Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/91

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
73
THE OLD TESTAMENT

from an account of a progress through the seven heavens, such as we have in the Ascension of Isaiah, the Testament of Levi, the Greek Baruch Apocalypse, and the Secrets of Enoch. Each heaven, it is indicated, is inhabited by a different order of angels: the Lords (κυριότητεσ, dominations, of St. Paul) are in the fifth. The passage does not exactly coincide with any other description: there is, indeed, nothing very distinctive about it except the mention of the Lords. Yet it does tell us something of the nature of the book whence it is taken.

We have also an Apocalypse of Zephaniah in a fragmentary state in two Egyptian dialects, Achmimic and Sahidic. The larger piece is in Achmimic: of the Sahidic there is but one leaf. The editor, Steindorff, calls the Achmimic an "anonymous Apocalypse"; it is true that the name of Zephaniah does not occur in it (as it does in the Sahidic), but the coincidences of language between the two are numerous, and I believe it is the settled conviction of most who have studied the book (it is certainly my own) that the Achmimic is part of the same text as the Sahidic.

In neither of them does Clement's extract occur. But the text is very strangely dislocated and incoherent, and one is tempted to believe that the pages of the Greek manuscript which the translator was using were not in the right order. Whether that is so or not, the Egyptian version cannot represent the original very faithfully.

The main points of the longer fragment are these. It begins with a badly mutilated passage which I interpret as a vision of a deathbed of a righteous man (like that in the Apocalypse of Paul). Then, in company with an angel, the seer goes through a city and beholds two men walking together, two women grinding together, and one on a bed (cf. Lc. xvii. 34–36: what happens to them we do not learn). The whole earth is seen like a single drop of water. Something is then said of a vision of torment. Next he is taken to Mount Seir, and sees the three wicked sons of the priest