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 155
1. The Jacob Traditions
The traditions about the heavenly â€œimageâ€ of Jacob are present in
several targumic (8) texts (9), including Tg. Ps.-J., Tg. Neof. (10) and Frg.
In Tg. Ps.-J. to Gen 28,12 the following description can be found:
He [Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was fixed in the earth
with its top reaching toward the heavens ... and on that day they
(angels) ascended to the heavens on high, and said,
Come and see Jacob the pious, whose image is fixed (engraved) in the
Throne of Glory (arqy ysrwkb a[ybq hylyd Ë†ynwqyad), and whom you have
desired to seeâ€(12).
Besides the tradition of â€œengravingâ€ on the Throne, some Jewish
materials point to an even more radical identification of Jacobâ€™s image
with Kavod, an anthropomorphic extent of the Deity, often labelled
there as the Face of God. Jarl Fossumâ€™s research demonstrates that in
some traditions about Jacobâ€™s image, his celestial â€œimageâ€ or
â€œlikenessâ€ is depicted not simply as engraved on the heavenly throne,
(8) The same tradition can be found in the rabbinic literature. GenR 68,12
reads: â€œthus it says, Israel in whom I will be glorified (Isa. xlix, 3); it is thou, [said
the angels,] whose features are engraved on high; they ascended on high and saw
his features and they descended below and found him sleepingâ€. Midrash Rabbah
(London 1961) II, 626. On Jacobâ€™s image on the Throne of Glory see also: GenR
78,3; 82,2; NumR 4,1; b.Hul 91b; PRE 35.
(9) On the traditions about Jacobâ€™s image engraved on the Throne see: E.R.
WOLFSON, Along the Path. Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and
Hermeneutics (Albany 1995) 1-62; 111-186.
(10) â€œAnd he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was fixed on the earth and its head
reached to the height of the heavens; and behold, the angels that had accompanied
him from the house of his father ascended to bear good tidings to the angels on
high, saying: â€˜Come and see the pious man whose image is engraved in the throne
of Glory, whom you desired to see.â€™ And behold, the angels from before the Lord
ascended and descended and observed himâ€. Targum Neofiti 1: Genesis (The
Aramaic Bible 1A; Collegeville 1992) 140.
(11) â€œAnd he dreamt that there was a ladder set on the ground, whose top
reached towards the heavens; and behold the angels that had accompanied him
from his fatherâ€™s house ascended to announce to the angels of the heights: â€˜Come
and see the pious man, whose image is fixed to the throne of gloryâ€™â€. M.L. KLEIN,
The Fragment-Targums of the Pentateuch According to Their Extant Sources
(AB 76; Rome 1980) I, 57 and II, 20.
(12) Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis (The Aramaic Bible 1B; Collegeville
1992) 99-100; Targum Palaestinense in Pentateuchum (ed. A. DÃEZ MACHO)
(Matriti 1977) 195.