The Apocalypse of Zephaniah

by Shaun Bourgeois

[Shaun Bourgeios is a Junior at Hampden-Sydney College in the USA who is spending his Junior Year Abroad studying at St. Mary’s College in the University of St. Andrews.–JRD]

Since no evidence from the physical condition of the separate fragments in two different Coptic dialects could be used to aid in the determination of the document’s unity, the analysis rests upon the literary content of the document only. Being limited by the amount and type of evidence and criticism available regarding the document, therefore, I do not accept that the fragments of the commonly named “Apocalypse of Zephaniah” are indeed the same work because although the two fragments share a certain similarity in language and visionary imagery, they seem to be two different incidents entirely. Further, the fragments seem to betray in their language a connection with Merkavah Mysticism, especially in regards to the depiction of the underworld, which the Coptic monks who preserved the fragments would not have had been able to fabricate but would have been able to copy — hence transmitting, albeit unwittingly, the Merkavah motifs.

(c) 1997
Reproduction beyond fair use only on permission of the author.

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