Testament of Moses

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Testament of Moses,

an early Jewish apocalypseapocalypse
[Gr.,=uncovering], genre represented in early Jewish and in Christian literature in which the secrets of the heavenly world or of the world to come are revealed by angelic mediation within a narrative framework.
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 discovered in 1861 and extant only in an incomplete 6th cent. A.D. Latin manuscript. The original work was probably written in Hebrew in the early 1st cent. A.D. It contains reflections on Jewish history and experiences in Palestine during the 1st and 2d cent. B.C., with allusions to the revolt of the MaccabeesMaccabees
or Machabees
, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon.
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, the Romans entering (63 B.C.) Jerusalem, and the rise of HerodHerod,
dynasty reigning in Palestine at the time of Jesus. As a dynasty the Herods depended largely on the power of Rome. They are usually blamed for the state of virtual anarchy in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era.

Antipater (fl. c.65 B.C.
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 the Great. The work, which reflects upon the apocalyptic motifs of the coming of God's Kingdom, contains a narrative of the priest Taxo and his sons, who are martyred as the eschatological age is about to break.


See J. H. Charlesworth, ed., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Vol. I, 1983).

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Chapter 1 is a brief chapter that begins with a summary of 2 Maccabees 7 and then a discussion of early Jewish reformulations of that narrative, especially 4 Maccabees but also The Assumption of Moses and Josephus's Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities.
Johns examines competing models of identity and resistance in 1, 2, and 4 Maccabees, Daniel, the Assumption of Moses, the Apocalypse of John, and the War Scroll from Qumran.
Soon after, a whirlwind takes Elijah up into heaven (2 Kings 2), where, according to The Assumption of Moses, a much later apocryphal work, he could join Israel's liberator and lawgiver in serving God as one dispatched on special missions to aid the faithful.