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Taschl-Erber, Andrea, u. Irmtraud Fischer [Hrsg.]


Vermittelte Gegenwart. Konzeptionen der Gottespräsenz von der Zeit des Zweiten Tempels bis Anfang des 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr.


Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2016. XI, 365 S. = Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 367. Lw. EUR 129,00. ISBN 978-3-16-154617-4.


Larry W. Hurtado

The twelve essays in this book originated in a symposium honour-ing Johannes Marböck in the University of Graz in March 2015. Reflecting the scope of his work, these essays address various »mediator« traditions and figures found in Jewish and Christian texts of the second-temple period. They do not provide a comprehensive discussion of all such texts and traditions. Nevertheless, this book is a valuable collection of studies of a number of them.
Beate Ego’s essay, »Der Engel Rafael und die Witwe Judit«, focuses on Raphael in the book of Tobit and the widow Judith in the book that bears her name. Her main points are that these figures illustrate the various motifs used second-temple extra-canonical texts in depicting the God’s mediated presence, e. g., angelic and human mediation. She also finds in the examples studied a concern with the Jerusalem Temple, as reflected in the eschatological hymn in Tobit that envisages a restitution of Jerusalem.
Ludger Schwienhorst-Schönberger, »Metaphorisch vermittelte Gottespräsenz«, affirms a traditional reading of the Song of Songs as an allegory of God and Israel. He proposes that the king in the text is to be taken as a metaphor for God and, thereby, as a verbal/textual mediation of God’s presence.
Nuria Calduch-Benages, »Ben Sira 24:22—Decoding a Metaphor«, concludes that v. 22 is the conclusion to the entire speech of Wisdom in 24:3–22. This prepares for the subsequent linkage of Wisdom and Torah (v. 23). Furthermore, the text links divine Wisdom with the ideal sage as embodiment of Wisdom.
Franz Sedlmeier, »›Ezechiel sah eine Vision und beschrieb die Gestalten am Thronwagen‹ (Sir 49,8)«, traces the reception of the vision of the divine throne in Ezekiel 1 and 10 in a number of se­cond-temple texts, with a brief look also into rabbinic literature. He posits a difference between the interest in vision-experiences in second-temple texts and the rabbinic emphasis on close study of Torah as the mediated presence of God. His study could have profited from consultation of Saul M. Olyan , A Thousand Thousands Served Him: Exegesis and the Naming of Angels in Ancient Judaism TSAJ 36 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1993) and Christopher Rowland’s unpublished study, »The Influence of the First Chapter of Ezekiel on Jewish and Early Christian Literature« (PhD, Cambridge, 1974).
In »Henoch als Menschensohn in den Bilderreden von 1 Enoch und im breiteren traditionellen Kontext«, Loren Stuckenbruck takes as his starting point the identification of Enoch as »the son of man« in 1 Enoch 71:14, and then conducts a detailed examination of refer-ences to this figure in 1 Enoch 37—71. Stuckenbruck proposes that the identification of Enoch in 71:14 is fully in keeping with the earlier references to the »Elect One,« and Stuckenbruck also suggests that this identification may serve as somewhat analogous to Paul’s references to believers being linked with Christ. I did not find the latter proposal persuasive, but Stuckenbruck’s analysis of the Parables is a valuable resource.
Daniel Boyarin, »Henoch und Metatron, der ›Fürst der göttlichen Gegenwart‹: ›Apokalypse‹ und der ›zweite Gott‹«, discusses references to Enoch in rabbinic texts, especially noting references to Enoch as sitting in heaven, and Boyarin proposes a »parallel« to early Christian claims about Jesus seated »at God’s right hand«. The essay reflects Boyarin’s previous efforts to posit a »second« deity as a notion inherent in ancient Judaism. One of several questions that he does not note, however, is why there is no evidence of the use of Psalm 110 in pre-Christian Jewish texts, if the idea of a second fi-gure seated next to God was supposedly common.
Martin Ebner, »Abgebrochene Karriere: Zur Funktion der jü-dischen Weisheitsspekulation bei der Entwicklung der neutestamentlichen Christologien in den synoptischen Evangelien«, argues that there was a development from the view of Jesus as a messenger of divine Wisdom in the Q material to a subsequent modification in Matthew and Luke, in which Jesus is himself portrayed in the role of Wisdom, but also as regal Messiah. Ebner contends that this modification was in response to the shifting social locations of the early Jesus-movement, the royal messianic emphasis in response to Roman imperial claims. But as Paul’s letters show, the identifica-tion of Jesus as Messiah goes back to the earliest years of the Jesus-movement.
Jörg Frey, »›Wer mich sieht, der sieht den Vater‹: Jesus als Bild Gottes im Johannesevangelium«, is an excellent analysis of how the Gospel of John readily presents Jesus’ ministry through the lens of the fuller revelations of his significance that came through the work of the Spirit. Also, Frey astutely notes that the text of the Gospel of John seems itself intended to mediate the presence of Christ for readers, the »signs« narrated to convey Jesus’ power and author-ity through reading this text.
Samuel Vollenweider, »›Einer ist der Mittler‹ (1 Tim 2,5): Mittleraussagen der neutestamentlichen Briefliteratur in ihren frühjüdischen und hellenistischen Kontexten«, rightly draws attention to the emphasis in New Testament texts on the singularity or uniqueness of Jesus. These texts make Jesus not simply a mediator, but the one mediator, aligning him uniquely with the emphasis on the one God. Vollenweider gives an informative analysis of several relevant texts, including 1 Timothy 2:4–7; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:4–6, and brief comments on Jesus priestly role in Hebrews and on Colossians 1:15–20.
Christoph Heil, »›Angeordnet durch Engel durch die Hand eines Mittlers‹ (Gal 3,19)«, probes what Paul meant in this intriguing verse. Heil judges that Paul sought to relativize Torah in compar-ison with Christ, but did not intend to deny that the Torah came from God. Heil also proposes that Paul saw himself in some sense as mediating the presence of God through his ministry.
The much-studied Christological text, Colossians 1:15–20, is the focus of Andrea Taschl-Erber’s essay, »›Erstgeborener der ganzen Schöpfung‹: Der exklusive ›Mittler‹ im Brief an die Gemeinde in Kolossä«. She proposes that the text reflects a »relecture« of Wisdom and Logos speculation in which Jesus is made the full and final expression of divine mediation. This essay is a further valuable ad­dition to studies of this passage, showing links especially to Jewish traditions, but also acutely noting the distinctive adaptations in early Christian claims about Jesus.
Wolfgang Kraus, »Jesus als ›Mittler‹ im Hebräerbrief«, is a perceptive study of how Hebrews portrays Jesus as »mediator« of a »better covenant«. Kraus emphasizes that in Hebrews Jesus is not mediator between heaven and earth (in contrast with Greek philosophical traditions about a secondary deity, or Philo’s distinction between God’s transcendence and immanence), but instead is the guarantee of the »better covenant«. Kraus contends that in Hebrews Jesus mediates for believers the reality and validity of the divine promise of redemption while believers await it its fulfilment.
As in almost any such collection, some essays are closer to the stated focus than others, and some more persuasive than others. But, as a collection, these essays comprise a valuable contribution to the study of ancient Jewish and Christian thought about God’s relationship to the world.