Thursday, September 6, 2007

Book Note: From Apocalypticism to Merkavah Mysticism (Andrei Orlov)

If you are interested in early Jewish mysticism and haven't seen this spectacular book yet, you should take a look even if it is at the library. It is a Brill volume, and a hefty one at that (483 pages). It is every bit as good as Orlov's first, The Metatron Enoch Tradition (Mohr Siebeck, 2005).

From Apocalypticism to Merkavah Mysticism
is a collection of previously published essays from Orlov's pen that examine Slavonic pseudepigrapha (2 Enoch, Apocalypse of Adam, Ladder of Jacob, 3 Baruch) in terms of their importance for the development of theophanic and angelological imagery crucial to early Jewish mysticism. He examines the traditions of exalted patriarchs: Enoch, Adam, Noah, Jacob, and Moses. These texts are normally not touched by scholars of Jewish mysticism, most likely because of the language barrier - how many knew or know Slavonic? So Orlov, whose scholarly love is mysticism, has overcome that barrier and brings his extensive knowledge of the mystical traditions into his analyses of the Slavonic materials.

But that is not all. If you are looking for a comprehensive bibliography on the Slavonic pseudepigrapha, you will find it here. It occupies the entire first part of Orlov's book, the first 100 pages.

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