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Monarchianism and Two Powers: Jewish and Christian Monotheism at the Beginning of the Third Century

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This article examines claims made by Alan Segal and Daniel Boyarin that the Monarchian controversy and rabbinic polemics against “powers in heaven” were connected. The arguments of Segal and Boyarin are more suggestive than concrete. In order to assess these claims, I undertake a close reading of the earliest layer of texts from the Monarchian controversy and rabbinic polemic against “powers in heaven.” After highlighting the salient features from the Monarchian controversy, I examine key Tannaitic “powers in heaven” texts. Ultimately, I contend that there is no evidence that the Monarchians had any contact with the early rabbinic sages and that the similarities Boyarin and Segal recognized are only superficial.

Affiliations: 1: Marquette University, Department of Theology Milwaukee, wi 53201USA


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