FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-07-2001, 09:13 AM   #1
Justus
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: upstate NY USA
Posts: 54
Post MELCHIZEDEK AND OTHERS

MELCHIZEDEK AND OTHER Christian inferences of a pre-incarnate Jesus-Christ in the Old testament are they valid?

This is a follow-up on [ Topic: Melchizedek (Long version) started by 3DChizl Member # 4388 ] while I found it to be thought provoking, entertaining and enlightening ; I have some observations / questions concerning (to me) the obvious broader implications.

Working backwards from the modern (X-tian) viewpoint the first questions that should be dealt with are those about the NewTestment book of Hebrews (or The Letter To the Hebrews).

1 - Who is the Author? 2 - When was the book written? 3- Who was it's target audience?

I agree with (again obvious to me) the often given (in these forums) caution that the NT writers were interested not in historical accuracy but advancing / defending / developing a religion.

The answers to those questions it seems directly affect the conclusions drawn about the nature of Melchisdec (in the author's world). I used the term "human retro-fitting" and after reading ( discussions / investigations both in the on-line & real(?) world) more on this and other related subjects, that conclusion appears to be generally supported.
It (IMO) appears that modern X-tians are looking at Hebrews only from the viewpoint of a developed theology & church. Was the author of Hebrews motivated only to elevate Christ or did there actually exist a belief tradition that Melchizedek was a deity (or at least a supernatural entity). There are two other OT references that I think has some bearing on this
Genesis 32: 24 - 32 *** Joshua 5: 13 - 15 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked and behold a Man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him "Are you for us or for our adversaries?
14 So he said "No, but as Commander of the Army of the Lord I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to Him. "What does my Lord say to his servant?" 15 Then the Commander of the Lord's Army said to Joshua "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.

Joshua 6 (1) Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out and none came in (2) And The Lord said to Joshua; See I have given Jericho into your hand, its king and the mighty men of valor.


Did Melchizedek have parents? Was he in fact mortal? What was the nature of his Kingship / Priesthood?

Unfortunately, I have to conclude that not only the author of Hebrews but modern X-tians are arguing from ignorance (or silence). There are vague passages and imprecise references in the OT whose meanings and sources are unknown. To authoritively state that Jesus - Christ was prophesied / foreshadowed by the OT is (IMO) not just a stretch but somehow intellectually dishonest.

To highlight this with the prior thread where two postings (my apologizes if this is somewhat against protocol, hopefully the authors will see this and respond if I have misstated or taken out of context)
--------------------------------------------
<strong>Nomad Secular Web Regular Member # 652 posted October 30, 2001 11:21 AM
Let's look at the remaining times Melchizedek is mentioned in the Bible:
Psalm 110:1-4 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
Here we see one of the Psalms quoted by Jesus
Here we see one of the Psalms quoted by Jesus Himself in relationship to His own Messianic claims (Mark 12:36, Matt. 22:44, see also Hebrews 1:13). In other words, Jesus Himself is claiming to be a priest, forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews drives this point home not only in chapter 7, but also Hebrews 5 and 6.
------------------------------------------------------------------</strong>
My problem with this is that the Matt / Mark verses deal with ... the time-paradox of the messiah being from the linage of David yet...Jesus was (supposedly) greater and pre-existing. IMO a very weak use ( Matt - Mark) of OT scripture. Thus I am not sure Jesus stated he was a priest (in function). Secondly all of Hebrews should be considered a continuous argument, not separate references (a single source).

The real issue however lies with the motivation / viewpoint of the poster
-------------------------------------to contrast -------------------
<strong>Apikorus Secular Web Regular Member # 3646 posted October 30, 2001 10:53 PM
Regarding rabbinic references to Melchizedek, there's a gemara (Nedarim 32b) which identifies Melchizedek with Shem (i.e. son of Noah, Abraham's great great great great great great great grandfather). The same gemara faults Melchizedek for first blessing Abram (Gen 14:19) and then blessing God (Gen 14:20). For this reason, says the gemara, the priesthood was taken away from Melchizedek and given to Abram. Melchizedek was a priest, goes the argument, but his children were not. (Umm...but Abram was a descendant of Shem. The rabbis don't seem worried by this.)

&lt;&lt;&lt; cut ... snip &gt;&gt;. (Really interesting stuff but not directly revelant) &lt;&lt;&lt; cut / snip .....
So now the character Melchizedek is out of the picture and the words are YHWH's words/promise to David, which has broad textual support. (al dibrati could just as well mean "according to my pact" or "according to my promise.")
As to why this verse specifically mentions the priesthood, it might be the case that the psalmist was justifying the royal arrogation of the priesthood, attributing this to YHWH himself. There are several instances of non-Levitical sacrifice in the early prophets. ............</strong>
--------------------------------------------------

OK what I see originally (1) before the writing of the OT there was oral traditions and history in which Melchizedek had a prominent role in the culture -- religion / priesthood..... He was a real person or perhaps even a linage (dynasty ??) .... The author / editors of Genesis either did not know (the details) or did not want to recognize the existence of a legitimate competior (note Ishmael .... Esau etc blessed by G-d but not the chosen or annioted lineage indicating not ony knowledge of "the one true G-d but worship of and interaction with that being).
(2)David was King who took on duties reserved previously for the High-priest .... thus the writer of Psalm 110 was stating that was the will of G-d and giving a historical reference which was authoritive for the people of David's time.

(3)The author of Hebrews had limited knowledge of (or did not want to rely strictly on or appeal only to) Judaic traditions thus had no reservation about elevating Jesus - Christ above OT prophets / kings to a level of deity (a Jewish heresy???). Further the writer apparently knew of other X-tian literature and traditions and freely incorporated them. The writer was apparently sincere and saw no problem with embellishing Melchizedek, the whole Chapter 7 bit about having neither beginning of days nor end of life, the overall aim of which was to validate another (separate from traditional Judaism) priestly line which Jesus was now the "eternal High-priest" (Hebrews 4:13 - 16) and his followers (believers) the "new descendants of Abraham".

(4) You can't go there from here ..... meaning that the only way to validate Jesus as the messiah (of the OT) the trinity or many claims of modern X-tianity is to start from that conclusion(s) and work backwards .... not the other way around.

If I have not adequately indicate so prior to now, I want to say this site offers a wealth of not just information but insight and preforms a significant service. To all members and staff (?? Moderators etc) I appreciate the diverse outlooks and fostering of an atomsphere promoting & welcoming thought. Thanks *especially to 3DChizl





<img src="graemlins/notworthy.gif" border="0" alt="[Not Worthy]" /> <img src="graemlins/notworthy.gif" border="0" alt="[Not Worthy]" />

Edited to delete duplicate material (Bad paste - Copy sorry)

[ December 07, 2001: Message edited by: Justus ]</p>
Justus is offline  
Old 12-07-2001, 06:23 PM   #2
3DChizl
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 160
Smile

Thanks to you for dusting it off and shining it up!

It's been a rough day and that really made up for it!
3DChizl is offline  
Old 12-08-2001, 06:10 AM   #3
Apikorus
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,396
Post

There is no evidence whatsoever for a Melchizedek tradition which predates the Hebrew Bible. Interestingly, there was a contemporary tradition for another non-Israelite prophet of YHWH found in the Pentateuch, namely Balaam. The Balaam pericope in Numbers 22-24 is conventionally attributed to the E author. In the late 1960's, a Dutch expedition at Deir 'Alla in Jordan uncovered an Iron I Ammonite inscription which specifically refers to "Balaam bar beor" and which describes him in terms similar to those found in the Bible (e.g. he is "the man whose eye is opened", cf. Num 22:31 where YHWH "opened the eyes" of Balaam).

Regarding David as priest-king, there's an important passage in 2 Sam 6, when David first brings the ark to Jerusalem: So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O'bed-e'dom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of YHWH had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before YHWH with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (2 Sam 6:12-14) As might be expected, the Chronicler tendentiously retells this story in 1 Chr 15, where the Levites apparently perform the sacrifice, although the Chronicler (carelessly?) failed to "correct" the detail about the ephod, which is a smoking gun. (Chronicles is a postexilic composition which often tendentiously harmonizes elements of the Deuteronomistic history. In this case, priestly sensibilities are offended by the notion of David, a Judahite, performing sacrifices, which in Leviticus are by law restricted to the Aaronid Levites.) But that David conducted the sacrifice is crystal clear in 2 Sam 6: he waited until all others were six paces distant, and he wore priestly garments (the ephod).

Finally, regarding the New Testament (especially Hebrews) and Melchizedek, it is true that the character of Melchizedek was somewhat transmogrified and greatly elevated in importance during late Second Temple times. Melchizedek appears in the Hebrew Bible only in Genesis 14, a passage of uncertain provenance. But the existence of this priest-king with no apparent genealogy did not escape the eschatological and apocalyptic authors of the late Hellenistic and Roman periods. The Qumranians in particular elevated Melchizedek to the level of an angelic figure, and seem to have identified him with Michael from the Book of Daniel. (See e.g. the Qumran text 11Q13.)

The "order of Melchizedek" - an eternal priesthood running in parallel with the conventional Levitical one - appears to be a Christian invention whose origin may be traced to the improper translation of Psalm 110:4 in the Septuagint (in the LXX this psalm is numbered 109). However, that the author of Hebrews exploited and glorified the character of Melchizedek seems quite consistent with the general apocalyptic and eschatological trends in late Second Temple Jewish literature. From what I understand, Hebrews was composed sometime between 70 and 100 CE.

[ December 08, 2001: Message edited by: Apikorus ]</p>
Apikorus is offline  
Old 12-09-2001, 04:09 AM   #4
Justus
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: upstate NY USA
Posts: 54
Post

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Apikorus:
<strong>There is no evidence whatsoever for a Melchizedek tradition which predates the Hebrew Bible. Interestingly, there was a contemporary tradition for another non-Israelite prophet of YHWH found in the Pentateuch, namely Balaam. The Balaam pericope in Numbers 22-24 is conventionally attributed to the E author</strong>
Thanks I have several question about both the theory of multiple authorship for the 1st five books & Ballam (as well as the Hebrew take on Ismael / Esau / The children of Keturah etc) ... Unfortunately I have limted acces and resources so it well be a couple of days.....

I just wanted you to know I read & appreciate the input


(quote] <strong>Regarding David as priest-king, there's an important passage in 2 Sam 6, when David first brings the ark to Jerusalem: So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O'bed-e'dom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of YHWH had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before YHWH with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (2 Sam 6:12-14) ...... But that David conducted the sacrifice is crystal clear in 2 Sam 6: he waited until all others were six paces distant, and he wore priestly garments (the ephod).</strong>

This is an interesting and hunorus side note .... There seems to be a theory (rumor) that David exposed himself (?? biblical tabliod rumor 2 Sam 6: 20-23) which lead to domestic conflict. This version was cleaned up in Chronicles.
.....

I also have some follw-up questions to the other parts of your post as well ....

Regards and thanks again.......
Justus is offline  
Old 12-09-2001, 04:13 AM   #5
Justus
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: upstate NY USA
Posts: 54
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally posted by 3DChizl:
<strong>Thanks to you for dusting it off and shining it up!

It's been a rough day and that really made up for it!</strong>

NO Problem ..... You did the real work .... What is your take on the whole issue of The authorship & intent of Hebrews (the NT book)
Justus is offline  
Old 12-09-2001, 09:43 AM   #6
offa
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Monroeville, Ohio, USA
Posts: 440
Post

Offa;
I am also curious about just who MELCHIZEDEK was.
I take a different approach.

Jubilees 13:23 And they took captive Sodom and Adam
and Zeboim. And they took Lot, the son of Abram's brother,
captive and all his possessions. And he went to Dan.


Offa; This is about the law of tithes and Abram's
God Most High.

Jubilees 13:29 And Abraham said to him, "I lift up
my hand to the God Most High (that) I will (not) take
anything of yours, ...


Offa; Now I would like to get back to Lot.

Jubilees 12:09 And in the fortieth jubilee, in
the second week, in its seventh year, Abram took a wife and
her name was Sarai, the daughter of his father, and she
became a wife for him.


Jubilees 12:10 And Haran, his brother, took a wife in
the third year of the third week, and she bore a son for
him in the seventh year of that week. And he called him Lot.


Offa; One of my conclusions is that Haran is Abram's
brother, and, Lot is Haran's son. My question is, in J 12:9,
why isn't Haran's wife named? What happened to Haran?

Jubilees 12:12 In the sixtieth year of the life of
Abram, i.e. the fourth week, in its fourth year, Abram rose
in the night and burned the house of idols. And he burned
everything in the house. And there was no man who knew.


Jubilees 12:13 And they rose up in the night, and they
wanted to save their gods from the midst of the fire.


Jubilees 12:14 And Haran rushed to save them, and the
fire flared up over him. And he was burned in the fire and
died in Ur of the Chaldees before Terah, his father. And
they buried him at Ur of the Chaldees.


Offa; Apparently Abram was responsible for Haran's death.
Also, Terah is now playing a bigger role (Melchidezek?). BTW,
this "Ur of Chaldees" is in Judea. The Hebrews had a tendency
for giving out pseudo-names for people, places, and time.

It is also my opinion that this "Ur of the Chaldees" is also
"Egypt" and that Haran's true identity is "pharaoh". There is
a story in the bible about the pharaoh taking Sarai. Was Sarai
already Abram's wife? and, did Abram get her back?

There is a parallel story about Saul giving David his daughter
then taking her and giving her to someone else. In the end
David gets her back but does not have sexual relations with
her.

It is also mentioned in the bible that Sarai was Abram's sister.
Moses has a sister who was the mother of Joshua. I have a book,
The Secrets of the Bible People and, on pg 154 it says,
I would say Moses put the rebel Aaron to death and left his
body to rot unburied on the top of Mount Hor.


Then there is the story about the "rape of Tamar" (Dinah) in
which Tamar's full brother Absalom kills the rapist (Amnon)
and in turn is killed by David's soldiers. This Tamar would
qualify as a "widow woman" who could have been the mother of
Jeroboam. (Wasn't it Judah who had two suitor's done away with
and paid Tamar for sex and she kept his ring?

Now, one more verse;

Jubilees 14:02 And he said, "O Lord, O Lord what
will you give me? I am going on without children. And the
son of Maseq, the son of my handmaid, is Eliezer of
Damascus. He will be my heir, but you have not given seed
to me."


Offa; In the above verse it is Abram speaking to
Melchidezek? Who is Maseq (male or female). Would Sarai
qualify as a handmaid. Is Eliezer either Lot or Joshua or
both? or neither?

It has been suspected that Damascus is actually Mar Saba.
Think about it, when Saul found Jesus preaching in Damascus
it sure as hell couldn't have been Damascus, Syria because
neither of them had any business being there (let alone its
distance from Jerusalem). Then there is the theory that
Dam-as-cus is Hebrew for "blood of cup".

Then there is the Noah story about the three sons, Shem, Ham,
and Japheth. Noah took a wife, and I figured it out
mathematically that she already had two sons and that Noah's
only son by her was Shem.

In finishing, "What is a wife". She always seems to have been
someone else's property, that is, she is always "taken".


JUB 03:06 And he awakened Adam from his sleep, and when he
awoke, he stood up on the sixth day. And he brought her to
him and he knew her and said to her, "This is now the bone
of my bone and the flesh from my flesh. This one will be
called my wife because she was taken from her husband."


thanks, offa
offa is offline  
Old 12-11-2001, 09:23 AM   #7
Apikorus
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,396
Post

One glaring omission from Jubilees of course is the absence of the character of Melchizedek. Jubilees is essentially a retelling of Genesis. Many scholars believe that the Melchizedek story from Genesis 14 originally was part of Jubilees, but was torn out by a (Christian?) tradent. They see a textual seam where the Melchizedek and Abram story should appear.

I'm surprised that none of the Christians here have picked up the gauntlet to defend the character Melchizedek's appearance in Psalm 110. My position is that the Hebrew malki-tsedeq in Ps 110 should best be translated as "my righteous king" and that the character Melchizedek doesn't appear in the psalm at all.

[ December 11, 2001: Message edited by: Apikorus ]</p>
Apikorus is offline  
Old 12-11-2001, 02:55 PM   #8
offa
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Monroeville, Ohio, USA
Posts: 440
Post

Offa (snipping);

Apikorus
posted December 11, 2001 10:23 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One glaring omission from Jubilees of course is the absence
of the character of Melchizedek. Jubilees is essentially a
retelling of Genesis. Many scholars believe that the Melchizedek
story from Genesis 14 originally was part of Jubilees, but was
torn out by a (Christian?) tradent. They see a textual seam
where the Melchizedek and Abram story should appear.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Offa;
That is an excellent observation. The book in my library (The Old
Testament Pseudepigrapha, James H. Charlesworth ed.) cites
Jubilees as being composed in the 2nd century B.C.
It says that most of the present day Jubilees was
translated from the Ethiopic with the textual history being as
follows:

1. Jubilees was written in Hebrew.
2. Jubilees was translated from Hebrew into Greek.
3. Jubilees was translated from Hebrew into Syriac.
4. Jubilees was translated from Greek into Latin.
5. Jubilees was translated from Greek into Ethiopic.

The dating of Genesis uses the Autumn Equinox as the New Year, where,
of course, Jubilees uses a Spring Equinox as the New Year. Jesus
used references to Jubilees (Jubilee Year). The teachings of Jesus
in the gospels opposed those of Paul (who followed Genesis).

Of course, I am absolutely convinced that Jesus was human and
survived the crucifixion and that the Romans were not interested
in Jesus, but, instead, they were after Simon Magus (Lazarus),
Judas Iscariot, and Theudas.

I hope that page (lacuna) is discovered.

Thanks,
Offa
offa is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:26 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.