From Jared to Jacob:
Matthew L. Bowen and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
The Motif of Divine Ascensus and Descensus in Genesis, the Book of Moses, and the Enochic Tradition
The 2022 Temple on Mount Zion Conference
Saturday, November 5, 2022
Sponsored by The Interpreter Foundation, BYU College of Humanities, and BYU Religious Education
In this paper, we will endeavor to show the temple significance of several descensus scenes—scenes in which divine beings “descend” or “come down” out heaven for various purposes. These scenes are frequently tied to name of Enoch’s father, Jared. In the book of Moses, the mention of the name Jared (“God shall descend” or “God has descended,” from the Semitic root wrd/yrd) as the name of a righteous father who “taught” his son Enoch (“initiated”) “in all the ways of God,” functions as a narrative signal. It initiates a Hebraistic wordplay on the name Jared in Moses 6:24-27: “And it came to pass that all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years … And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven.” Enoch’s experience and the wordplay on Jared links to Enoch’s subsequent teaching on Adam who “was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65-66).
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