By Alan F. Segal
During this learn of the rabbinic heretics who believed in "Two powers in heaven", Alan Segal explores a few relationships among rabbinic Judaism, Merkabah mysticism, and early Christianity. "Two powers in heaven" was once a truly early classification of heresy. It used to be one of many uncomplicated different types through which the rabbis perceived the recent phenomenon of Christianity and one of many imperative matters over which Judaism and Christianity separated. Segal reconstructs the improvement of the heresy via relationship of the phases of the rabbinic traditions. the elemental heresy concerned analyzing scripture to claim significant angelic or hypostatic manifestation in heaven was once resembling God. The earliest heretics believed in complementary powers in heaven, whereas later heretics believed in opposing powers in heaven. Segal stresses the significance of perceiving the relevance of rabbinic fabric for fixing conventional difficulties of recent testomony and gnostic scholarship, and even as keeps the need of studying these literatures for courting rabbinic fabric.
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Additional resources for Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports About Christianity and Gnosticism
49 See the recent comprehensive article on extra-rabbinic dualism by John G. Gammie "Spatial and Ethical Dualism in Jewish Wisdom and Apocalyptic Literature," JBL, 93 ( 1 9 7 4 ) , 356-385. βΘ Otzen, "Die neugefundene hebräischen Sektenschriften," ST, 7 ( 1 9 5 3 ) , 135 f. For more possible "Two natures" arguments see Apoc. , 21:13 ff. See also Hermetic Writings I 18, 21. IX, 5. This same legend also occurs in pagan writing. , Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta (Stuttgart: 1958) I, 216; III, 658. Diogenes Laertes, ed.
T W O POWERS IN HEAVEN 7 to Samaritan, Sadducee, gnostic, Judeo-Christian, and many others. 7 This contributes to much of the confusion in identifying heretical groups and makes the careful determination of the place and date of the rabbinic traditions all the more important. Furthermore, in order to identify the various sectarian groups, one must also identify the heretical doctrine espoused by those groups and find evidence that the doctrine can be clearly associated with an historical group at the time the rabbinic tradition arose.
We have few clear references to Christianity in the talmuds and midrash. Presumably this is partly due to censoring of texts by medieval Church authorities. Most references to Jesus are late, such as: "On the eve of Passover they hanged Jesus and a herald went out before him for 40 days. " 5 9 However the charge that Jesus was a magician was early: Justin 6 0 refers to it. The New Testament implies it. " 6 1 Most of what can be said of Christianity as a candidate for "two 158 N . A. Dahl, "The Johannine Church and History" in W .
Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports About Christianity and Gnosticism by Alan F. Segal