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Demigods

The Human Desire to Be Godlike

The stories of Enosh, Noah, Nimrod, the Tower of Babel, and the marriage of the “sons of God” to human women (Genesis 4–11) all feature the Leitwort החל “began,” signaling an attempt to be more than just human.

Prof.

James A. Diamond

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The Scouts’ Report: From Rhetoric to Demagoguery

The scout’s initial report is only skeptical, but Caleb’s good-intentioned challenge pushes them to take a dishonest stand against entering the land.

Dr.

Sarah Schwartz

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Demigods and the Birth of Noah

The Sons of Elohim sleeping with women and producing demigods (Genesis 6:1-4) is sandwiched between the birth of Noah and the flood. This juxtaposition of passages prompted 1 Enoch and Genesis Apocryphon to question whether Lamech was Noah's father or whether Noah was a demigod.

Dr. Rabbi

Samuel Z. Glaser

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Samson the Demigod?

Samson’s conception story may be read subversively as the result of a union between a divine being and a mortal woman, making Samson a demi-god with superhuman characteristics. At the same time, the text keeps open the more mundane possibility that his father is Manoah and his powers are simply a gift from God.

Dr.

Naphtali Meshel

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Sukkot’s Seventy Bulls

The Torah’s adaptation of a polytheistic ancient West-Semitic custom of sacrificing to seventy gods.

Dr.

Noga Ayali-Darshan

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The Benei Elohim, the Watchers, and the Origins of Evil

The story of divine beings procreating with human women (Genesis 6) is expanded upon in the book of Enoch to tell how these angels also bring sin to humanity, causing the ancient flood as well, and this sin is the source of disease in the present day.

Dr.

Miryam Brand

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Are There Gods, Angels, and Demons in Deuteronomy?

Several poetic verses in Deuteronomy were used in Second Temple times to support the belief in multiple characters in the divine realm. Thus, the scribes of the early Masoretic text, who opposed this belief, sometimes went so far as to revise or excise these references.

Prof.

Jonathan Ben-Dov

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Who Was Samson’s Real Father?

Samson’s birth story deprecates Samson’s father, Manoah; this serves to highlight the identity of his real father: The angel of YHWH did more than announce Samson’s birth to Manoah’s wife.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Reintroducing the Myth of the Fallen Angels into Judaism

Literature and art are replete with images of angels descending to earth and joining humanity. One source for this image is a terse account in Genesis describing fallen angels, which is expanded upon in Second Temple literature. This interpretive tradition is suppressed in the classic rabbinic literature only to resurface again in the late narrative midrash, Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer.

Prof.

Rachel Adelman

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Why Are there Demigods in a Monotheistic Torah?

Divine beings come to earth and have offspring with human women (Genesis 6). What is a story which sounds like a pagan myth doing in the Torah?

Prof.

Benjamin D. Sommer

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Moshe Rabbeinu Never Died: The Hidden Ending

Rabbi

Eric Grossman

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