The Greatest Mirror: Heavenly Counterparts in the Jewish Pseudepigrapha

SUNY Press
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 A wide-ranging analysis of heavenly twin imagery in early Jewish extrabiblical texts.
The idea of a heavenly double—an angelic twin of an earthbound human—can be found in Christian, Manichaean, Islamic, and Kabbalistic traditions. Scholars have long traced the lineage of these ideas to Greco-Roman and Iranian sources. In The Greatest Mirror, Andrei A. Orlov shows that heavenly twin imagery drew in large part from early Jewish writings. The Jewish pseudepigrapha—books from the Second Temple period that were attributed to biblical figures but excluded from the Hebrew Bible—contain accounts of heavenly twins in the form of spirits, images, faces, children, mirrors, and angels of the Presence. Orlov provides a comprehensive analysis of these traditions in their full historical and interpretive complexity. He focuses on heavenly alter egos of Enoch, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and Aseneth in often neglected books, including Animal Apocalypse, Book of the Watchers, 2 Enoch, Ladder of Jacob, and Joseph and Aseneth, some of which are preserved solely in the Slavonic language.

“This book is the first complete effort to show how some pseudepigraphical works develop several unique traditions about heavenly counterparts. It is particularly important for many scholars who do not have control of the Slavonic originals of the Ladder of Jacob and 2 Enoch. Orlov also draws on a broad range of unfamiliar sources, including Manichaean and Mandaean materials, which were often neglected by experts who previously investigated the heavenly counterpart imagery.” — Alexander Kulik, coauthor of Biblical Pseudepigrapha in Slavonic Tradition
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About the author

 Andrei A. Orlov is Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University. He is the author of Dark Mirrors: Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology and Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism, both also published by SUNY Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Sep 19, 2017
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Pages
318
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ISBN
9781438466927
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Language
English
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Genres
RELIGION / Biblical Studies / Bible Study Guides
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Wondrous Brutal Fictions presents eight seminal works from the seventeenth-century Japanese sekkyo and ko-joruri puppet theaters, many translated into English for the first time. Both poignant and disturbing, they range from stories of cruelty and brutality to tales of love, charity, and outstanding filial devotion, representing the best of early Edo-period literary and performance traditions and acting as important precursors to the Bunraku and Kabuki styles of theater. As works of Buddhist fiction, these texts relate the histories and miracles of particular buddhas, bodhisattvas, and local deities. Many of their protagonists are cultural icons, recognizable through their representation in later works of Japanese drama, fiction, and film. The collection includes such sekkyo “sermon-ballad” classics as Sansho Dayu, Karukaya, and Oguri, as well as the “old joruri” plays Goo-no-hime and Amida’s Riven Breast. R. Keller Kimbrough provides a critical introduction to these vibrant performance genres, emphasizing the role of seventeenth-century publishing in their spread. He also details six major sekkyo chanters and their playbooks, filling a crucial scholarly gap in early Edo-period theater. More than fifty reproductions of mostly seventeenth-century woodblock illustrations offer rich, visual foundations for the critical introduction and translated tales. Ideal for students and scholars of medieval and early modern Japanese literature, theater, and Buddhism, this collection provides an unprecedented encounter with popular Buddhist drama and its far-reaching impact on literature and culture.
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