Amulets and Angels: Visionary experience in the Testament of Job and the Hekhalot literature by Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca

College 1. Introduction In Jewish texts from late antiquity visionary or transcendent goals are often accomplished through ritual techniques that are the same as those used for healing or protection. In a retelling of the book of Job known as the Testament of Job, dated by various scholars to the first century B.C.E. or C.E., and stemming perhaps from Egypt, Job’s daughters become “heavenly-minded” and begin to speak in the tongues of angels. 1 This occurs when their father gives them three shimmering cords that God had given him to heal him from his afflictions. These cords are called, among other things, a phylakterion – a protective amulet. In the Hekhalot texts, the complex Jewish visionary and ritual literature dated to the 4th-8th centuries C.E. from Roman Palestine and Sassanian Babylonia, the mystic who wishes to “descend to the Merkabah” must show “seals” (otamot ) composed of divine and angelic names, in order to enter into each successive hekhal (palace), finally reaching the seventh hekhal where he joins the angels and the Throne of Glory in their heavenly liturgy of praise. The Hekhalot texts also give instructions for adjurational rituals to call angels down from heaven to gain divine revelation, which also involve “sealing” oneself for protection during the ritual. In this paper, I will explore the double use of amulets and seals for protection and visionary experience in the Testament of Job and the Hekhalot literature, addressing the following questions: how do they protect Job’s daughters or the Hekhalot mystic? How do they make the visionary experience possible? What does this double

Russell P. Spittler, “The Testament of Job: a history of research and interpretation,” 17-19, in Michael A. Knibb and Pieter W. van der Horst, eds., Studies on the Testament of Job (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); ibid., “Testament of Job: A New Translation and Introduction,” 1: 833, in James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; Garden City: Doubleday, 1983-85); all translations are from Spittler, unless otherwise noted; Pieter W. van der Horst, “Images of Women in the Testament of Job,” 93, in Knibb and van der Horst, Studies; John J. Collins, “Testaments,” p. 353, in Michael E. Stone, ed., Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (CRINT 2; Assen: Van Gorcum/Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984).


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use tell us about the relationship of visionary experience to ritual practices? Through this discussion, I will suggest that the distinction between “magic” and “mysticism” often made by scholars of mysticism does not hold for these late antique texts, and that, in any case, the basis for such a distinction is often dubious. When I originally proposed this paper I did not intend to compare T. Job and the Hekhalot literature directly, because of the distinct differences between them, in language, time(s) of composition, and genre. But then a whole series of interesting similarities and differences between them began to seem more salient as I read the texts together. A third term also intruded itself – the rituals found in the Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri (conventionally referred to as the “Greek Magical Papyri”). They often were useful in explaining ritual features both in the Testament of Job and in the Hekhalot literature. In what follows I will often cite references to the papyri. As Rachel Elior has argued, one can trace a trajectory of visionary descriptions from the Enoch texts2 of the second century B.C.E. through the Qumran literature3 to the Hekhalot texts, which have been variously dated from the fourth to the eighth centuries C.E.4 She has argued for the priestly antecedents of the Hekhalot literature, in part by showing affinities between the Qumranic Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice and the Hekhalot literature.5 A number of scholars have suggested that certain aspects of T. Job can also be understood as a reflex of early Merkabah ideas. 6 The most significant of these occur in two places. While Job has lost his earthly

E.g., 1 Enoch 14. Especially the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifices, the “Angelic Liturgy” as John Strugnell called it (“The Angelic Liturgy at Qumran,” VT Supp. 7 [1960]); see Carol Newsom, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: A Critical Edition (Harvard Semitic Studies 27; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985). 4 Rachel Elior, “The Merkavah Tradition and the Emergence of Jewish Mysticism,” in Aharon Oppenheimer, ed., Sino-Judaica: Jews and Chinese in Historical Dialogue (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1999) 101-158. 5 Elior, “The Merkavah Tradition, ” pp. 101-158. 6 Kaufman Kohler, “The Testament of Job: An Essene Midrash on the Book of Job Reedited and Translated with Introductory and Exegetical Notes,” in G. Kohut, ed., Semitic Studies in memory of Rev. Dr. Alexander Kohut (Ber3



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asserting that “my throne is in the upper world. derived from menstrual blood or because of the temptation they offer to men trying to avoid any kind of seminal ejaculation.” He concludes by saying. ed. idem. “My kingdom is forever and ever. next to God.” He continues with. 8 T. 16. which also would cause impurity that would prevent a man from lin. vol. He recites a hymn to this effect to his three friends (who have become kings). Job he was the king of Egypt). and Salvation in the Testament of Job.” OTP 1: 833. and its splendor and majesty are in the chariots of the Father (ejn toi` a{rmasin tou` patrov ). In the Hekhalot literature.. in the world of the Merkabah (the heavenly chariot). Howard Clark Kee. “But my throne is in the holy land. “Satan. which will be explored in depth below. 75. 66.10 The second significant comparison occurs when Job’s daughters become “heavenly minded” and begin to speak in the languages of the angels.: Society of Biblical Literature. All translations of Hekhalot texts are mine unless otherwise noted. 71. 1974) 53-55. Job 28:7. 1897) 282.” Compare the Hekhalot text commonly referred to as “Ma>aseh Merkabah. Society of Biblical Literature 1974 Seminar Papers. An interesting and crucial difference between the Hekhalot texts and the Testament of Job is the gender of the people concerned. Synopse zur Hekhalot-Literatur (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck.7 he attains a better kingdom in God.doc . 9 and his kingdom henceforth is “in the chariots of the Father. 9 3 Enoch ch.” p. Magic. 22. 11/18/02 10:29 AM -3- Lesses02paper. Women are excluded because of their impurity. ed. Job belong to the trajectory that Elior traces from 1 Enoch and the Qumran literature to the Hekhalot literature. obviously at an early stage in the development of the traditions. 10 Peter Schäfer.kingdom (according to T. only men engage in rituals of ascent or adjuration. I am suggesting here that these aspects of T. 292. 1 (Cambridge. 1981) §§554-555.” in George MacRae. and its splendor is in the world of the changeless one.” which refers to the many chariots in each of the seven heavenly hekhalot. voluntary or involuntary. “Testament of Job. and its splendor and majesty come from the right hand of the Father. “Testament of Job. Mass.”8 Job attains a throne like that of (Enoch translated into) Metatron. 7 T. Spittler. Job 33:3-9.

“Women Like This”: New Perspectives on Jewish Women in the Greco-Roman World (Atlanta: Scholars Press.”14 The Testament of Job appears to have been written by people who were not constrained by the purity concerns of Qumran or the Hekhalot literature.. Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Ritual Practices to Gain Power: Angels. 11 11/18/02 10:29 AM -4- Lesses02paper. “Images of Women. 12 Schäfer. and only women see the angels coming for Job’s soul. The Hekhalot adepts differ in another way from Job’s daughters—they seek out their heavenly or angelic experiences. like Enoch. or Abraham (in See further discussions in Error! Bookmark not defined. very probably also in a group in which women played a leading role by their greater ecstatic gifts and their superior spiritual insight into heavenly reality.12 In the Testament of Job. and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (Harvard Theological Studies 44. when the ideas about contact with heavenly realities became more crystallized and unified. on the other hand. “It is probable that this haggada originated in ecstatic-mystical circles of early Judaism from about the beginning of the Common Era. the three women are more similar to other figures known from the pseudepigrapha (much closer to T. Harrisburg. PA: Trinity Press International.” p. while the daughters of Job are bequeathed the possibility of such experiences by their father. “Revelatory Experiences Attributed to Biblical Women in Early Jewish Literature. Job in time).13 Pieter van der Horst argues that. §§224-228. Chesnutt. is called back from his visions of the hekhalot because his companions infect him with the tiniest contact with menstrual impurity. Incantations. Job. ed. “Images of Women. 1998) 119-144. that it became impossible to imagine that women as well as men could have such experiences. In this respect. 113. 124-25.. in Amy-Jill Levine. translated into the heavenly realm while still dwelling on earth.approaching the angels or the Merkabah.” p.” Rabbi Nehuniah ben Ha-Qanah. 105. I would suggest that it was not until a later period. They are. Michael Swartz. 1991). as it were. See also Randall D. 1996) 162-165. Despite interesting similarities between the Hekhalot texts and T.” pp. 13 Van der Horst. 195-197. 14 Van der Horst. Synopse.doc . Only women gain the ability to speak in the tongues of angels.11 In the Hekhalot literature. the paradigmatic “descender to the Merkabah. purity concerns do not enter in.

17 The largest part of T. 1 Enoch 17. destroys all of his property. by R.20 She eventually dies21 and he is 15 See.16 It belongs to the genre of ancient Jewish literature known as testaments. 39-40. when Abraham is taken up to heaven Yahoel the angel. 2-5. Spittler. 829868. Mass. 1974). Society of Biblical Literature 1974 Seminar Papers (Cambridge. Charlesworth. who do not seek to be elevated by God but are singled out and taken up by angels. Job recounts what Job has suffered at the hands of Satan because of his destruction of an idolatrous temple devoted to Satan. Job chs. This case is more equivocal.” ed. a voice tells him “for forty days abstain from every kind of food cooked by fire. 11/18/02 10:29 AM -5- Lesses02paper. “Images of Women. in James H. The Testament of Job is somewhat different from the others.18 Satan kills Job’s ten children. 1983-1985) . for example. The best known are the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.the Apocalypse of Abraham). because before Abraham is taken up. which indicates that some kind of preparation is needed before the ascent. 20 T. P. Rubinkiewicz. Garden City: Doubleday. 17 Van der Horst. 15 2. unless otherwise noted. All citations are from Spittler’s translation. 16-20. “Apocalypse of Abraham. 19 T. “Structure and Meaning in the Testament of Job. John Collins. in George MacRae. and less a simple morality tale.. in which a biblical character recounts the lessons of his life to his children as he lies on his deathbed. Testament of Job The Testament of Job retells the story of Job from the Bible as a test of Job’s faith by Satan.. and his wife. 35. in that it is more like a midrash on the Book of Job. ed.doc . and from drinking of wine and from anointing yourself with oil” (9:7) (R. and trans. is forced into slavery to support herself and her husband. 18 T. 21-25.: Society of Biblical Literature. in Charlesworth. comprising the moral lessons given by Jacob’s twelve sons. 21 T.19 He leaves the city and lives outside of it on a dung heap. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 1.” p. Job chs. Job chs. Job chs..” 693. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha [2 vols.” p. and afflicts him with many illnesses. ed. and Apocalypse of Abraham 10. Sitis. 16 “Testament of Job. 93. when Enoch is taken on his tour of heaven.

however. so that.22 He is married again to Dinah (the daughter of Jacob and Leah). since they were not from earth but from heaven. I have already designated for you an inheritance better than that of your seven brothers. Hemera. and with her he is granted ten other children. He bequeaths his estate to his sons only. Job 47:3. Job 46:9. 11/18/02 10:29 AM -6- Lesses02paper. “Do not be troubled.finally healed of his illnesses and restored to his good fortune. to live in the heavens. 28 T. Job 46:7-8.doc . and Amaltheia’s Horn. instead. 25 T.”25 At that point he gives them three multicolored cords (treis chordas tas poikilas) “whose appearance was such that no man could describe. “it may go well with you all the days of your life. shimmering with fiery sparks like the rays of the sun. 26 T.”27 The cords are not. 3. and they ask why they were not also given an inheritance. beginning with his sons. in Job’s words. Job ch. 1. a material inheritance. the second group of children gathers around his deathbed: seven sons and three daughters. Job 27. Job 46:3-4. 24 T. not to his daughters. and enabled him to speak to God and learn about both the present and the future. He was healed of “the plagues 22 23 T. my daughters: I have not forgotten you. 27 T. Job 46:1.24 This distresses his daughters. Kasia. He begins to tell his children what he will leave them after he dies.23 As Job is dying. 44.”28 These were the very cords that God gave Job to heal him of all his afflictions. Cords for Protection What is the power of these cords? They healed Job both body and soul. they will lead Job’s daughters “into the better world. T.”26 Each daughter receives one cord to bind around herself. Job replies.

1973-74). since you have these objects you will not have to face the enemy at all. Karl Preisendanz and Albert Henrichs. but neither will you have worries of him in your mind. and the ancient ritual literature prescribes the use of amulets for these purposes. showing [him] things present and things to come. Job 47:9.. the word phylakterion refers to several different kinds of objects. 11/18/02 10:29 AM -7- Lesses02paper. It is most often a piece of paper or metal upon which words of power are written. written in Greek and Coptic. Job 47:4. these cords will protect his three daughters against “the enemy” (Satan): “Now then. and for this purpose they are usually carried.. T. and God “spoke to [him] in power. Greek. eds. and will ease their minds. usually various Jewish.” Satan.”29 his body gained strength.. Papyri Graecae Magicae. In this case. so they will protect his daughters against “the enemy. as well as instructions for performing rituals that often include directions for making amulets. 32 Hans Dieter Betz. Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri (2 vols. 2d ed. The most common use is as part of spells to exorcise demons or to cure illness. the amulet has another purpose as well: to lead Job’s daughters “into the better world. which com- 29 30 T. just as Job’s heart was eased.and the worms. my children. date from second-century C. and include amulets written on papyri.” There is ample evidence for the existence of amulets in the ancient world. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. both in nonliterary documents and among amulets that have been discovered in archaeological excavations. to fifth-century Egypt.. One ritual. he forgot the pains in his heart. ed. or hung around the neck or the arm. Job 47:10-11. Stuttgart: Teubner.doc . or Egyptian divine names. A phylakterion could be used to heal or protect as part of a ritual. to live in the heavens. 1986). however.”31 Just as the cords healed Job of the injuries and illnesses that Satan had afflicted him with.”30 In addition. since it is a protective amulet (phylakterion) of the Father. The Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri.32 In these ritual papyri. as Job says.E. 31 T.

In an invocation of Apollo to ask him all sorts of questions. for example a linen cloth37. written] on a tin metal leaf.prises an “excellent rite for driving out demons.38 He must be careful with the laurel. kassiterivnou petavlou tau`ta. wear [it]. ejpi. hang around him. they are also found in both medieval and modern Jewish amulets and manuscripts dealing with ritual matters. To be written on a leaf of gold or silver or tin or on hieratic papyrus. and it is as follows [nomina barbara]. Phylacteries were also used for the practitioner’s protection during rituals for other purposes.”34 Another example mentions consecrating the amulet as well as wearing it:35 A phylactery. a bodyguard against daimons. see Gager. Betz. this papyrus has been dated to the early fourth century C. and seas and rocks tremble. 37 PGM IV 930-1114. The whole figure is [drawn] thus. against every sickness and suffering. These [are] the names. the practitioner has to “hold a seven-leafed sprig of laurel in your right hand as you summon the heavenly gods and chthonic daimons. 36 kai. p. with [the spell]. NN. a sprig of laurel-leaf. [and] the entire soul of me. pp. For a longer discussion. 11/18/02 10:29 AM -8- Lesses02paper. 134.” prescribes that after the demon is expelled.E. televsa~ fovrei. Curse Tablets. 38 PGM 1 262-347.with these things [divine names. p. When worn it works mightily for it is the name of power of the great god and [his] seal. “Characters” are symbols (usually not taken from any known alphabet) often written in the magical papyri and on amulets. against phantasms. “Protect my body. Preisendanz II. They could be made of various objects.” and he must write a different character on each leaf of the laurel.” And when you have consecrated it. and daimons [avoid] the charac- 33 34 PGM IV 1227-64. an amulet (phylakterion) should be prepared and hung around the patient’s neck. ejkbalei`n to. trans. This part is in Greek (PGM IV 1252-56): ejkbalw. or peonies. the figure is like this [drawing of a snake swallowing its tail enclosing magic signs and words]. 33 It reads: “After driving out the daimon. 35 PGM VII 579-90. as given below.36 This phylakterion is particularly interesting for comparison because it is used not just against demons.n daivmwn.doc . NN. but against “every sickness and suffering. a phylactery which the patient puts on after the expulsion of the daimon -. o} per[itivqhsin oJ kavmnwn mevta to. by which all are made subject. 26. For this is the body’s greatest protective charm (phylakterion). Morton Smith.n perivapte tw` dei`na fulakthvrion.” such as those that afflicted Job. because it (and the signs written on it) will protect him during the ritual: But be careful not to lose a leaf [and] do harm to yourself. 10-11.

11/18/02 10:29 AM -9- Lesses02paper. you.”43 The cords that healed Job from his injuries and illnesses will protect his daughters from the enemy.39 Another spell. Job 47:10-11. since it is a protective amulet of the Father. he tells them: “Now then. selhnovg[o]va triva perieilhvsi~ forou` ajristerw`/ bracivoni. 43 T. will overpower me. For you are I. all of Job’s troubles come from Satan. ranging from the Qumran literature and the New Testament. also includes a phylactery as part of the ritual: “Phylactery: wrap three peonies around your left arm and wear them. For it is the greatest protective charm for the rite so that you fear nothing. 42 PGM XIII 790-806. to Byzantine Jewish amulets in Aramaic found in Palestine and incantation bowls from Sassanian Persia. Amulets against demons were used by 39 40 PGM I 271-77. I have your name for a unique phylactery in my heart. It reads in part: to. and to protect from demons and other dangers during delicate rituals that could be disturbed. my children. this time for a man to make a woman love him.41 the practitioner says. 41 PGM XIII 734-1077. since you have these objects you will not have to face the enemy at all. In the Testament of Job. they have similar functions – to get rid of the demons who cause disease and suffering.”40 A phylactery need not even be a material object that the practitioner wears or holds. and I. but neither will you have worries of him in your mind. PGM LXII 1-24. Compare also PGM XXI 1-29. ga. In an incantation addressed to the highest god. which has almost exactly the same wording. Your name and your spirit rest upon the good. Satan.r o[nomav sou e[xw e}n fulakthvrion ejn kardiva/ th`/ ejmh`/. and no flesh.42 Mere knowledge of the divine name(s) gives the possessor power. While the forms of the amulets mentioned in the papyri are different from those in the Testament of Job. Line 23: fulakthvrion. Come into my mind and my understanding for all the time of my life and accomplish for me all the desires of my soul. and when he gives the cords to his daughters. it can also be the divine name kept in the heart. The idea that illnesses come from demons infesting the body of the sufferer is widespread in ancient Judaism.ters’ divine powers which you are about to have. although moved.doc .

metal plates. The cords in T.10 - Lesses02paper. but it is not very frequently used in the Hekhalot manuscripts. Job do not have anything written on them. 1987). Job was composed. almost of the amulets in the papyri are objects upon which the practitioner writes something – divine names.doc . It is only in the case of amulets used as part of larger rituals that we see the use of other objects as amulets: linen cloth. 4. Demotic. perhaps their curative and protective function is really secondary to the illumination they bestow upon Job’s daughters. Joseph Naveh and Shaul Shaked. First of all.both women and men. Magic Spells and Formulae: Aramaic In- 11/18/02 10:29 AM . characters. Job could also be specially made. of course – they don’t appear to be natural objects. most of the amulets in the papyri are specially made objects: pieces of papyrus. idem. since they are multicolored and shimmering (and because God gave them directly to Job!). or the text of an incantation (often all three). See the discussion in John Gager. peonies. There are some important differences. and stones of various kinds. that the cords of the Testament of Job are used in a broader setting than the exorcisms recorded in the papyri. laurel leaves. Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. and Coptic amulets of the Greek Magical Papyri (see for example. certainly.45 In a section of the Hekhalot texts commonly referred to by modern scholars as 44 This may be because the practice of using names or characteres became widespread in the centuries after T.44 Secondly. Amulets and Magic Bowls: Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press. The cords in T. so it would be entirely plausible to the ancient reader that Job’s daughters could receive such objects to protect them from Satan. Many Hebrew and Aramaic amulets from the ancient world do parallel the Greek. the nearest comparison to the phylakterion that the daughters of Job receive from their father are the seals (hotamot) that are used both to assist in the journey to the Merkabah and to protect during adjurations to bring angels down from heaven and learn the wisdom of Torah. of course. 45 The Hebrew equivalent to phylakterion is qamea<. between the phylakteria mentioned in the Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri and in the Testament of Job. across the ancient world. 1992) 5-7. however. Protective Seals (hotamot) in the Hekhalot Literature In the Hekhalot texts. One could argue.

As with other ritual texts of late antiquity.51 In that case also the phylactery is the deity’s name.”50 The seals in the adjurations of Shaqadkhozyah and Padqaras consist of names that the adept says or has in his mind – not material objects like metal amulets or the cords that Job’s daughters received. Synopse. D.. In the adjuration of Shaqadkhozyah. §§565-566. A closer comparison would be to the “unique phylactery” in the heart referred to in one of the Greco-Egyptian texts previously mentioned.doc . 51 PGM XIII 790-806. XXI 1-29. J.Ma’aseh Merkabah.11 - Lesses02paper.” and “mention twelve words. including the Tetragrammaton but not limited to it.48 Both are incantations for angels to descend and bestow wisdom. 47 Ibid. and incantations. direct his heart in his prayer. 48 Ibid. MS. Segal. 50 Ibid. §§561-562. 1993). The instructions for adjurations of angels contain several subsets of instructions. there are a series of instructions for how to gain wisdom through adjuration.. §560. are the efficacious sources of power that humans can make use of.. prayers.46 These instructions are part of a longer text that principally focuses on how to ascend to the Merkabah through uttering certain divine names. 49 Ibid. divine names. §§560-569. and here I will discuss the adjurations of SQDHWZYH (Shaqadkhozyah)47 and of another angel called PDQRS (Padqaras). God is addressed as the one “who gave permission to the troops of your glory to be bound to human beings. with a contribution by E.”49 These instructions include directions to “pray with all his strength. Catalogue of the Aramaic and Mandaic Incantation Bowls in the British Museum. Munich 22. and both contain references to seals that the adept must pronounce or put on his body in order to be protected during the adjurations. B. Even before these two sections. the text says of the practitioner. 46 Schäfer. as part of more general directions on how to adjure. 11/18/02 10:29 AM . Hunter (London: British Museum. 2000). “he should seal (yahtom) himself with his seal (hotamo). C.” thus granting heavenly sanc- cantations of Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press.

>P M>WPP< YHW: holy and blessed is his name. cf. Such a conclusion is strengthened by the instruction at the end of the prayer to make a circle and stand in it: “He should make for himself a circle and stand in it so that the destroyers will not come and appear to him as angels and kill. the translation in Michael Swartz. 54 Ibid.” which establishes the practitioner’s authority over the angels through utterance of the divine names. Synopse. Synopse.” Apparently the practitioner would be vulnerable to demonic attack while engaged in this ritual to invoke angels. §562.doc . Y<DYRWT G<WWT. The text then goes on to speak of protective seals on the practitioner’s body. by your name: ÍR ÍRWGG ÍRPYW ZH TY<G YH YHW YHW YHW. secret above secrets. The final protection is: “May the majesty of Your pride be a seal on my limbs.”56 These seals are thus all-encompassing. §562. the practitioner makes the request: “By Your name may the evil destroyers (maziqin) disappear. 55 Ibid.52 The practitioner then goes on to say: “In purity I pronounce (ani mazkir) your name. protecting the practitioner’s head and limbs from the “destroyers. The first seal is “Seal of [my] body: QR YHY BDP BR<Y: this is blessed forever. 1992) 237 and in Swartz. 56 Ibid.tion for the practitioner’s binding spell upon the angels. it 52 Schäfer. §562.”57 Since the practitioner is calling for the angel to descend and give him wisdom. HGGBWB YH YHW may he be blessed. Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism 53 11/18/02 10:29 AM . The next one is over the practitioner’s head: “Seal above my head: Secrets. Munich 22.”54 In the next line. These seals all consist of voces mysticae.”53 This seal covers the entire body and may be viewed as an introduction to the section. 57 Schäfer. which is one over all of the creatures. Synopse. MS. Mystical Prayer in Early Judaism (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck.12 - Lesses02paper. Schäfer.”55 This indicates that the seals are intended to protect the practitioner from “evil destroyers” during the prayers and incantations – compare this function to the phylakterion that will protect Job’s daughters from the wiles of Satan.

arms. ’P PT YHW ÓYW YW ZHW YHW TYTS: [seal] above my head It is interesting to note here that the listing of seals begins with the feet (using a Hebrew word that can also refer to the entire leg) and then goes up the body to the heart. and evening. Ishmael says that he fasted for forty days. 11/18/02 10:29 AM .doc . may I be beloved of them before You. The seal appears once again in this section of Ma‘aseh Merkabah. and said twelve “words” each time – these words probably comprising the usual assemblage of divine names. R.” Swartz (168) argues that this means that the adept’s ascetic practices have made him seem like the angels and have thus made him a target of demonic attack. The text then returns to praise of God and an incantation to induce the angel Shaqadkhozyah to bring wisdom to the adjurer. 58 Schäfer. In the adjuration of Padqaras. §566. so that the demons will not come and liken him to the angels and kill him.13 - Lesses02paper. beloved of Yah: for the protection of my life (nafshi) and above them all. and I (Princeton: Princeton University Press. neck. one’s life. as part of a prayer that is said that the adept says to protect himself from the “angels that stand behind the Holy Creatures”: “Save me from all fierce [creatures] standing. 1996) 75: “He should make a circle for himself and stand in it. Synopse. while I argue that it is more likely “that the human practitioner could mistake evil spirits for angels than that evil spirits could think that the adept was an angel” (Lesses. prayed every morning. afternoon.58 The text then specifies that he “sealed seven seals” at the time that the angel descended. Ritual Practices.makes sense that he would want to be protected against the destroyers who might change their semblance and appear to be angels. and in this way be able to attack him. The listing of these seals is more extensive than in the previous adjuration of Shaqadkhozyah: ’WRYS SSTYY: on my feet ’BG BGG: on my heart RYM TYP<: on my right arm ’WRYS TSY Y’H: on my left arm ’BYT TL BG ’R YYW DYW’L: on my neck ’WP ’K KY’R SS one. 420). and finally above the head.

before me Uriel. 1977) 784." Tarbiz 57 (1984) 43. a practice reminiscent of the prayer still said today for protection before sleep: “In the name of the Lord. written on metal or paper. and Gabriel at my left. 62 Ibid. may Michael be at my right hand. Mystical Prayer in Ancient Judaism: An Analysis of Ma>aseh Merkavah (TSJ 28. "It is not clear how exactly they (the seals) were made. but were they only kept in one’s mind. 44.”59 This section of Ma‘aseh Merkabah raises the question of how were these seals used."60 Meir Bar-Ilan interprets those passages that prescribe "sealing oneself" for protection at the time that angels descend as physically writing or engraving names or symbols on the limbs of the body."61 He points both to Jewish precedents for the writing of letters or symbols on the body as a sign that the person was a slave of God.” 49. and may the Great Seal be on my limbs. and were an inseparable part of his methods for the attaining of the divine vision. describe the names and dimensions of the limbs of the divine body. it’s apparent that they consisted of names. §569. translation according to Michael Swartz. Synopse.14 - Lesses02paper. pronounced aloud. Bar-Ilan says. “Magical Seals. 60 Philip Birnbaum. and I will sanctify Your great and holy name. "Magical Seals on the Body among Jews in the First Centuries of the Era.. Daily Prayer Book (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co. God of Israel.. ed. 61 Meir Bar-Ilan. Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck. in some places.doc . 37-42.will know that Your holiness is forever. 63 Bar-Ilan. it seems that these names are also incised or placed in some fashion on the parts of the body. which form part of the Hekhalot literature in some of their recensions.63 These names are of the same type as the seals mentioned up until now: assemblages of letters Schäfer. and to the same phenomenon in the magical literature. 59 11/18/02 10:29 AM . and above my head the Divine Presence. or perhaps even written on the body? First of all.62 The Shi‘ur Qomah texts. behind me Raphael. but it seems that different seals were engraved on the limbs of the praying mystic.. 1992) 240. and I will bless the holiness of Your name forever. the "sealing" may refer to chanting the phrases that refer to each limb.

with no explicit meaning. published in Martin Meyer and Richard Smith. Synopse. the names to be written on the head include the following "words": "ISEE IAO ITHI OUNE BRIDO LOTHION NEBOUTOSOUALETH. both those inscribed on the body and those held in the hands (see below)." This name includes the name of the God of Israel (IAO). which consist of strings of incomprehensible letters. The Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri and Gnostic ritual texts. and the writing of names on the limbs of the female model.15 - Lesses02paper. including her genitals. as with the seals on the body of the adept in Ma>aseh Merkabah. Ibid. MS. In this version. Munich 40. like the names to be sealed on the limbs of the adept in the Hekhalot text.. it says. and end with the divine head. A Coptic spell refers to "the seven holy vowels (?) which are tattooed on the chest of the father almighty. also provide pertinent parallels for the seals in the Hekhalot literature. §948. eds. For example. in this case permutations of the divine name: On his forehead are written seventy-two letters: YWHW HH YWH WYH H’ HY HW YH HH H’ YWH YWH WH WYHW HH YH H< HH YH YHW’ HW HW YHYY HYH WYH YHW H’ H’ HYH HYH WYH. the measurements of the body and the naming of its limbs begin with the feet.”64 The forehead is also covered with letters. The names. from her head to her feet. as well as a text from the Cairo Geniza. 67 In the light of this love-spell. In one version. which includes the phrase 64 Schäfer. §949. AEEIOUO" (Rylands 103.65 In this case. “And on his heart are written seventy names. This may serve as a model for the seals that the adept is to place on his limbs in order to protect him when the angels descend.66 The spell prescribes the making of a model of a man and a woman. are of the same type as found in the passage from Ma>aseh Merkabah quoted above. 66 PGM IV: 296-466.doc . The first example is found in a Greco-Egyptian sex spell for a woman to love a man.. Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual 65 11/18/02 10:29 AM . it seems reasonable to suppose that the names were engraved on the divine limbs. these names and letters are “written” (katuv) on the divine body.67 The second example is from a Genizah recipe for a dream-revelation.

Although Job was afflicted. but that Job will not be killed.72 Job then says that before the angel left he “sealed” Job. Job to being “sealed” by an angel may be illuminated by the protective seals of the Hekhalot literature. Job 6. Job 5:2-3: kai. Makkot 3:6. let us consider what it means for the daughters of Job “to live in the heavens.” When the first daughter. after which Job destroyed the temple the next night. 71 T. meta. and the angelic “sealing” may be the means through which he is protected from Satan.28. Power (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. 1a/15-1b/5. it is still not clear that "sealing" in the Hekhalot texts means an actual writing or engraving on the body. Early in the book. 73 T. winds the cord around herself. This motif also occurs in another Coptic spell for a good singing voice (London Oriental Manuscript 6794. it prescribes that divine names be written on the left hand of the one desiring the revelation. Job has a revelatory conversation with an angel about whether to destroy the idolatrous temple near him.16 - Lesses02paper. 280).69 Despite these parallels. Ancient Christian Magic. 68 Peter Schäfer and Shaul Shaked. Eventually Job will be restored to his possessions. ajpelqovnto ajp jejmou`. 69 Ibid. as it is in the Hekhalot adjurations. the Hekhalot texts never state explicitly that the names are written on the body.."who sits on the wheels of the Merkabah"68. 1994) 231).. Job 4:6-9. Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck. 11/18/02 10:29 AM . 70 Bar-Ilan refers to m. 5. K 1. Satan will afflict Job. Satan was not given permission to kill him.73 Perhaps this “sealing” is it for protection.doc . Magische Texte aus der Kairoer Geniza (3 vols.70 A reference in T.-S. Hemera. to. 72 T. fol. 1994-1999) I. fol. and will be raised up in the resurrection.. will receive a double payment. eds. 1b/2-3. according to the SP text.136: T.71 The angel tells him that if he destroys the temple. since unlike the passages from rabbinic literature that Bar-Ilan cites. sfragisqh`naiv me uJpo. tou` ajggevlou kai. or the passages from the Shi‘ur Qomah. Cords for Visionary Experience Returning to the Testament of Job.

and had her heart changed so that she no longer regarded worldly things. the cords permit the women to see things that others cannot see. Russell Spittler. then put her cord on. Job 50:1-2. since her heart also was changed. namely the angels who come for Job’s soul when he dies. as an amulet would. Van der Horst (“Images of Women. and they began to speak in the languages of the angels: “the angelic speech. they Cf. Job 47:11. Amaltheia’s Horn. sending up a hymn to God in accord with the hymnic style (uJmnologivan) of the angels. 1974) 82. 75 74 11/18/02 10:29 AM .” 103n28) translates “on her stélé. he gives his daughters each a musical instrument to play when the angels came: “When they took them [the instruments]. Job 48:2-3.”77 The hearts of the three women were changed from earthly to heavenly concerns. in order that you may wonder over the creatures of God.” p. if anyone wishes to know “The deed (poivhma) of the heavens (oujranw`n). put on her cord. and Janet Timbie. eds. Job 49:1-2. and enable them to have an ecstatic experience in which they speak in the tongues of angels and participate in the heavenly praise of God.” and the “dialect of the cherubim.17 - Lesses02paper.”76 The third sister. Harold Attridge. So. And as she spoke the hymns. In addition. And the one who further wishes to grasp the poetic rhythm of the “Paternal Splendor. she allowed “The Spirit” to be inscribed on her garment. which is a well-known rabbinic euphemism for God. 82). Montana: Scholars Press.” “dialect of the archons. Greek text according to Robert A. Testament of Job. gird yourselves with them before I die in order that you may be able to see those who are coming for my soul. Greek text according to Kraft.” The cords both protect the three women from evil. Testament of Job.” “dialect of those on high.75 Her sister. T.” will find it written down in the “Prayers of Amaltheia’s Horn.She took on another heart74 --no longer minded toward earthly things—but she spoke in the angelic speech (fwnh/`).” 77 T. The Testament of Job According to the SV Text (Missoula. “Images of Women.. And her mouth took on the dialect of the archons (diavlekton tw`n ajrcontwn) and glorified the deed (poivhma) of the exalted place (tovpou). and her mouth spoke in the dialect (dialevktw/) of those on high. Greek text according to Kraft. keeping aloof from earthly things. “Rise then. For she spoke in the dialect (dialevktw/) of the cherubim. 103) believes that tovpo here is equivalent to . Kraft.”78 When Job is about to die.” 103n27). Kasia. 78 T.” “the hymnic style of the angels. as is “Heaven. Van der Horst (“Images of Women. glorifying the Master of virtues by exhibiting their splendor.” he will be able to find it in the “Hymns of Kasia. 76 T.doc . 82. 1 Sam 10:9 for “another heart” (van der Horst.” because there are writings called “The Stélé of” (in the Nag Hammadi Library) and because the hymns of the other daughters are written in books as well.

. “Images of Women.18 - Lesses02paper. See Schäfer. T.81 The idea of the exaltation of a biblical figure to heaven is.” p. 105. Job 52:6-7. 11/18/02 10:29 AM . found in many pseudepigraphic texts.”80 In Pieter W. van der Horst’s opinion. What is interesting here as well is that the three women apparently remain on earth while being “heavenly minded”: their transformation occurs while they are still alive. as well as the Hekhalot texts (for example. . Dropsie 436. We meet here a Jewish notion. known also from 1 Cor. of course. 3 Enoch) but the case of three women attaining such a level is very rare. . Their heavenly status becomes still more evident by their newly acquired ability to speak in the languages of the angels. 81 Van der Horst. that the angels speak their own language and that the diverse classes of angels speak their own dialect or tongue. MS Munich 40 has (“language of light”). §637. in their own bodies. Oxford 1531 (Michael 9).saw the gleaming chariots which had come for his soul. to put it in a Pauline way. New York Jewish Theological Seminary of America 8128. which lacks only one letter from the divine name of four letters “by which He formed and established all and sealed with it all the work of 79 80 T. Nehuniah ben HaQanah also seems to remain on earth while his mind or soul travels to the hekhalot. according to MS. Job 52:9. such as 1 Enoch or the Apocalypse of Abraham.82 The adjuration of the Sar ha-Panim in the Hekhalot texts also mentions a special “language” that the angels understand: the “language of purity” (lashon taharah). the “changed heart” of the three women indicates that their whole being has been transmuted from an earthly into a heavenly one. and MS. finally ending with his name itself.84 In this adjuration. And they blessed and glorified God each one in her own distinctive dialect (dialevktw/). a progressively more powerful series of voces mysticae is used to adjure and call upon the Sar ha-Panim to do the will of the adjurer. . MS. .doc . §§225-228. “the language of YHWH” (lashon YHWH). 13.1.”79 They were the only ones to see the angels when they came: “certain others did not see. Synopse. 82 In Hekhalot Rabbati R.83 or as it is also referred to. . Synopse. Their ability to praise God in the language and in the way of the angels actually indicates that they have already ascended from the earth and that they have their politeuma in heaven. 83 Schäfer.

This “explanation” (perush) “translates. which uses a common euphemism for the Tetragrammaton: “language of YHWD. This first version consists of a seemingly random assortment of Hebrew letters. with yod hey”: YHWH YW HWH HW HW YHWH YH HYH YHWH YHWH YHWH HY WHYY HYW HYH YH HHW YW HY HWH YH YHWH YWH. which 84 Schäfer. Jewish Theological Seminary of America 8128.” 86 This name also appears in two forms. first as: ’SSMS QTMPTG ’WSYYGG BY’MSYT TMTNYYS ’TTZMN YYKYN PPGHW PHWZYY SSS HYY ’MSS ’NSY HWYY.His hands. It also has an “explanation in the language of purity. Synopse §638.” 85 This name appears in two versions. MS..” the doxology familiar from the response given by the people in the Temple when the priests recited the divine name of four letters. §638.19 - Lesses02paper. YHWH.” which the angels must understand because it is the language used to adjure them. The adjuration then goes on to adjure the angel by “the right arm of the Holy One. Yoma 3:8.” 85 Schäfer. is not like our ordinary human language. the first of which is: ’SS MQSTT MG MSSYY MNYQYY PYPG HWGWW HSS PSS YH S’MYNNSY’ QTW HWHS. 11/18/02 10:29 AM . MS.” or. Oxford 1531 (Michael 9) and Dropsie 436: . New York Jewish Theological Seminary of America 8128: . alternatively. with its “explanation in the language of purity. Jewish Theological Seminary of America 8128. 87 The “language of purity.doc . and by his faithful and desirable name. 87 m.” as it were. 86 Ibid. §637. 4:1. the name into the letters of the divine name. according to MS. according to MS. After the name appears. since it is composed solely of the four letters of the divine name. 6:2. “in the language of YHWH.88 One of the curious features of the Hekhalot literature is that it is filled with a wide variety of divine and angelic names. Synopse. many of them incomprehensible.” depending upon the manuscript: YHWH HH YH YH YWHYY HH YH YH YHWH HW YH YH YH HH WH YH HH YH WH. the text goes on to say: “blessed is the name of his glorious majesty forever. Munich 40 has . MS.

§219.are composed of a seemingly random string of Hebrew letters.20 - Lesses02paper. the Prince who stands at the left of the threshold with him.”89 It is dangerous to attempt to enter the hekhalot without possession of the seals.” and the reader is directed to these fictitious compositions to learn what the women spoke. This is what happens at the entrance to the first hekhal: R. and incantations. one of Totrosia’i YWY. 89 Synopse. Immediately Dehabi’el. where he must show three seals. like the Hekhalot hymns. the adept must show two seals at the entrance of each hekhal to the guardian angels standing at either side until he reaches the sixth hehkal. and Tofahi’el.doc . the Prince who stands to the left of the threshold with him — immediately they seize you. and Matafi’el. Curse Tablets. and then again two seals to pass into the last hekhal. and whether or not they are understandable to human beings. and who stands at the right of the threshold. and who stands at the right of the threshold. and Lesses. it may be that they are in fact comprehensible to human beings. as well as certain moral qualities and rabbinic learning. and show that of Severi’a to those who stand at the left. In Hekhalot Rabbati. Show that of Totrosia’i YWY to those who stand at the right. and one of Sevari’a Sar ha-Panim. and appointed over the first hekhal. the Prince who is chief of the entrance to the first hekhal. prayers. often combined with the four letters of the divine name. Ritual Practices to Gain Power. because the guardian angels are “armed and dangerous. Since two of Job’s daughters are also credited with the composition of hymns: the “Hymns of Kasia” and the “Prayers of Amaltheia’s Horn. Hotamot to ascend The Hekhalot ascent texts also prescribe the use of seals. Ishmael said. 11/18/02 10:29 AM . “When you come and stand at the entrance of the first hekhal. pp. as well as to the names written on many amulets. 9-10. 210-215. or they may be a combination of comprehensible and incomprehensible elements. pp. The Testament of Job does not specify what the languages of the angels are.” 88 For a longer discussion on this point. until they bring and transfer and carefully protect you to Tagari’el. the Prince who is the chief of the entrance of the second hekhal. one to your right and one to your left. see Gager. In this it bears distinct similarities to many of the incantations found in the Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri. take two seals in your two hands. 6.

. presence of Adonai Eloei almighty." 47.91 Bar-Ilan’s discussion of these passages seems to imply that these seals. our father who is in heaven . or a ring with something engraved on it. as the Hekhalot Zutarti text instructs.” Eventually the angels will transfer the adept to the “embrace of Shatqayyar YY God of Israel. who could destroy the Hekhalot practitioner as swiftly as any demon. Rabbi Nehuniah ben HaQanah describes the guardians of the sixth hekhal who destroy those who attempt to enter without permission. He says. on account of the seal of Adonai. but rather the angels themselves. and the fourteen amulets that are in my right hand. 92 Meir Bar-Ilan. that you may come to me at this place and become for me a patron. Listen to me! Come to me. the father.92 but the wording of the texts suggests that the seals are something that the adept must hold in his hands. Studies in Magical Amulets. so that you may listen to me this day and send me Gabriel. §228 refers to those who are unfit ( ).doc . as the Hekhalot Rabbati text implies. The incantation continues. 91 Schäfer.” from whom he can request that all the angels be bound to him to do anything he wants.alert against any unqualified seeker who tries to journey to the Merkabah. see Bonner. that he may come to me on 90 See Schäfer. the angel of righteousness.90 The Hekhalot ascent texts do not mention demons as a danger that the adept must confront. so that you may listen to me today. Synopse. good Gabriel. 93 For a discussion of what these rings might have looked like. §§415-419. 8-13. . 11/18/02 10:29 AM . a seal for each hand. must also be written on the body. "I glorify you. Synopse.21 - Lesses02paper.93 A Coptic adjuration for help from angels is suggestive in determining what is meant in the Hekhalot text. In this text. minister. The ascent account of Hekhalot Zutarti requires the adept to show to the guardian prince of each hekhal a "seal" (hotam) or "ring" (tab’at) on which a divine name is engraved: “You show to him the seal and ring upon which were engraved Shatqayyar YY God of Israel. like the ones previously discussed. §224. Synopse. "Magical Seals. Immediately Ragza’el YHWH seizes [him] in his hand and transfers him to Rahivaron YHWH. the adjurer refers to the "seal" and the fourteen "amulets" that he holds in his right hand. and help all the days of my life.

and two to those in the seventh hekhal. 174-188. Israel: Bar-Ilan University Press. This adjuration also gives additional evidence for the belief that names were written on the body of 11/18/02 10:29 AM . the ascent text of Hekhalot Rabbati requires the adept to show two seals to the angels in the first five hekhalot. Magic and Folklore in Rabbinic Literature (Ramat-Gan. vol. In contrast with the careful distinctions that modern scholars often make between “magic” and “mysticism.account of this seal of the father almighty that is in my right hand. Conclusions Visions of God or the angels do not “just happen” for Job’s daughters or the rabbinic heroes of the Hekhalot literature. or Rabbi Akiba to see the angels or journey to the Merkabah also protect them against evil forces who might prevent them from gaining their goals." in idem..22 - Lesses02paper. making a total of fifteen different seals.” the ancient writers and practitioners seem to understand these uses as existing along a continuum.doc . Based on this parallel and the wording in Hekhalot Rabbati and Hekhalot Zutarti. Daniel Sperber discussed its relation to rabbinic literature in "Some Rabbinic Themes in Magical Papyri. They do not occur from meditation or contemplation alone. 7. This adjuration has a remarkable number of parallels to the Hekhalot adjurations and deserves a separate discussion. Jewish Symbols. The same ritual objects that enable Job’s daughters. or pieces of paper) with names of God and the Sar ha-Panim written on them. that you may stand at my right and help me. as in other forms of visionary mysticism. They occur because of the use of powerful amulets and seals. 136-137."94 Similarly. And these same objects were used for healing from disease or protecting people from possession by evil spirits and demons. or for those who might use the Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri. gems placed in rings. rather than the names being written on the hands of the adept who would ascend to the Merkabah. Rabbi Ishmael. within a ritual framework that the Hekhalot literature and the Greco-Egyptian papyri make obvious. 94 Meyer and Smith. It was also extensively discussed by Goodenough. it seems likely that the seals in this case refer to physical objects (metal plates. three to those in the sixth hekhal. Ancient Christian Magic. 1994) 107-110. 2.

In the same way. Instead.” From a three-way comparison of the Testament of Job. 141). the seals that the Hekhalot practitioner “put on” himself in Ma’aseh Merkabah were part of what enabled him to adjure the angels. The divine names are an integral part of Hekhalot rituals for ascent or adjuration. as well as on almost every amulet from late antiquity. and the seal that is in the bosom of the father. perhaps. The power of the cords was both protective and visionary. Being protected from Satan by wearing the cords was part of what enabled them to speak the languages of the angels and see them descending to take their father’s soul to heaven. Similar “names” are used by the person who would journey through the Hekhalot to seek the vision of God and to participate in the heavenly praise of the angels and the divine throne. via Job—therefore their dual use was divinely sanctioned. otherwise. by protecting him from the possible attacks of evil spirits. due to the protection already afforded by the angelic guardians of the hekhalot. they do protect him during the “descent. and the Greco-Egyptian ritual papyri. it is apparent how alike the Hekhalot literature and the GrecoEgyptian papyri are in their use of unintelligible divine names (voces mysticae) for ritual purposes. by the right hand of the father. In this way. he will be struck down by the guardian angels. Gabriel.23 - Lesses02paper. The one who “descends” to the Merkabah does not seem to need the protection of seals against the “destroyers. he needs the seals to prove that he belongs in the world of the hekhalot.doc . the Hekhalot literature. The Testament of Job does not mention these names on the phylakterion that the women get from their father. And the way that he adjured the angels was by making use of “names” that are very similar to the “names” that the seals consisted of. perhaps because it stems from a period before that when the names the deity: "I invoke you. and appear in almost all of the rituals prescribed in the papyri.Let us examine the relationship between these two types of uses more closely. The cords that Job’s daughters received came to them from God.” perhaps because he is in a realm where they cannot enter. and these amulets that are written on the bosom of the father" (Ancient Christian Magic. 11/18/02 10:29 AM .

24 - Lesses02paper.doc . Job’s daughters and the pseudonymous rabbis of the Hekhalot literature both acquire their knowledge of these languages through the intermediary of the sacred cords or the protective and visionary seals. In any case. in the dialects of the angelic languages that the daughters of Job speak.were in widespread ritual use. It is also possible that divine names are referred to more obliquely. 11/18/02 10:29 AM . knowledge of the languages of the angels is a crucial sign that one has achieved a level of divine understanding that other human beings do not possess. for the Hekhalot texts and the Testament of Job.

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