Book of Parables

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dabber
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Book of Parables

Post by dabber »

Hi Guys,
I've been looking at the book of Enoch. Is the book of Parables chapters 37-71 missing from DSS?

From wiki DSS chapters 2-14, 30-36, 76-93, 106-7.

So Parables is a later work? Thanks
StephenGoranson
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Re: Book of Parables

Post by StephenGoranson »

Yes, 1 Enoch 37-71 was not found among the Qumran Aramaic fragments of 1 Enoch.
And it is often considered to be the latest part of what became 1 Enoch as we have it.
But, strictly speaking, this does not conclusively prove 37-71 is later than all Qumran manuscripts, though it may be.
After all, what remains of Qumran manuscripts is not the full collection in its ancient state, so it is possible (though some do indeed think it unlikely) that it just didn't survive there.
Or, another option is that they just didn't select it for copying, like, perhaps, the Book of Esther, which also is not represented, but probably already existed elsewhere. Or that was just random non-survival too.
But, yes, many conclude 37-71 is later.
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DCHindley
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Re: Book of Parables

Post by DCHindley »

dabber wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 3:56 am Hi Guys,
I've been looking at the book of Enoch. Is the book of Parables chapters 37-71 missing from DSS?

From wiki DSS chapters 2-14, 30-36, 76-93, 106-7.

So Parables is a later work? Thanks
What intrigues many about it is the fact that the language resembles language about Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Many are tempted to interpret the highly exalted "Son of Man" figure in the light of Christian theology.

There are many possibilities for how these works can have similar themes and figures.

1. Work A influenced work B
2. Work B influenced work A
3. Work A & work B were both influenced by common tradition C
4. Could all just be coincidence (two creative minds thought similarly).

More than one line of influence could be at work at any one time. Fun ...

So, some would have it that the Parables was produced by a pre-christian group, that paved the way for early followers of Jesus. There is a recent movement among moderate to conservative scholars to try to establish this as the "new paradigm." See if you can find Parables of Enoch: A Paradigm Shift. Search for "Parables" or "Similitudes" & "Enoch."

FWIW, there were a large number of my posts on this book that were ultimately deleted around 2005 or 2006. There were like a dozen of them, very detailed follow ups to the claims made by the folks who contributed to Parables of Enoch: A Paradigm Shift. When there was essentially zero responses, I decided to delete what was effectively a rant. I didn't save any of it, a little ashamed that I had come across so obsessive compulsive. There may remain some discussions about the proposed dating of the Parables starting with J C Hindley (1960s, no relation as far as I know) to J T Milik (1974, Books of Enoch).

If it wasn't clear from above, I was highly critical of the whole "paradigm change" movement. Some of the participants I felt should have known better to accept some of the boiler-plate assumptions about the socio-economics of that age as gospel truth (pun intended, most of them are professing Christians and cannot help but reflect their upbringing in their output). Hell, the book Structure of Scientific Revolutions, from which this movement derives its name, was a bit old fashioned even when I was first exposed to it in college in the late 1970s.

Unfortunately, the socio-economics usually assumed is a little too Sunday Schoolish in its view of Herod the Great as a big bad heavy handed and overtaxing bully who has driven his kingdom into ruin. At least they appeal to sociologists, which seems to be restricted to the Malina Group and Richard Horsley (Jesus & the Spiral of Violence). The "Herod the Tax Master" model ignores the research of Fabian Udoh (on Herod and his royal princes) and other writers on Herod Antipas as ruler of Galilee. This is connected in a way with research on the Didache (a document purporting to be an early Christian foundational manual) and the critics who are working on the "Wandering Itinerant Jesus" hypotheses proposed to explain an equally hypothetical Q community.

These latter, though, while not at "Sunday School" level of economics, are surprisingly invested in Marxist socio-economic theory through the lens of 19th century sociologist Max Weber. Unfortunately, critics of early Christian (or Judean) historical explanations are stuck there, and I am not sure where secular ancient economic discussion has gone from there. The consensus view on ancient economies is currently that of Moses Finley (The Ancient Economy) but he has critics. Some early critics, such as M. I. Rostovtzeff, interpreted everything as if it was done exactly as in modern capitalism! There is no modern agreement on how economies functioned in ancient times. They certainly were not functioning at a macro-economic level, but rather a micro economic level as we might have learned in Economics class in school.

They (Parables show how Jesus exaltation could arise - vs - Jesus as Wandering Itinerant, esp. in Didache & Q community resaerch) all rely on this view that Herod had exerted the most extreme crushing economic exploitation of the Judeans and Galileans ever imagined by the human mind. The problem is that the alternate writers noted above (Udoh esp.) suggest that the material cultures of these regions actually rose significantly, despite the grand building projects and such, and Herod the Great had even managed to transfer tax burden *away* from peasants and onto caravans of traders of luxury goods which pass by on the way to Rome. How is this crushing the peasants? Anyhow, be aware that a lot of our standard assumptions will be tested.

One angle that I do *not* see explored is a political origin for the Parables of Enoch. In other words, it is propaganda of some type.

I have noted in some threads that there is a book from the turn of the 20th century that suggested that the rebel king of Judea in the revolt of 66-70 CE, Simon bar Giora, actually called himself a "son of man" and had a social agenda which advocated inversion of rulership from rich to poor. Simon Son of Man: A Cognomen of Undoubted Historicity, Obscured by Translation and Lost In The Resplendence Of A Dual Appellative, by John I Riegel and John H Jordan, dated 1917, which claims that Simon Bar Giora was in fact the original Son of Man, and that this description was later also applied to Jesus when the Gospels were written. Simon was probably just being humble as he seized power with his Idumean shock troops.

However, the similarity to the Similitudes is striking. The authors of that kinda nutty book mentioned above (Simon Son of Man) did not link any of this to the Parables of Enoch. This is a link that *I* did make in some posts here on BC&H, suggesting that Parables/Similitudes was a propaganda work by Simon bar Giora (where by the fiction of a book of Enoch, Simon was presenting himself as a "son of man" - an average Joe - who would save the day with the assistance of the Lord of Spirits/God). In this view, the Parables probably made its way into Ethiopia with war refugees, and later Ethiopic Christians felt it just *had* to relate to Jesus Christ in some way, and it was accepted as an actual prophecy of Enoch.

The theme of the poor being vindicated over the rich is also in the Enoch books that are found among the DSS (same as the following sections of Ethiopic Enoch).

If your head isn't spinning by now, it never will.

DCH
dabber
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Re: Book of Parables

Post by dabber »

Thanks both for confirming, explaining. Yes, my head is spinning. The origins of Christianity is "down the rabbit hole", disorienting and hard to escape :)
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DCHindley
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Re: Book of Parables

Post by DCHindley »

Sometimes it is as simple as not letting oneself get emotionally invested in an interpretation, no matter how well it "fits" our expectations.

Make a mental note, stash them in the back of the mind to ruminate. Keep track of the points of evidence (eg, "This manuscript, which is older, reads ...") and when you can find time, keep them in some organized way you can access. These can be word processing docs, spreadsheets or saved as PDFs. Try to document the sources you consulted. That will help declutter the brain.

Then after a variety of such things are stashed away, consciously compare and contrast. Same evidence, examined by means of different interpretative views, and this is when incompatibility of interpretations and the significance of the historical data start to pop out. If obvious solutions don't always pop out at you, just continue to churn. You'll eventually get butter.

Good luck!
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