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Paradise Revisited (2 Cor 12:1–12): The Jewish Mystical Background of Paul's Apostolate* Part 1: The Jewish Sources

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2011

C. R. A. Morray-Jones
Stanford, California


The theory that the background of Paul's rapture into paradise (2 Corinthians 12) is indicated by the rabbinic story of four men who entered a garden, park, or orchard (pardes), which is found in collections of traditions associated with “merkabah mysticism,” is by no means new. First proposed by Wilhelm Bousset, the theory was developed by Hans Windisch and Hans Bietenhard, but has come to be associated with Gershom G. Scholem. Although a few scholars have subsequently referred to Jewish mysticism in their interpretations of Paul, the subject on the whole has figured only at the periphery of the map of Pauline studies as a puzzling and little explored terra incognita of marginal or, at best, uncertain relevance to the whole. Growing recognition of the importance of apocalyptic for our understanding of Paul now makes it imperative that this unknown territory be explored. Following the publication of Alan F. Segal's recent book, it is clear that Jewish mysticism must occupy a more central place than has previously been the case in any reconstruction of the matrices of Paul's experience and thought.

Research Article
Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 1993

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1 Wilhelm Bousset, “Die Himmelsreise der Seele,” ARW (1901) 136–69 and 229–73, esp. 147–48; Windisch, Hans, Der zweite Korintherbrief (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1924) 368–98Google Scholar, esp. 375–76; Bietenhard, Hans, Die himmlische Welt im Urchristentum und Spätjudentum (WUNT 2; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1951) 9195Google Scholar and 161–68; Scholem, Gershom G., Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition (2d ed.; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1965) 1419Google Scholar.

2 Davies, William David (Paul and Rabbinic Judaism [London: SPCK, 1948] 1415Google Scholar, 37–38, and 196–98) refers in passing to Jewish mysticism; see also idem, “From Schweitzer to Scholem: Reflections on Sabbatai Svi,” JBL 95 (1976) 529–58Google Scholar, reprinted in idem, Jewish and Pauline Studies (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984) 257–77Google Scholar; Kim, Seyoon (The Origin of Paul's Gospel [WUNT 2/4; 2d ed.; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1984] esp. 252–56)Google Scholar mentions Jewish mysticism several times but circumspectly. More confident in their use of the material are Smith, Morton, “Observations on Hekhalot Rabbati,” in Altmann, Alexander, ed., Biblical and Other Studies (Studies and Texts 1; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963)Google Scholar; Bowker, John W., “‘Merkabah’ Visions and the Visions of Paul,” JSS 16 (1971) 157–73Google Scholar; Rowland, Christopher, “The Influence of the First Chapter of Ezekiel on Jewish and Early Christian Literature” (Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1974) esp. 239–98Google Scholar; and idem, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (London: SPCK, 1982) esp. 368–86Google Scholar. On the specific subject of Paul's ascent to paradise, see Young, Brad H., “The Ascension Motif of 2 Corinthians in Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Texts,” Grace Theological Journal 9 (1988) 73103Google Scholar; and especially Tabor, James D., Things Unutterable: Paul's Ascent to Paradise in its Greco-Roman, Judaic and Early Christian Contexts (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986)Google Scholar.

3 Segal, Alan F., Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1990)Google Scholar.

4 Peter Schäfer's monumental edition, Synopse zur Hekhalot-Literatur, together with the supplementary Geniza-Fragmente zur Hekhalot-Literatur and Konkordanz zur Hekhalot-Literatur and the four-volume Übersetzung der Hekhalot-Literatur (Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 2, 6, 12, 13, 17, 22, 29; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 19871991)Google Scholar supersede most earlier “editions” of the material that they include (vol. 1 of the Übersetzung has yet to appear). Work on a one-volume English edition of the corpus is under way.

At the present time, published English translations exist only for the following texts: 3 Enoch (= Sefer Hekhalot) by Odeberg, Hugo (3 Enoch, or The Hebrew Book of Enoch [1928; reprinted New York: Ktav, 1973]Google Scholar) and P. S. Alexander, OTP 1. 223–315; Maʾaśeh Merkabah (the text first published by Scholem in Jewish Gnosticism, appendix C) by Janowitz, Naomi (The Poetics of Ascent: Theories of Language in a Rabbinic Ascent Text [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989]Google Scholar) and Swartz, Michael D. (Mystical Prayer in Ancient Judaism: An Analysis of Maʾaśeh Merkavah [Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 28; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1992]Google Scholar). On the Šiʾur Qomah and passages of Hekhalot Rabbati, see nn. 7 and 10 below.

Gruenwald, Ithamar (Apocalyptic and Merkavah Mysticism [AGJU 14; Leiden: Brill, 1980] 127234Google Scholar) offers detailed summaries of several texts, as do Saldarini, Anthony J. (“Apocalypses and ‘Apocalyptic’ in Rabbinic Literature and Mysticism,” Semeia 14 [1979] 187–98Google Scholar) and Schäfer, Peter (Der verborgene und offenbare Gott [Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1991Google Scholar; now available in English as The Hidden and Manifest God (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992)] 11133Google Scholar). Not in the Synopse but included by Gruenwald and/or Saldarini are The Visions of Ezekiel (full translations in Jacobs, Louis, Jewish Mystical Testimonies [New York: Schocken, 1977] 2634Google Scholar, and, better, Halperin, David J., The Faces of the Chariot: Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiel's Vision [Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 16; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1988] 264–80Google Scholar) and Sefer ha-Razim (ed. and trans. Morgan, Michael A., Sepher ha-Razim: The Book of Mysteries [Pseudepigrapha 11; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983]Google Scholar). These are not hekhalot texts but include merkabah traditions.

5 It is now widely recognized that the heavenly ascent, which Scholem placed at the center of his interpretation of hekhalot mysticism, represents only one aspect of the literature. Nonetheless, it is with this aspect that this study is primarily concerned. See further and compare, Halperin, Faces, 359–87; Peter Schäfer, “Gershom Scholem Reconsidered: The Aim and Purpose of Early Jewish Mysticism” (12th Sacks Lecture; Oxford: Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, 1986); reprinted as idem, “The Aim and Purpose of Early Jewish Mysticism,” in idem, Hekhalot-Studien (Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 19; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1988) 277–95Google Scholar; and idem, Der verborgene und offenbare Gott.

6 According to 3 Enoch 18.3 and Massekhet Hekhalot 4 (in Jellinek, Adolf, ed., Bet ha-Midrasch: Sammlung kleiner Midraschim und vermischter Abhandlungen aus der ältern jüdischen Literatur [6 vols.; 1853–77; reprinted Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1938] 2Google Scholar. 42–43; also in Wertheimer, Solomon, ed., Batei-Midrašot [2d ed.; 2 vols.; Jerusalem: Kuk, 19501953] 1Google Scholar. 57–58 [there entitled Maʾaśeh Merkabah, but not to be confused with the text now known by that title: see n. 4 above]; this text is not in the Synopse), all seven palaces are located in the uppermost of the seven heavens. From a formal point of view, however, these two texts are not typical of the hekhalot corpus: the former is an apocalypse, and the latter a midrashic compilation. Neither include instructions for the heavenly journey. In the instructional texts, it seems that the “palaces” correspond to the heavenly levels, and a heavenly ascent is nowhere described apart from the journey through the hekhalot. In Hekhalot Rabbati's description of Nehunya b. ha-Qanah's journey through the gates of the seven palaces (see below pp. 181–82), there is no mention of a prior ascent through the heavens. Nonetheless, the method is said to be “like having a ladder in one's house” (Hekhalot Rabbati 13.2 and 20.3; Synopse §§199 and 237), implying that the journey through the palaces and the ascent through the seven heavens are one and the same thing. In the final chapter of Maʾaseh Merkabah (Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism §33 = Synopse §595), Aqiba speaks of gazing “from the palace of the first firmament to the seventh palace” (MS New York: “… to the palace of the seventh firmament”). See further, P. S. Alexander, “Introduction” to 3 Enoch in OTP 1. 239–40; Schäfer, Der verborgene und offenbare Golt, 11, 98–99, 117, and 123. The model is already explicit in a merkabah liturgy found at Qumran; see Newsom, Carol A., Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: A Critical Edition (HSS 27; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985)Google Scholar.

7 See Cohen, Martin S., The Shiʾur Qomah: Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983)Google Scholar; and idem, The Shiʾur Qomah: Texts and Recensions (Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 9; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1985)Google Scholar. On this material, see further, Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 36–42; and idem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah (New York: Schocken, 1991) 1555Google Scholar; Saul Lieberman, “Mišnat Šir ha-Širim,” appendix D of Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 118–26 [Hebrew]; Gruenwald, Apocalyptic, 213–17; Dan, Joseph, “The Concept of Knowledge in the Shiʾur Qomah,” in Stein, Sigfried and Loewe, Raphael, eds., Studies in Jewish Religious and Intellectual History Presented to Alexander Altmann (Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1979) 6773Google Scholar; and Dan, Joseph, Ha-Mistiqah ha-ʿIbrit ha-Qēdumah (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defence Publications, 1989) 4858Google Scholar [Hebrew].

8 On the traditions concerning the kabod, and early Jewish “divine agency” traditions in general, see Quispel, Gilles, “Gnosticism and the New Testament,” VC 19 (1965) 6585Google Scholar, reprinted in Hyatt, J. Philip, ed., The Bible in Modern Scholarship (Nashville/New York: Abingdon, 1965) 252–71Google Scholar, and in Quispel, Gilles, Gnostic Studies (2 vols.; Istanbul: Netherlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Institut in het Nubije Osten, 19741975) 1Google Scholar. 196–212; idem, “The Origins of the Gnostic Demiurge,” in Granfield, P. and Jungmann, J. A., eds., Kyriakon: Festschrift Johannes Quasten (Münster: Aschendorff, 1970) 271–76Google Scholar, reprinted in Quispel, Gnostic Studies 1. 213–20; idem, “Ezekiel 1:26 in Jewish Mysticism and Gnosis,” VC 34 (1980) 113Google Scholar; and idem, “Judaism, Judaic Christianity and Gnosis,” in Logan, A. H. B. and Wedderburn, A. J. M., eds., The New Testament and Gnosis: Essays in Honour of Robert McL. Wilson (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1983) 4668Google Scholar; Altmann, Alexander, “Saadya's Theory of Revelation: its Origin and Background,” in idem, Studies in Religion, Philosophy and Mysticism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969) 140–60Google Scholar; Rowland, Christopher, “The Visions of God in Apocalyptic Literature,” JSJ 10 (1979) 137–54Google Scholar; and idem, The Open Heaven, 94–113 and 280–89; Segal, Alan F., Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (SJLA 25; Leiden: Brill, 1977)Google Scholar; and idem, Paul the Convert, 34–71; Fossum, Jarl E., “Jewish-Christian Christology and Jewish Mysticism,” VC 37 (1983) 260–87Google Scholar; and idem, The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord (WUNT 36; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1985)Google Scholar; Hurtado, Larry W., One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Jewish Monotheism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988)Google Scholar; Newman, Carey C., Paul's Glory-Christology: Tradition and Rhetoric (NovTSup 69; Leiden: Brill, 1992)Google Scholar; Barker, Margaret, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God (London: SPCK, 1992)Google Scholar; Morray-Jones, C. R. A., “Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition,” JJS 43 (1992) 131CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 Gruenwald (Apocalyptic, 99) calls them “technical guides, or manuals for mystics.” See further. Himmelfarb, Martha, “Heavenly Ascent and the Relationship of the Apocalypses and the Hekhalot Literature,” HUCA 59 (1988) 7380Google Scholar.

10 Hekhalot Rabbati 13-(?)23 = Schäfer, Synopse §§198-(?)250 (it is not clear exactly where Nehunyah's narrative ends). There are English translations by L. Grodner in Blumenthal, David, Understanding Jewish Mysticism, a Source Reader: The Merkabah Tradition and the Zoharic Tradition (New York: Ktav, 1978) 5689Google Scholar (not very reliable); Kaplan, Aryeh, Meditation and the Kabbalah (York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1982) 4254Google Scholar (an interesting but idiosyncratic and somewhat speculative interpretation); Alexander, P. S., Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism (Manchester: University of Manchester Press, 1984) 120–25Google Scholar (summarized, but by far the best; note that Alexander follows the chapter divisions in Wertheimer's edition, Batei Midrašot 1. 67–136, which differ from those found in the majority of the manuscripts). The passage is discussed in some detail by Dan, Joseph, The Revelation of the Secret of the World: The Beginning of Jewish Mysticism in Late Antiquity (Occasional Paper No. 2; Providence: Brown University Program in Judaic Studies, 1992)Google Scholar.

11 Schäfer, Synopse §§204–5. The magical names are given according to the primary readings in MS Oxford 1531 (which also records variants). The expression “descend to the merkabah” is characteristic of this literature (although “ascend” is also used) and has been variously explained by modern scholars. See Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 20 n. 1; Halperin, Faces, 227; Segal, Paul the Convert, 322 n. 77; Kuyt, Annelies, “Once Again: Yarad in the Hekhalot-Literature,” Frankfurter judaistische Beiträge 18 (1990) 4569Google Scholar.

12 See further, Altmann, Alexander, “Širei QěduŠah bě-Siphrut ha-Heikhalot ha-Qědumah,” Melilah 2 (1946) 124Google Scholar [Hebrew]; Scholem, Gershom G., Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (3d ed., 1954; reprinted New York: Schocken, 1961) 5763Google Scholar; Grözinger, Karl-Erich, “Singen und ekstatische Sprache in der frühen jüdischen Mystik,” JSJ 11 (1980) 6677Google Scholar; Janowitz, Poetics; Swartz, Mystical Prayer.

13 David J. Halperin discusses the “reality” or otherwise of visionary experience in “Heavenly Ascensions in Judaism: The Nature of the Experience,” in Lull, David J., ed., SBL Seminar Papers 26 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987) 218–32Google Scholar. The discussion is repeated in Faces, where he distinguishes throughout between “fantasy” and “hallucination.” Compare Schäfer, Der verborgene und offenbare Gott, 146–53. This discussion does not seem to me to be very useful. If a person believes that he or she has seen a vision, the question whether he or she “really” did so is of limited historical significance. The historical reality that concerns us is surely that the people who produced the (apocalyptic and) hekhalot literature apparently used traditional imagery as a basis for emotionally charged “active visualization,” i n connection with mystical and theurgic techniques of the kind discussed above, in an attempt to obtain visions and/or ecstatic experiences. That some individuals did actually obtain such experiences and attributed “reality” to them seems to me beyond reasonable doubt.

14 The term ha-merkabah is used, according to context, to mean either the divine throne or the biblical chapter, Ezekiel 1 (in the hekhalot, it always carries the former meaning). The expression ma'aśeh merkabah (“the work/story of the chariot”) generally seems to refer to an esoteric tradition of exegesis of Ezekiel 1, sometimes associated with mystical practices and ecstatic experience, although it may occasionally be another term for the chapter itself. I do not italicize the term merkabah (other than in quotations), except in cases where it is used, unambiguously, as a shorthand term for Ezekiel 1 ([ha-]merkabah).

15 See especially Chernus, Ira, Mysticism in Rabbinic Judaism (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1982)Google Scholar; and Halperin, Faces, 262–356, who offer very different historical interpretations of this material.

16 An extended version of this very widespread tradition is found at Pěsiqtaʾ Rabbati 20 (ed. and trans. Braude, William G., Pesikta Rabbati: Discourses for Feasts, Fasts and Special Sabbaths [2 vols.; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968] 1Google Scholar. 405–11). See further, Grözinger, Karl-Erich, Ich bin der Herr, dein Gott! Fine rabbinische Homilie zum ersten Gebot (PesR 20) (Frankfurter judaistische Studien 2; Frankfurt a.M.: Lang, 1976)Google Scholar; Meeks, Wayne A., “Moses as God and King,” in Neusner, Jacob, ed., Religions in Antiquity: Essays in Memory of Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough (Leiden: Brill, 1968) 334–71Google Scholar; and idem, The Prophet-King (NovTSup 14; Leiden: Brill, 1967)Google Scholar.

17 “On this subject, see Schultz, Joseph P., “Angelic Opposition to the Ascension of Moses and the Revelation of the Law,” JQR 61 (1971) 282307CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Schäfer, Peter, Rivalität zwischen Engeln und Menschen (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18 b. Ḥag. 14b and parallels.

19 Scholem, Major Trends, 40–79; idem, Ursprung und Anfänge der Kabbala (Studia Judaica: Forschungen zur Wissenschaft des Judentums 3; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1962) 1520Google Scholar; idem, Kabbalah (2d ed.; New York: Dorset, 1987) 821Google ScholarPubMed; and especially idem, Jewish Gnosticism; Gruenwald, Apocalyptic; and his essays (some previously published) in idem. From Apocalyptic to Gnosticism (Beiträge zur Erforschung des Alten Testaments und des antiken Judentums 14; Frankfurt a.M.: Lang, 1988)Google Scholar. Note that Scholem's classification of hekhalot mysticism as “Jewish Gnosticism” has not met with widespread approval. Gruenwald argues that both Gnosticism and the hekhalot tradition have roots in Second Temple apocalypticism. See Alexander, P. S., “Comparing Merkavah Mysticism and Gnosticism: An Essay in Method,” JJS 35 (1984) 124CrossRefGoogle Scholar, for a sophisticated model of the historical interrelationships.

20 Maier, Johann, “Das Gefährdungsmotiv bei der Himmelsreise in der jüdischen Apokalyptie und ‘Gnosis,’” Kairos 5 (1963) 1840Google Scholar; and idem, Vom Kultus zur Gnosis (Salzburg: Müller, 1964)Google Scholar; Urbach, Ephraim E., “Ha-Masorot ʿal Torat ha-Sod bi-Těquphat ha-Tannaʾim,” in idem, Werblowsky, R. J. Zvi, and Wirszubski, Ch., eds., Studies in Mysticism and Religion Presented to Gershom G. Scholem on His Seventieth Birthday by Pupils, Colleagues and Friends (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1967) 128Google Scholar [Hebrew]; Schäfer, Peter, “Tradition and Redaction in Hekhalot Literature,” JSJ 14 (1983) 172–81Google Scholar, reprinted in idem, Hekhalot-Studien, 8–16; idem, “Merkavah Mysticism and Rabbinic Judaism,” JAOS 104 (1984) 537–54Google Scholar; and idem, “Gershom Scholem Reconsidered”; Halperin, David J., The Merkabah in Rabbinic Literature (AOS 62; New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1980)Google Scholar; idem, Faces.

21 Wewers, Gerd A. (Geheimnis und Geheimhaltung im rabbinischen Judentum [Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1975])Google Scholar believes, however, that visionary mysticism was practised in apocalyptic circles, but that such practices were unanimously opposed by the rabbis in the early period.

22 Morray-Jones, C. R. A., “Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition: A Study of the Traditions Concerning hammerkabah and maʾaśeh merkabah in Tannaitic and Amoraic Sources” (Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1988)Google Scholar.

23 Segal, Paul the Convert, esp. 34–71.

24 In the light of the above observations, I use the expression “merkabah mysticism” to refer to an esoteric, visionary-mystical tradition centered upon the vision of God on the celestial throne. It is not simply synonymous with the contents of the hekhalot texts (“hekhalot mysticism”), which represent one development of this tradition, whose influence is also found in the apocalypses (although the term merkabah is not yet in use) and in a wide range of Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic sources. See Morray-Jones, “Transformational Mysticism.”

25 A11 texts of m. ḥag. read but is found in MS Vienna of t. Ḥag. 2.1, where Yohanan b. Zakkai cites the “merkabah restriction” independently of its mishnaic context (parallels in y. and b. read simply: … etc.). Therefore t. (Vienna) may preserve the premishnaic form of the “merkabah restriction.” See Halperin, Merkabah, 29—39.

26 MSS Parm a and Kaufmann.

27 The reading “ (also at C2) is supported by several manuscripts and editions of m., t., y., and b., but (thus the printed edition of m.) is equally well attested. See Halperin, Merkabah, 12 n. 7. Both readings appear to be early, and it is impossible to tell which is original. Both were probably current in the oral tradition. Possibly B2 and C2 were originally different and have been harmonized by the redactors: MS Göttingen 3 of b. reads at B2, but at C2. The pardes tradition (see below p. 213 and n. cc) presupposes .

28 The mishnah is thus explained at t. Ḥag. 2.1 and b. Ḥag. 11b.

29 Halperin, Merkabah, 19–63. His hypothesis is that the regulation was formulated in an attempt to control the wilder forms of exegesis associated with the reading of Ezekiel 1 in the synagogues.

30 Even in nonmantic wisdom literature, daʿat usually means revealed knowledge of, and obedience to, God. See Reicke, Bo, “Daʾat and Gnosis in Intertestamental Literature,” in Ellis, E. Earle and Wilcox, Max, eds., Neotestamentica and Semitica: Studies in Honour of Matthew Black (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1969) 245–55Google Scholar; Gruenwald, Ithamar, “Knowledge and Vision: Towards a Definition of Two ‘Gnostic’ Concepts in the Light of their Alleged Origins,” IOS 3 (1973) 63107Google Scholar, reprinted in idem, From Apocalypticism to Gnosticism, 65–123; Morray-Jones, “Merkabah Mysticism,” 160–79.

31 See further, Davies, William David, “‘Knowledge’ in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Matthew 1:25–30,” HTR 46 (1953) 113–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar, reprinted in idem, Christian Origins and Judaism (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962) 119–44Google Scholar; Licht, J., “The Doctrine of the Thanksgiving Scroll,” IEJ 6 (1956) 113Google Scholar and 89–101; Ringgren, Helmer, “Qumran and Gnosticism,” in Bianchi, Ugo, Le Origini dello Gnosticismo: Colloquio di Messina, 13–18 Aprile 1966 (Studies in the History of Religions [Suppl. to Numen] 12; Leiden: Brill, 1967) 379–88Google Scholar; Leaney, A. R. C., The Rule of Qumran and its Meaning (London: SCM and Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966) 121–22Google Scholar; Sanders, E. P., Paul and Palestinian Judaism (London: SCM and Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977) 259Google Scholar and 312–18; Morray-Jones, “Merkabah Mysticism,” 174–79.

32 At t. Ḥag. 2.1, y. Ḥag. 77a, and b. Ḥag. 14b, Yoanan b. Zakkai cites the merkabah restriction as though it were an ancient unit of tradition, and critical analysis confirms that the story preserves the unit in its premishnaic form. However, the talmudic tradition that Yoḥanan b. Zakkai was the authoritative source of the merkabah-mystical tradition is a false construction imposed by the talmudic redactors on their sources, which originally had exactly the opposite meaning, namely, that Yoḥanan, unlike Eleazar b. Arakh and Eliezer b. Hyrcanus, did not have access to the esoteric and mystical tradition. This explains why the hekhalot writers cite other tannaitic authorities but never Yoḥanan, which would be astonishing if their intention was to invoke spurious talmudic authority for their compositions. See Morray-Jones, “Merkabah Mysticism,” 229–301.

33 At m. Taʿanit 1.4, t. Taʿanit 1.7, and b. Taʾanit 10a-b, the yēḥidim are ascetic intercessors (for rain) on behalf of the community. Neher, André (“Échos de la secte de Qumran dans la littérature talmudique,” in Les manuscrits de la Mer Morte, colloque de Strasbourg, 25–27 Mai 1955 [Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1957] 4854Google Scholar) identified the yêḥidim with the ḥasidim riʾšonim. It is certainly true that some ḥasidim, such as Honi the “circle-drawer,” seem also to have been yêḥidim. Neher also associated them with the yaḥad (community) of Qumran and argued that they were avowed celibates (the Mishnah, however, states that they were not). Iḥidaya is an important term in Syriac Christian “protomonasticism,” where it refers to a celibate ascetic whose heart and mind are “single” for Christ. It is sometimes translated by the Greek μoναχóς, but in the early Syriac sources does not yet carry the full sense of “monk.” See Klijn, A. F. J., “The ‘Single One’ in the Gospel of Thomas,” JBL 81 (1962) 271–78Google Scholar; Quispel, Gilles, “L'evangile selon Thomas et les origines de l'ascèse chrétienne,” in Aspects du judéo-christianisme, colloque de Strasbourg, 23–25 avril 1964 (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1965) 3541Google Scholar; Morard, F. E., “Monachos, moine: histoire du terme grec jusqu'au IVe siècle,” Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 20 (1973) 332411Google Scholar; Brock, Sebastian, The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem (2d ed.; Cistercian Studies Series 124; Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1992) 136–39Google Scholar.

34 The above paragraph summarizes Morray-Jones, “Merkabah Mysticism,” 99–228.

35 Wewers, Geheimnis, 4–13; but compare Morray-Jones, “Merkabah Mysticism,” 103–8.

36 t. Ḥag. 2.7; y. Ḥag. 77c; b. Ḥag. 11b and 16a; Sifre Num §103 and Tg. Ezek 2:10. See further n. 39 below.

37 Rowland, The Open Heaven, esp. 75–189.

38 Goshen-Gottstein, Alon, “Mah le-Maʿalah u-mah le-Ma⃛⃛ah, mah le-Phanim u-mah lê-ʾAḥor,” Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, August 16–24, 1989 (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1990)Google Scholar Division C, Hebrew Section, 61–68 [Hebrew]. Note that the English summary of contents wrongly translates the title of this article as “‘One does not expound the Story of Creation’: Why?” Goshen-Gottstein (p. 67 n. 49) refers to a forthcoming article with this title, but I am not aware that it has been published.

39 At t. Ḥag. 2.7, y. Ḥag. 77c, and b. Ḥag. 11b, the formula is applied to Deut 4:32: “Ask now concerning the former days… ask from one end of the heavens to the other…,” combining both the spatial and the temporal interpretations. Rashi (commentary to b. Ḥag. 12a) understands 2a–c to be spatial dimensions and suggests that what is forbidden is inquiry into the preexistent formless space (tohu wa-bohu) beyond the boundaries of the world, which is conceived of as a box or cube. This is highly reminiscent of the teaching found in the (third century CE or later) esoteric “Book of Creation” (Sepher Yê⋅irah); see Scholem, Major Trends, 75–78; and idem, “Jezira,” EncJud 9 (1971) 104–11Google Scholar, for introductory discussion and bibliography and, further, Hayman, Peter, “The Temple at the Centre of the Universe,” JJS 37 (1986) 176–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and idem, “Was God a Magician?” JJS 40 (1989) 225–37Google Scholar. The earliest citation of the formula, however, occurs in connection with a merkabah vision and fully vindicates Rowland's interpretation; see Ezekiel the Tragedian Exagoge 83–89 and, further, Horst, Pieter W. van der, “Moses' Throne Vision in Ezekiel the Dramatist,” JJS 34 (1983) 2129CrossRefGoogle Scholar, reprinted in idem, Essays on the Jewish World of Early Christianity (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 14; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990) 6371Google Scholar.

40 Halperin, Merkabah, 65–105.

41 The following discussion is a highly summarized account of my own work in progress, which I hope to publish in due course as part of a revised and extended version of my doctoral dissertation.

42 See Lieberman, Saul, ed., The Tosefta According to Codex Vienna (4 vols.; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1962) 2Google Scholar. 381; and Zuckermandel, M. S.. ed., Tosephta: Based on the Erfurt and Vienna Codices (2d ed., 1937; reprinted Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1963) 234Google Scholar.

43 The strange story of Joshua b. Ḥananiah and Simeon b. Zoma, which occurs after C in MSS Vienna and London, but before B in MS Erfurt, and which is also found at y. Ḥag. 77a, b. Ḥag. 14b, and Gen. R. 2.4, is too long and complex to be considered here.

44 In Dunsky, Samson, ed., Midraš Rabbah: Šir ha-Širim (Jerusalem: Devir, 1980) 27Google Scholar [Hebrew].

45 In Freedman, H. and Simon, M., eds., Midrash Rabbah: Translated into English with Notes, Glossary and Indices (10 vols.; London: Soncino, 1961)Google Scholar 9.2. 46–47 (see Simon's introduction to the text, vii-viii, on the confusing reference system adopted here).

46 y. Ḥag. 77b-c (most of the Jerusalem Talmud's material is also found at Ruth R. 6.4 and Qoh. R. 7.8.1); b. Ḥag. 15a-b.

47 y. Ḥag. 77c (B) and 77a (C).

48 Schechter, Salomon, ed., Aboth De Rabbi Nathan (1887; reprinted Hildesheim/New York: Olms, 1979)Google Scholar 43b; Goldin, Judah, trans., The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955) 118Google Scholar. See further text note kk below.

49 Rashi Commentary to b. Ḥag. 14b.

50 See Bousset, “Himmelsreise,” 153; Scholem, Mayor Trends, 49; Halperin, Merkabah, 3; idem. Faces, 6; and Idel, Moshe, Kabbalah: New Perspectives (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1988) 90Google Scholar; all of whom quote the first part of the responsum only. The complete text can be found in Bernhard M. Lewin, Otiar ha-Geonim: Thesaurus of the Gaonic Responsa and Commentaries, vol. 4: Tractate Yom Tow, Chagiga and Maschkin (Haifa/Jerusalem: Hebrew University Press Association, 1931) 3Google Scholar. 13–15; and a more complete translation can be found in Kaplan, Meditation, 26–27.

51 Ḥananel Commentary to b. Ḥag 14b-15b; Ḥananel's commentary, like Rashi's, is included in the printed edition of the Babylonian Talmud.

52 Those who interpret the story thus include Grätz, Heinrich Hirsch, Gnosticismus und Judenthum (Krotoschin: Monasch, 1846) 56101Google Scholar; Joël, Manuel, Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des zweiten christlichen Jahrhunderts (2 vols., 1880–83; reprinted as 2 vols. in 1; Amsterdam: Philo, 1971) 1Google Scholar. 163–70; Bacher, Wilhelm, Die Agada der Tannaiten (2 vols.; Strassburg: Trübner, 1884) 1Google Scholar. 333; Friedländer, Moriz, Der vorchristliche jüdische Gnosticismus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1898) 5760Google Scholar; Weinstein, N. I., Zur Genesis der Agada (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1901) 198Google Scholar; Neumark, David, Geschichte der jüdischen Philosophie (2 vols.; Berlin: Reimer, 19071928) 1Google Scholar. 48–95. More recently, a similar view has been expressed by Efros, Israel Isaac, Ancient Jewish Philosophy (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1964) 5659Google Scholar.

53 See n. 1 above.

54 Scholern, Major Trends, 52–53; and idem, Jewish Gnosticism, 14–19. In this interpretation, Scholem was followed by Bietenhard (Die himmlische Welt) who, however, developed Bousset's theory of a connection with 2 Corinthians 12 before Scholem did.

55 Goldberg, Arnold, “Der verkannte Gott: Prufung und Scheitern der Adepten in der Merkawamystik,” ZRGG 26 (1974) 1729Google Scholar; Wewers, Geheimnis, 171–88; Gruenwald, Apocalyptic, 86–92. Baumgarten, Joseph M. (“The Book of Elkesai and Merkabah Mysticism,” JSJ 17 [1986] 212–25Google Scholar) finds interesting parallels between the pardes story and the visions of Elkesai.

56 Neher, André, “Le voyage mystique des quatre,” RHR 140 (1951) 5982CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

57 Maier, “Gefährdungsmotiv,” 28–40; and idem, Kullus, 18–19, 140–46.

58 Urbach, “Masorot,” 12–17. Urbach's point that A11–19 are not part of the original story is almost certainly correct, but on A53–60 see further below.

59 Halperin, Merkabah, 86–99.

60 Halperin, Faces, 34–37 and 199–208.

61 Schäfer, Peter, “New Testament and Hekhalot Literature: The Journey into Heaven in Paul and in Merkabah Mysticism,” JJS 35 (1984) 1935CrossRefGoogle Scholar, reprinted in idem, Hekhalot-Studien, 234–49; for a critical response to this hypothesis, see Young, “The Ascension Motif,” 77–80. Schäfer states (Hekhalot-Studien, 248), “What Scholem has demonstrated is nothing but a classic example of what S. Sandmel called ‘parallelomania.’” It will be obvious that I disagree with this dismissive evaluation. Schäfer's criticism of Scholem's methodology, however, is at least partly justified, and I have therefore tried to take account of the methodological principle that he enunciates (Hekhalot-Studien, 249): “It is only possible to make a reliable assertion concerning the relationship of Hekhalot Literature and the New Testament.... if the respective literatures are analysed in their own structure.”

62 Rowland, The Open Heaven, 309–40.

63 Fischel, Henry A., Rabbinic Literature and Greco-Roman Philosophy: A Study ofEpicurea and Rhetorica in Early Midrashic Writings (Leiden: Brill, 1973) 134Google Scholar.

64 Levey, Samson H., “The Best Kept Secret of the Rabbinic Tradition,” Judaism 21 (1972) 454–69Google Scholar; and idem, “Akiba: Sage in Search of The Messiah; A Closer Look,” Judaism 41 (1992) 334–45Google Scholar. Compare Zeitlin, Solomon, “The Plague of Pseudo-Rabbinic Scholarship,” JQR 63 (19721973) 187203CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

65 This approach was initiated by Grätz (Gnosticismus, 56–101), who identified Ben Azzai as an ascetic and encratic Gnostic, Ben Zoma as a speculative Gnostic, and Elisha b. Abuyah as an antinomian Gnostic.

66 Neumark (Geschichte der jüdischen Philosophie, 1. 93) and Neher (“Voyage Mystique,” 81–82) both argue that Elisha became a Christian, while Löw, Leopold (Die Lebensalter in der jüdischen Literatur [Szegedin: Burger, 1875] 5758Google Scholar) and Levey (“Secret”) make the same suggestion of Ben Zoma. The latter suggestion is based on a parallel between Ben Zoma's use of the image of the spirit hovering like a dove upon the waters of Creation (b. Ḥag. 14b and parallels: see n. 43 above) and the New Testament accounts of Jesus' baptism, first observed by Schechter, S. (“On the Study of the Talmud,” in idem, Studies in Judaism (3 vols.; Philadelphia: Macmillan and New York: Jewish Publication Society of America, 18961924] 2Google Scholar. 102–25, esp. 112–13, reprinted in idem, Studies in Judaism: A Selection New York: Meridian and Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1958Google Scholar; reissued as Studies in Judaism: Essays on Persons, Concepts and Movements of Thought in Jewish Tradition (New York: Atheneum, 1970)] 5371Google Scholar, esp. 61–62).

67 ARN(a) 23–26 (Goldin, Fathers, 101–13); ARN(b) 33–35 (Anthony J. Saldarini, trans., The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, Version B [Leiden: Brill, 1975] 194–205); text of both versions in Schechter, Aboth De Rabbi Nathan, 38a-42a.

68 See n. 46 above.

69 y. So⃛a. 1.2; b. So⃛a 4b; b. Yebamot 63b.

70 See Schürer, Emil, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (2 vols.; rev. ed.; ed. Vermes, Geza, Vermes, Pamela, Millar, Fergus, and Black, Matthew; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 19731979) 1Google Scholar. 552.

71 Gen. R. 62.2; Exod. R. 50.3.

72 The story of Ben Zoma and Joshua b. Ḥananiah (see n. 43 above) seems to make this point. Gen. R. 4.6 states that Ben Zoma “shook the world” with his exegesis of Gen 1:7. At Gen. R. 5.4 and Midrash Tehillim Ps 93:3, Ben Zoma (var. Ben Azzai) apparently identifies the archangel Metatron, in this context a “demiurgic” Logos figure, with the “voice of God upon the waters” (Ps 29:3), although the reading Metatron is uncertain (see Morray-Jones, “Transformational Mysticism,” 30, and the references cited there).

73 See, for example, m. So⃛a 9.15; m. Ber. 1.5; b. So⃛a 49b; b. Hor. 2b.

74 t. Qidd. 3.9; y. Maʿaśer Š. 53d; b. Sanh. 17b.

75 b. Ber. 57b; also at ARN(a) 40. ARN(b) 46 associates wisdom with Ben Azzai, fear of sin with Ben Zoma, and calamity with ʾAher.

76 Halperin, Faces, 202–4 (texts 3/4, 5, and 7).

77 The fact that these expansions occur in the same manuscript is probably not significant, since they are evidently derived from different sources. Moreover, this manuscript seems to be the work of more than one copyist (see Schäfer, Synopse, ix).

78 In Rachel Elior's edition of Hekhalot Zu⃛arti (Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought suppl. 1; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1982)Google ScholarPubMed, this material occurs at lines 42–58. Elior's text follows MS New York, with variant readings given in the apparatus on page 44.

79 , alternatively: “to destroy me.” Note that the qualifying noun and the infinitive are from the same root. See Jastrow, Marcus, A Dictionary of the Targumim, The Talmud and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (2 vols. in 1, 1886—90; reprinted Brooklyn: Traditional, 1950) 419b420bGoogle Scholar.

80 Geniza Fragment T.-S.K21.95.B (Schäfer, Geniza-Fragmente, 88, lines 6–15). Compare Halperin, Faces, 203 (text 6).

81 Scholem (Major Trends, 358 n. 17) and Maier (Kultus, 145–46) have shown that the curious expression lěhištammeš bi-kěbodi (“to make use of my glory”) refers to theurgic pronunciation of the divine name, originally in the context of the temple cult. Nonetheless, lehistakkel is likely to be the better reading, by reference to m. Ḥag. 2.1.

82 The word is used of those present at Nehunyah b. ha-Qanah's trance-ascent to the merkabah at Hekhalot Rabbati 14.3 (Schäfer, Synopse, §203).

83 On the term pargod, which must mean here the curtain before the celestial Holy of Holies, corresponding to the veil (paroket) of the earthly temple, see Halperin, Merkabah, 169 n. 99. The same usage occurs at b. Ḥag. 15a in connection with Elisha b. Abuya's account to R. Meir of his condemnation by a bat-qol in the heavenly temple (y. Ḥag. 2.1 [77b] places this event in the earthly temple, and does not use the term pargod). According to MSS Vatican 134 and Munich 95 of the Babylonian Talmud, but not the printed edition, the word is also found, with the same meaning, in the story (on the same page) of Elisha's disastrous encounter with the angel Metatron, whom he took to be a “second power.” Elisha's statement to Meir must be a reference to this story. See further, Alexander, P. S., “3 Enoch and the Talmud,” JSJ 18 (1987) 5468Google Scholar; but compare Morray-Jones, C. R. A., “Hekhalot Literature and Talmudic Tradition: Alexander's Three Test Cases,” JSJ 22 (1991) 1736Google Scholar.

84 Exod 33:20, etc. On the mystical tradition in midrashic literature that the Israelites' experience at Sinai involved an “initiatory death” and transformation, see Chernus, Mysticism, 33–73; and Morray-Jones, “Transformational Mysticism,” 23.

85 Rashi, Hai Gaon, and Ḥananel (see nn. 49–51 above) all interpret the expression in this way.

86 Compare the angelic gatekeepers described at Hekhalot Rabbati 15.8 and 17.6 (Schäfer, Synopse, §213 and §224; translated in Alexander, Textual Sources, 122–23 [following Wertheimer's chapter divisions: 17.8 and 19.6]). See further n. 17 above.

87 See, for example, b. Qidd. 72a.

88 The tradition of Solomon's mastery over the demons, whom he compelled to assist him i n the building of the temple (see the Testament of Solomon, for example), may reflect a similar conception. The construction of the temple, which embodies the order of the cosmos (see further below pp. 202—6), was regarded as a means of subduing the demonic and destructive powers of the primeval chaos waters, over which God is enthroned upon his merkabah. On this theme, see Neiman, David, “The Supercaelian Sea,” JNES 28 (1969) 243–49Google Scholar; Day, John, God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985) esp. 1821Google Scholar; Halperin, Faces, 227–49; Barker, Margaret, The Gate of Heaven: The History and Symbolism of the Temple in Jerusalem (London: SPCK, 1991) 1820Google Scholar, 62–67. Thus, it is not surprising that the mystic should be assaulted by demons of destruction when he attempts to enter the celestial sanctuary.

89 Halperin (Faces, 157—249) has shown this to be a recurring theme in the rabbinic treatment of the merkabah traditions. The substitution of “drive me away” (the Babylonian Talmud, A54; Geniza fragment, C2b) for “do me violence” (HZ/MR, C2b) is similarly explained (see n. 79 above).

90 According to y. Ḥag, 77b—c and parallels (see n. 46 above), this means that Elisha killed young students of the Torah, or that he persuaded them to abandon their studies (in Song of Songs Rabbah, by “speaking a word” over them, which almost certainly means pronouncing a magic spell: compare HZ[N], B2c). These explanations, however, are derived from an independent body of tradition concerning Elisha and tell us nothing about the meaning of the expression “cut the shoots” in the pretalmudic version of the pardes story, which did not name Elisha.

91 See, for example, Gen. R. 69.7; Pěsiqtaʾ Rabbati 20.4; Tanh. Naso 19; h. Sanh. 94b; Tg. Isa. 1:1–6; Tg. Ket. 1 Chr 21:15. Elsewhere, the temple is regarded as the source of the creation of the world: t. Yoma 4:6; b. Yoma 54b; Gen. R. 1.4; Tanh. Qědošim 10. See further, Ginzberg, Louis, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 19111938) 1Google Scholar. 12–13; Aptowitzer, Avigdor, “Beit ha-Miqdaš gel Maʿalah ʿal pi ha-ʾAggadah,” Tarbis 2 (1931) 137–53Google Scholar and 257–77 [Hebrew].

92 Philo Spec. leg. 1.66.

93 See Maier, Kultus; Hayman, “Temple”; Martha Himmelfarb, “Apocalyptic Ascent and the Heavenly Temple,” in Lull, SBL Seminar Papers, 26. 210–17; and McNicol, Allan J., “The Heavenly Sanctuary in Judaism: A Model for Tracing the Origin of the Apocalypse,” JRelS 13 (1987) 6694Google Scholar. On the ancient roots of this idea, see Levenson, Jon D., “The Temple and the World,” JR 64 (1984) 275–98Google Scholar.

94 H. C. Kee, trans., “Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,” OTP 1. 789.

95 E. Isaac, trans., “1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” OTP 1. 20–21.

96 See further, Maier, Kultus, 127.

97 m. Mid. 2.3; b. Yoma 16a; Josephus Bell. 5.193.

98 1 Enoch 32.3 and 77.4. See further, Milik, J. T. and Black, Matthew, eds., The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976) 4041Google Scholar and 231–36.

99 See especially Yalqu⃛ Šimʿoni Běre'šit 1.20 (Hyman, Arthur B., Lerer, Isaac Nathan, and Shilon, Isaac, eds., Yalqu⃛ Šimʿoni [5 vols. in 9; Jerusalem: Kuk, 19731991] 1Google Scholar. 68–71) and Seder Gan-ʾEden, recension B (in Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrasch 3. 131–40), where the Garden of Eden and the temple are closely associated (note that Jellinek's recension A [2.52–53] is identical with Yalqu⃛ Šimʿoni Běreʾšit 1.20). This image of paradise must be derived in part from Ezek 28:13–14. See further Ginzberg, Legends, 1. 21–23.

100 Maʿaseh bě-Rabbi Joshuaʿ ben Levi in Moses Gaster, “The Sefer ha-Maʿaśiyot,” appendix to Judith “Montefiore” College Reports for the Years 1894–5 and 1895–6 (Ramsgate: Judith “Montefiore” College, 1896) 9697Google Scholar [Hebrew]. This is an extended version of the story of how Joshua b. Levi was permitted to enter paradise during his lifetime in the company of the angel of death, also found at b. Ketub. 77b. A longer, and probably later, version of the story in Jellinek (Bet ha-Midrasch, 2. 48–51) has seven houses. See further Ginzberg, Legends 5. 31–32. On the importance of Joshua b. Levi in the merkabah tradition, see Chernus, Mysticism, 33–43; and Halperin, Faces, 253–57, 309–13, and 345–46.

101 See, for example, Lev. R. 30.2; Midrash Těhillim Ps 11:6. See further, Ginzberg, Legends, 1. 11, 21; 4. 118; and 5. 30–33; , Goldberg, “Rabban Yohanans Traum: Der Sinai in der frühen Merkawamystik,” Frankfurter judaistische Beiträge 3 (1975) 127Google Scholar, esp. 11–13.

102 ARN(b) 43. Seder Gan-ʿEden has seven classes of the righteous but three walls around the Garden.

103 Compare the merkabah vision in paradise in Adam and Eve 25–29. Another common feature linking the inner sanctuary with the Garden of Eden is that both are guarded by cherubim (see Tanḥ. Běreʾšit 1.25), as of course are the hekhalot.

104 The sevenfold model is most commonly found in rabbinic sources, for example, Lev. R. 29.11; ARN(a) 37; Pěsiqta' Rabbati 20.4; and Midrash ha-Gadol Exod 7:1 (Margulies, Mordecai, ed., Midrash ha-Gadol on the Pentateuch: Exodus [Jerusalem: Quq, 1956] 108–9Google Scholar). A few sources record, in addition, alternative traditions that enumerate two or three heavens: for example, b. Ḥag. 12b; Midrash Těhillim Ps 114:2; and Deut. R. 2.32 (to 6:4), though the parallel text published by Lieberman, , Debarim Rabbah. Edited for the First Time from the Oxford ms. No. 147 (Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1940) 65Google Scholar, has seven only. See further, Young, “The Ascension Motif,” 89–91.

105 The following analysis of the sevenfold structure of the temple is based on m. Kelim 1.6–9, which lists ten areas of increasing holiness in Jerusalem, the first three of which are outside the temple. In this source, differing opinions are expressed about the precise divisions between the levels, and so the following model, based on the opinion of R. Jose, is provisional only (compare Neher, “Voyage Mystique,” 73–76). The idea that there were seven levels of holiness within the temple, however, seems to have been generally recognized. The threefold model is based on 1 Enoch 14, discussed above. On the association between the sevenfold structure of the temple, the seven days of creation, and the enthronement of the kabod, see Levenson, “The Temple and the World,” 288–93. On the sevenfold structure of the heavenly temple in the liturgical cycle at Qumran, see Newsom, Songs.

106 1 Kgs 6:18–36; 2 Chr 3:5–6; 4:21. Compare Ezek 40:31–34; 41:17–26.

107 b. Yoma 45a; Num. R. 11.3; Tanḥ. Běreʾšit 4.33; Tanḥ. Naso 9. See further Ginzberg, Legends, 5. 29 n. 77.

108 Num. R. 11.3; Cant. R. 4.17 (= 3.10.3).

109 Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrasch, 2. 88–91. See Milik, J. T., “Notes d'épigraphie et de topographie palestinienne,” RB 66 (1959) 567–75Google Scholar, who gives a French translation.

110 I QapGen 2.23. In their edition, Avigad, Nahman and Yadin, Yigael (A Genesis Apocryphon [Jerusalem: Magnes, 1956] 34Google Scholar) indicated that the reading is uncertain, but it has been generally accepted. See Grelot, P., “Parwaim, des Chroniques à l'Apocryphe de la Genèse,” VT 11 (1961) 3038Google Scholar, esp. 37; Vermes, Geza, trans., The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (3d ed.; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987) 253Google Scholar.

111 On the correspondence between the earthly and heavenly temples see y. Ber. 4.6 (8c) = Cant. R. 4.11 (= 4.4.9); Midrash Těhillim Ps 30.1; Tanḥ. wa-Yaqhel 7. See further Aptowitzer, “Beit ha-Miqdaš Šel Ma'alah,” 145–53; Davies, William David, The Gospel and the Land (Berkeley/London: University of California Press, 1974) 131–54Google Scholar; and, especially, Barker, The Gate of Heaven.

112 On the antiquity of this theme, see Levenson, “The Temple and the World,” 297–98; Barker, Margaret, The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity (London: SPCK, 1987) 127Google Scholar and 233–45; and idem, The Gate of Heaven, 57–103. A different, but closely related image is that of the tower in the vineyard (Isa 5:1–7). Baumgarten, Jörg (“4Q500 and the Ancient Conception of the Lord's Vineyard,” JJS 40 [1989] 16CrossRefGoogle Scholar) has shown that this was identified with the heavenly temple in paradise as early as Qumran. At Mark 12:1–11 and parallels, the citation of Ps 118:22–23 is strongly suggestive of the temple/paradise association: consider the context in which these two verses occur (Ps 118:19–29).

113 Note that this interpretation does not apply to the parable in the Jerusalem Talmud which occurs in a different context and has a completely different meaning.

114 Maier, “Gefährdungsmotiv,” 26–27. For alternative interpretations, see Halperin, Merkabah, 94–97; and Rowland. The Open Heaven, 316.

115 See Halperin, Merkabah, 105.

116 Schäfer (Der verborgene und offenbare Gott, 68–69 and 112) has shown that the opening paragraphs of Hekhalot Zu⃛arti, immediately preceding the story of the four, contain several echoes of m. Ḥag. 2.1. He further states that the story appears to be a “foreign body” within Merkabah Rabbah and that, as a redactional unit, it is “much more securely anchored” in Hekhalot Zu⃛arti. In the light of these observations, it seems not at all improbable that the context within which the story came to be associated with the mishnah was an early version of Hekhalot Zu⃛arti or, to put the matter differently, that Hekhalot Zu⃛arti has preserved the stratum of tradition in which this association first occurred. Since the association must have preceded the composition of the “Mystical Collection,” Gruenwald's dating (Apocalyptic, 142) of Hekhalot Zutarti to the second or third century CE may well be at least partially correct. See further, Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 75–83, on the antiquity of the theurgic contents of Hekhalot Zu⃛arti.

117 This possibility raises a question mark over the assumption that “no authentic texts have been recovered in which the sages involved describe their own experiences” (Young, “The Ascension Motif,” 83, who expresses a widespread view).