Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wright, Scott, and Levels of Heaven

On pp. 147-148 of his study entitled The Early History of Heaven--J. Edward Wright associates the Test. of Levi and 2 Cor. 12:1-4:

"The Greek text [of Levi] did not evolve from a three-heaven to a seven-heaven schema as Charles, Bitenhard, and Kee assume. The shorter versions are a corruption of an earlier seven-heaven schema. It is very posible that a later Christian hand revised the original seven-heaven schema to a three-heaven schema in light of the Apostle Paul's ascent to the 'third heaven.'"

James M. Scott (2 Corinthians in the New International Biblical Commentary series) states:

"Although Jewish and Christian apocalypses often presuppose a cosmology of seven heavens (cf. A.Y. Collins), some texts do speak of three heavens, the third of which is the highest, the dwelling place of God himself (cf. 1 En. 14:8-25; T. Levi 3:4)" (p. 224).


boanerges86 said...

Hello Edgar!
Im one of JW in Poland. My english is not perfect, but i hope You will understand.
One of my friend thinking about buying this book
Do You have possibilty to check how it look inside (maybe in library or some shop) and maybe make some photo, or tell us, is there many philological commentaries or more theological. For us more important is philological. If there will be more this, he will be more sure to buy this, and this is not so cheap.
Thank for Your blog, it is very intresting.

Best regards

boanerges86 said...

Hello Edgar!

We find many fragments of this Gray's book in internet and we know now, this book is full of philological commentaries. There is no need now, to searching by You this book.

I try give something in subject of Your post:
One Poland commentary to 1 and 2 Corinthians (Ks. Eugeniusz Dąbrowski "Listy do Koryntian" Poznań 1965) suggest, that if Paul wrote to Corinthians, he must use information easy to understanding for them, and this is not propably, that they can have information about very specific judean beliefs in some apocrific. For this author, it is very possible, that "third heaven" is just "very high heaven". J.A. Bengel sugested that three heaven of Paul in ancient cosmography is:
1. heaven of clouds
2. Heaven of sun and stars
3. Heaven where is God.
Than this author wrote, that the best is Kalwin commentary: "Numerus ternarius κατ εξοχην positus est pro summo et perfectissimo".

I hope this can help. Sorry for my english.

Best Regards

Edgar Foster said...

Dear Brother boanerges86,

I'm glad you were able to access the commentary. We do not haver the work at our library, but it looks like it will be a good work.

Thanks also for your observations on the third heaven. The comemnts above harmonize with other things I've read about ancient Jewish cosmology.

Best regards,


Duncan said...

Pg 250

"In Ancient Near
Eastern cosmology, the deities are often depicted as dwelling above the clouds, in their heavenly
abodes; Israelite adaptations of this cosmology depict YHWH as ruling over the cosmos from his
celestial throne (Psalms 18:7–17; 29; 68:5–6, 34–35; 82; 93:2; 102:20; 104:3–4,13; 144:7)."