Tabor on Eisenman’s Newest

James Tabor blogs about Robert Eisenman’s newest release, The New Testament Code. The book is a sequel to Eisenman’s earlier treatment of James, the Brother of Jesus. Tabor also provides a table of contents which includes three chapters that look pertinent to my thesis:

  1. James as ‘Rain-Maker’ and ‘Friend of God’ 123
  2. Other Rain-Making ‘Zaddik’s in the ‘Primal Adam’Tradition 142
  3. Revolutionary Messianism and the Elijah Redivivus Tradition 173

Let me be clear, given my opinion of Eisenman’s previous work, I probably will not integrate much of his speculation into my own thesis. Nonetheless, he is one of the only authors who has paid any attention to the Elijah tradition as it pertains to James, along with the motif of eschatological rain. See his article: “Eschatological ‘rain’ imagery in the War Scroll from Qumran and in the Letter of James.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 49 (1990): 173-184. In this article Eisenman only associates rain in James with images of eschatological judgment. This, however, ignores the wealth of Old Testament and early Jewish literature that associates rain with blessing (perhaps even eschatological blessing).

1 thought on “Tabor on Eisenman’s Newest”

  1. there is another author, perhaps you are already aware of him, perhaps not, who goes into the ‘primal adam’ or “Enosh” idea with some depth.
    his name is Robert Eisler, and his book ‘the messiah jesus and john the baptist’ from 1931 is most definitely worth the read.
    concerning the elijah/john the baptist motif present in the gospels, Eisler’s work gives new depth and timeline to the career of the Baptist, or the “wild man” in some manuscripts.
    Eisler’s ideas dovetail Eisenman’s in some ways, in that the Mandaeans are mentioned in both works. It would appear that the Mandaja are consonant with the gnostics, both words relating in their respective languages to the ‘keeper’ or ‘keeper of secrets or knowledge’ that is also evident in nasorean terminology.
    if this is true, it could explain the nag hammadi papyrii and offer some explanation of Saul/Paul’s antipathy to the followers of John the Baptist and their later extermination by more Orthodox elements of Asia Minor (Constantinople being the locus, and Antioch and Damascus being arrayed against Alexandria, as well as the latent Parthian/Babylonian threat; this is given some reference in the Book of Revelation in a number of metaphors and visions and in history, especially during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian which saw the 2nd and 3rd Jewish uprisings).
    So, concerning a thesis, i would recommend looking into Eisler if you haven’t yet. i believe that many of his papers are held by Oxford University, but am not entirely sure about this.
    thank you and good seeking.

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