James 4:5 -- A Quote From a Lost Apocryphal Scripture

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  • Leolaia

    In defense of its fundamentalist approach to the Bible and especially its belief that the Bible is the Word of God and inerrent, the WTS frequently quotes from 2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness". We must've heard this scripture thousands of times as Witnesses. But what exactly does it mean? The Society assumes that it refers to our 66-book Bible as being entirely inspired by God. But no such book existed in those days. The 66-book Bible as a compilation only dates back to the Reformation. The Bible used for centuries by the Catholic Church has 73 books, including the deuterocanonicals customarily called the Apocrypha (which includes such books as 1, 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, etc.). The Nestorian Church of Syria has for centuries rejected several NT books accepted by Catholics and Protestants, such as 2 Peter, Jude, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. The Bible used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has 81 books -- including pseudepigraphal works like 1 Enoch and Jubilees. The "Bible" used by the Essene Jews who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls similarly included 1 Enoch and Jubilees and also likely incorporated a large body of sectarian literature such as the Manuel of Discipline, the War Scroll, and the Thanksgiving Hymns. At the other extreme, the "Bible" used by the Samaritans included only 5 books -- the Pentateuch of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. So it is not so immediately obvious which "Bible" the author of 2 Timothy had in mind!

    The problem is that it wasn't until the second century that the books of the Bible were assembled together into one volume as a codex. Before this they existed independently on separate scrolls and thus could vary in terms of order and what was to be included. The Pharisee canon was pretty much fixed by the rabbis by the end of the second century BC (although Esther wasn't fully accepted until the second century AD) and the Tanakh was roughly equivalent to the modern OT canon. The Essenes, as mentioned above, had a much broader concept of canon and included several books that the Pharisees rejected as scripture. The Septuagint used by Greek-speaking Jews also came to include the Apocrypha by the second century AD (and most likely by the first century), and this was the translation used in 2 Timothy (cf. 2 Timothy 2:19 quotes from Isaiah 26:13 [LXX], and 2 Timothy 4:14 alludes to Psalm 62:12 [LXX]) and the rest of the NT. The earliest known codices of the OT include the Apocrypha. It is also possible that the author considered other Jewish pseudepigraphal works as "Scripture". For instance, just a few verses before 2 Timothy 3:16, the author alludes to "Jannes and Jambres who defied Moses" (v. 8). These individuals appear nowhere in the OT but the Book of Jannes and Jambres describing just the sort of thing alluded to in 2 Timothy 3:8 circulated in the first century AD. Elsewhere in the NT we find clearer evidence of extracanonical influence. Jude 14-15 quotes directly from 1 Enoch 1:9, 5:4, and 27:2, and the book as a whole also alludes to 1 Enoch and the Assumption of Moses numerous times. Moreover, James H. Charlesworth points out by using the verb eprophéteusen "prophesied," the author of Jude regarded his Enochian source as divinely inspired. Unlike the rabbinical "closed canon" of the Tanakh, the author had to have had an open canon (like the Essenes) which included books from the OT Pseudepigrapha.

    And then there are several quotations in the NT and apostolic fathers of "scriptures" that don't correspond to anything in the OT. They may resemble individual OT texts in certain words or phrases from multiple sources (which is expected in the case of pseudepigrapha that depend on OT passages) but as a whole these are extrabiblical formulations that are quoted by Christian writers as "scripture". Most likely these refer to apocryphal scriptures now lost:

    "As the Scripture (graphé) says, 'From his breast shall flow fountains of living water' " (John 7:38; compare Psalm 78:15-16; Isaiah 58:11; Zechariah 14:8).
    "We teach what Scripture calls: 'The things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him' " (1 Corinthians 2:9; compare Isaiah 64:3, Jeremiah 3:16).
    "Surely you don't think Scripture is wrong when it says: 'He yearns jealously after the spirit which he caused to live in us'? " (James 4:5).
    "And again he [Moses] says, 'I am but smoke from a pot.' (1 Clement 17:6; cf. Hosea 13:3; Psalm 119:83).

    The Scripture cited in John 7:38 cannot be satisfactorily derived from any OT parallels and nothing spoken by Moses in the OT resembles what is said in 1 Clement 17:6. According to Origen (Commentary on Matthew, 27.9), the "Scripture" quoted in 1 Corinthians 2:9 was not Isaiah but an Apocalypse of Elijah and he also attributed the hymn in Ephesians 5:14 to that book as well. Jerome (Epp. 57:9; Commentary on Isaiah, 17) likewise noted that the obscure text quoted in 1 Corinthians was found in both the Apocalypse of Elijah and the Ascension of Isaiah (cf. Ascension of Isaiah 11:34), while Epiphanius (Adversus Haereses, 42) claimed that the quotation in Ephesians was "in Elijah".

    As for James 4:5, I intend to show that it also came from an ancient Jewish pseudepigraphon. Most likely, the source was the lost Book of Eldad and Modad which was quoted verbatim in the Shepherd of Hermas (second century AD) and likely quoted as well in 1 Clement and 2 Clement. The evidence for this is quite technical, but if you enjoy a good mystery and detective work, I will show how the clues found within the text of these early Christian works reveal the likely origin of these quotations from non-biblical "Scripture".


    First of all, we need to look at the broader context in which the quotation in James 4:5 occurs. This will provide several valuable clues of the origin of this quote:

    "Do you suppose it is in vain that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously (pros phthonon epipothei) after the spirit which he has made to dwell within us (to pneuma ho katókisen en hémin)?' But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (engisate tó theó kai engisei humin). Cleanse (katharisate) your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts (hagnisate kardias), you double-minded (dipsukhoi). Be wretched (talaipórésate) and mourn and weep" (James 4:5-9).

    There are several threads in this passage that link it with apocryphal quotations in 1 Clement, 2 Clement, and Hermas. For those of you unfamiliar with the apostolic fathers, 1 Clement is generally dated to around AD 95 and 2 Clement and Hermas are both placed in the middle of the second century AD. I would like to first draw attention to the word dipsukhos "double-minded". It also occurs in James 1:8: "He is a double-minded man (anér dipsukhos), unstable in his ways". This word is extremely rare in Greek. Its earliest known attestation, in fact, was in the epistle of James; and thus some in the past have regarded it as a neologism by the author of James. It is not found at all in classical or secular Greek and neither in Jewish writings such as Philo, Josephus, the Septuagint, and so forth. It is also infrequent in early Christian writings and an article by Dr. Stanley Porter shows that nearly all Christian uses of the term are through allusion to James. However, there exists a layer of early Christian writings in the apostolic fathers which use the term independent of James and some appear to have borrowed it through citation of an apocryphal writing. Since the term is so idiosyncratic and rare, the best explanation seems to be that all borrowed the term through use of a Jewish source that invented the term. Both 1 Clement and 2 Clement use the term by quoting from such an apocryphal source:

    1 Clement 23:1-5: "The Father, who is merciful in all things, and ready to do good, has compassion on those who fear him, and gently and lovingly bestows his favors on those who draw near to him (proserkhomenois autó) with singleness of mind. Therefore, let us not be double-minded (dipsukhómen), nor let our soul indulge in false ideas about his excellent and glorious gifts. Let this Scripture (graphé) be far from us where he says, 'Wretched (talaipóroi) are the double-minded (dipsukhoi), those who doubt in their mind and say, "We heard these things even in the days of our fathers (paterón hemón), and look, we have grown old, and none of these things have happened to us." You fools, compare yourselves to a tree, or take a vine: first it sheds its leaves, then a shoot comes, then a leaf, then a flower, and after these a sour grape, and then a full ripe bunch.' Truly his purpose will be accomplished quickly and suddenly, just as the Scripture testifies".
    2 Clement 11:1-5: "Let us therefore serve God with a pure heart (kathara kardia), and we will be righteous. But if we do not serve him because we do not believe God's promise, we will be wretched (talaipóroi). For the prophetic word (prophétikos logos) says: 'Wretched (talaipóroi) are the double-minded (dipsukhoi), those who doubt in their heart (kardia) and say, "We heard all these things even in the days of our fathers (paterón hemón), and though we have waited day after day we have seen none of them." Fools! Compare yourselves to a tree, or take a vine: first it sheds its leaves, then a shoot comes, and after these a sour grape, and then a full ripe bunch. So also my people have had turmoil and tribulation (thlipseis), but afterward they will receive good things.' So, my brothers, let us not be double-minded, but patiently endure in hope, that we have also receive the reward".

    Here both writings independently quote a passage from a lost apocryphal book which I have marked in red italics. The differences in wording between the two versions show that 2 Clement did not derive the passage from 1 Clement, and the former in fact introduced the passage as being derived from the "prophetic word". This expression indicates that source was eschatological or apocalyptic in nature and that the author of 2 Clement believed that it was divinely inspired. 1 Clement similarly cited the unknown source as "Scripture". The apocalyptic nature of the text is also indicated by the reference to cognitive dissonance of unfulfilled expectations and the reference to "tribulation" (thlipseis) which is specifically an apocalyptic term (cf. Daniel, the Markan Apocalypse, Didache, Revelation).

    Now this passage has intriguing links to the epistle of James. First of all, it uses the idiosyncratic term dipsukhos which confirms that the term existed in a non-canonical pre-Christian writing. Second, it pairs dipsukhos with the adjective talaiporoi "wretched" -- exactly what we find in James 4:8-9. Oscar Seitz has written extensively on this matter and he points out that the specific term talaipóros "wretched" is not entailed by dipsukhos; it is not likely that two writers would necessarily use the same adjective (out of many possible candidates) in one of the only occurences of dipsukhos in the literature. This suggests that the author of James drew on a source that had already linked the two words. Aside from the characteristic linkage between dipsukhos and talaipóros, the introductory material preceding the quotes also parallel content in James. 1 Clement 23:1-5 says that God "bestows his favor on those who draw near to him (proserkhomenois autó)," and James 4:8 similarly admonishes Christians to "draw near to God and he will draw near to you (engisate tó theó kai engisei humin)." The thought is very close but the different choice of words indicates that 1 Clement was not alluding directly to James. 2 Clement 11:1 also contrasts the double-minded with those who serve God "with a pure heart" (kathara kardia), while James 4:8 admonishes the double-minded to "clense" (katharisate) their hands and "purify" their hearts (hagnisate kardias). Is it a coincidence that the introductory material in both citations of the quote parallel the wording or thought of James 4:8?

    The thought and rhetorical flow of the apocryphal text quoted in 1 and 2 Clement is also preserved in a very similar passage in James 5:7-8:

    "Now be patient, brothers, until the Lord's coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord's coming is soon" (James 5:7-8).
    "Wretched are the double-minded, those who doubt in their mind and say, 'We heard these things even in the days of our fathers, and look, we have grown old, and none of these things have happened to us.' You fools, compare yourselves to a tree, or take a vine: first it sheds its leaves, then a shoot comes, then a leaf, then a flower, and after these a sour grape, and then a full ripe bunch" (1 Clement 23:3-4).

    There is very little verbal resemblence between the two passages but the thought and purpose is identical: they are exhortations for Christians not to lose hope and remain patient for the expected eschatological realities. They are also very similar in content. After an introductory portion which addresses the problem of cognitive dissonance, the writer next asks the reader with an imperative verb to think of an agricultural example and then proceeds to describe the slow growth cycle of fruit. It is thus quite striking that James should: (1) Use the extremely rare word dipsukhos, (2) link dipsukhos with talaipóros, (3) provide an eschatological exhortation that closely parallels the Clementine citations, (4) discuss "drawing near" to God and "purifying hearts" in the same context. Moreover, James is not the only text in the NT that parallels the apocryphal citations in 1 and 2 Clement. The words quoted of the doubters in the Clementine quotes also resemble a similar saying quoted by 2 Peter:

    "I give you a reminder, recalling to you what was said in the past by the holy prophets and the commandments of the Lord and Savior as given by the apostles. We must be careful to remember that during the last days there are bound to be people who will be scornful, the kind who always please themselves what they do, and they will make fun of the promise, and ask, 'Where is this promised coming of his? From the day our fathers (hoi pateres) fell asleep, everything continues as it has since creation.' " (2 Peter 3:2-4).
    "We heard these things even in the days of our fathers (paterón hemón), and look, we have grown old, and none of these things have happened to us" (1 Clement 23:3).

    The wording is different, again, except for the reference to "fathers" and the temporal emphasis placed on the "fathers" as indicating the length of time that has transpired with unfulfilled prophecy. The author of 2 Peter does not give a source for this quote, though the allusion to the "holy prophets" in v. 2 raises the possibility that he has in mind a warning in one of the earlier prophets analogous to the "prophetic word" cited by 2 Clement.

    The connection between James and the unknown apocryphon quoted in 1 Clement is strengthened further when we consider other unknown citations in 1 Clement and consider them as likely from the same source as 1 Clement 23:3-4. The first is 1 Clement 17:6, already mentioned above, which the author interestingly attributed to Moses: "I am (ego eimi) but smoke (atmis) from a pot". This passage is found nowhere in the OT, much less in the Pentateuch of Moses, but curiously its closest parallel is to be found in James: "You are a mist (atmis este) that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (4:13). Not only is this text verbally similar to the unknown Moses saying in 1 Clement (involving the same noun atmis and the verb "to be"), it is also located very close to the unknown saying in v. 5 and the material in v. 6-9 that resembles the material in the apocryphal quote in 1 Clement 23. Clement's attribution of the quote to Moses is another important clue we shall consider later. 1 Clement also has one other quotation of Scripture which does not correspond to anything in the OT: "For it is written: 'Follow the holy ones, for those who follow them will be sanctified' " (46:2). Although this quote is not paralleled in James, it is paralleled in another important writing that has links to both 1 Clement and James -- the Shepherd of Hermas.

    Hermas plays a crucial part to this investigation because he offers the key that unravels the puzzle. In one passage, he mentions by name the book that he cites:

    "You, therefore, who work righteousness must be steadfast, and do not be double-minded (dipsukhéséte), in order that you may gain entrance with the holy angels. Blessed (makarioi) are those of you who patiently (hupomenete) endure the coming great tribulation (thlipsin) and who will not deny their life. For the Lord has sworn by his Son that those who have denied their Lord have been rejected from their life, that is, those who now are about to deny him in the coming days...But the fact that you have not fallen away from the living God, and your sincerity and great self-control, saves you. These things have saved you, if you remain steadfast....Blessed are all those who practice righteousness; they will never be destroyed. But say to Maximus [the heretic]: 'Behold, tribulation (thlipsis) is coming; if it seems good to you, deny again.' 'The Lord is near to those who turn to him (engus kurios tois epistrephomenois),' as it is written in the book of Eldad and Modad, who prophesied (prophéteusasin) in the wilderness" (Hermas, Vis. 2.2.7-8, 2.3.2-3).

    The quotation from the Book of Eldad and Modad closely resembles the statement in James 4:8, incorporating the same verb engus: "Draw near (engisate) to God and he will draw near (engisei) to you". This statement is just three verses away from the unknown "Scripture" quoted in v. 5. 1 Clement 23:1, which precedes the eschatological quote from an unknown apocryphon, has a similar statement which substitues a different verb but contains the same grammatical construction: "The Father ... lovingly bestows his favors on those who draw near to him (tois proserkhomenois autó). All this is too incredible to be a simple coincidence. James quotes an unknown "Scripture" and in close proximity to it he mentions the saying about "drawing near to God". 1 Clement quotes an unknown "Scripture" and in close proximity he mentions the saying about "drawing near to the Father". Hermas quotes an apocryphal Scripture which itself talks about "drawing near to the Lord". Note also that Hermas says: "Blessed (makarioi) are those of you who patiently (hupomenete) endure the coming (erkhoménen) great tribulation (thlipsin) and who will not deny their life". Where James gave the agricultural illustration that parallels the apocryphon quoted in 1 and 2 Clement, he also similarly wrote:

    "Be patient (makrothumesate), brothers, until the Lord's coming (parousia tou kuriou) has drawn near (engiken) ... We consider blessed (makarizomen) those who have persevered (hupomeinantas)" (James 5:7, 11).

    Again, another coincidence in wording! What is more, the use of thlipsis "tribulation" in Hermas occurs in James 1:27 and in the passage quoted above from 2 Clement 11. The theme of the Hermas text is also the same as that in 1 Clement 27, 2 Clement 11, James 5, and 2 Peter 3: it addresses doubters who have lost their "patience" and no longer believe in the future coming of the Lord. And last but not least, the text also has a verbal form of dipsukhos "double-minded" occurs in James and in the apocryphal quote in the Clementine epistles, and which occurs just verses away from the quotation from Eldad and Modad in Hermas. Dipsukhos (and its related verb and noun) was an especially favorite term for Hermas; he used these terms 55 times in his work! This is clear evidence that he was heavily influenced by the source that furnished him with the terminology.

    There are other passages in Hermas that strongly resemble the orphan "Scriptures" cited in the Clementines and James. The association between dipsukhos with talaipóros occurs in the following text:

    "The one who prepares these things for this city, therefore, does not plan to return to his own city. Foolish and double-minded (dipsukhe) and wretched (talaipore) man, don't you realize that all these things are foreign to you?" (Hermas, Sim. 1.1.2-3).

    The linkage between these two words is thus another thread that runs through Hermas, James, and the apocryphal book quoted in 1 and 2 Clement. In another reference to the "double-minded," Hermas mentions "purifying" one's heart: "Those who have doubt toward God, these are the double-minded (dipsukhoi)...Therefore purify your heart (katharison tén kardian) from double-mindedness (dipsukhias) and put on faith" (Mand. 9.5, 7). This is yet another thread running through all three (cf. James 4:8-9; 2 Clement 11:1). Seitz, in his first article on the subject in JBL, summarized the linguistic similarities between Hermas, Mand. 9 and James:

    "A comparison of the contexts of dipsukhos in both Ch. 1 and Ch. IV of James reveals a number of characteristic words and phrases which are repeated in almost exactly the same order, and these words and phrases, together with others in Ch. 1, but not in IV, are all echoed by Hermas in Mandate IX. E.g., aitein, meaning 'to pray,' labein i.e. in answer to prayer, and ho theos as the subject of didonai, all preceed dipsukhos in both Ch. 1 and IV of James, and these together with the phrases aiten para tou theou and ti para tou labein, as well as the combination aner dipsukhos as in Jas. I, all appear in Mand. IX" (pp. 139-140).

    While some of these could be dismissed as reflecting common moral concepts, it is not very likely that the rare term dipsukhos could be construed in the same manner. Some threads also run between 1 Clement and Hermas. As mentioned above, 1 Clement 46:2 quotes another unknown scripture which cannot be traced to the OT. This text verbally resembles statements in Hermas:

    1 Clement 46:2: "For it is written: 'Follow (kollasthe) the holy ones (tois hagiois), for those who follow them will be sanctified (hagiasthésontai)' ".

    Hermas, Vis. 3.6.2: "The ones that are damaged who have known the truth but did not abide in it, nor do they follow the holy ones (kollomenoi tois hagiois)" (cf. Sim 8.8.1, Sim 9.20.2).

    Finally, we come to the central text of this essay: the unknown "Scripture" quoted in James 4:5. As it turns out, this too parallels the wording found in passages in Hermas:

    James 4:5: "He yearns jealously after the spirit (to pneuma) which he has caused to dwell (ho katókisen) within us (en hémin)".

    Hermas, Mand. 3.1: "Love truth, and allow only truth to come from your mouth, so that the spirit (to pneuma), which God caused to dwell (ho ho theos katókisen) in this flesh (en té sarki tauté), may prove to be true in the sight of all men".

    Hermas, Mand. 10.2.4-5: "Both are a cause for grief for the Holy Spirit, double-mindedness (dipsukhia) and an angry temper. Rid yourself, therefore, of grief and do not oppress the Holy Spirit (to pneuma to hagion) that dwells in you (en soi katoikoun)".

    This adds the unknown "Scripture" to the network of texts in James, the Clementines, and Hermas which link together in a fabric of intertextuality. Taken together, the evidence discussed in this section shows that the evidence for intertextuality in James is confined to two short passages (namely, 4:4-10 and 5:7-11; 1:8 could possibly be added as well) which incorporate a citation of an unknown (apocryphal) text and which lexically and thematically connect to apocryphal texts cited in 1 and 2 Clement and Hermas. Since Hermas names his source as the Book of Eldad and Modad, this lost work may well be the common source cited in James and the Clementines. Although this is only a conjecture, it is the simplest and most adequate explanation (cf. Occam's Razor). The theory that Hermas is simply dependent on James, for instance, fails to explain the parrallels with the apocryphal passages cited in the Clementines and fails to take into account the fact that both Hermas and 1 and 2 Clement use a lost apocryphal work.

    The next section will look into what is known about Eldad and Modad in more detail and examine further evidence in James which confirms the identification of the passage in James 4:5 as a quotation from the lost pseudepigraphon.


    This is an interesting conclusion, since only four words of this lost book are extant! The coincidences in wording and evidence of intertextuality between Hermas and James and the citations in the Clementines however render this theory as the best explanation possible for the evidence. It is possible, for instance, that Hermas used two lost apocryphal works, but this explanation requires the existence of another unknown work and ignores the close proximity of the intertextual parallels with the citation from Eldad and Modad -- as well as the fact that the quotation itself is a common thread that runs through James and 1 Clement. Clearly, this is the simplest and most logical explanation and has been held by Spitta, Lightfoot, Seitz, and others as a working theory. The lack of definite proof however require caution in accepting it as fact which Porter, Martin, and Marshall observe.

    There is however further evidence that supports this identification. First of all, there is an eschatological -- if not apocalyptic -- theme that runs through the passages of James 5:7-11, 1 Clement 27, 2 Clement 11, and Hermas, Vis. 2.2-3. 2 Clement cites the unknown work as the "prophetic word" and Hermas, Vis 2.3 refers to Eldad and Modad as faithful men who "prophesied in the wilderness". The reference is clearly to the episode involving the prophets Eldad and Modad in Numbers 11:24-30 (LXX):

    "So Moses went out and spoke the words of the Lord to the people. He brought together seventy elders of the people and had them stand around the Tabernacle. Then the Lord came down (katebé kurios) in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them (epanepausato to pneuma ep' autous), they prophesied (eprophéteusan), but they did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Modad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tabernacle. Yet the Spirit also rested on them (epanepausato ep' autous to pneuma), and they prophesied (eprophéteusan) in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, 'Eldad and Modad are prophesying in the camp.' Joshua son of Nun, who was Moses' attendant, the chosen one, spoke up and said, 'Moses, my lord, stop them!' But Moses replied, 'Are you jealous (zélois) on my account? I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them (dó kurios to pneuma autou ep' autous)!' Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp" (Numbers 11:24-30; LXX).

    This passage explains the fact that Eldad and Modad were prophets, but note also several intriguing links with the unknown Scripture cited in James 4:5. James, which is otherwise dependent on the LXX, is clearly not quoting the wording here but the concept is very similar to the text in question: "He yearns jealously (phthonon) after the spirit (to pneuma) which he has caused to dwell (ho katókisen) within us (en hémin)". Four elements in the quotation are present in the passage: (1) jealousy towards others having the Spirit, (2) a reference to the Spirit (to pneuma in both), (3) a reference to God putting the Spirit on people or causing it to dwell in people, and (4) the final prepositional phrase "on them" or "in them", referring to the personal experience of the Spirit. This is the only place in the OT where "jealousy" is mentioned with reference to another person's experience of the Spirit and, coincidence of coincidences, it occurs right in a passage about Eldad and Modad, the very prophets mentioned by name by Hermas. All the dots seem to connect together into a coherent picture. James clearly is not dependent on the LXX wording of Numbers 11, for he uses a different word for jealousy, a different word for God's sending of the Spirit to Eldad and Modad, and a different prepositional phrase for indicating the experience of indwelling "on them" or "in them". This difference in wording is perfectly understandable if James was quoting a Greek translation of Eldad and Modad which itself was originally written in Semitic and had utilized a Hebrew or Aramaic version of Numbers and not the Greek text. This would have been entirely natural since pseudepigraphal works were commonly composed in Hebrew or Aramaic, as is the case with 1 Enoch, Jubilees, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and so forth.

    The context in Numbers also accounts for the unusual word dipsukhos "double-minded" in James, the Clementines, and Hermas. Seitz argues persuasively that this term derives from the Hebrew idiom blb wlb "with double heart". This expression occurs in 1 Chronicles 12:33, Psalm 12:2, and other texts, and can be found also in the Dead Sea Scrolls: "The thought of your heart shall stand firm forever, but they are dissemblers, they devise plans of wickedness, and they seek you with a double heart (drs blb wlb), and do not stand firm in the truth (1QH 4:14). It is possible that this term became popular with the Essenes because of its implications for dualism. The precise opposite of this expression is seeking God with all one's heart, or whole-heartedly (drs bklb). This is the ideal in Psalms 119:2, 10, 2 Chronicles 22:9, and Jeremiah 24:7, 29:8-13, and it is given by Moses as the supreme commandment in the Shema: "You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5). This brings us back to the wilderness traditions and Eldad and Modad. In Numbers, after Eldad and Modad had prophesied, the Israelites rebel against Yahweh (ch. 14). Yahweh tells Moses after the rebellion:

    "Not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times, not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit in him (egenethe pneuma heteron en autó) and follows me completely (epékolouthésen), I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it" (Numbers 14:22-24; LXX).

    Like Eldad and Modad, Caleb has in him the "spirit" which sets him apart from the others and the Israelites who did not follow Yahweh with all their heart were denied from entering into the Promised Land: "Why discourage you the heart of the children of Israel ('t-lb bny-ysr'l) from going over into the land which Yahweh has given them" (Numbers 32:7). Caleb and Eldad and Modad however served God whole-heartedly and received his Spirit. What is interesting is that the expression "whole-hearted" (holés tes kardias), which occurs in the LXX of Deuteronomy 6:5, Jeremiah 24:7, and so forth, occurs in Hermas with the expressions "double-minded" and "purifying the heart":

    "Rid yourself of double-mindedness (dipsukhian), and do not be at all double-minded (dipsukhésés) about asking God for something, saying to yourself, for example, 'How can I ask for something from God and receive it, when I have sinned so often against him?' Do not reason this way, but turn to the Lord (epistrepson epi ton kurion) with all your heart (holés tés kardias) and ask of him unheasitatingly.... Do therefore purify your heart (katharison sou tén kardian) of all the vanities of this life ... but if you hestitate in your heart (en té kardia sou), you will certainly not receive any of your requests. For those who hesitate in their relation to God are the double-minded (dipsukhoi) and they never obtain any of their requests....So purify your heart (katharison oun tén kardian) of double-mindedness (dipsukhias) and put on faith" (Hermas, Mand. 9.1-7).

    What is more, the expression "all your heart" occurs in the context of "turning to the Lord" (epistrepson epi ton kurion), and this latter phrase repeats the quotation from Eldad and Modad: "The Lord (kurios) is near to those who turn to him (epistrephomenois)" (Vis. 2.3.2-3). This strongly suggests that within the context of the lost book of Eldad and Modad, the act of "turning to the Lord" is connected with prayer and with the expression "all your heart". This is confirmed by 1 Clement 23:1-2 which introduces the apocryphal quotation and which exactly repeats the thought and language of Hermas, Mand. 9:

    "The Father, who is merciful in all things, and ready to do good, has compassion on those who fear him, and gently and lovingly bestows his favors on those who draw near to him (proserkhomenois autó) with singleness of mind (haplé dianoia). Therefore, let us not be double-minded (dipsukhómen), not let our soul indulge in false ideas about his excellent and glorious gifts" (1 Clement 23:1-2).

    James 4:6-9 is also parallel. Note that 1 Clement has replaced "heart" with "mind", and this is reminiscent of how "double-minded" or "double-souled" in Greek derives from the Hebrew "double-hearted". We may also compare the difference between the two Clementine apocryphal quotes; 1 Clement 23:3 says that the double-minded "doubt in their soul/mind (té psukhe)" whereas 2 Clement 11:2 says that they "doubt in their heart (té karida)". All this confirms that the concept of "double-mindedness" in the Greek versions of Eldad and Modad derive from the Semitic notion of "two hearts" and reflects the ideal stated by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:5 of serving God "with your whole heart" (holés tés kardias).

    Eldad and Modad thus seems to have been a midrash on the ethical commands given by Moses, illustrated by a haggada on the example of the prophets Eldad and Modad. We should also note the orphan saying quoted as scripture in 1 Clement 17:6 which was attributed to Moses and is verbally linked to James 4:13. This indicates again that 1 Clement drew on an extracanonical book containing sayings of Moses, of which Eldad and Modad would be an appropriate candidate. The undoubted inspiration of the book, of course, is the fact that the prophecies of Eldad and Modad were not recorded in Numbers, and thus this was an opportunity for an apocryphal writer to attribute one's own prophetic speculations to an OT authority. The book has unfortunately been lost but some of the content is fortunately preserved in the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan on Numbers 11:26, which relates how Jerusalem would be attacked and destroyed, and a still later war with Gog and Magog and the "holy ones". This war would end with victory for a royal Messiah who delivers his people from the tribulation. This is exactly the sort of prophecy expected in the texts of 1 and 2 Clement, and particularly to the references to "tribulation" (thlipses) in 2 Clement 11 and Hermas. The Targum even quotes a very familiar line in the prophecy: "The Lord (qyrys) is near to those in distress". This is very close to the quotation from Eldad and Modad in Hermas and even includes the transliterated Greek qyrys "lord" (< kurios), indicating that the direct source for the Targum was likely the Greek version of Eldad and Modad.

    All this evidence, when pooled together and given its due weight, makes a very strong case that the mysterious quotation in James 4:5 is not only a citation from apocryphal literature, but is actually a quotation from the lost Eldad and Modad. It belongs to a network of passages that are tied to Hermas' citation of this book and is itself echoed in Hermas, Mand. 3.1 as well as in Numbers 11:24-30 which specifically deals with the prophecies of Eldad and Modad. The words from Eldad and Modad quoted in Hermas, Vis. 2.3, moreover, are echoed in James 4:8. All this raises the question of why this non-canonical work is quoted in the Bible as "scripture". Does this mean, taking 2 Timothy 3:16 at its word, that this book falsely portraying itself as the prophecies of OT figures, was indeed "inspired of God"? And if it was scripture, why was it lost? This is an interesting question to ponder, for the OT canon -- while closed for some, such as the Pharisee rabbis -- was still open for others and some Bible writers, such as the authors of James and Jude, apparently accepted pseudepigraphal works as "scripture" and as "divinely inspired".

  • Narkissos

    Fascinating and compelling investigation... thank you!

    Just two very small side comments / questions on your introductory remarks (I can only sit back and enjoy the core of your study).

    1) The very wording of 2 Timothy 3:16 lends itself very poorly to the concept of a close canon. It is probably more difficult to get in English than in French, as the anarthrous "Scripture" is a common equivalent for "the Bible". But in Greek pasa graphè (not pasa hè graphè), like French "toute Ecriture" (not "toute l'Ecriture"), is a potentially universal reference. Like (slightly caricaturing) "anything you can find anywhere which is upbuilding to you and seems to confirm your faith is inspired of God and beneficial". I think this suits very well the 2nd century context, when the early "great church" had still a hard time "proving" its creed with anything that could help. Even when it became busy "disproving" the heretics the Church Fathers mostly did so with the help of Christian, not Jewish writings. Which explains that the OT canon remained pretty open in the Christian churches (as the Christian LXX codices show).

    2) On the other hand, the pharisee / rabbinical canon had to be a close one. But I wonder about your affirmation that it "was pretty much fixed by the rabbis by the end of the second century BC". I would have said "AD", but is there evidence for an earlier date?

  • shotgun

    Damn you Leo..I was just about to post when I saw you stole the words right out of my mouth.

    I kept getting confused by spelling Apocryphal as Apocketfull

    I'm thinking you might have all the brain cells I've lost over the years.

  • Leolaia

    Narkissos....Great points, and I'm glad you like the essay...I thought you would appreciate it.

    1) About the issue of an open canon and Greek graphè, I mainly framed the argument the way I did to address the Society's use of 2 Timothy 3:16 as a totalizing reference to the 66-book Bible alone, and indeed the term isn't so exclusive. But for those who want to view the Bible as a self-contained and consistent book, this raises the problem of "all scripture" being "inspired of God" -- are there other scriptures, or other things that could have been considered "scripture". I hadn't noticed the implications of the anarthrous graphè, but that surely would make the sola scriptura (= 66 book Bible) position of the Society even more untenable.

    2) Well, the second century BC had to have been the earliest possible date for a closed canon, considering the universal acceptance of Daniel in the Hagiographa. But if I recall correctly, I think the inclusion of Esther was still debated until the second century AD when it was fully accepted. So I think you are right, over all, but possibly some or quite a few rabbis had closed canons already in the first century or earlier.

    shotgun.... You're so funny!

  • Double Edge
    Double Edge

    Leolaia... your knowledge of the "scriptures" always astounds me. Very interesting stuff. The next time the History Channel investigates the Bible, I'm going to send them your number.

  • TD


    Fascinating as always --Thankyou.

    Did you at any point in your exit from the JW's discuss the Bible with their elders?

    A "Leolaia's shootout with the elders" would have been priceless!

  • Earnest

    Thanks, Leolaia. On a related point I have often wondered whether quotation of the LXX where it differed from the MT (e.g. Isaiah 7:14) made it a part of scripture by quoting it as scripture. After all, if Jesus recognises it as scripture who are we to differ ? Yet while NT writers often quote from the LXX, they also quote from the MT and Hebrew variations of it. My head hurts.


  • A Paduan
    A Paduan
    The Scripture cited in John 7:38 cannot be satisfactorily derived from any OT parallels...

    and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink

    ..and nothing spoken by Moses in the OT resembles what is said in 1 Clement 17:6.

    1 Clement: ....but said, when the divine oracle came to him out of the bush, "Who am I, that You send me? I am a man of a feeble voice and a slow tongue."

    Ex 4:10 But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue."

    And again he said, "I am but as the smoke of a pot."

    Ex 4:1 Then Moses answered, "But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, `The LORD did not appear to you.'"

    It is a way of speaking - about 'pots' - known long before


    No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel


    In defense of its fundamentalist approach to the Bible.......... All Scripture is inspired of God

    God is Spirit

  • Leolaia

    Earnest....Indeed this is an important factor...and the example you gave was one that I was thinking of. It is not just that the LXX and not the original Hebrew phrasing was cited, but also that NT writers often paraphrased, combined together, or otherwise altered the texts being cited. Perhaps this was often because the NT writers were quoting from memory, or depended on extrabiblical testimonia of OT messianic prooftexts (such as 4Q175 in the Dead Sea Scrolls). Also, sometimes the LXX might preserve a vorlage that is closer to the original Hebrew than the MT. I'm not sure tho what you mean by Jesus recognizing the LXX as scripture.....it was the Greek-speaking gospelists who utilized the LXX in composing the gospels; the gospels portray Jesus (insofar as they do) as an Aramaic or Hebrew speaker.

    A Paduan....I respect your desire to defend "the fundamentalist approach to the Bible," but you've just illustrated why the scriptures cited in John 7:38 and 1 Clement 17:6 do not derive their content or linguistic form from the OT verses you mentioned. In the case of John 7:38, I would say that Exodus 17:6 belongs to a range of many texts which contain one small feature of the logion in John 7:38 -- in this case, it would be the pouring of water from a source for people to drink. But that is a pretty vague connection, for there is no linguistic similarity between the texts (even the word for "water" is different; Exodus has hudor "water" while John has potamoi "rivers" and hudatos zóntos "living water"). Other texts are much closer: Zechariah 14:8 has hudor zón "living water" and conceives the flowing of water like a river; yet no OT text has any of the unique features of this text that set it apart. It is not a simple merger of Psalm 78:15-16 with Zechariah 14:8 that the gospelist has accidentally stuck together; nowhere in the OT do the waters come form one's koilia "womb, breast" -- they instead flow from a "rock" or "Jerusalem". Rather than attaching two seperate texts, this is much more like a fusion of biblical motifs and extrabiblical motifs (as is the case with koilia "womb") in a separate text that was then quoted by the gospelist as "scripture". As for 1 Clement 17:6, there is nothing remotely like it at all in Exodus 4:1 either in wording or concept. It takes some imaginative thinking to link the two texts (which I frankly don't understand), and even if you succeed in linking them as remotely paralleled in concept, there is absolutely nothing in Exodus 4:1 that explains the linguistic form or even the immediate concept of the Clementine verse. It is a "scripture" that corresponds to nothing in the OT, and certainly nothing spoken by Moses. On the other hand, the text underlying 1 Clement 17:6 also is reflected quite directly in James 4:13, both in wording and in concept (that is, comparing people to a vapor or smoke that dissipates). This suggests that James and 1 Clement drew on something in common to them -- and this, as I argue, was quite possibly the Book of Eldad and Modad.

  • Leolaia

    Double Edge....I'd enjoy it. TD....Yeah that would've been interesting, but it never came to that. I prefered to do the "fade" and not risk losing family/friends/etc. I just moved away and never looked back.

    BTW, I meant hupomenete to go with "endure" but I can't edit the post any more.

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