JEDP (Melchizedek) (More Dave)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Thu Dec 23 09:00:31 EST 1999

At 14.36 22/12/99 -0700, Dave Washburn wrote:
>> Dear Dave,
>> Would you be so kind as to tell me which psalms scroll has ps110? I have
>> looked through all the various scrolls whose contents are listed in
>> Fitzmyer's DSS Publications and Tools and have not found mention of it.
>Once again you misrepresent me.  I never said that any of the 
>currently-published Psalms scrolls had 110.  

Actually, Dave, it was not intentional. I misread the post: Wed Dec 22
22:49:41 1999. So please accept my apologies for any problems caused here.

>> >Let me expand on that: there's a gap in the material 
>> >between chapters 8 and 12 (which is to say nothing survives of 
>> >chapters 9, 10 and 11); the Genesis Apocryphon stops at 15:4 and 
>> The Genesis Apocryphon is not Genesis, Dave. So it's nice that they are
>> related, but they are also different beasts. Read my lips, Dave: you cannot
>> assume anything about Genesis from GenAp.
>I can see you haven't read it in Aramaic.  

You are definitely right.

>It has many portions of 
>Genesis in a fairly accurate translation of the Hebrew text as we 
>have come to know it.  

This is only to be expected even if GenAp is derived from a text that
Genesis is derived from. It is one of the beauties of a synoptic problem.
It also has materials from other places. You merely pick on those you hope
make nice translations from Hebrew. You'll find times when GenAp textually
agrees with Jubilees against Genesis and vice versa. 

Let me hold your hand and try to lead you out of your presumption here.
Both GenAp and Jub know Noah's mother to be Bitenosh/Betenos. Might be just
another one of your coincidences though. Mount Lubar is specified in both
GenAp and Jub as the mountain on which Noah's ark stopped. Perhaps the
writer of one was looking over the other's shoulder. In neither GenAp nor
Jub is there a table of nations (not even considering the lacunae in
GenAp), though there is an exhaustive distribution of the lands of the
world in both, not found in Genesis, though strangely enough found in
Josephus. About this stage you'll come up with the idea that one used the
other as a source, otherwise even you will start to think that there are
too many coincidences, but they are too different from one another to even
contemplate this guess.  But wait, there are a few more that I've noted in
my cursory reading. Both GenAp and Jub tell us that Arphachsad was born two
years after the flood -- nothing like it in Genesis, though Josephus thinks
it was twelve years. If we move on to Abram's sojourn in Egypt, both GenAp
and Jub think that Abram gained out of pharaoh after the latter felt God's
wrath -- in fact so does Josephus think that, but it ain't that way in
Genesis. Further, both GenAp and Jub tell us that Lot also gained out of
the sojourn. I'm sure if you worked at it even you would find more evidence
of a true synoptic problem.

That some form of Genesis was a major source is a fairly certain bet, but
then that's not really doubted. The problem is which form. I have only said
that the Melchizedek episode doesn't seem to me to have been original to
Genesis and that GenAp is the earliest document to contain the episode that
is preserved. However the content similarities between GenAp and Jub
suggests that their "Genesis" was quite different in small details from
that which we have today.

Jubilees doesn't have the Melchizedek episode at all (though the Ethiopian
text is, according to Charles, disturbed at the point where one would
expect the Melchizedek story -- the Syriac is not).

>I didn't say the Genesis Apocryphon was 
>Genesis; but it does include many quotes from Genesis, including 
>chapter 14.

You merely assume that the section of Gen14 under question was in the text.

>> That's called text criticism, Dave. As you said:
>Since when is hanging one's hat on a single phrase anything 
>resembling textual criticism?  TC has to do with comparing 
>manuscripts and determining readings.  

We're dealing with four verses, Dave, out of numerous hundreds. A single
phrase repeated a number of times in such a brief space is relatively
significant, especially when one instance refers to Melchizedek as "priest
of the Most High God", the exact term used for the Hasmoneans. You're
hiding behind the false front of text criticism here to cover you motivations.

>This is hilarious.

You can laugh as much as you like Dave. You've got nothing better to do.
You're only griping where you've got no evidence. You claim that
Gen14:18-20 was in the Genesis text that was the "source" for GenAp in this
point. Fine, just quote the manuscript and stop blowing air. Well, you
can't stop, can you? You've got no evidence. So much for text criticism on
your part: you can't criticise what you haven't got.

>> >[..] "It's there and it's staring me in the face, but I don't want to
>> >with it."
>> You have this bad habit of not dealing with the text as it is, but trying
>> to make it something else to fit your presuppositions. The cave 11 psalms
>> scroll is anomalous because it doesn't fit your predefined ideas of how a
>> psalms scroll should be structured. GenAp must be based on Genesis.
>> Convenient, very convenient.

You said it, Dave. 

> Yeah, I'm the one not dealing with the text as it is, as 
>opposed to you, who want to rewrite the biblical text based on one 
>manuscript that departs in numerous particulars from every other.  

When you make gross assumptions, Dave, as you have, it's easier to yawn
than admit you have no evidence to say that Gen14:18-20 was an original
part of the text.

>This is getting tiresome.

Your boring asides are just as boring as when you said them before. You
might buy a book to provide you with a bit more variety.

>>Let me ask:
>> 1) is the earliest form of the Melchizedek episode that of the
>>    Genesis Apocryphon?

OK, cite the earliest form, providing evidence that it was earlier.

>) is the use of the means to refer to God in GenAp as "God Most
>>    High" a normal means?
>) 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?
>Yes.  So what?  It focuses on a particular character.  

So what?

The figure is called "priest of the Most High God" which just so
conveniently happens to be the epithet used of the Hasmoneans.

>The rest of the book doesn't.

That's the problem, Dave.

Almost no other book deals with the term, yet the elements of the term are
available in the language so one cannot claim that it's an import. One
cannot claim that it is due to the character who comes from pre-Yahwistic,
Canaanite Jerusalem. Things to do with Canaanites are usually spurned as of
no value in Hebrew literature. In this case however this Canaanite king who
is priest of some deity called the Most High God provides us with a little
epiphany that would serve later generations but not earlier ones.

>) is the term found in other books commonly thought of as older?
>What Peter said.

Get off this tag-team stupidity, will you?

>) is Melchizedek speculation evidenced anywhere prior to the era
>>    of the Qumran documents (ie late or post biblical)?
>And what exactly do we have in the order of speculation of any kind 
>prior to the era of the Qumran documents?  

Enoch, Noah, Michael. You know, speculation.

>Now who's offering red 

Better, whose missed the point? Dave, naturally. Second century speculation
dates interest in Melchizedek, but the speculation is different from Enoch
and Noah, for they were already part of the tradition. Is this the case for
Melchizedek? As I see it Melchizedek rhetoric didn't start until the
Hasmoneans came along. Michael rhetoric was around while the Zadokites had
the high priesthood. The fall of the Zadokites seems to have brought the
fall of Michael as well for the duration of the late Hasmoneans. Only to be
expected though really. If the Zadokite family were represented as the
equivalent of the angels of the presence on earth, then the rhetorical
connection between Michael and the Zadokites meant that the Hasmoneans
could continue the Michael stuff. Hence we have a figure who combines both
the roles of the Hasmonean ruler and carries on the Michael tradition.

>) 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?
>Couldn't tell you 


>and don't care.  Again, what Peter said.

Regarding your attitude to the texts you try to work with, you don't seem
to care about anything that's outside your conception of them.  Such a
conception however does not necessarily reflect the texts at all.



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