Apocryphal and Esoteric Sources in the Development of Christianity and Judaism

The Eastern Mediterranean, the Near East, and Beyond


Volume Editor:
Apocryphal traditions, often shared by Jews and Christians, have played a significant role in the history of both religions. The 26 essays in this volume examine regional and linguistic developments in Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Armenia, the Balkans, and Italy. Dissenting groups, such as the Samaritans, followers of John the Baptist, and mediæval dualists are also discussed. Furthermore, the book looks at interactions of Judaism and Christianity with the religions of Iran.
Seldom verified or authorized, and frequently rejected by Churches, apocryphal texts had their own process of development, undergoing significant transformations. The book shows how apocryphal accounts could become a medium of literary and artistic elaboration and mythological creativity. Local adaptations of Biblical stories indicate that copyists, authors and artists conceived of themselves as living not in a post-Biblical era, but in direct continuity with Biblical personages.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev, Ph.D. (2002) and Habilitation (2009) at ÉPHÉ – Sorbonne, is a lecturer in Armenian civilisation at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He is interested in the interaction of religions across pre-modern Eurasia and in the cross-cultural development of ecclesiastical institutions in Syria, South Caucasus and Anatolia. In his recent publications, he has focused on the transmission of apocrypha in the South Caucasus and on the phenomenon of cultural blending in apocrypha.
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors


Part 1 Esoteric Writing and Esoteric Cults in the Biblical Religions

1 The Exoteric Settings of Jewish Esotericism
Ithamar Gruenwald

2 The Gospel of Peter between the Synoptics, Second Century, and Late Antique ‘Apostolic Memoirs’
Tobias Nicklas

3 All Mysteries Revealed? On the Interplay between Hiding and Revealing and the Dangers of Heavenly Journeys according to the Ascension of Isaiah
Joseph Verheyden

4 Early Christianity and the Pagan Mysteries: Esoteric Knowledge?
Jan N. Bremmer

5 The Medieval Dualist Nachleben of Early Jewish and Christian Esoteric Traditions: The Role of the Pseudepigrapha
Yuri Stoyanov

6 The Esoteric Cardinal: Giorgios Gemistos, Bessarion and Theurgy
Ezio Albrile

Part 2 Bridging the Account of the Origins and the Messiah’s Advent

7 La création d’ Adam à Noravank̔: Théologie et narrativité
Jean-Pierre Mahé

8 Translatio corporis Adæ: Trajectories of a Parabiblical Tradition
Sergey Minov

9 Apostles, Long Dead ‘Heretics’, and Monks: Noncanonical Traditions on Angels and Protoplasts in Two Late Antique Coptic Apocalypses (7th–8th Century CE)
Daniele Tripaldi

10 Face as the Image of God in the Jewish Pseudepigrapha
Andrei A. Orlov

11 On the Perdition of the Higher Intellect and on the Image of Light: Critical Edition, Translation, and Commentary
Maria V. Korogodina and Basil Lourié

12 Bridging the Gaps in the Samaritan Tradition
Abraham Tal

13 ‘On the Mountains of Ararat’: Noah’s Ark and the Sacred Topography of Armenia
Nazénie Garibian

14 The Historian’s Craft and Temporal Bridges in Apocrypha and in Early Christian Art: Para-Biblical Sources in the Light of the Work of Marc Bloch
Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev

Part 3 Symbols and Figures of the Messianic Expectation

15 Quellen der nichtbiblischen Mose-Überlieferung in der Kratkaja Chronografičeskaja Paleja
Dieter Fahl and Sabine Fahl

16 Whether Lamb or Lion: Overlapping Metaphors in Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism
Abraham Terian

17 Rescuing John the Baptist
Albert I. Baumgarten

18 The Esoteric Legacy of the Magi of Bethlehem in the Framework of the Iranian Speculations about Jesus, Zoroaster and His Three Posthumous Sons
Antonio Panaino

19 Visual Apocrypha: The Case of Mary and the Magi in Early Christian Rome
Felicity Harley

20 Gnostic and Mithraic Themes in Sefer Zerubbabel
Yishai Kiel

Part 4 Angels, Heavenly Journeys and Visions of Paradise

21 1 Enoch 17 in the Geneva Papyrus 187
David Hamidović

22 Enochic Traditions in Slavia Orthodoxa
Florentina Badalanova Geller

23 Visions of Paradise in the Life of St Andrew the Fool and the Legacy of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha in Byzantium
Emmanouela Grypeou

24 Eternal Chains and the Mountain of Darkness: The Fallen Angels in the Incantation Bowls
Yakir Paz

25 Iconography of Angels: Roots and Origins in the Earliest Christian Art
Cecilia Proverbio

26 The Gardens of Eden: Compositional, Iconographic and Semantic Similarities between the ‘Birds Mosaic’ of the Armenian Chapel in Jerusalem and the Mosaic of the Synagogue at Maʿon (Nirim)
Zaruhi Hakobyan

Postscript: Border-Crossing Texts
Hartmut Leppin

Scholars, students and educated laymen interested in the history of Biblical interpretation, early and medieval Christianity, Christian art, liturgics, Eastern Christianities, Jewish Studies, religions of Late Antiquity and mystery cults.
  • Collapse
  • Expand