Literary genre of the wilderness temptation

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationDespite its superficial appearance as a simple historical record, the Synoptic account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness1 has often been interpreted as symbolic or parabolic of Jesus’ experiences, since the early Christian era.2 The popularity of this interpretation waxed and waned […] 

Identifying the adversary

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationMatthew and Luke’s temptation accounts both consistently refer to Jesus’ adversary as ‘the devil’, whereas Mark’s account only refers to Jesus’ adversary once, as ‘Satan’ (Mark 1:13). In addition, Matthew refers once to ‘the tempter’ (Matthew 4:3), and has Jesus address […] 

Satanological terminology in the Synoptics: Satan

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationThree terms are used to describe Christ’s adversary in the Synoptic temptation accounts; ‘satan’ (ho satanas in Mark 1:12, with the vocative satana without the definite article only in Matthew 4:10), ‘the tempter’ (ho peirazwn, only in Matthew 4:3), and ‘the devil’ (ho diabolos). […] 

Satanological terminology in the Synoptics: the devil

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationThe term ‘the devil’ (ho diabolos), is virtually never used in pre-Christian Second Temple literature outside the Old Greek texts of the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Old Greek texts1 it is found in in 1 Chronicles 21:1 (of the adversary which attacks […] 

Satanological terminology in the Synoptics: the evil one

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationThe term ‘the evil one’ (ton ponērou), has no Second Temple pre-Christian witness as a reference to a supernatural evil being. It is found in one fifteenth century Ethiopian manuscript of 1 Enoch (manuscript A, 1 Enoch 69:15), but not the […] 

Satanological terminology in the Synoptics: the tempter

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationThe term ‘the tempter’ (ho peirazwn), has no pre-Christian witness in the intertestamental or Qumran literature at all. The term appears in History of the Rechabites 2:9;1 4:1-2,2 but only in the Greek text belonging to the Christian era; it is absent from […] 

Satanological terminology in the Synoptics: summary

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationThe following list summarizes the lexical evidence for the Synoptics’ satanological terminology in Second Temple pre-Christian texts. 1. The term ‘satan’ (satanas in Greek), is used in Sirach 21:27 of the evil inclination. It is also used in 1 Enoch (41:9; […] 

Dualism in the Synoptics

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series The Yetzer in the Wilderness: Jesus and the Evil InclinationThe paucity of pre-Christian witness to the satanological terminology in the Synoptic temptation accounts, together with the absence from the Synoptics of established Second Temple terms for supernatural Satan figures (Satanael, Mastema, Belial, Shemihazah, Azâzêl, etc), gives reason to doubt the […]