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CELESTIAL CHOIRMASTER: THE LITURGICAL ROLE OF ENOCH-METATRON IN 2 ENOCH AND THE MERKABAH TRADITION

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Enoch-Metatron's liturgical office plays a prominent role in the Merkabah lore, yet this tradition appears to be absent in early Enochic texts, including the compositions collected in 1 Enoch, Jubilees, Genesis Apocryphon and the Book of Giants. Despite this apparent absence, this study argues that the roots of Enoch-Metatron's liturgical imagery can be traced to the Second Temple Enochic lore, namely, to 2 Enoch, the Jewish apocalypse, apparently written in the first century CE. Some traditions found in this text appear to serve as the initial background for the developments of the future liturgical role of Enoch-Metatron as the celestial choirmaster. Scholars have previously noted that Enoch's figure portrayed in the various sections of 2 Enoch appears to be more complex than in the early Enochic tractates of 1 Enoch. For the first time, the Enochic tradition seeks to depict Enoch, not simply as a human taken to heaven and transformed into an angel, but as a celestial being exalted above the angelic world. In this attempt, one may find the origins of another image of Enoch, very different from the early Enochic literature, which was developed much later in Merkabah mysticism — the concept of the supreme angel Metatron, the «Prince of the Presence». The attestation of the seventh antediluvian patriarch as the celestial liturgical director in 2 Enoch gives additional weight to this hypothesis about the transitionary nature of the Slavonic account which guides the old pseudepigraphical traditions into the new mystical dimension. In this respect the tradition found in 2 Enoch represents an important step towards defining and shaping Enoch-Metatron's liturgical office in its transition to his new role as the celestial choirmaster. It is also significant that the beginning of Enoch's liturgical functions in 2 Enoch is conflat¬ed there with the development of his new titles-offices as the Youth and the Servant of the Divine Presence which will later play a prominent role in the Merkabah passages pertaining to Metatron's liturgical actions.

10.1163/18177565-90000158
/content/journals/10.1163/18177565-90000158
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/content/journals/10.1163/18177565-90000158
2007-03-30
2017-12-15

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