Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Luke and the Book of Enoch

Unlike the Book of Jubilees, scholars have long acknowledged that Luke may have been influenced by ideas contained in the Book of Enoch and made allusions thereto. Enoch is also an important example of Palestinian Jewish writing. There are at least five reasons why those interested in Luke-Acts need to be familiar with the Book of Enoch.

At the beginning of the Gospel, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah. I Enoch 20:2-8 names Gabriel as one of the seven archangels and one of the four closest to the throne of God (I Enoch 10:9; 40:3,9; cf. Lk. 1:19). Gabriel delivers special revelations from God to individuals (Lk. 1:8-20; 26-38).

The Gospel of Luke contains the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth in Lk. 3:23-35 in seventy-seven generations. The author of the Book of Watchers states the Day of Judgment would take place seventy generations after Enoch. Since Enoch is the seventh generation and Luke has placed Jesus in the seventy-seventh generation, has Luke in agreement with Enoch suggested that the end of history would be in the seventy-seven generation? Luke presents Jesus as the Messiah and that the last judgment is very, very near.

Enoch 93:7 states “Those, too, who acquire gold and silver, shall justly and suddenly perish. Woe to you who are rich, for in your riches have you trusted; but from your riches you shall be removed.” Luke 6:24 states “Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.”

The Transfiguration of our Lord in Luke 9:35 states “"And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my beloved Son: hear him." This is now acknowleged to be a mistranslation possibly designed to harmonize Luke with Matthew and Mark. Luke in the original Greek reads: "This is my Son, the Elect One (from the Greek ho eklelegmenos, literally "the elect one"): hear him." The "Elect One" is a most significant term (found fourteen times) in the Book of Enoch. Neither Bock[i] nor Plummer discuss the Enoch connection.

Scholars have long recognized that there is a parallel between the last chapters of Enoch and the Gospel of Luke. Nickelsburg[ii] and Grensted[iii] have noted the parallelism between Luke 16 and 1 Enoch while others[iv] have noted the parallels with the deuteronomic injunctions against oppressive treatment of the poor in Israel.[v] Not unlike Jesus' warning, 1 Enoch 103:5-8 delivers a stinging indictment of Sadducees with 'ill-gotten wealth' who live extravagantly only to descend to Sheol. These observations only confirm the very Jewish nature of the parable.

Finally, the Return of the Seventy periscope is an another possible reason in that the fall from heaven is a regular theme in the Enochic literature.[vi]

[i] Bock, Darrell, Luke, Vol. 1: 1:1- 9:50. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Moises Silva, (Grand Rapids, Vol. 3a 1994), 873-875.
[ii] Nickelsburg, G.W.E., “Riches, the Rich and God’s Judgment in 1 Enoch 92-105 according to Gospel of Luke,” NTS 25 (1978-79), 324-44.
[iii] 'Enoch in Luke 16:19-31,' Expository Times 26:333-34.
[iv] Cave, 'Lazarus and the Lukan Deuteronomy,' NTS 15:319-25.
[v] Deut. 14:28-15:11; 24:10-22. See also Isa. 58:6-7.
[vi] Luke 10:17-20; 1 Enoch 55:4; Jub. 23:29.

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Blogger Michael Turton said...

Your stuff on Enoch is fascinating. I read it several times. Which books would recommend for the connection between Enoch and the NT?

3:54 AM


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