The Apocalypse Of Adam Essay

2361 words - 9 pages


     "He received glory and power there. / And thus he came upon the water." This refrain is a common motif throughout the most analyzed section of The Apocalypse of Adam. This section is that of the 13 kingdoms, in which each kingdom explains where the illuminator came from. Each ends with a common form of the refrain above. The meaning of these 13 kingdoms will be discussed later. In this paper, many different aspects of The Apocalypse of Adam will be looked at in an attempt to better understand the implications this text has for its readers. This text is the fifth and last tractate in Nag Hammadi Codex V. The Nag Hammadi library was found in August 1945 in Egypt. When looked at in comparison with other texts found, The Apocalypse of Adam more closely follows the traditions of Jewish apocalyptic literature (Parrott, 67). There has been much debate about the effect of redactors on this text, so there has been a claim that the 13 kingdoms section was added in later by an editor (ibid). The text recovered is in Coptic, the common language around Nag Hammadi, Egypt at that time. However, much of the text is not readable, with tops or bottoms of pages missing. Therefore, there has been a lot of reconstruction of the text, but there are still places in which lacunae have been inserted because it is not clear what the author intended to say. The text can be broken down into three sections that are identifiable by a change in topic. The first section ([67],22-[76],7) talks about a special race of men that come "from the knowledge of the great eons and the angels" (Hedrick, 29). This part also discusses their "conflict" with god. God then tries to wipe them out, and their survival is ensured by "divine intervention" (ibid). The second section ([76],8-[83],7) of The Apocalypse of Adam "describes a conflict between the illuminator and the archon (god) of the powers" (ibid). The illuminator completes several signs and miracles. This bewilders the archon, who proceeds, with his powers, to physically oppress the illuminator. The archon asks about the error that broke up their well-established relationship. What follows is the series of 13 stories (mentioned earlier) that attempt to explain the origin of the illuminator (ibid). The third section is more difficult to explain because it contains "divergent motifs" (ibid). An unspecified group recognizes the righteousness of a special race. They also admit to their own unrighteousness. There is then a denouncement of those who have desecrated the "water of life" (Hedrick, 30). The final part of this text portrays the faithfulness of those who comprehend the eternal god (ibid).

 

Author(s) of the Text

There has been much scholarly debate about the authors of this text. Although the actual author is unknown, many scholars have attempted to describe characteristics of the author. Douglas Parrott makes the assertion that the author was probably related to the Ur-Mandaeans who possibly could have been...

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