Too Vast to Fit in the World: Moses, Adam, and Myhl) Mlc in Testament of Moses 11:8

Alexander Golitzin


As part of an incessantly growing literature on Moses, the portrayal of Moses in Testament of Moses has received extensive attention in modern scholarship. While the peculiarity of 11:8, in which Moses’ sepulcher is described as covering the whole world, from one extremity to another, has been long noted, the paragraph has not yet been analyzed in any thorough study. This article analyzes 11:8 in its textual and contextual aspects. It argues that the peculiar words about Moses’ burial constitute an expression of a Second Temple tradition that portrays Moses as a physically enormous being. Aetas, which is a translation for the Greek h(liki/a, meaning both stature and age, is part of the language of speculations about God’s enormous corporeality as early as the first century C.E. Augustine’s polemics attest that the term is still part of the language of Christian anthropomorphite circles in the fifth century. The four directions in 11:8 appear in similar contemporary (first century C.E.) speculations about Adam’s enormous size. The connection, often competitive, between Adam and Moses is attested in an early Jewish lore that considers Moses the heir of Adam’s corporeality, of his Myhl) Mlc. This lore provides the theological context in which expressions used in descriptions of Adam’s enormous corporeality become elements of the portrayal of Moses’ body.

No research has yet been dedicated to Testament of Moses 11:8.1 Scholarly interest in Moses’ portrayal in the testament has been limited to chapter 1 (in which Moses is presumably depicted as pre-existent), 11:16-17 (in which Moses is apparently attributed prophetic and angelomorphic titles), and just recently to 10:2.2 Only scarcely and tangentially has 11:8 received any attention in the broad commentaries on the whole book. The purpose of this article is to analyze 11:8 in its textual, contextual, and intertextual aspects. It consequently argues that the verse depicts Moses as a physically enormous being in the context and in the language of contemporary (i.e. first century C.E.) speculations about Adam’s enormous size.

The text of Testament of Moses is extant in its entirety only in a sixth century Latin palimpsest discovered in 1861 by A. M. Ceriani.3 While most of the first editors and researchers concluded that the Latin version is a translation of an original Greek text, today almost universally4 scholars agree that the Greek stratum at the basis of the Latin version is itself a translation of a Semitic original, Hebrew or Aramaic.5 In 1868 A. Hilgenfeld attempted to reconstruct the Greek stratum by retroverting the Latin text into Greek.6

The text of 11: 8 is unclear and peculiar:

Omnibus enim morientibus secus aetatem sepulturae suae sunt in terris; nam tua sepultura ab oriente sole usque ad occidentem, et ab austro usque ad fines aquilonis. Omnis orbis terrarum sepulcrum est tuum.7

Charles translates the paragraph as follows:

For all men when they die have according to their age their sepulchers on earth; but your sepulcher is from the rising to the setting sun, and from the south to the confines of the north: all the world is your sepulcher.8

This translation, as would any other attempt, captures only partially the vagueness and the peculiarity of the Latin text, which makes use of constructions, ambiguous terms, and surprisingly complicated syntax.

The Text

Johannes Tromp has correctly noted in his critical edition and thorough analysis of the text that the meaning of the passage lies upon an exceptional problem, namely “the meaning and function of the words secus aetatem.”9 Tromp and most scholars agree that secus aetatem is in adjunction with sepulturae suae sunt.10 Therefore the correct syntax is not “all who die when their time has come (i.e., secus aetatem) have a grave in the earth” (Tromp’s actual translation), but, as Tromp himself admits, “all men when they die have their sepulchers in the earth according to their aetas (secus aetatem).” Moreover, nam also places secus aetatem in adjunction with tua (Moses’) sepultura (est). In other words, Moses’ aetas conditions his grave, or rather the inability to bury him. Tromp remarks this double adjunction of secus aetatem to both sepulturae suae and tua sepultura, and suggests that the correct paraphrase of the passage is: “One cannot bury you, because your aetas is so huge, that your grave should cover the entire world.”11

Tromp also notes that the reading of aetas as “age,” as aetas has been generally translated, does not make sense in the context. “Moses’ age at the time of his death … was not extraordinarily high,”12 and cannot constitute the enormous difference between him and other humans that the text claims on account of aetas. Moreover, age is not a factor in burials and certainly cannot be a reason that prevents a burial or, more precisely, makes it impossible, as the text claims about aetas. A different reading of aetas is not only possible, but also more probable and compliant to the semantic and syntactical requirements of the passage.

The mention in 11: 8bc of the four directions is spatial; it refers to spatial dimension. The text says that Moses’ aetas is the reason for which, if he could have a grave, his grave would extend from east to west and from north to south, covering the whole world. Given the correlation between aetas and this spatial reference, the only syntactically possible meaning of aetas is dimensional. This suggests that A. Hilgenfeld’s option for h(liki/a in his retroversion into Greek of the Latin text13 is most probably correct. h(liki/a means not only “age,” and therefore a Latin translator would render it with aetas, but it also refers to “stature,” and this sense meets the syntactical requirement of a dimensional reference.

Eph 4:11-13 provides evidence that h(liki/a/aetas was part of the language of speculations about God’s enormous corporeality as early as the first century C.E. The passage refers to “building up the body of Christ” to the “measure of the stature (ei0j me/tron th=v h(liki/aj)” of Christ. The Vulgate translates the expression with in mensuram aetatis. M. Fishbane remarks that the expression has an exact correspondent in the Hebrew hmwq rw(# and constitutes a case of Christian appropriation of early Jewish speculations about God’s enormous body, of whom Adam’s body is an image.14 Eph 4:13 is also a biblical passage that early Christian anthropomorphites used in support of their claims regarding an enormous divine body, which is the body of the Son, the new Adam.15 There is also evidence that in Latin-speaking Christian circles aetas of Eph 4:13 was understood as a reference to bodily dimension. Thus in De civitate Dei 22.14-18, Augustine opposes a group of Christians that conceive the resurrected human body as of “gigantic proportions” (giganteae magnitudines), like, they say, the resurrected body of Christ. The group also professes openly an exegesis of Eph 4:13 that reads aetas as “body” (corpus) and mensura aetatis as mensura corporis. Augustine reminds this group that the meaning of the word is not “body,” but “age”:

As for what the apostle said of the measure of the age (mensura aetatis) of the fullness of Christ, we must either understand him to refer to something else (i.e. not to bodily size- n.m.), to the fact that the measure of Christ will be completed when all the members among the Christian communities are added to the Head; or, if we are to refer it to the resurrection of the body, the meaning is that all shall rise neither beyond nor under youth, but in that vigor and age to which we know that Christ had arrived. For even the world’s wisest men have fixed the bloom of youth at about the age of thirty; and when this period has been passed, the man begins to decline towards the defective and duller period of old age. And therefore the apostle did not speak of the measure of the body (mensura corporis), nor of the measure of the stature (mensura staturae), but of “the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.” (Civ. 22:15)16

In its anthropomorphic readings the same group also associates Eph 4:13 with Rom 8:29, and interprets the conformity to “the image of the Son of God” as enlargement to the Son’s enormous proportions. Augustine counters:

But if we are also taught in these words what form our bodies shall rise in, as the measure we spoke of before, so also this conformity is to be understood not of size (quantitas), but of age (aetas). Accordingly all shall rise in the stature they either had attained or would have attained had they lived to their prime, although it will be no great disadvantage even if the form of the body be infantine or aged, while no infirmity shall remain in the mind nor in the body itself. So that even if any one contends that every person will rise again in the same bodily form in which he died, we need not spend much labor in disputing with him. (Civ. 22:16)17

The group that Augustine opposes so vehemently interprets mensura aetatis of Eph 4:13 both as “measure of the body” (mensura corporis) and as “measure of the stature” (mensura staturae). The expressions are equivalent.

Given this anthropomorphic connotation and history of aetas, it can be safely argued that a revised translation of Testament of Moses 11:8 should read “stature” for aetas, in complete awareness of its corporeal connotations and connection with Jewish hmwq rw(# speculations:

For all dying men have their graves on earth according to their statures, but your grave is from the rising of the sun to the west, and from the south to the limits of the north. The whole world is your grave.

The Context

The reading of aetas as “stature” is supported by the reference to the four directions. Not inadvertently the four directions also occupy a central position in contemporary (i.e. first century C.E.) and earlier Jewish speculations about both the body and the name of Adam.

The Name of Adam

The third book of Sibylline Oracles is a composite pseudepigraphon written most probably in Egypt.18 Verses 97-349, 489-829 are generally dated to the middle of the second century B.C.E.,19 while verses 350-488 originate in the beginning of the second half of the first century B.C.E.20 Verses 1-92 are a later introductive addition, probably a conclusion of a different sibylline book.21 The date of this introduction could fall anywhere between the late Hellenistic period and the early Roman period, with the most probable date in the second half of the first century B.C.E.22 This introduction contains an Adamic tradition that associates the size of Adam with the four directions:

24 Indeed it is God himself who fashioned Adam, of four letters,
25 the first-formed man, fulfilling by his name
26 east (a0natolh/) and west (du/siv) and south (meshmbri/a) and
north (a1rktov). (Sib. Or. 3:24-26)23

The speculation about Adam’s name is based on the Greek names of the four directions: east-a0natolh/, west-du/siv, north-a1rktov, and south-meshmbri/a. By means of acronym early Hellenistic Jewish circles discovered in the four words the name of Adam. Interestingly the text renders the Greek acronym the wrong way, namely ADMA, even if the mistake is so evident in the original Greek of the oracles and should not have skipped the eyes of the author. Strikingly, this incorrect order corresponds perfectly to the sequence of the four directions in Testament of Moses 11:8.

The same speculation about the name of Adam is found in 2 Enoch 30:11-14 (longer recension):

11 And on earth I assigned him (i.e. Adam) to be a second angel, honored, and great and glorious. 12 And I assigned him to be a king to reign on the earth and to have my wisdom. And there was nothing comparable to him on the earth, even among my creatures that exist. 13 And I assigned to him a name from the four components, from east A, from west D, from north A, from south M. 14 And I assigned to him four special stars, and called his name Adam. (2 En. 30:11-14 longer recension)24

2 Enoch, a Jewish pseudepigraphon with probable Egyptian origins, is preserved only in medieval Slavonic manuscripts, apparently translated from (a) Greek source(s); it is tentatively dated to the first century C.E.25 There is no way of telling whether the passage quoted above belongs to the Greek source or even the primary translation(s). The fact that two manuscripts, GIM Khlyudov and RM 508, contain the mistaken rendering of the Greek acronym (ADMA) cannot constitute a proof that the text did not exist in the Greek source of the translation, since the same mistaken rendering occurs in the Greek Sib. Or. 3:24-26.26 It must suffice to say, at the present stage of the research on 2 Enoch, that the tradition behind the text dates from before 70 C.E., as its occurrence in Sib. Or. suggests.

Life of Adam and Eve 57 has the acronym in a correct order (ADAM), but the author confuses the Greek names of south and west. Instead of west-du/siv and south-meshmbri/a, he renders west-Mencembrion (sic!) and south-Disis. However, the presence of the acronym in this text testifies to the antiquity of the speculations about Adam’s name.27

When Adam was made, and there was no name assigned to him yet, the Lord said to the four angels to seek a name for him. Michael went out to the east (ad orientem) and saw the eastern star, named Ancolim, and took its first letter from it. Gabriel went out to the south (ad meridiem), and saw the southern star, named Disis, and took its first letter from it. Raphael went out to the north (ad aquilonem), and saw the northern star, named Arthos, and took its first latter from it. Uriel went out to the west (ad occidentem), and saw the western star, named Mencembrion, and took its first letter from it. When the letters were brought together, the Lord said to Uriel: “read these letters.” He read them and said, “Adam.” The Lord said: “Thus shall his name be called.” (L.A.E. 57)28

One important observation regarding this text and the preceding Enochic text is due here. Although stars generally represent angelic beings in Jewish literature,29 this does not seem to be the reference in this text.30 The connection of the stars with the name of Adam in the Enochic text and their explicit correlation described in L.A.E. 57 are clear indications that the four stars of 2 En. 30:11-14 are simple astral objects that provide the letters for Adam’s name.31

The tradition about Adam’s name deriving from the four directions/stars survives in both East and West Christianity for centuries.32 For its clear and correct exposition of the acronym, Augustine’s In Evangelium Johannis tractatus IX:14 deserves a full quotation:

14. Now what I said, brethren, that prophecy extends to all nations (for I wish to show you another meaning in the expression, “Containing two or three metretae apiece”),-that prophecy, I say, extends to all nations, is pointed out, as we have just now reminded you, in Adam, "who is the figure of Him that was to come." Who does not know that from him all nations are sprung; and that in the four letters of his name the four quarters of the globe, by their Greek appellations, are indicated? For if the east, west, north, and south are expressed in Greek even as Holy Scripture mentions them in various places, the initial letters of the words, thou wilt find, make the word Adam: for in Greek the four quarters of the world are called Anatole, Dysis, Arktos, Mesembria. If thou write these four words, one under the other, like four verses, the capital letters form the word Adam. (Tract. Ev. Jo. IX:14)33

The Body of Adam

The four directions appear in a strikingly similar order in early Rabbinic speculations about Adam’s gigantic body.34 In these traditions Adam is portrayed as having huge dimensions, reaching from east to west and north to south. Expectedly, the Rabbinic traditions do not incorporate the name speculation possible only in Greek, but they do use the same language to portray the first man as enormous in size. A connection between the Hellenistic name speculation and the Rabbinic size speculation is obvious. Given the departure of the first from the very biblical lore about Adam’s name (cf. Gen 2: 7),35 the dependence can only be of the first on the latter, and not of the latter on the first. Thus, it seems that the Greek names of the four directions/stars provided for Hellenistic Jewish circles means of elaborating a name speculation on an earlier tradition about Adam’s cosmic size.36

The Babylonian Talmudic tractates b. Sanh. 38b and b. . 12a preserve one of these Rabbinic traditions, attributed to Rab and to R. Eleazar (the latter also in b. Sanh. 23b).

Rab Judah said in Rab’s name: The first man reached from one end of the world to the other, as it is written, ‘Since the day that God created man upon the earth, even from the one end of the Heaven unto the other’ (Deut 4: 32). But when he sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, laid His hand upon him and diminished him, as it is written, ‘Thou hast hemmed me in behind and before, and laid Thy hands upon me’ (Ps 139: 5).
R. Eleazar said: The first man reached from earth to heaven, as it is written, ‘Since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from one end of the Heaven to the other’ (Deut 4: 32). But when he sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, laid his hand upon him and diminished him, for it is written, ‘Thou hast hemmed me in behind and before, and laid Thy hands upon me’ (Ps 139: 5). (b. Sanh. 38b)37

Genesis Rabbah 8:1, 21:3, and 24:2 also attributes the teaching to R. Eleazar. The testimony is attributed to two of his disciples, R. Joshua b. Nehemiah and R. Judah b. Simon.

R. Joshua b. R. Nehemiah and R. Judah b. R. Simon in R. Eleazar’s name said: He created him filling the whole world. How do we know that he stretched from east to west? Because it is said, ‘Thou hast formed me behind and before’ (Ps 139:5). From north to south? Because it says ‘Since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of Heaven unto the other’ (Deut 4:32). And how do we know that he filled the empty space of the world? From the verse ‘And laid Thy hand upon me’ (Job 13:21). (Gen. Rab. 8:1)38

A very similar teaching is ascribed to third generation Palestinian amoraim without (apparently) any debt to Rab or his disciples. Leviticus Rabbah 14:1 describes this tradition:

R. Berekiah and Rabbi Helbo and Rabbi Samuel b. Nahman said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first man, He created him from one end of the universe to the other (in size).
Whence do we know that Adam was in size from east to west? Since it is said: “Thou hast formed me west and east” (Ps 139:5).
Whence do we know that he was in size from north to south? Since it is said: “God created man upon earth, even from one end of the heaven unto the other” (Deut 4:32).
And whence do we derive that he was in height as the whole space of the universe? Since it is said: “And Thou hast laid Thy arch upon me.” (Lev. Rab. 14:1)39

Leviticus Rabbah 18:2 attributes a very similar teaching to R. Joshua ben Levi, a first generation Palestinian amora, contemporary with Rab (~220 C.E.).

R. Judah b. R. Simon said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created Adam, the first man, He created him of a size to fill all the world, from east to west, as it is said: “Thou hast formed me west and east” (Ps 139:5); from the north to the south, as it is said: “God created man upon earth, from the one end of heaven unto the other” (Deut 4:32).
Whence do we know that he created man as tall as the whole space of the universe? Scripture tells us this by saying: “And Thou hast laid Thy palm upon me” (Ps 139:5). (Lev. Rab. 18:2)40

All these testimonies present only few differences between them. The most striking connection between the two forms attributed to Rab and respectively to R. Joshua is the common use of Psalm 139. One can only read behind this common use the early Jewish tradition that the psalm is an autobiographical creation of Adam himself.41 In both traditions the psalm is used to provide the link between Adam’s size and the four directions. In both rwx) (behind) and Mdq (before) are read as west and east. Most probably, the two forms of the tradition seem to stem from a common source, an even earlier tradition about Adam’s enormous size.

This early tradition might be alluded to in the classical Palestinian midrash Pirqe de Rabbi Kahanah. The midrash attributes to R. Meir the following succinct statement: “At that moment the first man’s stature (hmwq) was cut down and diminished to one hundred cubits.” Given the fact that one hundred cubits is itself a huge dimension for a diminished man, one can only imagine that Adam’s size before the “diminishment” was enormous. The tradition is already hinted at in Philo (On the Creation of Man, 148), who describes the first human as mikrokosmos, created from four elements of the earth. In an immediately preceding passage Adam is described as “most excellent in each part of his being, in both soul and body, and greatly excelling those who came after him in the transcendent qualities of both.”42 Expectedly, Philo emphasizes in the next passage that the extraordinary quality of Adam’s body consists of beauty and goodness.

It is attested in the second century C.E., Christian apocryphal Gospel of Bartholomew 21-23.

21 Bartholomew said to him: … Tell me, Lord, who was he whom the angels carried in their arms, that exceedingly large man?… 22 It was Adam, the first created, for whose sake I came down from heaven upon the earth… 23 Again Bartholomew said: Lord, I also saw the angels ascending before Adam and singing praises.… (Gos. Bart. 21-23)43

Apocalypse of Abraham 23:4-6 is evidence of the same lore about Adam’s enormous size at the end of the first century C.E.44

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. (Apoc. Ab. 23:4-6)45

Adam’s Body in the Image of God

The form of this lore attested in Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer 1146 preserves a significant connection between Adam’s cosmic proportions and his condition as bearer of the image of God.47 The resemblance between Adam and God is so close that the angels mistake Adam for God. The aspect that the text identifies as the source of the angelic confusion is Adam’s appearance, more specifically his height. The text mentions two of the four directions on the basis of Ps 139:5:

Adam stood and began to gaze upwards and downwards… He stood on his feet and was adorned with the Divine Image. His height was from east to west, as it is said, “Thou hast beset me behind and before” (Ps 139:5). “Behind” refers to the west, and “before” refers to the east. All the creatures saw him and became afraid of him, thinking that he was their creator, and they came to prostrate themselves before him. (Pirqe R. El. 11)48

The lore about the angelic confusion can be traced further back in time. Genesis Rabbah 8:10 describes the angels’ impetus to sing Adam the Sanctus due to God. The text identifies the source of the confusion by means of a comparison. Adam and God are compared with a governor and his king that both sit in the same chariot in royal glory. Their subjects are unable to distinguish the king from the governor because of their resemblance. The king has to identify himself and pushes the governor out of the chariot in order to prevent his subjects from offering his governor the honor due to him alone. God’s own way of distinguishing himself from Adam is by bringing sleep upon him.49 It is interesting that the text choses as comparison for God and Adam two royal charioteers, of whom one is a king, the other is his viceregent. The comparison also that what puzzles the angels is the resemblance between the two “charioteers,” more specifically between their appearances. Their appearances are so much alike that they cannot be distinguished from one another. A. G. Gottstein offers a similar reading of the passage, and his insights are valuable (although he does not remark on the merkabah connotations of the comparison). He notes that in Genesis Rabbah 8:10,

the image is not a replica of the original… (The Angels’) mistake is based on the identification of the form of the source with that of the image… Adam is distinguished from God not by form, but by the different quality of life attached to the same form; in other words, God and Adam are distinguished not by body, but by bodily function.50

The connection between Adam’s enormous size and his resemblance with God is also attested in the above-mentioned Gospel of Bartholomew 52-53. After the text portrays Adam as enormous in size, it develops on the same lore of the angelic worship of Adam and connects the worship with Adam’s identity as the Image of God:

52 But the devil said: Allow me to tell you how I was cast down here, and how God made man. 53 I wandered to and fro in the world, and God said to Michael: Bring me earth from the four ends of the world and water out of the four rivers of paradise. And when Michael had brought them to him, he formed Adam in the east, and gave form to the shapeless earth, and stretched sinews and veins, and united everything into a harmonious whole. And he worshipped (translation corrected-n.m.) him for his own sake, because he was his image. (Gos. Bart. 52-53)51

In the second century C.E. Irenaeus reports that Sethians and Ophites maintain a tradition according to which the first man is of an enormous size. The passage follows immediately after a citation of Gen 1:26 and suggests a connection with the concept of image of God.

They affirm that Ialdabaoth exclaimed, “Come, let us make man after our image.” The six powers, on hearing this, and their mother furnishing them with the idea of a man (in order that by means of him she might empty them of their original power), jointly formed a man of immense size, both in regard to breadth and length. (Haer. I.30.6)52

Testament of Abraham, a Jewish pseudapigraphon, is preserved in two recensions: long and short.53 The long recension is supported by Greek and Romanian manuscripts only.54 The shorter recension has versions in Greek, Romanian, Slavonic, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopic.55 The literary history of the Testament (i.e., the antiquity and interconnection of the two recensions) and, implicitly, the dating of the extant versions are still very much subjects of debate. However, there is a growing consensus that places the date of the original no later than the first century C.E.56 M. James, G. Box, M. Delcor, G. Nickelsburg, E. P. Sanders, and D. C. Allison have argued that the longer recension has chronological priority and that it preserves more accurately the original work, which is supposedly a common root of both recensions.57 Several other scholars contend that the shorter recension has priority.58 It must be emphasized that even this latter position does not warrant a dismissal of the theological importance of the longer recension, or of the possible testimonies, however late, for ancient traditions recorded therein. Chapter 11 of the longer recension contains a portrayal of Adam that associates the protoplast with the . During Abraham’s tour of heaven with Michael, the patriarch sees a mysterious enthroned figure. This figure recalls the description of the kabod in Ezekiel 1 and suggests that some mystical circles identified the primordial man with the divine kabod at least as early as first century C.E. The text describes the “appearance” (i0de/a) of the enthroned Adam-kabod as “like that of the Master’s.”59 The text clearly implies that God has a humanlike “appearance” (i0de/a). But it also depicts a similarity between God’s corporeality and Adam’s. Given the fact that, based on such biblical text as Isa 66:1, the humanlike form of God is commonly portrayed as huge in early Jewish anthropomorphic speculations,60 Adam’s resemblance with God entails an enormous size.

Toward the end of the fourth century C.E. Gregory of Nyssa warns his audience in a sermon (i.e. Homilies on the Origin of Man) about a widespread and well-known anthropomorphic reading of Gen 1:26. He locates it among the Jews, but the warning itself implies that the exegesis is also popular within his Christian audience. He warns his audience not to imagine God as a form (morfh/) in Jewish manner (i0oudaikw=v), and emphasizes that the image (ei1kwn) of God (Gen 1:26) is not the form of the body (morfh_ sw/matov).61 The problematic tradition clearly associates God’s image with the form of His body.

The “image” (ei1kwn) of God is identified as “form” (morfh/) in Sibylline Oracles 3:8, and in 3:27 the image is “the shape of the form of men” (tu/pov morfh=v).62 Interestingly, the first passage precedes closely the text mentioned above about Adam’s enormous size, stretching between the four directions (i.e. Sibylline Oracles 3:24-26), while the second follows immediately after it, suggesting a connection between the form, the size, and the name of the first man.

According to Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, a Jewish-Christian writing from the beginning of the third century C.E.,63 God has a corporeal form, after which the first man is modeled (10:6, 16:19, 17:7).64 In 3:7 man’s body (sw=ma) bears the form (morfh/) of God.65 In 11:4, which contains a word by word repetition of the passage from 3:7, the form of God is replaced and thus identified with the image (ei1kwn) of God.66

C. Fletcher-Louis67 notes that one manuscript variant of Life of Adam and Eve 27:3 calls Adam the “form” (figura) of God’s “body” (corpus):

Et ecce verbum tuum incedit mihi et dixit dominus ad me: quoniam figura corporis mei factus es diligens scientiam, propter hoc non tolletur de semine tuo usque in seculum ad ministrandum mihi.68

Moreover, Adam is described not as created in the image of God, a mere copy of the divine corporeality, but as the image itself, the very corporeal Myhl) Mlc. Life of Adam and Eve 14-16 narrates the story of the fall of Satan in a form similar to the Gospel of Bartholomew 52-53, similarity that proves that the story constitutes a wide-spread lore by the end of the second century C.E. Michael summons the angels to worship Adam and calls him “the image (imago) of the Lord God” (14.2).69 Similarly in Apocalypse of Moses 33 and 35 the angels pray for God’s forgiveness for the fallen Adam, reminding Him that the first man is His image (ei0kw/n sou e0stin).70

In conclusion, the reference to the four directions in Testament of Moses 11:8 occurs in the theological context of the first century C.E. in which they are frequently used in descriptions of Adam’s enormous corporeality. In the Adamic traditions the concept is associated with Adam’s quality of bearer of the image of God. Within this context Testament of Moses 11:8 seems to claim a similar corporeality and quality of image of God for Moses. That this is the case becomes evident through an analysis of the connections between Moses and Adam in the thought of late Second Temple period.

The Intertext

Moses as Adam’s Heir

Both Samaritan and Jewish texts provide evidence that Second Temple circles perceived a direct link between the two biblical figures, Moses and Adam. An early common lore considered Moses the heir of Adam’s corporeality, of his Myhl) Mlc.

Thus Memar Marqa 5:4 tells that Moses “was vested with the form (or image: hmlc) which Adam cast off in the Garden of Eden.”71 Moses is clearly portrayed as the inheritor of Adam’s lost image.72 The Samaritan writing also identifies the image/likeness of God as a form. While 2:1 reads “Glorious is the form (hrwch) in the likeness (twmd) of Elohim,”73 Fossum remarks that the passage has a close parallel in 4:2. In this parallel text, he observes, the image of God or “the form of the likeness of God” of 2:1 is identified as Adam’s form.74 The text reads: “The form (htrwc) of Adam is glorified all over.”75 Afterwards the form of Adam is identified with the glory (hrqy)) with which God vested Moses. Moreover, in 2:10 the form (htrwc) of Adam is called his body (htywg) and a creation out of dust.76 Moses is therefore the inheritor of Adam’s lost corporeality.

The same connection between Adam and Moses is stated in Deuteronomy Rabbah 11:3. The text describes an argument between the two biblical heroes over supremacy. Moses claims it on account of his inheritance of what Adam lost in Eden, which is Adam’s original resemblance to God.

Moses’ Enormous Body

The connection with Adam’s original state develops into speculations about Moses’ enormous corporeality. Traditions about Moses’ huge body are attested as early as the second century B.C.E. Ezekiel the Tragedian, a play writer from the end of the second century B.C.E., describes in his play Exagoge a transformation that Moses experiences on Sinai (vv. 68-89).77 Moses has a vision of a huge throne (reminiscent of Isa 66:1) on which a humanlike figure is seated. The unnamed figure beckons Moses with his right hand. When Moses approaches, he is enthroned on the enormous throne and endowed with heavenly royalty. Three remarks are due about this important passage.

First, Moses’ enthronement implies an enlargement to the huge dimensions of the throne. Second, both Talmudic traditions mentioned above about Adam’s enormous body (i.e. the one belonging to Rab and the one belonging to R. Joshua b. Levi) connect Adam’s exceptional size with the laying of God’s hand upon him on basis of Job 13:21 and Ps 139:5. An imagery strikingly similar appears in 2 Enoch 39 (shorter recension).78 The text describes Enoch in a vision-transformation situation, similar to Moses’ in Ezekiel’s play. In the vision God beckons Enoch with his right hand (39:5) and Enoch sees the extent of God (39:6).79 Third, according to later Jewish and Samaritan texts it is on Sinai that Moses is endowed with Adam’s lost image, or with Adam’s original corporeality/form.80


  In a very important article that analyzes the development of early traditions about a hypostatic body of God in Judaism, Christianity and Gnosticism, G. Stroumsa concludes:

The various traditions about God’s hypostatic form seem to converge upon the Judaism of the first Christian century. The cumulative evidence leads to the tentative conclusion that there existed then a cluster of mythologoumena about the archangelic hypostasis of God, also identified with the First Adam (and therefore the true image of God), whose body possessed cosmic proportions.81

Following the evidence presented in this article, it can be safely assumed that the text of Testament of Moses 11:8 refers to Moses’ enormous stature in the context/intertext of first century speculations about Adam’s enormous body. The portrayal of Moses in our text follows not only the imagery of these speculations, but it also employs their language, specifically the mention of the four directions and the use of aetas (as stature). Within this context Moses is portrayed as enormous in words of evident anthropomorphic connotations.

1 I am very much indebted to Prof. Andrei Orlov for his comments and suggestions in regard to this article. Any errors that remain are, of course, my responsability alone.

2 J. W. van Henten, “Moses as Heavenly Messenger in Assumptio Mosis 10:2 and Qumran Passages,” JJS 54 (2003): 216-227.

3 Most scholars agree that the most probable date for Testament of Moses is the first century C.E. For investigations of this consensus, see Johannes Tromp, The Assumption of Moses. A Critical Edition with Commentary (SVTP 10; Leiden, New York, Köln: E. J. Brill, 1993), 93-96, 116-117; Priest, J., “Testament of Moses,” in James Hamilton Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1983), 1:919-934, here pp. 920-921; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, “Introduction,” in idem, ed., Studies on the Testament of Moses (Cambridge, MA.: Society of Biblical Literature, 1973), 5-14; idem, “An Antiochan Date for the Testament of Moses,” in Studies on the Testament of Moses, 33-37; John J. Collins, “The Date and Provenance of the Testament of Moses,” in Studies on the Testament of Moses, 15-32; idem, “Some Remaining Traditio-Historical Problems in the Testament of Moses,” in Studies on the Testament of Moses, 38-43.

4 A most notable dissent is Tromp’s in The Assumption of Moses, 85.

5 For analyses of the opinions about the original language of the text and its transmission, see R. H. Charles, The Assumption of Moses (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1897), XXXVI-XLV; E.-M. Laperrousaz, Le Testament de Moïse (Semitica 19; Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1970), 16-25; Johannes Tromp, The Assumption of Moses, 78-85; D. H. Wallace, “The Semitic Origin of the Assumption of Moses,” TZ 11 (1955): 321-328.

6 “Die Psalmen Salomo’s und die Himmelfahrt des Moses, griechisch hergestellt und erklärt. B. Die Himmelfahrt des Moses,” ZWT 11 (1868): 273-309.

7 The text is from Tromp’s critical edition, The Assumption of Moses, 20. It is identical with the texts offered by Laperrousaz (Le Testament de Moïse, 61) and Charles (The Assumption of Moses, 90-92).

8 Charles, The Assumption of Moses, 90-92.

9 The Assumption of Moses, 245.

10 Idem. See also Charles’ translation above.

11 Idem.

12 Idem.

13 “Die Psalmen Salomo’s,” 294.

14 “The ‘Measures’ of God’s Glory in Ancient Midrash,” in Messiah and Christos (ed. I. Gruenwald et al.; Tübingen, 1992), 53-74, esp. 70-2. G. Scholem remarks that a similar phrase exists in 2 Enoch 39:6 (shorter recension) (On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead [New York: Schocken Books, 1991], 29). For hmwq rw(# type speculations in the Pauline corpus, see also G. Quispel, “Ezekiel 1: 26 in Jewish Mysticism and Gnosis,” VC 34 (1980): 1-13; G. Stroumsa, “Form(s) of God: Some Notes on Metatron and Christ,” HTR 76 (1983): 269-288, esp. 281-6; A. Segal, Paul the Convert: the Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 58-64; J. Fossum, “Jewish-Christian Christology and Jewish Mysticism,” VC 37 (1983): 260-287, esp. 261-74; C. R. A. Morray-Jones, “The Temple Within. The Embodied Divine Image and Its Worship in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish and Christian Sources,” SBLSP 37 (1998): 400-31, esp. 426-30.

15 Anthropomorphic traditions are constantly and widely witnessed all over Christianity throughout the first four Christian centuries. For these widespread traditions, see G. Gould, “The Image of God and the Anthropomorphite Controversy in Fourth Century Monasticism,” in Origeniana Quinta (ed. B. Daley; Louvain: University Press, 1992), 549-557; G.Florovsky, “The Anthropomorphites in the Egyptian Desert,” in idem, Collected Works (14 vols.; Belmont, MA: Nordland Publishing Co.; Notable & Academic Books, 1972-1989), 4:89-96; G. Stroumsa, “The Incorporeality of God: Context and Implications of Origen’s Position,” Religion 13 (1983): 345-358; idem, “Form(s) of God”; idem, “Jewish and Gnostic Traditions among the Audians,” in Sharing the Sacred: Religious Contacts and Conflicts in the Holy Land (ed. A. Kofsky, G.G. Stroumsa; Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1998), 345-358; David Paulsen, “Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses,” HTR 83 (1990): 105-116; A. Golitzin, “‘The Demons Suggest an Illusion of God’s Glory in a Form’: Controversy over the Divine Body and Vision of Glory in Some Late Fourth, Early Fifth Century Monastic Literature,” Studia Monastica 44 (2002): 13-43; idem, “The Vision of God and the Form of the Glory: More Reflections on the Anthropomorphite Controversy of 399 AD,” in Abba: The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West. Festschrift for Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (ed. A. Louth, J. Behr; Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003), 267-291. While Gould and Florovsky offer ample arguments against the presence of anthropomorphism, Stroumsa, Paulsen, and Golitzin make irrefutable arguments for it.

16 The translation follows the one in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Series 1 (14 vols.; Grand Rapids, Michigan, W.R. Eerdmans, 1956), 2:495. For the Latin text I have used William M. Green’s edition in Saint Augustine, The City of God Against the Pagans (The Loeb Classical Library; 7 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972; London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1972), 7:276, 278.

17 NPNF1, 2:495; Saint Augustine, The City of God Against the Pagans, 7:278.

18 For its composite nature, see John J. Collins, The Sibylline Oracles of Egyptian Judaism (SBLDS 13; Missoula, Mont.; Scholars Press, 1974), 21-34; idem, “Sibylline Oracles,” OTP 1:354-380; idem, Between Athens and Jerusalem (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans, 2000), 84. For its provenance, see Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” 355-356; idem, Between Athens and Jerusalem, 87.

19 Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” 354-355; idem, Between Athens and Jerusalem, 85-86; George W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction (London: SCM, 1981), 161-165. For a bibliography on this dating, see Collins, Sibylline Oracles, 144. Slightly later dates have been proposed by V. Nikiprowetzky, La Troisième Sibylle (Paris: Mouton, 1970), 215; A. Paul, “Les Pseudépigraphes juifs de langue grecque,” in R. Kuntzmann and J. Schlosser, eds., Études sur le Judaïsme hellénistique (Paris: Cerf, 1984), 90.

20 Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” 358.

21 Ibid., 354, 359-360.

22 Ibid., 360.

23 The translation is from Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” 362.

24 Ibidem, 152. The passage has a strikingly close parallel (except for the mention of the four directions) in Philo, De opificio mundi 148. Like the Enochic passage, the Philonian reference follows after a description of Adam’s creation from elements of the earth (4 in Philo, 8 in 2 Enoch 30:8), and an emphasis on man’s dual spiritual-material nature (Opif. 136-139: “body” and “soul”; 2 En. 30:10: “invisible and visible”). Like in the Enochic passage, in Philo Adam “surpasses all men” (140), has a “second” place in heaven, is a “king,” and is endowed with “wisdom” (148). It is very possible that the parallelism is purely coincidental. However, it is equally possible that the agreement is due to a common matrix lore.

25 The following translations of the text are available: Andersen, “2 Enoch,” OTP 1:91-221; R. H. Charles and W. R. Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896); R. H. Charles, ed., Apocrypha and Pseudepigrpha of the Old Testament in English (2 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913); A. Pennington, “2 Enoch,” in H. F. D. Sparks, ed., The Apocryphal Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), 321-362; G. N. Bonwetsch, Die Bücher der Geheimnisse Henochs (TU 44; Leipzig, 1922); A. Vaillant, Le livre des secrets d’Hénoch: Texte slave et traduction française (Paris: Institut d’études slaves, 1952); A. Kahana,  (Jerusalem, 1936). A Jewish origin of the writing is the majority opinion: Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 95-97; Bonwetsch, Die Bücher der Geheimnisse Henochs; Charles, APOT; Gruenwald, Apocalyptic; Kahana, ; Odeberg, 3 Enoch; S. Pines, “Enoch, Slavonic Book of,” EJ 6.797-99; M. Philonenko et al., eds., Jewish Apocalyptic and its History (JSPSS, 20; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996); A. De Santos Otero, “Libro de los secretos de Henoc (Henoc eslavo),” in A. Díez Macho,ed., Apócrifos del AT IV (Madrid, 1984), 147-202; Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism. For a probable Egyptian origin, see Charles, APOT 2:426; M. Philonenko, “La cosmologie du ‘Livre des secrets d’Hénoch’,” in Religions en Egypte hellénistique et romaine (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1969), 109-116; U. Fischer, Eschatologie und Jenseitserwartung im Hellenistischen Diasporajudentum (BZNW 44; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1978), 40. For lists of manuscripts, see Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 92. Unhelpfully, the argument for a Greek source relies mainly on this text and the historical fact that most medieval Slavonic texts are translations from Greek: A. Rubinstein, “Observations on the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” JJS 15 (1962): 1-21; Pennington, “2 Enoch,” 324. This is not to say that the Greek is the language of the original. It could very well be itself a translation of a Hebrew or Aramaic text (Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 94). Modern scholarship still disputes whether the known versions come from a unique original translation or several sources. A date in the first century C.E. has been proposed by Charles and Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch; R. H. Charles, “The Date and Place of Writing of the Slavonic Enoch,” JTS 22 (1921): 161-163; Rubinstein, “Observations on the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” 1-21; Pines, “Enoch, Slavonic Book of,” 797-99; M. Scopello, “The Apocalypse of Zostrianos (Nag Hammadi VIII.1) and the Book of the Secrets of Enoch,” VC 34 (1980): 367-385; De Santos Otero, “Libro de los secretos de Henoc,” 147-202; Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 94-95; idem, “The Second Book of Enoch,” in ABD 516-22; C. Böttrich, Das slavische Henochbuch (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlaghaus, 1995); J. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1995); Sacchi, Jewish Apocalyptic. The terminus ante quem could be supplied by the mention of Origen of a book of Enoch about the creation of the world (De Principiis 1.3.2). Since 1 Enoch does not have much material on speculations about creation, it is highly probable that the remark is about 2 Enoch.

26 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 152 n. m.

27 Life of Adam and Eve is generally dated to the first century CE: M. D. Johnson, “Life of Adam and Eve,” in OTP 2:249-295, here p.252.

28 Gary A. Anderson, Michael E. Stone, eds., A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve (2nd ed.; Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1999), 96E.

29 J. Fossum, The Image of the Invisible God (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus, 30; Göttingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995), 75.

30 Thus Charles remarks that “stars may here mean angels,” and he refers to examples of texts about angels ministering to Adam (Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament [2 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913] 1.449, n. 14).

31 In Pseudo-Cyprian’s De Montibus Sina et Sion the four stars have the same function of name-givers (PL 4, col. 911C-912B).

32 For later expressions of this tradition see C. Böttrich, Adam als Mikrokosmos: beine Untersuchung zum slavischen Henochbuch (Frankfurt am Main, New York: Lang, 1995), 59-72, which follows the tradition up to the eighteenth century.

33 NPNF1 7:67. For the Latin text I have used M.-F. Berrouard’s edition in Œuvres de Saint Augustin (Bibliothèque Augustinienne; 9e série; Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1969), 71:534, 536.

34 On Adam’s enormous body in Judaism see W.D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism. Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology (London: SPCK, 1948), 45-46; J. Jervell, Imago Dei: Gen 1: 26f im Spätjudentum, in der Gnosis und in den paulinischen Briefen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1960), 99-100, 105-107; B. Barc, “La Taille cosmique d’Adam dans la littérature juive rabbinique des trois premi­ères siècles après J.C.,” RSR 49 (1975): 173-185; Susan Niditch, “The Cosmic Man: Man as Mediator in Rabbinic Literature,” JJS 34 (1983): 137-146; C. Böttrich, Adam als Mikrokosmos.

35 For this tradition in Rabbinic Judaism see Gen. Rab. 4 and Pirqe R. El. 12. Gen 2:7 is also the basis for the tradition in which Adam’s body is made out of major elements of the earth. For texts see C. Böttrich, Adam als Mikrokosmos, 35-53, 73-82; B. Barc, “La Taille cosmique d’Adam dans la littérature juive rabbinique des trois premi­ères siècles après J.C.”; Susan Niditch, “The Cosmic Man: Man as Mediator in Rabbinic Literature.” For the Latin speculation homohumus see E. Turdeanu, “Dieu créa l’homme de huit éléments et tira son nom des quatre coins du monde,” Revue des Études Roumaines 13-14 (1974): 163-194, here p. 167.

36 Thus against Barc, who concludes that the Rabbinic traditions are not earlier than the third century C.E. (“La Taille cosmique d’Adam dans la littérature juive rabbinique des trois premi­ères siècles après J.C.,” 183-185).

37 This and all subsequent translations from the Talmud follow the English translation in The Babylonian Talmud (London: Soncino Press, 1935).

38 This and all subsequent translations follow the English translation in Midrash Rabbah (10 vols.; London: Soncino Press, 1939).

39 Midrash Rabbah, 4:177-178.

40 Midrash Rabbah, 4:227-228.

41 b. B. Bat. 14b; Barc, “La Taille cosmique d’Adam dans la littérature juive rabbinique des trois premi­ères siècles après J.C.,” 175.

42 On the Creation of Man, 148, in Philo (11 vols.; Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1949-1956), 1:109.

43 Edgar Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha (2 vols.; ed. W. Schneemelcher; trans. R. M. Wilson; Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1963), 1:490-491.

44 For the dating of the apocalypse, see L. Ginzberg, “Abraham, Apocalypse of,” JE (1904) 1.91-2; R. Rubinkiewiecz, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham en slave (Société des Lettres et des Sciences de l’Université Catholique de Lublin; Zródla i monografie, 129; Lublin, 1987); Idem, “Apocalypse of Abraham,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 1:681-705, here p. 683.

45 R. Rubinkiewiecz, “Apocalypse of Abraham,” 1:700.

46 The writing dates from the 8th or 9th century C.E., but it is generally accepted that it contains traditions going back as far as the first century C.E.

47 Morton Smith has noted that the Rabbinic concept of Mlc has anthropomorphic connotations and that one of its meanings is that the human body is itself made in the image of God: “The Image of God: Notes on the Hellenization of Judaism with Special Reference to Goodenough’s Work on Jewish Symbols,” BJRL 40 (1958): 473-512; “On the Shape of God and the Humanity of the Gentiles,” in Jacob Neusner, ed., Religions in Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 1970), 315-326. More recently A. G. Gottstein has convincingly demonstrated that the only Rabbinic reading of Mlc is anthropomorphic (“The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature,” HTR 87 [1994]: 171-195). All other meanings seem to be developments of this original reading. However, Gottstein does not force his thesis as far as to identify the image with the physical body, with Adam’s corporeality. His argument focuses on the concept of body of light, a broader and more inclusive term.

48 Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer (ed. G. Friedlander; New York: Hermon Press, 1965), 79.

49 In the later Otiyot de-Rabbi Akiva God’s “solution” to the confusion is to diminish Adam. This is, although late, an important evidence that bodily enormity is part of the resemblance between God and Adam.

50 “The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature,” 182.

51 Edgar Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, 1:500.

52 Ante-Nicene Fathers (reprinted; 8 vols.; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1967), 1:355. “Breadth” and “length” seem to denote the extent of the enormous body between the four directions. Instead of marking the extremes, they point to the intervals or distances between them. In another chapter of the same writing Irenaeus addresses measurers of God’s body with the following words: “To these persons one may with justice say, as Scripture itself suggests: To what distance above God do you lift up your imaginations, O you rashly elated men? You have heard that ‘the heavens are meted out in the palm of [His] hand.’ Tell me the measure, and recount the endless multitude of cubits, explain to me the fullness, the breadth, the length, the height, the beginning and end of the measurement — things which the heart of man understands not, neither does it comprehend them. For the heavenly treasuries are indeed great: God cannot be measured in the heart, and incomprehensible is He in the mind; He who holds the earth in the hollow of His hand” (Haer. IV.19.2; ANF 1:487). Interestingly, “breath” (pla/tov), “length” (mh=kov), and “height” (u3yov) appear to be technical terms among the anthropomorphites that Irenaeus refutes.
It is also interesting to note that the same three words plus “depth” (ba/qov) appear in a very similar imagery in the Pauline corpus, namely in Eph 3:18. N. A. Dahl makes a strong argument that the four words refer to the dimensions of the universe (“Cosmic Dimensions and Religious Knowledge (Eph 3: 18),” in Jesus und Paulus: Festschrift für W. G. Kümmel [Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975], 57-75). A. G. Gottstein also argues that Eph 3: 18 is an anthropomorphic reference to the body of the dwbk (rwx)l hml Mynpl hm h+ml hml hl(ml hm, in Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, August 16-24 1989 [Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1990], C:61-68).
A passage of the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies provides a connection between the cosmic and the anthropomorphic significance of the terms. In homily 17:9, after an extensive discussion of God’s corporeality, the enormous divine body is portrayed as containing six “infinities”, which are identified as 1. “height” (u3yov) or the “above” (a1nw); 2. “depth” (ba/qov) or the “below” (ka/tw); 3. “right hand”; 4. “left hand”; 5. “before” (e1mprosqen); 6. and “behind” (o1pisqen) (Ps.-Clem. 17:9; ANF 8:320). The text is also of major significance because it provides the connection between the language of breath-length-height-depth and the equally important language of above-below-before-behind. The latter is attested for the first time in Ezekiel the Tragedian’s Exagoge lines 78, 88-89 in a description of the cosmic proportions of Moses’ knowledge (R. G. Robertson, “Ezekiel the Tragedian,” OTP 2:803-819, here p. 812). b. . 12a ascribes a similar extent to the esoteric initiate’s knowledge. A similarly extensive knowledge is attributed to Metatron in 3 En. 10:5 (P. S. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” OTP 1:223-315, here p. 264). Thus there is a connection between the cosmic dimensions of the body (of God) and the cosmic extent of this special knowledge. In what regards human “copies” of the divine body, this implies that a cosmic knowledge requires cosmic enlargement and dimensions. The principle seems to be that one cannot know what one does not reach. Indeed this is the case with Moses in Ezekiel the Tragedian and with Enoch-Metatron in 3 Enoch. Both heroes are enlarged first and then they become omniscient, it seems as a consequence of the enlargement. The pseudo-Clementine passage links the two concepts, and, more clearly, in bHag 12a the cosmic knowledge is inferred from the cosmic dimensions of Adam (text above) and from the omnipresence of the first-created light.

53 For translations, see G. H. Box, The Testament of Abraham: Translated from the Greek Text with Introduction and Notes (London: SPCK, 1927); M. Delcor, Le Testament d’Abraham (SVTP 2; Leiden: Brill, 1973); M. Stone, Testament of Abraham. The Greek Recensions (SBL Pseudepigrapha Series 2; Missoula: Society of Biblical Literature, 1972); E. P. Sanders, “Testament of Abraham,” OTP 1:871-902; F. Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1986); N. Turner, “The Testament of Abraham,” in The Apocryphal Old Testament (ed. H. D. Sparks; Oxford, 1984), 393-421. For an analysis of the debates regarding the Jewishness of the text, see especially Dale C. Allison, Jr, Testament of Abraham (CEJL; Berlin: New York, 2003), 28-31. On the testament in general, see M. James, The Testament of Abraham: The Greek Text Now First Edited with an Introduction and Notes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1892); Box, The Testament of Abraham; Delcor, Le Testament d’Abraham; G. Nickelsburg, ed., Studies in the Testament of Abraham (SBLSCS 6; Missoula: Scholars Press, 1976); Allison, Testament of Abraham.

54 The Greek manuscripts of the longer recension are critically published and edited in Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 96-169; Stone, Testament of Abraham, 2-57. For a list of the manuscripts see Schmidt, Testament grec d’Abraham, 2-3, 17-26; Allison, Testament of Abraham, 4-6. The Romanian manuscripts are listed in Nicolae Roddy, The Romanian Version of the Testament of Abraham. Text, Translation, and Cultural Context (Early Jewish Literature Series; Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001), 9-12; Émile Turdeanu, Apocryphes slaves et roumains de l’Ancien Testament (Leiden: Brill, 1981), 234-235; Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 37-38; N. Cartojan, Cqr]ile populare \n literatura rom`neascq (2 vols.; Bucure[ti: Editura Enciclopedicq Rom`nq, 1929), 1:114-115.

55 The Greek versions are critically edited in Schmidt, Testament grec d’Abraham, 46-95; Stone, Testament of Abraham, 58-87. For a list of these versions see Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 1-2, 6-10; Allison, Testament of Abraham, 6-7. For lists of the Romanian manuscripts see Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 36-37; Turdeanu, Apocryphes slaves et roumains. The Slavonic manuscripts are listed in Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 33-36; Turdeanu, Apocryphes slaves et roumains, 201-238. The only Coptic version published and translated is the manuscript Vaticanus Copt. 61, fols. 148v-163v: I. Guidi, “Il testo copto del Testamento di Abrahamo,” in Rendiconti della reale academia dei Lincei, classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche serie Quinta, vol. IX (Rome, 1900), 157-180; G. MacRae, “The Coptic Testament of Abraham,” in Nickelsburg, Studies in the Testament of Abraham, 327-340; M. Chaîne, “Traduction des Testaments faite sur le texte copte bohaïrique,” in Delcor, Le Testament d’Abraham, 186-213; E. Andersson, “Abraham’s Vermächtnis aus dem Koptischen übersetzt,” Sphinx 6 (1903): 220-236. The other known Coptic version, a fifth-century papyrus at the Institut für Altertumskunde of the University of Cologne, remains, to the best of my knowledge, unpublished, although publication was promised many decades ago: M. Philonenko, Le Testament de Job (Semitica 18; Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1968), 61. For descriptions of the Arabic manuscripts, see Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 42-43; Allison, Testament of Abraham, 8-9. For the Ethiopic manuscripts, see Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham, 43-44; Allison, Testament of Abraham, 9.

56 For dating, see Sanders, “Testament of Abraham,” 874-876; Allison, Testament of Abraham, 34-40; P. Munoa, Four Powers in Heaven. The Interpretation of Daniel 7 in the Testament of Abraham (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), 17-18; Delcor, Le Testament d’Abraham, 47-51, 73-77.

57 James, The Testament of Abraham, 49; Box, The Testament of Abraham, XIII; Delcor, Le Testament d’Abraham, 33; Nickelsburg, Studies in the Testament of Abraham, 47-64; Sanders, “Testament of Abraham,” 872-873; Allison, Testament of Abraham, 12-27. James argues that the priority does not extend to the vocabulary; the vocabulary of the short recension is a more accurate witness of the original work. The followers of his position generally accept this conclusion. Allison makes a strong case for later Christian interpolations in the long recension.

58 Thus Turdeanu, Schmidt, Turner, etc.

59 E. P. Sanders, “Testament of Abraham,” OTP 1:888.

60 Origen testifies to this lore in his Homilies on Genesis 1:13. According to him some Jews and Christians conceive God is corporeal terms, imagining him composed of members and body like a human. Origen gives the valuable information that such teachings are exegetically based on texts like Isa 66:1.

61 H. Hörner, Gregorii Nysseni Opera. Supplementum (Leiden: Brill, 1972), 9-10.

62 J. J. Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” 362.

63 Thus J. Quasten, Patrology (3 vols.; Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1990), 1:62.

64 ANF 8:281, 316, and 319-320.

65 ANF 8:240.

66 ANF 8:285.

67 Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 143, n.195.

68 Meyer, “Vita Adae et Evae,” in Abhandlungen der koeniglichen Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philsoph.-philologische Klasse (Münich), 14.3:185-250.

69 M. D. Johnson, “Life of Adam and Eve,” OTP 2:250-295, here p. 262.

70 Ibidem, 2:289.

71 Memar Marqah (2 vols.; ed. and trans. John Macdonald; Berlin: Verlag Alfred Töpelmann, 1963), 2:209.

72 Recently A. G. Gottstein has demonstrated that the basis for comparison between Moses and Adam is the image of God (“The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature,” 182).

73 Memar Marqah, 2:47.

74 The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1985), 93.

75 Memar Marqah, 2:140.

76 Memar Marqah, 2.73.

77 R. G. Robertson, “Ezekiel the Tragedian,” 803-819, here p. 812.

78 F.I. Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 91-221, here p. 163.

79 As noted above, Irenaeus addresses an anthropomorphite sect in Haer. IV.19.2 (ANF 1:487). A focus on God’s right hand seems to occupy a very important place in the teachings of this sect. The teachings did not only include speculations about the measurements of the divine hand, but also speculations about its measuring/enlarging functions: “To these persons one may with justice say, as Scripture itself suggests: To what distance above God do you lift up your imaginations, O you rashly elated men? You have heard that ‘the heavens are meted out in the palm of [His] hand.’ Tell me the measure, and recount the endless multitude of cubits, explain to me the fullness, the breadth, the length, the height, the beginning and end of the measurement — things which the heart of man understands not, neither does it comprehend them. For the heavenly treasuries are indeed great: God cannot be measured in the heart, and incomprehensible is He in the mind; He who holds the earth in the hollow of His hand. Who perceives the measure of His right hand? Who knows His finger? Or who does understand His hand — that hand which measures immensity; that hand which, by its own measure, spreads out the measure of the heavens, and which comprises in its hollow the earth with the abysses; which contains in itself the breadth, and length, and the deep below, and the height above of the whole creation; which is seen, which is heard and understood, and which is invisible? And for this reason God is ‘above all principality, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named,’ of all things which have been created and established. He it is who fills the heavens, and views the abysses, who is also present with every one of us. For he says, ‘Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? If any man is hid in secret places, shall I not see him?’ For His hand lays hold of all things, and that it is which illumines the heavens, and lightens also the things which are under the heavens, and tries the reins and the hearts, is also present in hidden things, and in our secret [thoughts], and does openly nourish and preserve us.”

80 Deuteronomy Rabbah 11:3, Memar Marqa 5:4, 6:3. For more texts, see also Wayne A. Meeks, “Moses as God and King,” in Religions in Antiquity: Essays in Memory of Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough (ed. Jacob Neusner; Leiden: Brill, 1968), 334-371.

81 “Form(s) of God: Some Notes on Metatron and Christ,” 279.