2 Baruch and the Syriac Codex Ambrosianus (7a1): Studying Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in Their Manuscript Context
Liv Ingeborg Lied
First Published January 10, 2017; pp. 67–107
This article presents three hypotheses that may shed light on the place of 2 Baruch in the Syriac Codex Ambrosianus, the sixth-/seventh-century Old Testament codex that contains the only known complete copy of 2 Baruch. Whereas scholars of 2 Baruch have generally treated this copy in isolation from the rest of the manuscript, using it primarily as a witness to the (hypothetical) early Jewish text, this essay approaches 2 Baruch as an integral part of the codex, exploring codicological elements, the order and organization of books, as well as paratextual features. Inspired by the perspective of New Philology, this article contributes to the ongoing discussions about the origins, transmission and transformation of the so-called Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, claiming the importance of studying them in the manuscript contexts in which they are copied. The article will also be a contribution to the further study of the Codex Ambrosianus and the engagement with 2 Baruch among Syriac Christians.
Reception of the Greek Story of Melchizedek in Syriac Christian Tradition
First Published January 10, 2017; pp. 108–143
This article focuses on the history of reception of the Story of Melchizedek, an original Greek composition from Late Antiquity, among Syriac-speaking Christians during the Middle Ages. For the first time the original Syriac text, English translation and discussion of three different witnesses to this apocryphal work in Syriac is provided, namely (1) the abbreviated translation of the Story incorporated into Catena Severi (ninth century), (2) the Pseudo-Athanasian excerpt found in ms. Vatican Syr. 159, and (3) the brief discourse entitled Melchizedek the Priest.
The Lion, the Honey, and the New Timnite Woman: Joseph and Aseneth and the Samson Cycle
First Published January 10, 2017; pp. 144–163
This study presents a solution for the symbol of the honeycomb employed in Joseph and Aseneth, an ancient Hellenistic Jewish novel, by recognizing signals throughout the rest of the narrative that point to an allegorical reading of Samson's encounter with the lion in Judg. 14.5–9. The thesis is that the author of Joseph and Aseneth is providing an allegorical reading of Judg. 14.5–9, where Samson is a type of wayward Israel and the Timnite woman represents foreign domination. The lion and the honey are interpreted as symbols of Samson's subsequent victory over his Philistine foes, and this symbolical movement is applied to Aseneth's transformed identity. Aseneth is a new Timnite woman and Joseph is a new Samson, reconfigured to triumph over her seductive influence. Parallels are drawn between a constructed allegorical reading of the Samson cycle and the encounter of Aseneth with Joseph and later with the heavenly man. The theological themes upon which such a reading relies are discussed.
Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.