When was 1 Enoch Written?
by Phillip J. Long
May 20, 2016
Of all the apocalyptic material in the Pseudepigrapha, 1 Enoch is probably the most important. According to John Collins, the publication of 1 Enoch in the early nineteenth century was the major motivation for the study of Second Temple period literature. The book was virtually unknown outside of Ethiopic Christianity until James Bruce brought three copies from Abyssinia in 1773. Although the first translation was made in 1821 by Richard Laurence (1760–1838), it was the 1913 translation by R. H. Charles which brought the book of 1 Enoch to the attention of biblical studies.
|The Book of Enoch in Greek in the Chester Beatty Papyri|
While the book is a composite of several smaller units, all five major sections are normally dated to the first or second century B.C. The entire collection is known only in Ethiopic, although Greek and Aramaic fragments have been found at Qumran. The earliest manuscripts is written in Ethiopic (Ge’ez) and date to the sixteenth century. There are a few of Latin quotations (only 1:9 and 106:1–18) from the book as well as fragments in Coptic and Syriac.
Aramaic fragments from four of the five sections of the book are attested in the Qumran literature, about one-fifth of the Ethiopic book (4Q201-202, 204-212; The Book of Giants 1Q23-24, 2Q26, 4Q203, 530-533, 6Q8). This confirms a pre-Christian era date for those sections as well as implying a Judean origin. The only section not found at Qumran was the Book of Similitudes (chapters 37-71).
R. H. Charles, who published one of the first editions of 1 Enoch in English, argued for a date between 94 and 67 B.C.E. for the Similitudes based on 38:5. Charles interpreted “the shedding of righteous blood” as the persecution of Pharisees by the Hasmoneans and Sadducees, although few accept this suggestion today.
Józef Milik, who first published the Aramaic fragments found at Qumran, argued for an “Enoch Pentateuch” which did not include the Similitudes, but instead had a “Book of Giants.” The astronomical section was also longer in this hypothetical document. It was not until after C.E. 400 that the book came into the present form (Milik, Enoch, 96-98). As Isaac comments in his introduction, this theory lacks “any solid evidence and has been subjected to serious criticism” (“1 Enoch” in OTP 1:7).
In 1977 and 1978 the SNTS Pseudepigrapha Seminar discussed the Similitudes and came to the consensus that the unit was a Jewish work dated to the first century C.E. Collins points out an additional two sections in Similitudes which appear to refer to historical events (Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, 178).1 Enoch56:5-7 refers to the Parthians, possibly just after the Parthian invasion of Palestine in 40 B.C.E. 1 Enoch 67:5-13 mentions hot springs, which Collins argues is an allusion to Herod’s attempt to heal himself at the hot springs of Callirhoe (Antiq. 17.6.5, 171-173; War 1.22.5, 657-658). Collins concludes by speculating a date for Similitudes in the mid-first century C.E., before the beginning of the war in C.E. 66. Collins also states the Similitudes was written Aramaic (Apocalyptic Imagination, 178). This date is of critical importance to New Testament studies since the Similitudes contain the “son of man” sayings.
The Enoch collection is therefore the earliest witness to Jewish apocalyptic literature.
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Translations of 1 Enoch
by Phillip J. Long
May 23, 2016
Dillman’s Ethiopic text of 1 Enoch
I have been asked several times where to get a copy of 1 Enoch to read. As with most books, there are free copies on the internet and expensive books only available in the reserve room at high quality university libraries. For the student looking to read the text, perhaps the free editions will suffice, but there are some problems with these older, free resources.
Richard Laurence published the first English translation of 1 Enoch in 1883, followed by R. H. Charles (Oxford, 1893, revised in 1913). Both are out of print and widely available on the Internet (Pseudepigrapha.com; Sacred Texts). The 1893 edition of Charles’s translation is available in Google Books and it is included 1 Enoch in his two-volume Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913). The 1917 edition of 1 Enoch has an introduction to apocalyptic literature by W. O. E. Oesterley (available from Logos). Wipf & Stock sells a reprint of Charles’s 1912 translation and Dillman’s Ethioptic text of 1 Enoch.
The problem with these older, free resources is the limited manuscript evidence available to the translator. Since the Aramaic fragments of the book were not discovered and published until after 1948, Charles relies on limited Ethiopic and Greek witnesses to the text. An additional problem with these older resources is the tendency to affect a biblical tone similar to the KJV Bible.
More recently, the translation by E. Isaac (“1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 1:5-89) is very readable translation although it is part of a much larger volume. Isaacs states in his introduction there are forty Ethiopic manuscripts of the book, but his translation is based on a fifteenth century manuscript (Kebrān 9/II, Hammerschmidt).
George W. E. Nickelsburg’s commentary on 1 Enoch in the Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001) is essential for the study of the book. The first volume covers chapters 1–36 and 81–108. The second volume on chapters 37–82 was completed by James C. VanderKam in 2012. Since Hermenia commentaries are expensive, it is not cost-effective to buy these two volumes just to read 1 Enoch, Fortress has published the translation in a separate paperback volume in 2012. In the introduction to this volume, the authors state they have consulted fifty of the ninety available manuscripts of 1 Enoch as well as the Greek, Aramaic, Coptic and Latin fragments of the book. Nicklesburg attempted to translation the “earliest recoverable text” favoring the Aramaic, then Greek, then Ethiopic manuscripts.
Loren Stuckenbruck has two translations of sections of 1 Enoch: The Book of Giants from Qumran (Text und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 63; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997) and 1 Enoch 91-108(Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature; de Gruyter, 2007). The latter is an 855 major commentary on few chapters of the book. The translation in the commentary “departs significantly from the strategy adopted in the translation published by Nicklesburg” (18), focusing on the Ethiopic rather than an eclectic text. Stuckenbruck offers detailed textual notes after his translation and provides notes and commentary on the text. Unfortunately the book is expensive and will only be found in quality research libraries.
I will offer one verse of comparison, 1 Enoch 91:11. I chose this verse since the Ethiopic is longer and misplaced.
"And after that the roots of unrighteousness shall be cut off, and the sinners shall be destroyed by the sword … shall be cut off from the blasphemers in every place, and those who plan violence and those who commit blasphemy shall perish by the sword." (R. H. Charles, Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2:262).
"…and through him the roots of oppression shall be cut off. Sinners shall be destroyed; by the sword they shall be cut off (together with) the blasphemers in every place; and those who design oppression and commit blasphemy shall perish by the knife." Isaacs, OPT 1:72–73.
"And they will uproot the foundations of violence, and the structure of deceit in it, to execute judgment." (Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch, 434).
"And after that the roots of oppression will be cut off, and the sinners shall be destroyed by the sword; and from every place the blasphemers will be cut off, and those who plan oppression and those who commit blasphemy will be destroyed by the knife." (Stuckenbruck, 1 Enoch 91-108, 118)
Nickelsburg adds a footnote, “Translation follows 4QEng 1 4:14 (Milik, Enoch, 265)” since he does not follow the longer Ethiopic text, but rather the shorter, Aramaic text from the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is a translation of the longer text in the footnote in his commentary, but not the shorter paperback translation. Isaacs adds a footnote” “4QEne: “And they will have rooted out the foundations of violence and the structure of falsehood therein to execute [judgment].”
Conclusion: The “best value” translation is the Fortress Press reprint of Nickelsburg and Vanderkam from the Hermenia series. Although it has far less textual annotations, the inexpensive paperback format makes it an easy addition. I am sure there are other translations of 1 Enoch available,, what did I miss?
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Book of EnochFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Book of Enoch (also 1 Enoch; Ge'ez: መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ mätṣḥäfä henok) is an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, although modern scholars estimate the older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) to date from about 300 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to the first century BC.
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 or significance, but they generally regard the Books of Enoch as non-canonical or non-inspired. It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, but not by any other Christian group.
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 non-Ethiopian scholars tend to assert 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.:6 No Hebrew version is known to have survived. It is asserted in the book itself that its author was Enoch, before the Biblical Flood.
The authors of the New Testament were familiar with the content of the story and influenced by it:  a short section of 1 Enoch (1 En 1:9 or 1 En 2:1 depending on the translation) is quoted 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). The text was also utilised by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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