7. Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon

By James H. Charlesworth

James H. Charlesworth, “Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon,” in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1978), 99–137.

Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon

James H. Charlesworth


Is all inspired writing contained in the canon? Is everything inside and outside the Bible where it belongs? In recent decades a flow of rediscovered documents known as the pseudepigrapha—books written in the name of classic biblical personalities and dating between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200—have forced reexamination of the whole process of canonization and biblical authority, not so much in its inclusions as in its exclusions. It is clear that though the Romans deliberately destroyed many important writings—scriptural and pseudo-scriptural—for political reasons, and some theologians disparaged or destroyed them for theological reasons, Jewish and Christian scribes reserved them because they considered them very precious. In the Dead Sea Scrolls it is clear that the “Teacher of Righteousness” received a revelation which was demonstrably prophetic. Is it any more or less scripture than is the Gospel of John? In the New Testament book of Jude there is an approving reference to a book called the book of Enoch which was not included in the Bible. Now that book has been recovered. Should it not be given scriptural status?

Some fifty pseudepigraphal books are soon to be translated into English and published with commentary in a new collection at Duke University, under the general editorship of Dr. James Charlesworth, who is also head of the Pseudepigrapha Institute there.

In his essay Professor Charlesworth sifts through the entire corpus of Pseudepigraphal writings focusing on Messianism. Having discerned three elements of Christology which are unique to Mormonism (or so Christian interpreters have often claimed) he shows that they are held in common with some of these early writers—the doctrine that the Messiah, the Lord, the Christ manifested himself to the primal parent of the human race, Adam; the expectation that Christ would minister not just to lost sheep but to “other sheep,” including those others who were lost in a group or body—the Ten Tribes; and then notion (which Mormons feel is implicit in the promises of John 10) that Christ ever manifests himself to the faithful.

T. G. M.


At the outset, I must confess sharing the bewilderment of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz before she found the yellow brick road. [1] How do I proceed? What is the most viable and representative way through the veritable maze of conflicting and confusing documentary evidence? The issue is relatively clear: How is the Messiah perceived in the pseudepigrapha and to what extent do these views help us understand the Christological sections in the Book of Mormon? [2]

One way to proceed might be to review the major books published before 1950 and to clarify the advances that have been made since then. [3] This procedure has been used in the past, and we are familiar with publications bearing as titles the names of scholars, such as From Reimarus to Wrede, and From Schweitzer to Scholem. But by old and new publications, we would become mired in many issues far too complex for a paper as necessarily delimited as this one. There are at least three things that separate our work from the brilliant, perceptive, and ingenious publications of our predecessors. These are the vast increase in primary sources, the heightened understanding of intertestamental Judaism, and the development of a refined methodology.

Increase in Sources

Today, more than ever, the intertestamental scholar is both plagued and pleased by a veritable treasury of sources: the rabbinic material that is early; the New Testament, especially those passages that are pre-Christian Jewish in thought and tone; the Dead Sea Scrolls; the Apocrypha; the Hermetica; and the well-known Jewish authors Philo and Josephus. For the sake of clarity, the present discussion will be limited to the fifty writings called the Pseudepigrapha. [4] The books designated Pseudepigrapha were written by Jews and Jewish Christians and were usually redacted by later Christians. They were composed, for the most part, during the period 200 B.C. to A.D. 200. This is the period that separates the Old Testament, beginning with the First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians in A.D. 50. These Pseudepigrapha usually bear the names of Old Testament heroes and carry such titles as the Apocalypse of Abraham, the Apocalypse of Elijah, the Testament of Job, the Psalms of Solomon, and the Abode of the Rechabites. These and other similar writings were part of the large group of documents from which first the Old Testament, and then the New Testament, were eventually collected and canonized. However, they made their way neither into the Hebrew Old Testament nor into the larger collection of the Greek Old Testament, called the Septuagint. It is misleading to state that the documents are falsely attributed to Abraham, Elijah, Job, or Solomon; they were written under the inspiration of these figures and there seems to be little question that many of these authors thought that they were writing as Abraham, Elijah, Job, or Solomon. The principle of solidarity in the Semitic world linked the son with the father and the father with his father and he with his fathers. Therefore, the Jew living in the intertestamental period believed that he was indeed part of Abraham.

One of the major thoughts contained in these writings is the claim that God is about to bring an end to all normal history and all normal time, bring in the promised day, and inaugurate the fulness of times. The perception of the present is, therefore, often very pessimistic in the sense that God is no longer seen as working through history as he did in the past to redeem his people. His acts of salvation are in the past or in the future, not in the present. This, the seer frequently takes the reader into the future or into the heavens to perceive the events of the future or the order of the universe.

The Pseudepigrapha have been published in English as a collection only once; that was under the editorship of R. H. Charles in 1913. [5] Although he collected seventeen writings under the heading of Pseudepigrapha, it is widely and wisely recognized today that often fifteen of these are to be considered part of the Pseudepigrapha. The new edition of the Pseudepigrapha to be published by Doubleday in a few years under my editorship with the help of a most distinguished board of advisors, editorial assistants, and an international team of contributors and readers will contain no less than fifty documents. The increase is astronomical, from fifteen to fifty. In the past, it was difficult to talk about the concept of the Messiah in fifteen documents. How much more difficult briefly to represent the thoughts of fifty!

Intertestamental Judaism

Today we are working with a concept of intertestamental Judaism which is appreciably different from that used by scholars during the first half of this century. Thanks to the pioneering and fruitful research published by such scholars as Frank Cross, Ray Brown, Noel Freedman, Morton Smith, Martin Hengel, Krister Stendahl, and W. D. Davies, it is now widely recognized (at least in scholarly circles) that intertestamental Judaism was no isolated from the Greek and Roman world but deeply influenced by it. We can no longer talk about an orthodox center to Judaism, but rather we must confess that Judaism during the intertestamental period was a richly varied phenomenon. Today we no longer talk about Diaspora Judaism in distinction from Palestinian Judaism; rather, we talk about Hellenistic Judaism as a marvelously variegated phenomenon. Indeed, one of the most difficult and intransigent issues of the Society of Biblical Literature Pseudepigrapha Group’s yearly seminars and also the American Academcy of Religion “Social World of Early Christianity” Group’s annual seminars is to discern the provenance of a document. Likewise, it is now recognized that mystical motifs are present in intertestamental Judaism, and that these ideas, thanks to the work of Erwin Goodenough and Gerschom Scholem, must be acknowledged as contributing to the Jews’ self-understanding and search for meaning during that period. [6]

All this means that the old method, espoused by George Foot Moore, [7] which takes the rabbinic writings as the key witness for intertestamental Judaism, can no longer be followed. Rather, there is a return to a view older than that represented by Moore, a perspective contained in the voluminous works of Emil Schürer. [8] The present state of scholarship is placarded by the appearance of a so-called new Schürer, [9] but no new Moore. Thanks to the careful and brilliant work of Jacob Neusner, [10] we are recognizing on the one hand that we must keep in mind and ever before us the rabbinic writings and use these sources as we try to re-understand intertestamental Judaism but, on the other hand, that we must also acknowledge that Judaism did not flow unilaterally and without development from the first century to B.C. to the third century A.D. We must very carefully use rabbinic sources as we have used the New Testament, sifting and weighing and employing Redaction Criticism as a method to perceive the earliest strata of a document. All of this means that the Pseudepigrapha are a major source for understanding the intertestamental period. These writings can no longer be discarded as documents from a fringe group of heterodox Jews; they must be recognized as containing many important ideas, concepts, expressions, and dreams that were permeating the fabric of Hellenistic Judaism.


It is obvious, therefore, that we should not start with a review of previous publications; we should start with the original sources themselves. What are the Pseudepigrapha saying about the Messiah? Is this the question we should begin with? No; the Pseudepigrapha may not be concerned about a messiah or the Messiah, or they may be only partly concerned about messianic ideas. To look for messianic passages, to remove them, and to focus them solely upon them would be to create false texts and seriously misrepresent the pseudepigrapha. So we must look at the full collection, now no less than fifty documents, and ask what these documents are saying, and in what ways, if any, the authors are attentive to messianic thoughts.

The net must be cast of the entire corpus of the pseudepigrapha; it must also be constructed carefully so that it will collect all desired passages. In order to accomplish the latter goal, we shall seek out only the messianic passages that mention the terms the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ, the Greek translation of the Semitic term. The procedure assuredly risks missing some passages that are authentically messianic; but more importantly it initiates a fresh start that is not cluttered by unexamined presuppositions regarding the manifold meanings of such possibly messianic titles as the Son of Man, the Man, the Righteous One, the Shepherd, the Lamb, the One to Come, the Lord, the Servant, and the Prophet. [11] To be sure, some passages do define the Messiah as the Prophet, but such an equation does not allow us to begin collecting passages about “the Prophet” and impose upon them messianic overtones. The fallacies in this older method are relatively obvious: Different authors do not necessarily define terms in the same way, and it is unwise to impose definitions upon ambiguous passages; this principle is true both for different books and for different passages in one book, since many Pseudepigrapha are composed by different authors sometimes separated by over a hundred years. We are usually uncertain that a noun is a title, since the original languages of the documents—notably Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Greek—did not clarify when a term should be capitalized in English and in our conceptions, and no morphological or grammatical clue helps us to separate nontitular from titular usages. We may be guilty of eisegesis and read a son of man incorrectly as the Son of Man and a lord as the Lord. To avoid all these errors, it is best to begin by looking generally at all Pseudepigrapha and observing the use of the terms the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ. In order to be descriptive and not to impose a false metaphysical system upon the data, passages will be discussed in their supposed chronological order and not according to a grid of categories like “the preexistent Messiah,” “the Suffering Messiah,” “the Human Messiah,” or “the Superhuman Messiah.” [12]

Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha

As we turn our attention to the documents called Pseudepigrapha, we must acknowledge that there is considerable difficulty in trying to discover how the authors of these writings perceived the issue that is before us. When biblical scholars work on the canonical writings, there are reliable texts, abundant translations, and numerous concordances and commentaries. These tools are essential for accurate and fruitful research. Unfortunately, the case is appreciably different with the pseudepigrapha; the texts are only now beginning to take trustworthy shape, and a reliable translation of each of the documents is finally being prepared; but there are still no concordances and no commentaries on most of these documents. The only way to proceed, therefore, is to read through them carefully with the hope that all sections should be lifted out for careful study have been found. Although the method is laborious and time-consuming, it is the one we have been forced to follow.

Only five documents in the Pseudepigrapha contain Jewish comments about “the Messiah,” “the Anointed One,” or “the Christ.” Certainly one of the best known and important passages is in the seventeenth Psalm of Solomon, which was written around the middle of the first century B.C. [13] In verses 21–33, we find a description of the Messiah who will be a descendant of David and who will purge Jerusalem of her enemies not by means of a sword or through military conquest but “with the word of his mouth.” [14] These verses are as follows:

See, Lord, and raise up for them their King,

the son of David, to rule over your servant Israel

in the time known to you, O God.

Undergird him with the strength to destroy

the unrighteous rulers,

to purge Jerusalem from gentiles

who trample her to destruction;

in wisdom and in righteousness to drive out

the sinners from the inheritance;

To smash the arrogance of sinners

like a potter’s jar;

To shatter all their substance with an iron rod;

To destroy the unlawful nation with the word of his mouth;

and he will condemn sinners by the thoughts of their hearts.

He will gather a holy people

whom he will lead in righteousness;

and he will judge the tribes of the people

that have been made holy by the Lord their God . . .

There will be no unrighteousness among them in his days

for all shall be holy,

and their king shall be the Lord Messiah[15]

(For) he will not rely on horse and rider and bow,

nor will he collect gold and silver for war.

Nor will he build up hope in a multitude for a day of war. [16]

Two comments will help us place this idea in the history of Judaism. This passage in the Psalms of Solomon has been taken usually to mean that the author is thinking about a militant Messiah. [17] But he has neither affirmed a militant Messiah nor has he depicted a peaceful one. His picture is considerably less militant than the one found in the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathon. [18] In this Targum to Genesis 49:11, we read the following account:

How noble is the king, Messiah, who is going to rise from the house of Judah. He has girded his loins and come down, setting in order the order of battle with his enemies and killing kings with their rulers (and there is not a king or a ruler who shall stand before him), reddening the mountains with the blood of their slain. With his garments dipped in blood, he is like one who treads grapes in the press. [19]

The Messiah in the Psalms of Solomon is, of course, not portrayed as a bloody warrior. As Klausner stated, there are no intimations of wars and bloodshed; [20] the contrast with the War Scroll among the Dead Sea Scrolls is impressive. [21]

The second observation that I hope helps us understand the concept of the Messiah in the Psalms of Solomon is the recognition that God is clearly the actor. In fact, the next verse beyond the one quoted above makes it clear that the Lord God himself is the King and the Lord of “the Messiah.” The end of this psalm (17:45–46) clarifies that the Messiah is God’s agent:

May God dispatch his mercy to Israel:

may he deliver us from the pollution

of profane enemies;

The Lord himself is our king forever more. [22]

The emphasis on God as the one who will accomplish the messianic goals is in line with the major thrust in the Psalms of Solomon and can be found in many of the earlier psalms. In the next psalm, the eighteenth, there is a reference to the return of “his Messiah” that we shall discuss at the end of this lecture.

Important and rich concepts of the Messiah are found in 2 Baruch. [23] This apocalypse was written sometime during the second half of the first century A.D., [24] and contains three sections that are essential for our understanding of the Jewish conception of the Messiah. The first section is in chapters 29 and 30. In 29:3, we find the following prophecy: “And it shall come to pass when all is accomplished that was to come to pass in those parts, that the Messiah shall then begin to be revealed.” [25] With the advent of the Messiah, Behemoth and Leviathan, the two great mythical monsters, who were created on the fifth day of creation, become food for all who are left upon the earth; and there is abundant food and drink for all. Each morning fragrant winds will come from the Lord; in the evening there will be “the dew of health,” and at all required moments there will be manna from heaven. Following these statements, we have an intriguing idea in 30:1–2:

And it shall come to pass after these things, when the time of the advent of the Messiah is fulfilled, that He shall return in glory. Then all who have fallen asleep in hope of Him shall rise again. [26]]

While the Messiah, as M. de Jonge states, [27] seems to be given a passive role, the effect of his coming is spectacular. The righteous are resurrected and rejoice; and the wicked “behold all these things” and then “waste away the more.” It is obvious that only the righteous shall be resurrected but the wicked will continue to decay in their graves. The resurrection here is only the resurrection of the soul, so the soul of the wicked is that which decays along with the body that may have long since passed away: “But the souls of the wicked, when they behold all these things, shall then waste away the more” (30:4). [28]

The second section of 2 Baruch that concerns itself with the idea of the Messiah is found in chapters 39 and 40. In these chapters we confront a description of the capture of their last leader, his conviction by the Messiah then protects “the rest of My people which shall be found in the place which I have chosen” (40:2). [29] The principate of the Messiah shall stand until the world of corruption comes to an end. Apparently, then, the author thought of a period subsequent to the principate of the Messiah. What is significant about chapters 39 and 40 is that the Messiah is given an active part and puts to death the last leader who was head of the hosts, the enemies of the God’s people.

The third section that concerns the Messiah is found in chapters 72 through 74, the longest and most developed of the messianic passages in 2 Baruch. As in the second section, the Messiah takes an active part. In chapter 72, it is said that the Messiah shall summon all the nations; he shall spare those who have not oppressed or known Israel, but he shall slay those who have ruled over her. The Messiah’s kingdom seems to be eternal:

And it shall comes to pass, when He has brought low

everything that is in the world,

And has sat down in peace for the age

on the throne of His kingdom,

That joy shall then be revealed,

And rest shall appear.

And then healing shall descend in dew,

And disease shall withdraw,

And anxiety and anguish and lamentation

pass from amongst men,

And gladness proceed through the whole earth.


And no one shall again die untimely,

Nor shall any adversity suddenly befall.


And judgments, and revilings, and contentions,

and revenges,

And blood, and passions, and envy, and hatred,

And whatsoever things are like these shall go

into condemnation when they are removed.


For it is these very things which have

filled this world with evils,

And on account of these the life of man

has been greatly troubled.


And wild beasts shall come from the forest

and minister unto men,

And asps and dragons shall come forth from their holes

to submit themselves to a little child.


And women shall no longer have pain

when they bear,

Nor shall they suffer torment when the yield

the fruit of the womb.


And it shall come to pass in those days

that the reapers shall not grow weary,

Nor those that build be toilworn;

For the works shall of themselves speedily advance

Together with those who do them in much tranquility.

From that time is the consummation of that

which is corruptible,

And the beginning of that which is not corruptible.

Therefore, those things which were predicted

shall belong to it;


Therefore it is far away from evils

and near to those things which die not.

This is the bright lightning which comes

after the last dark waters. [30]

In these verses, 73:1–74:4, we find a classic description of the apocalyptic age; the age that the author of 2 Baruch thought and felt was soon to dawn with the coming of the Messiah. In the third as in the second messianic section of 2 Baruch, the Messiah is portrayed as a warrior who slays Israel’s enemies (72:1–6). It is important to observe that, unlike the passages in 1 Enoch 37–71 and the Assumption of Moses 10, God, the Messiah, or some other messianic figure does not slay the gentiles (or nations) because they are not Jews, but only those who have “ruled over” Israel. It is significant also to observe the means by which the Messiah shall accomplish this end: “But all those who have ruled over you, or have known you, shall be given up to the sword” (72:6). [31]

The Apocalypse of Ezra, or better 4 Ezra, a Jewish apocalypse that is contemporaneous with 2 Baruch, [32] is similar to 2 Baruch in many ways. It also contains a precious insight into the brilliant and profound Jewish concepts of the Messiah; [33] as in 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra contains three messianic sections. The first and by far the most important is contained in 140 long verses in chapter 7. The apocalyptist who wrote 4 Ezra bifurcates time into “this world’ and “the world to come” (7:50, 8:1), and sees the future of this world as trifurcated into separate periods. The first period (7:28–29) is inaugurated by the appearance of the Messiah:

For my son the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him, and those who remain shall rejoice 400 years. And after these years my son the Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breadth. [34]

In these verses, we find two extremely important and rare ideas. First, found only here in the Pseudepigrapha is the idea that the Messiah shall come and die. [35] The passage is rightly conceived as being Jewish because there is no efficacious nature to the death of the Messiah and after his death two things shall return back again to the primeval silence. There are, of course, Christians additions in this chapter but these can be identified by comparing the Latin with the Syriac and Armenian; for example, in 7:28, “my son Jesus” in Latin is “my son the Messiah” in Syriac. Jewish and Christian scholars correctly have concluded that the passage quoted above from 4 Ezra 7:28–29 was composed by a Jew. [36]

With the Messiah’s death, the first of the stages comes to an end; significantly, therefore, the messianic age is not the eschaton. [37] The second (7:30), following rapidly upon his death, is a “seven days” return to the primeval silence. [38]

After these seven days, the third period receives the emphasis of the seer, for he discusses the second stage in only verse 30, but stage three in verses 31 through 44. The third period is “the day of judgment” (7:38) which “will last for about a week of years,” which is seven years (7:43). In it the dead of both the righteous and the unrighteous will be resurrected, and the Most High will sit “upon the seat of judgment” and dispense judgment upon all. The unrighteous will be assigned to the “pit of torment” and “the furnace of hell.” These unrighteous ones have, ever since their death, wandered “about in torments, even grieving and sad, in seven ways” (7:80). The righteous shall be ushered into the “place of rest” and “the paradise of delight.” Since their death, the righteous have seen the glorious state that has been prepared for them (see 7:88–99).

After the third period, this world and this age come to an end, as the author states in two passages. The first is in 7:50: “For this reason the Most High has made not one world but two”; the second and the beginning of the immortal age to come, in which corruption has passed away, sinful indulgence has come to an end, unbelief has been cut off, and righteousness has increased and truth has appeared.” The new world and the immortal age is characterized, in particular, by both a blessed state of existence and an extremely few number of people. Repeatedly the seer emphasizes that “only very few of the innumerable multitude” (7:140) will enjoy the world to come. In 7:138, he specifies that “not one ten-thousandth of mankind could have life.” It seems to me that the tone of these verses is not only pessimistic but also exhortatory, urging the reader to be among the righteous. The exhortatary tone continues into chapter 8, which begins with the statement, “Many have been created, but few shall be saved” (8:3), and continues with Ezra’s petition to God, followed by another prayer and petition for those who need God’s mercy, especially and perhaps only those who are within Israel, God’s inheritance, God’s people, and Ezra’s nationality. (Cf. 8:15–17.)

The second messianic section of 4 Ezra, 11:37–12:34, contains the seer’s description of “a creation like a lion” (11:37), who come out of the forest roaring and speaking in a man’s voice. The words and actions of the lion arouse the supposition that he is the Messiah. This suspicion is confirmed by a rare identification and clear explanation in 12:31–34.

And as for the lion whom you saw rousing up out of the forest and roaring and speaking to the eagle and reproving him for his unrighteousness, and as for all his words that you have heard, this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the posterity of David, and will come and speak to them; he will denounce them for their ungodliness and for their wickedness, and will cast up before them their contemptuous dealings. For first he will set them living before his judgment seat, and when he has reproved them, then he will destroy them. But he will deliver in mercy the remnant of my people, those who have been saved throughout my borders, and he will make them joyful until the end comes, the day of judgment, of which I spoke to you at the beginning.

In this section, we are told that the Messiah will come at “the end of days”; that he will be a descendant of David; and that on the one hand he will judge, denounce, reprove, and destroy the ungodly, and on the other he will deliver “the remnant of my people” and “make them joyful until the end comes.” It It is obvious, therefore, that he is both a warrior and judge; [39] and that after the day of judgment there is something yet to be, which was earlier described as the new age and the new world.

The third messianic section of 4 Ezra, 13:3–14:9, does not employ the word Messiah or its cognates, but the identification is unmistakable and the title “my Son” employed throughout this section (13:32, 37, 52; 14:9) was already identified as “the Messiah” in the first section of 4 Ezra, as M. E. Stone showed, is a literary unity. [40] This section is the sixth vision that Ezra perceives, and it concerns the appearance of a man from the sea. The messianic “a man” is “he whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages” (13:26), and is certainly identified with the Son: “then my Son will be revealed, whom you saw as a man coming up from the sea” (13:32). The understanding of “a man” in the interpretation corresponds to the perception of the Messiah in chapters 11 and 12. [41] The time of the appearance of this messianic figure is unknown: “Just as no one can explore or know what is in the depth of the sea, so no one on earth explore or know what is in the depth of the sea, so no one on earth can see my Son or those who are with him, except in the time of his day” (13:52). The functions of the messianic figure are described in a way reminiscent of the seventeenth Psalm of Solomon discussed above, although the description is more pictorial and colorful. “That man” confronts a multitude who begin a war against him, but the messianic figure

neither lifted his hand no held the spear or any weapon of war; but . . . he sent forth from his mouth as it were a stream of fire, and from his lips a flaming breath, and from his tongue he shot forth a storm of sparks. All these were mingled together, the stream of fire and the flaming breath and the great storm, and fell on the onrushing multitude which was prepared to fight, and burned them all up, so that suddenly nothing was seen of the innumerable multitude but only the dust of ashes and the smell of smoke. (13:9–11.)

It would be wise to be cautious and not to label without qualification this messianic figure as militant, since his means of conquering the enemies of Israel is not by human militant means.

The warning that those who are on the earth cannot discern the time of the messianic age is reminiscent of another first-century person, namely Jesus of Nazareth, who, according to Mark 4, said the coming of the kingdom of God is like a seed growing secretly, and who, according to Mark 13:32, confessed that only God knew the time of the end. The seer who wrote 4 Ezra is not frustrated by the lack of precise chronological information; he is satisfied that the time is imminent, “For the age has lost its youth, and the times begin to grow old” (14:10).

The fourth document in the Pseudepigrapha that contains Jewish reference to “the Messiah,” “the Anointed One,” or “the Christ” is found in 1 Enoch, one of the most important of all the Jewish apocalypses. In the second of five sections in this book, the so-called Similitudes of Enoch (13–47), we find numerous and significant references to messianic figures sometimes called “the Son of Man,” at other times “the Righteous One,” and in other places “the Elect One.” In this section, that is extant only in Ethiopic (and neither in Greek nor in Aramaic fragments found among the Dead Sea Scrolls), [42] there are two passages that contain the term masih which can be translated “the Messiah,” “the Anointed One,” or “the Christ.”

According to the translation by R. H. Charles, [43] the first passage, 48:10, reads, “For they (the kings of the earth) have denied the Lord of Spirits and His Anointed.” The second, 52:4, is “And he said unto me: ‘All these things which thou hast seen shall serve the dominion of His Anointed that he may be potent and might on the earth.’” [44] The references are strikingly terse and opaque; specifically is this so in light of the rich pictorial descriptions of “the Son of Man,” “the Righteous One” and “the Elect One” found also in 1 Enoch 37–71. In an apocalyptic book so full of details regarding the future and the numerous heaevns, the references to and the descriptions of “the Messiah,” or its derivatives, are impressively brief. The Messiah does not inaugurate a messianic kingdom; surprisingly, he performs no functions. In 1 Enoch, in contrast to 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra, “the Messiah” (which Charles correctly translates as the “Anointed One”) is portrayed as the terrestrial and human messianic king who shall perfectly embody as the dreams attributed to the kings of Israel’s past. [45]

The date of this section of 1 Enoch has been a topic of heated controversy during this century. Lately J. T. Milik has rejected the idea that these passages are earlier than the origins of Christianity and dates them to the third century A.D. [46] His arguments have not persuaded most critical scholars, and the prevailing opinion of scholars [47] seems to be that neither Milik’s late date nor Charles’s dating “to the years 94–79 B.C. [48] is likely for the Similitudes of Enoch. The messianic passages therein seem to be Jewish but contemporaneous with the origins of Christianity. [49] Our observations here would confirm such a date, since the concept of the Messiah in 48:10 and 52:4 appears in what might be described as a cavalier fashion. These verses contain neither Jewish polemic against Christian kerygmatic Christology nor peculiarly Christian expressions and ideas.

The fifth and final document in the Pseudepigrapha that contains the proper concept of the Messiah is a late composition entitled 3 Enoch. The Messiah is mentioned in 45:5 and 48:10(A) which belong to the section of 3 Enoch that comprises the main body of the document (chapters 3–48 A), which Hugo Odeberg dates to the latter half of the third century A.D. [50] Odeberg translates 45:5 as follows: [51]

And I saw Messiah, son of Joseph, [52] and his generation and their works and their doings that they will do against the nations of the world. And I saw Messiah, son of David, and his generation, and all the fights and wars, and their works and their doings that they will do with Israel both for good and evil. And I saw all the fights and wars that Gog and Magog will fight in the days of Messiah, and all the Holy One, blessed be He, will do with them in the time to come.

What is noteworthy in this verse is the mention of a Messiah, the son of Joseph, and Messiah, the son of David. Despite the arguments of some critics, [53] two separate individuals seem to be described. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, we also find the idea of two Messiahs, a Messiah of Aaron and a Messiah of Israel. [54] Elsewhere in the Pseudepigrapha, the concept of two messianic figures, one of the priest Levi, and the other from the lineage of the king Judah, is preserved in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs. [55]

The second noteworthy feature about 3 Enoch 45:5 is that Rabbi Ishmael is describing what he sees will happen at the end of all time; he describes a war between the Messiahs of Israel and Gog and Magog. As Odeberg contended, it appears that this war results in a stalemate and God himself must enter and win the battle for Israel. [56] If this is an accurate interpretation, then there is a striking similarity between 45:5 and one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the War Scroll, which describes six major battles between the sons of light and the sons of darkness which end in a deadlock. [57] The seventh and final battle is one in which God himself fights on the side of the sons of light.

The second passage in 3 Enoch that contains a reference to the Messiah, 48:10(A), describes the celebrations with the Messiah after Israel is saved from among the nations of the world.”

And Messiah will appear unto them and He will bring them up to Jerusalem with great joy. And not only that but they will eat and drink for they will glorify the Kingdom of Messiah, of the house of David, in the four quarters of the world. And the nations of the world will not prevail against them, as it is written (Is. lii. 10): “The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” And again (Deut. xxxii. 12): “The Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” (Zech. xiv.9): “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth.” [58]

In this passage, we seem to obtain confirmation of the idea that the author of 3 Enoch believes that only God himself will be able to win the final war for Israel; and it is impressive to observe that the source of his idea is none other than the Old Testament itself, namely Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and Zechariah.

In the Pseudepigrapha—notably in the Psalms of Solomon, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, 1 Enoch, and 3 Enoch—we have a precious record of Jewish speculations regarding the Messiah from approximately the first century B.C. through the third century A.D. It is difficult and perhaps unwise to try to synthesize the various ideas described above; even though all the passages look to the future for the coming of the Messiah, and the Messiah is perceived as one who will accomplish freedom and peace for Israel by conquering her enemies. But we have noted numerous passages in which this end is achieved in a nonmilitary supernatural fashion.

We now turn to four documents in the Pseudepigrapha that are Christian compositions containing the term the Messiah, or its cognates. The first is a collection of hymns that now bears the name, the Odes of Solomon. The author probably lived near the end of the first century A.D. and apparently was influenced both by the ideas, symbols, and terminology found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and by the symbolism and concepts that eventually were incorporated into and made part of what we now call the Gospel According to John. [59]

Messiah is found in the Odes in seven passages (9:3, 17:17, 24:1, 29:6, 39:11, 41:3, 41:15). In the forty-first Ode, verses 3–7, we find an exhortation to rejoice because of the advent of the Messiah; this note of rejoicing and joy permeates the whole collection of hymns and is perhaps the major reason for the writing of these Odes. Ode 41:3–7 contains the following ideas:

We live in the Lord by His grace,

And life we receive by His Messiah.


For a great day has shined upon us,

And wonderful is He who has given to us

of His glory.


Let us, therefore, all of us agree

in the name of the Lord,

And let us honour Him in His goodness.


And let our faces shine in His light,

And let our hearts meditate on His love

By night and by day.

Let us exult with the exultation of the Lord. [60]

The end of this same Ode (41:15) concludes with the idea that the Messiah is preexistent:

The Messiah in truth is one,

And He was known before the foundations

of the world,

That he might give life to persons for ever

by the truth of His name.

Two of the passages in which the term Messiah is found apparently refer to episodes in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Ode 24:1–2 seems to refer to the baptism of Jesus:

The dove fluttered over the head

of our Lord Messiah,

Because He was her head.


And she sang over Him,

And her voice was heard.

The tradition that Jesus walked upon the water apparently lies behind Ode 39:9–12:

The Lord has abridged them [rivers] by His Word,

And He walked and crossed them on foot.


And His footsteps stand firm upon the waters,

and were not destroyed;

But they are like a beam of wood that is

constructed on truth.


On this side and on that the waves

were lifted up,

But the footsteps of our Lord Messiah stand firm.


And they are neither blotted out,

Nor destroyed.

It is worthwhile to note that the traditions about the baptism of Jesus and his walking on the water are preserved not only in the synoptic Gospels but also in the Gospel According to John.

Both the Apocalypse of Zephaniah and the Apocalypse of Elijah contain passages in which the “Anointed One” is mentioned. These apocalypses are Christian but extremely difficult to date. In the Apocalypse of Zephaniah, the most significant passage runs from 10:24 through 12:32. At the end of time, the Messiah will perform two interrelated functions: “On that day will the Anointed have compassion on His Own . . . and send his angels from the Heaven. . . .” (11:4–6.) [61] Following the actions of 64,000 angels and especially of Gabriel and Uriel, there is a general description of the last day. Particularly interesting for our purposes are the concluding laments by those who have followed the anti-Christ, the Son of Lawlessness:

What hast thou done to us, Son of Lawlessness while thou saidest: “I am the Anointed” although thou are the Son of Lawlessness? Thou hast not power to save thyself [much less] that thou wilt save us. Thou performedst no sign [miracle] before us until thou hast separated us from the Anointed One, that one who has created us. [62] (12:21–32.)

The term the Messiah, or the Anointed One, is found in the Apocalypse of Elijah in two sections. The first contains two passages that are similar to verses quoted above from the Odes of Solomon, namely Ode 24 (which seems to refer to Jesus’ baptism) and Ode 39 (which seems to refer to Jesus’ walking on the water). This first section of the Apocalypse of Elijah, 13:15–15:14, contains the following ideas:

When the Anointed comes, he [shall] come as in the form of a dove, while the garland of doves surrounds [encircles] him, while he goes upon the clouds of Heaven, and while the sign of the Cross moves along before him, while the whole World will see it like the shining Sun, from the region of Sun-rise even to the region of Sunset. . . . He [the Son of Offense] shall go away with them from Heaven, he shall go upon the Sea and . . . the rivers, as upon the dry [places], he will let the lame go [cause the lame to walk], he will cause the deaf to hear, he will cause the dumb to speak, he will make the blind to see, the lepers he will cleanse and the sick he shall heal. . . . [63]

The first description apparently refers to the baptism of Jesus, although one already acknowledges that the reference is only oblique. The second is attributed to the Son of Offense, but it is clear that he is acting in imitation of the Anointed One. What seems significant, and it is unfortunate that the text at this point is untranslatable, is the reference to the Son of Offense (walking upon or crossing over) “the rivers.” This is a unique statement and, as far as I can recall, is paralleled only in the thirty-ninth Ode of Solomon, quoted above.

The second section in which the Anointed One is found in the Apocalypse of Elijah concludes the apocalypse itself and seems to be under the influence of the Revelation to John (the Apocalypse). The end of the Apocalypse of Elijah is found in 25:8–19:

On that Day there cometh out of Heaven the Saviour the king, together with all the Holy Ones and He burns the Earth and bringeth to an end upon it, the Thousand Years when the Sinful ruled upon the Earth He will create a new Heaven and a new Earth. No Devil is among them. He will be King with the Holy Saints the while he goeth up and down, while they are together with the Angels for all Time, the while they are with the Anointed for a Thousand Years. [64]

The reference to the last day, the Holy Ones or the Saints, the thousand years’ reign of the Messiah, a new heaven and a new earth, and the general apocalyptic tone is familiar because of the final book in the canonical New Testament.

The term Christ appears in the Apocalypse of Sedrach, a Christian composition extremely difficult to date, in the prologue and in chapter 12. In this chapter, Christ asks Sedrach why he is crying. Sedrach answers that he wishes to know how long must one repent who has lived eighty, ninety, or a hundred years in sin. Christ, who is also called “Lord” in this chapter, is apparently now called God: “God said to him, ‘If he returns after living one hundred or eighty years and repents for three years and bear the fruit of righteousness and earth should reach him, then I will not remember all his sins.’ “ [65] The term Christ does not reappear in the Apocalypse of Sedrach; but in chapter 15, there is a reference to the anti-Christ: “And the Lord said to Sedrach, ‘Do you not know, Sedrach, that after changing his mind the robber was saved in one instant? Do you not know that even my apostle and evangelist was saved in an instant? ( . . . but sinners are not saved) because their hearts are like decayed stone; they are those who walk along impious paths and who perish with the AntiChrist.’ “

These four Christian compositions—the Odes of Solomon, the Apocalypse of Zephaniah, the Apocalypse of Elijah, and the Apocalypse of Sedrach—are the only Christian work among the Pseudepigrapha that imply the term the Messiah or its cognates. We now turn our attention to two other compositions—the Vision of Isaiah and the Testament of Adam—which contain lengthy Christian additions to earlier Jewish traditions or documents.

The Vision of Isaiah consists of chapters 6–11 of the Ascension of Isaiah, a document consisting of three smaller works: the Martyrdom of Isaiah, the Testament of Hezekiah, and the Vision of Isaiah. Only the first of these is Jewish, dating from around the second century B.C. The other two are Christian, deriving probably from the latter part of the second century A.D. [66] In the Vision of Isaiah, there are numerous references to Jesus Christ as “the Beloved”; but, of course, our conern is only with the titles “the Messiah,” “the Anointed One,” and “the Christ.” Since we have limited our attention to these titles, it will not be possible to disucess the interesting portion of chapter 11, namely, verses 2–32, which contain references to the virgin birth, the miraculous birth, the descent, the ascent, and the exaltation of Jesus Christ to the right hand of God. The “Messiah” or “Christ” is a term that is found in many passages of the Vision of Isaiah; two are significant enough to be singled out for discussion. The first is found in chapter 9 and especially verses 12–18, which contain an angelic message to Isaiah:

And he said to me, “Crowns and thrones of glory have they not yet received, (but) first the Beloved will descend in the form in which you will see him descend; that is to say, in the last days the Lord, who will be called Christ, will descend into the world.—Nevertheless, they see the thrones and know to whom they shall belong and to whom the crowns shall belong after he has descended and become like you in appearance, and they will think that he is flesh and a man. And the god of that world will stretch forth his hand against the Son, and they will lay hands on him and crucify him on a tree, without knowing who he is. So his descent, as thou wilt see, is hidden from the heavens so that it remains unperceived who he is. And when he has made spoil of the angel of death, he will arise on the third day and will remain in that world 545 days; and then many of the righteous will ascend with him, whose spirits do not receive their garments till the Lord Christ ascends and they ascend with him. Then indeed will they receive[their garments] and thrones and crowns when he shall have ascended into the seventh heaven. [67]

The passage needs little exegesis; it will be especially meaningful to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The second section in the Vision of Isaiah that calls for special attention is found in chapter 10, verses 7–15. In these verses is a reputed injunction from the Father to the Lord Christ Jesus. It is very similar to that of the preceding section and perhaps only the opening warrants full quotation:

And I heard the words of the Most High, the Father of my Lord, as spoke to my Lord Christ who shall be called Jesus: “Go and descend through all the heavens; descending to the firmament and to that world, even to the angel in the realm of the dead; but to Hell thou shall not go. And thou shalt become like to the form of all who are in the five heavens; and with carefulness thou shalt resemble the form of the angels of the firmament and the angels also who are in the realm of the dead. And none of the angels of this world will know that thou, along with me, art the Lord of the seven heavens and of their angels. [68]

In this passage, the Father orders the Son to descend into the world. This idea is strikingly similar to the Johannine concept that God is he who sends, and the Son is he who was sent and who descends into the world; it is also appreciably distinct from the pre-Pauline Christological idea found in Philippians 2:6–11 that the Christ, of his own will, chose to empty himself, taking the form of a servant and being born in the likeness of men.

We turn now to the Testament of Adam, which, like the Ascension of Isaiah, is composite, containing an early Jewish portion and a lengthy Christian addition. It is extremely difficult to date the Jewish or the Christian sections; it seems, however, that the date assigned to 3 Enoch or sometime in the third century is a reasonably good guess at the present. [69] Appended to the Jewish section is a prophecy put in the mouth of Adam, who is instructing his son Seth. In recensions one and three, the term Messiah is replaced by the term God. In recension two, we find what seems to be the earliest reading and one which contains some interesting ideas:

I have heard, my son Seth, that the Messiah [is] coming from heaven and [will be] born of a virgin, working miracles and performing signs and great deeds, walking on the waves of the sea as upon boards of wood, rebuking the winds and [they are] silenced, beckoning to the waves and [they are] stilled; also opening [the eyes of] the blind and cleansing the lepers, and causing the deaf to hear. And the mute speak. And [he shall] cast out evil spirits, and drive out demons, and restore the dead to life, and raise the buried from the midst of their graves.

Concerning this the Messiah spoke to me in paradise when I picked the fruit in which death [was] hiding. And he said to me: “Adam, do not fear. You wanted to be a god; I [will] make you [one]. However, not right now, but after a period of many years. I am delivering up your body to the maggot and to the worm to eat, and your bones to the worm.” [70]

This section is, of course, clearly Christian and contains some ideas we have already seen before among the Pseudepigrapha. What seems to deserve special attention—especially for Mormons, as we shall see—is the idea that the Messiah was with Adam in paradise before the Fall.

Other Pseudepigrapha contain long Christian sections in which Jesus of Nazareth is portrayed as “the Lord,” “the Incarnate Life,” “the Son of God” and “Word of God,” as in the Abode of the Rechabites, [71] and in which he is called “the Expected One,” “the Savior,” or other messianic titles as in the Ladder of Jacob (chapters 7 and 8 in recension 2). Our research has been focused, however, only upon the messianic sections in which the technical terms, the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ are found. The problem is extreme when we look at the Christian sections in the Pseudepigrapha because almost all of the Christological titles are aligned with the one whom they claim has come, namely, Jesus of Nazareth who was called Jesus Christ; that means that the title Christ soon became part of his name and that behind other titles attributed to him there is the possible tacit cognition of the one called “Christ.”

It would be unwise to attempt a synthesis of these messianic passages in the long Christian sections of the Pseudepigrapha. Two things alone seem representative: first, there is the shared claim that the Messiah has already come; second, there is a tendency to highlight certain aspects that are traditionally linked with the life of Jesus of Nazareth such as the virgin birth, the baptism, the walking on the water, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.

We have seen that the technical terms, the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ, appear in the Pseudepigrapha both in Jewish and in Christian sections. We have seen that some of these ideas are well developed and important. We need now to be cautious and recognize that most of the Pseudepigrapha do not contain these technical terms.

The term the Messiah, along with its cognates, does not appear in the following pseudepigrapha: Ahiqar, the Letter of Aristeas, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 2 Enoch, the Testament of Job, the Treatise of Shem, the Lives of the Prophets, the Apocalypse of Abraham, the Apocalypse of Moses, the Hellenistic Synagogal Hymns, the History of Joseph, the Five Apocryphal Syriac Psalms, the Prayer of Manasseh, the Prayer of Joseph, Joseph and Asenath, the Prayer of Jacob, Pseudo-Phocylides, Pseudo-Philo, the Apocalypse of Adam, the Apocalypse of Ezekiel, Eldad and Modad, the Questions of Ezra, the Apocalypse of Ezra, and the Testament of Solomon. Because they have been transmitted by Christian copyists, some of these documents (for example, the Hellenistic Synagogal Hymns) contain Christian interpolations in which the name “Messiah” or “Christ” appears. Other Pseudepigrapha like Jubilees, the Testament of Moses, the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs, and the Sibylline Oracles contain important messianic passages, but the term the Messiah or its derivatives are not employed.

The abundance of the messianic passages and the important quotations cited above in which the terms the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ appear should not be exaggerated. There are, as we have said, numerous Pseudepigrapha that do not contain a messianic section and at least five of these are surprisingly silent, containing passages in which one would expect to find a mention of the Messiah. One would expect a mention of the Messiah in Joseph and Asenath, especially in the long prayer for repentance by Asenath contained in chapters 7–13, and also in chapters 46 and 64 of 2 Enoch. Rather striking is the absence of messianic speculation in three documents roughly contemporaneous with the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth. It is surprising that there is no messianism in the Apocalypse of Moses, although there is a minor Christian interpolation in 42:2–5 of the Vita Adae et Evae. It is also impressive that there are no references to the Messiah in the Lives of the Prophets, except in the prefaces added in manuscript D. [72]

Most significant is the absence of messianic speculation in the lengthy rewriting of biblical history called Pseudo-Philo and extant primarily under the title, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum. In the recent and erudite two-volume work on Pseudo-Philo, C. Perrot stated that “the role of a future Messiah in the relationship with the eschatological events is here ignored. The messianic age is entirely passed over in silence.” [73] Earlier, M. R. James, who published a significant introduction to and translation of Pseudo-Philo, wrote that “I am myself unable to find any anticipation of a Messiah in our text. It is always God, and no subordinate agency, that is to ‘visit the world’ and put all things right.” [74]

Earlier, when looking at the Psalms of Solomon, we observed that the functions of the Messiah were subordinated to God, who is then proclaimed the Lord of the Messiah. Many passages in the Pseudepigrapha attribute the actions not to an intermediary or a messenger from God but to God himself. Other passages seem to reject the messianic idea which is linked with David in favor of a redeemer or eschatological figure who will be like Moses. [75]

The data is complex and frequently ambiguous. Many Jews during the time of Jesus looked to the future, sometimes conceived as very imminent, and for the advent of a redeemer, sometimes conceived as the Messiah; other Jews looked to the future for God’s final salvific act. Still other Jews, such as the Sadducees, perhaps, did not relegate all their hopes and dreams to a future day.

The fifty documents conveniently arranged under the category Pseudepigrapha have been examined for their use of the technical terms the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ. Five Jewish writings (Psalms of Solomon, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, 1 Enoch, and 3 Enoch), four Christian documents (Odes of Solomon, Apocalypse of Zephaniah, Apocalypse of Elijah, and Apocalypse of Sedrach), and two lengthy Christian expansions or editorial reworkings of earlier Jewish traditions or documents (Vision of Isaiah and Testament of Adam) have been isolated as worthy of special study. Thirty-nine pseudepigrapha, therefore, either do not contain messianic ideas, or employ messianic titles other than “the Messiah” and its derivatives. Yet, although the messianic passages are surprisingly few, they are precious. The dream embodied therein is timeless, as J. Klausner in Jerusalem in Hanukkah (and December) 1949, thinking about the hope “for everlasting peace” churned up by the United Nations—and how much more yearned for today—and longing for a renewal of the world’s youth, rightfully claimed, “the Messianic expectations in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha are precious jewels in the crown of Judaism.” [76]

Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon: A Comparison

No one needs to remind me of the inadequacies of the preceding attempt to summarize the salient aspects of messianism in the Pseudepigrapha. It has been necessary to bypass detailed analysis and to generalize complex issues. I am also aware that many passages in the Pseudepigrapha that contain the terms, the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ, have not been included. These have been omitted intentionally, because they are often meager, sometimes amounting to only the term Christ itself; because they are usually difficult to date and may be as late as the fourteenth century; and because they contain little additional information beyond that presented above. I am even more painfully aware of my inadequacies as I attempt to summarize the appearance and meaning of the terms, the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ, in the Book of Mormon. By no means do I presume to be knowledgeable about this extensive work.

At the outset we should recognize that, as with the Pseudepigrapha, the Book of Mormon contains lengthy sections that look very Jewish and others that look peculiarly Christian. The Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon preserve some passages that prophesy the future coming of an ambiguously described Messiah, and others that describe his advent in a singularly descriptive and particularistic way. Passages in the Pseudepigrapha that refer to the future coming of the Messiah have been presented above; a significant passage in the Book of Mormon that prophesies about his future appearance is found in 1 Nephi 10:4–17. The opening verse of this passage is as follows:

Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world. [77]

Much more frequent in the Book of Mormon are the sections in which it seems evident that we have later Christian influence because the precise description of the Messiah’s life and activity is distinguishable from the reserved generic nature of what is usually recognized as pre-Christian prophecy. These apparently later Christian sections can be found, for example, in 2 Nephi 25:16–19, 2 Nephi 26:3; and perhaps one of the clearest is in Mosiah 3:8–10, which reads as follows:

And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.

And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.

In these three verses, we find what most critical scholars would call clearly Christian phrases; that is, the description is so precise that it is evident it was added after the event. The technical term for this phenomenon is vaticinium ex eventu[78] The specific details are the clarification that the Messiah will be called “Jesus Christ,” that his mother will be called Mary, that salvation is through faith—indeed faith on his name—that many will say he has a devil, that he will be scourged and crucified, and finally that he will rise on the third day from the dead. Do not these three verses contain a Christian recital of Christ’s life?

How are we to evaluate this new observation? Does it not vitiate the claim that this section of the Book of Mormon, Mosiah, was written before 91 B.C.? Not necessarily so, since Mormons acknowledge that the Book of Mormon could have been edited and expanded on at least two occasions that postdate the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It is claimed that the prophet Mormon abridged some parts of the Book of Mormon in the fourth century A . D . [79] And likewise it is evident that Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century had the opportunity to redact the traditions that he claimed to have received.

Today biblical scholars are making significant and exciting discoveries into the various strata of ancient documents through the use of what is called Redaction Criticism, a method employed to discern the editorial tendencies of an author-compiler. Perhaps it would be wise for specialists to look carefully at this phenomenon in the Book of Mormon. The recognition that the Book of Mormon has been edited on more than one occasion would certainly explain why certain of the messianic passages appear to be Christian compositions.

Let me turn attention to two interesting and perhaps significant links between messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon. The first parallel is found in 3 Nephi 17:4:

But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.

Although the author is not identified in this verse, in the contiguous verses he is called Jesus and earlier he is called Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 11:10).

The idea that the Messiah will visit the lost tribes of Israel is unique; it is neither in the Old nor in the New Testament. It does, however, seem to be somewhat paralleled in two pseudepigrapha. Earlier we saw that 2 Baruch 72–74 contains a developed concept of the Messiah. Only a few chapters later, namely in 77:17–26, the author of 2 Baruch talks about the lost tribes; but the author of 2 Baruch admittedly does not state that the Messiah shows himself to the lost tribes.

Another pseudepigraphon seems to make this equation. The author of 4 Ezra, in which we found one of the most significant passages about the Messiah, clearly develops a sophisticated messianism in chapter 7, and a few chapters later, in chapter 13, he discusses a messianic figure called “a man.” In verses 29–32, this figure is identified with “my Son” who was earlier called “my Son the Messiah” (7:28–29). One of the functions of “my Son” is rather striking; he will gather together the lost tribes of Israel:

And as for your seeing him gather to himself another multitude that was peaceable, these are the ten tribes which were led away from their own land into captivity in the days of King Hoshea, whom Shalmaneser the king of the Assyrians led captive; he took them across the river and they were taken into another land. [80]

Evaluations of this parallel, of course, will vary. Some readers will explain it away as coincidental or dependent upon books written prior to those in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon, especially those in the Bible. Others might find the link exciting and worthy of further and careful examination.

The second link between messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and in the Book of Mormon is the idea that the advent of the Messiah is perceived sometimes as his return. This idea is to be distinguished from the widely disseminated and popular concept that Jesus the Christ shall return again, which is the so-called Second Coming or Parousia that is well documented in the New Testament, Christian literature, and the Book of Mormon. The idea that the advent is a return seems to be found in 2 Nephi 6:14, which reads as follows:

And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again the second time to recover them; wherefore, he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him; and none will he destroy that believe in him. (Italics added.)

This passage may refer to the Parousia; although it is confusing to me, it may contain the idea that the advent of the Messiah is a return. Perhaps there is a subtle double entendre, referring both to the Parousia and to the advent by “the second time.”

The concept of the advent as a return seems to be found in Psalms of Solomon 18:5, which does not talk about the Second Coming in the technical sense but mentions that God will bring back his Messiah. The verse is extant only in Greek and may be translated as follows:

May God cleanse Israel in the day of mercy and blessing,

In the day of election when he brings back his Messiah. [81]

While the passage is not as clear as I would have liked, it does not seem to refer to a preexisting Messiah. It seems instead to refer to the Davidic concept that the monarchic kings were anointed ones, that is, messiahs, and that God will bring back his king like David. That messiah will embody all the aspirations and hopes that Israel had for David and his descendants.

The second passage in the Pseudepigrapha that seems to refer to the advent of the Messiah as his return is found in 2 Baruch 30. This passage was discussed earlier and may now be seen in light of our present concern. The verse reads as follows: “And it shall happen after these things, when the time of the advent of the Messiah is fulfilled, that He shall return in glory.” [82] The Syriac is the only extant text for 2 Baruch and here it reads quite clearly “he shall return”; the verb in Syriac is the Peal imperfect of hpk, “he shall return.” If this verse is a Christian composition, then the meaning seems to be that after the advent of the Messiah is completed he shall go to heaven and then return to earth in glory. But almost everything militates against that exegesis. The passage does not seem to be Christian but is part of the Jewish pseudepigraphon itself. And the verb “fulfilled” does not refer to the completion of the advent but to the completion of the time for the advent. We have taken the verb “to return” to mean “return to earth”; this interpretation is distinct from that of R. H. Charles, who contended that the author was referring to the Messiah’s return “to heaven, where He was before His revealing on earth.” [83] While Charles’s interpretation is, of course, possible, it is equally evident that there is no clear reference here to the descent or ascent of the Messiah; the emphasis is upon his appearance in 29:3, which seems to be paralleled in 31, indicating that the return of the Messiah is his return in glory to the earth, not to heaven.

As in the Psalms of Solomon, the meaning may simply be that the Messiah or the Anointed One, who had been David, will return as the Davidic messianic king. Or it may refer to an idea such as that found in the Testament of Adam, according to which Adam and the Messiah were together in paradise. [84] As we saw earlier, according to the Testament of Adam, the Messiah speaks to Adam in paradise after he has picked the forbidden fruit. This idea is paralleled in Mormon theology, which claims that Christ was with Adam in paradise. [85] The only passage, however, in Mormon scriptures that seems to indicate that Christ was with Adam is found in the Doctrine and Covenants 107:45–55, according to which Adam sees “ . . . the Lord, and he walked with him . . .”; and that “ . . . the Lord administered comfort unto Adam. . . .” Although the technical term here is “Lord,” Mormons identify that figure with Christ. This issue needs to be explored by those who are trained for such an examination. It certainly goes beyond my own area of competence.

The two links, namely, the ideas that the Messiah visits the lost tribes and that his advent may be conceived as a return, are those which seem to be unique or at least distinct. We have been forced, of course, to eliminate all the striking parallels between the Book of Mormon and the Pseudepigrapha that are apparently derived from that massive body of literature upon which they may have been independently dependent. It is obvious that the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon have been deeply influenced by the Bible and that many messianic concepts have been independently derived from those writings.


The preceding discussion has been necessarily a mere summary of messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon. Some messianic passages that use the technical terms the Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Christ have been found in the Pseudepigrapha that warrant detailed and careful examination and comparison with other messianic passages that use other titles such as “the Son of Man,” “the Elect One,” “the Beloved,” and “the Man.” The preceding has also drawn attention to the concept of the Messiah or the Christ in the Book of Mormon, [86] and it has been argued that some passages look Jewish and others Christian. Two distinct ideas expose an interesting link between the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon. The first is the concept that the Messiah speaks to the lost tribes and the second is the idea that the advent of the Messiah may be conceived as his return.

There are many other important parallels between the Pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon that deserve careful examination. In the Ascension of Isaiah, for example, we find the idea that after the Crucifixion and the Ascension “his disciples will forsake the teaching of the twelve apostles and their faith, their love and their purity, and there will arise much contention about [his coming and] his appearing. . . . And many will exchange the glory of the garment of the saints for the garment of the covetous, and respect for persons will be common in those days, and such as love the honour of this world.” [87] Mormons will think not only about the reference to a spiritual garment but also perhaps about 1 Nephi 13:26: “ . . . for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.” Perhaps the importance of studying the documents that have so rapidly passed before our attention is the recognition that the Judaeo-Christian tradition is a living tradition.

In conclusion, as I send this forth from my study, let me loose the constrictions imposed upon the critical historian and speak as a person. God did continue speaking after sixty-six books were collected and called the Bible. Strickland Gillilan accurately captured this truth:

I think God kept on talking when His Book had gone to press;

That he continues speaking to the listening souls of men.

I think His voice is busy yet, to teach and guide and bless;

That every time we ask for light He calls to us again.

Likewise, Walker dedicated his The Teaching of Jesus, which—as we have seen—contains much valuable data regarding the concept of the Messiah in the Pseudepigrapha, “TO ONE IN HEAVEN WHO STILL SPEAKS.”


[1] If I had been asked to speak upon the concept of the Messiah in the Book of Mormon I would have declined, since I know so very little about that book. If I had been asked to speak about messianism in the Pseudepigrapha I would have declined, because I know that such an ominous task is premature until all the documents classified therein are carefully translated and studied. But I have accepted the task of doing both; it is intriguing to ponder this action. Perhaps it is a reflex of W. H. Auden’s insight: “ ‘I will love You forever/ swears the poet. I find this easy to swear, too. J will love you at 4:15 P.M. next Tuesday: is that still as easy?” Homage to Clio (New York: Random House, 1955), 48.

[2] This chapter attempts to speak to nonspecialists and in particular to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When capitalized, Pseudepigrapha refers to the collection; when not capitalized, it indicates some of these documents.

[3] The publications specifically devoted to the concept of The Messiah in the intertestamental period presently upon my desk, listed in chronological order, are: D. Castelli, II Messia secondo gli Ebrei (Florence: Monnier, 1874); W. Baldensperger, Die messianisch-apokalyptischen Hoffnungen des Judenthums (Strassburg: Heitz, 1903); J. Klausner, Die messianischen Vorstel-lungen desjudischen Volkes im Zeitalterder Tannaiten kritisch untersucht und im Rahmen der Zeitgeschichte dargestellt (Berlin: Poppelauer,1904); T. Walker, The Teaching of Jesus and the Jewish Teaching of His Age (London: Allen and Unwin, 1923), see especially “The Character of the Messiah,” 121–81; G. F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard, 1927–30), see especially “Messianic Expectations,” vol. 2, 323–76; S. Mowinckel, He that Cometh, trans. G. W. Anderson (New York, Nashville: Abingdon, 1954); J. Klausner, The Messianic Idea in Israel from its Beginning to the Completion of the Mishnah, trans. W. F. Stinespring (London: Allen and Unwin, 1956), see especially “The Messianic Idea in the Books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha,” 246–386; G. Scholem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism, trans. M. A. Meyer and H. Halkin (New York: Schocken, 1971); M. de Jonge and A. S. van der Woude, “Messianic Ideas in Later Judaism,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. G. Friedrich, trans. G. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmanns, 1974), vol. 9, 509–27; S. H. Levey, The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation: The Messianic Exegesis of the Targum, Monographs of the Hebrew Union College 2 (Cincinnati, New York: Hebrew Union College, 1974); for recent articles see J. H. Charlesworth, “Messianism,” The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, Septuagint and Cognate Studies 7 (Missoula, Montana: Scholars, 1976), 57–61.

[4] The new edition of the Pseudepigrapha that will be published by Doubleday will contain the following fifty documents:


Apocalypse of Adam

Apocalypse of Elijah

Apocalypse of Ezra

Apocalypse of Sedrach

Apocalypse of Zephaniah

Apocalypse of Zosimus

5 Apocryphal Syriac Psalms

Testament of Moses

2 Baruch

3 Baruch

4 Baruch(Paraleipomena Jeremiou)

1 Enoch

2 Enoch

3 Enoch

4 Ezra

Jannes and Jambres

Joseph and Asenath


Ladder of Jacob

Letter of Aristeas

Lives of the Prophets

3 Maccabees

4 Maccabees

Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah

Odes of Solomon

Prayer of Manasses

Prayer of Joseph

Psalms of Solomon



Questions of Ezra

Sibylline Oracles

Testament of Abraham

Testament of Isaac

Testament of Jacob

Testament of Job

Testaments of the XII Patriarchs

Treatise of Shem

Vita AE and Apocalypse of Moses

Apocalypse of Abraham

Pseudo-Menander (Syriac)

Greek Fragments of Lost Pseudepigrapha

Testament of Solomon

16 Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers

Testament of Adam

Eldad and Modad

Apocryphon of Ezekiel

Prayer of Jacob

Apocalypse of Daniel

[5] R. H. Charles, ed., The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1913). Vol. 1 contains the Apocrypha, vol. 2 the Pseudepigrapha.

[6] See my “Jewish Astrology in the Talmud, Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Early Palestinian Synagogues,” Harvard Theological Review, in press.

[7] G. F. Moore, Judaism.

[8] E. Schiirer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, 6 vols., trans. J. Macpherson, S. Taylor, P. Christie (Edinburgh: Clark, 1897–98).

[9] E. Schiirer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.–A.D. 135): A New English Version, rev. and ed. G. Vermes and F. Millar, with P. Vermes and M. Black, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: Clark, 1973).

[10] J. Neusner is the most prolific writer today; his books are easy to locate. A popular little book is his First-Century Judaism in Crisis: Yohanan ben Zakkai and the Renaissance of Torah (Nashville, New York: Abingdon, 1975).

[11] My main hesitancy in following most of the previous publications, such as those by R. H. Charles, is that titles are confused; and statements about the “Son of Man” are interpreted as if the title had been “Messiah” or its derivatives. Many passages in the Pseudepigrapha do portray a messianic “Son of Man,” but we must observe the terms used; the author may be rejecting a concept of the “Messiah” in favor of other concepts articulated, of course, by the use of different titles. It is refreshing to observe that S. H. Levey begins his important book with the attempt to distinguish between “messianism” and “eschatology” and to discriminate between Mashiah (Messiah) as simply “an anointed one” and as “the Messiah.” See The Messiah, especially xix–xxi; for a good example compare the Fragmentary Targum with Onkelos and especially Pseudo-Jonathan to Numbers 24:17–24 (21–27).

[12] In his Jesus and Jewish Teaching, Walker employs the last two categories.

[13] See my The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, 195–97.

[14] A similar thought is found in Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 11:4 (“and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.” RSV): “He shall smite the guilty of the land with the word of his mouth, and with the speech of his lips he shall slay Armilus the wicked.” Translated by Levey, The Messiah, 49. Significantly, in contrast to the Targums to the Pentateuch, Targum Jonathan to First Isaiah depicts the Messiah “as a symbol of peace and harmony in the world, as a righteous judge, as the champion of social justice.” Levey, The Messiah, 102.

[15] Klausner emends christos kurios to christos kuriou and translates it “the anointed of the Lord.” Messianic Idea, 321.

[16] Italics mine; the translation by R. B. Wright will be published by Doubleday.

[17] After I completed this article, I noted M. de Jonge’s judicious advice regarding Christos (Christ) in the Psalms of Solomon: “It would be out of place to speak here—as is often done—of a national, political, earthly Messiah” (in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 9, 514). Klausner correctly states that “here there is indeed a political and national side to the Messianic kingdom; but the spiritual side is emphasized more.” Messianic Idea, 324. (Italics his.)

[18] Compare the similar ideas in the Fragmentary Targum to the Pentateuch, translated by Levey, The Messiah, 11. The Messiah is often seen as militant in the Targums; see e.g. Targums Onkelos and Pseudo-Jonathan (much expanded) to Numbers 24:17–24. Messianism among the Targums is most prominent in Pseudo-Jonathan; although it does not present a consistent messianism, this Targum looks for the vindication of Israel with the annihilation of her enemies through “a bloodbath, performed by the Messiah, who as the aggressive warlord of the future, will himself be covered with the blood of the slain foe.” Levey, The Messiah, 31.

[19] J. Bowker, The Targums and Rabbinic Literature (Cambridge: CUP, 1969), 278. Levey translates the last portion as follows: The King Messiah “reddens the mountains with the blood of their slain. His garments are saturated with blood, like those of him who presses the grapes.” The Messiah, 9. Levey perceptively draws attention to the biblical allusions in Isaiah 63:1–6 and in Revelation 19:11–16.

[20] Klausner, Messianic Idea, 323.

[21] See Y. Yadin, The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, trans. B. and C. Rabin (Oxford: OUP, 1962).

[22] Translation by R. B. Wright.

[23] Klausner, who emphasized the striking parallels between 2 Baruch and the early parts of the Talmudim and Midrashim, opined that “there is no Pseudepigraphical book in which are found so many detailed Messianic expectations as in the Syriac Book of Baruch. . . .” Messianic Idea, 331.

[24] See my The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, 83–86.

[25] Translation is by R. H. Charles in his The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 497.

[26] Ibid., 498.

[27]M. de Jonge, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 9, 515.

[28] Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 498.

[29] Ibid., 501.

[30] Ibid., 518.

[31] Ibid., 518; italics mine.

[32] See my The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, 111–16.

[33] Klausner called 4 Ezra “the profoundest and most exalted in its lofty spirituality of all the books of the ‘Pseudepigrapha.’” Messianic Idea, 349; cf. 365.

[34] 4 Ezra 7:28–29 according to the Revised Standard Version (RSV). All quotations of 4 Ezra are from the RSV.

[35] The Jewish concept of a Messiah who dies is found, outside of 4 Ezra, only in early medieval and later documents, such as the Pesikta Rabbati, and almost always is couched in terms of two Messiahs: the Messiah son of Ephraim (or Joseph) who dies and Messiah son of David (sometimes anonymous) who may suffer but is victorious. For discussions on the Messiah who dies see Moore, Judaism, vol. 2, 370–71; Mowinckel, He that Cometh, 325–33 (and especially the bibliography); and the impressive and long note in H. Odeberg, 3 Enoch or the Hebrew Book of Enoch, prolegomenon by J. C. Greenfield (New York: KTAV, 1973 [first printed in 1928]), 144–47. Levey (The Messiah, 16, 142) draws attention to the only passage in the Targums that discusses “Messiah son of Ephraim,” namely Pseudo-Jonathan to Exodus 40:9–11. Although he should have pointed out that the Targum does not mention the Messiah’s death, Levey perceptively argues (as had Klausner, “Messias ben Joseph, und der Kampf mit Gog und Magog,” Die messianischen Vorstellungen, 86–103 and others [see Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 144–45]) that this concept “was probably built up as a psychological reaction to the death of Bar Kokhba; he will be a conquering hero who will actually lead in the final battle, and will be slain and mourned (p.16).” Earlier Mowinckel had claimed that the concept of a suffering and dying (unfortunately he confuses these terms) Messiah in Judaism is a reaction against Christianity, “a biblical counterblast to the Christian faith in the Jesus (who had died) as the Messiah (330).” While both Levey and Mowinckel are partly correct, medieval Jewish thought must not be confused with the messianic ideas in 4 Ezra 7:28–29, which link the death of the Messiah neither with suffering nor atonement, but with the logical eschatological schema, the close of the messianic age, which concludes “this world” and is the prelude to “the world to come” (7:50, 8:11).

[36] See the discussions by Klausner, The Messianic Idea, 349–65 and Mowinckel, He that Cometh, 325–37.

[37] G. F. Moore argued that after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 apocalyptic revived and an “important feature of this revived apocalyptic is that the Messianic Age is not final. . . .” Judaism, vol. 2, 338; cf. 333.

[38] See the excellent comments by Klausner, The Messianic Idea, 355–56.

[39] M. E. Stone overstates the evidence, obviously in reaction to earlier scholarly publications, when he claims that the legal language “is not to be taken to indicate that judgment is the prime characteristic of that figure [the Messiah]. The foremost features are still military, the overthrowing of the great Roman Empire. . . .” (302). Stone’s important article, “The Concept of the Messiah in IV Ezra,” is found in Religions in Antiquity: Essays in Memory of Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough, ed. J. Neusner, Studies in the History of Religions 14 (Leiden: Brill, 1968), 295–312.

[40] Stone was the first scholar to perceive and argue persuasively that 4 Ezra’s visions are interpreted in light of concepts and images contained neither in 4 Ezra itself nor in its visions, and that this anomalous and heterogenous characteristic is not caused by interpolation but by the author’s “own interpretation to a previously existent allegory.” Ibid., 306; cf. also 303, 309.

[41] Stone, ibid., 309.

[42] See J. T. Milik, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976). For recent research on 1 Enoch see my The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, 98–103.

[43] The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 217.

[44] Ibid., vol. 2, 219.

[45] The messianism of 1 Enoch 37–71, therefore, is not in line with Christianity’s celestial concepts but integral to the earlier compositions in 1 Enoch, notably the terrestrial promise to the righteous and elect: “But for the elect there shall be light and joy and peace, And they shall inherit the earth.” (1 Enoch 5:7a–7b, according to Charles, ibid., vol. 2, 190.) It is distressing to find that most publications on the messianisms of 1 Enoch are vitiated by the failure to perceive the heterogenous nature of the “five books” within 1 Enoch and the equation of “the Messiah” with other messianic titles.

[46] Milik concludes that “it is around the year A.D. 270 or shortly afterwards that I would place the composition of the Book of Parables.” The Books of Enoch, 96.

[47] During the 1977 SNTS Pseudepigrapha Seminar meetings in Tubingen, all the specialists present found difficulty with Milik’s method and conclusion. Ephraim Isaac, who is preparing the new translation of 1 Enoch, and Frank Andersen, who is preparing the new translation of 2 Enoch, found that Milik had not done justice to the texts and the complex data involved.

[48] R. H. Charles, The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1912), 67. In 1913, Charles wrote either 94 to 79 or 70 to 64 B.C. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 171.

[49] M. E. Stone, I am told, will publish an article in the Harvard Theological Review in which this position is developed. M. Knibb, who has just published a critical edition and translation of 1 Enoch, has shared a similar view with me viva voce.

[50] H. Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 41.

[51] Ibid., 144.

[52] See note 35.

[53] See the discussion of the unacceptable opinions by Schoettgen and Wuensche in Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 145.

[54] Note CD 19:10–11, 20:1, 22:23,14:19,1QS 9:10–11. A good English discussion is found in H. Ringgren, “The Messiah,” The Faith of Qumran, trans. E. T. Sander (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1961), 167–73; R. E. Brown, “J. Starcky’s Theory of Qumran Messianic Development,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 28 (1966): 51–57; R. E. Brown, “The Teacher of Righteousness and theMessiah(s),” The Scrolls and Christianity, ed. M. Black, S.P.C.K. Theological Collections 11 (London: S.P.C.K., 1969), 36–44 (a perceptive and lucid statement).

[55] Note TSimeon 7:1–2 and TJudah 21:1–3; the term the Messiah, the Anointed One, or the Christ is not found in either of these passages. M. de Jonge thinks TSimeon 7:1–2 is from a Christian redaction and TJudah 21:1–3 is not messianic. See his Studies on the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, SVTP 3 (Leiden: Brill, 1975), 219–20, 223–25.

[56] Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 147.

[57] See note 21.

[58] Odeberg’s translation, 3 Enoch, 158–60.

[59] See my John and Qumran (London: Chapman, 1972); “Les Odes de Salomon et les manuscrits de la mer morte,” Revue Biblique 77 (1970): 522–49; with A. Culpepper, “The Odes of Solomon and the Gospel of John,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 35 (1973): 298–322; “The Odes of Solomon,” Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976), 637–38.

[60] All translations of the Odes of Solomon are according to my The Odes of Solomon (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973).

[61] Translation by H. P. Houghton, “The Coptic Apocalypse,” Aegyptus 39 (1959), 63.

[62] Apocalypse of Zephaniah 12:21–32; translation by Houghton (ibid., 65) with altered punctuation and capitalization.

[63] Apocalypse of Elijah 13:18–15:6; translated by Houghton, ibid., 196–98.

[64] Translation by Houghton, ibid., 210.

[65] All translations of the Apocalypse of Sedrach are by S. Agourides and will be published by Doubleday.

[66] See my The Pseudepigrapha and Modem Research, 125–30.

[67] Translation by J. Flemming, H. Duensing, and D. Hill published in E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, 2 vols. ed. W. Schneemelcher, trans. R. McL. Wilson (London: Lutterworth, 1963–1965), vol. 2, 657.

[68] Ascension of Isaiah 10:7–11; trans. Flemming, Duensing, and Hill, ibid., vol. 2, 659.

[69] See the Duke Ph.D. dissertation on the Testament of Adam by S. E. Robinson.

[70] The translation is by my student Stephen E. Robinson, and with some revisions will appear in the Doubleday edition of the Pseudepigrapha.>

[71] The term Christ does not appear in the Syriac version; it is found in the Greek only at 19:3, “blessed one of Christ.”

[72] See the significant discussions by D. R. A. Hare in his contribution on the Lives of the Prophets to the new edition of the Pseudepigrapha.

[73] Pseudo-Philon, Les Antiquitis Bibliques, 2 vols. ed. D. J. Harrington, trans. J. Cazeaux, intro. C. Perrot and P. M. Bogaert, Sources Chretiennes 229, 230 (Paris: Cerf, 1976), vol. 2, 58.

[74] M. R. James, The Biblical Antiquities of Philo, polegomenon by L. H. Feldman (New York: KTAV, 1971 [first published in 1917]), 41. The term Christus occurs only in 51:6, and 59:1–4, and in each of these (especially in 59) the meaning is “the anointed one,” who is Saul or David.

[75] For example, the Samaritans looked for the coming of an eschatological figure called Taheb, who is usually portrayed as Moses. The fifth chapter of the fourth-century Memar Marqah contains the Samaritan legends of the death, ascension, assumption, and glorification of Moses. See J. MacDonald, ed., Memar Marqah: The Teaching of Marqah, 2 vols, BZAW 84 (sic) (Berlin: Topelmann, 1963).

[76] Klausner, Messianic Idea, 386.

[77] All translations from the Book of Mormon are, of course, by Joseph Smith and published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have used the 1974 edition.

[78] “Prophecy after the event,” most scholars believe is present in Matthew 22:7, Luke 19:41–44, and Luke 21:20–24; hence in their present form these passages, which refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, date after A.D. 70. This argument is now thoroughly challenged by J. A. T. Robinson in his Redating the New Testament (London: SCM, 1976). But see the superb critique of this work by D. M. Smith, “Redating the New Testament?” The Duke Divinity School Review 42 (1977): 193–205.

[79] I am indebted in the following discussions to two former students who are Mormons: Steve Robinson and Jack Welch.

[80] RSV

[81] Translation and italics mine.

[82] Translation mine.

[83] The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 498.

[84] See the discussion and translation above.

[85] Although this belief is a cardinal feature of Mormon Christology, I can find no support for it in the Book of Mormon (unless, of course, one assumes “the Lord” can be read as “the Messiah”). Support for the belief is found, however, in the Inspired Version of Genesis 3 and 4. In contrast to all other versions, Genesis 3:3 has “my beloved Son,” Genesis 3:4 “mine Only Begotten,” and God’s direct discourse with Adam is enhanced—and all of these statements apply to Adam’s time in paradise. (Cf. also 3:28.) In chapter 4, which contains the description of Adam after the Fall, there are thirteen verses found only in the Inspired Version; in these Christology is apparent: “the Only Begotten” (Genesis 4:7, 9), “the Son” (Genesis 4:8). Even here, I must confess, there is no explicit statement that “Christ” talked with Adam in paradise. See [P. A. Wellington] Joseph Smith’s “New Translation” of the Bible (Independence, Missouri: Herald, 1970).

[86] The “Anointed One” does not seem to appear in the Book of Mormon.

[87] Ascension of Isaiah 3:21–25, trans. Flemming, Duensing and Hill, 648 (see note 67). Brackets are in the original.