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1 Enoch

Second Century B.C. - First Century A.D.

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Emil Schürer writes: "Enoch (in common with Elijah) occupies this singular position among the Old Testament men of God, that when removed from the earth he was carried directly to heaven. A man of this stamp could not but appear peculiarly well fitted to serve as a medium through which to communicate to the world revelations regarding the divine mysteries, seeing that he had even been deemed worthy of immediate intercourse with God. Accordingly at a somewhat early period, probably as far back as the second century before Christ, an apocalyptic writing appeared purporting to have been composed by Enoch, which work was subsequently issued in an enlarged and revised form. This Book of Enoch was already known to the author of the Book of 'Jubilees' and of the 'Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,' and was afterwards a great favourite in the Christian Church. As is well known, it is quoted in the Epistle of Jude (14, 15), while many of the Fathers use it without hesitation as the genuine production of Enoch, and as containing authentic divine revelations, although it has never been officially recognized by the Church as canonical. We still find the Byzantine chronicler, George Syncellus (about 800 A.D.), quoting two long passages from it (Syncell. Chron. ed. Dindorf, i. 20-23 and 42-47). But after that the book disappeared, and was looked upon as lost till, in the course of the last century, the discovery was made that an Ethiopic version of it was still extant in the Abyssinian Church. In the year 1773, Bruce the English traveller brought three manuscripts of it to Europe. But it was not till the year 1821 that the whole work was given to the world through the English translation of Laurence. A German translation was issued by Hoffmann which, from chap. i. to lv. (1833), was based upon the English version of Laurence, and from chap. lvi. to the end (1838) on the Ethiopic version collated with a new manuscript. The Ethiopic text was published first by Laurence in 1838, and subsequently by Dillmann in 1851, after having collated it with five manuscripts. Dillmann likewise issued (1853) a new German translation, in which there were material emendations, and on which all disquisitions connected with this book have been based ever since. It seemed as though there were reason to hope that more light would be thrown upon this book when a small fragment of it in Greek (extending from ver. 42 to ver. 49 of chap. lxxxix.), taken from a Codex Vaticanus (cod. gr. 1809), written in tachygraphic characters, was published in facsimile by Mai (Patrum Nova Biblioth. vol. ii), and deciphered by Gildmeister (Zeitschr. der DMG. 1855, pp. 621-624). For, from what was stated by Mai, one was led to suppose that there was still far more in the codex than had yet been published. But, alas! a fresh examination by Gebhardt revealed the fact that the deciphered fragment was all of the Book of Enoch that it contained (Merx Archiv, vol. ii p. 243)." (The Literature of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, pp. 55-56)

James Charlesworth writes: "This pseudepigraph has evoked divergent opinions; but today there is a consensus that the book is a composite, portions of which are clearly pre-Christian as demonstrated by the discovery of Aramaic and Hebrew fragments from four of the five sections of the book among the Dead Sea Scrolls. One of these fragments, moreover, Hena, was copied in the second half of the second century B.C. The main question concerns the date of the second section, chapters 37-71, which contains the Son of Man sayings. J. T. Milik (esp. no. 755) has shown that this section, which is not represented among the early fragments, is probably a later addition to 1 Enoch; but his contention that it was composed around A.D. 270 (no. 755, p. 377) is very speculative. If, as most specialists concur, the early portions of 1 Enoch date from the first half of the second century B.C., chapters 37-71 could have been added in the first century B.C. or first century A.D. The original language of 1 Enoch appears to be Aramaic, except for the Noah traditions, which were probably composed in Hebrew. The earliest portions display impressive parallels with the nascent thoughts of the Jewish sect which eventually settled at Qumran." (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, p. 98)

Raymond F. Surburg writes (Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, pp. 142-143):

The book was arranged by its last editor in five sections, as in the Psalms and other Jewish Books.

Section I (1-36) is mainly concerned with pronouncing God's judgment by Enoch on the angels, or watchers who fell through their love for the daughters of men (Gen. 6:1-4), and Enoch's intercession for them. A weird description of Hades is found in this portion of 1 Enoch.

Section II (37-71) has three "parables," or apocalyptic revelations, together with the story of Enoch's translation into heaven.

Section III (72-87) is primarily concerned with furnishing a treatise on astronomy, the secrets of the movement of the stars as revealed to Enoch, who sees with his own eyes their very course, even the portals through which they enter and issue forth, for the purpose of transmitting the information to future generations.

Section IV runs along lines laid down in the first two portions dealing with the problem of sin and suffering of Israel. Enoch relates to Methuselah his visions of the deluge, the fall of the angels, and their punishment in the underworld, the deliverance of Noah, the Exodus, the giving of the Law, the conquest of Canaan, the time of the judges, the establishment of the united kingdom, the building of the temple, the story of the two kingdoms, the fall of the Northern Kingdom, and the Exile. This is followed by four periods of angelic rule up to the time of the Maccabean Revolt, the last assault of the Gentiles, and the great Judgment. The last part of Section IV contains the prediction of the foundation of the new Jerusalem, the conversion of the Gentiles, the resurrection of the righteous, and the coming of the Messiah.

Section V is without any account of the origin of sin but seems to be mainly devoted to the problem of suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the oppressing sinners. It denounces evil and utters woes on sinners and promises blessings to the righteous. Within Section V is an older work "The Apocalypse of Weeks" (93:1-10; 91:12-19). It concludes (105): "In those days the Lord bade to summon and testify to the children of the earth concerning their wisdom: show (it) unto them; for ye are their guides, and a recompense over the world. For I and My Son will be united with them forever in the paths of uprightness and in their lives; and ye shall have peace; rejoice, ye children of uprightness. Amen."

Michael A. Knibb writes: "The pentateuchal (five-part) structure outlined above refers to the book in its present (Ethiopic) form; the Qumran discoveries have made it clear that these traditions originally had a different shape. Fragments of eleven manuscripts of Enoch in Aramaic were discovered amongst the Qumran scrolls, and these fragments confirmed the view that 1 Enoch was composed in Aramaic. The manuscripts fall into two distinct groups. On the one hand, fragments from seven manuscripts correspond to parts of the first, fourth and fifth sections of the Ethiopic book (chapters 1-36; 83-90; 91-107). The indications are that these parts of 1 Enoch, together with a work known as the book of Giants, circulated at Qumran as separate writings and were also copied out in combination—with the book of Giants apparently as the second of the four elements—to form a four-part corpus of Enochic writings, a tetrateuch. On the other hand, the fragments from the other four manuscripts belong to a book of Astronomy which at Qumran circulated separately from the other Enochic writings; the third section of the Ethiopic book (chapters 72-82) is based on the Qumran book of Astronomy, but is much shorter and differs quite substantially. No fragments were discovered corresponding to the second section of the Ethiopic book (chapters 37-71), the Parables." (Outside the Old Testament, p. 27)

James C. VanderKam writes of 1 Enoch 72-82: "The Astronomical Book (AB) was written in the Aramaic language, as we now know from the four copies of it found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q208-11). From Aramaic it was translated into Greek (there are only a few small remnants that have survived) and from Greek into Ethiopic. Judging from the script, the oldest of the Aramaic copies (4Q208) dates from a time not far from 200 BCE; consequently, the book itself was composed no later than that and probably earlier, although we do not know how much earlier. The Aramaic copies that have survived indicate that the Ethiopic version of the booklet, the only complete one that exists, is a condensed form of the AB in that its text lacks some of the long, table-like sections attested for the beginning of the book in two of the Aramaic copies." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, p. 89)

Leonhard Rost writes: "Chapters 72-82 constitute an astronomical treatise probably written around the end of the second century B.C. Chapters 94-105 contain exhortations of Enoch in the style of the farewell discourses of the twelve patriarchs. These discourses date from the first century B.C. The beginning of the book (chapters 1-5) and the conclusion (chapter 108) are among the redactional additions to this complex book. They date from the first century B.C. Nothing in the book makes any allusion to the coming of the Romans in 63 B.C." (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, p. 139)

Martin McNamara writes: "This astronomical work is presupposed by Jubilees 4:17, 21 which may have been composed about the mid-second century B.C. This would indicate a date of composition for The Astronomical Book in the first quarter of the second century at the latest. J. T. Milik thinks it is alluded to by the Hellenistic Jewish historian Eupolemus in a work completed 158 B.C. The Book of Jubilees, however, may have been composed later in the second century B.C., but this need not affect the date to be assigned to Enoch 72-82. Four copies of an Aramaic Astronomical work attributed to Enoch have been found at Qumran, the earliest in Milik's opinion dating from the late third or the beginning of the second century B.C., the latest from the first years of teh first century A.D. These Qumran manuscripts have a longer text than the Ethiopic, especially the section on calendrical reckoning. Milik believes that the original Aramaic text is older than Gen 5:23, which presupposes it and that it was connected with the calendrical reckoning of a highly theoretical nature in the Persian period, but was later introduced by the Essenes into their liturgical lfie. Milik also thinks that archaic features of the literary and scientific content of the Astronomical Book of Enoch link it with ancient Babylonian (and indeed Sumerian) literature, and that the description of the terrestrial orb in Enoch 77 leads us, with complete certainty, to the Mesopotamian centres of scholarship." (Intertestamental Literature, pp. 60-61)

James C. VanderKam writes of 1 Enoch 1-36: "The second early booklet connected with the name Enoch was also written in Aramaic. It too has been identified in several copies from Qumran cave 4 (4Q201-202, 204-206), the oldest of which (4Q201) dates from between 200 and 150 BCE. As a result, it may be another third-century text. The Book of the Watchers (BW) is best known for introducing the strange story (or stories) about the angels who sinned by marrying women and fathering giants. The story in various forms became a major theme in the Enoch tradition and in a surprisingly large number of other works both Jewish and Christian." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, p. 91)

Martin McNamara writes of the Book of the Watchers: "This section of 1 Enoch is itself a composite work. It begins with a Parable of Enoch on the lot of the wicked and of the righteous (1-5). Next comes The Book of the Watchers (i.e. the Angels) proper. This recounts the sin of the angels through their sexual union with earthly women, on which follows the demoralization of humankind. We are then told of the doom pronounced by God on the angels and of the joys in store for the just (6-11), e.g., 'And . . . the Lord said to Raphael: "Bind Azazel by his hands and his feet, and throw him into the darkness . . . and let him stay there for ever . . . that on the great day of judgment he may be hurled into the fire"' (10:4-6). 'Bind them for seventy generations under the hills of the earth until the day of their judgment and of their consummation, until the judgment which is for all eternity is accomplished. And in those days they will lead them to the abyss of fire; in torment and in prison they will be shut up for all eternity' (10:12-13)." (Intertestamental Literature, p. 55)

Leonhard Rost writes: "Chapters 12-16 provide more details about Enoch's role of mediator in the punishment of the fallen angels. Since they constitute an expansion and correction of the corresponding material from the Book of Noah, they must have come later, but they probably still date from the first half of he second century B.C. Chapters 17-19 and 20-36 contain the first and second journeys of Enoch through the various regions of the earth, the heavens, and the underworld, with special emphasis on the dwelling places of the blessed and the places where sinners and fallen angels are punished. These chapters probably belong to the second century B.C. also." (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, p. 138)

Martin McNamara writes: "In the words of J. T. Milik, the Qumran evidence indicates 'that from the first half of the second century B.C. onwards the Book of Watchers had essentially the same form as that in which it is known through the Greek and Ethiopic versions.' It can be presumed that it circulated in this form already by 200 B.C. Certain sections of it can be presumed to be older still, e.g., the section on the fall of the angels (chs. 6-11, or even 6-19). G. W. Nickelsburg believes that chapters 6-11 date from the fourth century, while J. T. Milik (somewhat improbably) is of the opinion that 6-19 are older than Genesis 6, which he believes is dependent on them." (Intertestamental Literature, pp. 58-59)

Michael A. Knibb writes: "The book of Watchers is, with the exception of the book of Astronomy, the oldest part of 1 Enoch and the basis upon which the other sections have been built; there are allusions to it and echoes of it in the Parables, the book of Dreams and the Epistle. It is not all of one piece, but acquired its present form by a process of accretion. After an introductory section (chapters 1-5) the nucleus is formed by the story of the fall from heaven of the Watchers, i.e. angels (chapters 6-16; cp. Dan. 4:13, 17, 23). To this has been appended an account of Enoch's journey to the edge of the world where he sees the places of punishment of the fallen angels and the disobedient stars, as well as the range of seven mountains in the north-west, on the middle one of which is situated the throne of God (chapters 17-19). Chapter 20, a list of the seven archangels and their functions, forms the introduction to the account of a second journey (chapters 21-36). In the first part of this journey Enoch visits places already described in chapters 17-19, and thus chapters 21-5 may be regarded as another version of the earlier journey in which the material has been reordered and expanded. Thereafter Enoch goes to Jerusalem (chapters 26-27), and then far away to the east to the Garden of Righteousness (chapters 28-32). In the last part of the journey Enoch circles the earth and observes certain astronomical and meteorological phenomena (chapters 33-6); this material is related to the material in the book of Astronomy. For the accounts of these two journeys the author made use of a wide range of biblical and extrabiblical traditions. In particular he drew together in chapters 21-32 a number of different biblical traditions relating to the mountain of God (cp. Ps. 48:2; Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:11-19; Exod. 24:10) and to the garden of Eden with its tree of knowledge and tree of life (Gen. 2-3). The underlying theme, announced already in the introduction (chapters 1-5), is that of judgment. The places which Enoch is above all concerned to describe are the mountain on which God will sit when he visits the earth as judge, the place where the dead will wait until the day of judgement, and the places where the wicked (both angels and men) and the righteous will either be punished or enjoy a life of bliss." (Outside the Old Testament, pp. 29-30)

James C. VanderKam writes of 1 Enoch 93:1-10 and 91:11-17: "The oldest surviving historical apocalypse in Jewish literature is probably the short composition known as the Apocalypse of Weeks. The fact that it does not mention the persecution of Jews and the ban on Judaism by Antiochus IV in 167 BCE implies that it was written before these events, that is, perhaps in approximately 170 BCE. It has accidentally been divided into two parts in the Ethiopian version of 1 Enoch and the order of the two parts reversed; an Aramaic manuscript from Qumran preserves much of the apocalypse and has the parts in the correct order (4Q212). The apocalypse takes the form of Enoch's report to Methuselah regarding a vision he had seen; the text also mentions words of the angels and the contents of the heavenly tablets as the sources of the revelation disclosed to him. In the report he quickly sketches history from beginning to end, with almost all of it packaged as a prediction. History and the different stages of the judgment are divided into ten units called 'weeks.' These seven-part units are suggestive for several reasons: they are one of a number of references and allusions to 'sevens' in the apocalypse (e.g., Enoch is the seventh patriarch); the ten 'weeks' total seventy units, itself a highly significant number in light of Jeremiah's prediction that Jerusalem would be desolate for the seventy years of Babylonian control (see Jer. 25:11-12; 29:10; Dan. 9:2, 24-27); and the decisive 'week,' that is, the one in which the actual author lives and when the great turning point in history will begin is the seventh. As 7 x 7 = 49, the total brings to mind associations with the biblical jubilee (which the author of Jubilees and others understood as a forty-nine-year unit)." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, pp. 103-104)

Leonhard Rost writes: "The Apocalypse of Ten Weeks in chapters 93 and 91:12-17 is at least as early as the Book of Noah [second century B.C.?] and possibly even earlier. It may originally have been limited to seven weeks and later expanded. J. P. Thronton has suggested that it is a secret history of the Qumran sect. If so, the conclusion, at least, would be somewhat later. The commonly accepted view, however, finds no mention of the Maccabean period; rather, it concludes that the number of apostates imply that only a certain righteous individuals are elected to enjoy the age of salvation that follows directly. This theory would date the Apocalypse of Ten Weeks prior to the Maccabean period, in other words around 170 B.C. The Apocalypse of the Animals (85-90) contains an account of history from Adam to the Hasmoneans and concludes with a vision of the messianic age. The figures belonging to the primal history, like the figure of the Messiah, are symbolized by bulls; the figures of the patriarchs and their descendants down to the Hasmonean period are represented by sheep; their opponents are symbolized by wolves and other wild beasts. The section is the second earliest. Depending on whether it concludes with Judas Maccabeus or ends with John Hyrcanus or even Alexander Jannaeus, it belongs to the middle or end of the second century, or to the first quarter of the first century B.C." (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, pp. 137-138)

James C. VanderKam writes of 1 Enoch 83-90, the Book of Dreams: "Here too Enoch tells his son Methuselah about his predictive dream visions. In this section he reports two such experiences. In the first and shorter one (83-84) he sees the heavens thrown down on earth, the earth swallowed up, and everything sinking into the abyss. His grandfather Mahalalel explains to him that the vision concerns the wickedness of the earth and its approaching destruction (the flood). He urges Enoch to pray that a remnant be left to him on the earth. He does pray for the remnant, and, after seeing the sun rise on a new day, blesses and praises the Lord. The second and longer section is called the Animal Apocalypse (chaps. 85-90). Interpretation of the last historical allusions in teh vision, especially the character who appears to be Judas Maccabeus (the ram with a horn in 90:9, etc.), has led scholars to date it to the late 160s BCE. The apocalypse has received its name from the fact that in it biblical characters are described symbolically as animals. Colors and types of animals express character evaluations. In the text Enoch surveys all of scriptural history and moves beyond it to the time of the actual author and the end. The symbols and the language are usually clear enough so that the biblically literate reader can follow the course of the story." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, p. 105)

Martin McNamara writes: "In the Book of Jubilees 4:19 mention is made of Enoch's dream visions of the course of history, by which the second vision of this section may be intended. No fragment of the first vision (83-84) has been found in Qumran. The second vision seems to have been composed in Maccabean times, and possibly before Jonathan's assumption of the high priesthood in 153 B.C. The author seems to have belonged to the Hasidic movement." (Intertestamental Literature, p. 62)

James C. VanderKam writes of 1 Enoch 37-71: "Tucked between the two oldest parts of 1 Enoch is an apocalypse that goes under the name the Similitudes or Parables of Enoch. In it Enoch receives a series of revelations that are called parables; the first is in chaps. 38-44, the second in 45-47, and the third in 58-69. Around these three units the author/editor has placed introductory and concluding chapters (38 and 70-71). The focus in the Similitudes is on the eschatological punishment of sinners and the blessing of the righteous; a strong element of reversal is also involved. The downtrodden righteous do not realize that their salvation is already prepared, while the oppressive sinners at present fail to understand what awaits them. The text discloses that at the end the rightous will enjoy bliss while the mighty sinners will be punished and destroyed. In this work Enoch is termed a 'son of man,' and he is deeply involved in the final judgment of the wicked and reward of the righteous." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, p. 110)

Leonhard Rost writes: "Chapters 37-71, following an introduction in chapter 37, comprise three discourses made up of similitudes or parables (38-44; 45-47; and 58-69), together with appendices and supplements, into which the fragments of the Book of Noah mentioned above have been incorporated. The similitudes furnish information about the hierarchy of the angels and reveal atmospheric, meteorological, and astronomical secrets; they culminate in the appointment of Enoch as the Son of Man. They contain various traditions dating from earlier ages but in their present recension cannot be designated earlier than the first century B.C. J.T. Milik dates them as late as the second century C.E., above all because there is no trace of them at Qumran." (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, pp. 138-139)

Martin McNamara writes: "No fragment of any part of Parables has been found in Qumran. For this, and for other reasons besides, some scholars doubt its pre-Christian and Jewish character. J. T. Milik maintains that it was composed in the second or third century of our era. However, contemporary scholarship tends to reckon the parables Jewish, and to assign their composition to the first century of the Christian era." (Intertestamental Literature, p. 71)

Michael A. Knibb writes: "The concern with the Son of Man has led to the Parables being considered in relation to the traditions in the gospels about the Son of Man. Some scholars have thought that the Parables are Christian, but this is very unlikely because the Parables lack any reference to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; here the difference from the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, a work Jewish in origin but clearly Christian in its present form, is particularly significant. In fact the Parables are a Jewish work and are rooted firmly in traditions stemming from the Old Testament; they build upon what is said about the 'one like a man' of Dan. 7, but also draw upon traditions relating to the Davidic Messiah (cp. Isa. 11) and to God's servant (cp. Isa. 49). It is a matter of debate whether the Parables, a Jewish work, might have exercised some limited influence on the gospel traditions; but their real importance—in the writer's opinion from towards the end of that century. It should be noted that for this section of Enoch we have available only an Ethiopic text." (Outside the Old Testament, p. 44)

James C. VanderKam writes of 1 Enoch 91-107: "The fifth and last booklet in 1 Enoch is called the Epistle of Enoch. It is the literary home of the Apocalypse of Weeks (93:1-10; 91:11-17) and of several other types of literary units. As a result of this variety it is difficult to classify chapters 91-107 under any single rubric, but they do share several features with the wisdom tradition and thus can be studied here. The Epistle may date to roughly the same time as the Apocalypse of Weeks, that is, not far from 170 BCE. At least there is no convincing reason for putting it at a later time. Parts of the Epistle, like most other booklets in 1 Enoch, have been preserved in the Aramaic fragments from Qumran cave 4." (An Introduction to Early Judaism, pp. 119-120)

Martin McNamara writes: "Material of a variety of kinds follows on The Apocalypse of Weeks: Enoch's admonitions to the righteous (94:1-5) and woes on sinners (94:6-11; 95); reasons why the righteous should have hope (96:1-3), and why sinners should fear (96:4-8). There are woes on those who acquire unrighteous gain (97), and once more on sinners in general (98-104). The central motif of this section is the economic differentiation between rich and poor, the classes being practically identified with the sinners and righteous respectively. The rich are accused of idolatry in certain texts (99:6-9; cf. 91:9 and 104:9). The rich sinners are presented as oppressing the righteous poor (95:7; 96:5, 8; 103:9-15; 104:3). The statement that sin originated with man ('Sin has not been sent upon the earth, but man himself has created it', 98:4) may be intended to stress human responsibility but may also be directed against other sections of the Enochic corpus which present the Watchers as having introduced it at the Flood (e.g. 1 Enoch 6-11)." (Intertestamental Literature, p. 67)

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