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Title: Breaching the cosmic order : the biblical tradition of Genesis 6:1-4 and its reception in early Enochic and Philonic Judaism
Author: Wright, Archie T.
ISNI:       0000 0000 6662 2540
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2005
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The research presented here is concerned with the reception history of Genesis 6.1-4 in early Enochic and Phi Ionic Judaism during the Second Temple Period. I suggest that the non-specificity inherent in the biblical text of Genesis 6.1-4 opened the basis for the later emergence of an aetiology of evil spirits as Jewish authors engaged with the text. As a result, Genesis 6.1-4, particularly its interpretation in 1 Enoch 6-16, played an important part in the development of demonology in Judaism during the Second Temple Period. My interest in this topic stems from what appears to be an unusual rise in recording demonic activity in the Synoptic Gospels when compared to the lack of such events in the Hebrew Bible. The significance of demonic activity, such as possession or affliction of humans and exorcism of evil spirits in the New Testament, perhaps denotes a shift in the perception of the demonic has occurred within Judaism. The understanding found in Jewish Scriptures (both Hebrew and Greek traditions) of demonic affliction does not include references to autonomous or semi-autonomous evil spirits. The passages we find in the HB represent evil spirits as operating under the authority of God, which are used by him to punish or to test the faith of his people. The project is divided into four major sections with a brief introduction and conclusion. The first section includes a review of the history of research of the Book of TVatchers since the publication of J. T. Milik's The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 in 1976. In the second section, I present the biblical tradition of Genesis 6.1-4~ the possible themes found within the passage, and various interpretations of the text in Early Judaism. The third section details the reception of the Genesis passage in the Enochic literature. This section suggests how the author of the Book of Watchers adapted the various traditions that are described in section two. The Watcher tradition is taken up in other postbiblical literature (e.g. Dead Sea Scrolls) in which it assumes further elements of the developing demonology and anthropology that can be found in the Gospels and other early Christian documents. The fourth section discusses the reception of Genesis 6.1-4 in the writings of Philo of Alexandria's. The scope of the project does not allow me to deal specifically with any of the New Testament passages that refer to demonic affliction or possession. Instead, my hope is to lay a foundation by which we can better understand the nature of evil spirits in Jewish thought and to explore how this nature, variously conceived, relates to the question of anthropology. What understanding of the human being is assumed when invasion or affliction by demons is described?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available