Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Maurice Casey on the Term "God" in Second Temple Judaism


Casey writes:

"Some beings [in 2nd Temple Judaism] seem to be of
almost divine status. At Wisdom of Solomon 7:21ff,
Wisdom is described in such terms. In 11Q Melchizedek,
Old Testament passages containing two of the words for
God (EL at Ps 7:8-9 and ELOHIM at Ps 82:1) are
interpreted of Melchizdek. Both ELIM and ELOHIM are
used with reference to angels in 4Q Shir Shabb. Philo
describes Moses as 'God and king of the whole nation'
(Life of Moses I, 158), and the LOGOS as 'the second
God' (Qu in Gen II, 62). At 3 Enoch 12:3-5, God crowns
Metatron, who is enthroned in heaven, and calls him
'The lesser YHWH'" (From Jewish Prophet to Gentile
God: The Origins and Development of New Testament
Christology. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John
Knox Press, 1991), p. 79.

Edgar Foster


KentAZ said...


Thanks for the reference.

It's quite obvious that both in the O.T. and Judaic tradition the term "god" is a generic title and describes rank and authority, not ontology.

In my humble opinion, Trinitarians essentially redefine monotheism when they argue that there can be only one God and that all others referred to as "god" must necessarily be false gods.

A side note: Yesterday I received a copy of your book on Angelmorphic Christology and Tertullian which I had ordered from Amazon.com. I look forward to reading it and intend to post a review on the website after I've completed it.

Edgar Foster said...

It continually amazes me how most Trinitarians overlook this basic point, namely, that ancient Judaism allowed for others besides YHWH to be called ELOHIM/QEOS without implying that ELOHIM/QEOI besides YHWH were false QEOI. One Trinitarian speaks of there being subordinate gods in the OT. And we have instances of this phenomenon in the DSS. But I guess we should not be too surprised.

Thanks for purchasing my book. I would like to hear your thoughts after you finish it. I'm thinking about expanding it.