Apocalypse of Elijah

The Apocalypse of Elijah purports to be a revelation given to Elijah by an angel.

The Apocalypse of Elijah is an anonymous apocryphal work presenting itself as a revelation given by an angel. Two versions are known today, a Coptic Christian fragmentary version and a Hebrew Jewish version. The title derives from mentions of Elijah within the text, although there is no other reason to assume that he is meant to be the author.

Dating and provenance

This apocalypse is mentioned in the Apostolic Constitutions, the List of the Sixty Books, the Synopsis of Pseudo-Athanasius, the Stichometry of Nicephorus, and the Armenian list of Mechithar. Origen, Ambrosiaster, and Euthalius ascribe I Cor. 2:9 to it:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

If they are right, the apocalypse is pre-Pauline. The peculiar form in which this quotation appears in Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus x. 94, and the Apostolic Constitutions vii. 32, shows that both have the same source, probably this apocalypse.

Epiphanius[1] ascribes to this work Eph. 5:14:

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

The Jewish version of the Apocalypse of Elijah was published by Adolf Jellinek[2] and Moses Buttenwieser in 1897. Theodor Zahn[3] assigns this apocalypse to the 2nd century A.D.[4] but other scholars reject such an early date.[5]

The two extant versions are thought to be derived from the same original, which would be the one quoted by Paul. The Coptic version has been Christianized and the Hebrew version abridged.


The Christian version is essentially a redaction of five originally separate works:


  1. Haer. xlii., ed. Oehler, vol. ii. 678.
  2. Bet ha-Midrasch, 1855, iii. 65-68.
  3. Gesch. des N. T. Kanons, ii. 801-810
  4. See Emil Schürer, iii. 267-271
  5. http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/apocelijah.html

External links

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