… these garments are after the supernal pattern, as we have learnt: “There is a High Priest above and a high priest below, raiment of honour above and raiment of honour below.”
Just as there are levels and palaces on the side of holiness, so also on the side of uncleanness …
The Apocalypse of Abraham baffles its readers’ imaginations with a plethora of sacerdotal motifs. From its very first lines, this enigmatic text strives to portray young Abraham and his relatives as cultic servants performing priestly duties in a sanctuary filled with idolatrous statues. The readers of the text soon recognize that its peculiar cultic concerns permeate the fabric of the entire pseudepigraphon. Indeed, its authors appear to assign specific cultic roles to almost all of the story’s characters. As the narrative progresses, and the deity removes the young hero of the faith from the defiled house of worship and sets him on a celestial journey to the true sanctuary in heaven, new characters endowed with sacerdotal functions begin to enter the story.
The most spectacular cultic responsibilities are given to Abraham’s celestial guide, the angel “Yahoel,” whom the text envisions as the heavenly high priest and the celestial choir-master of the Living Creatures. Both his peculiar liturgical duties vis-à-vis the Throne Room’s angelic creatures and his bold access to the divine Presence reveal Yahoel’s status as a very special celebrant ministering in the celestial sanctuary. As has been noted before, some of Yahoel’s actions are reminiscent of the cultic acts of the high priest, that unique sacerdotal servant who was able to enter the divine Presence in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. In light of the striking panoply of priestly motifs in the Apoc. Ab., indeed it seems that its authors had not forgotten this central sacerdotal ordinance of the Jewish tradition—a major cultic event laden with portentous revelatory opportunities. As the story develops, and Yahoel leads his human apprentice, Abraham, into the celestial Holy of Holies located in the upper heaven, the cluster of motifs pertaining to this special atoning rite become more and more distinctive. Scholars have noted previously that the instructions Yahoel conveys to Abraham invoke the memory of peculiar symbolic actions and rituals that took place on the Day of Atonement. Moreover, it has even been suggested that, in chapters 13 and 14, Yahoel performs the climactic action of the atoning ceremony on Yom Kippur, that is, the enigmatic scapegoat ritual, by which impurity was transferred onto a goat named Azazel and then, through him, dispatched into the wilderness.1
Yet despite striking similarities with Yom Kippur traditions found in biblical and rabbinic accounts, the authors of the Slavonic apocalypse strive to refashion the ancient rite in accordance with a new apocalyptic outlook, which sees the earthly version of the atoning ritual as a reflection of celestial and eschatological realities. In this perspective, one may recognize a new cosmic dimension of the atoning ordinance, which is envisioned in the Slavonic text as the eschatological Yom Kippur. That we find this emphasis on the heavenly and eschatological dimensions of the sacerdotal symbolism in a transitional text like the Apoc. Ab. is no coincidence. It was written during a unique period in Jewish history, when apocalyptic authors, faced with a wide array of challenges stemming from the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, embraced various alternatives for continuation priestly practices. When it envisions heaven as the true place of worship, and depicts Abraham as an adept of the heavenly priestly praxis entering the celestial Holy of Holies, the Apocalypse of Abraham evinces one such sacerdotal option.
Veiled symbolism, which reveals both apocalyptic and sacerdotal realities, accompanies the seer’s cultic entrance into heaven. Thus in the Apocalypse of Abraham, as in many other Jewish pseudepigraphical narratives, the hero’s entrance into the sacred realm coincides with his peculiar transformation as celebrant of the celestial liturgy. This metamorphosis, hinted at symbolically via the change in Abraham’s ontological garments, was often taken to mark the transition from an earthly to a celestial condition. Here, as in the Yom Kippur ordinance, the metamorphosis of the celebrant’s wardrobe is the pinnacle of transformational experience.
Although previous studies have explored many facets of the Yom Kippur imagery in the Apocalypse of Abraham, sufficient attention has not yet been paid to the peculiar metamorphoses which the story’s (human and angelic) protagonists and antagonists seem to experience in the course of their participation in the drama of the eschatological Yom Kippur ritual. The present study aims to further explore the Yom Kippur traditions in the Slavonic apocalypse by paying special attention to the transformational aspects of this enigmatic atoning ritual.
The Protagonist’s Transformation
The Lost Attires
The Apocalypse of Abraham can be divided into two parts. The first, “haggadic” section (chapters 1 through 8) depicts the young hero of the faith as a paladin against his father Terah’s idolatrous statues. The second, “apocalyptic” part (which occupies the work’s remaining chapters) describes Abraham as he prepares for his heavenly journey, progresses into the abode of the deity, and acquires eschatological mysteries. This second section unveils one of the most important dynamics to be found in the Jewish apocalyptic accounts when both positive and negative characters progress into the respective realms of their eschatological opponents, and frequently assume the roles and offices of their counterparts.2 In such accounts, a seer and his demoted opponent(s) often confront each other on their journeys to their new habitats.3
Apoc. Ab. 13, where Abraham encounters his eschatological antagonist in the form of the fallen angel Azazel, may represent a pivotal point of this dynamic of exaltation and demotion. In the course of this encounter, Abraham’s angelus interpres, Yahoel, informs both parties that the celestial garment of the demoted angel must now be transferred to a new owner — the translated hero of the faith. Thus Apoc. Ab. 13:7-14 reads:
“Reproach is on you, Azazel! Since Abraham’s portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth, since you have chosen it and desired it to be the dwelling place of your impurity …. For behold, the garment which in heaven was formerly yours has been set aside for him, and the corruption which was on him has gone over to you.”4
The pivotal transformational motif invoked in this passage—namely, the promise of new attire to the translated hero—signifies not merely a rather unusual expansion of the patriarch’s wardrobe, but his ontological transition from the form of a human being to the status of celestial citizen. Such endowments with celestial attire are not unusual in apocalyptic literature. Seers often receive angelic garments. In 2 En. 22, for example, Enoch is clothed with a luminous angelic garment, which makes his body similar to the glorious bodies of the angelic servants. Such a metamorphosis is of great anthropological significance: it signals a return to the original luminosity the first humans lost after their transgression in Eden.
In the Apocalypse of Abraham, the hero’s transition also seems to invoke the memory of the protological story, in which the luminous clothes of the heavenly beings were exchanged for garments of skin. Abraham’s endowment with angelic garments may, therefore, signal an eschatological return to the protoplast’s original condition. Several of the text’s students have, in fact, noted this possibility. Louis Ginzberg, for one, suggested the possible Adamic background and pointed to parallels in the targumic materials and in Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 20.5 Indeed, the transference of a garment from the demoted angelic antagonist to an exalted human protagonist is an important theme throughout the Adamic lore.
Some of the currents within this tradition entertain the unusual notion that even the original, luminous garments of the first humans had come from a demoted celestial being. This can be seen, for example, in the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen 3:21, a passage which treats the aetiology of the first humans’ luminous attire. According to this targumic interpretation, the original humans were endowed with luminous garments that had been stripped from the serpent:
And the Lord God made garments of glory for Adam and for his wife from the skin which the serpent had cast off (to be worn) on the skin of their (garments of) fingernails of which they had been stripped, and he clothed them.6
Later midrashim are also aware of the enigmatic provenance of the protoplasts’ luminous garments. Thus, for example, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 20 reads:
Rabbi Eliezer said: From skins which the serpent sloughed off, the Holy One, blessed be He, took and made coats of glory for Adam and his wife, as it is said, “And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife coats of skin, and clothed them.”7
These passages seem to unveil the dynamic of exaltation and demotion noted above; they suggest that the protagonist’s apotheosis, signaled through his acquisition of luminous attire, comes as a result of the denigration of the erstwhile favorite, who is now stripped of his exalted status. While the new possessors of exalted status are drawn, by the will of God, to their dignified abodes, their antagonistic counterparts are forced into exile from their elevated domiciles.
The tradition of the first humans’ clothes of glory, mentioned in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, is important for our study. The motif of Abraham’s endowment with a garment stripped from the fallen angel cannot be properly understood without exploring the array of traditions associated with Adamic “clothing metaphors”—a seminal conceptual cluster whose roots can be traced already to some biblical developments.8 In order to fully grasp these roots, a short excursus into several biblical and extrabiblical texts is necessary.
The Garments of Light
Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:21 are pivotal starting points for subsequent Jewish and Christian reflection on the glorious garments of Adam and Eve. Genesis 1:26 describes the creation of humanity after the likeness (twmd) of the image (Mlc) of God. Notably Gen 1:26-27 refers to the Mlc (tselem) of Adam, the luminous image of God’s glory according to which Adam was created.9 Thus Adam’s tselem was created after God’s own tselem (wnmlcb, literally “in our tselem”)—a kind of luminous “imitation” of the glorious tselem of God. Later rabbinic interpretations often argue that the likeness that Adam and God shared was not physicality, in the usual sense of having a body, but rather luminescence.10 In this context, the first humans’ clothing in garments of glory was often taken by later interpreters as a replication of the state of the deity, who, according to some biblical passages, was also clothed in glory and majesty.11
It is therefore especially noteworthy that, amidst such major conceptual developments, Genesis 3 contains a cluster of motifs pertaining to the first humans’ attire. According to Gen 3:21, the deity fashioned for his beloved creatures a set of enigmatic clothes—”garments of skin.” This text is usually understood to refer to God’s clothing of Adam and Eve’s nakedness after the Fall. Some scholars, however, argue that sufficient evidence exists to suggest another interpretation of the time reference in Gen 3:21. According to this alternative reading, the verbs in Gen 3:21 are to be taken as pluperfects referring to the status of Adam and Eve at their creation before the Fall.12
Several extra-biblical materials also show familiarity with the traditions of the glorious garments of the first humans.13 The motif is apparent, for example, in the elaborations of the protoplast story found in the Books of Adam and Eve. Some versions of the Primary Adam Books allude to the story of the original garments of light once possessed by the first humans. In the Armenian version of the LAE (at 20:1), a testimony about the tragic loss of the garments comes directly from the mouth of one of the protoplasts, when Eve recollects the dramatic moment of the garments’ disappearance: “At that hour I learned with my eyes that I was naked of the glory with which I had been clothed.”14 This passage hints not only at the protoplasts’ original possession of the glorious clothes, but also at their ominous stripping after the Fall.15
Despite this unhappy memory, humanity’s return to the glorious garments of the protoplast seems, already in the Primary Adam Books, to have been eschatologically foreshadowed.16 A suggestive hint appears at the scene of Adam’s burial (which is found in the section dealing with Adamic funerary rites). His body is covered with linen vestments brought from Paradise, imagery which serves as a sign of the eschatological re-clothing of humanity and its return to the protoplasts’ original attire:
After this, God spoke to Michael and said, “Go to the Garden of the [third] heaven and bring [me] three linen cloths.” When he had brought them, God said to Michael and to Ozel and to Gabriel, “Bring these linen cloths and cover Adam’s body, and bring sweet oil.” They brought them and set them around him and wound him in that garment (Armenian version). 17
The rabbinic materials reaffirm the tradition of the first humans’ glorious garments. The targumic traditions, both Palestinian18 and Babylonian,19 while rendering Gen 3:21 “the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin and clothed them,” read “garments of glory” instead of “garments of skin.” This targumic interpretation is supported by a wide array of midrashic sources. Thus, for example, Genesis Rabbah 20:12 says that the scroll of Rabbi Meir read “garments of light” (rw) twntk) instead of “garments of skin” (rw( twntk):
In R. Meir’s Torah it was found written, “Garments of light: this refers to Adam’s garments, which were like a torch [shedding radiance], broad at the bottom and narrow at the top.”20
Another midrashic compilation, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 14, also knows the motif of the protoplast’s glorious garment:
What was the dress of the first man? A skin of nail and a cloud of glory covered him. When he ate of the fruits of the tree, the nail-skin was stripped off him and the cloud of glory departed from him, and he saw himself naked….21
Indeed, this motif continued to be developed in the rabbinic context for millennia. In one of the later Jewish mystical compendiums, the Book of Zohar I.36b, one finds an echo of the same tradition about the luminous garments. As was the case at Genesis Rabbah 20, this Zoharic passage also uses the same word play, rw) / rw(:
At first they had had coats of light (rw)), which procured them the service of the highest of the high, for the celestial angels used to come to enjoy that light; so it is written, “For thou hast made him but little lower than the angels, and crowns him with glory and honor” (Ps. viii, 6). Now after their sins they had only coats of skin (rw(), good for the body but not for the soul.22
The Glory of the Fallen Angel
The biblical Adamic tradition represents, in many ways, the formative bedrock of the later apocalyptic and mystical developments centering on the eschatological re-clothing of the translated patriarchs and prophets, who change the “attire” of their ontological conditions, often at their opponents’ expense.
In the Adamic story one also finds the roots of the peculiar aetiology, noted above, according to which the protoplasts themselves received their unique status, manifested in luminous garments, as a result of the demotion of an exalted angelic being. In these traditions, Adam literally takes the exalted place and glorious garments of the antagonist. One of the early specimens of such a tradition can be found again in the Primary Adam Books, where Satan’s removal from his elevated glorious place is set in conceptual symmetry with the creation and exaltation of Adam. Moreover, the very fact of the first human’s entrance into the world serves, in this text, as the reason for Satan’s dismissal; several versions of the Primary Adam Books connect Satan’s removal from his exalted dwelling with his refusal to bow down before the deity’s newly created favorite.
Thus, for example, in the Armenian version of the Life of Adam and Eve 12:1-16:2, the infamous celestial rebel himself describes the reason for his dramatic exile from the throne of the cherubim and the dwelling of light:
Satan also wept loudly and said to Adam. “All my arrogance and sorrow came to pass because of you; for, because of you I went forth from my dwelling; and because of you I was alienated from the throne of the cherubs who, having spread out a shelter, used to enclose me; because of you my feet have trodden the earth…. Thereupon, God became angry with me and commanded to expel us from our dwelling and to cast me and my angels, who were in agreement with me, to the earth; and you were at the same time in the Garden. When I realized that because of you I had gone forth from the dwelling of light and was in sorrows and pains….”23
This enigmatic passage graphically reveals the origins of the long-lasting drama of competition and revenge that will later overshadow the whole history of humankind. Yet it also hints at the mysterious dynamics of the celestial realm, a hierarchical world where the rise of the deity’s new favorite almost inevitably leads to demise of the old, who now must surrender his unique status, reflected in his garment, to his replacement. It would seem that this unique wardrobe, which signifies the distinctive status of the servant vis-à-vis the Divinity, cannot be divided amongst many.
In the Life of Adam and Eve, Satan repeatedly describes his original condition through metaphors of glory and light. These are precisely the formulae often used in the Primary Adam Books to describe first humans’ celestial attire. Thus, in the Latin version of the aforementioned text (12.1-16:2), the Adversary describes his lost condition through the symbolism of “glory”:
“O Adam, all my enmity, jealousy, and resentment is towards you, since on account of you I was expelled and alienated from my glory (gloria mea), which I had in heaven in the midst of the angels. Then the Lord God grew angry with me and sent me forth with my angels from our glory (gloria nostra). On account of you we were expelled from our dwelling into this world and cast out upon the earth. Immediately we were in grief, since we had been despoiled of so much glory (gloria), and we grieved to see you in such a great happiness of delights.”24
The demoted antagonist’s alienation from his former glorious state, then, is several times set in parallel to the exaltation and gifts given to the protoplast: “since we had been despoiled of so much glory (gloria), and we grieved to see you in such a great happiness of delights.”25 Later rabbinic traditions also seem to know this motif, as they too find explanations for the provenance of the first humans’ luminous attire in the stories of demoted antagonists.
The Cultic Significance of the Clothing Metaphors
Although the enigmatic exchange of conditions and garments between hero and anti-hero is already familiar from the stories of the first humans, in the accounts of the exalted patriarchs and prophets—who attempt to regain the protoplast’s lost attire—the antagonist’s demotion receives a new, one might say atoning, significance via its frequent connection to priestly and liturgical traditions. When placed in a cultic dimension, the antagonist not only vacates, by his demotion, the exalted place intended for a new hero, but also and more importantly fulfills a purifying or cathartic function. In this perspective, the demoted figures are often understood as scapegoats, who take upon themselves humanity’s impurity and sins and transport this heavy burden into the remote abode of their exile. This seems to reflect one of the fundamental cultic dynamics manifested in the Yom Kippur ordinance, where humanity’s entrance into the deity’s presence is put in conspicuous correspondence with the removal of human sins into the wilderness by the means of the scapegoat.
This Yom Kippur imagery appears to play a significant role in the conceptual framework of the Apocalypse of Abraham. Yahoel’s promise regarding the transference of the celestial garment to the patriarch coincides, in the text, with the angel’s testimony that Abraham’s sins—literally “his corruption”—are transferred to Azazel:
… For behold, the garment which in heaven was formerly yours has been set aside for him, and the corruption which was on him has gone over to you” (Apoc. Ab. 13:7-14).26
Scholars have previously argued that this striking nexus of motifs is not coincidental, as it betrays a subtle link to the Yom Kippur ordinance.27 Hence it is possible that the motif of the patriarch’s clothing also bears sacerdotal significance, and is perhaps even related to the cultic symbolism of the Day of Atonement. The text may envision the vestments Abraham receives from Azazel as priestly garments transferred from a demoted celestial priest to a new cultic servant. In order to further clarify the sacerdotal dimension of the celestial garment that Abraham receives from the infamous angel in the Apocalypse of Abraham, a short introduction to the traditions of the clothing and re-clothing of the chief cultic celebrant on Yom Kippur is required.
Even a cursory review of the role played by clothing imagery in the atonement ritual demonstrates that the symbolism of the heavenly garments looms large in this cultic ordinance; indeed, it is one of the most pivotal transformational symbols in the entire Yom Kippur ceremony. It is well known from biblical and rabbinic materials that this festival reached its climax in the high priest’s entrance into the Holy of Holies. As noted above, this strongly resembles certain dynamics of Jewish apocalyptic accounts, where the seer’s entrance into the deity’s abode often coincides with the metamorphosis of his earthly body. This signals the arrival of a new citizen of the celestial community, who now needs new “clothing” to secure his safety in the upper abode. In these accounts, as in the Yom Kippur ceremony, the change of “garments” occurs upon the seer’s entrance into the celestial Holy of Holies (often represented by the divine Throne Room).
Despite these striking resemblances, the possible apocalyptic roots of the Yom Kippur ritual remain shrouded in mystery. Did the ritual described in Leviticus develop as a dialogical reaffirmation of the practices of heavenly ascent, that is to say, as the earthly complement to the visionary’s eschatological entrance into the celestial Holy of Holies? Or, quite otherwise, did the Levitical ritual arise as a polemical response to such practices, that is, as an attempt to discourage the praxis of the heavenly priesthood by establishing an alternative cultic framework that limits the access to the divine Presence on earth to the members of certain priestly clans?28 There is no clear solution to this question. Yet while the origins of this correlation between apocalyptic symbolism and Yom Kippur imagery remain unclear to the modern scholar, it is interesting to note that the imaginations of earliest interpreters were no less baffled by this striking parallelism. Let us now revisit some of these early exegetical efforts to grapple with the protological and apocalyptic dimensions of the Yom Kippur ritual.
Yom Kippur and the Garden of Eden29
As in the narratives of apocalyptic ascent, the transformation of a human person, upon entering the deity’s domain, stands at the very center of the Yom Kippur ritual; and as the apocalyptic literature often casts the visionary’s ascent in terms of return to the protological abode lost at the Fall, so too the Yom Kippur ritual seems to entertain an important ontological transition, tied at once both to the story of the protological mishap and to humankind’s eschatological restoration. In this respect, the Day of Atonement’s sacerdotal drama, which culminates in the breaching of the boundary separating human and divine realms, brings us to a very peculiar nexus, not only of eschatological, but also of protological motifs. More precisely, this ritual does not stop at rehearsing the drama of humankind’s demotion and expulsion beyond the boundaries of the celestial Garden. It speaks of the exiled creature’s eschatological joy, for he is now permitted, by means of this ritual, to reenter his lost abode and regain his abandoned domain and status.
This explains why several early Jewish texts sometimes identify the Holy of Holies with the Garden of Eden. One instance of this identification can be found in the Book of Jubilees. Robert Hayward notes that
…Jubilees states that Eden is holier than all the rest of the earth (3:12). According to 8:19, Noah knew that the Garden of Eden is the holy of holies, and the dwelling of the Lord, and Mount Sinai the centre of the desert, and Mount Zion—the centre of the navel of the earth: these three were created as holy places facing each other. It would appear, then, that Adam and Eve were brought into the Holy of Holies prior to their disobedience: their expulsion from Eden thus signifies their removal from the place where God’s Presence on the earth is most immediate for Israel.30
Hayward goes on to suggest that, in these traditions, “the high priest’s entry into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur might, then, in some manner typologically correspond to the first man’s return to Eden, for a season, to be reconciled with his Maker face to face.”31
It is important to note, in this connection, that the theme of the first humans’ peculiar attire, and its sacerdotal significance, does not escape the attention of the author(s) of the Book of Jubilees. Thus Hayward observes that the protoplast’s garments were possibly understood, in this text, as priestly robes.32 He points especially to Jubilees 3:26-27, where Adam is clothed by the deity prior to his entrance into the Garden of Eden, and then offers sacrifice to God.33 Noting the subtle detail that Adam made his offering after God had clothed him, Hayward suggests that “Jubilees possibly held that God had made for Adam priestly vestments.”34 He thus proposes that, for the Book of Jubilees, Adam is “constituted the first priest in a succession which will lead to Levi,35 and then to Aaron and his sons.”36
The motif of the protoplast’s sacerdotal vestments, received from the deity upon his entrance into the Garden of Eden, reaffirms the ideological tenets of the Yom Kippur ritual, with its keen attention to the cultic attire suitable for the respective realms. Yet, here as in other cases, clothing metaphors have another, anthropological meaning. They suggest a change, not only in the adept’s sacerdotal wardrobe, but in his ontological condition.
In several late Second-Temple Jewish texts, the ontological dimension of the celebrant’s sacerdotal clothes on Yom Kippur receives special attention. Philo, e.g., understands the exchange of the high priest’s garments not merely as symbolic steps of the cultic routine, but as symbols of transition between two ontological conditions, one earthly and another celestial. In De Mutatione Nominum 43-44, he reflects on the peculiar symbolism of the high priest’s two robes, seeing them as the distinctive “attires” befitting divine and human realms:
It was this thought which prompted Moses when he wove the tabernacle, dividing its precincts into two, and set a curtain between the parts to distinguish the inner from the outer; when too he gilded the sacred ark which holds the laws both within and without, and gave the high priest two robes, the linen robe to be worn within, the many-colored one with the long skirt to be worn outside. These and the like are symbols of a soul which in inward things is undefiled towards God and in outward things is pure towards the world of our senses and human life.37
In this passage, the linen robe of the high priest (the garment worn by the celebrant in the Holy of Holies) and his multi-colored vestment (worn outside the inner Sanctum) are understood as divine and human dimensions of the soul. 38
At De Specialibus Legibus 1.84, Philo returns to the theme of the sacerdotal clothing and comments on the materials from which both garments are fashioned. The fine linen of the sacerdotal garment worn in the Holy of Holies signifies the immortality of the one who wears it, in contrast to the priestly clothes worn outside the inner shrine, and made of wool—a material taken from the hair of a mortal creature.
The high priest is bidden to put on a similar dress when he enters the inner shrine to offer incense, because its fine linen is not, like wool, the product of creature subject to death, and also to wear another, the formation of which is very complicated.39
While, the celestial status of the sacerdotal adept who enters the inner sancta is only hinted at in this text, several places in De Somniis (Som. 2.28 §189; 2.34 §231)40 unambiguously affirm the unique ontological status of the Yom Kippur celebrant by pointing to his “non-human” nature during his stay in the Holy of Holies:
… a being whose nature is midway between [man and] God, less than God, superior to man. “For when the high priest enters the Holy of Holies he shall not be a man.”41
Moreover, it seems that Philo conceives of the high priest as a mediator, who, by entering Holy of Holies, breaches the boundary separating earthly and heavenly realms. Thus, e.g., in De Somniis II.231 he unveils the following tradition:
The good man indeed is on the border-line, so that we may say, quite properly, that he is neither God nor man, but bounded at either end by the two, by mortality because of his manhood, by incorruption because of his virtue. Similar to this is the oracle given about the high priest: “when he enters,” it says, “into the Holy of Holies, he will not be a man until he comes out.” And if he then becomes no man, clearly neither is he God, but God’s minister, through the mortal in him in affinity with creation, though the immortal with the uncreated, and he retains this midway place until he comes out again to the realm of body and flesh.42
All these distinctive testimonies from a great Hellenistic writer show that he, not unlike other early interpreters, tried to envision the Yom Kippur ritual as a transformative sacerdotal event, which proleptically anticipates and celebrates the eschatological return of humankind to its original immortal condition. 43
Clothes of Ascent
We have seen that biblical and rabbinic accounts of the Yom Kippur ritual demonstrate striking similarities to a cluster of peculiar motifs also prominent in Jewish apocalyptic and mystical texts. We also observed that the roots and priority of these mutual correspondences are difficult to establish, since already in some biblical accounts the Yom Kippur symbolism betrays its distinctive visionary mold. While the true extent of the apocalyptic influences on the Yom Kippur ritual remain shrouded in mystery, it is quite clear that this ritual’s imagery has captivated apocalypticists’ imaginations for many generations. The earliest Jewish visionary accounts, stemming from the Enochic tradition, seek to establish the apocalyptic thrust of the atonement ritual on a new conceptual level, and propel its distinctive symbolism in an entirely new eschatological dimension. The striking potential for humankind’s metamorphosis, cryptically embedded in the priestly rite through the changes of the celebrant’s garments, thus receives further symbolic elaboration in the transformational accounts of the apocalyptic tradition. In the literature of this tradition, the initiate’s daring eyes behold an array of transformational possibilities, which, untill this apocalyptic moment, had remained deeply concealed under the veil of the sacerdotal ritual.
In extra-biblical pseudepigraphic accounts, the transformational thrust of the Yom Kippur ritual reaches its new conceptual and symbolic dimension. The adept of this kind of apocalyptic narrative is not merely dressed in the linen garb of the sacerdotal clothes upon his entrance into the divine Presence. The profound and often terrifying changes he experiences far surpasses his lofty wardrobes; his very flesh and bones are suddenly annihilated by the divine fire,44 the substance that refashions the visionary’s mortal body into an angelic or even a divine corporeality. The striking metamorphoses affect not only the protagonist of the apocalyptic narrative, but also his infamous counterpart. Demoted subjects, including fallen angels, are drawn into an overarching drama of transformation, thus becoming part of the cosmic ordeal mysteriously outlined in the Yom Kippur ritual. Like its sacerdotal celebrants, the other actors in the ritual—including the scapegoat, its infamous antagonistic sacrifice—are also reinterpreted eschatologically and cosmically in the apocalyptic tradition.
A remarkable example of the apocalyptic reformulation of an antagonist is found in the Book of the Watchers, an early Enochic work stemming from the early Second Temple period. In this text, the scapegoat rite is reinterpreted angelologically, via the incorporation of details from the Yom Kippur ritual into the history of its rebel, the fallen angel Asael. The cosmic tragedy of the angelic servant’s demotion unfolds in the midst of the exaltation of the patriarch Enoch. Notably for our investigation, the profiles of both characters are overlaid with explicit and implicit liturgical connections. Thus Asael, who is envisioned as the sacrificial agent of the atoning ritual, is openly juxtaposed with Enoch, who is understood as the celestial high priest entering the heavenly Holy of Holies. While Asael and other Watchers abandon their stations and attempt to assume a variety of human roles—including familial duties of husbands and fathers45—Enoch progresses into the upper realm and assumes various angelic roles. Here, as in the Apocalypse of Abraham, the offices of the fallen angel(s), which correspond to his unique celestial status, are transferred to a human being en route to the divine Presence. This exchange of “gifts” between positive and negative characters is reciprocal; the angelic antagonist also receives a gift, though a rather unpleasant one, in the form of the “defilement” associated with the human condition.
This dynamic mimics the peculiar processions of protagonist and antagonist on the Day of Atonement, in the course of which the high priest enters the divine presence while the scapegoat is exiled into the wilderness.46 The Book of the Watchers reflects the same cultic pattern, as its hero Enoch progresses in the opposite direction of his antagonistic counterpart Asael, ascending into heaven and acquiring a special priestly status that allows him to enter the celestial sanctuary. Several scholars have previously noted this point.47 1 En. 14:9–18 reads:
And I proceeded until I came near to a wall which was built of hailstones, and a tongue of fire surrounded it, and it began to make me afraid. And I went into the tongue of fire and came near to a large house which was built of hailstones, and the wall of that house (was) like a mosaic (made) of hailstones, and its floor (was) snow. Its roof (was) like the path of the stars and flashes of lightning, and among them (were) fiery Cherubim, and their heaven (was like) water. And (there was) a fire burning around its wall, and its door was ablaze with fire. And I went into that house, and (it was) hot as fire and cold as snow, and there was neither pleasure nor life in it. Fear covered me and trembling, I fell on my face. And I saw in the vision, and behold, another house, which was larger than the former, and all its doors (were) open before me, and (it was) built of a tongue of fire. And in everything it so excelled in glory and splendor and size that I am unable to describe to you its glory and its size. And its floor (was) fire, and above (were) lightning and the path of the stars, and its roof also (was) a burning fire. And I looked and I saw in it a high throne, and its appearance (was) like ice and its surroundings like the shining sun and the sound of Cherubim.48
In commenting on this passage, Martha Himmelfarb draws attention to the peculiar description of the celestial edifices that Enoch encounters in his approach to the Throne. The Ethiopic text reports that, in order to reach God’s Throne, the patriarch passes through three celestial constructions: a wall, an outer house, and an inner house; the Greek version mentions a house instead of a wall. As Himmelfarb observes, “more clearly in the Greek, but also in the Ethiopic, this arrangement echoes the structure of the earthly temple with its vestibule (Mlw)), sanctuary (lkyh), and the Holy of Holies (rybd).”49 God’s throne is located in the innermost chamber of this heavenly structure and is represented by a throne of cherubim (14:18). It can be seen as a heavenly counterpart to the cherubim found in the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple.
Himmelfarb also suggests that in the Book of the Watchers the patriarch himself, in the course of his ascent, becomes a priest,50 similar to the angels.51 In this light, Enoch’s angelic status and priestly role52 appear to be interconnected. Himmelfarb stresses that “the author of the Book of the Watchers claims angelic status for Enoch through his service in the heavenly temple,” since “the ascent shows him passing through the outer court of the temple and the sanctuary to the door of the Holy of Holies, where God addresses him with his own mouth.”53 The seer’s entrance into to the divine Throne Room, and vision of the Glory of God, suggests strongly that the Book of the Watchers elaborates an apocalyptic version of the Yom Kippur celebration, which, like its earthy cultic counterpart, culminates with the celebrant’s entrance into the divine Presence.
Although the apocalyptic re-enactment of the Yom Kippur ritual in the Book of the Watchers does not openly invoke the imagery of the celebrant’s garments, other pseudepigraphic accounts often do. For example, in the depiction of the initiation of a heavenly priest reflected in the T. Levi 8 and 2 En. 22, symbolism of sacerdotal clothes looms large.54 Moreover, as in the aforementioned Adamic developments, these descriptions also betray distinctive protological connections; at both T. Levi 8 and 2 En. 22, the priestly investitures of the hero appear to be understood as the glorious garments of the first humans. The T. Levi 8:2-10 offers the following depiction of Levi’s celestial investiture:
And I saw seven men in white clothing, saying to me: Arise, put on the robe of the priesthood and the crown of righteousness and breastplate of understanding and the garment of truth and the plate of faith and the turban of (giving) a sign and the ephod of prophecy. And each of them carried these things and put them on me, and said: From now on become a priest of the Lord, you and your seed for ever. And the first anointed me with holy oil and gave a staff of judgment. The second washed me with pure water and fed me with bread and wine, most holy things, and put round me a holy and glorious robe. The third clothed me with a linen vestment like an ephod. The forth put round me a girdle like a purple (robe). The fifth gave me a branch of rich olive. The sixth put a crown on my head. The seventh put on me a diadem of the priesthood. And they filled my hands with incense that I might serve as a priest to the Lord.55
In this stunning passage, the visionary acquires a glorious robe—an event tied to a whole array of subtle allusions to the actions and attributes of the high priest. The vestment’s glorious nature invokes the memory of the first humans’ garments, and a series of other protological markers reinforce this connection. One such hint may be the olive branch, which possibly refers cryptically both to a menorah and to the Tree of Life, and thus provides an important conceptual bridge that helps to unify the narrative’s protological and sacerdotal dimensions.
In 2 En. 22, the visionary’s reception of the glorious garment again appears alongside a cluster of cultic and protological motifs. 2 En. 22:9 depicts Enoch’s arrival into the deity’s abode. This entrance into the divine Presence necessitates an adjustment in Enoch’s wardrobe. Then the archangel Michael extracts Enoch from his clothes and anoints him with delightful oil. This oil is “greater than the greatest light and its ointment is like sweet dew, and the fragrance [like] myrrh; and it is like rays of the glittering sun.”56 This anointing transforms the patriarch, whose garments of skin are replaced by the luminous garment of an immortal angelic being, one of the glorious ones. As in the Testament of Levi, the unity of the story’s sacerdotal and protological dimensions is secured through the pivotal arboreal symbol: thus it appears that that the oil used in Enoch’s anointing comes from the Tree of Life, which in 2 En. 8:3–4 is depicted with a similar symbolism:
… the tree [of life] is indescribable for pleasantness and fine fragrance, and more beautiful than any (other) created thing that exists. And from every direction it has an appearance which is gold-looking and crimson, and with the form of fire.57
The shorter recension refers to a second olive tree, near the first, which is “flowing with oil continually.”58 Here, as in the Testament of Levi, the adept’s initiation and re-dressing coincides with his anointing, which tries to unify several theological dimensions, sacerdotal as well as protological. In this respect, Enoch’s investiture with celestial garments and anointing with shining oil represents not only his priestly initiation, but the restoration of fallen humanity.
The Primary Adam Books also attest to this anointing tradition and underscore its significance in the eschatological restoration of the protoplast. The tradition surfaces, for example, in the Armenian version’s depiction of Adam’s burial; the protoplast is clothed with linen garments brought by archangels from Paradise, and then anointed with oil:
After this, God spoke to Michael and said, “Go to the Garden of the [third] heaven and bring [me] three linen cloths.” When he had brought them, God said to Michael and to Ozel and to Gabriel, “Bring these linen cloths and cover Adam’s body, and bring sweet oil.” They brought them and set them around him and wound him in that garment.59
In light of this Adamic passage, it seems rather clear that the anointing of Enoch in the Slavonic apocalypse signals the return of fallen humankind to the original condition of the protoplast and his garments of light.
Distinctively sacerdotal symbolism also permeates the scene of restoration in 2 Enoch Martha Himmelfarb observes that “the combination of clothing and anointing suggests that the process by which Enoch becomes an angel is a heavenly version of priestly investiture.”60 Crispin Fletcher-Louis also discerns a cultic dimension in Enoch’s newly acquired garments, suggesting that
Enoch’s transformation in 2 Enoch is greatly indebted to priestly practice and its understanding of investiture. The myrrh fragrance of the oil of Enoch’s anointing recalls the sacred oil of anointing prescribed by Moses for the tabernacle in Exod 30:22–23. The comparison of the oil with sweet dew is perhaps a reflection of Psalm 133:2–3 where there is a parallelism between the oil running down the head of Aaron and the dew of Mount Hermon. The reference to the glittering rays of the sun is yet one more witness to the theme of priestly luminescence. The specific comparison of the oil of anointing with the sun’s rays is ultimately dependent on the priestly tradition within the Pentateuch since there the oil of anointing is placed in God’s fourth speech to Moses in Exod 25–31 as a parallel within the Tabernacle instructions to the creation of the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day of creation (Gen 1:14–19). In general terms Enoch’s investiture is indebted to the scene in Zechariah 3 where the high priest’s old clothes are removed and replaced with new ones. In that scene too the priest is attended by angels, just as Michael acts as Enoch’s attendant in 2 Enoch (see T. Levi 8). In 2 En. 22:6 Enoch is granted permanent access to God’s throne room, just as Joshua is given rights of access to the heavenly realm in Zech 3:7. The concluding chapters of 2 Enoch (chs. 69–73) are devoted to the priestly succession after Enoch’s ascension.”61
In past scholarly attention has been often focused either on the cultic or protological dimensions of Enoch’s anointment and investiture.62 Yet, sometimes, students of 2 Enoch have proved reluctant to recognize the synthetic nature of this imagery. Nevertheless, in the Slavonic account priestly and protological details seem to be seamlessly interwoven.
Priestly Garments of Abraham
It is now time to return to the Apocalypse of Abraham, where the transference of Azazel’s angelic garment to the patriarch reflects similar sacerdotal associations. Scholars have previously noted that the details in the enigmatic story of Abraham’s changing wardrobe seem to invoke traditions from several biblical prophetic texts. Recall that, in Apoc. Ab. 13, Abraham is caught up into an arcane interaction between the demon Azazel and the angel Yahoel. Azazel attempts to discourage Abraham from ascending into the celestial realm, warning him that he will be destroyed there by fire, while Yahoel tries to strengthen the will of Abraham and rebuke the demon.
That fact that Abraham stands between two celestial figures,63 one of whom is a good angel and the other his evil counterpart,64 is reminiscent of the account in Zechariah 3, where the high priest Joshua is depicted as standing between two spirits.65 In Zechariah, as in the Slavonic apocalypse, distinctive priestly concerns are conflated with the motif of the change of garments; thus Zechariah 3-4 reads:
… Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by. Then the angel of the Lord assured Joshua, saying “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.” The angel who talked with me came again, and wakened me, as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it; there are seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And by it there are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” (NRSV)
In this striking passage we find a description of the priestly initiation in which a high priest receives the pure garment. This invokes the memory of other cultic initiations in Jewish apocalyptic texts, like the aforementioned T. Levi 8 and 2 En. 22, where the exalted patriarchs receive priestly robes. As with Zechariah 3, these texts allude to the anthropological significance of priestly initiation, which symbolizes return to the original condition of the protoplast by stripping off the filthy garments of fallen humanity. All three accounts are unified by the motif of the Tree of Life, which points at once to the Garden of Eden and to the Temple, its earthly counterpart.
The parallels between Zech 3-4 and the Apoc. Ab. 13-14 allow us to better understand the sacerdotal context of the Slavonic account, and its connection with the Day of Atonement. Indeed, as Daniel Stökl has observed, in comparison it seems that the Apocalypse of Abraham develops the prophetic cultic imagery more decisively: “compared to Zech 3, the Apocalypse of Abraham embellishes the Yom Kippur imagery.”66 Unlike Zechariah, where the soiled garment of the priestly figure is simply exchanged for the pure one, in the Apocalypse of Abraham the transformational pattern appears to be more radical; it involves the memory of the specific context of the Yom Kippur ritual, where the scapegoat takes upon itself humanity’s defilement. In the Apocalypse of Abraham, the priestly initiate’s “soiled” garments are not simply exchanged for pure ones, as in Zechariah. They are transferred to Azazel. This evokes the cathartic nature of the Yom Kippur ritual, in which the sin of humanity was transferred to the scapegoat.
The Apoc. Ab. 13 graphically underlines this exchange:
And he said to him, “Reproach is on you, Azazel! Since Abraham’s portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth …. For behold, the garment which in heaven was formerly yours has been set aside for him, and the corruption which was on him has gone over to you.” (Apoc. Ab. 13:7-14). 67
David Halperin previously reflected on the importance of the motif of the wardrobe-exchange between positive and negative protagonists:
… we see here the theme, which we have already met in the stories of Enoch in the Book of the Watchers and of Adam in the “Apocalypse of Moses,” of the exaltation of the human and the degradation of the angel corresponding to each other and to some extent depending on each other. If Azazel can persuade Abraham not to make his ascent, he will perhaps be able to keep his own privileged status.68
It should be stressed again that the connections between the initiation scenes in the Apocalypse of Abraham and Zechariah are important since they help to illumine the priestly nature of the peculiar transitions that the hero of the faith undergoes immediately before his entrance into the Throne Room in the upper heaven, the sacred locale envisioned in the text as the celestial counterpart of the earthy Holy of Holies.69
Scholars have lamented the apparent dearth of decisively priestly transformation in the Apocalypse of Abraham. 70 Yet I think Martha Himmelfarb is correct when she suggests that the promise of a garment given to a seer immediately before his entrance into heaven fulfils, in this text, the function of the actual re-clothing. She notices that although Abraham does not undergo a transformation as explicit as that of Enoch, Isaiah, or Zephaniah, and he is never actually provided with a garment, he has been promised one.71
Transformation of the Antagonist
Garments of Descent
On the basis of our previous investigation it seems that the transformation of the patriarch in the Apocalypse of Abraham depends in many ways on the peculiar changes affecting his antagonistic counterpart—the fallen angel Azazel. The exaltation of the one depends upon the demotion of the other, who had once prospered in an elevated domicile but is now forcefully expelled from this domain. As with entrance into the upper realm, removal is laden as well with profound changes in the spiritual and physical states of the characters. Like the heroes of the apocalyptic accounts, who undergo spectacular metamorphoses preparing them for the novel conditions of their newly acquired celestial domains, the metamorphoses of the antagonists have an ontological significance, foreshadowing the fate of the deity’s former favorites now transported, by the will of the Creator, into the lower realms.72 From this negative transformation, often conveyed in detail in various pseudepigraphical accounts, readers gain insight into the peculiar refashioning of the celestial “garments” of the demoted antagonists, who undergo transitions into new forms suited to their exilic realms.
By observing these ominous changes in the antihero (which, paradoxically, mock the protagonist’s metamorphosis) readers of the visionary accounts gaze into the logic of a kind of negative transformational mysticism.73 This process plays an important role in apocalyptic stories as an apophatic reaffirmation of the hero’s transformative motifs.
The perplexed complexity of the negative routine endured by the demoted agents should not be underestimated. The acquisition of the novel ontological “garments” bestowed on an antagonist is often surrounded with the most recondite and puzzling imagery to be found in the apocalyptic accounts. These accounts offer the eyes of their beholders a stunning plethora of cryptic depictions, in which the composite physiques of the demoted heroes often represent a bizarre mixture of demonic and heavenly attributes. This hybrid nature of the negative heroes’ visible manifestations suggests that, despite their exile into the lower realms, these formerly celestial creatures were never intended to function as the harmonious inhabitants of their newly acquired environments; rather, they were predestined to become the agents of a foreboding corrupting change—a change often fatal to the realms of their exile.
In this respect, it is no coincidence that in the Slavonic apocalypse (as in many other pseudepigraphical accounts dealing with the demotion of fallen angels) so much attention should be spent on depictions of Azazel’s various transitional shapes, the portrayals that represent creative improvisations on the theme of the corruption of an antagonist’s original celestial form. Already in his debut at Apoc. Ab. 13, Azazel is designated as an “impure bird”—the sobriquet which, in the peculiar symbolic code of the apocalypse’s pteromorphic angelology, points to the corruption of his celestial form.74 Interestingly, the fallen angel’s “celestial” attributes appear repeatedly in many other portrayals of Azazel in the Apocalypse of Abraham, serving throughout as pointed reminders of his forfeited heavenly status.
Hence when later, in the heavenly throne room, Abraham sees a protological manifestation of the demoted angel, his vision combines both angelomorphic and theriomorphic attributes; Apocalypse of Abraham 23:4-11 reads:
And I looked at the picture, and my eyes ran to the side of the garden of Eden. And I saw there a man very great in height and terrible in breadth, incomparable in aspect, entwined with a woman who was also equal to the man in aspect and size. And they were standing under a tree of Eden, and the fruit of the tree was like the appearance of a bunch of grapes of vine. And behind the tree was standing, as it were, a serpent in form, but having hands and feet like a man, and wings on its shoulders: six on the right side and six on the left. And he was holding in his hands the grapes of the tree and feeding the two whom I saw entwined with each other. And I said, “Who are these two entwined with each other, or who is this between them, or what is the fruit which they are eating, Mighty Eternal One?” And he said, “This is the reason of men, this is Adam, and this is their desire on earth, this is Eve. And he who is between them is the Impiety of their pursuits for destruction, Azazel himself.”75
In this text, the negative protagonist has a composite physique which combines features of a serpent (“a serpent in form”) and an angel (“wings on its shoulders”). This unusual combination of two forms—animal and angelic—in the appearance of the seducer during his corruption of the protoplasts brings to mind the peculiar cluster of traditions about Satan’s appearance found in the Primary Adam Books. There, too, in the course of the seduction of the first human couple, the negative protagonist is endowed with a polymorphic shape that combines features of a serpent and an angel.76 In light of these similarities, a short excursus into the traditions of Satan’s appearances in the Primary Adam Books is necessary.
In various versions of the Life of Adam and Eve, the chief antagonist—Satan—undergoes a set of enigmatic and sometimes puzzling transformations into angelic and theriomorphic manifestations; he acquires, temporarily, the shapes of either an animal (a serpent) or a glorious angel. In this respect, it is intriguing that the two forms manifested in the Apocalypse of Abraham’s depiction of the Corruptor also appear in the Primary Adam Books, in the narratives dealing with the seduction or temptation of the first humans. And these temporal appearances are envisioned as “garments” of Satan, possibly understood as the disposable clothes which the Deceiver can easily switch over in the course of executing his evil plans.
It is not without design that one of the most intense conceptual crossroads dealing with Satan’s transformations should be situated amidst scenes of the protoplasts’ seduction; for the Deceiver tries to disguise his identity and pose as someone else by assuming the forms of an angelic messenger or an animal. Moreover, he appears to enjoy the ability to reenter the impermanent “garments” he had already used for deception in the past; hence his temporary use of angelic “garments” occurs not once but several times in the Life of Adam and Eve.77
The Primary Adam Books do not conceal the fact that in the beginning Satan was a very special celestial creature possessing an exalted and even glorious status in the heavenly realm — the position from which he was removed by the deity after his refusal to venerate the newly created protoplast. Yet unlike some other demoted agents—including the protoplasts, who are quietly and obediently exiled to the lower realms—Satan seems to retain the courage and power needed to entertain the possibility of returning to the upper regions to execute vengeance against his enemies, the first humans. This paradoxal ability, to be topologically present in the upper regions despite his demotion, may constitute an important prerequisite for the Deceiver’s power to take multiple forms befitting his evil plans.
The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books 17:1-2a attests Satan’s ability to assume temporarily the shape of an angelic being:
When the angels ascended to the worship of the Lord, at that time Satan took on the form of an angel and began to praise God with angelic praises. I knelt down by the wall and attended to his praises. I looked and saw him in the likeness of an angel; when I looked again, I did not see him.78
Although the Adversary’s acquisition of an angelic form appears temporary,79 this passage also suggests that Satan’s apparitions are not completely illusory, for they have functional potential. It is quite curious that, along with his mimesis of the angelic form, Satan also attempts to imitate the functions of the angelic beings by participating in the angelic liturgy. This ability, not merely to take angelic form but also to function in newly acquired “garments,” appears to grant more substance and credibility to his transformation, as other characters in the story are depicted as attending to his praises.
The Life of Adam and Eve goes on to say that Satan appeared (again) to Eve as an angel during the second temptation. This time the Deceiver’s angelic appearance seems to be even loftier, as the text repeatedly identifies him as a cherub endowed with a special luminous vestment. The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books 9:1-2 provides further details regarding this angelic manifestation:
When eighteen days of their weeping were completed, then Satan took on the form of a cherub with splendid attire, and went to the Tigris river to deceive Eve. Her tears were falling on her attire, down to the ground. Satan said to Eve, “Come forth from the water and rest, for God has hearkened to your penitence, to you and Adam your husband.”80
It is striking that, in this second temptation, Satan appears in angelic form—indeed, as a cherubic creature. Cherubic imagery vis-à-vis the antagonist also looms large in the Apocalypse of Abraham, where Azazel combines the attributes of two cherubim joined together.81 At Apoc. Ab. 23, e.g., the demon has twelve wings—six on the right side of his body and six on the left:
And behind the tree was standing, as it were, a serpent in form, but having hands and feet like a man, and wings on its shoulders: six on the right side and six on the left.82
Earlier in the Apoc. Ab., when the hero of faith sees the “Living Creatures of the Cherubim” in the heavenly Throne Room each of them has six wings:
And under the throne [I saw] four singing fiery Living Creatures … and each one had six wings: from their shoulders, <and from their sides,> and from their loins (Apoc. Ab. 18:3-6).83
Another intriguing detail of the account found in the Primary Adam Books is that, during the first and second temptations of the protoplasts, Satan’s angelic shape is described as luminous in nature. The first temptation underlines the fact that the Deceiver came “with radiance.” Eve’s second temptation refers again to Satan’s splendid attire; this detail may hint at the fact that the assumption of angelic form is understood as wearing a garment, and this attire might parallel the first humans’ luminous vestments. This understanding of luminous angelic form as “garment” is especially evident in the Georgian version of the second temptation, which openly refers to the Adversary’s angelic form as his clothes or his “garment”:
When the twelve days of his weeping were completed, the devil trembled and changed his shape and his clothes by his artful deceit. He went close to Eve, on the Tigris river, and stood beside the bank. He was weeping and had his false tears dripping (trickling) down on his garment and from his garment down to the ground. Then he told Eve, “Come out of that water (where you are) and stop your tribulations, for God has hearkened to your penitence and to Adam your husband.”84
Satan’s Theriomorphic Garment
The scene of the first temptation and seduction of the protoplast without doubt represents one of the most intense conceptual crossroads manifesting the transformational capacities of the antagonist. Hence it is little surprise that, similarly to Satan’s first dissembling in angelic garments—which took place for the first time during the seduction of the protoplasts—the transition to an animal garment is also found here.
Primary Adam Books 44 has Satan abandoning his angelic manifestation and entering the animal form of a serpent85 in order to deceive the protoplasts. Yet Satan’s new identity is not entirely unambiguous, since pseudepigraphic and rabbinic accounts often provide various interpretations of the serpent’s gender. Some of these sources seem to understand the serpent as an androgynous creature, whose skin God later used to create the “garments” of both Adam and Eve. The tradition of clothing the first humans in the “attire” of the serpent is especially intriguing in light of Satan’s acquisition of the same garments in the Primary Adam Books. Does Satan’s “clothing” as serpent proleptically anticipate the future re-clothing of the protoplasts in garments of skin?
Satan’s endowment with the “animal garment” of the serpent can be understood as the anti-paradigm of transformational mysticism. The antagonist’s transition from an upper (angelic) to a lower (animal) form brings to mind the opposite metamorphosis, that is to say, the glorious metamorphosis of the apocalyptic visionary, who undergoes a transition from garments of skin into garments of light.
The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books offers the following account of Satan’s transformation:
The serpent said, “In what way or how can we expel him from the Garden?” Satan said to the serpent, “Be you, in your form, a lyre for me and I will pronounce speech through your mouth, so that we may be able to help.” Then the two of them came to me and hung their feet around the wall of the Garden. When the angels ascended to the worship of the Lord, at that time Satan took on the form of an angel and began to praise God with angelic praises. I knelt down by the wall and attended to his praises.
I looked and saw him in the likeness of an angel; when I looked again, I did not see him. Then he went and summoned the serpent and said to him, “Arise, come to me so that I may enter into you and speak through your mouth as much as I will need to say.” At that time the serpent became a lyre for him, and he came again to the wall of the Garden. He cried out and said, “Oh, woman, you who are blind in this Garden of delight, arise come to me and I will say some words to you.” 86
Satan’s animal manifestation is not merely a phantom or an ideal apparition; he inhabits the actual living creature, and thus becomes a sort of possessive spirit within this living being that functions alongside and upon its true proprietor.87
In another passage from the Primary Adam Books, Satan again appears to assume a theriomorphic shape—this time the shape of a wild beast. Hence on their journey to Paradise in order to obtain the oil of resurrection needed to heal the dying Adam, Eve and Seth encounter a mysterious creature labeled, in the narrative, as the wild beast. In the Greek version of the Life of Adam and Eve, the story takes the following form:
Then Seth and Eve went toward the direction of the Garden. [And while they were going,] Eve saw her son, and a wild beast assailing him. And Eve wept and said: “Woe is me; if I come to the day of the Resurrection, all those who have sinned will curse me saying: ‘Eve has not kept the commandment of God.’” And she spoke to the beast: “You wicked beast, Do you not fear to fight with the image of God? How was your mouth opened? How were your teeth made strong? How did you not call to mind your subjection? For long ago you were made subject to the image of God.” Then the beast cried out and said: “It is not our concern, Eve, your greed and your wailing, but your own; for (it is) from you that the rule of the beasts has arisen. How was your mouth opened to eat of the tree concerning which God commanded you not to eat of it? On this account, our nature also has been transformed. Now therefore you cannot endure it, if I begin to reprove you.” Then Seth spoke to the beast, “Close your mouth and be silent and stand off from the image of God until the day of Judgment.” Then the beast said to Seth: “Behold, I stand off from the image of God.” [And the beast fled and left him wounded] and went to his hut.88
One of the important details of this intriguing encounter between the primordial humans and a hostile animal is presence of the peculiar terminology of the “image of God.” This formula invokes the memory of Satan’s rebellion, when he refused to worship the image of God. During the hostile encounter between the animal and Seth, who is defined in the story as a bearer of the “Image of God,” the wild beast does not fear “to fight with the Image of God.” This confluence of motifs related to the beast’s antagonism towards the Image of God in Seth appears to allude to Satan’s original protological opposition to another, original bearer of the Divine Image: Adam. In this we therefore see the second instance of a rebellious stand against the Image of God, a rebellion that mirrors Satan’s refusal to venerate the newly created protoplast. Scholars have previously noticed this connection; when commenting on Seth’s rebuke, “Get away from the image of God,” Gary Anderson suggests that
… this rebuke has some rather clear resonances with another key moment in the Vita’s story-line. It sounds very much like the instructions Satan and the other angels received at the moment of Adam’s creation, “Prosternez vous devant le semblable et 1’image de la divinite” (14:1).89
The writers and editors of various versions of the Primary Adam Books seem also to discern this ominous connection between the Adversary and the animal.90 Although Greek, Georgian, and Latin versions of the Life of Adam and Eve do not name the wild beast as Satan, the Armenian Penitence of Adam openly entertains this possibility:
Thereafter, Seth and Eve went in the direction of the Garden. As they were going, Eve saw that a wild beast was fighting with [her son] Seth and was biting him. Eve began to weep and she said, “[When] that the day of Judgment came; all sins will be blamed upon me and (men) will say, ‘Our mother did not hearken to the commandment of the Lord God!’” Eve called out against the wild beast and said, “O wild beast, how do you [not] fear the image of God, that you dared to fight with the image of God? How was your mouth open[ed] and your fangs bared, and your hair stood on end? How did you not remember the obedience which you formerly displayed, that your mouth was opened against the image of God?” Then the wild beast cried out and said to Eve, “In truth, our insolence is because of you, for the example came from you. How was your mouth opened to dare to eat of the fruit concerning which God commanded you not to eat of it? [Until he will change all of our natures, henceforth you are unable to resist that which I speak to you, or if I begin to rebuke you.]” Then Seth said to the wild beast, “Close your mouth, O Satan. Get away from the image of God until [[the day will come]] on which God will bring you to rebuke.]” Then he said to Seth, “Behold, I am standing apart from you, the image of God.” The beast fled from him.91
As in the first temptation of the protoplasts, in this text Satan appears to take the form of an animal in order to challenge the protoplasts and their progeny.
Vessels of Evil: The Antagonist’s “Possession” of the “Living” Form
The Primary Adam Books demonstrate the perplexing fluidity of the forms of Satan; in some episodes the mercurial Adversary assumes not one, but several shapes. These texts often depict the antagonist’s rapid transition from one manifestation to another. Such a speedy change is especially notable during Eve’s first temptation. In this scene, Satan takes the form of both an angel and a serpent, and even assumes another, invisible condition92 between these two manifestations. The Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books graphically depicts these changes:
Then the two of them came to me and hung their feet around the wall of the Garden. When the angels ascended to the worship of the Lord, at that time Satan took on the form of an angel and began to praise God with angelic praises. I knelt down by the wall and attended to his praises. I looked and saw him in the likeness of an angel; when I looked again, I did not see him. Then he went and summoned the serpent and said to him, “Arise, come to me so that I may enter into you and speak through your mouth as much as I will need to say.” At that time the serpent became a lyre for him, and he came again to the wall of the Garden. He cried out and said, “Oh, woman, you who are blind in this Garden of delight, arise come to me and I will say some words to you.” When I went to him, he said to me, “Are you Eve?” I said, “Yes, I am.” He replied and said, “What do you do in [the Garden]?” I said to him, “God set us to guard the Garden,” Satan replied and said to me through the mouth of the serpent, “This work is good, but come, do you eat of [all] the trees which are in the Garden?” I said to him, “Yes, we eat of all of them except only of that one tree which is in the very middle of the Garden, concerning which God commanded us, ‘Do not eat of it, for if you eat you will surely die.’” (17:1-5).93
The Georgian version maintains the same transformational pattern; it too attests the fluidity of Satan’s manifestations, describing his transitions into invisible, angelic, and theriomophic states:
And the two of them came together and they allowed their heads to hang on the wall of the Garden at the time where the angels had ascended to prostrate before God. Then the Devil changed himself into the image of an angel; he sang the praises of the angels. And I was gazing in the direction of the wall to hear the praises. I stared and I saw him like an angel and at once he became invisible for he had gone forth to bring the serpent. And he told him, “Arise and come and I will be with you and I will speak though your mouth that which it is proper for you to say.” He took on the form of the serpent (to go) close to the wall of the Garden and the Devil slipped inside the serpent and he allowed his head to hang on the wall of the Garden.94
Michael Stone suggests that the invisible condition Satan often assumes between taking other visible shapes is intended to underline the fact that these visible forms are temporal illusions or mirages. As Stone rightly observes, when “challenged, he disappears from sight.”95
Another important transformational feature (already mentioned above) is that Satan is able to take possession of the “living forms” of existing characters. This is clear from the case of the serpent; Satan is able to enter existing bodies and function alongside their genuine personalities. “The devil answered,” says the text, “through the mouth of the serpent.”
According to Michael Stone, in these transformational accounts Satan comes into “possession” of certain characters of the story, who thus become Satan’s instruments or “tools.”96 Stone observes that in the Primary Adam Books,
… Satan says to the serpent, according to the Greek, “be my vessel and I will speak through your mouth words to deceive them.” The word “vessel” seems to imply the idea of possession…. Satan is identical for all practical purposes with the serpent; Satan enters or possesses the serpent and speaks through its mouth; the serpent is Satan’s instrument or tool.97
Stone discerns a similar development in the Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 13, where Samael “rides” the serpent as a camel. 98 He notes that the chapter 13 opens with
… the theme of angelic jealousy of Adam and Adam’s superiority to the angels in his ability to name the animals. The fall of the archangel Samael is described, together with his host. He found the serpent, and “its likeness was like a sort of camel and he mounted it and rode it.” This relationship is likened to that of a horse and a rider (cf. Exod 15:1, 21).99
Zohar I.35b, attesting a similar tradition, also understands Samael/Satan as the “rider” of the serpent:
R. Isaac said: “This is the evil tempter.” R. Judah said that it means literally a serpent. They consulted R. Simeon, and he said to them: “Both are correct. It was Samael, and he appeared on a serpent, for the ideal form of the serpent is the Satan. We have learnt that at that moment Samael came down from heaven riding on this serpent, and all creatures saw his form and fled before him.”100
The same mystical compendium depicts Azazel as a rider on the serpent:
… Now observe a deep and holy mystery of faith, the symbolism of the male principle and the female principle of the universe. In the former are comprised all holinesses and objects of faith, and all life, all freedom, all goodness, all illuminations emerge from thence; all blessings, all benevolent dews, all graces and kindnesses—all these are generated from that side, which is called the South. Contrariwise, from the side of the North there issue a variety of grades, extending downwards, to the world below. This is the region of the dross of gold, which comes from the side of impurity and loathsomeness and which forms a link between the upper and nether regions; and there is the line where the male and female principles join, forming together the rider on the serpent, and symbolized by Azazel (Zohar I.152b-153a).101
This description strikingly recalls the portrayal of Azazel’s corruption of the protoplasts in Apoc. Ab. 23:4-11, which situates the arch-demon beneath the Tree of Knowledge in the midst of the intertwined protological couple. Thus it seems that Satan’s transition from celestial to “serpent-like” form is not a novelty pioneered by the authors of the Adamic booklets, but rather an improvisation on a theme with ancient roots in Enochic tradition.
Azazel’s Theriomorphism: from Sacrificial Animal to Fallen Angel
The story of Satan’s transformation from animal into angel (and vice versa) in the Primary Adam Books leads us naturally to certain developments in one of the earliest Enochic booklets, viz., the Book of the Watchers, which may constitute the initial conceptual background to the Adamic antagonist’s peculiar transformation. Nor did the Apocalypse of Abraham escape these seminal influences. It has been noted that the sacerdotal context of the Yom Kippur festival seems to affect the chief antagonist’s complex profile in the Slavonic apocalypse. In this text, allusions to Yom Kippur seem to have been reshaped deeply by the Enochic apocalyptic reinterpretation of the scapegoat ritual; its antagonist, the scapegoat Azazel, is envisioned not as a sacrificial animal but as a demoted heavenly being. In the Book of the Watchers, the scapegoat rite receives an angelological reinterpretation; it merges the peculiar dynamic of the sacrificial ritual with the story of its main antagonist, the fallen angel Asael.
1 En. 10:4-7 brings us to the very heart of this conceptual development:
And further the Lord said to Raphael: “Bind Azazel by his hands and his feet, and throw him into the darkness. And split open the desert which is in Dudael, and throw him there. And throw on him jagged and sharp stones, and cover him with darkness; and let him stay there for ever, and cover his face, that he may not see light, and that on the great day of judgment he may be hurled into the fire. And restore the earth which the angels have ruined, and announce the restoration of the earth, for I shall restore the earth ….102
Scholars have previously pointed to the fact that several details in the account of Asael’s punishment are reminiscent of the scapegoat ritual. Lester Grabbe’s research outlines the specific parallels between the Asael narrative in 1 Enoch and the wording of Leviticus 16, which include:
the similarity of the names Asael and Azazel;
the punishment in the desert;
the placing of sin on Asael/Azazel;
the resultant healing of the land. 103
It is important to note that Asael’s transformation into an animal is not limited solely to the Book of the Watchers. The same imagery also occupies an important place in the Animal Apocalypse, which depicts the fall of the Watchers as the mutation of stars into animals.104 In this Enochic booklet, the theriomorphism of the former angels is juxtaposed with the angelomorphism of Noah105 and Moses,106 whose bodies undergo an inverse refashioning that transforms them from “animals” into “humans.” In the peculiar symbolic code of this apocalyptic work, this imagery signals the fact that Noah and Moses have thus acquired angelic bodies.
The Garment of Darkness
In the aforementioned passage about the binding of Asael during the sacrificial ritual in the desert (in 1 En. 10) we find an intriguing tradition about clothing the demon with darkness:
And throw on him jagged and sharp stones, and cover him with darkness; and let him stay there for ever, and cover his face, that he may not see light, and that on the great day of judgment he may be hurled into the fire.107
The antagonist’s covering with darkness is a pertinent motif for our investigation, as it may represent a conceptual correlative to the hero’s clothing with light. Asael’s covering with darkness appear to be a sort of counterpart to the garment of light which Enoch receives in heaven. This ominous attire deprives its wearer of receiving the divine light—the source of life for all God’s creatures.
That it is the face of the demon which is thus clothed with darkness may recall a series of transformational motifs involving, respectively, God’s Panim and the panim of the visionary. This terminology is quite well known in Jewish apocalyptic literature. It does not merely designate the protagonist’s or deity’s visage per se, but symbolizes their complete covering with luminous attire.
The Impure Bird
The Enochic demonological template factors significantly in the Apocalypse of Abraham, which envisions Azazel, like the Enochic antagonist, as a fallen angelic being. Indeed, the Azazel narrative of this later apocalypse reflects several peculiar details from the Enochic myth of the fallen angels as described in the Book of the Watchers.108 Thus Ryszard Rubinkiewicz has argued that
… the author of the Apocalypse of Abraham follows the tradition of 1 En. 1-36. The chief of the fallen angels is Azazel, who rules the stars and most men. It is not difficult to find here the tradition of Gen 6:1-4 developed according to the tradition of 1 Enoch Azazel is the head of the angels who plotted against the Lord and who impregnated the daughters of men. These angels are compared to the stars. Azazel revealed the secrets of heaven and is banished to the desert. Abraham, as Enoch, receives the power to drive away Satan. All these connections show that the author of the Apocalypse of Abraham drew upon the tradition of 1 Enoch.109
In the Slavonic apocalypse, as in the Enochic and Qumran materials, Azazel is clearly no longer a sacrificial animal, but an angelic being. Already in his first appearance at Apoc. Ab. 13:3-4,110 the text depicts Azazel as an unclean—impure—bird (Slav. птица нечистая). In the pteromorphic angelological code of the Apocalypse of Abraham, which portrays Yahoel with the body of a griffin, Azazel’s bird-like appearance signals his possession of an angelic form. This angelic shape appears to be compromised and “soiled,” which renders it impure. It is not entirely clear, in this context, if the term “impure bird” signifies the antagonist’s compromised angelic status absolutely, or rather the impropriety of his wearing the angelic garment in the current moment.
In this respect, the reference to the “impurity” of Azazel’s angelic form recalls the aforementioned tradition in the Life of Adam and Eve, where the antagonist wears an angelic garment inappropriately. The situations in which the antagonists appear in questionable angelic attire are very similar; for in both cases they attempt to deceive the stories’ protagonists. Like Satan, who attempts to deceive and corrupt the primordial couple, Azazel too attempts to deceive the hero of the faith and persuade him not to enter heaven.
It is now time to return to the motif of the special celestial garment found in the Apocalypse of Abraham, and the significance of this theme for the sacerdotal framework of the Slavonic pseudepigraphon. It is no accident that the promise of a mysterious garment to Abraham occurs in the very chapters of the apocalypse that represent the text’s sacerdotal nexus—the conceptual crux that intends to bring its readers into the heart of the apocalyptic Yom Kippur ritual. In Apoc. Ab. 13 and 14, Abraham’s celestial guide, Yahoel, appears to perform one of the central ordinances of the atoning ceremony, by means of which impurity is transferred to Azazel and dispatched into the wilderness. Consider, e.g., Yahoel’s arcane address to Azazel at Apoc. Ab. 13:7-14:
… Reproach is on you, Azazel! Since Abraham’s portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth, since you have chosen it and desired it to be the dwelling place of your impurity. Therefore the Eternal Lord, the Mighty One, has made you a dweller on earth. And because of you [there is] the wholly-evil spirit of the lie, and because of you [there are] wrath and trials on the generations of impious men. Since the Eternal Mighty God did not send the righteous, in their bodies, to be in your hand, in order to affirm through them the righteous life and the destruction of impiety.… Hear, adviser! Be shamed by me, since you have been appointed to tempt not to all the righteous! Depart from this man! You cannot deceive him, because he is the enemy of you and of those who follow you and who love what you desire. For behold, the garment which in heaven was formerly yours has been set aside for him, and the corruption which was on him has gone over to you.111
This address—which the celestial cultic servant of the highest rank delivers to the demoted angel who bears the name of the scapegoat—is ritually significant, because it appears to reflect some of the actions of the high priest on Yom Kippur.112 For this reason, the phrase “dwelling place of your impurity” is especially intriguing. It alludes to the purgative function of the scapegoat ceremony, which centered on the removal of the impurity bestowed on the sacrificial animal to the “dwelling” place of the demon in the desert. The corruption of Abraham, the forefather of the Israelite nation, is now transferred to Azazel.113 And Yahoel appears to perform the so-called “transference function” when the celebrant passes Israel’s sins onto the scapegoat’s head. This, it seems, may also explain why Yahoel’s speech contains a command of departure (Apoc. Ab. 13:12: “Depart from this man!”) rather like the dispatch-formula given to the scapegoat in m. Yoma 6:4: “Take our sins and go forth.”114
In this climatic point of the apocalyptic Yom Kippur ceremony, Abraham’s infamous opponent, stripped of his lofty celestial clothes, takes on a new, now sacrificial role in the principal purifying ordinance of the Jewish tradition by assuming the office of the cosmic scapegoat who is predestined to carry the celebrant’s impurity into the netherworld. This mysterious burden of the ambiguous sacrificial agent, dispatching its ominous “gift” not to the divine but to the demonic realm has puzzled generations of interpreters who often wondered if this oblation was a sacrificial portion to the Other Side. Thus, in the Book of Zohar and some later Jewish mystical writings the scapegoat was often understood as “the principal offering that is destined in its entirety for ‘the Other Side.’”115 In light of these later traditions it is not entirely impossible that in the dualistic framework of the Slavonic apocalypse where the antagonist’s abode imitates the realm of the deity one can have such peculiar understanding of the scapegoat’s functions. But this is a subject of another lengthy investigation.
1 Orlov, “Eschatological Yom Kippur in the Apocalypse of Abraham. The Scapegoat Ritual,” in this volume.
2 This peculiar dynamic of apocalyptic accounts is already present in early Enochic booklets, where the antagonists represented by the fallen angels assume a wide array of human roles on earth, while a human protagonist—Enoch—assumes their celestial and priestly offices in the heavenly realm.
3 One of the instances of such an encounter between exalted hero and demoted antagonists can be found in 2 Enoch, where the seventh antediluvian patriarch meets, on his celestial journey, a group of incarcerated Watchers in the second heaven. On this tradition see A. Orlov “The Watchers of Satanael: The Fallen Angels Traditions in 2 (Slavonic) Enoch,” in this volume.
4 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
5 See L. Ginzberg, “Apocalypse of Abraham,” in: Jewish Encyclopedia (10 vols.; ed. I. Singer; New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1901-1906) 1.91-92 at 92.
6 Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 29. Later rabbinic traditions also hold that the glorious garments of Adam and Eve were made from the skin of the female Leviathan.
7 Friedlander, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 144.
8 One such cryptic allusion to the protoplast’s glorious garments can possibly be found in Ezek 28, which tells the story of a glorious angelic being, originally installed in the Garden of Eden but then forcefully expelled from this lofty location. The text describes the peculiar garment of this celestial being, decorated with precious stones and gold.
9 For discussions about the luminous body of Adam, see D.H. Aaron, “Shedding Light on God’s Body in Rabbinic Midrashim: Reflections on the Theory of a Luminous Adam,” HTR 90 (1997) 299-314; S. Brock, “Clothing Metaphors as a Means of Theological Expression in Syriac Tradition,” in: Typus, Symbol, Allegorie bei den östlichen Vätern und ihren Parallelen im Mittelalter (ed. M. Schmidt; EB, 4; Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1982) 11-40; A.D. DeConick and J. Fossum, “Stripped before God: A New Interpretation of Logion 37 in the Gospel of Thomas,” VC 45 (1991) 123–150 at 141; N.A. Dahl and D. Hellholm, “Garment-Metaphors: The Old and the New Human Being,” in: Antiquity and Humanity: Essays on Ancient Religion and Philosophy: Presented to Hans Dieter Betz on his 70 th Birthday (eds. A.Yarbro Collins and M.M. Mitchell; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2001) 139-158; A. Goshen-Gottstein, “The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature,” HTR 87 (1994) 171-95; B. Murmelstein, “Adam, ein Beitrag zur Messiaslehre,” WZKM 35 (1928) 242-275 at 255; N. Rubin and A. Kosman, “The Clothing of the Primordial Adam as a Symbol of Apocalyptic Time in the Midrashic Sources,” HTR 90 (1997) 155-174; J.Z. Smith, “The Garments of Shame,” HR 5 (1965/1966) 217-238.
10 Aaron, “Shedding Light on God’s Body,” 303.
11 Cf., for example, Ezek 1; Ps 101:1; Job 40:10.
12 Brock, “Clothing Metaphors as a Means of Theological Expression in Syriac Tradition,” 14.
13 The Qumran materials appear to be aware of the motif of the glorious condition of Adam. Thus several texts invoke the tradition of the glory of the protoplast: 1QS 4:15 22-23: “For those God has chosen for an everlasting covenant and to them shall belong all the glory of Adam (Md) dwbk).” 1QH 4:9 15; “giving them as a legacy all the glory of Adam (Md) dwbk).” CD-A 3:20 “Those who remained steadfast in it will acquire eternal life, and all the glory of Adam (Md) dwbk) is for them.” The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 78-79; 148-149; 554-555.
14 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 58E. Cf. also the Armenian LAE 10:1 “When Eve came forth from the water, her flesh was like withered grass, for her flesh had been changed from the water, but the form of her glory remained brilliant.” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 12E. On the Armenian version of the Primary Adam Books, see also M.E. Stone, The Penitence of Adam (CSCO, 429-30; Louvain: Peeters, 1981); idem, Texts and Concordances of the Armenian Adam Literature (EJL, 12; Atlanta: Scholars, 1996) 70-81.
15 Cf. also the Armenian LAE 21:2-5: “Then Adam came to me with his great glory … and I gave him to eat of the fruit, and I made him like me….” Later rabbinic traditions also speak about the lost of Adam’s glory after the Fall. Genesis Rabbah 12.6 contains the following elaboration: “… the six things … were taken away from Adam, viz. his lustre, his immortality … Adam did not retain his glory for a night … He deprived him of his splendor and expelled him from the Garden of Eden….” Midrash Rabbah (10 vols.; eds. H. Freedman and M. Simon; London: Soncino, 1939) 1.91.
16 Marinus de Jonge and Johannes Tromp noted that in GLAE the “promise of the eschatological restoration to glory does not postpone the divine grace to the end of times. Immediately after Adam’s death, the angels and the sun and the moon offer incenses and prayers to God, that he may have mercy on Adam (33.4—36.1). Their efforts succeed, and trumpets announce the favourable outcome of God’s gracious verdict on Adam (37.1-2). A Seraph washes Adam in the Acherusian lake (37.3), a ritual known from Greek mythology as the post mortem cleansing from guilt of the dead. Then God hands him over to Michael, who is to bring Adam to the third heaven, where he is to remain until the day of visitation (37.4-6).” M. de Jonge and J. Tromp, The Life of Adam and Eve and Related Literature (Guides to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997) 51.
17 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 86E-87E. Cf. also Georgian version: “They seized three folded shrouds of [cloth] and God told Michael and Gabriel, ‘Unfold these shrouds and envelop Adam’s body and take the ointment from the olive tree and pour it upon him.’ And three angels dressed him (in it) and when they had dressed Adam’s body (in it) ….” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 87E.
18 In Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 3:21, the following tradition can be found: “And the Lord God made garments of glory for Adam and for his wife from the skin which the serpent had cast off (to be worn) on the skin of their (garments of) fingernails of which they had been stripped, and he clothed them.” Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 29. Tg. Neof. on Gen 3:21 unveils a similar tradition: “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of glory (rqw)d Ny#wbl), for the skin of their flesh, and he clothed them.” McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1: Genesis, 62-63; A. Díez Macho, Neophiti 1: Targum Palestinense MS de la Biblioteca Vaticana (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1968) 1.19. The Frg. Tg. on Gen 3:21 also uses the imagery of the glorious garments: “And He made: And the memra of the Lord God created for Adam and his wife precious garments (rqyd Ny#wbl) [for] the skin of their flesh, and He clothed them.” Klein, The Fragment-Targums of the Pentateuch According to Their Extant Sources, 1.46; 2.7.
19 Tg. Onq. on Gen 3:21 reads: “And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of honor for the skin of their flesh (Nwhrsb K#m l( rqyd Ny#wbl), and He clothed them.” Grossfeld, The Targum Onqelos to Genesis, 46; The Bible in Aramaic Based on Old Manuscripts and Printed Texts (5 vols.; ed. A. Sperber; Leiden: Brill, 1959) 1.5.
20 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 1.171.
21 Friedlander, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 98. Other midrashic passages also speak about the luminosity of Adam’s body. Thus, for example, in Leviticus Rabbah 20.2 the following tradition is found: “Resh Lakish, in the name of R. Simeon the son of Menasya, said: The apple of Adam’s heel outshone the globe of the sun; how much more so the brightness of his face!” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 4.252. Ecclesiastes Rabbah 8:1 reads: “R. Levi said: ‘The ball of Adam’s heel outshone the sun … so was it not right that the ball of his heel should outshine the sun, and how much more so the beauty of his face!’” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 8.213-214. A similar tradition is also found in b. Baba Batra 58a.
22 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 1.136.
23 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve. Second Revised Edition, 15E-18E.
24 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 15-18E. On the Latin version of the Primary Adam Books, see also W. Meyer, “Vita Adae et Evae,” ABAW 14 (1878) 185-250.
25 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 18-18E.
26 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
27 Orlov, “Eschatological Yom Kippur in the Apocalypse of Abraham: The Scapegoat Ritual,” in this volume.
28 On the question of rivalry between various priestly clans in the Second Temple period, see G. Boccaccini, Middle Judaism. Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991); idem, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002).
29 For the identification of the Garden of Eden with the macrocosmic Temple in Qumran literature and Jewish Merkabah mysticism, see J.R. Davila, “The Hodayot Hymnist and the Four Who Entered Paradise,” RevQ 17/65-68 (1996) 457-478.
30 Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook, 89.
31 Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook, 89.
32 Similarly in some rabbinic materials the garments of the protoplasts were understood as the priestly garments. Thus, Gary Anderson draws our attention to a passage from Midrash Abkir where the attires of the protoplast is envisioned as the priestly robes: “What was written above?—’the Lord God made for Adam …’ This teaches that the Holy One Blessed Be He had made for him priestly garments just as it says in the text, ‘Behold the man adorned in linen …’ (Dan 10:5) [This is similar] to a king who loved his slave and made for him a tunic of gold. [When] he transgressed [the king] took it from him and he put on chains. So the Holy One Blessed be He, made for him priestly garments. When he sinned he removed them from him and he put on fig leaves. As scripture says, ‘They sewed fig-leaves….’” G. Anderson, “The Punishment of Adam and Eve in the Life of Adam and Eve,” in: Literature on Adam and Eve. Collected Essays (eds. G. Anderson et al.; SVTP, 15; Brill: Leiden, 2000) 57-82 at 66.
33 “And He made for them coats of skin, and clothed them, and sent them forth from the Garden of Eden. And on that day on which Adam went forth from the Garden, he offered as a sweet savour an offering, frankincense, galbanum, and stacte, and spices in the morning with the rising of the sun from the day when he covered his shame.” Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook, 90.
34 Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook, 90.
35 This tradition of the priestly garments of Adam transferred to protological and Israelite heroes has not been forgotten in the later midrashim. Thus Numbers Rabbah 4.8 reads: “… Adam was the world’s firstborn. When he offered his sacrifice, as it says: And it pleased the Lord better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs (Ps. LXIX, 32) – he donned high priestly garments; as it says: And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin, and clothed them (Gen. III, 21). They were robes of honor which subsequent firstborn used. When Adam died he transmitted them to Seth. Seth transmitted them to Methusaleh. When Methusaleh died he transmitted them to Noah.” Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 5.101. A similar tradition is also found in Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 24: “Rabbi Jehudah said: The coats which the Holy One, blessed be He, made for Adam and his wife, were with Noah in the ark ….” Friedlander, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 175.
36 Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook, 90.
37 Philo (10 vols.; trs. F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker; LCL; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1929–1964) 5.165.
38 Later rabbinic authors also take the linen garments of the high priest to signal a transition from a human to an angelic nature. The change of the garment of the High Priest to white linen often signifies a prerequisite for the adept’s entrance into heaven. The “celestial” nature of the Yom Kippur ritual looms large, e.g., in the Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 46: “He said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Sovereign of all the universe! Thou hast one people like the ministering angels who are in heaven. Just as the ministering angels have bare feet, so have the Israelites bare feet on the Day of Atonement. Just as the ministering angels have neither food nor drink, so the Israelite have neither food or drink on the Day of Atonement. Just as the ministering angels have no joints, in like wise the Israelites stand upon their feet. Just as the ministering angels have peace obtaining amongst them, so the Israelites have peace obtaining amongst them on the Day of Atonement. Just as the ministering angels are innocent of all sin on the Day of Atonement, so are the Israelites innocent of all sin on the Day of Atonement.” Friedlander, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 364.
39 Colson and Whitaker, Philo, 7.149.
40 Cf. also Her. 16 §84.
41 Colson and Whitaker, Philo, 5.529.
42 Colson and Whitaker, Philo, 5.547.
43 Later rabbinic traditions also envision the high priest’s entrance into the Holy of Holies as his entrance into heaven. Jacob Milgrom notes that white linen as the garment of a high priest was understood in some traditions as an angelic garment. Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, 1016. He refers to the passage found in y. Yoma, which compares the action of the high priest on Yom Kippur with the ministration of a celestial being: “like the ministration on high so was the ministration below.”
44 One of the depictions of fiery annihilation is attested in 3 Enoch.
45 On the priestly traditions related to the fallen Watchers, see Suter, “Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: the Problem of Family Purity in 1 Enoch 6–16,” 115–135.
46 In this respect Daniel Stökl rightly observes that the Yom Kippur ritual “… consisted of two antagonistic movements … centripetal and centrifugal: the entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies and the expulsion of the scapegoat.” Stökl, “The Biblical Yom Kippur, the Jewish Fast of the Day of Atonement and the Church Fathers,” 494.
47 Himmelfarb, “The Temple and the Garden of Eden in Ezekiel, the Book of the Watchers, and the Wisdom of ben Sira,” 63–78; idem, “Apocalyptic Ascent and the Heavenly Temple,” 210–217. See also H.S. Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic: The Mesopotamian Background of the Enoch Figure and of the Son of Man (WMANT, 61; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988) 101–102; Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 81.
48 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 1.50–52; 2.98–99.
49 Himmelfarb, “Apocalyptic Ascent and the Heavenly Temple,” 210.
50 David Halperin’s research also stresses the “apocalyptic” priestly function of Enoch in the Book of the Watchers. He observes that “Daniel and Enoch share an image, perhaps drawn from the hymnic tradition of merkabah exegesis (think of the Angelic liturgy), of God surrounded by multitudes of angels. But, in the Holy of Holies, God sits alone…. The angels, barred from the inner house, are the priests of Enoch’s heavenly Temple. The high priest must be Enoch himself, who appears in the celestial Holy of Holies to procure forgiveness for holy beings.” Halperin, Faces of the Chariot, 81–2.
51 Himmelfarb, “Apocalyptic Ascent and the Heavenly Temple,” 213.
52 Enoch’s sacerdotal duties in the Book of the Watchers also involve his intercession and transmission of the judgment against Asael. Crispin Fletcher-Louis observes that “Enoch’s intercession and transmission of the judgment against Asael is thoroughly priestly and related closely to that of the high priest on the Day of Atonement whose ministry involves the sending of a scapegoat into the wilderness to Azazel (Lev 16).” C. Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam. Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls (STDJ, 42; Leiden: Brill, 2002) 40.
53 Himmelfarb, “Apocalyptic Ascent and the Heavenly Temple,” 212.
54 A sacerdotal dimension in relation to the change of garments might also be present in Joseph and Aseneth. See Jos. Asen. 13:3; 14:12; 15:10.
55 H.W. Hollander and M. de Jonge, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. A Commentary (SVTP, 8; Leiden: Brill, 1985) 149.
56 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.138.
57 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.114.
58 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 1.117.
59 Armenian version of the LAE 40:2 in: A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 86E-87E.
60 Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses, 40.
61 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 23–24.
62 Thus, Moshe Idel suggests that Enoch’s luminous metamorphosis, attested in 2 En. 22, might also belong to the same tradition which views Enoch as the one who regained Adam’s lost status and luminosity. M. Idel, “Enoch is Metatron,” Imm 24/25 (1990) 220-240 at 224.
63 Marc Philonenko, analyzing the symmetrical nature of the positions of Yahoel and Azazel in the Apocalypse of Abraham, notes the peculiarity of the interaction between these two spirits, one good and one malevolent. He notices that their contention does not occur directly but rather through a medium of a human being – Abraham. In the Slavonic pseudepigraphon, Abraham thus becomes a place of the battle between two spiritual forces. Philonenko sees in such struggle a peculiar mold of the dualism present also in a Qumran material known to scholars as the Instruction on the Two Spirits (1QS 3:13 – 4:26), where the Prince of Lights and the Angel of Darkness are fighting in the heart of man. See Philonenko-Sayar and Philonenko, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham, 31-32.
64 The unique position of Abraham, standing between Azazel and the Name of God (Yahoel), evokes the memory of the Yom Kippur ritual, where the high priest stood between two earthly counterparts of these celestial realities – the scapegoat and the goat for the Name of the Lord.
65 See Rubinkiewitz, Die Eschatologie von Henoch 9-11 und das Neue Testament, 101-102; 110-113; Stökl, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity, 94.
66 Stökl, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity, 94.
67 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
68 Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 111.
69 The previous studies of the Apocalypse of Abraham suggested that the seer’s entrance into the celestial realm reveals the cultic dimension and is envisioned as a visitation of the heavenly temple. See Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses, 66.
70 Yet the repeated references to a seer’s encounter with fire appear to be significant for the authors of the pseudepigraphon, who envision fire as a theophanic substance surrounding the very presence of the deity. Thus, later in the text, Abraham’s transition into the divine realm is described as his entering into the fire. Cf., for example, Apoc. Ab. 15:3 “And he carried me up to the edge of the fiery flame…”; Apoc. Ab. 17:1: “And while he was still speaking, behold, a fire was coming toward us round about, and a sound was in the fire like a sound of many waters, like a sound of the sea in its uproar.” Could the promise of a celestial garment to the patriarch in the Apocalypse of Abraham signify here, as in many other apocalyptic accounts, that his “mortal” body must be “altered” in the fiery metamorphosis?
71 Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses, 64.
72 Scholars previously noted some connections with Mesopotamian counterparts, where celestial beings lose garments of light during their descent into lower realms. Thus Sebastian Brock points to the tradition about Ishtar’s “robe of splendor,” the garment the goddess lost at the seventh gate during her descent to the underworld. Brock, Clothing Metaphors, 14.
73 On transformational mysticism see C.R.A. Morray-Jones, “Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition,” JJS 43 (1992) 1–31.
74 On the pteromorphic angelology of the Apocalypse of Abraham, see Orlov, “The Pteromorphic Angelology of the Apocalypse of Abraham,” 830-842.
75 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 27.
76 In light of the uncertainty of the date of the traditions contained in the Primary Adam Books, it is often quite difficult to establish the priority of these mutual influences.
77 The tradition of Satan’s use of an angelic form for the deception of the protoplasts is also attested in various versions of the so-called Cheirograph of Adam. On these developments, see Stone, Adam’s Contract with Satan,17, 18, 65, 75, 84, 88.
78 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 51E. The Georgian version offers a very similar tradition: “Then the devil changed himself into the image of an angel; he praised the praises of the angels. And I was gazing in the direction of the enclosure to hear the praises. I stared and I saw him like an angel and at once he became invisible for he had gone forth to bring the serpent.” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 51E. The Greek version also attests the angelic transformation, but does not mention Satan’s transition into an invisible condition: “And instantly he hung himself from the wall of paradise, and when the angels ascended to worship God, then Satan appeared in the form of an angel and sang hymns like the angels. And he bent over the wall and I saw him, like an angel. And he said to me: ‘Are you Eve?’ And I said to him, ‘I am.’” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 51E- 52E. The Slavonic Vita also lacks a motif of invisibility, but adds a new intriguing detail by emphasizing the luminous nature of Satan’s angelic form: “The serpent believed that it was an angel, and came to me. And the devil had changed to the form of an angel and came here with radiance, singing an angel’s song, just like an angel, and said to me: ‘Do you eat from everything in Paradise?’ And at that time I took him for an angel, because he had come from Adam’s side, so I said to him, ‘From one tree the Lord commanded us not to eat, the one which stands in the middle of Paradise.’” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 51E-53E.
79 Michael Stone’s research underlines the temporary dimension of Satan’s acquisition of the angelic form. He notes that “Satan, who once had heavenly glory and luminosity, put it back temporarily in order to deceive Eve and Adam …. Provided with the sxh=ma “form” of an angel, he becomes externally angelic.” Stone, Adam’s Contract with Satan, 19.
80 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 11E. The tradition about Satan’s transformation into an angel is also supported by the Greek, Slavonic and Latin versions. Greek: “But the Devil, not finding a place with respect to Adam, came to the Tigris river to me. And assuming the form of an angel he stood before me….” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 11E. Slavonic: “The devil came to me in the form and radiance of an angel, there where I stood in the water, letting passionate tears fall to the ground, he said to me, ‘Come forth, Eve, out of the water, God has heard your prayer and also we angels, we who prayed for you, and the Lord has sent me to you, that your should emerge from this water.’ And I discerned that he was the devil, and answered him nothing at all. But when after forty days, Adam emerged from the Jordan, he noticed the footprints of the devil and was very afraid lest the devil had duped me. But when he saw me standing in the water, he was very happy. And he took me and led me out of the water.” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 11E-13E. Latin: “Eighteen days passed. Then Satan grew angry and transfigured himself into the brilliance of an angel and went off to the Tigris River to Eve. He found her weeping, and then, the Devil himself, as if mourning with her began to weep and said to her: ‘Come out of the water and rest and weep no longer. Cease now from your sadness and lamenting. Why are you uneasy, you and your husband Adam?’” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 11E.
81 See Apoc. Ab. 23. Here, similarly to the “Living Creatures of the Cherubim,” the demon is also portrayed as a composite being combining zoomorphic and human features: the body of a serpent with the hands and feet of a man.
82 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 27.
83 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 24.
84 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 11E.
85 The various versions of the Primary Adam Books clearly envision the serpent as an animal or a “wild beast.” See Armenian, Georgian, and Greek versions of the Primary Adam Books 16:2. A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 49E.
86 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 50E-52E. The tradition of Satan’s metamorphosis into the “living” form of the serpent is also present in the Georgian version: “And the serpent told him, ‘How can we have them excluded?’ The devil replied and told the serpent, ‘Be a sheath for me and I will speak to the woman through your mouth a word by which we will trick (them).’ And the two of them came together and they allowed their heads to hang on the wall of the paradise at the time where the angels had ascended to bow down to God. Then the devil changed himself into the image of an angel; he praised the praises of the angels. And I was gazing in the direction of the enclosure to hear the praises. I stared and I saw him like an angel and at once he became invisible for he had gone forth to bring the serpent. And he told him, ‘Arise and come and I will be with you and I will speak though your mouth that which it is proper for you to say.’ He took on the form of the serpent (to go) close to the wall of paradise and the devil slipped inside the serpent and he allowed his head to hang on the wall of paradise. He cried out and said, ‘Shame on you, woman, you who are in the paradise of Delight (and) who are blind! Come to me and I will tell you a certain secret word.’” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 50E-52E.
87 Pseudepigraphic and rabbinic accounts depict this process of “possession” of a living form as Satan’s “riding” of the serpent. This tradition will be explored in detail later in our study.
88 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 41E-43E.
89 Anderson, “The Penitence Narrative in the Life of Adam and Eve,” 34.
90 It appears that the Slavonic version underlines the cosmic profile of the beast. Thus Gary Anderson draws attention to the fact that in the Slavonic version “the beast declares his intention not simply to harm Seth, but to destroy Eve and all her children (11—15).” Anderson, “The Penitence Narrative in the Life of Adam and Eve,” 35. The cosmic profile of the final judgment of the beast attested in several versions is also noteworthy, as it best suits the final destiny of the Adversary rather than the destiny of an animal.
91 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 41E-43E.
92 Michael Stone notes that in the Primary Adam Books Satan becomes invisible on several occasions. He observes that “at various junctures of the story in the primary Adam books, Satan becomes invisible. The assumed form is not permanent. In the Apocalypse of Moses 20:3, the Greek text relates that when Satan had succeeded in seducing Eve and Adam, he descended from the tree (here as the snake) kai_ a!fanatov e)ge&neto, “and vanished” (literally: “became invisible”). When Adam in the river recognizes Satan, he asked him why he was so hostile. Satan responded with the story of his fall (12:1-17:3). At the end of the conversation between Adam and Satan, we read et statim non apparuit diabolus ei, “immediately the devil was not visible to him” (Latin Life of Adam and Eve 17:2).” Stone, Adam’s Contract with Satan, 19.
93 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 51E-53E
94 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 51E-52E.
95 Stone, Adam’s Contract with Satan, 20.
96 It is not entirely clear if Eve too serves as the living form of Satan in the Primary Adam Books. De Jonge and Tromp bring attention to the fact that, like the serpent, Eve also serves as the “instrument” of Satan. They note that “the character of Eve is comparable to that of the serpent. Both are instruments of the devil (16.5; 21.3), who uses them to reach his eventual goal: to have Adam evicted from Paradise (16.3).” De Jonge and Tromp, The Life of Adam and Eve and Related Literature, 54. Yet, unlike in the case of the serpent, where Satan unambiguously enters the body of the creature, Satan’s participation in the living form of Eve is less clear and more enigmatic. Thus the Georgian version of the Primary Adam Books 10:1-2 relates: “And Eve came up out of the water and her flesh was withered like rotten vegetables because of the coldness of the water. All the form of her beauty had been destroyed. And when she had come up out of the water, she fell on the face of the earth in great weakness and remained lying (on the ground) without moving for two days. And after two days she arose and the devil led her to where Adam was.” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 12E. One of the important details here is that Eve is depicted as being “led” by Satan. It looks like the Adversary “animates” her body, taking her to Adam. The second intriguing detail of this passage is that, after succumbing to Satan, Eve’s form was changed. Although the Armenian version says that “the form of her glory remained brilliant,” scholars believe that the Georgian version preserved the original reading. In this respect, Gary Anderson notes that “As Eve comes out of the water, having succumbed a second time to the temptation of the devil, her flesh is transformed for the worse: ‘All the form of her beauty had been destroyed.’” Anderson, “Punishment of Adam and Eve in the Life of Adam and Eve,” 79.
97 Stone, “‘Be You a Lyre for Me’: Identity or Manipulation in Eden,” 96.
98 “… [The Serpent] appearance was something like that of the camel and he (Sammael) rode upon it….” Friedlander, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 92.
99 Stone, “‘Be You a Lyre for Me’: Identity or Manipulation in Eden,” 96.
100 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 1.133-134.
101 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 2.89-90.
102 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 87-88.
103 Grabbe, “The Scapegoat Tradition: A Study in Early Jewish Interpretation,” 153.
104 Cf. 1 En. 86:1-4: “And again I looked with my eyes as I was sleeping, and I saw heaven above, and behold, a star fell from heaven, and its arose and ate and pastured amongst those bulls…. And again I saw in the vision and I 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, 2.196-197.
105 Cf. 1 En. 89:1: “He was born a bull, but became a man, and built for himself a large vessel and dwelt on it ….” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.199.
106 Cf. 1 En. 89:36: “And I looked there at the vision until that sheep became a man, and built a house for the Lord of the sheep, and made all the sheep stand in that house.” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.206.
107 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.87-88.
108 Philonenko-Sayar and Philonenko, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham, 31-33; Rubinkiewicz, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham en vieux slave, 50.
109 Rubinkiewicz, “Apocalypse of Abraham,” 1.685.
110 Apoc. Ab. 13:3-4: “And an impure bird flew down on the carcasses, and I drove it away. And the impure bird spoke to me ….” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
111 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
112 Scholars have also pointed out that some technical terminology found in chapter 13 appears to be connected with Yom Kippur terminology. Thus, Daniel Stökl draws attention to the expression about “sending” things to Azazel in Apoc. Ab. 13:10, which Alexander Kulik traces to the Greek term a)poste&llw or Hebrew xl#. Kulik, Apocalypse of Abraham. Towards the Lost Original, 90. Stökl proposes that this terminology “might allude to the sending out of the scapegoat.” Stökl, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity: The Day of Atonement from Second Temple Judaism to the Fifth Century, 94.
113 Robert Helm sees in this utterance a connection to the Yom Kippur settings by proposing that “the transference of Abraham’s corruption to Azazel may be a veiled reference to the scapegoat rite….” Helm, “Azazel in Early Jewish Tradition,” 223. Similarly, Lester Grabbe argues that the phrasing in the statement that “Abraham’s corruption has ‘gone over to’ Azazel suggest[s] an act of atonement.” Grabbe, “The Scapegoat Tradition: A Study in Early Jewish Interpretation,” 157.
114 Fletcher-Louis, “The Revelation of the Sacral Son of Man,” 282.
115 Tishby, The Wisdom of the Zohar, 821.