Gilayon and “Apocalypse”: Reconsidering an Early Jewish Concept and Genre

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This paper examines various ways in which apocalyptic studies can benefit from the introduction of the term and concept of gilayon, a reconstructed Hebrew counterpart of the Judeo-Greek apocalypse. The term gilayon, which combines the meanings of “revealed book” and “book of revelation,” refers to a central image of early Jewish revealed literature and could serve to define an important corpus, the boundaries of which might well overlap with (but still differ from) what is understood by the “genre apocalypse” in modern research. Moreover, this reconstructed concept uncovers additional meanings and associations, which shed light on texts known as “apocalyptic,” and has explanatory power for many phenomena associated with them. The introduction of gilayon may modify the entire paradigm of our understanding of early Jewish mysticism and help to divert the discussion of textual genres associated with it from a phenomenological to a historical route.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)190-227
Number of pages38
JournalHarvard Theological Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • book
  • genre
  • gospel
  • medium
  • paronomasia
  • reconstruction
  • revelation
  • wordplay

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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