 180, 207 1:1 120 4:3–5 135 6:3 120 6:4 120 19:1 178 29:3–30:1 127 46:1–3 132 56:9–16 175 59:5 173 77:13–15 132 85:1–5 168 85:3 47 2 Enoch 171 4:1 182 23 171 2 Maccabees 74–75, 173, 199, 200 1:18 159 1:20–21 159 1:31 159 1:33 159 1:36 159 1.23 159 2:13 159 2:13–15 5

Apocalypse of Abraham 9, 14, 78, 107, 207 Aristeas 26, 55, 62, 74–75, 99, 147, 212 Baruch 44, 144, 149, 206 1:21 49 4 149, 199 Damascus Document CD 10:7–10 7 CD 16:2–4 7 Epistle of Jeremiah 206 Eupolemus 49 Jubilees 7, 75–76, 97, 165, 171, 175 2:23 10 4:17 81 4:22 81 4.17–25 79 8:3 81 Judith 73, 118, 120, 173 5:5–21 73 Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum 9, 78, 207 Life of Adam and Eve 141 Philo 8–9, 26, 55, 147, 158, 165, 172, 205, 210 QG 2:5 183 Contempl. 25–29 8 Abr. 1 8 Aet. 19 8

3 Baruch 14

Psalms of Solomon 173

4 Maccabees

Sibylline Oracles 14 3.97–104 78

9, 78, 207

5 Ezra 87 6 Ezra

87, 100

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 7, 46, 104, 144, 149, 179, 198, 200, 205–206

272

Index of Primary Texts

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus (cont.) 1 173 24 149, 154, 199 24:25-33 152 33:16–18 128 44:1–50:24 73, 159 49:10 181 49:13 159 Prologue to Sirach

5, 8

Targum Ezekiel 119 Targum Isaiah 128 Targum Micah 128 Targum Pseudo-Jonathan 133 Temple Scroll

7, 75–76, 165

Testament of Adam 182 1:1–2:12 182 Testament of Moses 9, 78, 139, 207 1:16–17 138 4:1–4 160 Tobit

7, 73, 118, 120

Wisdom of Solomon 11:20 173 Qumran 73, 75–76, 139, 141, 159, 205 1QpHab 7:4–5 139 4Q117 160, 161 4Q228 7 4Q390 159 4Q394–399 8 4Q418 104 New Testament Matthew 1:12–13 120, 159 7:13–14 137 9:37 137

17:3 133 19:28 181 21:33–46 49 22:14 137 23:34–39 49 23:35 9 Luke 3:27 120, 159 4:16–17 210 9:1–2 172 10:1–20 172 10:2 137 11:51 9 24:27 55 John 3:13 133 10:34–35 150 15:25 150 Acts 2:34 133 13:14–15 210 13:27 210 1 Corinthians 14:21 150 Galatians 4:4 27 James 1:1 181 2:23 178 Jude 14–15 9 Revelation 107 1:8 183 1:17 183 2:8 183 4:4 180 4:8 182 4:10 180 5:8 180 11:16 180 19:4 180

273

Index of Primary Texts 21 211 21:6 183 21:12 181 21:14 181 22:13 183 Other Early Christian Literature Ambrose of Milan 88 Apostolic Constitutions 89 Athanasius 73 Carmen adversus Marcionitas 4:198–210 181 Clement of Alexandria 157 Strom. 3.16 (3.100.3) 89 Cyril of Jerusalem Catechesis 4.35 44 Eusebius Hist. eccl. 6.25.1–2 10 Gospel of Thomas 10 52 9 Irenaeus 157 Jerome 181 Epistle 112 187 Prologus in libro Regum (Prologus Galeatus) 11, 44, 141 Melito of Sardis 73 Origen 11, 119 Priscillian 88, 157 Tertullian 157 Victorinus of Pettau Comm. in Apoc. 4.3–5 181 De fabrica mundi 9 181 Classical Authors 212 Apion 37 Apuleius Metam. 11,22 142 Aristotle 97 Metaph. 14:6, 1093b 183 Poet. 1450a 23 96 Chaeremon 37 Diodorus of Sicily 2:31:4 182 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 52, 60 Herodotus 39, 50

Homer 183, 212 Lysimachus 37 Manetho 37 Nicholas of Damascus 62 Plato Tim. 21b-23c 39 Polybius 60, 62, 63 Quintilian 10.1.1 52 10.1.46–84 52 10.1.85–131 52 Strabo 62, 63 Suetonius 14 Tacitus 14 Thucydides 50, 60 Valerius Flaccus 14 Xenophon 50 Rabbinic Literature Mishnah 22, 27, 168, 171, 209 Tosefta 13:2–4 47 Babylonian Talmud 22, 47 b. B. Bat. 14b 11 b. B. Bat. 22a 168 b. Ketub. 5a 169 b. Meg. 15a 169 b. Meg. 16b 168 b. Meg. 31b 169 B. Qam. 82a–82b 168 b. Sanh. 4:7 168 b. Sanh. 11a 47 b. Sanh. 21b 141, 169 b. Sotah 48b 47 b. Yoma 9b 21b, 47 Jerusalem Talmud y. Meg. 1:21b 169 y. Meg. 4 75a, 169 Midrash Samuel 15:2 169 Rabbah Qoheleth 1:4:4 169 Seder Olam Rabba 29:8 118 30 47 30:10 118

274

Index of Primary Texts

Medieval and Early Modern Authors Baruch Spinoza David Ruhnken De imitatione Christi I, 1.3 Elias Levita

158 23 20 157

Isidore of Seville Etymologies 6.3 157 Luther 20 R. David Kimchi 157 Rashi 21 Sebastian Münster 20