This paper focuses on the post-mortem judgment scene of the Apocalypse of Paul and explores how, while preserving the traditional judicial imagery of earlier apocalyptic texts, it profoundly reinvented its meaning. Nightmare visions of God’s tribunal were quite common in 4th-century Christianity, and were often placed at the starting or turning point of important ascetic careers, such as those of Jerome and Evagrius of Pontus. The embedding of God’s dreadful judgment in ascetic discipline, however, is most apparent in the Pachomian corpus. Here its features are similar to those in the Apocalypse of Paul, a work which stems, like the Pachomian literature, from late 4th-century Egypt. This helps interpret the tribunal setting of this apocalypse as a new monastic staging of old images, and provides further evidence to support the hypothesis of the origin of the Apocalypse of Paul within the Pachomian koinonia.
© 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston