Heralds of That Good Realm

Syro-Mesopotamian Gnosis and Jewish Traditions


Author: John Reeves
This volume examines the transmission of biblical pseudepigraphic literature and motifs from their largely Jewish cultural contexts in Palestine to developing gnostic milieux of Syria and Mesopotamia, particularly that one lying behind the birth and growth of Manichaeism. It surveys biblical pseudepigraphic literary activity in the late antique Near East, devoting special attention to revelatory works attributed to the five biblical forefathers who are cited in the Cologne Mani Codex: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Shem, and Enoch.
The author provides a philological, literary, and religio-historical analysis of each of the five pseudepigraphic citations contained in the Codex, and offers hypotheses regarding the original provenance of each citation and the means by which these traditions have been adapted to their present context.
This study is an important contribution to the scholarly reassessment of the roles played by Second Temple Judaism, Jewish Christian sectarianism, and classical gnosis in the formulation and development of Syro-Mesopotamian religious currents.

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John C. Reeves, Ph.D. (1989), Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, is Blumenthal Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author of Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony ( HUC Press, 1992) and of diverse articles exploring intertextual relationships among varieties of Judaism, Christianity, gnostic communities, and Islam.
' ...an outstanding work which is fundamental to any close study...The author must be warmly congratulated on yet another signigicant contribution to both Jewish and Manichaean studies.' Samuel N.C. LieuVigiliae Christianae, 2002. ' ...an exemplary piece of scholarship...' James C. VanderKam, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1999.
Students of and specialists in the history of religions in the Near East during late Antiquity, Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha, Manichaean studies, and the history of biblical exegesis.