R. Gnuse, «The Temple Theophanies of Jaddus, Hyrcanus, and Zechariah», Vol. 79 (1998) 457-472
A close reading of three accounts concerning theophanies experienced in the Temple (Ant 11,326-328, Ant 13,282-283, and Luke 1,5-23) implies that all three narratives share a common narrative format. Though it does not necessarily indicate that Luke used Josephus writings, this similarity suggests that both authors may have drawn upon a common format. Use of this format and specific variations added to it by Luke reflect significant theological themes imparted to the narrative by Luke, especially in regard to the identities of John the Baptist and Jesus.
combine prayer and sacrifice to assure that divine reassurance would come from God, and in Luke 1,10 people pray outside the temple because it was to be done at the incense hour. The shorter narrative concerning Hyrcanus makes no reference to such activity.
Entrance into the temple
Jaddus and Hyrcanus enter the temple because they are high priests (Ant 11,326; 13,282), whereas Zechariah enters the temple because it is his turn to perform services (Luke 1,8). One senses a certain artificiality in the Lukan narrative, as a reason must be provided for Zechariahs presence in the temple, especially since he is not the high priest and otherwise an obscure (if not fictional) personage. In addition, Zechariah is alone in the temple, whereas the rabbinic tradition (Mish Tam 7,2) indicates that there should have been an assisting priest. 6 One suspects Lukan fictional narrative technique has produced an isolated Zechariah ready to receive a theophany. Interestingly, Zechariah enters the temple at the time of incense burning, which reminds us of the reference to Hyrcanus burning incense once he was in the temple (Ant 13,282).
Once inside the temple all the men experience a theophany. Jaddus receives a message in a dream revelation (Ant 11,327), Hyrcanus hears a voice which Josephus earlier identifies as God (Ant 13,282), and Zechariah has an "angel of the Lord" appear before him. It is possible to argue that Jaddus may have had his dream theophany outside the temple; the text is vague and rather terse. However, since there is no reference to his leaving the temple after the sacrifice and before the reception of the dream, it would seem logical to infer that the dream was experienced in the temple.
Though the experiences appear to be different from each other, there are commonalities. Sometimes in the dream reports recorded in Genesis (Gen 31,11), as well as in the Matthean Infancy Narratives (Matt 1,20, 2,13.19), the "angel of the Lord" or the "angel of God" appears in dreams. The expression is a circumlocution for God which reflects Jewish piety in the desire not to speak of God directly when involved in a revelatory experience to people. Whereas in the Matthean Infancy Narratives God or the "angel of Lord"