CAVERN of TREASURES CAVERNA THE SAURORUM

A Syriac apocrypha whose present form comes from Nestorian circles. It was written ca. 500 and from the 11th c. falsely attributed to St. Ephrem. The work’s nucleus probably derives from 4th-c. Jewish Christian circles and is a reworking and Christianization of Jewish material. The text contains a summary of sacred history: creation of the world, creation of Adam and Eve, their sin and death, history of the patriarchs before the flood, history of Abraham and Moses, the judges and the kings, return from exile, and the Messiah. The text deals with various subjects, and the author has drawn on various sources and material. The title derives from the account itself, in which the first parents put gold, incense and myrrh taken from Paradise the gifts of the three magi in the cave where Adam and the patriarchs went to pray, and where Adam’s grave was located; his body, after the flood, was buried under Golgotha and purified by the Savior’s blood. The text is preserved in Syriac, Coptic fragments only, Arabic two versions of the Syriac text, each different, probably redone by the monophysites ca. 750, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian from the 11th c. and probably also in Greek. The Cavern of Treasures is a text linked to other works of the Adam cycle, in particular with the Conflict of Adam and Eve and with ps.-Clementine literature. The text was very popular and often used in chronicles and in other Syriac works. It was known by Byzantine writers John Syncellus, Cedrenus, Michael Psellos and by Byzantine apocalyptic ps.- Methodius.

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