The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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Sinouhe
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

Post by Sinouhe »

neilgodfrey wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:39 pm I have finished translating Andreas Bedenbender's Der Gott der Welt tritt auf den Sinai and am well into reading it now. Already I can see why certain Enoch traditions would be anathema to those on the side of Moses and the Torah and Exodus story and Sinai Covenant accounts. Essentially, the Enoch myth was an answer to the ideological failure of the Deuteronomist ideology from the time of the persecutions under the Seleucids. The Seleucids were not the primary instigators of the persecutions but were the bailiffs of the Temple priests (led by Menelaus) who attempted to bring Judea into the "modern world" by Hellenizing the religion. No longer were the righteous spared but they suffered the same fate as sinners. The Enoch ideology did away with the exclusivist position of the nation of Israel (whether that nation was the literal nation or a subgroup claiming to be the "true" Israel).

Thus is the beginning of Bedenbender's argument. Will post more on the blog as I clarify it all in my head.

(The thesis posits an "unholy" alliance between the Enoch and Moses groups against the common enemy of the Temple, the high priest Menelaus. So it's not a "black and white" story.)

-----

ETA:

Der Gott der Welt seemed to be necessary prior reading to Bedenbender's later works since those are constantly pointing back to the published thesis.

Really interesting :cheers:
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Sinouhe
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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Finally reading the Waddell Book on Paul and Enoch.
It’s nice to read an historicist sharing some points with mythicists.
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MrMacSon
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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From the end of p.121 into the first third of p.122 in Sinouhe's post above


... From where did the divine figure send forth the messiah figure? For the divine figure to “send forth” the messiah figure, this implies location, and since it is a tacit assumption of Second Temple period Jewish thought that the divine figure dwells in heaven, this also implies a heavenly nature for the messiah figure (see the discussion above in §4.2.3). This text [Gal 4:4] further implies the pre-existence of the messiah figure in Paul’s thought by connecting the motif of God “sending” his son with the messiah figure’s birth, “born from woman, born under law” ( γενόμενον έκ γυναικίς, γενόμενον ύπό νόμον ). Paul considered Christ to be more than a human messiah figure. “God sent forth his son.”

This is accomplished by means of human birth ... Paul qualified this claim with the temporal phrase, “But when the fullness of the time came” ( ότε δέ ήλθεω τό πλήρωμα τού χρονού ), further suggesting that the messiah figure existed temporally before the sending and was residing in heaven until “the fullness of the time” had arrived.


This is raises the prospect of comments Elaine Pagel's made recently on a vodcast about the accounts of Jesus' human birth in Matthew (and Luke) being a re-birth .

See the 11 minute video below. While Pagels mostly talks about the gospels according to Mark, Matthew and Luke, some of the concepts are rooted in Paul, and it's almost certain the author of Mark used Paul.

Pagels starts off talking about the account of Jesus in Mark 6 where Jesus is identified as the carpenter and Mary's son, and having siblings. She notes non-one would have you called a Jewish boy the son of his mother, Mary; they would have called him 'Jesus ben Joseph', "not Jesus ben Mariam," even if his father was not on the scene eg. if he'd died.

Pagels notes the story a lot of people have said, 'wait a minute. Mark said this man is a messiah. He's king of Israel. He's related to King David. What he doesn't even have a legitimate father. So Matthew and Luke try to respond to this story ... both create birth stories.'

She says, "he also was born again and when he was spiritually [re]born he was the son of the father in heaven ... and [of] the [virgin] mother which is [also] the holy spirit .. the birth from the virgin [also] means that that he's born of the holy spirit ... as is in the gospel of john: whoever is born of water and the spirit is born again; and that's what it means to be born again. Nicodemus is wrong: it's not a literal birth, right? It's a it's a spiritual birth.

"So [as] the Gospel of Philip suggests ... just as you have a biological father and mother ... we can be born again and be born of the Father in heaven and the holy spirit in baptism, because the name of the Lord and the name of the spirit are pronounced over the person baptized ...

6.18
"Mark in a way [also] addresses that issue in the first chapter because - and this shows you that Mark is not thinking as a literalist - what is [in] the first scene [Mark 1], Jesus is listening to John the Baptist, he goes to be baptized and he sees a vision and the heavens split apart and he hears a voice saying. 'this is my beloved son'."

"Mark is saying, 'yes he has a father, don't worry about that ... [but] he comes from god ... that fits a lot of the data [and] in light of the fact that the disciples don't get it and he's constantly trying to tell you a secret, kind of, sort of, he's like, ah, 'it takes god from heaven revealing this to you;' like you guys are all stuck in this natural world not seeing the truth. And that's what happens in Mark over and over ..."

[it makes one wonder if aspect of G.Mark and aspects of the disciples not understanding might be accounts of people first hearing Paul's messages]

7:21
Derek suggests, "Maybe Mark's thinking Pauline, in a sense ..."

Elaine P:
"Paul says in Romans 6, which you recall that we're buried with Christ in baptism, we rise again with Christ - you know so, so baptism puts you through the same process that Jesus went through in burial; sort of death going into the water, burial and resurrection ...

8.11
"So the virgin birth can be taken literally as it often has been, and it can be taken as a, um, a statement about being spiritually born"

As can Gal 4:4

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MrMacSon
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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MrMacSon wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 5:15 pm

... This text [Gal 4:4] further implies the pre-existence of the messiah figure in Paul’s thought by connecting the motif of God “sending” his son with the messiah figure’s birth, “born 'from' woman, born under law” ( γενόμενον έκ γυναικίς, γενόμενον ύπό νόμον ). Paul considered Christ to be more than a human messiah figure. “God sent forth his son.”

This is accomplished by means of human birth ... Paul qualified this claim with the temporal phrase, “But when the fullness of the time came” ( ότε δέ ήλθεω τό πλήρωμα τού χρονού ), further suggesting that the messiah figure existed temporally before the sending and was residing in heaven until “the fullness of the time” had arrived.


And of course there's different interpretations of what γενόμενον might mean ...
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MrMacSon
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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p.139:


... In Gal 2 Paul referred to Peter as one of the pillars among the apostles of the Jerusalem church (Gal 2:1–10). The gospel tradition in which Peter confessed that Jesus is “the messiah, the son of the living God” (Matt 16:16–18) provides an interesting parallel. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus responded to Peter with the words, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” ( ) ... Paul’s confrontation with Peter in Antioch (as Paul described this in Galatians) might have raised the question...whether Peter was really what the tradition claimed him to be. And if Peter was not what the tradition claimed he was, “the rock,” what did that mean for the promise of the church imbedded in the same tradition? Paul’s midrash in 1 Cor 10:1–4 would have reoriented the focus away from Peter and onto Christ, with the startling assertion, “…and the rock was Christ.”

[With] [t]he identification of the pre-human messiah figure with the rock of Exod 17:6 and Num 20:7–11...that Paul was punning with reference to Peter is certainly a possibility
...


Last edited by MrMacSon on Thu May 12, 2022 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sinouhe
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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According to that interpretation of Christ in the Pauline epistles, it confirms that Jesus was from the beginning considered as a divine entity and not like a simple man progressively divinized as the historicists claim.

The authors quote Larry Furtado in the introduction :
...a noteworthy devotion to Jesus emerges phenomenally early in circles of his followers, and cannot be restricted to a secondary stage of religious development or explained as the product of extraneous forces. Certainly the Christian movement was not hermetically sealed from the cultures in which it developed, and Christians appropriated (and adapted for their own purposes) words, conceptual categories, and religious traditions to express their faith. But devotion to Jesus was not a late development. So far as historical inquiry permits us to say, it was an immediate feature of the circles of those who identifed themselves with reference to him.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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Sinouhe wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 10:14 pm According to that interpretation of Christ in the Pauline epistles, it confirms that Jesus was from the beginning considered as a divine entity and not like a simple man progressively divinized as the historicists claim.

The authors quote Larry Furtado in the introduction :
...a noteworthy devotion to Jesus emerges phenomenally early in circles of his followers, and cannot be restricted to a secondary stage of religious development or explained as the product of extraneous forces. Certainly the Christian movement was not hermetically sealed from the cultures in which it developed, and Christians appropriated (and adapted for their own purposes) words, conceptual categories, and religious traditions to express their faith. But devotion to Jesus was not a late development. So far as historical inquiry permits us to say, it was an immediate feature of the circles of those who identifed themselves with reference to him.
The tragic irony is that Hurtado believed the reason for this early devotion really was the miracle of Jesus being sent by God and literally being resurrected and literally sending the Holy Spirit on his disciples and Paul.
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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MrMacSon wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 5:15 pm From the end of p.121 into the first third of p.122 in Sinouhe's post above


... From where did the divine figure send forth the messiah figure? For the divine figure to “send forth” the messiah figure, this implies location, and since it is a tacit assumption of Second Temple period Jewish thought that the divine figure dwells in heaven, this also implies a heavenly nature for the messiah figure (see the discussion above in §4.2.3).

I don't think that's necessarily the case. In the Calendar Inscription of Prienne, which is about "the gospel of Augustus", it reads:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170722070 ... priene.htm

Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a saviour,

"Sending" implies a sender. "God sent Jesus" no more implies a heavenly location as a starting point than "God sent an eagle as omen" implies that the eagle started from heaven.
MrMacSon wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 7:08 pm

... This text [Gal 4:4] further implies the pre-existence of the messiah figure in Paul’s thought by connecting the motif of God “sending” his son with the messiah figure’s birth, “born 'from' woman, born under law” ( γενόμενον έκ γυναικίς, γενόμενον ύπό νόμον ). Paul considered Christ to be more than a human messiah figure. “God sent forth his son.”

This is accomplished by means of human birth ... Paul qualified this claim with the temporal phrase, “But when the fullness of the time came” ( ότε δέ ήλθεω τό πλήρωμα τού χρονού ), further suggesting that the messiah figure existed temporally before the sending and was residing in heaven until “the fullness of the time” had arrived.

And of course there's different interpretations of what γενόμενον might mean ...
When combined with "woman", is it possible to infer anything else other than "born"? There are examples of it meaning "born" in context with women outside Gal 4:4, but are there examples of it meaning anything else other than "born" when combined with "woman"? It's an important point that often gets glossed over.
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MrMacSon
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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Sinouhe wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 10:14 pm
The authors quote Larry Furtado in the introduction :
... a noteworthy devotion to Jesus emerges phenomenally early in circles of his followers, and cannot be restricted to a secondary stage of religious development or explained as the product of extraneous forces. Certainly the Christian movement was not hermetically sealed from the cultures in which it developed, and Christians appropriated (and adapted for their own purposes) words, conceptual categories, and religious traditions to express their faith. But devotion to Jesus was not a late development. So far as historical inquiry permits us to say, it was an immediate feature of the circles of those who identified themselves with reference to him. [p.11]
Waddell then says


The fundamental flaw in this premise is that Hurtado [did] not take into sufficient consideration the extraordinary plurality of Judaisms in the first century C.E. and the role this plurality played in the formation of the early Jesus movement. Hurtado assumes that the phenomenon of devotion to Jesus as a messiah figure was a unique “explosion.” His qualification of this claim, that “the Christian movement was not hermetically sealed,” is puzzling, especially in light of his discussion of the worship of a messiah figure in the Parables of Enoch ...


Waddell then says Hurtado gets a few things right, eg. "Hurtado...rightly point[ed] out that the references to worship of the messiah figure in the Parables of Enoch are not intended as worship of the divine figure", then:


What Hurtado rejects in his analysis is the possibility that such references to worship of a messiah figure in the Parables of Enoch constituted any kind of precursor to a later, more developed form of early devotion to Christ. For Hurtado there was no development. There was only a profound and extraordinarily unique and explosive appearance of devotion to Christ in the early decades following his crucifixion that had no precedent in the history of Jewish thought or experience. Yet there seem to be too many points of contact between the messiah figure in the Parables of Enoch and the messiah figure in the Letters of Paul simply to dismiss such references to the worship of the messiah figure in the Parables of Enoch as having no connection whatsoever to the devotion of Jesus among his earliest followers—namely, a preexistent messiah figure who is both human and from heaven, who moves between the earthly and heavenly realms, who sits on God’s throne, administers God’s judgment, executes God’s punishment, reigns over an eternal kingdom, and receives worship from humans. [p.12]


and


... I would argue that the Parables of Enoch is a text that made an equally astonishing claim. At no point in the history of Jewish thought prior to the Parables of Enoch was there a text that came anywhere close to making the claims the Parables of Enoch made. Throughout his book Hurtado acknowledges the presence of these claims in the Parables of Enoch, but never does he draw out in any detail their full implications for the Parables of Enoch community or for his own arguments about Paul. Because Hurtado begins with an assumption that rejects the possibility of a developing Jewish concept of a messiah figure worshiped by human beings, he does not see the need to draw out the implications of this concept in the Parables of Enoch. [p.12]


James A Waddell, The Messiah: A Comparative Study of the Enochic Son of Man and the Pauline Kyrios, 2011

He criticises Hurtado in a few other ways, too.
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Sinouhe
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Re: The Celestial Messiah in the parables of Enoch

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MrMacSon wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 12:33 am
Sinouhe wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 10:14 pm
The authors quote Larry Furtado in the introduction :
... a noteworthy devotion to Jesus emerges phenomenally early in circles of his followers, and cannot be restricted to a secondary stage of religious development or explained as the product of extraneous forces. Certainly the Christian movement was not hermetically sealed from the cultures in which it developed, and Christians appropriated (and adapted for their own purposes) words, conceptual categories, and religious traditions to express their faith. But devotion to Jesus was not a late development. So far as historical inquiry permits us to say, it was an immediate feature of the circles of those who identified themselves with reference to him. [p.11]
Waddell then says


The fundamental flaw in this premise is that Hurtado [did] not take into sufficient consideration the extraordinary plurality of Judaisms in the first century C.E. and the role this plurality played in the formation of the early Jesus movement. Hurtado assumes that the phenomenon of devotion to Jesus as a messiah figure was a unique “explosion.” His qualification of this claim, that “the Christian movement was not hermetically sealed,” is puzzling, especially in light of his discussion of the worship of a messiah figure in the Parables of Enoch ...



Yes and he was right in the context of his book but it's kinda off topic with the flow of the discussion here.
Does the fact that a "worshipped messiah" was already present in Judaism before Paul (in the parables) change the fact that Paul considered Jesus as a superhuman figure ? No.
That was my point in quoting Hurtado.
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