the Book of Enoch and the Nephilim

by schnell 27 Replies latest jw friends

  • schnell

    @Blondie I bought an e-book version for $0.99 on Google Play Books. There are free scans online as well, and I used the Wikipedia entry to navigate around and find what's interesting.

    If Jude 14 and 15 quote a common source, what is the source? Here is 1 Enoch 2:1.

    Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.

    Compare to Jude 14 and 15. Forgiving translation, it is a direct quote.

    I have a very indoctrinated JW friend who said the Book of Enoch and/or Book of Barnabas is the source of the idea behind 1975 as well, that the end would come 6000 years after Adam's creation. I will look into that, but can anyone validate this?

  • schnell

    @David_Jay, it looks like your reply was swallowed up by formatting issues, so I'll (somewhat ironically) repeat it. :P Always good to hear from you on this!

    "Canonicity" was a response to the challenge of Marcionism, and understanding a bit about that explains why certain books did not end up in the Christian canon.

    Marcion of Sinope was a bishop who, influenced by Gnosticism, became a heretic. Like the Gnostics, Marcion taught that salvation was possible only through gaining special "gnosis," or knowledge. Holy writ (religious texts) from various cults were often believed to have the ultimate form of revelation hidden in their words, but they could only be understood by those "chosen" to understand them.

    Marcion adapted Gnostic belief into his form of Christianity. He rejected the God of Abraham in favor of Jesus (in the primitive Church it has already been decided that Jesus was some sort of epiphany of the God of Abraham, an "incarnation" of the Shekinah or "Light" of God [see John 1:4-9]). Marcion claimed that Jesus was not the YHVH but a superior and kinder god, and that Paul was his primary apostle. Marcion also taught that though only "chosen ones" had the ability to understand the "hidden knowledge" found in holy writ, this "gnosis" could be disseminated by the chosen to those who joined them.

    As for "holy writ" Marcion made a "rule" (in Greek, KANON) that only select letters of the apostle Paul were true, and the gospel of Luke (with all Jewish references edited out). Marcionism was born and attracted many followers.

    In response, the Church (which up till that time believed that the Hebrew Scriptures were the only form of holy writ inspired of God) responded by excommunicating Marcion. But the genie had been let out of the bottle, so to speak, never to get back in. Were the books of Luke and some of Paul’s letters inspired like the Hebrew Scriptures?

    Marcion got his idea about these books because early Christian worship services were liturgical, actually imitations of Jewish synagogue services which read the Torah and the other holy books on a schedule much like Jews do today (and Christians that follow the Revised Common Lectionary based on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar). After reading from the scheduled Tanakh readings, the Christians would add brief portions from one of the gospels or epistles that “interpreted” the Old Testament reading. Marcion got his “rule” of books from these additional Christian readings.

    The leaders of the Church began to investigate as to whether any of their books were inspired. To do so they set their own “rule,” that it basically had to be apostolic in nature or written under the auspices of the same. The books had to be those commonly read in liturgical services across the world. It would take 200 years after Marcion before the Church had the New Testament “rule” or “canon” settled and the issue closed.

    The books were not chosen by popularity or merely because they were quoted by other authors. For instance, Paul quotes from Greek poetry in Acts but this doesn’t mean that the writings of the Greeks is inspired. (Acts 17:28) Therefore just because there is a quote from a book like Enoch does not mean that it is inspired. Also, it appears Luke was added to prove Marcion wrong. Luke’s gospel is not apostolic, but it is very thorough, and it follows the same sources of Matthew and Mark (Mark wrote under the auspice of Peter, or so the understanding has been). There are also more letters from Paul than any other apostle, though he was not one of the original twelve and even history testifies that Petrine authority was recognized. This choices may have been to counter Marcionism.

  • schnell

    @David_Jay, the problem with Paul's quoting Greek poetry is false equivalence. The Greek poets were not writing about the Jewish or Christian god or any other characters from Jewish lore. The author of Enoch was. The greater point, of course, is that these books are not inspired by God (and I mean an actual deity rather than a metaphor). This is shown again and again and again. Defining God as a metaphor for something universal, psychological, and political within and all about us does not really help.

  • Saethydd
    Jude also mentions some dispute between the archangel Micheal and Satan over Moses' body, which not something that happens in any of the books of the Bible I have read. Does it also come from an apocryphal writing?
  • blondie

    Good point, Saethydd....another example.

  • David_Jay

    Good point, Schnell.

    But the canon was not set in order to create a library of books from which to create a standard of religious doctrine. One might say, according to Jewish theology, that God did in fact inspire the Book of Enoch. The reason it didn't "make the cut" has nothing to do with that. Remember, the idea of a canon was invented by a heretic, Marcion. The whole reason there is canonization goes back to his heresy and what he was saying.

    Marcion set a "rule" or standard for what was salvific revelation from the divine. Marcion said it was limited to what was written in his collection of books, whereas the Church said it was found in the Person of Jesus Christ.

    The Church claimed that revelation was also found in what was written in the Hebrew Scriptures, yes, but ultimately in Jesus was the Word of God in human form. Revelation was also found in the providential leadings of the Holy Spirit that guided the Apostles and the faith of the Church as a whole. This was a battle over what was revelation from God and what was not, not whether God was inspiring certain books.

    Marcion's KANON or "rule"/"standard" was that salvific revelation had: 1.) to be limited to a written format, 2.) claim Jesus was divine, 3.) reject and transplant Jesus as a divinity superior to YHVH, 4.) to be filled with hidden Gnosis ("knowledge") that could only be deciphered by the "select" chosen by the divine, but others could be saved to if they believed what the chosen taught.

    The Church set a standard in contrast: 1.) that salvation was not limited to a "select" or "chosen" group, but was universal (KATHOLICOS, from which we get the word "catholic"), 2.) that any inspired texts written by Christians supported the catholic view that Jesus was the ultimate form of revelation, 3.) that the texts were but a continuation of the revelation given to the children of Israel, 4.) that the Christian texts were Apostolic (or written under the auspice of such), 5.) and that the texts were used in the liturgy (the liturgy was a Tradition believed to be inspired of God from the time of the Jewish Temple era).

    Enoch was not widely read (if at all) in Christian liturgy, one of the requirements for determining what texts could be considered part of the revelation that included Jesus. There were no phones, computers, etc., from which the bishops could contact others and ask: "Hey, what are you adding in your Eucharist services after you read from the Torah and the Prophets?" It would take 200 years for the Church to gather all that information, not to mention then determine if the book was written under the auspice of Apostolic authority (another necessity). The Book of Enoch may have been inspired by God (which is why it appeared in some Christian collections), but it was not Apostolic. The canon of the New Testament was set with the event of Athanasius' Easter Letter of 367 CE.

    The Jehovah's Witnesses have an odd view of the expression "inspired." They believe it is limited to direct revelation from God in written form. Judaism and Christianity believes inspiration refers to the providence of God, and it can happen to anyone. God can even inspire someone who doesn't believe in God to do something, according to this understanding. So even if Enoch is inspired, the fact that it didn't measure up to the other standards is why it was not included.

    You might have already noted that Jehovah's Witnesses tend to reflect the Marcion heresy: they believe that God has "hidden knowledge" in the Scriptures; they believe holy writ is the ultimate form of revelation from God (if it's not in the Bible, it's not truth); they believe only a "select group" are given insight into the hidden truths of Scripture; they believe (like Marcion) that people have to follow the select/chosen ones in order to saved. None of this is taught by Christianity or Judaism.

    The term "canon" is Greek, and no such concept was ever thought of in Judaism until relatively modern times. The Masoretic text became the standard for the Jewish text even though there are early traditions which are still extant. With the Council of Trent, the Church stated that the books of the Alexandrian Septuagint were also part of the "canon" (thus the reason for the Deuterocanonical books), but prior to this there was no formally declared "canon" of the Hebrew text even in Christianity. (These so-called "extra" books remained even in Protestant Bibles until 1825 when the British and Foreign Bible Society were the first to remove them from their distribution copies of Scriptures due to pressure from the Puritans and Presbyterians in their midst).

    Now, if we were to rely on a "canon" made up of what was popular, the New Testament would have looked a bit differently. We would have had the Shepherd of Hermas and the Apocalypse of Peter. The Wisdom of Solomon and Ben Sira would be in the New Testament instead of the Catholic Old Testament collection of "extra books." There would be no Revelation to John, and probably no 2 Peter. The canons of Christianity have nothing to do with who was quoting what but what Church Tradition said was canon. Those who follow accept the canon are actually following Catholic Tradition, even those who claim they believe in "Scripture alone."

    As a Jew I find that very, very funny, especially when a Jehovah's Witness comes to my door and says they believe the Bible is inspired but not Catholic Tradition.

  • schnell

    Hmm. I didn't know that about Marcion, very interesting.

  • David_Jay

    The Marcion factor, scholars believe, is why Luke's gospel (and Acts) occur in the canon.

    Luke is not an apostle. He is not even a Jew, but a Gentile (all original Christians were Jews). Whereas Marcion chopped up the Gospel of Luke to make it look like he was not supportive of Jewish thinking, the Church restored it and placed it in the canon. Luke follows the sources of Mark (written under the auspice of an apostle) and Matthew (the oracles or "saying" traditionally were written down by the apostle Matthew), but unless it was for answering the challenges of Marcionism, it is out of place.

    Petrine authority was not challenged in the early Church. Even in Scripture, Peter is always the spokesperson for the apostles, even though James what the bishop of the Jerusalem Church. Acts is a story of Peter and Paul, and even Paul talks about facing off with Peter over kosher food (a story which would mean nothing if Peter was not an authority). So why so many letters from Paul in the canon?

    Because Marcion said Paul was supportive of his Gnostic ideas. This might seem true if all you read is Galatians, but if you read Romans (and Acts) you see that Paul only taught that the Mosaic Law was not a requisite for Gentiles. He was the apostle to the Gentiles, whereas Peter and the others preached to the Jews (because Christian Jews still followed the Torah). Thus it seems by including as many letters as possible, the Church was disproving Marcionism's claim that Paul preached against Judaism and made Jesus a separate deity.

  • NikL


    I have not read Enoch's writings (do you have a good online source?)

  • eyeuse2badub
    Enoch was apparently in mortal danger when “God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

    This reasoning always seemed phony to me even as a kid. WTF! couldn't the "creator of heaven and earth" protect just one old man who was in danger? No, so he killed him and put him in storage till then new system! Yea right!

    Yep it just confirms in my mind that the entire Bible is based entirely on Hebrew mythology. And to think that we at one time really belived some of that crap!

    just saying!

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