The Origins of the Apocalypse of Abraham
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CitationPaulsen-Reed, Amy Elizabeth. 2016. The Origins of the Apocalypse of Abraham. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractThe Apocalypse of Abraham, a pseudepigraphon only extant in a fourteenth century Old Church Slavonic manuscript, has not received much attention from scholars of Ancient Judaism, due in part to a lack of readily available information regarding the history and transmission of the Slavonic Pseudepigrapha. This dissertation examines the historical context of these works with the aim of assessing the probability that they contain ancient Jewish material. The rest of the dissertation is focused on the Apocalypse of Abraham specifically, discussing its date and provenance, original language, probability that it comes from Essene circles, textual unity, and Christian interpolations. This includes treatments of the issue of free will, determinism, and predestination in the Apocalypse of Abraham as well as the methodological complexities in trying to distinguish between early Jewish and Christian works. It also provides an in-depth comparison of the Apocalypse of Abraham with 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch and takes up the question of the social setting for these texts based on relevant precedents set by recent scholars of midrash who seek to probe the “socio-cultural and historical situatedness” of midrashic texts. This discussion includes a survey of parallels between the content of the Apocalypse of Abraham and rabbinic literature to support the argument that a sharp distinction between apocalyptic ideas and what later became rabbinic tradition did not exist in the time between 70 and 135 C.E. Overall, this dissertation argues that the Apocalypse of Abraham is an early Jewish document written during the decades following the destruction of the Second Temple. While seeking to warn its readers of the dangers of idolatry in light of the apocalyptic judgment still to come, it also provides sustained exegesis of Genesis 15, which gives cohesion to the entire document.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27194248