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Apocalypse of Elijah

ELIJAH, APOCALYPSE OF. Two pseudepigraphic works have been known by this title. (1) The older is a lost book of the Pseud. known only from fragments in Coptic and an obscure reference in the works of the patristic writer Origen (a.d. 185?-254?) who stated that the difficult text, 1 Corinthians 2:9, was quoted from an Apoc., “But as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.’” This judgment of Origen’s was supported by other ancient authorities. (2) A later post-Christian writing, part of which is dated back to a.d. 260/1 produced traditionally at the time of the Rom. emperor Valerian’s capture by the Sassanian king of Persia, Sapor I (q.v.). This work tells of the defeat of the tyrant of Palmyra, Odenathus, the archenemy of the Jews. (3) A third though unlikely text is the Story of Rabbi Joshua ben Levi, a teacher in Lydda (Lod) who lived in the early 3rd Christian cent. In this apocryphal work the aged rabbi sees the panorama of heaven and hell with his companion Elijah.


M. Buttenwieser, Die hebräislhe Elias-Apocalypse (1897); “Apocalyptic Literature,” Jew Enc, Vol. I (1901), 680.

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