I started Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees, which was edited by Gabriele Boccaccini and Giovanni Ibba. I read three essays so far and, in this post, I'll mention some things that I learned from each essay.
1. The first essay that I read was James
C. VanderKam's "The Manuscript Tradition of Jubilees". I was
interested to learn that there is no actual Greek manuscript of the Book
of Jubilees. But VanderKam still believes that Jubilees was translated
from Hebrew into Greek because Jubilees was in Ethiopic, and "Ethiopic
biblical literature was translated from Greek", plus there are "clues in
the Ethiopic text [that] betray a Greek base for the translation" (such
as "transliterated Greek words and names", and errors that can be
explained by appeal to a Greek manuscript behind the Ethiopic) (page
12). Moreover, relatively late Greek writers who "used Greek sources"
cite or allude to Jubilees.
Another issue that intrigued me was
the name of Noah's wife. VanderKam refers to a Syriac document (I
think) that calls the wife of Noah "'Amizara", who was the daughter of
Noah's uncle. But Genesis Rabbah 23:3 identifies Noah's wife with
Naamah, the sister of Tubal-Cain in Genesis 4:22. A relative of mine
believes that Noah's wife was Tubal-Cain's sister, and his reason for
that view (at least in part) is that he thinks that Tubal-Cain provided
metal for Noah's Ark. Speaking for myself, I've wondered why
Genesis 4:22 out of the clear blue sky says that the sister of
Tubal-Cain was Naamah, even though Genesis 4 does not mention anyone
else's sister. Well, some believe that Naamah became the wife of Noah.
But there were other ideas about the name of Noah's wife, as well.
second essay that I read was Michael Segal's "The Composition of
Jubilees". Segal argues against the widespread scholarly view that
Jubilees was a "unified composition", for he maintains that the book has
diversity and stages. He mentions a variety of contradictions
within Jubilees, but I'll refer to a few. There is a view within
Jubilees that Judah did not sin when he slept with Tamar (Genesis 38)
because she technically was not his daughter-in-law, since her marriages
with Judah's sons had not been consummated. But there is also a legal
passage in Jubilees that affirms that Judah was forgiven, which implies
that he sinned. Jubilees manifests different views on whether
God was at odds with the evil angel Mastema at the Exodus or actually
used Mastema to afflict Egypt. One passage of Jubilees says
that Bilhah was not punished for sleeping with Reuben because Reuben
raped her (though, as Segal notes, Testament of Reuben 1:7 says that
Reuben was punished with a wound in his loins), whereas the
legal passage (Jubilees 33:9b-20) affirms that neither was punished
because the law (presumably the one banning sleeping with one's father's
wife) had not been completely revealed to everyone. I should note (and
this is me, not Segal) that this line of argumentation is puzzling
within Jubilees, which depicts the patriarchs as aware of many laws that
God later gave to Israel (i.e., festival laws).
does not agree with James Kugel's view that an author did "overkill" by
integrating into his work "multiple interpretive solutions" (Segal's
words), for Segal does not see an attempt on the part of Jubilees'
author to weave different traditions into a "cohesive and coherent
story" (page 35). Rather, for Segal, what happened was that a
"rewritten biblical text" (such as I Enoch) was "adopted" and "placed
within a new chronological framework", then that was "supplemented by a
juxtaposed legal passage" (page 35).
3. The third essay that I
read was by John Bergsma: "The Relationship between Jubilees and the
Early Enochic Books (Astronomical Book and Book of the Watchers)".
Bergsma argues that "Jubilees accepts the basic story of" the Book of
the Watchers but modifies it according to a different theological view.
Whereas the Book of the Watchers blames the fallen angels of Genesis 6
and the evil spirits of the giants for evil, Jubilees places more blame
on the humans for giving themselves to evil, even as Jubilees
acknowledges that supernatural forces played a role in evil on earth.
Searching hearts and minds
3 hours ago