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Beyond Judaisms: Meṭ aṭ ron and the Divine Polymorphy of Ancient Judaism

D. Boyarin / Journal for the Study of Judaism 41 (2010) 323-365
about a belief in (and perhaps cult of ) a second divine person within, or very
close to, so-called “orthodox” rabbinic circles long after the advent of Christian-
ity. Part of the evidence for this very cult will come from efforts at its suppression
on the part of rabbinic texts. I believe, moreover, that a reasonable chain of infer-
ence links this late cult figure back through the late-antique Book of 3 Enoch to
the Enoch of the first-century Parables of Enoch—also known in the scholarly lit-
erature as the Similitudes of Enoch—and thus to the Son of Man of that text and
further back to the One Like a Son of Man of Daniel 7.
Ancient Judaism, Judaisms, Meṭaṭron, Son of Man, Talmud, 3 Enoch
Ruth Stein, in memoriam
“Two Powers in Heaven” as the Older Orthodoxy
When Alan Segal, three decades ago in his landmark book, Two Powers
in Heaven, wrote about the eponymous alleged heresy, he treated it as a
phenomenon external to rabbinic Judaism and “reported” on in rabbinic
texts: “Not unexpectedly, the sources showed that some mysticism and
apocalypticism, as well as Christianity and gnosticism, were seen as ‘two
powers’ heretics by the rabbis,” and, “it was one of the central issues over
which the two religions separated.” His project then was the reconstruc-
tion of the “development of the heresy.”2 For him, “the problem is to
2) A. F. Segal, Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports About Christianity and
Gnosticism (SJLA 25; Leiden: Brill, 1977), ix. In addition to Segal’s work, parts of this
question, or rather various of the questions that go to make up this synthetic form of the
question have been treated in M. Idel, “Enoch is Meṭaṭron,” Immanuel 24/25 (1990):
220-40; idem, “Meṭaṭron: Notes Towards the Development of Myth in Judaism,” in Eshel
Beer-Sheva: Occasional Publications in Jewish Studies (Beersheva: Ben-Gurion University of
the Negev Press, 1996), 29-44 [Hebrew]; idem, Ben: Sonship and Jewish Mysticism (Kogod
Library of Judaic Studies; London: Continuum, 2007); N. Deutsch, Guardians of the
Gate: Angelic Vice Regency in Late Antiquity (BSJS 22; Leiden: Brill, 1999); P. S. Alexander,
“he Historical Setting of the Hebrew Book of Enoch,” JJS 28 (1977): 156-80; idem,
“3 Enoch and the Talmud,” JSJ 18 (1987): 40-68; C. Morray-Jones, “Hekhalot Literature
and Talmudic Tradition: Alexander’s hree Test Cases,” JSJ 22 (1991): 1-39; C. Rowland
and C. R. Morray-Jones, he Mystery of God: Early Jewish Mysticism and the New Testament
(CRINT 3.12; Leiden: Brill, 2009); G. G. Stroumsa, “Form(s) of God: Some Notes on
Meṭaṭron and Christ: For Shlomo Pines,” HTR 76 (1983): 269-88; A. A. Orlov, he
Enoch-Meṭaṭron Tradition (TSAJ 107; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), inter multa alia.
hese and other works, cited and uncited, have all played a role in the synthesis
hypothesized here.