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Jubilees is a narrative of Moses' experience on Mount Sinai. Here God commanded the "Angel of the Presence" to give Moses an account of Israel's history. The book closely parallels the Genesis narrative from Creation to the time of Moses (Genesis 1-Exodus 14), with additional stories told of the biblical characters. The book reports that the patriarchs observed festivals and legal practices later formalized in the Law. The book mentions two "Satan" figures: Belial and Prince Mastema. The title, Jubilees, comes from the fact that the narrative is broken down into divisions of time called jubilees (7x7 + 1 = 50 years). The book asserts that 49 jubilees passed from the time of Adam to this dictation to Moses.


Also called "Little Genesis," the Apocalypse of Moses, and the book of the "Divisions of the Times," or simply "Divisions."


Jubilees is largely based on the biblical book of Genesis. Additional sources include the noncanonical Books of Noah and Enoch.

Canonical Status: Among the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

Author: An anonymous Jewish priest, with Pharisaic sympathies

Date: mid-2nd century BC (after the Maccabean revolt)

Original Language:

Probably originally written in Hebrew; fragments of 12 such manuscripts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls Ethiopic translation (15th / 16th century), which contains the entire text, is the essential basis for the English translation Latin translation contains approximately one fourth of text Fragments have been found written in Greek

Notes prepared by David Arnold (Senior Religion Major)

for the Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University

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