The book more closely resembles an apocalypse than a testament. In it God sends Michael the archangel to tell Abraham that it is time for his death. When he realizes this is why his "visitor" has come, Abraham refuses to die. Instead, Abraham negotiates with Michael and agrees to die only after he has first seen the entire world. God agrees and allows Michael to give Abraham a grand tour. During the journey Abraham sees the great wickedness of humanity and condemns the sinners' acts. God interrupts the journey and has Michael bring Abraham to the judgment throne where Abel weighs a person's sins and righteous acts. When Abraham still refuses to die, God sends Death to complete the job. Even Death cannot persuade the "stubborn old man" and must trick Abraham to take his soul.
Versions:The Testament exists in two versions, both of which tell the same basic story. The main difference between the two is that in the shorter version (B) Abraham sees the judgment before going on the tour.
Canonical Status: Among the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
Author:General agreed that the author was an anonymous Jew Further identification is highly debated
Date:Sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD Probably between 100 BC and 100 AD
Original Language:Both versions stem from a single Egyptian original written in Greek About 30 Greek manuscripts of the two versions survive
Notes prepared by David Arnold (Senior Religion Major)
for the Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University
Copyright 2000 by the Wesley Center for Applied Theology
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