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Qumran Pseudepigrapha in Early Christianity: Is 1 Clem. 50:4 a Citation of 4QPseudo-Ezekiel (4Q385)?

The early Christian Church Fathers knew a wide variety of ancient Jewish apocryphal works which they utilized extensively. In some cases they cited these works with explicit attributions and in many others no source is named. With the discovery at Qumran of a number of previously unknown Jewish pseudepigrapha, new possibilities have emerged for identifying the sources of some of these patristic citations.4QPseudo-Ezekiel, an Ezekiel pseudepigraphon framed as a dialogue between the prophet and God of which several copies were discovered in Cave 4, is part of a rich non-biblical literature that circulated in Ezekiel’s name. The church fathers certainly knew a Greek Apocryphon of Ezekiel as the testimony Epiphanius of Salamis and Josephus and several patristic citations that likely originated in that apocryphon attest. 4QPseudo-Ezekiel also was probably known to several early Christian authors. Menachem Kister has argued that an unattributed prophetic citation in Barn 12:1 is a quote of the text found in 4Q385 2, and Richard Bauckham contends that Apocalypse of Peter 4:7-9 comes from the Pseudo-Ezekiel version of the Dry Bones vision rather than from Ezekiel 37.The unattributed citation in 1 Clem 50:4 shows interesting similarities to a fragmentary passage found in Pseudo-Ezekiel (4Q385 12). 1 Clem 50.4 combines Isa 26.20 with material from the biblical Ezekiel. This same conjunction of biblical texts probably appears in 4Q385 12 as well. Does 1 Clement know the same Ezekiel work as that found at Qumran or do 1 Clem 50:4 and 4Q385 12 simply reflect a common exegetical tradition? Although the evidence does not allow a certain conclusion, this paper argues that 1 Clem 50:4 probably originated in a Greek version of the Ezekiel pseudepigraphon discovered in Cave 4.

Author(s):  Wright, Benjamin G.
Format:  Article
Date:  1997
Source:  The Orion Center for the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature