JEDP (Melchizedek) (More Dave)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Wed Dec 22 15:18:30 EST 1999

Let me take the heat off Dave by trying my own answers to the 
following questions.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[5]: JEDP (Melchizedek) (More Dave)
Author:  <mc2499 at> at Internet
Date:    21/12/1999 18:45


Let me ask:
1) is the earliest form of the Melchizedek episode that of the
   Genesis Apocryphon?
PK: Earliest surviving, perhaps, but this could well be because of the 
chances of preservation. If you wish to demonstrate your theory rather 
than just rubbish counter-arguments, you need to show either than 
GenAp is older than Genesis or that the Melchizedek passage is a later 
interpolation. So far you have shown neither. Unfortunately, in 
history (unlike perhaps in natural science) a theory is not proved 
true by the failure to prove that it is false. If there is neither 
positive nor negative proof, it has to be relegated to the large pile 
of "perhaps, but we cannot be sure" theories.
2) is the use of the means to refer to God in GenAp as "God Most
   High" a normal means?
PK: What does "normal" mean? It was an epithet known to have been in 
normal use in Hasmonean times. We know very little about its use in 
earlier times, especially if we follow your datings.
3) is it a normal means in Genesis?
4) is it true that in a space of only five verses in Genesis the
   term is used four times and found nowhere else in the book?
PK: Probably. Of course this is the only passage in Genesis which 
refers to a person who worships God Most High, so it would be out of 
place elsewhere, among stories of Israelites who did not use this 
5) is the term found in other books commonly thought of as older?

PK: Commonly thought of by whom? I don't think of any other books 
as older than Genesis. Others might well date Psalm 110 earlier 
than Genesis. (OK, no "God Most High", but Melchizedek is 

6) is Melchizedek speculation evidenced anywhere prior to the era
   of the Qumran documents (ie late or post biblical)?
PK: By "evidenced", I can only assume that you mean that datable 
manuscripts survive. So, of course not, because nothing in Hebrew 
(except for a few scratchings) is evidenced prior to the era of the 
Qumran documents.
7) is it true that the Hasmonean rulers who flourished around that
   time were known as the "priests of the Most High God", the 
   epithet found in Genesis only in the Melchizedek episode?
PK: Maybe, but this tells us nothing except for the obvious suggestion 
that the Hasmonean rulers valued the Melchizedek tradition. Of course 
that does not imply that they invented it.

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