The Great Controversy: The Individual’s Struggle Between Good and Evil in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and in Their Jewish and Christian Contexts
The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (T12P), one of the longest texts of the so-called “Old Testament Pseudepigrapha,” presents the fictitious farewell speeches that the twelve sons of Jacob held on their respective deathbeds. Tom de Bruin examines these twelve monologues as literary products in order to understand the function of the text for the setting in which it was composed. He approaches T12P from three directions: an analysis of the paraenetic parts, a discussion of the anthropology, and a comparative examination of other contemporaneous works documenting a world-view similar to T12P. These three approaches merge into a detailed discussion about the reasoning behind the admonition in T12P, and identifies the fundamental message of the text, namely that each person stands between the forces of good and evil and that this person is called to constantly decide which way to follow. Though T12P is still familiar with the apocalyptic origin and plays with the cosmological implications of this 'great controversy', the text clearly puts the emphasis on the battle inside each individual. It is thereby an important witness for reinterpreting and reapplying apocalyptic traditions through ethicizing them and focusing on the individual. Such an individualistic application of the 'great controversy' theme can be found in a number of other (mostly Christian) works, revealing a similar understanding of mankind’s existence and development as in T12P. The analysis of the ethical reappropriation of apocalyptic traditions in T12P provides important insights into the foundations of early Christian ethics, ancient anthropology, and the Jewish and Christian understanding of the struggle between good and evil.
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admonition angels aqtoO argues Beliar Bilhah biographical section blinded Brill Brox choices Christian claims clearly Commentary conclusion Consider Dead Sea Scrolls deeds demons discussion document double commandment envy Ethical Model evil spirits example exhortation exhortatory farewell discourse focusses forces of darkness genre God’s Göttingen Grundschrift Herm Hollander Hultgrd individual’s influence interpolation inthe Jewish Joseph Kolenkow Kugler lead Leiden Lord Macky maintains mankind mankind’s nature Marinus de Jonge motifs Naph ofthe Old Testament one’s opponent Origen Osiek pericope person portray Pseudepigrapha Qumran refer righteous role Rosen-Zvi Shepherd of Hermas Simeon similar world-view Slingerland specific Spilly spirit of anger spirit of fornication spirits of deceit struggle tım Testament of Asher Testament of Judah Testament of Levi Testament of Reuben Testament Pseudepigrapha theme Twelve Patriarchs tµm Ulrichsen ultimate understanding unrighteous Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht vaticinia ex eventu vices