The curious resurrection account in the Gospel of Peter (10.39–42) is not simply the author’s creative innovation, but is based on a Christocentric interpretation of LXX Ps 18.1–7. The Gospel of Peter’s unusual description of Jesus’ exit from the tomb, whereupon he expands gigantically so that his head enters heaven (GPet 10.39–40), derives from an early Christian interpretation of LXX Ps 18.5c–7. The following conversation between God and the glorified cosmic cross (GPet 10.41–2) derives from a Christocentric interpretation of LXX Ps 18.2. In addition, the cross’s verbal affirmation that it had preached to the dead (GPet 10.42) follows from a literalising yet Christocentric reading of LXX Ps 18.2b.
There is a new ‘documentary’ out about the biblical giants: True Legends – Episode 3 – Holocaust of Giants (GenSix Productions, May 2017). According to the ‘documentary’, a worldwide conspiracy exists to hide the bodies of Giants, whose DNA are being harvested by genetic engineers intent on resurrecting the biblical Rephaim.
From the mounds of America, to the megalithic ruins on the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, the desiccated bones of dead giants are being systematically disentombed and secreted away to clandestine vaults for apocalyptic purposes. While occultists are attempting to harness the arcane necromancy of the Canaanites, genetic engineers are working feverishly to reconstitute the genomes of the giants, and resurrect the dreaded race of Rephaim in the earth.
The name of the film’s production company is GenSix Productions, based of course on the unusual story contained in Genesis 6:1-4 involving sex between the “sons of god(s)” and “daughters of men”, who give birth to the Nephilim.
The ‘documentary’ features Steve Quayle, Timothy Alberino, and Thomas Horn. Steve Quayle is a talk-show host and author of a number of books on conspiracies involving giants and genetic manipulation. Thomas Horn is the author of end-times conspiracies, Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed (2009) and Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, & Human Enhancement Herald The Dawn Of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare (2011). Timothy Alberino is “a researcher, explorer, and filmmaker who travels the Earth in search of evidence relating to the true narrative of forbidden history.”
There is a trailer for the video available on Vimeo:
I have just seen the future. On 18 July 2017, David Clines will deliver a paper at the SOTS Summer Meeting which provides a succinct but comprehensive take-down of the view that God is sometimes, in the Hebrew Bible, described as female.
The view that Yahweh sometimes gets described with female language is widespread in a type of second wave feminist–influenced biblical scholarship. Phyllis Trible is perhaps the most influential scholar who has expounded such a view. Clines doesn’t explicitly say it in these terms, but such scholarship also appears to be driven by a need to redeem the biblical text for the confessional needs of Christian and Jewish women. While understandable, the critical approach, by contrast, faces up to a more recalcitrant text which perpetuates the patriarchal assumptions of its authors.
To this end, Clines reviews “some 23 passages and terms that have been thought to attest female language about the deity under the topic headings of childbirth, midwifery, childcare, female household activities, other female activities… and two Hebrew terms (for Shaddai and mercy)”. For those familiar with the claims made by those who would redeem the text, the passages in the Hebrew Bible will come as no surprise (they aren’t very extensive to begin with). With emphasis on philological analysis, Clines seems intent not only on showing that the Bible does not present God as a woman, but denying any possibility of feminine imagery being applied to God.
His conclusion is worth quoting:
For my part, I regret the damage done to the feminist cause by the repeated claim that the Bible is less masculine and less sexist than it actually is.
– David Clines, “Alleged Female Language about the Deity in the Hebrew Bible“, paper to be delivered at SOTS Summer Meeting 2017, 18 July
I look forward to future scholarship reclaiming the Bible as homophobic, ethically dubious, and politically suppressive, too.
See also: David Clines on whether women should speak in church, in the Christian Brethren Research Fellowship journal: <a href="https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/cbrfj/10_33.pdf
In a piece entitled “Fall of the Watchers”, artist Eric Ondina has managed to capture an aspect of the myth of sex between Watcher angels and human women that usually gets glossed over in renditions of the story.
The Book of Watchers tersely summarises that the Watchers “took” the women, “went into” them, and “defiled themselves with” them (7.1ab). The twenty named Watchers are contrasted with the anonymous and unnamed women who they “choose for themselves”. The Watchers act, and the unnamed women are acted upon. Their identities are suppressed, irrelevant to their function within the plot. Their reactions here are limited to their childbearing function: they “became pregnant” and “bore to them gigantic offspring” (7.2).
But what did giving birth to “gigantic offspring” do to these women? The text falls silent, in contrast to the cries of anguish which would have accompanied such extreme foetal dystocia. The birth canal is only important in the story insofar as it satisfies the Watchers’ desires – for sexual intercourse and for children.
But in Ondina’s “Fall of the Watchers”, the effect on the Women is brought to the fore in the artist’s portrayal of an evidently painful, bulging womb. But this pain is combined with a comical characterisation of the women as obsessed with the jewellery that the Watchers gave to them. The combination of extreme discomfort and vain satisfaction is, of course, absurd. And this absurdity provides a visual critique of the tendency in the Watcher myth to belittle or even blame women for the actions of the Watchers.
Ondina himself comments:
I have extracted multiple motifs from this story and melded them into a dynamic composition. The piece is painted in oil on a hand molded, cresting, reinforced plaster slab, which is bordered by a deep cradle frame. It was my intention to make a painting which mirrors this mini-epic in scale, drama and abject gruesomeness. With this in mind I decided to invoke the compositional and painting techniques found in the dynamic baroque of the 17th century while emulating the decisive moment found in 18th century Romanticism. There is also a clear reference to the Northern European Renaissance in the detail, cathedral-esque shape of the substrate, insider humor, and violence. These fuse into a style I have developed in this series which is both contemporary and historically reinforced. While my painting seeks to provide a portal into the past, I seek to do so through a modern lens, injecting subtle to sardonic satire into my subjects. This is readily apparent along the bottom of the painting; in the lower right hand corner an oblivious woman pampers herself with gold and makeup, her stomach bursting at the seams as her hulking half-angel broodling slithers out. She is a sarcastic embodiment of how our contemporary sensitivities are want to perceive this story. The Abrahamic religions are not renowned for their justice towards women, and The Book of Enoch once again exemplifies this ancient trend. Women are the seductresses and the baby factories, the intermediaries and cause of the sinfulness pressed upon the world; because of their erotic allure, mankind suffered nightmarish consequences. My painted jezebel is a mocking testimony to this ancient fear-mongering.
In portraying this extreme foetal dystocia in this manner, Ondina’s “Fall of the Watchers” has drawn attention to an aspect of the Watcher myth that has escaped many commentators, as well as critiquing that very failure to take account of the effects on women implied by the Watcher myth.
King Og of Bashan has written down his life experiences, and they appear on Chabad.org!
I have lived a long life, and it is difficult to remember all that I have experienced. I am forever indebted to the Jewish people for being so diligent in their note-taking and for making sure that history is not forgotten. My story can be pieced together from accounts recorded in their texts, both in the written Torah, as well as in the collection of teachings known as the Midrash.
You can have a read of Og’s memoirs here. It seems that Chabad.org staff writer Shaul Wolf has helped him compile his memoirs from Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Genesis Rabbah, Targums Jonathan and Onkelos, the Talmud, Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, Nahmanides (Ramban), Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam), Maimonides (Rambam), Abraham ibn Ezra, Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), Daat Zekeinim and Baal HaTurim.
Elliot R. Wolfson writes:
Prima facie, one might suppose that since we are dealing with a contemporary personality, in contrast to studying an individual from the distant past, the scholar should be able to separate the wheat of historical fact from the chaff of pious embellishment. The judiciousness of this expectation notwithstanding, it seems that chronological proximity does not alleviate the methodological problem…. It does not seem tenable to sever the realistic from the fictional in a clear-cut way, as the latter is what engenders the former…. To state the matter openly, though not as nuanced as I would like, it is not apparent to me that any methodology can presume to divest the Rebbe of his garb as rebbe, so that the person of Menaḥem Mendel Schneerson will come into clear view.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me state unequivocally that I do not deny that there are more and less reliable sources, nor am I suggesting that it is impossible to ascertain any historical information about the Rebbe’s life outside of his persona as the movement’s leader. Of course, this is possible, as other scholars have already demonstrated. What I am arguing, however, is that the very notion of a Ḥasidic rebbe must be understood as a composite figure, a corporate entity, if you will, a man whose identity is configured by his followers and perhaps also by his opponents….
Even the more sober attempts to treat the Rebbe or the movement in scientifically
verifiable terms cannot free themselves entirely from the grip of hagiography.
Simply put, without that there would be no framework within which to study the life of Menaḥem Mendel Schneerson, and this is as true for the scholar as it is for the partisan. Attempts to penetrate through the shroud of hagiography are futile, if it is presumed that one can remove that shroud entirely to observe some naked historical truth. The only truth that may be observed is truth garbed in the appearance of truth.
– Elliot R. Wolfson, Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menaḥem Mendel Schneerson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), pp. 13-14.
Rebbe Menaḥem Mendel Schneerson died only 20 years ago – although his followers believe he has been exalted to heaven, where he intercedes for them, and many of them believe that he will return at the end of the age, as the Messiah.
In “Autopsie de la Bible” (31 August 2016), French journal Témoignage chrétien interviews Professor Thomas Römer, chair of The Hebrew Bible and its Contexts at the Collège de France. It’s a good read.
And at the end, there is a section in which Thomas Römer explains the composition of the Hebrew Bible by comparing it to the use of Abba songs in the film Mamma Mia!
Thomas Römer earlier made the comparison with Mamma Mia! in his Inaugural Lecture at the Collège de France (5 February 2009). Although the movie is getting a bit old, his use of it was obviously memorable – and, dare I say it, more memorable than the movie itself. Have a look at my earlier Remnant of Giants post, where I transcribed and translated that part of his Inaugural Lecture.
Here’s the relevant part of his more recent Témoignage chrétien interview:
THE PENTATEUCH AND MAMMA MIA!
Interviewer: In your “Inaugural Lecture,” you explained that the Pentateuch was constructed a little like the musical film Mamma Mia!
Thomas Römer: Yes, this was at the time that this film was released. For its screenplay, the film constructed a fairly banal story from different songs of the group Abba. The songs originally had no connection, neither chronological nor thematic. But the screenplay devised a fictional marriage to impose order on songs whose only connection was to have been written by the same composers and sung by the same group. And the result was a movie with a story loosely hung together.
It seemed to me that the image was useful to show how traditions of the Pentateuch which were unrelated in the original were linked together. On the one hand, you have the history of the world, with its grand narratives, the creation of the world, of man, the Flood, Babel; disparate narratives that have no other link between them except to imagine the origins of the world and humanity. Then there are the narratives of the Patriarchs. Again, they were told separately at first: the adventures of Jacob, of Isaac, of Abraham. And Joseph is yet another story. These stories have the same literary genre, but they were not written to follow each other. Jacob is probably the the most ancient story and Abraham came last. But in the Bible, they chose to put Abraham first.
The stories of the Patriarchs and the stories of the Exodus were, at the beginning, not linked at all. In the stories of the Patriarchs, importance is placed on descent, on genealogy – but in the story of Exodus, genealogies disappear. Even Moses was not an ancestor. He has sons of whom we do not know at all what become of them. In the episode of the golden calf, God said, “I will destroy all these people and I will make of thee a great nation.” But Moses refuses to become an ancestor. This is a profound reflection on a question in emerging Judaism: how are we Jewish? Because we descended from Abraham, from Isaac, from Jacob? Or because we keep the commandments that Moses transmitted at Sinai?
LE PENTATEUQUE ET MAMA MIA
Lors de votre « Leçon inaugurale », vous avez expliqué que le Pentateuque était un peu fabriqué comme le film musical Mama Mia.
Oui, c’était au moment où ce film est sorti. Pour son scénario, on a construit une histoire assez banale à partir des différentes chansons du groupe Abba. Les chansons, à l’origine n’avaient aucun lien ni chronologique ni thématique. Mais le scénario du film a imaginé une rocambolesque histoire de mariage pour imposer un ordre à des chansons dont le seul lien était d’avoir été composées par les mêmes auteurs et chantées par le même groupe. Et à l’arrivée, on a un film avec une histoire qui se tient à peu près.
Il m’a semblé que l’image était utile pour montrer comment les traditions du Pentateuque, avaient été reliées entre elles alors qu’elles n’avaient aucun lien à l’origine. D’une part, vous avez l’histoire du monde, avec les grands récits, création du monde, de l’homme, Déluge, Tour de Babel ; récits disparates qui n’ont pas d’autre lien entre eux que d’imaginer les origines du monde et de l’humanité. Puis, il y a les récits des Patriarches. Là aussi, on avait raconté de manière séparée d’abord les aventures de Jacob, d’Isaac, d’Abraham. Et Joseph est encore une autre histoire. Ces récits ont le même genre littéraire, mais ils n’ont pas été écrits pour se suivre. Jacob est probablement l’histoire la plus ancienne et Abraham, le dernier venu. Or dans la Bible, on a choisi de mettre Abraham d’abord.
Les histoires des Patriarches et les histoires de l’Exode, à l’origine, ne sont pas du tout liées. Dans les histoires patriarcales, l’importance est mise sur la descendance, sur la généalogie, alors que dans le récit de l’Exode, les généalogies dispa – raissent. Même Moïse n’est pas un ancêtre. Il a des fils dont on ne sait pas du tout ce qu’ils deviennent. Dans l’épisode du veau d’or, Dieu dit « Je vais exterminer tout ce peuple et je ferai avec toi un grand peuple ». Mais Moïse refuse de devenir un ancêtre. C’est une réflexion profonde sur une question du judaïsme naissant; comment est-on juif ? Parce qu’on descend d’Abraham, d’Isaac, de Jacob ? Ou parce qu’on observe les commandements que Moïse a transmis au Sinaï ?