THEO 228  Apocalyptic Literature

Fall 2008

Course Description and Schedule

Instructor: Dr. Andrei Orlov


Phones:  414-288-7649 (office); 414-962-3460 (home)

Office: Coughlin Hall, 209




The main objective of this course is investigation of the conceptual world of Jewish apocalypticism and its formative value for early Christian theology. Jewish apocalyptic thought, a major theological paradigm of the Second Temple period, exercised arguably an unmatched influence on early Christian authors and thus became, in the words of Ernst Käsemann, “the mother of all Christian theology.”



Seminar - a mixture of introductory lectures, discussions, and student led presentations.




 Two short seminar papers/presentations (3-5 pages each); one longer course paper (15-20 pages).

  • The first short paper/presentation will be a status quaestionis (“state of the question” – “S.Q.”) report on an apocalyptic document discussed in this course. (Please announce your choices by Tuesday, September 2. I would prefer no duplication, so please discuss your preferences among yourselves). The report should attempt to address the following questions: What are the hypothetical date and the provenance of the text? In what languages has the text survived? State of preservation, critical editions, original language, structure, historical and theological importance, possible social groups behind the text, relation to other apocalyptic texts, the best secondary literature. You can start your preparation for the paper by reading introductions to the texts in Charlesworth’s The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. However, since Charlesworth’s volume was published more than twenty years ago you will need to supplement it with a newer scholarship. If you are “at sea” about what sort of resources to use, you are welcome to confer with your instructor and may also wish to consult these bibliographical guides: J. H. Charlesworth with J. A. Mueller, The New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha: A Guide to Publications, with Excursuses on Apocalypses (American Theological Library Association Bibliography Series. Metuchen, NJ/London: American Theological Library Association and Scarecrow Press, 1987); J.-C. Haelewyck, Clavis Apocryphorum Veteris Testamenti (Brepols: Turnhout, 1998); A. Lehnhardt, Bibliographie zu den jüdischen Schriften aus hellenistisch-romischer Zeit (Gütersloh, 1999); L. diTommazo, A Bibliography of Pseudepigrapha Research 1850-1999 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001).
  • For bibliographies on the Jewish pseudepigrapha and apocalyptic literature see:
    For the complete searchable bibliography of the studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls see:
  • The second short paper/presentation will deal with the theological content of an apocalyptic document discussed during the course. Students cannot choose the same document they chose for their status quaestionis presentation. It will be ideal if a student can concentrate on one or two major themes in the document (such as the temple and priestly traditions; the mediatorial figures; the mythologies of evil, protological or eschatological realities, etc) and explore their backgrounds in other texts. Students are encouraged to select a different major theme for each study so that we will have a chance to discuss as many theological themes as possible. So please talk among yourselves and announce your choices by Tuesday, September 2. I will supply a preliminary bibliography that will introduce you to the literature related to some of the major themes.

    The short papers/presentations should contain 3-4 pages of single spaced prose or outline format and a page of bibliography, to be passed out to all class-members on the session previous to class discussion. Please don’t send your papers via e-mail. Hardcopies only!

    Your presentation in the class should not exceed 5 minutes. It is absolutely crucial for the success of the class. A presenter should not read the whole paper - but rather prepare a short summary of it, highlighting major points. Then all class-members will be asked to offer a short reflection on the paper that they already read at home and ask questions to the presenter.

  • The major assignment will be a seminar paper of 15-20 pages, focusing on a literary, theological, social, or historical question pertaining to apocalyptic texts and traditions. The paper is due December 4 (the last day of the class). The topic of the final paper will be chosen by student. It can be based on student’s short papers/presentations. Your final paper should conform to the style sheet presented in the SBL Handbook of Style (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999). The Handbook can be found in the library (CALL NUMBER: PN 147.S26) and on the Internet in this location.

    The initial paper proposal should be one or two pages of single space prose describing your topic and the aims of your project plus another page of preliminary bibliography. The paper proposal with bibliography is due to instructor on Thursday, October 2.

    The student will present a preliminary draft of the paper during the last weeks of the class. The preliminary draft will be passed out to all class-members one week before class discussion.

    Attendance, assigned reading and active participation in seminar discussions are of primary importance. Note that assigned readings are to be completed before each session. Evaluation of the student’s performance will be based on class participation, paper-proposal, two short presentations/papers, preliminary paper-presentation and especially the final paper.




Hebrew, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Greek, Latin, Georgian, Armenian and Slavonic will be useful to our study. Students will be encouraged to utilize relevant sources in French, Spanish, Italian and German in preparation of their longer papers.




  • The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (vol. 1): Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (ed. J. H. Charlesworth; New York: Doubleday, 1985 [1983]). ISBN: 0385096305.

  • J. J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (Eerdmans, 1998). ISBN: 0802843719.

  • Reserve Materials. (on the class webpage at ) 

  • All electronic documents listed in the schedule are available for download only as *. pdf files. These files require free Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed.




August 26: Introduction to the Course

Introductions of Students and Instructor
Discussion of Syllabus
Discussion of Tools

Bibliography on Jewish Apocalypticism

Bibliography on the Major Tools


August 28: Background I: Account of Creation and the Fall

Readings: Genesis 1-3; Latin Life of Adam and Eve (electronic); The Book of the Watchers (electronic); G. Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism (electronic).

Additional Readings: G. Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis (electronic); J. Reeves, Early Jewish Mythologies of Evil (electronic); Anthropos; Adam; Glory.


September 2: Background II: Account of the Temple

Readings: M. Barker, “Veil,”Throne I,” “Throne II,” from: M. Barker, The Gate of Heaven: The History and Symbolism of the Temple in Jerusalem (London: SPCK, 1991) (electronic); M. Barker, The Temple Roots of the Liturgy; M. Barker, Beyond the Veil of the Temple: The High Priestly Origin of the Apocalypses (electronic).

Additional Readings: R. Elior, “From Earthly Temple to Heavenly Shrines: Prayer and Sacred Song in the Hekhalot Literature and its Relation to Temple Traditions,” JSQ 4 (1997) 217–67, Part 1 and Part 2 (electronic); C. R. A. Morray-Jones, Temple Within (electronic); J. Levinson, “The Jerusalem Temple in Devotional and Visionary Experience,” in: Jewish Spirituality (2 vols.; ed. A. Green; New York: Crossroad, 1986) 1.32-61.

Bibliography on the Heavenly Temple traditions (electronic)

Submit your choices for short papers/presentations


September 4: Background III: The Mediators

Readings: L. W. Hurtado, One God, One Lord (2nd ed.; London: T&T Clark, 1998) chapter 1; chapters 2 and 3; chapter 4 (electronic); A. Chester, “Jewish Messianic Expectations and Mediatorial Figures,” in: Paulus und das antike Judentum (ed. M. Hengel; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1991) 17-89 part I; part II (electronic).

Additional Readings: J. Davila, A Methodology for Studying Divine Mediators (electronic); L. Stuckenbruck, “’Angels’ and ‘God’: Exploring the Limits of Early Jewish Monotheism,” (electronic) M. Barker, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God (London: SPCK, 1992); C. A. Gieschen, Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence (Leiden: Brill, 1998); D. Hannah, Michael and Christ: Michael Traditions and Angel Christology in Early Christianity (WUNT 2/109; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1999).

Bibliography on the Divine Mediators (electronic).


September 9: Definitions: Apocalypse and Apocalypticism

• Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, ch.1.
• G. Boccaccini “Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition,” in: Mysteries and Revelations (eds. J.J. Collins and J.H. Charlesworth; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991) 33-50 (electronic); E. Tigchelaar, “More on Apocalyptic and Apocalypses,” JSJ 17 (1987) 137-44 (electronic).

Additional Readings: S. Cook, Prophecy and Apocalypticism: The Postexilic Social Setting, 1-18.


September 11 and September 16: The Book of the Watchers
TEXT: 1 Enoch 1-36 = Book of the Watchers. Esp. chs. 14-15 - Enoch’s vision of the Heavenly Temple

• Genesis 5-6 (in Hebrew)
• OTP, 1.5-89.
• Collins, ch. 2
• M. Himmelfarb, “From Ezekiel to the Book of the Watchers,” in: Ascent to Heaven, 9-28 (electronic)

Additional Readings: A. Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition, chapters 1-2 (electronic).


September 18: Animal Apocalypse
TEXT: 1 Enoch 85-90 = Animal Apocalypse

• OTP, 1.63-72.
• P. Tiller, A Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993) (electronic).

Additional Readings: I. Frölich. "The Symbolical Language of the Animal Apocalypse of Enoch (“1 Enoch” 85-90)." RevQ 14/56 (1990) 629-36 (electronic).

September 23: The Primary Adam Books
TEXT: Synopsis of Lives of Adam and Eve (especially account of the Fall of Satan)

• G. Anderson and M. Stone, Life of Adam and Eve: Introduction and the Problems of the Text (electronic).
• G. Anderson, ‘Adam and Eve in the “Life of Adam and Eve,”’ in: Biblical Figures outside the Bible (eds. M. Stone et al.; Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998) 7-32 (electronic).

Additional Readings: M. de Jonge and J. Tromp, The Life of Adam & Eve and Related Literature (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997); Literature on Adam and Eve: Collected Essays (eds. G. Anderson et al.; Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000).


September 25: Daniel
TEXT: Daniel esp. 7-9

• Collins, ch. 3.
• C. Fletcher-Louis, “The High Priest as Divine Mediator in the Hebrew Bible: Dan. 7:13 as a Test Case,” SBLSP (1997) 161-193 (electronic).
• G. Nickelsburg, “Son of Man,” in: Dictionary of the Deities and Demons in the Bible (electronic).
• “Baal” in: Dictionary of the Deities and Demons in the Bible (electronic).

Additional Readings: “Myth of Baal and Yamm,” ANET 130-31; 137.

September 30: Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian
TEXT: Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian

The Text of Exagoge from: Jacobson, Howard, The Exagoge of Ezekiel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983) 54-55 (electronic)
• Collins, 116-133.
• P. W. Van der Horst, "Moses' Throne Vision in Ezekiel the Dramatist," JJS 34 (1983) 21-29 (electronic)
• A. Orlov, “In the Mirror of the Divine Face: The Enochic Features of the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian,” The Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai (eds. G. Brooks, H. Najman, L. Stuckenbruck; Themes in Biblical Narrative; Leiden: Brill, 2008) 183-199 (electronic).
• A. Orlov, "Moses' Heavenly Counterpart in the Book of Jubilees and the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian," Biblica 88 (2007) 153-173 (electronic).


October 2: Testament of Levi
TEXT: Testament of Levi (esp. chapter 8)

• OTP, 1.775-781; 788-795.
• Collins 134-144.
• M. Himmelfarb, “Revelation and Rapture: The Transformation of the Visionary in the Ascent Apocalypses,” in: Mysteries and Revelations, 79-90 (electronic).

Submit proposal with a bibliography for your long paper to instructor


October 7: 3 Baruch
TEXT: 3 Baruch (especially ch. 4)

• OTP, 1. 653-679
• Collins, 248-251.
• A. Orlov, “The Flooded Arboretums: The Garden Traditions in the Slavonic Version of 3 Baruch and the Book of Giants,” CBQ 65 (2003) 184-201 (electronic).

October 9: The Qumran Literature: (1QS; 1QM; 11QMelchisedek)
TEXT: 1QS; 1 QM, 11QMelch.

1QS; 1 QM, 11QMelch (electronic).
• Collins, ch. 5.
• F. García Martínez, “Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in: EncAp, 1.162-192. (electronic)

Additional Readings: J. Davila, Melchisedek as the Divine Mediator; J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (London, Routledge, 1997).


October 14: The Similitudes of Enoch
TEXT: The Book of the Similitudes

• OTP, 1.29-50.
• Collins, ch. 6.
• A. Orlov, "Roles and Titles of the Seventh Antediluvian Hero in the Book of the Similitudes: A Departure from the Traditional Pattern?" Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man: Revisiting the Book of Parables (ed. G. Boccaccini; Crand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007) 110-136 (electronic).


October 16 - Midterm Break


October 21: 4 Ezra
TEXT: 4 Ezra (esp. chapter 13)

• OTP, 1.517-559
• Collins, ch. 7 (4 Ezra)
• M. E. Stone, “Reactions to Destruction of the Second Temple: Theology, Perception and Conversion,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 12:2 (1981) 195-204 (electronic).
• M. E. Stone, “On Reading an Apocalypse,” in: Mysteries and Revelations: Apocalyptic Studies since the Uppsala Colloquium, 65-78 (electronic).


October 23: Apocalypse of Abraham
TEXT: Apocalypse of Abraham

• OTP, 1.689-705.
• Collins, Ch. 7 (Apocalypse of Abraham)
• A. Orlov, "Praxis of the Voice: The Divine Name Traditions in the Apocalypse of Abraham," Journal of Biblical Literature 127.1 (2008) 53-70 (electronic).
• A. Orlov, “‘The Gods of My Father Terah’: Abraham the Iconoclast and the Polemics with the Divine Body Traditions in the Apocalypse of Abraham,” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 18.1 (2008) 33-53 (electronic).


October 28: 2 Enoch
TEXT: 2 Enoch, esp. 2 Enoch 22.

• OTP, 1.91-221.
• Collins, ch. 8 (2 Enoch)
• A. Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition, ch. 4, 5, 6, 7 (electronic).


October 30: Selected Themes in the Gospels/Acts
TEXT: Gospel of Mark 2:1-12 (Jesus as the Son of Man); Gospel of Matthew 4:1-11 (Temptation of Jesus); Gospel of Matthew 17:1-13 (Transfiguration of Christ); Gospel of John 1:51; Gospel of John (Passages about Thomas); Acts of the Apostles 6:8-7:60 (Martyrdom of Stephen); Acts of the Apostles 9:1-31 (Vision of Paul); Acts of the Apostles 10:9-20 (Vision of Peter).

• Collins, Epilogue.
• D. C. Allison, “The Eschatology of Jesus,” in: EncApoc 1.267-302 (electronic)
• M. Borg, “A Temperate Case for a Non-Eschatological Jesus,” Forum 2 (1986) 81-102 (electronic).
• A. De Conick, Voices of the Mystics (JSNTSS, 157; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001) chapter 3 and chapter 5 (electronic).
• J. Fossum, “The Son of Man’s Alter Ego: John 1.51, Targumic Tradition and Jewish Mysticism,” in J. Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995) 135-151 (electronic).


November 4: Apocalyptic Paul?
TEXT: 1 and 2 Corinthians; Philippians; Rabbinic Pardes Story

• C. R. A. Morray-Jones, ‘Paradise Revisited (2 Cor. 12:1-12). The Jewish Mystical Backgrounds of Paul’s Apostolate’, HTR 86 (1993), pp. 177-217; pp. 265-292 (electronic).
• A. Segal, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1990) (electronic).

Additional Readings: Tabor, James D., Things Unutterable: Paul’s Ascent to Paradise in Its Greco-Roman, Judaic, and Early Christian Contexts (Lanham, University Press of America, 1986).


November 6: The Book of Revelation
TEXT: The Book of Revelation

• A. Y. Collins, “The Book of Revelation,” in: EncApoc, 1.384-414 (electronic).

Additional Readings: Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy. Studies in the Book of Revelation (Edinburgh: Clark, 1993)


November 11: Later Jewish Trajectories: Merkabah/Hekhalot Traditions
TEXT: 3 Enoch esp. 1-16.

• OTP, 1.223-315.
• P. Alexander “From the Son of Adam to a Second God: Transformation of the Biblical Enoch,” in: Biblical Figures outside the Bible (eds. M. Stone et al.; Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998) 87-122 (electronic).

Additional Readings: A. Orlov, Enoch-Metatron Tradition, chapter 3 (electronic).



November 13: Student Paper Presentations and Feedback

November 18: Student Paper Presentations and Feedback

November 20: Dr. Orlov in Boston for AAR/SBL annual meeting – No Class

November 25 and 27: Thanksgiving Holiday – No Classes

December 2: Student Paper Presentations and Feedback

December 4: Student Paper Presentations and Feedback - The Long Papers are due.


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