Corrections and Emendations to Flusser’s Judaism of the Second Temple Period

Blog 1 Comment

This blog collects all the mistakes we have noticed in the two-volume translation of Flusser's collection of essays, entitled Judaism of the Second Temple Period. We invite readers to submit any additional corrections they may have noticed.

The image above shows David Flusser at a book signing event held on August 20, 1997. With him are Liz and Chuck Kopp.
Revised: 11-March-2020

The English translation of David Flusser’s two-volume collection of essays, entitled Judaism of the Second Temple Period, and jointly published by Magnes, Eerdmans, and Jerusalem Perspective, presents to the English-speaking world important essays that had formerly been accessible only to speakers of Modern Hebrew.

As with any major undertaking of this kind, several errors were not detected by the editors and proof readers before the final publication. Below we have compiled those mistakes which have attracted our noticed. We welcome readers to submit any further corrections they may have noticed by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

Flusser_Judaism & the 2nd Temple_HC_3 imprint.qxdCorrections to Volume One: Qumran and Apocalypticism

    1. “Foreword” (1:vii).

      A typographical error in the second paragraph should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold lettering):

      Flusser’s contributions to Dead Sea Scrolls research, Apocalypticism, and Apocalyptic Literature is inestimable.

    2. “Foreword” (1:vii).

      An error in the third paragraph should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold lettering):

      Though Flusser wrote less often in the English language, he did succeed in producing two three scholarly volumes in English: with the help of his student R. Steven Notley, he wrote Jesus ( The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius (4th ed., ; Eerdmans, 2007); and with the help of his student Brad H. Young, he collected most many of his English articles into Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988, 725 pp.); and together with Huub van de Sandt, Flusser co-authored The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity (Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum III.5; Assen: Royal Van Gorcum; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002). For popular audiences Flusser’s radio lectures were translated into English and published as The Spiritual History of the Dead Sea Sect (trans. Carol Glucker; Tel Aviv: MOD Books, 1989) and Jewish Sources in Early Christianity (trans. John Glucker; Tel Aviv: MOD Books, 1989).

    3. “Foreword” (1:ix).

      The final sentence of the Foreword should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold lettering):

      Finally, I would like to sincerely thank the members of the Branch family, the donors who made this volume possible (see p. x).

    4. “The ‘Book of the Mysteries’ and the High Holy Days Liturgy” (1:131).

      Footnote 43 refers readers to David Flusser’s Hebrew article “The Reflection of Jewish Messianic Beliefs in Early Christianity” in Messianism and Eschatology (ed. Z. Baras; Jerusalem, 1983 [Hebrew]). It ought to have been mentioned that this article appears in English translation in the second volume of Judaism of the Second Temple Period as “Jewish Messianism Reflected in the Early Church,” 258-288. The discussion pertaining to the “birth pangs of the Messiah” is found on p. 286-287.

    5. “The ‘Book of the Mysteries’ and the High Holy Days Liturgy” (1:132).

      Footnote 44 would have been easier to understand had the words marked in bold letters been present:

      The Hebrew אֶפְעֶה (’ef‘eh, “viper”) appears in Job 20:16 and in Isaiah 30:6 and 59:5, the latter of which describes the birth of injustice: “They hatch an adder’s [צִפְעוֹנִי] eggs…and the crushed egg hatches out a viper [אֶפְעֶה].” Thus the author of the Hodayot had before him a literary connection between a ‘viper’ and an evil that will erupt in the end of days and will come into existence through something akin to a birth process. In 1QHa the Hodayot we read, “For pains will burst forth the viper and emptiness in the rise of their waves” (1QHa 10.27-28); while the hymn concerning the birth pangs of the Messiah states: “she who is pregnant with a viper [אֶפְעֶה] is with a wracking pang” (1QHa 11.12) and “the Gates of Sheol open for all the deeds of the viper [אֶפְעֶה] and the doors of the pit close upon her who is pregnant with perversity and eternal bolts upon all the spirits of the viper [אֶפְעֶה]” (1QHa 11.17-18). John the Baptist—who was close to the Essene circles—may have called sinners “a brood of vipers [יְלִידֵי אֶפְעֶה](or, perhaps, even: “generations of vipers [תוֹלְדוֹת אֶפְעֶה]”), (Matt. 3:7; Lk. 3:7), but he may also have called them ‘adders [צִפְעוֹנִים],’ also following Isaiah 59:5, also cited in CD 5:14.

    6. “The Apocryphal Psalms of David” (1:258-282).

      It is unfortunate that the English title refers to “Psalms” of David, since the Hebrew title of the essay, שירי דוד החיצונים (“The Apocryphal Songs of David”), refers to a work designated as the “Songs of David” by G. W. Lorien and E. van Staalduine-Sulman, “A Song of David for Each Day: The Provenance of the Songs of David,” Revue de Qumran 22 (2005): 33-59. Moreover, in this article Lorien and van Staalduine-Sulman refer to Flusser and Safrai’s article by the title “Songs of David.” Confusion could have been avoided had the title of the essay been translated as “The Apocryphal Songs of David.”

    7. “The Apocryphal Psalms of David” (1:280).

      Two mistaken omissions, one of a key word, the other of a few sentences, seriously affect the meaning of the paragraph which reads (omissions supplied in bold typeface):

      The early Christians opposed this view, arguing that Psalm 16 could not be referring to David since he had died and remained in his grave to this very day. David, moreover, was a prophet and thus it was the resurrection of Jesus that he foretold, as Jesus had not been given up to Sheol, nor his flesh allowed to decompose for he ascended to heaven. David could not have prophesied about himself, for of course David did not ascend to heaven, and yet David said, “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet,’” (Ps. 110:1). This verse is related to Ps. 16:8 which says, “from my right hand I will not be shaken.” The LXX translates this as, “because he is at my right hand,” but of course there is no difference for our interpretation whether the LORD is at his right hand or whether it says, “Sit at my right hand.” Clearly then the words of Psalm 16 were applied to both Jesus and David. We may suppose the same is true for Psalm 110. Similarly we find that Acts (13:33-35) applies Psalm 2:7—“You are my son; today I have begotten you”—to the risen Christ. These same words are used by the sages to refer to the Jewish messiah, and the psalm could quite naturally be interpreted as referring to David, since he was viewed as the author of Psalms and, at least in some circles, as the messiah himself.

    8. “The ‘Flesh-Spirit’ Dualism in the Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament” (1:285).

      A typographical error in the second line results in the phrase “relatively light.” The correct reading is “relatively late.”

    9. “The ‘Flesh-Spirit’ Dualism in the Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament” (1:292).

      A typographical error in the first line should be corrected to “Satan claims ownership on the grounds that he is the ruler of the material world….”

jstpv2Corrections to Volume Two: The Sages and Their Literature

    1. “Foreword” (2:vii).

      An error in the third paragraph should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold lettering):

      Though Flusser wrote less often in the English language, he did succeed in producing two three scholarly volumes in English: with the help of his student R. Steven Notley, he wrote Jesus: The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius (4th ed.; Eerdmans, 2007); and with the help of his student Brad H. Young, he collected most many of his English articles into Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988, 725 pp.); and together with Huub van de Sandt, Flusser co-authored The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity (Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum III.5; Assen: Royal Van Gorcum; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002). For popular audiences Flusser’s radio lectures were translated into English and published as The Spiritual History of the Dead Sea Sect (trans. Carol Glucker; Tel Aviv: MOD Books, 1989) and Jewish Sources in Early Christianity (trans. John Glucker; Tel Aviv: MOD Books, 1989).

    2. “Judaism in the Second Temple Period” (2:6-43).

      An English version of this article had already appeared as “The Jewish Religion in the Second Temple Period,” in The World History of the Jewish People; First Series: Ancient Times; Volume Eight: Society and Religion in the Second Temple Period (ed. Michael Avi-Yonah and Zvi Baras; Jerusalem: Masada Publishing; London: W.H. Allen, 1977), 3-40, 322-324. This previous English version, which was approved by Flusser, is not acknowledged in the present volume.

    3. “Jerusalem in Second Temple Literature” (2:59 n. 31).

      A sentence should be added at the end of the footnote that reads:

      This article now appears in English as, David Flusser, “Sanctus and Gloria,” at https://wholestones.org/sanctus-and-gloria/.

    4. “Jerusalem in Second Temple Literature” (2:65).

      A sentence in the final paragraph should be amended as follows (corrections marked in bold):

      Even after the Romans conquered the Antonia, the fortress, which Herod had built to the north of Jerusalem the Temple, and the daily sacrifices were halted, Yohanan of Gush Halav (John of Gischala) cried out to Josephus not to fear conquest since Jerusalem is God’s city (BJ 6.98).

    5. “Jerusalem in Second Temple Literature” (2:71).

      The sentence should read as follows (corrections marked in bold):

      …razing of the temple, which so clearly contravened contradicted it.

    6. “Jerusalem in Second Temple Literature” (2:71 n. 54).

      A sentence should be added at the end of the footnote that reads:

      See now, David Flusser, “Hystaspes and John of Patmos,” in his Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1988), 390-453.

    7. “Jerusalem in Second Temple Literature” (2:72-73).

      The paragraph beginning on p. 72 should be corrected as follows:

      Elsewhere, I have shown that the Lukan version of the prophecy is reworked in Mark, and Matthew tends to follow this revised version. This is significant because it indicates that Luke’s is the more primitive version and thus a more reliable witness to Jesus’ original prophecy of destruction, which, in turn, increases the probability that Luke has preserved a prophecy of destruction delivered by Jesus himself, who was not the only person of his day to foresee the destruction of the Temple. Here, then, is another argument for a pre-70 dating of the prophecy. Moreover, the prophecy accords with what we know of Jesus’ political worldview. Even a cursory examination of his teachings reveals that, to the extent that he was an apocalyptic prophet, he opposed the zealous visionaries who fanned the flames of anti-Roman rebellion. We saw that the rebels hoped that Jerusalem—or at least the temple—would not fall, whereas Jesus urged his disciples to flee: “So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; someone on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days!” (Matt 24:15-19), When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days!” (Luke 21:20-23). adding And here Matthew adds “Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath!” (Matt 24:20). This defeatist advice was undoubtedly unpopular among the zealot rebels. And indeed, the Christian community left Jerusalem before the war, following a prophetic revelation.

    8. “Jerusalem in Second Temple Literature” (2:72 n. 59).

      The article referred to in the footnote, Flusser, “A New Testament Prophecy Concerning the Liberation of Jerusalem,” Eretz Israel 10 (1971), 226-236, has since appeared in English translation on JerusalemPerspective.com as, David Flusser, “The Times of the Gentiles and the Redemption of Jerusalem” at https://www.jerusalemperspective.com/11517/.

    9. “The Image of the Masada Martyrs in Their Own Eyes and in the Eyes of Their Contemporaries” (2:80).

      In the top paragraph just prior to footnote 17, the sentence ought to be emended as follows:

      Hillel and Shammai convinced the people to accept Herod as legitimate king, but since on account of their sins they could not be saved from him.

      This change is necessary because on the same page Flusser remarks:

      It appears that the refusal of the Houses of Hillel and Shammai was rooted in the conviction that his [i.e., Herod’s] reign was illegitimate.

    10. “The Image of the Masada Martyrs” (2:82).

      The sentence after footnote 26 ought to read:

      Second, it appears that both the sages and the zealots linked the concept of liberty with “the kingdom of heaven,” and this phrase likely played an important role in the zealot ideology.

    11. “The Image of the Masada Martyrs” (2:94).

      The sentence following footnote 72 should be corrected as follows:

      Up to that point, the Jews both within Israel and without were subjugated by foreign nations, the land was oppressed by the Romans Greeks, the priesthood was illegitimate, and the temple was desecrated.

      The cause of this mistake is that in the Hebrew version of the essay Flusser wrote “the wicked kingdom,” which in Rabbinic literature usually refers to the Roman empire, but “the wicked kingdom” was also used to describe the Hellenistic kingdoms that ruled Israel after the conquest of Alexander the Great.

    12. “‘What Is Hanukkah?’: The Historical Setting of the Hasmonean Temple Dedication” (2:131).

      We find the same mistake caused by misunderstanding “the wicked kingdom,” in the sentence that should read:

      Up to that time, the Jewish People in Israel and abroad were under foreign rule, and the land of Israel part of the wicked Roman Greek Empire.

    13. “‘But Who Can Detect Their Errors?’ (Ps 19:13): On Some Biblical Readings in the Second Temple Period” (2:167).

      A typographical error between footnotes 17 and 18 should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold lettering):

      It is unlikely that the word was due to the influence of the Gospel version,17 since the rest of the verse shows not such influence.18

    14. “‘But Who Can Detect Their Errors?’ (Ps 19:13): On Some Biblical Readings in the Second Temple Period” (2:167 n. 19).

      The footnote should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold lettering):

      See I. Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History, trans. Raymond P. Scheindlin (New York and Philadelphia, 1993), 51.

    15. “The Decalogue and the New Testament” (2:172-190).

      An English version of this article had already appeared as “The Ten Commandments and the New Testament,” in The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition (ed. Ben-Zion Segal; English version ed. Gershon Levi; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1990), 219-246. This previous English version, which was approved by Flusser, is not acknowledged in the present volume.

    16. “‘Who Sanctified Our Beloved from the Womb’” (2:191-198).

      An English version of this article had already appeared as “Who Sanctified the Beloved in the Womb,” Immanuel 11 (1980), 46-55. This previous English version, which was approved by Flusser, is not acknowledged in the present volume.

    17. “‘Which is the Straight Way That a Man Should Choose for Himself?’ (m. Avot 2.1)” (2:232).

      A footnote ought to be added to the first sentence clarifying that the article by Shmuel Safrai to which Flusser refers was entitled מובנו של המונח דרך ארץ (“The Meaning of the Expression “Derech Eretz”), which appeared in the journal Tarbiz 60.2 (1991): 147-162. Flusser’s essay originally appeared in the same journal immediately following Safrai’s article.

    18. “‘Which is the Straight Way That a Man Should Choose?’” (2:245).

      Following footnote 48 there is a sentence that reads:

      Reflect before the word issues from your mouth. Consider your actions in accordance with good manners (derekh ’eretz). Set a reward for every step you take. Submit to divine judgment and refrain from grumbling.

      “Good manners” is problematic here because it is precisely this narrow definition of derekh eretz which Flusser claims does not fit in the passage. A better strategy would have been to have simply left derekh eretz untranslated.

    19. “Martyrology in the Second Temple Period and Early Christianity” (2:252).

      The omission of an entire sentence renders Flusser’s argument nonsensical. The translation should read (with omitted sentence in bold typeface):

      The idea of purification through suffering also appears in the New Testament, e.g., in 1 Peter: “In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold, that though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor” (1:6-7). The early Christians also believed, therefore, that the righteous are purified by means of trials and persecutions, similar to the purification of gold and silver. However the idea that the suffering of the righteous is like purification appears, of course, much earlier, for instance in the Jewish book The Wisdom of Solomon 3:5-6. There the suffering of the righteous is discussed: “Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them,” (RSV). To be sure, this passage refers only to the suffering of the righteous, not their death, and the suffering in question is not even said to be the result of persecution. Nonetheless, the passage is important both for its reference to being tested by fire, like gold, and for the alluded-to idea that the righteous are accepted by God as a well-being offering (shalem). Here lies the nexus between the notions of sacrifice and the suffering and death of the righteous.

    20. “Martyrology in the Second Temple Period and Early Christianity” (2:254).

      The two terms printed in bold lettering should be added to the translation:

      This is the central theme of a short work composed toward the end of the Second Temple period or perhaps shortly after 70 C.E. and preserved in Greek, The Lives of the Prophets.

    21. “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion Toiling as a Porter?’” (2:332).

      An accidental omission caused footnote 6 to read simply “Luke 12:32.” The footnote should be restored as:

      In the place of this sentence (Mt. 6:34) a different saying is found in Luke 12:32.

    22. “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion Toiling as a Porter?’” (2:333).

      In the middle of the second paragraph, Rabbi Eleazar’s saying should be corrected as follows:

      Whoever has what something to eat today, but says ‘What will I eat tomorrow?’—he is without faith.


  • JP Staff Writer

    JP Staff Writer

    Articles that are designated as authored by “JP Staff Writer” were written by Jerusalem Perspective’s editorial staff.
    [Read more about author]

  • Online Hebrew Course

    Want to learn Hebrew? Check out our online Hebrew course Aleph-Bet: Hebrew Reading and Writing for Christians in 17 Easy Lessons.

  • JP Content