Download Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses by Martha Himmelfarb PDF

By Martha Himmelfarb

It is a examine of the traditional Jewish and Christian apocalypses related to ascent into heaven, that have got little scholarly realization compared to apocalypses involved basically with the top of the area. fresh advancements just like the e-book of the Aramaic Enoch fragments from Qumran and curiosity in questions of style within the research of the apocalypses make this a very acceptable time to adopt this learn. Martha Himmelfarb locations the apocalypses relating to either their biblical antecedents and their context within the Greco-Roman international. Her research emphasizes the emergence of the knowledge of heaven as temple within the e-book of the Watchers, the earliest of those apocalypses, and how during which this knowing impacts the depiction of the end result of ascent, the hero's fulfillment of a spot one of the angels, within the ascent apocalypses more often than not. It additionally considers where of secrets and techniques of nature and primeval heritage in those works. eventually, it bargains an interpretation of the pseudepigraphy of the apocalypses and their function.

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This correspondence is not maintained, however. To match the earthly temple's three chambers, we would expect the heavenly temple to be made up of three heavens. But in the Testament of Levi it is the four upper heavens that serve as temple. Of course, loose correspondence to the earthly temple is the rule in depictions of the heavenly temple. 18 The three lower heavens with their connection to the day of judgment provide a link between the ascent and the predictions of eschatological judgment that play so large a role in the later part of the Testament.

91 Like the biblical prophets Enoch participates in the proceedings of the heavenly council, although with a priestly overlay to this prophetic activity since heaven is a temple. The claims made for Enoch in the Book of the Watchers are powerful indeed. He is a human being who mediates between angels and angels and then between God and angels. He ascends to the heavenly temple, passes through the court to the sanctuary, and looks in to the holy of holies. The God enthroned within speaks to Enoch "with his own mouth" (14:24).

But Enoch's title is not simply scribe, as Enoch refers to himself (12:3). 76 The history of Judaism in the Second Temple period is often written as the tale of tension between two types of religious leaders, priests and scribes. Priestly leadership represents a certain continuity with the preexilic period; the institution of the temple bridges the two periods. But it also represents a change, for the power of priests before the destruction was limited to their own arena, the cult, while in the period of the return the high priest emerges as the political head of the Jewish community in Palestine in relation to its imperial rulers.

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