Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports About by Alan F. Segal

By Alan F. Segal

During this examine of the rabbinic heretics who believed in "Two powers in heaven", Alan Segal explores a few relationships among rabbinic Judaism, Merkabah mysticism, and early Christianity. "Two powers in heaven" was once a really early classification of heresy. It used to be one of many uncomplicated different types through which the rabbis perceived the recent phenomenon of Christianity and one of many primary matters over which Judaism and Christianity separated. Segal reconstructs the advance of the heresy via relationship of the levels of the rabbinic traditions. the elemental heresy concerned reading scripture to claim primary angelic or hypostatic manifestation in heaven was once comparable to God. The earliest heretics believed in complementary powers in heaven, whereas later heretics believed in opposing powers in heaven. Segal stresses the significance of perceiving the relevance of rabbinic fabric for fixing conventional difficulties of latest testomony and gnostic scholarship, and while continues the need of analyzing these literatures for relationship rabbinic fabric.

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Additional info for Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports About Christianity and Gnosticism (Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity , No 25)

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32:39) Thus says YHWH, the king of Israel, etc. / am YHWH, the first and the last, etc. (Is. 44:6), As it is said; Behold now, that I, even /, am He, etc. ( D t 32:39). Even unto old age I am the same (Is, 46:4). Thus says YHWH the king of Israel and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts, I am the first and the last, (Is. 44:6). And it says Who has wrought and done it} He that called the generations from the beginning. I, the Lord who am the first, and to the end I am He. (Is. 41:4). PR Piska 21 100b l (Another comment: Face after face) R.

47 Because of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we can be certain that some apocalyptic and sectarian movements within Judaism developed dualistic tendencies which could have been described as "two powers in heaven" by the rabbis. Even without raising the issue of their relationship to Zoroastrianism (which, in any case, was unnoticed by their contemporaries) the Qumranites can be seen as a contemporary source of dualism. In the Manual of Discipline of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ethical dualism is boldly outlined: 45 San.

Lauterbach, suggested that refutations of those who believe in "two powers" are arguments against Christianity when it was still considered a Jewish heresy. To demonstrate this assertion he cited Dt. R. II, 33 where Solomon is reported by the rabbis to have stated categorically that the one God has neither son or brother. Since some texts associate this heresy with "two powers" Lauterbach felt that the second heavenly power must be Jesus. "Two powers" couid only refer to Persian dualism if the parties were antagonistic, 12 whüe Christian theology might easily have been understood by the rabbis to posit a second divine figure working in harmony with and claiming to be the son of the one God.

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