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By A. Marmorstein, Jews' College, London. 

The famous Stichometry of Nicephorus mentions 
along with the ■tyevSeiriypacfKi of Baruch, Habakkuk, and 
Daniel, one of Ezekiel also. 1 There was, therefore, known 
a Pseudepigraph attributed to Ezekiel the prophet. Appa- 
rently the traces of such a book are entirely lost. Yet 
from the references thereto given by the Rabbis we know 
that as late as the eleventh and twelfth centuries there 
was a Baraita called Maaseh Merkabah dealing with the 
Chariot Visions of Ezekiel. 2 In a manuscript of the British 
Museum I have discovered a fragment (Or. No. 5559, D, 
p. 18 A and B) which contains, as the title says, the last 
page of a writing called The Visions of Ezekiel ben Buzzi, 
the priest. 

Unfortunately only thirty-four lines are preserved, nine- 
teen lines on the recto, fifteen (including the postscript) on 
the verso. The writing is ancient, square Hebrew, of the 
tenth or the eleventh century. The contents of the fragment 
leave no room for the slightest doubt that the Visions 
of Ezekiel belong to the Pseudepigrapha. The question 
arises whether the book was pre-talmudic, and was conse- 

1 See Nicephori Opuscula, Lips., 1880, pp. 132-5; Schflrer, Geschichte des 
judischen Volkes 4 , II, 263 ; Diestel, Geschichte des Alten Testaments in der 
christlichen Kirche, p. 20 ; Orientalistische Literatur-Zeitung, XV, 254 ; and 
Journal of Theological Studies, XV, 236-9. 

2 Cf. Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vortr'dge, p. 166 ; add there t2p?H vlHtf, ed. 
Buber, nos. 17 and 20. 

3 6 7 B b 2 


quently used as a source by the Rabbis, or belonged to the 
writings of the mystics of the gaonic period. The descrip- 
tion of the various heavens, as the D'pnc, [130, nmj, and of 
the TQ3n ND3, their distances and purpose, the functions 
of the chariot, and the dwelling-place of God, the throne of 
glory, are all familiar subjects in kindred literature, as we 
shall see in due course. 

I begin by giving the text with a translation. Then 
I shall proceed to discuss the chief features of the Visions 
compared with similar subjects in Greek literature, in the 
O.T. Pseudepigrapha, and in the Rabbinical sources. 
Before dealing with the last lines of our fragment, we shall 
have to pay attention to the date of the Kaddish prayer, 
which shows undoubted resemblances to the expressions 
used by our author. Finally, we may attempt to settle the 
date of the composition of the fragment. 

[Or. British Museum, No. 5559, D, p. 18 A.] [recto] 

vnmrb i-m 331 mc ans ta msno 1 

ijn D^pntr pi s 'm «|]m ana by 33-w 

bv voiy J3i 4 rw mso con i^no pso 

?» e» nei .rw niND E>»n "\br\a p3D 

[j]nujnis 5 nn»i to nnsiNi ibv nmw 5 

3 2 Sam. 22. 11, cp. Pirke derabbi Eliezer, chap. 4 (according to a Genizah 
Fragment, copied by the present writer in Cambridge, read : D^DEO NintJO 

e]jn 3TD by 33-vi 'w bp 3ro i>y asn). 

4 The same number and the same measure is mentioned Cant. r. 6. 14 : 
rUC j?n "]bnC D^n yy W. Cp. Agadath Shir Hashiritn, ed. Schechter, 
p. 13, 1. 307 ; on the subject see now my Midrash Haserot we Yeserot (London, 
1917), p. 10, note 39. 

6 nnD occurs here and in line 11 ; cp. Job 6. 21. 


6 :D l, pnv bv pat? poi twi bv 

K>»n "|S"io many ns?i \aa \o 

niND iron ^no vaiy pi rw niND 

nmixi nana na ?u b* noi .jw 

D^pns bv niotwi Di^cr nrnnm :6c 10 

nnoi mtroni> Tny writ? nion nm 

.d^tx Sc pat? poi nw> ta puma 

[*ib]'we> .not? ay ?nDt? noi .naina naanoi 

7 [^>p]ay i>y aan « nan nnxo Ntro 

l5»no maa NDa nyi many pi 15 

pen n^no i»aiy pi rue nine con 

niDi s ?manya ia w noi .nit? hind 

nnnoi [*iD]t«E> nvn n '■533 nvpoi nrnn 

nb ?[ni] . .naanoi "ni-ifc" an'Bja ypin 

B [verso] 

cacS tv!> n'apm nynat? nama 1 
n:n 'a irya^ "ion n^y mown bz tin 
noi Yui vmaano nsiDai Nia» twa * 
'em ni>yD^ myd k>k niaano inec 
nyacn n'ypn nyaty Toa nrnn 5 
-pan* napii po ni>yoh .pana 
hjjvi nonrvi nsann nawi 
enpm .-6yrm Ktwm mnm 
D'atan »a^o ^ot nw D^pn'1 
jdni i»N woi>y Sa n«p Kin imn 10 

dd nyi n^D hvj 
p iwptn' RtoNn ip : 'bo 
d jnbn nra 
d p"^ nat 
d >»n5n3i) , s 

6 According to Pirke derabbi Eliezer, chap. 3 : D2>D (IBJfil TUB PI1"I 

e6ij6 troon* dwji Dim iipi man nnxiKi aiwn ni-wiN. 

7 Isa. 19. 1. 8 Ezek. 1. 23. 
s Isa. 66. 15. 10 Prov. 10. 7. 

37° the jewish quarterly review 


(i) The Chariot of the Cherub whereon He rides and 

descends to the lower (heavens or regions), (a) And He 

rode upon the Cherub and didjly. 11 And from the Sehakim 

(3) to the Makon is a journey of five hundred years, and 

likewise the dimension of (4) the Makon is a journey of five 

hundred years. And what is therein? (5) (Therein are) 

the treasuries of snow, the treasuries of hail, the dread of 

the punishment (6) of the wicked and the reward of the 

righteous. (7) From the Makon up to the Arabot is a 

journey of five (8) hundred years, likewise its dimension is 

a journey of five hundred years. And what is therein? 

The treasuries of blessing and the treasuries of snow, the 

treasuries of peace, and the souls of the righteous and the 

spirit of the souls which He will bring into existence in 

the future, and the dread of the punishment of the wicked 

and the reward of the righteous. And the Chariot is therein. 

And what is its name ? 3j> (cloud) is its name, as it is said : 

The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift 

cloud™ And from the Arabot up to the throne of Glory 

there is a journey of five hundred years ; its dimension is 

likewise a journey of five hundred years. And what is 

there in the Arabot? The hoofs of the living creatures 

and a part of the wings of the living creatures, as it is said : 

And under the firmament were the wings straight } z And 

the Chariot (is suspended?) therein. For when the Holy 

One, blessed be He, will descend in order to judge all the 

nations, concerning which it is said through Isaiah: For 

behold the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots 

like a whirlwinds And what is its name ? The Chariots 

11 2 Sam. 22. 11. 12 Isa. 19. 1. w Ezek. 1. 23. 

14 Isa. 66. 15. 


of fire and storm. Higher up are the wings of the living 
creatures, corresponding to the seven heavens and the seven 
Cherubim. Higher than these is the Holy One, blessed 
be He. Blessed be, and praised, and honoured, and 
exalted, and magnified, and glorified, and extolled, and 
lauded, and sanctified, and adored the name of the King, 
of the King of Kings, blessed be He, who exists for ever, 
Amen and Amen, Nezah, Selah, for ever. Finished are 
the Visions of Ezekiel, the son of Buzzi, the priest. The 
memory of the righteous is blessed.™ 

The fragment deals with the last three of the seven 
heavens. They are Cpnw, poo and nmj ; then we have the 
throne of Glory. In the rabbinical sources the order of 
the seven heavens is as follows: 1. p7"i, 2. Vpl, 3. D'pnt?, 
4. •nr, 5. JWO, 6. jwd, and 7. rnaiy (b. Hagigah 12b, 
R. Simon ben Lakish, third century). In the Pirke 
Rabbenu Hakadosh the order is : CKWn , JXT DW p pjrpn 'r 
nuns Jiyoi fU»1 ^UT D'pns?. 16 We infer that the order in the 
Visions must have been different from that mentioned in 
the talmudic sources. The idea of seven heavens is, of 
course, current in the rabbinical literature. Even in Greek 
prayers, we are taught, generally seven heavens are en- 
treated. 17 The seven heavens are described in 3 Baruch 2 ff. 
and in Ascensio Isaiae 6-1 1. 18 Paul speaks of three 

15 Prov. 10. 7. 

16 See ed. Grunhut, p. 79, VII, 13. Zohar (II, 287) has the order: 
nU">S, ?UD, PSB, i'UT, D»pnt5>, S'pl, pb*l; the same enumeration is to 
be found in M. Psalms, ed. Buber, p. 471 (R. Eleazar), Aboth of R. Nathan, 
XXXVII, 9 (R. Meir). A similar order to that in Pirke we find in Lev. 
r. 29, 9 ; cp. Pesikta, ed. Buber, p. 154 b. The Midrash on the Decalogue 
shows the order represented by Zohar, M. Psalms, Aboth of R. N. 

17 See Fritz Pradel, Griechische Gebete, pp. 66 ff., and the literature given 

18 See, further, Morfill and Charles, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, 
1896, pp. xxx-xlvii. 


heavens. 19 Bousset 20 derives the whole conception from 
Babylonian ways of thought. In rabbinical sources we 
find the subject discussed in Genesis rabba 19 c, Num. 
rabba 3. 8 (R. Levi), Lev. rabba 29. 9, Pesikta Rab, ed. 
Friedmann, p. 18 b; Pirke de rabbi Eliezer.41; 21 Otiot of 
R. Akiba (ed. Jellinek, Beth Hamidrash, III, p. 46) ; 
Bereshit rabbati of R. Moses Hadarshan. 22 

The measures given between the heavens is also to be 
found in Greek philosophy, in the Pseudepigrapha, and in 
the rabbinical sources. The teaching that to travel from 
earth to heaven takes five hundred years is, as Peritz has 
demonstrated, identical with Plato's reckoning of the world 
year. 23 The distance from the earth to the heaven is as 
great as its thickness, says 3 Baruch 2. 5, a point which 
agrees remarkably with our Visions of Ezekiel and the 
sayings of the Rabbis to be mentioned hereafter. The 
Ascension of Isaiah, however, held that the height from 
the third to the fourth heaven was greater than from the 
earth to the firmament. 24 Yet the Ascension teaches that 
the height of the second heaven is the same as from the 
heaven to the earth. 25 In the Rabbinical literature it is 
generally assumed that the journey from heaven to earth, 

19 See 2 Cor. 12. 2; cp. GfrOrer, Das Jahrhundert des Heils, II, p. 38. 
In Rabbinical sources we read also of two heavens, Rab (Deut. r. 2. 32), 
R. Judah (b. Hag. 12 b), Rabbanan (Midr. Psalms, ed. Buber, 471). 

80 Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, p. 25. See, however, Zimmern, Keilin- 
schriften und Altes Test. 3 , p. 615 ; P. Jensen, Kosmologie, pp. 163 ff. ; Budge, 
Book of the Dead, chaps. 144-7, Coptic Apocrypha, p. lxiii. 

21 Cp. Hildesheimer, Halachot Gedolot, p. 5. 

22 See Zunz, Gottesd. Vort., p. 288 ; cp. Hammagid, XXII, p. 70. 

23 See Zeller, Geschichte der Philosophic, II, pp. 52, 521, n. 3 ; and Monats- 
schriftfur die Gesch. und Wissenschaft des Judent., XXXVI (1887), p. 71. 

24 Chap. XXXIII, 28, ed. Charles, p. 53. 

25 Chap. VII, 18, I.e., p. 50. 


or vice versa, takes five hundred years ; likewise from one 
heaven to another, and the thickness of each heaven has 
the same size. 26 Rabban Gamaliel held that the journey 
from the earth to the highest heaven takes 3,500 (500 x 7) 
years. 27 

We must also consider that the purpose served by the 
various heavens as mentioned in our text almost agrees 
with the Talmud. The Makon holds the treasuries of 
snow and hail, punishment and reward. In the Talmud we 
read : d^jk n"i>yi a»jn abbs rp^yi toi hs nnviN nc pao 
■nop!*? myci mpoi nsiD bv rrnrn (b. Hagigah 13 b). We 
see that the talmudic report adds a few things, and omits 
the reference to punishment and reward, which is repeated 
in the fragment, as being preserved in the Arabot also. In 
the Arabot there are, according to the Visions, besides the 
two last-mentioned things the treasuries of blessing, the 
treasuries of snow and peace, the souls of the righteous, 
the spirits of the souls of the generations destined to come 
into existence. The Talmud adds : justice, righteousness, 
charity, the treasures of life and peace and blessing, the 
souls of the pious, the spirits of the souls of the future 
generations, and the dew of resurrection (b. Hagigah 13 b). 
Consequently the Talmud has five things more than our 
fragment. It is strange that )bw rmviK occur twice. In 
the Arabot there are the hoofs of the living creatures and 
parts of the wings. 

26 Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, b. Hagigah 13 a; b. Pes. 94 a ; Bacher, 
Die Agada der Tannailen, I, p. 41, doubts whether the authorship is genuine ; 
pal. Berakot 2 c, line 63, cp. Jalkuf II, 337 ; Gen. rabba, chap. 6, ed. Theodor, 
p. 45, and parallels ; add Midrash Konen 1 c and Qalir's poem "ICK WIT 
ND3 njQID rUD ' Mahzor to New- Year ', ed. Heidenheim, p. 79 a. 

27 Jalkut II, no. 657 ; cp. Herzfeld, Geschichie II, p. 420, where 850 is 
to be corrected accordingly. 


Before proceeding to deal with the last words of our 
fragment, we shall consider the question whether the 
Visions are dependent on the Talmud, or were the source 
used by the Rabbis of the third and fourth centuries, who 
otherwise borrowed these expressions from the Pseud- 
epigrapha. The statements concerning the seven heavens, 
and their contents, as well as the measures given in the 
Talmud, make the impression that we have in our text 
quotations from some other sources, which had more 
material than is mentioned in our text. That our fragment 
neither copied nor altered the talmudical source is fairly- 
obvious. One has only to compare it with the Midrash 
Konen, a product of the Mystics of the gaonic period, 
where the order of the heavens and their names are of 
talmudical origin (J133^ TIN, Venice ed., p. 8 a). It is not 
likely that a post-talmudic writer would alter the names 
and the order of the seven heavens and disagree in such 
a matter with the talmudic tradition. It is, therefore, likely 
that the teachers of the Talmud used the Visions. Yet it 
is another question whether they used it in the form as it is 
now before us. There are a few points which support the 
view that the Visions were written in the early gaonic time. 
The introduction of biblical passages is the first to be 
considered. Twice we have HDME> (11. 13 and 18). That 
is the usual way of introducing Bible passages in the 
Mishnab 28 and in the New Testament (ippidrj, eiperai, 
Kara to dprjuevov). 2 * The second is : rW 1 "iok nvj? (1. 22). 
We shall adduce merely a few instances from our collection 
to show the manner of quotations in the later Midrashim 

28 See Bacher, Terminologie, I, p. 6. 

29 See Georg Aicher, Das Alte Testament in der Mischna, Freiburg i. B., 
1906, p. 41. 


(between 600 and 100c). Tanh. ed. Frankfurt a. Oder, p. 1 3 b , 

22* nw -i»k pi, p. 3 b *icn ntro pi, p. 27 a *idik 'pn pi 
vwi^, p. 19 a, 23 b ion no^ci, p. 32* nos iwi, p. 23 a 
in -ion la'B^, p. 38 a vtw "nfoy aniBO pi, p. 40 a nycac? 
Iff -|DNK»; Cant, rabba 1. 65, ^ptrr "f bv TOW Kim, 2, 4. 
"""N 3> 3- 4> 17 ; Agadath Shir Hashirirn, ed. Schechter, 
p. 31, 1. 876: ^Nprrv ION pi ; Ruth rabba 5, 6, inw now ; 
p. 4, VWT nette> iy ; Nistarot of R. Simon ben Johai, 13 xi'l 
IDS tfajn irrw* (Jellinek, III, p. 78) ; Otot Hamashiah 
(?yf\ np3N, p. 5 b ). B«M fN 13 N1J "IDN1 rvw Najna jdt mix ^v 
and wcva ID tue», p. 6 b . ifiata ':b>, and a»na iwroi, further 
ywn 'it? no o»pnD Dnai. 

Karaite authorities generally introduce the passage with 
the name of the biblical author. 30 Therefore one would be 
inclined to see in this way of introducing Bible passages 
rather a sign of late origin. In any case the method of 
introducing biblical passages by giving the name of biblical 
personages or authors is more common in later Midrashim 
(from 600 to 1000) than in earlier ones, although they occur, 
e.g. in the Mekilta to Exod. 7. 29. 31 

There is, moreover, another reason which supports the 
assigning of our fragment in the period of the Mystics of 
the gaonic age. The heaping up of expressions for praise 
and blessing is a familiar feature in the prayers which have 
come down to us from the Mystics, whom we call the 
Yorde Merkabah, the descenders of the Merkabah. Their 
influence upon the Jewish liturgy has been investigated by 
Ph. Bloch. 32 Bloch has recognized the relation between 

30 See pen m'i'Q, p. vi c'; Sahl ben Mazliah in Pinsker, p"6, pp. 31, 

34,36; one* nna», p. i 9 a. 

31 See further on the subject, Ginzberg, MGIVJ. (1914), 39, v. also 
Buchler, JQR., N. S., Ill, p. 469. 

32 MGIVJ., 1893, pp. 262 ff. 


the prayers and the heaping up of phrases in the mystic 
books. D. de Sola Pool comes to the conclusion that 
we are justified in seeking the original of this paragraph 
(of the Kaddish) among the mystics, most probably 
among those who followed and carried on the traditions 
of the Old Essenes, the predecessors of the gaonic Yorde 
MerkabahP That is in so far justified, as we see that the 
piling up of synonyms of praise was on the one hand really 
practised, as the instances of the talmudic sources prove, 
and on the other hand was strongly criticized by authorities 
of the third century. Yet Pool has not removed Bloch's 
very serious difficulties, which consist in the fact that 
notwithstanding R. Johanan's strong statement the heaping 
up of synonyms of praise found its place in the prayer 
book and official service, in the Kaddish, in the Nishmat 
prayer, and in the Al-hakkol. In the Kaddish there are 8, 
in Nishmat, Al-hakkol, and in the Haggadah there are 9, 
in our fragment 10, and finally in the Hekalot 1 1 synonyms 
of praise, the order being, as the present table shows, the 
following : 

I- h 2, 3. 4, 5. 6 > 7, 8 > 9, J o. 

II. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7. 6 > 8 . IO - 
HI- -, -, 2. 3. 4. 6, 1, 8, 10. 
IV. 5. 9, 2 » 3. 4. 7> 8 ~> 6 > IO - 

V. -, -, 2, 3, 4, 6, 1, 8, 10. 

VI a 1,6, 4, 7,3, 1,2,5,8,-, 10. 

VI b. -, 6, 1, 2, 8, 5, 9, 4, 3, 7, 10, 

33 See Pool, The Old Jewish-Aramaic Prayer, Leipzig, 1909, p. 57 ; cp. 
already K. Kohler, MGWJ. (1893), 490. 

Frag. Kaddish Nishmat Al-hakkol 34 M.Pesahim 35 Hekalot 3 * 

I. ^'l3n , 

2. rone* 

3. -iks;v 

4. Donn» 

5. Ham 

6. vinrv 

7. new 

8. rfem* 

9. enprv 
10. D^prv 












ixb nantrnn 




harm iooni> 



Only 3 and 5 agree entirely, 1 and 2 would have the 
same number if we add enpn , Snjrv of the first part of 
the Kaddish, though the order would be 5, 9, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 
6, 8, 10. Then, if we substitute V?nm with D^pm and add 
•parv in 4, in that case 2 and 4 would be identical and 
nearest to 1. Our fragment teaches us that all this heaping 
up of synonyms goes back to one and the same formula ; 
furthermore, we learn that both Bloch and Pool were 
mistaken in saying that we must not translate these two 
Itpaels as pure passives (' may His great name be magni- 
fied and sanctified ', MG WJ. t 1893, p. 264, and Pool, p. 29), 
for they are exactly like the seven praises TWl'» as the 
context presupposes. 

All these comparisons show that this method was used 
by the Mystics, and by their work and agitation these 
prayers were introduced in the Jewish prayer book. It 
is, therefore, not improbable that the Visions, in the form 
as they present themselves to us in the fragment, were 

34 Maseket Soferim XIV, 13. 

x, 5 . 

36 Ed. Jellinek, p. 103. 


written down in the early gaonic period, in the time of the 
Yorde Merkabah. This view is supported by a tradition 
handed down by the Gaon Amram, who says that the seven 
praises of the Kaddish correspond to the seven heavens 
(s. rroon, p. n b ). 37 The original, of course, may have 
been the source of the talmudic utterances on the subject 
of the Merkabah in the third century. 

87 DVjn t Hi mw yyj t CHf>3 tW Hbit. Cp. SederR. Amram 4 a. 
This fact might explain wherefore the Kaddish became the prayer of