Lives of the Prophets

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For Islamic stories of the prophets, see Qisas Al-Anbiya.

The Lives of the Prophets is an ancient apocryphal account of the lives of the prophets from the Old Testament. It is not regarded as scripture by any Jewish or Christian denomination. The work may have been known by the author of some of the Pauline Epistles, as there are similarities in the descriptions of the fates of the prophets, although without naming the individuals concerned.

Manuscript Tradition[edit]

The work survives only in Christian manuscripts. There are two groups of Greek manuscripts: the first group includes many versions, well known in the past centuries, with heavy Christian additions. Some of these versions were attributed to Epiphanius of Salamis,[1] others to Dorotheus of Tyre.[2] The other group of Greek manuscripts is more stable and free from the interpolations found in the previous group: the best codex is a 6th-century CE manuscript[3] usually referred to as Q or as anonymous recension. There is also a Latin version with a text near to Q used by Isidore of Seville (before 636 CE). There are also versions in Syriac, Armenian, and Arabic.

Original Language and Date[edit]

There is not consensus among scholars about the original language. Torrey[4] proposed Hebrew, other authors proposed Aramaic.[5] The preferred use of quotations from the Septuagint suggests a Greek original with semitic coloring.[6]

Authenticating the dating is highly problematic due to the Christian transmission and presumed expansions. Most scholars consider this work to be of Jewish origin dating the 1st century CE.[citation needed] Torrey[4] suggests a date before 106 CE. Hare[6] the first quarter of the 1st century CE. Satran[7] proposes an early Byzantine origin in the 4th-5th century on previous materials.

Content[edit]

It begins with an account of what it is attempting to contain:

The names of the prophets, and where they are from, and where they died and how, and where they lie

The Lives of the Prophets includes the lives of the 23 prophets. Some lives are extremely short, only the most basic information is given, while for the others there are details and stories. The main facts indicated in the Lives are the followings:

Themes[edit]

The author of the Lives of the Prophets seems to have been more interested in miracles, intercessions and predictions of the prophets than in their ethical teaching. One of the more typical themes of the Lives of the Prophets is the interest of the author for the burial places of the prophets. Jeremias[5] in his study examines both the archaeological and the literary evidence, in particular the Herod architectural activity and the attestations of Matthew 23:29 and Luke 11:47, and considers the Lives as a witness of popular devotion in the 1st century. The theme of prophets as intercessors for people long after the prophet's death is also present. A major theme is martyrdom of the prophets: six prophets are said to have been martyred.[12]

See also[edit]

Apocrypha

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Codex Paris gr 1115 (dated 1276, said E1 or Epiphanius Prior, published in the 16th century) and Codex Coisl. 120 (10th century, said E2 or Epiphanius Alter)
  2. ^ referred to as D or Dorotheus and included in the Chronicon Paschale, 7th century
  3. ^ Codex Marchalianus, Vatican Library gr.2125
  4. ^ a b Torrey, C.C. The Lives of the Prophets (SBLMS 1), Philadelphia 1946
  5. ^ a b J. Jeremias Heiligengräber in Jesu Umwelt (Mt 23,29; Lk 11,47). Eine Untersuchung zur Volksreligion der Zeit Jesu, Göttingen 1958
  6. ^ a b D.R.A. Hare The Lives of the Prophets in ed. James Charlesworth The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 2 pp. 379-400 ISBN 0-385-18813-7(1985)
  7. ^ D.Satran Biblical Prophets in Byzantine Palestine. Reassessing the Lives of the Prophets (SVTP 11) Leiden 1995 pag 121-128
  8. ^ a b c d e f g place not identified
  9. ^ Data about Micah are quite certainly wrong due probably to a confusion with the Micaiah of 1 Kings 22
  10. ^ usually identified as Beth-meon of Jermiah 48:23
  11. ^ a b c d e There is not agreement among scholars about the location of this place
  12. ^ D. A.Carson, P.T. O'Brien, M.A. Seifrid Justification and Variegated Nomism: A Fresh Appraisal of Paul and Second Temple Judaism ISBN 3-16-146994-1 (2001) pag 69-71

Sources[edit]

  • D.R.A. Hare The Lives of the Prophets in ed. James Charlesworth The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 2 pp. 379–400 ISBN 0-385-18813-7(1985)
  • Emil Schürer, G.Vermes, F.Millar The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ ISBN 0-567-09373-5 (1973) pag 783-786
  • G. Lusini Vite dei Profeti in ed. P.Sacchi Apocrifi dell'Antico Testamento Vol 4 ISBN 88-394-0587-9 (2000)

External links[edit]