Testament of Job

by Bankole Davies-Browne

[Bankole Davies-Browne is a postgraduate student working on the M.Phil. degree at the Divinity School of the University of St. Andrews.–JRD]

In my paper I have attempted to refute the view of some scholars who have suggested that the Testament of Job is a Jewish work and have sought to locate the book within a Jewish milieu. I have examined three theories: 1. A Jewish work but with Christian interpolations by a Montanist. 2. A Jewish Therapeutae: A Jewish community in Egypt. This notion is based on the parallels between the description of the Therapeutic community by Philo and the community in the Testament of Job. 3. A Jewish sect of Merkabah mysticism. The basis for this theory is focussed on the parallels between TJ, the Apocalypse of Abraham, 3Enoch and concepts in Merkabah mysticism. I have tried to show some of the limitations and methodological problems of these theories. I have also suggested the possibility that TJ could be the work of a Christian community in Egypt. There are overtly Christian elements in TJ which cannot be attributed to Judaism. I have taken the default position that TJ is a Christian work unless proven otherwise. The fact that we cannot trace certain specific aspects and elements to a Christian community does not imply that TJ is a Jewish work. Some of the arguments for certain Jewish elements that have been singled out I find untenable. However, my position has one setback; there is not much information about early Christian thought in Egypt in the second and third centuries A.D.


Ford J. M., “Was Montanism a Jewish-Christian Heresy?” _Journal of Ecclesistical History_ 17 (1966): 145-58.

Philonenko, M, “Le Testament de Job et les Therapeutes,” in _Semitica_ 8 (1958): 41-53.

_________, “Le Testament de Job. Introduction, traduction et notes” in _Semitica_ 18: (1968): 1-75

Winston, David (Trans.), “The Comtemplative Life” in _Philo of Alexandria_ London: SPCK 1981.

Walter Bauer, _Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity_ Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974.

(c) 1997
Reproduction beyond fair use only on permission of the author.

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