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Scholars generally agree that Moses and Elijah appear at the Transfiguration because they are connected to each other in some way, and that this connection informs the significance of the story as a whole. However, there is no consensus regarding how Moses and Elijah are related, and consequently there is significant disagreement about how their presence contributes to the Transfiguration. The present study, which focuses on Mark's account (Mark 9.2–8), argues that Moses and Elijah appear together because they received similar theophanies at Mount Sinai and, as a result, the Transfiguration should be read as a mountaintop theophany in which Jesus constitutes the personal presence of Israel's God.
By portraying Jesus both as a son of David through Joseph and as virginally conceived, Matthew and Luke suggest that Joseph adopted Jesus into the Davidic line. Most modern interpreters assume that Joseph adopted Jesus through some Jewish law or custom. However, Yigal Levin has argued that adoption did not exist in Judaism and therefore the First and Third Evangelists must have appealed to Roman law (implying a gentile provenance for Matthew and Luke). This article reviews and critiques Levin's study and argues that early Jews did have a concept and practice of adoption and therefore an appeal to Roman law is unnecessary.
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