WHY DID THE MODERN CHURCH REMOVE THE BOOK OF ENOCH FROM THE BIBLE?

Enoch was the holiest human being in his time. He did not die. He was taken by God. He wrote the first piece on how God created the earth. Some of the Apostles and Teachers made reference to his writings, and his book was considered a part of the scripture by them. One of the oldest bibles in the world written in ancient Ge’ez language contains the book of Enoch. How come the book he wrote was removed from and not included in the bible?

The book of Enoch is one of those books in the bible that exposes the whitewashing of black history. It gives you an understanding of what the earth looked like from the time of Adam to the sons of Noah.

Enoch was the Great Grand Father of Noah through Methuselah and Lamech. All these people where black.

The Book of Enoch (also 1 Enoch;[1] Ge’ez: መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ maṣḥafa hēnok) is an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch contains unique material on the origins of supernatural demons and giants, why some angels fell from heaven, an explanation of why the Great Flood was morally necessary, and prophetic exposition of the thousand-year reign of the Messiah.

The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) of the text are estimated to date from about 300 BCE, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to the 1st century BCE.

It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel. Most Christian denominations and traditions may accept the Books of Enoch as having some historical or theological interest, but they generally regard the Books of Enoch as noncanonical or noninspired. It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, but not by any other Christian groups.

It is wholly extant only in the Ge’ez language, with Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments. For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian belief is that the original language of the work was Ge’ez, whereas modern scholars argue that it was first written in either Aramaic or Hebrew; Ephraim Isaac suggests that the Book of Enoch, like the Book of Daniel, was composed partially in Aramaic and partially in Hebrew. No Hebrew version is known to have survived. It is asserted in the book itself that its author was Enoch, before the Biblical Flood.

Some of the authors of the New Testament were familiar with some of the content of the story. A short section of 1 Enoch (1:9) is cited in the New Testament, Epistle of Jude, Jude 1:14–15, and is attributed there to “Enoch the Seventh from Adam” (1 En 60:8), although this section of 1 Enoch is a midrash on Deuteronomy 33:2. Several copies of the earlier sections of 1 Enoch were preserved among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The first part of the Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watchers, the angels who fathered the Nephilim. The remainder of the book describes Enoch’s visits to heaven in the form of travels, visions and dreams, and his revelations.

The book consists of five quite distinct major sections:

The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36)

The Book of Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) (also called the Similitudes of Enoch)

The Astronomical Book (1 Enoch 72–82) (also called the Book of the Heavenly Luminaries or Book of Luminaries)

The Book of Dream Visions (1 Enoch 83–90) (also called the Book of Dreams)

The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91–108)

Most scholars believe that these five sections were originally independent works (with different dates of composition), themselves a product of much editorial arrangement, and were only later redacted into what is now called 1 Enoch.

The 1976 publication by Milik of the results of the paleographic dating of the Enochic fragments found in Qumran made a breakthrough. According to this scholar, who studied the original scrolls for many years, the oldest fragments of the Book of Watchers are dated to 200–150 BC. Since the Book of Watchers shows evidence of multiple stages of composition, it is probable that this work was extant already in the 3rd century B.C. The same can be said about the Astronomical Book.

It was no longer possible to claim that the core of the Book of Enoch was composed in the wake of the Maccabean Revolt as a reaction to Hellenization. Scholars thus had to look for the origins of the Qumranic sections of 1 Enoch in the previous historical period, and the comparison with traditional material of such a time showed that these sections do not draw exclusively on categories and ideas prominent in the Hebrew Bible. Some scholars speak even of an “Enochic Judaism” from which the writers of Qumran scrolls were descended.[47]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 Shabbatobservance 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”;
  • 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.

Most Qumran fragments are relatively early, with none written from the last period of the Qumranic experience. Thus, it is probable that the Qumran community gradually lost interest in the Book of Enoch.

The relation between 1 Enoch and the Essenes was noted even before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

While there is consensus to consider the sections of the Book of Enoch found in Qumran as texts used by the Essenes, the same is not so clear for the Enochic texts not found in Qumran (mainly the Book of Parables): it was proposed to consider these parts as expression of the mainstream, but not-Qumranic, essenic movement. The main peculiar aspects of the not-Qumranic units of 1 Enoch are the following:

  • a Messiah called “Son of Man”, with divine attributes, generated before the creation, who will act directly in the final judgment and sit on a throne of glory (1 Enoch 46:1–4, 48:2–7, 69:26–29)
  • the sinners usually seen as the wealthy ones and the just as the oppressed (a theme we find also in the Psalms of Solomon).

Early influence

Classical rabbinic literature is characterized by near silence concerning Enoch. It seems plausible that Rabbinic polemics against Enochic texts and traditions might have led to the loss of these books to Rabbinic Judaism.

The Book of Enoch plays an important role in the history of Jewish mysticism: the scholar Gershom Scholem wrote, “The main subjects of the later Merkabah mysticism already occupy a central position in the older esoteric literature, best represented by the Book of Enoch.” Particular attention is paid to the detailed description of the throne of God included in chapter 14 of 1 Enoch.

For the quotation from the Book of Watchers in the New Testament Epistle of Jude, see section: Canonicity.

There is little doubt that 1 Enoch was influential in molding New Testament doctrines about the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the resurrection, and eschatology.

The limits of the influence of 1 Enoch are discussed at length by R.H. Charles Ephraim Isaac, and G.W. Nickelsburg in their respective translations and commentaries. It is possible that the earlier sections of 1 Enoch had direct textual and content influence on many Biblical apocrypha, such as Jubilees, 2 Baruch, 2 Esdras, Apocalypse of Abraham and 2 Enoch, though even in these cases, the connection is typically more branches of a common trunk than direct development.

The Greek text was known to, and quoted, both positively and negatively, by many Church Fathers: references can be found in Justin Martyr, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Origen, Cyprian, Hippolytus, Commodianus, Lactantius and Cassian.[59]

After Cassian and before the modern “rediscovery”, some excerpts are given in the Byzantine Empire by the 8th-century monk George Syncellus in his chronography, and in the 9th century, it is listed as an apocryphon of the New Testament by Patriarch Nicephorus.

Rediscovery

Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World(written in 1616 while imprisoned in the Tower of London), makes the curious assertion that part of the Book of Enoch “which contained the course of the stars, their names and motions” had been discovered in Saba (Sheba) in the first century and was thus available to Origen and Tertullian. He attributes this information to Origen, though no such statement is found anywhere in extant versions of Origen.

Outside of Ethiopia, the text of the Book of Enoch was considered lost until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when it was confidently asserted that the book was found in an Ethiopic (Ge’ez) language translation there, and Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc bought a book that was claimed to be identical to the one quoted by the Epistle of Jude and the Church Fathers. Hiob Ludolf, the great Ethiopic scholar of the 17th and 18th centuries, soon claimed it to be a forgery produced by Abba Bahaila Michael.

Better success was achieved by the famous Scottish traveller James Bruce, who, in 1773, returned to Europe from six years in Abyssinia with three copies of a Ge’ez version. One is preserved in the Bodleian Library, another was presented to the royal library of France, while the third was kept by Bruce. The copies remained unused until the 19th century; Silvestre de Sacy, in “Notices sur le livre d’Enoch”,  included extracts of the books with Latin translations (Enoch chapters 1, 2, 5–16, 22, and 32). From this a German translation was made by Rink in 1801.

The first English translation of the Bodleian/Ethiopic manuscript was published in 1821 by Richard Laurence, titled The Book of Enoch, the prophet: an apocryphal production, supposed to have been lost for ages; but discovered at the close of the last century in Abyssinia; now first translated from an Ethiopic manuscript in the Bodleian Library. Oxford, 1821. Revised editions appeared in 1833, 1838, and 1842.

In 1838, Laurence also released the first Ethiopic text of 1 Enoch published in the West, under the title: Libri Enoch Prophetae Versio Aethiopica. The text, divided into 105 chapters, was soon considered unreliable as it was the transcription of a single Ethiopic manuscript.

In 1833, Professor Andreas Gottlieb Hoffmann of the University of Jena released a German translation, based on Laurence’s work, called Das Buch Henoch in vollständiger Uebersetzung, mit fortlaufendem Kommentar, ausführlicher Einleitung und erläuternden Excursen. Two other translations came out around the same time: one in 1836 called Enoch Restitutus, or an Attempt (Rev. Edward Murray) and one in 1840 called Prophetae veteres Pseudepigraphi, partim ex Abyssinico vel Hebraico sermonibus Latine bersi (A. F. Gfrörer). However, both are considered to be poor—the 1836 translation most of all—and is discussed in Hoffmann.

The first critical edition, based on five manuscripts, appeared in 1851 as Liber Henoch, Aethiopice, ad quinque codicum fidem editus, cum variis lectionibus, by August Dillmann. It was followed in 1853 by a German translation of the book by the same author with commentary titled Das Buch Henoch, übersetzt und erklärt. It was considered the standard edition of 1 Enoch until the work of Charles.

The generation of Enoch scholarship from 1890 to World War I was dominated by Robert Henry Charles. His 1893 translation and commentary of the Ethiopic text already represented an important advancement, as it was based on ten additional manuscripts.

In 1906 R.H. Charles published a new critical edition of the Ethiopic text, using 23 Ethiopic manuscripts and all available sources at his time. The English translation of the reconstructed text appeared in 1912, and the same year in his collection of The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament.

The publication, in the early 1950s, of the first Aramaic fragments of 1 Enoch among the Dead Sea Scrolls profoundly changed the study of the document, as it provided evidence of its antiquity and original text. The official edition of all Enoch fragments appeared in 1976, by Jozef Milik.

The renewed interest in 1 Enoch spawned a number of other translations: in Hebrew (A. Kahana, 1956), Danish (Hammershaimb, 1956), Italian (Fusella, 1981), Spanish (1982), French (Caquot, 1984) and other modern languages. In 1978 a new edition of the Ethiopic text was edited by Michael Knibb, with an English translation, while a new commentary appeared in 1985 by Matthew Black.

In 2001 George W.E. Nickelsburg published the first volume of a comprehensive commentary on 1 Enoch in the Hermeneia series. Since the year 2000, the Enoch seminar has devoted several meetings to the Enoch literature and has become the center of a lively debate concerning the hypothesis that the Enoch literature attests the presence of an autonomous non-Mosaic tradition of dissent in Second Temple Judaism.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s