Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Phillip J. Long - Discussion of 2 Enoch

Resources for 2 Enoch (Slavonic)

by Phillip J. Long
July 7, 2016

I am happy that Jim Davila has been posting links to my Enoch series on his PaleoJudaica blog. He also included a few links to older posts on PaleoJudaica that might be of interest.

I failed to mention in my introductory post that 2 Enoch was only known in Slovonic until recently. In No longer ‘Slavonic’ only: 2 Enoch attested in Coptic from Nubia, Jim reports on the re-discovery of fragments of 2 Enoch in Coptic. The fragments of 2 Enoch chapters 36-42 were found in 1972. Joost Hagan published his paper in New Perspectives on 2 Enoch: No Longer Slavonic Only (Andrei Orlov, Gabriele Boccaccini, eds.; Leiden: Brill, 2012). If Brill wants to send me a copy, I’d be glad to review this book!

2 Enoch: ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US is a report from The fifth Enoch Seminar held in Naples in 2009. Interesting note: “Even so, very few scholars know Slavonic. Of the sixty delegates of this year’s Enoch Seminar, only eight were specialists in this language.”

OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC WATCH: The “Other” Lost Scriptures: Beyond the Dead Sea Scrolls, Slavonic texts break all the rules (Philip Jenkins, Aleteia). here Jim takes some issue with Jenkins’s claim that “The shorter, older version takes us back to a work written by an Alexandrian Jew somewhere around the 1st century AD—roughly the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls.” As he rightly objects, “he Greek text went through a long period of transmission in the Byzantine period, then it was translated into Old Church Slavonic and again underwent a long period of transmission before the surviving late medieval manuscripts were produced.”

Jim also had a short note on Grant Macaskill, The Slavonic Texts of 2 Enoch (Leiden, Brill, 2013). According to the Brill catalog, “The book also includes an introductory discussion of the manuscripts and the problems associated with text-critical work on them, and a translation of the neglected manuscript B, with notes on the significance of its readings for the reconstruction of an ur-text.”

I should also mention Andrei Orlov’s collection of resources for Slavonic Enoch.

* * * * * * * * *
What is 2 Enoch?

by Phillip J. Long
July 5, 2016

“In every respect 2 Enoch remains an enigma” (OTP 1:97). Dates for 2 Enoch range from pre-Christian to early medieval. Józef Milik thought the book was the work of a Christian monk dated the book to the ninth or tenth century A.D. based on a neologism which describes Enoch’s copying of 360 manuscripts from the Angel Vreveil (Uriel? chapter 23). Milik reconstructs a Greek term which accounts for a mistake by the Slavonic translator. This term is found no earlier than the early ninth century, therefore the author is a Greek monk from that century (Milik, 111-112). On the other hand, Anderson suggests elements of the book go back to the turn of the era, perhaps written by the Theraputae described by Philo (although they seem to have revered Moses rather than Enoch, OTP, 1:96). It is hard to know if the book came from Jewish or Christian circles, it is “hardly in the mainstream of either” (OTP, 1:95).

Christfried Böttrich has argued for a three-stage composition of the book: A Jewish core, dated prior to A.D. 70 and deeply mystical; a Christian redaction interested in typological equivalents, and a final Byzantine redaction which was mainly interested in chronology (Böttrich, 40).

John Collins considers 2 Enoch to be a Jewish document dating to no later than the first century A.D. on the basis of the book’s interest in sacrifice. Since it was written in Greek and has allusions to Egyptian mythology as well as some affinity with Philo of Alexandria, an Egyptian provenance is likely (Collins, Apocalyptic Imagination, Third Edition, 302-3).

The most compelling evidence for a Jewish origin of at least chapters 68-73 is the date of Enoch’s final translation into heaven – the sixth day of Tsivan, the beginning of the festival of the first fruit. Anderson states there are a number of places in the apocalyptic literature when early historical events are linked to this festival. It would be nearly impossible for a medieval Slav creating this text to have known about such a practice (Anderson, OTP 196, note c). It is possible, however, a Slavic monk took the date from another source because it was so common. On the whole, Anderson’s point is well made even though buried in a footnote.

Since the publication of Anderson’s translation, which includes both the shorter and longer recension side by side, there have been a number of studies on 2 Enoch including translations into Greek, English, Spanish and French. Of main interest are the Melchizedek traditions found in the book since it is quite different from both Jewish (Qumran) and Christian traditions (including a virgin birth probably based on Matthew 2 and Luke 2, but with several quite a bizarre departures!)


Bibliography: Christfried Böttrich, “Recent Studies in the Slavonic Book of Enoch” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 9 (1991): 35-42; Józef Milik,Enoch, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (London: Oxford, 1976).

* * * * * * * * *

Enoch’s Journey through the Heavens – 2 Enoch 1-22

by Phillip J. Long
July 6, 2016

The book begins with Enoch’s vision soon after he fathered Methuselah. He is caught up into heaven by glorious angelic beings (chapter 1). He then instructs his sons to walk before the Lord by praying and giving generous gifts to the Lord (2:2). In chapters 3-6 Enoch describes his trip through the first heaven where he sees the angels who govern the stars and the various storehouses of heaven. In chapter 7 he is brought to the second heaven where he saw prisoners hanging in darkness, awaiting judgment. This “hanging prisoner” theme will be used by later apocalypses for images of Sheol, Hades, etc. (Apoc. of Ezra 4, Vision of Ezra 19-22).

Paul was caught up into the Third Heaven (2 Cor 12)

The third heaven contains Paradise which is described as an ideal and beautiful place prepared for the righteous (chapter 8-9). The righteous are defined as those who are just, who clothe the naked, feed the hungry, lift up the fallen, and help the injured and the orphans and worship the Lord only. This list of “virtues” is not unlike Matthew 25:40 in which Jesus describes the “sheep” are those who have done these things to the “least of my brothers.” In chapter 10 Enoch is carried to the north where he witnesses all manner of torture and “cruel darkness.” This place is prepared for those who did not glorify God and practiced sin (which are listed in verse 4-5 in detail.) This too is not unlike the fate of the “goats” in Matthew 25:41-46 as they go to the “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Enoch ascends to the fourth heaven where he sees the paths of the sun and moon (chapter 11-17). This is a rather difficult section which is similar to the Astronomical Book of 1 Enoch. The section argues for a 364 and a quarter-day year (14:1) and attempts to precisely define each of the 12 months (16:2).

The fifth heaven contains an innumerable army lead by Grigori, the Greek word for “watchers” (chapter 18). The whole army is downcast since these are the angels which turned from the Lord along with the prince Satanail. The angels descended to Mt. Hermon where they intermarried with the daughters of men and defiled the earth. Enoch recommends they repent, pray to the Lord and perform a liturgy in order appease the Lord’s wrath.

The sixth heaven contains seven groups of angels who are glorious, but all identical (chapter 19). There are angels which worship God and record the deeds of mEnoch In this scene there are seven phoenixes (a hint for an Egyptian provenance; cf., SibOr 8:139-159, 2 Baruch 6), seven cherubim, and seven “six-winged beings” singing in unison.

In the seventh heaven Enoch sees the fiery armies of archangels and a wide variety of angelic beings (chapter 20). Enoch is so frightened the angelic guides must pick him up and strengthen him. They show him the throne of the Lord at a great distance (it is in the tenth heaven). He moves to the very edge of the seventh heaven here he sees the seraphim. The angel guides depart and are replaced by Gabriel, the archangel (chapter 21). With Gabriel he sees the eighth heaven, which contains the zodiac.

Enoch is then brought by Michael into the presence of the Lord in the tenth heaven (chapter 22). The Lord is described as “so very marvelous, and supremely awesome and supremely frightening.” Michael strengthens Enoch and asks the Lord to allow Enoch to stay before the throne of God forever. The Lord has Michael “extract Enoch from his earthly clothes,” which seems to be removing his soul, since after he is anointed with oil he had become like the glorious ones but without any physical difference.

* * * * * * * * *

Enoch and the Mysteries of God – 2 Enoch 23-37

by Phillip J. Long
July 7, 2016

After he becomes like the angels, Enoch is instructed by Vrevoil, the swiftest of the archangels who records all the Lord’s deeds. After being instructed for 30 days and 30 nights, Enoch records this instruction in 366 books (22:10-23:6; Recension A has 360 books). After writing the books, Enoch is invited to sit next to the Lord with Gabriel.

God proceeds to explain “mysteries” of creation and the fall to Enoch:

  • Chapter 24 – God created visible from invisible.
  • Chapter 26 – An invisible thing (Adiol) descends and God commands it to disintegrate. A great light comes from this creature; the great light becomes the “great age” of creation. God established his throne in this creation.
  • Chapter 27-28 – God creates water and land from the light and darkness. Seven circles are established for seven stars. This is the first day of the creation week.
  • Chapter 29 – On Monday (the second day) God fashions rock from the fiery substance of heavEnoch On this day Satanail falls, he was hurled out of heaven and is now flying around in the air above the bottomless pit.
  • Chapter 30 – On Tuesday (the third day) God commands the earth to create trees and grasses; God laid out paradise as a gardEnoch On Wednesday (the fourth day) God establishes the stars, sun and moon in the various circles of the heavens. On Thursday he commands the seas to bring forth fish and birds. On Friday God creates Man out of seven components with seven properties. Man was assigned to the earth as a second angel, to reign as a king. He was named Adam and given free will to either love God or hate him (30:15).
  • Chapter 31 – Adam is given a single task but the devil entered paradise and corrupted Eve. This devil did not speak to Adam, therefore it is on account of Eve the Lord curses mankind. This is obviously at odds with Romans 5:12-21 where Adam is blamed for death and sin, Eve is not mentioned.
  • Chapter 32 – Adam is removed from the garden after his transgression (after only five and a half hours!)
  • Chapter 33 – Enoch is told there will be 7000 years of human existence, with an eighth thousand with not days, months, or years (probably an eternal state.) Presumably there will be one thousand for each of the days of creation. The idea of seven creational days = 7000 years of human history crosses over into Christianity via the Epistle of Barnabas but is not found in the Bible.
  • Chapter 34 – The judgment of the flood on the sinner who accepted a different yoke than the Lord’s yoke. The sins listed here are fornication and sodomy.
  • Chapter 35 – God promises to allow one righteous man from Enoch’s line to survive the flood for the purpose of passing along the words of Enoch.
  • Chapter 36 – Enoch is commanded to live for thirty days on the earth for the purpose of passing on the wisdom he has learned during his heavenly journeys.
  • Chapter 36 – Enoch is returned to earth by one of the senior angels.

While this section claims to survey human history from creation to the flood, the point is to exhort the reader to a moral in the light of imminent judgment. Creation is the basis for morality, sin is not the normal state, nor is sin the fault of Adam (Eve is to blame; Satan is to blame; but not Adam). While God will surely judge the sinner, he offers salvation for the one committed to following his commands. These commands make up the bulk of the rest of the book. There are some obvious differences from the biblical text with respect to salvation history in 2 Enoch, primarily in Adam’s culpability for the fall. Even in Genesis Adam is held ultimately responsible; Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:24 make clear it was through Adam sin entered the world. To shift the blame to the woman exalts Adam.

* * * * * * * * *

2 Enoch and the Sermon on the Mount – 2 Enoch 38-63

by Phillip J. Long
July 8, 2016

When Enoch returns to his family in chapter 38 he begins to instruct them in what he has learned while in heaven. Enoch He mourns for his children who have not seen the face of the Lord (chapter 39) and then urges them to pay close attention because all which he is about to say he learned directly from the Lord (40:1). He recounts heavenly wonders (the storehouses of the winds, etc.) and describes to them the horrors of hell (chapter 40, 42:1-2). He describes the wonders of Paradise in a series of “happy is he . . .” formulas akin to the Beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount (41:3-14). Of note among these beatitudes the admonishment to “sow the right seed” (cf. Matt 13:1-9) and clothing the naked and feeding the hungry (Matt 25:34-39).

People can have more or less honor than others, chapter 43 has a list of the things which may bring honor to a person in this life. The best of all of these is the one who fears God – “he will be the most glorious in that age” (Chapter 43). Chapter 44 instructs the reader on how to speak without insult, since this too will be judged on the “great day of judgment.” God requires a pure heart rather than sacrifice, pure gifts rather than bribery (Chapter 45-46). This will all be judged when the Lord sends out a “great light” which will judge without favoritism. This is often thought to be a Christian interpolation, OTP 172, note c. If it is, it is not a very obvious one and is present in manuscripts of both recensions. It may simply refer to the final judgment without detailing who the judge will be. Enoch hands over the books he created in heaven with a special emphasis on the 364-day year once again (chapter 47-48).

Enoch forbids his children to swear oaths, but rather they should say “Yes Yes” or “No, No” (Chapter 49). This is obviously similar to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:34-37. As in the Gospels, the emphasis in 2 Enoch is on telling the truth in the first place. This is the most obvious of several links to the Sermon on the Mount in this section of 2 Enoch. There are significant differences as well. In chapter 53 Enoch warns his children not to rely on the fact their father is in heaven (“do no say, “our father is in heaven”) while the Lord’s Prayer begins by addressing God directly as father. Likely Jesus is working through the same common stock of rabbinical ethical teachings in the Sermon on the Mount which the author of 2 Enoch has in mind. It is also possible 2 Enoch is influenced by Matthew. The difference is the increased internalization of the commands of God found in Matthew 5-7. Murder is bad, but hatred and anger are worse. Adultery is bad, but lust is worse. This “internalized ethic” is missing from 2 Enoch.

  • Beatitudes (2 Enoch 41:3-14, Matt 5:1-11)
  • Murder (2 Enoch 60, Matt 5:21-26)
  • Oath Making (2 Enoch 49, Matt 5:34-37)
  • Vengeance (2 Enoch 50, Matt 5:38-48)
  • Treasures in Heaven/Alms (2 Enoch 51, Matt 6:1-4; 19-24)
  • Praising God (2 Enoch 52, Matt 6:5-13)

In chapters 54-57 Enoch announces he is about to return to heaven, so Methuselah asks for a blessing from his father. Enoch asks that all of the children be brought to him so that he may bless them all. This blessing reviews much of the previous material, exhorting his family toward proper ethical conduct using the beatitude form (chapters 58-63). There are a number of parallels to Jesus in this section as well. For example, 2 Enoch 61:1 has a version of the “golden rule” (cf. Matt 7:12). In 61:2 Enoch states there are “many shelters prepared for people, good ones for the good and bad ones for the bad,” which is roughly parallel to John 14:1-2. The obvious difference is that Jesus refers only to his own disciples, while Enoch refers to houses for all the dead, and far more for the wicked dead than the righteous. 2 Enoch 63 describes the doing of good to the poor without complaint. If one does this good deed, God will reward him. This idea is possibly in the background when Jesus responds to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21 (and parallels).

If Christfried Böttrich is correct and there is a “Jewish core” in 2 Enoch which pre-dates the fall of Jerusalem, it may then be fair to ask why so much of this material is like the Sermon on the Mount. If the parallels were “Christian,” then one would think they would be closer to Jesus’ teaching than they are. As they appear in 2 Enoch, the various topics and beatitude forms are close enough to make us recall Jesus’ teaching, but not close enough to suggest direct dependence. It is probably the case that Jesus and the author of 2 Enoch both reflect the ethical teaching of the pre-A.D. 70 period. Philip Sigal argues that Jesus had an anonymous impact on the rabbinic halakah (Philip Sigal, The Halakah of Jesus of Nazareth According to the Gospel of Matthew [Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986]))

It is well beyond the evidence to argue these parallels in 2 Enoch are drawn from Jesus’ teaching via rabbinic material, but it is possible to observe the topics and methods of ethical teaching in this section of 2 Enoch roughly parallel the topics and themes of the Sermon on the Mount. Another aspect which muddies the argument is the status of the Sermon on the Mount as an actual “teaching setting” of Jesus. While it is certain Jesus taught the material in Matthew 5-7, it is also fairly certain Matthew has arranged the material in the way it now appear. It is possible Matthew and 2 Enoch reflect a tradition of rabbinic debates on these topics. Matthew is following a distinctly Christian one (something like Q, perhaps), while 2 Enoch follows a more Jewish collection.

* * * * * * * * *

Enoch and the Birth of Melchizedek – 2 Enoch 64-73

by Phillip J. Long
July 11, 2016

In Chapter 64 Enoch once again is about to go up into heaven, this time as 2000 people watch. Enoch is described in this chapter as “glorified before the face of the Lord for all eternity” and the one the Lord chose in preference to all the people of the earth. OTP 190 note c comments this is such high praise it would not have pleased either Jew of Christian. The manuscript evidence show a high degree of “embarrassment” over this glowing endorsement of Enoch!

As with the previous moments when Enoch was about to go into heaven, he instructs the gathered people rather than ascend into heaven (chapters 65-67). Like the previous sections, Enoch exhorts his audience to good works based on the creation of the universe. In 66:6 there is an “affliction list” – walk before the Lord in longsuffering, meekness, affliction, distress, faithfulness, truth, hope, weakness, derision, assaults, temptations, deprivations, and nakedness. This list is not unlike Romans 8:35 and Paul’s own list of afflictions in 2 Cor. 4:8 and 11:16-29. The righteous ought not to expect an easy life even when they seek the Lord.

Chapters 69-73 contain a version of the flood narrative beginning with Enoch’s translation into heaven (68:1-4) and the response by his son Methusalem. This section reads quite differently than the rest of the book; Enoch is no longer the subject, Methusalem and later Melchizedek, Nir and Noah are the main characters. There is less ethical exhortation and more prose narrative than anywhere else in the book. This section is therefore probably from another source.

Enoch and his brothers construct an altar on the spot where Enoch ascended and sacrificed “in front of the face of the Lord.” (68:5-7). Chapter 69 describes Methusalem’s sacrifices. After the people bring the animals to sacrifice, Methusalem’s face glows radiantly and prays aloud to the Lord, asking him to accept the sacrifice.

As he prays, the altar is shaken and the knife leaps into his hand. From that time on he is honored as a prophet. Methusalem remained at the altar of the Lord for ten years, during which time not a single person “turned away from vanity” (chapter 71). Methusalem’s son Lamekh has two sons, Nir and Noe. After Methusalem is given a disturbing vision of the coming flood, Nir is made a priest. Methusalem dies and people continue to turn away from the Lord. The devil, we are told, came to rule a third time (70:24-25).

Nir’s wife Sopanim becomes pregnant in her old age, having been sterile (chapter 71). This is described as a “virgin” birth. While this story has elements similar to Matthew 2 and Luke 2, the differences are fantastic and legendary. She is embarrassed by this pregnancy and hides herself until the child is due. When Nir discovers she is pregnant he rebukes her and intends to send her away because she has disgraced him, but instead she falls dead at his feet. Noe discovers this and tells Nir that the Lord has “covered up our scandal.” They bury the Sopanim in a black shroud in a secret grave.

The child, however, was not dead and came out of the dead mother as a fully developed child. This terrifies Nir and Noe, but since the child is “glorious in appearance” they realize the Lord is renewing the priesthood in their bloodline. They name the child Melkisedek. We are told that Melkisedek will be the head of “thirteen priests who existed before” and later there will be another Melkisedek who will be the head over twelve priests as an archpriest. Melkisedek is only with Nir for forty days, then the Lord instructs Michael to go and take the boy up to heaven. The Lord calls him “my child Melkisedek” (72:1-2). The child is to be placed in Paradise forever. Nir is so grieved by the loss of his son. He also dies leaving no more priests in the world, allowing the world to become even more evil. Noe is therefore instructed to build the ark in chapter 73.

This strange miraculous birth story for Melkisedek is part of an interest in the King of Salem first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 14:18. Psalm 110:4 describes the king / messiah as a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. This text is cited twice in Hebrews 5:6-10 and 7:1-17 and applied to Jesus. The writer of Hebrews is likely tapping into a common image of a true priesthood which runs outside of the line of the Levites and Aaron. In the case of 2 Enoch, the “legendary” elements of Melchizedek’s story pre-date the flood. This could be used to argue for an early date for this section as well, since the Melchizedek legend was popular in the first century. It is possible a medieval writer created a pre-flood Melchizedek birth story, but it is more likely 2 Enoch is reflecting a first century or earlier tradition.

Melchizedek was an important figure for the Qumran community, 11QMelch is a poorly preserved but an important fragment in which the character Melchizedek is tied to Old Testament texts on the Jubilee and describes him as returning to proclaim liberty, probably based on Is. 61:1 (line 6). There are no real parallels between this Melchizedek legend and anything in the first century, implying this section is to be dated rather late.


[res: observation: Note the parallels in the bible between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ regarding the Priesthood of God. This would be a fruitful study.]

~ END of 2 ENOCH ~