What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

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rgprice
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What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

If we accept the basic elements of Gmirkin's thesis, that the Torah was composed around 270 BCE, then we must consider the possibility that the works of Enoch already existed in some form prior to the writing of the Torah. At the very least we must consider that the works of Enoch record Semitic narratives that pre-date the Torah, even if they were not written in the form of the works we now identify as the Books of Enoch.

Historically, the works of Enoch have always been considered an elaboration on the Torah, but what if this is backwards, and in fact the Torah is a revision of Enoch?!

The Wikipedia page on Enoch notes:

Margaret Barker argues, "Enoch is the writing of a very conservative group whose roots go right back to the time of the First Temple". The main peculiar aspects of the Enochic Judaism are the following:

the idea of the origin of the evil caused by the fallen angels, who came on the earth to unite with human women. These fallen angels are considered ultimately responsible for the spread of evil and impurity on the earth;

the absence in 1 Enoch of formal parallels to the specific laws and commandments found in the Mosaic Torah and of references to issues like Shabbat observance or the rite of circumcision. The Sinaitic covenant and Torah are not of central importance in the Book of Enoch;

the concept of "End of Days" as the time of final judgment that takes the place of promised earthly rewards;

the rejection of the Second Temple's sacrifices considered impure: according to Enoch 89:73, the Jews, when returned from the exile, "reared up that tower (the temple) and they began again to place a table before the tower, but all the bread on it was polluted and not pure";

the presentation of heaven in 1 Enoch 1-36, not in terms of the Jerusalem temple and its priests, but modelling God and his angels on an ancient near eastern or Hellenistic court, with its king and courtiers;

a solar calendar in opposition to the lunar calendar used in the Second Temple (a very important aspect for the determination of the dates of religious feasts);

an interest in the angelic world that involves life after death.

The works of Enoch make no mention of the Torah or Moses.

However, Books 3 and 4 do place importance on the number 12, primarily in association with the solar calendar. However there is no mention of 12 tribes.

Opposition to the Temple could easily go right back to the Persian era, with Judahites who opposed what they saw as a Persian-backed system of control, which is what Enoch 89:73 implies.

Many works of the prophets also make no mention of Moses or Twelve Tribes or the Ten Commandments. Could it be that such works of the prophets are the common works shared between the writers of Enoch and the Torah, and that the Enoch group was opposed to the Persian-backed priesthood. The writers of the Torah are descended from the Persian-backed priesthood who controlled the Temple. When they wrote the Torah, they used lore that is found in Enoch. This could either be because Enoch was already written, or it could be that both the writers of the Torah and Enoch were both simply drawing upon common Semitic lore. Either way, the writers of the Torah developed narratives that intentionally contradicted the lore we find in Enoch. Thus, the attribution of sin and corruption of the earth to the actions of people in Genesis was a direct retort to the lore found in Enoch that attributes sin and corruption to heavenly powers.

The Temple priesthood would have done this because they saw other heavenly powers as potential rivals to God who could be construed as other gods. If you are powerful enough to corrupt the world, then you are a rival god. So they, in making clear that there were no rival powers to God, had to attribute sin and corruption to God's creation, humans themselves. This setup the split that ultimately gave rise to Gnosticism, with strains Jews not accepting the Temple priesthood and its teachings that placed blame for the corruption of the world on humans instead of heavenly powers.

?? Speculation...
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Secret Alias
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by Secret Alias »

The Pentateuch is a Samaritan or northern Israelite document.
Enoch is a Jewish or southern Israelite document.
If you can explain why the Samaritan document won out among Jews over a native text I am all ears.
rgprice
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

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Firstly, the Torah was produced and endorsed by the Temple priesthood, Enoch was not...
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Secret Alias
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

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No it wasn't. There is no mention of a 'temple' in the Pentateuch. First slip.
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billd89
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by billd89 »

Probably does.

The Moses story is based on Egyptian myth, but there were Samarians in Egypt too.
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John T
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by John T »

Secret Alias wrote: Wed Aug 24, 2022 9:17 am The Pentateuch is a Samaritan or northern Israelite document.
Enoch is a Jewish or southern Israelite document.
If you can explain why the Samaritan document won out among Jews over a native text I am all ears.
Every premise above is wrong. We have been over this before. Enoch is a pre-first Temple story. All we need to do now is wait for the latest C14 results to finally put all these Rabbinic theories to bed, once and for all.

Even then, you still won't open your ears, just like Lawrence Shiffman who has invested so much time and effort into the crackpot theory that the Essene's were an outlier of the Pharisees. It is simply the other way around, the Pharisees were a off-shoot of Enochic Judaism from Persian times.
andrewcriddle
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by andrewcriddle »

The elaborate angelology of the Book of Watchers probably implies a later date than Genesis.

Andrew Criddle
rgprice
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by rgprice »

andrewcriddle wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 1:58 am The elaborate angelology of the Book of Watchers probably implies a later date than Genesis.

Andrew Criddle
Maybe, but I think don't this is really so clear. Plus there are really two possibilities. One is that the Book of Watchers was actually composed as we know it prior to the Torah, the other is that the Book of Watchers as we know it was written after the Torah, but more closely documents the creation account that was known to Judahites prior to the writing of the Torah.

It seems to me that the book of Genesis is commenting on, and disputing, the account that we find in the Book of Watchers, not the other way around.
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billd89
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by billd89 »

rgprice wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:33 amIt seems to me that the book of Genesis is commenting on, and disputing, the account that we find in the Book of Watchers, not the other way around.
The older, folk Sethians had to be smashed! A more literate culture defeated an oral culture, by the Book.
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DCHindley
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Re: What if Enoch pre-dates the Torah?

Post by DCHindley »

Considering the Book of Watchers (a part of Ethiopic/1st Enoch) seems to center its geographical allusions to the area north of Galilee, which was traditionally the southern tip of Iturean settlement.

When Aristobulus I occupied the northern regions of Galilee around 104-103 BCE, he convinced them (like the Idumeans before them under John Hyrcanus ca 110 BCE) that this meant that they (and the Idumeans) already had common traditions, probably including a form of circumcision. Those traditions apparently did not include law observance, though, as this had to be imposed, although the conquered peoples did not put up a great fight to resist it.

Chances are the traditions that made their way into the Aramaic language Book of Watchers were known from Itureans, who did not themselves revere Moses and his law.

So, you could have Enoch's Book of Watchers predating the creation of the Pentateuch as we have it, especially if the Pentateuch was final edited later rather than sooner, as Gmirkin thinks.

My personal opinion is that much of Judaism as we know it was created in the Hasmonean age, probably spurred by John Hyrcanus' decisive victory over the Samaritans and the destruction of their rival temple in 112/111 BCE).

DCH

I would not place much stock in the Book of Parables helping here. It is not found among the DSS. Attempts to make it into a 1st century BC-1st century CE book that proves that Jews were fed up with bad ol' Herod the Great's oppressive taxes and sought a divine redeemer, paving the way for Jesus Christ to fulfill prophecy (just like we all learned in Sunday school), are based on apologetics, not fact. See Fabian Udoh's book on Taxes and Tribute of the period of Herod the Great and his kingdom. Herod actually generated an increase in material culture by reducing agricultural taxes and increasing the taxes on the trade in luxury goods from the east on its way to Rome.

IMHO, the Parables were propaganda of Simon bar "gioras" the rebel leader who took control of Jerusalem after ruling the regions around the city for a period in the 1st Judean war. There was a thread on this a few years ago, based on my reading of a book that claimed that Simon's name "gioras" was actually just Josephus' twist to change his claimed title from "son of man" (an everyday guy, or champion of the common man) to "son of a proselyte."

But that's just me ...

DCH
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