Andrei Orlov, «Moses’ Heavenly Counterpart in the Book of Jubilees and the
Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian», Vol. 88 (2007) 153-173
The paper provides conceptual background for the idea of the angel of the presence as the heavenly counterpart of Moses in the Book of Jubilees and the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian. The identity of the celestial scribe in the form
of the angel of the presence found in the Book of Jubilees and some other Second Temple materials might further our understanding of the enigmatic process of
mystical and literary emulation of the exemplary figure, the cryptic mechanics of which often remains beyond the grasp of our post/modern sensibilities. It is possible that in the traditions of heavenly counterparts where the two characters
of the story, one of which is represented by a biblical exemplar, become eventually unified and acquire a single identity, we are able to draw nearer to the very heart of the pseudepigraphical enterprise. In this respect, it does not appear to be coincidental that these transformational accounts dealing with the heavenly doubles of their adepts are permeated with the aesthetics of penmanship and the
imagery of the literary enterprise. In the course of these mystical and literary metamorphoses, the heavenly figure surrenders his scribal seat, the library of the celestial books and even personal writing tools to the other, earthly identity who now becomes the new guardian of the literary tradition.
Mosesâ€™ Heavenly Counterpart in the Book of Jubilees
and the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian
â€œHe told us â€” all the angels of the presence ...
to keep sabbath with him in heaven and on earthâ€
One of the enigmatic characters in the Book of Jubilees is the angel of
the presence who dictates to Moses heavenly revelation. The book
provides neither the angelâ€™s name nor a clear picture of his celestial
roles and offices. Complicating the picture is the angelâ€™s arrogation, in
certain passages of the text, of â€œwhat in the Bible are words or deeds
of Godâ€ (1). In Jub 6,22, for example, the angel utters the following:
For I have written (this) in the book of the first law in which I wrote
for you that you should celebrate it at each of its times one day in a
year. I have told you about its sacrifice so that the Israelites may
continue to remember and celebrate it throughout their generations
during this month â€“ one day each year (2).
James VanderKam observes that according to these sentences â€œthe
angel of the presence wrote the first law, that is, the Pentateuch,
including the section about the Festival of Weeks in the cultic
calendars (Lev 23,15-21 and Num 28,26-31, where the sacrifices are
specified)â€ (3). VanderKam further notes that â€œthese passages are
represented as direct revelations by God to Moses in Leviticus and
Numbers, not as statements from an angelâ€ (4).
In Jub 30,12, which retells and modifies Gen 34, the angelâ€™s
authorial claim is repeated again:
For this reason I have written for you in the words of the law
everything that the Shechemites did to Dinah and how Jacobâ€™s sons
said: â€œWe will not give our daughter to a man who has a foreskin
because for us that would be a disgraceful thingâ€ (5).
(1) J.C. VANDERKAM, â€œThe Angel of the Presence in the Book of Jubileesâ€,
Dead Sea Discoveries 7 (2000) 390.
(2) J.C. VANDERKAM, The Book of Jubilees (CSCO 510-511, Scriptores
Aethiopici 87-88; Leuven 1989) II, 40.
(3) VANDERKAM, â€œThe Angel of the Presence in the Book of Jubileesâ€, 391.
(4) VANDERKAM, â€œThe Angel of the Presence in the Book of Jubileesâ€, 391.
(5) VANDERKAM, The Book of Jubilees, II, 195.