From a Virgin Womb: The Apocalypse of Adam and the Virgin by Andrew Welburn

By Andrew Welburn

Scholarly researches at the virgin beginning have frequently focussed particularly narrowly at the theological and old problems it has a tendency to elevate. The Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Adam, even if, offers for the 1st time a glimpse into the broader historical past of principles and myths to which it belonged. Prophecies there referring to a common 'Illuminator' point out his delivery 'from a virgin womb'. a number of of the tales, drawn from Iranian and different resources , additionally seem in apocalyptic and testamental literature modern with Christian origins. The e-book centrally analyses a physique of terribly certain narrative parallels among a cluster of reports within the Apocalypse and the infancy narratives of Mt. 1-2, concluding that those tales serve to spot Jesus because the real Prophet who's the fulfilment of background - although no longer as Son of God. The query of Mt.'s distinct culture and its relation to Lk. can also be forged in a brand new mild.

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Pp. 4773–4774 and cf. below, p. 71. 24 introduction ing tale is plausibly regarded as the model for the pre-Matthaean third episode, the Magi’s visit in Mt. 2,9–11. The influence on Mt. ’s own. ’s community, but had already woven the stories together. With these resemblances in theme and narrative structure, the possibility of understanding the virgin birth theme in ApocAd is accordingly brought much closer to the question of understanding the Gospel. ’s infancy chapters (Fig. 1); and we may hope that the religious ideas underlying the stories in Mt.

Rather the role of the Thirteenth Kingdom, which constitutes an addition to the apparently complete cosmic cycle of the Twelve, is treated as an apocalyptic mystery, which we can only deduce when we know the “secret history” divulged by ApocAd: hence that is an essential aspect of the secret which the document wishes to reveal. Israel does not play its role by right of its mere existence, but through the deeper understanding attained in the Fourteenth prophecy, etc. We may call this syncretism; yet the encounter of Jewish and pagan ideas here generates not a blurring but rather a very precise awareness of these contentious issues, and culminates in the clear advancing of Israel’s special claim to add unique historical-eschatological meaning within the context of a “syncretistic” whole.

Suffice it to say for our purposes here that it introduces into the block of tradition CG V 77,26 – 79,19 the story of an encounter between Israelite and pagan wisdom, here involving the story of a virgin birth, and that the underly42 Welburn, op. cit. pp. 4766–4767; M. Boyce, “Iranian Festivals” in E. ), The Cambridge History of Iran vol. 2 The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods (Cambridge 1983) pp. ; Widengren, Iranisch-semitische Kulturbegegnung p. 52; for Mithraic elements in ApocAd, which are however in my view exaggerated by Böhlig, see my comments op.

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