The Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah


Oliver Jackson

The Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah is considered by many to be a syncretistic combination of traditional Egyptian, Jewish and Christian forms and motifs, and thus it represents a fairly unique perspective on life for Egyptian Christians in the third century. The text is part of the rich literally body of Elianic texts, of which it is the oldest surviving today. Of the history of the book we know very little concrete external evidence, indeed much of the external evidence regarding an Apocalypse of Elijah seems to be in relation to a completely different document.

My paper focuses firstly on how the Apocalypse of Elijah is related to Jewish, Christian and Egyptian traditions, by examining themes and literary features within the text, and comparing them to the various traditions making up the Apocalypse of Elijah, paying particular attention to the Enoch and Elijah martyrdom tradition in relation to Revelation 11:3-13, the figure of Tabitha, and Jewish Messianic beliefs associated with the title ‘King of Peace’. The second section on my paper focuses on my endeavours to look beyond the text, beginning with analysing what the text can tell us about the audience and its author, and what their life was like in Egypt. To conclude I will analyse how the text is related to other Elianic literature, with particular focus upon the Hebrew Apocalypse of Elijah or Sefer Elijah, as well as an analysis of various fragments of Elianic material found within The Books of Elijah, Parts 1 and 2 (Stone and Strugnell), and evaluate why difference and similarities between the texts have occurred.

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

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