The Terms "Angel" and "Spirit" in Acts 23,8

Floyd Parker

Information concerning the identity and beliefs of the Sadducees is fragmentary. Since none of their own writings survive, scholars must rely on material about them preserved by their religious rivals, the Rabbis, the Christians, and, most importantly, Josephus. Nevertheless, the few statements about them from these disparate sources fit together to provide a fairly consistent portrait of the group. For instance, these texts agree that the group had a foothold in the governing class, rejected the oral Torah of the Pharisees, denied final judgment, and denied the resurrection as well as all other forms of afterlife.

However, the enigmatic statement concerning Sadducean belief recorded in Acts 23,8 is a piece of the puzzle that does not fit well with established findings. In this gloss, the author informs his reader: le/gousin mh_ ei]nai a)na/stasin mh/te a!ggelon mh/te pneu=ma. The first part of the phrase, "they say there is no resurrection", poses no problem, for the Sadducean denial of the resurrection is well established by the principle of multiple attestation (Josephus, BJ 2.163-65; Ant. 13.297-98; 18.16-17; San 90b; Mark 12,18-27). In fact, almost identical wording is used to describe their views in Luke 20,27 (le/gontej a)na/stasin mh_ ei]nai). The second part of the phrase, "neither angel nor spirit", is where problems abound and our exploration begins.

Four broad positions have emerged in an attempt to account for the meaning of "angel" and "spirit" in this passage1. These views are that the Sadducees rejected: 1) belief in the existence of angels and spirits altogether2; 2) excessive speculation in the area of angelology, but not the existence of angels and spirits3; 3) belief in the existence of the righteous dead in the form of an angel or spirit in the interim between death and resurrection4; and 4) belief that humans would be resurrected in the form of either an angel or a spirit5. The first portion of this paper will critique each of the theories proposed above, while the second part will offer some new perspectives.


I. Review and Evaluation of the Theories

1. Sadducean Rejection of the Existence of Angels and Spirits

A few scholars believe that Acts 23,8 indicates a wholesale rejection of angels and spirits on the part of the Sadducees. Although scholars within this group are in agreement that "angel" refers to a supernatural heavenly being, they sometimes differ over whether the word "spirit" refers to preternatural beings or to the disembodied souls of human beings6. The strength of this theory, as Meier puts it, is that "the natural sense of the statement is the denial of any angel or spirit whatsoever"7.

Despite the simplicity of this theory, the consensus of scholarship is that the Sadducees could not have entirely rejected the existence of these supernatural beings. Several weighty objections that seriously call this view into question are: 1) the singular is used to describe these beings ("angel or spirit") where the plural is expected ("angels or spirits")8. Although the collective singular of a noun is attested in both classical and biblical literature9, the usage here is a break from the usual plural in Synoptics employed to describe angels as a class of beings (e.g. Mark 12,25; Matt 22,30; Luke 20,36; cf. Acts 7,53). The use of the singular raises the possibility that something other than the description of a class of beings might be intended, as some will argue in a later section; 2) if this minor difference between Pharisees and Sadducees is included in this passage, why are some of the more significant differences omitted?10; 3) the Sadducees" high regard for the Torah, and probably a larger corpus of scripture, makes it inconceivable that they would have rejected belief in the existence of angels, for these documents are replete with stories of angels11; and 4) the Pharisees and Christians neither criticize nor debate with the Sadducees because of the latter"s views concerning angels in biblical or extra-biblical literature12. Even when angels are discussed on the periphery of debates with the Sadducees, the existence of these beings is never questioned13. These arguments are not of equal weight, but the last two alone are enough to undermine the credibility of this position.

Before passing on to the evaluation of the next theory, the fourth point mentioned above requires an additional comment. There is only one instance in which a Sadducee seems to deny the existence of angels (San 38b). In this passage, an unnamed Sadducee interrogating R. Idith concerning his views of the angel Metatron, asks whether Metatron or God was the speaker in Exod 24,1. The Sadducee contended that the speaker was God, not Metatron, for otherwise one would end up praying to an angel. This debate seems to have arisen because some Jews believed that Metatron was the "angel of the Lord" (Exod 23,20-23), of whom God said, "my name is in him" (Exod 23,21). Some Jews prayed to Metatron14, while others regarded him as "the lesser YHWH" (3 Enoch 12,5). The heretic Acher may have gone so far as to identify him with God (Hag 15a)15. This encounter between the Sadducee and R. Idith seems to be an isolated case and too much should not be made of it. Such a reaction to excessive veneration of a specific angel on the part of one Sadducee does not imply a rejection of the existence of the entire angelic world by all Sadducees. Moreover, the concerned Sadducee does not deny the existence of angels, but merely argues that one should not pray to them. In this view the Sadducee is not alone. Indeed several talmudic texts also discourage the cult of angels and prayer to them16.

2. Sadducean Rejection of Angelic Speculation

The claim that Sadducees rejected excessive speculation about angels and spirits, attested among many other Jews of that time, is more difficult to analyze. Several plausible reasons have been proposed in order to account for why the Sadducees might have rejected these views: 1) they may have been generally resistant to change. As Saldarini points out, the dominant class in a society tends to be conservative17. This is certainly true of the Sadducees, who were part of the governing class, for they resisted the new customs (e.g., oral Torah) and new beliefs about the afterlife (e.g., resurrection) introduced by the Pharisees18. Perhaps this conservative spirit also led to disdain for the fascination of many Jews in the names, roles, and nature of angels after the time of the Babylonian exile19; 2) they may have regarded angels as integral to the apocalyptic worldview. The Sadducees probably endorsed a more "this-worldly" eschatology20 and, therefore, rejected apocalyptic eschatology along with its accompanying "luxuriant angelology and demonology that supplied the drama of the end time with a huge cast of characters"21; 3) perhaps they believed angels no longer appeared as they once did. Angels do not play much of a role in the Prophets (with the exception of Zechariah) and the Writings (with the exception of Daniel). The few times they are mentioned in the Prophets, they do not usually serve as messengers with a mission, but rather as the guardians of the ark of the covenant (Ezek 1,10), the temple of God (Isa 6,1-6), or as figures of the distant past (Hos 12,4 [Gen 32,24-32]; Isa 64,9 [Exod 23,20-23; 32,34])22. Zeitlin"s explanation of this trend is that, "with the advent of the prophets the functions of the angels were dispensed with", thus giving rise to Sadducean disbelief in the continued intervention of angels23; or 4) perhaps they rejected angels along with their rejection of providence or fate, for angels could be construed as interfering with free will, a belief which the Sadducees cherished (BJ 2.164-65)24.

Although the picture above is plausible in many respects, there are several difficulties with Zeitlin"s views. His attempt to link angels with providence, so that the Sadducees would have justification for rejecting belief in angelic activity, is unconvincing. Despite his citations of passages in which angels are appointed over Israel and the nations (Dan 10,13; 12,1), he was unable to link angels to the idea of providence or fate. His suggestion that the Sadducees believed that angels had been superseded by the prophets also fails, for it is largely an argument from silence25.

3. Sadducean Rejection of the Intermediate State

In a brief article in 1990, David Daube broke ranks with traditional interpretations of Acts 23,8 when he argued that "angel" and "spirit" were virtually synonymous terms describing the state of the righteous dead in the interim between death and the resurrection26. According to Daube, this passage indicates that the doctrinal matter with which the Sadducees took issue was the survival of the soul after death (Josephus, Ant. 18.1.4; BJ 2.164-165), not the existence of angels and spirits. Thus, in Acts 23, the Sadducees denied that the spirit (i.e., angel) of Jesus could have appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus and later in the temple (Acts 22,6-10; 17-21), because of their belief that the soul perished with the body at death. The Pharisees, on the other hand, affirmed both the survival of the soul and the resurrection, but could not bring themselves to acknowledge the appearance of the resurrected Jesus to Saul.

Daube"s argument hinges on his ability to prove that "angel" and "spirit" were synonyms describing the interim. Although Daube makes a good case for "spirit" serving as a description of humans during the interim27, he is unable to show that the term "angel" was also used to describe this state28. The majority of the passages that he cites that depict the righteous dead being like angels are in reality concerned with the resurrection instead of the interim29. The only passage he lists that unambiguously associates angels with the righteous dead in the intermediate state is Hen(aeth) 39,5. Yet, the passage does not indicate these terms are synonyms: dwelling "with the holy angels" is not tantamount to being holy angels.

Daube"s second line of argument is to list several texts that say the righteous dead are "like" the angels. He correctly notes that the words w(j and k@; can have a broad range of meaning, such as "resembling", "equal to", or even "having the nature of"30. However, other details within the context of a passage sometimes shed further light on an author"s intended meaning of "like" the angels, as the following examples cited by Daube illustrate: 1) according to Hen(aeth) 104,4, the resurrected righteous will "be making a great rejoicing like the angels of heaven" (cf. 25,6). The comparison here seems to be to how the angels rejoice (Hen[aeth] 35,12; 40,3), not to being transformed into their likeness; 2) in ApcBar(syr) 51,12, the righteous will be changed "into the splendor of the angels" (51,5) and will also be "like" them in some other respects (51,10), but the righteous will also be "greater than the angels" in excellence (51,12). Thus, absolute identity between the righteous dead and angels cannot be maintained; and, 3) Luke 20,36 and Matt 22,30 indicate the raised will be "like" or "equal to" the angels in specific ways: they too will be immortal and will not marry with a view towards procreation. So, it is fair to conclude from these texts that the resurrected righteous will have some of the attributes of angels, but not that they will be changed into angels31. Thus, the word "angel" is not a synonym of human "spirit", whether one is speaking of the interim or the resurrection of the dead

Daube also employed Peter"s angel (Acts 12,15) as further proof for an angelic interim. In this passage, Peter had just been delivered from prison and stood knocking at the gate of a house where a group of Christians was praying for him. When a servant girl, in her excitement, left him outside and informed those praying inside that he was at the gate, they told her that it was his angel (o( a!ggelo/j e)stin au)tou=). Some commentators believe this is evidence of the belief in a special type of guardian angel "who is the exact image of his protg"32. Daube proposed instead that these Christians understood this to be Peter in his angelic, interim state. His reason for rejecting the guardian angel interpretation was because the rabbinic evidence for this notion is "thin". He is correct that this particular type of guardian angel (i.e., a celestial double) is not well attested. Be that as it may, the biblical and extra-biblical evidence is thick with the notion of guardian angels (Gen 48,16; Dan 3,28; 6,22; Matt 18,10; Heb 1,14; Tob 5,22; LAB 15,5; 59,4; Test. Jacob 1,10). Perhaps this was Peter"s guardian angel or perhaps this figure was designated "his angel" simply because it had delivered him from prison before (the same a!ggeloj kuri/ou; Acts 5,19, 12,7). Whatever the correct interpretation is, in the absence of more compelling evidence, this example cannot serve as proof for an angelic interim state.

Probably the most compelling reasons for rejecting the identification of "angel" and "spirit" is that Luke himself does so. His use of "neither ... nor" (mh/te a!ggelon mh/te pneu=ma; Acts 23,8) and "or" (pneu=ma ... h@ a!ggeloj; 23,9) distinguishes between "angel" and "spirit" and thereby indicates they are not regarded by him as synonyms33.

In summary, Daube"s theory is untenable because he: 1) failed to locate texts that specifically used "angel" and "spirit" as synonyms for disembodied humans during the interim period34; 2) failed to demonstrate that being "like" an angel was the same as becoming an angel; and 3) the author of Acts indicates by his language that these words are not synonyms. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the Sadducees were being portrayed as rejecting the belief in the intermediate state in Acts 23,8, even though that was one of the beliefs they did deny elsewhere (e.g., BJ 2.165).

4. Sadducean Rejection of Resurrection as an Angel or Spirit

This theory concerning Acts 23,8 maintains that the words "angel" and "spirit" stand in apposition to the word "resurrection" and, therefore, describe two modes of resurrection: resurrection as an angel or as a spirit. There are two major proponents of this view. Samuel Tobias Lachs seems to have been the first to propose this interpretation in an article in 197735. In 1990, Viviano and Taylor, in an attempt to give this line of speculation "wider publicity", revived the theory with some refinements of their own.

Lachs raised five important objections to the older proposal that the Sadducees denied the resurrection and the existence of angels and spirits, which appeared above in the rebuttal of the first theory:

1) Why are angels and spirits not mentioned in either Josephus or in the tannaitic literature as points of controversy between the Sadducees and Pharisees?
2) If the latter two, i.e., angel and spirit, are separate entities, not connected with resurrection, and are cited presumably only to show further differences between the sects, why are not more important differences mentioned?
3) How could the Sadducees, who were slavishly wedded to the literal meaning of the biblical text, deny the existence of angels who are mentioned throughout the Bible?
4) If three points were intended, how is the phrase "the Pharisees acknowledge them both" to be understood?
5) If (a!ggeloj) and (pneu=ma) are separate entities unrelated to (a)na/stasin), then one would expect the plural, i.e. (a!ggeloi) and (pneu/mata) respectively36.

These are excellent points. They have undermined the credibility of the first position (i.e., the denial of angels) and even have ramifications for the second position (i.e., the denial of excessive speculation about angels and spirits). I will attempt to answer these queries at this point before moving on to some objections of my own. The points are not addressed in the same order in which they were asked. Points one and three will not be addressed, since they have been treated earlier in this article.

In response to point two, the intention of Acts 23,8 does not seem to be just a catalogue of the major differences between Sadducees and Pharisees. Nor is its purpose to list various types of afterlife, as they suggest. If that were so, the traditional formula, "who say there is no resurrection" (Luke 20,27; Act 23,8a), would have sufficed to cover anything falling under the rubric of resurrection, including the various modes of resurrection proposed by Lachs, Viviano, and Taylor.

Rather, the purpose of this gloss is to introduce the beliefs necessary for the reader of Acts to make sense of the controversies that have arisen and will soon arise in the passage, as the following chart illustrates:

Paul raises Issue One: "Brothers, I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection (a)nasta/sewj) of the dead" (Acts 23,6)
Luke explains Issue One in retrospect: "The Sadducees say there is no resurrection (a)na/stasin). . ." (Acts 23,8)
Luke explains Issue Two in advance: "... or angel or spirit (mh/te a!ggelon mh/te pneu=ma) but the Pharisees acknowledge them all" (Acts 23,8)
Pharisees raise Issue Two: "What if a spirit (pneu=ma) or an angel (a!ggeloj) has spoken to him?" (Acts 23,9)

The reader is reminded that the Sadducees say "there is no resurrection" (23,8; cf. Luke 20,27; Acts 4,1.2) and that the Pharisees affirm it after Paul cried out that he was on trial for the "hope and resurrection of the dead" (23,6). The reader is also forewarned that the Sadducees reject both "angel" and "spirit" (23,8). This is a pertinent detail, for in the following verse, the scribes of the Pharisees ask: "What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him [i.e., Paul]?" (23,9), an allusion to the events of Acts 22,6-21. Thus, in answer to point five, the use of the singular forms "angel" and "spirit" becomes clear. It is not merely a rejection of the general belief in the appearance of angels and spirits, but the denial that a particular being, Jesus as either "an angel" or "a spirit", appeared to Paul with a message37. However, if the Sadducees denied that this particular angel or spirit served as a messenger, then this suggests that they also denied such messenger activities on the part of all angels and spirits. Thus, the "more important differences" (point two) between the Pharisees and Sadducees are in reality mentioned, since these are the issues pertinent to this encounter.

The argument of point four is that ta_ a)mfo/tera should be translated "both", and that it refers to the two words "angel" and "spirit" standing in apposition to "resurrection". In other words, according to this theory, the Sadducees deny both resurrection as angel and resurrection as a spirit. It is possible to understand the adjective in this manner, but dogmatism must be avoided here. Several scholars have likewise argued for the translation "both" in this passage, but have concluded that the first belief was the resurrection and the second was belief in angels and spirits38. Others argue that ta_ a)mfo/tera can mean "all" and that it refers to three items in this passage: the resurrection, angels, and spirit39. The latter view is substantiated not only by extra-biblical usage, but also by Acts 19,16 where it refers to seven items.

The remainder of this section consists of an examination of several objections to the resurrection theory. The first issue plaguing the scholars arguing for this view is that they fail to discuss how their definitions of "angel" and "spirit" in Acts 23,8 would make sense in 23,9, where these words appear in the pericope for the second time. It seems reasonable to think that these words should have the same meaning in both of these passages40, that is, according to the resurrection theory, they should signify modes of resurrection in both verse 8 and 9.

An application of their definitions to Act 23,9 forces us to the unlikely conclusion that the Pharisees allowed for the possibility that Jesus had been raised from the dead in one of these two forms. It follows that if the Pharisees endorsed belief in "angel" and "spirit" resurrection bodies in 23,8, that they must also allow for the possibility that someone in a "spirit" or "angel" resurrection body appeared to Paul in 23,9. That someone who appeared to Paul was Jesus on the road to Damascus and in the temple (22,6-21)41. Given these facts, it seems that these scholars are compelled to accept the following paraphrase of the Pharisiac response in 23,9: "Perhaps Jesus appeared to Paul in a spiritual resurrection body or an angelic resurrection body". Is it really plausible to believe that the Pharisees have suddenly become advocates of the resurrection of Jesus?42. This is highly unlikely, since conceding his resurrection would also entail the possibility that Jesus had actually been right about such matters as the Sabbath and purity laws.

The second problem with this theory has to do with the time of the resurrection. The "hope and resurrection of the dead" (Acts 23,6), which both Paul and the Pharisees affirmed43 and the Sadducees denied44, was expected to be an eschatological event in biblical and extra-biblical literature45. More important for the interpretation of this passage, the resurrection is also an eschatological event in the theology of Luke-Acts. Paul"s defense in a later passage makes more explicit the belief in a future resurrection that both he and the Pharisees held in common: "I have a hope in God a hope that they themselves also accept that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous" (Acts 24,15).

Having established the eschatological nature of the resurrection, the proponents of the resurrection body theory have the burden of addressing the following issues: First, if the Pharisees allowed for the possibility that the risen Jesus appeared to Paul, as one must if he consistently applies the definitions inherent in this theory to Acts 23,9, how can this be reconciled with belief in a future resurrection? Obviously the appearance of Jesus to Paul was not an eschatological event since it transpired approximately two and a half decades prior to the trial recorded in Acts 23. It is inconceivable that the Pharisees would have drawn the conclusion that Jesus had been raised from the dead in any form (angel or spirit), for the resurrection was yet future (Acts 24,15). In their mind, Jesus would have to wait to be raised with the rest of humanity. They certainly would not have thought his resurrection took place at the moment of his death. Second, if the Pharisees endorsed the possibility of Jesus" own resurrection, does this not put them in the position of conceding that the resurrection had already begun and, consequently, that Jesus was "first to rise from the dead" (Acts 26,23)? It is doubtful that the Pharisees would have allowed that the resurrection had begun before the end of the age. This, of course, is what the early Christians believed (Acts 26,23; 1 Cor 15,20.23), but one can hardly expect the Pharisees to have given ground to them by conceding Jesus" resurrection as an angel or spirit merely to score points against their Sadducean opponents.

The final problem with the resurrection theory has to do with the nomenclature it employs to describe afterlife. The most unusual aspect of this theory may be its unconventional definition of "resurrection". Viviano and Taylor assume this term is interchangeable with various forms of afterlife, even the survival of the "spirit" or soul "apart from the body"46. In one passage, they suggest that resurrection should "be understood here in a broad sense as "life after death" and certainly does not have to be taken as implying the resuscitation or reconstitution of corpses. What is asserted is rather the hope of personal victory over death, which in the first century was expressed in a variety of ways"47. In similar fashion, Lachs thinks that variety of the resurrection may have been "more Hellenistically oriented, as pure spirit"48.

These authors correctly observe that Palestinian and Diaspora Judaism had quite diverse views on afterlife, but "life after death" is not the equivalent of "resurrection". Resurrection was just one form of life after death and seems to include a body of some sort in the majority of cases. N.T. Wright"s assessment of first century Judaism seems more accurate:

though there was a range of belief about life after death, the word resurrection was only used to describe reembodiment, not the state of disembodied bliss. Resurrection was not a general word for "life after death" or for "going to be with God" in some general sense. It was the word for what happened when God created newly embodied human beings after whatever sort of intermediate state there might be49.

Wright"s comments are representative of the views of many modern writers who maintain a distinction between spiritual immortality and resurrection in their classification of Jewish beliefs about afterlife. Although the terminology employed to classify various types of afterlife may vary somewhat, "resurrection" is usually reserved for embodied afterlife (in either tangible or less tangible form), whereas disembodied afterlife is usually referred to by terms such as the "immortality of the soul alone" or "spiritual immortality"50.

These distinctions are not a modern construct, for many in the ancient world used similar categories. Josephus distinguishes between those who believe in no afterlife (i.e. Sadducees; BJ 2.165), in the immortality of the soul apart from the body (i.e. Essenes; BJ 2.154-158), and in the immortality of the soul in a body (i.e. Pharisees; BJ 2.163). The early church fathers also distinguished between the immortality of the soul and resurrection of the body51. Justin Martyr mentions those "who say that there is no resurrection from the dead, but that immediately at death their souls would ascend to heaven" (Dial., 80)52. Augustine wrote that while, "on the immortality of the soul many gentile philosophers have disputed at great length and in many books they have left it written that the soul is immortal, when they came to the resurrection of the flesh, they doubt not indeed, but they most openly deny it, describing it to be absolutely impossible that this earthly flesh can ascend to heaven" (Enarr. in Psalm 88,5)53. Even Luke distinguished between a resurrection body which had "flesh and bone" and a spirit that had none (Luke 24,37-39). Thus, there is ample justification for making a distinction between immortality of the soul and the resurrection based on ancient literature.

In closing our argument, there are three general points that need to be made about the concept of resurrection. First of all, to define "resurrection" in the form of a spirit as being "without a body" is out of line with most Jewish, Christian, and even Greek54 thinking of the day, as we have just seen. Although the ways in which Jews and Christians envisioned the resurrection body could vary greatly, most have in common the belief in some sort of body. Resurrection could entail a simple restoration of the body to life (Sib 4.181-182; ApcBar(syr) 50,2; LAB 3.10, animam et carnem), a transformation of the body (ApcBar[syr] 51,1; 1 Cor 15,51; Phil 3,21), or the soul"s migration to a new body (Ant. 18.14; BJ 3.374; Ap. 2.218). It could involve a solid body or a less solid one. But, "resurrection" is not an appropriate term to describe the survival of the spirit without a body.

Second, texts mentioning the resurrection of the soul or spirit are rare55. One might even inquire as to how well Lachs, Viviano, and Taylor provide textual evidence for the "resurrection" as a spirit as a major category of afterlife, for: 1) some texts speak of the immortality of the soul rather than resurrection (Wis 3,1-3; 4,7; 5,16; 7,20; Jub 23,31; 4 Macc 9,8.22; 10,15; 14,5; 15,2; 16,13; 17,5.18; several texts from Philo)56. None of these texts use the word resurrection, but rather speak of the immortality and incorruption of the soul (e.g.Wis 2,23; 9,15). Some texts indicate that at the death of the body the soul is granted immortality and is immediately taken into heaven (4 Macc 9,22; 13,17; 14,5; 16,13.15; 17,18; Josephus" description of the Essenes, BJ 2.154-55). In others, particularly the works of Philo where Platonic influence is strong, souls are portrayed as immortal by nature and will escape their bodies at death57; 2) in some texts it is unclear whether resurrection of the soul alone is implied. For instance, Hen(aeth) 103,3-4, says that the spirits of the righteous "shall live". Is this an allusion to resurrection of the spirit alone or to the raising of the soul from the underworld for reunion with its body?58; and 3) more often, the resurrection of souls refers to conjuring the dead59.

Third, if resurrection is the survival of bodily death, as Viviano and Taylor would have it, from whence is the immortal soul "raised"? It would not be raised "from the dead", for it never died. It would not be raised from the tomb, for it never went there. Rather, the immortal soul sloughs off the body at death (e.g., Wisdom; Philo) or it is made immortal at death and assumed into heaven (e.g., 4 Maccabees). So then, in what sense is it meaningful to speak of the "resurrection" or "raising" of the immortal soul when it merely survives death?

In summary, the attempt to explain "angel or spirit" as forms of resurrection in Acts 23,8 fails because: 1) the meaning for the words "angel" and "spirit" in Acts 23,9, as modes of resurrection, places the Pharisees in the unhappy position of acknowledging the possibility of the resurrection of Jesus and perhaps the onset of the age to come; 2) the theory of Viviano and Taylor uses an unusual definition for "resurrection" which does not fit well with the ancient or modern use of that term.

II. A New Proposal on an Old Theme

In the review and evaluation of the literature, several key items have emerged that help to formulate rudimentary criteria for explaining the significance of "angel" and "spirit". A theory should fit well with known facts about what the Sadducees deny and the Pharisees affirm (which goes without saying, since all the contributors have attempted to do this). It should maintain a distinction between "angel" and "spirit", as Lachs, Viviano, and Taylor pointed out. And, as Daube and Le Moyne indicated, it should consistently apply any assigned definitions of the terms "angel" or "spirit" in Acts 23,8 to the appearance of Jesus to Paul mentioned in 23,9.

None of the four theories examined is completely adequate as formulated60. Yet, of all the theories, I believe that the Sadducean rejection of angelic speculation retains the most explanatory power, even though it too has several weak points that need shoring up. In the section that follows, I will attempt to show how this theory fulfills the criteria mentioned in the preceding paragraph and, with modifications, makes the most sense in interpreting Acts 23,8.

1. Criterion One: Facts Related to the Sadducees

This criterion is satisfied by linking the Sadducees" rejection of angels and spirits to their rejection of the apocalyptic world view and fate. The first item is probably secure as it stands, for it is difficult to imagine the Sadducees endorsing a world view so contrary to their own. This is because the apocalyptic world view is characterized by determinism (e.g. Dan 2,29-45; ApcBar(syr) 27; Jub 1,29; 32,21; 1QS 11.11) instead of free will, as well as by resurrection or immortality of the soul rather than annihilation at death. However, the demonstration of a connection between fate and supernatural beings, such as angels and spirits, requires a bit of demonstration, for, as far as I am aware, this notion has been asserted but not proven.

In several passages Josephus relates the range of beliefs held by groups of his day concerning fate: the Sadducees deny fate altogether, favoring free will; the Essenes attribute everything to fate, and the Pharisees allow for a mixture of fate and free will (Ant. 13.171-173; 18.13; BJ 2.162-165). Since Josephus" view of fate has been described as "the executive aspect of the Divine will"61, one might well ask through what agencies the divine plan was specifically carried out in history and nature. One method was to employ various types of messengers, particularly prophets62 and angels. The latter group will be the focus of the rest of this section.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, angels are administrators of predestination:

He has created man to govern the world, and has appointed for him two spirits in which to walk until the time of His visitation: the spirits of truth and injustice ... For it is He who created the spirits of Light and Darkness and founded every action upon them and established every deed [upon] their [ways]" (1QS 3.17b-24a; 1QS 3.25b-26a)63.

Thou hast decreed for us a destiny of Light according to Thy truth. And the Prince of Light Thou hast appointed from ancient times to come to our support; [all the sons of righteousness are in his hand], and all the spirits of truth are under his dominion (1QM 13.9b-10).

In these texts God has predetermined that each person will be under the dominion of the two spirits, as in the first passage, or be influenced by them for good or evil, as in the second64.

In Josephus" reshaping of the biblical narratives, fate and providence sometimes take over the functions previously performed by angels65. In the story of Daniel, the angel who shut the mouths of the lions (Dan 6,22) is replaced by "the Deity and His Providence" (to_ qei=on kai_ th_n tou/tou pro/noian; Ant. 10.260; cf. 262)66. Likewise, the three young men are not rescued from the flames of the furnace by one who looked like "a son of god", as in Dan. 3,25, but by "divine providence" (qei/a| sw/zontai pronoi/a|; Ant. 10.214). Instead of a lying spirit (pneu=ma yeude/j; 1 Kgs 22,22.23 LXX) entering the mouth of false prophets to "deceive" (a)path/sei) Ahab (1 Kgs 22,20.22 LXX), fate (xrew/n) "deceived" him (a)pathqei/j; Ant. 8.420; cf. 8.409)67. Thus, according to Josephus, fate and providence were sometimes administered by supernatural beings.

The Talmud recounts a story of how an angel assists in setting certain aspects of a person"s destiny just prior to conception:

The angel appointed over conception is named Lailah. He takes a seminal drop, sets it before the Holy One, blessed be He, and asks, "Sovereign of the Universe! What is to become of this drop? Is it to develop into a person strong or weak, rich or poor?" But no mention is made of its becoming a wicked or righteous person (Nid 16a)68.

Whereas health and social class are predetermined, a person"s free moral agency is preserved69.

The Essenes, Josephus, and the Talmud endorse the concept of predestination, even though they differed over whether or not free will exists. They also agree that angels were sometimes involved in the inner workings of predestination 70. This helps to explain why the Sadducees would have objected to the operation of angels and spirits (good or evil) in the universe.

2. Criterion Two: The Distinction Between Angel and Spirit

The distinction between angel and spirit could be accounted for in several ways. One possibility is that angels are contrasted to human spirits. If "spirit" refers to disembodied humans prior to resurrection, as Daube suggested, then this fits well with the Sadducean denial that the soul survives the death of the body. This definition also fits well in the context of Acts 23,8-9, where it would mean that the Sadducees did not believe that the spirit of a dead person visited Paul, whereas the Pharisees, or other Jews of the day, would not have hesitated to believe in a message from beyond the grave71.

Another option is that "angel" and "spirit" are used to distinguish genera (e.g., Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim) or rank (e.g., archangel and angel) of heavenly beings72. If so, the Sadducees might have rejected them on the same grounds as angels, that is, for their role in the oversight of predestination.

Finally, "spirit" could refer to the Holy Spirit73. However, this option seems somewhat less likely, due to the fact that Luke often qualifies this use of Spirit with words like "holy"74. There are some uses of "spirit", in the sense of "Holy Spirit", without qualifiers. Even then, other words in these contexts frequently make it clear that the Holy Spirit was intended by the author75.

3. Criterion Three: Relevance to the Context of Acts 23

With these facts in mind, it is time to turn to the context of Acts in order to see why Paul"s description of his religious experiences would have been objectionable to the Sadducees. The primary objection here seems to be that an angel or spirit "spoke" (e)la/lhsen) to Paul76. Why, then, would the Sadducees have had an objection to a spirit or angel speaking to Paul? I propose that they perceived both the event of revelation to Paul and the content of that revelation via an angel or a spirit to be at odds with their view on fate or providence.

As for the event of revelation, Paul"s experiences were supernatural interventions in the course of his life (i.e., against his free will). The following details illustrate this: 1) Paul"s experiences most closely resemble prophetic call narratives, like those found in the Old Testament and in apocalyptic literature. This is true for the Damascus experience (Acts 22,6-16)77 and the vision in the temple (Acts 22,17-21; cf. Isa 6,1-10)78; 2) in call narratives in general, and in Paul"s case specifically, the person is sometimes commissioned against his will (Exod 3,104,17; Jer 1,6-7; Acts 26,14) or chosen from birth for this task (Jer 1,5; Gal 1,15; cf. Acts 9,15); thus, this would be at odds with Sadducean views of free will; 3) these prophetic calls are often presided over by angels (Exod 3,2, cf. Acts 7,30.35; Judg 6,11-17; Hen[aeth] 71,2) or at least angels are present (Isa 6,1-13; Ezek 1,13,11; Hen[aeth] 1416; Rev 10,8-11). As we saw earlier, angels were frequently regarded as playing a role in administering predestination or providential care.

Furthermore, the actual content of the revelation could be construed as divine interference in Paul"s life. Paul was "appointed" to perform certain tasks (te/taktai; Acts 22,10; cf. 13,48 and o# ti/ se dei= poiei=n 9,6). He was "appointed" (proexeiri/sato; 22,14; cf. 3,20; 26,16) to know God"s will and to see and hear Jesus. Furthermore, he was to be privy to God"s "will" (qe/lhma 22,14), which could refer to God"s predetermined plan in history or salvation (Luke 11,2; cf. boulh/ in Acts 2,23; 4,28)79. Finally, the encounter demonstrates God"s awareness and control of future events: Paul would become a witness for Jesus (Acts 22,15) and his testimony in Jerusalem would not be accepted if he remained there (22,18). Although the Sadducees might not have objected to the notion of angels carrying out the will of God in some general sense, they would have objected to their doing so in the fulfillment of a preordained eschatological program and to their interfering with the will of an autonomous human being.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, would not have been shocked that God might send a messenger to enforce his plan, since they believed in predestination to some extent. So, it was at least a possibility, however remote to their minds, that a "voice" (fwnh/) had spoken to Paul (Acts 22,7.9.14). The voice could have been that of an angel (cf. John 12,29) or the spirit of Jesus80. However, they were not willing to admit that Paul has had an encounter with the risen Jesus.


* * 

In any discussion of the Sadducees, there will always remain a certain amount of doubt due to the paucity of sources about them. Based on what data has survived, the older theory that the Sadducees rejected the extravagant beliefs about angels and spirits provides the most convincing solution to the problem of Acts 23,8. The Sadducees" reasons for rejecting these views were twofold: 1) angels were integrated into the apocalyptic world view that they rejected; and 2) angels often served as God"s servants to administer predestination or providence. Thus, when Paul claimed that a heavenly being had appeared to him in a manner and with a message that appeared to be predestinarian in nature, the Sadducees were unwilling to entertain the idea that an angel or spirit had appeared to him. Certainly new theories will arise in an attempt to grapple with this issue, but to re-appropriate the words of Jesus in Luke 5,39, "the old is good enough".


Four major theories have emerged to explain the significance of the terms "angel" and "spirit" in Acts 23,8: the denial of the existence of angels and spirits altogether, the rejection of excessive speculation about angels; the denial of the interim state, and the denial of resurrection as an angel and spirit. The second view has the most explanatory power. This position was strengthened by showing that what the Sadducees denied was the role of angels in the administration of predestination. Thus, when a heavenly being interfered with Saul"s plans on his way to Damascus, the Sadducees were dubious (Acts 23,9).


1 A fifth category could be added to these. Simply put, Luke was incorrect about this belief of the Sadducees due to his use of an inaccurate source or to his own erroneous interpretation of their views. Although his statement about angels is not recorded elsewhere, I find it unlikely that he was misinformed. Compare Luke to Josephus, who is accepted by many scholars as trustworthy despite the fact that he is the sole author to mention the Sadducean denial of fate.
2 Bill., II, 767; M. MANSOOR, "Sadducees", EncJud XIV, 621; H. LOESTER, Introduction to the New Testament. History, Culture and Religion in the Hellenistic Age (New York 1987) I, 230; S. TAYLOR, "Sadducees", The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI 1991) 444; one modern translation of the Bible takes this view of Acts 23,8: "The Sadducees say that the dead won"t come back to life and that angels and spirits don"t exist"; God"s Word (Grand Rapids, MI 1995).
3 T.W. MANSON, "Sadducee and Pharisee", BJRL 22 (1938) 144; G.F. LOORE, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era (New York 1971), 68; F.F. BRUCE, The Acts of the Apostles. The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI 1975) 412.
4 D. DAUBE, "On Acts 23: Sadducees and Angels", JBL 109 (1990) 493497. N.T. Wright also envisions the intermediate state in the form of an angel or spirit. However, there is no evidence that his view is based on the research of Daube. See N.T. WRIGHT, The Challenge of Jesus. Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (Downers Grove, IL 1999) 136, 134-135, 138, and 148, n. 12, where he specifically refers to Acts 12,15 and 23,8-10.
5 S.T. LACHS, "The Pharisees and Sadducees on Angels: A Reexamination of Acts XXIII.8", Gratz College Annual of Jewish Studies 6 (1975) 35-42; B.T. VIVIANO J. TAYLOR, "Sadducees, Angels, and Resurrection (Acts 23:8-9)", JBL 111 (1992) 496-498; A.A. BELL endorses the views of Viviano and Taylor in his Exploring the New Testament World (Nashville, TN 1998) 33. J.A. FITZMYER is also favorable toward this interpretation, see his The Acts of the Apostles (AB31; New York 1998) 719.
6 E.g., TAYLOR holds the former view ("Sadducees", 444), while KOESTER holds the latter (Introduction I, 230).
7 J.P. MEIER, A Marginal Jew. Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York 2001) III, 408. Meier is simply evaluating various theories here. This does not represent his own view.
8 J. LE MOYNE, Les Sadducens (EB; Paris 1972) 133; LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 36.
9 See the examples in H.W. SMYTH, Greek Grammar (Cambridge 1984) 269; F. BLASS A. DEBRUNNER, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL 1961) 77.
10 LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 35.
11 L. FINKELSTEIN, The Pharisees. The Sociological Background of Their Faith (Philadelphia 1962) I, 179; B.J. BAMBERGER, "The Sadducees and the Belief in Angels", JBL 82 (1963) 434; E. HAENCHEN, The Acts of the Apostles (Philadelphia 1971) 638, n. 4; LE MOYNE, Les Sadducens, 132; S. SANDMEL, Judaism and Christian Beginnings (New York 1978) 480, n. 53; DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 493; MEIER, Marginal Jew, III, 408.
12 LE MOYNE, Les Sadducens, 132; DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 493; LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 35.
13 When the Sadducees interrogate Jesus in Luke 20,27-40 (and parallels Matt 22,23-33; Mark 12,18-27), they did not protest his assertion that the resurrected dead would be like angels (Luke 20,36). Rather, they conceded that he had argued well. DAUBE ("On Acts 23", 496) records a Sadducee"s attack on R. Eliezar concerning the resurrection from the dead (Shab 152b). He inquires how it was possible for the witch of Endor (1 Sam 28,7-19) to conjure up the spirit of Samuel, when, according to the rabbi, the souls of the righteous are "treasured" beneath the Throne of Glory. Daube notes, "the Sadducean attack is not indescriminate, not directed against the Throne and its wonderful surroundings, justice, life, Ophanim, Angels of the Service, but specifically against assigning mortals a waiting room in that world" (496). His point is weakened because these heavenly beings, often associated with the Throne of Glory (Hag 12b; DeutR 1,10-11), are not mentioned in this encounter.
14 A. COHEN, Everyman"s Talmud. The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages (New York 1975) 52.
15 Ibid., 51-52.
16 BAMBERGER, "The Sadducees", 434.
17 A.J. SALDARINI, Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees in Palestinian Society (Grand Rapids, MI 2001) 300-304.
18 Ibid., 304.
19 BELL, New Testament World, 33; BRUCE, Acts, 412; L.T. JOHNSON, The Acts of the Apostles (Sacra Pagina 5; Collegeville, MN 1992) 398. The Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Dead Sea Scrolls, serve as witness to an increased interest with angels. According to Josephus, the Essenes even preserved "the names of the angels" (BJ 2.142).
20 Meier finds intimations in the Torah and Prophets of "a this-worldly eschatology centered on the Davidic king and/or the Jerusalem temple on Mt. Zion" that may have been endorsed by the Sadducees (Marginal Jew, III, 407). Cf. SALDARINI, "They wish to retain the status quo and keep the focus on the nation (and potential kingdom) of Israel in this world, not the next" (Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees, 300).
21 For an evaluation of this position and a list of those holding this view, see MEIER, Marginal Jew, III, 406; 465, n. 68. Apocalyptic ideas, which could have had revolutionary implications, probably would have been avoided by the governing class. The Sadducees would have been interested keeping peace with Rome, which was necessary in order for them to retain their power and prosperity. See also SALDARINI, Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees, 304.
22 Cf. S. ZEITLIN, "The Sadducees and the Belief in Angels", JBL (1964) 69-70. MEIER proposed, but subsequently rejected this idea; Marginal Jew, III, 404. An exception is the angel of the Lord in Isa 37,36.
23 ZEITLIN, "The Sadducees", 70-71. Lachs dismisses Zeitlin"s argument because it is unlikely the Sadducees would have denied the existence of angels since they are in the Pentateuch ("Pharisees and Sadducees", 42, n. 30). However, Zeitlin does not say they denied the existence of angels, but the "functions of angels", which I take to mean their continued activity ("The Sadducees", 70-71).
24 ZEITLIN, "The Sadducees", 71.
25 This situation is comparable to Lachs critique of Finkelstein: "How can one speak of a denial of angels by the author of Esther when we do not even know his conception of God who is not mentioned in the book?" ("Pharisees and Sadducees", 42, n. 30).
26 The theory of Le Moyne is similar to this one with the exception that he believes that these two terms may refer to the state of man after death, whether resurrected or not (LE MOYNE Les Sadducens, 134, 135). In an attempt not to multiply theories, I have chosen to interact with Le Moyne"s views in the footnotes since it straddles Daube"s "intermediate state" theory and the "resurrection" theories of Lachs, Viviano, and Taylor.
27 DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 494-5; Hen(aeth) 22,3.7; 49,3; 103,3-4; Luke 24,36-43.
28 MEIER writes, "there is no Jewish or Christian text from the 1st century A.D. that clearly equates "spirit" and "angel" in the sense of a human being"s postmortem, interim mode of existence before the resurrection" (A Marginal Jew, III, 408).
29 Viviano and Taylor make this point concerning one of Daube"s examples (Matt 22,30 and parallels, "Sadducees", 497), but it is true of all of the latter"s examples (Matt 22,30; Mark 12,25; Luke 20,36; Hen(aeth) 104,4-6; ApcBar(syr) 51,; DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 494.
30 Ibid., 494.
31 Other texts, not mentioned by Daube, also note the similarity of the righteous to angels or stars at the resurrection (LAB 33.5) or at the point when the immortal soul discards the body (Philo, Sacr. 5). The later view is more in line with Daube"s theory, in that it describes a disembodied state (a)sw/matoi), but is not identical to it since there is no interim state. For Philo, the disembodied state is the final state (Philo, Quis Rerum 276).
32 DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 496. LE MOYNE says that "angel" here "est en quelque sorte le double immortel de l"homme" (Les Sadducens, 13).
33 VIVIANO TAYLOR, "Sadducees", 497; MEIER, Marginal Jew, III, 408-9.
34 This is also a shortcoming of Le Moyne"s theory.
35 LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 38. He suggests there were three views of afterlife current in Second Temple Judaism: resurrection of the physical body, resurrection in a spiritual body, and resurrection as a pure spirit, 36-37.
36 LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 35-36. All but the second and fifth of these had been pondered earlier by LE MOYNE, Les Sadducens, 131-134.
37 HAENCHEN, Acts, 639; M.L. SOARDS, The Speeches in Acts. Their Content, Context, and Concerns (Louisville, KY 1994) 116.
38 BRUCE, Acts, 412.
39 M. ZERWICK, Biblical Greek (Rome 1963) 51.
40 See BAMBERGER, "The Sadducees", 435. LE MOYNE noted the relationship in terminology between Acts 23,8 and 23,9, but did not comment on the problem posed by his own theory, in which a person might have been raised (according to one interpretation), by having a Pharisee entertain the notion of Jesus" resurrection, Les Sadducens, 132.
41 One might object that Paul"s call has not been mentioned in his speech to the Council. However, the scribes" statement in 23,9 assumes that the Council has a basic knowledge of the Damascus experience (BRUCE, Acts, 412; HAENCHEN, Acts, 638-639; DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 495; SOARDS, Speeches, 116).
42Daube is correct concerning the Pharisees" response to Paul"s experiences, "They cannot fall in with his interpretation of them the risen Savior. But they do admit the possibility of a visit sponsored by God in order to transmit advice" ("On Acts 23", 495). So JOHNSON, "The Pharisaic willingness to recognize some sort of transcendental experience (that they can fit within their categories and at the same time use against the Sadducees) works to Paul"s purpose, but also falls short of recognizing the key point, which is the reality of the resurrection in Paul"s experience of Jesus as Lord" (Acts, 399). J. MURPHY-O-CONNER writes, "The resurrection was the sign that validated the mission of Jesus and guaranteed his teaching. No Christian could avoid speaking of it and, once heard, it would rankle in the memory of a Pharisee"; Paul. A Critical Life (New York 1997) 77.
43 Acts 24,15. The Pharisaic belief in the resurrection as an eschatological event is confirmed by extra-biblical sources as well. Josephus records that this group believed that the souls of the righteous would receive "passage to a new life" (Ant.18.14). In his speech at Jotapata, Josephus states his conviction that "their souls, remaining spotless and obedient, are allotted the most holy place in heaven, whence in the revolution of the ages, they return to find in chaste bodies a new habitation" (BJ 3.374-375). Elsewhere, he states that "....God has granted a renewed existence and in the revolution of ages the gift of a better life" (Ap. 218). Viviano and Taylor suggest that the Myth of Er (Plato, Republic, 10.614-621) is analogous to Josephus" views ("Sadducees", 498). Yet, the only similarities are that the soul passes into another body and that the soul is immortal. The end results are different, for in Plato, several reincarnations are required of the soul prior to final disembodiment, whereas in Josephus, the immortal soul passes to one body at the revolution of the ages (i.e., the end of the age).
44 Luke 20,27-40; Acts 4,2.
45 M.J. HARRIS, From Grave to Glory. Resurrection in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI 1990) 286; WRIGHT, The Challenge of Jesus, 137; Dan 12,1-4.13; John 11,24; 1 Thess 4,16-17; LAB 3.10; Sib 4.171-190; ApcBar(syr) 42,7; 48,47; 49,2; 50,4; 51,1; TestJob 4,9; RHSh 16b-17a.
46 In all fairness, Viviano and Taylor do mention the possibility of combined belief in the immortality of the soul with the resurrection of the body. However, they favor the view that Acts 23,8 refers to either resurrection or immortality of the spirit without a body (VIVIANO TAYLOR, "Sadducees", 497, n. 6; 498).
47 Ibid., 498.
48 LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 36.
49 WRIGHT, The Challenge of Jesus, 134.
50 A.-M. DUBARLE, "Belief in Immortality in the Old Testament and Judaism", Immortality and Resurrection (ed. P. BENOIT R. MURPHY) (New York 1970) 34, 40-45; G. VERMES, The Dead Sea Scrolls. Qumran in Perspective (Philadelphia, PA 1985) 187; W.D. DAVIES, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism (Mifflintown, PA 1998) 298-303; HARRIS, From Grave to Glory, 45, 69-79; E.P. SANDERS, Judaism. Practice and Belief 63 BCE -66 CE, (Valley Forge, PA 1992) 298-303; N. GILLMAN, The Death of Death. Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought (Woodstock, VT 1997) 83; R. BAUCKHAM, "Life, Death, and the Afterlife in Second Temple Judaism", Life in the Face of Death. The Resurrection Message of the New Testament (ed. R.N. LONGENECKER) (Grand Rapids, MI 1998) 86-90; WRIGHT, The Challenge of Jesus, 133-134.
51 H.A. WOLFSON, "Immortality and Resurrection in the Philosophy of the Church Fathers", Immortality and Resurrection (ed. K. STENDAHL) (New York 1965) 61.
52 Quotation taken from O. CULLMANN, "Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead", Immortality and Resurrection, 46.
53 Quotation taken from WOLFSON, "Immortality", 51.
54 A. OEPKE concludes that, with the exception of the transmigration of souls, the Greeks spoke of resurrection in two ways: 1) resurrection from the dead did not occur (e.g. Homer, Illiad 21.56; Herodotus, Hist. 3.62; Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1360; Eumenides 648; Sophocles, Electra 137); and 2) resurrection could take place as an isolated miracle (e.g. Plato, Symposium 179c). But, "the idea of the general resurrection at the end of the age is alien to the Greeks"; "a)ni/sthmi, e)cani/sthmi, a)na/stasij, e)cana/stasij", TDNT I, 369.
55 HARRIS, From Grave to Glory, 76.
56 LACHS, "Pharisees and Sadducees", 40, n. 13 and 14; VIVIANO TAYLOR, "Sadducees", 497.
57 VIVIANO TAYLOR, "Sadducees", 497. Ironically, the Myth of the Charioteer in Plato"s Phaedo (146-250) is suggested as a possible influence on the belief in spirit resurrection among the Pharisees. It clearly teaches the immortality of the soul, but does not use the terminology of resurrection. Instead, Plato speaks of the transmigration of the soul, which after a period of several incarnations, finds its final release from the body.
58 The latter view is suggested by its proximity to Hen(aeth) 104,1, which seems to imply an angelic, bodily form of resurrection (note the allusion to Dan 12,3, "shall shine like the lights of heaven"; cf. Hen(aeth) 22,1-13; 25,6).
59 LAB 64.5; Josephus, Ant. 6.329; cf. The Epic of Gilgamesh VI, 97-100 and Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World 17-20. For the last two texts see ANET I, 40-75; 80-85.
60 As we have seen, Daube"s theory faltered because he failed to demonstrate that "angel" and "spirit" were synonyms. The theories of Lachs and Viviano likewise faltered because the "angel" and "spirit" resurrection bodies made no sense as an affirmation of the Pharisees in the context of Acts 23,9. The view that the Sadducees denied the belief in angels and spirits altogether seems implausible because the Torah, which the group accepted, was filled with such beings.
61 S. MASON, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees. A Composition-Critical Study (SPB 39; Leiden 1991) 136.
62 J. BLENKINSOPP, "Prophecy and Priesthood in Josephus", JJS 25 (1974) 239-262.
63 All quotations from the Dead Sea Scrolls are taken from G. VERMES, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (New York 1995).
64 E.P. SANDERS, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia 1987) 258-9.
65 For the relationship between the terms "fate", "destiny", and "providence" in Josephus, see BLENKINSOPP, "Prophecy", 249, n. 41.
66 See BJ 3.391, where Josephus closely associates "fortune" (tu/xh) and "providence" (pro/noia).
67 BLENKINSOPP, "Prophecy", 250.
68 This quotation is taken from COHEN, Everyman"s Talmud, 93.
69 This mixture of predestination and free will resembles Josephus" description of the Pharisees; ibid.; cf. also hnwtn tw#$rhw ywpc lkh, Av 3.19.
70 Several of the Post-Apostolic Fathers believed angels were deeply involved in the government of the universe (Justin, 2 Apology 5; Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians 24; Origen, Against Celsus 7.68; 8.31). See G.A. BOYD, Satan and the Problem of Evil (Downers Grove, IL 2001) 39-49.
71 Josephus, the Pharisee, accepts that the witch of Endor brought back the soul (yuxh/) of Samuel from Hades and gave a message to Saul (Ant. 6.332). In San. 102b, the spirit of Manasseh spoke to R. Ashi in a dream. In later rabbinic material, the soul of the dead might hover round the tomb for three days (LevR 18,1; cf. John 11,17.39) or the soul of the dead might ascend and descend for as much as a year after death, as is argued here for the soul of Samuel, DAUBE, "On Acts 23", 496. In the gospels, when the disciples see Jesus walking on the sea they thought he was a "ghost" (fa/ntasma; Matt 14,26). When they first encountered the resurrected Jesus, they thought they were seeing a "spirit" (pneu=ma; Luke 24,37.39).
72 T.W. MANSON writes, "What they rejected was the developed doctrine of the two kingdoms with their hierarchies of good and evil spirits", The Servant-Messiah (Cambridge 1953) 17, n. 3. Cf. Eph 2,2; 6,12; 1QM 10.11-12; Sib 4,11; 12,14.81-85; Jub 2,23; Hen(aeth) 18-19, 25-28.
73 G.G. STROUMSA, "Le Couple de l"ange et de l"esprit: traditions juives et chrtiennes", RB 88 (1981) 42-61; SOARDS, Speeches, 116.
74 For a!gion see Luke 1,; 2,25-26; 3,16.22; 4,1; 10,21; 11,13; 12,10.12; Acts 1,2.8.16; 2,4.33.38; 4,8.25.31; 5,3.32; 6,5; 7,51.55; 8,15.17.19; 9,17.31; 10,; 11,15.16.24; 13,; 15,8.28.29; 16,6; 19,2.6; 20,23.28; 21,11; 28,25. For mou see Luke 1,47; Acts 2,17.18; 7,59. For kuri/ou see Luke 4,18; Acts 5,9; 8,39. For )Ihsou= see Acts 16,7.
75 E.g., Luke 1,17.80; 2,27; 4,1.14; Acts 1,5; 2,4; 6,3.10; 11,12.28; 20,22.
76 Acts 28,9. The scribes of the Pharisees say, "perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him". The action of this spirit/angel focuses not on its "appearing" but on its "speaking" or communicating. This is reinforced by the dominant role of the "voice" in Acts 22,
77 D. AUNE, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids, MI 1991) 97-99.
78 JOHNSON, Acts, 391.
79 MOORE writes that Josephus "used ei(marme/nh for what we might call the decrees of God"; Judaism, 458.
80 As a point of reference, Josephus seems to have allowed for heavenly communications (most likely the lw$q  tb) in post-biblical times (Ant. 13.282; BJ 6.299. 301). Bruce thinks that the Damascus experience resembled an encounter with the lw$q  tb in some regards. F.F. BRUCE, The Book of Acts (Grand Rapids, MI 1986) 195.