259 affinity between the Book of Elkesai and the sphere of Jewish esotericism. LUTTIKHUIZEN posits that the original Aramaic book was written during the Roman-Parthian war of 114-117 C.E. More than a century later, Syrian Judeo-Christians came across a Greek version of the revelatory book which they used for their religious propaganda in the Christian churches of Rome and Palestine. Some readers may find the author's evaluation of the sources hyper- critical, especially as pertains to the Cologne Codex. The latter contains stories, which though legendary, seem to revolve around a historical per- son Alchasaios, whose followers preserved a number of practices still readily explainable in terms of rabbinic halakha (see I. GRUENWALD in ZPE 50 (1983), 29-45 and my afore-mentioned paper). Yet LUT- TIKHUIZEN's approach has the possible advantage of freeing us from the need to account for the strange ideological transmigrations in the soul of one religious figure called Elkesai. Rather he offers us the alternative, not necessarily less marvelous, of the transmigration of a book from its Jewish origins across multiple communal and confessional boundaries. Habent sua fata libelli? Joseph M. BAUMGARTEN REVIEW OF BOOKS Burton L. MACK, Wisdom and the Hebrew Epic. Ben Sira's
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1986
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