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.
160 Andrei Orlov
counterpart, the angel of the presence claims authorship of the
materials that the Tradition explicitly assigns to Moses. Here, just like
in 2 Enoch, book authorship can be seen as a process executed
simultaneously by both earthly and heavenly authors, though it is the
function of the earthly counterpart to deliver them to humans.
3. Angels of the Presence
It is significant that in both Enoch and Jacob traditions the theme
of the heavenly counterpart is conflated with the imagery of the angels
of the presence. For our study of the tradition in the Jubilees, where
the angel of the presence might be serving as the heavenly counterpart
of the son of Amram, it is important to note that both Jacob and Enoch
traditions identify the heavenly counterparts of the seers as angelic
servants of the presence.
Thus, in 2 Enoch the seventh antediluvian hero is depicted as the
angelic servant of the presence permanently installed in front of Godâ€™s
face (28). The Slavonic apocalypse repeats again and again that the seer
is installed before the divine Face from â€œnow and foreverâ€. The later
Merkabah developments reaffirm this prominent office of Enochâ€™s
upper identity in the form of angel Metatron portraying him as a
special servant of the divine presence, Âµynph rÃ§.
In the Jacob traditions the heavenly counterpart of the son of Isaac
is also depicted as the angel of the presence. Thus, in the Prayer of
Joseph, the text which gives one of the most striking descriptions of
the pre-existent heavenly double of Jacob, the heavenly version of the
patriarch reveals his identity as the angel of the presence: â€œI, Israel, the
archangel of the power of the Lord and the chief captain among the
sons of God ... the first minister before the face of Godâ€ (29).
The imagery of angels of the presence or the Face looms large in
the traditions of the heavenly counterpart. What is striking here is that
it is not only that the heavenly double of the visionary is fashioned as
(28) 2 Enoch 21,3: â€œAnd the Lord sent one of his glorious ones, the archangel
Gabriel. And he said to me, â€˜Be brave, Enoch! Donâ€™t be frightened! Stand up, and
come with me and stand in front of the face of the Lord foreverâ€™â€.
2 Enoch 22,6: â€œAnd the Lord said to his servants, sounding them out, â€˜Let
Enoch join in and stand in front of my face forever!â€™â€
2 Enoch 36,3: â€œBecause a place has been prepared for you, and you will be
in front of my face from now and foreverâ€. ANDERSEN, â€œ2 Enochâ€, The Old
Testament Pseudepigrapha , I, 136, 138, 161.
(29) SMITH, â€œPrayer of Josephâ€, II, 713.