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Re: Melchizedek and Levi (long)
<This posting evidently got lost when it was sent earlier.>
Ian writes, regarding the possible late date of the Melchizedek tradition:
> Russell's "refutation" based upon thoughts from writing of seventy years
> rather than on the original sources doesn't strike me as a refutation...
> Since Gaster wrote [The Asatir, 1927], many things
> have changed in our analysis of documents and dates. I would prefer to see
> something a bit more tangible.
The following line of evidence is a little more direct.
First, the third book of the Sibylline Oracles is widely recognized on
dependent on the anonymous Samaritan author scholars call Pseudo-Eupolemus.
Thus the reference to the Tower of Babel being cast down from great winds
sent by God at SibOr 3.101-103 may be taken to be a tradition derived from
Pseudo-Eupolemus. At Jub. 10:26 there this same tradition appears,
demonstrating a dependence of Jubilees on Pseudo-Eupolemus. I could cite
other examples, but this one should suffice. Then PsEup definitely precedes
Jubilees. The current concensus has it that PsEup was written ca. 200 BCE
(or possibly earlier), certainly before the Hellenistic crisis. It is
sufficiently early as to show no conflict at all between Jews and Samaritans.
(For PsEup read J. Charlesworth, _Old Testament Pseudepigrapha_ [Doubleday,
1985] 2.873-882; or better yet C. Holladay, _Fragments of Hellenistic Jewish
Authors_ [Scholars Press, 1983] 1.157ff. Either is easily available through
interlibrary loan, as is Gaster's _Asatir_.)
Then reading the conclusion to PsEup's account of Abraham's rescue of Lot, we
read at PsEup 5-6:
"Abraham was treated as a guest by the city in the temple Argarizin [i.e. Mt.
Gerizim], which means 'mountain of the Most High.' He received gifts from
Melchizedek, its ruler and priest of God."
Hence the Samaritans had already appropriated the Melchizedek story by ca.
200 BCE (and probably much earlier in the third century, as the Asatir
Melchizedek story appears to predate even most of the Enoch literature; note
that Ps-Eup depends on the Asatir, probably in the Melchizedek story as well
Anders Aschim's suggestion that Levi as "priest of the Most High" (Jub. 13:1)
has Levi in competition to Melchizedek is also valuable, given the strong
anti-Samaritan polemics in the account of Levi's slaughter of the residents
of Shechem at Jub. 30:1-17. Levi's zeal in killing the Samaritans is the
direct reason for his being appointed progenitor of the priesthood, both at
Jub. 30:18 and TestLevi 5-8. Levitical claims in this literature thus
directly compete with those of the Samaritans (the latter based on the
Melchizedek story) .