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Re: orion-list Kittim in Dan 11:30?

Dear Russell Gmirkin,

I read with interest your note. In particular I had not picked up on the
Yavan reference in Jubilees, although I have looked at the Gen 10:4
reference on which it is based. I shall certainly look into this aspect
as you suggest. Concerning the Maccabees references it is certainly true
that in either instance the author refers specifically to Macedonia, but
the fact that in the Greek 'Hellas' is used for Heb. Yavan (Goldstein,
Anchor Bible Commentary), still leaves open the possibility of a wider
reference. Meanwhile, given the fact that Kittim stems from the town of
Kition in Cyprus, to narrow the reference to Macedonia would I feel be
premature? Note Josephus Ant. where Cetthim is a name applied to 'sea
peoples' in general. Nevertheless, given the strong military tendencies
of the Kittim in the Hebrew Bible, esp. Num 24:21-24, where they
function as a fourth nation, it would certainly not be surprising to
find a wider tradition identifying Alexander's conquests with prophecies
concerning the Kittim.

Nevertheless, my main point of concern would relate to your suggestion
that in 1QpHab the Kittim are clearly the Romans. This is the very point
I am attempting to cast some doubt upon. On studying the Habakkuk pesher
I am still in some doubt as to what the 'telling' points of this
identification are. My research into the standards debate as a whole
suggests that the pesherist's argument is contrived from the biblical
prophecy itself, combined with a more general reverent attitude to
worship of standards that might be applied to any number of ancient
groups. In other words it is not entirely necessary to apply this to
any specific historical event. Another aspect of the argument often
cited concerns the reference to the 'eagle'. Obviously the eagle is well
associated with Rome, but again this aspect is drawn directly from the
prophecy itself. Instead I come to the uneasy conclusion that the
general feeling portrayed in the pesher better fits the Roman advances
during the broad historical period than any other nation, though precise
identifications are difficult to tie down. That said, however, I agree
that the reference to the Kittim in pNah clearly represents the Romans.

My apologies for the random nature of these thoughts.

Marcus Wood
Department of Theology
University of Durham

RGmyrken@aol.com wrote:
> Dear Marcus Wood,
>     You have an interesting thesis with respect to Dan. 11:30.  I would just
> throw in a few possibly useful, possibly irrelevant facts.
>     (1) In 1 Macc. 1:1; 8:5 the Kittim are actually associated specifically
> with the Macedonians (i.e. Alexander and Perseus), not the Greeks as a whole.
>  Perhaps this is a significant point.  One might speculate that a Jewish
> tradition existed linking Alexander's conquests with Biblical prophecies
> about the Kittim.  Perhaps some research along these lines might prove
> fruitful.
>     (2) In Genesis 10 Kittim is a son of Javan, and I note that at Jub. 9:10
> Javan is assigned "every island and the islands [coasts?] which are toward
> the side of Lud [Lydia]."  This would appear to associate Javan [the Ionians,
> but also Kittim] with Asia Minor rather than the Greek peninsula.
>     (3) In the War Scroll (and in the closely related 4QpIsa(a)) the Kittim
> appear to refer to the Seleucid Greeks.  But in 1QpHab the Kittim are clearly
> the Romans (cf. the arguments of Dupont-Sommer), as well as in 4QpNah (where
> they are contrasted with the kings of Javan).
>     Best wishes,
>     Russell Gmirkin
For private reply, e-mail to Marcus Wood <M.E.M.Wood@durham.ac.uk>
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