Baraquiel the Grigori

Concept: “Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?” (Vengeance)

“Quiet, everyone, I’ve never had one of my classes kicked out of Woodruff, and I don’t want you to be the first. This is Theology 101, and we’re very lucky this semester that the library has an exciting bit of apocrypha on loan from the owners. How many people know what apocrypha is? Yes, young lady with the braid?”

“Alice, ma’am. Books that could be part of the Bible but aren’t?”

“Close enough. That’s one of the first things we’ll talk about in the class: all of the holy books we have today are a collection of translated stories and histories often assembled by people with an editorial intent. There are dozens of stories that could have been part of the Bible but weren’t included. Some of them were clearly written after the fact by unrelated authors; you wouldn’t put them in the Bible any more than I would include your Hobbit fan fiction in the next printing of Lord of the Rings. But some of them have a bit more historical argument that they could be valid. But they weren’t included. Why? Yes, young man in the back?”

“Because the editors of the Bible had their decisions guided by God.”

“That is one of the common arguments, yes. I can tell you’re going to be a big talker in the second half of this semester when we start contrasting Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam. Others would argue that the people in charge had a very deliberate political agenda in their choices. My friend, Professor McKinley, likes to spend a lot of time on the Mary Magdalene apocrypha in her Feminism courses. Anyway, that brings us to this particular document, the Galilee Codex. Does anyone know what it is? Yes, young lady in the red shirt?”

“Isn’t it supposed to be a conversation between Jesus and Cain?”

“That’s right. Its exclusion from the Bible is potentially a mixture of provenance and politics. For one, we can’t really prove that it is even from the right time period, though the Aramaic used is apparently accurate. The politics are more interesting. The modern Catholic church likes to leave itself some room on taking Genesis literally, but tends to say that the New Testament is pure fact. Adding a book to the New Testament that has the potentially thousands of years old son of Adam and Eve talking to Christ would make that a much thornier road to walk. Yes, boy with the Braves cap?”

“But he’s not the son of Adam.”

“Excellent! Someone did the reading. Yes, that’s one of the most interesting things about the passage. Scholars are still debating the translation, but the document sets up a contrast between Jesus being the son of Mary and God with Cain being the son of Eve and an angel, as a way for Cain to build a rapport with Jesus. Specifically, a fairly obscure angel named Baraquiel. This would make Cain one of the Nephilim, and I’ll leave it to you all to look that up if you’re interested. But, more importantly, it gets me back to politics: none of the modern Judeo-Christian religions are particularly interested in adding a chapter to Genesis where, right after leaving the Garden, Eve gets seduced by a fallen angel and then Adam hooks back up with his ex-wife, Lilith, as payback. It complicates the narrative and raises too many questions without answers. For next class, I want all of you to read the translation of the Galilee Codex and write a five paragraph essay supporting that the passage wasn’t included due to it not being provably true or because it wasn’t good for politics. Or both, but be careful you don’t half-support both ideas. See everyone on Friday back in the classroom.”

Connections:

Baraquiel the Grigori

Children of the 80s samhaine