Photo by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

ON THE COVER: Jesus ascends to heaven in this page from the Stammheim Missal—a religious service book created in the 12th century at the monastery of Saint Michael in Hildesheim, northern Germany, and now in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Jesus’ ascent is watched by Mary and the apostles, and in the corners of the page are depicted four Old Testament figures—(clockwise from upper left) Moses, Elijah, Enoch and Ezekiel—each of whose story was interpreted by Christians as prefiguring Jesus’ own Ascension. The story of Enoch, Adam’s great-great-great-great-grandson, is particularly intriguing: Instead of dying, the Bible says, “God took him” (Genesis 5:24; in this illustration God is grabbing Enoch by the hair!). The cryptic passage inspired a series of extrabiblical books that elaborated on Enoch’s subsequent adventures in heaven.

James C. VanderKam reviews a new commentary of Enoch, in “Enoch’s Vision.” In “Enoch and Jesus,” Birger A. Pearson shows that being taken by God is only one of many similarities between the antediluvian patriarch and Jesus.