The Books of Enoch

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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DCHindley
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The Books of Enoch

Post by DCHindley »

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
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by StephenGoranson »

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
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DCHindley
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by DCHindley »

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
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by StephenGoranson »

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
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by andrewcriddle »

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

Andrew Criddle
theeternaliam
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by theeternaliam »

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.
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Ged
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by Ged »

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

Happy hunting!
Sorry for coming in late DCH. I’ve got a translation by Joseph Lumpkin (2010) which seems pretty good. Not that I’m a canonical fan.
The science of arranging time in periods and ascertaining the dates and historical order of past events.
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billd89
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Re: The Books of Enoch

Post by billd89 »

PhD reference, mentioned previously, Link, p.132.

1 Enoch consists of a collection of writings composed between the fourth century BCE and the turn of the Common Era. In the second and first centuries BCE, at least eleven manuscripts were produced for the separatist Essene community of Qumran and later found in fragmentary form among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Eleven different versions of one book? How varied? And who produced the mss.? (theories)
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