Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Provenance of Enoch

According to the Internet, there is abundant proof that Jesus approved of the Book of Enoch based on the simple fact that over a hundred phrases in the New Testament could be citing or alluding to the Book of Enoch.

I mentioned the possible contacts of Enoch with the Gospel of Luke in an earlier blog. Today I want to briefly address the provenance of the Book of Enoch.

James C. Vanderkam states: “1 Enoch, preserved in a full, 108-chapter form in Ethiopic, consists of five parts and one appended chapter. It originated in Aramaic (perhaps Hebrew for chaps. 37-71), was translated into Greek, and from Greek into Ethiopic." Vanderkam further states: “Chaps. 72-82 The Astronomical Book, like the Book of Watchers, may date from the third century BCE; the oldest copy of it seems to have been made not long after 200 BCE. Sizable portions of the text are preserved on four copies, written in Aramaic, from Qumran cave 4. The Aramaic original appears to have been much different and much longer than the Ethiopic text, adding far more astronomical details."

Norman Golb concludes “The Aramaic Book of Enoch...very considerably influenced the idiom of the New Testament and patristic literature, more so in fact than any other writing of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha."

Jesus, the Galilean, utilized many key concepts that could be related to terms and ideas in the Book of Enoch. However, it would be sheer speculation to conclude that Jesus had studied the book and adopted its descriptions of the coming kingdom and its theme of inevitable judgment upon "the wicked" - the term most often used in the Old Testament to describe the Watchers.

It is not my purpose to prove the connection but merely to comment that Enoch and Luke may have originated in the same region. Marshall has stated “Luke shows a particular interest in Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Peraea from 4 B.C. until his disposition by Caligula in A.D. 39. Luke 3:19; 8:3; 9:7,9; 13:31; 23:7-15; Acts 4:27; 13:1.”
[ii] I cited this quotation in my first published article to suggest that Luke wrote his Gospel during the reign of Herod Antipas. It may be that the Gospel originated in this region.

The Book of Enoch describes the activities of Enoch and the Watchers taking place in Upper Galilee. Nickelsburg
[iii] has suggested that “the precise and correct location of Dan and Abel-Main indicates first hand familiarity with the area at some point in the chain of tradition” and “1 Enoch 13:7-9 makes a pair of precise and accurate references to several known geographical locations in Upper Galilee (the waters of Dan, Abel-Main, Lebanon and Senir)” and further that the data is “best explained by the hypothesis that these chapters [6-16] constitute a tradition of northern Galilee provenance that in turn reflects visionary activity in the area of Dan and Hermon.”

Saul’s confrontation with the risen Christ occurred on the Road to Damascus that runs along the southeast side of Mount Hermon. Johannes Munck has noted the parallels between the accounts of the commissioning of Paul in Acts
[iv] with 1 Enoch 14. As noted by Nickelsburg, Munck did not mention the proximity of the event to Mount Hermon.

The matrix of the Luke-Acts must include the Palestinian Jewish writings such as Books of Enoch and Jubilees.

[i] Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995), 366.
[ii] I.H. Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, (Grand Rapids, 1978), 133-134.
[iii] 1 Enoch: a commentary on the book of 1 Enoch, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Vol. 1, 2001), 231, 239. Nickelsburg includes one map in Volume I of his Commentary and a series of photographs, the map and photographs are of the Upper Galilee region.
[iv] Luke describes the conversion three times in Acts (Acts 9:1-19, 22:3-16 and 26:4-18), and Paul alludes to it in his letters to the churches in Galatia and Corinth (Galatians 1:16-21; 2 Corinthians 11:22-23).

copyrighted 2005


Post a Comment

<< Home