The Apocalypse of Abraham in Its Ancient and Medieval Contexts


The Apocalypse of Abraham is a pseudepigraphal work that narrates Abraham’s rejection of idol worship and his subsequent ascent to heaven, where he is shown eschatological secrets through angelic mediation. This fascinating text was only preserved in Old Church Slavonic and must be studied as both a medieval Christian and an ancient Jewish text. This monograph addresses the following questions:
-Why were medieval Slavs translating and reading Jewish pseudepigrapha?
-How much, if at all, did they emend or edit the Apocalypse of Abraham?
-When in antiquity was it most likely written?
-What were its ancient Jewish social and theological contexts?

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Amy Paulsen-Reed, Th.D. (2016), studied Hebrew Bible at Harvard Divinity School, where she focused on ancient Jewish biblical interpretation. Her early academic interests were modern Hebrew and Russian language and literature, which developed into a scholarly focus on biblical Hebrew and pseudepigraphal, apocalyptic, and Rabbinic literature. She is currently pursuing a career in publishing as the Academic Sales Manager and Acquisitions Editor at Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.


1Laying the Groundwork
 1 Methodological Considerations

2From Byzantium to Bulgaria
 1 Early Bulgarian Literary Activity

 2 The Popularity of the Pseudepigrapha in Bulgaria

 3 The Indices of Forbidden Books in Bulgaria

 4 Literary Compilations and Works in Bulgaria

 5 Translation Practices

 6 Bulgarian Literary Creativity

3The Bogomils
 1 Bogomil Beliefs

 2 The Spread of Bogomilism

 3 Bogomil Literary Activity

4From Bulgaria to Rus
 1 Literary Activity in Rus

5Jews in Slavic Lands
 1 Translations from Hebrew into Slavonic?

 2 Conclusions

6The Original Language of the Apocalypse of Abraham

7The Structure and Unity of the Apocalypse of Abraham
 1 Structure

 2 Textual Unity

8Christian Emendations and Interpolations

9The Themes, Messages and Functions of the Apocalypse of Abraham
 1 Did the Destruction of the Second Temple Create a Religious Crisis?

 2 Theodicy

 3 Idolatry

 4 The Law

 5 Purity and Ritual

 6 Asceticism

 7 Eschatology

 8 The Romans

 9 Grief and Distress

 10 Knowledge

 11 Creation

 12 Free Will

 13 Function

104 Ezra, 2 Baruch, and the Apocalypse of Abraham: A Comparative Analysis
 1 Introduction
 1.1 The relationship between 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch

 2 4 Ezra

 3 2 Baruch

 3 Conclusions

11The Social Setting of the Apocalypse of Abraham
 1 Methodological Considerations

 2 Apocalyptic Literature and Sectarianism

 3 The Social Setting of Opaque Texts: Lessons from Midrash Studies

 4 Conclusions

12The Exegetical Context of the Apocalypse of Abraham
 1 Rabbinic Parallels

 2 Conclusions




This book is for scholars and graduate students in the areas of Hebrew Bible, ancient Jewish biblical interpretation, apocalyptic literature, and the Pseudepigrapha, and it will be at home in academic libraries.
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