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By S.R. Llewelyn

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Additional info for New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity: Inscriptions and Papyri First Published in 1982-83

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21 Zipporah is, of course, named as the wife 52 Moses—Heroic Man, Man of God of Moses. And she bears him a son. But the name gives no distinctive quality to the development of the tale; even the birth report for Gershom constructs Moses as the active agent in giving the child a name. 24-26. 22 (1) It does feature Moses as a hero concerned for the oppressed, parallel to the hero who intervenes for his own brothers in w. 11-12. Indeed, the two scenes stand much more tightly bound than the midwives and the birth of the baby.

The explicit affirmation of the story here identifies Moses not with the Egyptians, but with the Hebrews. So, v. lib: 'He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people (me'ehdyw)\ The point of tension in the scene thus emerges with clarity. One of his people suffers under the oppressive hand of his opposition. Indeed, the verb 'beating' (makkeh) connotes not simply physical oppression, but killing. In this situation of oppression and in the light of the emphasis the text places on the identification between Moses and his people by calling the people his brothers twice, the tale has created the fundamental tension of the plot.

And the interplay of the human nature with the potential of its divine counterpart creates some of the tension in the dynamic of the tradition. Particularly in Hellenistic Judaism this dynamic effects the shape of the Moses traditions. , Moses is the epitome of ideal humanity, reconciler and mediator between God and man, and revealer of the changeless law which existed with God before the creation of the world. Hellenistic Judaism views Moses in terms of its own ideals as a superhuman figure, a divine man (Geio?

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