Alexander Golitzin

Making the Inside like the Outside: Toward a Monastic Sitz im Leben for the Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel

Contribution to a Festschrift, edited by Monica Blanchard and Robin Darling Young for Catholic University of America Press, forthcoming 2003

1. Introduction

Just over a year and a half ago as I write, Professor Matthias Henze of Rice University published an edition with text, translation, annotations, and introduction of a Syrian Christian pseudepigraphon, which he entitled the Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel, and which for convenience I will refer to henceforth as the SAD [1]. The document is preserved in a single manuscript, Harvard MS Syr 42, where it is placed toward the very end of a collection of ascetical literature dominated by a fairly complete assembly of the works of John of Dalyatha (eighth century), and including brief selections from John bar Penkaye, Evagrius Ponticus, Basil the Great, Philoxenus of Mabbug, John Chrysostom, and the monks Gregory (of Cyprus?) and Simon (the Graceful?) [2]. Ostensibly quite unlike the materials which precede it, the SAD claims to offer its readers additional information about the life and prophecies of the biblical Daniel from the prophet's own hand. Its first thirteen chapters, all in the first-person singular, combine narrative based on the canonical book and focusing on the prophet's adventures in the court of Babylon, with legendary materials which describe his further experiences with the Persian emperors and which, among other things, display a lively interest in the fate of the cult objects and priestly vestments attached to the service of Solomon's Temple, together with that king's wonderful throne [3]. The last two thirds of the book, chapters 14 to 40, present a single, unbroken vision of the last things, which culminates first in the appearance of Antichrist (chapters 21-24), and then in the manifestation of God in Zion (25-29), the enthronement of Christ on the Temple mount (30-33), followed by the resurrection, last judgement, and entry of the righteous into the heavenly Jerusalem (34-39), and concluding with the messianic banquet (40) [4].

Professor Henze's learned introduction and notes deal at some length -- and chiefly -- with the similarities to, and possible dependence of the SAD on, other works of apocalyptic literature from the late Second Temple era well into the centuries after Christ [5]. His discussion here, together with the many parallels or affinities he indicates between this literature and the SAD, serve to set the latter firmly in the genre of apocalypse. More specifically, it is an "historical apocalypse" [6]. According to the categories established just over twenty years ago by John Collins and others in Collins' landmark edition of Semeia, this is a sub-genre of apocalypse which does not focus primarily on an ascent to heaven, in the way of such pre-Christian and later, rabbinic-era apocalypses as I and 3 Enoch, or of such Christian exemplars as The Martyrdom and Ascent of Isaiah, nor does it feature a heavenly ascent as part of the narrative, as in the canonical books of Daniel and Revelation, but instead, like the pseudepigraphical 4 Ezra and 2 (Syriac) Baruch, concentrates exclusively on the end times, in particular on the ultimate manifestation of God that will usher in the eternal reign of heaven [7].

At this point, however, Henze arrives at a couple of curious details about the SAD. If we allow (and I have no reason to contest) his dating of the work to the seventh century A.D., and his argument for placing it in a West Syrian, Melkite milieu, then we are first of all confronted with the very odd phenomenon of an "historical apocalypse" which displays little or no interest at all in the actual events unfolding outside the author's doors. Unlike, for example, the background of struggle with Antiochus IV Epiphanes reflected in Daniel, or the usual -- though not uncontested -- setting of the Revelation of John against the persecutions of Domitian, or IV Ezra's and 2 Baruch's obvious concern with the aftermath of the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, nothing of the epochal shifts and attendant catastrophes of the seventh century are reflected in the SAD's concluding twenty-seven chapters devoted to the vision of the last things [8]. Yet those shifts and catastrophes were spectacular, indeed, whether the massive and devastating invasion of Sassanid Persia early in the century, or the ensuing, decades-long war of recovery pursued by the armies of the Emperor Heraclius, or the sudden and triumphant irruption out of Arabia of the hosts of the Prophet. This absence is all the more striking when compared with at least one contemporary work, the apocalypse and Reichseschatologie of the Pseudo Methodius, which reads these same events, especially the rise and lightning conquests of Islam, as indications of the last days [9]. Second, and I think relatedly, there is Professor Henze's puzzlement regarding the issue of theodicy in the SAD or, more precisely, its status as a non-question. The last judgement, he observes, is reduced "to a single line", while the work overall appears not to be concerned "about who is to be found guilty, let alone...their future fate" [10]. There are no fiery lakes of perdition, no chasms, no dividing into sheep and goats, no lengthy condemnations, and no catalogue of punishments whatever.

While Henze merely notes these oddities and modestly refrains from attempting an explanation, I should like to be a little more daring. In what follows, I venture the suggestion that what he finds puzzling about this composition would become much less so if one were to assume that the Sitz im Leben of the SAD is the monastery. I think that its author is a monk, and that he is paraphrasing the canonical Daniel, who himself was also traditionally an ascetic [11], in order to remind his fellow monks of the meaning of their vows, to encourage them to hold fast to their calling, and to counsel them about the nature -- and dangers -- of spiritual experience.

2. Heavenly Fire as Cool Water: An Interiorized Theodicy

To begin with the two issues I singled out just above, the lack of history in this "historical apocalypse" and the absence of theodicy, the apparent dissonance signaled by Henze is greatly reduced if we presume a monastic setting. To be sure, there were (and still are) Eastern Christian monks who sought to link the "signs of the times" with the biblical imagery of the "end of days", but the great, perhaps we might say the classical monastic literature of the fourth century and afterwards is quite different. In the works of such Egyptian Desert Fathers as, for example, the Letters of Anthony or the oeuvre of Evagrius Ponticus, on the one hand, or, on the other hand, in the fourth-century Syrian ascetical writings of Aphrahat of Persia, Ephrem Syrus, or the anonymous authors of the Liber Graduum and Macarian Homilies, one finds very little concern with philosophical-cum-theological questions of divine justice in the abstract, and no effort whatever to "connect the dots" of current events with the endtimes [12]. I can in fact think offhand of no examples of the latter in fourth-century ascetical writers, and next to none in the centuries following. Theodicy on the macrocosmic scale, so far as it is dealt with at all, and then usually in apologetic works directed to and drawing on the pagan philosophers, is a matter largely reserved for the preaching and occasional treatises of bishops and philosopher-theologians [13]. Monks, on the other hand, are focused on the affairs of the inner man, where the history of Israel and the salvation offered in the Church through Christ are to be discovered at the microcosmic level of the soul [14]. The civic piety which concerns itself with the sorrows of the world and the latter's affairs is neither really characteristic of apocalyptic literature itself, nor, a fortiori, of the monks. "Tell me", asks the hero of Jerome's admittedly romantic Vita of St. Anthony's legendary predecessor, "how fares the human race?...Whose empire is it now that sways the world?" [15]. Given the fierce concentration on inward matters pursued inside the hermit's cell or within the monastery enclosure, the macrocosmic motifs and foci of apocalyptic literature undergo a shift to the microcosm that produces the oddities which Dr. Henze wonders about.

This is not to say, however, that properly monastic literature is not eschatological in its orientation. To the contrary, meditation on the last things continues to be of direct relevance to, and at the very center of, classically monastic reflection. The great East Syrian hermit, Isaac of Nineveh, who died very old around 700 A.D.[16], and whom I single out here because he was thus roughly a contemporary of the SAD, sums up the voice of prior generations of monks when he writes:

The beginning of the renewal of the inner person meditation and

constant reflection on the things to come. By this means the person is little

by little purified of customary distraction by earthly things...Similarly, inasmuch

as bodily thoughts...diminish in the mind, accordingly reflection on things

heavenly, and the gazing on things to come, increasingly spring up in the soul.

Delight in the ministry [teshmeshta] of these things overcomes and proves stronger

than the pleasure of bodily thoughts. [17]

One of the things Isaac is getting at in this passage, which in concert with his predecessors he dwells on frequently, is the process of an increasing, interior conformity to the world to come -- the "new world", as he puts it often -- which is to discover its confirmation and final expression in the eschatological transformation of the risen body [18]. I shall shortly come back to that note, and to what I take to be its relation to the theophanies and resurrection account in the SAD, but for now let me add a slight qualifier to Professor Henze's remarks on the last judgement, a qualification which I believe is directly relevant to this matter of the inside coming ultimately to match the outside. While he is correct that the picture of, and the term, "judgement", is limited to the one line he quotes in chapter 38, there is in fact a judgement which takes place a few lines later in chapter 39. The New Jerusalem is pictured as surrounded and guarded by divine "fire" and "sparks of flame". The righteous will pass through this barrier without difficulty:

They will enter through her fiery walls,

and on the sparks of fire they will set their feet.

The fire will turn to dew under their feet,

and the fiery sparks will become holy water. [19]

The fire which is felt as dew recalls first of all the episode of the three youths in the canonical book of Daniel. The flames of the furnace into which they are cast, according to the expanded version of the LXX, become a "moist wind" [20]. Secondly, the association particularly of the baptismal waters with divine fire is long-established in Syrian Christianity, going back to "an ancient tradition that the Jordan went up in flames at Christ's own baptism" [21] -- thus perhaps the "holy water" (mayye qaddishe) of the SAD which supports the chariot throne in God's ultimate manifestation? [22] -- and the notes of holy fire mingling with the waters of the font and, indeed, of the three youths in the furnace, show up prominently in, among other places, the Epiphany Hymns ascribed to Ephrem Syrus, which celebrate both the sacrament and, significantly enough, ascetical vows [23]. Thirdly, and somewhat in anticipation of what I shall have to say below about both the dangers of visionary experience and the matter of inner transformation, we might recall the angels' daily immersions in the fiery river flowing from the divine throne which feature in, for example, the rabbinic-era composition, Sefer Hekhalot or 3 Enoch [24]. This example is perhaps particularly apposite, given the traditional identification of the monastic calling with the "angelic life", or, indeed, the belief, common to both Jewish merkavah mystics and Christian monks, that those specially favored may on occasion (albeit briefly) be transformed and so become like the angels, creatures of heavenly flame -- a temporary angelomorphism that, as here in SAD 39, will be made permanent at the eschaton. Thus R. Akiba at one point in the hekhalot literature testifies to the merkavah adept as one "who walks through rivers of fire", and in another passage is himself described as ascending to heaven "on a chariot of fire". The following anecdote from the alphabetical collection of the Apophthegmata Patrum illustrates the same conviction:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, 'Abba, as far as I can I say my little office,

I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts.

What more can I do?' Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven.

His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, 'If you will, you can become

all flame.' [25]

For the unrighteous, on the other hand, the celestial city's walls remain impenetrable. They "cannot enter the fiery gate", and "gnash their teeth outside", for "the uncircumcised and unclean will not enter into her" [26]. They are "unclean" and "uncircumcised" because, we may assume, they have not been transformed from within, and in consequence the heavenly fire remains fire. For them, it burns, and, rather ominously, we hear no more about them.

While chapter 39 thus clearly indicates a condemnation of sorts, it is not one which is imposed so-to-speak from outside onto the sufferers. Christ, the eschatological judge, does not condemn them. Rather, the same heavenly flame which burns them is experienced as "dew" and "holy water" by the righteous. Again, this is quite in accord with Isaac of Nineveh, for whom it is the same divine love which is at once the delectation of the saved and the bitter scourge of the condemned. As he puts it:

[That] given to all. But the power of love works in two ways: it torments sinners, even as happens here when a friend suffers from a friend; but it becomes a source of joy for

those who have observed its duties. Thus I say that this is the torment of gehenna: bitter regret.

But love inebriates the souls of the sons of heaven by its delectability. [27]

In the words of John Climachus, a monastic contemporary of both Isaac and the SAD from the Greek-speaking side of the Fertile Crescent, one and the same divine fire "is that which consumes and that which illumines" [28]. The final judgement is simply the revelation of what one has oneself already become. It declares or makes manifest one's measure of inward conformity to the transfigured body, and so to the attendant circumstances of the new creation. Thus, as Isaac warns elsewhere:

Woe to that monk who has proven false to his vow [qyameh], who, trampling upon his conscience, stretches forth his hand to the devil!...With what countenance will he meet

the judge when his companions who have obtained purity will greet one another? For he

had parted ways with them and walked the paths of perdition...just as he has separated his

path from theirs, so Christ will separate him from them in that day when the shining cloud will bear upon its back their bodies made resplendent by purity and carry them through the gates of heaven.[29]

Note that again, just as in the SAD, the mark of judgement is who will -- or better, who can -- enter the gates of the city. While it is Christ who appears to be doing the separating in this passage, He does so only because the monk has already separated himself. The Lord's judgement is merely the confirmation of this separation, or, put more exactly, its revelation.

3. Resembling the Kingdom of Heaven Within as Fidelity to the Qyama

Another and, I think, more obvious and important link between the SAD and Eastern Christian, especially Syrian monasticism lies in the word that Isaac uses above for "vow". Qyama is usually translated as "covenant", and is a terminus technicus in Syrian Christian asceticism from at least as early as Aphrahat of Persia in the 330's, although the latter addresses the "sons" and "daughters of the covenant" (bnai/bat qyama) as an already long-established institution. The "covenanters" of the Syro-Mesopotamian church have been at the center of a modest scholarly industry for the better part of a hundred years, from Burkitt and Conolly at the turn of the 20th century, to Arthur Vööbus, Robert Murray, Sebastian Brock in the 1960's through the 80's, and most recently Sidney Griffith during the past decade [30]. In addition to "covenant", Griffith points to two additional resonances in the term, qyama, both of which have a certain relevance to, on the one hand, the ascetical life as understood by the Syrian Church, and, on the other, the subject matter of the SAD [31]. The radical, qwm, means "stand", and is in turn the root of the word for "resurrection", qyamta. Bnai qyama has thus at least an echo of the meaning, "sons of the resurrection", or, given our subject here, perhaps we might better say, "sons of the eschaton". A second resonance lies in the notion of "standing" itself. For the devout ear, this word suggested a fundamental characteristic of the angels, the ministering spirits who "stand" continually before the divine presence [32]. Thus we have in this single term echoes of the ascetical vows taken in the ancient Syrian church at Baptism (and linked still to the latter ever afterward), of "covenant" with God, of the eschaton, and of the angelic life. For Isaac, then, to be false to one's "vow" was also tantamount to betraying the resurrection and the "angelic life", and so to becoming estranged from the world to come.

I trouble so much with this one word because it appears at a crucial point in the SAD. Chapter 13 of the apocalypse marks the transition from Daniel's narrative of his life in Babylon and Persia to his long, uninterrupted vision of the last things which occupies the remaining two-thirds of the book. The chapter concludes with the prophet directing his readers to the vision about to be described:

Wondrous is the vision [temih hezwa] which will be revealed at the end of days

[d-netgleh b-shulam zabne]...The wise [hakkime] and those who keep the covenant

[natray qyama] will understand this book, and, at the end of ends, let them be moved [nezw'un] by it. [33]

Henze rightly notes this statement's parallels in older apocalypses, citing 4 Ezra and 2 (Syriac) Baruch, as well as the linkage between apocalyptic literature and the wisdom literature of Hellenistic Judaism and the Ancient Near East [34]. In view of our discussion on qyama, we may surely add the echoes of their own vocation and, more specifically, of their vows which Syrian monks would have heard in these lines. Likewise, monasticism's own ties to wisdom literature have just begun to come into scholarly prominence [35]. The term "sage", hakkima, is the word that Aphrahat chooses to use for the ascetic holy man in an exceptionally important, if seldom noted, passage on mystical experience and transformation [36]. In Greek Christian literature, we find monks referring to their teaching as the true wisdom, while the description of the Christian ascetic as exemplary of the "philosophical life" is in vogue from at least as early as Eusebius of Caesarea [37]. What is less noted in contemporary scholarship, and which I hope to bring out in my own work, are the -- to me -- obvious ties between the concerns, imagery, and hopes of monastic literature, on the one hand, and the apocalypses of the late Second Temple era and early Christianity, on the other hand. Here we might recall the simple fact that we owe nearly all the materials in, for example, Professor Charlesworth's two-volume set of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha to the interests of Christian copyists and readers [38]. I rather think that, from the fourth century on, many if not most of those copyists and readers were monks.

In addition to qyama and hakkima, there are four other terms in this passage which deserve our attention: "wonderous" (temih), "vision" (hezwa), reveal (gla), and "to move" or "to stir" (z'a). All four, with the last in its nominative form, zaw'a ("impulse", "stirring"), once again appear prominently and often in my seventh-century anchorite, Isaac, for whom they serve as termini technici for, respectively, mystical ecstasy (wonder, temha), spiritual vision, revelation (galyuta), and the "impulses" or "stirrings" of the "new world" within the devout contemplative [39]. Daniel's preface to his vision is thus virtually monastic code, though hardly a secret code. Any Syrian monk of the era who was at all versed in the literature of his vocation would have surely have recognized it immediately, and in fact he was meant to do so, since it is these monks whom I take to have been the "learned and select core" to whom the SAD was addressed [40].

The note of warning suggested at the end of chapter 13 becomes explicit three chapters later. At the end of chapter 16, after having described a number of the eschatological woes, the prophet asks:

Who will there be in those days of the aforementioned wise men [hakkime] and scribes

who will resemble the kingdom of heaven [ndmnh l-malkuta]? This kingdom will be

invisible to them!

Note here the use of dma, "to be like" or "to resemble". The sainted ascetic as an image of the Kingdom of God and restored humanity is another note that is long-established in the literature of Christian asceticism and later monasticism [41]. In the Syrian monastic context of the SAD, one arrives at this resemblance precisely through fidelity to the qyama. Not being faithful entails loss of the capacity even to perceive the world to come. Only those who resemble the Kingdom from within themselves, as a result of their fidelity, will be able to recognize the signs of its advent and ultimately, as we saw above, gain entry into it.

4. False Vision and Illusory Mystical Wonder: The Stature of Antichrist

Resemblances false and true are very much the subject of the rhetorical questions at the end of chapters 25 and 26 which herald God's eschatological epiphany: "who will there be on that day [b-yawma haw] to command, and who will be found...?" [42]. The questions, I think, function as additional warnings to the writer's monastic readers. They follow not only the final woes (chapter 25) and the initial terror of the divine advent (chapter 26), but also, just before in chapters 22-24, the apparition of the Antichrist. The latter's description in chapter 22, together with the mode of his arrival, merit quoting at length:

And these are his signs,

And the awe-inspiring vision of his stature [hezwa d-qawmteh]


[a list of physical characteristics follow for several lines, then:]

His figure [hezweh] is wrathful, stupendous [lit. "wondrous", temih].

The figure of his stature [hezwa d-qawmteh] is likewise stupendous [temih].

He will appear like lightning [a(i)k barqa] in the sky,

and like a lamp [lampida] in the camp.

With him [will be] fiery chariots [markabte d-nura] and war camps...

His stature [qawmteh] is great [rabba] and high [rawma]

and floats over the mountains [l'el men ture]

equal to the clouds in the sky...[lit. "with", am, the clouds, enane bashmaya] [43]

Henze correctly observes that many of the signs "are modeled closely on the signs preceding the Second Advent of Christ, obviously in an effort to trick the human observer into thinking that the Antichrist is Christ" [44]. I would like to add a few precisions that I think will lend greater force to his remarks. First, there are two terms I noted above, "vision" or "appearance" (hezwa), and "wondrous", "awesome", or even "ecstatic" (temih). Second, we find another set of terms: "like lightning", "lamp", "chariots of fire" (markabte d-nura), and finally "stature" or "height" (qawmta). The Antichrist is huge, overtopping mountains, touching the clouds, and his size is thus cause for -- mistaken -- religious ecstasy or awe. This mention of enormous bodies and fiery chariots, third, should also recall not only biblical and para-biblical theophanies (cf. Ezk 1:4-28, Ps 68:17, Isa 66:1, Dan 7:9; I Enoch 14:19-22), but as well the Jewish hekhalot texts of rabbinic-era mysticism, which also are on occasion concerned with true and false visions, together with the descriptions of the shi'ur qomah, the "measure of the extent" of the divine body, which often feature in this literature [45]. Qomah in Hebrew answers, of course, exactly to the Syriac word, qawmta, which appears fully three times in this passage, and I for one have to believe that the repetition is not accidental. I think rather that the coming of Antichrist is presented here specifically as a false merkavah vision, and his enormous body thus a deceptive imitation of the divine body, gazing on which was the goal of the hekhalot mystics' ascent to God's chariot-throne, the merkavah.

Visions true and false were also a concern of early Christian and later monastic literature. Regarding the matter of the divine body of Christ and its wonderous size, we can find suggestions as early as the New Testament, for example in "the body of his [Christ's] glory" to which the believer is be conformed in Phil. 3:21, or "the measure of the stature [metron t_s h_likias, the precise Greek equivalent of the Hebrew phrase, shi'ur qomah] of his fullness" in Eph. 4:13, together with the notes of the cosmic size of the Lord's body, combined often with suggestions of mystical vision, which occur in such early Christian works as the Gospel of Peter, the Odes of Solomon, the Acts of John, the Gospel of Phillip, and the late fourth-century Acts of Phillip (46). The same notes of ascent to heaven, converse with angels, and looking on the enthroned Glory which is Christ -- all of them, I believe, related to the currents of Jewish mysticism touched on above (save, of course, the identification of the Glory with Jesus) -- are far from uncommon in early monastic literature, either. One finds them thick on the ground, for example, in the turn of the fifth-century Historia Monachorum in Aegypto, and also appearing on at least one occasion even in the markedly sober Apophthegmata Patrum (47). As I have argued elsewhere, it is this archaic, Jewish-based mystical tradition which underlies the controversy around the Egyptian, monastic anthropomorphites in 399 A.D., whose dispute is echoed in many other places in the Christian world -- effectively, from Roman North Africa to Persian Mesopotamia -- at or around the same time (48).

That there was a controversy indicates that this archaic, mystical-cum-theological current among some early monks was opposed, and opposed successfully, in the name of that stress on interiority which I touched on above in connection with "inner theodicy". Arguably, the stress on transformation from within is quite as old as the other current, to the extent that the two can be distinguished sharply (they seem to me to overlap a bit in St. Paul), but for my puposes here it is enough to note that the opponents of mystical anthropomorphism prevailed. These monastic opponents, however, were in fact no less "mystical" themselves. For them, too, the notes of vision and of mystical wonder or ecstasy were of central importance, save that their emphasis lay on beholding "the blessed light of the Holy Trinity" from within the soul, to cite perhaps their most important and influential spokesman, Evagrius of Pontus (+399). The latter takes specific aim at "mystical anthropomorphism" in the following passage from his justly famous, and hugely influential little treatise, On Prayer:

When the intellect attains prayer that is pure and free from passion, the demons

attack no longer with sinister thoughts, but with thoughts of what is good. For

they suggest to it [i.e., the intellect] an illusion of the Glory of God in a form

pleasing to the senses, so as to make it think that it has realized the final aim of

prayer. [49]

Two features of this passage merit underlining. First, the vision of the Glory is assumed to be "the final aim of prayer". Evagrius shares this belief with his interlocutors. Second, however, to see that Glory in a form -- or "shape" (sch_matismos) -- that appeals to the physical senses is a sign not of the real thing, but of demonic delusion. This is exactly, I think, the message behind the "awe-inspiring" and "wondrous stature" of the Antichrist in the SAD, and the key to our apocalypse's so-to-speak "Evagrian take" on the false vision is, perhaps more than anything else, the emphasis it places on terms relating to the vision's appearance and form, most notably Antichrist's qawmta. We shall find quite another set of terms in play when we arrive at the true manifestation of God and Christ in the apocalypse's concluding section.

I claim an Evagrian connection for the SAD for a couple of reasons. Evagrius was first of all influential not only in his native Greek, but throughout the world of Eastern Christianity. He was translated into all of the Eastern Christian languages, and most completely into Syriac, in which his influence was huge. He is just as important for an Isaac of Nineveh as for such of the latter's Greek-speaking contemporaries as Maximus Confessor (+662) and John Climachus [50]. There is, secondly, an even more specific reason for my assertion, one which relates to the Lausiac History, a collection of monastic stories edited and published in the 420's by one of Evagrius' closest disciple, Bishop Palladius of Heliopolis [51]. In the early seventh century, Palladius' book was included in The Paradise of the Fathers, the Syriac translation by Ananisho of a number of early monastic sources [52]. This compendium might have been available to the author of the SAD. In fact, it is not difficult for me to imagine that he had it in front of him, chiefly because we find the account of a false merkavah vision in Ananisho's rendering of Palladius which is functionally identical to what we saw above in our apocalypse's handling of the advent of Antichrist.

The story is included as an example of the dangers of overconfidence. A certain monk, named Valens, is fooled by his pride into trusting the demons who have been appearing to him in the guise of angels. Convinced of their heavenly origins, and arrogantly sure of his own judgement, he is ready for the ultimate delusion:

The devil went and made unto himself a form wherein he resembled [lit., "made himself

resemble", dmy nfšh] our Redeemer, and he came unto him by night, together with phantoms

of angels in great numbers who marched along bearing lamps [lampide]...and they advanced with fiery chariots [markabte d-nura], as if that devil were Christ himself.

Valens is then summoned to come out and worship the seeming Christ:

Now therefore when Valens had gone forth and seen the ranks bearing lamps

of fire, and Anti-Christ himself sitting upon a chariot of fire [markabta d-nura]

-- now he was distant from him about a mile -- he fell down and worshipped him.

The erring monk then runs off to the elders of Scete, interrupting their celebration of the Eucharist in order to tell them that he no longer needs the sacrament, "For this day I have seen Christ himself!", which is to say that he has no further need for the sacramental antitype of the divine body because he has seen the original itself. Needless to say, the old men are not impressed by this claim and promptly clap him in irons until he recovers his humility [53].

Note here first the theme of "resemblance". To "resemble the Kingdom", as we saw earlier, is a mark of the "wise", while, conversely, here and in the SAD's portrait of Antichrist (though in the latter instance without the use of the verb, "to be like"), we have of case of false resemblance. Second, the figure that Valens sees is more than a little reminiscent of the Antichrist of the apocalypse, and is also accorded the same title. Its great size is suggested by the fact that Valens recognizes -- or rather thinks he recognizes -- it from a mile away. While this is not quite on the same scale as the qawmta of the SAD's Antichrist "overtopping mountains", I think it clear that we are nevertheless in the same ballpark. The "fiery chariots" of the fake angels, third, match those of the SAD, though here it is they who carry "lamps" while in the apocalypse it is Antichrist himself who is "like a lamp". Equally obvious and shared is, fourth, the demon's appearance as the object of a false merkavah vision, seated on a "chariot of fire" in imitation of the divine original. I also note, fifth, that it is Ananisho himself who introduces the specific term, "chariot". In Palladius' Greek original, the devil appears on a "fiery wheel" (trochos pyrinos), and Valens "recognizes" him from the distance of only a stade (600 feet) [54]. Ananisho's rendering thus accentuates both the huge dimensions of the apparition, just as does the author of the SAD, and underlines the specific echo of merkavah mysticism. It is hard for me to believe that these parallels are accidental. If not a case of direct dependence, this is at the least evidence of a common set of concerns in the Syriac-speaking, monastic world of the seventh-century, and it draws on an equally common set of replies.


5. The Real Thing: The Radiance of Christ Enthroned on the Temple Mount

In a recent essay on Byzantine eschatology, Nicholas Constas characterized the medieval Greek image of the world to come as "the inner life turned inside out and writ large upon the cosmos...producing an alternative world through the subjective transformation of self" [55]. The presentation of God's ultimate manifestation and the establishment of his eternal kingdom in the closing chapters of the SAD matches this description. It is nothing more nor less than exteriorized mystical experience, and as such squares with what I have characterized in this essay and elsewhere as the "interiorized apocalyptic" of Eastern Christian, monastic spirituality [56]. The climactic chapters of the SAD describe an environment where, for "the righteous" and "the wise", both the inside and the outside, the inner world and the outer, are at last established in perfect conformity. I shall cite selectively from the apocalypse's concluding chapters, then briefly examine some of the relevant vocabulary it deploys, and will conclude this section with the witness of three monastic writers, one from just after the period of the SAD, and two from long before it.

The ultimate theophany begins in chapter 27 with echoes of God's appearance on Sinai as described in Exod 19: "darkness will cover the earth...thick darkness the nations...mighty thunders will abound, and fierce and awe-inspiring lightning" [57]. Angels sweep across the skies in "swift chariots", reminscent especially of Ps 68:17, and the "heart of all people will melt in fear and trembling" [58]. Then, in chapter 28, "Adonai Zeba'oth" appears "in majestic beauty, on clouds of light", and "on a chariot of holy water...and with burning flame and a fiery coal". There follows an artful tapestry of psalm verses, borrowing especially, again, from Pss 68:17; 18:9; 77:16; 97:5; and 104:6 -- more clouds, in short, and "thick darkness", together with angelic chariots and the melting away of a terrified earth [59]. This is succeeded by the enthronement on Zion in chapter 29, which merits quoting at length:

Adonai Zeba'oth...will appear completely [gmira'it] on Zion...

He will set up a holy cherub on Zion,

and the throne [kursya] of righteousness on the mountains of Jerusalem.

Also the...[shekinta?] of Christ the King will appear on earth...

Seraphim of splendor [ziwa] will be standing [qaimin] before him,

and angels of reverence [lit.,"of glory", iqara] will be ministering beforehim.

He will let his Divine Presence [shekinteh] abide on the mountains of Jerusalem...

It will abide [naggen] in Jerusalem and sanctify her...

and let the splendor of his countenance [ziwa d-parsopeh] shine on her. [60]

Chapters 30 and 31 largely repeat the theophany of "Adonai Zeba'oth", save this second time around it is Christ who appears. Like "Adonai Zeba'oth", he comes surrounded by fire, cloud, and angels, though his mission in chapter 30 is specifically to break the "iron gates" and "cut off" the power of death. His splendor, ziwa, is then in chapter 31 revealed with "great glory", shubha rabba, to all creation, which responds with abounding fertility and joy. The building of the New Jerusalem, echoing particularly Rev 21-22, comes next in the SAD's chapter 33 [61]. The general resurrection and last judgement follow (chapters 34-37), succeeded by the entry of the righteous through the "fiery walls" of the heavenly city, as we touched on the latter above, and the paschal feast (38-40). The following items are of perhaps special note: a) the "holy cherub" and "throne of righteousness" appear again (chapter 38); b) the "light of the Mighty Lord / and the splendor [ziwa] of Christ" shine enternally over the new city in chapter 39 (cf. Rev 21:23); and, c) the rejoicing is an eternal "Paschal Feast...a banquet of peace" (chapter 40). To these we should add the SAD's closing prayer:

We beg from Christ our Lord that he deem us worthy to stand at his right side,

and to mingle [nhlwt] us among the company of his saints, among the ranks of

his friends, those who have loved him and have kept [ntrw] his commandments. [62]

For our purposes here, I should like to underline the following: 1) the echo of the biblical theophany at Sinai; 2) the setting-up of the cherub throne on Zion; 3) an array of terms, some of them verging on termini technici, dealing with divine manifestation and light, notably aggen (dwell or overshadow), ziwa (radiance, splendor), shekinta (presence, or glory), and iqara (glory); 4) the paschal feast; 5) the plea to be "mingled" (hlt) with the holy ones (qaddishe) and friends of God; who have 6) "kept" (ntr) the Lord's commandments. Perhaps equally striking, in contrast with the chapters on Antichrist, is the absence of any description of either God the Father (presumably "Adonai Zeba'oth") or of Christ in terms of their physical appearance. There is nothing about the Lord's features, nor a reference to His qawmta, nor any words such as form (tsurta), likeness (dmuta), or shape (eskhema), and here we should recall Evagrius' strictures against endowing the divine presence with form. What therefore remains is a language of divine abiding and light, the traditional loci of theophany at Sinai and the Temple Mount, together with the notes of the eternal feast, of "mingling", and of the "guarding" or "keeping" that we earlier saw urged on the members of the qyama.

The last item clearly ties the concluding lines of the SAD to the note which its author sounded at the end of chapter 13 in his preface to the eschatological vision. The entirety of the latter is therefore brackted by a call to fidelity. In between, in the extended account of the last things, we have as it were the raison d'`être for that fidelity, both negatively, as in guarding against the illusory vision of Antichrist, and positively, as in looking forward to the vision of the true King enthroned. The other five elements I singled out for attention appear regularly and importantly in the liturgical and ascetical texts of Syriac writers. While I have no space to dwell on the liturgy here, its importance for the SAD should surely be assumed, especially given my argument for the apocalypse's monastic setting. In the regular offices and Eucharist of the monastery church, we must recall the daily image of the eschaton with which the apocalypse's author would have presumed his readers to be familiar. The eucharistic meal in particular, as an icon and real anticipation of the Messianic banquet, is a feature of Christian tradition which goes back to the latter's origins [63].

Turning to the first four terms underlined, all play a central role in the ascetico-mystical literature of the East, with the fourth, the language of "mingling" (Syriac hlt or mzg), representing a peculiarly -- though not quite uniquely -- emphasized note in the lexicon of Christian Syriac. In the case of Isaac of Nineveh, for example, and as argued recently by Hilarion Alfeyev, the traditional language of "mingling" served to modify the strict dyophysitism of East Syrian Christology in such a way as to allow for a real participation in God, or, in other words, for what Greek-speaking Christians would refer to as theosis, deification [64]. In his landmark study of the Macarian Homilies, Columba Stewart has done the same service, and at greater length, for the earlier, predominantly fourth-century sources of Syriac ascetical literature, notably Aphrahat of Persia, Ephrem Syrus, and the anonymous Liber Graduum [65]. The SAD's use of the word is consonant with that background.

Perhaps even more important is the apocalypse's choice of the verb, aggen, for the abiding of God's light and splendor. Sebastian Brock has devoted a pair of important articles to aggen and its derivatives, noting its connection with Lk 1:35, the Lord's "overshadowing" of Mary Theotokos at the time of the Annunciation, and further associations thus with the liturgy, the consecratory epikleseis over the baptismal waters and the eucharistic elements, and with the "overshadowing" presence of God within the soul which appears often in Syriac ascetical literature, together with its ties to the divine protection extended Israel at the Passover, and its association with the descent of the Presence at both the Sinai theophany and the Lucan Pentecost [66]. The common thread, Brock observes, is that "in each case" the verb signals "some dramatic form of transformation, what happens...when spirit clothes itself in body and what is created puts on the Spirit." [66] The several resonances of the word -- especially Pascha/Passover, Sinai, and transformation -- are of obvious relevance to the concerns of the SAD. Aggen's association in particular with divine overshadowing establishes an important link with the themes of tabernacle and temple, a linkage which could go back to the Third Evangelist himself, whose use of episkiazo in Lk 1:35 very possibly looks toward the LXX version of Exod 40:34, the kevod YHWH (doxa in the Greek) "overshadowing" the newly-constructed tabernacle at the latter's consecration [68].

The note of the Old Testament kavod, the Hebrew term par excellence for divine manifestation in the Priestly source of the Penteteuch, in Ezekiel, and in the Psalms [69], takes us to the several words used in our apocalypse for divine light, splendor, and presence. All are familiar and in more or less frequent use in the ascetico-mystical literature of Christian Syriac beginning with the fourth century, if not before. In the 330's and 40's, Aphrahat of Persia uses shekinta, the exact Aramaic equivalent of the rabbinic shekinah, together with ziwa and iqara, for the radiance (ziwa) of the kavod (shekinta) that Moses sees on Sinai, as well as for the glory (iqara) of the divine throne that the transfigured sage sees within his soul, and from whose radiance (ziwa) the angels veil their faces -- in the same way and, quite precisely and deliberately, with the same words that he uses elsewhere for the angelic response to the Sinai theophany [70]. Not long after Aphrahat, Ephrem employs shubha and, again, shekinta (though only once), for the radiant presence (surely Christ) enthroned on the Tree of Life in the midst of Eden, and consciously weaves together throughout his Hymns on Paradise a series of parallels that sets in apposition Eden, Sinai, the tabernacle/temple, the Christian Church at worship, the Christian him- or herself, and overtones of the eschaton [71]. Here we might also recall the "seraphim of radiance standing before [qaimin qdam]" the Presence in the SAD, terms that Aphrahat duplicates in Demonstration 18.4, regarding Sinai, and then, a paragraph later, applies to his proto-monks, the "sons of the covenant" [72].

The same terminology for the divine Presence, and the same interiorizing, can be found in Isaac of Nineveh, as well as other contemporaries and predecessors of the SAD [73]. Permit me, however, to quote from an East Syrian monk who wrote a couple of generations after both Isaac and our apocalypse in order to illustrate the continuity of these traditions and language. In his fifteenth epistle, John of Dalyatha encourages his monastic correspondent with the following:

Man of God! Just how long are you going to console yourself with little obscurities [i.e., John's letters]? Become instead wholly a flame, and burn up everything around you in order to see the beauty hidden within you! And then make this prayer:.."You who are hidden and concealed within me, reveal in me your hidden mystery; manifest to me your beauty that is within me. You who built

me as a temple for you to dwell in, cause the cloud of your glory [aggen...arphelah shubhak] to

dwell in me, so that the ministers [mshamshanay -- recall SAD, chp. 29, "angels of glory

ministering", mshamshin] of your sanctuary may cry out, in love for you, "holy" [lit., "sanctify

you", i.e., sing the thrice-holy of Isa 6:3], as an utterance which burns as fire and spirit, in a

sharp stirring [zaw'a -- recall Isaac's terminology noted earlier] which is commingled [mzg]

with wonder and astonishment. [74]

This is nearly a complete summary of the SAD's eschatological enthronement, together with echoes especially of Isa 6:3, and including even a suggestion of Sinai in the "cloud of glory", where the Syriac arphelah recalls the Hebrew araphel of Exod 20:21 [75]. What is significant, of course, is John's urging of this vision as an imminent possibility, available to his correspondent now, within the latter's heart. The reality he describes as an inner experience is fully in harmony with the SAD's portrait of the outer world at the eschaton. The world is to become wholly a temple then, but even now the Christian -- especially, as in these writers, the monk -- may know that he or she is a temple, the "place" of the divine abiding, the revelation of the Glory.

My two additional examples come from the fourth century. Both Evagrius and the unknown author of the Macarian Homilies were Greek-speakers, but, as noted above regarding the former, both were also translated quickly into Syriac where their subsequent influence was continuous, vast, and incontestable. In his thirty-ninth epistle, preserved for us exclusively in Syriac, Evagrius combines Sinai and Zion traditions regarding the "place" of divine manifestation, here the intellect of the Christian:

If then, by the grace of God, the intellect both turns away from these [i.e., the passions] and

puts off the old man, then it will see its own constitution at the time of prayer like a sapphire

or the color of heaven, which recalls as well what the Scripture names "the place of God" seen

by the elders on Mount Sinai [Ex 24:10, LXX]. It calls this "place" and the vision "the peace"

[cf. Ps 75:3] by which one sees in oneself that peace which surpasses every intellect and which

guards our heart. For another heaven is imprinted on a pure heart, the vision of which is both

light and the spiritual place...[76]

In an important, if unfortunately neglected article, Nicholas Séd remarked that, "Without knowing the technical Aramaic term, shekinta, Evagrius follows the uninterrupted line of the traditional interpretation [of the Jewish targumim]: Salem, Jerusalem, vision of the peace, abiding of the Presence" [77].

Less the specific note of the Exodus theophany, but including virtually everything else I have touched on in my account of the SAD's climactic theophany -- from temple, priestly vestments and Glory to angels and the eternal feast -- there is the following from the Makarian Homilies, the twenty-ninth in the still untranslated first collection of the homilies, where I have ventured to highlight the elements that recall our discussion so far:

[O]ur Lord himself ...said to those who have taken on themselves such faith and zeal: "We shall come, I and my Father, and make our abode with him"; and again, "he who loves me will be

loved by my Father, and I shall manifest myself to him" [Jn 14:21 and 23]. Thus, just as he

is seated on his own throne, so he will also take up his rest in our hearts. As it is written in

Ezekiel that God is seated while borne up by the intelligible and divine and spiritual living

creatures [i.e., the hayyot or cherubim], who are full of eyes throughout all their members in front and in back [cf. Ezk 1:18]; so, too, the soul, which has been made wothy by faith, and

with much prayer, and by zeal in all the commandments receives within herself the Great King, Christ, and, becoming his intelligible temple and throne, becomes all light and all eye and all heaven and unspeakable beauty through the divine power which mingles itself with her substance and, by

means of this fellowship, turns her into heaven and divine beauty.

Therefore blessed is that soul which has adopted such zeal for Christ that, from this very moment

and while still in the flesh, she attains to those heavenly good things, whose body is made worthy

of becoming a temple and dwelling place [naos kai katoik_t_ rion] of the Heavenly King. [It is] as

the Apostle says: "Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit that is in you" [I Cor 6:19]; and again, while exhorting his faithful listeners to strive zealously to be made worthy of this great rank through faith, he says: "Glorify God in your bodies!" [I Cor 6:20]. Such a soul, like the worthy bride of a worthy bridegroom, rejoicing together with the Lord in the house of its body through the mystical fellowship of the Spirit, rejoices without ceasing, as was said by the prophet:

"In the way that a bridegroom rejoices with a bride, so does the Lord rejoice with you." [Isa 62:5]

...[T]he soul which has been made worthy, through faith and virtue, to receive the Master and

King who built her in the house of her body, and to become his pure and holy bride through the

ineffable and mystical fellowship of the Spirit, possesses there, hidden away, all "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" [cf. Col 2:3] stored up in the house of her body. There, treasured up, are

the heavenly and shining robes of the Spirit. There, filling everything, is the fragrance of the Holy Spirit. There the festivals of the holy angels and powers are always being celebrated, because the Master and King, Christ, dwells within. Simply put, such a soul is always being filled with every

kind of spiritual joy and heavenly delight. She has the [company of] the heavenly Bridegroom dwelling in the house of her body [and] uninterruptedly present with it. Truly blessed is that soul which has been made worthy here-below of such great good things! [78]

Note the imagery of throne and temple which reverberates throughout this long passage, the citations of Ezk. 1, I Cor 6:19-20, Col 2:3, and Jn 14:21 and 23, together with the references to the vestments, treasures, fragrance, and festivals of the spiritual "house" (oikos) in paragraph three, which I take as an expression of the temple theme broached especially through the citation from I Corinthians in paragraph two. Now recall the SAD's preoccupation in its opening thirteen chapters with Solomon's temple, the latter's sacred implements, including the incense altar and, especially, the priestly robes, together with the attention it pays to Solomon's wonderful throne and, in the closing theophany of the apocalypse, the double mention of the "Holy Cherub" and "throne of righteousness" (chapters 29 and 38) [79]. While the picture Macarius gives us is of an entirely internalized temple and cult, it is surely not difficult to see a certain kinship between him and the SAD. That resemblance should direct us toward certain conclusions.

6. Theophany Within and the Narrative Thread of the Temple: Toward a Provisional Reconstruction of the Monastic Setting and Intentions of the SAD

Allow me to return to the questions raised in the introduction to this essay, the curious absences which our apocalypse displays: its lack of interest in theodicy and its failure to refer to "current events". It is time to try to pick up the threads that we touched on above in order to see if we can weave them into a coherent shape. The imagery around the temple provides us with an essential pattern and our starting point. Regarding Daniel's story in the opening thirteen chapters, Henze observes that the "one theme that runs through the entire narrative framework...and connects the individual episodes together is the motif of the temple implements, and of the throne of Solomon" [80]. The same may be said to apply to the end of the SAD as well, with the cherub-throne established on Zion and, as just noted, mentioned twice. True, there is no temple building at the end, but then, given the dependence on the book of Revelation which Henze has established, we may surely ascribe this absence to the simiple fact that "there is no temple" in the New Jerusalem" because "its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb", just as there is no need for the exterior light of a menorah because "the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb" (Rev 21:22-3) [81]. The priestly robes, though unmentioned at the end of our apocalypse, do show up in the Revelation's robes of white which vest both the righteous (e.g., 7:9 and 14) and the heavenly host (cf.19:14), while the fragrance of incense appears in both Rev 8:3-5, and in the "sweet-smelling blossoms" of the trees that "will sprout on Mount Zion" [82]. Again, then, nearly everything that we find externalized in these apocalypses, the one dependent on the other, we have also found internalized in the citations from John of Dalyatha, Evagrius, and Macarius.

In between the reminiscences of Solomon's temple and the eschatological "temple" of the New Jerusalem, the SAD lists the woes of the last days, spectacular and catastrophic on a cosmic scale, interspersing them with the three warnings directed to its readers, with the sorrows culminating in a demonic counterfeit of the true divine visitation of the endtimes, a false merkavah vision of the type that prior monastic literature also warns against. I do not think it then so strange that this apocalypse should be missing a section specifically devoted to theodicy, nor that it avoids mention of actual current events, at least if we assume a monastic author. Like the writers of the ancient apocalypses, such as the author(s) of Daniel, our writer is also concerned lest the chaos outside his doors trouble or even overthrow the faith of his readers. The difference between him and the ancients lies in the nature of his readership. Our author's target audience is monastic, and the nature of the monks' calling is less simply to stand in attendance of the eschaton than it is, first and foremost, to seek to embody it, to become themselves, here and now, the "place" of the divine Presence, living temples, each one thus a revelation of Immanuel. To become such, however, requires sobriety and concentration, attention to the turnings, betrayls, and darknesses of the "inner man", to the "daily death" to all the world's ephemera which is the hallmark of the Christian ascetic. The very worst thing that can happen to a monk's sober pursuit of his vocation is to fall victim and give himself over to the alarms and agitations of the perishing world. This is exactly the danger that I understand the author of the SAD wants to confront, and to counter.

Let us therefore imagine a monk who is a leading figure in his monastery, perhaps even its abbot. He lives amid the chaos of the first half of the seventh century. Alarms and rumors of alarms are all around him, horrors seemingly without end or precedent: sieges of cities, famine and pestilence, the destructive sweep of armies back and forth across the countryside, mass slaughters, floods of refugees bearing tales of misery and of more woes to come, and -- should our monk have lived in the 630's and 40's -- the overwhelmingly victorious tide of an alien faith, Islam, that in his eyes might well have appeared as a demonic distortion of his own Christianity. What if, as we know was in fact the case (e.g., the Pseudo-Methodius), other people around him are busy "discerning the times", predicting the end of things and, much worse, what if their preoccupation with prophecies and calculations, for which latter the book of Daniel was and remains a privileged source, is disturbing the brethren, provoking and unsettling them, creating dissatisfaction with the mundane and increasingly -- to all appearances -- irrelevant attention to their daily routine: the round of chores, the services in the monastery church, the nightly prayer in their cells, and the inevitable, subtle, and always difficult struggle with their own passions? What can our monk do in the face of these Daniel-spouters, would-be purveyors of visions and portents, times and signs, who are troubling the recollection of his own and other monasteries?

I think that the answer he comes up with is the SAD. He is, as it were, fighting fire with fire [83]. So we find him drawing up a story, based on ancient legends, of what the holy prophet did and saw after what is recorded in the canonical book. Our author knows the holy books very well, indeed, just as he appears to have known a great deal of the extra-canonical literature. So well does he know these materials that he is able to reproduce a tone and quality which possess a genuinely antique, "Jewish" ring [84]. He also knows the literature of his vocation, the fathers of monasticism both Syrian and Greek, and he is fully capable of marshalling these different resources to his purpose, which is nothing more nor less than to recall his readers to the pursuit of their calling. Perhaps the melting earth , the terrestrial and celestial catastrophes, the cosmic upheaval and terror he describes in his apocalypse's "woes" are also meant to remind its readers that the real thing, unlike the present difficulties which surround them, will be nothing so small as the collapse and rise of human empires. And perhaps, too, there is a suggestion that, even if the present sorrows do portend "the end of ends", the proper response is not to grow anxious, nor to indulge in speculation, nor, worse still, actively to seek out portents and visions. To do so is to open the door to Antichrist and his demons. Rather, throughout earthly sorrows, what matters is fidelity to "the covenant", to carry on the inner work of transformation, and so to begin to "resemble the Kingdom" from within. If by patient, humble labor, and by favor of God's grace, this does occur, then come what may, at "the end of ends" the faithful monks will be revealed as already blazing inside with divine fire, already "equals to the angels" and "sons of the eschaton". Only through faithfulness to their vows and all that the latter signify will they "enter through the fiery walls" of the City to come, and "the fire will turn to dew under their feet." The inside must come fully to match the eschatological outside. If that happens, then the Day of the Lord will not be for judgement, but will instead only reveal what the righteous already are.

These notes are constants in Christian ascetical literature. Nearly four hundred years after the SAD, a Greek monk in far-off Constantinople reproduces them exactly. There will be no judgement imposed from outside, writes St. Symeon the New Theologian, no weighing-up of good deeds and bad. The revelation of God will, very simply, reveal what already is:

The revelation of his divinity becomes in fact a judgement for those to whom it is revealed. No flesh could have endured the glory of his divinity as manifested naked of its joining and expressible union in the God-man...For the divinity, which is to say the grace of the all-Holy Spirit, has never appeared to anyone who was without faith; and, if it were to appear by some paradox among men, it would show itself as fearful and dreadful, as not illumining but burning, not as giving life but as punishing dreadfully...[he then goes on to cite the example of Paul as, still an unbeliever, blinded by the "unapproachable light of divinity" on the Damascus Road]

From this lesson [i.e., the story of Paul's conversion] we therefore learn that grace, on the one hand, is unapproachable and invisible to those who are still possessed by unbelief and the passions, and, on the other hand, is seen and revealed to those who with faith and in fear and trembling do the commandments and give evidence of a worthy repentance. This same grace of itself incontestably brings the future judgement to pass in them. Rather, indeed, it becomes itself the Day of divine judgement by which he who is purified is continually illumined, sees himself as he is in truth and in every detail...he is as well judged and examined by the divine fire and, thus enriched by the water of his tears, his whole body is moistened and he is baptized entire, little by little, by the divine fire and Spirit, and becomes wholly immaculate, a son of the light and of the day...

The Day of the Lord will never come upon them because they are already in it forever and continuously. The Day of the not going to be revealed suddenly to those who are ever illumined by the divine light, but [rather comes unexpectedly] for those in the darkness of the passions...for them it will be fearful, and they will experience it as unbearable fire. [85]

Eight hundred years before St. Symeon, and over four hundred before our apocalypse, another anonymous, Syrian Christian ascetic put the matter more succinctly:

When the two have been made one, and the inside made like the outside, and the outside

like the inside, and when what is above is like what is below...then we shall enter the

Kingdom. [86]

By way of a concluding observation, it strikes me that whoever first compiled the collection of materials in which the SAD was included had to have known what he was doing. That our apocalypse comes nearly at the end of a manuscript that devotes over two thirds of its space to the works of John of Dalyatha is surely both deliberate and appropriate. As we saw above, the latter's message is centered on the transformed human being as temple of the divine Glory, and on the accessibility of that Glory even in this life. I think it fitting, indeed, that his writings should be succeeded by a work whose whole concern amounts, in sum, to the eschatological vindication of John's not ayptical understanding of the monk's vocation. The compiler seems to have thought that the SAD belonged in a collection of monastic literature, and I choose to read his decision as another confirmation of the thesis which this essay has sought to advance.



1. M. Henze, The Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel: Introduction, Text, and Commentary. Studien und Texte zur Antike und Christentum 11. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001. I should like to take this occasion to thank Professor Henze for the gift of his book. The present essay is an expansion of the "Response" I was asked to make to it for the "Christian Apocrypha Section", at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, November 19th, 2001.

2. I am correcting Henze somewhat, in SAD 1-2, on the basis of R. Beulay's inventory over twenty years earlier of the same MS (then labeled Harvard Syriac 30) for his edition, La collection des lettres de Jean de Dalyatha, PO 39 (1978) 257-535, here 268-72. Henze's summary of the MS contents does not take sufficient account of the overwhelming presence of John of Dalyatha. Over ninety out of one hundred twenty-seven folio pages are devoted to John's oeuvre.

3. SAD 2, and 4-11; Syriac pp. 33-38; English 65 and 67-74. See also Henze's comments, 24-6.

4. SAD; Syriac 39-63; English 77-118.

5. SAD, "Introduction" 6-22.

6. Ibid., 10-11.

7. See J. Collins, "Towards the Morphology of a Genre", in idem, ed., Apocalypse: the Morphology of a Genre. Semeia 14 (1979), 1-20, esp. 14-15 distinguishing the various types of apocalypse encountered in the ancient texts: "historical", "heavenly journey", etc. See also Henze, SAD 27-31, esp. 27, noting the unusually unified character of the SAD's eschatological vision.

8. Henze, SAD, pp. 14 and 22.

9. As does the SAD's contemporary twin, the apocalypse called Der Junge Daniel. For the latter, see Henze, SAD, 7-11, and on the Pseudo-Methodius, esp. P. Alexander, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition (Berkeley:1985) 61-122.

10. Henze, commenting on chp. 38, SAD 115, n. 256, and adding: "Our author does not feel compelled to come to terms with such issues as divine justice."

11. So, canonical Daniel 1:8-17. On the ascetical portrait of the prophets generally, and of Daniel in particular, by the time of Christ, see the text and discussion of the (probably) first-century apocryphon, The Lives of the Prophets, in A.M. Schwemer, Studien zu den früjüdischen Prophetenlegenden: Vitae Prophetarum, Band I: Die Viten der grossen Propheten Jesaja, Jeremia, Ezechiel, und Daniel (Tübingen:1995), esp. 296-370 on Daniel, with 296-8 for the Greek text, and 303-8 on the ascetical features of the prophet's portrait.

12. Abba Sopatros seems to warn against such preoccupations, among other things, in the Apophthegmata Patrum. Asked for a "word" to live by, he replies: "Do not allow a woman to come into your cell and do not read apocryphal literature...". Sopatros 1, PG 65:413A; ET: B. Ward, trans., The Desert Tradition: The Sayings of the Fathers (NY:1975) 225.

13. Sections of Origen's On First Principles spring to mind here, as does Augustine's City of God.

14. Though here, too, Origen was surely a leading influence. See the selections from, again, the De Principiis, as well as from his introduction to the Song of Songs and the Homilies on Numbers in the collection assembled by R.A. Greer, Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, and Selected Works (NY:1979) 171-269. For not dissimilar approaches in Ephrem Syrus, see the essay by S. Griffith, "Faith Adoring the Mystery": Reading the Bible with St. Ephraem the Syrian (Milwaukee:1997), esp. 32-7; and on the internalization of Israel's sacred history in the anonymous, Syrian author of the Macarian Homilies, see A. Golitzin, "A Testimony to Christianity as Transfiguration: The Macarian Homilies and Orthodox Spirituality", in S.T. Kimbrough, ed., Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality (Crestwood NY:2002) 129-56, esp. 133 ff.

15. Jerome, Vita Beati Pauli VIII, cited in H. Waddell, tr., The Desert Fathers (1937; rep. Ann Arbor:1966) 14.

16. For Isaac's biography, see D. Miller's "Introduction" to his translation, The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian (Boston:1984) lxiii-lxxvi; and more briefly, H. Alfeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian (Kalamazoo:2000) 25-9.

17. Quoted by Alefeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian 274, citing in turn from S. Brock's translation of the long-lost, second part of Isaac's homilies, Isaac of Nineveh: 'The Second Part', Chapters IV-XLI, which Brock himself discovered, edited, translated and published in 1995 in CSCO 224 (the Syriac text) and 225 (the translation). This passage is from Chapter VIII.16, CSCO 225:30. I am entirely indebted for my citations from Isaac to Alfeyev's choice of texts in the chapter, "The Life of the Age to Come", The Spiritual World 268-97.

18. Alfeyev, The Spiritual World 274-5; and for Isaac's use in particular of the phrase, "new world", see Brock's annotation to Chapter V.5, CSCO 225:8, n.4.

19. SAD 39, p.116; Syr. 62. For the judgement, see chp. 38, p.115 (Syr.61): "The great Christ, the Son of Man, will sit on it [= the throne of righteousness] and will judge the peoples in righteousness and the nations in uprightness."

20. Daniel 3:50, LXX.

21. S. Brock, The Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Tradition (Poona:1979) 12, citing the materials assembled and discussed by C.M. Edsman, Le baptême de feu (Uppsala:1940) 182-90. Note also Brock's comparison of this idea, p.12, with "the eschatological imagery of the 'river of fire', citing again Edsman, 57-63, and cf. my examples below from 3 Enoch, merkavah literature, and the Apophthegmata patrum, together with nn. 23-5.

22. SAD 28, p.101: "Then Adonai Zeba'oth...[will descend] from heaven, in majestic beauty, on clouds of light and on a chariot of holy water". Henze (101, n.178) suggests that the phrase markabta d-mayye qaddishe represents a conflation of "the divine throne chariot...and the sound of God's appearance 'like the sound of many waters'", citing Ezk 1:24; 43:2; Rev 14:2 and 19:6. See, however (or in addition), the texts cited below and nn. 23-25.

23. See esp. Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany 8.4-8, here particularly stanzas 5: "The famous three in Bablyon / in the furnace of fire were baptized, and came forth; / they went in and bathed in the flood of flame, they were buffeted by the blazing billows. / There was sprinkled on them there / the dew that fell from heaven..."; and 6: "That visible fire that triumphed outwardly, / pointed to the fire of the Holy Ghost, / which is mingled , lo! and hidden in the water. / In the flame Baptism is figured, / in that blaze of the furnace...", tr. J. Gwynn, NPNF, 2nd series, vol.13:277 (Syriac in E. Beck, ed., Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers: Hymnen de Nativitate (Epiphanie), CSCO 186:169-70). On the link between baptism and ascetical vows in the early Syrian church, see R. Murray, "An Exhortation to Candidates for Ascetical Vows at Baptism in the Ancient Syrian Church", NTS 21 (1974) 59-80.

24. 3 Enoch 36:2, tr. P. Alexander, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. J.H. Charlesworth (NY/London:1983), Vol.I:289. For the Hebrew text, see P. Schäfer, Synopse zur Hekhalot Literatur (Tübingen:1981) # 54; and cf. above and n.21.

25. Joseph of Panephysis 7, PG 65, 229CD; ET: Ward, Sayings of the Desert Fathers 103; and cf. also Arsenius 27 (96BC; Ward 13) and Sisoes 14 (396BC; Ward 215). For the Hekhalot texts on R. Akiba walking through fire and riding on fiery chariots, see C.R.A. Morray-Jones "Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition", JJS 43 (1992) 1-31, here 24, citing Hekhalot Zutarti (Schäfer, Synopse ## 349 and 366). Note also Enoch's spectacular transformation into the fiery Metatron in 3 Enoch 15 (Synopse 19; ET by P. Alexander in Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha I:267), and for extended discussion of these and other, related texts in the Hekhalot materials, see J.R. Davila, Descenders to the Chariot (Leiden/Boston:2001)136-55. On monastic life as eschatological anticipation and imitation of the angels, see P. Nagel, Die Motivierung der Askese in der alten Kirche und der Ursprung des Mönchtums (Berlin:1966), esp. 20-74; and P. Suso Frank, Angelikos Bios: Begriffsanalytische und begriffsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum 'engelgleichen Leben' im frühen Mönchtum (Münster:1964); for texts and discussion of the importance of heavenly fire in Syriac Christian literature, see S. Brock, "Fire from Heaven: from Abel's Sacrifice to the Eucharist. A Theme in Syriac Christianity", StPatr 25 (1993) 229-43; and again, idem, The Holy Spirit in the Syrian Baptismal Tradition 10-14; and on the Second Temple and New Testamental background for "angelomorphism" as a soteriological concept, C. Fletcher-Lewis, Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology, and Soteriology (Tübingen:1997).

26. Henze, SAD 117, n.263, citing Rev 21:27.

27. Alfeyev, Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian 280, citing D. Miller's translation of Homily 28, The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian 141; Syr. in P. Bedjan, ed., Mar Isaacus Ninevita, De Perfectione Religiosa (Leipzig:1909) 201-2.

28. John Climachus, Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 28. PG 88:1137; ET: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, tr. C. Liubheid (NY:1982) 280. Note that this remark occurs in the context of a discussion of the monk's "high-priestly" act of prayer, and the answering descent of the heavenly fire of the Spirit, and cf. above and nn.23-5.

29. Alfeyev, Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian 275, citing Miller, Homily 9, Ascetical Homilies 73; Syr. in Bedjan, De Perfectione 114, esp.line 5 for the use of qyama, and see my discussion in section 3 below.

30. S. Griffith, "Monks, 'Singles', and the 'Sons of the Covenant': Reflections on Syriac Ascetic Terminology", in Eulogema: Studies in Honor of Robert Taft, SJ (Rome:1992) 141-60; idem, "Asceticism in the Church of Syria: The Hermeneutics of Early Syriac Asceticism", in Asceticism, V. L. Wimbush and R. Valantasis, ed.s, (Oxford/NY:1995) 220-245.

31. Griffith, "Monks, 'Singles', and Sons of the Covenant" 147-52.

32. Ibid., 149-50; cf. also R. Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom (Cambridge:1975) 13. For "standing" as imitation of the angels in earlier Christian and Jewish sources, see A. DeConick, Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (Leiden:1996) 89-92; and, with respect to Jewish and Samaritan traditions of Moses' deification, J. Fossum, The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord (Tübingen:1985) 120-129.

33. SAD 13 (Syr. 39; Eng. 75-6) Emphais added. Perhaps this is a veiled suggestion of the troubled times outside the monastery gates, i.e., an implied question: "Is now the 'end of ends'?" If so, however, the author's accents remain the same. One is to keep to the vows and to sobriety. See thus my conclusions in section 6 below.

34. Ibid., p.76, nn.56-59. See also J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to the Jewish Matrix of Christianity (NY:1984) 19-31.

35. See, for example, W. Schoedel, "Jewish Wisdom and the Formation of the Christian Ascetic", in R. Wilkin, ed., Aspects of Wisdom in Judaism and Christianity (Notre Dame:1975) 169-99; and A. Guillaumont, "Monachisme et éthique judéo-chrétienne", RSR 60 (1977) 199-218.

36. See Aphrahat's Demonstration XIV.35, PS I, col. 661:9, and 664:10 and 18. For comment on the relationship of the whole of XIV.35 to apocalyptic ascent and Jewish merkavah mysticism, specifically to 3 Enoch, see R. Murray, "Some Themes and Problems of Early Syriac Angelology", in V Symposium Syriacum, 1988, ed. R. Lavenant (Rome:1990) 143-53, esp. 150 ff.

37. Eusebius, HE VI.9.6-10, on the third-century bishop, Narcissus, going into the Judaean desert to live as a hermit as an example of the "philosophic life", cited in K. Heussi, Der Ursprung des Mönchtums (Tübingen:1936) 74 and 84-6; and see also G. Bardy, "'Philosophie' et 'philosophe' dans le vocabulaire chrétien des premiers siècles", RAM 25 (1949) 97-108.

38. There are, unfortunately, surpassingly few secondary works that I am aware of devoted to the role played by the OT Pseudepigrapha, or even by such Christian apocalypses as The Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, in monastic literature. See, however, Nagel, Die Motivierung der Askese (cited above, n.25), together with the very preliminary remarks in R.A. Kraft, "The Pseudepigrapha in Christianity", in Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha, ed. J. C. Reeves (Atlanta:1984) 55-86; and, more recently with respect to a medieval Byzantine author, A. Golitzin, "'Earthly Angels and Heavenly Men': Nicetas Stethatos, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, and the Tradition of 'Interiorized Apocalyptic' in Eastern Christian Ascetical and Mystical Literature", DOP 55 (2001) 125-153.

39. See Alfeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian, esp. 229-36 for "visions" and "revelations", and 241-8 for "wonder", which Alfeyev argues is the rough, Syriac equivalent -- at least for Isaac -- of the Greek ekstasis. On Isaac's use of zaw'a, see Brock, "Index 3", CSCO 225:191-2.

40. So Henze, SAD, p. 76, n.57: "The author...sees apocalyptic literature, and specifically his own book, as primarily intended for a select circle...Apocalyptic literature is a product of learned activity rather than of popular folklore."

41. SAD 16 (Syr. 43; Eng. 84). For the hallowed ascetic as an "resembling the kingdom", see for example the portrait Aphrahat paints of the perfected sage in Demonstration 14.35, col.s 660:23-665:9, where the inner-being (ubba) of the saint contains the world, the angels (who are worshipping him!), the thrones of judgement, and God Himself; and cf. the citations from John of Dalyatha and Macarius below in section 5. Cf. also Ephrem Syrus' Hymns on Paradise 6.8-14, esp. stanza 14, where the "victorious" ascetics have "adorned themselves / with the very likeness of Paradise; // in them is depicted/ the beauty of the Garden"; Des heiligen Ephreaems des Syrers: Hymnen de Paradiso, ed. E. Beck, CSCO 174:21-22; ET: S. Brock, St Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns on Paradise (NY:1990) 111-14, here 113-14.; together with Abba Pambo in the following from the Apophthegmata: "They used to say that, just as Moses received the image of the glory of Adam when his countenance was glorified, so too with Abba Pambo, that his face shone like lightning, and he was as a king seated on his throne. And the same applied as well to Abba Silvanus and to Abba Sisoes." Pambo 12 (327A; Ward 197).

42. SAD 25 (Syr. 47; Eng. 97-8).

43. SAD 22 (Syr. 47; Eng. 91-2).

44. SAD, p.92, n.133; citing esp. Mt 24:27 (the lightning), together with Dan 7:13 (on the clouds).

45. For texts and discussion of the fiery -- and lethally dangerous -- environment of heaven, see again Davila, Descenders to the Chariot 136-55. On the shi'ur qomah, see G. Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and the Talmudic Tradition (1960; 2nd ed, NY:1965) 36-42; idem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, tr. J. Neugroschel (NY:1991) 15-55; and for texts and translations, M.S. Cohen, The Shi'ur Qomah: Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Judaism (Latham/NY/London:1983). On true and false visions in hekhalot and rabbinic literature, cf. the controversy over the appearance of Metatron, in particular the mistaken religious ecstasy of "Aher", and its relation to the "two powers" debate in rabbinic circles; for texts, see 3 Enoch 16 (Charlesworth OT Pseudepigrapha I:268) and bHag.15a; and for analysis, A. Segal, Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (Leiden:1977) 60-73; and C.R.A. Morray-Jones, "Hekhalot Literature and Talmudic Tradition: Alexander's Three Test Cases", JSJ 22.1 (1991) 1-39. My thanks to Mr. A. A. Orlov of Marquette University for directing me to this last point.

46. Arguing for the presence of Jewish mystical ideas in early Christianity is a relatively recent phenomenon. See, with respect to the texts I cited, the following sampling: Segal, Two Powers in Heaven 205-37; idem, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven:1990) 9-11 and 58-64; J. Fossum, The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord, esp. 162-91, 213-20, and 292-321; idem, "Jewish-Christian Christology and Jewish Mysticism", VigChr 37 (1983) 260-87; idem, The Image of the Invisible God: Essays on the Influence of Jewish Mysticism on Early Christology (Freiburg/Göttingen:1995), esp. 71-151; G.G. Stroumsa, "Form(s) of God: Some Notes on Metatron and Christ", HTR 76.3 (1983) 269-88; M. Fishbane, "The 'Measures' of God's Glory in Ancient Midrash", in Messiah and Christos, ed. I Gruenwald, S. Shaked, and G.G. Stroumsa (Tübingen:1992) 53-74, esp. 70-2 (on Eph. 4:13 and Phil 3:21); and C.C. Newman, Paul's Glory Christology: Tradition and Rhetoric (Leiden:1992), esp. 157-162 and 208-40.

47. See A.-J. Festugière, Historia Monachorum in Aegypto: Édition critique du texte grec et traduction annotée (Bruxelles:1971), with trips to heaven in Patermuthis 21-2 (pp. 83-4); Sourous 5-7 (91-2); and Macarius 5-12 (125-6); angelic commerce with the monks in Apollo 5-6 (48-9), 38-41 (62-3), and 44-7 (63-5); Helle 1-5 (92-4) and 14-15 (96-8); and even a false merkavah vision, reminiscent of the SAD's, in Or 7 (38). In the Apophthegmata, I am thinking of Abba Silvanus' ascent to heaven to "stand" -- cf. above, section 3, and nn.31-2 -- before "the Glory of God" in Silvanus 3, PG 65:409A; ET: Ward, Sayings of the Desert Fathers 222-3.

48. See A. Golitzin, "'The Demons Suggest an Illusion of God's Glory in a Form': Controversy over the Divine Body and Vision of Glory in Some Late Fourth-, Early Fifth-Century Monastic Literature", StMon 44.1 (2002) 13-43, esp. 20-42. Note that the article's title features the citation from Evagrius quoted below and n.49.

49. De Oratione 73. I am citing the text as given in the Philokalia of Nicodemus Hagiorites: Philokalia t_n hier_n n_ptik_n (1783; rep. Athens:1957) I:182; ET in K.T. Ware et alii, ed.s, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (London:1979) I:63.

50. See S. Brock, "Some Uses of the Term Theoria in the Writings of Isaac of Nineveh", ParOr (1996) 407-19; and idem, "Introduction", CSCO 225:xxiv-xxix and xxxviii-xl on Evagrius' presence in Isaac. For the Evagrian impress on John Climachus, see K.T. Ware, "Introduction", John Climachus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent 60-6.

51. Critical Greek text by C. Butler, The Lausiac History vol. II (Cambridge:1903); ET by R. T. Meyer, Palladius: The Lausiac History, in ACW 34 (NY:1964).

52. Critical text by R. Draguet, Les formes syriaques de la matière de l'Histoire Lausiaque, Vol. II: Éditions des chapitres 20-70, in CSCO 398 (1978); ET by W. Wallis-Budge, The Paradise or Garden of the Fathers (1907; rep. NY:1972).

53. Lausiac History 25.4-5; Greek in Butler 79-80 (ET: Meyer 85); Syriac in Draguet 213-214 (ET: Wallis-Budge, vol. I:133).

54. See Butler, 80, line 1, for trochos pyrinos; and Draguet, 213, lines 13-14, for al markabta d-nura.

55. N. Constas, "To Sleep, Perchance to Dream': The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature", DOP 55 (2001) 123. Perhaps I should add that possible links between even ancient apocalyptic literature and mystical experience are finding more sympathetic treatment by some modern scholars, e.g., C. Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (NY:1982).

56. Golitzin, "'Earthly Angels and Heavenly Men'", 141 ff.

57. SAD 27; Syr. 51-2; Eng. 99-100. Note the use of arphele, "dark clouds", on 52, line 7, and cf. Exod 20:21, together with the citation from John of Dalyatha and my analysis below and nn. 74-5.

58. Ibid.; Syr. 52; Eng. 100.

59. SAD 28; Syr. 53-4; Eng. 100-102. Henze's apparatus both here and in the preceding chapter (nn.169-88) is very thorough, save the surprising absence of Ps 68 in his accounting of the SAD's sources. This is all the more puzzling, given not only the psalm's express mention of angelic chariots (v.17), smoke and melting (v.2), earthquake and storm (vv.8-9), but also -- and most significantly, in light of the theophany and establishment of the throne on Zion in the following chapter of the SAD -- God's movement from Sinai to the "holy place", i.e., to the temple on Zion, in vv.18, and 24-35, where He is enthroned and receives the tribute of the nations. It offers a preview, in short, of the whole closing section of our apocalypse. Even more interesting, in light of the several instances above where I have had occasion to refer to Jewish merkavah mysticism, there is the key role this psalm played in the early rabbinic traditions of the synagogue, where it served to link together the Torah reading from the Sinai theophany of Exod 19, and the haftorah of the vision of the chariot in Ezek.1, during the appointed liturgy for the feast of shabu'ot. On this exegetical and liturgical development, see D. Halperin, Faces in the Chariot: Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiel's Vision (Tübingen:1988) 16-18, 60-1, and esp. 141-8.

60. SAD 29; Syr. 54; Eng. 102-3. Note the ellipsis and shekinta, in parenthesis, on line 4 of the citation, and see Henze 103, n.194, on an evident lacuna in the text, where the missing word takes a feminine verb (tthz']. Shekinta is my own conjecture and, though other terms are certainly possible, it seems to make sense: the divine Presence both appears (as it has in the past) and -- a few lines later -- is now allowed to abide forever

61. SAD 30-33; Syr. 54-7; Eng. 103-8. See Henze's notes 218, 220, and 222-3 for the echoes of Revelation 21.

62. SAD 34-40; Syr. 57-63; Eng. 108-18. The passage quoted from chp. 40 is in Syr. 63; Eng. 117-18.

63. On the book of Revelation as itself liturgical in origin, see for example P. Prigent, Apocalypse et Liturgie (Neuchatel/Paris:1964); and, more broadly on liturgy and eschaton, J. Daniélou, Jewish Christianity, tr. J.A. Barker (Philadelphia:1964) 315-46, esp. 331-7 on the Eucharist.

64. Alfeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian 56-8. On the importance of the idea of theosis, if not the word itself, in early Christian Syriac literature, see S. Brock, The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (1985; rev. ed. Kalamazoo:1992) 148-54. Regarding the East Syrian, ascetical writers' struggle with "Nestorian" school Christology, see also R. Beulay, La lumière sans forme: Introduction à l'étude du mystique chrétien syro-orientale (Chevtogne:1987) 188-97.

65. C. Stewart, "Working the Earth of the Heart": The Messalian Controversy in History, Texts, and Language to A.D. 431 (Oxford/NY:1991) 169-77 (on Macarius' Greek vocabulary of "mingling") and 188-203 on its Syriac precedents.

66. S. Brock, "Passover, Annunciation, and Epiclesis: Some Remarks on the Term Aggen in the Syriac Version of Luke 1:35", NT 24.3 (1982) 222-33; idem, "Magganuta: A Technical Term in East Syrian Spirituality and its Background", COr 20 (Geneva:1988) 121-9.

67. Brock, "Passover, Annunciation, and Epiclesis" 232.

68. See C.H. Hutcheon, "'God is with us': The Temple in Luke-Acts", SVThQ 44.1 (2000) 3-33, for a tentative exploration of Luke as advancing a "Glory" Christology , esp. 11-12 on Lk 1:35. For a more extended treatment along similar, though not identical lines, see C. Fletcher-Lewis, Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology. On the importance of "Glory" language more generally in Jewish and Christian literature, both biblical and extra-biblical, see the works cited above, n.46, and below, n.69.

69. See the articles on "glory" in the OT and NT by, resp., M. Weinfeld, KBD, in TDOT, ed. G.J. Botterwick et alii, tr. D.E. Green (Grand Rapids:1995) 7:22-38; and G. Kittel, Doxa, in TDNT, ed. G. Kittel, tr. G.W. Bromily (Grand Rapids:1964-74) 3:233-53. For more on the OT kavod and, for our purposes perhaps even more importantly, on its context in the theology of the Temple and Zion, see T.N.D. Mettinger, The Dethronement of Sabaoth: Studies in the Shem and Kabod Theologies (Lund:1982), esp. 19-37 and 80-123.

70. For shekinta, see Demonstrations 4.7, col. 152:1-2; 18.4, 828:8 (both describing Moses' vision of the Glory on Sinai); and 19:4, 857:6-7 (King Uzziah's presumptuous usurpation of the High Priest's function, entering behind the veil to see the Glory -- see 2 Chron 26:16 ff.). In all three cases, thus, the term answers to the Hebrew kavod. For the iqara and ziwa within the sage, which the angels serve and from which they veil their faces, see 14.35, 664:2-6; and cf. the functionally identical description of the angels' service and veiling before the shekinta and ziwa revealed to Moses on Sinai in 18.4, 828:6-14. On iqara as the Aramaic term that normally translates kavod in the Targumim, though usually in (perhaps) the older Palestinian Targumin, in construct with shekinta, see D. Muñoz-Leon, Gloria de la Shekina en los Targumim del Penteteuco (Madrid:1977), esp. his summary in 487-94.

71. See the chart S. Brock supplies in the introduction to his translation, Saint Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns on Paradise (NY:1990) 53, and his analysis of the Hymns, esp. 39-74. For Ephrem's use of shekinta, see Hymns 2.11 (Brock 89; Syr. in CSCO 174, p.7). On this and other technical terms for the divine Glory in these poems, see N. Séd, "Les Hymnes de Paradis et les traditions juives", Le Muséon (1968) 455-501, here 482-92.

72. So compare Demonstration 10.4, 828:6-14, with 10.5, 829:11-13.

73. For Isaac's use of shekinta, see the texts cited and analyzed in Alfeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian 45, 165, 167-8, and 170-1.

74. Letter 15.6, in La collection des lettres de Jean de Dalyatha, PO 39, 351:15-26. The English is in part my rendering, with the help of Beulay's French, and, beginning with the prayer, from S. Brock, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life (Kalamazoo:1987) 362.

75. See thus the SAD's use of arphele, above and n.57, and cf. the scholion on Dionysius Areopagita's famous account of Moses' ascent into the darkness (gnophos) of Sinai in Mystical Theology I.3. Taking up gnophos as rendering araphel in the Hebrew of Exod 20:21, the anonymous scholiast remarks: "The Hebrew says that araphel is the name of the firmament into which Moses went, for [the Jews] speak of seven firmaments, which they also call heavens"; PG 4:421C. This apparent acquaintance with Jewish traditions of mystical ascent is at the least intriguing, particularly given the false merkavah vision that Antichrist represents in the SAD, together with Ananisho's -- and Palladius' -- obvious concerns with the same temptations respectively a century after and before the Corpus Dionysiacum. Dionysius was also translated very quickly into Syriac. For his influence on John and others, see Beulay, La lumière sans forme, 158-80.

76. Epistle 39, in the collection assembled by W. Frankenberg, Evagrius Ponticus (Berlin:1912) 593, translating from Frankenberg's Greek retroversion. For other echoes of the "place" and Exod 24:10, see the "Chapters" supplementary to the Kephalaia Gnostica: 2 (Frankenberg 425), 4 (427), 21 (441), and 25 (449). See relatedly C. Stewart, "Imageless Prayer and the Theological Vision of Evagrius Ponticus", JECS 9.2 (2001) 173-204, for a sensitive exploration of Evagrius' exegetical and theological use of "the place of God", though regrettably without any attention to the phrase's resonances in extra-canonical traditions, let alone its importance in Jewish rabbinical and Chrisitian monastic literature, and see in contrast the article by Nicholas Séd cited below and n.77.

77. N. Séd, "La shekinta et ses amis araméens", COr XX (Geneva:1988) 233-42, here 242.

78. Homily 29.2.1-6, in H. Berthold, ed., Makarios/Symeon. Reden und Briefe: Die Sammlung I des Vaticanus Graecus 694 (B), GCS (Berlin:1973), Vol.I, 262:25-264:19. On Macarius' handling of Ezekiel's chariot elsewhere in his oeuvre, and his suggestive affinities with Jewish merkavah mysticism, see again Golitzin, "A Witness to Christianity as Transfiguration" 136-41.

79. SAD 29 and 38; Syr. 54 (line 10) and 61 (line 20); Eng. 103 (line 1) and 115 (line 1).

80. Henze, SAD, p. 24.

81. Cited by Henze, SAD, p. 117, n.266. On the overall dependence of the apocalypse on Revelation, see Henze's remarks in 16-17 and 30.

82. SAD 32, p.106; Syr. 56.

83. I have elsewhere argued somewhat similarly for perhaps the most famous and influential pseudepigraphon ever to come out Syria, the Corpus Dionysiacum, i.e., that "Pseudo-Dionysius" intended his work primarily to counter and correct unhealthy (in his view) preoccupation with other pseudepigrapha floating in the monastic ambient. See A. Golitzin, "Dionysius Areopagita: A Christian Mysticism?", Pro Ecclesia (forthcoming).

84. Henze, SAD, p. 17, on the apocalypse's "close message, language, and genre to the Jewish 'historical' apocalypses of the Second Temple period". On Christian ability to compose "Jewish" works, see Kraft, "The Pseudepigrapha in Christianity", Tracing the Threads 74.

85. Ethical Discourse X. Greek text in St. Syméon le nouveau théologien: traités théologiques et éthiques, ed. J. Darrouzès, SC 129 (Paris:1967), 264-8, lines 82-140. ET: St. Symeon the New Theologian on the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses, Vol. I: The Church and the Last Things, tr. A. Golitzin (Crestwood NY:1995) 145-7. Note Symeon's play on the simultaneity of fire and water in the second paragraph, and recall our discussion in section 2 above and nn. 22-25.

86. I have lightly paraphrased and shortened logion 22 of The Gospel of Thomas, ET: T.O. Lambdin, in The Nag Hammadi Library, Third Revised Edition, J.M. Robinson, ed. (SF:1990) 22. The complete version extends the idea of transformation: "Jesus said to them, 'When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter [the kingdom].'" On this particular apocryphon as based on a mysticism of light and acquired likeness to the divine form similar (and perhaps, ancestral) to the SAD and the related monastic literature discussed in this essay, see again DeConick, Seek to See Him, 99-125 and 148-71.


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