TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

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TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:24 pm

It is in: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. by James H. Charlesworth (which relies on the Syriac texts)
(https://books.google.com/books?id=TNdeo ... ek&f=false)
Budge's translation from the Syriac is here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bct/bct10.htm
Kmosko's 1907 translation from Syriac that has the part about God putting Adam at God's right: https://pages.uncc.edu/john-reeves/rese ... t-of-adam/
S.E. Robinson's translation is in Charlesworth's The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: https://books.google.com/books?id=Z8cyt ... &lpg=PA989
You can read Chapter 4, the Hierarchy of the Angels, here: https://yahuwahaluhiym.files.wordpress. ... f-adam.pdf
The Greek and Syriac fragments (in Greek and Aramaic) are here: http://pseudepigrapha.org/docs/text/TAdam

(Question 1: See below in the thread for A and B) Is the Testament of Adam a (A) Jewish document with an added Christian section, (B) Christian document with Jewish elements, or (C) gnostic?

(Option A) Jewish with a Christian addition
James Charlesworth writes:
The rewriting of tradition in the second half in which Cain slays his brother because of jealousy over Lud, their sister (cf. Budge, Cave of Treasures, p. 70; Gibson, p. 17) may reflect early Syrian asceticism, perhaps that of the Encratites. Even earlier is the first half, because of the conspicuous absence of Christian elements and the general early Jewish tone (cf. the ending with 4Q Morgen- und Abendgebete). Significantly, the Greek portions preserve only this first section...
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/testadam.html
The Encratites were an ascetic, gnostic group. Reading this quote by Charlesworth, I thought that the first, more Jewish, section is the most original, since it is all that the Greek fragment quotes. On the other hand, consider that Charlesworth also writes: "the Greek version corresponds most closely with Syriac recension 3, the least reliable of the Syriac recensions. There can be little doubt that the original language of the Testament of Adam is Syriac".

(Option B) Christian with Jewish elements
Chapter 1 says that the angels sang "Holy, Holy, Holy" at the fourth hour, and this is a significant Christian hymn, but it also exists in Judaism, since it's in Isaiah.
Chapter 2 says mentions the Lord's Spirit or "Holy Spirit" (per the Ethiopic version): "And at the tenth hour the Holy Spirit overshadoweth the waters, and the devils flee away and remove themselves from the waters. And if the Holy Spirit did not overshadow the waters at this hour every day, no one could drink of the waters, [for if he did] his flesh (i.e. body) would be destroyed by the evil devils." The Holy Spirit is a major theme in Christianity, but it can also be found in Judaism, so it's not necessarily Christian either.
Chapter 3 begins by talking about the signs of the Messiah in a way that strongly recalls Christian ideas of the Messiah.
So I can see how Chapters 1-2 could be a separate Jewish part, with Chapter 3 being a Christian addition, but I am not sure that the two parts are necessarily separate.
Chapter 1-2 does not really talk much about Adam (even though the narrator speaks as Adam in the first person there), but rather about what things are like during different hours of the night and day. The part about Adam is really the third, Christian chapter, which makes chapter 3 an essential part of the text. It seems then that Chapters 1-2 are not an independent section that is its own, separate, non-Christian "Testament" about Adam.

(Option C) Possible Gnosticism
Charlesworth notes that in the Testament of Adam, "Archons control the weather". It's true that there are references to angels as "archons" in the Bible, but it's pretty rare, whereas it's a major feature of gnosticism.
"THE TESTAMENT OF ADAM AND THE ANGELIC LITURGY", by Stephen E. Robinson notes: "Renan believed the Testament to be the product of Christian gnosticism and in this he was followed by several other nineteenth century critics."(Revue de Qumrân Vol. 12, No. 1 (45) (JUIN 1985), pp. 105-110)
The Online Pseudepigrapha says: "Beginning with M. E. Renan, the Testament of Adam was long regarded by modern scholars as a Gnostic work, but both Reinink and Robinson have shown this view to be wrong."
I thought the part about the devils praising God sounded weird, but maybe this reflects the document's gnosticism: "And at the first hour of the night the devils render thanks and praise to God Most High, and there is in them no evil and no harm for anyone until they have finished their service of homage."
Here is the quote about Cain's jealousy over his sister: "Furthermore, thou must know, O my son, Seth, behold a Flood shall come and shall wash the whole earth because of the children of Kâyal (Cain), the murderer, who slew his brother through jealousy, because of his sister Lûd."

(Question 2: SEE BELOW) Is the Testament saying that the Messiah would come 5500 years after Adam's time?
Charlesworth gives this version of God's words to Adam:
"I will make you a god, not right now, but after a space of many years. ... But after a short time there will be mercy on you because you were created in my image..."

E.A. Budge translated the Testament as saying:
God spake unto me, saying, "Be not sorrowful, O Adam, for thou didst wish to become a god and didst transgress my command. Behold, I will stablish thee, not at this present, but after a few days."
...
[God continues:] "And after five days and half a day1 I will have compassion upon thee, and shew thee mercy in the abundance of my compassion and my mercy. And I will come down into thy house, and I will dwell in thy flesh, and for thy sake I will be pleased to be born like an [ordinary] child.
BUDGE'S FOOTNOTE:
I.e. five thousand five hundred years.
Does this mean that in the year 5500 in the Hebrew calendar, Jesus is to be born? That's 1740 AD in the Gregorian calendar. (http://www.hebcal.com/converter/?hd=28& ... 5500&h2g=1) This doesn't sound right.
Last edited by rakovsky on Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:32 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by DCHindley » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:29 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:24 pm
It is in: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. by James H. Charlesworth (which relies on the Syriac texts)
(https://books.google.com/books?id=TNdeo ... ek&f=false)
Budge's translation from the Syriac is here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bct/bct10.htm
The Greek and Syriac fragments (in Greek and Aramaic) are here: http://pseudepigrapha.org/docs/text/TAdam
...
(Question 2) Is the Testament saying that the Messiah would come 5500 years after Adam's time?
Charlesworth gives this version of God's words to Adam:
"I will make you a god, not right now, but after a space of many years. ... But after a short time there will be mercy on you because you were created in my image..."

E.A. Budge translated the Testament as saying:
God spake unto me, saying, "Be not sorrowful, O Adam, for thou didst wish to become a god and didst transgress my command. Behold, I will stablish thee, not at this present, but after a few days."
...
[God continues:] "And after five days and half a day1 I will have compassion upon thee, and shew thee mercy in the abundance of my compassion and my mercy. And I will come down into thy house, and I will dwell in thy flesh, and for thy sake I will be pleased to be born like an [ordinary] child.
BUDGE'S FOOTNOTE:
I.e. five thousand five hundred years.
Does this mean that in the year 5500 in the Hebrew calendar, Jesus is to be born? That's 1740 AD in the Gregorian calendar. (http://www.hebcal.com/converter/?hd=28& ... 5500&h2g=1) This doesn't sound right.
Depends on where you get your numbers.

Anno Mundi
Jubilees Adam to death of Moses 2,450 AM
Josephus Moses to David +585 yrs
Josephus David to 2nd yr Vespasian +1,179 yrs
Adj back up to Jesus' death -42 yrs
Adj back up to Jesus' birth -30 yrs
Subtotal 4,142 AM
Lxx over Jubilees (codex Alexandrinus) +1,446 yrs*
Total Total 5,588 AM

*Birth of Jacob per Alexandrinus = 3492 AM
Birth of Jacob per Jubilees = 2046 AM
Difference = 1,446 yrs

The eighty eight surplus years can be lopped off with a little ingenuity, as there are many variants out there, differences between calendars (364 day yr in Jubilees, 354 day lunar year w/o intercalary months, 365.25 day Macedonian year), etc. There is no guarantee that what an author means by a "year" of measured time is the same as dating times. Ptolemy used to do all his astronomical calculations in 360 day "Egyptian years," without the 5 intercalary days.

The permutations seem endless so be prepared to get some really bad headaches.

DCH

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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:11 pm

Wow. This is impressive. What does Lxx over Jubilees mean? An alternative where one goes by the LXX instead of by Jubilees?

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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by DCHindley » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:09 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:11 pm
Wow. This is impressive. What does Lxx over Jubilees mean? An alternative where one goes by the LXX instead of by Jubilees?
The Lxx ages for the ancient patriarchs are much lengthier than they are in the Hebrew MT or the chronology of the book of Jubilees, which totally re-writes the Pentateuch story. Josephus falls somewhere in between.

Here is a table I came up with in 2014, comparing the dates of birth of various patriarchs in Judean lore.

MT = The Masoretic Text of the book of Genesis (Hebrew with scattered Aramaic words, sentences and paragraphs)
LXX Vaticanus = Duh, the Greek LXX (Pentateuch) book of Genesis in the Christian codex known as Vaticanus
LXX Alexandrinus = Uf Dah, The Greek LXX (Pentateuch) book of Genesis in the Christian codex known as Alexanbdrinus
SP = Samaritan version of the Pentateuch (Hebrew) book of Genesis
Josephus = The dates that Josephus gave these same events as found in his several books
Jubilees = The dates that are given or can be inferred from the Judean re-write of the Pentateuch as found in the book of Jubilees (Hebrew)

Text:
MT
LXX Vaticanus
LXX Alexandrinus
SP
Josephus
Jubilees
Name: Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Year of birth (Anno Mundi) per text
ADAM 0 0 0 0 0 0
SETH 130 230 230 130 230 130
ENOSH 235 435 435 235 435 235
KENAN I 325 625 625 325 625 325
MAHALALEL 395 795 795 395 795 395
JARED 460 960 960 460 960 461
ENOCH 622 1122 1122 522 1122 522
METHUSELAH 687 1287 1287 587 1287 587
LAMECH 874 1454 1474 654 1474 652
NOAH 1056 1642 1662 707 1656 707
SHEM 1556 2142 2162 1207 2156 1207
ARPACHSHAD 1656 2242 2262 1307 2268 1310
KENNAN II N/A 2377 2397 N/A N/A 1375
SHELAH 1691 2507 2527 1442 2403 1432
EBER 1721 2637 2657 1572 2533 1503
PELEG 1755 2771 2791 1706 2667 1567
REU 1785 2901 2921 1836 2797 1579 / 1628
SERUG 1817 3033 3053 1968 2927 1687
NAHOR 1847 3163 3183 2098 3059 1744
TERAH 1876 3342 3262 2177 3138 1806
ABRA(HA)M 1946 3412 3332 2247 3208 1876
ISAAC 2046 3512 3432 Not Available 3308 1980
JACOB 2106 3572 3492 Not Available Not Available 2046

The rest of the dates came from William Whiston, who might not be the most reliable person to summarize such data (he took enormous liberties). I did search out the statements in Josephus' Wars and Antiquities which I believe Whiston used. It has not been systematized as of this point.

DCH

NB: The source for the above table is the attached PDF
Attachments
(Hindley, David C) Chronology of the Patriarchs 3c (2011-05-28, rev 2014-01-13).pdf
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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:49 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:09 pm
rakovsky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:11 pm
Wow. This is impressive. What does Lxx over Jubilees mean? An alternative where one goes by the LXX instead of by Jubilees?
The Lxx ages for the ancient patriarchs are much lengthier than they are in the Hebrew MT or the chronology of the book of Jubilees, which totally re-writes the Pentateuch story. Josephus falls somewhere in between.

Here is a table I came up with in 2014, comparing the dates of birth of various patriarchs in Judean lore.

MT = The Masoretic Text of the book of Genesis (Hebrew with scattered Aramaic words, sentences and paragraphs)
LXX Vaticanus = Duh, the Greek LXX (Pentateuch) book of Genesis in the Christian codex known as Vaticanus
LXX Alexandrinus = Uf Dah, The Greek LXX (Pentateuch) book of Genesis in the Christian codex known as Alexanbdrinus
SP = Samaritan version of the Pentateuch (Hebrew) book of Genesis
Josephus = The dates that Josephus gave these same events as found in his several books
Jubilees = The dates that are given or can be inferred from the Judean re-write of the Pentateuch as found in the book of Jubilees (Hebrew)

Text:
MT
LXX Vaticanus
LXX Alexandrinus
SP
Josephus
Jubilees
Name: Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Calculated year of birth (Anno Mundi) Year of birth (Anno Mundi) per text
ADAM 0 0 0 0 0 0
SETH 130 230 230 130 230 130
ENOSH 235 435 435 235 435 235
KENAN I 325 625 625 325 625 325
MAHALALEL 395 795 795 395 795 395
JARED 460 960 960 460 960 461
ENOCH 622 1122 1122 522 1122 522
METHUSELAH 687 1287 1287 587 1287 587
LAMECH 874 1454 1474 654 1474 652
NOAH 1056 1642 1662 707 1656 707
SHEM 1556 2142 2162 1207 2156 1207
ARPACHSHAD 1656 2242 2262 1307 2268 1310
KENNAN II N/A 2377 2397 N/A N/A 1375
SHELAH 1691 2507 2527 1442 2403 1432
EBER 1721 2637 2657 1572 2533 1503
PELEG 1755 2771 2791 1706 2667 1567
REU 1785 2901 2921 1836 2797 1579 / 1628
SERUG 1817 3033 3053 1968 2927 1687
NAHOR 1847 3163 3183 2098 3059 1744
TERAH 1876 3342 3262 2177 3138 1806
ABRA(HA)M 1946 3412 3332 2247 3208 1876
ISAAC 2046 3512 3432 Not Available 3308 1980
JACOB 2106 3572 3492 Not Available Not Available 2046

The rest of the dates came from William Whiston, who might not be the most reliable person to summarize such data (he took enormous liberties). I did search out the statements in Josephus' Wars and Antiquities which I believe Whiston used. It has not been systematized as of this point.

DCH

NB: The source for the above table is the attached PDF
Awesome, David. I vaguely remember a hypothesis that the putative original genealogy lurking behind all of the above had at least one patriarch (besides Noah himself) surviving the flood, and the Samaritan, the Masoretic, and the LXX each solved the problem in a different manner, producing the differences we find in the texts today.
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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:57 pm

Very good research by both of you.

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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:55 pm

For Question 2 (on the 5500 years), you - DC Hindley - did a good job showing how it can refer to the time from Adam for Jesus' incarnation. I am impressed how easily you were able to pull those figures together, DC.

It sounds like the passage is talking about Jesus' birth, rather than the Atonement, when it says that after 5500 years, God will have mercy on Adam and do things that include the incarnation and Crucifixion. It sounds like first God will have compassion and then in accordance with the bestowing of compassion, God will incarnate (2 BC), undergo Crucifixion (33 AD), etc.:
And after five days and half a day1 I will have compassion upon thee, and shew thee mercy in the abundance of my compassion and my mercy. And I will come down into thy house, and I will dwell in thy flesh, and for thy sake I will be pleased to be born like an [ordinary] child. And for thy sake I will be pleased to walk in the market place. And for thy sake I will be pleased to fast forty days. And for thy sake I will be pleased to accept baptism. And for thy sake I will be pleased to endure suffering. And for thy sake I will be pleased to hang on the wood of the Cross. All these things [will I do] for thy sake, O Adam."
The year 3760 in today's common Hebrew Calendar would be 2 BC (c. Jesus' birth) on the Gregorian calendar. (http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=2bc)
The year 5500 in today's common Hebrew Calendar would be 1740 AD in the Gregorian calendar.

Your information showed that in the book of Jubilees, the time from Adam's birth to Moses was 2450 years, and that in Josephus, the time from Moses to Jesus would be 1692 years (Moses to David +585 yrs, David to 70 AD the 2nd yr Vespasian +1,179 yrs, the time from 70 AD to 2 BC -72 yrs)
Do I have that right? When you refer to the 2nd year of Vespasian, you mean 70 AD, right?
So if you combine the time in Jubilees from Adam to Moses with the time in Josephus from Moses to Jesus' birth, you get 4,142 years.

However, you said that if you use the Septuagint (Codex Alexandrinus) instead of the book of Jubilees for the time between Adam and Moses, your date would be 1,446 years longer, reaching a total of 5,558 years. You also showed that the 1,446 difference is because the time from Adam's birth to Jacob was 1,446 years longer in LXX Alexandrinus (Birth of Jacob per Alexandrinus = 3492 AM, Birth of Jacob per Jubilees = 2046 AM)

You gave good reasons why the Testament of Adam might use 5,500 years for the time of Jesus' birth, when you said:
The eighty eight surplus years can be lopped off with a little ingenuity, as there are many variants out there, differences between calendars (364 day yr in Jubilees, 354 day lunar year w/o intercalary months, 365.25 day Macedonian year), etc. There is no guarantee that what an author means by a "year" of measured time is the same as dating times. Ptolemy used to do all his astronomical calculations in 360 day "Egyptian years," without the 5 intercalary days.
If the author was using the LXX and coming from an Alexandrian Hellenistic viewpoint and using the 360 day "Egyptian years", then he would put more "years" between the time of Moses and Jesus than Josephus would if Josephus was using the Julian or Hebrew Calendars. An Egyptian year was only 360/365.25 as long as the Julian year. So in that case, 1692 of Josephus' Julian years from Moses to Jesus would be as long as 1716.675 "Egyptian years", ie. almost 25 years longer. 1692 of Josephus' Julian years would be 1745.77 years, ie. 53.77 years longer.

How does the time compare between Josephus and LXX Alexandrinus for the period between Adam and Moses?
In Against Apion, 1.8, Josephus writes that the time between Adam's birth and Moses' death was a bit less than 3000 years. There Moses writes:
This interval of time was little short of three thousand years. But as to the time from the death of Moses, till the reign of Artaxerxes, King of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the Prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times, in thirteen books.
If we used Josephus' 3000 year time span in our calculation for the time before Moses' death, we would come up with a total number of years much less than 5500 for Jesus' birth. So I can understand why you looked at the LXX instead of Josephus for measuring the time period before Moses' death.
So the answer for Question 2 is that to get a number approximating 5500 years one can combine the LXX for the period of the Torah with the period of Josephus up to Jesus' birth and then make adjustments downward due to issues in calculating the length of years. Plus, the author of the Testament of Adam could have been using dates different from those even in the LXX and in Josephus' writings.

Thanks for the discussion.

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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:59 am

For Question 1 (on its theological category), Consider:

Reasons why it might have been Jewish (especially Chapters 1-2) with Christian additions (ie. in Chapter 3):
1. Supposed lack of Christian elements in the first half. Charlesworth writes: "Even earlier is the first half, because of the conspicuous absence of Christian elements and the general early Jewish tone (cf. the ending with 4Q Morgen- und Abendgebete)." But a Christian document on a pre-Christian topic might not necessarily have openly Christian references. Plus, the first two chapters could have Christian references (the Trisagion and the Holy Spirit).
2. "Significantly, the Greek portions preserve only this first section [the potentially non-Christian section]...", according to Charlesworth. But (A) the text is considered originally written in Syriac, so maybe the lack of the second half in the Greek version doesn't prove that the second half was a later addition. Plus, (B) Charlesworth writes: "the Greek version corresponds most closely with Syriac recension 3, the least reliable of the Syriac recensions. There can be little doubt that the original language of the Testament of Adam is Syriac".
3. According to the Online Pseudepigrapha "the two parts are strikingly different in form, genre, and subject matter." (ie. Description of the hours when beings praise God vs. the Prophecy of world history) But even if they are two different documents unified into one, they could still be written by the same Christian group.
4. Annie Jaubert writes in her essay, "The Horarium of Adam and the Chronology of the Passion" about the passage on the Twelfth Hour of the Night:
Syriac [rescension] 1 probably gives us the best text of what then happens, at the twelfth and last hour of the night: 'the awaiting of incense and the silence which is imposed upon all the ranks of fire and of wind until all the priests burn incense to his divinity. And at that time all the powers of the heavenly places are dismissed.'
...
What is distinctive about the Horarium is that it refers to the silence of all the ranks of angels in the heavens... until the priests on earth burn incense. In its position at the twelfth hour of the night, this can only refer to the daily morning service in the Jerusalem Temple, in which the burning of incense on the altar of incense took place soon after daybreak between the slaughter of the sacrificial lamb and its offering as the daily morning burnt-offering. This passage in the Horarium is indubitably Jewish rather than Christian, since there is no evidence of liturgical use of incense by Christians until the late fourth century,[43] while, even when it was used, it did not have the key significance which the Horarium's singling out the offering of incense for mention requires. In the daily Temple ritual the incense offering did have this significance, as accompanying, symbolizing and assisting the prayers of the people. If this passage in the Horarium is indubitably Jewish rather than Christian, it also most probably dates from before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. The reference to the incense offering as current practice cannot be explained by the attribution of the Horarium to Adam... since it is, of course, anachronistic as spoken by Adam.
Jaubert is taking the text's description and endorsement of priests using incense as proof that the text must be a Jewish one written at the time when the priests were performing this task, ie before the 70 AD destruction. But this is not necessarily the case. First, the text could refer to priests in general performing this task, rather than specifically the Israelite priests. Second, the priests in the text could be pre-Israelite priests, since they might be living in Adam's especially long lifespan. Plus, Jaubert points out later that the text describes priests anointing the sick and that priests in other Near East religions performed this task, but that those in Judaism did not. Third, an early Old Testament pseudepigraphral Christian text may also realistically describe or even prescribe Jewish priestly functions. A good example of this is the Testament of the Three Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), which prescribes sacrifices, which were performed in Judaism. Fourth, the text could be referring to Christian priests, who existed in the early pre-Constantinian period. Since Jaubert considers the text's reference to priests to be anachronistic, the fact that Christian priests would be an anachronism would not obviate this interpretation of the nature of the priests. Jaubert says that there is no evidence of Christians using incense before the late fourth century, but Robert Arakaki presents such evidence in his essay, "Defending Incense", wriitng:
The Liturgy of St. James is the oldest Christian liturgy dating back to the first century church in Jerusalem. It is still in use in the Orthodox churches, being celebrated once a year on the feast day of St. James the Lord’s brother. This Liturgy contained 10 references to incense. ... The Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles (composed by St. Adaeus and St. Maris, aka Addai and Mari) contains 5 references to incense. This liturgy dates back to the third century Edessa and is in use among the Syrian Christians. What is notable is that incense is mentioned in the liturgical rubrics for the priest, e.g., instructions for the priest to cense the congregation or the Eucharistic elements.
...
Canon 3 [of the Apostolic Canons] supports the use of incense in the early liturgies: '...Neither is it allowed to bring anything else to the altar at the time of the holy oblation, excepting oil for the lamps, and incense.'
https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodox ... g-incense/
Jaubert differentiates the use of incense in the Testament from Christian use of incense by theorizing that the purpose of the incense in the Testament was to accompany the prayers of believers as the prayers came to God. But in fact, this same role of incense appears in Christian worship. First, Robert Arakaki in "Defending Incense" notes that Eusebius sees "incense" in Malachi as referring to the "incense of prayer", and Arakaki comments: "That incense is a symbol of our prayers to God is something an Orthodox Christian would readily agree with." Second, Jaubert notes herself in her essay that the use of incense as an accompaniment for prayer shows up in the Christian Book of Revelation, where an angel uses incense in connection with the saints' prayers. Jaubert doesn't see the Book of Revelation's treatment of incense as applicable because in Revelation an angel, rather than a priest, offers the incense. But this distinction between angel and priest doesn't disprove that Revelation was not associating Christian ritual use of incense with prayers, because some scholars today consider the Book of Revelation to be including references to early Christian liturgy. Beatrice Caseau in Incense and Fragrances: From House to Church described early Christians using incense in their homes and at the graves of their dead, and she also noted the story of Constantine offering incense in Rome's basilicas when he subsidized churches in the early-mid 4th century. She comments that this story implies that the Christians had already been using incense before this time:
It is very unlikely that Constantine would have offered a type of object deliberately offensive to the Christians. Even if he was a recent convert, he was not unaware of what constituted acceptable church plates. He had advisors on that issue, possibly Silvester himself. When he decided to provide funds and materials for the building of a church in Jerusalem, he ordered the local officials to grant to the bishop whatever heneeded. The bishop was clearly in charge.
Reasons why it may have been originally composed as a Christian text:
1. Chapter 1 says that the angels sang "Holy, Holy, Holy" at the fourth hour. This is a significant Christian hymn, the "Trisagion", but it also exists in Judaism, since it's in Isaiah. An example of how it is a significant Christian hymn is the use of the Trisagion in Chapter 4 of the Testament of Adam, the section known as the "Hierarchy of the Angels":
These other orders, thrones and seraphim and cherubim, stand before the majesty of ourLord Jesus the Messiah and serve the throne of his magnificence, glorifying him hourly withtheir "holy, holy, holy."
2. Chapter 2 says mentions the Lord's Spirit or "Holy Spirit" (per the Ethiopic version):
"And at the tenth hour the Holy Spirit overshadoweth the waters, and the devils flee away and remove themselves from the waters. And if the Holy Spirit did not overshadow the waters at this hour every day, no one could drink of the waters, [for if he did] his flesh (i.e. body) would be destroyed by the evil devils."
The Holy Spirit is a major theme in Christianity, but it can also be found in Judaism, so it's not necessarily Christian either.
3. If you take the whole text at face value, all three parts belong to the same document. Plus, the Online Pseudepigrapha states:
Despite the various instances where we find traces of separate versions of the Horarium or the Prophecy (see "Versions" above), there is no clear evidence of an earlier independent version of either part. The redactional and compositional history of TAdam is difficult to untangle with any certainty, and the earliest manuscripts present a unified document.
4. McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia sees the two halves coming together to form a whole and having similar basic features:
The Hours and the Prophecy have every appearance of forming part of the same work. In each Adam speaks to Seth, and refers to his past sin; and there is considerable similarity of tone. They are probably, however, mere extracts; the several passages are disconnected, and the dramatic framework is perceptible only at the end.
https://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/A/adam-book-of.html
5. The section on the Seventh and Tenth Hours of the Day says:
Budge's Translation:
...if at this [Seventh] hour the priest taketh some water and mixeth holy oil with it, and he anointeth therewith the sick and those who cannot sleep at night because of [their] pain, those who are sick will be healed...
And if the priest taketh water at this [Tenth] hour and mixeth with it holy oil, and anointeth the sick and those who are possessed of foul spirits with the mixture, they shall be healed of their sickness.
Annie Jaubert writes in her essay, "The Horarium of Adam and the Chronology of the Passion":
there is one feature of the Horarium which may be considered problematic in a Second Temple Jewish context. ...at the seventh hour of the night, all the natural powers on earth, including the waters, rest without movement: 'And in that hour the waters are taken up and the priest of God mixes them with consecrated oil and anoints those who are afflicted and they rest.' At the tenth hour of the day... '...the waters are taken up and the priest of God mixes them with consecrated oil and anoints those who are afflicted and they are restored and they are healed.'
...
The difficulty these accounts pose is that there seems to be no evidence in Jewish literature associating priests with healing. In other ancient cultures priests were often healers, but not, it seems, in Judaism according to extant sources. The only association between priests, disease and healing in the Bible is in the case of the purification of someone with skin disease (leprosy), according to Leviticus 14. Here the priest does use oil as part of the purification ritual... but he has no part in the physical healing. The disease must be healed before the person comes to the priest to have the healing verified and purification from ritual impurity secured. However, despite the lack of corroborative evidence, it is not difficult to suppose that, at the level of popular practice in the localities of Palestine where most priests lived most of the time, when not officiating in the temple, priests may have functioned as healers because they were able to consecrate the oil that was used to anoint the sick.
One reason why the priests in Judaism may not have been involved in healing rituals for the afflicted may be because Judaism emphasized keeping priests ritually pure according to cleanliness rules that separated them from the sick.

Reasons why it may be Gnostic:
1. The Encratites may have been Gnostic, and Charlesworth writes: "The rewriting of tradition in the second half in which Cain slays his brother because of jealousy over Lud, their sister may reflect early Syrian asceticism, perhaps that of the Encratites." I say that the Encratites may have been Gnostic, because the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on Encratites says:
The name was given to an early Christian sect, or rather to a tendency common to several sects, chiefly Gnostic, whose asceticism was based on heretical views regarding the origin of matter. ...the first mention of a Christian sect of this name occurs in Irenæus (I, xxviii). He connects their origin with Saturninus and Marcion. Rejecting marriage, they implicitly accuse the Creator, Who made both male and female. Refraining from all ’émpsucha (animal food and intoxicants), they are ungrateful to Him Who created all things.
http://catholicencyclopedia.newadvent.c ... 05412c.htm
2. Charlesworth notes that in the Testament of Adam, "Archons control the weather". It's true that there are references to angels as "archons" in the Bible, but it's pretty rare, whereas it's a major feature of gnosticism.
3. The part about the devils praising God could reflect the document's gnosticism, since it sounds strange in terms of normal Christian thinking: " And at the first hour of the night the devils render thanks and praise to God Most High, and there is in them no evil and no harm for anyone until they have finished their service of homage."
4. Adam's son Seth being the one who wrote down the text, according to the ending of the text, could suggest an association with Sethian Gnostics, who venerated Adam's son Seth. The ending includes:
[Adam said, "]Furthermore, thou must know, O my son, Seth, behold a Flood shall come and shall wash the whole earth because of the children of Kâyal (Cain), the murderer, who slew his brother through jealousy, because of his sister Lûd..." And Seth wrote down this Commandment, and sealed it with his seal, and with the seal of his father Adam...
But the Online Pseudepigrapha claims that this is also a feature of Jewish thought, noting:
This motif of special knowledge revealed to Adam and Seth was an integral part of Jewish tradition, visible in Josephus (Ant. 1.70) and in the wider Adam literature. The motif is also found in medieval chronicles of world history (including Cedrenus) as well as Islamic tradition, and it was a fundamental tenet for what has been termed Sethian Gnosticism.
https://pseudepigrapha.org/docs/intro/TAdam
This refers to Antiquities I Chp. 2, which says that Seth's children
were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, 3 the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them.
5. According to A Dictionary of Christian Biography, edited by William Smith and Henry Wace:
Epiphanius (Haer. 89 B) notices 'revelations (apocalypses) of Adam' along with 'many' apocryphal writings in Seth's name among the books held sacred by his "Gnostici," an Ophitic sect.
But this is not specific; It is not clear whether the Testament of Adam is one of those revelations of Adam or Sethian apocrypha.

Reasons against it being Gnostic
1. Robinson argued against it being Gnostic, arguing that it didn't have Gnostic features.
2. It doesn't present a theology distinguishing God from either a Demiurge-Creator God or from the Supreme Father God. But perhaps not all Gnostics followed this theory separating the Creator from the Supreme God.

SOURCES: Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha
Dictionary of Christian Biography
Catholic Encyclopedia
McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia
Annie Jaubert, "The Horarium of Adam and the Chronology of the Passion"
Robert Arakaki, "Defending Incense"
Beatrice Caseau, From house to church : the introduction of incense
These are the most common articles that you will find directly on the topic online.
Last edited by rakovsky on Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TESTAMENT OF ADAM (1st - 4th c.) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:43 am

For Question 1 (whether the first half is Christian or only Jewish), it looks to me like the first half is a Christian work.
Regarding argument #1 that it's only Jewish, it looks to me like the first half has two parts that could be signs of Christianity: The Thrice holy praise ("Holy Holy Holy") and the "Holy Spirit". These terms and concepts show up in Judaism, but they seemed more emphasized and used in Christianity. For instance, a Google search for "Holy Holy Holy" Christianity brought 1,470,000 results, whereas one for "holy holy holy" Judaism brought only 224,000 results. But on the other hand, this difference in numbers could result from Christianity having more adherents, not necessarily from the thrice holy praise being more important in Judaism.
One way in which it is significant in Judaism is that it is used in the Amidah prayer ("Holy, Holy, Holy, The Lord of Hosts, The entire world is filled with His Glory." Isaiah 6:3). Wikipedia's article on Kedusha notes:
Kedushah is mentioned in several sources from the Talmudic period. The earliest source is the Tosefta, which says:
Rabbi Yehudah would answer with the blesser: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the entire world is full of His honor' and 'Blessed is the honor of the Lord from His place'.
So it has an important place in Judaism.
But it also has an important place in Christian worship. Glenn Byer writes on the Oregon Catholic Press website:
The Sanctus ("Holy, Holy, Holy") is the most important of all the people’s acclamations at Mass. It is meant to be a cheer, a joyful shout of thanks and praise to God. It comes at the end of the preface prayer, where the priest has been enumerating the reasons for praising and thanking God.
https://www.ocp.org/en-us/blog/entry/sa ... -holy-holy
So it is not really dispositive that the thrice-holy praise is used, since it appears in both Christianity and Judaism. Nonetheless, in the ending of the Testament, the thrice-holy praise is used in a Christian context, when the text says,
These other orders, thrones and seraphim and cherubim, stand before the majesty of our Lord Jesus the Messiah and serve the throne of his magnificence, glorifying him hourly with their "holy, holy, holy."
The other part that could be a sign of Christianity is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows up as a concept in both Judaism and Christianity (See the entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia for the Holy Spirit, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/artic ... oly-spirit). In the first part of the Testament, Adam says: "And at the tenth hour the Holy Spirit overshadoweth the waters, and the devils flee away and remove themselves from the waters. And if the Holy Spirit did not overshadow the waters at this hour every day, no one could drink of the waters". But in the second half of the document, the term "Holy Spirit" is used in a Christian context:
To Him be praise, and majesty, and dominion, and glory, and worship, and hymns, with His Father and the Holy Spirit
Of the arguments that the first half is only Jewish, the first argument that it lacks Christian parts isn't persuasive because (A) the thrice holy praise and Holy Spirit are in both religions and are used in the second half in a Christian way, (B) the first part describes priests using oil to anoint the sick, which happens in Christianity, but not in Judaism due to the priests purity rules, and (C) a Christian narration of an Old Testament themed story might not have overt Christian references anyway, for chronological reasons, ie. Christianity hadn't been revealed yet openly in the OT period.
The second argument, that the Greek version has only the first half isn't persuasive because Charlesworth wrote: "the Greek version corresponds most closely with Syriac recension 3, the least reliable of the Syriac recensions. There can be little doubt that the original language of the Testament of Adam is Syriac".
The third argument that they have a different subject matter and genre (ie. a description of occurrences at each hour vs. the prophecy of Christ) is not persuasive, because (A) a single work could have two sections covering two different topics, and because (B) there is a commonality of Adam relating to Seth what God revealed to Him. Both revelations are of a supernatural nature. In the first half the revelation includes the actions of angelic beings at different hours, whereas in the second half the revelation concerns the coming of the Messiah with God's incarnation and substitutionary atonement.
The fourth argument is that the first half describes priests using incense, which Jewish priests did, and that Christian priests didn't do this until the 4th century. But this is also not persuasive because the text could be talking about (A) priests in general, (B) pre-Israelite priests in Adam's and Seth's lifetime, or (C) Christian priests, since the Testament could have been written in the 4th to 5th centuries AD and since Christian priests even in the first to third centuries might have used incense liturgically. For instance, the Liturgy of St. James refers to incense ten times. Further, (D) even if the text were referring to Jewish priests, this would not exclude Christian authorship, because Christians considered the Israelite priesthood to be legitimate and because other Christian writings in the OT genre prescribe Old Testament rituals. For instance, in Chapter 6 of the Testament of Isaac, Isaac gives instructions on performing the Old Testament sacrifices when he writes:
My sons and brothers... Do not offer a sacrifice with a blemish in it; and wash yourself with water when you approach the altar. ... When you stand before God and offer your sacrifice. when you come to offer it on the altar, you should recite privately a hundred prayers to God and make this confession to God saying: ‘Oh God, the incomprehensible, the unfathomable... [etc.]'
So none of these arguments that the first half of the text is non-Christian is persuasive.

In contrast, the combination of arguments in favor of the first half being Christian is persuasive in suggesting Christian authorship:
First, taken at face value, the two parts compose a whole, unified document, rather than being two independent documents, because:
(A) The Online Pseudepigrapha notes: "the earliest manuscripts present a unified document."
(B) They share the same narrative structure of Adam telling Seth about God's revelations, and a shared supernatural genre for the revelations involving angels or God's incarnation.
(C) The author of the second half uses the concepts of the thrice-holy praise and Holy Spirit that are in the first half in a Christian way. This suggests that the author of the second half was referring to these mutual Jewish-Christian concepts in the first half and using them in a Christian way. The author using the terms in the first half implies a relationship between the first and second halves. One could suppose that the author of the second half was building on terms used by a non-Christian author in the first half, but nonetheless this shared use of terms goes along witht he texts being inter-related and the author of the second half accepting the thinking of the author of the first, which in turn tends to suggest that the author of the first half was not a Jewish author writing after the division between the Jewish and Christian communities.
Second, the first half refers to priests anointing the sick with oil, which Christian priests perform, but which Levitical ones didn't in surviving records of the Temple rituals in Judaism, perhaps because the purity rules would weigh against Levitical priests interacting with the sick.

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