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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

1 Enoch - Introduction

The patriarch Enoch was well known in pre-Christian Judaism and in the primitive Church, not merely as a paragon of righteousness, but also as an author whose writings had a wide circulation and in some quarters were accepted as ‘scripture’. The Book of Jubilees represents him as the inventor of writing, and it refers to his having written several apparently quite unrelated works dealing with ‘the signs of heaven’, his own vision of ‘what will happen to the sons of men in every generation’, and certain angelic revelations concerning ‘everything on earth and in the heavens’: 1 Jub. iv. 17–21. later on, his ‘special function’ is described as ‘to be a witness to the world's generations and report all the deeds of each generation till the day of judgement’; 2 Jub. x. 17. and, later still, the dying Abraham is reported as telling Isaac that he had found certain regulations about sacrifice ‘written … in the words of Enoch’. 3 Jub. xxi. 10. In the New Testament, the Epistle of Jude explicitly quotes Enoch and introduces the quotation with the formula ‘Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying …’ 4 Jude 14–15 . Thereafter quotations and references are frequent. Thus, the Epistle of Barnabas quotes him (‘… concerning which it is written, as Enoch says, …’), 5 Ep. Barn. iv. 3 (the quotation at xvi. 5 is attributed to ‘Scripture’, and that at xvi. 6 is introduced by ‘it is written’: in neither case is Enoch mentioned by name). and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs have no less than nine references to material contained in the ‘words’, or ‘writing’, or ‘book’, or ‘books’, ‘of Enoch’. 6 It should be noted, however, that there is textual uncertainty in five of these instances.

Among the Fathers, Tertullian, although he himself accepted Enoch, knew of some who did not. 7 Tert. cult. fem. I. iii. 1. Origen quoted and referred to Enoch, but he had reservations; 8 Orig. In Ioann. VI. xlii (25); in Num. hom. xxviii. 2. and he was at pains to point out to Celsus that ‘the books entitled “Enoch” are not generally held to be divine by the churches’. 9 Orig. c. Cel. v. 54. For Jerome Enoch was certainly apocryphal. 10 Hieron. vir. inl. 4; Comm. in Tit. i. 12: cp. Tract. de Ps. cxxxii. 3. And so too for Augustine: Augustine admitted that Enoch had written ‘not a little’ by divine inspiration, but he himself found the writings then circulating under Enoch's name so full of incredible fables and other undesirable matter that they could not possibly be genuine: they were quite rightly rejected by both Jews and Christians. 11 Aug. Civ. Dei, xv. 23, xviii. 38.

‘Enoch’ is listed among the works outside the Canon in the Stichometry of Nicephorus, in the List of Sixty Books, and in the pseudo-Athanasian Synopsis; but it is not mentioned in the Gelasian Decree. This presumably means that writings attributed to Enoch passed out of circulation in the West rather earlier than they did in the East. The last Eastern writer to show personal acquaintance with the writings of Enoch is Georgius Syncellus (c.800). In his Chronography Syncellus gives (in Greek) four extracts ‘from the first book of Enoch’, and later on he refers to certain astronomical information which the archangel Uriel had given Enoch ‘as Enoch records in his book’. 12 Syncellus, Chronographia (ed. Dindorf = Corp. Scr. Hist. Byz., vol i (Bonn, 1829 ), pp. 20–23, 42–47, 60).

After the lapse of more than a thousand years the Enoch literature was re-introduced to the West at the end of the eighteenth century by James Bruce as a result of his travels in Abyssinia. Among the Ethiopic manuscripts that Bruce brought back were three containing what is now known as 1 Enoch or ‘Ethiopian Enoch’. One of these manuscripts (now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford) contained 1 Enoch only: the second (also in the Bodleian) contained 1 Enoch, followed by Job, Isaiah, the Twelve, Proverbs, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, Canticles and Daniel: the third (now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris) is a transcript of the second. In all three the work was entitled ‘the Book of Enoch the Prophet’. Richard Laurence, Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford and subsequently Archbishop of Cashel, issued a translation of the text of the first of the Bodleian manuscripts in 1821 and followed this in 1838 by printing the text itself. Meanwhile, more manuscripts were being brought back by other travellers, and three of these, along with the two in the Bodleian, were used by Dillmann for the first critical edition of the Ethiopic text, published in 1851 .

In 1886–7 workers attached to the French Archaeological Museum at Cairo discovered in a monk's tomb at Akhmim two extensive parchment fragments of Enoch in Greek, bound up together with fragments of the Gospel and the Revelation of Peter (also in Greek). The larger of the two Enoch fragments was found to correspond to 1 Enoch i. 1–xxxii. 6 in the Ethiopic, and the smaller to xix. 3–xxi. 9. They are to be assigned to either the fifth or the sixth centuries. They were published by U. Bouriant and A. Lods in 18923 and were consequently not available to R. H. Charles for use in the first edition of his The Book of Enoch (English translation, with Introduction and Commentary), which appeared in 1893 . However, when Charles produced his full critical edition of the Ethiopic text in 1906 (based on twenty-three MSS), he printed opposite the Ethiopic text at the appropriate points, not only the complete Greek text of the Akhmim fragments, but also the Greek extracts from Syncellus, a Greek fragment corresponding to lxxxix. 42–49 from Vat. Cod. Gr. 1809 (which had been published by A. Mai in 1844 in the second volume of his Patrum Nova Bibliotheca), and a Latin fragment corresponding to cvi. 1–18 discovered in the British Museum by M. R. James in 1893 and published in the Cambridge Texts and Studies in the same year. All this additional material was assimilated in the ‘wholly recast, enlarged, and re-written’ second edition of Charles's The Book of Enoch in 1912 .

Since Charles's day there have been two major discoveries. 13 Among minor discoveries should be mentioned the 6th–7th cent. fragment, which appears to contain a text of 1 Enoch xciii. 3–8 in Coptic, and which was discovered during the excavations at Antinoë in 1937 and published in 1960.

First, in 1930 the University of Michigan acquired six leaves of a papyrus codex, written in Greek and dating from the fourth or early fifth century. Shortly afterwards it appeared that eight more leaves and three fragments, all belonging to the same codex as the Michigan leaves, were included in the very valuable collection of papyri acquired by A. Chester Beatty about the same time. When reconstructed, this codex was found to contain a complete Greek text (apart from the inevitable minor deficiencies) of 1 Enoch xcvii. 6–civ. 13 and cvi. 1–cvii. 3, followed by the Greek text of the otherwise lost Homily on the Passion of Melito of Sardis. It was clear at once that the text of Enoch offered by the codex differed from the Ethiopic in lacking both chap. cv and the final chap. cviii (chaps. civ and cvi are continuous, and after cvii. 3 is written the colophon ‘Epistle of Enoch’, with Melito's Homily following immediately). What was not clear was how much had been lost before xcvii. 6. Campbell Bonner, who was entrusted with the task of editing both texts, was of the opinion, for technical reasons, that it was most unlikely that the codex had ever contained the whole of 1 Enoch: in his view it included only chaps. xci–cvii (minus cv), and these chapters were preceded by another short work of which the three fragments were the sole extant remains. These fragments he assigned to an apocryphal ‘Ezekiel’.

The second major discovery since Charles's day is that of the Aramaic fragments found in Cave IV at Qumran. The first of these was identified as belonging to 1 Enoch by J. T. Milik at the beginning of September 1952: the identification of others soon followed; and Milik published a sumptuous edition of all of them, with extended commentary, explanatory essays, and plates, in 1976 . Altogether there are some hundreds of fragments, which Milik interpreted as the remains of eleven different manuscripts, the oldest of which he assigned to the first half of the second century BC; and they cover all parts of the book as we know it with the exception of chaps. xxxvii–lxxi. This is clear proof that the greater part of what is now 1 Enoch, if not all of it, was known and was popular at Qumran in pre-Christian times. On the other hand, since all the fragments are so small (many of them minute), the amount of continuous Aramaic text preserved is effectively very little: this means that the value of the Aramaic evidence for text-critical purposes is far less than might be expected.

In 1978 , two years after Milik, came M. A. Knibb's The Ethiopic Book of Enoch: A new Edition in the Light of the Aramaic Dead Sea Fragments. In Volume 1 (Text and Apparatus) Knibb printed as his base text photographs of Rylands Ethiopic MS 23 and assembled in his apparatus the variants of twenty-five other Ethiopic MSS together with the variants of the Greek witnesses: Volume 2 contained the Introduction, Translation, and Commentary. As explained in the Introduction, the Translation was intended as a translation of the Ethiopic version and not of an Ethiopic version corrected or revised in the light of the Greek or Aramaic, where they exist. Furthermore, the translation follows the base text (Ryl. Eth. MS 23) very closely and only diverges from it where, for example, it seems to make no sense. Thus, Knibb made no attempt to reconstruct a supposed ‘original’ text of the Ethiopic, nor of an ‘original’ Enoch, either in its Aramaic or its Greek forms. Those who wish to try their hands at this must resort first to the Apparatus in volume 1 and then to the Commentary in volume 2, which is throughout textual and not exegetical.

When, towards the middle of the nineteenth century, 1 Enoch became known generally, most of the scholars who studied it very naturally treated it as a unity – as ‘the Book of Enoch the Prophet’ as the manuscripts described it. But it was soon realized that it was composite; and to-day it is commonly agreed that it is in fact a collection of several previously independent writings, or ‘books’, that have been put together and edited. These, we may suppose, already circulated under Enoch's name before they were put together, though there is reason to think that some bits and pieces have been incorporated to which the name of Noah was previously attached (e.g. chaps. cvi–cvii), and perhaps some others as well. But leaving aside the details, 1 Enoch, in its present form, is plainly divisible into five subsidiary ‘books’:–

  • Book I, chaps. i–xxxvi;

  • Book II, chaps. xxxvii–lxxi;

  • Book III, chaps. lxxii–lxxxii;

  • Book IV, chaps. lxxxiii–xc; and

  • Book V, chaps. xci–cviii.

A parallel has frequently been noted between this five-fold division and the five books ascribed to Moses and the five books of the Psalter. If such an arrangement was intentional, then 1 Enoch is not just a collection of writings ascribed to Enoch: it is an Enochic Pentateuch.

It will be convenient to make a few comments on each ‘book’ separately.

Book I is commonly known as ‘The Book of Watchers’, because three out of Syncellus's four extracts were certainly taken from it, and he says they were ‘from the first book of Enoch, concerning the Watchers’. This book is undoubtedly ancient, probably the most ancient of the five. It was well known to the Fathers: it was quoted as scripture by the author of the Epistle of Jude: 14 1 Enoch i. 9 is quoted at Jude 14–15. the Akhmim fragments, together with Syncellus's extracts, are evidence for the existence of a complete Greek version of it; and there were no less than five copies of it in Aramaic at Qumran. The oldest of these copies is assigned by Milik to the first half of the 2nd cent. BC, which takes back the date of the book itself to the 3rd cent., if not earlier.

Book II (The Book of Parables – cp. xxxviii. 1, xlv. 1, etc.) provides a complete contrast. No Aramaic fragments of it were found at Qumran: no traces of any version of it (apart from the Ethiopic) have survived; and there are no quotations from it in the Fathers. Indeed, there is no convincing proof that it ever existed before the 15th cent. AD, when it was copied as a constituent part of 1 Enoch in the earliest of the Ethiopic MSS. No one, however, has proposed a date for the Parables anything like as late as this. Representative dates proposed are the first half of the last century BC (Charles), the end of the first century AD (Knibb), and the end of the 3rd cent. AD (Milik).

Such wide variations in the dating of the Parables pose an awkward problem for the New Testament scholar, inasmuch as the Parables are noteable, not only for the number of verbal parallels with the New Testament that are to be found in them (cp., e.g., 1 Enoch lxix. 27 with Matt. xxv. 31 and John v. 22, 27 ), but also for their use of several of the well-known New Testament Christological titles, particularly ‘the Son of Man’. It has been customary to explain this (on the assumption that Charles's dating was correct) by supposing that Our Lord and his earliest followers were very much influenced by the Parables, and that the Parables are therefore of primary importance for the study of Christian origins. Charles himself wrote:

‘This definite title [i.e. Son of Man] is found in 1 Enoch for the first time in Jewish literature, and is, historically, the source of the New Testament designation, and contributes to it some of its most characteristic contents’. 15 Charles, APOT ii, p. 185.

But if Charles's dating is wrong and the Parables are to be dated in the Christian era, then the parallels and the common use of the Christological titles will have to be explained in some other way – it may be, for example, that it was the New Testament that influenced the Parables, and not vice versa. In any case, it looks as if much that has been written during the twentieth century about these matters will have to be re-written.

Book III (The Astronomical Book). Fragments of four MSS of this book were found at Qumran, but they attest a much fuller text than the eleven chapters now preserved in the Ethiopic version. Jubilees records that Enoch ‘wrote down in a book details about the signs of heaven according to the order of their months’; 16 Jub. iv. 17. and since the author of Jubilees places this first among the works of Enoch known to him, it is probable that he regarded it as the most significant part of the Enoch corpus, and in consequence he may well have known it in its longer form. At any rate, the length of the book, as read at Qumran, was such as to require a complete roll of parchment for each copy.

The oldest of the Qumran copies is dated by Milik to the end of the 3rd or the beginning of the 2nd cent. BC, which takes back the date of the book itself to sometime in the 3rd cent. at the latest – as is the case with the Book of Watchers. For the existence of a Greek version there is no incontrovertible evidence. But several considerations converge to make it likely that there was a Greek version: (1) the Ethiopic version was presumably made from one; (2) Origen's remarks in his Homilies on Numbers seem to refer to the final chapter of the Astronomical Book, 17 See above p. 169. while Syncellus's reference to the astronomical information that the archangel Uriel had given Enoch is in effect a brief-summary of the entire book, 18 See above p. 170. and both Origen and Syncellus are likely to have known a text in Greek rather than any other language; and (3) Milik claimed to have identified two scraps of a Greek text of lxxvii. 7–lxxviii. 1 and of lxxviii. 8 on an Oxyrhynchus fragment published in 1927.

Even so, the absence of any representative sections of continuous Greek text is a serious handicap in trying to decide whether the abridgement preserved in the Ethiopic was made when the Aramaic was translated into Greek, or, alternatively, when the Greek was translated into Ethiopic, or at some other stage in the transmission. Yet are we certainly dealing with an abridgement? Charles held that the Astronomical Book was originally written in Hebrew. If so, then it is possible to argue that the Hebrew had the shorter text and that the Aramaic represents an expansion when the Hebrew was translated into Aramaic, but that the Greek version was made from the Hebrew – in which case the Ethiopic will in general be a more faithful witness to the text of the book as the author wrote it than the Aramaic from Qumran!

Book IV (The Book of Dreams) is represented by fragments from four of the Qumran MSS, the oldest of which is to be dated to the third quarter of the 2nd cent. The book was known to the author of Jubilees; 19 Jub. iv. 19. and its origin is securely anchored within the last years of the Maccabaean revolt by the details in xc. 6–19. Since Judas (the ram with the ‘big horn’) is apparently still active, this section must have been written before his death in 161 BC – more exactly (according to Milik) in the few weeks that followed the battle of Bethsur in 164. The existence of a Greek version is made virtually certain, not only by the existence of the Ethiopic version, but also by the fragment containing lxxxix. 42–49, discovered and published by Mai, and by the quotation in Ep. Barn. xvi. 5. It should be noted, however, that the Mai ‘fragment’ is not a fragment in the technical sense (like the Qumran fragments), but rather an ‘extract’, comparable with the extracts preserved by Syncellus. Furthermore, despite the author's use of the quotation-formula ‘the scripture says’, Barnabas is so inexact as to raise doubts whether the reference is to lxxxix. 66–67, or to xc. 26–28, or is merely general: it is, it seems, an ‘allusion’ and not a true quotation. 20 Unless, of course, the author was quoting from a Greek text different from the one that underlies the Ethiopic.

Book V (The Epistle of Enoch). The title derives from the colophon at the end of the Chester Beatty-Michigan papyrus; and it is supported by the Greek text offered at c. 6 (‘… these words of this epistle’) as against the Ethiopic (‘…the words of this book’). As previously mentioned, Campbell Bonner, who edited the papyrus, thought that Book V was the only part of 1 Enoch that it contained. Fragments in Aramaic from two MSS are available from Qumram: the fragments from one of these MSS (to be dated c.50 BC) correspond to parts of chaps. xci–xciv and those from the other (to be dated c.100 BC) to parts of chaps. civ–cvii. From the Aramaic evidence two points stand out: (1) As with the Astronomical Book, the text of the earlier part of the Epistle as read at Qumran was much fuller than that preserved in the Ethiopic; and (2) Although chaps. cvi–cvii were undoubtedly included in the second of the Qumran MSS, they were separated from the preceding text by a gap of a line and a half. All in all, it looks very much as if the text of Book V had suffered more than ordinarily at the hands of its editors, particularly through their additions and re-ordering of the material in the last few chapters. And in this connection it is interesting to observe that several of the suggestions made by the earlier source-critics, such as Charles, purely on the basis of internal evidence, have been confirmed by the more recent manuscript discoveries.

When the five separate Books were put together we do not know. Nor do we know the dates of the Greek or the Ethiopic translations. Nor, again, do we know whether there were translations initially of the separate Books made independently, or of the five books together, or of earlier collections containing two, three, or four of the Books.

According to Milik, the idea of an Enochic Pentateuch can be traced back at least as far as Qumran. At Qumran the works attributed to Enoch were copied in two volumes: the first volume contained the (much fuller) text of the Astronomical Book; and the second the texts of the Book of Watchers, the Book of Giants (a work that told the story of the Watchers in some detail and foretold their future destruction by the waters of the Flood and by eternal fire), the Book of Dreams, and the Epistle of Enoch. When, sometime in the later third or fourth century AD, the Book of Giants fell into disfavour in the Church, perhaps because of its popularity with the Manichees, it was replaced by the Book of Parables; and thus 1 Enoch took its present shape. So Milik. But obviously the almost complete lack of evidence does not enable us either to prove or to disprove such a detailed reconstruction.

As we have seen, quotations in Greek begin to appear from about AD 100 onwards. The difficulty here is that since nearly all of them are quotations of isolated passages, they give no help in deciding whether they were taken from a text containing only one or more of the Books. Nevertheless, there are some pointers. Ep. Barn. xvi. 6, for example, which offers a combined quotation of 1 Enoch xci. 13 and xciii. 7, follows immediately on the ‘allusion’ to 1 Enoch lxxxix and xc, to which attention was drawn in our discussion of Book IV: from this it may be inferred that the author read 1 Enoch lxxxix–xc and xci–xciii continuously – i.e. that in the text he was familiar with Books IV and V stood side by side. Similarly, Tertullian (idol. iv. 2–3) connects an apparent allusion to 1 Enoch xix. 1 and an explicit quotation of xcix. 6–7: from this again it might be inferred, though perhaps with less justification, that for Tertullian Books I and V belonged together. In other words, although without a doubt separate copies were made of individual Books, and continued to be made for some time, there is good reason to suspect that from early times a Greek Enoch corpus also circulated in the Church, which, apart from the fact that it lacked Book II, otherwise closely resembled the 1 Enoch we know today. 21 Whether or not this corpus was a Pentateuch and included the Book of Giants as Book II it is impossible to say, since we have no detailed knowledge of the text of Giants. If it was, it may be that some of the patristic quotations, which are attributed to Enoch and difficult to place, are actually quotations from it.

For the Ethiopic translation various dates have been suggested: Burkitt suggested the fourth century AD, Milik thought ‘hardly earlier than the sixth century’, Knibb ‘before the end of the sixth century’, and Charles suggested either the sixth or the seventh century. If there is anything in Ullendorff's suggestion that the Ethiopic translators had access to an Aramaic text as well as a Greek one, then we must be prepared to treat their version with greater respect than perhaps we otherwise would and occasionally prefer its readings when these differ from the Greek.

Our English translation is, with only very slight alterations, a reprint of the translation in Knibb's The Ethiopic Book of Enoch. It is important, therefore, to repeat that what the reader is offered is a straight translation of the Ethiopic text as found in Ryl. Eth. MS 23, the only exceptions being in passages where this particular MS seems to make no sense. The reader is not offered either a translation of an ‘original’ Ethiopic text or of an ‘original’ Enoch. The more important variants of the other Ethiopic MSS are mentioned from time to time in the notes, and all readings in the extant Greek evidence which differ from the Ethiopic are recorded there; but it must not be thought that any of such information implies a value judgement unless explicitly stated – e.g. ‘adds’ or ‘omits’ indicates nothing more than ‘has’ or ‘does not have’. Since the Aramaic evidence is for the most part so fragmentary it has only been referred to in those places where it seems to cast a clear light on the Greek and Ethiopic.

The two main families of the Ethiopic MSS are designated Eth. I and Eth. II respectively. The capitals used for the MSS are the same as the letters used by Dillmann, Charles, and Flemming, though two more MSS have been added, viz:–

  • D′ = Lake Tana MS 9 (15th cent.).

  • C′ = an early 18th cent. MS in the possession of Edward Ullendorff.

(D′ belongs to Eth. I and C′ to Eth. II).

The Greek authorities are differentiated as follows:–

  • Gk.a = the Akhmim fragments.

  • Gk.m = the Chester Beatty-Michigan fragments.

  • Gk.s = the extracts in Syncellus.

  • Gk.v = the Vatican fragment.

(Gk.a1 and Gk.a2, Gk.s1. and Gk.s2, indicate variations in text where either Gka or Gk.s offer the same passage more than once in slightly different forms).

Notes:

1 Jub. iv. 17–21.

2 Jub. x. 17.

3 Jub. xxi. 10.

4 Jude 14–15 .

5 Ep. Barn. iv. 3 (the quotation at xvi. 5 is attributed to ‘Scripture’, and that at xvi. 6 is introduced by ‘it is written’: in neither case is Enoch mentioned by name).

6 It should be noted, however, that there is textual uncertainty in five of these instances.

7 Tert. cult. fem. I. iii. 1.

8 Orig. In Ioann. VI. xlii (25); in Num. hom. xxviii. 2.

9 Orig. c. Cel. v. 54.

10 Hieron. vir. inl. 4; Comm. in Tit. i. 12: cp. Tract. de Ps. cxxxii. 3.

11 Aug. Civ. Dei, xv. 23, xviii. 38.

12 Syncellus, Chronographia (ed. Dindorf = Corp. Scr. Hist. Byz., vol i (Bonn, 1829 ), pp. 20–23, 42–47, 60).

13 Among minor discoveries should be mentioned the 6th–7th cent. fragment, which appears to contain a text of 1 Enoch xciii. 3–8 in Coptic, and which was discovered during the excavations at Antinoë in 1937 and published in 1960.

14 1 Enoch i. 9 is quoted at Jude 14–15.

15 Charles, APOT ii, p. 185.

16 Jub. iv. 17.

17 See above p. 169.

18 See above p. 170.

19 Jub. iv. 19.

20 Unless, of course, the author was quoting from a Greek text different from the one that underlies the Ethiopic.

21 Whether or not this corpus was a Pentateuch and included the Book of Giants as Book II it is impossible to say, since we have no detailed knowledge of the text of Giants. If it was, it may be that some of the patristic quotations, which are attributed to Enoch and difficult to place, are actually quotations from it.

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