Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Almost every narrative in Pseudo-Philo’s Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (L.A.B.), a late first or early second century C.E. rewriting of scriptural texts and traditions, deals in some way with issues of reward and punishment, a prominent theme in early Jewish literature. In 1917, M. R. James observed that two “truths” were “foremost” among the “great truths” in L.A.B.: (1) “the indestructibility of Israel” and (2) Israel’s “duty of faithfulness to the one God” (Biblical Antiquities, 34). Most studies of reward and punishment in L.A.B. emphasize one of these two “great truths” to the virtual (or complete) exclusion of the other. This has resulted in sharply contrasting conclusions concerning the concepts of reward and punishment within Pseudo-Philo’s ideology.
A promising perspective from which to reconsider the concepts of reward and punishment in L.A.B. is the view of reward and punishment, which, according to E. P. Sanders’s theory of covenantal nomism, was pervasive within Judaism of the first centuries of the Common Era (Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 75, 421‒423, 426). Such an investigation will be the focus of this thesis. Scholars such as Heikki Räisänen (Paul and the Law, 180 n. 92), Frederick J. Murphy (Pseudo-Philo: Rewriting the Bible, 233 n. 18), and Sanders (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 263‒275) have contended that L.A.B. exemplifies covenantal nomism but this premise has never been examined thoroughly. In this study, through a side-by-side analysis of L.A.B. and scriptural texts and traditions, we will identify the changes that Pseudo-Philo made to the scriptural account and then extract Pseudo-Philo’s ideology through a careful analysis of these changes. The recognition that L.A.B. is a late Second Temple period rewriting of scriptural texts and traditions is central to this examination.
Engler, Erich, "Reward and Punishment in Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7230.
McMaster University Library