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[XTalk] Re: "Angels" in Mark 13:27

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  • Frank McCoy
    ... wrote: I think it is rather unlikely that 1 Peter knew 4Q511 (Songs of the Sage)since this is a sectarian text
    Message 1 of 104 , Mar 1, 2003
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      --- "Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis"
      <crispin.fletcher-louis@...> wrote:


      I think it is rather unlikely that 1 Peter knew 4Q511
      (Songs of the Sage)since this is a sectarian text
      almost certainly confined to Qumran/Essenism in usage.
      It is more likely that 4Q511 and 1 Peter share a
      common tradition of cultic/temple language and its use
      for a metaphorical temple structure. I'm afraid I
      find it hard to see how you seen Christians as angels
      in 1 Peter. Though you should have a look at the way
      the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice makes the physical
      structures of the cosmic temple into angelic beings
      (esp. The epithet "living elohim" - discussed in my
      ALL THE GLORY OF ADAM chs. 8-11.


      Dear Crispin Fletcher-Louis:

      I am going to try to get a copy of your book--it
      sounds like a "must read". I take it that chs. 8-11
      include a discussion on 4Q403 I, i, 30-46, including
      this excerpt (44), "[The spi]rits of the hol[y] of
      holies, the living 'gods',..".

      To review, the question is whether the author of I
      Peter was familiar with this passage from 4Q511, "God
      shall sancti[fy] (some) of the holy as an everlasting
      sanctuary for himself and purity shall endure among
      the cleansed. They shall be priests, his righteous
      people, his host, servants, the angels of his glory.",
      and alludes to it in I Peter 2:5, "Also yourselves, as
      living stones, are being built up a spiritual house,
      for (to be) a holy prieshood to offer up spiritual
      sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.",
      and 2:9a, "But you (are) a chosen race, a royal
      priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession."

      There are these clear parallels between the passage
      from 4Q511 and I Peter 2:5 & 9a: (1) in both cases,
      the people are holy, (2) in both cases, the people are
      both a priesthood and God's special people, and (3) in
      both cases, the people are built up into a spiritual
      house/temple. These suggest that, indeed, the author
      of I Peter was aware of this passage from 4Q511.

      Further, there is reason to believe that the author of
      I Peter would have had taken this passage from 4Q511
      to refer to Christians, i.e., its reference to "the
      cleansed"--for, it appears, Christains are, according
      to the author of I Peter, above all, people who have
      been baptized. In The History and Theology of the New
      Testament Writings (pp. 412-13), Peter Schnelle (as
      translated by M. Eugene Boring) states, "The locus of
      this revolutionary event is baptism (cf. I Pet. 1.3,
      18, 23; 3.21), it is here that the central turning
      point in the life of the Christian has taken place
      (cf. also John 3.5; Titus 3.5). According to I Peter,
      the Christian life is the life that proceeds from
      baptism. Placed by baptism into the time between
      Easter and the parousia, the baptized Christian is not
      taken out of the world and its troubles, but is
      enabled to overcome them."

      It is true, as you point out, that 4Q511 appears to be
      a Qumran/Essene sectarian text.

      I fail to see, though, why this would prevent the
      author of I Peter from knowing about it. There were
      Essenes in many places in Palestine, so it seems most
      likely that this text was circulating around Palestine
      and wasn't confined to the one single library at
      Qumran.

      It also is true that these parallels might exist only
      because "4Q511 and 1 Peter share a common tradition of
      cultic/temple language and its use for a metaphorical
      temple structure."

      However, I think this unlikely to be the case.

      First of all, if this postulated common tradition was
      real, then it not only circulated in first century CE
      Essene circles, but in other first century CE Jewish
      circles as well. However, I'm not aware of any other
      first century CE Jewish group espousing this
      postulated common tradition. So, ISTM, this postulated
      common tradition is probably not real: with it
      probably being, rather, a purely Essenic tradition.

      Second, there is the possibility that there is a
      fourth remarkable parallel as well, i.e., that both
      4Q511 and I Peter 2:5 picture the people as being, in
      some significant sense, angels.

      This is explicit in the passage from 4Q511.

      This is also the case in I Peter 2:5 *if* the
      reference to the people as "living stones" means that
      they are, in soul, immortal angels. Further, this
      would be the case if, as I point out in the previous
      post, the author of I Peter was aware of Philo's idea,
      which he outlines in Som i (217-49), that the words
      (logoi are also the angels and are, as such, immortal
      spiritual stones.

      You question that the author of I Peter was aware of
      this Philonic concept, stating, "The Philonic material
      you cite is fascinating, but I need to be shown its
      basis in mainstream/Palestinian Jewish thought, not
      Philo's imagination, before I could take its relevance
      for 1 Peter seriously.

      This is, ISTM, setting up a standard that does not
      have to be met.

      All that needs to be done, ISTM, since I Peter is an
      early Christian text, is to demonstrate that the
      Philonic concept of the words being angels and as
      being, as such, immortal spiritual stones was
      circulating in early Christian circles. If it was,
      then the author of I Peter likely knew of it: which,
      in turn, makes it likely that, in I Peter 2:5, the
      people are identified as being, in soul, angels:
      which, in turn, makes it likely that there is a fourth
      remarkable parallel between the passage from 4Q511 and
      I Peter 2:5 & 9a (i.e., in both, the people are, in
      some significant sense, angelic beings): which, in
      turn, makes it likely that the author of I Peter was
      aware of this passage from 4Q511.

      Indeed, it can be demonstrated that this Philonic idea
      was, in fact, circulating in early Christian circles.

      See, in particular, GTh 19b, "If you become my
      disciples and listen to My words, these stones will
      minister to you." This is a horrible pun, with the
      underlying train of thought being this, "If you listen
      to my words (= the angels), these (immortal spiritual)
      stones will serve you."

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109




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    • Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis
      Don t know what to do with Lev 11 on Locusts - certainly interesting. Manna in the wilderness certainly must be related somehow to the honey JB eats. And, yes,
      Message 104 of 104 , Mar 11, 2003
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        Don't know what to do with Lev 11 on Locusts - certainly interesting.

        Manna in the wilderness certainly must be related somehow to the honey JB
        eats. And, yes, this is not incompatible with the angelomorphic interp. of
        the honey given that the Israelites ate the "bread of angels" in the
        wilderness (Ps 78:25, and cf. the use of Ezek 16 for Passover in rabbinic
        tradition).
        On all this there are helpful references in: D. Goodman, "Do Angels Eat?,"
        JJS 37 (1986) 160-70.

        Crispin

        On 11/3/03 1:07 pm, "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <jefferyhodges@...> wrote:

        > Mike inquired about the locusts and wild honey that
        > John the Baptist is reported to have eaten.
        >
        > Wouldn't the initial significance of this be that it
        > recalls the covenant time of the desert wanderings of
        > the Israelites? John the Baptist, after all, calls for
        > covenant renewal, doesn't he?
        >
        > As I recall, the locust was acceptable as a kosher
        > food, unlike other creeping things. Leviticus 11:10
        > (or 10:11?) describes this. (I'm not near a Bible at
        > the moment and cannot check.) Is this exception a
        > significant point?
        >
        > At any rate, a reference to the time of the covenant
        > doesn't exclude angelomorphic aspects, of course.
        >
        > Jeffery Hodges
        >
        > =====
        > Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges (Inv.) [Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley]
        > Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        > 447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
        > Yangsandong 411
        > South Korea
        >
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