Andrei A. Orlov (Marquette University)
It has already been mentioned in our study that some researchers, including James VanderKam and other scholars often relied on a set of motifs which can be traced to Jacob’s story in their analysis of the heavenly counterpart traditions in Jewish pseudepigraphical literature, including chapter 71 of the Book of the Similitudes. Indeed, the biblical story of Jacob’s vision of the ladder at Bethel, narrated in Genesis 28, without doubt constituted the conceptual background for accounts of the heavenly double in various religious milieux. Although in the pseudepigraphic accounts Jacob’s vision of the ladder is only implicitly tied to the idea of his heavenly double – in later targumic, talmudic, and midrashic elaborations this connection becomes the locus of intense speculation. In view of the clarity of these later Jewish testimonies and their unambiguous connection with the notion of the heavenly Doppelgänger we will begin our exploration of the Jacob lore with these rabbinic testimonies that will enable us to discern more clearly similar traditions in Jewish pseudepigraphical accounts.
It is noteworthy that in rabbinic renderings of Jacob’s vision of the ladder the seer’s heavenly identity is often portrayed as his image engraved on the throne of glory. These traditions about the heavenly image of Jacob are present in several Palestinian targumic accounts. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan offers the following description of the patriarch’s celestial identity:
He [Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was fixed in the earth with its top reaching toward the heavens ... and on that day they (angels) ascended to the heavens on high, and said, “Come and see Jacob the pious, whose image is fixed (engraved) in the Throne of Glory, and whom you have desired to see.”1
Another Palestinian text, Targum Neofiti offers a very similar portrayal:
And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was fixed on the earth and its head reached to the height of the heavens; and behold, the angels that had accompanied him from the house of his father ascended to bear good tidings to the angels on high, saying: “Come and see the pious man whose image is engraved in the throne of Glory, whom you desired to see.” And behold, the angels from before the Lord ascended and descended and observed him.2
Finally, the third Palestinian text, the so-called Fragmentary Targum is also cognizant of Jacob’s heavenly alter ego fixed upon the Throne of Glory:
... And he dreamt that there was a ladder set on the ground, whose top reached towards the heavens; and behold the angels that had accompanied him from his father’s house ascended to announce to the angels of the heights: “Come and see the pious man, whose image is fixed to the throne of glory....”3
A distinctive feature of these targumic passages is that Jacob’s heavenly counterpart, envisioned as his image, is engraved on a very special celestial entity, namely, on the Throne of Glory. Engraving on the throne indicates an association with the Kavod, since the throne is the central part of the Kavod imagery – the seat of the anthropomorphic glory of the deity. Here again, like in the previously explored Enochic and Mosaic accounts, the revelation of the heavenly alter ego of the protagonist is unfolded in the midst of the Kavod symbolism. Besides the tradition of engraving on the Throne, some rabbinic materials point to an even more radical identification of Jacob’s image with the Kavod. It has been previously noted4 that in some rabbinic accounts about Jacob’s Doppelgänger, his image is depicted not simply as engraved on the heavenly throne, but as seated upon the throne of glory.5 Fossum argues that this second tradition is original and it is possibly connected with the Second Temple mediatorial currents. Christopher Rowland also argues that Jacob’s image is “identical with the form of God on the Throne of Glory (Ezek 1:26f.).”6 Such understanding of Jacob’s image as an anthropomorphic Glory is found already in some targumic accounts. Thus, David Halperin’s research draws attention to a targumic reading of Ezekiel 1:26 that interprets “the appearance of a human being” as Jacob’s image.7 Fossum offers additional support for the originality of the idea of Jacob’s enthronement by pointing out that the Hebrew forms of the Greek loan word εἰκών, used in the Targums are synonymous with Mlc and twmd.8 He further suggests that “Nynwqy) or )nqwyd can thus be seen to denote a bodily form, even that of God, that is the divine Glory.”9
Such symbolism of Jacob’s heavenly image associated with the deity’s Throne is widely diffused in rabbinic literature.10 What is weighty for our study is that some of these materials appear to underline a distance between two identities of the patriarch: one heavenly and the other earthly. Thus, Rachel Neis argues that “the rabbinic texts set up a visual symmetry, between an earthly Jacob and a divine iconic Jacob.”11 A possibility that Jacob’s celestial identity might be envisioned in these materials as an “icon” deserves our closer attention. In this respect two rabbinic passages are especially noteworthy. The first passage, found in Genesis Rabbah 82:2, details the following tradition:
R. Isaac commenced: An altar of earth shalt thou make unto me... in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come unto thee and bless thee (Exod 20:24). If I bless him who builds an altar in My name, how much the more should I appear to Jacob, whose features are engraved on My Throne, and bless him. Thus it says, And God appeared unto Jacob … and blessed him. R. Levi commenced: And an ox and a ram for peace offerings... for to-day the Lord appeared unto you (Lev 9:4). If I appear to him who offered a ram in My name and bless him, how much the more should I appear to Jacob whose features are engraved on My throne, and bless him. Thus it says, And God appeared unto Jacob … and blessed him.12
Another passage from Lamentation Rabbah 2:2 is also cognizant of Jacob’s heavenly identity in the form of the celestial image:
Similarly spake the Holy One, blessed be He, to Israel: Do you not provoke Me because you take advantage of the likeness of Jacob which is engraved upon My throne? Here, have it, it is thrown in your face! Hence, He hath cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel.13
It appears that in these rabbinic passages Jacob’s image engraved on the Throne has a sacerdotal significance and might be envisioned as an “icon” of the deity in a manner similar to how the prelapsarian Adam, installed in heaven, is understood in the Primary Adam Books. In relation to this concept Neis suggests that in Lamentations Rabbah 2:2 “God accuses Israel of taking advantage of the presence of this icon and provoking him with their behavior. He threatens to cast down the icon of Jacob from his throne.”14
In another rabbinic passage found in Numbers Rabbah 4:1 not only Jacob’s image but also his name appear to be understood as a sort of corresponding visual and audial representations of the deity through which angels are able to worship God:
There is a Scriptural text bearing on this: Since thou art precious in My sight, and honorable, etc. (Isa 43:4). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Jacob: Jacob, thou art exceedingly precious in my sight. For I have, as it were, set thine image on My throne, and by thy name the angels praise Me and say: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting and to everlasting (Ps 41:14).15
As will be shown later in our study, similar conceptual constellations will play a prominent role in the Adamic lore about the protoplast’s tselem.
It appears that Jacob’s exalted profile and his association with the Kavod posed a formidable challenge to rabbinic monotheistic sensibilities since some midrashic passages about the heavenly image of the patriarch are overlaid with distinctive polemical overtones. For example, Genesis Rabbah 68:12 presents the following debate between two rabbis:
R. Hiyya the Elder and R. Jannai disagreed. One maintained: They were ascending and descending the ladder; while the other said: They were ascending and descending on Jacob. The statement that they were ascending and descending the ladder presents no difficulty. The statement that they were ascending and descending on Jacob we must take to mean that some were exalting him and others degrading him, dancing, leaping, and maligning him. Thus it says, Israel in whom I will be glorified (Isa 49:3); it is thou, whose features are engraved on high; they ascended on high and saw his features and they descended below and found him sleeping. It may be compared to a king who sat and judged in a [basilica]; people ascend to the basilica and find him [judging], they go out to the chamber and find him [sleeping].16
The contestation of the rabbinic authorities involves an interesting point, namely, a suggestion that Jacob himself might represent an anthropomorphic “ladder” which connects earthly and celestial realms. This motif will be explored more closely below.
Further, it appears that the polemical thrust of this passage is not confined merely to a contestation between the rabbis, but also involves a rivalry between the otherworldly creatures. Thus, the salient feature of the text is a postulation that some angelic servants seem to oppose Jacob’s heavenly image by “degrading … and maligning him,” thus revealing a familiar motif of the angelic rivalry that has been already explored in our study. This theme of angelic opposition is reflected already in some talmudic materials that constitute the background of these midrashic passages. Thus, b. Hul. 91b contains the following tradition:
A Tanna taught: They ascended to look at the image above and descended to look at the image below. They wished to hurt him, when Behold, the Lord stood beside him (Gen 28:13). R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Were it not expressly stated in the Scripture, we would not dare to say it. [God is made to appear] like a man who is fanning his son.17
Elliot Wolfson notes that in these rabbinic sources the motif of the patriarch’s Doppelgänger “is placed in the context of another well-known motif regarding the enmity or envy of the angels toward human beings. That is, according to the statements in Genesis Rabbah and Bavli Hullin the angels, who beheld Jacob’s image above, were jealous and sought to harm Jacob below.”18 He notes that “the influence of the talmudic reworking of this motif is apparent in several later midrashic sources as well.”19
The theme of Jacob’s transcendental Self engraved on the divine Throne has also been transmitted in later Jewish mysticism. These mystical currents often add some novel symbolic dimensions to already familiar imagery. Thus, in Hekhalot Rabbati (Synopse §164) the tradition of Jacob’s alter ego on the throne is overlaid with striking erotic symbolism:
And testify to them. What testimony? You see Me—what I do to the visage of the face of Jacob your father which is engraved for Me upon the throne of My glory (ydwbk )sk l( yl hqwqx )yh# Mhyb) bq(y wynp rtslql). For in the hour that you say before Men “Holy,” I kneel on it and embrace it and kiss it and hug it and My hands are on its arms three times, corresponding to the three times that you say before Me, “Holy,” according to the word that is said, Holy, holy, holy (Isa 6:3).20
Here the deity embraces and kisses Jacob’s heavenly identity engraved on His Throne. Yet, the striking difference here in comparison with the previously explored accounts is that now not the image, but instead Jacob’s face (bq(y wynp rtslql) or more precisely a cast (rtslq)21 of the patriarch’s face, is said to be engraved on the throne. It appears that this conceptual shift is not merely a slip of a Hekhalot writer’s pen but a deliberate conceptual shift, since it is also attested to in some other rabbinic materials.22 Thus, in some piyyutim, which are conceptually very close to the developments found in Hekhalot Rabbati, Jacob’s heavenly identity again appears to be understood as the “face” on the Throne. In a liturgical poem of R. Yannai one can find the following depiction:
Your trust is in Jacob and the proof is Israel. One who sees the image of Jacob will sanctify the holy one of Israel. And those who make mention of the name Jacob will venerate you God of Israel. You are called the God of Jacob and also the God of Israel. And the exemplar of the camps of your angels, this one will call out the name Jacob. And this one will call out the name Israel. This one will say he is holy and this one will say he is blessed. And they will call out to one another. . . . And they will encircle the chariot, and rub with their wings. [. . .] And they will prostrate their entire length to it. And they will cover the face of the throne. And a sound will emerge from its wheels. [. . .] Their singing is to Jacob. They sanctify you, Holy One of Jacob. And they will respond and say: “Holy, holy, holy. The Lord of hosts fills the entire earth with his glory.” From his place he [God] descended and brought down his hosts to see the image of Jacob. In his place he [Jacob] was asleep; behold I [God] am with you because your image is with me. In his place he slept; while you sleep your guardian will not sleep.23
One of the curious expressions that occurs in this poem devoted to Jacob’s heavenly identity is the phrase “the face of the throne.” Rachel Neis notices that “this expression invokes Job 26:9, ‘He covers the face of his throne,’ but in this setting must also work with the references to Jacob’s image and facial features.”24
Another rabbinic testimony found in Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 35 also attempts to replace the tselem imagery with the symbolism of Jacob’s panim by arguing that the angels went to see the face of the patriarch and that his heavenly countenance is reminiscent of a visage of one of the Living Creatures of the divine Throne:25
Rabbi Levi said: In that night the Holy One, blessed be He, showed him all the signs. He showed him a ladder standing from the earth to the heaven, as it is said, “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven” (Gen 28:12). And the ministering angels were ascending and descending thereon, and they beheld the face of Jacob, and they said: This is the face – like the face of the Chayyah, which is on the Throne of Glory. Such (angels) who were (on earth) below were ascending to see the face of Jacob among the faces of the Chayyah, (for it was) like the face of the Chayyah, which is on the Throne of Glory.26
Such peculiar terminological exchanges between tselem and panim are significant for our study since they evoke the memory of various heavenly counterpart accounts in which the symbolism of the seer’s celestial alter ego is closely connected with the panim imagery. Thus, as one remembers, in 2 Enoch the seventh patriarch’s Doppelgänger is understood as the luminous “face” that mirrors the divine Panim.27 It points to a possibility that the notion of Jacob’s celestial identity in the form of “face” is not a later rabbinic invention. As we will see later in our study, the notion of Jacob’s heavenly counterpart in the form of the celestial “face” already plays a prominent conceptual role in an early Jewish pseudepigraphon, known to us as the Ladder of Jacob.28
In later Jewish mystical testimonies we also find another impactful development that has been already mentioned in our study in which Jacob’s heavenly identity is not simply engraved on the throne but instead seated on the Merkavah. Thus, Zohar I.71b-72a offers the following striking interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision of the Chariot:
“And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone” (Ezek 1:26). This alludes to the “foundation stone,” which is the central point of the universe and on which stands the Holy of Holies. “The likeness of a throne,” i.e. the supernal holy throne, possessing four supports, and which is symbolic of the Oral Law. “And upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above;” this symbolizes the Written Law. From here we learn that copies of the Written Law should rest on copies of the Oral Law (and not vice versa), because the latter is the throne to the former. “As the appearance of a man” refers to the image of Jacob, who sits on it.29
Here the formative Ezekelian account is refashioned as the vision of Jacob’s image enthroned on the celestial Seat. Another passage from Zohar II.241a offers a very similar reading in relation to Isaiah’s theophanic vision:
R. Simeon prefaced his reply with the verse: “Thus saith the Lord: The heaven is my throne, etc.” (Isa 66:1). “Observe,” he said, “that the Holy One, blessed be He, found delight in Israel as His inheritance and portion, brought them near to Himself, and divided them into certain grades after the celestial model, so as to bring into one complete whole all the worlds, both the upper and the lower. Thus ‘the heaven is my throne’ indicates the firmament wherein Jacob dwells, an exalted image, as it were, of the most high divine Throne.”30
In this passage, once again, the exalted image of Jacob is depicted as dwelling on the divine Throne.
Another passage from Zohar I.168a, which has already been mentioned in our study, connects the tradition of Jacob’s image with the symbolism of a mirror, a portentous metaphor which we already learned became crucial in so many heavenly counterpart accounts:
Hence it is that when the children of Jacob are oppressed, God looks at the image of Jacob and is filled with pity for the world. This is hinted in the passage: “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob” (Lev 26:42), where the name Jacob is spelt plene, with a vau, which is itself the image of Jacob. To look at Jacob was like looking at the “clear mirror.”31
Moreover some Jewish accounts appear to extend the symbolism of image as a heavenly identity to other well-known exemplars, already associated with the heavenly counterpart lore in our study. Thus, for example, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan while rendering the account of Moses’ shining visage adds to it the Nynwqy) terminology. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Exod 34:29 reads: “At the time that Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tables of the testimony in Moses’ hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the splendor of the iqonin of his face shone because of the splendor of the Glory of the Shekinah of the Lord at the time that he spoke with him.”32 The next verse (34:30) also uses the Nynwqy) formulae: “Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the iqonin of his face shone; and they were afraid to go near him.”33 Finally verses 33-35 again demonstrate the intense appropriation of the image symbolism:
When Moses ceased speaking with them, he put a veil on the iqonin of his face. Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil that was on the iqonin of his face until he came out. And he would come out and tell the children of Israel what he had been commanded. The children of Israel would see Moses’ iqonin that the splendor of the iqonin of Moses’ face shone. Then Moses would put the veil back on his face until he went in to speak with him.34
In these targumic interpretations of the biblical passages about Moses’s shining face, like in the aforementioned Jacob’s traditions, one can see the creative interchange between the panim and tselem symbolism.35
Like in the targumim, in later Jewish mysticism, and especially in the Zohar, the notion of the image as the heavenly Self is eventually bound to transcend the confines of Jacob’s story. The tselem now becomes the heavenly identity of every human being, understood as the person’s celestial “body.” Gershom Scholem underlines the persistence of this idea in later Jewish mystical lore. He notes that
already among the twelfth-century Ashkenazic Hasidim, the ancient motifs of man’s personal angel or daemon were linked to the image in which man was created…. This angel is now understood as the person’s double, about which nothing is said in the older Jewish sources of Merkavah mysticism. The sending of this angel to the earthly world even involves manifestations of this Doppelgänger to the person.36
Scholem further notes that in these later Jewish expansions the tselem Elohim was understood as the image of a human being’s angel that is imprinted upon the creature at the moment of his or her birth, or even earlier, at conception.37
The notion of tselem as the heavenly archetype comes to its clearest expression in several Zoharic passages where the divine image of the righteous man is understood as an angel. Thus, from Zohar I.191a one learns the following:
R. Judah said in reply: “The divine image of the righteous man is itself the very angel that shuts the mouths of the beasts and puts them in shackles so that they do not hurt him; hence Daniel’s words: ‘My God hath sent his angel,’ to wit, the one who bears the imprint of all the images of the world, and he firmly fixed my image on me, thereby shutting the lions’ mouths, and making them powerless over me. Hence man has to look well to his ways and paths, so as not to sin before his Master, and to preserve the image of Adam.”38
Here the celestial Self of a human being is understood not merely as an angelic being, but as a guardian angel39 whose functions include protection of a human creature from evil supernatural forces.40
Scholem emphasizes the complex multi-dimensional nature of the tselem imagery in the Zoharic materials where the concept of image as a purely personal angel was sometimes replaced by notions of a primordial shape and a preexistent heavenly garment worn by the soul in its paradisiacal existence prior to entering the body.41 Pure souls thus also require their own clothing, even in their celestial state, and only under extraordinary circumstances would they abandon this attire and appear uncovered before God.42 Scholem notes that the Zohar speculates at length about these celestial garments43 by unfolding these clothing metaphors in the midst of the tselem symbolism.44 One such speculation can be found in Zohar I.226b which narrates a dream of a famous rabbinic authority:
R. Judah the Elder one day saw in a dream his own image illumined and radiating brightly in all directions. “What is that?” he said; and the answer came: “It is thy garment for thy habitation here”; whereupon he was in great joy. R. Judah said: “Every day the spirits of the righteous sit in rows in the Garden of Eden arrayed in their robes and praise God gloriously, as it is written: ‘Verily the righteous shall praise thy name; the upright shall sit before thee.’”45
In this passage Rabbi Judah the Elder receives a vision of his luminous image identified in the text as a celestial garment. It is reminiscent of some early traditions of the heavenly counterpart, especially attested to in the Hymn of the Pearl, where the heavenly raiment of the protagonist is envisioned as his celestial Doppelgänger. Another pivotal allusion found in this passage is a reference to the Garden of Eden which evokes the memory of underlying Adamic currents in which the first humans are said to be endowed with garments of light – the protological attire, which is predestined to be restored to the righteous in the eschaton. Such an allusion points to a formative reception of the protological traditions in shaping the concept of tselem in the Zoharic materials. Although the Zohar46 very rarely explicitly states that this concept is identical with the tselem of Genesis 1, there is no doubt, in Scholem’s opinion, that this was the intention of many Zoharic passages.47
Another essential conceptual development which also pertains to the clothing metaphors associated with the tselem imagery is a peculiar understanding of this mysterious entity as a raiment of the soul – an ethereal body which determines and interacts with the physical body of the human being.48 Analyzing the Zoharic developments Scholem argues that “the ethereal body, which belongs to every human earthly body, is now designated by the Zohar as tselem. At the same time, it is also a biological principle operating within the human organism and changing its shape along with it. It is formed and impressed within the soul at the moment of conception.”49
Daniel Matt also proposes that in the Zohar the tselem is understood as “an ethereal body in which each soul is clothed before entering a human body. This bodily garment resembles the physical body that she will inhabit on earth. A person is created ‘in that image,’ and as he proceeds through life, the image surrounds him as an aura, departing from him shortly before he dies.”50
In line with these conceptual currents Zohar III.13b avers that when a human being goes out into the world he or she will grow with the same tselem. From Zohar II.217b and Zohar III.13b51 one also learns that the tselem leaves a human being immediately before his or her death.52
Scholem reflects on this weighty development which envisions the tselem as sort of inner pattern according to which the physical body grows. In this perspective the human body itself becomes a “shadow” of the inner tselem. He notes that “on the one hand, the tselem as a principle determined before birth; on the other hand, as the biological principle of the individual life, containing and determining the growth of the organism and its life span.”53 Zohar III.l04a-b further elaborates this formative influence of the tselem:
...at the hour of wedded union on earth, God sends a certain form with the figure of a human being which hovers over the union, and if a man’s eye were capable of such a thing it would see such a form over his head. The child is created in that form, and before that form stands over a man’s head the child is not created, that form being prepared for it before it issues into the world. In that form it grows up, in that form it goes about, as it is written, “Surely every man walketh in a form” (tselem, Ps 39:9). This form is from on high. When the spirits go forth from their places, each one stands before the Holy King with its adornments, with the countenance which it is to wear in this world; and from that adornment comes forth this form (tselem). Thus it is the third from the spirit, and it comes down first to this world at the time of wedded union, from which it is never absent. In the case of Israel, who are holy, this tselem is holy and from a holy place. But for the heathens it comes from the “evil species,” from the side of uncleanness. Therefore a man should not mix his form with that of a heathen, because the one is holy and the other unclean.54
Analyzing this passage Scholem notes that the tselem here is envisioned as a third element - a mediating entity between the life soul - nefesh, which is the lowest sphere of the human psychē, and the body itself. In Scholem’s opinion the Zohar thus regards the tselem as the astral body which the Israelites receive from the holy realms, while the pagan nations from the unclean and demonic realms.55
It is also vital for our study that, according to the Zoharic materials, the tselem can in some instances become visible to a human being. Scholem notes that in this case the adept “would experience a kind of Doppelgänger phenomenon … in which a person encounters the ‘shape of himself.’”56 According to the Zohar the adept in some situations is able to adjure his or her tselem. Yet, in contrast with the previously explored apocalyptic accounts where such perception with the upper identity is a desirable transforming event, this praxis of encountering of one’s heavenly identity is clearly discouraged in the Zohar. According to this mystical compendium such an event is laden with negative consequences for the adept since in order to behold the tselem he must make a pact with the forces of the Left Side. Zohar III.43a describes a practice of the tselem’s adjuration and its grave dangers:
...one who knows how to perform sorcery on the left side and to cling there should stand by the light of a lamp, or in a place where his own images may be seen, and utter certain words and invite his images to those whom he has summoned, and say that they are willingly prepared for their commands. Such a person has left the domain of his Lord and has yielded his pledge to the impure side. By those incantations that he utters, inviting his images, two spirits manifest, and array themselves in his images in human form, and inform him how to harm and benefit at particular times. These are two spirits who were not comprised within a body, and now they are comprised within these images, arrayed in them, and they convey information to this person-one who has left the domain of his Lord and yielded his pledge to the impure side.57
As one can see the praxis of interaction with the adept’s heavenly identity is strictly forbidden here. Scholem notes that by doing this the adept is making a pact with the powers of the Left Side by surrendering to them his tselem, which is manifested as shadow images.58 As a consequence of such a ritual, instead of the two forces of holiness that normally accompany the human being, two demonic spirits clothe themselves in his two shadows, serving him as guides and advisors.59
Another salient aspect of the tselem imagery in the Zohar, relevant for our study, is a peculiar understanding of the Doppelgänger in the form of the image as a reflection, which in the Zohar is rendered through the formulae of “shadow.” Scholem notes that “in the Zohar, exactly as in the famous passage in Dante’s Purgatorio (canto 25), the astral body is linked to man’s shadow, a connection facilitated by the obvious wordplay in Hebrew on tselem and tsel (shadow).”60 Scholem argues that this shadow is interpreted by the Zohar as none other than an external projection of the inner tselem.”61 Such understanding of the tselem as the shadow is important for our study, especially in the light of the previously explored Mosaic currents where the symbolism of reflections and mirrors as the heavenly identities of seers and mediators looms large.
There is a certain temptation to view the aforementioned Zoharic speculations about the celestial alter ego in the form of tselem as later Kabbalistic inventions completely divorced from the early heavenly counterpart lore. Yet, it is possible that such a concept has already circulated in ancient Greek literature and philosophy several millennia before the Book of Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century C.E. Thus, already in Homer’s writings a double of a human being was envisioned as an eidōlon, a term which in some contexts can be translated as an “image,” or “likeness,”62 but in the Homeric materials became understood as a “phantom” or a “double.”63 One finds this idea in Homer’s Odyssey where the eidōlon of Iphthime, prepared by Athene, appears in Penelope’s dream. Odyssey 4.795-800 reads:
Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athene, took other counsel. She made a phantom (εἴδωλον), and likened it in form to a woman, Iphthime, daughter of great-hearted Icarius, whom Eumelus wedded, whose home was in Pherae. And she sent it to the house of divine Odysseus, to Penelope in the midst of her wailing and lamenting, to bid her cease from weeping and tearful lamentation.64
Another passage from Odyssey (11.601-602) depicts Heracles’ eidōlon in Hades,65 while the hero himself is dwelling upon Olympus with the gods:
And after him I marked the mighty Heracles - his phantom (εἴδωλον); for he himself among the immortal gods takes his joy in the feast, and has to wife Hebe, of the fair ankles, daughter of great Zeus and of Hera, of the golden sandals.66
In the aforementioned passages eidōlon is clearly distinguishable from the “earthly” persona it represents, being understood as sort of “shadow” or “phantom” of that person.67 It is also noteworthy that it is sometimes fashioned literally as the person’s “twin,” who looks exactly like the individual it represents. Reflecting on this feature Jan Bremmer observes that
the meaning of eidōlon becomes clear from two passages. After Apollo had taken Aeneas away to a temple to be healed after a fight against Dlomedes, “he made an eidōlon like Aeneas himself” (5.450).68 Athena sent Penelope aneidōlon which she made like Iphthime (4.796). From these passages it appears that an eidōlon is a being that looks exactly like a person. This becomes especially clear in the case of Achilles when he is visited by the psychē of Patroclus in a dream. When Patroclus departs, Achilles tries to embrace him, but Patroclus’ psychē vanishes without Achilles succeeding. He then realizes that it was “apsychē and eidōlon,” although “it was wondrous like him” (23.104-107).69 The word eidōlon, thus, originally stressed the fact that for the ancient Greeks the dead looked exactly like the living.70
Although in Homeric writings the term eidōlon is never used for the souls of the living,71 in the Orphic and Pythagorean traditions it became envisioned as a double of a person who is still alive. In respect to these developments Jean-Pierre Vernant observes that a very different concept of the soul, opposite to the Homeric understanding, was elaborated in the milieu of the philosophical-religious sects like the Pythagoreans72 and Orphics.73 Vernant notes that this new conception appeared to be linked to spiritual practices of these esoteric groups, which intention was to escape from time, from successive reincarnations, and from death through acts of purifying and liberating the little particle of the divine everyone carries within himself.74 Vernant notes that in this novel understanding the psychē is still defined in the Homeric way like eidōlon, yet it is no longer the simulacrum of the dead person after death. Now that it is present within the living person, it can no longer take the form of a ghostly double of a vanished body.75 Vernant further observes that in its continuous duration, this new entity became the double of a living being: aiōnos eidōlon. This double, which is of divine origin and escapes the destruction that is the fate of mortal bodies, slumbers when its limbs are active. It awakens when the body is asleep and shows itself in the form of dreams, thus revealing to us the lot that awaits us in the other world after our death.76
In Platonic thought the concept of eidōlon undergoes a further striking evolution. Analyzing these portentous transitions, Vernant points out that in Plato one can see an inversion of the values attributed to the body and the soul. Instead of binding the individual intimately to a physical body and his soul (psychē), presented like the eidōlon of the body that is no longer here, as its phantom or double, it is now the immortal psychē that constitutes one ‘s real being.77 In this perspective the physical body changes its status: it now becomes a “shadow,” an illusory image of what we are truly are. In the ghostly world of appearances, the body becomes a semblance of the soul. In Vernant’s opinion it leads to a different understanding of the eidōlon. No longer are there psychai that are eidōla, phantoms of those whose bodies have been reduced to ashes on the funerary pyre; rather, it is the bodies of the deceased (their corpses) which are the eidōla of those who are dead. As Vernant notes, here we have a portentous transition from the soul as the ghostly double of the body, to the body as a ghostly reflection of the soul.78
Important terminological changes are also taking place. Thus, in the Platonic philosophy, unlike in Homer, eidōlon is understood not as a “phantom,” but rather as an “image.” Reflecting on these changes Vernant observes that a reversal of the relation between body and soul explains why Plato, the first theoretician of the image as an imitative artifice and a fiction, uses a term to designate mimetic activity in general that is the most charged with archaic values, the least “modern” of those available at this time in the vocabulary of the image.79
The notion of eidōla as the chain of the successive images/reflections representing “copies of a copy,” received its further elaboration in Plotinus in the third century C.E.80
A good illustration of such usage of eidōlon can be found in chapter 6 of the first Ennead where this concept is placed in the context of Narcussus’ story who once saw his reflection in the water:
When he sees the beauty in bodies he must not run after them: we must know that they are images, traces, shadows, and hurry away to that which they image. For if a man runs to the image and wants to seize it as if it was the reality (like a beautiful reflection (εἰδώλου καλοῦ) playing on the water, which some story somewhere, I think, said riddlingly a man wanted to catch and sank down into the stream and disappeared) then this man who clings to beautiful bodies and will not let them go, will, like the man in the story, but in soul, not in body, sink down into dark depths where intellect has no delight, and stay blind in Hades, consorting with shadows there and here.81
It has been previously suggested that these philosophical currents82 might influence some heterodox Christian developments with their symbolism of the upper eidōla paradoxically reflected in the watery mirrors of the lower realms.83 These traditions will be explored in detail later in our study.
Some conceptual developments found in Mandaean, Manichaean, and early Christian materials also reaffirm, in their own peculiar way, the antiquity of the understanding of the image as the human being’s Doppelgänger.
Let us first direct our attention to some Mandaean materials, based on oral traditions which can be dated to the 1st - 2nd centuries C.E., where the idea of the dmuta or the Lightworld image or likeness84 can be found.85 In relation to the concept of dmuta as the heavenly counterpart of a human being in the Mandaean texts, Ethel Stefana Drower notes that according to these materials “each individual on earth has his double (dmuta) or likeness in [the world of the upper counterparts, called] Mšunia Kušta and at the time of death the earthly individual leaves his earthly body and assumes the ethereal body of his double.”86
Another distinguished student of the Mandaean traditions, Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, in her analysis of dmuta symbolism, emphasizes several features of this arcane entity essential for our study. Buckley notes that
...the term dmuta conveys a dynamic relationship between the earthly image and its Lightworld counterpart. More precisely, the Lightworld image dwells in Mšunia Kušta, the world of ideal counterparts, which is a specific section of the Lightworld. The earthly image can only function insofar as it is energized by its dmuta in the upper world. Everything, every human being and all cutras, seem to have such an image. What one might expect of a given mythological figure characterized by great mobility depends on where that figure happens to be at any moment. Due to the dmuta, the figure’s identity is constant, but the figure may show itself as positive or negative depending on location and on the company it keeps. There is an underlying Mandaean psychological idea at work here, for personality traits may vary, but the fundamental, dmuta-given identity remains constant.87
Buckley’s reflections underline the complex nature of the dmuta symbolism found in the Mandaean materials which often operate with notions of both earthly and heavenly identities which are mutually interconnected. Here, like in the aforementioned Jewish mystical testimonies, the heavenly alter ego is envisioned as the formative entity that controls its lower earthly counterpart.
Some scholars also draw attention to the pronounced salvific significance of reunification with the heavenly twin in the form of the dmuta in Mandaeism, which is reminiscent of the heavenly counterpart traditions found in Jewish apocalyptic accounts. Thus, Richard Foltz argues that “as in Manichaeism and a number of other belief systems, Mandaeism posits that each human has a heavenly twin (dmuta). Thus, the aim of Mandeans is to ascend to the World of Light and attain reunion with their idealized, spiritual counterparts.”88
It is also important that in Mandaeism the protagonist’s heavenly Doppelgänger in the form of dmuta is often envisioned as a celestial “garment”89 which serves as an upper correlative to his/her earthly “garment.”90 As we already learned in our study such an understanding of the celestial alter ego as an attire can be found also in other heavenly counterpart traditions.
Some Manichaean Doppelgänger traditions also show their familiarity with the notion of the heavenly double as an eikōn. Thus, in Keph. 14:27-15:3 Mani’s heavenly counterpart appears to be understood as an “image”:
At that same season he [...]/my image, I assuming it in the years of Arta[b]anus/the [ki]ng of Parthia. Then, in the years of Ard[ashir], the kin[g] of Persia, I was tended and grew tall and attained the ful[lne]ss of the sea /[so]n. In that same year, when Ard[ashi]r the ki/[ng was c]rowned, the living Paraclete came down t[o me. He sp]oke with me. He unveiled to me the hidden mystery,/the one that is hidden from the worlds and the generations, the myster[y] of the dep[ths]/and the heights.91
Reflecting on this Manichaean excerpt, Charles Stang notes that its most tantalizing feature
is the mention of "my image" (tab-ikōn). The verb is no longer legible in this line, and this passage follows on ten lines of which only fragments are legible. Nevertheless, it seems clear that the Paraclete is meant to be in some sense "my image" (Gr. eikōn) and that Mani is saying that he "assumed" that image when he had grown to maturity. This is, of course, quite a departure from the Gospel of John. Nowhere does Jesus say that the Paraclete will be an image or eikōn. But as we will see in the next section, this tantalizing detail in the Kephalaia finds confirmation in the Cologne Mani Codex, where Mani proclaims, “Then, at the time when my body reached its full growth, immediately there flew down and appeared before me that most beautiful and greatest mirror image (katoptron) of [my self]” (CMC 17,1). We will also consider the ways that this ‘image’ and ‘mirror image’ may allude to Paul (and his concept of eikōn), Plato (lovers serving as each other's mirror), and the Gospel of Thomas (the "image" as opposed to "likeness" in §84).92
Stang further argues that the notion of image as the heavenly counterpart become an important feature of the Manichaean anthropology of the divine double. He draws his attention to the passage found in Keph. 36, 9-15 where we find the following description of the “Light Form”:
The third is the Light Form; the one whom the elect and the catechumens shall receive, should they renounce the world. And also the fifth father is this Light Form; the one who shall appear to everyone who will g[o] out from his body, corresponding to the pattern of the image (ikōn) to the apostle; and the thr[ee] great glorious angels who are come with her.93
Commenting on this passage, Stang notes that:
It is this Light Form on which we need now to focus in order to understand whether there is a universal Manichaean anthropology of the divine double. Here we learn that the Light Form will appear to both tiers of the Manichaean community—catechumens or "hearers" and the elect. This Light Form "corresponds to the pattern of the image (ikōn) to the apostle." We have already seen how Mani's companion or counterpart is understood as his image: "my image (ikōn)" (Kephalaia 14, 28); "that most beautiful and greatest mirror-image of [myself] (katoptron ton prosōpou mou)" (CMC 17, 1-16). Here we learn that the relationship of the apostle to his companion is repeated at the level of the Manichaean faithful: the Light Form appears to the faithful just as his image appears to the apostle.94
Another important piece of evidence is found in the Cologne Mani Codex 94-96 where “an image of man” in the waters appears several times to the leader of the baptismal sect, Elkhasai: “For Elkhasai, the founder of your law, indicates (this): for when he was going to wash in the waters, an image of a man (εἰκὼν ἀνδρὸς) appeared to him from the spring of water .... again for a second time, an image of a man (εἰκὼν ἀνδρὸς) appeared to him out of that spring ....95 Some scholars previously argued that this human image is envisioned in this Manichaean text as Mani’s heavenly counterpart.96
It is possible that the aforementioned Manichaean traditions are drawing on some heterodox Christian developments where the heavenly Doppelgänger was understood as an image.97 Gilles Quispel and April DeConick argue that such a notion of the adept’s heavenly double can be encountered in several Christian heterodox passages including Logion 84 of the Gospel of Thomas98 (NHC II,7, 47:25-29) where the following tradition can be found:
Jesus said. “When you see your likeness, you rejoice. But when you see your images which came into being before you, and which neither die nor become manifest, how much you will have to bear!”99
DeConick suggests that the notion of “likeness” in this passage is related to the adept’s earthly identity, while the notion of “image” corresponds to the heavenly one.100 The gist of the passage, according to DeConick, is that one’s earthly “likeness” must encounter one’s heavenly double or “image.”101 Other scholars also see such correlations. Thus, while analyzing Logion 84, Henri-Charles Puech also connects the notion of the heavenly image in this passage with the concept of the divine Self or the guardian angel which needs to be encountered and rejoined.102
Quispel draws his attention to the preceding logion 83 of the same heterodox gospel which also deals with the notion of image, considering logion 83 and logion 84 as doublets: two different versions of the same utterance of Jesus.103
Logion 83 (NHC II, 7, 47:20-24) reads: “Jesus said, ‘The images are manifest to man, but the light in them remains concealed in the image of the light of the father. He will become manifest, but his image will remain concealed by his light.’”104 Here the symbolism of the adept’s image is connected to the “image of the light of the deity.” The first intriguing detail is that both “images” are associated with the light – this feature, as one remembers, is also prominent in Enochic and Mosaic heavenly counterpart accounts where both the deity’s Form and the anthropomorphic extent of the seer are portrayed as luminous. The second valid detail is that the adept’s image appears to be concealed in the image of the deity – a motif which often can be found in several Doppelgänger speculations where the adept’s heavenly identity is revealed only upon the adept’s encounter with the divine Form.
Quispel also finds a similar understanding of the image in other early Christian texts coming from the Syrian environment, including chapter 112 of the Acts of Thomas, which contains the Hymn of the Pearl, already familiar to us. In this text the transcendental Self of the protagonist, envisioned as his celestial garment, is identified as the image of God. The Acts of Thomas 112:82-86 reads:
...my decorated robe, which was adorned with glorious colors, with gold and beryls and rubies and agates, and sardonyxes, varied in color. And was skillfully worked in its home on high, and with diamond clasps were all its seams fastened; and the image of the king of kings was embroidered and depicted in full all over it…. 105
One encounters the same concept of the image as the Doppelgänger in another cluster of materials associated with the Syrian ideological milieu, namely, in the so-called Macarian Homilies, written in Greek at the end of the fourth century C.E. by a Christian mystic from Mesopotamia. In one of the homilies the image appears to be understood as the heavenly Self and became identified with the mediatorial figure of the Holy Spirit.106 Homily II.12.6 reads:
Since Adam lost his own image and also that heavenly image, therefore, if he shared in the heavenly image, did he have the Holy Spirit (πνεῦμα ἅγιον)? Answer: As long as the Word of God was with him, he possessed everything. For the Word himself was his inheritance, his covering, and a glory that was his defense (Isa 4:5). He was his teaching. For he taught him how to give names to all things: “Give this the name of heaven, that the sun; this the moon; that earth; this a bird; that a beast; that a tree.” As he was instructed, so he named them.107
Reflecting on the appropriation of the image as the heavenly identity in the Macarian Homilies, Quispel observes that
[T]he mystic Macarius, who wrote in Greek but reflects the views of the Syrian church, implies in several passages that Spirit and Icon are identical …. The same view is found in the Hymn of the Pearl in Acts of Thomas 112. There the Self, which comes to encounter the prince, is, on the one hand, the garment left in heaven, the Holy Spirit; and, on the other, the Image (eikōn) of the King of Kings, God, was woven into it. The Self is simultaneously Spirit and guardian angel.108
Quispel further suggests that one can find a similar concept in very different quarters, namely in Rome in the second century C.E. in the Shepherd of Hermas.109 Vision 5 of this early Christian text relate the following tradition:
As I prayed at home sitting on the dining couch, some man came in, splendid to see, dressed like a shepherd, covered with a white goatskin, with a sack on his shoulder and a staff in hand. He greeted me and I greeted him back. He sat down beside me right away and said to me: “I have been sent by the most distinguished angel to live with you for the rest of the days of your life.” I thought he was there to test me, and I said: “So who are you? For I know; I said, “to whom I have been given over.” He said to me: “You do not recognize me?” “No,” I said. “I am the Shepherd to whom you have been given over.” While he was still speaking, his appearance changed, and I recognized the one to whom I had been given over, so that I was suddenly thrown into confusion; fear seized me and I was completely broken up with regret that I had answered him so badly and stupidly. But he answered me: “Do not be overwhelmed with confusion, but take strength in my mandates which I am going to command you. For I have been sent;” he said, “to show you again everything you saw before, the important points that are helpful for you. First of all, write my commandments and parables. Beyond that, you will write as I show you. This is why,” he said, “I am telling you to write the mandates and the parables first, so that you can read them right away and keep them.” So I wrote the mandates and the parables as he commanded me. Therefore, if you hear them, keep them, go forth in them, and do them with a pure heart, you will receive from the Lord everything he promised you. But if you hear and are not converted, but continue in your sins, you will receive just the opposite from the Lord. All these things the Shepherd commanded me to write, for he is the angel of conversion.110
Quispel argues that the guardian angel of Hermas in this description is his heavenly counterpart. Moreover, according to Quispel, this angelic being is presented in the text in the form of the seer’s image or iqonin. Quispel suggests that “when the angel changes his appearance, then Hermas recognizes him, evidently because he is his image and counterpart. The Jewish concept of the guardian angel as iqonin is implied.”111 Such interpretation of the mysterious “shepherd” has enjoyed long-lasting support already from such luminaries as Wilhelm Bousset and Martin Dibelius who held similar opinions by arguing that in this text the protagonist recognizes the heavenly visitor as an image of himself.112
It is noteworthy that the communication between Hermas and his celestial guardian is reminiscent of peculiar interactions between the angels of the Presence and human seers in the previously explored Jewish pseudepigraphical accounts where the apocalyptic adepts become identified with their celestial alter egos.
Quispel also draws attention to another Christian specimen of such conceptual constellation found in the Testamentum Domini where the image of a human being is portrayed as standing on high like an angel of the Presence:113 “Before the foundation of the world there stands the image (salma) or type of every soul.”114 Quispel notes that the Syriac word salma used in this passage “is related to the Hebrew tselem, used in Gen 1:27 to indicate the image of God in man.” 115 He also observes that in this passage “it is not the outward appearance of man, or his reason, or his free will, but his eternal unconscious transcendental Self which is the real image of God.”116
Summarizing the lessons of the aforementioned Christian developments Quispel postulates their Jewish roots by arguing that “the concept of a genius or daimon was well known to the Jews in Palestine of Hellenistic times, who called the guardian angel iqonin (icon, image) and considered him to be the exact image and counterpart of the man to whom he belonged.”117
We already noticed that in some of the aforementioned Jewish and Christian materials, in which the image is envisioned as the heavenly identity of a human being, one can see an attempt to evoke implicitly and explicitly the memory of the protoplast -- the first human creature endowed with the divine image. Scholars previously have suggested that the traditions about Jacob’s image as his heavenly archetype appear to be profoundly shaped by early Adamic lore. Thus, James Kugel argues that
the biblical account of Adam, who was fashioned according to God’s “image” (Gen 1:27) and who himself fathered Seth “in his [Adam’s] likeness and in keeping with his image” – certainly this account and these particular phrases might have been used to suggest that the preexisting image mentioned [in Jacob’s accounts] was in fact an image of the first man, one that God consulted in creating him and that was subsequently kept in Heaven.118
Elliot Wolfson effectively sums up the gist of such scholarly intuitions when he notes that “some scholars have suggested that Jacob represents primordial Adam and hence the icon engraved on the throne is to be construed as the universal image of humanity.”119
These valid insights from distinguished experts of Jewish lore force us to explore more closely the formative value of some early Adamic accounts and their possible impact in shaping the concept of Jacob’s heavenly identity as the image.
Thus, various versions of the Primary Adam Books, whose narrative elaborations of the protoplast’s story are deeply rooted in Second Temple Jewish conceptual currents,120 describe the primordial act of the protoplast’s endowment with the divine image. After this portentious event the prelapsarian Adam becomes envisioned as the deity’s “icon” – a role very similar to the one which Jacob’s image will play in the later rabbinic accounts. In both cases these anthropomorphic “icons” provoke a very similar reactions from the angelic host. On the one hand - the actions of veneration and loyalty, and on the other – feelings of resentment and rejection. As we already know, such complex and multi-dimensional dialogue between the embodied celestial image and the heavenly servants constitutes the conceptual center of the later targumic, talmudic, and midrashic accounts of Jacob in which the angels will be depicted as constantly interacting with the patriarch’s upper Self in the form of tselem and his lower “sleeping” identity, connecting them with their ladder-like processions. This motif of the peculiar angelic interactions, however, does not originate in the Jacob lore but instead stems from the formative Adamic accounts of the angelic reaction to the image of God, similar to the ones reflected in the Primary Adam Books. 121
A story found in the Armenian, Georgian, and Latin versions of the Primary Adam Books depicts the archangel Michael bringing the newly created Adam into the divine presence and forcing him to bow down before God.122 The deity then commands all the angels to bow down to the protoplast.123 The results of this order are mixed. Some angels agreed to venerate Adam, while others, including Satan, refuse to do obeisance, on the basis that Adam is “younger” or “posterior” to them.124
These accounts of the angelic veneration and the denial of such obeisance to the bearer of the deity’s image are pertinent to our study. They bring to memory not only the theme of the mixed angelic reaction to Jacob’s heavenly identity found in b. Hul. 91b and Genesis Rabbah 68:12 but also to the development of such motifs in other Doppelgänger accounts, including the heavenly counterpart traditions found in 2 Enoch, where Enoch’s transformation into a glorious heavenly creature also coincides with the motif of angelic veneration.
As one remembers 2 Enoch 21-22 narrates the final stage of the patriarch’s celestial journey during which the seventh antediluvian hero is brought by his angelic guides to the edge of the seventh heaven. At the deity’s command, the archangel Gabriel invites the patriarch to stand before the deity’s Face. Enoch agrees and the archangel carries him to the glorious Countenance of God where the patriarch does obeisance to the deity. God then personally repeats the invitation to Enoch to stand before him forever. After this invitation, another archangel, Michael, brings the patriarch to the front of the deity’s Panim. God then tells his angels, sounding them out: “Let Enoch join in and stand in front of my face forever!” In response to the deity’s command the angels do obeisance to Enoch.125
Scholars have noted that 2 Enoch 21-22 is reminiscent of the account of Adam’s elevation and his veneration by angels. Michael Stone notes that, along with the motifs of Adam’s elevation and his veneration by angels, the author of 2 Enoch also appears to be aware of the motif of angelic disobedience and refusal to venerate the first human. Stone draws attention to the phrase “sounding them out,”126 found in 2 Enoch 22:6, which another translator of the Slavonic text rendered as “making a trial of them.”127 Stone suggests that the expressions “sounding them out” or “making a trial of them” imply that the angels’ obedience is being tested.128
In view of these developments Stone argues that 2 Enoch 21-22 is reminiscent of the traditions found in the Armenian, Georgian, and Latin versions of the Primary Adam Books. The similarities include three chief events:
A. Installation on high. In the Primary Adam Books Adam is created and situated in heaven; in 2 Enoch the seventh antediluvian patriarch is brought to heaven.
B. Veneration of the deity. In the Primary Adam Books Adam does obeisance to God; in 2 Enoch the seventh antediluvian hero does obeisance to the deity.
C. Initiation into the celestial community: angelic veneration of the protagonist and Satan’s refusal to bow down. In the Primary Adam Books God commands the angels to bow down. All the angels do obeisance. Satan and his angels disobey. In 2 Enoch the angelic rebellion is assumed. God tests whether this time the angels will obey.129
It is also significant that the tradition of the angelic veneration in the Slavonic apocalypse appears to be related to the concept of the heavenly counterpart. In this respect it is intriguing that in some manuscripts of 2 Enoch the patriarch’s title “youth,” the designation so important in various Doppelgänger accounts, suddenly appears in the context of the angelic veneration.130
Angelic veneration in the midst of the seer’s identification with his heavenly double occurs also in the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian. As one remembers, this account narrates the “multitude of stars” who fell before Moses’ knees.131Considering Enochic influences on the Exagoge, where the stars often designate angelic beings,132 the multitude of stars kneeling before the seer might be a reference to the angelic veneration.
The tradition of the angelic veneration of humanity was not forgotten in later Enochic lore where it reappeared in Sefer Hekhalot. There, too, such a motif was closely tied to the concept of the heavenly identity of Enoch, designated as “Youth.”
Sefer Hekhalot 4:1-10 depicts Rabbi Ishmael questioning his celestial guide Metatron about his name “Youth”:
R. Ishmael said: I said to Metatron: “... you are greater than all the princes, more exalted than all the angels, more beloved than all the ministers ... why, then, do they call you ‘Youth’ in the heavenly heights?” He answered: “Because I am Enoch, the son of Jared ... the Holy One, blessed be he, appointed me in the height as a prince and a ruler among the ministering angels. Then three of ministering angels, cUzzah, cAzzah, and cAza’el, came and laid charges against me in the heavenly height. They said before the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Lord of the Universe, did not the primeval ones give you good advice when they said, Do not create man!’ … And once they all arose and went to meet me and prostrated themselves before me, saying Happy are you, and happy your parents, because your Creator has favored you. Because I am young in their company and mere youth among them in days and months and years—therefore they call me ‘Youth.’”133
Commenting on this passage, Gary Anderson suggests that if “we remove those layers of the tradition that are clearly secondary ... we are left with a story that is almost identical to the analog we have traced in the Adam and Eve literature and in 2 Enoch.”134
Anderson further notes that the acclamation of Enoch as “Youth,” in Sefer Hekhalot, is intriguing because the reason 3 Enoch supplies for this title is deceptively simple and straightforward: “Because I am young in their company and a mere youth among them in days and months and years—therefore they call me ‘Youth.’” Anderson proposes that the title might point to its Adamic provenance since the explanation for the epithet “youth” recalls the reason for the angelic refusal to worship Adam in the Primary Adam Books on the basis of his inferiority to them by way of his age.135
Similarities between the angelic veneration of Adam as the divine image and the veneration of Enoch in front of the divine Face brings us to a key facet, namely: can divine image traditions which play such an important role in some accounts of the heavenly counterparts also can be found in 2 Enoch? Although the Slavonic apocalypse does not mention explicitly the divine image as the heavenly identity of the seventh patriarch it constantly refers to another pivotal celestial entity - the divine Face. This entity plays a paramount role in the process of the seer’s unification with his celestial alter ego and the angelic veneration of the hero takes place in the immediate proximity to this entity.
It is possible that in 2 Enoch, like in some rabbinic and Hekhalot accounts, the divine Panim might take on the role of the divine Tselem. As has been already shown in our study, the divine Countenance in 2 Enoch 22 represented the cause and the prototype after which Enoch’s new celestial identity was formed. The new creation after the Visage signifies the return to the prelapsarian condition of Adam, who was also modeled, according to some testimonies found in the Slavonic apocalypse, after the Face of God. Support for this view can be found in 2 Enoch 44:1, where one learns that the protoplast was also created after the Panim of God. The text says that “the Lord with his own two hands created humankind; in a facsimile of his own face, both small and great, the Lord created [them].”136 It is intriguing that 2 Enoch departs here from the canonical reading attested in Gen 1:26–27 where Adam was created not after the face of God, but after His image (tselem).137 Francis Andersen observes that 2 Enoch’s “idea is remarkable from any point of view.... This is not the original meaning of tselem.... The text uses podobie lica [in the likeness of the face], not obrazu or videnije, the usual terms for ‘image.’”138 It is clear, however, that this reading did not arise in the Slavonic environment, but belonged to the original argument of 2 Enoch, where the creation of the luminous protoplast after the deity’s Face corresponded to a similar angelic creation of the seventh antediluvian patriarch.
In light of these terminological parallels it is possible that the notion of the heavenly counterpart attested to in 2 Enoch might be also connected with the tselem conceptual currents, similar to the ones found in Jacob’s lore. As we already learned above, this rendering of tselem imagery through formulae of the divine Countenance, or Panim, will continue to exercise its formative influence in later rabbinic accounts about Jacob’s heavenly identity.139
Our in-depth examination of various Jacob Doppelgänger traditions in the later rabbinic lore has provided us with important spectacles that enable us more clearly see initial traces of these conceptual developments in early Jewish lore. With this knowledge we should now proceed to the assessment of early pseudepigraphical accounts.
For our explorations of the heavenly counterpart traditions in early Jacob’s legends, one early account holds a very special value. It is a Jewish pseudepigraphon known to us as the Prayer of Joseph. Only three fragments of the Prayer are currently extant.140 According to some scholars the original composition represented “a midrash on the Jacob narrative in Genesis.”141 The pseudepigraphon is usually dated to the first century C.E. Thus, Jonathan Smith argues that “the Prayer is most likely to be situated within … [the] first-century Jewish groups, both in Palestine and in the Diaspora, both before and after the destruction of the Temple.”142 The surviving fragments reveal the following striking content:
Fragment AI, Jacob, who is speaking to you, am also Israel, an angel of God143 and a ruling spirit.144 Abraham and Isaac were created before any work. But, I, Jacob, who men call Jacob but whose name is Israel am he who God called Israel which means, a man seeing God because I am the firstborn of every living thing to whom God gives life.145 And when I was coming up from Syrian Mesopotamia, Uriel, the angel of God, came forth and said that “I (Jacob-Israel] had descended to earth and I had tabernacled among men and that I had been called by the name of Jacob.” He envied me and fought with me and wrestled with me saying that his name and the name that is before every angel was to be above mine. I told him his name and what rank he held among the sons of God. “Are you not Uriel, the eighth after me? And I, Israel, the archangel of the power of the Lord and the chief captain among the sons of God? Am I not Israel, the first minister before the face of God? And I called upon my God by the inextinguishable name.”
Fragment BFor I have read in the tablets of heaven all that shall befall you and your sons.
Fragment C[Origen writes] Jacob was greater than man, he who supplanted his brother and who declared in the same book from which we quoted “I read in the tablets of heaven” that he was a chief captain of the power of the Lord and had, from of old, the name of Israel; something which he recognizes while doing service in the body, being reminded of it by the archangel Uriel.146
It has been noted that the leading idea of these fragments appears to be that “angels can become incarnate in human bodies, live on earth in the likeness of men, and be unconscious of their original state.”147 Several scholars have previously suggested that the Prayer of Joseph might contain heavenly counterpart traditions. Thus, for example, Dale Allison argues that
although this obscure fragment probably equates Jacob with the angel Israel, who has come to earth and somehow forgotten his true identity, it must be related to the well-known tradition that the features of the patriarch Jacob/Israel have a heavenly correlative on or near God’s throne. It seems likely enough, reading between the lines, and as James Kugel has suggested, that some Jews held the earthly Jacob to have a heavenly counterpart.148
Allison further suggests that “such a belief could have arisen from the Hebrew of Gen 32:29 (Myhl)-M( tyr#), taken to mean, ‘you [Jacob] have been exalted with God,’ and/or from the popular etymology of Israel’s name, ‘the man who sees God’ (l)r#y being supposed to derive from l) h)r #y)) ....”149
A close look at the surviving fragments reveals a cluster of familiar motifs which have been previously encountered in our analysis of the heavenly counterpart traditions. The first important detail that catches the eye is a presence of Uriel, a distinctive angelic servant who often appears in other accounts where the seers become unified with their heavenly Selves. Here in the Prayer, like in the previously explored Enochic accounts, this angelic servant appears to be assisting a human adept in acquisition of his heavenly identity.150 Thus, from the Prayer we learn that it was indeed Uriel who conveyed to Jacob the mystery of his transcendental Self.151 The interaction between Jacob and Uriel might also point to a possible initiatory endeavor which plays a pivotal role in various heavenly counterpart accounts when the angels of the Presence transfer their former offices to a new favorites of the deity who become the new guardians of celestial books and secrets.
Another distinguished aspect of the account is an accentuated conceptual gap between the heavenly Self and the earthly “incarnation” of the protagonist postulated in the text. Here one can observe the already familiar ascent-descent pattern,152 prominent also in 2 Enoch where the seventh patriarch has a capacity to travel back and forth between upper and lower realms153 and as a consequence is able to reside or “tabernacle” temporarily on earth,154 while his heavenly persona was permanently installed as the angel of the Presence on high. This is especially reminiscent of Enoch’s descent in the second part of 2 Enoch where he is sent by the deity to the lower realm in order to transmit final instructions to his sons and to the people of the earth while his heavenly identity remained installed “forever” before the Face of God.
Another of Jacob’s pivotal functions reflected in the Prayer which pertains to the heavenly counterpart traditions is his pneumatological task. Fragment A of the Prayer opens with a line where Jacob-Israel reveals his role as the sovereign or ruling spirit (Gk. πνεῦμα ἀρχικόν).155 The reference to the patriarch’s identity as a “spirit” is intriguing since various heavenly counterpart currents attempt to portray upper identities of human protagonists as “spirits” or even as the Holy Spirit. Although this designation has not previously drawn much scholarly attention,156 the peculiar confluence of this title with the motif of Jacob’s self-acclamation that he is “the firstborn of every living thing” brings to memory some pneumatological developments prominent in other heavenly counterpart accounts.
Although the motif of the heavenly Self as a spirit played some role in early Jewish and Christian developments it received its most articulated expression in the Manichaean lore where the heavenly twin of the founder of this religious tradition, Mani (216 C.E. - 276 C.E.), was envisioned as a spirit.157 Several Manichaean documents, including the Kephalaia of the Teacher and Cologne Mani Codex (CMC) extensively speculate about Mani’s heavenly Zwilling.158 According to these documents, the Twin-Spirit was sent to Mani already at the age of twelve and then again at age twenty-four159 revealing to the adept his unique mission in this world.160 During the first encounter Mani was told to break with his religious past and step on the path of the ascetic life style.161 The Twin-Spirit162 then accompanied Mani during his life time, helping him with continuous revelations,163 and even transmitting writings to him.164 From the Manichaean psalms one learns that the mission of the Twin-Spirit continued even in the final hours of Mani’s life.165 According to one Manichaean psalm at the end of his earthly journey Mani was gazing at his Twin-Spirit “with the eyes of light.”166
For our study it is weighty that in the Manichaean lore the heavenly twin of Mani is often depicted not simply as a “spirit,” but as the Holy Spirit – Paraclete. Iain Gardner observes that Mani “believed himself to be the recipient of direct revelation from his divine Twin Spirit, which being is understood to be the Paraclete foretold by Jesus, and with whom Mani became ‘one body and one Spirit.’”167 Thus, Keph. 14:4-7 relates the following pneumatological tradition in which Mani’s twin is portrayed as the Paraclete:
[Wh]e[n] the church of the saviour was raised to the heights, my apo/stolate began, which you asked me about! From that time on was sent the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth; the one who has / co[me] to you in this last generation. Just like the saviour sa/id: When I go, I will send to you the Paraclete.168
In Keph. 14:27-15:3 the tradition about the Paraclete is repeated again:
At that same season he [...]/my image, I assuming it in the years of Arta[b]anus/the [ki]ng of Parthia. Then, in the years of Ard[ashir], the kin[g] of Persia, I was tended and grew tall and attained the ful[lne]ss of the sea /[so]n. In that same year, when Ard[ashi]r the ki/[ng was c]rowned, the living Paraclete came down t[o me. He sp]oke with me. He unveiled to me the hidden mystery,/the one that is hidden from the worlds and the generations, the myster[y] of the dep[ths]/and the heights.169
Reflecting on these passages Johannes van Oort observes that “in the Kephalaia, the Paraclete has precisely the same function as the Twin or Syzygos as described in the CMC. In short: the Paraclete and the Twin are identical in Manichaean theology.”170 It is noteworthy that although in Kephalaia 14-16 Mani’s heavenly twin is called the Paraclete, in some other Manichaean passages Mani himself is expressly named as the “Paraclete.”171 It again affirms another tenet of the heavenly counterpart lore when a human adept assumes the offices of his heavenly Self. Thus, van Oort notes that “in a fragment from his Gospel, which was transmitted by the tenth century Muslim historian al-Biruni, it is explicitly stated ‘that he [Mani] is the Paraclete who had been announced by the Messiah.’”172 The same designation is repeated in CMC 46,173 CMC 63,174 and in CMC 70.175 Van Oort notes that “from these quotations from Baraies’ testimonies incorporated into the CMC (which in turn go back to autobiographical statements of Mani), it is completely clear that Mani considered himself to be the Paraclete.”176 Analyzing the Manichaean pneumatological developments van Oort asks an essential question, namely: “Was Mani, then, the Paraclete (which in orthodox Christian circles was — and is — identified with the Holy Spirit)? Or was the Paraclete (or Holy Spirit) in Mani? And, in what manner may the evidence that both the Nous and the Syzygos are named as Paraclete match to each other?”177 In van Oort’s opinion such query can be resolved through the notion of the heavenly counterpart. He proposes that …
...the dilemma of … the seeming contradiction that both the Nous and the Syzygos are called “Paraclete” may be solved by a further examination of the Manichaean (and typical Gnostic) concept of the Syzygos. When Mani, i.e., the Nous of Mani, was sent into the world, a mirror image of this Nous, i.e., his alter ego, remained behind in heaven. One ego, Mani’s Light-Nous, was imprisoned in his body and thus forgot his mission. Then the Syzygos, the alter ego, was sent to him from heaven: as it is told throughout the CMC, this Twin brought Mani the revelation by reminding him of his divine nature and mission; and, like his guardian angel, he protected him. The Nous of Mani and his Syzygos should therefore be treated as two complementary aspects of Mani’s identity. Because Mani’s Nous (or real Self) and his Syzygos were considered to be one and the same identity, this implies that, if one of them is the Paraclete, the other must be the Paraclete.178
Gardner also notes that united with his divine twin Mani thus “becomes the Paraclete foretold, as according to John 14:16 where Jesus promises the disciples that he will ask the Father who will send them another helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain with them forever.”179
Aforementioned Manichaean speculations that attempt to portray Mani’s heavenly twin as the Holy Spirit appear to be stemming from early Jewish and Christian developments in which the celestial Self of a human being is also sometimes envisioned as a spirit. It is intriguing that some of these developments reveal a set of already familiar themes found in the Enoch and Jacob traditions of the heavenly counterparts, including the symbolism of the servants of the divine Face and the motif of the heavenly Self as an image. We will now try to explore these conceptual developments more closely.
One of the crucial biblical references which often appears in the deliberations about the heavenly counterparts as “spirits” in various Christian materials is Matt 18:10 in which Jesus warns his disciples to not despise little children because their angels continually behold the deity’s face in heaven. In some Christian passages the angelic alter egos of the “little children” became envisioned as the Holy Spirit. Such pneumatological development constitutes an interesting parallel to the Manichaean traditions where Mani’s celestial alter ego is envisioned as the Paraclete. One such refashioning is found Aphrahat’s Demonstrations where the guardian angels of the little ones, who eternally behold the Face of God are understood as the Holy Spirit. Thus, Dem. 6:15 reads:
This Spirit which the prophets received is likewise the one we (received), my beloved. She is not all the time to be found with those who receive her, rather, at times she goes off to Him who sent her, and at times she comes back to the person who received her. Listen to what our Lord said “Do not despise a single one of these small ones who believe in me, for their angels in heaven continually behold the face of my Father” (Mt 18:l0). This same Spirit all the time goes and stands before God and beholds His face, and against the person who harms the temple in which she resides she will lay complaint before God.180
Scholars previously suggested that Aphrahat is speaking here not simply about the Holy Spirit, but also about his (or her) role as the heavenly counterpart of a human being.181 Thus, Gilles Quispel notes that “Aphrahat has given a very curious interpretation of [the] guardian angel. With an allusion to Matthew 18:10, he speaks about the guardian angels of the little ones, who eternally behold the Face of God and goes on to say that this is the Holy Spirit who permanently goes and stands before God, contemplates his face, and accuses everybody who does harm to the man in which he dwells.”182
It is also significant for our study that in Aphrahat the Holy Spirit assumes the role of the servant(s) of the divine Face – the office so decisive for acquisition of the seer’s heavenly identity in many pseudepigraphical accounts. Yet, Aphrahat’s angelological deliberations are not entirely novel. Thus, the motif of the spirits as the servants of the divine Face in connection with the famous Matthean passage is found already in the writings of Clement of Alexandria,183 who identifies the Holy Spirit with the seven “first-created” servants of the Face184 called the Protoktists or the Protoktistoi. In Excerpta ex Theodoto 10, 6–11, 2 Clement discusses the following tradition:
They (the First-Created) “always behold the face of the Father”185 and the face of the Father is the Son, through whom the Father is known. Yet that which sees and is seen cannot be formless or incorporeal. But they see not with an eye of sense, but with the eye of mind, such as the Father provided. When, therefore, the Lord said, “Despise not one of these little ones. Verily, I say unto you, their angels do always behold the face of the Father,”186 as is the pattern, so will be the elect, when they have received the perfect advance. But “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And how could there be a face of a shapeless being?187<
In this account the Matthean motifs of the “angels” and the “face” are reshaped into the tradition about the heptad of the Holy Spirit represented by the seven highest-ranking members of the celestial hierarchy who are perpetually gazing upon Christ, the Face of God.188 Scholars discerned that the Protoktistoi are often envisioned as heavenly identities or guardian angels of the faithful Christians. Thus, Quispel observes that in Clement’s passage “the guardian angels of the faithful are identified with the Protoktistoi, who are the Spirit. Guardian angel and Holy Spirit are one and the same.”189
In the light of these angelological developments it is important that the Prayer of Joseph also defines Jacob as the servant of the divine Face when he himself acknowledges his role as “the first minister before the Face of God.”190 This title is reminiscent of some Enochic developments and, especially, the motif of Enoch’s access to the divine Presence and his installation as one of the Sar ha-Panim in 2 Enoch and Sefer Hekhalot. This peculiar connection between the pneumatological role and the role of the servant of the divine Face demonstrates that the concept of the heavenly counterpart as a spirit is surrounded in the Prayer of Joseph by other crucial developments prominent in the Doppelgänger lore.
Another development pertinent to our exploration of the Doppelgänger currents in the Prayer of Joseph is the presence of the concept of the image or tselem of God – a prominent trend of later Jacob legends. In this respect it is essential that immediately after the introduction of his title “ruling spirit” Jacob mentions his unique place in God’s creation by uttering the following striking statement:“I, Jacob, who is speaking to you, am also Israel, an angel of God and a ruling spirit. Abraham and Isaac191 were created before any work (προεκτίσθησαν).192 But … I am the firstborn (πρωτόγονος) of every living thing to whom God gives life.”193
The designation of Jacob as πρωτόγονος194 might point to his role as the image of God which is similar to the office which Adam occupies in some Jewish accounts. The connection of this designation with the protoplast’s figure has often been noticed by scholars. Thus, for example, Howard Schwartz argues that such expression “suggests that Jacob was a kind of proto-human, an Adam-like figure....”195 Jarl Fossum reflects on another key parallel, previously noticed by other scholars as well,196 a possible connection with Col 1:15 where Christ’s role as “the image of the invisible God” (εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου) is juxtaposed with his designation as πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως (the firstborn of all creation). Fossum argues that “the closest parallel to the phrase in Col 1:15b is found in a fragment of the Prayer of Joseph preserved by Origen.”197
Another important detail that might point to the presence of the tselem concept in the Prayer of Joseph is the motif of angelic opposition which, as we already learned, often accompanies the tselem traditions in Adam’s and Jacob’s lore. Thus, in the Prayer Jacob mentions that the angel Uriel envied him, wrestled with him, and argued that his name was above Jacob’s.198 Although obviously the Prayer of Joseph is drawing on the biblical story of Jacob’s wrestling with a supernatural contender at the river Jabbok – the motifs of angelic jealousy and the angel’s arguments about his superior status are entirely new developments here in comparison with the biblical account. In relation to these novel interpretations Richard Hayward notes that “the Bible gives no motive for the supernatural attack on Jacob [at Jabbok]…. The Prayer, however, attributes the attack to jealousy, and adds something entirely foreign to both the Bible and Philo: what is at issue between the two combatants is their relative status as angels, and their exact positions within the celestial hierarchy.”199 Uriel’s jealousy and peculiar arguments about his superiority to the patriarch bring to memory the motif of the angelic opposition to Adam as the image of God in the Primary Adam Books. There his chief antagonist, Satan, also expresses similar feelings of jealousy200 and he explains his refusal to do obeisance to Adam on the basis of the protoplast’s inferior celestial status in comparison with his own, more exalted, stand.201 The theme of the angelic jealousy and resistance thus implicitly affirms here the existence of the tselem tradition.
In view of these connections it is possible that in the Prayer of Joseph Jacob’s heavenly identity is envisioned as both the spirit and the image. If it is indeed so it is noteworthy that in some Doppelgänger’s accounts the symbolism of the image and the spirit as designations for the adept’s heavenly counterpart are often conflated. Gilles Quispel draws attention to some texts where such parallels between the concept of the spirit and the concept of the image are present. Thus, he notices that in the Hymn of the Pearl “the Self, which comes to encounter the prince, is, on the one hand, the garment left in heaven, the Holy Spirit; and, on the other, the Image (eikōn) of the King of Kings, God, was woven into it.” 202 The seer’s upper identity thus is understood here simultaneously as the spirit and the image.
Quispel also draws attention to a passage from the Shepherd of Hermas which details a female figure shrouded in peculiar pneumatological symbolism. According to Quispel
...the Woman that manifests herself to Hermas is in reality the Holy Spirit (Sim. 9:1). This then presupposes the well-known Jewish Christian concept according to which the Holy Spirit is a mother. Secondly, the name of the writing refers to the guardian angel of Hermas to whom the latter has been committed (at baptism). When the angel changes his appearance, then Hermas recognizes him, evidently because he is his image and counterpart.203
In Quispel’s opinion the same constellation of the concepts of image and spirit can be found in the already mentioned passage from Pistis Sophia 61.204 He notes that
in the Pistis Sophia, Mary, the mother of the Lord, tells that, before the Spirit has descended upon Jesus at his baptism, this same Spirit came to her into her house, resembling (epheine) Jesus. Mary did not recognize him and thought he was Jesus. The Spirit said to her: where is Jesus, my brother, that I may encounter him? Mary binds him to a leg of the bed and goes to fetch Jesus, who returns home. “And we looked at you and him and found you resembling him.”205
Quispel suggests that “the Holy Spirit here is considered to be the guardian angel and image (iqonin) of Jesus, who forms a whole with him.206
Concluding this section of our study we should note that the identification of the protagonist’s heavenly identity with the spirit in the Jewish pseudepigrapha is not confined solely to the Prayer of Joseph but can be found also in other early pseudepigraphical accounts. In this respect it is intriguing that in the Doppelgänger account found in Similitudes 71 where Enoch is identified with his heavenly Self in the form of the Son of Man,207 the formulae of “spirit” also looms large.208 Thus, already in the first verse of 1 Enoch 71, the seventh antediluvian hero reports that his “spirit was carried off.”209 Later in the pivotal moment of the seer’s heavenly metamorphosis, we encounter again the formulae of “spirit.” Thus, in 1 Enoch 71:11 Enoch reports that when he fell on his face his whole body melted, and his spirit “was transformed and he cried out in a loud voice in ‘the spirit of power.’”210 It is also important that in the Similitudes the deity Himself is designated as the Lord of Spirits.211
Another principal early Jewish pseudepigraphical account that deals with the notion of Jacob’s heavenly identity is the Ladder of Jacob. Yet, unlike in the Prayer of Joseph where the protagonist’s heavenly Self is revealed unambiguously, in the Ladder uncovering the possible existence of such concept takes considerable exegetical effort. In part it is due to the condition of the pseudepigraphon, since the text underwent a long-lasting journey through various linguistic and ideological milieus.
While the Prayer of Joseph was preserved in Greek, the main bulk212 of the Ladder of Jacob has survived solely in Slavonic as a part of the so-called Tolkovaja Paleja213 (the Explanatory Paleia) where the editors of its various versions reworked214 and rearranged them. Despite its long life inside the compendium of heterogeneous materials and its long history of transmission in both Greek and Slavonic milieus, the pseudepigraphon seems to have preserved several early traditions that can be safely placed within the Jewish environment of the first century C.E. Scholars propose that the Slavonic Ladder of Jacob is most likely derived from its Greek variant, which in turn appears to have been translated from Hebrew or Aramaic.
The content of the work is connected with Jacob’s dream about the ladder and the interpretation of the vision. In Horace Lund’s translation, the text is divided into seven chapters.215 The first chapter depicts Jacob’s dream in which he sees the ladder and receives God’s audible revelation about the Promised Land and blessings upon his descendants. The second chapter offers Jacob’s lengthy prayer to God in which he uncovers additional details of his dream and asks God to help him interpret the dream. In chapter three, God sends the angel Sariel to Jacob as an interpreter. In chapter four, Sariel informs Jacob that his name has been changed to Israel. As one can see the content of the pseudepigraphon is not confined solely to the ladder account but also accommodates features of Jacob’s other visions, namely, the patriarch’s acquisition of the new name during the wrestling match at the river Jabbok. The last three chapters of the Ladder recount Sariel’s eschatological interpretations of Jacob’s dream in which he reveals the details of future human history to the visionary.
It is important for our study that the heavenly counterpart traditions in the Ladder of Jacob are surrounded with already familiar Kavod symbolism. Moreover, like the authors of previously explored Enochic and Mosaic accounts, the author of the Ladder is cognizant of the panim imagery as well. It is also possible that here like in Hekhalot Rabbati, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, and the piyyutim the panim imagery serves as a symbolic substitute for the notion of Jacob’s tselem. In light of their significance for our study these concepts therefore should be explored more closely.
The symbolism of the divine/angelic faces plays a prominent role especially in the first chapter of Ladder of Jacob. The text describes Jacob’s dream in which he sees a twelve step ladder, fixed on the earth, whose top reaches to heaven with the angels ascending and descending on it. This familiar biblical motif then is expanded further with some new features. Lad. Jac. 1:3-10 offers the following portrayal of the ladder:
And behold, a ladder was fixed on the earth, whose top reaches to heaven. And the top of the ladder was the face as of a man, carved out of fire.216 There were twelve steps leading to the top of the ladder, and on each step to the top there were two human faces, on the right and on the left, twenty-four faces (or busts) including their chests. And the face in the middle was higher than all that I saw, the one of fire, including the shoulders and arms, exceedingly terrifying, more than those twenty-four faces. And while I was still looking at it, behold, angels of God ascended and descended on it. And God was standing above its highest face, and he called to me from there, saying, “Jacob, Jacob!” And I said, “Here I am, Lord!” And he said to me, “The land on which you are sleeping, to you will I give it, and to your seed after you. And I will multiply your seed....”217
As one can see the story relates that on the ladder Jacob sees twenty four human faces with their chests, two of them on each step of the ladder. On the top of the ladder, he also beholds another human visage “carved out of fire”218 with its shoulders and arms.219 In comparison with the previous countenances, this fiery higher face looks “exceedingly terrifying.” The text portrays God standing above this highest countenance and calling Jacob by his name. The depiction leaves the impression that God’s voice220 is hidden behind this fiery terrifying face as a distinct divine manifestation, behind which the deity conveys to Jacob his audible revelation about the Promised Land.
This description of the celestial face as the fiery anthropomorphic extent, which serves as the embodiment of the deity brings to memory 2 Enoch in which the theme of the fiery face also looms large. As we remember 2 Enoch 22221 contains an elaborate depiction of God’s Visage, which emits light and fire. The salient detail that connects both texts is that the Face in 2 Enoch is similarly defined as “fiery”222 and “terrifying.”223 Another parallel is that in both 2 Enoch and the Ladder of Jacob the Face is understood as the luminous divine Form.224
It has been previously noted that this fiery extent, labeled in some Biblical and intertestamental texts as the “Face,” is related to the glorious celestial entity known in theophanic traditions as God’s Kavod.225 In these traditions, the Face often serves to designate the radiant façade of the divine Kavod.226 This tendency to equate the Panim with the Kavod can be found already in some Biblical accounts, including Exod 33:18-20, where in response to Moses’ plea to God to show him His Glory, God answers that it is impossible for a human being to see God’s Face.227
The second chapter of the Ladder of Jacob, in which the visionary asks God to interpret the dream, provides several additional valid details about the dream that explicitly identify the fiery Face with God’s Kavod. Here, Jacob offers a prayer in which he discloses further details of his vision of the Face. Ladder of Jacob 2:7-19 reads:
Lord God of Adam your creature and Lord God of Abraham and Isaac my fathers and of all who have walked before you in justice! You who sit firmly on the cherubim and the fiery throne of glory ... and the many-eyed (ones) just I saw in my dream, holding the four-faced cherubim, bearing also the many-eyed seraphim, carrying the whole world under your arm, yet not being borne by anyone; you who have made the skies firm for the glory of your name, stretching out on two heavenly clouds the heaven which gleams under you, that beneath it you may cause the sun to course and conceal it during the night so that it might not seem a god; (you) who made on them a way for the moon and the stars; and you make the moon wax and wane, and destine the stars to pass on so that they too might not seem gods. Before the face of your glory the six-winged seraphim are afraid, and they cover their feet and faces with their wings, while flying with their other (wings), and they sing unceasingly a hymn: ... whom I now in sanctifying a new (song) ... Twelve-topped, twelve-faced, many-named, fiery one! Lightning-eyed holy one! Holy, Holy, Holy, Yao, Yaova, Yaoil, Yao, Kados, Chavod, Savaoth….228
Several details are eye-catching in this description. Jacob’s prayer reveals that his dream about the Face might represent the vision of the Throne of God’s Glory. A number of features seem to point to such a possibility:
First, the prayer refers to “his many-eyed ones,”229 alluding to Mynpw)h, the Wheels, the special class of the Angels of the Throne who are described in Ezekiel 1:18 as the angelic beings “full of eyes.” Second, the text describes the deity as seated on the fiery Throne of Glory. Third, the vision contains references to the angelic liturgy and the Trisagion. Fourth, the text refers to the fear of the angelic hosts, who stand in the front of the terrifying fiery Face while trying to protect themselves with their wings.230 The motif of protection against the harmful brilliance of God’s Throne is typical of theophanic descriptions of the Kavod from the earliest attestation found in Isa 6:1-4 to the later mystical testimonies reflected in 3 Enoch, which relates that “...in cArabot there are 660 thousands of myriads of glorious angels, hewn out of flaming fire, standing opposite the throne of glory. The glorious King covers his face, otherwise the heaven of cArabot would burst open in the middle, because of the glorious brilliance.”231 Fifth, the passage also contains specific terminology associated with the Throne imagery. It has been mentioned earlier that the Slavonic text of the Ladder is possibly based on the Semitic original. For example, Lad. Jac. 2:18 contains a non-Slavonic word Chavod.232 The translator of the text, Horace Lunt, argues that this Slavonic word might represent the transliterated Hebrew term Kavod.233
Finally, the sixth point is that the passage explicitly identifies the fiery Face with God’s glory. Thus, from Lad. Jac. 2:15 one learns that “before the face of your glory the six-winged seraphim are afraid....”
The apparent similarities between two Slavonic accounts indicate that Lad. Jac., as well as 2 Enoch, seem to represent a single tradition in which the fiery Face is associated with the Kavod.
Additional evidence to support the view that the fiery Face on the ladder in Lad. Jac. represents God’s Kavod can be found in the targumic accounts of Jacob’s story. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and Targum Onqelos both provide numerous references to the Glory of the Lord in their description of Jacob’s vision of the ladder. Thus, Targ. Ps.-J. to Gen 28:13-17 reads:
... And, behold, the Glory of the Lord (hd )rqy) stood beside him and said to him, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your children ... And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “In truth the Glory of the Shekinah ()tnyk# rqy) of the Lord dwells in this place, and I did not know it”. He was afraid and said, “How awesome and glorious is this place! This is not a profane place, but a sanctuary to the name of the Lord; and this is (a place) suitable for prayer, corresponding to the gate of heaven, founded beneath the Throne of Glory ()rqy ysrwk).”234
Targ. Onq.235 to Gen 28:13-16 also reflects the same tradition, which depicts Jacob’s encounter as the vision of the divine Glory. In both targumic accounts, the deity’s Glory seems topologically located in the place which in the Ladder of Jacob is occupied by the Face.
Scholars have previously noted that in the Ladder of Jacob the fiery Face not only embodies God’s Glory but also seems to represent the heavenly counterpart of Jacob.236 Yet, it also has been noted that the heavenly counterpart traditions in the Ladder appear to be garbled by the text’s long transmission in multiple ideological and linguistic milieus.237 The reconstruction of these traditions in the Ladder of Jacob requires considerable effort. In their tentative reconstructions most studies, including ours, must therefore heavily rely on the help of later heavenly counterpart traditions concerning Jacob reflected in targumic, talmudic, and midrashic accounts.238
One of the scholars whose studies probably contributed most to recovery of the heavenly counterpart traditions in the Ladder of Jacob is James Kugel. While reflecting on the terminological peculiarities found in the first chapter of the text, he argued that the authors of the text were cognizant of the tradition of Jacob’s Nynwqy) installed in heaven. Kugel draws attention to a comment made by a translator of the text, Horace Lunt, who, while speculating about the original language of the text, noted that the word used in the Ladder to designate the great “bust” on the ladder is somewhat unusual. Lunt commented that “no other Slavonic text has lice, ‘face,’ used to mean ‘statue’ or ‘bust’ (1:5 etc.), and there is no Semitic parallel.”239 Yet, Kugel proposed that such a Semitic parallel might indeed exist. In his opinion such a term is the Greek loan word into Mishnaic Hebrew - Nynwqy), which in some rabbinic texts did come to mean “face.”240 Kugel noted that the basic meaning of Nynwqy) as “portrait” or “bust”241 is preserved in a number of rabbinic usages, including, prominently, in the expression the ‘iqonin shel ‘abiv (“His Father’s Countenance”).242 In view of these connections Kugel argued that “there is little doubt that our pseudepigraphon, in seeking to ‘translate’ the biblical phrase ‘his/its head reached to Heaven,’ reworded it in Mishnaic Hebrew as ‘his [Jacob’s] iqonin reached Heaven,’ and this in turn gave rise to the presence of a heavenly bust or portrait of Jacob on the divine throne.”243
Jarl Fossum also affirms244 the presence of the iqonin tradition in the Ladder by arguing that “in the fiery bust of the terrifying man we are probably correct to see the heavenly ‘image’ of Jacob.”245 Christfried Böttrich also recently cautiously supported the existence of the Doppelgänger traditions in the Slavonic pseudepigraphon by arguing that “such an approach to the Ladder of Jacob via the idea of a heavenly counterpart opens a further door into Rabbinic Judaism.”246 He brings attention to another decisive detail which might point to the role of the fiery face as Jacob’s heavenly identity, namely, to an accentuated distance between this mysterious face and the deity. Reflecting on this feature Böttrich notes that in the Ladder “God is standing ‘above its highest face’ and seems to speak in hiding from behind it, so that the fiery face does appear only as a divine representation of God himself.”247
Another important feature of the text supporting the possibility that the fiery face might indeed represent Jacob’s heavenly image, his iqonin, is the presence of the motif of the hostility of the ascending and descending angels – the theme, which, as we already have learned above, often accompanied the tselem traditions in rabbinic accounts concerning Jacob. This theme of angelic hostility unfolds in chapter 5 where the angelus interpres explains the seer’s vision. Thus, in the fifth chapter of the Ladder the interpreting angel reveals to the patriarch the following meaning of the ladder:
Thus he [angelus interpres] said to me [Jacob]: “You have seen a ladder with twelve steps, each step having two human faces which kept changing their appearance. The ladder is this age, and the twelve steps are the periods of this age. But the twenty-four faces are the kings of the ungodly nations of this age. Under these kings the children of your children and the generations of your sons will be interrogated. These will rise up against the iniquity of your grandsons. And this place will be made desolate by the four ascents . . . through the sins of your grandsons. And around the property of your forefathers a palace will be built, a temple in the name of your God and of (the God) of your fathers, and in the provocations of your children it will become deserted by the four ascents of this age. For you saw the first four busts which were striking against the steps . . . angels ascending and descending, and the busts amid the steps.The Most High will raise up kings from the grandsons of your brother Esau, and they will receive all the nobles of the tribes of the earth who will have maltreated your seed.…”248
Here the twelve steps of the ladder represent the twelve periods of “this age,” while twenty four “minor” faces embody the twenty-four kings of the ungodly nations. Ascending and descending angels on the ladder are envisioned as the guardian angels belonging to the nations hostile to Jacob and his descendants. The angelic locomotion or “ascents” appear to be construed in the passage as the arrogations against Israel. It has been previously noticed that this historic revelation is influenced by the four fold scheme of the antagonistic empires reflected in the Book of Daniel through a reference to the “four ascents” and also through the peculiar features of the Danielic empires and specifically the last of the four kingdoms, Rome, represented by Esau.249
Although the description found in the Ladder is garbled by the text’s long journey in various ideological milieus, a clearer presentation of the same motif can be found in several rabbinic accounts. Kugel notes that several rabbinic passages dealing with Jacob’s vision of the ladder attest to the similar motif of the ascending and descending angels as the hostile nations.250 Thus, for example, Lev. Rab. 29:2 offers the following description:
R. Nahman opened his discourse with the text, Therefore fear thou not, O Jacob My servant (Jer 30:10). This speaks of Jacob himself, of whom it is written, And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set up on the earth... and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it (Gen 28:12). These angels, explained R. Samuel b. Nahman, were the guardian Princes of the nations of the world. For R. Samuel b. Nahman said: This verse teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed our father Jacob the Prince of Babylon ascending seventy rungs of the ladder, the Prince of Media fifty-two rungs, the Prince of Greece one hundred and eighty, while the Prince of Edom ascended till Jacob did not know how many rungs. Thereupon our father Jacob was afraid. He thought: Is it possible that this one will never be brought down? Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to him: Fear thou not, O Jacob My servant. Even if he ascend and sit down by Me, I will bring him down from there! Hence it is written, Though thou make thy nest as high as the eagle, and though thou set it among the stars, I will bring thee down from thence. R. Berekiah and R. Helbo, and R. Simeon b. Yohai in the name of R. Meir said: It teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Jacob the Prince of Babylon ascending and descending, of Media ascending and descending, of Greece ascending and descending, and of Edom ascending and descending.251
A similar understanding of the descending and ascending angels as political entities which are hostile to Israel is found in Midrash on Psalms 78:6:
R. Berechiah, R. Levi, and R. Simeon ben Jose taught in the name of R. Meir that the Holy One, blessed be He, let Jacob see a ladder upon which Babylon climbed up seventy rungs and came down, Media climbed up fifty-two rungs and came down, Greece climbed up a hundred and eighty rungs and came down. But when Edom climbed higher than these, Jacob saw and was afraid. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, Therefore fear thou not, O Jacob My servant (Jer 30:10). Even as the former fell, so will the latter fall.252
In these passages the similarities with the Danielic account are even more apparent than in the Ladder since the familiar four fold structure is now represented by Babylon, Media, Greece and Edom – the empires which are often associated in the history of interpretation with the four beasts of Daniel 7.253 Kugel notes that in these materials like in the Ladder of Jacob “the four beasts [of Daniel’s vision] are transformed into ‘angels of God’ said to go up and down Jacob’s ladder.”254
This peculiar theme of the hostile angels on the ladder which arrogate against Jacob and his progeny by theirs ascents and descents might provide additional evidence that the authors of the Ladder were cognizant of the motif of angelic opposition which performs such a pivotal role in the Doppelgänger lore. It is also important that the heavenly counterpart imagery in the Ladder of Jacob becomes applied to the antagonistic figures when the infamous empires are represented by their angelic “patrons.” We already encountered similar conceptual constellations in the Book of Daniel where the heavenly counterpart in the form of the Son of Man is juxtaposed with the upper identities of the hostile nations.
There are also some distinctive angelological developments in the Ladder of Jacob that are reminiscent of previously explored heavenly counterparts traditions found in the Enochic accounts. One of such features that links Jacob’s account in the Ladder with the Enochic motifs reflected in 1 Enoch 71 and 2 Enoch 22 is a reference to the angel Sariel, who is also known in several Jewish texts as Phanuel and Uriel.255
As we recall in 2 Enoch Vereveil (Uriel) plays a crucial role in the adept’s indictment into his heavenly identity. In 1 Enoch 71 the same angelic servant, now under the name Phanuel is also markedly present during the seer’s acquisition of his upper Self. Although the Ladder of Jacob does not directly refer to the angel named Uriel or Phanuel, it uses another of his names, Sariel, in reference to the angelic being, who interprets Jacob’s dream and announces to him his new angelic status, depicted symbolically in the text as the changing of the patriarch’s name to Israel.
The second chapter of the Ladder portrays Jacob asking God in prayer for help in interpreting the dream. The following chapter 3 then relates that God responds to Jacob’s prayer by commanding Sariel, “the leader of those who give joy,” to make Jacob understand the meaning of the dream. The text further depicts the angelophany of Sariel who comes to the patriarch to inform him about his new angelic name and status.
This reference to Sariel/Uriel/Phanuel as the angel who instructs/wrestles with Jacob and announces to him his new angelic name is documented in several other sources, including Targum Neofiti and the Prayer of Joseph. As we remember in the Prayer of Joseph, Jacob attests that “Uriel, the angel of God, came forth and said that ‘I [Jacob-Israel] had descended to earth and I had tabernacled among men and that I had been called by the name of Jacob.’ He envied me and fought with me and wrestled with me....”256 In targumic and rabbinic accounts, Sariel/Uriel is also depicted as the angel who wrestled with Jacob and announced him his new angelic name. Thus, Targ. Neof. to Gen 32:25-31 preserves the following tradition:
And Jacob was left alone; and the angel Sariel (l)yr#) wrestled with him in the appearance of a man and he embraced him until the time the dawn arose. When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh became benumbed in his wrestling with him. And he said: “Let me go because the rise of the dawn has arrived, and because the time of the angels on high to praise has arrived, and I am a chief of those who praise ()yxb#ml #yr )n)w).” And he said: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him: “What is your name?” And he said: “Jacob.” And he said: “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel, because you have claimed superiority with angels from before the Lord and with men and you have prevailed against them. And Jacob asked and said: “Tell me your name I pray”; and he said: “Why, now, do you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (l)ynp) because: “I have seen angels from before the Lord face to face and my life has been spared.”257
Scholars have previously noted that “in the circles represented by the Similitudes of Enoch, Qumran and the Neofiti variety of the Palestinian Targum, the angelic adversary of Jacob was recognized as one of the four celestial princes and called alternatively Sariel or Phanuel.”258 It appears that the Ladder of Jacob also belongs to the same conceptual trend.
In Targ. Neof. and Frag. Targ.259 to Gen 32:27, Sariel is defined as “the chief of those who give praise” ()yxb#ml #yr). The Ladder of Jacob seems to allude to this title. In Lad. Jac. 3:2 Sariel is described as “stareishino uslazhdaemych”260 which can be translated as “the chief of those who give joy.”261
It is possible that in the Ladder of Jacob, Uriel/Sariel/Phanuel imagery seems to be influenced by the Enochic tradition even more extensively than in the Targums because in the Ladder, the motif of wrestling is completely absent and is substituted by the depiction of Sariel as the interpreter of dreams. It seems that Sariel/Uriel in the Ladder assumes the traditional “Enochic” functions of angelus interpres.
In the Ladder of Jacob and the Prayer of Joseph, Jacob’s identification with his heavenly counterpart, the angel Israel, involves the initiatory encounter with the angel Sariel/Uriel, who in other texts is also known as Phanuel, the angel of the divine Presence or the Face. The same state of events is observable in Enochic materials where Uriel (Vereveil) serves as a principal heavenly guide to another prominent visionary who has also acquired knowledge about his own heavenly counterpart, namely, Enoch/Metatron. As has been already demonstrated, in both traditions, Uriel/Sariel/Phanuel appears as the guide who assists the visionaries in acquiring or identifying with their new celestial identities. Often in the course of these interactions the human seers are endowed with the roles and functions of these angelic servants of the divine Presence.
In view of these developments it is possible that the process of the seer’s unification with the heavenly counterpart might be reflected in the initiatory procedure of becoming a Sar ha-Panim, one of the angelic Princes of the divine Face or Presence, a prominent celestial office, which is often described in detail in various apocalyptic and Merkavah accounts.
The installation of a visionary as Sar ha-Panim seems to correlate with the procedure of identifying a visionary with his heavenly counterpart. In 2 Enoch 22:6-10, Enoch’s initiation into one of the Princes of Presence takes place in front of the fiery Face of the Lord. This encounter transforms Enoch into a glorious being. It is noteworthy that after this procedure Enoch observes that he had “become like one of the glorious ones,” and “there was no observable difference.”262 The last phrase describes Enoch’s transition to his new identity as “one of the glorious ones.” This role might refer to his angelic counterpart. It also indicates that Enoch’s earthly appearance/face has been radically altered and that the visionary has now acquired a new “face” which mirrors or doubles the divine Visage.263 There is no doubt that one of the features which unifies both “faces” is their luminosity.
As we already learn in this study 2 Enoch’s narrative gives evidence that Enoch’s face acquired the same qualities of luminosity as the Face of the Lord. In 2 Enoch 37, the Lord calls one of his angels to chill the face of Enoch before his return to earth. The angel, who “appeared frigid,” then chilled Enoch’s face with his icy hands. Immediately after this procedure, the Lord tells Enoch that if his face had not been chilled in such way, no human being would be able to look at his face. This chilling procedure indicates that Enoch’s metamorphosis near the Face into the Sar ha-Panim involves the transformation of the visionary’s face into a fiery, perilous entity which now resembles the Kavod. We can find a detailed description of this process in another “Enochic” account, Sefer Hekhalot, a text already analyzed in our study, which describes the transformation of Enoch-Metatron, the Prince of the divine Presence, into a fiery creature.
It is possible that the reference to the heavenly counterpart of Jacob in the form of his image (engraved) on the Throne of Glory also implies that the heavenly Jacob became one of the servants of the divine Face. This possibility is already hinted at in the biblical account where Jacob is highlighted as one who saw God face to face.264 Moreover, in some of Jacob’s traditions, he is directly described (in a manner similar to Enoch-Metatron) as the Prince of the divine Face. We learn about this title from the Prayer of Joseph 8,265 where Jacob-Israel himself reveals his status as the Sar266 ha-Panim, proclaiming that he is “the first minister before the Face of God.”267
It is also not coincidental that the initiation of Jacob into becoming a celestial being involves another servant of the Face, the angel Sariel whose other name, Phanuel,268 reflects his close proximity to the Face of God. As has been mentioned previously, this initiatory pattern is already observable in the Enochic tradition, where Sariel/Uriel/Phanuel (along with another angel of the Presence, Michael) 269 actively participates in the initiation of another prominent servant of the divine Face, Enoch-Metatron.
However, Jacob’s identification with a Sar ha-Panim seems to be missing one detail that constitutes a distinct feature of the descriptions of visionaries initiated into this office, that is the luminous metamorphosis of an adept’s face and body. The Ladder of Jacob and the Prayer of Joseph, as well as the biblical version of Jacob’s vision, are silent about any transformation of Jacob’s body and his face. This tradition, however, can be found in another prominent account connected with the Jacob story, namely, Joseph and Aseneth. 270 In this pseudepigraphon, the eyes of Jacob, similar to the eyes of the transformed Enoch-Metatron, are emitting flashes of lighting.
It has been already noted in our study that in the rabbinic materials angels are often depicted as wandering between the two identities of Jacob, heavenly and earthly, thus forming an angelic ladder that links both of his selves. Moreover, in some of these accounts Jacob himself appears to be envisioned as the ladder which links his earthly and celestial identities. One such interpretation we already encountered in Genesis Rabbah 68:12 where one rabbinic authority argued that the angels were ascending and descending on the ladder (Mlwsb); while the other claimed that they were ascending and descending on Jacob (bq(yb).271
Commenting on this rabbinic passage Jonathan Smith suggests that “R. Yannai’s interpretation of wb as bq(yb implies mystical growth of Jacob to cosmic size,272 a theme present in the Fourth Gospel’s allusion to the ladder vision273... and, perhaps, in the figure of Metatron274 as the personified ladder of Jacob in late mystical literature.”275
This tradition, where the seer himself represents the ladder, opens an entirely new chapter in the heavenly counterpart lore and must be explored closely in our study.
Although it is notoriously difficult to date traditions found in rabbinic materials, including the passage from Genesis Rabbah 68, an additional proof for the antiquity of the motif of Jacob as the cosmic ladder can be found in the Gospel of John which places this conceptual development no later than the end of the first century – beginning of the second century C.E.
It is important for our study that the motif of Jacob’s angelic ladder in John 1:51 occurs in the midst of the Son of Man tradition,276 which, as we already know, represents the prominent mediatorial stream associated with the Doppelgänger lore in the Jewish pseudepigrapha. Gospel of John 1:51 reports the following striking utterance of Jesus: “And he [Jesus] said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’”
In this biblical verse two portentous conceptual streams dealing with the heavenly counterpart lore, one connected with Jacob traditions and other tied to the Son of Man traditions, appear to be intertwined, leading the Doppelgänger speculations into a new symbolic dimension. Even a brief look at the peculiar mold of the Son of Man tradition found in these verses reveals remarkable allusions to the heavenly counterpart currents.
The first significant detail that links John’s verses with those developments already explored in this study, specifically connected with the Son of Man in the Book of the Similitudes, is a postulated distance between the identity of the protagonist of the story (Jesus) and his heavenly alter ego – the Son of Man figure. Such distance is hinted through Jesus’ utterance about the angelic processions. Thus, he promises to the disciples not that the angels will be ascending and descending upon him, but rather saying that they will be ascending and descending upon the Son of Man (ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου). Such distancing, which might presume that the Son of Man represents the heavenly identity of Jesus277 is also discernable in some other Son of Man sayings found in the canonical Gospels where Jesus speaks about the Son of Man in third person.278 This phenomenon has never been sufficiently explored in its connection with the heavenly counterpart imagery, including the Son of Man tradition found in the Book of the Similitudes where the seer, while narrating about the Son of Man’s mighty deeds in the early chapters of the text, at its final chapter became suddenly identified with this exalted figure.279
The second eye-catching feature is the polemical flavor that overshadows the employment of the Son of Man tradition in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. It is possible that the Son of Man here is envisioned as a mediator superior to the exalted Jacob. This polemical attitude against Jacob and his exalted status can be detected in other parts of the Gospel as well,280 including the fourth chapter of the text where the water from Jacob’s well is compared to the superior living water of Jesus.281
Moreover, such conceptual perspective in which the Son of Man serves as a polemical rival to an exalted patriarch is well known in Second Temple Jewish lore. Thus, it is possible that even the very first appearance of the Son of Man figure in the Book of Daniel was intended to serve as the polemical counterpart to the figure of the exalted Enoch.282 In the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel the Son of Man’s exalted status also appears to be overshadowed by the memory of another great patriarchal figure, this time Jacob.
Indeed, it has been ascertained by a large number of ancient283 and modern interpreters284 that the passage about the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man found in John 1:51 is connected with the Jacob traditions from Gen 28:12. Reflecting on these influences Jerome Neyrey noted that
...in 1:51, explicit allusion is made to Jacob’s theophany in Gen 28:12. Not just Nathanael, but all the disciples are promised a vision like Jacob’s vision. Indeed, they are like Jacob, not in guilelessness or cunning, but in virtue of a gratuitous promise made by Jesus that they would see a comparable heavenly vision, a theophany.285
Affirming the influences of the Jacob traditions, Neyrey at the same time draws attention to some differences between the biblical account of Jacob’s vision and the passage from the Gospel of John. He notes that
in Gen 28:12 three statements are made: (1) a ladder on earth reaches to heaven; (2) angels ascend and descend; and (3) the Lord stands on it and reveals himself. In John 1:51, however, (1) the heavens are opened, but there is no mention of a ladder linking heaven and earth; (2) angels ascend and descend, not on the ladder but on the Son of Man; and (3) he corresponds to the Lord of the theophany. 286
Summarizing the differences with the Jacob traditions, Neyrey proposes that in John 1:51 “Jesus is apparently not being compared with Jacob …. He is not seeing a vision; he is offering one. Rather, the disciples are cast in the role of Jacob, for they will see a heavenly vision just as Jacob did … the text apparently sees the disciples of Jesus in the position of Jacob, promising them that they will see a vision just as Jacob did.”287
One should note that Neyrey’s suggestions are valid only if John’s account is compared with the biblical version of Jacob’s vision, since in some rabbinic accounts Jacob himself is envisioned as the cosmic ladder and the heavenly image and thus becomes the object of the vision. Moreover, in the Fourth Gospel Jesus is seen not only offering the vision of the ladder, but also reporting to the disciples about its peculiar content.
Nevertheless, Neyrey’s observations are important for our study since they allow us again to draw attention to the multi-dimensional nature of the visionary’s situation where the seer is simultaneously able to report a vision and to act in that vision as the crucial mediator. Such a duality in the functions of the seer/the actor have already been registered in our study in respect to Enoch’s visionary reports in the Book of the Watchers and the Book of the Similitudes. The traditions found in the Book of the Similitudes where the seer reports about the Son of Man and then becomes identified with this figure in this respect are especially weighty.
Another allegedly “innovative” aspect of the Johannine passage noticed by Neyrey is that in John 1:51 angels ascend and descend not on the ladder but on the Son of Man. Yet, likewise, this motif can be considered as “novel” only in comparison with the biblical rendering of the vision, since as we already learned, the possibility that the angels climbed not on the ladder but instead on the cosmic extent of a mediator is hinted in Gen. Rab. 68:12 and possibly in some other accounts.288 Although the rabbinic testimonies are much later than the Gospel of John, in view of the recognized formative influences of Jacob’s conceptual currents, it is most likely that they entered our Gospel from Jewish lore about the patriarch. Neyrey himself later in his study acknowledges the formative influence of such traditions on the Johannine passage by saying that
in the Midrash Rabbah we find several instances of a reading of Gen 28:12 which interpret the vision in an unusual way. The MT says that when the ladder was set up, the angels ascended and descended “on it” (in) which phrase was interpreted in the midrash to say that the angels ascended/descended “on him,” Jacob. This midrash has often been cited apropos of John 1:51, for John says that the angels ascend/descend “on the Son of Man” rather than on a ladder. Following this hint, one would be led to say that Jesus is like Jacob: the angels will ascend and descend on him, just as they did on Jacob.289
James Kugel also sees the formative influences the Jewish traditions similar to the ones found Gen. Rab. 68:12 on John 1:51. He argues that the expression about the ascending and descending on the Son of Man “belongs to the exegetical school represented by R. Yannai … that is, the one that takes, wb in the Genesis text to mean not ‘on the ladder’ but ‘for Jacob.’ So here too, wb is being taken as referring to a person, namely, ‘upon the Son of Man.’”290 In relation to the wb terminology Kugel further observes that although the Gospel of John was presumably composed in Greek, this particular play on words could not work in Greek, since the word for ladder in the Greek Bible is feminine and the only alternative to “on it” would thus be “for her.”291
As a result of recognizing the formative value of the aforementioned Jacob traditions, a large number of Johannine scholars now accept the hypothesis that in John 1:51 the Son of Man becomes envisioned as the cosmic ladder which links heavenly and earthly realities.292 Tracing the roots of this hypothesis in the scholarly literature Raymond Brown notes that “with variations, a theory like this is proposed by Odeberg,293 Bultmann, Lightfoot,294 and others.”295 This proposition that came from the greatest minds of twentieth century biblical scholarship continues to exercise its influence until the present time. Neyrey affirms this scholarly consensus by saying that “commentators who take seriously the allusion to Gen 28:12 suggest that the function of the vision in John is to be understood in terms of some sort of mediation or communion between heaven and earth …. According to proponents of these ideas, Jesus is the gate of heaven, the ladder, the mediator.”296
It should be noted that in attempts to formulate the hypothesis about the Son of Man as the cosmic ladder various scholars too often relied solely on the evidence attested in John 1:51, while the larger context of the passage often has been neglected by scholars. Yet, it appears that the function of Christ as the link between upper and lower realms is reaffirmed by other traditions found in the first chapter of the Gospel through the distinctive arboreal metaphors which might intend to portray the protagonist as the cosmic tree that links upper and lower worlds. We should now explore this arboreal imagery more closely.
As one remembers in the verses preceding John 1:51 one curious arboreal metaphor is found. Thus, Gospel of John 1:45-50 reads:
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”
These verses depict one the apostles, Nathaniel, under the fig tree. Students of the Fourth Gospel long have been puzzled by this enigmatic arboreal motif and its possible theological significance.297 Many hypotheses have been proposed. 298 According to one of them the symbolism of the fig tree can be tied with the imagery of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.299
Indeed, several Jewish and Christian sources attempted to identify the Tree of the Knowledge as the fig tree. In relation to this connection, Louis Ginzberg noted that “the fig owes its distinction to the incident that the first pair took hold of the fig leaves after the fall, and this identification is not only found in rabbinic sources, but also in the Apocalypse of Moses and in Tertullian.”300
In the elaboration of the protoplasts’ story found in the Greek version of the Primary Adam Books 20:4-5, the identification of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil with the fig tree comes from Eve’s lips when the first woman acknowledges that the fig leaves with which she covered her nakedness came from the infamous tree:
And I began to seek, in my nakedness, in my part for leaves to hide my shame, but I found none, for, as soon as I had eaten, the leaves showered down from all the trees in my part, except the fig-tree alone. I took leaves from it and made for myself a girdle [and it was from the same plant of which I had eaten].301
Later patristic and rabbinic sources reaffirm such connection. Thus, for example, Tertullian in Adversus Marcionem 2.2 links the arboreal symbol of corruption with the fig tree.302 Likewise, Genesis Rabbah 19:6 connects the leaves of the fig tree with the scandalous plant:
...and they sewed the leaves of the fig together. R. Simeon b. Yohai said; That is the leaf which brought the occasion for death - into the world. R. Isaac said: Thou hast acted sinfully: then take thread and sew!303
This motif was not forgotten in later mystical lore. Thus, the Book of Zohar I.36b similarly interprets the fig tree as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from which the first human couple ate:
And they sewed fig leaves. They strove to cover themselves with the (delusive) images from the tree of which they had eaten, the so-called “leaves of the tree.” And they made themselves girdles. R. Jose said: “When they obtained knowledge of this world and attached themselves to it, they observed that it was governed by those ‘leaves of the tree.’ They therefore sought in them a stronghold in this world, and so made themselves acquainted with all kinds of magical arts, in order to gird themselves with weapons of those leaves of the tree, for the purpose of self-protection.”304
Another Zoharic passage again underlines such the connection by linking the fig leaves which covered the nakedness of the first humans with the Tree of the Knowledge by interpreting the phrase “sewing fig leaves” as a corruption of humanity with forbidden knowledge.305
These testimonies are vital for our study. If the fig tree found in the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel indeed represents an allusion to the ill-famed paradisal plant, it is possible that the figure of Nathaniel, associated in the Gospel’s account with this arboreal symbol, might be also overlaid with similar protological allusions. It is therefore possible that Nathaniel can be identified here with the protoplast, who once was corrupted under the infamous tree. If so could the promise of even greater vision – the vision of angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man serve here as an allusion to the paradisal counterpart of the ominous Tree of Corruption, namely, the Tree of Life?306 In this respect it is noteworthy that the Tree of Life is often portrayed in Jewish lore as an eschatological counterpart which is predestined to restore the fallen nature of the humankind to its original prelapsarian condition which was lost through the Tree of the Knowledge. Several early Jewish apocalyptic accounts appear to entertain such an idea. Thus, for example, in 2 Enoch an anointing of the seventh antediluvian patriarch with shining oil or the dew of resurrection from the Tree of Life restores Enoch to the original luminous condition of the protoplast. The same motif is invoked in the Primary Adam Books where Eve and Seth are sent to bring the oil of resurrection from the Tree of Life in order to return the dying Adam to immortality of prelapsarian humanity. In aforementioned accounts, anointing with the oil coming from the Tree of Life is often understood as being clothed with the eschatological garment of light. Such a clothing metaphor inversely mirrors the ominous dress of fig leaves that first couple received in the Paradise after their transgression. Here the garments from two paradisal trees again serve as the counterparts of each other.
Another possible interpretation of Nathaniel’s figure, especially in light of the already mentioned polemical proclivities of the chapter, is that he might be envisioned as Jacob. The first significant aspect that points to such a possibility is that he is defined in John 1 as “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν). This designation might allude to Jacob’s story. As we know Jacob is depicted in the Bible as a trickster who deceives his older brother Esau and his father Isaac. Later, after his encounters with God, Jacob’s character was transformed and perfected. In light of these biblical traditions Neyrey argues that Nathaniel “is like Jacob, not the devious character who grabbed his brother’s heel at birth and stole his birthright and blessing, but the perfect Jacob, the man of wisdom.”307 Neyrey also brings attention to another important feature by noting that “like Jacob, Nathanael comes ‘second,’ after the founding apostles; he must labor for his reward….”308
Another significant detail is the peculiar emphasis on the praxis of seeing, a theme which unfolds in the midst of the interactions between Jesus and Nathaniel where Jesus promises this disciple that he will “see” greater things. In relation to these conceptual developments Camilla von Heijne notices that “a common contemporary interpretation of the name ‘ Israel’ was ‘he who sees God.’”309
In light of these traditions it is possible that Nathaniel indeed might be envisioned in the first chapter of our Gospel as Jacob. If so, is it possible that the fig tree under which Nathaniel-Jacob sleeps in its turn can be interpreted as Jacob’s arboreal ladder, which in the polemical context of the Gospel, is understood as an entity inferior to the Son of Man’s ladder? Such parallelism, if it is indeed present in the Gospel, might again point to possible arboreal meaning of the Son of Man’s ladder that could be envisioned here as the polemical counterpart to the fig tree.
For our study of ladder symbolism in the Gospel of John and its possible association with arboreal imagery it is important that in some Jewish accounts divine figures are often envisioned as cosmic trees that link upper and lower realms -- the plants which are predestined to generate the dew of resurrection for human beings in the eschatological time. Thus, for example, in Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 34 one learns that the reviving dew, a rabbinic metaphor for the oil of the resurrection, will come at the eschatological time from the head of the Holy One:
Rabbi Tanchum said: On account of the seed of the earth, when it is commanded, (it) discharges the dew for the resurrection of the dead. From what place does it descend? From the head of the Holy One; for the head of the Holy One, is full of the reviving dew. In the future life, the Holy One will shake His head and cause the quickening dew to descend, as it is said, “I was asleep, but my heart waked … for my head is filled with dew, my locks with the drops of the night” (Cant 5:2).310
In another prominent compendium of Jewish mystical traditions this motif about the dew of resurrection coming from the head of God is repeated again.311 The Zohar I:130b-131a reads:
And at the time when the Holy One will raise the dead to life He will cause dew to descend upon them from His head. By means of that dew all will rise from the dust…. For the Tree of Life emanates life unceasingly into the universe. 312
This understanding of the deity as the Tree of Life, the cosmic plant which links upper and lower realms313 is not merely a later rabbinic invention but a tradition with ancient roots which can be traced to some Mesopotamian motifs in which the cosmic trees are often associated with divine and royal figures.314 These early Mesopotamian traditions played a formative role in shaping the arboreal metaphors found in Ezekiel 31315 and Daniel 4316 where the royal figures also became associated with the cosmic trees.317 Scholars have previously noted that the symbolism of the great tree in Ezekiel 31 seems to draw on the Mesopotamian traditions about the Mēsu-Tree, a cosmic plant envisioned in these religious currents as the building material for the divine statues.318 Such an association of the Mēsu-Tree with the body of the divine mediators is important for our study of possible arboreal features of the Son of Man’s cosmic extent.319
It is also important that in some Jewish accounts the cosmic trees, represented by the divine mediators, are often imagined as the “bridges” or the “paths” between upper and lower realms which provide channels for the transition of the souls between heaven and earth and also serve as the repositories or the storages for these souls. In this context it is not coincidental that even in the biblical portrayals the cosmic trees are depicted as inhabited with various enigmatic creatures including the “birds of air.” This motif of the pteromorphic inhabitants of the cosmic trees is found in aforementioned arboreal depictions found in Ezek 31320 and Daniel 4.321 A similar tradition is attested in various versions of the so-called “Parable of the Mustard Seed” found in the Synoptic Gospels which draws on the Danielic tree imagery.322 It is noteworthy that in the Parable like in the prophetic accounts, the symbolism of the birds of heaven is also placed in the royal context expressed through the formulae “kingdom of God.”323
Gershom Scholem points to the conceptual developments found in later Jewish mysticism, and especially in the Book of Bahir, where the cosmic tree or the Tree of Life is understood as a channel responsible for the souls’ transition between the upper and lower realms.324 The Book of Bahir offers the following depiction of the Tree of Life:
It is I who have planted this “tree” that the whole world may delight in it and with it I have spanned the All, called it “All,” for on it depends the All and from it emanates the All; all things need it and look upon it and yearn for it, and it is from it that all souls fly forth. I was alone when I made it and no angel can raise himself above it and say: I was there before thee, for when I spanned my earth, when I planted and rooted this tree and caused them to take delight in each other [the tree and the earth] and myself delighted in them—who was there with me to whom I would have confided this secret?325
Here and in some other passages from the Bahir the Tree of Life represents a column or a pillar that links various realms of the created order allowing for the souls’ transitions. These souls are often envisioned as the “fruits” of this cosmic tree. In relation to this imagery Scholem notes that
the idea that this “column” reached from earth up to heaven can have two meanings. The column can represent the cosmic Tree of Life that grows from earth up to heaven …. The souls of the righteous ascend and descend on it. And just as the cosmic tree was also the tree of souls, from which the souls take flight or on which they appear as the fruits….326
Scholem also notes that “a vestige of this idea of the Tree of life as a cosmic tree that grows between the celestial Garden of Eden and the terrestrial paradise and on which the soul of the righteous people ascend and descend as on a ladder has also been preserved in Midrash Konen.”327
Such an understanding of the cosmic trees as the souls’ gathering places or the paths which allow the souls’ transition between various realms is decisive for our study especially in light of the aforementioned scholarly hypotheses suggesting that in John 1:51 the Son of Man represents a ladder or a path between the lower and the upper regions. If this mediatorial figure indeed is envisioned in the Johannine passage as such a link between the realms then the angelic processions could be interpreted as the movements of the righteous souls for whom the Son of Man serves as the gate to heaven.
In this respect it is intriguing that the concept of gathering of the chosen represents a recurring theme of the first chapter of the Gospel of John. This process of eschatological collecting appears to be expressed multiple times in the course of the narrative. Thus, such theme is already hinted in John 1:11-13, the passage which speaks about the elect group of humans who were able to recognize and accept Christ:
He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
The motif of gathering of the elect then becomes the leading theme of the rest of the first chapter which portrays the process of the disciples’ gathering done by Jesus.
In view of these developments it is possible that the overarching idea of the gathering might reach its conceptual crux in the concluding verse of the chapter which depicts the celestial citizens ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. If it is indeed so, it is possible that the vision of the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man might also pertain to this recurring theme of the eschatological gathering into the Son of Man.
This concept of the mediator who is envisioned as the “path,” the “ladder,” or the “vessel” appears to not be unique to the Gospel of John and can be found in some early Jewish pseudepigraphical materials.
The motif of “gathering” into the mediator, who is also envisioned as the heavenly counterpart, can be found in chapter 15 of Joseph and Aseneth, the text which will be explored in depth later in our study. For now we must draw our attention to a captivating passage from this work, relevant for our current investigation. The passage talks about Aseneth’s Doppelgänger, a mediatorial figure named Metanoia, who is also designated in the text as the “City of Refuge.” Such labelling of the mediator as the heavenly metropolis or a celestial gathering place for the elect is valid for our study since it might represent a conceptual development similar to the Son of Man role found in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. In Joseph and Aseneth 15:7 the seer’s celestial guide, the Anthropos, provides the following details about this enigmatic mediatorial entity:
And your name shall no longer be called Aseneth, but your name shall be City of Refuge, because in you many nations will take refuge with the Lord God, the Most High, and under your wings many peoples trusting in the Lord God will be sheltered, and behind your walls will be guarded those who attach themselves to the Most High God in the name of Repentance. For Repentance - is in the heavens, an exceedingly beautiful and good daughter of the Most High. And she herself entreats the Most High God for you at all times and for all who repent in the name of the Most High God, because he is (the) father of Repentance. And she herself is guardian of all virgins, and loves you very much, and is beseeching the Most High for you at all times and for all who repent she prepared a place of rest in the heavens.328
Several features of Metanoia, or the City of Refuge are noteworthy. Fist, this entity, similar to the Son of Man figure in John 1:51 is understood as the heavenly counterpart of a human figure. Second, she appears to be envisioned as a heavenly “vessel,” whose function is to incorporate and protect the chosen remnant, namely, “those who attach themselves to the Most High God.” It appears that in this capacity her role is not limited solely to the function of being Aseneth’s celestial alter ego but might incorporate the heavenly identities of other righteous human beings, the role hinted in her peculiar designation as “the guardian of all virgins.” Additional proof for Metanoia’s function as the vessel for heavenly selves might be implied in her designation as the one who prepares for the repentant humans “a place of rest in the heavens.”
Another specimen of this type of tradition in which a personified mediator is understood as the gathering place or the vessel of the adepts’ heavenly selves can be found in 2 Enoch 65 where the souls of the elect are depicted as being gathered at the end of time into a single luminous entity – the eschatological aeon of the righteous.329 It is noteworthy that the final aeon in the Slavonic apocalypse is envisioned not merely as an unanimated entity – a period or an age, but rather as a mediatorial figure. This understanding of the aeons as personified mediators in 2 Enoch is hinted already in the narrative about the beginning of creation in chapters 24-25 where such aeons, bearing distinctive names Adoil and Aruchas, are portrayed as anthropomorphic entities.330 The second salient detail that points to the idea that the last aeon is envisioned as the personified mediator is the fact that the final consummation of all creation into a single aeon inversely mirrors a protological disintegration of Adoil who once gave birth to the multiplicity of the created forms.331 It appears that the righteous, here, are understood as gatherers of the divine light, dispersed during the initial disintegration of Adoil. They are collectors who will assemble the primordial light into a new eschatological vessel.332
These traditions about the adept’s heavenly counterparts, gathered into personified mediatorial figures, often evoke already familiar concepts of the upper identities as the spirits. Thus, Roelof van der Broek draws attention to the striking pneumatological concepts which are circulated among the Messalians and the Cathars, but in his opinion based on early Jewish and Christian concepts, where the Holy Spirit becomes envisioned as the sum of all individual heavenly spirits - the upper counterpart of the human beings. Van der Broek notes that
this whole complex of ideas about a heavenly counterpart of man with whom the soul had been united before the Fall and the identification of this spiritual image with the guardian angel and with the Holy Spirit, which makes this Spirit the collective of all spirits, found acceptance among the Messalians, and from them it must have come to the West. For it is only among the Cathars that we find this same combination of ideas about the Spirit and the soul: the collective notion of the Holy Spirit as the sum of all individual heavenly spirits, which are also seen as the custodians of the human souls to which they originally belonged, and the idea that only he who has received the baptism of the Spirit that is to say, he whose soul is reunited with its heavenly spirit can return to the realm of light.333
Another important testimony to this understanding of the eschatological mediator as the path and the vessel of the adepts’ heavenly counterparts is the concept of the so-called “Last Statue” found in the Manichaean materials. Thus, the Kephalaia of the Teacher relates that in the eschatological time the righteous remnant will be “sculpted” into the anthropomorphic mediatorial entity, 334 named the LastStatue:
...entire universe in it today. Yet, at the end, in the dissolution of the universe, this very counsel of life will gather itself in and sculpt its soul in the Last Statue. Its net is its Living Spirit, because with its Spirit it can hunt after the light and the life that is in all things; and build it upon its body.335
The main purpose of this eschatological gathering, like in 2 Enoch, is the unification of the primordial light,336 gathered by the efforts of the righteous who are predestined to be collected together in a single eschatological entity:
Again, when the sun sinks from the universe and sets, and all people go in to their hiding places and houses and conceal themselves; this also pertains to the mystery of the end, as it presages the consummation of the universe. For, when all the light will be purified and redeemed in the universe at the last, the collector of all things, the Last Statue, will gather in and sculpt itself. It is the last hour of the day, the time when the Last Statue will go up to the aeon of light. (Keph. 165).337
It also appears that the Last Statue is sometimes understood as a final gathering point of the righteous souls. Yet, the wicked souls will be banned from this eschatological summit. Thus, Keph. 149-150 hints at this process of the banishment of the wicked from the Last Statue:
The fourth time when they weep is when the Statue will be taken up on the last day, and they will weep for the souls of the liars and blasphemers; for they may give … because their limbs have been severed … of the darkness. And also those souls, when the Statue will go up and they are left alone, they will weep in that they will remain behind in affliction forever. For they will be cut off and separated from the Last Statue. And it is a necessity to take these souls who are ready for loss as retribution for the deeds that they have done. They go into this darkness and are bound with the darkness; just as they desired it and loved it, and placed their treasure with it. At that very moment, when the Last Statue rises up, they will weep. And they will scream out loud because they will be severed from the company of this great Statue. And they remain behind forever. This great weeping is terrible, it occurs in front of the souls …338
It is also noteworthy that in the concept of the Last Statue one can see familiar parallelism to protological and eschatological symbolism - the imagery discernable also in 2 Enoch and in the first chapter of the Gospel of John:
...from when the First Man went down to the contest, till the time when the Statue comes in … this time … he appeared ….it is the time that occurred from the coming down of the First Man339 till the going up of the Last Statue. (Keph. 71).340
It is intriguing that the gathering of the rescued souls in the Manichaean tradition, like in previously explored accounts, takes the form of an anthropomorphic extent that will connect earthly and heavenly realms, literally being envisioned as a ladder between earth and heaven. In this respect it is intriguing that later rabbinic accounts portray Jacob’s ladder as the path for righteous souls in the eschatological time. Thus, Gen. Rab. 69:7 reads:
“This is none other than the house of gods and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen 28:17). R. Aha said: [God assured him]: This gate will be opened for many righteous men like thyself…. “This is none other than the house of gods and this is the gate of heaven” refers to it rebuilt and firmly established in the Messianic era, as in the verse, For He hath made strong the bars of thy gates (Ps 147:13).341
Sculpturing the righteous souls in the eschatological statue or eschatological ladder is known also in later Jewish mysticism where the already familiar image of the cosmic tree or the ladder coincides with the symbolism of the cosmic pillar, which similarly to the Last Statue of the Manichaean tradition will serve as the gathering entity of the righteous souls and shepherd them in the upper realms.
In relation to these traditions Moshe Idel observes that “… in the later layers, one finds a theory of the pillar as a column that connects the two paradises and serves as the mode for the process of continuous ascent and descent of souls from one to the other in privileged moments in time.”342 Moreover, these traditions of the pillar or the vessel of souls are often overlaid with already familiar arboreal symbolism. Thus, already mentioned in this study, Midrash Konen explains that “from the Tree of Life rise and descend the souls of the righteous in Paradise, like a man mounting or descending a ladder ….”343
In concluding this section of our study it should be noted that the hypothesis that in John 1:51 the Son of Man is envisioned as the vessel of souls or heavenly identities of the righteous is not entirely new. Almost hundred years ago Hugo Odeberg put forward this proposal by tracing parallels between the peculiar function of the Son of Man in John 1:51 and Metatron’s role as the ladder of Jacob.344 Indeed, in later Jewish mysticism Metatron is often portrayed as the “guardian” of the upper identities who, like Abatur in the Mandaean tradition, is responsible for the progress of human souls345 to their final destiny.346 Both the Babylonian Talmud347 and Hekhalot literature348 hint at this mysterious office of Metatron349 by depicting him as the teacher of Torah to the souls of deceased children.350
One can find similar conceptual developments in which the divine mediator is envisioned as Jacob’s ladder in Christian authors. Thus the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos,351 written in the sixth century C.E., depicts the Mother of God as the ladder.352 John of Damascus in his homilies on the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God, identifies Jacob’s ladder353 with the Theotokos.354
In later Christian interpretations the imagery of Jacob’s ladder becomes one of the most popular Old Testament typoi355 applied by Christian exegetes to the Holy Virgin.356
1 Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis (tr. M. Maher, M.S.C.; ArBib, 1B; Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1992) 99-100. In other parts of this targum the idea of the heavenly counterpart or the guardian angel can be found. Thus, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen 33:10 reads: “And Jacob said, ‘Do not speak thus, I pray; if now I have found mercy in your eyes, you must accept my gift from my hand; because it is for this I have seen your countenance, and it seems to me like seeing the face of your angel; and behold, you have received me favorably.’” Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 116. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen 48:16: “may it be pleasing before you that the angel whom you assigned to me to redeem me from all evil, bless the boys; and let my name be recalled in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.” Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 156.
2 McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1: Genesis, 140.
3 Klein, The Fragment-Targums of the Pentateuch According to Their Extant Sources, 1.57 and 2.20.
4 Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 140-41.
5 Fossum notes that this tradition is already observable in some versions of the Fragmentary Targum which do not contain the verb “engraved” or “fixed.” Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 141. He also points to a certain baraita (b. Hul. 91b) that seems to attests to the same tradition. Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 139-40.
6 Rowland, “John 1.51, Jewish Apocalyptic and Targumic Tradition,” 504.
7 Halperin notes that “targumic Tosefta to Ezekiel 1:26 introduces a striking interpretation of that verse at the same time that it sidesteps its anthropomorphism. According to the Hebrew text, the prophet sees the form of a sapphire throne, ‘and upon the form of the throne a form like the appearance of a human being, upon it from above.’ Most Targum manuscripts leave ‘the appearance of a human being’ in Hebrew; Codex Reuchlinianus and the printed editions translate it literally. But one manuscript (Montefiore H.116) records a variant: ‘the form of Jacob our father upon it from above.’ When we read Ezekiel 1:26 we normally assume that the appearance of a ‘human being’ is sitting on the throne. But it is just as possible to understand the Hebrew to mean that it is engraved on the throne. Both Palestinian and Babylonian rabbinic sources (Gen. Rab. 68:12; b. Hull. 91b) speak of Jacob’s image as being engraved on God’s throne, but do not give any satisfactory exegetical basis for it. This Tosefta suggests that the idea derives from an anti-anthropomorphic interpretation of Ezekiel 1:26, developed in the synagogue. Of course, we still do not know why the ‘form’ is identified as Jacob’s; this is probably connected with the belief that a celestial embodiment of Israel (Jacob) is perpetually in God’s sight. An Aramaic hymn for Shabucot, of uncertain date, connects Jacob’s image with a heavenly ascension: Moses sees ‘the image of Jacob rising up opposite him’ when he ascends to receive the Torah.” Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 121. In relation to these traditions Wolfson observes that “this notion too is clearly reflected in the piyvut literature, for example, the qerovah of Qallir.” E. Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” in: idem, Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics (Albany: SUNY, 1995) 1-62 at 8. See also Zohar I.72a: “‘As the appearance of a man’ refers to the image of Jacob, who sits on it.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 1.242.
8 Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 142.
9 Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 142.
10 In relation to this theme in the rabbinic materials James Kugel notes that “this particular motif is widely distributed in rabbinic texts. Thus, for example, in Numbers Rabba (Bemidbar 4:1) the verse from Isaiah 43:4, ‘Because you are precious in my eyes, you have been honored ...’ is explained: ‘God said to Jacob: Jacob, you are so precious in my eyes that I have, as it were, fixed your portrait (iqonin) on the heavenly throne.’ Similarly, one reads concerning the opening verse of chapter 2 of Lamentations: ‘How the Lord in his anger has beclouded . . .’ Said God to Israel: Do you truly aggravate me? It is only the fact that the portrait (iqonin) of Jacob is engraved on my throne. Here then, take it! And he threw it in their faces.’ And likewise in Genesis Rabbah 78:3, on the verse ‘For you have wrestled with God and with men and have prevailed’ (Gen 32:28) we read: ‘You are the one whose portrait is engraved on high.’” J. Kugel, In Potiphar’s House: The Interpretive Life of Biblical Texts (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990) 113. For an in-depth discussion about the traditions of Jacob’s image engraved on the Throne in rabbinic literature see Wolfson,“The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 1-62; 111-186.
11 Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” 46.
12 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 2.752.
13 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 7.151.
14 Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” 45.
15 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 5.94.
16 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 2.626.
17 I. Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Hullin (London: Soncino, 1935-52) 91b.
18 Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 4.
19 Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 4.
20 Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 86; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 72.
21 Reflecting on this obscure term Rachel Neis observes that “the word qlaster in rabbinic texts describes the identity facial features (e.g. Isaac’s and Abraham’s). Jastrow views the expression qlaster panim as analogous to the term Nynwq) wyz [radiance of icon], which is used to mean ‘features of face,’ in cases of verisimilitude.” Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” 42.
22 Louis Ginzberg also suggests that “the legend about the man in the moon, who is identified with Jacob, is perhaps connected with the old legend concerning Jacob’s countenance in the divine throne.” L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998) 5.291. On these traditions see also E.R. Wolfson, “The Face of Jacob in the Moon: Mystical Transformations of an Aggadic Myth,” in: The Seductiveness of Jewish Myth (ed. S.D. Breslaur; Albany: SUNY, 1997) 235-270.
23 Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” 46.
24 Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” 46.
25 In the Hekhalot literature one of the Living Creatures of the Throne bears the name Israel. On this tradition see Synopse §406; Scholem, Major Trends, 62; Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 7.
26 Friedländer, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 265.
27 2 Enoch 39: “You, my children, you see my face, a human being created just like yourselves; I am one who has seen the face of the Lord, like iron made burning hot by a fire, emitting sparks.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.163.
28 Lad. Jac. 1:3-4 reads: “And behold, a ladder was fixed on the earth, whose top reached to heaven. And the top of the ladder was the face as of a man, carved out of fire.” Lunt, “The Ladder of Jacob,” 2.407. The Prayer of Joseph also affirms Jacob’s connection with the divine Face, defining him as the Sar ha-Panim.
29 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 1.242.
30 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 4.319.
31 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.144.
32 Targum Neofiti 1 and Pseudo-Jonathan: Exodus (eds. M.J. McNamara, R. Hayward, and M. Maher, ArBib, 2; Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1994) 260.
33 McNamara et al., Targum Neofiti 1 and Pseudo-Jonathan: Exodus, 261.
34 McNamara et al., Targum Neofiti 1 and Pseudo-Jonathan: Exodus, 261.
35 Such an understanding of Moses’ shining face as the luminous tselem is also hinted at the midrashim where the protoplast’s glorious image is put in conspicuous parallel with the radiant panim of the great prophet. Thus, Deut. Rab. 11:3 reads: “Adam said to Moses: ‘I am greater than you because I have been created in the image of God.’ Whence this? For it is said, And God created man in His own image (Gen 1:27). Moses replied to him: ‘I am far superior to you, for the honour which was given to you has been taken away from you, as it is said, But man (Adam) abideth not in honour (Ps 49:13); but as for me, the radiant countenance which God gave me still remains with me.’” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 7.173. See also Midrash Tadshe 4: “In the likeness of the creation of the world the Holy One blessed be He performed miracles for Israel when they came out of Egypt .... In the beginning: ‘and God created man in his image,’ and in the desert: ‘and Moshe knew not that the skin of his face shone.’” A. Goshen Gottstein, “The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature,” HTR 87 (1994) 183.
36 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 260-261.
37 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 261.
38 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.227. See also Zohar II.86b: “Said R. Jose: ‘Therefore the graving and painting of all forms is permitted, except the human figure.’ Said R. Isaac: ‘The reason is, because when a human figure is represented in sculpture or painting, it is not only the body which is fashioned in the image of the person, but as it were the wholeness of the man is being reproduced, his inner form, namely his spirit, as well as his outer bodily form.’” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 3.261.
39 Such conceptual constellations in which the motif of the protecting angels is coincided with the motif of the tselem is widespread in rabbinic literature. Thus, for example, Deuteronomy Rabbah 4:4 reads: “And who are they? The angels who guard man. R. Joshua b. Levi said: A procession [of angels] pass before man and the heralds proclaim before him saying: ‘Make room for the image of God.’ See [says the Torah] how many watchmen guard you.” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 7.92. Similarly Midrash Tehillim 17:8 details the following tradition: “… so that wherever a man reaches, his hand is in the midst of demons, - and yet the Holy One, blessed be He, protects him. R. Joshua ben Levi said: When a man walks on the highway, a company of angels goes before him, crying out and saying: ‘Make way for the image of the Holy One, blessed be He.’” W.G. Braude, The Midrash on Psalms (2 vols.; YJS, 13; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959) 1.212. See also Midrash Tehillim 55:3: “R. Joshua ben Levi taught: What do the words He hath delivered my soul in peace, etc. mean? That a company of angels goes before a man, and these heavenly beings cry out, saying: ‘Make way for the likeness of the Lord!’” Braude, The Midrash on Psalms, 1.493; Zohar II.129a: “... an angel appears who is the storekeeper of the celestial figures of the righteous, and this angel’s name is Jehudiam because of his office (‘over the people of the Jews’) and he is crowned with a crown on which is engraved the Holy Name ... for there is no righteous person in the world whose image is not engraved in heaven under the authority of that angel.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 3.367.
40 In relation to this tradition Scholem observes that “the angel is thus the primal image of man himself, which frightens all the beasts because it is made in the image of God; the tselem of the righteous man is identical with the angel which protects him.” Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 269.
41 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 261.
42 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 261.
43 Scholem argues that “the Zohar connects the notion of the tselem as an astral body with that of the garments worn by the soul prior to birth, which it again dons in Paradise after death. The fine-material ether, which is the air of Paradise, is parallel to the fine-material garment, identical to the holy, ethereal body in which the blissful spirits are clothed…. The earliest Kabbalistic writings speak only of a garment put on by the soul after death, or of the garments assumed by the transfigured Enoch or Elijah when they ascended to heaven. Only after the souls ‘cast off’ the filth of their earthly bodies can they put on ‘the body that radiates brilliance.’” Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 270.
44 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 261.
45 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.326.
46 Zohar III.104a: “R. Simeon quoted here the verse: ‘Every one that is called by my name, for my glory I have created him, I have formed him, yea I have made him.’ ‘Every one that is called by my name’: this is man whom God has created in His likeness and whom He calls by His own name when he does truth and justice, as it is written, ‘Thou shalt not revile the judges.’ ‘I have formed him, yea I have made him’: as has been explained, the words ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ refer to the time of wedlock, namely, the union of ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ so that man issued from Male and Female.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 5.137.
47 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 262-263.
48 Scholem notes that in some Zoharic passages the tselem is not described as a garment of the soul, but as something that “stands” or “floats” over it; in other passages (in which, to be sure, the term tselem does not expressly appear), such a function is ascribed to the garment of the soul. Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 264.
49 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 262. Cf. Zohar II.217b: “For when I saw you and looked well at your inward forms, I saw that you were stamped with the mystical impress of Adam, and so I knew that your image is stationed on high.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 4.239.
50 D. Matt, The Zohar: Pritzker Edition (12 vols.; Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003-) 7.264.
51 Zohar III.13a-b reads: “For so we have learnt, that when the Holy One, blessed be He, draws forth a soul to send it down to earth, He impresses upon it many warnings and threats to keep His commandments, and He also takes it through a thousand and-eight worlds to see the glory of those who have devoted themselves to the Torah, and who now stand before the King in a robe of splendor in the form which they possessed in this world, beholding the glory of the King and crowned with many diadems. When its time comes to descend to earth, it makes its abode in the terrestrial Paradise for thirty days to see the glory of the Master of the righteous, and then ascends to their abode above and afterwards comes down to earth. Before it enters into the body of a man, the holy King crowns it with seven crowns. If it sins in this world and walks in darkness, the Torah is grieved for it and says, All this honor and all this perfection has the holy King delivered to the soul, and she has sinned before Him! And what if she does sin? We learn the answer’, continued R. Jose, ‘from the verse which says, ‘Until the day be cool and the shadows flee away.’ ‘Until the day be cool’: this is a warning to the soul to repent and purify itself before the day of this world shall cool off and be followed by that awful day on which God shall call her to account when she departs from this world. ‘And the shadows flee away’: this refers to the secret known to the Companions, that when a man’s time comes to leave this world, his shadow deserts him. R. Eleazar says that man has two shadows, one larger and one smaller, and when they are together, then he is truly himself. Therefore a man should review his actions and rectify them before his Master and confess his sins, because God is called merciful and gracious, and He receives those who return to Him. Hence he should repent before the shadows flee away, for if he only does so when he is already under arrest, this is indeed repentance, but not so acceptable.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 4.349-350.
52 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 262.
53 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 264.
54 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 5.137-138.
55 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 266.
56 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 266. In this respect it is noteworthy that some Kabbalistic authorities entertained the possibility that the heavenly counterpart in the form of tselem can be encountered in a human’s lifetime. Thus, for example, R. Moses Cordovero in his Pardes Rimmonim, while dealing with the doctrine of the tselem as the astral body, argued that “some of the pious achieve the observation of their image even in this world.” Also R. Hayim Vital, a main exponent of R. Isaac Luria’s teaching, wrote that “the ethereal body of them [the righteous] is [contained] in the secret of the tselem, which is perceived by those who have purified vision.” Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 266.
57 Matt, The Zohar, 7.264-65.
58 Moshe Idel brings attention to some other rabbinic testimonies in which the shadows appear to be understood as the counterparts of the human being. On these traditions see Idel, “Panim: On Facial Re-Presentations in Jewish Thought,” 28-29.
59 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 268.
60 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 263. Daniel Matt’s research also underlines this terminological connection. Reflecting on Zohar III.43a he notes that “here the )mlwc (tsulma), ‘image,’ is associated with a person’s lc (tsel), ‘shadow,’ which likewise disappears shortly prior to death. The final word, ‘two,’ refers to the notion of two images (which appears elsewhere in the Zohar). The link between tsulma, ‘image,’ and tsel, ‘shadow,’ is accentuated by the fact that the Hebrew equivalent of tsulma - Mlc (tselem) actually means ‘shadow’ in the verse in Psalms: Mlcb K) (Akh be-tselem), As a mere shadow [or: phantom], a human goes about.” Matt, The Zohar, 7.264.
61 Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead, 263.
62 A Greek-English Lexicon with a Revised Supplement (eds. H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. S. Jones, and R. McKenzie; Oxford: Clarendon, 1996) 483.
63 In relation to these terminological distinctions Jean-Pierre Vernant observes that “like a phantom, the Homeric psychē belongs to other phenomena that enter, as it does, into the category of what the Greeks in the archaic period call eidōla, a word that should be translated not as ‘images’ but rather as ‘doubles.’ … A double is a wholly different thing from an image. It is not a ‘natural’ object, but it is also not a product of the imagination: neither an imitation of a real object, nor an illusion of the mind, nor a creation of thought. The double is a reality external to the subject and is inscribed in the visible world. Yet even in its conformity with what it simulates, its unusual character ensures its substantial difference from familiar objects and the ordinary setting of daily life. The double plays on two contrasting levels at the same time: at the moment when it shows itself to be present, it also reveals itself as not being of this world but rather as belonging to an inaccessible elsewhere.” J.-P. Vernant, “Psuche: Simulacrum of the Body or Image of the Divine?” in: J.-P. Vernant, Mortals and Immortals (ed. F.I. Zeitlin; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991) 186-187. On these traditions see also J.-P. Vernant, “The Figuration of the Invisible and the Psychological Category of the Double: The Kolossos,” in: J.-P. Vernant, Myth and Thought among the Greeks (New York: Zone Books, 2005) 321-332. I am thankful to David Litwa for bringing my attention to Vernant’s reflections.
64 Homer, The Odyssey (ed. A.T. Murray; LCL; 2 vols; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1945) 1.164-165.
65 One can see that unlike in the previously explored traditions where the twin of a person resides in the heavenly realms, in the Odyssey the “phantoms or images of the deceased (eidōla) reside in Hades. Jan Bremmer notes that during his visit to Hades Odysseus spoke with the eidōlon of his friend Elpenor (11.83). And after the bloody end of the suitors, the seer Theoclymenos saw the doorway to the court filled with eidōla (20.355). J.N. Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983) 79.
66 Murray, Homer, The Odyssey, 2.428-429.
67 Bremmer notes that “the psychē leaves the body at the moment of death and begins an afterlife. After death, however, the deceased is presented not only as psychē but also as an eidōlon or compared to shadows.... It is the physical attributes of the soul that have some importance for the Greeks rather than the psychological. The descriptions of the eidōlon suggests that the Greeks believed the dead soul looked like the living being. And they described the physical actions of the souls of the dead in two opposite ways: they believed both that the dead souls moved and spoke like the living and that the soul of the dead could not move or speak but instead flitted and squeaked.” Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 73.
68 Iliad 5.550 reads: “On this wise spake they one to the other; but Diomedes, good at the war-cry, leapt upon Aeneas, though well he knew that Apollo himself held forth his arms above him; yet had he no awe even of the great god, but was still eager to slay Aeneas and strip from him his glorious armour. Thrice then he leapt upon him, furiously fain to slay him, and thrice did Apollo beat back his shining shield. But when for the fourth time he rushed upon him like a god, then with a terrible cry spake to him Apollo that worketh afar: ‘Bethink thee, son of Tydeus, and give place, neither be thou minded to be like of spirit with the gods; seeing in no wise of like sort is the race of immortal gods and that of men who walk upon the earth,’ So spake he, and the son of Tydeus gave ground a scant space backward, avoiding the wrath of Apollo that smiteth afar, Aeneas then did Apollo set apart from the throng in sacred Pergamus where was his temple builded. There Leto and the archer Artemis healed him in the great sanctuary, and glorified him; but Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a wraith in the likeness (εἴδωλον) of Aeneas’ self and in armour like to his....” Homer, The Iliad (ed. A.T. Murray; LCL; 2 vols; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1924) 1.226-227.
69 Iliad 23.100-107 reads: “So saying he reached forth with his hands, yet clasped him not; but the spirit like a vapour was gone beneath the earth, gibbering faintly. And seized with amazement Achilles sprang up, and smote his hands together, and spake a word of wailing: ‘Look you now, even in the house of Hades is the spirit and phantom (εἴδωλον) somewhat, albeit the mind be not anywise therein; for the whole night long hath the spirit of hapless Patroclus stood over me, weeping and wailing, and gave me charge concerning each thing, and was wondrously like his very self.’” Murray, Homer, The Iliad, 2.501-503.
70 Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 79.
71 Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, 79.
72 Jarl Fossum draws attention to a specimen of such conceptual development found in Plutarch’s On the Sign of Socrates 585E where the tradition about eidōlon as a double of either dead or living person is ascribed to the Pythagoreans: “Theanor smiled at this and said: ‘It would appear, Simmias, that Lysis is attached to his present abode, since, thanks to Epameinondas, he lacks no honorable provision. For a certain special rite is performed at the burials of Pythagoreans, and without it we do not feel in full possession of the blessed end that is proper to our sect. And so, when we learned from our dreams of Lysis’ death (we tell by a certain token appearing in our sleep whether the apparition (εἴδωλον) is of the dead or of the living) it occurred to many that Lysis had been improperly buried in a foreign land and that we must remove him so that over there he might have the benefit of our customary rites.’” Plutarch’s Moralia (eds. P.H. De Lacy and B. Einarson; LCL; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959) 7.435-437. In relation to this passage Jarl Fossum observes that “the Pythagoreans called the guardian spirit εἴδωλον, ‘image’…. [and] …. the Pythagoreans knew if a person’s εἴδωλον appearing in a dream belonged to a dead or living person: if the ‘image’ did not cast a shadow or wink the person was dead.” Fossum, “The Son of Man’s Alter Ego,” 145-147.
73 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190.
74 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190. Both Vernant and Bremmer noticed that that such paradigm shift in understanding of the eidōlon is already manifested in Pindar. Pindar’s fragment 131b reads: “And all men’s bodies follow the call of overpowering death. And yet there still will linger behind a living image of life (αἰῶνος εἴδωλον), for this alone has come from the gods. It sleeps while the members are active; but to those who sleep themselves it reveals in myriad visions the fateful approach of adversities or delights.” W. Jaeger, The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1947) 75; Pindari carmina cum fragmentis. Pars I Epinicia (eds. B. Snell and H. Maehler; Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1980) 111.
75 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190.
76 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190.
77 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190.
78 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190.
79 Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 190.
80 Vernant notes that “for Plotinus, the One, or God, eternally immobile in its complete perfection, produces ‘images’ by a radiation comparable to the light that emanates from the sun. Insofar as these images express the One, they are inferior to it. Dependent on it, engendered from it, these images draw their existence from the link they must preserve with their source and model (Enn. 188.8.131.52ff.). The One produces as its first image nous, or intelligence. On the next level, the soul arises as the eidōlon nou, the reflection of intelligence, an image that is already obscured, a simulacrum of this nous from which it cannot be separated. Like the eidōlon of that which has engendered it, the soul is inferior to the nous. It revolves around intelligence; it is the light that radiates from nous, its trace of the world beyond. On the one hand, the soul remains merged with intelligence, is filled with it, and takes pleasure from it; the psychē takes part in it and itself has the power to think. But on the other hand, it is in contact with what follows, or rather, the psychē also engenders beings that are necessarily inferior to it (Enn. 184.108.40.206-47). What does it mean, asks Plotinus, to descend into Hades (Enn. 220.127.116.11ff.)? If Hades designates the world below, the inferior place, does the expression mean that our soul, our psychē, is found in the same place as our bodies? But what if the body no longer exists? Since the soul is not separable from its eidōlon (from this body whose reflection or simulacrum it is), how could it not be in the same place where its body-reflection (eidōlon) can be found? Yet, even so, a turning of the soul toward Intelligence and the One is always possible. ‘If philosophy were to free us entirely, only the eidōlon [the body-reflection of the soul] would descend into the lower regions. The soul would live purely in the intelligible world without being separated in any way from it’ (Enn. 18.104.22.168-43). To be a philosopher would therefore mean to turn oneself away from the body-simulacrum of the soul to return to that of which the soul is also the simulacrum and from which it remains separated as long as it is content to reflect it instead of being identified with it. The idea is that the soul would lose itself there to find itself again, no longer as an image, a double, similar to the exterior model, but as a single and authentic being in the full coincidence of the self with the self through an assimilation to the god who is the All.” Vernant, Mortals and Immortals, 192.
81 A.H. Armstrong, Plotinus: Enneads (7 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966-1988) 1.256-257. Reflecting on this passage Charles Stang notes that “curiously, the word Plotinus uses, eidōlon (here rendered ‘reflection’), is the word Plato uses when he has Socrates tell Alcibiades what we see when we look into the pupil of another’s eye, that is, a miniature mirror-image or eidōlon (Alcibiades I.132e). For Plato, this serves as an analogy for how we come to know ourselves: one looks into another’s soul and sees one’s eidōlon or reflection and this allows for mutual cultivation and deification. I do not think Plotinus’s choice of words here is a coincidence....” Stang, Our Divine Double, 216-217.
82 It has been also previously suggested that the Manichaean concept of the heavenly Doppelgänger was shaped by the Platonic concepts. On this see L. Koenen, “Augustine and Manichaeism in Light of the Cologne Mani Codex,” ICS 3 (1978) 154-195; L. Sweeney, “Mani’s Twin and Plotinus: ‘Questions on Self,’” in: Neoplatonism and Gnosticism (eds. R.T. Wallis and J. Bregman; Albany: SUNY, 1992) 381-424; W. Fauth, “Syzygos und Eikon,” in: Gnosis und Philosophie: Miscellanea (eds. R. Berlinger and W. Schrader; Elementa, 59; Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994) 115-139.
83 Reflecting on the presence of the eidōlon terminology in the Nag Hammadi materials Gilles Quispel observes that “the Gnostics, who were the friends of Plotinus and attended his courses for years until he wrote his treatise against them, had in their library non-Christian books, like the Apocalypses of Zoroaster and Zostrianos and Nikotheos and Allogenes and Messos, which in part turned up at Nag Hammadi. They taught that the world-soul and Wisdom (Sophia) had inclined towards the lower regions of the world, though she has not come down, but has only illuminated, so that an image (eidōlon) was made in the matter. From that image, they say, comes another image, which is the Demiurge who removed himself from his mother and made a world which consists of images only; they say this in order to blame the Demiurge, who made this picture (2.9).” Quispel, “Valentinian Gnosis and the Apocryphon of John,” in: Quispel, Gnostica, Judaica, Catholica, 368.
84 E.S. Drower and R. Macuch, A Mandaic Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963) 111-112.
85 On the connection between dmuta and tselem/iqonin see G. Quispel, “Jewish Gnosis and Mandean Gnosticism,” in: Les textes de Nag Hammadi (ed. J.-É. Ménard; NHS, 7; Leiden: Brill, 1975) 82–122 at 115-116.
86 E.S. Drower, The Secret Adam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960) 40.
87 J.J. Buckley, The Mandaeans: Ancient Texts and Modern People (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) 37. For discussion of the dmuta see also J.J. Buckley, “The Mandaean Sitil as an Example of ‘The Image Above and Below,’” Numen 26 (1979) 185-191; idem, “Two Female Gnostic Revealers,” HR 19 (1980) 259-269; idem, “A Rehabilitation of Spirit Ruha in Mandaean Religion,” HR 21 (1982) 60-84; Corbin, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, 33; Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 133, 139.
88 R. Foltz, Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to the Present (London: Oneworld, 2013) 128.
89 Left Ginza II.5: “I shall take you out of the world and cause you to ascend. I shall take you out of it and cause you to ascend and shall leave all behind. I shall leave all, they shall all die and disappear. You are my counterpart (dmuta), I shall cause you to ascend and keep you safe in my garment. In my garment, which the Great (Life) gave to me, and in the pure fragrance which is entrusted to me.” Foerster, Gnosis, 2.255; Lidzbarski, Ginza, 461.
90 Left Ginza II.5: “Wherefore am I stripped of my radiance, brought and cast into the bodily garment? I am cast into the bodily garment, which he put on and took off. I am angry and tormented in the bodily garment, into which I was brought and cast. How many times must I take it off, how many times must I put it on!” Foerster, Gnosis, 2.255; Lidzbarski, Ginza, 461.
91 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 20.
92 Stang, Our Divine Double, 162-163
93 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 40.
94 Stang, Our Divine Double, 180-181.
95 Koenen and Römer, Der Kölner Mani-Kodex, 66; E. B. Aitken, “The Cologne Mani Codex,” in: Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice (ed. R. Vanantasis; Princeton Readings in Religions; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000) 168.
96 Thus, Charles Stang notes that in this episode the image in the water “is not of Alchasai himself, and thus raises the question of whether this image too is the syzygos, the divine companion to the Apostle of Light. “ Stang, Our Divine Double, 284. Manichaean Coptic prayer from Kellis (T. Kell. Copt. 2, text a 5) also unveils the concept of the heavenly counterpart as the image: “The image of my counterpart came unto me, with her three angels. She gave to me the garment and the crown and the palm and the victory…. I came to rest in the kingdom of the household (?); for the Father of the Lights has revealed to me his image.” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 257-8.
97 It is possible that such concept of the image as the upper Self is present already in the New Testament materials where in Col 1:15 Christ is identified as “the image of the invisible God” (εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου). On the possible connection between Col 1:15 and the Doppelgänger traditions see Fossum, “The Image of the Invisible God: Colossians 1:15-18a in the Light of Jewish Mysticism and Gnosticism,” in: idem, The Image of the Invisible God, 13-39. In 2 Cor 3:18 the heavenly counterpart symbolism is also closely tied to the eikōn terminology.
98 In view of these conceptual developments Gilles Quispel suggests that the notion of the image as the heavenly correlative “was already known in Edessa at a very early date, if we accept that the Gospel of Thomas was written there about 140 A.D.” Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 107.
99 Nag Hammadi Codex II, 2-7 together with XIII, 2,* Brit. Lib. Or. 4926(I), and P. Oxy. I, 654, 655 (ed. B. Layton; NHS, 20; Leiden: Brill, 1989) 1.85.
100 In contrast in the Gospel of Philip the symbolism of “image” is applied not to the heavenly but to the human part of the syzygia. Gos. Phil. 58:11-14 reads: “You who have joined the perfect light with the holy spirit, unite the angels with us also, as being the images.” Layton, Nag Hammadi Codex II, 2-7, 1.157. Commenting on this passage Charles Stang observes that “for the Gospel of Philip, it is we who are the images, and the angels who are, as it were, our archetypes.” Stang, Our Divine Double, 115.
101 DeConick, Seek to See Him, 149.
102 H.-Ch. Puech, “Doctrines ésotériques et thèmes gnostiques dans L’Évangile selon Thomas,” ACF 62 (1962) 199-213.
103 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 107.
104 Layton, Nag Hammadi Codex II, 2-7, 1.85.
105 Klijn, The Acts of Thomas, 186.
106 In relation to these pneumatological developments Roelof van der Broek notes that the Macarian Homilies offer intense speculations about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the spirit of man. These reflections are also overlaid with the peculiar symbolism of the “image.” He observes that “in Homily 30.3, Macarius expounds his theory that the soul without the Spirit is dead. It has to be born out of the Spirit and in that way become Spirit itself: ‘All angels and holy powers rejoice in the soul which has been born out of the Spirit and has become Spirit itself.’ The soul is the image of the Holy Spirit. Christ, the heavenly painter, paints after his own image ‘a heavenly man’ in the believer who constantly looks at him: ‘Out of his own Spirit, out of his substance, the ineffable light, he paints a heavenly image and presents that to the soul as its noble and good bridegroom’ (Hom. 30.4). … this ‘image of the heavenly Spirit,’ as it is called, is identified with Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The soul that does not possess ‘the heavenly image of the divine light, which is the life of the soul,’ is useless and completely reprehensible: ‘Just as in this world the soul is the life of the body, so in the eternal, heavenly world it is the Spirit of Divinity which is the life of the soul’ (Hom. 30.5). R. van den Broek, “The Cathars: Medieval Gnostics?” in: Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times (eds. R. van den Broek and W.J. Hanegraaff; SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions; Albany: SUNY, 1997) 100. For the author of the Macarian Homilies therefore “it is absolutely necessary to obtain this life of the soul, the Spirit, in this earthly existence, for otherwise the soul will be unable to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and will end in hell (Hom. 30.6). Before the Fall, Adam possessed this heavenly image, which meant that he was in possession of the Holy Spirit; he lost it when he fell (Hom. 12.6). Christ, ‘who had formed body and soul,’ comes to bring the works of the Evil One to an end: ‘[H]e renews and gives shape to the heavenly image and makes a new soul, so that Adam [i.e., man] can become king of death and lord of the creatures again’ (Hom. 11.6)… ‘the heavenly man unites with your [earthly] man, resulting in one communion’ (Hom. 12.18).” van den Broek, “The Cathars: Medieval Gnostics?” 100.
107 Pseudo-Macarius, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (tr. G.A. Maloney; New York: Paulist Press, 1992) 97. H. Dörries et al. Die 50 Geistlichen Homilien des Makarios (PTS, 4; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1964) 110.
108 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 108.
109 Another important witness to the tradition of the Doppelgänger as an image is Tatian’s Oratio ad Graecos 12, a text which also belongs to the second century C.E. Oratio 12 reads: “We have knowledge of two different kinds of spirits, one of which is called soul, but the other is greater than the soul; it is the image (εἰκὼν) and likeness of God. The first men were endowed with both, so that they might be part of the material world, and at the same time above it. This is how things are.” M. Whittaker, Tatian, Oratio ad Graecos and Fragments (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982) 22-23. In relation to this tradition Charles Stang observes that “humans have now only their own soul as a spirit; the second spirit, the one greater than soul, has abandoned them. This other spirit is the image and likeness of God (like the “image” in §84 of the Gospel of Thomas), and so without it humans are bereft of the divine, or nearly so.” Stang, Our Divine Double, 110.
110 C. Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas (Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999) 98.
111 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 109.
112 See M. Dibelius, Der Hirt des Hermas (HNT; Die Apostolischen Väter, 4; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1923) 495; W. Bousset, Die Religion des Judentums in späthellenistischen Zeitalter (3d ed.; HNT, 21; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1926) 324; H. Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987) 95. For criticism of this hypothesis see G. Snyder, The Shepherd of Hermas (ed. R.M. Grant; Apostolic Fathers, 6; Camden, NJ: Nelson, 1969) 61-62; Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas, 100.
113 The already familiar connection between the likeness or the image and the Sar ha-Panim that serves there as the designation of the seer’s heavenly identity can be found also in the Apocalypse of Paul 19, the text which unveils the following tradition: “And I followed the angel and he lifted me up to the third heaven and he set me at the door of a gate.... And I asked the angel and said: Sir, tell me, for what reason are these letters set on those tables? The angel answered and said to me: Those are the names of the righteous who while they dwell on earth serve God with a whole heart. And again I said: Are then their names written in heaven while they are still on earth? And he said: Not only their names but also their faces are written, and the likeness of those who serve God is in heaven, and the servants of God, who serve him with a whole heart are known to the angels before they leave the world.” New Testament Apocrypha (eds. E. Hennecke and W. Schneemelcher; 2 vols.; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003) 2.724-725. In the Apocalypse of Paul 7 the motif of heavenly representatives of human beings is again conflated with the theme of the image of God: “When then the sun has set at the first hour of the night, in the same hour (come) the angel of each people and the angel of each man and woman, (the angels) which protect and preserve them, because man is the image of God….” Hennecke and Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, 2.718.
114 Testament of Our Lord (ed. J. Cooper and A. J. Maclean; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1902) 96; I.E. Rahmani, Testamentum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi (Moguntiae: F. Kirchheim, 1899) 96-97.
115 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 107.
116 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 107.
117 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 107.
118 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 250.
119 On this connection see Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, 5.290, n. 134; A. Altmann, “The Gnostic Background of the Rabbinic Adam Legends,” JQR 35 (1945) 371-391; Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 4. Wolfson points out to the fact that in some rabbinic materials the beauty of Jacob has been often compared with the beauty of Adam. See, for example, Zohar I.168a: “According to tradition, the beauty of Jacob was equal to that of Adam, the first man.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.144.
120 One of the early occurrences of the motif of the angelic veneration of Adam is possibly hinted in 4Q381. See Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 98-100. The motif of the angelic veneration is also present in the temptation narrative of the Synoptic Gospels. On this see A. Orlov, “The Veneration Motif in the Temptation Narrative of the Gospel of Matthew: Lessons from the Enochic Tradition,” in: A. Orlov, Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism (Albany: SUNY, 2015) 153-166.
121 On the angelic veneration see C. Fletcher-Louis, “The Worship of Divine Humanity as God’s Image and the Worship of Jesus,” in: The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism. Papers from the St Andrew’s Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (eds. C. Newman et al; JSJSS, 63; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 112-128 at 125-128; idem, All the Glory of Adam, 101-102.
122 The Latin version of the Primary Adam Books 13:2 reads: “When God blew into you the breath of life and your countenance and likeness were made in the image of God, Michael led you and made you worship in the sight of God.” The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books 13:2 reads: “When God breathed his spirit into you, you received the likeness of his image. Thereupon, Michael came and made you bow down before God.” Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 16E.
123 The Latin version of the Primary Adam Books 13:2-14:1 reads: “The Lord God then said: ‘Behold, Adam, I have made you in our image and likeness.’ Having gone forth Michael called all the angels saying: ‘Worship the image of the Lord God, just as the Lord God has commanded.’” The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books 13:2-14:1 reads: “God said to Michael, ‘Behold I have made Adam in the likeness of my image.’ Then Michael summoned all the angels, and God said to them, ‘Come, bow down to god whom I made.’” Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 16E.
124 The Latin version of the Primary Adam Books 14:2-15:1 reads: “Michael himself worshipped first then he called me and said: ‘Worship the image of God Jehovah.’ I answered: ‘I do not have it within me to worship Adam.’ When Michael compelled me to worship, I said to him: ‘Why do you compel me? I will not worship him who is lower and later than me. I am prior to that creature. Before he was made, I had already been made. He ought to worship me.’ Hearing this, other angels who were under me were unwilling to worship him.” The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books 14:2-15:1 reads: “Michael bowed first He called me and said ‘You too, bow down to Adam.’ I said, Go away, Michael! I shall not bow [down] to him who is posterior to me, for I am former. Why is it proper [for me] to bow down to him? The other angels, too, who were with me, heard this, and my words seemed pleasing to them and they did not prostrate themselves to you, Adam.” Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 16E-17E.
125 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.138. The tradition of the angelic veneration of Enoch is attested in both recensions of 2 Enoch. 2 Enoch 22:6-7 in Ms. J (longer recension) reads: “And the Lord said to his servants, sounding them out, ‘Let Enoch join in and stand in front of my face forever!’ And the Lord’s glorious ones did obeisance and said, ‘Let Enoch yield in accordance with your word, O Lord!’” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.138. 2 Enoch 22:6-7 in Ms. A (shorter recension) reads: “The Lord said, ‘Let Enoch come up and stand in front of my face forever!’ And the glorious ones did obeisance and said, ‘Let him come up!’” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.139.
126 Slav. “iskushaja ih.” Macaskill, The Slavonic Texts of 2 Enoch, 100.
127 R. H. Charles and W. R. Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1896) 28.
128 Stone, “The Fall of Satan and Adam’s Penance,” 47.
129 Stone, “The Fall of Satan and Adam’s Penance,” 48.
130 See Ms. V (VL 125) [Nr. 3], fol. 317: “And the Lord with his own mouth called me [Enoch] and said: Be brave, Youth! Do not be frightened! Stand up in front of my face forever. And Michael, the Lord’s archistratig, brought me in the front of the Lord’s face. And the Lord tempted his servants and said to them: ‘Let Enoch come up and stand in the front of my face forever.’ And the glorious ones bowed down and said: ‘Let him come up!’”
131 Jacobson, The Exagoge of Ezekiel, 54–55.
132 John Collins notes that “the stars had long been identified with the angelic host in Israelite tradition…. Ultimately this tradition can be traced back to Canaanite mythology where the stars appear as members of the divine council in the Ugaritic texts.” Collins, Apocalyptic Vision, 136. See, for example, Judg 5:20: “The stars fought from heaven, from their courses they fought against Sisera”; Job 38:7: “When the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?”; Dan 8:10: “It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them”; 1 Enoch 86:3-4: “And again I saw in the vision and looked at heaven, and behold, I saw many stars, how they came down and were thrown down from heaven to that first star, and amongst those heifers and bulls; they were with them, pasturing amongst them. And I looked at them and saw, and behold, all of them let out their private parts like horses and began to mount the cows of the bulls, and they all became pregnant and bore elephants and camels and asses.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.197; 1 Enoch 88:1: “And I saw one of those four who had come out first, how he took hold of that first star which had fallen from heaven, and bound it by its hands and its feet, and threw it into an abyss; and that abyss was narrow, and deep, and horrible, and dark.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.198; 1 Enoch 90:24: “And the judgment was held first on the stars, and they were judged and found guilty; and they went to the place of damnation, and were thrown into a deep (place), full of fire, burning and full of pillars of fire.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.215.
133 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.258-59.
134 G. Anderson, “The Exaltation of Adam and the Fall of Satan,” Literature on Adam and Eve. Collected Essays (eds. G. Anderson, M. Stone, J. Tromp; SVTP, 15; Brill: Leiden, 2000) 107.
135 Anderson, “The Exaltation of Adam and the Fall of Satan,” 108.
136 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.170.
137 In relation to this passage Nathaniel Deutsch notes that “the key to understanding this passage has been provided by F.I. Andersen, who notes in his edition of 2 Enoch, that its form imitates that of Gen 1:27, which states that ‘God created man in His image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.’ Instead of the ‘image’ of God, in 2 Enoch we find God’s ‘face,’ and in place of ‘male and female He created them,’ we read ‘small and great the Lord created.’ In light of the Jewish, Gnostic, and Mandaean traditions which treated the image of God in Gen 1:27 hypostatically, often identifying it with the Cosmic Adam, the substitution of the divine image in Gen 1:27 with the divine face is early evidence that God’s face was perceived hypostatically, as well.” Deutsch, Gnostic Imagination, 102.
138 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.171, note b. As has been already indicated some scholars point to the fact that in some Jewish materials the concept of the divine image is often rendered through the symbolism of the divine face. On this see Idel, “The Changing Faces of God and Human Dignity in Judaism,” 103-122.
139 Idel, “The Changing Faces of God and Human Dignity in Judaism,” 103-122.
140 A total of nine Greek sentences of this pseudepigraphon were preserved in the writings of Origen (c.185–c.254 C.E.). Fragment A is quoted in Origen’s In Ioannem II. 31.25. Fragment B, a single sentence, is cited in Gregory and Basil’s compilation of Origen, the Philokalia. This fragment is also quoted in Eusebius, The Preparation of the Gospel and in the Latin Commentary on Genesis by Procopius of Gaza. Fragment C which is found also from the Philokalia, quotes Fragment B and paraphrases Fragment A. Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.699.Pieter van der Horst and Judith Newman note that “according to the ancient Stichometry of Nicephorus, the text originally contained 1100 lines. The extant portions totaling only nine Greek sentences or 164 words thus reflect a small fraction of the original composition.” Early Jewish Prayers in Greek (CEJL; eds. P.W. van der Horst and J.H. Newman; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008) 249.
141 Smith, “The Prayer of Joseph,” in: Religions in Antiquity, 255.
142 Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.701. Van der Horst and Newman observe that “the composition must likely have been in circulation for a good period for Origen to have recognized it by title.” Van der Horst and Newman, Early Jewish Prayers in Greek, 249.
143 Wolfson observes that “the notion of an angel named Jacob-Israel is also known from Jewish Christian texts, as reported mainly by Justin, and appears as well in Gnostic works such as the Nag Hammadi treatise On the Origin of the World, and in Manichaean texts.” He further suggests that “such a tradition, perhaps through the intermediary of Philo, passed into Christian sources wherein the celestial Jacob or Israel was identified with Jesus who is depicted as the Logos and Son of God.” Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 5.
144 The Book of Jubilees appears to be also cognizant about heavenly identity of Jacob. Thus, Jubilees 35:17 reads: “Now you are not to be afraid for Jacob because Jacob’s guardian is greater and more powerful, glorious, and praiseworthy than Esau’s guardian.” VanderKam, Jubilees, 2.235-236. On this tradition see also Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen 33:10: “And Jacob said, ‘Do not speak thus, I pray; if now I have found mercy in your eyes, you must accept my gift from my hand; because it is for this I have seen your countenance, and it seems to me like seeing the face of your angel; and behold, you have received me favorably.’” Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 116.
145 This verse appears to be pointing to demiurgic role of Jacob-Israel. Wolfson argues that references to the demiurgic quality of Jacob may be found also in a number of rabbinic passages, including Leviticus Rabbah 36:4 and Genesis Rabbah 98:3. Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 5. a passage which unveils the following tradition: “Israel your father is a God, for just as the Holy One, blessed be He, creates worlds so too your father creates worlds, just as the Holy One, blessed be He, divides the worlds so too your father divides the worlds.” Cf. Gen. Rab. 98:3: “R. Phinehas interpreted it: Your father Israel is as a god: as God creates worlds, so does your father create worlds; as God distributes worlds, so does your father distribute worlds.” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 2.947-948. Lev. Rab. 36:4: “R. Phinehas in the name of R. Reuben explains this to mean that the Holy One, blessed be He, said to His world: ‘O My world, My world! Shall I tell thee who created thee, who formed thee? Jacob has created thee, Jacob has formed thee’; as is proved by the text, ‘He that created thee is Jacob and he that formed thee is Israel.’” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 4.460.
146 Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.713-714. For the primary texts see Denis, Fragmenta pseudepigraphorum quae supersunt graeca, 61–64; A. Resch, Agrapha: Aussercanonische Schriftfragmente (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1906) 295–298; Origène, Commentaire sur Saint Jean. Tome I (Livres I-V) (ed. C. Blanc; SC, 120; Paris: Cerf, 1966) 334–37; Origen, Philocalia (ed. J. A. Robinson; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1893); Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica (ed. K. Mras; GCS, 43:1–2; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1954–56).
147 M. R. James, The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament: Their Titles and Fragments (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007) 30. James Dunn brings attention to the complexity of the angelological developments found in the Prayer of Joseph. He observes that “somewhere in the second century … we have the Prayer of Joseph with Jacob presented as ‘an angel of God and a ruling spirit,’ indeed as ‘the archangel of the power of God and supreme commander among the sons of God’ (in rank far above the angel Uriel), who ‘had descended to earth and had tabernacled among men and had been called by the name Jacob.’ However esoteric these documents, the fact that they could appear within Jewish circles shows just how much Jewish thought could accommodate - from angels which are merely personifications of God’s will coming to effect, through personalized divine beings whose functions are distinct from and over against those of God, to archangels who bear the name of God, to a supreme angel that became incarnate as a historical individual.” Dunn, Christology in the Making, 153-54.
148 Allison, Constructing Jesus, 299.
149 Allison, Constructing Jesus, 299.
150 Striking parallels between Enochic and Jacobite accounts of the heavenly counterparts have been noticed before. Thus, Daniel Olson observes that “perhaps Enoch and Jacob were even seen as sharing an identity in some mysterious sense, as if the earthly Enoch and Jacob were two iterations of the same heavenly being.” Olson, A New Reading, 37. Olson further observes that “the An. Apoc.’s willingness to defer to an over-arching Israelite identity in Jacob may represent either an earlier or a variant Enochic theology, or perhaps it is to be explained by an understanding of the two men as avatars of the same heavenly personality and therefore in no competition with each other.” Olson, A New Reading, 96.
151 “… being reminded of it by the archangel Uriel.” Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.713.
152 On this see Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 705.
153 In relation to this John Ashton notes that although some words in the Prayer have a “docetic ring” “it is doubtful if the writer intends to question the full humanity of Jacob. True, both passages imply a double role, one in heaven, which has at least a priority in time, and one on earth. But the question of ontological priority is harder to answer. Is the ‘real’ Jacob the heavenly one, who descends to earth for a particular purpose only to re-ascend after his work there is done? At first sight it would appear so....” J. Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) 344-45.
154 “I (Jacob-Israel] had descended to earth and I had tabernacled among men….” Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.713.
155 Denis, Fragmenta pseudepigraphorum quae supersunt graeca, 61.
156 Thus, for example, Jonathan Smith in relation to this title observes that it represents “a general term in astrological and angelological materials to which no special significance may be attached.” Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.703. Yet, recently Bogdan Bucur drew his attention to this designation by noting its distinctive connection with Jewish pneumatological lore. Bucur notes that “according to the Prayer of Joseph, dated to the first century C.E., Israel is a heavenly being—called indistinctly both ἄγγελος θεοῦ and πνεῦμα ἀρχικόν—who ranks higher than the seven archangels, as chief captain and first minister before the face of God.” B.G. Bucur, Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses (SVC, 95; Leiden: Brill, 2009) 39.
157 Scholars often argue for the formative influences of the Doppelgänger traditions found in such texts as the Acts of Thomas on the Manichaean symbolism of the heavenly counterpart. Thus, for example, Drijvers observes that “the idea of the heavenly twin, which dominates the Acts of Thomas and the picture of the apostle Judas Thomas as the representative of a theological idea, exercised a profound influence on Mani’s self-understanding as is clearly shown by the Cologne Mani Codex […]. The Coptic Manichean texts show acquaintance with the Thomas legend and with the martyrdom of the apostle […], although they have taken over only the legend and not the gnosticising elements […]. It has often been assumed that the Acts of Thomas have preserved traces of a Manichean revision […], and that the Hymn of the Pearl in particular was soon transferred to Mani and provided with individual features from his Vita. It is certainly possible that the Manicheans recognized in the king’s son of the Hymn and in his life elements of the Vita of the Apostle of Light, but the differences are too great to make a Manichean revision credible. Rather the figure of the apostle Judas Thomas as the twin brother of Jesus was of decisive influence upon Mani’s consciousness of mission, and it is also to be assumed that individual motifs from the Acts of Thomas were accepted into the legendary Vita of Mani.” Drijvers, “The Acts of Thomas,” in: Hennecke and Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, 2.338. On the connections between Manichaeism and the Hymn of the Pearl see also W. Bousset, “Manichäisches in den Thomasakten: Ein Beitrag zur Frage nach den christlichen Elementen im Manichäismus,” ZNW 18 (1917/18) 1–39; P. Nagel, “Die apokryphen Apostelakten des 2. und 3. Jahrhunderts in der manichäischen Literatur: Ein Beitrag zur Frage nach den christlichen Elementen im Manichäismus,” in: Gnosis und Neues Testament: Studien aus Religionswissenschaft und Theologie (ed. K.-W. Tröger; Gütersloh: Mohn, 1973) 149–182 at 172; P.-H. Poirier, “L’Hymne de la Perle et le manichéisme à la lumière du Codex manichéen de Cologne,” in: Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis: Atti del Simposio Internazionale (Rende-Amantea 3–7 settembre 1984). Università degli studi della Calabria, Centro interdipartimentale di science religiose (ed. L. Cirillo; Studi e ricerche, 4; Cosenza: Marra, 1986) 235–248.
158 On Mani’s heavenly Twin see A. Henrichs and L. Koenen, “Ein griechischer Mani-Codex (P. Colon. inv. nr. 4780),” ZPE 5 (1970) 97-216 esp. 161-189; A. Henrichs, H. Henrichs, and L. Koenen, “Der Kölner Mani-Kodex (P. Colon. inv. nr. 4780),” ZPE 19 (1975) 1-85;W. Fauth, “Manis anderes Ich: Gestalthafte Metaphysik in Kölner Mani-Kodex,” in: Gnosis und Philosophie: Miscellanea (eds. R. Berlinger and W. Schrader; Elementa, 59; Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994) 75-114; G.G. Stroumsa and P. Fredriksen, “The Two Souls and the Divided Will,” in: Self, Soul, and Body in Religious Experience (eds. A.I. Baumgarten et al; Leiden: Brill, 1998) 198-208; F. de Blois, “Manes’ ‘Twin’ in Iranian and non-Iranian Texts,” in: Religious Themes and Texts of Pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia: Studies in Honour of Professor Gherardo Gnoli on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday on 6th December 2002 (eds. C.G. Cereti, M. Maggi and E. Provasi; BI, 24; Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert, 2003) 7-16.
159 CMC 18 reads: “(When) I was twenty (four) years old, in the year in which Dariadaxar, the king of Persia, conquered the city of Hatra, and in which his son King Sapores assumed the mighty diadem, in the month Pharmouthi, on the eighth day according to the moon, the most blessed lord had compassion on me and called me to his grace and sent to me (my) Syzygos (who) in great (glory)....” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 50.
160 CMC 20-21 reads: “He (the Syzygos) conveyed to me the) noblest (hope and) redemption for the long-suffering, and the truest counsels and judgements and the laying on of hands which comes from our Father. Therefore, when he came, he released me and separated me and drew me away from the midst of that rule in which I was brought up. In this way he called me and chose me and drew me and separated me from their midst. He drew (me away to one) side … and (showed me) who I am and what my body is, in what way I came and how my coming into this world happened, and who I have become among those who are most distinguished in pre-eminence, and how I was born into this fleshly body, or through what woman I was brought to birth and delivered into this flesh, and by whom I was begotten.” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 50.
161 Ort, Mani: A Religio-historical Description of His Personality, 92-93.
162 In the Manichaean Bema-Psalm 241 the Twin-Spirit of Mani is named as Christ. On this see Ort, Mani: A Religio-historical Description of His Personality, 89-90.
163 CMC 4 reads: “Very many are the visions and very great the marvels which he showed me throughout all that period of my youth.” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 48.
164 Ort, Mani: A Religio-historical Description of His Personality, 89.
165 Ort, Mani: A Religio-historical Description of His Personality, 89.
166 “I was gazing at my familiar with my eyes of light ....” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 101.
167 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, xi.
168 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 20.
169 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 20. See also Keph. 15:19-24: “This is how everything th[at] has ha[pp]ened and that will happen was unveiled to me by the Paraclete; [...] /everything the eye shall see, and the ear hear, and the th/ought think, a[n]d the [...] I have understood by him e/verything. I have seen the totality through him! I have become a single body/with a single Spirit!” Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 21. Keph. 16:19-21: “[...] about which you questioned me. S/[ince the] Spirit is of the Paraclete, the one who was sent to me from [the greatness; what has] happened and what will happen [has been]/unveiled to me.” Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 22.
170 J. van Oort, “Mani and the Origins of a New Church,” in: The Apostolic Age in Patristic Thought (ed. A. Hilhorst; SVC, 70; Leiden: Brill, 2004) 139-157 at 155.
171 John Reeves affirms that “the Manichaean concept of the Paraclete as it is exhibited in western sources such as the Coptic Kephalaia and the Cologne Mani Codex is also visible in Middle Iranian Manichaean texts emanating from central Asia, thus confirming the likely centrality of this notion for the earliest strata of tradition.” J.C. Reeves, Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism (Comparative Islamic Studies; Sheffield: Equinox, 2011) 80. On the Paraclete in the Manichaean tradition see also P. Nagel, “Der Parakletenspruch des Mani (Keph. 14,7-11) und die altsyrische Evangelienübersetzung,” in: Festschrift zum 150-jährigen Bestehen des Berliner Ägyptischen Museums (MAS, 8; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1974) 303-313; W. Sundermann, “Der Paraklet in der ostmanichäischen Überlieferung,” in: Manichaean Studies. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Manichaeism, August 5–9, 1987 (ed. P. Bryder; LSAAR, 1; Lund: Plus Ultra, 1988) 201–212.
172 van Oort, “Mani and the Origins of a New Church,” 154. On Mani as the Paraclete see Reeves, Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism, 50-62, 68, 80.
173 “... of this sending of the spirit of the Paraclete, and having turned away say that those men alone wrote about the rapture of their teacher in order to boast.” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 54.
174 “For we know, brethren, the exceeding greatness of his wisdom towards us through this coming (of the) Paraclete of (truth).” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 57.
175 “In the books of our father there are very many other extraordinary events similar to these, which make known his revelation and the rapture of his mission. For great is this magnificent coming which comes to (us) through the Paraclete, the spirit of truth.” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 58. See also Fihrist of al-Nadim: “Mani asserted that he was the paraclete about whom Jesus, for whom may there be peace, preached.” B. Dodge, The Fihrist of al-Nadīm: A Tenth-Century Survey of Muslim Culture (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1970) 776.
176 van Oort, “Mani and the Origins of a New Church,” 154.
177 van Oort, “Mani and the Origins of a New Church,” 155. Charles Stang in his recent study reaffirms this position by arguing that “strictly speaking, Mani’s undescended Nous and his companion are two faces of the same divine agent. Once the companion (Paraclete) has visited the incarnate Mani to awaken him to his apostolate, then he (Mani) can also be said to be the Paraclete, precisely insofar as the companion has been conjoined to its counterpart, the now-embodied Apostle of Light. Thus, the resolution to the ‘seeming contradiction’ reinforces the essential, doubled nature of Mani’s selfhood, once he is visited by (and so becomes) the Paraclete.” Stang, Our Divine Double, 161-162.
178 van Oort, “Mani and the Origins of a New Church,” 155-156.
179 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, xxxi.
180 K. Valavanolickal, Aphrahat, Demonstrations I (Kerala: SEERI, 2005) 154.
181 The idea of the Holy Spirit as the heavenly counterpart is found in the already mentioned passage from the Macarian Homilies where the Protoplast’s heavenly image is identified with the Holy Spirit. Roelof van der Broek argues that the pneumatological ideas found in the Macarian Homilies can be traced back to the second century. He notes that already “the apologist Tatian (ca. 170 C.E.) taught that with the transgression of man ‘the more powerful spirit departed from him,’ so that man became mortal (Orat. 7.3). Before that, man had two different kinds of spirits, the soul and the “image and likeness of God,” which s identical with that more powerful spirit (Orat. 12.1). Of itself, the soul is mortal, it dies with the flesh (Orat. 13.1). Only if the soul obtains knowledge of God is it reunited with the divine Spirit, who is called the soul’s companion (syndiaitos) (Orat. 13.2). This spirit-companion of the soul, who helps it to find the way back to God, is identified with the Holy Spirit. We have to search for what we once lost; we have to link our soul to the Holy Spirit and busy ourselves with the God-willed union (syzygia) (Orat. 15.1).” van den Broek, “The Cathars: Medieval Gnostics?” 101. Gilles Quispel similarly argues that in Tatian’s Oratio ad Graecos “the Spirit forms a syzygia with the soul and so leads her to heaven.” Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 116-117. On this tradition see also Stang, Our Divine Double, 110-113. Tatian’s Oratio ad Graecos 13 unveils the following tradition: “The soul, men of Greece, is not in itself immortal but mortal; yet it also has the power to escape death. For if it is ignorant of the truth it dies and is dissolved with the body, but rises later at the end of the world along with the body, to suffer death by immortal punishment; on the other hand it does not die, even if it is dissolved for a time, if it has obtained knowledge of God. In itself it is dark and there is no light in it, and so the saying goes ‘The dark does not comprehend the light.’ For the soul did not itself preserve the spirit, but was preserved by it. The light comprehended the dark, in that the light of God is Word, but the ignorant soul is darkness. Because of this if it lives alone it inclines down towards matter and dies with the flesh, but if it gains union with the divine spirit it is not unaided, but mounts to the realms above where the spirit leads it; for the spirit’s home is above, but the soul’s birth is below. So the spirit became originally the soul’s companion, but gave it up when the soul was unwilling to follow it. The soul kept a spark, as it were, of the spirit’s power, yet because of its separation it could no longer see things that are perfect, and so in its search for God went astray and fashioned a multitude of gods, following the demons and their hostile devices. God’s spirit is not given to all, but dwelling among some who behaved justly and being intimately connected with the soul it revealed by predictions to the other souls what had been hidden. The souls which were obedient to wisdom attracted to themselves the kindred spirit, but those which were disobedient and rejected the servant of the suffering God were clearly shown to be enemies of God rather than his worshippers.” Whittaker, Tatian, Oratio ad Graecos and Fragments, 28-29.
182 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 108.
183 For use of Matt 18:10 in Clements’ Strom. 5.14.91; Exc. 10.6; 11:1; 23:4; Quis div. 31.1 see Bucur, Angelomorphic Pneumatology, 63ff.
184 The conceptual currents about seven celestial beings manifested in Clement appears to be drawing on some biblical passages including Rev 1:4–5 where the seven Spirits are situated before the divine throne. Yet this development is deeply rooted in Jewish angelology. On the angelic heptad in Second Temple Judaism and later Jewish developments see W.F. Smelik, “On Mystical Transformation of the Righteous into Light in Judaism,” JSJ 26 (1995) 131–41; R. Elior, The Three Temples: On the Emergence of Jewish Mysticism (Oxford/Portland: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005) 77–81; Bucur, Angelomorphic Pneumatology, 39ff.
185 Matt 18:10.
186 Matt 18:10.
187 The Excerpta ex Theodoto of Clement of Alexandria (ed. R.P. Casey; London: Christophers, 1934) 49.
188 Bucur, Angelomorphic Pneumatology, 62.
189 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 112.
190 Kevin Sullivan also sees in this Jacob’s designation in the Prayer of Joseph a reference to the role of the angelic servant. He observes that the expression “the first minister before the face of God … is similar to what we find in Targum Onqelos and Targum Neofiti where the angels are said to be ‘before the face of God.’ This once again suggests that Jacob/Israel has seen God, since he ministers before his countenance.” K.P. Sullivan, Wrestling with Angels: A Study of the Relationship Between Angels and Humans in Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament (AGAJU, 55; Leiden: Brill, 2004) 101.
191 Despite some striking similarities with Christian understanding of “spirit” as the seer’s heavenly identity, one can detect a striking conceptual difference between the heavenly state of the Protoktistoi of the Christian accounts and Jacob’s celestial stand in the Prayer. While the seven angels are first-created, similar to Abraham and Isaac who “were created before any work,” Jacob’s heavenly Self is born. The difference between the celestial origins of Abraham and Isaac on one hand and Jacob on the other is noteworthy since it might point to some polemical developments.
192 Peter van der Horst and Judith Newman note that “the word used for ‘pre-created,’ προεκτίσθησαν, is a prefixed form of the more frequently appearing κτίζω. The word is used to emphasize the idea that Jacob existed before the creation of the world and its order. The Greek term is found in later Christian literature to refer to the status of Christ as pre-existent, yet the idea resonates with rabbinic traditions that posit the preexistence of certain items before creation, variously among them the Torah, the temple, the heavenly throne, repentance, and wisdom.” van der Horst and Newman, Early Jewish Prayers in Greek, 250-251.
193 Van der Horst and Newman note that “the LXX of Exod 4:22 speaks of Israel as God’s πρωτότοκος, ‘first-born son.’ This word is not found elsewhere in scripture, but Philo uses the term to refer both to the Logos (Conf. 63, 146; Somn. I. 215) and to Israel as a first-born (Post. 63; Fug. 208), or to Israel in the character of the Logos (Agr. 51). This idea of Jacob being ‘the firstborn’ is also mentioned in the Prayer of Joseph in which Jacob is ... the ‘firstborn of all living.’” Van der Horst and Newman, Early Jewish Prayers in Greek, 256.
194 Richard Hayward notes that “Philo uses this word only six times in his writings, always to speak of the Logos (De Conf. Ling. 63, 146; De Som. I. 215), Israel as a first-born (De Post. 63; De Fuga 208), or Israel in the character of the Logos (De Agr. 51).” C.T.R. Hayward, Interpretations of the Name Israel in Ancient Judaism and Some Early Christian Writings (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 200. He further notes that “when Philo calls Israel πρωτόγονος therefore, it may be that he has in mind once again a being who belongs both on earth and in heaven ....” Hayward, Interpretations of the Name, 200.
195 H. Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 366.
196 H. Windisch, “Die göttliche Weisheit der Juden und die paulinische Christologie,” Neutestamentliche Studien für G. Heinrici (eds. A. Deissmann and H. Windisch; UNT, 6; Leipzig: J. C. Heinrichs, 1914) 225, n. 1.
197 Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 24.
198 “He envied me and fought with me and wrestled with me saying that his name and the name that is before every angel was to be above mine.” Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.713.
199 Hayward, Interpretations of the Name, 205.
200 The Latin version of the Primary Adam Books 12:1: “Groaning, the Devil said: ‘O Adam, all my enmity, jealousy, and resentment is towards you, since on account of you I was expelled and alienated from my glory, which I had in heaven in the midst of the angels. On account of you I was cast out upon the earth.’” Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 15E.
201 See the Latin and the Armenian versions of the Primary Adam Books 14:2-15:1.
202 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 109. Quispel traces a similar development in other principal materials associated with the Syrian milieu, including the Macarian Homilies where the symbolism of the Spirit and the Image are conflated. See Homily II.12.6: “Since Adam lost his own image and also that heavenly image, therefore, if he shared in the heavenly image, did he have the Holy Spirit?” Maloney, Pseudo-Macarius, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, 97. The confluence of the spirit and the image as a human being’s heavenly identity is also present in the already mentioned passage from Zohar III.43a-b: “… And the Holy One, blessed be He, directs an emissary who is in charge of human embryos, and assigns to him this particular spirit, and indicates to him the place to which it should be entrusted. This is the meaning of ‘The night said, a man-child has been conceived’ (Job 3:3). ‘The night said’ to this particular emissary, ‘a man-child has been conceived’ by soand-so. And the Holy One, blessed be He, then gives this spirit all the commands that He wishes to give, and they have already explained this. Then the spirit descends together with the image, the one in whose likeness [the spirit] existed above. With this image [man] grows; with this image he moves through the world. This is the meaning of ‘Surely man walks with an image’ (Ps 39:7)….” Tishby, The Wisdom of the Zohar, 2.787-789.
203 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 109. Quispel also draws attention to another passage in the Shepherd of Hermas (Mand. 11) where the heavenly counterpart of a human being seems to be identified with the Holy Spirit. Mand. 11:9 reads: “So when the person who has the spirit of God enters the assembly of just men who believe in the divine spirit, and prayer is made to God by the assembly of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit that rests upon that person fills the person, who, being filled with the holy spirit, speaks to the whole crowd as the Lord wishes.” Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas, 139. Quispel argues that in this passage “the ‘angel of the prophetic spirit’ is the Holy Spirit and at the same time a guardian angel.” Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,”110.
204 Pistis Sophia 61:11 reads: “When thou wast small, before the Spirit came upon thee, while thou wast in a vineyard with Joseph, the Spirit came forth from the height, he came to me into my house, he resembled thee. And I did not recognize him and I thought that he was thou. And the Spirit said to me: ‘Where is Jesus, my brother, that I meet him?’ And when he said these things to me, I was confused and I thought that he was a phantom to tempt me. But I took him, I bound him to the leg of the bed in my house, until I came out to you in the field, thou and Joseph, and I found you in the vineyard, as Joseph was hedging the vineyard with reeds. Now it happened, when thou didst hear me speaking the word to Joseph, thou didst understand the word and thou didst rejoice. And thou didst say: ‘Where is he that I may see him? Or else I await him in this place.’ But it happened when Joseph heard thee saying these words, he was agitated and we came up at the same time, we went into the house. We found the Spirit bound to the bed. And we looked at thee with him, we found thee like him. And he that was bound to the bed was released, he embraced thee, he kissed thee. And thou also, thou didst kiss him and you became one.” Schmidt and MacDermot, Pistis Sophia, 243-245.
205 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 110.
206 Quispel, “Genius and Spirit,” 110.
207 It is also important that Enoch’s heavenly counterpart, the Son of Man (also known in the text as the Chosen One), is also defined in the Similitudes with various pneumatological titles. See, for example, 1 Enoch 49:3 “And in him dwells the spirit of wisdom, and the spirit which gives understanding, and the spirit of knowledge and of power, and the spirit of those who sleep in righteousness.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.135; 1 Enoch 62:2: “And the Lord of Spirits sat on the throne of his glory, and the spirit of righteousness was poured out on him....” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.150.
208 Klaus Koch notes that “the Book of Parables teaches a sophisticated pneumatology that is not restricted to a holy spirit within the community of believers, but further reckons with a background force sustaining the cosmos as God’s good creation.” K. Koch, “Questions Regarding the So-Called Son of Man,” in: Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man: Revisiting the Book of Parables, 233.
209 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.165.
210 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.166. Matthew Black traces the expression “the spirit of power” to Isa 11:2: hrwbgw hc( hwr. M. Black, The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch (SVTP, 7; Leiden: Brill, 1985) 251.
211 1 Enoch 71:2: “…and I fell upon my face before the Lord of Spirits.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.165.
212 Jacob’s prayer found in chapter 2 of the Ladder has been identified by Reimund Leicht among a collection of prayers in an eleventh century codex from the Cairo Genizah published by Peter Schäfer and Shaul Shaked. See R. Leicht, “Qedushah and Prayer to Helios: A New Hebrew Version of an Apocryphal Prayer of Jacob,” JSQ 6 (1999) 140-76. For the Hebrew text of the prayer see P. Schäfer and S. Shaked, Magische Texte aus der Kairoer Geniza (TSAJ, 64; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1997) 2.27-78. In their recent study on early Jewish prayers van der Horst and Newman affirm the identification by arguing that “the prayer from the Cairo Genizah appears to be a version of the composition in the first century Ladder of Jacob (Lad.Jac. 2:6–22). The fact that a prayer imbedded in a longer narrative appears in modified version as part of a collection of independent prayers points to an artificial divide often made by scholars between ‘narrative prayers’ and ‘liturgical prayers’ especially if the latter are thought to preclude forms of worship, whether public or private, communal or individual, other than a fixed liturgical cycle for daily or festival use.... The prayer found in the Ladder of Jacob and its later Cairo Genizah cousin contain similarities to the Prayer of Jacob of PGM XXIIb at a number of points which will be addressed in the commentary.” van der Horst and Newman, Early Jewish Prayers in Greek, 218-219.
213 On Explanatory Paleja see: V.P. Adrianova, K literaturnoj istorii Tolkovoj Palei (Kiev: Petr Barskij, 1910); C. Böttrich, “Palaea/Paleja. Ein byzantinisch-slavischer Beitrag zu den europäischen Historienbibeln,” in: Fragmentarisches Wörterbuch. Beiträge zur biblischen Exegese und christlichen Theologie. Horst Balz zum 70. Geburtstag (eds. K. Schiffner, K. Wengst and W. Zager; Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 2007) 304-13. A. de Santos Otero, “Alttestamentliche Pseudepigrapha und die sogenannte ‘Tolkovaja Paleja’ [TP],” in: Oecumenica et Patristica. FS für W. Schneemelcher zum 75. Geburtstag (eds. D. Papandreou, W. A. Bienert and K. Schäferdieck; Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1989) 107-22; V.M. Istrin, “Zamechanie o sostave Tolkovoj Palei,” IORJS 2.1 (1897) 175-209; idem, “Redakcii Tolkovoj Palei,” IORJS 10.4 (1905) 150-51; A.M. Kamchatnov, “Paleja Tolkovaja,” in: Idejnye techenija russkoj mysli (eds. M. N. Gromov and V. V. Mil’kov; St. Petersburg: RHGI, 1999) 571-677; idem, “Paleja Tolkovaja,” in: Filosofskie i bogoslovskie idei v pamjatnikah drevnerusskoj mysli (eds. M. N. Gromov and V. V. Mil’kov; Moscow: Nauka, 2000) 114-169; A.V. Mihajlov, “Obshij obzor sostava, redakcij i literaturnyh istochnikov Tolkovoj Palei,” VUI 7 (1895) 1-21; P.P. Novickij, Tolkovaja paleja 1477 goda. Vosproizvedenie Sinodal’noj Rukopisi No 210 (St. Petersburg: Tipografia Imperatorskoj Akademii Nauk, 1892); Paleja tolkovaja po spisku sdelannomu v gorode Kolomne v 1406 g. Trud uchenikov N.S. Tihonravova (Moscow: Gerbek, 1892); I.Ja. Porfir’ev, Apokrificheskie skazanija o vethozavetnyh licah i sobytijah po rukopisjam soloveckoj biblioteki (SORJS, 17.1; St. Petersburg; Tipografija Imperatorskoj Academii Nauk, 1877) 11-12; O.V. Tvorogov, “Paleja Tolkovaja,” in: Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi (XI - pervaja polovina XIV v.) (ed. D.S. Lihachev; Leningrad: Nauka, 1987) 285-88; V.M. Uspenskij, Tolkovaja Paleja (Kazan’, 1876); E.G. Vodolazkin, “O Tolkovoj Palee, Zlatoj Matice i ‘estestvenno nauchnyh’ compiljacijah,” TODRL 51 (1999) 80-90; idem, Vsemirnaja istorija v literature Drevnej Rusi (na materiale hronograficheskogo i palejnogo povestvovanija XI-XV vekov) (SSS, 26; München: Sagner, 2000).
214 Horace Lunt observes that the seventh chapter of the Ladder is a later Christian addition juxtaposed to the story by a Slavic (possibly, Russian) editor of Paleja. Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.404-5.
In this study I follow Horace Lunt’s division of chapters and
verses. The Slavonic citations are drawn from the following
publications of the MSS:
MS S (Sinodal’naja Paleja. Sin. 210) published in: Novickij, Tolkovaja paleja 1477 goda, 100a-107b.
MS R (Rumjancevskaja Paleja. Rum. 455) published in: A.N. Pypin, Lozhnye i otrechennye knigi russkoj stariny (Pamjatniki starinnoj russkoj literatury, izdavaemye Grafom Grigoriem Kushelevym-Bezborodko, 3; St. Petersburg: Kulish, 1862) 27–32.
MS F (Krehivskaja Paleja) published in: I. Franko, Apokrifi i legendi z ukrains’kih rukopisiv (Monumenta Linguae Necon Litterarum Ukraino-Russicarum [Ruthenicarum]; 5 vols.; L’vov: Shevchenka, 1896-1910) 1.108-120.
MS K (Kolomenskaja Paleja. Tr.-Serg. 38) published in: N.S. Tihonravov, Pamjatniki otrechennoj russkoj literatury (2 vols; St. Petersburg: Obshestvennaja Pol’za, 1863) 1.91-95 and in: Paleja tolkovaja po spisku sdelannomu v g. Kolomne v 1406 g. Trud uchenikov N.S. Tihonravova, 153-166;
MS P (Soloveckaja Paleja. Sol. 653) published in: Porfir’ev, Apokrificheskie skazanija, 138-49.
216 Reflecting on this verse James Kugel notes that “anyone who knows the Hebrew text of Gen 28:12 will immediately recognize the source of this image. For though the Bible says that in his dream Jacob saw a ladder whose top reached to the Heavens, the word for ‘top,’ in Hebrew, rosh, is the same word normally used for ‘head.’ And so our Slavonic text - or, rather, the Hebrew text that underlies it - apparently takes the biblical reference to the ladder’s ‘head’ as a suggestion that the ladder indeed had a head, a man’s head, at its very top. The fact, then, of this biblical text’s wording - ‘a ladder set up on the earth, and its head reached to heaven’ - engendered the heavenly ‘head’ in our pseudepigraphon.” Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 118
217 Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.407.
218 Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.406.
219 Elliot Wolfson points to a possible connection of this imagery to the conceptual developments found in the targumim. He notes that “it is worthwhile to compare the targumic and midrashic explanation of Gen 28:12 to the words of the apocryphal text the Ladder of Jacob … ‘And the top of the ladder was the face as of a man, carved out of fire.’” Wolfson, “The Image of Jacob Engraved upon the Throne,” 114.
220 James Charlesworth notes that in the Ladder of Jacob, as “in some of other pseudepigrapha, the voice has ceased to be something heard and has become a hypostatic creature.” See Charlesworth’s comment in: Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.406.
221 2 Enoch 22:1-4 (the longer recension): “I saw the view of the face of the Lord, like iron made burning hot in a fire and brought out, and it emits sparks and is incandescent. Thus even I saw the face of the Lord. But the face of the Lord is not to be talked about, it is so very marvelous and supremely awesome and supremely frightening. And who am I to give an account of the incomprehensible being of the Lord, and of his face, so extremely strange and indescribable? And how many are his commands, and his multiple voice, and the Lord’s throne, supremely great and not made by hands, and the choir stalls all around him, the cherubim and the seraphim armies, and their never-silent singing. Who can give an account of his beautiful appearance, never changing and indescribable, and his great glory? And I fell down flat and did obeisance to the Lord.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.136.
222 Francis Andersen in his commentary on 2 Enoch 22 notes the similarities between the fiery face in 2 Enoch and the face of fire in Lad. Jac. See Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.137, n. 22d.
223 Both Slavonic pseudepigraphons in their description of the Face share the similar Slavonic terminology, words like face (lice); fiery (ognena, iz ognja); terrifying (strashno). See Franko, Apokrifi i legendi, 1.109; Pypin, Lozhnye i otrechennye knigi russkoj stariny, 27; Porfir’ev, Apokrificheskie skazanija, 138; Tihonravov, Pamjatniki otrechennoj russkoj literatury, 1.91; Tolkovaja paleja 1477 goda, 100b; Macaskill, The Slavonic Texts of 2 Enoch, 100-101.
224 DeConick, Seek to See Him, 104-5.
225 The early traces of this tendency to identify Kavod with the Face within Enochic tradition can be seen already in the Book of the Watchers 14 where the enthroned Glory is labeled as the Face. See 1 Enoch 14:21: “And no angel could enter, and at the appearance of the face of him who is honored and praised no (creature of) flesh could look.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2. 99.
226 It is noteworthy, that already in the classic description of God’s Glory in Ezek 1:27, Kavod is described similarly to the portrayal of the Face in the Ladder of Jacob, namely as the fiery bust: “Upward from what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber, something that looked like fire enclosed all around; and downward from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a splendor all around.”
227 Exod 33:18-20: “Moses said, ‘Show me your glory (Kdbk), I pray.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face (ynp); for no one shall see me and live.’”
228 Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.408.
229 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.137.
230 “before the face of your glory the six-winged seraphim are afraid, and they cover their feet and faces with their wings.”
231 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.305. On the “danger motif” applied to the Face imagery see Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 17; Synopse §§102, 159, 183, 189, 356.
232 MS S - Chavod; MS R - Chavod; MS F - Chsavod. See: Tolkovaja paleja 1477 goda, 101b; Pypin, Lozhnye i otrechennye knigi russkoj stariny, 28; Franko, Apokrifi i legendi, 1.110.
233 See Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.408, n. 2i.
234 Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 99-100; Díez Macho, Targum Palaestinense in Pentateuchum, 195-97.
235 “... and here, The Glory of the Lord (yyd )rqy) was standing over him, and He said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your Father Abraham and the God of Isaac: the land on which you sleep I will give to you and to your offspring ...’ The Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Truly the Glory of the Lord (yyd )rqy) dwells in this place, and I did not know it.’” The Targum Onqelos to Genesis (tr. B. Grossfeld; ArBib, 6; Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1988) 104; Targum Onkelos to Genesis. A Critical Analysis Together with an English Translation of the Text (eds. M. Aberbach and B. Grossfeld; Denver: Ktav, 1982) 171.
236 Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 135-51, esp. 143.
237 Böttrich notes that complexity of the heavenly counterpart’s imagery in the Ladder of Jacob posed some challenges for the transmitters of the text. He rightly notes that “the whole idea is very complex and puzzling here. Perhaps it was already unintelligible for the Slavonic translators or redactors.” C. Böttrich, “Apocalyptic Tradition and Mystical Prayer in the Ladder of Jacob,” JSP 23 (2014) 290-306 at 296-7.
238 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 112-124; C.H. von Heijne, The Messenger of the Lord in Early Jewish Interpretations of Genesis (Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2010) 171ff; 356ff.
239 Lunt, “The Ladder of Jacob,” 2.403.
240 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 119.
241 Rachel Neis observes that “it is conceivable that the ‘face of Jacob’ is used in a more generic sense for Jacob’s image or likeness and could include a representation of his entire figure or bust. The bust, or portrait medallion, was ubiquitous in civic, funerary and religious art in Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods, and while emphasizing the face of the person portrayed could portray the upper torso and arms.” Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” 42.
242 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 119.
243 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 119.
244 See also Rowland, “John 1:51, Jewish Apocalyptic and Targumic Tradition,” 500-507; von Heijne, The Messenger of the Lord, 177-8.
245 Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 143, n. 30. I also previously argued for the existence of the heavenly counterpart traditions in the Ladder of Jacob. For my arguments see Orlov, “The Face as the Heavenly Counterpart of the Visionary in the Slavonic Ladder of Jacob,” 399-419.
246 Böttrich, “Apocalyptic Tradition and Mystical Prayer,” 297.
247 Böttrich, “Apocalyptic Tradition and Mystical Prayer,” 297.
248 Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.409.
249 In relation to these connections Kugel observes that “The same motif [of four empires] apparently underlies the Ladder of Jacob. Here too, it is Jacob’s vision of the ladder that serves as the vehicle for a revelation of the ‘kings of the lawless nations’ who will rule over Israel, and if this text does not specifically mention how many such nations there will be, it does go on to speak (as we have seen) of four ‘ascents’ or ‘descents’ that will bring Jacob’s progeny to grief. Indeed, the continuation of our text alludes specifically to the last of the four empires, Rome: ‘The Most High will raise up kings from the grandsons of your brother Esau, and they will receive the nobles of the tribes of the earth who will have maltreated your seed.’ As is well known, Esau frequently represents Rome in Second Temple writings.” J. Kugel, “The Ladder of Jacob,” HTR 88 (1995) 214.
250 Kugel, “The Ladder of Jacob,” 214.
251 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 4.370. See also Exodus Rabbah 32:7: “God showed Jacob the guardian angels of every empire, for it says, And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth (Gen 28:12). He showed him how many peoples, governors, and rulers would arise from each kingdom, and just as He displayed their rise, so he showed their fall, as it says, And behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it....” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 3.411.
252 Braude, The Midrash on Psalms, 2.26-27.Pesiqta de-Rab Kahana 23 contains almost identical tradition: “R. Nahman applied it to the episode in Jacob’s life when He dreamed, and beheld a ladder ... and angels of God (Gen 28:12). These angels, according to R. Samuel bar R. Nahman, were the princes of the nations of the earth. Further, according to R. Samuel bar Nahman, this verse proves that the Holy One showed to our father Jacob the prince of Babylon climbing up seventy rungs the ladder, then climbing down; the prince of Media climbing up fifty-two rungs and no more; the prince of Greece, one hundred and eighty rungs and no more; and the prince of Edom climbing and climbing, no one knows how many rungs. At the sight of Edom’s climbing our father Jacob grew afraid said: Is one to suppose that this prince will have no come-down? The Holy One replied: Be not dismayed, O Israel (Jer 30:I0): Even if-as though such a thing were possible!-thou were to see him seated next to Me, I would have him brought down thence.” W.G. Braude and I.J. Kapstein, Pesikta de-Rab Kahana. R. Kahana’s Compilation of Discourses for Sabbaths and Festal Days (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1975)353. See also Zohar I.149b: “And behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it; this alludes to the Chieftains who have charge of all the nations, and who ascend and descend on that ladder. When Israel is sinful, the ladder is lowered and the Chieftains ascend by it; but when Israel are righteous, the ladder is removed and all the Chieftains are left below and are deprived of their dominion. Jacob thus saw in this dream the domination of Esau and the domination of the other nations. According to another explanation, the angels ascended and descended on the top of the ladder; for when the top was detached, the ladder was lowered and the Chieftains ascended, but when it was attached again, the ladder was lifted and they remained below.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.79-80.
253 On this see J. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible as It Was at the Start of the Common Era (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998) 363.
254 Kugel, “The Ladder of Jacob,” 215.
255 Jonathan Smith observes that in five instances in 1 Enoch (40:9; 54:6; 71:8, 9, 13), confined to the Similitudes, Phanuel replaces Uriel in a catalog of the four archangels. He also points out that while Sariel is a relatively unknown angelic figure, his name seems to be quite frequently conflated with Uriel, as in 1 Enoch 9:1. Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.708-9. For the discussion about Uriel-Sariel-Phanuel, see: J. Greenfield, “Prolegomenon,” in: H. Odeberg, 3 Enoch or the Hebrew Book of Enoch (New York: Ktav, 1973) xxxiv-xxxv; Lunt, “Ladder of Jacob,” 2.405, n. 10; Milik, The Books of Enoch, 170-74; Olyan, A Thousand Thousands Served Him, 105-109; Smith, “The Prayer of Joseph,” in Religions in Antiquity, 270 and 227; G. Vermes, “The Archangel Sariel : A Targumic Parallel to the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in: Christianity, Judaism and Other Greco-Roman Cults (ed. J. Neusner; SJLA, 12.3; Leiden: Brill, 1975) 159-166; idem, “The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls on Jewish Studies,” 13.
256 Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.713.
257 McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1: Genesis, 158.
258 Vermes, “The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls on Jewish Studies,” 13; Smith, “Prayer of Joseph,” 2.709.
259 Klein, The Fragment-Targums of the Pentateuch According to Their Extant Sources, 1.59 and 2.22.
260 MSS S, R, F. See Tolkovaja paleja 1477 goda, 101b; Pypin, Lozhnye i otrechennye knigi russkoj stariny, 28; Franko, Apokrifi i legend, 1.110.
261 Slav. “uslazhdaemych” can be literally translated as “sweetened.” See Staroslovjanskij slovar’ po rukopisjam X-XI vekov (ed. R.M. Cejtlin; Moscow: Russkij jazyk, 1994) 477; I.I. Sresnevskij, Slovar’ drevnerusskogo jazyka (3 vols.; Moscow: Kniga, 1989) 3.1266.
262 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.139.
263 A visionary, therefore, becomes a reflection or even a representation of the Face/Kavod, a sort of vice-regent. Christopher Morray-Jones observes that “there is evidence, then, of the early existence of a tradition concerning the ascent to heaven of an exceptionally righteous man who beholds the vision of the divine Kabod upon Merkavah, is transformed into an angelic being and enthroned as celestial vice-regent, thereby becoming identified with the Name-bearing angel who either is or is closely associated with the Kabod itself and functions as a second, intermediary power in heaven.” C.R.A. Morray-Jones, “Transformation Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition,” JJS 43 (1992) 10-11.
264 Gen 32:30: “For I have seen God face to face (Mynp -l) Mynp).”
265 The tradition about Jacob as the Prince of the Presence seems to be also reflected in Targ. Onq. to Gen 32:29: “Whereupon, he said, ‘No longer shall your name be called Jacob, but rather Israel; for you are a prince before the Lord and among men; therefore have you prevailed.’”Grossfeld, The Targum Onqelos to Genesis, 116.
266 Geza Vermes notices that Targum Neofiti explains the etymology of Israel from rr# - to rule, to act as a prince. Vermes, “The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls on Jewish Studies,” 13.
267 C. Gieschen, Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence (AGAJU, 42; Leiden; Boston: Brill, 1998) 141-2.
268 The fact that Sariel/Uriel/Phanuel is known under several names might indicate that this angel also serves as a heavenly counterpart in the manner similar to other servants of the Face such as Jacob/Israel, Enoch/Metatron, and possibly Melchizedek/Michael. On the identification of Michael with Melchizedek see: J.R. Davila, “Melchizedek, Michael, and War in Heaven,” SBLSP 35 (1996) 259-72; D.D. Hannah, Michael and Christ: Michael Traditions and Angel Christology in Early Christianity (WUNT, 2.109; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1999) 70-74.
269 Saul Olyan refers to Rashi’s passage which identifies “the ‘angel of his presence’ of Isa. 63:9 with Michael, the Prince of Presence.” Olyan, A Thousand Thousands Served Him, 108.
270 The beginning of the second half of Joseph and Aseneth gives a description of Aseneth and Joseph visiting Jacob. Joseph and Aseneth 22:7-8 says that when Aseneth saw Jacob, she “was amazed at his beauty... his eyes (were) flashing and darting (flashes of) lightning, and his sinews and his shoulders and his arms were like (those) of an angel, and his thighs and his calves and his feet like (those) of a giant. And Jacob was like a man who had wrestled with God. And Aseneth saw him and was amazed, and prostrated herself before him face down to the ground.” Burchard, “Joseph and Aseneth,” 2.238.Reflecting on this scene George Brooke suggests that “for those slow to see it, the author identifies Jacob’s torso as angelic.”Brooke “Men and Women as Angels in Joseph and Aseneth,” 171.
271 See Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 2.626.
272 James Kugel argues that the similar development in which Jacob embodies the ladder might be present already in the Ladder of Jacob. He suggests that in the Ladder the top or the “head” of the ladder become Jacob’s iqonin. He notes that “For Jacob’s ‘head’ somehow reaches, via the ladder, to the Heavens either, as in the pseudepigraphon, an image of his head stands at the top of the ladder, or perhaps such an image ascends via the ladder into Heaven and the angels can thus go up and down between Jacob’s heavenly head and his earthly one, presumably to admire both. In any case, one can easily see how this transformation of the ladder’s ‘head’ to a human head (already witnessed in the pseudepigraphon) could lead directly to the notion that some sort of bust, an iqonin, of Jacob existed on high.” Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 118-19.
273 C.F. Burney, The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel (Oxford: Clarendon, 1922) 115ff; Odeberg, The Fourth Gospel, 33-42.
274 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 123.
275 J.Z. Smith, Map Is Not Territory: Studies in the History of Religions (Leiden: Brill, 1978) 59. Smith suggests that the allusions to such idea can be possibly found in Philo’s Somn. I, 146ff and Corpus Hermeticum IV, 4 and X, 25. Smith, Map is not Territory, 59.
276 Some scholars argue about the secondary nature of the Son of Man tradition found in this chapter of the Gospel of John. Thus, Raymond Brown writes the following: “at the very end of this part on the call of the disciples in the Jordan valley, there comes a verse that has caused as much trouble for commentators as any single verse in the Fourth Gospel. Our first question must be whether 1:51 has always been associated with the context in which it is now found. There are certain indications to the contrary.” R.E. Brown, The Gospel According to John (2 vols.; AB, 29-29A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966) 1.88. Christopher Rowland also recognizes the secondary nature of John 1:51, by noting that “John 1.51 comes at the end of the first chapter of the gospel and is the climax of many Christological themes running throughout these verses, though it is probably an isolated logion of some antiquity which has been added by the evangelist at this point.” Rowland, “John 1.51, Jewish Apocalyptic and Targumic Tradition,” 500. On John 1:51 as an addition see also R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971) 105-106; J.H. Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” CBQ 44 (1982) 586-605.
277 Commenting on John 1:51, Jarl Fossum argues that “Jesus, like Jacob-Israel, is both in heaven and on earth at the same time.” Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God, 149. See also Allison, Constructing Jesus, 300; Koch, “Questions Regarding the So-Called Son of Man in the Parables of Enoch,” 237 n. 24.
278 On possible reasons why Jesus might use of the Son of Man title in third person see E.M. Boring, Sayings of the Risen Jesus: Christian Prophecy in the Synoptic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982) 239-50; W. Bousset, Kyrios Christos. A History of the Belief in Christ from the Beginnings of Christianity to Irenaeus (New York: Abingdon, 1970) 36; J. P. Brown, “The Son of Man: ‘This Fellow,’” Biblica 58 (1977) 361-87 at 370-75; D. Burkett, The Son of Man Debate: A History and Evaluation (SNTSMS, 107; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) 32-42; A. Díez Macho, “L’usage de la troisième personne au lieu de la première dans le Targum,’’ in: Mélanges Dominique Barthélemy (eds. P. Casetti et al.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1981) 61-89; idem, “La Cristologia del Hijo del Hombre y el uso de la tercera persona en vez de la primera,’’ ScrTh 14 (1982) 189-201; E. Käsemann, New Testament Questions of Today (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969) 82-137; T.W. Manson, The Teaching of Jesus: Studies of its Form and Content (2nd ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935) 228; S. Mowinckel, He That Cometh (New York: Abingdon, 1951) 447-450; R. Otto, The Kingdom of God and the Son of Man (2nd ed.; London: Lutterworth, 1943) 213-219; R. Schnackenburg, “Das kommende Reich Gottes und der Menschensohn,’’ in: R. Schnackenburg, Gottes Herrschaft und Reich (Freiburg.: Herder, 1959) 110-22 at 116; P. Vielhauer, “Gottesreich und Menschensohn in der Verkündigung Jesu,’’ in: Festschrift für Günther Dehn (ed. W. Schneemelcher; Neukirchen: Erziehungsverein, 1957) 51-79; idem, “Jesus und der Menschensohn: Zur Discussion mit Heinz Eduard Tödt und Eduard Schweizer,” ZTK 60 (1963) 133-77; J. Weiss, Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971); W. Wrede, “Zum Thema ‘Menschensohn,’” ZNW 5 (1904) 359-60.
279 In this respect it is symptomatic that Delbert Burkett, while analyzing various hypotheses about why Jesus speaks about the Son of Man in the third person, does not consider an option that he might refer to his heavenly counterpart. Burkett offers the following list of options: “If Jesus used the expression ‘Son of Man,’ to whom did he refer? The question arises from the fact that in all the Son of Man sayings, Jesus speaks of the Son of Man in the third person, as if referring to someone else, though in most cases the context makes clear that he is speaking of himself. This oddity has given rise to five main interpretations that seek to account for it. (1) Jesus habitually referred to himself in the third person with a title. (2) Jesus referred to himself not with a title, but with an Aramaic idiom by which one could refer to oneself in the third person. Later the church misinterpreted the idiom as a messianic title. (3) Jesus referred not solely to himself, but to a collective or corporate entity which included himself. Later the church misinterpreted the collective reference as a reference to Jesus alone. (4) Jesus referred not to himself, but to another messianic figure distinct from himself. Later the church applied the messianic title to Jesus. (5) Jesus did not speak about himself in the third person, but the early church did.” Burkett, The Son of Man Debate: A History and Evaluation, 32.
280 The polemical appropriation of Jacob’s Doppelgänger traditions might be also present in the heterodox Christian traditions about James the Just. In this respect it is intriguing that in the so-called First Apocalypse of James where James is envisioned as Jesus’ double, his upper identity in the form of Christ appears as the divine image. Thus, NHC V, 3, 25, 1-4 reads: “… since I am an image of Him-who-is. But I have brought forth the image of [him] so that the sons of Him-who-is might know that things are theirs.” Parrott, Nag Hammadi Codices V, 2-5 and VI with Papyrus Berolinensis 8502, 1 and 4, 69-71. Further, in the course of the adept’s initiation, his Doppelgänger anounces that James’ name will be changed and he will no longer be James, but he will be the One-who-is. (HNC V, 3, 27,8-10). Parrott, Nag Hammadi Codices V, 2-5 and VI with Papyrus Berolinensis 8502, 1 and 4, 75. Here, like in Jacob’s traditions the adept’s name is changed during the upper identity’s acquisition. On James the Just as Jesus’ double see R. Uro, “‘Who Will Be Our Leader?’ Authority and Autonomy in the Gospel of Thomas,” in: Fair Play: Diversity and Conflict in Early Christianity. Essays in Honour of Heikki Räisänen (eds. I. Dunderberg et al; VTSup, 103; Leiden; Brill, 2002) 457-85 at 473-76.
281 Neyrey notes that “the question asked in John 4:12, ‘Are you greater than our father Jacob?’ ... belongs to a theme in the Gospel which asserts Jesus’ superiority to the founding fathers of traditional Israelite faith (see 1:17-18; 5:38; 6:32). The thrust of the questions suggest not only that Jesus replaces Jacob, Abraham, and Moses vis-à-vis God’s revelation, but that an absolute claim is made on his behalf: he is greater than all of these in that he supplants them with new revelation.” Neyrey, The Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective, 107.
282 On polemical tensions between the Book of Daniel and the Enochic literature see Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism, 169ff.
283 Raymond Brown argues that this connection between John 1:51 and Gen 28:12 has been entertained by exegetes at least since Augustine. Brown, The Gospel According to John, 1.89.
284 On presence of Jacob’s traditions in the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel see C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John (2nd ed.; London: SPCK, 1978) 186; Brown, The Gospel According to John, 1.89-90; E.G. Clarke, “Jacob’s Dream at Bethel as Interpreted in the Targums and the New Testament,” SR 4.4 (1974-75) 367-77 at 371-72; S. Friedman, “Graven Images,” Graven Images 1 (1994): 233-238; Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 115; L. Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995) 149; J. Neeb, “Jacob/Jesus typology in John 1:51,” Proceedings of Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies 12 (1992) 83-89; idem, “Origen’s Interpretation of Genesis 28:12 and the Rabbis,” in Origeniana Sexta (eds. G. Dorival and A. Le Boulluec; Louvain: Leuven University Press, 1995), 71-80; Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 586–605; Odeberg, The Fourth Gospel, 33-42; W. Rordorf, “Gen 28,10ff und Joh 1,51 in der patristischen Exegese,” in: Johannes-Studien (Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1991) 39-46; Rowland, “John 1.51, Jewish Apocalyptic and Targumic Tradition,” 495-507; J. M. Spiegelman, “Struggling with the Image of God,” JPsJ 10 (1986) 100-111; P. Trudinger, “An Israelite in Whom There is no Guile: An Interpretative Note on John 1:45:51,” EvQ 54 (1982) 117-120; von Heijne, The Messenger of the Lord, 351ff.
285 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 589.
286 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 589.
287 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 591
288 Thus, for example, in Genesis Rabbah 68:13-14 Jacob’s ladder receives anthropomorphic reinterpretation being identified with Nebuchadnezzar’s statue from Daniel 2: “‘And he dreamed’- this hints at Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. ‘And behold a ladder (sulam)’ suggests Nebuchadnezzar’s image, for semel (image) is identical with sulam (ladder). Another interpretation: ‘And he dreamed’ foreshadowed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. ‘And behold a ladder’ - And behold a great image, etc. (Dan 2:31). ‘Set upon the earth’ And whose brightness was surpassing, stood before thee. ‘And the top of it reached to heaven’ - This image which was mighty. ‘And behold the angels of God ascending’ - this intimates two; ‘And ascending’ another two: that alludes to the princes of the four empires whose power is complete through them. ‘Ascending and descending’: it is not written, descending and ascending, but ‘ascending and descending’: they [the empires] do ascend [to power] and it is indeed an ascent for them, but each is nevertheless lower than the preceding. It is written, As for that image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, etc. Babylon was the highest of all, as it is written, Thou art the head of gold; and it is written, And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee. Again, And another third kingdom of brass; while of the last is written, And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part thereof broken. ‘And, behold, the Lord stood beside him’: Thus it is written, And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 2.628-9. In Zohar I.149b Jacob appears to be envisioned as the anthropomorphic pillar: “And behold a ladder set up on the earth. This ladder signifies the grade on which the other grades rest, to wit, the ‘Foundation of the world.’ And the top of it reached to heaven, so as to be attached to it. For this grade is the conclusion of the Body standing between the upper and the lower world in the same way as the sign of the covenant is situated at the end of the trunk of the body, between the thighs.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.79. It should be noted that the symbolism of the pillar and the ladder is closely intertwined in the Jewish mystical lore. Thus, Moshe Idel notes that “in some of parts of the Zohar the pillar recurrently serves as a conduit for the ascent of the souls of the deceased righteous from a lower paradise to a higher one.” M. Idel, Ascension on High in Jewish Mysticism (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005) 101.
289 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 601.
290 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 115. In relation to this conceptual link Christopher Rowland also notes that in Gen. Rab. 68:12 “Jacob takes the place of the ladder as the means whereby the angels ascend and descend between heaven and earth. The reason for this is that the Hebrew wb in Gen 28:12 could be taken to indicate that Jacob, and not the ladder, was the means of the angels’ ascent and descent.” Rowland, “John 1.51, Jewish Apocalyptic and Targumic Tradition,” 501.
291 Kugel, In Potiphar’s House, 115.
292 Such a concept is also present in a Christian interpolation found in the Ladder of Jacob 7:1-2:”“And as for the angels you saw descending and ascending the ladder, in the last years there will be a man from the Most High, and he will desire to join the upper (things) with the lower.” Lunt, “the Ladder of Jacob,” 2.410.
293 Hugo Odeberg notes that “...the disciples of Jesus will see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man i.e., they will see the connection being brought about between the celestial appearance, the Glory of Christ, and his appearance in the flesh....” Odeberg, The Fourth Gospel, 36. He also points to close parallels between the Son of Man in John 1:51 and another crucial figure, prominent in the heavenly counterpart traditions, namely, Metatron. He notes that “… the only parallel in Jewish writings to this feature of John 1:51 is the mystical conception of Metatron as himself being the Jacob’s ladder of communication between heaven and earth, in the sense of the salvation-mysticism….” Odeberg, The Fourth Gospel, 39.
294 Another distinguished scholar of the Johannine traditions, Charles Kingsley Barrett, argued that “for the ladder John substitutes the Son of Man.” Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John, 187.
295 Brown, The Gospel According to John, 1.90. On Son of Man as the ladder in John 1:51 see also Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel, 342-348; B. Lindars, The Gospel of John (London: NCBC, 1972) 121-122.
296 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 589. On this see also Bultmann, The Gospel of John, 105 n. 3; W. Michaelis, “Joh. 1,51, Gen. 28,12 und das Menschensohn-Problem,” TLZ 85 (1960) 564-566; R. Schnackenburg, The Gospel According to St. John (tr. K. Smyth et al., 3 vols; London: Burns and Oates, 1968-82) 1.320-21.
297 Thus, for example, Raymond Brown ascertained that the search for details, symbols or metaphors for the fig tree are “pure speculations.” Brown, Gospel According to John, 1.83.
298 On the motif of Nathaniel under the fig tree see J. Jeremias, “Die Berufung des Nathanael,” Angelos 3 (1928) 2-5; C.F.D. Moule, “A Note on ‘Under the Fig-Tree’ in John 1:48, 50,” JTS 5.2 (1954) 210-211; J.R. Michaels, “Nathanael Under the Fig Tree,” ExpTim 78 (1966-67) 182-3; R. Kysar, John: The Maverick Gospel (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1976) 41; D. Burkett, The Son of Man in the Gospel of John (JSNTSS, 56; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1991) 113-114; C.R. Koester, “Messianic Exegesis and the Call of Nathanael,” JSNT 39 (1990) 23-34; A. R. Kerr, The Temple of Jesus’ Body: The Temple Theme in the Gospel of John (JSNTSS, 220; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) 139-142; H.J. Ellens, “A Christian Pesher: John 1:51,” Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies 25 (2005) 143-155.
299 Jeremias, “Die Berufung des Nathanael,” 2-5.
300 Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, 5.97.
301 Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 58E. Armenian and Slavonic versions of the Primary Adam Books attest to a similar tradition. An Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books 20:4-5 reads: “In my parts of the Garden I sought leaves of a tree to cover [my nakedness], and I could not find any on all the trees. For, at that hour all the trees of the Garden became leafless, except for the fig-tree alone. I took (its leaves) and covered my nakedness, and I stood by the tree of which I had eaten....” Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 58E. A Slavonic version of the Primary Adam Books 21-22 reads: “I however, gathered fig leaves to cover my shame. Because of how Paradise was apportioned, the one half to Adam, and the other to me, all the trees in my half had let fall all their leaves. The fig tree, however, did not do this. And I took from its leaves and wrapped myself....” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve. Second Revised Edition, 58E. Cf. also Georgian version of the Primary Adam Books 20:5: “I took some and made a covering for myself and stood by the tree of which I had eaten, my children.” Anderson and Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 58E.
302 “… except that Adam never said to his fig-tree, why hast thou made me thus? He confessed that he was led astray; and he did not conceal the seducer.”The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325 (eds. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson; 10 vols.; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899) 3.298.
303 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 1.152.
304 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 1.136.
305 Zohar I.53b reads: “And they sewed fig leaves together. This means, as explained elsewhere, that they learnt all kinds of enchantments and magic, and clung to worldly knowledge, as has been said. At that moment the stature of man was diminished by a hundred cubits. Thus a separation took place (of man from God), man was brought to judgment, and the earth was cursed, all as we have explained.”Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 1.169.
306 Another salient “arboreal” connection that was invoked in later Christian interpretation is an understanding of Jacob’s ladder as Christ’s cross which also often became envisioned as the Tree of Life. Thus, Didymus the Blind in De trinitate 1.15.103 offers the following interpretation of Jacob’s ladder: “The ladder foreshadows the cross by which the believers are going up to the heavenly tabernacles; on this ladder God himself was leaning, the one who for us was voluntarily nailed on the cross.” Didymus der Blinde. De trinitate (ed. J. Honscheid; Buch 1; BKP, 44; Meisenheim am Glan: Hain, 1975) 14:238. Aphrahat in his On Prayer 5 unveils a very similar tradition: “Our father Jacob too prayed at Bethel and saw the gate of heaven opened, with a ladder going up on high. This is a symbol of our Savior that Jacob saw; the gate of heaven is Christ, in accordance with what he said, ‘I am the gate of life; everyone who enters by me shall live forever’ [John 10:7]. David too said, ‘This is the gate of the Lord, by which the righteous enter’ [Ps 117:20 LXX]. Again, the ladder that Jacob saw is a symbol of our Savior, in that by means of him the just ascend from the lower to the upper realm. The ladder is also a symbol of our Savior’s cross, which was raised up like a ladder, with the Lord standing above it.” M. Sheridan, Genesis 12–50 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Old Testament, 2; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002) 188. On these traditions see Sheridan, Genesis 12–50, 186ff; E.J. Pentuic, The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) 235-236.
307 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 588.
308 Neyrey, “The Jacob Allusions in John 1:51,” 588.
309 von Heijne, The Messenger of the Lord, 351. On this connection see alsoGieschen, Angelomorphic Christology, 281; J.C. O’Neill, “Son of Man, Stone of Blood (John 1:51),” NovT 45 (2003) 374-381; Hayward, Interpretations of the Name Israel, 312-320.
310 Friedländer, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 260.
311 Both passages about the reviving dew might have their earlier background in Psalm 133:2-3 where the precious oil running down the head (dry #)rh l( bw+h Nm#k) of Aaron is compared with the dew of eternal life sent by the deity.
312 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.21.
313 It is significant for our study that in Philo the Logos is portrayed as the cosmic tree.
314 On this imagery see M. Glovino, The Assyrian Sacred Tree (Fribourg: Academic Press/Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007);L.F. Hartman, “The Great Tree and Nabuchodonosor’s Madness,” in The Bible in Current Catholic Thought (ed. J .L. McKenzie; New York: Herder & Herder, 1962) 75-82; M. Henze, The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: The Ancient Near Eastern Origins and Early History of Interpretation of Daniel 4 (JSJSS, 61; Leiden: Brill, 1999); S. Parpola, “The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy,” JNES 52 (1993) 161–208; S.J. Reno, The Sacred Tree as an Early Christian Literary Symbol: A Phenomenological Study (Saarbrücken: Homo et Religio, 1978); G. Widengren, The King and the Tree of Life in Ancient Near Eastern Religion (UUA, 4; Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz/Uppsala: A.-B. Lundequistska Bohkhandeln, 1951).
315 Ezek 31:3-9 reads: “Consider Assyria, a cedar of Lebanon, with fair branches and forest shade, and of great height, its top among the clouds. The waters nourished it, the deep made it grow tall, making its rivers flow around the place it was planted, sending forth its streams to all the trees of the field. So it towered high above all the trees of the field; its boughs grew large and its branches long, from abundant water in its shoots. All the birds of the air made their nests in its boughs; under its branches all the animals of the field gave birth to their young; and in its shade all great nations lived. It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its roots went down to abundant water. The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor the fir trees equal its boughs; the plane trees were as nothing compared with its branches; no tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty. I made it beautiful with its mass of branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden that were in the garden of God.”
316 Dan 4:10-12 reads: “Upon my bed this is what I saw; there was a tree at the center of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew great and strong, its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the ends of the whole earth. Its foliage was beautiful, its fruit abundant, and it provided food for all. The animals of the field found shade under it, the birds of the air nested in its branches, and from it all living beings were fed.”
317 Henze, The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar, 78.
318 The traditions about the mythological tree are documented in several sources, including the Book of Erra, a Mesopotamian work dated between the eleventh and the eighth century B.C.E. The Book of Erra 1:150–156 reads: “Where is the mēsu tree, the flesh of the gods, the ornament of the king of the uni[verse]? That pure tree, that august youngster suited to supremacy, whose roots reached as deep down as the bottom of the underwor[ld]: a hundred double hours through the vast sea waters; whose top reached as high as the sky of [Anum]?” L. Cagni, The Poem of Erra (SANE, 1/3; Malibu: Undena, 1977) 32.
319 Furthermore, in view of Christ’s identification with the Logos in the beginning of the first chapter, it is noteworthy that some of Philo’s texts attempt to apply arboreal imagery to the Logos. Thus, Philo in De plantatione, 8-9 unveils the following tradition: “... and that the everlasting Word of the eternal God is the very sure and staunch prop of the Whole. He it is, who extending Himself from the midst to its utmost bounds and from its extremities to the midst again, keeps up through all its length Nature’s unvanquished course, combining and compacting all its parts. For the Father Who begat Him constituted His Word such a Bond of the Universe as nothing can break.” Colson and Whitaker, Philo, 3.217. Some scholars previously argued that this passage appears to reflect the tradition about the Logos as the cosmic tree. On this see M.C. Horowitz, Seeds of Virtue and Knowledge (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998) 60-62. Another instance of application of such arboreal symbolism to Logos can be found in Philo’s De plantatione 36-38 where the divine word is associated with the Tree of Life: “… So we must turn to allegory, the method dear to men with their eyes opened. Indeed the sacred oracles most evidently afford us the clues for the use of this method. For they say that in the garden there are trees in no way resembling those with which we are familiar, but trees of Life, of Immortality, of Knowledge, of Apprehension, of Understanding, of the conception of good and evil. And these can be no growths of earthly soil, but must be those of the reasonable soul, namely its path according to virtue with life and immortality as its end, and its path according to evil ending in the shunning of these and in death. We must conceive therefore that the bountiful God plants in the soul as it were a garden of virtues and of the modes of conduct corresponding to each of them, a garden that brings the soul to perfect happiness. Because of this He assigned to the garden a site most suitable, bearing the name of “ Eden,” which means “ luxuriance,” symbol of a soul whose eyesight is perfect, disporting itself in virtues, leaping and skipping by reason of abundance of great joy, having set before it, as an enjoyment outweighing thousands….” Colson and Whitaker, Philo, 3.231.
320 Ezek 31:6: “All the birds of the air made their nests in its boughs....”
321 Dan 4:12: “the birds of the air nested in its branches....”
322 Scholars note that the motif of the birds of the air in the Parable of Mustard Seed (Matt 13:31-32 = Mark 4:30-32 = Luke 13:18-19) “seems to be a deliberate allusion to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the tree.” C. Evans, “Daniel in the New Testament,” in: The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception (eds. J.J. Collins and P.W. Flint; 2 vols.; VTSup, 83; Leiden: Brill, 2001) 2.522.
323 See Mk 4:30-32: “He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’” Luke 13:18-19: “He said therefore, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’” Matt 13:31-32: “He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’”
324 In later Jewish materials Jacob’s ladder is often understood as the path of the souls. Thus, the Commentary on Sefer Ha-Temunah, fol. 9b reads “And the supernal angels ascend to that Image, and this Image symbolizes the order of emanation which contains the supernal Sanctuary. Our Father Jacob, who saw the ladder in his dream, knew that even as there is a Sanctuary in the [world of] emanation above, so there is a Sanctuary below, for it is written: ‘and this is the gate of heaven.’ And from the Upper Sanctuary to the one below there is a kind of ladder, that is to say, a well-known path, which leads from Sanctuary to Sanctuary, and on this path the angels ascend and descend, and so likewise do the souls.” Idel, Ascensions on High, 178. Moshe Idel notes that in this passage “not only the path and the ladder but also the souls are mentioned explicitly.” Idel, Ascensions on High, 178. For Jewish and Muslim traditions in which Jacob’s ladder is envisioned as the Tree of Life see A. Altmann, “The Ladder of Ascension,” Studies in Mysticism and Religion Presented to Gershom G. Scholem on his Seventieth Birthday (ed. E. Urbach; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1967) 1–32 at 20.
325 G. Scholem, Origins of Kabbalah (ed. R.J. Zwi Werblowsky; Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1973) 71.
326 Scholem, Origins of Kabbalah, 153.
327 Scholem, Origins of Kabbalah, 72. Scholem notes that “the totality of the powers of God thus constitutes a cosmic tree that is not only the tree of souls from which the souls of the righteous fly out and to which, apparently, they return, but a tree that also depends upon the deeds of Israel....This symbolism of the tree stresses an element that was to become essential in the Kabbalistic doctrine of the mystical vocation of the Jew. The tree is not only kept alive and watered by the source; its flowering, growth, and prosperity, its vigor or, alternatively, its languor depend upon the deeds of Israel.” Scholem, Origins of Kabbalah, 75-79.
328 Burchard, “Joseph and Aseneth,” 2.226-227.
329 The longer recension of 2 Enoch 65:1-11 details the following description of the last aeon: “Listen my children! Before ever anything existed, and before ever any created thing was created, the Lord created the whole of his creation, visible and invisible…. And when the whole creation, visible and invisible, which the Lord has created, shall come to an end, then each person will go to the Lord’s great judgment. And then all time will perish, and afterwards there will be neither years nor months nor days nor hours. They will be dissipated, and after that they will not be reckoned. But they will constitute a single age. And all the righteous, who escape from the Lord’s great judgment, will be collected together into the great age. And the great age will come about for the righteous, and it will be eternal. And after that there will be among them neither weariness nor sickness nor affliction nor worry nor want nor debilitation nor night nor darkness. But they will have a great light, a great indestructible light, and paradise, great and incorruptible. For everything corruptible will pass away, and the incorruptible will come into being, and will be the shelter of the eternal residences.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.190-192.
330 It is possible that these entities are understood as divine being. A suggestion of the divine nature of Adoil comes from the shorter recension of 2 Enoch 24, which places God in the midst of the invisible preexistent things; it reads: “Before any visible things had come into existence, and the light had not yet opened up, I, in the midst of the light, moved around in the invisible things, like one of them, as the sun moves around from east to west and from west to east.” This depiction of the deity “moving around” like the sun in the “invisible things” is reminiscent of a solar system in which God is envisioned as a chief luminary and the “invisible things,” possibly, as planets. Such a depiction might envision the “invisible things” as “lesser deities” or part of the divine Pleroma.
331 The longer recension of 2 Enoch 25 portrays the following disintegration of Adoil: “And I commanded the lowest things: ‘Let one of the invisible things descend visibly!’ And Adoil descended, extremely large. And I looked at him, and, behold, in his belly he had a great light. And I said to him, ‘Disintegrate yourself, Adoil, and let what is born from you become visible.’ And he disintegrated himself, and there came out a very great light. And I was in the midst of the [great] light. And light out of light is carried thus. And the great age came out, and it revealed all the creation which I had thought up to create. And I saw how good it was. And I placed for myself a throne, and I sat down on it. And then to the light I spoke: ‘You go up higher (than the throne), and be solidified [much higher than the throne], and become the foundation of the higher things.’ And there is nothing higher than the light, except nothing itself.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.144.
332 This concept is very similar to the notion of the Manichaean “Last Statue,” the imagery that will be explored later in our study. In relation to this concept Samuel Lieu notes that “the ‘Last Statue’ which will gather up all the unredeemed Light Elements after the final destruction of the World, i.e. the ultimate ‘apokatastasis’ and return them to the Kingdom of Light.” S.N.C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1992) 17.
333 van den Broek, “The Cathars: Medieval Gnostics?” 101-102.
334 Gardner and Lieu underline a personified nature of this mediatorial entity by defining the Last Statue as the “eschatological divinity, that at the time of the great fire and dissolution of the universe will ascend; the final gathering in of the living soul by the counsel of life, so that the entire history of conflict and mixture is from the going down of the First Man to the rising up of the Last Statue.” Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 294. On the Last Statue see also G. Widengren, Mani and Manichaeism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965) 68; M. Heuser, “Manichaean Myth According to the Coptic Sources,” in: Studies in Manichaean Literature and Art (eds. M. Heuser and H.-J. Klimkeit; NHMS, 46; Leiden: Brill, 1998) 3-108 at 86-87.
335 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 32. Cf. also Keph. 54: “Then the summons and the obedience, the great counsel that came to the elements, which are set in conjunction. It mixed with them, it was established in silence. It bears up until the end time when it can arise and stand firm in the great fire. It will gather to it its own soul, and sculpt it in the Last Statue. You will also find it sweeps out and casts from it the pollution that is foreign to it. However, the life and the light that are in all things it gathers in to it, and builds upon its body. Then when this Last Statue will be perfect in all its limbs, then it can become free and ascend from that great struggle through the Living Spirit its father, the one who comes and brings a limb. He brings it up from within this gathering, the melting down and destruction of all things.” Keph. 75: “… the Last Statue will be sculpted from the remnant of all things.” Keph. 81: “… At the end also it can gather itself together and sculpt its own self in the Last Statue. And it separates light from darkness.” Keph. 86: “Also another great and glorious work he will enact at the end is the Last Statue, which he will bring up to the aeons of light.” Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 58, 76, 83 and 89.
336 In relation to this process Heuser observes that “the elements of Light which have gathered themselves to a totality, the Last Statue, on the basis of the Thought of Light which is effective within them, are brought back into the kingdom of Light by the Living Spirit, the creator of the world (PsB 11,13f.; Keph. 54,21f.).” Heuser, “Manichaean Myth According to the Coptic Sources,” 87.
337 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 174. Cf. also Keph. 104: “The first death is from the time when the light fell to the darkness, and was mixed in with the rulers of darkness; until the time when the light will become pure, and be separated from the darkness in that great fire. The remainder left behind there can build and add to the Last Statue.” Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 107-108.
338 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 157-158.
339 One can see that the “gathering” mediators, coming at the end of time, in many ways mirror the protological figures. In this respect it is significant that in later Jewish lore the concept of the “gathering” mediator was often associated with the Protoplast’s figure. In these traditions the original form of the Protoplast, the “image,” was understood as a “vessel” which was incorporating all human souls. Alon Goshen Gottshein points to an existence of such a concept in rabbinic literature where the original creation of humanity “in the image” implied that all human souls became part of this “image.” Goshen Gottstein draws attention to the following passage from Gen. Rab. 24:2: “R. Tanhuma in R. Banayah’s name, and R. Berekiah in R. Eleazar’s name said: He created him a shapeless mass, and he lay stretching from one end of the world to the other; as it is written, ‘Thine eyes did see my shapeless mass.’ R. Judah b. R. Simon said: While Adam lay a shapeless mass before Him at whose decree the world came into existence, He showed him every generation and its Sages, every generation and its judges, scribes, interpreters, and leaders. Said He to him: ‘Thine eyes did see unformed substance: the unformed substance [viz. thy potential descendants] which thine eyes did see has already been written in the book of Adam.” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 1.199-200. Goshen Gottstein suggests that in view of this confluence between Adam’s cosmic form and the future generations shown to him, these future generations might be envisioned as part of Adam’s body. In his opinion a similar idea can be found in b. Yeb. 63b where all souls are incorporated in the body (guf): “R. Assi stated: The son of David will not come before all the souls in Guf are disposed of; since it is said, For the spirit that enwrappeth itself is from Me, and the souls which I have made.” Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Yebamot, 63b. Goshen Gottshein argues that “This guf (literally, ‘body’) may well be the great body of humanity, seen either as the body of the manifestation of God or as the incarnating body of the primordial Adam.” Goshen Gottstein, “The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature,” 192-192.
340 Gardner, The Kephalaia of the Teacher, 73.
341 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 2.634.
342 M. Idel, Ascensions on High in Jewish Mysticism: Pillars, Lines, Ladders (Past Incorporated; CEUSH, 2; Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005) 102. On the eschatological pillar of the souls in the Zoharic tradition, see Idel, Ascensions on High in Jewish Mysticism, 101-133.
343 A. Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrash (6 vols.; Jerusalem: Bamberger and Wahrmann, 1938) 2.28.
344 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 123.
345 Nathaniel Deutsch observes that “both Metatron and Abathur are associated with the care of human souls in other ways. Metatron is characterized as the teacher of ‘all the souls of the dead that have died in their mothers’ wombs, and of the babies that have died at their mothers’ breasts, and of the schoolchildren that have died while studying the five books of the Torah.’ Abathur’s watch house is depicted as the storage place for the pre-existent souls that have not yet descended to earth. Once again we observe the logic of the angelic vice regent: he is a guardian of the gate; a lord of mediation. Therefore, Metatron and Abathur are in charge of souls that are betwixt and between different modes of existence. In one case, the souls belong to those individuals who were never born or who died too young to receive a proper education; in the other case, the souls are waiting for their corresponding bodies to be born.” Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 99.
346 Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 99.
347 b. Avodah Zarah 3b depicts Metatron as a teacher of the souls of those who died in their childhood; it reads: “What then does God do in the fourth quarter? – He sits and instructs the school children, as it is said, Whom shall one teach knowledge, and whom shall one make to understand the message? Them that are weaned from the milk. Who instructed them theretofore? – If you like, you may say Metatron, or it may be said that God did this as well as other things. And what does He do by night? – If you like you may say, the kind of thing He does by day; or it may be said that He rides a light cherub, and floats in eighteen thousand worlds; for it is said, The chariots of God are myriads, even thousands shinan.” Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Avodah Zarah, 3b.
348 Synopse §75 (3 Enoch 48C:12) attests to a similar tradition; it reads: “Metatron sits for three hours every day in the heaven above, and assembles all the souls of the dead that have died in their mother’s wombs, and of the babes that have died at their mothers’ breasts, and of the schoolchildren beneath the throne of glory, and sits them down around him in classes, in companies, and in groups, and teaches them Torah, and wisdom, and haggadah, and tradition, and he completes for them their study of the scroll of the Law, as it is written, ‘To whom shall one teach knowledge, whom shall one instruct in the tradition? Them that are weaned from the milk, them that are taken from the breasts.’” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.313. A similar tradition is also found in the Alphabet of R. Akiba. See S. A. Wertheimer, Batei Midrashot (2 vols.; Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1950-53) 2.333–477.
349 It is intriguing that Numbers Rabbah 12:12 depicts Metatron as being in charge of the souls of the righteous whom he offers as the atonement for the sins of Israel; it reads: “R. Simeon expounded: When the Holy One, blessed be He, told Israel to set up the Tabernacle He intimated to the ministering angels that they also should make a Tabernacle, and when the one below was erected the other was erected on high. The latter was the tabernacle of the youth whose name was Metatron, and therein he offers up the souls of the righteous to atone for Israel in the days of their exile.” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 5.482–3.
350 Metatron’s role as the leader of the souls might also be reflected in an obscure passage from Zohar II.161b in which one can find a description of the mysterious angelic “officer” put in charge of the souls; it reads: “And even today, all inhabitants of the world, before they come to this world, all stand in their images as they exist in this world, in a single treasure-house, where all souls of the world are clothed in their images. As they are about to descend to this world, the blessed Holy One calls upon one official whom He has appointed over all souls destined to descend to this world, and says to him, ‘Go, bring Me the spirit of so-and-so.’ At that moment the soul comes, clothed in the image of this world, and the official presents her before the Holy King. The blessed Holy One speaks to her and adjures her that when she descends to this world she will engage in Torah in order to know Him and to know the mystery of faith.” Matt, The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, 5.431. Here, similar to the Metatron passages found in b. Avodah Zarah and Sefer Hekhalot, one sees, again, the motif of the importance of the study of the Torah that coincides with the tradition about the angelic captain of the souls. The description found in the Zohar also refers to the imagery of the storehouse of the souls, which in its turn brings to memory the motifs found in the Slavonic apocalypse, with its imagery of the protological and eschatological reservoirs, in the form of the womb of the primordial aeon Adoil and the final aeon during which all the righteous souls will be gathered.
351 Reflecting on the portrayal of the Theotokos as the ladder in eastern Orthodox liturgical materials Paul Ladouceur notes that “the liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church refer in numerous places to the Mother of God as ‘ladder.’ For example: ‘ladder and gate’ (Matins of Annunciation, Exaposteilarion; FM 459); ‘Gate of heaven and spiritual Ladder’ (Matins of the Nativity, ode 7; FM 120); ‘living ladder’ (Matins of the Entrance, ode 8; FM 189); her tomb ‘becomes a ladder to heaven’ (Vespers of the Dormition; FM 506). Matins of the Annunciation gives us the precise reference: ‘Jacob saw in days of old the ladder that prefigured you, and said: ‘This is the stair on which God shall tread’ (Matins of the Annunciation, ode 9; FM 458). The source of the image is thus Jacob’s dream or vision recounted in Genesis 28.” P. Ladouceur, “Old Testament Prefigurations of the Mother of God,” SVTQ 50 (2006) 5-57 at 15.
352 “Curious to know knowledge what is knowable to no one, the Virgin cried out to the attendant: How is it possible for a son to be born of inviolate loins? Tell me please. To whom the angel minister replied with fear, and cried out thusly: ... Rejoice, heavenly ladder (κλίμαξ ἐπουράνιε) by which did God Himself descend; Rejoice, bridge that is conveying unto heaven earth-born men. Rejoice, immortal wonder most renowned of the Angels ....” The Akathist Hymn and Small Compline (eds. S. Dedes and N.M. Vaporis; Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1990) 9.
353 The similar connection with Jacob’s ladder is present in Andrew of Crete’s Homily III On the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God: “Behold the ladder that Jacob saw in a moment of divine revelation, on which he saw God’s angels moving up and down - whatever that ascent and descent signified. This is the gate of heaven, of which Jacob said, ‘How awe-inspiring is this place! It is nothing other than God’s dwelling - it is itself the gate of heaven!’” On the Dormition of Mary. Early Patristic Homilies (ed. B.E. Daley; PPS, 18; Crestwood: St.Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997) 147-148. See also Theodore the Studite’s Encomium on the Dormition of Our Holy Lady, the Mother of God: “But this is what the blessed Apostles answered to her, either speaking on their own or quoting the words of the prophets: ‘Hail,’ one said, ‘ladder set up from earth to heaven, on which the Lord came down to us and returned to heaven again, as in the vision of the great patriarch Jacob!’” Daley, On the Dormition of Mary. Early Patristic Homilies, 253.
354 In his first homily he offers the following interpretation: “And I almost forgot Jacob’s ladder! What, then? Is it not obvious to everyone that it too is an anticipation and a type of you? Just as [Jacob] saw that ladder joining heaven and earth by its [two] ends, so that angels could go up and down on it, and just as he saw the strong and unconquerable one symbolically struggling with him, so you, too, are an intermediary; you have joined distant extremes together, and have become the ladder for God’s descent to us-the God who has taken up our weak material and has woven it into a unity with himself, making the human person a mind that sees God. Therefore angels came down to [Christ], worshipping their God and master; and human beings have taken on the angelic way of life, in order to lay hold of heaven.” Daley, On the Dormition of Mary. Early Patristic Homilies, 193. John of Damascus’ Homily III unveils the similar tradition: “Today the spiritual, living ladder, by which the Most High has appeared on earth to ‘walk among human beings,’ has herself climbed the ladder of death, and gone up from earth to heaven.” Daley, On the Dormition of Mary. Early Patristic Homilies, 232.
355 Eugene Pentiuc draws attention to the similar interpretation of the Holy Virgin as the ladder found in a Greek prayer to the Theotokos attributed to Ephraem the Syrian, where Mary is called the “heavenly ladder, through whom we, the earthlings, are running up to heaven … ladder through which the heavenly angels came down to us ….” Pentiuc, The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition, 234.
356 K. Linardou, “Depicting the Salvation,” in: The Cult of the Mother of God in Byzantium: Texts and Images (eds. L.Brubaker and M.B. Cunningham; Burlington: Ashgate, 2011) 136.