What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Russell Gmirkin
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 1:19 pm RG -- I was reminded of your question here when I came across the thoughts of Philip Alexander on the relationship between Enoch literature and Genesis: see https://archive.org/details/ancientjewi ... 6/mode/2up (p. 37) and his reference in https://archive.org/details/biblicalfig ... 0/mode/2up (pp 90ff). He argues for Enoch exploiting lacunae in the Genesis account in order to elaborate on a new myth.
I'll be dealing extensively with Ancient Jewish Sciences and incidentally with Alexander in my upcoming book. It's an interesting area of research.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

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Russell Gmirkin wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 7:14 pm
neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Oct 17, 2022 1:19 pm RG -- I was reminded of your question here when I came across the thoughts of Philip Alexander on the relationship between Enoch literature and Genesis: see https://archive.org/details/ancientjewi ... 6/mode/2up (p. 37) and his reference in https://archive.org/details/biblicalfig ... 0/mode/2up (pp 90ff). He argues for Enoch exploiting lacunae in the Genesis account in order to elaborate on a new myth.
I'll be dealing extensively with Ancient Jewish Sciences and incidentally with Alexander in my upcoming book. It's an interesting area of research.
Thanks for the notice. Actually, I was meaning to address RGPrice by my shorthand RG --- but appreciate you also responding!
rgprice
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

Thanks for that Neil. I tend to agree that 1 Enoch shows signs that many parts of its narrative elements are derived from Genesis, i.e. that they do not pre-date Genesis.

However, as I've stated in other threads, in reading Genesis there is still the sense that Genesis 2-11 is a redacted narrative. There is still the sense that Genesis 2-11 is not a complete story, but rather that it is a shorted version of some longer story. The problem is that there seems to be little indication that any such longer story was actually known.

Enoch literature seemed like it had the potential to record elements of creation narratives that pre-dated Genesis, and thus may contain elements of the longer story, but the more I look at it the more it simply looks derivative, as Alexander suggests.

To me, Genesis 5 looks largely like an insertion into the narrative that runs from 2-11, it seems to interrupt between 4 and 6.

But, interestingly, the writer may also have portrayed God as terrestrial.

21 Now Enoch lived sixty-five years, and fathered Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he fathered Methuselah, and he fathered other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

This is typically read figuratively, but Genesis 3 describes the Lord God walking in the Garden and the "sons of God" from Genesis 6 who consort with women are surely meant to be terrestrial gods. So I would say that its possible the writer of Gen 5 meant to depict Enoch as literally walking with God.

This then ties into the way in which the Enoch literature reinterpreted Genesis. In Genesis the Lord is a terrestrial figure, and the divine beings live on earth prior to the flood, but in the Enoch literature God and all divine beings are always heavenly and were never terrestrial. In Genesis (and perhaps pre-Genesis stories) Enoch was with God - on earth. But when the writer of the Enoch literature moved all divine beings from earth to heaven, Enoch of course had to go up to heaven with them.

But perhaps there were pre-Genesis stories about Enoch learning from the Lord on earth, like being a student or apprentice of the Lord. But for whatever reason the writer of Genesis 5 didn't want to have Enoch passing on knowledge from the Lord.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Tue Oct 25, 2022 3:38 am
However, as I've stated in other threads, in reading Genesis there is still the sense that Genesis 2-11 is a redacted narrative. There is still the sense that Genesis 2-11 is not a complete story, but rather that it is a shorted version of some longer story. The problem is that there seems to be little indication that any such longer story was actually known.

Enoch literature seemed like it had the potential to record elements of creation narratives that pre-dated Genesis, and thus may contain elements of the longer story, but the more I look at it the more it simply looks derivative, as Alexander suggests.

To me, Genesis 5 looks largely like an insertion into the narrative that runs from 2-11, it seems to interrupt between 4 and 6.

But, interestingly, the writer may also have portrayed God as terrestrial.

21 Now Enoch lived sixty-five years, and fathered Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he fathered Methuselah, and he fathered other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

This is typically read figuratively, but Genesis 3 describes the Lord God walking in the Garden and the "sons of God" from Genesis 6 who consort with women are surely meant to be terrestrial gods. So I would say that its possible the writer of Gen 5 meant to depict Enoch as literally walking with God.

This then ties into the way in which the Enoch literature reinterpreted Genesis. In Genesis the Lord is a terrestrial figure, and the divine beings live on earth prior to the flood, but in the Enoch literature God and all divine beings are always heavenly and were never terrestrial. In Genesis (and perhaps pre-Genesis stories) Enoch was with God - on earth. But when the writer of the Enoch literature moved all divine beings from earth to heaven, Enoch of course had to go up to heaven with them.

But perhaps there were pre-Genesis stories about Enoch learning from the Lord on earth, like being a student or apprentice of the Lord. But for whatever reason the writer of Genesis 5 didn't want to have Enoch passing on knowledge from the Lord.
I was reminded of the evidence that the 7 days of creation are a redaction of an earlier account: e.g. we have plant life appearing on the same day the earth and oceans were separated. Has Genesis 1 modified an earlier text to limit the creation to 7 days instead of 8? You've probably seen that idea already.

I do wonder, also, if Russell Gmirkin's next book will give you some support for your view that Enoch was, or was based on, narratives that pre-dated Genesis. He appears to slightly indicate that the Enoch Astronomical Book was a source for Genesis 1's account of the creation of the sun, moon and stars.

Yes, that Enoch lived 365 days is surely a reference to something that was known to the first readers of Genesis.
Russell Gmirkin
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 10:28 pm I do wonder, also, if Russell Gmirkin's next book will give you some support for your view that Enoch was, or was based on, narratives that pre-dated Genesis. He appears to slightly indicate that the Enoch Astronomical Book was a source for Genesis 1's account of the creation of the sun, moon and stars.
There is already quite a bit of research pointing to Enoch, the seventh of ten antediluvian biblical patriarchs, drawing extensively on the seventh of ten antediluvian kings Enmerduranki of Babylonian myth who ascended to heaven and learned various secrets about divination from the gods before returning to earth to pass these skills on the humanity.

Kvanvig, Helge S., Roots of Apocalyptic: The Mesopotamian Background of the Enoch Figure and of the Son of Man (WMANT 61; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988).
—Primeval History: Babylonian, Biblical, and Enochic: An Intertextual Reading (Leiden: Brill, 2011).
Vanderkam, James C., Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1984).
—Enoch: A Man for All Generations (Studies on Personalities of the Old Testament; Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995).

Without giving any spoilers, I will be extensively dealing with Babylonian myths reflected in the Primordial History, drawing on both Akkadian literature and its traces in the pseudepigrapha (including the Enoch literature).
StephenGoranson
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by StephenGoranson »

"What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?" may suggest to some readers that the Torah has a set date and that Enoch may be before or after that. What if Books of the Torah and Books of Enoch both evolved diachronically? If so, possibly, portions of each could precede other portions of each.
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Secret Alias
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

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Enoch is hostile to Samaritan primacy claims. If the Samaritan tradition was first Enoch is necessarily after that.
Russell Gmirkin
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

StephenGoranson wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:11 am "What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?" may suggest to some readers that the Torah has a set date and that Enoch may be before or after that. What if Books of the Torah and Books of Enoch both evolved diachronically? If so, possibly, portions of each could precede other portions of each.
Agreed.
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