Resources for 2 Enoch (Slavonic)

2-Enoch-PerspectivesI 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.”

Slavonic-EnochOLD 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.

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

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 heaven. 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 garden. Enoch 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 moral living 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.

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

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)

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 Mount 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 Enoch 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.

What is 2 Enoch?

“In every respect 2 Enoch remains an enigma” (OTP 1:97). Dates for 2 Enoch range from pre-Christian to early medieval.  Józef Milik 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 Enochterm 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 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).