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The Mountain of Jericho in the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Paul: A Suggestion

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

In the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Paul, Paul is said to “trample upon the Mountain of Jericho” immediately prior to his out-of-body ascent through the heavens. The historical Paul never mentions Jericho. Further, there is no such mountain as the “Mountain of Jericho”. It is a metaphor which has been fabricated by the author of Apoc.Paul. This article suggests that the metaphor has an exegetical basis which, once grasped, sheds light on the broader narrative of the text. The metaphor is divided into three parts: 1) Jericho; 2) the “Mountain”; and 3) Paul’s “trampling” upon it. Once the exegetical background of each element has been analysed individually, the metaphor is reassembled in order to demonstrate that the underlying meaning of the image is that to “trample upon the Mountain of Jericho” is in fact to “overcome the hostile forces of the material world”, perhaps even the devil himself.

Affiliations: 1: University of OxfordFaculty of Theology and


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