Enoch was a legendary hero; he lived to be 365 (Gen. 5: 23), walked with God, and bypassing death was taken straight to heaven (verse 24). Such a mysterious figure was an apt character to be the pseudonymous author of sundry apocalyptic writings, in which he is a preacher of repentance, a prophet, and one who receives supernatural knowledge of the mysteries of heaven and earth.

The book of 1 Enoch (or the Ethiopic book of Enoch) was originally written in Hebrew during the last two centuries BCE. It predicts the punishment of Israel's enemies, and the general resurrection of Israelites. Chs. 37–71, which form a separate section of the book and are absent from copies of the Enoch literature among the Dead Sea scrolls, are usually attributed to a period later than the gospels. In these chapters the term ‘Son of Man’ is used for Enoch.

The book of 2 Enoch (or the Secrets of Enoch) has been known in its Slavonic form in the West only since the 19th cent. Originally written in Greek early in the Christian era, it gives a complicated version of the age to come after the judgement.

The book of 3 Enoch was written in Hebrew and develops the earlier Enochic literature under Gnostic influence.

Fragments of 1 Enoch in Aramaic have been discovered in Cave four at Qumran.