J. W. Wesselius: “The Origin of the History of Israel” (2002)—Review

This book by the Dutch scholar Jan Wim Wesselius presents yet another radical solution to the question hulking over OT studies like a malignant phantom: Who wrote the ancient history of Israel? Much depends on the answer—including the self-proclaimed legitimacy of the modern state of Israel. We recently considered Russell Gmirkin’s answer, which I personally find quite plausible: a group of Jewish scholars penned the Torah in Alexandria, c. 273 BCE, drawing on sources found in the Alexandria Library (particularly Berossus and Manetho). Wesselius presents a very different, but equally provocative, solution to the authorship question as regards the so-called Primary History (Genesis through 2 Kings). His book’s full title is The Origin of the History of Israel: Herodotus’s Histories … Continue reading

Torrey Part 5: Jewish history rewritten

The Messiah Son of Ephraim by Charles C. Torrey, PhD. Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), pp. 253-277 Part Five With editorial material added in green and significant statements in red. Zechariah 12:9-11 It was remarked above that in the Jewish tradition one passage of Old Testament prophecy has been expressly declared to refer definitely to the death of the warrior Messiah, the Son of Ephraim. This is Zech 12:10, a picture of bitter lamentation in Jerusalem for a slain hero. The whole chapter deals with the closing scenes of the great conflict of Israel with the hostile nations of the world. Yahweh says in 12:9: “In that day I will seek to destroy all the … Continue reading

Torrey Part 4: Slain by the gentiles

The Messiah Son of Ephraim by Charles C. Torrey, PhD. Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), pp. 253-277 Part Four With editorial material added in green. I have also taken the liberty of highlighting some significant statements in red.—R.S. Daniel 9:24-27 /24/ “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy one. /25/ Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; … Continue reading

Torrey Part 3: The union of man and God

The Messiah Son of Ephraim by Charles C. Torrey, PhD. Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), pp. 253-277 Part Three With editorial material added in green and significant passages in red.—R.S. Apocalypse of Baruch, Chapters 29, 30, and 40 All those who have knowledge of the intimate relation existing between Second Esdras (IV Ezra) and the Apocalypse of Baruch will expect to find in the latter work the same Messianic teaching as in the former. And in fact, its representation of the lesser Messiah agrees in all respects with that which was given in the “Shealtiel Apocalypse” (II Esdr, chaps. 3-13).11 The material in Ap. Bar. taken over from Ap. Sheal. (i. e., from the core … Continue reading

Torrey Part One: The Slain Messiah

The Messiah Son of Ephraim by Charles C. Torrey, PhD. Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Sep., 1947), pp. 253-277 HIGHLIGHTS This important article provides astonishing—and unexpected—insight into the Jewish background of the Christian conception of the slain messiah. I have arbitrarily divided Torrey’s article into five parts. The major points (highlighted in red in the pertinent posts) are as follows: Part 1: – Contrary to general belief, there were two expected messiahs (“anointed ones”) in Second Temple Judaism: the Messiah Son of Ephraim, and the Messiah Son of David. The latter is well known, while the former has languished in obscurity since ancient times, suppressed in both Judaism and Christianity. However, Torrey argues that the Christian messianic … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) – pt. 3

by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11 (1956) Edited and translated from the French by R. Salm (April, 2012) Note: Editorial additions are in green. Part Three Simon and the Taheb or “Messiah” It was in Samaria that the belief in the messiah, which was very old, appeared most coherently. This messiah—the Taheb—would return divine favor to Samaria (that is, to “Israel”), would return the tabernacle and the cult to Mt. Gerizim and would live one hundred and ten years. He was Moses returned to save his own, a conception opposed to that of the Jews of Jerusalem. At his death evil would multiply until the Day of Judgment at the end of the world. On that … Continue reading