Testament of Moses

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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The Testament of Moses likewise preserves the promise of the land but subordinates it to the promise to preserve the seed of Abraham, recalling specifically the episode of the aqedah, or binding of Isaac, in Genesis 22.
The extent of the biblical story retold by Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities is more comprehensive than what is represented in Jubilees and the Testament of Moses.
She also provides commentary on the text and places the composition in the context of a possible "Mosaic" corpus of works at Qumran, including Jubilees, Testament of Moses, and perhaps even 11QT.