In Martha Himmelfarb's most capable hands, the late antique text Sefer Zerubbabel (hereafter SZ) may finally escape obscurity and receive the attention it deserves.

Himmelfarb and others have published about SZ before, but this is the first full monograph to treat and contextualize SZ, an early seventh-century work that recounts a vivid and powerful vision of the end times. The text, translated and annotated by Himmelfarb in an appendix, opens with Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, praying to God to grant him a vision of the future. God transports him to the capitol of the Roman Empire, where he meets a despised and severely wounded man who introduces himself as the Lord's anointed one. The angel Michael/Metatron then alights on the scene and affirms that this lowly-looking man is the messiah son of David, Menahem ben Ammiel, who has been hidden in exile until the end time. The angel...

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