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Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is a pseudepigraphal apocryphal work attributed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Scholars date its composition to Maccabean times (ca. 160s BC). The Book of Enoch forms part of the official canon of the Ethiopic Church.
Most commonly, the phrase Book of Enoch refers to 1 Enoch. There are also two other books called Enoch, i.e. 2 Enoch (in Old Slavonic, c. 1st century, R. H. Charles (1896) ) and a 3 Enoch (in Hebrew,, c. 5th-6th century.) The remainder of this article deals with 1 Enoch only.
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 clearly favours a 2nd century BC Jewish authorship, linking the prophecies in the text to the politics of the Maccabean revolt.
- And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, 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.
With the possible exception of Tertullian, the Church Fathers deny the canonicity of the book, and some even considered the letter of Jude uncanonical, because it refers to an apocryphal work.
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 in Abyssinia, and the learned Capuchin monk Peirescius brought a book claimed to be identical to the one quoted by Jude and the Fathers. 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 English traveller James Bruce, who brought forth three copies of a Ge'ez version in 1773. One is preserved in the Bodleian Library, another was presented to the Royal Library of France , the third was kept by Bruce. The first translation of the Bodleian MS was published in 1821 by Prof. Laurence, afterwards archbishop of Cashel. The first reliable edition appeared in 1851 as Liber Henoch, Aethiopice, ad quinque codicum fidem editus, cum variis lectionibus by A. Dillmann.
The Ethiopic version is a translation from the Greek. In the early period of Ethiopic 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 original, although occasional misunderstandings on the part of the translators cannot be excluded.
Since Bruce's discovery, an Old Slavonic translation has been identified, Greek fragments (En. 89:42–49, 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. Fragments from the Book of Enoch have also been identified in 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.
Significant parts of the book contain description 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.
Influence from the book has been traced in the Hiberno-Latin poem Altus prosator.
Names of the fallen angels
- The Book of Enoch compiled and edited by Ronald K. Brown ISBN 096757370X
- 1 Enoch: A New Translation, translated by George W.E. Nichelsburg and James C. VanderKam. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004. ISBN 0-800636945
- "The Book of Enoch" translated by R H Charles, 1917 Online text
- Online version of the Book of Enoch
- Book of Enoch - Translated from the Ethiopic 1882 edition by George H. Schodde (PDF format).
- Online "Ethiopian Enoch" and "Secrets of Enoch"
- Introduction to the Book of Enoch
- A discussion of the Book of Enoch found in Cave IV at Qumran and its relationship to ancient literature
- Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism: An interdisciplinary seminar at Marquette University
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