What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
User avatar
John T
Posts: 1463
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by John T »

In a wider sense. I consider Aramaic texts as being much older (generally speaking) than the Greek Septuagint. This would include references to the Watchers/Giants as found in The Genesis Apocryphon (1Q20). This does not preclude the Book of Enoch being edited/added to hundreds of years later by Ethiopians and other Jewish off-shoots. I find it reasonable to believe that the origins behind the Genesis Apcryphon pre-dates the Torah.

Aramaic took hold in much of the ancient Near East as both the official and common tongue, starting in the eighth century B.C.E., to eventually supplant Akkadian as the lingua franca of the region,” explains Perrin, and adds that “despite its diffusion, much of ancient Judaism’s Aramaic scribal heritage was presumably lost or forgotten.”

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... a-scrolls/
rgprice
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

Whether or not the books of Enoch were written prior to the Torah, even if we were to assume that every single element found in Enoch is derived from the Torah, if we accept a date of authorship for the Torah of the early 3rd century BCE, then this puts the works of Enoch in a much different light.

Regardless of what came first, it still means that these two sets of works were produced relatively close in time to one another. Instead of Enoch being a late commentary that was produced hundreds of years after the Torah was created, developing new ideas from old stories, it would now appear that the Torah and Enoch are directly competing works produced around the same time as one another.

So I think we should think more about how these two works relate to one another and how our understanding of Enoch can inform our understanding of the Torah.
User avatar
John T
Posts: 1463
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by John T »

But there is no rational reason to accept the date of the authorship for the Torah as 3rd century BCE.

The Ketef Hinnom amulet of Numbers 6:24-26 is dated around 600 BCE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketef_Hinnom

The question should be: Which oral tradition is older, Enoch or the Torah? Followed by: Which was written down first, Enoch or the Torah?

The gap is likely hundreds if not thousands of years.

Much like the story of Gilgamesh vs. Noah's great flood.
ABuddhist
Posts: 659
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:36 am

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by ABuddhist »

John T wrote: Thu Sep 08, 2022 4:36 pm The Ketef Hinnom amulet of Numbers 6:24-26 is dated around 600 BCE.
Russell Gmirkin wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 6:34 am (1) The Ketef Hinnom silver amulets with verbal parallels to Num 6:24-26 are extensively discussed, with bibliography, in Berossus and Genesis, 27-28. It is agreed by Gabriel Barkay (2004), who discovered the amulets (nice guy—met him in Jerusalem in 1997 when he led an archaeological tour of the City of David for a group of us Dead Sea Scrolls scholars), Ada Yardeni (1991), Levine (1993) and others that the amulets reflect an oral priestly formula and are of no evidentiary value in dating the Pentateuch/Numbers as a written text.

(1-a) I don’t know which one of the four authors of Barkay, Lundberg, Vaugh and Zuckerman 2004 wrote the following in the Conclusions section, which seems to have tendentious theological overtones consistent with the Fuller Theological Seminary (Lundberg), USC School of Religion (Zuckerman) or the [Lutheran] Gustav Adolphus College (Vaugn): “We can thus reassert the conclusion reached by most scholars that the inscriptions found on these plaques preserve the earliest known citations of biblical texts. The new readings outlined in this article show that these plaques not only contain biblical quotations, but they also provide us with the earliest examples of confessional statements concerning Yahweh.”

(1-b) This was certainly NOT Gabriel Barkay (contra Goranson), given that the very next paragraph [which Neil Godfrey also quotes] essentially reverses this unwarranted conclusion, citing Barkay’s earlier publication notes: “As has already been noted (Barkay 1992: 176-81; Yardeni 1991: 181-85), the presence of the Priestly Blessing in this late preexilic context does not in and of itself prove that the biblical context in which the blessing appears in the MT had already been consolidated. However, this does point to the preexilic presence of formulations also found in the canonical text, particularly when the confessional statements concerning Yahweh in Ketef Hinnom I are taken into account.” This reiterates Barkay's and Yardeni’s reasonable position in other articles that the oral priestly formula is pre-exilic, but not necessarily part of the written biblical text known from later times.
rgprice
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

John T wrote: Thu Sep 08, 2022 4:36 pm But there is no rational reason to accept the date of the authorship for the Torah as 3rd century BCE.

The Ketef Hinnom amulet of Numbers 6:24-26 is dated around 600 BCE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketef_Hinnom

The question should be: Which oral tradition is older, Enoch or the Torah? Followed by: Which was written down first, Enoch or the Torah?

The gap is likely hundreds if not thousands of years.

Much like the story of Gilgamesh vs. Noah's great flood.
As ABuddhist notes, those scrolls tell us nothing about the authorship of the Torah, only that the Torah contains references to ancient Israelite/Canaanite traditions. Likewise, we have also found even older Semitic tablets at Ugarit dating to the 12th century BCE. These contain parts of Psalms found in the Jewish canon and even elements of Genesis. The stories about Balaam also apparently date to the 6th century BCE.

There is no question that the Jewish scriptures make use of ancient Israelite/Canaanite traditions, laws, prayers, and blessings, etc. The issue is how all of this is framed in the Torah. It may well be that the laws found in Leviticus are authentic Israelite/Canaanite laws that date back to the pre-exilic period, but at the same time, the idea that these laws had been given to Moses by God was invented in the 3rd century BCE. Same with the Ketef prayer.

Numbers 6:
22 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘In this way you shall bless the sons of Israel. You are to say to them:

24 YHWH bless you, and keep you;

25 YHWH cause His face to shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

26 YHWH lift up His face to you,
And give you peace.’

27 So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and then I will bless them.”

There is little doubt that what the Jewish scripters do, is invent a historical narrative around a curated and revised set of authentic Israelite/Canaanite traditions.
ABuddhist
Posts: 659
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:36 am

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by ABuddhist »

rgprice wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:55 am The stories about Balaam also apparently date to the 6th century BCE.
You are wrong; that story dates back in some form to the 8th century BCE; cf., https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/ ... h-heretic/, where we read, "In 1967, inscriptions written on a crumbled plaster wall were discovered during the excavation of Tell Deir ‘Alla in Jordan. Dated to the early 8th century BCE and written in a local Canaanite dialect, the inscriptions drew great attention when their title, written in red ink, was translated and found to say “Text of Balaam son of Beor, seer of the gods.” This remarkable find provided independent attestation of local tradition about a seer named Balaam who was already well-known to us from the Bible, and deciphering the fragmentary texts has been an ongoing task of archaeologists and linguistic experts since then."
Last edited by ABuddhist on Fri Sep 09, 2022 4:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
rgprice
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

@ABuddhist, Okay, okay, I was going from memory :p
rgprice
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

Well, now I'm thinking that the Enoch narrative about the angels consorting with women almost certainly does not pre-date Genesis.

Regardless of whether Gmirkin's claims about Timaeus and Critias are correct, I think he makes a good point about the role of the "sons of God" in Gen 6:1-4. The sons of God are not the source of corruption. I had recognized that, but thought that perhaps the writers of Gen were trying to subvert an original mythology in which the source of corruption was heavenly, and that Enoch faithfully conveyed the original tale of heavenly corruption, but I don't think that's the case.

I think it makes more sense that mortals are the source of corruption, and it was essentially mortals who were corrupting the divine bloodline. This certainly fits better with known mythic patterns. The gods lived on earth and ruled people, but by intermixing with humans the corruption of the flesh overtook the divine. And what hope do mortal men have in the face of the temptations of women, when even the gods were seduced by them? Women are the agents of corruption, not the gods. This all falls in line with the overall narrative of Genesis 2-11.

The Enoch interpretation is a later twist on the original story. I do think that the Enoch interpretation may have resulted from the fact that Genesis 6:1-4 is still a redacted version of a longer narrative, but the longer narrative was still one in which women caused the downfall of the gods, not the other way around.

So, while its possible that some narratives from Enoch may pre-date Genesis, I no longer see the narrative of the angels consorting with women as pre-dating Genesis.
User avatar
John T
Posts: 1463
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by John T »

Please remind me of what you actually believe and please provide citations to support it.

For examples: How many different sources were used to compile Genesis?
What century did they first get put into written form?

Do you agree with the atheists/mythicists on this forum that just like Jesus, Moses did not exist?

For the record, I believe both were indeed historical/political figures and religion is secondary. Buddha, not so much.
ABuddhist
Posts: 659
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:36 am

Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by ABuddhist »

John T wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 10:07 am Please remind me of what you actually believe and please provide citations to support it.

For examples: How many different sources were used to compile Genesis?
What century did they first get put into written form?

Do you agree with the atheists/mythicists on this forum that just like Jesus, Moses did not exist?

For the record, I believe both were indeed historical figures and religion has nothing to do with it. Buddha, not so much.
1. It is possible to be an atheist without being a mythicist. Tim O'Neill is an anti-mythicist atheist.

2. Some Buddhas, we can all agree in this forum, I think, are not historical figures, such as Amitabha Buddha, whose career is said to have begun before the Earth came into existence and to be occurring presently on the world Sukhavati (which is not Earth). As for the historicity of Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism in our planet and our period of time, a good introduction to determining which texts and traditions should be used, if any, to determine whether he was historical is "The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts", by Bhikkhu Sujato and Bhikkhu Brahmali, which can be read here: https://ocbs.org/wp-content/uploads/201 ... ticity.pdf
Last edited by ABuddhist on Tue Sep 13, 2022 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply