если коротко: наши (иудеохристианские) космологические апокалипсисы иногда с большой точностью воспроизводят вавилонские космологические модели, которые известны по текстам 12--10 вв. до РХ, но кое в чем интересном они от них отклоняются.
но при этом совпадают с вавилонскими зиккуратами, структура которых выпала из поля зрения современных исследователей вавилонской астрономии (а старых я еще не читал, не знаю; они, особенно Куглер, были великие люди, но еще очень многого не знали, так что руки не доходили). историков архитектуры читать бесполезно, судя по моим смутным воспоминаниям от просмотренной 10 лет назад литературы.
1.2. Gates between the heavens: Babylonian antecedent
Babylonian astronomy did not know any “gates” between the different heavens. However, it did know two other important things:
1. demarcation of the heaven into three areas called “paths” (ḫarrānu, ideographic KASKAL), with possible meaning of “region”, or by some terms with a more general meaning, whose literal sense combines the meanings of border line and demarcated area,
2. sacral nature of the “ford” (neberu) between these areas.
In the opening lines of the fifth tablet of Enūma elīš V, already quoted above, all these terms are especially concentrated. The text describes how Marduk established the heavens (Enūma elīš V, 1–8). The letter d in superscript before the proper names states for the determinative “god” (from Sumerian DINGIR).
He constructed stands (man-za-za) for the great gods,
Fixing their astral likenesses as the Images.
He determined the year, demarcated zones (mi-iṣ-ra-ta ú-ma-aṣ-ṣer):
He set up three stars for each of the twelve months.
After he had demarcated the demarcations (uṣ-ṣi-ru ú-ṣu-ra-ti) for the year,
He fixed the stand of dNeberu (man-za-az dné-bé-re) to determine their bands (rik-si-šú-un),
That none might transgress or fall short.
He established with it [dNeberu] the stands (man-za-az) of dEnlil and dEa [variant dAnu].
Wayne Horowitz showed that this text belongs to the astronomical tradition expressed in many other Babylonian texts, first of all, so-called “astrolabes” or, more correctly and according to their genuine name, “Three Stars Each.” These texts assign three stars to each of the twelve months, each of these stars belonging to one out of three “paths” (sectors of heaven). The sector (“path”) of Anu is adjacent to the heavenly equator, that of Enlil being located to North and that of Ea to South from that of Anu.
A detailed comparison between these three “zones” or “paths” of the Babylonian heaven and the three heavens of the recension U of 3 Baruch must become an important part of a future study of 3 Baruch, but can be taken aside now. Our question is now how these three parts of heaven are connected.
The divine name Neberu is already interpreted theologically (as Marduk) and astronomically (as Jupiter), but it is still needing an interpretation in the terms of sacred cosmology, that is, as a device taking part in the heavenly liturgy.
“Neberu” is a derivative of the verb ebēru “to cross” (especially water), “to extend beyond (something)”. No mystical/liturgical connotations are known, except, however, the very fact that “Neberu” became a divine name belonging to the god-creator.
The corresponding Hebrew verb cbr, having the same basic meaning, acquired a mystical/liturgical meaning of “entering into covenant” (in the Document of Damascus, by crossing Jordan, with a long trail of the “Baptist” rituals in late Jewish movements, including new born Christianity). This Hebrew “entering into covenant” by crossing a river already recalls the spectre of meanings of the akin Akkadian verb ebēru, even if the latter seems not to have meaning of performing a ritual. However, such meaning has the verb etēqu — “to pass through with a ritual” (of purification etc.), together with the whole spectre of meanings of ebēru, which was used as “synonymic or parallel with ebēru”. The liturgical meaning of the Hebrew verb has certainly the antecedents in Babylonia, going back to the interwoven meanings of both ebēru and etēqu.
This meaning of ritual of purification/initiation fits the role of Neberu as a divine “ferry” or “crossing” between the parts of heaven. In the Babylonian context, it is actual, at least, in the context of the yearly renovation of the luminaries. In the context of Jewish apocalyptic, it is actual in a quite obvious way, because here each ascension to the next heaven is an additional and higher initiation. However, even the latter idea is not alien to Babylonia, while it is not explicit in the astronomical texts. It is certainly explicit, nevertheless, in the three-level structure of the Babylonian ziggurats (that are a somewhat neglected source for the study of the Babylonian cosmology). Finally, in the ziggurats we can “see” (that is, reconstruct) the gates between the different levels.
We are able to conclude that, if not the very wording but the idea of the “gates” identified with parts of heaven is, in the Jewish cosmological apocalypses, a part of their Babylonian legacy. It should be noted also, that the 3-heaven/gate model in 3 Baruch U is closer to its Babylonian antecedent of three “paths/zones” that the 5-gate model in 2 Enoch. This is not to say, however, that 3 Baruch U is necessarily earlier than the 2 Enoch calendar.
 CAD 6 (1956)  106–113, esp. astronomical meaning 1, e (p. 108–109) and meaning 1, b “identified by terminus and region traversed” (p. 107).
 See CAD 4 (1958)  346–349 (s.v. eṣeru “to draw, to establish (regulations)”), CAD 7 (1960)  206 (s.v. iṣratu “plan, design, borderline”, with discussion on miṣratu in Enūma elīš V as a variant of this word), CAD 10, II (1977)  245 (s.v. muṣṣuru “to fix a borderline”, quoting Enūma elīš V, 3), cf. 113–115 (s.v. miṣru “border” and “territory”), and J. Black, A. George, N. Postgate, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian (Wiesbaden, 20002) 428–429, s.v. uṣurtu(m) “drawing, plan”.
 CAD 11, II (1980)  145–147, s.v. nēberu, esp. meaning 1 “ferry, ford, crossing”.
 In the following quote I reworked the translation by Speiser in order to make it more literalistic.
 Cf. Horowitz’s translation: “The stars, their likeness he set up, the constellations” (Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography..., 114).
 Cf. CAD 14 (1999) 347–354 (s.v. riksu, esp. meanings “band, tie” and “structure, bond”).
 Ea in A (= London, British Museum, inv. K3567, 7th cent. BC), destroyed in B, Anu in C (= London, British Museum, inv. K13477, first half of the 1st millenary BC).
 Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography..., 114–116, cf. 154–166.
 CAD 4 (1958)  10–13 (s.v. ebēru).
 W. H. Brownlee, “The Ceremony of Crossing the Jordan in the Annual Covenanting at Qumran”, in: W. C. Delsman, J. T. Nelis, J. R. T. M. Peters, W. H. Ph. Römer, A. S. van der Woude (Hrsg.), Von Kanaan bis Kerala. Festschrift für Prof. Mag. Dr. Dr. J. P. M. van der Ploeg, O. P. Zur Vollendung des siebzigsten Lebensjahres am 4. Juli 1979. Überreicht von Kollegen, Freunden und Schülern (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Bd. 211), Neukirchen-Vluyn , Neukirchener Verl., 1982, pp. 295-302.
 Joseph Thomas, Le mouvement baptiste en Palestine et Syrie (150 av. J.-C. — 300 ap. J.-C.) (Universitas Catholica Lovaniensis. Dissertationes ad graduum magistri in Facultate Theologica vel in Facultate Iuris Canonici consequendum conscriptae. Series II. Tomus 28), Gembloux, J. Duculot, 1935; Daniel Vigne, Christ au Jourdain. Le Baptême de Jésus dans la tradition judéochrétienne (Études bibliques, n. s., 16), Paris, J. Gabalda, 1992.
 CAD 4 (1958)  384–395 (s.v. etēqu), esp. 388 and 392 (meaning A, 4, e).
 We have only two textual evidences for Enūma elīš V, 8, which is not sufficient to judge whether one of the variant readings, “Ea” or “Anu” is a mistake. Probably, both are allowable, if only Neberu was considered as a universal “crossing”/”ferry” between different parts of heaven.