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By Martha Himmelfarb

Based on the account within the booklet of Exodus, God addresses the youngsters of Israel as they stand prior to Mt. Sinai with the phrases, "You will likely be to me a nation of clergymen and a holy state" (19:6). The sentence, Martha Himmelfarb observes, is paradoxical, for clergymen are by means of definition a minority, but the which means in context is apparent: the full humans is holy. The phrases additionally element to a few major tensions within the biblical realizing of the folk of Israel. If the whole humans is holy, why does it desire clergymen? If club in either humans and priesthood is an issue now not of benefit yet of delivery, how can both the folk or its monks desire to be holy? How can one reconcile the gap among the honour due the priest and the particular habit of a few who stuffed the function? What can the folks do to make itself actually a country of priests?Himmelfarb argues that those questions develop into imperative in moment Temple Judaism. She considers more than a few texts from this era, together with the booklet of Watchers, the booklet of Jubilees, criminal files from the lifeless Sea Scrolls, the writings of Philo of Alexandria, and the publication of Revelation of the hot testomony, and is going directly to discover rabbinic Judaism's emphasis on descent because the basic criterion for inclusion one of the selected humans of Israel—a place, she contends, that took on new strength in response to early Christian disparagement of the concept that mere descent from Abraham was once enough for salvation.

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A n d they c o n c e r n e d them­ selves with the difficult writings o f the ancients: 1 Enoch 12-16 interprets the descent o f the Watchers by means o f a close reading o f 1 Enoch 6-11. But many scholars w o u l d reject what I have just claimed about the im­ p o r t a n c e o f the Torah, especially its laws, f o r the Book of the Watchers a n d 1 Enoch as a w h o l e . T h e s e scholars understand the E n o c h i c literature to e x p o u n d a type o f wisdom that stands if n o t in o p p o s i t i o n to then at least apart from the T o r a h .

It is almost tautological to say that the author o f chapters 1 2 - 1 6 , in­ d e e d the authors o f all the layers o f the Book of the Watchers, were scribes. I will have m o r e to say a b o u t what this means after discussing b e n Sira's picture o f the profession. It is possible that s o m e o f the authors were also priests, perhaps even likely since there appears to have b e e n consid­ erable overlap between priests and scribes in the S e c o n d T e m p l e pe­ riod. But I w o u l d argue strongly that interest in priests and temples o n heaven and earth d o e s n o t necessarily p o i n t to priesdy identity, just as criticism o f priests points neither toward n o r away f r o m priests.

Beentjes. T h e RSV takes the e n d o f verse 18, the accumulation o f silver and g o l d , as the last element o f the praise o f S o l o m o n ; it provides "but" to c o n n e c t the praise to the criticism: "But y o u laid your loins beside w o m e n . " Against this view, Beentjes argues that b e n Sira measures S o l o m o n by the standards o f D e u t e r o n o m y ' s law o f the king: "And h e shall n o t multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; n o r shall h e gready multiply for himself silver and g o l d " (Deut 1 7 : 1 7 ) .

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