From patriarch to the youth: The Metatron tradition in "2 Enoch"

Andrei A Orlov, Marquette University


Gershom Scholem's seminal research has opened the way to extensive studies of the role of the Second Temple pseudepigrapha in the history of early Jewish mysticism. While Scholem argued that the mystical testimonies attested in the pseudepigraphic accounts served as the foundation for the subsequent rabbinic and Hekhalot developments, some critics have contended that the Hekhalot tradition possesses its own distinctive mystical imagery, quite different from that found in the Second Temple materials. The current dissertation investigates a new set of threads that connects the Second Temple pseudepigraphic traditions with the Hekhalot and rabbinic mystical testimonies. The study focuses on the imagery of the celestial roles and titles of Enoch-Metatron found in 2 Enoch , a Jewish pseudepigraphon traditionally dated to the first century CE. I begin with the analysis of the evolution of the celestial roles and titles of the seventh antediluvian hero in Mesopotamian, early Enochic, Hekhalot, and rabbinic accounts. The study shows that the imagery of these roles and titles of Enoch-Metatron found in 2 Enoch occupies an intermediary stage between early Enochic and Hekhalot traditions. The evolution of the examined roles and titles in the Slavonic apocalypse includes two distinct processes: first, the emergence of the new roles and titles prominent in the later Hekhalot and rabbinic lore, including Metatron's offices of the Youth, the Prince of the Presence, the Prince of the World, God's Vice-Regent, and the Measurer of God; and second, the advancement of the traditional roles of the seventh antediluvian hero, such as scribe, priest, diviner, and mediator toward their later Merkabah forms. The evolution of the imagery of the celestial roles and titles suggests that 2 Enoch represents a bridge between the early pseudepigraphic accounts and the later rabbinic and Hekhalot testimonies. The analysis demonstrates that the mediatorial polemics with the traditions of the exalted patriarch and prophets played an important role in facilitating the transition from Enoch to Metatron in 2 Enoch .

Recommended Citation

Orlov, Andrei A, "From patriarch to the youth: The Metatron tradition in "2 Enoch"" (2004). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3134458.