I have several new books that have come across my desk recently, but not enough time to get notices out to you about them. I will try to catch up over the next week or so.
Let's get started with the beautiful new volume written by Andrei Orlov, Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University. The book is called Heavenly Priesthood in the Apocalypse of Abraham and it is published by Cambridge University Press.
Professor Orlov continues his exploration of apocalypticism and mysticism in this book, arguing that soon after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the Apocalypse of Abraham was written in order to demonstrate that the true place of worship is heaven (not Jerusalem). It depicts Abraham as the primary example of an initiate of the celestial priesthood. Orlov focuses his analysis on the scapegoat ritual, which is the central rite of the story. It is reinterpreted within an eschatological context. Orlov thinks that this reinterpretation represents a transition from Jewish apocalyptic thought to the symbols of early Jewish mysticism.
Congratulations to Professor Orlov for the publication of another superb study of early Jewish and Christian mysticism, following up his other recent study, Dark Mirrors (2011).