Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-15-maryborough-mushet-steel >> 18th And 19th Centuries to And Of The Prime >> Assumption of Moses

Assumption of Moses

messianic, pharisaic and ad

MOSES, ASSUMPTION OF, an extra-canonical apocalyp tic work of the Old Testament. (See APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE.) It is a prophecy of the future relating to Israel, put into the mouth of Moses, and addressed to Joshua just before the great lawgiver died. Founded upon the book of Deuteronomy, it con tains a brief history of Israel from Moses to the Messianic age. The most striking feature in this work is the writer's scathing condemnation of the priesthood before, during, and after the Maccabean period, and an unsparing depreciation of the Temple services.

The book has been assigned to most dates between the death of Herod the Great and that of Bar-Cochba ; but the true date appears to lie between 4 B.C. and A.D. 3o. Herod is already dead (vi. 6), hence it is after 4 B.C. ; and Herod's sons are to rule for shorter periods than their father, hence it must have been com posed before these princes had reigned thirty-four years—i.e., before A.D. 3o. But there are grounds for assuming that A.D. 7 is probably the earlier limit.

The author was not an Essene, for he recognizes animal sacri fices and cherishes the Messianic hope. He was not a Sadducee,

for he looks forward to the establishment of the Messianic King dom (x.). Nor yet was he a Zealot, for the quietistic ideal is upheld (ix.), and the kingdom is established by God Himself (x.). He was clearly a Pharisaic Quietist, a Pharisee of a fast disappear ing type, recalling in all respects the Chasid of the early Macca bean times, and upholding the old traditions of quietude and resignation. His object is to protest against the growing seculari zation of the Pharisaic party through its adoption of popular Messianic beliefs and political ideals. But his appeal was in vain, ,and so the secularization of the Pharisaic movement culminated in due course in the fall of Jerusalem.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.—See the edition by R. H. Charles (1897), and his article in Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (ed. Charles, 1913) , vol. ii., where full bibliographies are given.