All the Glory of Adam: Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls

All the Glory of Adam: Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls

All the Glory of Adam: Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls

All the Glory of Adam: Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Synopsis

All the Glory of Adam examines Dead Sea Scroll texts which pertain to the Qumran community's understanding of (a) a transcendent, angelomorphic or divine humanity and (b) the role of cultic space and time, and the experience of worship, in the formation of such a humanity. The book contains twelve chapters. The first three are devoted to material which either antedates or provides important cognate material to the peculiarly sectarian material studied in the remaining chapters (esp. the Book of Noah and Sirach). Chapters 4-6 examine texts devoted to a divine humanity (4Q381, Hodayoth, 1Q/4QInstruction etc.), the divine or angelic Moses (4Q374 & 4Q377) and the heavenly human priesthood (1QSb, 4Q511, 4Q418 81, 4Q545, 4Q541, 4Q468b etc.). The seventh chapter discusses the mystical and theophanic significance of the high priest's breastpiece at Qumran. Chapters 8-11 are a revisionist reading of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice as a liturgy for a divine humanity and chapter 13 proposes a new interpretation of 1QM 10-17 in the same vein. Apart from all DSS scholars the book will be useful for anyone working on biblical anthropology, messianism and Christology, and temple or cultic theology.

Excerpt

This book is the development of a footnote in my published doctoral dissertation (Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology) and an attempt to answer a question which, doctorates being limited in length as they are these days, I did not have space to address in that work. The second part of that work was a survey of the late Second Temple evidence for the belief in an ideal humanity which is angelic (or “angelomorphic”) or divine in nature or status. In a footnote to a brief discussion of the evidence of the DSS I suggested that the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice had been misinterpreted and that insufficient scope had hitherto been given to the possibility that this angelic liturgy assumed a transformed, angelic humanity as the worshipping community. As I began to work in detail on that liturgical text it became clear to me that indeed a very different interpretative paradigm was needed if it was to be placed in its appropriate tradition-historical and history-of-religions contexts. The rest of this study then grew up around what eventually became the four chapters (8–11) devoted to a revisionist reading of the Sabbath Songs.

Since others (most notably Charles Gieschen and William Horbury) have, independently, undertaken similar surveys of the material in the literature of late Second Temple period a divine or angelic humanity is now, I hope, reckoned to be widespread. Whilst I attempted as thorough a survey as possible in my work on LukeActs, I did not adequately address the social and religious life-setting of an essentially literary pattern of belief. What was the experiential context which lead (some) Jews to believe that they—or their heroes— were divine? What were the wider, cosmological, co-ordinates of a world-view which fostered an angelomorphic anthropology? Already, in the latter stages of my doctoral work it became clear to me that in large measure it is the experience of worship in Israel's temple and a sophisticated, if decidedly un-modern, mythological understanding of temple time and space which answers these questions. And so, the other impetus for writing this book has been an attempt to demonstrate not only that Jews in antiquity had a much higher, positive, anthropology than is normally assumed, but that they held such an anthropology within the context of an understanding of the . . .

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