Thursday, June 08, 2017

T. Levi: apocalyptic

READING ACTS: Apocalyptic in the Testament of Levi. Phil Long explores apocalyptic chronology and messianism in the last four chapters (14-18) of the Greek Testament of Levi. He also has some comments on Aramaic Levi.

Unfortunately, we don't have the end of Aramaic Levi. What is left of it has parallels with the Testament of Levi chapter 13, and perhaps some words and themes in chapter 14, but no more. So we don't know how much of Testament of Levi 15-18 is based on Aramaic Levi. I agree that some of it probably is.

It's hard to tell whether Aramaic Levi drew on Daniel's seventy weeks as a messianic prophecy. On the one hand, 11QMelchizedek (11Q13) probably quotes from Daniel 9. 11Q13 also uses a pattern of jubilee years in a context involving Melchizedek as an eschatological redeemer. So such ideas were circulating in Second Temple Judaism. But on the other hand, the Synoptic Apocalypse (Mark 13 and parallels) also quotes from Daniel 9 and applies it to a messianic eschatological context. So early Christianity was using these ideas too. I just don't know what was in the lost ending of Aramaic Levi.

Earlier posts in Phil's blog series on the OTP are noted here and links. That post from yesterday was also on the Greek Testament of Levi.