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TOO VAST TO FIT IN THE WORLD: MOSES, ADAM, AND IN THE TESTAMENT OF MOSES 11:8

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As part of an incessantly growing literature on Moses, the portrayal of Moses in Testament of Moses has received extensive attention in modern scholarship. While the peculiarity of 11:8, in which Moses' sepulcher is described as covering the whole world, from one extremity to another, has been long noted, the paragraph has not yet been analyzed in any thorough study. This article analyzes 11:8 in its textual and contextual aspects. It argues that the peculiar words about Moses' burial constitute an expression of a Second Temple tradition that portrays Moses as a physically enormous being. Aetas, which is a translation for the Greek hltKta, meaning both stature and age, is part of the language of speculations about God's enormous corporeality as early as the first century C.E. Augustine's polemics attest that the term is still part of the language of Christian anthropomorphite circles in the fifth century. The four directions in 11:8 appear in similar contemporary (first century C.E.) speculations about Adam's enormous size. The connection, often competitive, between Adam and Moses is attested in an early Jewish lore that considers Moses the heir of Adam's corporeality, of his . This lore provides the theological context in which expressions used in descriptions of Adam's enormous corporeality become elements of the portrayal of Moses' body.

10.1163/18177565-90000157
/content/journals/10.1163/18177565-90000157
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/content/journals/10.1163/18177565-90000157
2007-03-30
2017-10-21

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