The Books of Enoch

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2736
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

The Books of Enoch

Post by DCHindley » Fri May 17, 2019 5:28 pm

Up until the recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the book(s) of Enoch mentioned by Church fathers was only available entire in Ethiopic (Ge'ez) translation. A few segments, one rather lengthy, was known in Greek. Although we did not know the original language (Hebrew and Aramaic were proposed for various parts and sections), we thought we had it all figured out.

Then the DSS were found in Aramaic and studied, and we realized that this was the original language. One surprise was that the Ethiopic "book of Parables" (aka Similitudes) was not found among the fragments in the caves, not even a smidge (some still hold out hope for it being among the unidentified fragments, but I doubt it). But the DSS did have a book we only heard about by reputation, the Book of Giants. The Giants were the sons of the Watchers and their human female wives, so it is linked to the story contained in the Enochic Book of Watchers. Whaaa?

If you don't know much about this, then join the club. If you would like to learn more, you might try these resources:

1) download a copy of R H Charles' Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, volume II (Pseudepigrapha) (1913). In Charles' Introduction to 1 (Ethiopic) Enoch, he lists all sorts of possible quotes and allusions in the NT, Judean Apocrypha and Church fathers. His synopsis is a resume of his introduction of his translation of 1 Enoch dated 1893, applying what at that time was cutting-edge historical critical scholarship. I just looked at his list of Christian authors who mention Enoch favorably, and this seems to end in the early 5th century CE.

Since then there is the diplomatic translation by E Isaac in Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol 1 (1983), but he translated based on a single manuscript of the Ethiopic (Ms. A). There is a section in the introduction about its Historical significance.

If you have time, I'd recommend J T Milik's The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (1976). This has a large amount of info about how the 5 or so books (without the Similitudes in the Ethiopic as it was not found at the caves near Qumran, but including the Book of Giants which the Aramaic fragments contained but not in the Ethiopic) influenced other literature. <whew ... puff puff, long sentence, aye?>

Milik's assistant editor Matthew Black, in conjunction with James C. VanderKam, published a translation of the Aramaic Books of Enoch that were recovered from the caves. The Book of Enoch, or, I Enoch: a new English edition: with commentary and textual notes (1985). I once thumbed through a copy in a university library, but could never afford a Brill publication.

There might be something newer out since 1985, I am just not immediately aware of it.

Happy hunting!

StephenGoranson
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:10 am

Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by StephenGoranson » Sun May 19, 2019 12:09 am

There is a commentary on 1 Enoch in two volumes (Hermeneia series, Fortress Press):
vol. 1 Chapters 1-36, 81-108, by George Nickelsburg 2001
vol. 2 Chapters 37-82, by Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam 2012

User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2736
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by DCHindley » Sun May 19, 2019 6:44 pm

StephenGoranson wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:09 am
There is a commentary on 1 Enoch in two volumes (Hermeneia series, Fortress Press):
vol. 1 Chapters 1-36, 81-108, by George Nickelsburg 2001
vol. 2 Chapters 37-82, by Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam 2012
I was not aware of that. I'll see about checking it from the local university library.

What is your opinion of the Hermeneia series in general? I bought the one on the works of Ignatius some years ago, long before I tried to compare the different manuscript traditions a year or two ago, and was a bit disappointed by it.

DCH

StephenGoranson
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:10 am

Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon May 20, 2019 12:16 am

I don't know much about Ignatius. In some other volumes I think the series is pretty good. Several of J. VanderKam's publications are imo excellent.

andrewcriddle
Posts: 1744
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon May 20, 2019 11:28 am

I was impressed by the Hermeneia version of the Apostolic Tradition.

Andrew Criddle

theeternaliam
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:33 am

Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by theeternaliam » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:03 am

Have you read the Book of Giants? I still have yet to go through the books of Enoch but have been highly intrigued. I'm quite partial to Enoch. Think there is quite a mystery in that prophet. He seems to me to be a kinda Semitic shaman of sorts.

Post Reply