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The account functions as an authoritative tool at the outset of the Sibyl's prophecy. The authority of this account comes from the Sibyl's report that she has been commanded (ke,lomai) by God to say how the world came to be.235 The creation account itself is meant to under gird the authority of the Sibyl's prophecy, catching the attention of the shifty mortal (poiki,le qnhte,). The first intertextual touchstone with LXX Gen 1.1-5 comes thinly with the statement that God, the one who created (poie,w) the whole cosmos, spoke the whole lot into existence. By itself, poie,w is not strong enough to suggest an intertextual connection with LXX Gen 1.1-5. This titular use of poie,w, however, is closely connected with the method of creating – creation by speech – a hallmark not just of LXX Gen 1.1-5, but Genesis 1 as a whole. The description of God's creative actions that follow, while containing gh/( fw/j( and ouvrano,j, bears little resemblance to LXX Gen 1.1-5 – God effectively plants the earth, gives ‘sweet light’, lifts up the heavens, and effectively creates the heavens by mixing-up a batch of celestial batter.236 There are other intertextual intersections in play here that are worth mentioning. The first is a similar use of e`dra,zw in LXX Prov 8.25, where, though the object of the verb in this case is the mountains, God is the planter and something of earth (mountains) are being planted. This is certainly not a strong resemblance, but given that the verb occurs infrequently,237 it is worth noting. Another intertextual crossroads evident here is the borrowing from Greek and Roman cosmography. God wraps the earth with Tartarus, one of four elements present at the beginning of creation,238 a geographic area below Hades239 that is a place for banishment of troublesome gods240 and for punishment of sinners.241 In 2 Peter 2.4,242 this Hellenistic understanding of Tartarus is mingled with Enoch's vision Yarbro Collins, “Early Christian Apocalypses,” 97. Also, J.J. Collins, “The Sibylline Oracles,” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. J.H. Charlesworth; New York: Doubleday, 1983) 1.330. Davila, Provenance, exhibits more caution in ascribing Jewish provenance to Sib.Or. 1-2. (188, n.17) Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” OTP 1.331.

Sib.Or. 22-37 combines, among other things, creation of a human in the image of God (Sib.Or. 1.23, cf. Gen 1.26) and a version of the Adam and Eve narrative.

While the Sibyl in Sib.Or. 1 does not claim divine parentage, it was commonplace for the ancient Sibyl to identify herself with a god/nymph, e.g. the Delphic Sibyl identified herself with Artemis. See H.W. Parke, Sibyls

and Sibylline Prophecy in Classical Antiquity, (ed. B.C. McGing; Croom Helm Classical Studies; London:

Routledge, 1988) 10. Also, J.J. Collins, Seers, Sybils and Sages in Hellenistic-Roman Judaism, (JSJSup 54; Leiden:

Brill, 1997) 200.

Sib.Or. 1.13-15.

Two examples come in proverbs – Sir 22.17, Wis 4.3.

The four are Chaos, Night, Erebus, and Tartarus, cf. Hesiod, Theog. 116ff. According to Aristophanes, Birds, these four existed before earth, air, and heaven (690-694).

Hesiod, Theog. 868; Homer, Iliad 8.478-481.

Homer, Iliad 8.478-481.

Homer, Iliad 8.14; Plato, Phaedo 113e.

This one occurrence of Tartarus in the New Testament is from the verb form, tartaro,w.

–192 –


of the place of punishment of the Watchers,243 placing sinning angels, presumably the Watchers, in Tartarus. This is clear Hellenistic influence. Finally, there may be an influence, direct or not, of Egyptian cosmology in this pericope as well. The Sibyl describes God's creative actions with the heaven as ouvrano.n u[ywsen – he lifted up the heavens.

The affinity of this phrase with Egyptian cosmogony, specifically Heliopolitan cosmogony, is pointed out by Philonenko in his comment on Joseph and Aseneth 12.3.244 The remainder of the pericope deals with the creation of things outside the bounds of Day One, and as such will be left in large part alone. Suffice it to say for the purpose of this study, there is an intertextual relationship between Sib.Or. 1.5-21, especially 8-11. This pericope, however, draws upon a complex web of creation language from LXX Gen 1.1-5, to Hellenic and Egyptian cosmogonies.

4.3.8 Additional Christian Texts

Ignatius, To the Ephesians 19.1-3 At the heart of this Christological text245 from Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, is the possibly intertextual conversation between the star of Bethlehem and the light of Day One. The inclusion of this marginally relevant text pivots upon the statement: avrch.n de. evla,mbanen to. para. qew/| avphrtisme,non / And that which had been completed by God received (its) beginning.246 While there is little resemblance of LXX Gen 1.1 in this use of avrch,, Ignatius' use does intertextually bring in a new beginning. The advent of the Christ who ushers in the new age is spoken of in terms of the beginning of creation. Also, it is possible to read this unique star signaling the human manifestation of the divine as something different from the other lights of the sky. Ignatius asserts that it stands apart from sun, moon, and the other stars. When looking at Genesis 1, the one light that comes outside of sun, moon, and stars created on the fourth day is the light of Day One.

Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 129.1-4 What is of interest to this study from this collage of quotations from the Hebrew Bible that under gird Justin's Christology is his equation of wisdom in LXX Prov 8.21b-25 with the Christ-figure. The intertextual markers in large part are found in the quotation of LXX Proverbs, and thus need no further elaboration. The reason for mentioning this text is that it serves to illustrate the deliberate intertextual and theological reading of a text in the larger Greek tapestry in order to make sense of the Christ-figure.

1 Enoch 17.1-19.3 Philonenko, Josesph et Aséneth, 60. Also, a similar phrase, u`ywqh/| o` ouvrano,j, is also used in LXX Jer 38.35 [31.37].

In this passage, Ignatius speaks of the revelation of divine mysteries, a transformation of history with the incarnation and advent of eternal life, a ruler of the present age other than God (cf. Ign. Eph. 17.1), and the chaos that the revelation of the divine mystery has caused.

Ign. Eph. 19.3 –193 –


Sibylline Oracles 3.8-23 The primary interest of this study in this portion of Sib.Or.3247 is that it is a creation text, especially lines 20-24, in which God creates with the word.248 It also uses avoratoj not for the earth but for God. The latter, intertextual relation of this pericope with LXX Gen 1.1-5 is rooted in its theological argument against idolatry and for monotheism. Even though humans are made in the image of God,249 God is most certainly the immortal creator (avqa,natoj kti,sthj – 3.10), self-generated and invisible (avo,ratoj – 3.11). While the use of avo,ratoj here makes an intertextual bridge with LXX Gen 1.2a, the use of the term in Sib.Or. 3.11, bears a closer resemblance to Philo's use of the term to make a theological statement about who God is.250

–  –  –

The intertextual afterlives of the Greek texts of Gen 1.1-5 materialize out of the amorphous intertextual haze in a variety of ways different from the Hebrew.

4.4.1 Re-tellings of Gen 1.1-5 Of all the texts covered in this chapter, there are four that can be classified as deliberate re-tellings of Gen 1.1-5. Jub 2.2 and Josephus, Ant. 1.27-29, are clear examples of eisegetical re-tellings of LXX Gen 1.1-5. They are clearly engaging with, expanding upon and / or clarifying the text of Gen 1.1-5. With these I include Jn 1.1-5. It is a re-telling that appears to draw together LXX Gen 1.1-5 and wisdom traditions. What Justin Martyr, Dia. 129.1-4, does by deliberately quoting LXX Prov 8.21b-25, Jn 1.1-5 does by refitting LXX Gen 1.1-5 with a Christ-version of the personified wisdom in the tradition of Proverbs 8 and Sirach 24. Finally, I include with these Philo's Opif 26-35, which is a commentary on the Greek text of Gen 1.1-5. As it is Philo's deliberate commentary on Gen 1.1-5, it differs from the other re-tellings, though as pointed out above, Philo does not follow Gen 1.1-5 in a verse by verse format but treats the text piecemeal at the behest of his own allegorical aims. I place Opif 26-35 in the category of re-telling because of Philo's allegorical aims, an example of which can be seen in his treatment of avoratoj of LXX, Gen 1.2. Philo, in effect, re-tells the Genesis creation story realigning avoratoj from a description of the earth prior, to the creation of light to Middle-Platonic philosophical categories of intelligible and sense-perceptable.

The flip-side of these deliberate re-tellings are two texts from Philo which are deliberate in their accidental, intertextual connections with LXX Gen 1.1-5. In both texts, Somn 1.72-76 and Gig. 22-23, LXX Gen 1.1-5 enters into Philo's hermeneutical meanderings because of certain intertextual markers. In Somn. 1.72-76, Philo is and in the course of dealing with o` h[lioj252 ends up at expounding upon the beginning of Jacob's dream at Bethel, For this text, I err on the side of caution with the question provenance. While it could have originated in Egypt (cf. J.J. Collins, The Sibylline Oracles of Egyptian Judaism, (SBLDS 13; Missoula, MT: Scholars, 1974) and be ‘late hellenistic or early Roman’ (cf. Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” OTP 1.360) there is a lack of clear evidence. On the ambiguity of the provenance of Sib.Or. 3, see Davila, Provenance, 181-186.

Cf. lo,gw| in 3.20 Sib.Or. 3.8 comes the closest to LXX Genesis 1 with the assertion that humanity is created in the image of God, per Gen 1.26.

E.g., Philo, Cher 101, Sacr 133, Det. 31, 86, Plant. 18, Som 1.72, etc.

Gen 28.10-22 LXX Gen 28.11a –194 –


the creation of light in LXX Gen 1.3-4. Likewise in Gig. 22-23, Philo, while working out the meaning of pneu/ma in LXX Gen 6.3, comes to the occurrence of pneu/ma in LXX Gen 1.2. LXX Gen 1.1-5 is intertextually involved in both of these sets of texts, the deliberate and the accidental, though in different ways. If these two groups of texts represent the ends of a continuum between deliberate and accidental, then what follows is an examination of what comes between.

4.4.2 Methods of Creation Within the creative methods employed in the texts in this chapter, two stand out: creation by boundrification and creation by word. Creation by boundrification Generally speaking, creation by the establishment of boundaries is a thread that runs through many of the texts in this chapter. Of these there are two major groupings – the boundrification of watery things and of light and darkness, the latter being more directly related to Gen 1.1-5.

First of all, the watery things: in Pr.Man. 3, it is God who fetters the sea and seals the abyss with the divine name. In Diogn. 7.2, the sea is mentioned individually as the subject of the Christ-figure’s creative boundrification, and at the end of the pericope there is a general statement that the on-going creative activity of the Christ-figure is the ordering of all things, including the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and also fire, air, the abyss, and everything else from top to bottom. In 1 Clem 20.6-7, the sea is also boundaried and at the command of the Creator, similar to LXX Job 38.11. A similar concern is expressed in 1 Clem 33.3, in which the sea and all in it is enclosed by God’s power. In 1 Clem 33.3, there is another boundary mentioned – the boundary between earth and waters reminiscent of the third day.253 Each of these texts uses the verb, klei,w,254 or one of its cognates, evnklei,w255 and klei/qron.256 This is of note as none of these forms are found in the Greek intertexts of chapter two.

The second block of texts is concerned with the boundaries of light and darkness, day and night. Philo, who equates order with beauty,257 shows concern for this separation in multiple places. In Opif 29-34, he is concerned with explicating the intelligible, not the sense-perceptible,258 creation of Day One. This intelligible creation is the pattern or paradigm for the dimmed (avmauro,w) sense-perceptible creation. As part of this paradigm, God builds a wall between the opposites of light and darkness, so that they do not have the opportunity to quarrel and create cosmic disorder and war.259 These walls are dawn and dusk.260 In Somn. 175-176, Philo highlights God’s creation of the sun as a separator between light and darkness – the sun being an visible image of the invisible God.

And in Her 163b-164, he expresses a slightly different though related idea of the equality of opposites – night and Gen 1.9-13 Pr.Man. 3 1 Clem 33.3, Diogn. 7.2 The plural, klei/qra, is found in 1 Clem 20.6.

kalo.n ga.r ouvde.n evn avtaxi,a. Opif. 28.

Note the ‘pure and undiluted radiance’ of the intelligible light when it becomes perceptible, Opif. 31.

Opif. 33 Opif. 34 –195 –


day, light and darkness, man and woman. From the last of these he looks to Gen 1.26, and sees that this equality must be a reflection of the divine. From a slightly different vantage, Sir 33.7-15 also shows a concern for separation, though not expressly between light and darkness. Sir 33.7-15, like Philo, shows a general concern for separation and opposites.261 Ben Sira, first of all, stresses the separation of days, holy from ordinary,262 possibly related to light and darkness, and secondly between human beings.263 Last of this grouping is Jn 1.1-5, a text that is less explicitly concerned about boundaries between light and darkness but does state that darkness can not overtake (katalamba,nw) light, the implication being that there is a boundary between the two.

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