Apocalypse of Abraham


Maria Elliott

Considered by many to be ‘the last important product of the Apocalyptic movement’, the Apocalypse of Abraham is part of a body of prophetic and historical apocalypses written after the destruction of the Second Temple (Licht in Encyclopaedia Judaica, volume 2, page 127).  It is very likely that the author of the Apocalypse of Abrahamwrote said book not only in response to the second destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, but also out of his understanding of the account of end time, drawing inspiration from the Christian accounts produced in Revelation as well as from other ‘Jewish’ apocalypses.  Reflecting both one man’s and an entire people’s struggle to make sense of their plight at the hands of the God who has chosen them as his own, the author chooses Abraham as his protagonist and topic of discussion so as to suggest that the destruction of the temple was brought about by the worship of false idols and is ultimately a part of Gods plan for the salvation of the Jews.

In my paper, I plan to discuss the role of the author of the Slavonic Apocalypse as prophet and historian, and through close study of the book’s content draw conclusions about the author’s message and intent in writing about Abraham, as well as his understanding of God, man, and the world around him.  To do this, I will examine the over-arching themes of the text in great detail, and then apply these themes to the revelations of God to Abraham in the later part of the pseudepigraphon, using critical writings of several authors to clarify the author’s understanding of the destruction of the Second Temple, about which most believe the book was written.  I will then conclude by focusing on Hall’s arguments for the presence of an ‘anti-Christ’ figure in chapter 29, exploring the concept of God’s use of evil agents for punishment of his chosen people and examining how The Apocalypse of Abraham may fit into a tradition of thought which declares Nebuchadnezzar and even Hitler to be tools of God.

(c) 2007
Reproduction beyond fair use only on permission of the author.

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St Mary’s College
The School of Divinity
University of St Andrews
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St Andrews
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Scotland, United Kingdom

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