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 159
versionâ€ is dispatched by God to another lower realm with the mission
to deliver the handwritings made by the translated hero in heaven.
In 2 Enoch 33,3-10 the Lord endows Enoch with the mission of the
distributing those heavenly writings on earth:
And now, Enoch, whatever I have explained to you, and whatever you
have seen in heavens, and whatever you have seen on earth, and
whatever I have written in the books - by my supreme wisdom I have
contrived it all ... Apply your mind, Enoch, and acknowledge the One
who is speaking to you. And you take the books which I (!) have written
â€¦ And you go down onto the earth and tell your sons all that I have told
you ... And deliver to them the books in your handwritings, and they will
read them and know their Creator ... And distribute the books in your
handwritings to your children and (your) children to (their) children; and
the parents will read (them) from generation to generation (25).
This account is striking in that while commanding the adept to
travel to the lower realm with the heavenly books, God himself seems
to assume the seerâ€™s upper scribal identity. The Deity tells Enoch, who
is previously depicted as the scribe of the books (26), that it is He who
wrote these books. This situation is reminiscent of some developments
found in the Jubilees where the angel of the presence also seems to
take on the celestial scribal identity of Moses. It is also noteworthy that
in the Jubilees, as in 2 Enoch, the boundaries between the upper scribal
identity of the visionary who claims to be the writer of â€œthe first lawâ€
and the Deity appear blurred (27).
In 2 Enoch 33 where the divine scribal figure commands the
seventh antediluvian hero to deliver the book in his [Enoch]
handwritings, one possibly witnesses to the unique, paradoxal
communication between the upper and the lower scribal identities.
The fact that in 2 Enoch 33 the patriarch is dispatched to earth to
deliver the books in â€œhis handwritingsâ€, the authorship of which the
text assigns to the Deity, is also worthy of attention given that in the
traditions attested in the Jubilees, where Moses appears as a heavenly
(25) 2 Enoch 33,3-10 (the shorter recension). ANDERSEN, â€œ2 Enochâ€, The Old
Testament Pseudepigrapha, I, 157.
(26) See 2 Enoch 23,6 â€œI wrote everything accurately. And I wrote 366
booksâ€. ANDERSEN, â€œ2 Enochâ€, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, I, 140.
(27) Cf. Jub 6,22 and 30,12. On the blurred boundaries between the angel of
the presence and the Deity in the Jubilees, see VANDERKAM, â€œThe Angel of the
Presence in the Book of Jubileesâ€, 390-392. It should be noted that the tendency
to identify the seerâ€™s heavenly identity with the Deity or his anthropomorphic
extent (known as his Kavod or the Face) is discernable in all accounts dealing
with the heavenly counterpart.