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Eagle Vision of 4 Ezra

 

The large chart below provides various interpretations regarding the historical personages represented
in the Eagle Vision as various wings and heads in 4 Ezra 11-12.  Most of the data is taken from
the appendix to the DiTommaso article (see bottom of chart), which clearly demonstrates the
superiority of a Severan reading of the visions.  For this reason, I've placed his reading first in the
columns.  As I obtain more information from the sources mentioned by DiTommaso, and discover 
any other suggestions of note, I will include them here.

 

My own opinion is that the Eagle Vision originally dated to the reign of Domitian and also contained 
no mention of three heads and eight small wings.  There are two large blocks of material (11.20-35 
and 12.17-30) which cover these elements, with minor editing elsewhere (11.1, 3-4, 9-11, 45; 12.2, 3a).  
Without these, the vision reads easily as one of a twelve-winged eagle, the twelve wings also 
corresponding to the first twelve Roman Emperors, bringing us up to Domitian.  You may read
more about this here.  Links to other 2 Esdras/4 Ezra information are here.

For the time being, here is the scheme that I find fits the data best.  See my Notes for explanations:

Wing 1:

Julius Caesar

59/48/46-44

Wing 2:

Augustus

44/23-14

Wing 3:

Tiberius

14-37

Wing 4:

Caligula

37-41

Wing 5:

Claudius

41-54

Wing 6:

Nero

54-68

Small Wing 1:

Vindex

68 (rebellion, no rule)

[these two small wings are placed

Small Wing 2:

Macer

68 (rebellion, no rule)

here according to 12.21]

Wing 7:

Galba

68-69

Wing 8:

Otho

69

Wing 9:

Vitellius

69

Wing 10:

Vespasian

69-79

Wing 11:

Titus

79-81

Wing 12:

Domitian and Commodus

81-96
180-192

Small Wing 3:

Pertinax

Jan 1-Mar 28, 193

87 days

Small Wing 4:

Didius Julianus

Mar 28-June 1, 193

66 days

Small Wing 5:

Pescennius

193-194

(rebellion, no rule)

Small Wing 6:

Albinus

193-197

(rebellion, no rule)

(Big) Head 1:

Septimius Severus

193-211 (Feb 1)

 

Heads 2 & 3:

Caracalla and
Geta

198-211
209-211

 
killed in late December

Head 3:

Caracalla

211-217

 

Small Wings 7
& 8:

Macrinus and
Diadumenianus

217-218
218

 

 

 

In the following chart, a "[none]" indicates that the author named in bold at the top of the column has not offered
an identification for that particular element.

 

 

 

FLAVIAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POST-FLAVIAN

 

SEVERAN

 

 

 

Order of eagle vision elements/rulers:

DiTommaso

Torrey

Gfrörer

Keulers

Ewald

 Gunkel

 Oesterley

Myers

Knibb

Stone

Longenecker

Box (orig.; big wings paired)

Volkmar (wings paired)

Box (redactor)

von Gutschmid

Barry

Schwartz

Le Hir

1.    Wing 1

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

 Caesar

 Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

[none]

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

Caesar

2.    Wing 2 rules more than twice as long as successors [obviously Augustus, dated from the death of Caesar]

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

 Augustus

 Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

[none]    

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus

3.    Wing 3

...

Tiberius

Tiberius

Tiberius

Tiberius

 Tiberius

 Tiberius

[none]/Tiberius?

Tiberius

[none] [none]

Augustus

Augustus

Tiberius

Tiberius

Tiberius

Tiberius

Tiberius

4.    Wing 4

...

Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

 Caligula

 Caligula

[none]/Caligula?

Caligula

[none] [none]    

Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

5.    Wing 5

...

Claudius

Claudius

Claudius

Claudius

 Claudius

 Claudius

[none]/Claudius?

Claudius

[none] [none]

Tiberius

Tiberius

Claudius

Claudius

Claudius

Claudius

Claudius

6.    Wing 6

...

Nero

Nero

Nero

Nero

 Nero

 Nero

[none]/Nero?

Nero

[none] [none]    

Nero

Nero

Nero

Nero

Nero

7.    Wing 7

(number 12 is general, not specific)

Galba

Vindex

Galba

Galba

 Galba

 Vindex

[none]/Galba?

Vindex

[none] [none]

Caligula

Caligula

Galba

Vespasian

Vespasian Vespasian

Vespasian

8.    Wing 8

...

Otho

Nymphidius

Otho

Otho

 Otho

 Nymphidius

[none]/Otho?

Nymphidius

[none] [none]    

Otho

Domitian

Titus

Titus

Domitian

9.    Wing 9

...

(orig. only 8 wings) n/a

Galba

Vitellius

Vitellius

 Vitellius

 Galba

[none]/Vitellius?

Galba

[none] [none]

Claudius

Claudius

Vitellius

Trajan

Domitian

Domitian

Trajan

10.  Wing 10

...

n/a

Piso

Civilis

Vespasian

 Vindex

 Piso

[none]/Vespasian?

Piso

[none] [none]    

Vespasian

Hadrian

Nerva

Nerva

Hadrian

11.  Wing 11

...

n/a

Otho

Nerva

Titus

 Nymphidius

 Otho

[none]/Titus?

Otho

[none] [none]

Nero

Nero

Titus

Antoninus Pius

Trajan

Trajan

Antoninus Pius

12.  Wing 12

...

n/a

Vitellius

Trajan

Domitian

 Piso

 Vitellius

[none]/Domitian?

Vitellius

[none] [none]    

Domitian

Marcus Aurelius

Hadrian Hadrian

Marcus Aurelius and Commodus

13.  Small Wing 1 (around the middle of the kingdom's time, in a time of trouble)

(a person of the circa 68 troubles)

[none]

 

(Keulers alters the wing numbers)

  [none]

Herod the Great

[none] [none] [none] [none]

Vindex

Galba

[none]

Titus

[none] Galba

Titus

14.  Small Wing 2 (around the middle of the kingdom's time, in a time of trouble)

(a person of the circa 68 troubles)

[none]       [none]

Agrippa I

[none] [none] [none] [none]

Nymphidius

 

[none]

Nerva

[none]

Otho

Nerva

Two Small Wings go under the Right Head (see 22 below)Four remaining Small Wings (15-18):

 

         

 

         

 

 

       

15.  First disappears quickly

P. Helvius Pertinax

[none]       [none]

Eleazar

[none] [none] [none] [none] Galba

Otho

First senator killed by Hadrian

Commodus

Pertinax

Pertinax

Pertinax

16.  Second disappears even more quickly

M. Didius Severus Julianus

[none]       [none]

John of Gischala

[none] [none] [none] [none] Otho

 

Second senator killed by Hadrian

Pertinax

Didius Julianus

Didius Julianus

Didius Julianus

17.  Third and...

C. Pescennius Niger

[none]       [none]

Simon Bar-Giora

[none] [none] [none] [none] Civilis

Vitellius

Third senator killed by Hadrian

Didius Julianus

Pescennius

Pescennius

Pescennius

18.  ...Fourth plan to rule, but are suddenly eaten by the Big Middle Head

Decimus Clodius Septimius Albinus

[none]       [none]

John the Idumean

[none] [none] [none] [none] Vitellius

 

Fourth senator killed by Hadrian

Pescennius

Albinus

Albinus

Albinus

19.  Big Middle Head

Septimius Severus

Nero

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Vespasian

Trajan

Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus

20.  Right and Left Heads together

Geta and Caracalla

Galba and Otho

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Titus and Domitian

Hadrian and Lusius Quietus

Geta and Caracalla

Geta and Caracalla

Geta and Caracalla

Geta and Caracalla

21.  Right Head, after eating Left Head

Caracalla

Otho

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Domitian

Hadrian

Caracalla

Caracalla

Caracalla

Caracalla

22.  Two Small Wings from under the Right Head

M. Opellius Macrinus and his son Diadumenianus

Agrippa I and Agrippa II  

Nerva and Trajan

 

Mucianus and Tiberius Alexander?

Agrippa II and Berenice

[none] [none] [none] [none] Generals/ governors or Agrippa II and Berenice

Nerva

Generals/ governors or Agrippa II and Berenice

Macrinus and Diadumenianus

[none]

Macrinus and Diadumenianus

Macrinus and Diadumenianus

 

DiTommaso

Lorenzo DiTommaso, "Dating the Eagle Vision of 4 Ezra:  A New Look at an Old Theory," JSP 20 (1999) 3-38

Torrey

C.C. Torrey, The Apocryphal Literature:  A Brief Introduction.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1945

Gfrörer

A. Gfrörer.  "Das Jahrhundert des Heils.  Geschichte des Urchristentums, vol. 1. Stuttgart:  Schweitzerbart, 1838:  [volume?] 69-93

J. Keulers

J. Keulers, "Die eschatologische Lehre des vierten Esrabuchs", Biblische Studien 20.2-3, Freiburg im Brieisgau:  Herder, 1922:  118-122

Ewald

H. G. A. Ewald.  Das vierte Esrabuch: Nach seinem Zeitalter, seinen aräbischen Übersetzung und einer neuen Weiderherstellung.  AKGWG 11. Göttingen, 1863

Gunkel

H. Gunkel.  Das vierte Buch Esra.  Freiburg, etc:  J.C.B. Mohr (P. Siebeck), 1899

Oesterley

W.O.E. Oesterley.  2 Esdras:  The Ezra Apocalypse.  Westminster Commentaries.  London:  Methuen, 1933

Myers

Jacob Myers. 1 and 2 Esdras. Anchor Bible 42. New York: Doubleday, 1974

Knibb

R. J. Coggins and M. A. Knibb.  The First and Second Books of Esdras.  Cambridge Bible Commentary. New York:  Campbridge University Press, 1979

Stone

Michael Stone.  Fourth Ezra, Minneapolis:  Fortresss Press, 1990

Longenecker

Bruce Lonenecker.  2 Esdras, Sheffield:  Sheffield Academic Press, 1995

Volkmar

G. Volkmar.  Handbuch der Einleitung in die Apokryphen, II.  Das vierte Buch Esra:  Esdra Propheta.  Tubingen, 1863

Box

G. H. Box.  "4 Ezra" in R. H. Charles, APOT:  2.542-624

von Gutschmid

A. von Gutschmid, "Die Apokalypse des Esra und ihre spätern Bearbeitungen", ZWT 3 (1860):  1-81

Barry

P. Barry, "The Apocalypse of Ezra", JBL 32 (1913):  261-272

J. Schwartz

"Sur la date de IV Esdras," Melanges Andre Neher. Paris:  Maisonneuve, 1975.  191-196

Le Hir

A. M. Le Hir, "Du IVe livre d'Esdras", Etudes bibliques 1.  Paris:  Joseph Albanel, 1869. 173-208

 

©2002, Kevin P. Edgecomb