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Bastard spirits” is an epithet for the Watchers in 2nd temple Jewish texts. This was one of the best papers I’ve heard in many years at this event. I had thought the paper would focus on Gal 3:19 , one of the NT references where the law was delivered by angels. It wasn’t. Rather, the presenter (a doctoral student at Marquette) drew our attention to the line about the law being “added because of transgressions,” and then asked a simple question: just whose transgressions is Paul talking about? Everyone assumes that Paul refers here to Adam or humanity in general. The presenter proceeded to overview the evidence in 2nd temple texts (Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha) to show how Enochic Judaism preferred the revelation of Enoch over that of Moses (the law).
He then pointed out (and everyone in the room likely knew this) that, for 2nd temple Judaism, the overspreading of evil in the world stems from Gen 6:1-4, not Genesis 3. He then asked whether viewing Galatians 3-4 from the perspective of the sin of the Watchers helps answer several problems in the text of those chapters that scholars have debated for centuries. He went through them point by point, showing how the Enochian material reframed those issues and provided coherent answers. The climax of the birth of the son of God marked a reversal of the wickedness brought to humanity by the sin of the Watchers.
“So Shall Your Seed Be”: Paul’s Use of Gen 15:5Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) in Rom 4:18Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) in light of Early Jewish Deification Traditions
The thesis is easy to understand. Genesis 15:5 is the passage where the visible Yahweh, the Word of Yahweh (Gen 15:1 promises Abraham: “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. . . . So shall your offspring be.” Everyone (except some strong 2nd temple Jewish traditions!) presumes that both halves of the promise are quantitative (i.e., are about the number of descendants). The paper argued, following Philo and a wide range of other 2nd temple texts, that the second part (“so shall thy seed be”) should instead be interpreted qualitatively (i.e., Abraham’s seed will be transformed into celestial beings — glorified, divinized). Note that there is no “counting verb” in the second half of the promise, only the first. Modern interpreters insert that, based on the first half, to make the whole promise statement quantitative. Ancient interpreters didn’t do that. The paper then took listeners/readers back to the divine council worldview to frame the celestial language (sons of God, stars of God) as the proper context for understanding the glorification of the believer, including how believers displace and reconstitute the divine council in the eschaton
Even a brief look at early Enochic booklets such as the Book of the Watchers and the Astronomical Book demonstrates that already in these early Enochic writings the seventh antediluvian patriarch appears to have a set of highly developed roles: a sage, a visionary, a diviner, and a scribe.
In my judgment, the Enmeduranki tradition provides sharp illustration of the fact that the celestial roles of this Mesopotamian hero served as a decisive pattern for the future heavenly roles of his Jewish counterpart, the patriarch Enoch
The dissemination of esoteric information will remain one of the major functions of the seventh patriarchs in the Merkabah tradition where he will be responsible for transmitting the highest secrets to the Princes under him, as well as to humankind
The text therefore makes explicit that one of the most important functions of the initiated Enmeduranki is transmission of the knowledge that he received from the deities to inhabitants of the terrestrial realm