Second Book of Enoch
The Second Book of Enoch (usually abbreviated 2 Enoch, and otherwise variously known as Slavonic Enoch or The Secrets of Enoch) is a pseudepigraphic (a text whose claimed authorship is unfounded) of the Old Testament. It is usually considered to be part of the Apocalyptic literature. The dating often preferred for the writing of 2 Enoch is late 1st century CE. The text has been preserved in full only in Slavonic, but in 2009 it was announced that Coptic fragments of the book had been identified. Greek is indicated as the language from which the Slavonic version was translated. 2 Enoch is not regarded as scripture by Jews or any Christian group. It was rediscovered and published at the end of the 19th century.
Most scholars consider 2 Enoch to be composed by an unknown Jewish sectarian group, while some authors think it is a 1st-century Christian text. Very few scholars consider it a later Christian work.
2 Enoch has survived in more than twenty Slavonic manuscripts and fragments dated from the 14th to 18th centuries CE. These Slavonic materials did not circulate independently, but were included in collections that often rearranged, abbreviated, or expanded them. Typically, Jewish pseudepigraphical texts in Slavic milieux were transmitted as part of larger historiographical, moral, and liturgical codexes and compendiums, where ideologically marginal and mainstream materials were mixed with each other.
2 Enoch exists in longer and shorter recensions. The first editors considered the longer version to be the original. Since 1921, Schmidt and many authors challenged this theory, and considered the shorter recension to be more ancient. Vaillant showed in 1952 that the additional parts found only in the longer version use more recent Slavonic terms. Other scholars suggest that both of them preserve original material, and posit the existence of three or even four recensions.
The best family of manuscripts are copies of the compilation of rearranged materials from Chapters 40–65 found in a 14th-century judicial codex titled The Just Balance (Merilo Pravednoe). The main manuscripts of the longer version are designated R, J, and P. The main manuscripts of the shorter version are designated U, B, V, and N. Several other manuscripts exist.[a]
Most scholars believe that the Slavonic version was translated from one or more lost Greek versions, since the text attests to some traditions that make sense only in the Greek language, for example, a tradition found in 2 Enoch 30 that derives Adam’s name from the Greek designations of the four corners of the earth. The Semitisms, such as the words Ophanim, Raqia Arabot, and others, found in various parts of the text, point to the possibility of a Semitic original behind the Greek version.
|This section does not cite any sources. (October 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Dates ranging from the 1st century BCE to the 10th century CE have been proposed, with the late 1st century CE often preferred. The date of the text can be deduced solely on the basis of the internal evidence, since the book has survived only in the medieval manuscripts (even if a reference to 2 Enoch could be found in Origen's De Principis i, 3:3). 2 Enoch's composition must be later than that of the Book of the Watchers in 1 Enoch, around the 3rd century BCE. The crucial arguments for the early dating of the text have very largely been linked to the themes of the Temple in Jerusalem and its ongoing practices and customs. Scholarly efforts have been, in this respect, mostly directed toward finding hints that the Sanctuary was still standing when the original text was composed. Scholars note that the text gives no indication that the destruction of the Temple had already occurred at the time of the book's composition. Critical readers of the pseudepigraphic would have difficulty finding any explicit expression of feelings of sadness or mourning about the loss of the sanctuary.
Affirmations of the value of animal sacrifice and Enoch's halakhic instructions, found in 2 Enoch 59, also appear to be fashioned not in the "preservationist", mishnaic-like style, but rather as if they reflected sacrificial practices that still existed when the author was writing his book. The author tries to legitimize the central place of worship, through reference to the place Ahuzan, which is a cryptic name for a Jewish temple.
Scholars have also previously noted in the text some indications of the ongoing practice of pilgrimage to the central place of worship. These indications could be expected in a text written in the Alexandrian Diaspora. In his instructions to the children, Enoch repeatedly encourages them to bring the gifts before the face of God for the remission of sins, a practice which appears to recall well-known sacrificial customs widespread in the Second Temple period. Further, the Slavonic apocalypse also contains a direct command to visit the Temple three times a day, an inconsistency if the sanctuary had been already destroyed.
The Second Book of Enoch can be divided in four sections:
- In the first section (chapters 1–21), Enoch, at the age of 365, is taken by two angels through the seven heavens, one by one. The first heaven is where the angels control atmospheric phenomena. In the second heaven, Enoch finds a prison for rebel angels. In the third heaven, he sees both paradise (as in 2 Corinthians 12:2) and hell for men. The fourth heaven is the place of movements of the Sun and of the Moon, which are described in detail. In the fifth heaven, Enoch finds some Grigori (from the Greek ἐγρήγοροι, 'Watchers', 'those who are awake'; 'guard') who are grieved, and he persuades them to resume their liturgical service. In the sixth heaven, he sees the angels in charge of governing the cosmos and people.
- In the second section (chapters 22–37), Enoch, now guided by Gabriel, is allowed to enter the seventh heaven, where he sees the Lord face to face. Afterwards, he is anointed by Michael, and becomes similar in appearance to the angels. God tests the obedience of his angels by having them bow down before Enoch. A group of angels, identified as the angels of Satanail, refuses. They are imprisoned. Eventually they bow before Enoch, addressing him as "a man of God." (This story seems similar to that of the War in Heaven between God and Satan.) The Lord asks the angel Vereviel to dictate to Enoch 360 books containing all that is knowable. Later, the Lord himself tells Enoch the secrets, unknown even to the angels, of the Creation until the Flood. Enoch is finally sent back to Earth for thirty days.
- The third section (chapters 38–68) is a list of doctrinal and ethical instructions given by Enoch to his sons. The main moral principle is to have love for all living beings (similar to the ethics found in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs). Particularly noticeable is a lack of interest in the sin of fornication, and not once is the Law of Moses referred to. Enoch teaches the uselessness of intercessions. At the end of the thirty days, Enoch is taken into heaven forever.
- The last section (sometimes referred to as the Exaltation of Melchizedek) outlines the priestly succession of Enoch. Enoch's son, Methuselah, is asked by the people to act as an interim priest. The priesthood of Nir, grandson of Methuselah, is also temporary. Then the miraculous birth of Melchizedek and his priesthood are narrated (see Melchizedek in the Second Book of Enoch for a short summary). In manuscript B and in the long versions, this section ends with a short narrative of the Deluge.
Exaltation of Melchizedek
Chapters 69-73 of 2 Enoch (sometimes referred as the Exaltation of Melchizedek or 2EM) outline the priestly succession of Enoch. There is not unanimous consensus whether this section belongs to the main body of the text or it is an early addition. Considering the not-fragmentary main manuscripts, 2EM is not included in P V N, it is included partially in J, while it is fully included in R U B, which anyway represent the best traditions of all versions. So we have both shorter and a longer versions of 2EM. Some early authors, as Charles, have not included this section mainly because they based their edition on manuscripts P and N. The lack of this section in recent manuscripts is explained by others because of the scandalous content (the virgin birth of Melchisedek) for Christian copyists. According to Vaillant, who edited the first critical edition of 2 Enoch, there is no evidence that 2EM ever existed separately. Modern editions usually include also these chapters.
The recent discoveries of Melchisedek 11Q13 text at Qumran and of a related text at Nag Hammadi, have made possible to have an idea about the Melchisedek controversy, involving also 2EM and the Letter to the Hebrews, that developed in non-mainstream Jewish communities and in early Christians communities from the 1st century BCE to the 3rd century CE against the traditional Jewish identification of Melchisedek with Shem.
A growing number of scholars recognize the antiquity of 2 Enoch, including also 2EM, and support a pre-70 CE dating for its original composition. Sacchi suggests that 2EM is actually an addition to the main body of the text (the style is slightly different), but a very early addition by someone of the same sect that wrote 2 Enoch (it uses the same language and same typical names as Ahuzan for Temple), dating 2EM after the 70 CE but before or about the Letter to the Hebrews. The differences between 2EM with the Letter to the Hebrews (in the Letter to the Hebrews, Melchisedek is primarily a heavenly figure, while 2EM depicts him as an earthly one) don't allow to prove the dependence of 2EM from Hebrews.
The theological universe of 2 Enoch is deeply rooted in the Enochic mold of the Jewish Apocalyptic literature of the Second Temple period. Yet along with appropriations of ancient traditions about the seventh antediluvian hero, the text attempts to reshape them by adding a new mystical dimension to the familiar apocalyptic imagery. The figure of Enoch portrayed in the various sections of 2 Enoch appears more elaborate than in the early Second Temple Enochic treatise of 1 Enoch. The anointing of Enoch, after he saw face to face the Lord, makes him be similar in appearance to a glorious angel and that allows him to sit above other angels on the left of the Lord.
According to Orlov, in this attempt, one may find the origins of another image of Enoch, very different from the early Enochic literature, that was developed much later in rabbinic Merkabah and Hekhalot mysticism: the image of the supreme angel Metatron, "the Prince of the Presence", found in the later 3 Enoch. The titles of the patriarch found in the Slavonic apocalypse appear to be different from those attested in early Enochic writings and demonstrate a close resemblance to the titles of Metatron as they appear in some Hekhalot sources. These developments demonstrate that 2 Enoch represents a bridge between the early apocalyptic Enochic accounts and the later mystical rabbinic and Hekhalot traditions.
- Other manuscripts are A (0:1–72:10); B2 (1:1–67:3) dated 1701; L (0:1–33:8); P2 (28:1–32:2) dated 18th century; Tr (67:1; 70–72); Syn (71;72); Rum (71:1–73:1); G (65:1–4; 65:6–8); Chr (fragments from 11–58); Chr2 (11:1–15:3); K (71:1–72:10); I (70:22–72:9)
- F.I. Andersen 2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch, a new Translation and Introduction in ed. James Charlesworth The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol 1 ISBN 0-385-09630-5 (1983), pag 94
- Harry Alan Hahne, Harry Hahne, Corruption and Redemption of Creation: Nature in Romans 8.19-22 and Jewish Apocalyptic Literature ISBN 0-567-03055-5 (2006). p 83
- Paolo Sacchi, William J. Short Jewish Apocalyptic and Its History, ISBN 1-85075-585-X, 1996
- Maunder (1918), Milik (1976)
- Popov, Kniga Enocha, Mosckow 1880, (based on m. P)
- M. I. Sokolov, Slavjanskaja kniga Enocha, Moskow 1899 and 1910
- Charles, Morfill The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, translated from Slavonic, Oxford 1896 (based on m. P and N)
- N. Schmidt The two recension of Slavonic Enoch, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 41(1921) pp 307ss
- A. Vaillant Le livre des secrets d'Henoch, Texte slave et traduction francaise, Paris 1952 (based on m. U)
- A. De Santos Otero Libro de los secretos de Henoc (Henoc eslavo) in ed. A. Diez Macho Apocrifos del Antiguo Testamento IV, Madrid 1984 (based on m. R)
- MPr, TSS 253, TSS 489, TSS 682.
- R (0:1–73:9) dated 16th century; J (0:1–71:4) dated 16th century supposed to be a modification of R; P (0:1–68:7) dated 1679 supposed to be late copy of J
- U (0:1–72:10) dated 15th century, the longer text of the short recension; B (0:1–72:10) dated 17th century; V (1:1–67:3) dated 17th century; N (0:1–67:3) dated 16th-17th century
- A. Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition (Tuebingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2005) 148.
- "2 Enoch in Coptic!". Antiquitopia. 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- "Strong's H5894". Blueletterbible.org. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
- Andrei Orlov, Gabriele Boccaccini, Jason Zurawski, eds. (2012). New Perspectives on 2 Enoch: No Longer Slavonic Only. BRILL. pp. 160–161. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- A. Orlov Journal for the Study of Judaism 31 (2000) 23-38
- C.A. Giescher The different functions of a similar Melchizedek Tradition in 2 Enoch and the Epistle to the Hebrews in ed. Craig A. Evans, James A. Sanders Early Christian Interpretation of the Scriptures of Israel: Investigations and Proposals ISBN 1-85075-679-1 (1997) p.366
- Martha Himmelfarb Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses ISBN 0-19-508203-6 (1993), p. 41
- The Secrets of Enoch can be found in The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden
Online English translations
- The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, edited by R. H. Charles (partial preview)
- The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (also referred to as "Slavonic Enoch" or "2 Enoch") - without 2EM
- The Book of the Secrets of Enoch - without 2EM
- William Morfill (1896). 2Enoch or The Book of the Secrets of Enoch.  Edited by R. H. Charles with the "Melkizedekian Fragment" as an appendix
- A version of the Melkizedek ending