Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rewriting Elijah

At the beginning of the First Century, Elijah was probably the most important prophet in Judaism. The Prophet Elijah was the subject matter of considerable speculation appearing in many texts of ancient Judaism including Malachi, Sirach and 4th Ezra to name a few. Malachi had issued a prophecy that Elijah will play a key role at the end of the days. Malachi had said: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”

“Most important, perhaps in reference for Christian claims for Jesus (see Paul 1985, 472-480; Fornaro 1979 431-436), Josephus avoids the Biblical reference to Elijah as a ‘man of G-d’ (1 Kings 17:18; 17:24).” In fn8, Feldman notes that Josephus does use the expression with respect to Moses in Ant 3.180. Feldman indicates “The key characteristic of Josephus’ remolding of the biblical portrait of Elijah is his elimination of its Zealot features.” In Josephus, it is the Israelites who kill the prophets of Baal not Elijah (Ant. 8.343). But later when the Josephan Elijah is asked why he fled Queen Jezebel, he says it is because he killed the prophets of Baal and is being pursued by Queen Jezebel.

Although I had planned to focus on the usage of the word “peace” in the Gospel of Luke during Lent, I could not help but wonder about Josephus’ rewriting of Elijah, the zealot prophet. This is one of many works in progress.

Copyrighted 2009


Post a Comment

<< Home