Davidic Messianism As Claiming Alexander

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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yakovzutolmai
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Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Davidic Messianism As Claiming Alexander

Post by yakovzutolmai »

I've been exploring cults of Alexander and Asclepius, investigating my locus of Cyrene.

We know generally about Alexander as the son of Zeus-Hammon, although I'm not sure there was a cult of Alexander that was particularly prominent. Obviously there was, but it slid into a generic Ptolemaic cult. Nevertheless, this would be particularly relevant to Cyrenian, Egyptian and Judean Jews. Alexander is the great divine king of that world.

It occurred to me that the development of the Davidic Messiah was late, in fact quite late. For example, consider the dating of the Book of Daniel.

We have a Samaritan Taheb, who is hardly a messiah. Enoch, which seems to be older than Daniel, has a messiah who some transpose onto the "Messiah ben Yosef".

I wonder if the Enochian messiah comes first, and provokes by way of reaction, the Messiah ben David. I would conceive of the Enochian messiah, therefore, as less of a Jewish concept, and more along the lines of something like Indra. The Hero of Ages, who reincarnates, an Asshur, whom only some of the Assyrian kings can claim, themselves as his reincarnation. The Hero who emerges when the need arises, to usher in new ages, only to recede into the shadows until the next need.

If the Messiah ben David is a reaction to nascent Jewish messianism, due to the known resurgence of Assyrian culture in Syria in the third and second centuries BC, then what template would Judeans have used?

I suggest that Alexander is a direct template for the Messiah ben David. In other words, for Judeans, the Messiah will be "our Alexander". The ancient world would be Judaized, as Alexander had Hellenized it. According to that exact model. Alexander as the son of Zeus-Hammon, the Messiah ben David as a son of Yahweh, adopted or otherwise.

We see how Daniel appropriates Alexander's prophetic legacy. Daniel claims it's the Jewish prophets who foresaw Alexander's destiny, in a chain of events which lead next to the Jewish Messiah, as Alexander followed other world conquerors. Josephus's discussion of Alexander supports this interpretation directly.

So, I pose this question to you, if you feel able to contribute to it.

Is the Davidic Messiah based directly on the template laid out by Alexander? A very conscious Jewish Alexander, in reaction to rising Israelite/Syrian messianism of the Enochian variety.

I would like to also include a previous identification of a specific schism between Egyptian and Judean Jews during the reign of Ptolemy Philometer. The immediate successor to this time period is Alexander Jannaeus, who famously conquered and circumcized the Itureans and Idumeans.

Could the name Alexander have been an invocation of this messianic concept? Was the Messiah ben David as the Jewish Alexander developed due to the schism with the Egyptian Jews and break from the Ptolemies (politically), and immediately followed by the reign of Jannaeus who attempted to expand the Maccabean realm and impose Judaism on its neighbors.

What's most interesting about all this is that his reign also saw some internecine issues between Sadducees and Pharisees, and Simon ben Shetach is I think sometimes identified as a possible candidate for pseudonymic figures in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The idea of a Jewish Alexander is found in this very specific locus, the preceding events logically explaining the ideological developments, and the fallout of the conquests explaining later ideological divisions.

I understand the Davidic Messiah is loosely referenced in prophetic literature, but don't we understand that the messianic concept is a gross exaggeration of what is being said about the Davidic king?

I propose the basic Judean Messiah is in the direct template of Alexander. And Alexander Jannaeus is the figure who most closely attempted to conform to the template. By the time of Bar Kokhba, other more Christian elements leak into the messianic concept.

Finally, the Cyrenian Jews were known to have remained very loyal to Jerusalem and committed to its interests (ideologically). They could have played a major role in supporting this Alexandrian concept of messiah, introducing it into the Sadducaical interest.
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