Book of Enoch
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(The Book of Enoch)
The Book of Enoch is a work whose position in the Bible is disputed even though it's attributed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Other than the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Essenes, some also accept the book as inspired Scripture. Many scholars however consider it pseudepigraphal. The currently known texts of this work are usually dated to Maccabean times (ca. 160s BC).
Most commonly, the phrase Book of Enoch refers to 1 Enoch, which survives completely only in Ethiopic language as far as we know. There are also 2 other books called Enoch, i.e. 2 Enoch (surviving only in Old Slavonic, c. 1st century; Eng. trans. by R. H. Charles (1896) ) and a 3 Enoch (surviving in Hebrew,, c. 5th-6th century.) The remainder of this article deals with 1 Enoch only.
The book, apparently as a Greek language text, was known to and quoted by nearly all Church Fathers.
There was some dispute about whether the Greek text was an original Christian production or whether it was a translation from an Aramaic text; the chief argument for a Christian author was the occurrence of references to the Messiah as the Son of Man. But the majority opinion favors a 3rd century BC Jewish authorship for its earliest parts considering that a few Aramaic texts of Enoch were discovered at Qumran among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The book is referred to, and quoted, in Jude, 1:1415 (KJV):
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these [men], saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Compare this with Enoch 1:9, translated from the Ethiopian:
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
A number of the Church Fathers thought it to be an authentic work particularly Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian based on its quotation in Jude. However some later Fathers denied the canonicity of the book and some even considered the letter of Jude uncanonical because it refers to an "apocryphal" work.
After being struck from the Hebrew Scriptures by the Sanhedrin at Yavneh c. 90 AD, the book was discredited after the Council of Laodicea in 364; subsequently the Greek text was lost. The latest excerpts are given by the 8th century monk George Syncellus.
Outside of Ethiopia, the text of the Book of Enoch was considered lost until the beginning of the 17th century, when it was confidently asserted that the book was found in an Ethiopic translation there, and the learned Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc bought a book that was claimed to be identical to the one quoted by the Epistle of Jude (and the Epistle of Barnabas) and by the Church Fathers: Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origin and Clement of Alexandria. Hiob Ludolf, the great Ethiopic scholar of the 17th and 18th centuries, soon proved it to be the production of a certain Abba Bahaila Michael. Better success was achieved by the famous Scottish traveller James Bruce, who in 1773 returned from six years in Abyssinia with three copies of a Ge'ez version. One is preserved in the Bodleian Library, another was presented to the royal library of France (the nucleus of the Bibliothèque nationale), the third was kept by Bruce. The first translation of the Bodleian MS was published in 1821 by Richard Laurence, afterwards archbishop of Cashel. The first reliable edition appeared in 1851 as Liber Henoch, Aethiopice, ad quinque codicum fidem editus, cum variis lectionibus edited by A. Dillmann, and the famous R.H. Charles edition was published in 1912.
European scholars and academics consider the Ethiopic version is a translation from the Greek, although this is vehemently disputed by Ethiopian scholars and clergy, who insist that, since the only complete text of Enoch to surface so far is in Ethiopic, it proves their claim that this was the original language written by Enoch himself. In the Ethiopian Orthodox view, the following opening sentence of Enoch is the first and oldest sentence written in any human language, since Enoch was the first to write letters:
"Qale bereket zeHênok zekeme barreke hiruyane wetsadqane 'ile helew yikunu be`ilete mindabê le'aseslo kwilu 'ikuyan weresi-`an."
"Word of blessing of Henok, wherewith he blessed the chosen and righteous who would be alive in the day of tribulation for the removal of all wrongdoers and backsliders."
In the early period of Ethiopian literature, before the introduction of Arabic influence, there was considerable translation activity of much Greek literature into Ge'ez by Ethiopian theologians. Because of this, there are many texts for which both the Ge'ez translation and the Greek original are known, so that the Ge'ez translation of the Book of Enoch allows a reasonably good reconstruction of its Greek text that it had allegedly been copied from, although occasional misunderstandings on the part of the translators cannot be excluded.
Since Bruce's discovery, an Old Church Slavonic translation has been identified, Greek fragments (En. 89:4249, Codex Vaticanus Cod. Gr. 1809) as well as two separate fragments of a Latin translation. Fragments of papyri containing parts of the Greek version were recovered by a French archeological team at Akhmim and published five years later in 1892. Seven fragments from the Book of Enoch in Aramaic have also been identified in the Qumran Cave 4, among the Dead Sea scrolls .
The Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watchers who fathered the Nephilim. The fallen angels then went to Enoch to intercede on their behalf with God. The remainder of the book describes Enoch's visit to Heaven in the form of a vision, and his revelations.
The book contains descriptions of the movement of heavenly bodies (in connection with Enoch's trip to Heaven), and some parts of the book have been speculated about as containing instructions for the construction of a solar declinometer (the Uriel's machine theory).
The book is made up of five sections:
* 1. Book of the Watchers (Ch. 1-36)
* 2. The Book of Parables (Ch. 37-71) (Perhaps at one point, instead of this was the "Book of
* 3. The Book of Luminaries (Ch. 72 - 82)
* 4. The Dream visions (83-90)
* 5. The Epistle of Enoch (91 - 108)
Influence from the book has been traced in the Hiberno-Latin poem Altus prosator.
The book of Enoch depicts the interaction of the fallen angels with mankind: "Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals ?of the earth? and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures".. "S[h]emyaza[z] taught enchantments, and root-cuttings Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqiel [taught] astrology, Kokab[i]el [taught] the constellations, Chazaqiel [taught] the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel [taught] the signs of the earth, Shamsiel [taught] the signs of the sun, and Sariel [taught] the course of the moon" 1 Enoch VIII v 1. Later Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel look down and see the lawlessness caused by the fallen angels and make a petition to God to act. Uriel is sent to Noah to reveal to him the flood that is coming. Raphael is sent to bind Azazel, while Michael is sent to bind the associates of Shemyazaz (also called Samyaza or Satan).
The Book of Enoch
tr. by R.H. Charles
The word refers to certain noncanonical writings purported to have come from biblical characters, and refers to books of ancient Jewish literature outside the canon and the apocrypha. The writings purport to be the work of ancient patriarchs and prophets, but are, in their present form, mostly productions from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 200.
These writings have at times been popular with some branches of Christianity, but by their very nature there is no accepted fixed limit to the number of writings that are called pseudepigrapha, for what one person or group regards as canon another may call pseudepigrapha. Some of the writings originated in Palestine and were written in Hebrew or Aramaic; others originated in North Africa and were written in coptic Greek and Ethiopic. These include legends about biblical characters, hymns, psalms, and apocalypses. Things relating to Enoch, Moses, and Isaiah are prominent.
Although not canonized nor accepted as scripture, the pseudepigrapha are useful in showing various concepts and beliefs held by ancient peoples in the Middle East. In many instances latter-day revelation gives the careful student sufficient insight to discern truth from error in the narratives, and demonstrates that there is an occasional glimmer of historical accuracy in those ancient writings. The student may profit from this, always applying the divine injunction that whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom.
The Pseudepigraphical Book of Enoch