Andrei A. Orlov (Marquette University)

Metatron as the Mediator of the Divine Name

Aural Ideology in Hekhalot Literature

Since our investigation of Metatron will deal extensively with the Hekhalot materials, and especially with Sefer Hekhalot, the peculiarities of the theophanic molds found in certain Hekhalot materials should be explored more closely. It should be noted that some distinguished students of early Jewish mysticism have previously warned against a search for finding common features in the Hekhalot literature. Thus, in his criticism of Gershom Scholem’s and David Halperin’s positions, Peter Schäfer cautioned that “both approaches suffer from the desire to find one explanation for the entire Hekhalot literature, which then assigns all other parts to their places, thus ignoring the extremely complex relations of the texts and the various literary layers within the individual macroform. The Hekhalot literature is not a unity and, therefore, cannot be explained uniformly.”1 Yet, while Hekhalot literature indeed cannot be “explained uniformly,” it without a doubt contains several conceptual trajectories that transcend boundaries of individual Hekhalot macroforms and units.

Thus, for example, some scholars previously suggested that certain Hekhalot materials appear to share common onomatological features. Karl Grözinger argues that “the majority of the Hekhalot-texts share a specific and distinct onomatological system. This very distinct onomatology belongs originally only to a part of the transmitted traditions, and appears to be superimposed on the others as a layer of interpretation."2 Grözinger’s observation regarding the possibility of onomatological trajectories common to several Hekhalot writings is significant for our study, since such developments are usually closely connected with aural Shem trends in which onomatology plays a central role. Yet, our exploration of such aural theophanic molds found in the Hekhalot materials will not automatically suggest that they represent or form a single uniform ideology for the entire Hekhalot literature. Since our study deals with several isolated traditions, it does not intend to offer any comprehensive evaluation of the entire Hekhalot corpus.3

Manifestations of the Deity

In our study we have already learned that the main dissimilarity between Kavod and Shem ideologies is their ways of conveying the divine presence: in one tradition the adept receives a vision of the divine Form, while in the other tradition this kind of theophany is noticeably missing or obscured; instead, its aural counterpart was given in the form of the divine Voice or other audial manifestations. Keeping in mind these theophanic developments, let us turn our attention to some conceptual developments found in certain Hekhalot materials. Analyzing descriptions of an adept’s theophanic experience in several Hekhalot accounts, Peter Schäfer offers the following remark:

The first surprising result of an examination of the texts is that the ascent accounts say almost nothing at all about what the mystic actually sees when he finally arrives at the goal of his wishes. The reader, who has followed the adept in his dangerous and toilsome ascent through the seven palaces, and whose expectations have been greatly raised, is rather disappointed.4

Schäfer’s remark is important for our study, as it draws attention to a striking feature of the theophanic descriptions found in some of the Hekhalot writings, where, at the apex of the heavenly journey, the apparition of the deity’s human-like form is missing.

Schäfer notices that these reformulations are intentional and constitute a deliberate strategy of the authors or editors of the Hekhalot accounts. In regards to this situation he remarks that …

… the editors of the Hekhalot literature do not trouble themselves with communicating the contents of any such a vision - whether or not there is one. I do believe, however, that this lack of communication does not result from some inability or timidity on the part of the authors or editors, let alone from the loss of some crucial passages in the course of the manuscript transmission; rather, I hold that our authors’ or editors’ reticence with regard to the visionary aspect of the ascent experience - or, to be more precise, regarding not just any kind of visionary aspect (since the Hekhalot literature is clearly full of “visual elements”) but the peak of this visionary experience, namely, the vision of God on his throne - is part of their deliberate editorial strategy and hence their message: they do not want to emphasize the vision of God as the climax of the mystic’s ascent ….5

In his other work, Schäfer further affirms this tenet of Hekhalot literature’s symbolic world by saying that "the ‘content’ of the vision according to the Hekhalot literature – [is] not the image and features of God on his throne but the inclusion of the mystic in the heavenly liturgy."6 The absence of “the image and features of God,” which represents the familiar markers of the Kavod’s revelatory mode, in fact is so distinctive in the Hekhalot accounts that it empowers some scholars to label Hekhalot’s mode of presenting the deity as “apophatic.”7

These scholarly observations are relevant for our study. If, indeed, evading the portrayal of God’s Form on the throne is a part of the deliberate theological strategy of the Hekhalot authors, it calls to mind some of the aforementioned traditions reflected in the Apocalypse of Abraham. There, as one may recall, the text’s adept, Abraham, at the apex of his visionary experience, was also denied a vision of the divine Form on the throne. It is significant that, while in both traditions (apocalyptic and Hekhalot) the adepts are denied access to the vision of the divine form, certain other features of the visionary paradigm, or in Schäfer’s expression, “visual elements,” are still present. The language of the ocularcentric trend therefore is not completely abandoned, being often polemically refashioned, although the teleological apex of the visionary encounter – God’s anthropomorphic manifestation – is markedly absent. In view of these conceptual constellations, it appears that in the Hekhalot accounts, as well as in the Apocalypse of Abraham, one encounters not only features of the audial trend, but also polemical reinterpretations of the Kavod paradigm.8

In the aforementioned scholarly reflections another important idea emerges. Peter Schäfer repeatedly draws attention to the fact that, instead of emphasizing the vision of God as the climax of the mystic’s ascent, the Hekhalot materials are “more interested in his becoming part of the liturgical performance in heaven.”9 While Schäfer’s analysis does not delve into the interrelationships between the ocular and aural paradigms or their conceptual origins, his remark suggests the possibility of the exchange of one praxis for another, namely, the substitution of the visionary routine of beholding the image and features of God for the aural practice of the mystic’s inclusion in the heavenly liturgy.10

This paradigm shift substitutes the visual practice of seeing the divine Form with the auricularcentric, “liturgical” praxis, and it evokes the Apocalypse of Abraham’s depiction of the patriarch’s experience in the heavenly throne room. As one remembers, there the adept also participates in liturgical communion with angels.

While the “visual” characteristics of the divine manifestation are subdued or even silenced in some Hekhalot writings, these accounts, very similar to the Apocalypse of Abraham, appear to be offering aural portrayals of the deity. Accordingly, speaking about the adept’s participation in the heavenly liturgy, Schäfer suggests that the deity’s presence (which in the visionary paradigm is often depicted as His Face) might itself be manifested through this celestial liturgical event. He argues that “the ‘stormy’ heavenly occurrence reflected on God's countenance is none other than the heavenly liturgy. The liturgy of the angels is a cosmic event in which God participates as a partner.”11

Other features of Hekhalot literature also seem to point to the possibility of the aural understanding of the deity’s presence. One such symbolic expression involves peculiar references to the deity’s garments. Hekhalot Rabbati §252 portrays the deity as being clothed in the “embroideries of song.”12 This tradition of investiture with praise or song can be understood as an aural counterpart to the clothing metaphors in the Kavod visionary trend, where the divine form is clothed in the Haluq, an attribute that highlights the anthropomorphic nature of the divine extent. It is noteworthy that in the Apocalypse of Abraham the deity is also enveloped in the sound of angelic praise, a description that once again affirms the aural ideology of the Slavonic apocalypse.13

In regards to the auricular traditions present in early Jewish mystical testimonies,14 we should note that in the Hekhalot literature, as well as in some other rabbinic speculations, including already noted passages concerning Aher’s apostasy, one can find repeated references to the concept of the heavenly Voice (lwq tb).15 These expressions of the heavenly Voice are surrounded by a set of familiar aural markers reminiscent of Deuteronomic developments, as well as traditions found in aural apocalypticism.16

Finally, it is noteworthy that the features of other celestial beings, especially those who are situated in close proximity to the theophanic abode of the deity, are also affected by auricular symbolism. Here, like in the Apocalypse of Abraham, the aural features of the immediate divine retinue and the “furniture” of God, including the Living Creatures of the throne (the Hayyot) and even the throne itself, implicitly affirm the otic nature of the divine manifestation. Scholars have previously noted the striking aural symbolism that accompanies such descriptions. For example, reflecting on the imagery found in Hekhalot Rabbati, Schäfer discerns that “a description of the king on his throne is not given now. Rather, a hymn follows, to be exact, the hymn which the throne of glory itself recites daily before God.”17 One can see that all subjects and even “items” of God’s abode are thus drawn into the overwhelming aural praxis of the celestial liturgy, and even the deity’s seat is not able to escape the urgency of this routine.18

This is very similar to the conceptual developments found in the Apocalypse of Abraham, wherein the classic “visionary” markers of the throne room are subdued or substituted for aural ones.19 Thus, for example, the Hayyot of the throne, rather than holding the divine presence, are depicted as singing qedushah.

The Adept’s Aural Praxis

We already noted that in some Hekhalot accounts the depiction of the deity and other celestial agents is embellished with familiar aural markers that are prominent in early Jewish apocalyptic works affected by the Shem paradigm. A similar strain of this tradition plays an important role in the description of the mystical adept’s practices found in Hekhalot literature. It appears that the protagonists of these mystical accounts are never able to close their mouths or to shut their ears from the overarching aural praxis. Indeed, the aural imagery permeates Hekhalot accounts that describe their heroes as singing songs, chanting chants, praising praises, voicing angelic and divine names, uttering adjurations, reciting texts, and praying prayers. We also learn that many of these practices are shared between humans and heavenly citizens, angelic and divine beings, who are forever predestined to participate in these aural routines.

These aural practices often reach their pinnacle in the protagonists’ participation in the celestial liturgy – the culmination of the adepts’ experience in heaven, which sometimes serves as the audial counterpart to the vision of the divine Form. The aim of the heavenly journey therefore becomes “not so much the vision of God on his throne, but more so the participation in the cosmic praise.”20 This aural praxis appears to be so overwhelming that Peter Schäfer suggests we call it a unio liturgica.21

As one may recall, the adept’s participation in the celestial liturgy also plays an important role in the Apocalypse of Abraham, where one finds a similar emphasis on the liturgical praxis of the patriarch.22 It is noteworthy that in another Slavonic apocalypse, 2 Enoch, a text profoundly affected by the ocularcentric apocalyptic mold, the seer teaches the angels to participate in the liturgy, though he himself is not depicted as participating in this liturgical praxis. In the Apocalypse of Abraham, in contrast, the adept sings along with the angels—first with the heavenly choirmaster, Yahoel, and then with the Living Creatures of the divine throne.23

Many scholars have previously noted these developments and their similarities to the Hekhalot materials. Peter Schäfer summarizes these scholarly efforts, noting that “it is obvious, and has been noticed by Scholem and others, that some of the distinctive characteristics of the Apocalypse of Abraham are amazingly close to those of the Hekhalot literature.”24

He further adds that “the closest parallel between the Apocalypse of Abraham and the Hekhalot literature consists in the importance that is attached to the participation of the visionary in the heavenly liturgy - the transformation that the visionary undergoes through this participation.… Although the Apocalypse of Abraham does not go as far as the Hekhalot literature, the similarity between both texts cannot be overlooked.” 25

The Adept’s Aural Ascent

It is possible that in Hekhalot mysticism the aural praxis encompasses not only the content of the heavenly liturgy, in which the adept is privileged to participate, but also the very ways by which he reaches heaven. With respect to this possibility, Peter Schäfer suggests that "the new function of prayer is especially dear in those [Hekhalot] macroforms in which prayer is both the means and the goal of the heavenly journey. The yored merkavah executes the heavenly journey through prayer to participate in the heavenly liturgy."26

This feature of the adept’s ascent is significant for our study of the aural mold of certain Hekhalot accounts and their connections with early apocalyptic materials, since this way of ascension is reminiscent of Abraham’s ascent in the Slavonic apocalypse.

The spatial dynamics of the adept’s ascent in the Apocalypse of Abraham has puzzled generations of scholars. Scholars have often reflected on the peculiarities of the seer’s progression to God’s abode.27 Abraham’s entrance into the divine realm unfolds in chapters 15-17. In these chapters the reader encounters intense liturgical traditions that emphasize the routine of prayer and praise. The aural praxis of the patriarch and his celestial guide, Yahoel, reaches an important conceptual pinnacle there, demonstrating the decisive power of prayer in breaching the boundaries between heaven and earth.

As has already been mentioned in our study, the work gives scant details regarding Abraham’s ascent through the various levels of the heavens. On the contrary, in the Slavonic apocalypse the seer achieves immediate access to the upper region of heaven through his recitation of a hymn. This could be quite puzzling for a reader accustomed to the ocularcentric paradigm, with its attention to the details of the various levels of heaven, each one containing symbolic content of its own. Indeed, the apocalyptic narratives of the Kavod paradigm often stress the importance of “structured” space by demonstrating the gradual progress of its visionaries through the various echelons of heaven. This progression implicitly underlines the Kavod ideology, since the heavens are understood as a structured house for the deity’s Form.

In light of these conceptual peculiarities of the Kavod paradigm, it is not coincidental that in the auricularcentric framework of the Apocalypse of Abraham, the long song of Abraham in chapter 17 – the audial medium of the patriarch’s ascension – serves as a striking alternative to the usual ascent-through-the-heavens pattern. Keeping in mind these conceptual developments, we should direct our attention to the song of Abraham, which plays an important role in the patriarch’s transition from the lower realm to the upper realm.

Scholars have noted that this song not only assists the seer in overcoming the fiery obstacles and fear of ascending into the dwelling place of God, but it actually serves as a medium of ascent. Thus, Martha Himmelfarb has suggested that “the Apocalypse of Abraham treats the song sung by the visionary as part of the means of achieving ascent rather than simply as a sign of having achieved angelic status after ascent.”28

It is quite possible that Abraham’s song stands at the crux of the aural paradigm, challenging the ocularcentric trend. In this respect it is not coincidental that the song of Abraham disrupts the normative spatial dynamics, and therefore leads to the collapse of the previous topological order, which in the text coincides with the beginning of the song.29 Thus, in the Apocalypse of Abraham 17:3, immediately before Abraham ascends by means of the song, the visionary reports unusual changes affecting the spatial features of his surroundings. When Abraham tries to prostrate himself, as is his wont, he suddenly notices that the surface escapes his knees: “And I wanted to fall face down to the earth. And the place of elevation on which we both stood <sometimes was on high,> sometimes rolled down.30 A couple of verses later, in 17:5, the visionary reflects again on his unusual spatial situation: “Since there was no earth to fall to, I only bowed down and recited the song which he had taught me.”31 All of a sudden, there is no ground beneath Abraham’s feet.

The accompanying angel’s behavior during the ascension is also noteworthy. In Jewish apocalyptic accounts, an angelus interpres normally serves as an important figure who affirms the traditional setting of the celestial topology. Thus, during a visionary’s progression, the interpreting angel usually assists the visionary by explaining the contents of the various heavens, gradually leading the seer through the divisions of the heavenly space.

But in the aural paradigm of the Slavonic apocalypse, the customary role of angelus interpres undergoes some striking revisions. Yahoel, instead of showing and explaining the contents of the various levels of heaven, prefers to teach Abraham how to be attentive to the aural means of ascent by urging the seer to participate fully in aural practices. The apocalypse’s narrative repeatedly insists on the details of a new ascending routine: “And he [Yahoel] said, ‘Only worship, Abraham, and recite the song which I taught you.’ And he said, ‘Recite without ceasing.’”32 Here, the aural theurgical praxis might itself serve as the substance of the heavenly reality. The divine presence is literally invoked or constituted by an adept’s aural praxis and actions. If the content of the practitioner’s praise is somehow connected with the aforementioned practice of the invocation of the deity, then the content of the song uttered by Abraham is also noteworthy, especially its first part, which is filled with divine names and attributes.

Because of his invocation, Abraham is transported to the highest point of the heavenly realm, God’s dwelling place, without encountering any elements that might be expected in ocularcentric visionary accounts.

A very similar tradition concerning the adept’s transportation by aural means is observed at the end of Abraham’s vision, when he is returned at once to earth. Apocalypse of Abraham 30:1 reads:

And while he was still speaking, I found myself on the earth, and I said, “Eternal, Mighty One, I am no longer in the glory in which I was above, but what my soul desired to understand I do not understand in my heart.”33

It is interesting that here, as in his paradoxical ascent, Abraham’s return to earth has an aural accompaniment. But now it is not a song performed by Abraham, but the utterance of the divine Voice.

Several scholars have previously noted that the ascent through song theme found in the Slavonic apocalypse evokes certain functions of songs in Hekhalot literature.34 These scholarly observations are relevant, since they point to the formative significance of the apocalyptic aural traditions for later Hekhalot developments. Yet, despite the import of the aural ascent traditions found in the Apocalypse of Abraham, their value in establishing conceptual bridges between Jewish apocalypticism and early Jewish mysticism remains largely neglected. Here again the consensus appears to be determined by the bulk of the ocularcentric apocalypses. These visionary accounts are often recognized as an essential template for the whole apocalyptic movement, a movement which, in some scholars’ opinion, points to the dissimilarities between the “apocalyptic” ascents and their Hekhalot counterparts.35

This chapter of our study will be devoted to the close analysis of some of Metatron’s offices that demonstrate conceptual ties with the previously explored offices of Yahoel in the Apocalypse of Abraham. This glimpse into the development of Metatron’s roles and functions will provide us with a unique opportunity to trace the impact of the aural ideology on early Jewish mystical lore.

Metatron’s Roles and Titles

Before proceeding to a close analysis of Metatron’s roles and titles, one important observation about the complex nature of the theophanic currents in early Jewish mystical materials must be made. As Gershom Scholem and other scholars have previously noted, some Hekhalot macroforms, such as 3 Enoch, often contain a stunning panoply of ocularcentric traditions intended to enhance the exalted profile of their main angelic protagonist - Metatron. I have previously explored the origin and nature of these theophanic currents in my monograph, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition. In that study, I demonstrated that many theophanic traditions found in the ocularcentric biblical and pseudepigraphical materials played a formative role in shaping the mediatorial profile of Enoch-Metatron in 3 Enoch and other Jewish mystical accounts.

In the current study, which attempts to establish possible relationships between Yahoel’s aural trend and the Metatron tradition, these non-aural theophanic traditions will pose a very special challenge by obscuring and interfering with our analysis. This is so because in Sefer Hekhalot and some other early Jewish mystical accounts, the early tradition concerning the “pre-existent” Metatron, the trend that some argued was profoundly affected by Yahoel’s “aural” lore, had already undergone its creative conflation with another prominent, this time ocularcentric ideology that was responsible for shaping Metatron’s profile as a former human being – the Enochic stream. Already in one of the earliest Enochic booklets, the Book of the Watchers, Enoch’s vision of the divine Chariot became profoundly influenced by the Ezekielian “visual” mold, which later was influential in the development of the Enoch-Metatron tradition. In view of such complex origins of the Metatron tradition, it will often be difficult to determine whether the great angel’s ocularcentric characteristics belong to the “original” theophanic features inherited from Enochic lore, or whether they represent polemical reformulations of the Kavod symbolism by the aural trend. It is quite possible that in some cases we will have a mixture of both conceptual currents, wherein the materials affected by the theophanic mold of the Enochic trend will co-exist with the aural polemical reformulations of ocularcentric imagery.

Metatron as Mediator of the Divine Name

The endowment of the chief angelic protagonist of the Hekhalot literature with distinctive onomatological functions appears to be not coincidental, considering the role that the divine Name plays in the overall conceptual framework of this corpora. Scholars previously noted that within the scope of Hekhalot texts, the Name became envisioned not merely as a simple appellation or convention for the purpose of naming and recognizing persons, but “a venerable bearer of power” and “a hypostasis of inherent power and function."36 In Hekhalot literature, the Name occupies a very similar role to that of some specimens of aural apocalypticism, including the Apocalypse of Abraham, in which the embodied divine Name in the form of the great angel Yahoel serves as a conceptual center of the narrative. In Metatron’s lore, this mediatorial office of the chief angelic protagonist also becomes the pivotal nexus of the story.

Thus, reflecting on Metatron’s association with the divine Name, Michael Miller points out that the mediation of the divine Name becomes “an integral part of Metatron’s characterization and possibly even his defining feature."37 Miller further argues that, "in fact Metatron is more commonly referred to as the angel who shares in God’s Name than as the Prince of the Presence, or any other qualification." 38 Indeed, it is quite possible that Metatron exemplifies “rabbinic Judaism’s attempt to personify the divine Name [and] to articulate its presence in an angelic or hypostatic being."39

Before we proceed to an in-depth investigation of Metatron’s onomatological functions, we should note that his mediation of the Tetragrammaton faithfully follows the conceptual steps that have already been discerned in the Yahoel tradition. First, his very name, “Metatron,” according to some hypotheses, appears to represent the Tetragrammaton. Second, Metatron is envisioned as the embodiment of the Name, which is reflected in his peculiar designation as the Lesser YHWH. He also “internalizes” the Name, similar to the Angel of the Lord figure. Finally, the Name appears externally on Metatron as he fashions the Tetragrammaton on his peculiar attire and crown. We should now explore these mediatorial dimensions more closely.

Metatron’s Name as the Tetragrammaton

Despite relentless efforts of ancient and modern interpreters to uncover the exact etymology of the name “Metatron,” there is no scholarly consensus regarding the precise meaning of this enigmatic designation. What is relevant for our study is that, according to some hypotheses, Metatron's name represents the Tetragrammaton. The proponents of such a supposition often rely on the tradition found in b. Sanh. 38b, where Metatron is compared with the Angel of the Lord, concerning whom Exod 23:21 states: "God's name is in him.” In light of this Talmudic reference, Joseph Dan proposed that the name “Metatron” may be connected with the angel’s function as the bearer of God’s name. Dan takes the “him” in the Exodus passage as referring to Metatron, suggesting that “he has within himself God’s ineffable name, which gives him his power.”40 Dan further entertains the possibility that, in view of the phrase “my name is within him,” the name Metatron might be related to the four letters of the divine Name.41 He observes: “it appears that the reference here is to tetra, i.e., the number four in Greek, a four letter word in the middle of the name Metatron.”42

Michael Miller has recently reexamined this etymology thoroughly. He concludes that “it would be logical to interpret the name [“Metatron”] as consisting of the central element TTR, plus a prefix and a suffix.”43 Miller further suggests that "there are two possibilities for the prefix. The prefix Mi - may be a concatenation of min, meaning ‘from’; or it may be the word mi, meaning ‘who,’ as in the name Michael. The ending -on is often found in angels in the Hekhalot literature, e.g., Adiriron, Sandalfon, etc., and it may have diminutive connotations—either way, its use as a suffix is well established."44 In light of such options, Miller suggests that the name "Metatron" "could mean either ‘from Tetragrammaton’ or ‘(the one) who is lesser Tetragrammaton.’”45

One can see that, as in the case of Yahoel whose name includes the Tetragrammaton, Metatron too fashions the divine Name in his own sobriquet. This feature plays a paramount role in the aural trend, in which the name of the chief angelic exemplar, who often serves as a transformational paradigm for the adept, is often invoked in the course of the mystical aural praxis. Gershom Scholem points to this important function of the angel’s name in the theurgical practices, arguing that Metatron’s name was "originally formed apparently in order to replace the name Yahoel as a vox mystica, [and] it gradually usurped its place."46

Metatron and the Angel of the Lord Traditions

Analyzing Yahoel’s story in the second chapter of the present study, we pointed to the formative role of the Angel of the Lord tradition, which shaped the profile of this aural exemplar. A similar development is found in Metatron lore. Some scholars have previously argued that “the most important element or complex of elements which gave life and endurance to the conception [of Metatron] was the notion of the angel of YHWH, who bears the divine Name.”47

Indeed, both in rabbinic and Hekhalot materials that unfold Metatron’s story, one encounters familiar references to the Angel of the Lord figure. This association becomes an important conceptual devise already in b. Sanh. 38b, where Metatron’s name is defined as “similar to his Master, for it is written: For My name is in him."48 Reflecting on this excerpt from the Babylonian Talmud, Gershom Scholem notices a connection of this passage not only to the Angel of the Lord tradition but also to the Yahoel figure. He observes that the talmudic tradition from the beginning of the fourth century, according to which Metatron is the angel of YHWH, is also “found in the tenth chapter of the Apocalypse of Abraham … where the angel Yahoel says to Abraham: ‘I am called Yahoel ... a power in virtue of the ineffable name that is dwelling in me.’”49

Similarly, in Sefer Hekhalot the endowment of Metatron with the office of the Lesser YHWH coincides with a reference to the Angel of the Lord tradition from Exodus. Thus, from 3 Enoch 12:5 one learns that the deity called the great angel “the lesser YHWH in the presence of his whole household in the height as it is written, ‘My name is in him.’”50

The close ties between Metatron and the Angel of the Lord figure were not forgotten in later mystical lore. Michael Miller suggests that “Eleazar of Worms must have known these [traditions] for his interpretation the dictum: ‘My Name is in him’ of Metatron, to mean that ‘the great name is inscribed on his heart’ (MS Paris-BN 850, fol. 83b)."51

Metatron’s Investiture with the Name

As we learned in the first chapter of this study, the external decoration with the divine Name was a standard feature in portrayals of various mediators of the Tetragrammaton. Frequently, such onomatological embellishments especially affect the headgear of such figures, including the turban of the heavenly priest Yahoel. In view of the formative influence of the Yahoel tradition, it appears to be not coincidental that Metatron’s crown is also adorned with the letters of the Tetragrammaton. This endowment appears to have an initiatory significance, since in 3 Enoch 12:4-5 the placing of the headdress on Metatron coincides with his designation as the personification of the divine Name.52

3 Enoch 13 provides a detailed description of Metatron’s crown, which like Yahoel’s headgear, is embellished with the letters of the Tetragrammaton,53 “the letters by which heaven and earth were created; the letters by which seas and rivers were created; the letters by which mountains and hills were created; the letters by which stars and constellations, lightning and wind, thunder and thunderclaps, snow and hail, hurricane and tempest were created; the letters by which all the necessities of the world and all the orders of creation were created.”54 It is intriguing that Sefer Hekhalot’s description ascertains the functions of the Tetragrammaton’s letters in sustaining God’s creation.55 The demiurgic powers of such letters on Metatron’s crown therefore are reminiscent of the distinguished abilities of Yahoel in relation to the works of creation.

Moreover, as in Yahoel’s story where the angel’s headgear has a distinctive sacerdotal significance, Metatron’s crown evokes memories of the priestly ziz. Like the golden plate of the chief sacerdotal servant, which according to some early Jewish sources shined like stars, moon and sun,56 each letter on Metatron’s crown “flashed time after time like lightnings, time after time like torches, time after time like flames, time after time like the rising of the sun, moon, and stars.”57

Metatron’s association with the demiurgic letters placed on his forehead was not forgotten in later Jewish mystical testimonies. Martin Cohen notices that in Sefer Raziel 260-261 "Metatron is inscribed with the letter ('ot) with which were created heaven and earth."58

We have already noted that the Tetragrammaton’s placement on the foreheads of Yahoel and the high priest was often accompanied by the symbolism of the rainbow. It is interesting that such imagery is also present in descriptions of Metatron. Nathaniel Deutsch draws attention to the rainbow like body of Metatron in Synopse §398, where one finds the following tradition: “When he [the 'prince' called Metatron] enters, the great, mighty, and terrible God is praised three times each day. He gives some of his glory to the princes of the Gentiles; the crown on his head is named 'Israel.' His body resembles the rainbow, and the rainbow resembles 'the appearance of fire ail around it. [Ezekiel 1:27].'"59 Michael Miller also notices that Siddur Rabbah and Sefer Raziel describe the Youth-Metatron with rainbow-like appearance.60

It is intriguing that in the aforementioned texts, not only the forehead but the whole body of the mediator resembles the rainbow, pointing to the possibility that, not only his crown, but even his entire extent now fashions the divine Name.

Metatron as the Lesser YHWH

The most intriguing and unique dimension of Metatron’s onomatological profile is, of course, his endowment with the office of the Lesser YHWH, N+qh hwhy, the designation which occurs with abbreviations several times in 3 Enoch, including passages found in Synopse §15,61 §73,62 and §76.63 In Synopse §15, Metatron reports to R. Ishmael that the deity proclaimed him to be the junior manifestation of his Name in front of all angelic hosts: “the Holy One, blessed be he, fashioned for me a majestic robe … and he called me, ‘The Lesser YHWH’ (N+qh ywy) in the presence of his whole household in the height, as it is written, ‘My name is in him.’”64

As with Metatron’s other offices, this role is closely connected with the angel’s duties in the immediate presence of the deity. Scholars have previously noted that the name attested in 3 Enoch, “Lesser YHWH,” is used “as indicative of Metatron’s character of representative, vicarius, of the Godhead; it expresses a sublimation of his vice-regency65 into a second manifestation66 of the deity in the name67 YHWH.”68

In his remarks on Metatron’s activities as God’s vice-regent, Christopher Morray-Jones points to the composite nature of this office, noting its similarities to the Angel of the Lord tradition. He argues that

… as the Angel of the Lord, Metatron functions as the celestial vice-regent who ministers before the throne, supervises the celestial liturgy and officiates over the heavenly hosts. He sits on the throne which is a replica of the throne of Glory and wears a glorious robe like that of God. He functions as the agent of God in the creation, acts as intermediary between heavenly and lower worlds, is the guide of the ascending visionary, and reveals the celestial secrets to mankind. He is, by delegating divine authority, the ruler and the judge of the world. He is thus a Logos figure and an embodiment of the divine Glory. In his shicur qomah, we are told that Metatron's body, like the Kabod, fills the entire world, though the writer is careful to maintain a distinction between Metatron and the Glory of God Himself.69

It is significant for this study that Metatron’s elevation into a lesser manifestation of the divine Name is accompanied by a panoply of theophanic attributes. Among them, Hugo Odeberg lists the enthronement of Metatron, the conferment upon him of (a part of) the divine Glory, “honor, majesty and splendor,” represented by “a garment of glory, robe of honor,” and especially “a crown of kingship on which the mystical letters, representing cosmic and celestial agencies are engraved.”70 The sharing of the attributes with the Godhead is significant since, here, like in Yahoel lore, the vice-regent receives the most exalted theophanic attributes of the “ocularcentric” deity. Peter Schäfer observes that in Sefer Hekhalot, Enoch-Metatron, who stands at the head of all the angels as “lesser YHWH,” is the representation of God. Endowed with the same attributes as God, Metatron, just like the deity, is omniscient.71

Another important feature that the “Lesser YHWH” shares with the deity is the attribute of the celestial seat, an important symbol of authority. The Aramaic incantation bowl labels Metatron as hysrwkd )br )rsy) - the Great Prince of God’s throne.72 He is the one who is allowed to sit in heaven, a privilege denied to angels. In the Aher story this attribute becomes the main feature that signals to the infamous visionary Metatron’s “divine” status.

As we have already witnessed, scholars previously have entertained the possibility that Metatron’s role as the Lesser YHWH is rooted in the Yahoel figure. Thus, Scholem claimed that "Jewish speculation about Metatron as the highest angel who bears, in a way, the name of God, and who is called N+qh hwhy or N+qh ynd) (the Lesser Tetragrammaton), was preceded by an earlier stage in which this Angel on High was not called Metatron, but Yahoel; a fact which explains the talmudic references to Metatron much more convincingly than any of the older attempts."73 He further argued that the statement found in b. Sanh. 38b, according to which Metatron has a name “like the name of his Master" (wbr M#k wm## Nwr++m), is incomprehensible, unless it is understood to refer to the name Yahoel.74

Reflecting on the possible chronological boundaries of appropriating Yahoel imagery into the Metatron tradition, Scholem observes that

there can be no doubt, for instance, that the concept of Yahoel as we find it in Chapter 10 of the Apocalypse of Abraham was an esoteric one and belonged to the mystical teachings on angelology and the Merkabah. The borrowings from esoteric Judaism about Yahoel must have been made, therefore, before the metamorphosis into Metatron took place. This bring us back again into the late first or early second century and makes a case for connecting the Hekhalot strata of the late second or early third century with this even earlier stage of Jewish Gnosticism, one which was striving equally hard to maintain a strictly monotheistic character.75

In my previous study of the Enoch-Metatron tradition,76 I had affirmed the plausibility of Scholem's suggestion that the concept of Metatron as the Lesser YHWH originated not in Enoch literature but in Yahoel lore. My own research demonstrated that, in 2 Enoch materials, where one can detect the initial process of Enoch’s transformation into Metatron, the onomatological traditions were ether silenced or diminished. While in 2 Enoch one can easily find the conceptual origins of prominent offices of Metatron, such as the Youth, the Prince of the Divine Presence, and the Prince of the World, the roots of his role as the Lesser YHWH are markedly absent. 2 Enoch in this respect is consistent with early Enochic lore, which does not link the seventh antediluvian patriarch with the divine Name, although in the Book of the Similitudes, his heavenly alter-ego, the Son of Man, is identified as the mediator of the Tetragrammaton.77

Scholem's insistence on the formative value of the Yahoel tradition for Metatron mysticism is methodologically significant. It reminds us that the search for the possible origins of Metatron's roles should not be limited to Yahoel or Enoch traditions or any other single source. Rather, multiple conceptual streams have contributed to the development of Metatron imagery. Moreover, Scholem appears to entertain the possibility that even the formative Enochic stream itself became affected by the Yahoel tradition. Accordingly, in Jewish Trends he asserts that

…it was after the beginning of the second century A. D., probably not earlier, that the patriarch Enoch was identified following his metamorphosis with the angel Yahoel, or Yoel, who occupies an important and sometimes dominant position in the earliest documents of throne mysticism and in the apocalypses. The most important characteristics of this angel are now transferred to Metatron.78

The exact interrelationships between the lore regarding Yahoel and the Enochic tradition remain clouded in mystery, yet the existence of such interaction is undeniable, since, for example, in the Apocalypse of Abraham the great angel’s story is permeated with a panoply of distinctive Enochic motifs.79

The lessons provided by Yahoel lore appear to be especially significant for understanding the various streams of the Metatron tradition, which do not postulate a human origin of this exalted angel but instead view him as a preexistent being. As we have already observed, Scholem proposed that, in Metatron lore, one detects two possible standpoints on the origins of this angel. The first perspective considers him a celestial counterpart to the seventh antediluvian patriarch translated to heaven before the Flood and transfigured into an immortal angelic being. Scholem argued that there was another prominent trend, in which Metatron was not connected with Enoch or any other human prototype, but was understood to be an angel brought into existence at the beginning of, or even before, the creation of the world. This “primordial” Metatron was often referred to as Metatron Rabbah.80 Scholem believed that the figures of Yahoel or Michael,81 the stories of which are paradoxically conflated in the Apocalypse of Abraham, played a formative role in this second "primordial” Metatron development. Scholem argued that the two streams of Metatron lore in the beginning existed independently and were apparently associated with the different corpora of rabbinic lore: the “preexistent” Metatron trend with the Talmud, and the Enoch-Metatron trend with the targumic and aggadic literatures. In his opinion, only later did these two initially independent trajectories become intertwined. Scholem remarked that the absence of the Enoch-Metatron trend "in the Talmud or the most important Midrashim is evidently connected with the reluctance of the talmudists to regard Enoch in a favorable light in general, and in particular the story of his ascent to heaven, a reluctance still given prominence in the Midrash Genesis Rabbah."82 He proposed that this situation does not indicate that the Metatron-Enoch trend was later than the primeval Metatron trend, since the Palestinian Targum (Gen 5:24) and other works have retained allusions to the concept of the human Metatron in the rabbinic tradition.

Scholem also suggested that even variations in the Hebrew form of the name Metatron might be connected to the two aforementioned streams. He observes that, in the Shicur Qomah sources, the name Metatron has two forms, written with six letters and with seven letters, namely, as Nwr++m and Nwr++ym.83 He points out that, although the original reason for this distinction is unknown, the kabbalists regarded the different forms of the same name as signifying two prototypes for Metatron. These kabbalistic circles usually identified the seven-lettered name with the primordial Metatron and the six-lettered name with Enoch, who later ascended to heaven and possessed only some of the splendor and power of the primordial Metatron.84

In light of Scholem's hypothesis, it is possible that the conceptual and literary distance between the two aforementioned understandings of Metatron, which apparently had very early, possibly even pre-mishnaic roots, might have prevented adaptation of the onomatological imagery into the story of the seventh antediluvian hero, despite that certain other early roles and titles of Metatron were still developed in 2 Enoch. The Apocalypse of Abraham, in this respect, offers an important insight. Although some details of the Abrahamic pseudepigraphon indicate that the authors of that text were familiar with Enochic traditions, Yahoel's imagery is not linked to the seventh antediluvian patriarch, but to Abraham.

The Name and Power

It was previously noted in our study that, in the Apocalypse of Abraham, Yahoel’s presentation as the mediator of the divine Name coincides with his designation as “power.” As one recalls in his very first words to the patriarch, the great angel defines himself as “power” (Slav. сила), uttering the following cryptic statement: "I am a power (сила) in the midst of the Ineffable who put together his names in me."85

It is significant that the word “power” is juxtaposed here with the mediator’s onomatological definition. A similar juxtaposition is found in Metatron lore. Already in one of the earliest testimonies about Metatron, reflected in the Visions of Ezekiel, he is defined both as the Name and the Power. Hence, the Visions of Ezekiel tell the following concerning the great angel: "Eleazar of Nadwad says: Metatron, like the name of the Power."86 This statement again points to the possibility that Metatron’s name represents the Tetragrammaton and therefore manifests the ultimate power. Reflecting on this and similar developments, Karl Grözinger suggested that in Hekhalot literature, “the name is nothing else but a functional concentration of power.”87 He further proposed that this understanding implies that the angelic figure “is nothing else than the function expressed in its name, a hypostasis of this function.”88 In this light, Metatron, by virtue of possessing seventy names that signify the fullness of his mediation of the Name, has fullness of power. Grözinger points out that

the fragments and splinters of tradition of the Hekhalot literature tell about celestial powers whose authority falls only a little behind the authority of the supreme Godhead, and who are even ascribed a share in the work of creation…. Primary among them is Enoch-Metatron who, according to several texts, has been endowed with extraordinary fullness of power. The depicted onomatological theology could evidently express this fullness of power adequately only by stating that the highest deity gives some of its own names away because the participation God's Name is participation in God's power, and thus in the deity itself. Therefore the fullness of power of Metatron expresses itself above all the fact that he obtains seventy names from the seventy names of God, or — in a somewhat different diction — that the Name of God is dormant in him, or that his name is like the Name of his Lord. It should not then surprise us that this finds its most concrete and logical expression in the name Adonay Ha-Qatan.89

To conclude this segment, we reiterate that Metatron’s onomatological profile accommodates almost all elements previously encountered in our investigation of Yahoel. Thus, similar to Yahoel, Metatron’s unique name represents the Tetragrammaton. Furthermore, akin to Yahoel lore, Metatron’s presentation in various materials includes allusions, as well as direct references, to the Angel of the Lord traditions. Metatron’s accoutrement, similar to Yahoel’s attire, is decorated with the divine Name, and, similar to Yahoel, he is envisioned as an embodiment of the Tetragrammaton, being designated as the lesser YHWH. Subsequently, this section of our study confirms, through a detailed textual analysis, what so many distinguished students of Jewish mystical lore have been proposing for decades, namely, that the onomatological functions of Yahoel serve as a formative blueprint for successive Metatron developments.

Metatron as Embodiment of the Deity

As already noted, in the earliest Metatron testimonies found in the Babylonian Talmud one can detect a noticeable tension between ocularcentric and aural traditions. Often in these accounts the theophanic features of the “Second Power” in the form of Metatron appear to be contrasted with the aural nature of God. In Hekhalot literature such tensions again are found. Although many of these theophanic markers were transferred into Metatron’s lore from Enochic and other mediatorial trends without polemical intentions, the presence of the aural ideology often turned these former theophanic features into powerful weapons intending to undermine the ocularcentric ideology. In our analysis of these conceptual developments, we should now concentrate on these theophanic attributes of the chief angelic protagonist of the Hekhalot tradition.

Attribute of the Divine Seat

As one may recall in the passage from Hagiga Bavli, Metatron’s possession of the seat in heaven served as a pivotal point in the story, as it became the main stumbling block for the infamous visionary. The angel’s sitting there, without a doubt, is read as the crucial attribute of the deity that would grant Metatron a divine status. Such an attribution, in its turn, rests on the ancient theophanic tradition rooted in biblical accounts, in which the deity was repeatedly depicted as the one who possesses the seat in heaven. Already in prophetic literature, this portrayal of the besited Glory of God constituted the conceptual center of the ocularcentric ideology.

In Metatron lore, this portentous theophanic marker of the Kavod ideology might even be “embedded” in the angel’s name, which some scholars derive from the Greek word for “throne” (θρόνος,). Thus, reflecting on various etymologies of the name "Metatron," Daniel Boyarin notices that "what is decisive … is the strong association of the figure with a throne, the throne, or a second throne, on which he sits, either alongside of YHWH or even as his appointed regent in place of YHWH ... This strong and crucial association of the figure with the throne and the frightening heresy of Two Powers in Heaven as associated with sitting on the throne makes the otherwise philologically plausible derivation from μετά and θρόνος, entirely likely, if not quite provable."90

Boyarin’s suggestion here is not entirely novel, but rather an affirmation of one of the most popular etymological options. For a long time the scholarly community has entertained the possibility that the name of the angel may represent the merging of the two Greek words, μετά and θρόνος, which in combination, μεταθρόνος, can be understood to mean "one who serves behind the throne," or "one who occupies the throne next to the throne of Glory." This hypothesis has been supported by a number of scholars, but was rejected by Scholem, who argued that "there is no such word as Metathronios in Greek and it is extremely unlikely that Jews should have produced or invented such a Greek phrase."91 He noted that in the Talmudic literature the word θρόνος is never used in place of its Hebrew equivalent,92 and therefore an etymology based on the combination of the Greek μετά and θρόνος has no merit.93 Yet, other scholars suggested that the name may be derived from the Greek word, σύνθρονος, in the sense of "co-occupant of the divine throne.”94 Hugo Odeberg criticizes this etymology, arguing that "there is not a single instance in any known Jewish source of Metatron being represented as the co-occupant of the divine throne."95 Saul Lieberman, however, in his reexamination of the etymologies of the name, provides some new reasons for accepting this option.96 Peter Schäfer, following Lieberman’s insights, affirms the plausibility of the derivation of the great angel’s name from the Greek word for “throne.” He observes that “most probable is the etymology of Lieberman: Metatron = Greek metatronos = metathronos = synthronos; i.e. the small ‘minor god,’ whose throne is beside that of the great ‘main God.’”97

Attribute of the Divine Glory: Metatron as the Divine Face

We have witnessed in our study that, already in the biblical Mosaic currents, the divine Face (Panim) becomes a conceptual cognate for the divine Glory (Kavod). Metatron’s portrayal as a servant of the divine Face, or the Face itself, in some Jewish mystical accounts, can be seen therefore as another important avenue for his identification with the divine Form. In light of this, the great angel’s connection with the divine Panim deserves to be explored more closely. As we will see, such an association represents a gradually developing trend in which the protagonist is first envisioned as the servant of the Panim and only later is understood as the hypostasized divine Countenance.

I have previously argued that Metatron’s office as the servant of the divine Presence/Face is developed already in early Enochic lore under the influence of the Mosaic biblical traditions,98 in which the son of Amram is closely associated with the divine Panim.99 It is not coincidental that such imagery stems from the very heart of the ocularcentric developments associated with the Mosaic and Enochic currents. Yet, despite the formative influence of biblical and pseudepigraphical developments in later Metatron lore, especially in Sefer Hekhalot, Metatron’s close proximity to God’s Face created an entirely new mediatorial dimension unknown in early Enochic materials. Thus, in Hekhalot literature, Metatron not only assumes the usual functions pertaining to mediation in knowledge and judgment, similar to those performed by the seventh antediluvian patriarch in early Enochic lore, but he takes on a much higher role as the mediator of the divine presence. This office of Metatron is reflected in 3 Enoch and in some other Hekhalot materials which attempt to depict him as a special attendant of the divine Face, mediating God’s presence to the rest of the angelic community. Moreover, in this role, Metatron is often directly named “Face of God.” In Synopse §13, God himself introduces Metatron as his secretary, saying that “any angel and any prince who has anything to say in my [God’s] presence (ynpl) should go before him [Metatron] and speak to him. Whatever he says to you in my name you must observe and do….”100

We can say without exaggeration that Metatron’s office as the servant of the divine Face/Presence Mynph r# becomes one of his most important roles in Sefer Hekhalot. Scholars have previously observed that, in 3 Enoch, Metatron becomes “the angel who has access to the divine presence, the ‘Face’ of the Godhead.”101 3 Enoch 8:1 stresses that Metatron’s duties in this office include the service connected with the throne of Glory.102

It is noteworthy that the appellation, “Prince of the Divine Presence,” repeatedly follows the name Metatron in 3 Enoch. The recurring designations of Metatron as the Prince of the Divine Presence are puzzling, since this title does not belong exclusively to this angel. The Hekhalot tradition follows the pseudepigrapha here, which attests to a whole class of highest angels/princes (Mynph yr#) allowed to see and to serve the divine Face.103 It is significant that, although the designation is not restricted to Metatron, in 3 Enoch it becomes an essential part of the common introductory formula, “The angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence,” through which R. Ishmael relates the various revelations received from his exalted angelus interpres. It also becomes a dividing grid of the microforms that partition the narrative of Sefer Hekhalot.

The prominent office of the sar happanim appears to represent a transitional stage of Metatron’s identification as the divine Face. This crucial paradigm shift may have already developed inside this portentous office. Thus, some scholars suggested that the title sar happanim is better understood as the "prince who is the face [of God].” 104 Along these lines, Nathaniel Deutsch states that “some sources understood Metatron to be the hypostatic embodiment of a particular part of the divine form, most notably the face of God... It is likely that this tradition underlies the title sar happanim, which is associated with Metatron. Rather than ‘prince of the face [of God],’ this title is better understood as ‘prince who is the face [of God].’”105

Indeed, some Hekhalot passages attempt explicitly to identify Metatron as the hypostatic Face of God. Thus, for example, Synopse §§396-397 discloses the following tradition:

Moses said to the Lord of all the worlds: “If your face does not go with us, do not bring me up from here” (Exod 33:15). The Lord of all the worlds warned Moses that he should beware of that face of his. So it is written, “Beware of his face” (Exod 23:21). This is he who is written with the one letter by which heaven and earth were created, and was sealed with the seal of “I am that I am” (Exod 3:14). This is the prince who is written with six and with seven and with twenty two. This is the prince who is called Yofiel Yah-dariel. In the holy camps of angels he is called Metatron….106

In this excerpt, Metatron is envisioned as the divine Face – the portentous nexus of the adept’s aspirations. Scholars have previously noted the paramount role that the divine Face plays in Hekhalot materials. According to some opinions, it is considered to be the “center of the divine event” and the teleological objective for the ascension of the yorde merkavah. Peter Schäfer points out that Hekhalot Rabbati, for example, considers the countenance of God as “the goal of yored merkavah and simultaneously revokes this statement in a paradoxical way by stressing at the conclusion that one cannot ‘perceive’ this face.”107 He further observes that, for the visionary in the Hekhalot tradition, the countenance of God is the example “not only of overwhelming beauty, and therefore of a destructive nature, but at the same time the center of the divine event.”108 God’s Face, therefore, becomes the consummation of the heavenly journey, since, according to Schäfer, “everything God wishes to transmit to the yored merkavah … is concentrated in God’s countenance.”109

Attribute of the Divine Body: Metatron as God’s Shicur Qomah

In our study of Metatron’s role as the embodiment of the deity, it is important to keep in mind the formative influence of ocularcentric mediatorial trends, including the Enochic tradition, which became instrumental in shaping this dimension of Metatron’s profile. As I demonstrated in my previous investigation of the Enoch-Metatron tradition, in Hekhalot materials, and especially in 3 Enoch, the ocularcentric molds had already underwent creative conflations with aural traditions, and so it requires additional exegetical effort to untangle this symbiosis of various theophanic currents.

This study previously noted that, in his transition to the position of God’s vice-regent and the lesser manifestation of the divine Name, Metatron comes to resemble the deity closely when various ocularcentric divine attributes and features are literally heaped upon him. One important feature of this divine dedoublement is Metatron’s acquisition of a new celestial body that closely resembles the gigantic extent of the divine Form. Although the crucial bulk of the traditions concerning Metatron’s statue and its correspondence to God’s anthropomorphic extent can be found in the Shicur Qomah literature, Sefer Hekhalot also provides a crucial testimony to this conceptual development. Thus, for example, Synopse §12 (3 Enoch 9) portrays the metamorphosis of Enoch’s body into a gigantic extent matching the world in length and breadth.110

Christopher Morray-Jones detects in this description a connection with the Kavod symbolism, suggesting that the sudden transformation of the human body of the seventh antediluvian patriarch into a gigantic extension, encompassing the whole world, cannot be properly understood without reference to another, this time divine, anthropomorphic corporeality known from the priestly and Ezekielian traditions.111 Although the two bodies (of Metatron and of the deity) are linked through an elaborate common imagery, the Jewish writers are cautious about maintaining a careful distinction between the two entities. Martin Cohen observes that, in the Shicur Qomah materials, the comparisons between the two corporealities, the deity and Metatron, are not particularly favorable for the latter: “whereas the sole of the foot or the pinky-finger of the deity is said to be one universe-length long, Metatron himself is altogether only that height.”112 These distinctions, however, should not be overestimated, since they do not prevent the Shicur Qomah materials from unifying both corporealities through identical terminology. In the Merkavah materials, the divine corporeality is often labeled the Stature/Measure of the Body (hmwq rw(y#). The same terminology is often applied to Metatron's body. According to one Hekhalot passage, "the stature (wtmwq) of this youth fills the world."113 The same terminological parallels are observable in 3 Enoch 48C:5-6 (Synopse §73), which refers to Metatron’s stature as hmwq, while the patriarch’s human body is designated as Pwg. The similarity in terminology, which stresses the proximity of the statures of the deity and Metatron, points to the angel’s role as the measurement of the divine Body, God’s Shicur Qomah, in which he is envisioned as the lesser manifestation of the divine corporeality. This office is closely connected with Metatron’s other roles, since Metatron’s function as Shicur Qomah of the deity cannot be separated from his mediation of the divine presence and his activities as the servant of the divine Face, or as one of the sar happanim.114 This demonstrates that Metatron’s connection with the tradition regarding the colossal divine extent is not an isolated construct foreign to the rest of the Enoch-Metatron story, but represents the logical continuation of his other prominent offices and duties in close proximity to the divine presence. In Synopse §73, the Shicur Qomah motif and the motif of Metatron’s face are brought together:

I increased his stature (wtmwq) by seventy thousand parasangs, above every height, among those who are tall of stature (twmwqh ymwr lkb). I magnified his throne from the majesty of my throne. I increased his honor from the glory of my honor. I turned his flesh to fiery torches and all the bones of his body (wpwg) to coals of light. I made the appearance of his eyes like the appearance of lightning, and the light of his eyes like “light unfailing.” I caused his face to shine like the brilliant light of the sun.115

Several words must be said about the fashion in which the Shicur Qomah tradition appears in 3 Enoch. Sefer Hekhalot intriguingly preserves only one side of the story when it applies traces of the Shicur Qomah tradition solely to Metatron. It manifests a striking difference with the Shicur Qomah literature, in which the reader is normally provided with elaborate depictions of God’s limbs. In contrast, Sefer Hekhalot does not say much about the divine Body, since the depiction of Metatron’s extent serves as the focal point of the presentation. Such a peculiar tendency might represents a deliberate polemical strategy in which Metatron’s body, embellished by various theophanic attributes of the ocularcentric paradigm, is eventually contrasted with the aural epiphany of the “true” deity. So here, as in the Yahoel tradition, the ocularcentric attributes heaped on the “Second Power” intend to cultivate a gap between the incorporeal aural deity and its corporeal manifestation in the form of the angelic vice-regent.

Metatron as Choirmaster

The second chapter of our study demonstrated the multifaceted nature of Yahoel’s role as the choirmaster who not only teaches celestial and earthly beings how to give praise to the deity but also himself performs such actions by participating in the liturgical praxis. In Hekhalot and Shicur Qomah sources, Metatron is portrayed not only as the choirmaster of both heavenly and earthly subjects but is also a practitioner of angelic praise. These liturgical duties come to the fore especially in the Shicur Qomah lore, wherein, according to some scholars, Metatron’s service appears to be “entirely liturgical.”116 Thus, Martin Cohen argues that, in the Shicur Qomah materials, Metatron appears to be “more the heavenly choirmaster and beadle than the celestial high priest.”117 We should now proceed to an in-depth investigation of these sacerdotal traditions.

Metatron as the Choirmaster of the Angelic Beings

In the Hekhalot materials, there are several descriptions of Metatron’s function of directing angelic hosts in the presence of the deity. Moreover, like Yahoel, who not only directs the aural praxis of the heavenly and earthly subjects but also safeguards them from the actions and practices that can harm them, Metatron too is portrayed as protector of the heavenly singers. Hence, the passage from 3 Enoch 15B unveils the following preventive actions of the great angel:

Metatron is the Prince over all princes, and stands before him who is exalted above all gods. He goes beneath the throne of Glory, where he has a great heavenly tabernacle of light, and brings out the deafening fire, and puts it in the ears of the holy creatures, so that they should not hear the sound of the utterance that issues from the mouth of the Almighty.118

This terse passage alludes to an enigmatic tradition in which this angel is depicted as the one who inserts “the deafening fire” into the ears of the Hayyot so that the Living Creatures will not be harmed by the voice of the Almighty. The tradition attested in 3 Enoch 15B, however, does not explicate the broader context of Metatron’s actions, which is most likely due to the fragmentary nature of this passage that scholars consider a late addition to Sefer Hekhalot. A similar description in Synopse §390 appears to have better preserved the original context surrounding Metatron’s unique liturgical role. The text relates the following scene:

One hayyah rises above the seraphim and descends upon the tabernacle of the youth whose name is Metatron, and speaks with a loud voice. A voice of sheer silence…. Suddenly the angels fall silent. The watchers and holy ones become quiet. They are silent, and are pushed into the river of fire. The hayyot put their faces on the ground, and this youth whose name is Metatron brings the fire of deafness and puts it into their ears so that they could not hear the sound of God’s speech or the ineffable name. The youth whose name is Metatron then invokes, in seven voices his living, pure, honored, awesome… name.119

Here again the great angel performs the mysterious ritual by putting the fire of deafness into the ears of the Hayyot.120 This passage also indicates that Metatron not only protects and prepares the heavenly hosts for praising the deity,121 but himself conducts the liturgical ceremony by invoking the divine Name. The passage underlines the extraordinary scope of Metatron’s own vocal abilities that allow him to invoke the deity’s Name in seven voices. In light of Metatron’s office as the mediator of the Tetragrammaton, it is not coincidental that he is the one who invokes the divine Name during the celestial liturgy.

The evidence unfolding Metatron’s liturgical role is not confined solely to the Hekhalot corpus, but can also be detected in another prominent literary stream associated with early Jewish mysticism, represented by the Shicur Qomah materials. Certain passages found in the Shicur Qomah texts attest to a familiar tradition in which Metatron is posited as a liturgical servant. In Sefer Haqqomah 155-164, we read:

And (the) angels who are with him come and encircle the throne of Glory. They are on one side and the (celestial) creatures are on the other side, and the Shekinah is on the throne of Glory in the center. And one creature goes up over the seraphim and descends on the tabernacle of the lad whose name is Metatron and says in a great voice, a thin voice of silence, “The throne of Glory is glistening!” Immediately, the angels fall silent and the cirin and the qadushin are still. They hurry and hasten into the river of fire. And the celestial creatures turn their faces towards the earth, and this lad, whose name is Metatron, brings the fire of deafness … and puts (it) in the ears of the celestial creatures so that they do not hear the sound of the speech of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the explicit name that the lad, whose name is Metatron, utters at that time in seven voices, in seventy voices, in his living, pure, honored, holy, awesome, worthy, brave, strong and holy name.122

A similar tradition is found in Siddur Rabbah 37-46, another text associated with the Shicur Qomah tradition, in which the angelic Youth, however, is not identified with the angel Metatron:

The angels who are with him come and encircle the (throne of) Glory; they are on one side and the celestial creatures are on the other side, and the Shekinah is in the center. And one creature ascends above the throne of Glory and touches the seraphim and descends on the Tabernacle of the lad and declares in a great voice, (which is also) a voice of silence, “The throne alone shall I exalt over him.” The ophannim become silent (and) the seraphim are still. The platoons of cirin and qadushin are shoved into the River of Fire and the celestial creatures turn their faces downward, and the lad brings the fire silently and puts it in their ears so that they do not hear the spoken voice; he remains (thereupon) alone. And the lad calls Him, “the great, mighty and awesome, noble, strong, powerful, pure and holy, and the strong and precious and worthy, shining and innocent, beloved and wondrous and exalted and supernal and resplendent God.”123

It is evident that the tradition preserved in Sefer Haqqomah and Siddur Rabbah cannot be separated from the microforms found in Synopse §390 and 3 Enoch 15B, since all of these narratives are unified by a similar structure and terminology. All of them also emphasize the Youth-Metatron’s leading role in the course of the celestial service. It is significant that Metatron’s role as the one responsible for protecting and leading the servants in their praise of the deity is not restricted only to the aforementioned passages, but finds expression in the broader context of the Hekhalot and Shciur Qomah materials.124 Another depiction, which appears earlier in the same text (Synopse §385), again refers to Metatron’s leading role in the celestial praise, noting that it occurs three times a day:

When the youth enters below the throne of glory, God embraces him with a shining face. All the angels gather and address God as “the great, mighty, awesome God,” and they praise God three times a day by means of the youth.125

A distinctive feature of the aforementioned accounts is the motif of danger which accompanies the revelation of the divine presence, a theme that occupies a prominent role in the Hekhalot materials, wherein both eyes and ears of the celestial citizens must be shielded to prevent the deadly impact of the deity’s sight and voice.126 Thus, 3 Enoch 22b discloses the following tradition:

What does YHWH, the God of Israel, the glorious King, do? The great God, mighty in power, covers his face. In cArabot there are 660 thousands of myriads of glorious angels, hewn out of flaming fire, standing opposite the throne of glory. The glorious King covers his face, otherwise the heaven of cArabot would burst open in the middle, because of the glorious brilliance, beautiful brightness, lovely splendor, and radiant praises of the appearance of the Holy One, blessed be he. How many ministers do his will? How many angels? How many princes in the cArabot of his delight, feared among the potentates of the Most High, favored and glorified in song and beloved, fleeing from the splendor of the Shekinah, with eyes grown dim from the light of the radiant beauty of their King, with faces black and strength grown feeble?127

Here, the protection of the heavenly hosts is accomplished in a distinctively “visual” fashion: the deity covers his Face in order that the angels will not be destroyed by the splendor of the Shekinah. Yet, while here the visual mold unquestionably takes precedence, in some other Hekhalot passages one can encounter a curious mixture of aural and visual symbolism. Thus, for example, Synopse §189 offers the following description:

Every single day, when the afternoon prayer arrives, the adorned King sits enthroned and exalts the living creatures. The word does not finish coming from His mouth before the holy living creatures go forth from under the throne of glory. From their mouth is fullness of chanting, with their wings is fullness of rejoicing their hands make music, and their feet dance. They go around and surround their King; one from His right and one from His left, one from in front of Him and one from behind Him. They embrace and kiss Him and uncover their faces. They uncover and the King of glory covers His face, and the cArabot firmament is split like a sieve before the King.128

Although the ocularcentric imagery of the divine Face is still strong in this passage, an aural theophanic dimension is also present in the form of the deity’s speech coming from his mouth. It indicates that not only the sight of the deity poses an imminent danger, but the divine Voice instills terror in the hearts of the heavenly creatures as well. 3 Enoch 22C:5 further unfolds this aural dimension of the danger motif, as it describes the fear of the angelic hosts attempting to hide from the harmful impact of the divine Voice: "the fire of the voice descends from the holy creatures, and because of the breath of that voice they ‘run’ to another place, fearing lest it should bid them go; and they ‘return,’ lest it should harm them on the other side; therefore ‘they run and return.’”129

While in the Hekhalot tradition the danger motif often encompasses both visual and aural dimensions, it is noteworthy that in the aforementioned passages from Synopse §390, 3 Enoch 15B, Siddur Rabbah, and Sefer Haqqomah, Youth-Metatron’s protection of the angelic hosts during the encounter with the deity is expressed exclusively in terms of the aural paradigm. Thus, instead of closing the eyes of the angelic hosts to protect them against the harmful brilliance of God’s Form, here, the ears of the angels must be safeguarded so “they could not hear the sound of God’s speech.”130 Youth-Metatron, therefore, is portrayed in our passages not as a “visual” but as an “aural” protector. This tendency appears to be not coincidental in the polemical context of certain Metatron developments, wherein Metatron is endowed with distinctive ocularcentric attributes while the deity is depicted with aural imagery. Moreover, it is intriguing that the visual dimension of the danger motif may be transferred in some Hekhalot passages to Metatron himself. Thus, for example, in a fragment of an early recension of 3 Enoch, the heavenly hosts appear to shield their faces with their wings before Metatron's appearance: “At once the Holy One said to the seraphim and to the ophannim and to the cherubim and to the living creatures: My seraphim, My ophannim, My cherubim, My living creatures, cover your faces before Ishmael, my dear and lovely son. At once they covered their faces. And Metatron came .... And he completed for me my well-being and he stood me on my feet.”131

Choirmaster of the Human Beings

Akin to Yahoel’s functions, Metatron’s duties as choirmaster include not only his leadership over the angelic hosts but also over humans, specifically the visionaries who attempt to cross boundaries from the lower to the upper realms. Accordingly, in Sefer Hekhalot Metatron is portrayed as the one who prepares Rabbi Ishmael for singing praise to the Holy One. In 3 Enoch 1 (Synopse §2) this rabbinic sage reports the following event: “At once Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence, came and revived me and raised me to my feet, but still I had not strength enough to sing a hymn before the glorious throne of the glorious King … and when I opened my mouth and sang praises before the throne of glory, the holy creatures below the throne and above the throne responded after me, saying ‘Holy, holy, holy.’"132 Metatron’s response to the visionary who struggles to pass the thresholds between the lower and the upper realms can be compared to Yahoel’s actions in the Apocalypse of Abraham, in which Yahoel assists Abraham in his ascent to the divine presence by teaching him the hymn.

Metatron as Revealer of Secrets

We already learned in our study that, in the Apocalypse of Abraham, Yahoel is envisioned as the chief initiator and revealer of the story. His mediatorial functions pertaining to the disclosures of divine mysteries to a human adept are reminiscent of Metatron’s offices. Thus, Hugo Odeberg notices that one of the significant facets of Metatron’s mediating duties in 3 Enoch and other Hekhalot materials is his role “as the intermediary through whom the secret doctrine was brought down to man.”133 Synopse §73 (3 Enoch 48C:7) unveils a new title of Metatron as the “knower of secrets,” Myzr (dwy:

… and I called him by my name, the Lesser YHWH (N+qh ywy), Prince of the Divine Presence (Mynph r#), and knower of secrets (Myzr (dwyw). Every secret I have revealed to him in love, every mystery I have made known to him in uprightness.134

The early roots of this office can be discerned not only in the Yahoel stream of Metatron lore but also in its Enochic counterpart, since it vividly recalls one of the roles of the seventh antediluvian hero attested in early Enochic and Enmeduranki traditions. As with the Enochic texts, in which one of the mediatorial functions of the seventh antediluvian patriarch was his mediation of knowledge through conveying the celestial secrets drawn from the heavenly tablets to his children and the people of the earth, Metatron also assumes the role of messenger who brings higher knowledge to the creatures of the lower realm. His role as Sar Torah, the one who conveys perfect knowledge of the Torah to chosen visionaries and helps them retain this knowledge, will be investigated in detail later in this study. This office of Metatron apparently remains at the center of his mediating activities pertaining to knowledge. In this role, Metatron functions not only as the one who assists in the acquisition of celestial lore by helping Moses bring knowledge of Torah to the people, or assisting visionaries in mastering the secrets of the Law, but also as a teacher, that is, the one obliged to instruct in scriptural matters the deceased children in the heavenly academy.

It is interesting that, in contrast to the Yahoel tradition wherein the great angel is depicted as a terrestrial teacher, that is, as one instructing Abraham on earth, Metatron’s teaching expertise is now extended to the celestial classroom.135 Thus, b. Avodah Zarah 3b depicts Metatron as a teacher of the souls of those who died in their childhood:136

What then does God do in the fourth quarter? - He sits and instructs the school children, as it is said, Whom shall one teach knowledge, and whom shall one make to understand the message? Them that are weaned from the milk. Who instructed them theretofore? - If you like, you may say Metatron, or it may be said that God did this as well as other things. And what does He do by night? - If you like you may say, the kind of thing He does by day; or it may be said that He rides a light cherub, and floats in eighteen thousand worlds; for it is said, The chariots of God are myriads, even thousands shinan.137

Synopse §75 (3 Enoch 48C:12) attests to a similar tradition:

Metatron sits (Nwr++m b#wy) for three hours every day in the heaven above, and assembles all the souls of the dead that have died in their mother’s wombs, and of the babes that have died at their mothers’ breasts, and of the schoolchildren beneath the throne of glory, and sits them down around him in classes, in companies, and in groups, and teaches them Torah, and wisdom, and haggadah, and tradition, and he completes for them their study of the scroll of the Law, as it is written, “To whom shall one teach knowledge, whom shall one instruct in the tradition? Them that are weaned from the milk, them that are taken from the breasts.”138

One can see that the narratives from b. Avodah Zarah and 3 Enoch 48C are obviously interconnected. Reflecting on their similarities, Hugo Odeberg notices that in both passages Isa 28:9 is used as scriptural support.139

It must be underlined that Metatron’s instruction to humans does not proceed as a simple communication of information. Metatron, like Yahoel in the Apocalypse of Abraham, teaches not only through his spoken word but also through his ontology, as both revealers often embody the secrets they convey to their adepts. In 3 Enoch, this ontological thrust is enhanced by the unique story of the seventh antediluvian patriarch – the human alter-ego of Metatron. Crispin Fletcher-Louis suggests that the transformation of Enoch provides a paradigm140 for the yorde merkavah: “his angelization was the aspiration of all Hekhalot mystics."141 In a similar vein, Philip Alexander states that, for the Merkabah mystic, Metatron was a powerful “friend at court … the living proof that man could overcome angelic opposition and approach God.”142

Yet, in 3 Enoch, another human adept, this time Rabbi Ishmael, is envisioned as the human counterpart to Metatron,143 whom the great angel initiates in the divine mysteries.144 These esoteric routines, which are in many details reminiscent of Abraham’s initiation by Yahoel, have been previously explored by scholars. Thus, reflecting on Metatron's role as a revealer of secrets in 3 Enoch, Daphna Arbel notices that "Rabbi Ishmael is led on a tour through the celestial realm by the angel Metatron. The angel uncovers to him divine sights, which he is now able to behold.”145

Synopse §14 (3 Enoch 11) attests to the omniscience of Metatron’s knowledge and his immeasurable competence in esoteric lore. In this passage the supreme angel unveils to R. Ishmael that he, Metatron, is the one to whom God has revealed “all the mysteries of wisdom, all the depths of the perfect Torah and all the thoughts of men’s hearts.”146 The text leaves the impression that the fullness of the disclosure of the ultimate secrets to this angel is comparable only to the knowledge of the deity himself, since according to Metatron, all the mysteries of the world and all the orders of creation are revealed before him “as they stand revealed before the Creator”147 himself. The initiation of the human adept, R. Ishmael, therefore, is set in striking correspondence to Metatron’s own initiation.

One learns from Sefer Hekhalot that the angel’s initiation into the utmost secrets and mysteries of the universe allows him to discern the outer and inner nature of things: the mysteries of creation as well as the secrets of human hearts. Metatron informs R. Ishmael that he has a unique capacity for foreknowledge which enables him to behold “deep secrets and wonderful mysteries”: “Before a man thinks in secret, I [Metatron] see his thought; before he acts, I see his act. There is nothing in heaven above or deep within the earth concealed from me.”148

Several details in these descriptions of Metatron’s expertise in the secrets recall similar conceptual developments already known not only from early Enochic but also Yahoel traditions. First, the peculiar emphasis on the secrets associated with “the orders of creation” found in 3 Enoch recalls the early Enochic booklets, more specifically, the Astronomical Book, in which Enoch’s initiation into astronomical, cosmological, and meteorological lore by Uriel can also be viewed as pertaining to such orders. A similar theme unfolds in 2 Enoch, wherein the secrets of creation stand at the center of the Lord’s revelations to the elevated Enoch. In the Apocalypse of Abraham as well, the secrets of creation, now refashioned as the mysteries of the Hayyot and the Leviathans, represent a pivotal part of the patriarch’s initiation by Yahoel.

It is noteworthy that it is not only the content of secrets, but also the manner of initiation into them that demonstrates remarkable similarities between Enochic and Yahoel developments on the one hand and 3 Enoch on the other. Hugo Odeberg was the first to notice that Enoch–Metatron’s initiation into the secrets in 3 Enoch recalls the procedure described in 2 Enoch, in which the patriarch is first initiated by angel(s) and after this by the Lord.149 In the Apocalypse of Abraham one sees a similar pattern, as Abraham is first initiated into the divine mysteries by Yahoel and then by the deity himself, who reveals to Abraham the course of human history from beginning to end. Sefer Hekhalot attests to the same two-step initiatory procedure, wherein Enoch-Metatron is first initiated by the Prince of Wisdom and the Prince of Understanding and then by the deity himself.150

Another important feature of Metatron’s associations with the secrets, which demonstrates similarities with the Yahoel tradition, is that he is not simply one who knows or transmits secrets but one who embodies them, since some of the most profound mysteries are literally written on him or, more specifically, on his vestments, including his garments and his glorious crown decorated by the secret letters inscribed by God’s hand. Synopse §16 (3 Enoch 13) reports that the deity wrote on Metatron’s crown with his finger, as with a pen of flame:

the letters by which heaven and earth were created
the letters by which seas and rivers were created;
the letters by which mountains and hills were created;
the letters by which stars and constellations, lightning
and wind, thunder and thunderclaps, snow and hail,
hurricane and tempest were created;
the letters by which all the necessities of the world and
all the orders (yrds) [secrets]151 of creation were created.152

There is no doubt that these inscriptions on Metatron’s crown pertain to the ultimate secrets of the universe, i.e., to the mysteries of creation. A similar tradition found in later Zoharic materials unveils that the inscriptions on Metatron’s crown are indeed related to the ultimate secrets of heaven and earth.153 Thus, a passage in Zohar Hadash 40a elaborates the motif of the sacred engravings:

Twelve celestial keys are entrusted to Metatron through the mystery of the holy name, four of which are the four separated secrets of the lights…. And this light, which rejoices the heart, provides the illumination of wisdom and discernment so that one may know and ponder. These are the four celestial keys, in which are contained all the other keys, and they have all been entrusted to this supreme head, Metatron, the great prince, all of them being within his Master’s secrets, in the engravings of the mysteries of the holy, ineffable name.154

Finally, several words must be said about the recipients of Metatron’s secrets in 3 Enoch. Among other merited visionaries, these beneficiaries now include Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha and Moses, who both received their revelations from Metatron during their journeys into the celestial realm, where the angel assisted them as their angelus interpres. In these developments one detects a bridge with the pattern of esoteric transmission well known in Enochic and Yahoel trends.

Metatron as Sar Torah

It has already been observed that Sefer Hekhalot describes Metatron as the expert in divine secrets. In Synopse §11, Metatron conveys to R. Ishmael that God bestowed upon him “wisdom heaped upon wisdom, understanding upon understanding, prudence upon prudence, knowledge upon knowledge, mercy upon mercy, Torah upon Torah.…”155 The angel underscores the exclusivity of his initiation, stressing the fact that he was honored and adorned with all these qualities “more than all the denizens of the heights.”156 In Synopse §13, God himself steps forward to confirm Metatron’s superiority in wisdom when he commands the angelic hosts to obey Metatron’s commands on the grounds that this exalted angel was instructed in “the wisdom of those above and of those below, the wisdom of this world and of the world to come.”157

The Hekhalot tradition depicts Metatron not simply as an ordinary angelic revealer but as an exemplar and paradigm for future initiators who will faithfully imitate his office. This role is intimated in Synopse §80 (3 Enoch 48D:10), where Metatron stands out as the first character in a noble line of the transmission of special knowledge, the one on whom future generations of sages are ultimately dependent:

Metatron brought it [Torah] out from my storehouses and committed it to Moses, and Moses to Joshua, Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, the Prophets to the Men of the Great Synagogue, the Men of the Great Synagogue to Ezra the Scribe, Ezra the Scribe to Hillel the Elder, Hillel the Elder to R. Abbahu, R. Abbahu to R. Zira, R. Zira to the Men of Faith, and the Men of Faith to the Faithful….158

Scholars have previously noted159 that this succession of mystical tradition recalls the chain of transmission of the oral law preserved in the Sayings of the Fathers.160 The allusion to the chain of transmission of the oral Torah hints at another prominent office of the great angel, namely, his role in disseminating a very special wisdom, the wisdom of the Torah.161 Scholars have previously noted that the passages from Synopse §75162 and Synopse §78-80163 appear to depict Enoch-Metatron in his role as the Prince of Torah, hrwth r#.164 These passages specifically assign to the hero the title and duties associated with this role. The narratives also indicate that the author of Sefer Hekhalot is cognizant of two main functions of the Prince of Torah, which are attested to in other rabbinic and Hekhalot materials: the function of the revealer of Torah to visionaries, including Moses, and the function of the celestial teacher of the Law to deceased children. In various Hekhalot writings, the Prince of Torah, who is often not identified with Metatron, acts as a helper of visionaries, assisting them in understanding the Torah and preventing the chosen ones from forgetting this crucial knowledge.165 One of these Sar Torah episodes deals with the story of Rabbi Ishmael who experienced many problems in mastering the Torah in his young age. The knowledge of the Torah did not stay in him, and a passage that he read and memorized one day was completely forgotten the next. According to the story, this pitiful situation was finally resolved when his teacher, R. Nehuniah ben Ha-Qanah, revealed to R. Ishmael the mystical praxis of the Prince of Torah.166 This archetypal Sar Torah narrative is repeated in varying forms in several Hekhalot writings, including Merkavah Rabbah and Macaseh Merkavah.167

It should be noted that, as with Metatron’s other titles, such as the Youth and the Prince of the Divine Presence, the office of the Prince of Torah does not belong exclusively to Metatron, but it is often shared with other angelic beings. The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Deuteronomy 34:6 gives a list of the Princes of Wisdom (a.k.a. Princes of Torah), which includes, besides Metatron, Yofiel, Uri’el, and Yepipyah. The Hekhalot sources, too, do not hesitate to designate Yofiel, Suriel, and other angels as the Princes of Torah.168 These various angelic attributions point to the fact that Sar Torah traditions accommodated the influence of several angelological streams, including Yahoel lore.169

It appears that, as in Yahoel’s story, Metatron’s office of Sar Torah is closely connected with his role as the Mediator of the Name. In our study of the Yahoel tradition we have already noticed that, in Jewish mystical lore, the Torah was often conceived as the Name of God. In light of this connection, it is intriguing that in several Hekhalot passages Metatron is depicted as an initial transmitter of the Name (or a combination of the seventy names that constitute the divine Name) to the generation of future sages in a fashion reminiscent of Pirke Avot and Avot d’ R. Nathan, which describe the transmission of the Torah.

Thus, in an already mentioned passage from Synopse §80 (3 Enoch 48D:10), the Torah appears to be understood as the combination of divine names passed through a familiar mishnaic chain of Torah transmission. Similar testimonies are found in Synopse §397 and Synopse §734.170

Commenting on Synopse §397, Peter Schäfer notices the paradoxical exchange of the Torah for the divine Name. He observes that here we have “a new version of m. Avot 1:1,” but “instead of the Torah that Moses received on Mount Sinai, he now receives the ‘great name’ and transmits it to Joshua, the elders, the prophets, the members of the great assembly, and finally to Ezra and to Hillel, after which the Name was concealed.”171 Schäfer remarks that “this is not only an odd retelling of the famous chain of transmission in Pirkei Avot, with the ‘name’ substituting the Torah; what is most remarkable is the fact that the scribes of our manuscripts do not agree on whose name is meant: God’s or Metatron’s."172 Yet, in light of the aforementioned mediatorial offices of Yahoel and Metatron, such a reinterpretation appears to be not entirely odd, as it fits nicely in their onomatological profiles. Moreover, as has been previously suggested in this study, these distinguished mediators of the Name themselves become the “embodiments” of the Torah. Thus, the aforementioned passage from Sefer Hekhalot 48D appears to suggest that the “seventy names,” representing the Torah revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, are fashioned on Metatron.173

Metatron as Heavenly High Priest

Our study has already demonstrated that, in the sacerdotal framework of the Apocalypse of Abraham, Yahoel acquires the central cultic role, being envisioned as the heavenly high priest who participates in the eschatological ordinances of the Yom Kippur ritual.

In Jewish mystical lore, Metatron is also endowed with a similar high priestly office. Scholars have previously noticed the parallelism between the sacerdotal roles of both mediatorial figures. Thus, Nathaniel Deutsch suggests that,"like Metatron, Yahoel is linked with the high priesthood, in this case, via the turban (Exod 28:4) which Yahoel wears."174 It is important that, similar to Yahoel’s priestly functions that unfolded in the Apocalypse of Abraham amidst the Yom Kippur ritual, Metatron’s sacerdotal duties also seem connected with the imagery of this central feast of Jewish religious tradition. As we know, one extraordinary event that took place solely on the Day of Atonement was the high priest’s entrance into the divine presence behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies. In this respect it is intriguing that the Metatron lore often associates the great angel with the celestial curtain, Pargod, the boundary that shields the divine presence from the rest of creation. Thus, one Mandaean bowl speaks about Metatron as the one “who serves before the Curtain ()dwgrp).”175 Philip Alexander proposes that this description “may be linked to the Hekhalot tradition about Metatron as the heavenly high priest (3 Enoch 15B:1).’”176 In Sefer Hekhalot he also mediates knowledge regarding the Pargod to the human seer. Daphna Arbel notices that "Metatron mediates hidden knowledge to his disciple, Rabbi Ishmael, by instructing him to read the letters of the heavenly curtain."177

Another important feature in Metatron’s sacerdotal profile is his association with the heavenly tabernacle, which sometimes is labeled in Jewish mystical testimonies as the “Tabernacle of the Youth.” Gershom Scholem draws attention to the passage found in Merkavah Shelemah, in which the heavenly tabernacle is called the tabernacle of Metatron (Nwr++m Nk#m). In the tradition preserved in Numbers Rabbah 12:12, the heavenly sanctuary again is associated with one of Metatron’s titles and is called the tabernacle of the Youth (r(nh Nk#m):178

R. Simon expounded: When the Holy One, blessed be He, told Israel to set up the Tabernacle He intimated to the ministering angels that they also should make a Tabernacle, and when the one below was erected the other was erected on high. The latter was the tabernacle of the youth (r(nh Nk#m) whose name was Metatron, and therein he offers up the souls of the righteous to atone for Israel in the days of their exile.179

An intriguing detail in this description of the tabernacle is its mention of the souls of the righteous offered by Metatron. As we will see later, such an offering might be connected with Metatron’s redeeming functions.

The priestly functions of Metatron were not forgotten in later Jewish mysticism. The materials associated with the Zoharic tradition offer a panoply of passages that elaborate upon Metatron’s duties in the heavenly tabernacle. In Zohar II.143a, we read:

When Moses set up the Tabernacle in the wilderness, another such was raised in the heavenly spheres, as we learn from the words: "And it came to pass... that the Tabernacle was reared up", the reference being to the other Tabernacle, to that which was above, namely the Tabernacle of the “Young Man,” Metatron, and nothing greater.180

Zohar II.159a attests to a similar tradition:

From this we see that the Holy One, blessed be He, actually gave Moses all the arrangements and all the shapes of the Tabernacle, each in its appropriate manner, and that he saw Metatron ministering to the High Priest within it. It may be said that, as the Tabernacle above was not erected until the Tabernacle below had been completed, that "youth" (Metatron) could not have served above before divine worship had taken place in the earthly Tabernacle. It is true that the Tabernacle above was not actually erected before the one below; yet Moses saw a mirroring of the whole beforehand, and also Metatron, as he would be later when all was complete. The Holy One said to him: "Behold now, the Tabernacle and the ‘Youth’; all is held in suspense until the Tabernacle below shall have been built." It should not be thought, however, that Metatron himself ministers; the fact is, that the Tabernacle belongs to him, and Michael, the High Priest, it is that serves there, within the Metatron's Tabernacle, mirroring the function of the Supernal High Priest above, serving within that other Tabernacle, that hidden one which never is revealed, which is connected with the mystery of the world to come. There are two celestial Tabernacles: the one, the supernal concealed Tabernacle, and the other, the Tabernacle of the Metatron. And there are also two priests: the one is the primeval Light, and the other Michael, the High Priest below.181

A significant detail in these textual units from the Zohar is their reference to Metatron as the high priest. It should be noted that, not only this relatively late composition, but also the earlier materials associated with the Hekhalot tradition, directly identify Metatron with the office and the title of the celestial high priest. Rachel Elior observes that Metatron appears in the Genizah documents as a high priest who offers sacrifices on the heavenly altar.182 She calls attention to the important witness of one Cairo Genizah text which explicitly labels Metatron as the high priest and the chief of the priests:

I adjure you [Metatron], more beloved and dear than all heavenly beings, [faithful servant] of the God of Israel, the High Priest (lwdg Nhk), chief of [the priest]s (M[ynhkh] #)r), you who poss[ess seven]ty names; and whose name [is like your Master’s] … Great Prince, who is appointed over the great princes, who is the head of all the camps.183

As has been already mentioned, Metatron’s service behind the heavenly Curtain, Pargod, recalls the unique function of the earthly high priest, who alone was allowed to enter behind the veil of the terrestrial sanctuary.184 From Hekhalot materials one learns that only the Youth, videlicet Metatron, is allowed to serve behind the heavenly veil.

Metatron’s sacerdotal roles reveal some striking similarities with Yahoel’s cultic duties. As one may recall, the Apocalypse of Abraham exhibits a peculiar sacerdotal symmetry when it envisions both Yahoel and Abraham as the sacerdotal servants associated with their respective sanctuaries – one heavenly and the other terrestrial. Subsequently, the initial chapters of the Slavonic apocalypse depict the patriarch as the one who performs peculiar duties of the earthy priest.185 A similar parallelism can also be detected in the Hekhalot materials, wherein Metatron’s role as heavenly high priest is mirrored by the sacerdotal duties of the terrestrial protagonist of the Hekhalot literature, Rabbi Ishmael b. Elisha, to whom Metatron serves as an angelus interpres. In view of Metatron’s high priestly affiliations, it is not coincidental that Rabbi Ishmael himself is the tanna who is attested in b. Ber. 7a as a high priest.186 Rachel Elior notices that, in Hekhalot Rabbati, this rabbinic authority is portrayed in terms similar to those used in the Talmud, as a priest burning an offering on the altar.187 Other Hekhalot materials, including 3 Enoch, also often refer to R. Ishmael’s priestly origins.188 The priestly features of this visionary might not only reflect the heavenly priesthood of Metatron,189 but may also allude to the former priestly duties of the patriarch Enoch known from 1 Enoch and Jubilees, since some scholars observe that “3 Enoch presents a significant parallelism between the ascension of Ishmael and the ascension of Enoch.”190

Although the prototypes of Metatron’s sacerdotal duties can be easily traced to Enoch’s story, previous studies have also underlined the formative influences of Yahoel’s and Michael’s angelological lore. Thus, Scholem suggests that Metatron’s priestly duties in the heavenly tabernacle might be influenced by Michael’s role as the heavenly priest.191 He observes that, "according to the traditions of certain Merkabah mystics, Metatron takes the place of Michael as the high priest who serves in the heavenly Temple.…"192 Scholem’s insights are important, since some talmudic materials, including b. Hag. 12b, b. Menah. 110a, and b. Zebah. 62a, suggest that the view of Michael’s role as heavenly priest was widespread in rabbinic literature and might constitute one of the most significant contributing factors to Metatron’s sacerdotal image. It is also significant that in Yahoel’s lore, Michael appears as the companion or virtual conceptual double of Yahoel. In this respect it is not coincidental that the authors of the Apocalypse of Abraham attempt to connect Yahoel with Michael by mentioning them together.

Metatron as Sustainer of Creation

We already noticed that Metatron, like Yahoel in the Apocalypse of Abraham, is closely tied to the mysteries of creation. Akin to Yahoel, he does not merely profess the deep knowledge of this esoteric subject, but embodies some aspects of Macaseh Bereshit in his accoutrement. Furthermore, in some Hekhalot materials, Metatron, like Yahoel, is understood as the force which protects and sustains creation. We should now direct our attention to this aspect of Metatron’s conceptual profile.

In Jewish mystical lore, Metatron became traditionally understood as the force sustaining and safeguarding the world. These cosmological functions are exhibited first in Metatron’s role as the Governor or the Prince of the World (Mlw(h r#),193 an office often described in detail in some Hekhalot materials, including the Sefer Hekhalot.194

Philip Alexander notices that, in Synopse §74,195 the duties of the Prince of the World appear to be attached to Metatron’s figure.196 In this passage God places under Metatron’s hand every authority that rules over the world:

I gave seventy princes into his hand, to issue to them my commandments in every language; to abase the arrogant to the earth at his word; to elevate the humble to the height at the utterance of his lips; to smite kings at his command; to subdue rulers and presumptuous men at his bidding; to remove kings from their kingdoms, and to exalt rulers over their dominions….197

This textual unit portrays Metatron as the one responsible for conveying the divine decisions to the seventy198 princes controlling the seventy nations of the earth.199 Thus, it seems no coincidence that Metatron is also known to creation through his seventy names: these again stress his role in governing the earthly realm divided by seventy tongues.200

In examining the imagery of the Prince of the World in 3 Enoch, one must maintain a careful distinction between the depictions of the various activities pertaining to this office and the references to the appellation itself. Thus, although Metatron seems to possess some definite qualities of the Prince of the World in 3 Enoch, it appears that the sobriquet, the Prince of the World, is not directly associated201 with Metatron in this text.202 Metatron’s duties in Synopse §4,203 §13,204 and §74,205 however, are very similar to those found in passages that deal with the title “the Prince of the World” in Synopse §47206 and §56.207 Thus, Synopse §47 refers to the seventy-two princes of the kingdoms in the world when it mentions the Prince of the World:

Whenever the Great Law Court sits in the height of the heaven cArabot, only the great princes who are called YHWH by the name of the Holy One, blessed be he, are permitted to speak. How many princes are there? There are 72 princes of kingdoms in the world, not counting the Prince of the World (Mlw(h r#), who speaks in favor of the world before the Holy One, blessed be he, every day at the hour when the book is opened in which every deed in the world is recorded, as it is written, “A court was held, and the books were opened.”208

Alexander argues that, if one takes this passage in conjunction with Synopse §13 (3 Enoch 10:3), which depicts Metatron’s authority below the eight great princes of YHWH but above all other princes, it would appear that Metatron is the Prince of the World.

Another usage of the title found in Synopse §56 (3 Enoch 38) similarly does not bring this appellation in direct connection with the name Metatron. This passage informs us that, when the ministering angels utter the heavenly Qedushah, their mighty sound produces a sort of earthquake in the celestial realm; this earthquake alarms the constellations and stars. The Prince of the World then comes forward and calms down the celestial bodies, explaining to them the source of the commotion:

“Stay at rest in your places; be not afraid because the ministering angels recite the song before the Holy One, blessed be he,” as it is written, “When all the stars of the morning were singing with joy, and all the Sons of God in chorus were chanting praise.”209

While this narrative does not mention Metatron, it alludes to the activities of this angel who is often depicted in the Hekhalot materials as the pacifier and the protector of the celestial beings during their performance of the heavenly liturgy. It also evokes Yahoel’s peculiar role as the pacifier of the Hayyot.

Although 3 Enoch for some reason hesitates to connect the name Metatron with the appellation of the Prince of the World, several other rabbinic and Hekhalot passages bring this title into direct connection with this name and with Metatron’s other sobriquets. Accordingly, the earliest Jewish reference to the Youth in the rabbinic literature (b. Yebam. 16b) links this title with the appellation, “the Prince of the World.” While Metatron is not mentioned in this text, the conjunction of the two familiar designations makes it plausible. Metatron, the Youth and the Prince of the World are also identified with each other in Synopse §959.210 The most important early evidence of Metatron's role as the Prince of the World includes the testimony found in the Aramaic incantation bowls.211 One bowl appears to represent the oldest source that clearly identifies Metatron as the Prince of the World. On this bowl, Metatron is designated as )ml( hylkd hbr )rsy) _"the great prince of the entire world."212

Interestingly, Enoch-Metatron’s governance of the world includes not only administrative functions but also the duty of physically sustaining the world. Moshe Idel refers to the treatise, The Seventy Names of Metatron, where the angel and God seize the world in their hands.213

In conclusion of this section, some suggestions pertaining to the possible prototypes of the title must be mentioned. It is significant that some scholars point to the possible formative value of the lore concerning the archangel Michael, who, as one may recall, serves as Yahoel’s conceptual counterpart in the Apocalypse of Abraham. Both Gershom Scholem and Philip Alexander note that in some rabbinic writings Michael was often identified as the Prince of the World.214 It is possible that the traditions about Michael and Metatron coexisted in rabbinic literature, mutually enriching each other. Scholem remarks that, in Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 27,215 Michael is given the title of Mlw( l# wr#; yet in a source from the same period, Metatron was called the "Great Prince of the Whole World.”216 As we already learned in this investigation, many of Michael’s duties reflect the familiar roles of Yahoel.

Metatron as Guide and Guardian of the Visionary

Earlier, we explored the prominent role of Yahoel as guide and protector of Abraham. Several scholars have previously noticed the conceptual ties between Yahoel’s office and some of Metatron’s functions toward human seers. Thus, reflecting on these similarities, Scholem ascertains that, “in the Apocalypse of Abraham, Yahoel appears as the spiritual teacher of the patriarch to whom he explains the mysteries of the throne world and the last judgment, exactly as Metatron does in the Hekhalot tracts.”217 In a similar vein, Nathaniel Deutsch proposes that "Yahoel's relationship with Abraham in the Apocalypse of Abraham is analogous to Metatron's relationship with R. Ishmael in the Hekhalot tract 3 Enoch. Both figures serve as heavenly guides, protectors, and agents of revelation."218

One of the common features in both traditions is the angels’ distinctive role as guardian against the hostile angels who attempt to impede the seers’ entrance into the upper realm. Thus, in Synopse §3 when the angelic hosts oppose the elevation of R. Ishmael, Metatron intercedes on behalf of this visionary, introducing him as one from the nation of Israel. This deed of Metatron in protecting R. Ishmael against cUzzah, cAzzah, and cAza'el is clearly reminiscent of Yahoel’s role in safeguarding Abraham against the fallen angel Azazel. As we have already noted, in both cases the names of angels are remarkably similar, as they bring to memory peculiar names of the fallen angels found in the early Enochic booklets.

Furthermore, both Yahoel and Metatron assist their respective protégés in their translation to heaven. Thus, Yahoel teaches the patriarch the hymn by which Abraham was able to bridge the boundaries of the realms. Although this angel does not directly transport the seer to heaven, as certain other angels in apocalyptic accounts often do, he instructs the patriarch in how to prepare the birds-psychopomps for his ascent:

And he said to me, “Slaughter and cut all this, putting together the two halves, one against the other. But do not cut the birds. And give them [i.e., the halves] to the two men whom I shall show you standing beside you, since they are the altar on the mountain, to offer sacrifice to the Eternal One. The turtledove and the pigeon you will give me, and I shall ascend (возиду) in order to show to you [the inhabited world] on the wings of two birds....” And I did everything according to the angel’s command. And I gave to the angels who had come to us the divided parts of the animals. And the angel took the two birds (Apoc. Ab. 12:8-13:1).219

The Slavonic apocalypse further depicts Yahoel as placing Abraham on the wing of one of these pteromorphic creatures:

And the angel took me with his right hand and set me on the right wing of the pigeon and he himself sat on the left wing of the turtledove, since they both were neither slaughtered nor divided. And he carried me up to the edge of the fiery flame. And we ascended like great winds to the heaven which was fixed on the expanses (Apoc. Ab. 15:2-4).220

In Sefer Hekhalot, Metatron also assists the seer in his translation to heaven. Daphna Arbel notices that, in 3 Enoch, "Metatron places R. Ishmael on his wings and leads him through the heavenly realm, explaining its unfamiliar sites.”221

Metatron as Liminal Figure

Our study has already explored the liminal nature of some mediators of the divine Name, including the Angel of the Lord and Yahoel. Metatron’s conceptual profile also exhibits this peculiar dimension, in which this angelic character is understood as a liminal figure.

Accordingly, as with Yahoel and the Angel of the Lord, Metatron is depicted as a guide predestined to encounter human adepts on the boundaries of the realms, assisting them in their transition. Thus, similarly to Yahoel’s role in the Apocalypse of Abraham, in 3 Enoch Metatron is positioned as a borderline helper when he assists Rabbi Ishmael by leading him through the perils of the thresholds that separate the lower and upper worlds, while protecting him from the angelic guardians of these boundaries.

The second marker of Metatron’s liminal character, at least in 3 Enoch and similar materials, in which the great angel is identified with the second antediluvian patriarch, is expressed by the fact that he himself is envisioned as a translated figure who underwent the transition from a human to a celestial being. Enoch-Metatron in this respect serves as the paragon of liminality, who, already in early Enochic booklets, is depicted as an envoy between heaven and earth, between humanity and the Watchers/Giants. His historical placement before one of the most transitional events in the history of humankind – the Flood – also underlines his liminality. Enoch-Metatron, therefore, manifests liminality by his own unique role in the history of humankind and then by his unique anthropological metamorphosis when he is transformed from an earthly creature into a celestial being.

Metatron as Remover of Human Sins

One of the enigmatic functions of the Angel of the Lord, outlined in Exod 23:21, is his ability to forgive sins. Yahoel too, as one may recall, performs a similar role when he removes Abraham’s sins in the Apocalypse of Abraham by transferring the garment of the patriarch’s trespasses to Azazel. This function of the divine Name mediator in relation to human transgressions finds its distinctive conceptual afterlife in Metatron’s story. Thus, in the already mentioned passage from Numbers Rabbah 12:12, Metatron offers the souls of the righteous to atone for Israel in the days of their exile.

When the Holy One, blessed be He, told Israel to set up the tabernacle, he intimated to the ministering angels that they should also construct a tabernacle. And when one was erected below, the other was erected on high. The latter was the tabernacle of the Youth, whose name is Metatron, and there he offers up the souls of the righteous to atone for Israel in the days of their exile.222

Another testimony to the angel’s redeeming role is found in 3 Enoch, wherein Metatron is depicted as the expiator of the sin of Adam. We learn that the primordial Metatron was predestined for this office even before the creation of the protoplast. Thus, 3 Enoch 48C:1 (Synopse §72) relates the following tradition: “The Holy One, blessed be he, said: I made him strong, I took him, I appointed him, namely Metatron my servant, who is unique among all the denizens of the heights.… ‘I made him strong’ in the generation of the first man….”223 Reflecting on this textual unit, Philip Alexander suggests that "Enoch thus becomes a redeemer figure – a second Adam224 through whom humanity is restored."225

Several other passages that mention Metatron in rabbinic and Shicur Qomah materials also seem to envision him as a redeeming figure or as the one who can forgive sins. Hence, as one remembers, in b. Sanh. 38b, a min asks Rabbi Idith the following question about Metatron: “If so, then why does it say ‘He will not forgive your sins?’” Commenting on this verse, Daniel Boyarin suggests that, according to the heretic, “the verse must read: He has the power to forgive sins but will not for those who rebel against him."226 In Sefer Haqqomah (Oxford Ms. 1791) Metatron’s expiatory functions again loom large. There, Rabbi Aqiba utters the following striking statement: “I give testimony based on my testimony that Metatron said to me, (Metatron, who is) the great prince of testimony, our lord and master … who saves us and redeems us from every evil thing."227

As we recall, in Numbers Rabbah 12:12 Metatron atones specifically for Israel. Such a “national” dimension of Metatron’s redeeming functions is noteworthy. As in the Apocalypse of Abraham, in which Yahoel’s role of removing human sins is cast in a distinctive Yom Kippur setting to signify the removal of Israel’s sins, in the rabbinic and Hekhalot sources, Metatron’s intercessory function receives a similar “national” interpretation. Along with the customary emphasis on the omniscient character of Metatron, this new understanding underlines his special role as the intercessor for Israel. Gershom Scholem observes that Metatron often "appears as the heavenly advocate defending Israel in the celestial court.”228

Such national dimensions are also hinted at in Metatron’s duties as a judicial scribe. Thus, as may be recalled, in b. Hag. 15a and Merkavah Rabbah, Metatron is granted special permission to sit and write down the merits of Israel. In Lamentations Rabbah, intr. 24, Metatron pleads before the Holy One when the deity decides to remove his Shekinah from the temple on account of Israel’s sins:

At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, wept and said, “Woe is Me! What have I done? I caused My Shekinah to dwell below on earth for the sake of Israel; but now that they have sinned, I have returned to My former habitation. Heaven forfend that I become a laughter to the nations and a byword to human beings!” At that time Metatron came, fell upon his face, and spake before the Holy One, blessed be He: “Sovereign of the Universe, let me weep, but do Thou not weep.” He replied to him, “If thou lettest Me not weep now, I will repair to a place which thou hast not permission to enter, and will weep there,” as it is said, “But if ye will not hear it, My soul shall weep in secret for pride” (Jer 13:17).229

Outlining his intercessory duties, Lamentations Rabbah points to Metatron’s role as the redeemer who is able to take the sinners’ transgressions upon himself. Joshua Abelson argues that Metatron appears in this passage not only as the pleader for the interests of Israel, but also as the one taking upon himself the sorrow of Israel’s sins.230

Metatron as “Second Power”

It is time to turn our attention again to the polemical interactions between various theophanic molds found in the Metatron lore. As this study has already noted, in b. Hag. 15a, Merkavah Rabbah (Synopse §672), and 3 Enoch 16 one can find a marked tension between ocularcentric Kavod-like manifestation of the seated Metatron and the epiphany of the aural, incorporeal deity, portrayed there as the divine Voice. Yet, curiously, in another important rabbinic passage pertaining to the two powers in heaven controversy, Metatron’s appearance creates a polemical tension not only through his distinguished ocularcentric attributes but also through his aural functions, which includes his role as the mediator of the Name. Thus, the previously mentioned passage from b. Sanh. 38b recounts the following tradition:

Once a Min said to R. Idith: It is written, And unto Moses He said, Come up to the Lord. But surely it should have stated, Come up unto me! — It was Metatron [who said that], he replied, whose name is similar to that of his Master, for it is written, For my name is in him. But if so, [he retorted,] we should worship him! The same passage, however, — replied R. Idith says: Be not rebellious against him, i.e., exchange Me not for him. But if so, why is it stated: He will not pardon your transgression? He answered: By our troth we would not accept him even as a messenger, for it is written, And he said unto him, If Thy Face go not etc.

Unlike in the Aher episodes where the ocularcentric imagery plays a leading role, in b. Sanh. 38b the story appears to be overshadowed by distinctive aural concern. Here, the auricular attribute of Metatron, namely his association with the divine Name, through the reference to the Angel of the Lord tradition from Exod 23, becomes a stumbling block for a min who asks R. Idith why Metatron should not be worshiped if his name is like the name of his master.

Several details of the account are noteworthy. Thus, similar to the Aher story, the source of min’s confusion is a belief that the deity and Metatron share the same attribute — this time, however, an aural one: the divine Name.231

Yet, while on the surface the story appears to be executed through the lenses of the aural paradigm, the distinctive cluster of familiar ocularcentric markers is also present. Thus, the phrase, “Come up to the Lord,” from Exod 24:1232 evokes the memory of Moses’ encounter with the deity on Mount Sinai. Furthermore, at the end of the excerpt, another Mosaic tradition, this time from Exod 33:15,233 is also mentioned when R. Idith suddenly utters the following statement: “by our troth we would not accept him even as a messenger, for it is written, And he said unto him, 'If Thy face go not' etc.” Here the “aural” mediator depicted as the Angel of the Name becomes identified with the divine Face. Reflecting on this striking endowment, Moshe Idel suggests that “by adducing the verse from Exod 23, the topic of the face of God is introduced, so we may assume that the angel mentioned is an angel of the face.”234 This introduction of the divine Face motif, which often serves in Jewish lore as another designation for the divine Kavod, suddenly turns the aural mediator into the ocularcentric one. Curiously, the passage from b. Sanh. 38b inversely mirrors the passage from b. Hag. 15a. Thus, while in the Hagiga passage the ocularcentric context of the infamous seer’s vision is shattered at the end by the theophany of the divine Voice, in the Sanhedrin passage, the initial aural setting of the story is deconstructed at the end by the ocularcentric imagery of Metatron in the form of the divine Face.

After this brief excursus into rabbinic materials, we must now draw our attention to a Hekhalot testimony connected with the two powers in heaven controversy, namely, the Aher episode attested in 3 Enoch 16. A sudden appearance of such a passage concerning Metatron’s demotion in Sefer Hekhalot has puzzled scholars for a long time, since it exhibits a striking contrast with Enoch’s apotheosis unfolded in the previous chapters of the work. Therefore, often this episode has been viewed as a later “orthodox” interpolation.235

My previous analysis of the Enoch-Metatron tradition236 has demonstrated that, in Sefer Hekhalot, the main angelic protagonist became endowed with a panoply of ocularcentric attributes which made him virtually indistinguishable from the deity. Yet, the sudden paradoxical demotion of Metatron in 3 Enoch 16 raises a question about the exact role of these ocularcentric developments in the overall conceptual plot of this enigmatic composition.

If we assume that in 3 Enoch 16, like in b. Hag. 15a, the polemical agenda against the ocularcentric trend might still be present, it provides a crucial insight into the meaning of Aher’s story in this Hekhalot macroform. It is possible that the demotion of Metatron, on whom the text previously heaps all familiar ocularcentric attributes of the deity, as in the case of Yahoel in the Apocalypse of Abraham, serves here as an important polemical device, which reaffirms the controversial stand of the “second power” in the ideological frameworks of aural apocalypticism and mysticism.237

In light of such possibilities, the peculiar dynamics of Metatron’s exaltation and demotion in 3 Enoch must be explored more closely. It is noteworthy that, unlike in the passage found in b. Hag. 15a, in 3 Enoch 16 Metatron's "dethronement" is preceded by his lengthy exaltation, which in the modern division of this work, includes ten chapters (chs 6-15). In this protracted textual unit, the main angelic protagonist acquires a stunning surplus of ocularcentric attributes and qualities.

Scholars have often noticed the striking contrast between Metatron’s remarkable apotheosis and his abrupt demotion. Thus, Philip Alexander suggests that

Ch. 16 is probably a secondary addition to chs. 3-15. It runs counter to the whole tenor of the foregoing description of the role of Metatron, and is probably aimed at minimizing his powers .... Such a story would hardly have originated in the mystical circles responsible for the traditions in chs. 3-15; it must have come from elsewhere. Its most obvious source is the account of the humbling of Metatron in b. Hag 15a.238

In a similar vein, Annelies Kuyt argues that the material in 3 Enoch 16 "runs counter to the whole tenor of the preceding material which depicts the greatness of Metatron. Here, however, Metatron tells Yishmael about his demotion caused by the arrival of Aher in heaven."239 Peter Schäfer also asserts that “the Aher episode is strangely out of place in 3 Enoch, a book dedicated to the fabulous ascent of a human being to the highest power in heaven.”240

Metatron’s sudden demotion has often been interpreted as the work of a later “orthodox” editor. Thus, Schäfer argues that such a tradition “clearly runs counter to 3 Enoch's main message. So ultimately, even the editor of 3 Enoch, like his colleague in the Babli, feels compelled to tone down the image of Metatron that he just rendered."241

Yet, if the aforementioned tensions between ocularcentric and aural trends are properly acknowledged, the account of Metatron’s demotion can be seen not as a later editorial correction, but as an important element of the original plot, in which the authors of the composition have been steadily reinforcing the exalted profile of their angelic protagonist with ocularcentric details, in order to emphasize its dissimilarity with the aural deity in chapter 16.242

The conceptual steps of Metatron’s elevation into the rank of the ocularcentric “second power” are truly monumental. The story of the hero’s exaltation begins in chapter 6, where Anafiel YHWH removes Enoch from the midst of humankind and transports him to heaven in the fiery chariot. In chapter 7, Enoch-Metatron is installed near the throne of Glory. In the following chapter 8, he is endowed with the totality of divine knowledge heaped upon him by the deity himself. Chapter 9 describes the cosmic enlargement of Metatron's body and his acquisition of gigantic wings, the metamorphosis that turns him into a celestial creature. In chapter 10, the deity makes a throne for his new favorite agent, spreading over his distinguished seat “a coverlet of splendor.” Metatron then is placed by the deity on his seat. Further, in chapter 11, God reveals to the great angel all the mysteries of the universe, and in chapter 12 he endows Metatron with a glorious robe and a crown, and names him the Lesser YHWH. In chapter 13, Metatron's crown is decorated with the letters of the Tetragrammaton. In chapter 14, Metatron is crowned and receives homage from the angelic hosts. In chapter 15, which immediately precedes Aher’s story, the reader learns about the dramatic metamorphosis of Metatron's body into the celestial extent.

The aforementioned developments attempt to enhance Metatron’s exalted profile by turning him into a replica of the ocularcentric deity. Analyzing these striking embellishments, Joseph Dan suggests that Metatron becomes “almost a miniature version of God Himself.”243

Moreover, in comparison with the testimonies regarding Aher’s apostasy found in b. Hag. 15a and Merkavah Rabbah (Synopse §672), 3 Enoch’s account of Metatron’s demotion becomes embellished with additional theophanic symbolism. It will be beneficial to take another close look at this puzzling account. 3 Enoch 16:1-5 reads:

R. Ishmael said: The angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence, the glory of highest heaven, said to me: At first I sat upon a great throne at the door of the seventh palace, and I judged all the denizens of the heights on the authority of the Holy One, blessed be he. I assigned greatness, royalty, rank, sovereignty, glory, praise, diadem, crown, and honor to all the princes of kingdoms, when I sat in the heavenly court. The princes of kingdoms stood beside me, to my right and to my left, by authority of the Holy One, blessed be he. But when Aher came to behold the vision of the chariot and set eyes upon me, he was afraid and trembled before me. His soul was alarmed to the point of leaving him because of his fear, dread, and terror of me, when he saw me seated upon a throne like a king, with ministering angels standing beside me as servants and all the princes of kingdoms crowned with crowns surrounding me. Then he opened his mouth and said, "There are indeed two powers in heaven!" Immediately a divine voice came out from the presence of the Shekinah and said, "Come back to me, apostate sons—apart from Aher!" Then Anafiel YHWH, the honored, glorified, beloved, wonderful, terrible, and dreadful Prince, came at the command of the Holy One, blessed be he, and struck me with sixty lashes of fire and made me stand to my feet.

Unlike in b. Hag. 15a and Synopse §672, where Metatron’s sitting position is explained through his role as the celestial scribe, whose function is to write down the merits of Israel,244 here the great angel is portrayed as the enthroned celestial ruler and arbiter, commissioned to judge “all the denizens of the heights on the authority of the Holy One.” The passage provides further details about Metatron’s status in the celestial court and its entourage in the form of “the princes of kingdoms,” specifically mentioning that “he sat in the heavenly court.” In 3 Enoch, therefore, Aher encounters not merely a besitted scribe,245 but the enthroned vice-regent, surrounded with a stunning retinue of the crowned princes.246 In this respect it is not coincidental that the notorious list which postulates that there is no sitting in heaven is not mentioned here, since other, more exalted qualities of Metatron clearly take priority over this previously decisive attribute.247

Scholars have previously noted that the depiction of Metatron’s court is reminiscent of the settings found in Dan 7:9-10.248 As one remembers, this prominent theophanic account also played a crucial role in the construction of Yahoel’s exalted identity in the Apocalypse of Abraham. In 3 Enoch 16, too, the memory of the eschatological judge in the form of the Ancient of Days becomes instrumental in shaping Metatron’s exalted position.

Further, Metatron’s interaction with his “courtiers” in the form of the “princes of kingdoms,” on whom he heaps “greatness, royalty, rank, sovereignty, glory, praise, diadem, crown, and honor,” is reminiscent of God’s actions in relation to the great angel earlier in the story. Metatron, thus, not only acquires the distinctive theophanic qualities himself, he now like God is able to impose them on other subjects.

Aher’s perception of Metatron also undergoes striking revisions in Sefer Hekhalot’s version of the story. First, the nature of mystical experience as ocular experience is emphasized in 3 Enoch 16 through the phrase, “Aher came to behold the vision of the chariot and set eyes upon me. (yb wyny( Ntnw hbkrmh tyypcb).” In contrast, both b. Hag. 15a and Merkavah Rabbah (Synopse §672) simply state that he saw (h)r).

A second significant detail is Aher’s unusual reaction to Metatron’s epiphany. Metatron reports that Aher “was afraid and trembled before me. His soul was alarmed to the point of leaving him because of his fear, dread, and terror of me.” Both b. Hag. 15a and Merkavah Rabbah do not mention such a dramatic response from the infamous seer. Yet, this reaction enhances Metatron’s theophanic stand by linking it to the memory of biblical and pseudepigraphical accounts that attempt to portray seers overwhelmed with fear during their encounters with the divine Form.249 The seer’s fear, therefore, like in many other Jewish materials, serves as the mirror of the theophany.250

These striking theophanic enhancements, now imbedded into Aher’s episode itself, again point to the fact that Metatron’s demotion in 3 Enoch represents not a mere happenstance or later interpolation of an “orthodox” editor, but constitutes an essential part of the original plot, in which the ocularcentric theophanic attributes of the second power are contrasted with the aniconic aural deity who appears as the divine Voice (lwq tb).251 Furthermore, in 3 Enoch the “true” deity becomes even more aniconic and “bodiless” than in b. Hag. 15a and Synopse §672, wherein it appears that God himself punishes Metatron with sixty fiery lashes. In 3 Enoch, however, this role is now openly assigned to another angelic “power” in the form of Anafiel YHWH. It is possible that two prominent appearances of this enigmatic angelic figure serve in our text as important structural landmarks, setting the boundaries of Metatron’s story.One remembers that in 3 Enoch 6, Anafiel YHWH plays a crucial role in the very first step of Enoch-Metatron’s elevation by transporting the protagonist in a fiery chariot to heaven.252 The accounts of Metatron's elevation and demotion are thus additionally interconnected through this mysterious angelic agent, who appears in the beginning of Enoch-Metatron’s exaltation in chapter 6 and then at the end of his demotion in chapter 16, cementing this textual block as a single unit. Such an arrangement again affirms that the Aher episode does not represent an interpolation but constitutes an integral conceptual part of this Hekhalot macroform.253 Positioning the Anafiel YHWH, whose lofty designation, like Metatron, includes the Tetragrammaton, in the beginning and at the end of Metatron’s story also provides an important “authorial” guarding framework, which underlines the polemical trust of the composition.254

As we have already mentioned, the overwhelming majority of scholars assume that Metatron’s demotion reflected in b. Hag. 15a and 3 Enoch 16 represented an “orthodox” reaction to the challenges of the second power’s exaltation, which the keepers of the faith were not able any longer to ignore. Hugo Odeberg expresses this scholarly consensus, arguing that “the attack on Metatron as an enthroned vice-regent of the Most High has, it would seem, emanated from early opponents to the Metatron speculations of the mystics, probably at a time when the name and function of Metatron had entered to a certain degree even into popular belief and could no longer be flatly negated.”255 This “reactive” perspective has dominated the study of the Metatron tradition for almost a century. Yet, it is possible that in rabbinic (and Hekhalot) lore, Metatron’s demotion was not a “reactive” development but rather an “initiating” endeavor, which, in its turn, provoked the facilitation of Metatron’s exaltation. While it remains uncertain and debated as from which body of literature (rabbinic or Hekhalot) the tradition of Metatron’s demotion emerged,256 its paramount significance for the development of the Metatron tradition should not be underestimated. It appears that the story of Metatron’s demotion served as an important gateway that secured the entrance of early Enochic and Yahoel developments into the mainstream rabbinic and Hekhalot lore, in order to elucidate further the controversial theophanic profile of the conceptual antagonist. Such intentions can be clearly seen in 3 Enoch, wherein the demotion represents an integral part of the narrative of exaltation, so that Enoch-Metatron’s endowment with the exalted attributes conceptually anticipate their deconstruction through a set of mutually interconnected motifs.

Therefore, in essence, in its current form 3 Enoch is basically a polemical commentary on b. Hag. 15a or a similar Hekhalot counterpart — a tradition which represents not a later interpolation in Sefer Hekhalot, but which can be viewed as its inspirational origin. It again points to the fact that, in the Hekhalot macroform, the exaltation of Metatron itself represents a reaction or a secondary development in relation to his demotion and not vice versa.

The watchful eye of orthodoxy is present without a doubt in our text, as some distinguished scholars of Jewish mysticism have already noted. Yet it is present not as a redaction, but as an original intention. From the point of view of such orthodox guardians, the full story of the “heresy,” exemplified by the hero of the ocularcentric anthropomorphic ideology, must be written out and explained. It, however, does notnecessarily mean that all elements of such an exaltation have been invented “from scratch” by the rabbinic or Hekhalot authors, as my previous study of the Enoch-Metatron tradition already demonstrated. Instead, they were likely re-using already existing specimens of the apocalyptic and mystical ocularcentric traditions, similar to the ones found in 2 Enoch and the Apocalypse of Abraham, for their novel synthesis, in which the second power’s demotion was just the beginning of the story.

One can see that the recognition of the tensions between aural and visionary trends in 3 Enoch and other rabbinic accounts is able to provide us with a crucial insight into the development of the Metatron tradition. From this perspective, the account of Metatron’s exaltation and demotion recorded in Sefer Hekhalot can be viewed as a monumental landmark in a long-lasting polemical dialogue between the Kavod and the Shem paradigms – a contestation that started many centuries before the Aher story originated in Jewish lore.

1 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 152.

2 K. Grözinger, “The Names of God and the Celestial Powers: Their Function and Meaning in the Hekhalot Literature,” JSJT 6.1–2 (1987) 53–69 at 53-54. In the conclusion of his study, Grözinger argues that “in the Hekhalot texts there is a distinct layer of what may be called an onomatological tradition. This onomatological tradition represents an autonomous theological system, which is considerably different from the traditional angelology and theology, the latter still thinking in personal categories. In the majority of our texts the new Weltanschauung and theology is not expressed in independent treatises, but frequently as a layer of interpretation superimposed on the older theological and angelological texts — hence the often very contradictory image presented by the text. With this new onomatological theology, the Hekhalot texts become the still unsystematic forerunners of the later kabbalistic theory of language, in so far as theology and angelology are becoming onomatology, as the name is divine, powerful, dynamic, a means of revelation and, at the same time, its content; finally it is ready for use by mystic.” Grözinger, “The Names of God and the Celestial Powers,” 62.

3 Elliot Wolfson expressed a similar methodological caution in his study of the ocularcentric currents found in rabbinic literature. Outlining the limitations of his approach, Wolfson wrote the following: “there is no attempt here to present a comprehensive review of such a vast corpus. Rather, I have isolated various tradition-complexes that span several centuries of redacted rabbinic texts. Despite the fact that some of the midrashic texts to be discussed are relatively late — that is, from the post-classical period — it is evident that there is a discernible trajectory connected with the traditions that I have isolated regarding the visual imagining of God in iconic form.” Wolfson, Through a Speculum, 33.

4 Schäfer, “The Aim and Purpose of Early Jewish Mysticism,” 285.

5 Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 341-342.

6 Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 341. In his other work Schäfer observes that “the information the texts provide concerning what the successful yored merkavah actually sees indeed is disappointing....” Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 153. Other distinguished scholars of early Jewish mystical accounts also notice this peculiarity in conveying the manifestations of God. Thus, Ithamar Gruenwald observes that “in fact, the idea that humans and angels alike are unable to see God is also stressed several times in the Hekhalot literature. Despite the daring modes of expression in that literature, the direct physical encounter with God is generally ruled out. The mystics whose experiences are described in the Hekhalot literature expect to see ‘the King in (all) His beauty,’ but when it comes to a face-to-face meeting with God, one repeatedly hears of what is and should be done in order to avoid the damaging consequences of the experience.” I. Gruenwald, Apocalyptic and Merkavah Mysicism (Second, Revised Edition; Leiden: Brill, 2014) 130. On this topic see also I. Chernus, “Visions of God in Merkabah Mysticism,” JSJ 13 (1982) 123-146; I. Gruenwald, From Apocalypticism to Gnosticism: Studies in Apocalypticism, Merkavah Mysticism and Gnosticism (New York: Lang, 1988) 108ff; R. Elior, “The Concept of God in Hekhalot Mysticism,” in: Binah, Studies in Jewish Thought II (ed. J. Dan; London: Praeger, 1989) 97–120; A. Kuyt, The “Descent” to the Chariot. Towards a Description of the Terminology, Place, Function and Nature of the Yeridah in Hekhalot Literature (TSAJ, 45; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1995) 5; D. Arbel, Beholders of Divine Secrets: Mysticism and Myth in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature (Albany: SUNY, 2003) 27-28.

7 Thus, Schäfer notes that “one may call this a clear case of ‘apophaticism,’ as Philip Alexander suggests (private communication)….” Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 341.

8 Schäfer notices this paradoxical mix of “vision” and “audition” in the Apocalypse of Abraham, stating that, “in fact, the entire narrative in the Apocalypse of Abraham is a graphic dramatization of the enigmatic phrase that opens Gen 15: ‘the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision (ba-mahazeh),’ with its apparent tension between the spoken word and the seen vision, in other words, between an audition and a vision.” Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 87.

9 Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 342. In relation to Schäfer’s comments, Elliot Wolfson notes that “in the course of criticizing Scholem’s view on the centrality of the visionary experience, Schäfer marvels at the fact that the ascent accounts say almost nothing about what the mystic actually sees when he arrives at the throne of glory. It is wrong to deduce from this, however, that the vision is not part of the culminating stage in the ascent. I think Schäfer is absolutely right in pointing out that a prime reason for the ascent is the participation of the adept in the liturgy of the heavenly court. Indeed, the yeridah la-merkavah (entry to the chariot) that follows the ascent to the seventh palace is fundamentally a liturgical act. But—and here is the critical point—participation in the angelic choir arises precisely in virtue of the mystic’s entry to the realm of the chariot and consequent vision of the enthroned glory. One cannot separate in an absolute way the visionary and liturgical aspects of this experience; indeed, it might be said that in order to praise God one must see God. The magical and liturgical elements are a legitimate part of the diverse textual units that make up this corpus, but they should not overshadow the position assumed by the ecstatic vision.” Wolfson, Through a Speculum, 117. See also E.R. Wolfson, Language, Eros, Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and Poetic Imagination (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005) 555.

10 Although he does not speak directly about the conceptual origins or the nature of the Shem conceptual trend, Schäfer in his other studies appears intuitively to affirm its influence on a significant portion of Hekhalot materials, stating that “‘God is his name’ is the message; large sections of the Hekhalot literature can be read as a theology of the name.” Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 165.

11 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 164.

12 “Ornamented King, garlanded with ornamentation, adorned with embroideries of song.” Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 134.

13 Apoc. Ab. 16:2-4 reads: “And he [Yahoel] said to me, ‘Remain with me, do not fear! He whom you will see going before both of us in a great sound of qedushah is the Eternal One who had loved you, whom himself you will not see.’” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 22.

14 On auricularcentric trends in later Kabbalistic sources, see M. Idel, Messianic Mystics (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000) 355, n. 72; idem, Enchanted Chains: Techniques and Rituals in Jewish Mysticism (Los Angeles: Cherub Press, 2005) 76ff.

15 On heavenly Voice conceptions in these materials, see Halperin, The Merkabah in Rabbinic Literature, 71, 75, 108-131, 168-169; idem, The Faces of the Chariot, 14, 34-35, 202-204, 257, 375; Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 191, 194; Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 116, 144, 203, 205, 229, 240, 399.

16 Thus, David Halperin points to the possible Deuteronomic roots of lwq tb symbolism: “... what led the storytellers to their choice of miracles? … Deuteronomy stresses the fiery character of the revelation (especially in chapters 4-5). God at Sinai, like the angel in the merkabah stories, speaks ‘from the midst of the fire’ (Deuteronomy 4-5).” Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 16.

17 Schäfer,”The Aim and Purpose of Early Jewish Mysticism,” 286.

18 Cf. Hekhalot Rabbati §94: “Rejoice, rejoice, throne of glory! Chant, chant, seat of the Most High! Cry out, cry out, lovely furnishing by which wonder after wonder is accomplished! Make the King who see upon you happy indeed!” Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 57; Hekhalot Rabbati §251: “When he stands before the throne of glory, he opens and he recites the song that the throne of glory sings every single day.” Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 133.

19 Cf. 3 Enoch 19:7: “And one wheel utters a voice to another, cherub to cherub, creature to creature, ophan to ophan, and seraph to seraph, saying, ‘Extol him who rides in the cArabot,’ whose name is the Lord, and exult before him.” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.276.

20 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 164.

21 “I have proposed that for this experience we employ the phrase unio liturgica, liturgical union or communion, in contrast to the misleading phrase unio mystica, or mystical union, of the adept with God. This liturgical union of the mystic with the angels and, to a certain degree, also with God (occurring during the angels’ and the mystic’s joint praise of God) is one of the most important characteristics shared by the Hekhalot literature and the ascent apocalypses.” Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 341.

22 Scholars have noticed that the aural praxis of the visionary also occupies an important place in other early apocalypses. Thus, Himmelfarb notes that “the significance of singing the song of the angels in the apocalypses is made clear in the Ascension of Isaiah and the Apocalypse of Zephaniah, where the visionary’s ability to join the angels in their song shows that he has achieved a status equal to theirs.” M. Himmelfarb, “Heavenly Ascent and the Relationship of the Apocalypses and the Hekhalot Literature,” HUCA 59 (1988) 73-100 at 93.

23 Apoc. Ab. 18:1-3: “And while I was still reciting the song, the edge of the fire which was on the expanse rose up on high. And I heard a voice like the roaring of the sea, and it did not cease because of the fire. And as the fire rose up, soaring higher, I saw under the fire a throne [made] of fire and the many-eyed Wheels, and they are reciting the song. And under the throne [I saw] four singing fiery Living Creatures.” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 23-24.

24 Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 92.

25 Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 92.

26 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 163.

27 J.C. Poirier, “The Ouranology of the Apocalypse of Abraham,” JSJ 35.4 (2004) 391-408.

28 Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven, 64. Schäfer disagrees with Himmelfarb on this feature of the Apocalypse of Abraham, offering the following comment: “Himmelfarb suggests (Ascent to Heaven, p. 64) that ‘the Apocalypse of Abraham treats the song sung by the visionary as part of the means of achieving ascent.’ This does indeed become important in the Hekhalot literature, but I do not think it plays a role here.” Schäfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 92.

29 It is necessary to bring attention to another important auricular marker that occurs immediately before the patriarch’s ascent by means of the song: his encounter with a group of mysterious angels involved in heavenly liturgical praxis. Apoc. Ab. 15:6-7 reads: “And behold, in this light a fire was kindled [and there was] a crowd of many people in male likeness. They were all changing in appearance and likeness, running and being transformed and bowing and shouting in a language the words of which I did not know.” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 22. This tradition of the patriarch’s encounter with angelic liturgical praxis at the outset of his own recitation of the hymn to the deity is probably not coincidental.

30 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 22.

31 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 22.

32 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 22.

33 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 34.

34 Thus, Ithamar Gruenwald argues that “the Apocalypse of Abraham is extremely important in the study of early Jewish mysticism, and from our point of view is the earliest Jewish source attributing ‘mystical’ or magical qualities to heavenly songs. In general, the songs sung by the heavenly creatures to God on His throne are considered to be songs of praise exclusively, but in this instance the song has a clear magical function. And so the question can be asked, whether this song can teach us about the nature of other angelic songs not explicitly referred to as having such a function, or whether possibly the individual, in our case, is not an indication of the rule. The silence of the apocalyptic sources on this assists us little, and we must settle for the view that the magical quality of these songs is mainly the property of the Merkavah texts. In apocalypticism it is only the Apocalypse of Abraham that displays that element.” Gruenwald, From Apocalypticism to Gnosticism, 154.

35 Martha Himmelfarb expresses this scholarly standpoint in one of her studies, writing, “I hope that it is now clear why those who turn to the hekhalot literature inspired by Scholem are likely to experience a certain amount of confusion. While the descriptions of the heavenly liturgy and the ceremonial before the divine throne in the hekhalot literature presuppose ascent, narratives of ascent are usually confined to two- or three-line notices. The only extended descriptions of ascent take the form of instructions. One central factor in the diminishing importance of narrative is the concentration of interest in the seventh palace. Because there is less interest in the contents of lower palaces, no one bothers to report on the visionary’s passage through them. There is no doubt a close relationship between the movement away from extended narrative and the fact that so much of hekhalot literature was transmitted in small units joined to other units at a later stage. But this only pushes the question back. If extended narrative had been important to the tradents of these traditions, they would have transmitted longer units. The concentration on the seventh palace points to an important difference between hekhalot literature and the apocalypses.” Himmelfarb, “Heavenly Ascent and the Relationship of the Apocalypses and the Hekhalot Literature,” 98. From this passage one can see that, from this scholarly perspective, the visionary apocalyptic mold is considered normative, while its aural counterpart is reduced as a marginal oddity. Thus, in Himmelfarb’s opinion, “for the apocalypses the words of the hymns are not important because their heroes are the great heroes of the tradition. They do not require particular techniques to achieve ascent, for they are summoned to heaven.” Himmelfarb, “Heavenly Ascent and the Relationship of the Apocalypses and the Hekhalot Literature,” 93.

36 Grözinger, “The Names of God and the Celestial Powers,” 54.

37 Miller, The Name of God, 67.

38 Miller, The Name of God, 68.

39 Miller, The Name of God, 68.

40 Dan, The Ancient Jewish Mysticism, 109.

41 In respect to this etymology, it is noteworthy that one Aramaic incantation bowl identifies Metatron with God. Alexander observes that “the possibility should even be considered that Metatron is used on this bowl as a divine name.” Alexander, “The Historical Setting of the Hebrew Book of Enoch,” 167. For detailed discussion of this inscription, see Cohen, Liturgy and Theurgy, 159; R. M. Lesses, Ritual Practices to Gain Power: Angels, Incantations, and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (HTS, 44; Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press, 1998) 358-9.

42 Dan, The Ancient Jewish Mysticism, 109-110. See also C. Rohrbacher-Sticker, “Die Namen Gottes und die Namen Metatrons: Zwei Geniza-Fragmente zur Hekhalot-Literatur,” FJB 19 (1991-92) 95-168.

43 M. Miller, “Folk-Etymology, and its Influence on Metatron Traditions,” JSJ 44 (2013) 339-355 at 345.

44 Miller, “Folk-Etymology,” 345.

45 Miller, “Folk-Etymology,” 345.

46 Scholem, Major Trends, 70.

47 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 144.

48 On this see Segal, Two Powers in Heaven, 68.

49 Scholem, Major Trends, 68.

50 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.265.

51 Miller, The Name of God, 64.

52 Thus, 3 Enoch 12:4-5 reads: “He fashioned for me a kingly crown in which refulgent stones were placed, each like the sun’s orb, and its brilliance shone into the four quarters of the heaven of cArabot, into the seven heavens, and into the four quarters of the world. He set it upon my head and he called me, the Lesser YHWH in the presence of his whole household in the height as it is written, ‘My name is in him.’” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.265.

53 In relation to these onomatological traditions, Michael Miller notes that “in 3 Enoch God writes on Metatron’s crown: [T]he letters by which heaven and earth were created . . . seas and rivers were created . . . mountains and hills were created . . . stars and constellations, lightning and wind, thunder and thunderclaps, snow and hail, hurricane and tempest were created; the letters by which all the necessities of the world and all the orders of creation were created. (13:1). Later, a near identical passage has these letters ‘engraved with a pen of flame upon the throne of glory’ (41:1–3). That these creative letters would be those of the Name is confirmed when ‘all the sacred names engraved with a pen of flame on the throne of glory fly off like eagles’ (39:1, on the motif of God’s crown inscribed with His Name, see Green, 1997, 42–48). At other points Metatron is said to be written with the letter (singular) by which heaven and earth were created (e.g. §389 in manuscripts N8128 and M40) – a letter we may presume to be heh, in light of the early traditions discussed above.” Miller, The Name of God, 46-47.

54 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.266.

55 Moreover, in some Hekhalot passages, Metatron’s names appear on the crown of God. Thus, Schäfer notes that “God’s and Metatron’s names become almost interchangeable, to such an extent that it is not always clear who is being addressed. Paragraph 397 begins with names of Metatron, inscribed on God’s crown.” Schäfer, Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 297.

56 See Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira 50:7: “… like a star of light from among clouds, and like the full moon in the days of festival; and like the sun shining resplendently on the king’s Temple, and like the rainbow which appears in the cloud….” Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook, 41-42.

57Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.266.

58 Cohen, The Shi cur Qomah: Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism, 125. Thus, Sefer Raziel 260-261 reads: “This is Metatron, Prince of the Presence, who is written in (the) one letter, with which were created heaven and earth.” Cohen, The Shi cur Qomah. Texts and Recensions, 105.

59 N. Deutsch, The Gnostic Imagination: Gnosticism, Mandaeism, and Merkabah Mysticism (Leiden: Brill, 1995)115.

60 Miller, The Name of God, 87.

61 3 Enoch 12:2.

62 3 Enoch 48C:7.

63 3 Enoch 48D:1[90].

64 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.265.

65 Alan Segal remarks that “in the Hebrew Book of Enoch, Metatron is set on a throne alongside God and appointed above angels and powers to function as God’s vizir and plenipotentiary.” Segal, Two Powers in Heaven, 63. In a similar vein, Philip Alexander observes that “the Merkabah texts represent God and his angels under the image of an emperor and his court. God has his heavenly palace, his throne, and, in Metatron, his grand vizier.” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.241.

66 Nathaniel Deutsch has noted that “along with his roles as heavenly high priest and angelified human being, Metatron was sometimes portrayed as a kind of second – albeit junior – deity.” Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 35.

67 Jarl Fossum suggests that the references to the seventy names of Metatron might indirectly point to this exalted angel as the bearer of the “ultimate” Name of God, since these seventy names might just reflect God’s main Name. In this respect, Fossum points to Synopse §4 (3 Enoch 3:2), where Metatron tells R. Ishmael that his seventy names “are based on the name of the King of kings of kings,” and to Synopse §78 (3 Enoch 48D:5), which informs us that “these seventy names are a reflection of the Explicit Name upon the Merkabah which is engraved upon the throne of Glory.” Fossum argues that these seventy names originally belonged to God himself and only later were transferred to Metatron. Fossum, The Name of God, 298.

68 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 82.

69 C. Morray-Jones, “Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition,” JJS 43 (1992) 1-31 at 8.

70 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 82.

71 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 141.

72 C. Gordon, “Aramaic Magical Bowls in the Istanbul and Baghdad Museums,” Archiv Orientálni 6 (1934) 319-334 at 328.

73 Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 41.

74 Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 41.

75 Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 41-42.

76 Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition.

77 Jarl Fossum observes that “Enoch is not said to have received the Name of God when having been installed in heaven as the Son of Man, but this notion appears in 3 Enoch, where it is related that Enoch was enthroned as Metatron, another name of God’s principal angel, ‘whose name is like the Name of his Master.’” Fossum, The Name of God, 297.

78 Scholem, Major Trends, 68.

79 Thus, Ryszard Rubinkiewicz has argued that “the author of the Apocalypse of Abraham follows the tradition of 1 Enoch 1-36. The chief of the fallen angels is Azazel, who rules the stars and most men. It is not difficult to find here the tradition of Gen 6:1-4 developed according to the tradition of 1 Enoch. Azazel is the head of the angels who plotted against the Lord and who impregnated the daughters of men. These angels are compared to the stars. Azazel revealed the secrets of heaven and is banished to the desert. Abraham, as Enoch, receives the power to drive away Satan. All these connections show that the author of the Apocalypse of Abraham drew upon the tradition of 1 Enoch.” Rubinkiewicz, “Apocalypse of Abraham,” 1.685.

80 G. Scholem, “Metatron,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Keter, 1971) 11.1445.

81 In Sefer Zerubbabel, Michael is identified with Metatron. On this source, see Himmelfarb, “Sefer Zerubbabel,” 73; I. Lévi, “L’apocalypse de Zorobabel et le roi de Perse Siroès,” REJ 68 (1914) 133. In Macaseh Merkavah, MS NY8128 (Synopse §576), Michael is mentioned in the Sar Torah passage, where his function, similar to that in 2 Enoch 33:10, is the protection of a visionary during the transmission of esoteric knowledge. “I shall collect and arrange to these orders of Michael, great prince of Israel, that you safeguard me for the study of Torah in my heart.” M.D. Swartz, Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996) 111-12.

82 Scholem, “Metatron,” 11.1445.

83 Scholem points out that, in the early manuscripts, the name is almost always written with the letter yod.

84 Scholem, “Metatron,” 11.1445.

85 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 18; Philonenko-Sayar and Philonenko, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham. Introduction, texte slave, traduction et notes, 58.

86 Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 267.

87 Grözinger, “The Names of God and the Celestial Powers,” 56.

88 Grözinger, “The Names of God and the Celestial Powers,” 56.

89 Grözinger, “The Names of God and the Celestial Powers,” 61-62.

90 Boyarin, “Beyond Judaisms: Metatron and the Divine Polymorphy of Ancient Judaism,” 356-357.

91 Scholem, Major Trends, 69.

92 Scholem, Major Trends, 69.

93 Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 91.

94 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.243.

95 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 137.

96 S. Lieberman, “Metatron, the Meaning of His Name and His Functions,” in: Gruenwald, Apocalyptic and Merkavah Mysticism, 291-297.

97 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 29, n. 70.

98 The roots of such imagery may possibly be found in the Angel of the Lord traditions as well. Thus, while analyzing biblical traditions about the Angel of the Lord, Moshe Idel suggests, “though it is not quite obvious, it may well be that this sort of angel is identical to the face of the Lord that goes before the Israelites according to Exod 33. The angel, to follow this reading, serves as a form of mask for the divine, which speaks through it. Such a reading appears to be confirmed by the expression ‘malakh panav,’ the angel of His face, in Isa 63:9: ‘the angel of his face will redeem you.’” Idel, Ben, 17.

99 See Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 55; Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition, 279-285.

100 3 Enoch 10. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.264. Schäfer et al., Synopse, 8-9.

101 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 79.

102 3 Enoch 8:1: “R. Ishmael said: Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence, said to me: Before the Holy One, blessed be he, set me to serve the throne of glory.…” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 262.

103 P. Alexander, “From Son of Adam to a Second God: Transformation of the Biblical Enoch,” in: Biblical Figures Outside the Bible (eds. M. E. Stone and T. A. Bergren; Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998) 105.

104 Some scholars argue that the designation of the angelic servants of the divine Face – sar happanim – can be translated as the “prince who is the face [of God].” On this see Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 43; R.S. Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic. Rabbinic Martyrology and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism (TSAJ, 112; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005) 118–121; R. Neis, “Embracing Icons: The Face of Jacob on the Throne of God,” Images: A Journal of Jewish Art and Visual Culture 1 (2007) 36-54 at 42.

105 Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 43.

106 Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot, 425; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 167-168.

107 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 18.

108 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 18.

109 Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 18.

110 “I was enlarged and increased in size till I matched the world in length and breath. He made to grow on me 72 wings, 36 on one side and 36 on the other, and each single wing covered the entire world….” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.263.

111 Morray-Jones, “Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition,” 8.

112 Cohen, Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism, 133.

113 Schäfer et al., Synopse, 162.

114 Joseph Dan’s research points to a striking resemblance between the deity and Metatron, since the latter, similar to God, “… sits on the throne of glory, he has spread over himself a canopy of radiance, such as the one over the throne of Glory itself, and his throne is placed at the entrance to the seventh hekhal, in which stands the throne of Glory of God Himself. Metatron sits on it as God sits on His throne.” Dan, The Ancient Jewish Mysticism, 115-17.

115 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.312; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 36-37.

116 Cohen, Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism, 134.

117 Cohen, Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism, 134.

118 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.303.

119 Schäfer et al., Synopse, 164.

120 Reflecting on this textual unit, Schäfer notes that “a dramatic scene (§390, with a parallel in §399) describes how Metatron blocks the ears of the holy creatures with the ‘fire of deafness’ so that even they cannot hear God – nor hear Metatron, uttering the ineffable name. This is doubly ironic: first, because there is no reason why the holy creatures, the bearers of the throne, should not hear God speaking: note that in Hekhalot Rabbati they were the most beloved creatures of God (next to Israel) and in constant dialogue with their master. Now they are demoted not only in their relationship to Israel but also to the highest angel of all, Metatron. And second, because the text hastens to continue with the revelation of precisely this or these secret name(s) that the holy creatures are not allowed to hear.” Schäfer, Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 296-97.

121 Another Hekhalot passage attested in Synopse §385 also elaborates the liturgical role of the exalted angel: “…when the youth enters below the throne of glory, God embraces him with a shining face. All the angels gather and address God as ‘the great, mighty, awesome God,’ and they praise God three times a day by means of the youth (r(nh dy l(Mwy Mym(p h#l# h`b`qh Myxb#mw)….” Schäfer, et al., Synopse, 162-3.

122 Cohen, The Shicur Qomah: Texts and Recensions, 162-4.

123 Cohen, The Shicur Qomah: Texts and Recensions, 162-4. On the relation of this passage to the Youth tradition, see: J.R. Davila, “Melchizedek, the ‘Youth,’ and Jesus,” in: The Dead Sea Scrolls as Background to Postbiblical Judaism and Early Christianity (ed. J. R. Davila; STDJ, 46; Leiden: Brill, 2003) 248–274.

124 This tradition is not forgotten in later Jewish mystical developments. Daniel Abrams notes that, in Sefer ha-Hashek, “Metatron commands the angels to praise the King of Glory, and he is among them.” Abrams,“The Boundaries of Divine Ontology,”304.

125 Schäfer et al., Synopse, 162-3.

126 On this motif of dangerous encounters with the divine in the Hekhalot literature, see: J. R. Davila, Descenders to the Chariot: The People behind the Hekhalot Literature (JSJSS, 70; Leiden: Brill, 2001) 136-139.

127 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.305.

128 Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 93-94.

129 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.306.

130 It appears that angelic hosts must be protected not only against the voice of the deity but also against their own aural praxis. Thus, Peter Schäfer points out that, in the Hekhalot writings, “the heavenly praise is directed solely toward God,” since “for all others who hear it—men as well as angels—it can be destructive.” Schäfer, Hidden and Manifest God, 25. As an example, Schäfer refers to a passage from Hekhalot Rabbati which offers a chain of warnings about the grave dangers encountered by those who dare to hear the angelic praise. Thus, Synopse §104 reads: “…The voice of the first one: one who hears [this] voice, will immediately go mad and tumble down. The voice of the second one: everyone who hears it, immediately goes astray and does not return. The voice of the third one: one who hears [this] voice is struck by cramps and he dies immediately….” Schäfer, Hidden and Manifest God, 25. This motif may constitute one of the reasons for Metatron’s preventive ritual of putting the deafening fire into the ears of the holy creatures. It appears that the angelic hosts must be protected not for the entire course of the celestial liturgy but only during the invocation of the divine Name. On this see Cohen, The Shicur Qomah: Texts and Recensions, 162-163.

131 Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 402.

132 3 Enoch 1. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.256.

133 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 84.

134 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.312; Schäfer et al, Synopse, 36-7.

135 P. Grelot, “La légende d'Hénoch dans les apocryphes et dans la Bible,” RSR 46 (1958) 5-26, 181-210 at 13ff.

136 A similar tradition is found in the Alphabet of R. Akiba. See S.A. Wertheimer, Batei Midrashot (2 vols.; Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1950-53) 2.333-477.

137 Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Abodah Zarah, 3b.

138 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.313; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 36-37.

139 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 83.

140 Peter Schäfer observes that “the only angel in 3 Enoch and several layers of the other macroforms who constitutes an exception and is so close to God as to be dressed in similar clothes and sit on a similar throne is Metatron, the ‘lesser YHWH.’ This Metatron, however, is precisely not an angel like the others but the man Enoch transformed into an angel. Enoch-Metatron, as the prototype of the yored merkavah, shows that man can come very close to God, so close as to be almost similar to him, so that Aher - Elisha ben Avuyah can mistake him for God.” Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God, 149.

141 C. H. T. Fletcher-Louis, Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology (WUNT, 2.94; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997) 156.

142 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.244.

143 On Metatron as the heavenly counterpart of R. Ishmael, see Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic, 133-139.

144 Davila notices that “the narrator of 3 Enoch is R. Ishmael, one of the traditional heroes of the Hekhalot (Merkavah mystical) literature. Ishmael functions here as a prototype of the Merkavah mystic; in the bulk of the book (chaps. 17-48) he is led on an apocalyptic tour of the universe, with Metatron as his otherworldly guide who reveals to him celestial and eschatological secrets.” Davila, “Of Methodology, Monotheism and Metatron,” 13.

145 Arbel, Beholders of Divine Secrets, 38-39.

146 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.264.

147 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.264.

148 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.264.

149 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 55.

150 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.264.

151 Some manuscripts of 3 Enoch use the term “secrets” (Myrts) instead of “orders” (Myrds). See Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.266; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 8.

152 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.265-266; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 8-9.

153 Some scholars suggest that the link between Metatron and the secrets of creation might allude to Metatron’s role as a demiurge or at least a participant in creation. Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 44-45. Jarl Fossum suggests that the depiction of Metatron in Sefer Hekhalot, while not demiurgic, still alludes to the matrix of ideas out of which the Gnostic concept of the demiurge possibly arose. Fossum, The Name of God, 301.

154 Tishby, The Wisdom of the Zohar, 2.644-5.

155 3 Enoch 8:2. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.263.

156 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.263.

157 3 Enoch 10:5. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.264.

158 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.315; Synopse §80. The reference to the chain of tradition is repeated several times in Hekhalot literature. For a detailed analysis of this motif, see Swartz, Scholastic Magic, 178ff.

159 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.315, note v.

160 m. Avot 1:1: “Moses received the Law from Sinai and committed it to Joshua, and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets committed it to the men of the Great Synagogue.” Danby, The Mishnah, 446.

161 On the Prince of Torah traditions in Hekhalot literature, see Swartz, Scholastic Magic, 53-135.

162 3 Enoch 48C:12.

163 3 Enoch 48D:6-10.

164 Alexander, “From Son of Adam to a Second God,” 105, footnote 24.

165 Accordingly, in Synopse §77 Yepipyah is named the Prince of Torah.

166 Thus, Synopse §560 reads: “R. Ishmael said: I was thirteen years old and my heart was moved on each day that it persisted in fasting. As soon as R. Nehuniah ben HaQanah revealed to me this mystery of Torah, Suriah, Prince of the Presence, was revealed. He said to me: (As for) the Prince of Torah, YWPY’L is his name, and anyone who seeks concerning him must sit forty days in fasting. He must eat his morsel with salt, and he must not eat any kind of foulness. He must immerse (with) twenty-four immersions. He must not gaze at various dyed things. His eyes must be pressed down to the earth, and he must pray with all his vigor. He must sets his heart on his prayer and he must seal himself with his seals and he must invoke twelve words.” Davila, Hekhalot Literature in Translation, 569-70.

167 Swartz, Scholastic Magic, 62ff.

168 Synopse §313; “I said to him: The Prince of the Torah (hrwt l# hr#), what is his name/ And he said to me: Yofiel is his name.” See also Synopse §560: “The name of the Prince of the Torah (D436: hrwth r#) (M22: hrwt l# r#) is Yofiel.” Schäfer et al., Synopse, 139, 213.

169 Michael Swartz observes that “the earliest explicit indications of the Sar Torah phenomenon, then, date from the tenth century. However, there are other elements of the phenomenon that have earlier origins. The archangel figure of Metatron appears in the Talmud and in the seventh-century Babylonian incantation bowls, although not as the Sar Torah.” Swartz, Scholastic Magic, 213.

170 Commenting on Synopse §734, Michael Swartz notes that the transmission of the Name is closely tied in this textual unit to Metatron’s office as the mediator of the Tetragrammaton. He argues that, “here, as in the 3 Enoch chain, divine names, which are identified also as angelic names, are described as having been handed down at Sinai, through the chain of tradition. Here Metatron is not represented as the transformed Enoch who imparts secrets to Moses, but as the archangel whose name is like his Master’s.” Swartz, Scholastic Magic, 182.

171 Schäfer, Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 297.

172 Schäfer, Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 297.

173 Thus, 3 Enoch 48D:4-5 unveils the following tradition: “The Prince of Torah … gave them as a gift to Moses, as it is written, ‘The Lord gave them to me.’ After that he remembered the Torah. How do we know he remembered it? Because it is written, ‘Remember the Torah of my servant Moses, to whom at Horeb I prescribed laws and customs for the whole of Israel’: ‘The Torah of Moses’ refers to the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings; ‘laws’ refers to halakot and traditions; ‘customs’ refers to haggadot and toseptas; all these were given to Moses on Sinai. These are the seventy names—each of them like the sacred name on the chariot, engraved on the throne of glory—which the Holy One, blessed be he, took from his sacred name and bestowed on Metatron—seventy names by which the ministering angels address the King of the kings of kings in heaven above.” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.314. On this passage see also Swartz, Scholastic Magic, 178ff.

174 Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 36.

175 W. S. McCullough, Jewish and Mandaean Incantation Texts in the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967) D 5-6.

176 Alexander, “The Historical Settings of the Hebrew Book of Enoch,” 166.

177 Arbel, Beholders of Divine Secrets, 146.

178 It should be noted that the expression, “the tabernacle of the Youth,” occurs also in the Shicur Qomah materials. For a detailed analysis of Metatron imagery in these materials, see Cohen, Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism, 124ff.

179 Freedman and Simon, Midrash Rabbah, 5.482-3.

180 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 4.3-4.

181 Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 4.53-54. See also Zohar II.164a: “The Tabernacle which Moses constructed had Joshua for its wakeful and constant guard; for he alone guarded it who is called the ‘young man,’ namely Joshua, of whom it says: ‘Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent’ (Exod 33:11). Later in its history it was another ‘young man’ who guarded it, namely Samuel (I Sam 11:18), for the Tabernacle could be guarded only by a youth. The Temple, however, was guarded by the Holy One Himself, as it is written, ‘Except the Lord guard the City, the watchman waketh but in vain.’ And who is the watchman? The ‘young man,’ Metatron. And you, holy saints, ye are not guarded as the Tabernacle was guarded, but as the Temple was guarded, namely, by the Holy One Himself.” Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, 4.65-66.

182 R. Elior, “From Earthly Temple to Heavenly Shrines: Prayer and Sacred Song in the Hekhalot Literature and Its Relation to Temple Traditions,” JSQ 4 (1997) 217– 267 at 228.

183 L. H. Schiffman and M. D. Swartz, Hebrew and Aramaic Incantation Texts from the Cairo Genizah (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992) 145-7, 151. On Metatron as the High Priest, see Schiffman et al., Hebrew and Aramaic Incantation Texts from the Cairo Genizah, 25-28; 145-47; 156-157; esp. 145; Elior, “From Earthly Temple to Heavenly Shrines,” 299, n. 30.

184 For the Pargod traditions in rabbinic literature, see also; b. Yoma 77a; b. Ber. 18b; b. Hag. 15a-b; b. Sanh. 89b; b. Sotah 49a; Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 4:6; Zohar I.47a; II.149b-150a; Maseket Hekhalot 7.

185 Matthias Henze, in his aforementioned problematic study, argued that, “in the story of Abraham the iconoclast in chapters 1–8 one looks in vain for any description of Abraham the priest.” Henze, “'I Am the Judge': Judgment in the Apocalypse of Abraham,” 545. In contrast, both Alexander Kulik and Daniel Harlow, through their meticulous examination of the Slavonic evidence, demonstrated that the initial chapters of the text indeed attempt to portray Abraham as a priestly figure serving in the temple, polluted by idolatry. Thus, Harlow notes that, “in the initial verses of chap. 1, Abraham tells how he was ‘destroying’ the gods of his father Terah and those of his brother Nahor while serving as a junior priest in his father’s temple.” Harlow, “Idolatry and Alterity,” 306. Alexander Kulik also argues that the description of the sacrificial service of Terah's family, which is found in the first chapter of the Apocalypse of Abraham, “… precisely follows the order of the Second Temple daily morning tamid service as it is described in the Mishna: first, priests cast lots (Yoma 2, 1-4; Tamid 1, 1-2; cf. also Luke 1:9), then they sacrifice in front of the sanctuary (Tamid 1-5), finishing their service inside (Tamid 6) ….” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 86.

186 See also b. Ketub. 105b; b. Hul. 49a.

187 Elior, “From Earthly Temple to Heavenly Shrines,” 225.

188 See, for example, Synopse §3 (3 Enoch 2:3): “Metatron replied, ‘He [R. Ishmael] is of the tribe of Levi, which presents the offering to his name. He is of the family of Aaron, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, chose to minister in his presence and on whose head he himself placed the priestly crown on Sinai.’” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.257.

189 Nathaniel Deutsch observes that in 3 Enoch, “likewise, as the heavenly high priest, Metatron serves as the mythological prototype of Merkabah mystics such as Rabbi Ishmael. Metatron’s role as a high priest highlights the functional parallel between the angelic vice-regent and the human mystic (both are priests), thereas his transformation from a human being into an angel reflects an ontological process which may be repeated by mystics via their own enthronement and angelification.” Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 34.

190 Alexander, “From Son of Adam to a Second God,” 106-7.

191 Gershom Scholem notes that “Michael as High Priest was known to the Jewish source used in the Gnostic Excerpta ex Theodoto, §38; only ‘an archangel [i.e. Michael]’ enters within the curtain, an act analogous to that of the High Priest who enters once a year into the Holy of Holies. Michael as High Priest in heaven is also mentioned in Menahoth 110a (parallel to Hagigah 12b) and Zebahim 62a. The Baraitha in Hagigah is the oldest source.” Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition, 49, n. 19.

192 Scholem, “Metatron,” 11.1445.

193 The term “world” (Mlw() in the angelic title appears to signify the entire creation. Peter Schäfer observes that, in rabbinic literature, the Prince of the World is understood as an angel set over the entire creation. His duties include praying together with the inhabitants of the earth for the coming of the Messiah and praising God’s creative work. P. Schäfer, Rivalität zwischen Engeln und Menschen: Untersuchungen zur rabbinischen Engelvorstellung (SJ, 8; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1975) 55.

194 Igor Tantlevskij argues that in 3 Enoch 8, Enoch-Metatron has qualities by which, according to b. Hag. 12a and Avot de Rabbi Nathan A 27:43, the world was created and is sustained. I. R. Tantlevskij, Knigi Enoha (Moscow/Jerusalem: Gesharim, 2000) 185 [in Russian].

195 3 Enoch 48C:9-10.

196 Alexander, “From Son of Adam to a Second God,” 105, n. 24.

197 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.312.

198 Jarl Fossum observes that “the notion that Enoch-Metatron has ‘Seventy Names’ is connected with the idea of ‘seventy tongues of the world.’ The meaning undoubtedly is that Enoch-Metatron in virtue of possessing the ‘Seventy Names’ is the ruler of the entire world. Elsewhere, 3 Enoch speaks of the ‘seventy-two princes of kingdoms on high’ who are angelic representatives of the kingdoms on earth (xvii. 8; ch. xxx). The numbers ‘seventy’ and ‘seventy-two’ are, of course, not to be taken literally; they signify the multitude of the nations of the world.” Fossum, The Name of God, 298.

199 3 Enoch 48C:8-9 reads: “I made every prince stand before him to receive authority from him and to do his will….” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.312.

200 Synopse §4 (3 Enoch 3:2).

201Alexander points to the fact that the later texts (Tosepoth to Yeb. 16b and to Hull. 60a) equate Metatron explicitly with this title. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.243. See also: b. Sanh. 94a.

202 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.243.

203 3 Enoch 3:2.

204 3 Enoch 10:3.

205 3 Enoch 48C:9-10.

206 3 Enoch 30.

207 3 Enoch 38.

208 3 Enoch 30. Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.285. Schäfer et al., Synopse, 24-25.

209 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.290.

210 „.…lwdgh Mlw( r# btkn# Mynph r# Nwr++m hzh r(nhw…” Schäfer et al., Synopse, 296.

211 Scholars observe that although “many of these bowls cannot be dated with certainty … those from Nippur (among which are some of our most informative texts on Metatron) were found in stratified deposits and have been dated archeologically to the seventh century A.D. at the very latest.” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.228.

212 The text on the bowl is published by C. Gordon, “Aramaic and Mandaic Magical Bowls,” Archiv Orientálni 9 (1937) 84-95 at 94.

213 M. Idel, Ascension on High in Jewish Mysticism: Pillars, Lines, Ladders (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005) 88.

214 Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 44; Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.243.

215 Cf. Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 27: “Michael came and told Abraham, as it is said, 'And there came one who had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew.' He is the prince of the world ....” Friedlander, Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 193.

216 Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, 48.

217 Scholem, Major Trends, 69.

218 Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 36.

219 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 19-20; Philonenko-Sayar and Philonenko, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham, 64.

220 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 22.

221 Arbel, Beholders of Divine Secrets, 83.

222 A similar tradition is found in the Story of the Ten Martyrs, in which Metatron shows R. Ishmael a heavenly altar where he sacrifices the souls of the righteous. On this tradition see Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic, 165-66. Boustan argues that “the sacrifice of the souls of the righteous on the heavenly altar is essential to the proper maintenance of Israel’s relationship with God.” Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic, 166.

223 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.311; Schäfer et al., Synopse, 36-37.

224 The same concept of Enoch as the second Adam is discernible in the Zohar. Isaiah Tishby observed that, according to the Zohar, “the supernal radiance of Adam’s soul, which was taken away from him before its time as a direct consequence of his sin, found a new abode in Enoch, where it could perfect itself in this world…. This means that Enoch in his own life embodied that supernal perfection for which man was destined from the very beginning of his creation.” Tishby, The Wisdom of the Zohar, 2.627.

225 Alexander, “From Son of Adam to a Second God,” 111.

226 Boyarin, “Beyond Judaisms: Metatron and the Divine Polymorphy of Ancient Judaism,” 331.

227 Cohen, Shicur Qomah. Texts and Recensions, 22.

228 Scholem, “Metatron,” 11.1445.

229 Freedman and Simon,Midrash Rabbah, 7.41.

230 J. Abelson, Jewish Mysticism (London, G. Bell and Sons, 1913) 69.

231 Analyzing the passage, Moshe Idel observes that “this is a fine point that is related to the possibility that the same name, namely the Tetragrammaton, is capable of causing confusion since it is found in connection with two exalted entities.” Idel, Ben, 119

232 Exod 24:1: “Then he said to Moses, ‘Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance.’”

233 Exod 33:14-15: “He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.’”

234 Idel, Ben, 119.

235 Thus, for example, Annelies Kuyt suggested that “Metatron’s demotion … does not fit in with the rest of the material of 3 Enoch, and therefore may be considered an ‘orthodox’ interpolation by a person who thought the god-like standing of Metatron to be heretical.” Kuyt, The Descent to the Chariot, 368. Similarly, while analyzing the exaltation and the demotion of Metatron in 3 Enoch, James Davila notices that, “at his apotheosis, he [Metatron] is worshiped by the other angels (3 Enoch 14), and one Jewish heretic mistakes him for a second authority in heaven (chap. 16), but the longer text of 3 Enoch goes out of its way to repudiate the idea of a Metatron cult .... In short, there is strong evidence that orthodox editors have pruned and reshaped the traditions about Metatron found in the various surviving recensions of 3 Enoch.” J.R. Davila, “Of Methodology, Monotheism and Metatron: Introductory Reflections on Divine Mediators and the Origins of the Worship of Jesus,” in: The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St. Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (eds. C.C. Newman, J.R. Davila, and G.S. Lewis; JSJSS, 63; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 16-17.

236 Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition.

237 Commenting on Metatron’s punishment, Moshe Idel suggests that “such a punishment should not automatically mean that its ‘application’ was intended to exclude Metatron from the rabbinic pantheon. This is evident from the way in which Elijah and another archangel, Gabriel, are treated in rabbinic tradition. Both are imagined to have been punished in exactly the same way, but no one would claim that Elijah or the angel Gabriel to have been excluded from rabbinic tradition or that their status has been attenuated. On the contrary, these three punished entities remain revelatory beings that function quite safely and actively in numerous rabbinic texts over the centuries as part of the ‘open channels’ I discussed previously, in spite of their alleged ancient ‘punishment’. The rabbinic silence regarding Elijah and Gabriel as ‘problematic’ figures should alert us to the negligible religious valence of the punishment of Metatron according to the Talmudic discussion or in the Heikhalot text. In a way, the punishment is reminiscent of the parables in which a father or king punishes the son as part of a process of education, rather than in order to dislocate him. Too much theology has been read into a literature that is made up of many voices. To reiterate, one should not exaggerate the impact of the two passages on Metatron’s humiliation on his status in the general configuration of Rabbinism. In fact, Metatron did not disappear from the Talmudic worldview, and for this reason it is not plausible, at least in my opinion, to attribute such great significance to one specific episode of humiliation, even if it is repeated in the Talmud and in the Heikhalot literature. First and foremost, the humiliation passage notwithstanding, Metatron retained an important role in other rabbinic discussions, as well as in medieval forms of Rabbinism. ... In the halakhic writings, Metatron appears as an authority, sometimes even in legalistic matters, just as the angel does in Jewish mysticism. Here we witness the smooth transition of Metatron from late antiquity into Jewish medieval traditions....” Idel, Ben, 591-2.

238 Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.268.

239 Kuyt, Descent to the Chariot, 338. Kuyt further suggests a possible polemical attitude, noting that “the demotion of Enoch in §20 fits in with the negative image of Enoch in rabbinic literature.” Kuyt, Descent to the Chariot, 361.

240 P. Schäfer, The Jewish Jesus: How Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each Other (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012) 130-131. Schäfer further notices that 3 Enoch’s version of Aher’s episode “flows more smoothly than the one in the Bavli which does not necessarily mean, however, that it takes precedence over the Bavli version; both versions supplement each other and presumably draw from a common source. Yet above all it is the story’s insertion at precisely this point in 3 Enoch that is so striking: after all the effort the editor of 3 Enoch has made in elevating Metatron to the highest possible rank in heaven, almost on a par with God, he suddenly rescinds his own efforts and demotes Metatron to the status of an ordinary angel (the highest angel in heaven seems now to be Anafiel, whom we know also from other passages in the Hekhalot literature).” Schäfer, The Jewish Jesus, 130.

241 Schäfer, The Jewish Jesus, 130.

242 Analyzing the theophanic language of Metatron’s metamorphoses in 3 Enoch, Joseph Dan notices its biblical ocularcentric roots. Thus, he notices that “the expressions are taken primarily from the descriptions of the revelation of God in the Bible to Elijah, Ezekiel, etc., and after the series of transformations Enoch undergoes, both physical and spiritual, the status accorded to him and the knowledge granted him, as well as the name, the garb and the crown, the image of Metatron becomes like that of God Himself.” Dan, The Ancient Jewish Mysticism, 119.

243 Dan, The Ancient Jewish Mysticism, 117.

244 b. Hag. 15a: “He saw that permission was granted to Metatron to sit and write down the merits of Israel”; Synopse §672: “he was given authority for one hour in the day to sit down and to write the merits of Israel.”

245 Reflecting on the differences between the Hagiga version and 3 Enoch 16, Alexander notes that “there is no reference in 3 Enoch to Metatron as the heavenly scribe. In the Talmud Metatron sits in virtue of the fact that he is the celestial scribe; in 3 Enoch he sits in virtue of the fact that he is the Lesser Lord.... Why does 3 Enoch say nothing about Metatron as scribe? The answer probably is that the author of 3 Enoch 16 was simply not interested in Metatron’s scribal activity. He was interested in the fact that the Talmudic story spoke of Metatron sitting. He seized on this element and used it as a way of introducing material on Metatron’s throne and retinue. His subsequent stress on Metatron’s viceregal splendour left no place for Metatron’s role as celestial scribe.” Alexander, “3 Enoch and Talmud,” 65.

246 Christopher Morray-Jones remarks that, “in 3 Enoch, the cause of Aher’s error is not the mere fact of Metatron’s being seated, but his god-like and glorious appearance as the enthroned ‘Grand Vizier’ of Heaven. No mention is made of Metatron’s being the heavenly scribe: the whole … seems to be derived from the ‘Lesser Lord’ tradition (which does not figure—at least explicitly—in the talmudic versions). This suggests that the original—and far more plausible—cause of Aher’s heresy was that he mistook the ‘Lesser Lord’ for a co-equal ‘Second Power’ and hence fell into heresy.” Morray-Jones, “Hekhalot Literature and Talmudic Tradition,” 30.

247 Yet, the memory of this important attribute has not been forgotten in 3 Enoch, since in the course of demotion Anafiel places Metatron in a standing position: “Then Anafiel YHWH … made me stand to my feet.” Alexander notes that “3 Enoch makes no mention of the teaching that there is ‘no sitting, no rivalry, no neck, and no weariness’ in heaven, but ‘sitting’ in its almost literal sense clearly plays an important part in its version of the story.” Alexander, “3 Enoch and Talmud,” 64.

248 Thus, Nathaniel Deutsch remarks that, in 3 Enoch 16, Metatron is portrayed as the divine judge or atiq yomin of Dan 7:10, “although 3 Enoch 16 … only implicitly draws on this Vorlage.” Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 65.

249 In light of the influences that the Enochic traditions exercised in the shaping of Metatron’s exalted profile, the tradition of Aher’s fear is also possibly informed by some pseudepigraphical developments. Thus, in 1 Enoch 14:9-14, which describes Enoch’s entrance into the divine presence, Enoch is not simply frightened by his otherworldly experience, but he is literally “covered with fear.” Scholars have previously noted the unusual strength of these formulae of fear. For example, John Collins notes the text’s “careful observation of Enoch’s terrified reaction.” Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination, 55. Another scholar, Martha Himmelfarb, notices the power of the visionary’s reaction to the divine presence, which, in her opinion, supersedes some formative biblical visionary accounts, including Ezekiel’s visions. She notes that “Ezekiel’s prostrations are never attributed to fear; they are reported each time in the same words, without any mention of emotion, as almost ritual acknowledgments of the majesty of God. The Book of the Watchers, on the other hand, emphasizes the intensity of the visionary’s reaction to the manifestation of the divine.” Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven, 16.

250 On fear as a human response to theophany, see J.C. VanderKam, From Revelation to Canon: Studies in Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2000) 343; J. Becker, Gottesfurcht im Alten Testament (AnBib, 25; Rome: St. Martin’s Press, 1965) 22.

251 Hugo Odeberg sees various interconnections between the theophanic details of Metatron’s exaltation and demotion, including similarities of the throne imagery found in chapters 10 and 16. Yet, he is unable to recognize any real polemical meaning of such parallels, seeing them as the work of an “orthodox” editor who was not only responsible for the interpolation of chapter 16, but also for editing the section concerning Metatron’s exaltation. Thus, he suggests that, “in view of the subtle way in which the writer of ch. 16 veils his opposition against the excessive and dangerous developments (as he regards them) of the Metatron-conception by the use of terms and notions recognized by or congenial to the Metatron-tradition, it is not impossible to assume that the qualifying expression of ch. 10, referred to above, is an insertion made by the same hand who is responsible for ch. 16. There seems in fact to be a natural connection between 10 and 16, in so far as the former contains the logical presupposition for the statements of the latter.” Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 87.

252 3 Enoch 6:1 relates the following tradition: “R. Ishmael said: The angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence, said to me: When the Holy One, blessed be he, desired to bring me up to the height, he sent me Prince Anafiel YHWH and he took me from their midst, before their very eyes, and he conveyed me in great glory on a fiery chariot, with fiery horses and glorious attendants, and he brought me up with the Shekinah to the heavenly heights.” Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 1.261.

253 Hugo Odeberg notes that the reference to Anafiel as the executor of the punishment of Metatron “seems to have been made with conscious allusion to ch. 6. The angel who acccording to ch. 6 was first sent to fetch Enoch from on earth, in order that he might be translated into Metatron, was well suited to be the superior angel who carried out Metatron’s degradation. And it was thereby emphasized that just as Anafiel had been superior to Enoch at the time of his elevation he was also superior to Metatron at least from his degradation onwards.” Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 86.

254 Anafiel’s unique mediatorial status as Metatron’s virtual double is hinted at in several Hekhalot passages. On these traditions see J. Dan, “Anafiel, Metatron and the Creator,” Tarbiz 52 (1982) 447-457 [in Hebrew]; Deutsch, Guardians of the Gate, 45.

255 Odeberg, 3 Enoch, 86.

256 The majority of scholars insist on rabbinic origins in view of the testimony reflected in b. Hag. 15a, while some scholars argue, in light of 3 Enoch 16, that the roots of the demotion motif lie in Hekhalot lore. On these debates, see Alexander, “3 Enoch and the Talmud,” 40-68; Morray-Jones, “Hekhalot Literature and Talmudic Tradition,” 1-39.