This series is cross-posted with the permission of Book of Mormon Central
from their website at Pearl of Great Price Central
This Essay relates the end of the end for the wicked, and the beginning of the beginning for the people of God who start to lay the foundation of Zion. Similar events are well-attested in the ancient Enoch literature.
“The Earth Trembled and the Mountains Fled”
The Book of Moses records that when Enoch had finished prophesying to the people, “the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, … and the rivers of water turned out of their course.” The pattern whereby the voice of warning is immediately followed by the voice of the elements is also described in Doctrine and Covenants 88:89–90:
For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, … and also the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
In a previous Essay, we described ancient and modern witnesses to Enoch’s turning of rivers “out of their course.” In this section, we will describe similar ancient witnesses to the shattering seismic events that came “according to [the] command” of Enoch.
Whereas most of the prophecies of destruction in 1 Enoch describe events of the “latter days,” its Epistle of Enoch is also addressed to the “double audience” of Enoch’s living posterity, called his “sons.” Echoing the themes of Moses 6:46–47, Enoch reminds the sinners that their actions are recorded in a heavenly book of remembrance, telling them that “from the angels inquiry will be made into your deeds in heaven.” Then, Enoch asks them:
When [the Most High] hurls against you the flood of the fire of your burning,
where will you flee and be saved?
And when he utters his voice against you with a mighty sound,
will you not be shaken and frightened?
The heavens and all the luminaries will be shaken with great fear;
and all the earth will be shaken and will tremble and be thrown into confusion.
All the angels will fulfill what was commanded them;
and all the sons of earth will seek to hide themselves from the presence of the Great Glory,
and they will be shaken and tremble.
And you, sinners, will be cursed forever;
You will have no peace.
Note that the passage from the Epistle cited above not only echoes the “trembling of the earth” in Moses 7:13 but also the shaking of the heavens in Moses 7:61. The shaking and trembling of the elements reverberates sympathetically to the shaking and trembling of the wicked, an ancient motif found in the Book of Moses that we have discussed in a previous Essay. The “curse upon all people that fought against God” in Moses 7:15 is consistent with the declaration in the Epistle that the sinners “will be cursed forever.”
Pouring Out and Drawing Back of the Waters
Hugh Nibley has summarized Jewish traditions that tell of the perturbation of the waters of the earth before and after Enoch’s time:
The really spectacular show in the Enoch literature is the behavior of the seas. Like the alternating drought and flood from the skies, there is either too much sea or not enough. Before “the floods came and swallowed them up,” the sea first drew back in places, leaving its coastal beds high and dry in anticipation of the great tsunami (sea wave) which came with the earthquake.
Although the biblical flood of Noah has received greater attention, Jewish tradition also remembers an earlier flood covering a large portion of the ancient world in the days of Enosh, Enoch’s great-grandfather:
When people began to call their idols by the name of the Lord, the ocean rose from Akho to Jaffa and flooded a third of the world. Then said the Lord: You have prepared a new thing for yourselves and called it by my name; now I want to do something new and tell you my name. Is it not written? “He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: the Lord is his name.”
The Decisive Battle
“The land which came up out of the depth of the sea.” An unexpected detail in Moses 7 is a mention of “the land which came up out of the depth of the sea” There are hints in Jewish tradition that volcanic activity could have been behind this event. According to one such text, among the “four things [that] changed in the world at the time of Enoch” was that “the mountains that had previously been plowed and sown were made rocky.”
“Wars and bloodshed.” Moses 7:16 gives us the brief notice that “from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them.” Unfortunately, the extant fragments of the Aramaic Book of Giants likewise preserve only a few words about what must have been a long series of bloody battles. In one fragment, the leader of Enoch’s adversaries is said to have lamented: “I went up against a]ll flesh, and I made war against them; but I did not [prevail, and I am not] able to stand firm against them. … And they were not [defeated, for they] are stronger than I.”
Attributing the brevity of the Aramaic witness of these battles to “the sparsity of the preserved remains,” John Reeves goes on to describe how “the Manichaean remnants of the Book of Giants preserve extensive testimony regarding this conflict.” For example, here is an extract from a Manichaean Book of Giants fragment that gives a more detailed account of the final combat:
[The angels] took and imprisoned all the [rebellious Watchers] that were in the heavens. And the angels themselves descended from the heaven to the earth. And (when) the two hundred demons saw those angels, they were much afraid and worried. … they went to fight. And those two hundred demons fought a hard battle with the [four angels], until [the angels used] fire, naphtha, and brimstone.
As angels from heaven and the very elements of earth joined to defend the people of Enoch, the battles entered a new phase. Richard Draper, Kent Brown, and Michael Rhodes explained:
Heretofore we have found reference to “enemies” who “came to battle” against the people of God.” The account in Moses 7:15 [i.e., “the people that fought against God”] makes it clear that battling against God’s people [had become] the same as battling against God Himself.
The End of the Wicked and the Beginnings of Zion
Doctrine and Covenants 88:91 describes the human consequences that inevitably follow destruction of such devastating extent:
And all things shall be in commotion; and surely men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
Similarly, we read in the Book of Moses that “the fear of the Lord was upon all nations” and that “the giants of the land … stood afar off.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell commented:
The gospel glow shining about a righteous individual or a righteous people usually attracts persecution. But this is not the only accompanying sign. Enoch could tell us something about this phenomenon; those in his ancient Zion were resented by some who “stood afar off.” Latter-day Saints are not yet a fully worthy people, but even now there is building a visible ring of resentment around Zion today.
Elder Maxwell’s idea of Zion (or perhaps more precisely the temple of Zion or, for that matter, any temple) as a “center place” radiating holiness to the world, with increasingly strident “rings of resentment” formed by the wicked corresponding in strength to degrees of distance from the divine nucleus, is a general concept that might resonate in many ancient cultures. Though symbolic representations of a “hierocentric” universe vary in significant details, many ancient maps and diagrams in various cultures around the world are constructed around a sacred center.
This sacred center not infrequently coincides with the location of a mountain. For example, with respect to the structure of the Korean map shown above, Mark E. Lewis notes “there is a progressive decline as one moves away from the center.” Typically, in the ancient world, such movement away from the center is represented as being in an eastward direction. Correspondingly, there is an increase in sacredness as one travels (or returns) toward the center, generally in a westward direction. Note the large medallion with the name of China that is shown near the middle of the map—just east of Mount K’un-lun, anciently revered as the sacred center of the universe where heaven and earth meet and from which four great rivers emanate.
Though we are not suggesting that Cheonhado maps such as the one above and the Sogdian fragments of the Book of Giants have any necessary relationship, there is some evidence of “weak and distant influence” in the resemblance of the symbolic geography of Mount K’un-lun to that of Mount Mēru. Of relevance for the present article is that Mount Mēru—the sacred mountain of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism—is mentioned in the Manichaean Book of Giants as the place of resort for the righteous. When seen in the light of hierocentric maps of the world, certain details relating to the layout of sacred, symbolic geography in both ancient Enoch accounts and the Book of Moses take on greater meaning. Though the symbolic geography tells us little— or, more likely, nothing—about the physical geography of the story, knowing something about it helps unravel the significance of events in this section of the narrative.
For example, in answer to Mahijah’s question in Moses 6:41, Enoch replied:
I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day.
Amplifying the Book of Moses description of Enoch’s home as a “land of righteousness,” the leader of the gibborim in the Book of the Giants stated that his “opponents” “reside in the heavens and live with the holy ones.”
In line with the presumed hierocentric, symbolic geography of Enoch’s world, we are not surprised to read the significant detail that his missionary journey in the Book of Moses took him away from the “sacred center”—in other words, he went out “from the land of Cainan,” “a land of righteousness” in the west, to the land of the wicked presumably near the western edge of “the sea east.” Remarkably, the Book of Moses description of Enoch’s journey and vision “by the sea east” recalls the direction of his voyage in 1 Enoch 20–36, where the text seems to imply that he continued his travels even further east—to the “ends of the earth” (“from the west edge of the earth to its east edge”). Significantly, 1 Enoch also records a vision that Enoch received “by the waters of Dan,” arguably a “sea east.”
Though the mountain at the center of the symbolic geography of the world represents the most sacred place on earth, its “east edge,” the dawn horizon, the location of the boundary where the round dome of heaven meets the square plane of earth, is not only where visions of God are situated in the relevant literature, but also the place from which actual heavenly ascents were thought to occur in many ancient cultures. Enoch describes his journey as being to “the ends of the earth, on which the heaven rests, and the gates of heaven open,” and gives a brief account of its great beasts and birds with beautiful voices. Likewise, descriptions of Methuselah’s journey to the end of the earth, where Enoch’s “dwelling is with the angels,” “can be plausibly understood as [allusions] to the [Garden of] Eden.”
In a fragment of the Manichaean Book of Giants, one of Mahaway’s journey to visit Enoch “is clearly from the west to the east and back again.” Among his other qualifications to make this voyage to the eastern end of the earth, he seems to be “the only giant with wings.” Just as Enoch, who flew east with the angels, used “this mode of transportation …to visit areas that normally humans cannot reach,” so also:
the flight of Mahaway should be understood in a similar way. [He] is able to reach Eden because he can fly over a desolate desert that would be, following this logic, impossible to cross on foot. This underscores the extraordinary and difficult nature of [his] voyage. Asking Mahaway to undertake such an arduous journey highlights how seriously [the gibborim] wanted an interpretation to the two visions of ’Ohyah and Hahyah.
Once Enoch’s presence has been “veiled” after his heavenly ascent, Jens Wilkens observes that “only Enoch’s voice is mentioned.” In explanation of this state of affairs, Wilkens mentions a Uyghur fragment of the Book of Giants where a speaker (likely Mahaway referring to Enoch) says, “But I did not see him in person.” From the combined evidence, it seems that we are meant to understand that the scene of Mahaway’s voice-to-voice (not face-to-face) visit with Enoch “takes place in the sky” rather than on earth on this occasion. Presumably, Mahaway can speak with Enoch through the “veil,” but is not permitted to see Enoch in his transfigured state in the divine realm.
There is evidence of both supporters and detractors of Enoch among the gibborim. For example, a Sogdian fragment of the Book of Giants tells us that a righteous faction “are glad at seeing the apostle,” who is obviously Enoch, and “assembled before him.” But those who are called “tyrants and criminals” are “afraid.”
According to the Manichaean Book of Giants, angels ultimately led the wicked to their eventual destruction in the east—away from the “sacred center”—while the righteous went westward to inhabit cities near the foot of the holy mountain that had been prepared for them “in the beginning”:
And they led one half of them eastwards, and the other half westwards, on the skirts of four huge mountains, towards the foot of the Sumēru [= “good Mēru] mountain, into thirty-two towns which the Living Spirit had prepared for them in the beginning.
In the highly symbolic account of the geographical history of the two opposing groups, the Book of Giants describes the righteous dwelling “westwards, on the skirts of four huge mountains.” Significantly, this imagery recalls Moses 7:17, which relates that the righteous “were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish.” Where in all the ancient Enoch tradition do we find the remarkably similar story of the gathering of Enoch’s converts to a community of refuge in the mountains? Only in the Book of Giants and the Book of Moses.
In a later Essay, we will describe the rise of this holy place of refuge, whose residents the Lord called “Zion.”
Though the glory of God’s presence no longer fills the whole earth as it did at the creation of Adam and Eve, it has not been completely withdrawn. In a movement similar to the divine concealment that the Lurianic kabbalah terms “contraction,” the fulness of God’s glory is, as it were, concentrated in a series of “center places”—temples—which continue to represent in microcosm the image of what will someday again become the model for a fully renewed Creation, happy in the divine rest of a perpetual Sabbath. Until that day, according to Jon Levenson, the temple remains “to space what the Sabbath is to time, a recollection of the protological dimension bounded by mundane reality. It is the higher world in which the worshiper wishes he could dwell forever. … The temple is the moral center of the universe, the source from which holiness and a terrifying justice radiate” to the dark and fallen world that surrounds it.
Fittingly, just as the first book of the Bible, Genesis, recounts the story of Adam and Eve being cast out from the Garden, its last book, Revelation, prophesies a permanent return to Eden for the sanctified. In that day, the veil that separates man and the rest of fallen creation from God will be swept away, and all shall be “done in earth, as it is in heaven.” In the original Garden of Eden, “there was no need for a temple—because Adam and Eve enjoyed the continual presence of God”—likewise, in John’s vision “there was no temple in the Holy City, ‘for its temple is the Lord God.’” To reenter the renewed “Garden” at that happy day will be to return to the original spiritual state of immortality and innocence through forgiveness of sin, and to know the oneness that existed at the dawn of Creation, before the creative processes of division and separation began. The premortal glory of the righteous shall then be “added upon” as they receive a fulness of the blessings of sanctification, “coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.”
This is the glory that the people of Enoch began to enjoy as they laid the foundations of Zion.
This article is adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 46, 70, 97, 105, 133–136.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 46, 70, 97, 105, 133–136.
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Appendix 1: The Battle of the Angels and the “Giants” in the Manichaean Book of Giants
Below, we give an annotated version of Henning’s translation of text G (Sogdian):
… they [i.e., the angels] took and imprisoned all the helpers [i.e., the rebellious Watchers] that were in the heavens. And the angels themselves descended from the heaven to the earth. And (when) the two hundred demons saw those angels, they were much afraid and worried. They assumed the shape of men and hid themselves [i.e., in disguise]. Thereupon the angels forcibly removed the men from the demons, (10) laid them aside, and put watchers over them . … the giants . … were sons … with each other in bodily union . … with each other self- … and the . … that had been born to them, they forcibly removed them from the demons. And they led one half of them (20) eastwards, and the other half westwards, on the skirts of four huge mountains, towards the foot of the Sumeru mountain [i.e., the mountain in the Himalayas], into thirty- two [or thirty-six in other texts] towns which the Living Spirit had prepared for them in the beginning. And one calls (that place) Aryānwaižan [i.e., “Homeland of the Aryans]. And those men are (or: were) . … in the first arts and crafts. (30) . … they made … the angels … and to the demons … they went to fight. And those two hundred demons fought a hard battle with the [four angels], until [the angels used] fire, naphtha, and brimstone.
Appendix 2: The Journey of Mahaway to Enoch in the Manichaean Book of Giants
Below we give an annotated version of Jens Wilken’s English translation of the Mainz 317 fragment (Old Uyghur):
[Mahaway said:] (01) “Fire was rising. (01–02) And furth[ermore I saw] that the sun was rising. (02–03) [Its] palace wa[s] revolving without being carried over. (04–05) Then, from heaven above came a voice [of an archangel?]. (05–06) It called me and said: (06–07) “You, son of Virōgdād [i.e., Mahaway], the order for you is exactly this: (07–08) You [h]ave seen more than enough! (08–09) Do not die prematurely now! Return quickly [from] here!” (09–11) And then, besides this, I heard the voice of the apostle Enoch from the south. (11–12) But I did no[t] see him in person. (12–13) Then, very affectionately, he called out my name. (13–14) And down from [heaven] (the voice) s[aid]: (14–16) “[O son] of [Virōgdād], now … (17) Ow[n] […] [small lacuna] (18) [W]hy? (18–19) The door of the enclosed [s]un will open up. (19–20) The [sp]lendor and heat of the sun will descend. (20–22) It will burn your wings; you will catch fire and die.” (22–24) Then, at that time, upon hearing the voice I shook (or: beat) my wings and quickly descended fr[o]m heaven. Again I looked back. (24–25) Dawn had [br]oken. (25–26) The sun with its splendor was rising on the bluish mountain. (26–27) And again from above came a voice. (27–29) It conferred the words of the apostle Enoch. It said: (29–31) “I call you, o son of Virōgdā[d], I know [th]is: you are [l]ike some of them. You are … (31–33) [An]d quickly … with that people … sickness …”
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Rubinkiewicz, Ryszard. L’Apocalypse d’Abraham en vieux slave : Introduction, texte critique, traduction et commentaire. Towarzystwo Naukowe Katolikiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego, Zrodlai i monografie 129. Lublin, Poland: Société des Lettres et des Sciences de l’Université Catholique de Lublin, 1987.
Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.
VanderKam, James C. Enoch: A Man for All Generations. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
Welburn, Andrew, ed. Mani, the Angel, and the Column of Glory: An Anthology of Manichaean Texts. Edinburgh, Scotland: Floris Books, 1998.
Whitlock, Stephen T. E-mail message to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, May 3, 2020.
Wilkens, Jens. "Remarks on the Manichaean Book of Giants: Once again on Mahaway’s mission to Enoch." In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 213-29. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.
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Wyatt, Nicolas. Space and Time in the Religious Life of the Near East. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
While I was in the USAF in Italy we sent out teams to remote sites for about 10 days. And on one of those trips I was in Reggio de Calabria to calibrate equipment for the radar site there. I was with a Sgt. Rafael Leal and we looked across the strait (the Scylla and Charibdis of Greek mythology) and could see Etna erupting with lava running down the side. So since we had to stay somewhere over the weekend anyway Rafael and I stayed at a B&B on the edge of the slopes of Etna and then on Saturday climbed up the mountain. We drove part way and then had to walk past the twisted remains of a ski lift that had been wiped out a couple of years earlier. The last third we were walking on pumice and it was three feet up and then two feet sliding back on each step. But coming down we surfed on our shoes. At around 10,000 feet it was cold as we got near the top but the ground was too hot to touch in most places. And at the top there were places where you would breath in and nothing would happen—clear gases that weren’t air. My intent was to get pictures looking down the crater—but it was steamy and irregular. … Overall this was not the smartest thing I did … .
The main point contrasts the gathering together of the water, done so obediently, to the rebellion of man, punished by the flood. … The water was originally spread over the whole earth. The water praised God. … God … ordered the water to draw back into one place—hence Psalm 104:7—so that there would be dwelling space for humanity. But in light of the record of humanity, God called the water back and restored it to its place over the whole earth.
This world map is from an atlas produced in Korea in around 1800. It is one of a group of maps known as ‘Cheonhado’, meaning ‘Map of all under heaven’. The map shows a large inner continent surrounded by sea. This represents China and its surrounding lands. Beijing, the Yellow River and Great Wall of China are visible, with the sacred Mount Mēru at its center. The rest of the world appears as outer islands, with the Trees of Sun and Moon beyond.
The concentric circle structure of the map and many of the mythological names come from the Chinese Shan Hai Jing (The Classic of Mountain and Seas), a text that was probably compiled from older texts in the first or second century BCE. For detailed background on these and similar maps, see S.-H. Oh, Circular World Maps. Among other things, Oh establishes the fact that even though such maps are round, they do not depart from the “square earth-round heaven” principle. The circular form of the map represents the round shape of heaven.
For a general introduction to cartography and the cosmic ocean in the ancient Near East, see N. Wyatt, Space, pp. 80–88, 113.
To the east, where the sun and moon rise, Mt. Yupa and Busang tree are depicted. Mt. Bang and the Bangyeoksong pine tree are also depicted to the west, where the sun and moon met. … It is presumed that Mt. Yupa was chosen [from among the many mountains where the sun and moon were supposed to rise] because it is located in the East Sea, a great distance away or farthest from thee center. …
It would be … appropriate to believe that the maps tried to show where the sky and the earth meet. Circular world maps are still based on the traditional view that the heaven is round and the earth is square. As this differs from the theory of the round Earth, circular world maps have east and west poles, and the locations of sunrise and sunset, and moonrise and moonset visibly represent the poles.
No tree in the south is shown on the map in this figure, and we do not currently have access to an interpretation of what is shown there. However, from another time and culture we have the report of Severus of Antioch (fl. 512–518) that avers, similar to other anti-Manichaean sources that “those (regions) which lie to the south and to the meridian belong to the Tree of Death, which they call Hyle [i.e., Matter], being very wicked and uncreated” (as cited in B. Bennett, Iuxta Unum, p. 69). In Mandaean and Zoroastrian cosmogonies the north and south are associated with “above” and “below” (i.e., the underworld).
If we pay attention to our account, we will see an astonishing thing. Abraham sees the earth peopled by the wicked (v. 3), but he also sees Eden inhabited by the righteous (v. 6); God shows him the sea ruled by Leviathan (v. 4), but Abraham also contemplates the “upper waters” that are above the firmament (v. 5). At the conclusion, he sees people at the left and right of the picture. What should Abraham understand by this vision? The answer is simple: the division between the righteous and the wicked is based on the structure of the world, where both the forces of evil (the earth and the wicked; the sea and Leviathan) and the forces of good (the “upper waters,” Eden) each have their place. The entire universe has thus been projected by God and “it is pleasing to Him” (22:2).
Rubinkiewicz (ibid., p. 171 n. adds): “This idea is not unique, for it is also found in the Testament of Naphtali 2:7–8” (see H. C. Kee, Testaments, p. 811). On affinities between the Apocalypse of Abraham and Moses 1, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Moses 1.
With respect to the placement of Kunlun on the map, J. S. Major, Heaven, p. 155 explains how physical and mythological geography became inextricably intertwined in Chinese thought:
Kunlun has two closely related aspects: First, it is the world-mountain or axis mundi, pillar that at once separates and connects heaven and earth. As such it is the highest of mountains, the terrestrial plane’s closest approach, and stepping-stone, to the celestial vault. … Second, Kunlun is a paradise, a magical and beautiful land that is the home and kingdom of Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West.
One problem that immediately arises in dealing with these two aspects of Kunlun is that the Kunlun Mountains are, and from early times have been known to be, an entirely real and terrestrial mountain range on China’s northwestern frontier [“on the borderland of Xinjiang province and Tibet” (S. Allan, Turtle, p. 99)]. … In fact it is not unusual for real but distant places to take on paradisiacal qualities; think of Serendip, or Shambala.
Thus in early China the name Kunlun attached to a geographical mountain and a mythical one, and the two were soon hopelessly conflated.
It is not clear how one was intended to visualize the nine-fold walls of Kunlun, but the most obvious image is as a peak of tremendous height, rising in nine steps like a ziggurat. Such a nine-tiered heaven … makes little sense in terms of the overall gaitian cosmology of Huainanzi [an ancient Chinese work of cosmological geography]: might there be here a hint of weak and distant Indian influence to go along with the possible Indian origin of the Jupiter Cycle names in Huainanzi 3. XXXIII? Certainly tiered-roof pagodas in later Chinese Buddhism reflect the Indian nine-tiered cosmos; earlier influence of the same sort is unattested but hardly impossible. The Nine-fold Shade mountain … associated with the Torch Dragon, is suggestive of a multitiered parasol of state of the sort found ubiquitously in Indic civilizations; it too may hint at an Indian-style nine-fold heaven weakly impinging on early Chinese cosmology.
Ibid., p. 337 n. 17 goes on to explicitly imply a common symbology in Mount Kunlun and Mount Mēru:
In the Indian tradition the link between architecture and cosmology is explicit. In Balinese Hinduism, for example, multitiered (often nine-tiered) temple towers are called meru, imitative in name as well as in structure of the classical Indian nine-tiered axis mundi or cosmic mountain.
Specifically with respect to Manichaean thought, Severus of Antioch (fl. 512–518), similar to other anti-Manichaean sources, reported (as cited in B. Bennett, Iuxta Unum, p. 69):
And they [i.e., the Manichaeans] say: That which is Good, also named Light and the Tree of Life, possess those regions which lie to the east, west, and north; for those (regions) which lie to the south and to the meridian belong to the Tree of Death, which they call Hyle [i.e., Matter], being very wicked and uncreated.
However, Bennett clarifies that the interpretation of the cardinal direction might best be understood in light of an an eastern rather than western frame of reference (ibid., pp. 76–77):
There are … some remarkable parallels for this teaching [about the primordial state] in both the Mandaean and Zoroastrian cosmogonies, suggesting that this teaching may have been formulated for an eastern audience who had the background beliefs necessary to comprehend and value it. The interpretation of the four cardinal directions as lines inscribed on a vertical plane (so that north and south are identified with above and below respectively) is found in the Mandaean cosmogony. Several other features can be paralleled in Middle Persian accounts of the Zoroastrian cosmogony.
Whatever the origin of the author’s knowledge of these animals, they are envisioned primarily in mythic terms. Evidence for such a mythic tradition appears at a number of points in the cartology of the ancient world. In the Babylonian Mappa Mundi of the fifth century BCE, the sixth island that lies east of the Bitter River is said to be the place where “a horned bull dwells and attacks the newcomer.” Much later maps from the Common Era depict sea monsters and other beasts lurking in the farthest recesses of land and sea. Doubtless these reflect a tradition much older than the charts on which they are found.
In medieval times, European biblical drama sometimes contained portrayals of Elijah and Enoch that had them situated in the Garden of Eden (L. R. Muir, Biblical Drama, p. 139):
As Christ leads the redeemed souls out of Hell … a few plays include the scene of their arrival in Earthly Paradise (usually escorted by Michael) where they meet Elijah and Enoch, who have not yet died and will return to earth to fight against Antichrist.
In cultic contexts, the term for “glory” (kabod) has a technical meaning; it is the divine radiance… that manifests the presence of God [cf. Exodus 40:34, 1 Kings 8:11] … If my translation of Isaiah 6:3 is correct, then the seraphim identify the world in its amplitude with this terminus technicus of the Temple cult. As Isaiah sees the smoke filling the Temple, the seraphim proclaim that the kabod fills the world (verses 3–4). The world is the manifestation of God as He sits enthroned in His Temple. The trishagion is a dim adumbration of the rabbinic notion that the world proceeds from Zion in the same manner that a fetus, in rabbinic etymology, proceeds from the navel.
This line perhaps refers to those “archons” of Darkness … in Manichaean cosmogony. … Apparently two hundred archons managed to escape this imprisonment and fled to earth.
In I. Gardner, Kephalaia, chapter 38 (codex 92), p. 97, these archons are equated with the Watchers of 1 Enoch 6–16 and the Book of Giants (J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 160 n. 384).
According to Indian tradition, Mount Mēru or Sumēru (“Good Mēru) was the great mountain which stood at the center of the earth. See Mahābhārata 1(5) 15.5ff.: … “The great mountain rises aloft to cover with its heights the vault of heaven.”
There are further questions to be resolved: is the kögmän mountain mentioned in the text really the Sayan range in South Siberia? In the Old Turkic runiform sources kögmän is attested several times. If the Manichaean text should refer to the same mountain range, then the Old Uyghur version of the Book of Giants would be adapted to an Inner Asian environment. According to Henning, kögmän “may reflect the ‘Mount Hermon,’” the place where the watchers had started their descent from heaven. But, the morpheme +mAn can also be just a suffix indicating similarity to the base word. We would then have to transcribe the word as kök+män (“bluish”), derived from kök (“blue”) with a voiceless stop. This explanation is followed here.