TESTAMENT OF ADAM

Fragment 2, shorter recension

Translated from the edition prepared by M. Kmosko, “Testamentum Patris Nostri Adam,” in Patrologia Syriaca (3 vols.; Turnhout: Brepols, 1907), 2:1339-46.

 

Adam said to Seth his son: ‘I have heard, my son, that God will come to the world after a long time. He will be conceived by a virgin and wear a body and be born like a human being and mature like a child. He will perform signs and wonders upon earth—walking upon the waves of the sea, rebuking the winds so that they abate, beckoning the waves that they cease (rolling), opening (the eyes) of the blind, cleansing lepers, causing the deaf to hear, giving speech to the mute, straightening those who are bent, strengthening the paralyzed, finding the lost, expelling devils, casting out demons.

For He said to me in Paradise after I had plucked some of the fruit which concealed Death within it: "Adam, Adam, do not fear. You wished to become a god. I shall make you a god, not now, but after a period of many years. I shall deliver you over to Death, and the maggot and worm will consume your body."

I answered, saying to him, "Why, my Lord?" He said to me: "Because you hearkened to the words of the serpent, you and your descendants shall serve as food for the serpent. But after a brief time mercy shall be shown to you, for you were created in My image, and I will not abandon you to waste away in Sheol. For your sake I shall be born from the virgin Miriam, and for your sake I shall experience Death and enter the realm of Death. For your sake I shall fashion new heavens, and I shall set your descendants in (positions of) authority among them. After three days in the grave, I shall resuscitate the body which I wore on your account, and I shall set you at the right hand of My divine station, and I shall make you divine like you wished. I accept (this) freely, and shall restore you and your descendants, for this is the justice of heaven."

I (also) learned, my son Seth, that a Flood will come and purge the entire earth on account of the descendants of Cain your brother. Because of (his) jealousy for Lebuda your sister, he murdered your brother Abel. Similarly, due to your mother Eve, sins came into existence. And after the Flood, the years for the (continued) appearance of the world will be 6000 years. And then its end will come.’

And I Seth wrote down this testament. My father died and was buried east of Paradise, opposite the first city to be built on earth, which was named Enoch. Adam was accompanied (to the grave) by angels and heavenly powers because he was created in the image of God. The sun and moon grew dark, and there was thick darkness for seven days. We sealed the testament and placed it in the Cave of Treasures with the offerings which Adam had brought out from Paradise—gold, myrrh, and incense. And the Magi, the sons of kings, came and removed them, and brought them to the Son of God in the cave at Bethlehem of Judaea.

Finished is the testament of our ancestor Adam.

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