Biblical Studies

Trinitarianism in Second Temple Judaism

I’m currently reading Alan Segal’s Two Powers in Heaven in which he argues that certain strains of Jewish theology during the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods believed in multiple divine figures — divine hypostases — which was perceived by some as violating the standard of traditional monotheism. Next semester I hope to do my final research project on the development of Trinitarian thinking during this time, indicating that it was not at all a uniquely Christian invention, but had its roots in a variety of Judaic traditions, such as Philo’s Logos doctrine, second God, and divine triad. Michael Heiser has a nice, small article with a couple good links that I’m quite pleased to have found.

The Exodus and the Hyksos

I find it exceedingly difficult not to associate the biblical Exodus story with the Hyksos expulsion of the 16th century B.C. since there is, admittedly, no evidence for either of the traditional dates ca. 1440 or 1250 B.C. and otherwise no data indicating a mass exodus of Semitic peoples from the Levant (not to mention the fact that virtually every ancient writer conflated the two events). Dr. Stephen Meyers makes one of the more compelling cases for this and addresses quite competently the most frequent objection that a Hyksos association falls outside the scope of Solomon’s 480 year statement at the temple dedication. Besides that, the only other complaints, as far as I can tell, rest on assumptions that may or may not actually be the case. Yes, the records do suggest that Ahmose forcefully expelled the Hyksos, while the biblical account indicates that the Hebrews escaped by divine intervention; but why must we accept either of these sources as entirely accurate, historically speaking? One could go in a variety of ways, after all. Nationalism often led Egyptian rulers to stretch the truth so as to appear in a more favorable light, while the Hebrews could have easily downplayed the political turmoil and their initial desire to stay by interpreting the past theologically as Yahweh’s blessing of deliverance. At any rate, I don’t think there’s any serious reason that scholars should avoid this and I find it baffling that so many don’t even give it consideration.