Enoch Fragment (4 Q201-821)

Enoch, according to Genesis 5:24, was the first human being who did not die. Rather, “…he was no more, because God took him away.”   This mystical and mysterious ending to his life excited the imagination of Jewish writers of the period immediately following that of the Bible. He became a hero of Jewish apocalyptical and mystical literature, the great source of “knowledge” about the end of the world, the next world, God and the angels, the future of mankind, creation, salvation, parables, messianic hopes, etc. The book of Enoch was not included in the Bible, nor is it found in the Apocrypha, but was always known and greatly influential on Jewish thought. A piece of Chapter 6 of the book is presented here in replica by Biblical Reproductions.

Three post-Biblical books are ascribed to Enoch. The Book of Enoch (also called 1 Enoch), the main one, is a very large book comprising 108 chapters in 5 sections, and probably dates to the time of the Maccabees, the last two centuries BCE.  A second book to bear his name is called The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, written later—probably in the first century CE—which seems to show some Christian and Iranian Zoroastrian influences. A third book, called 3 Enoch, also purports to have been written by the Biblical hero, but dates form the  fifth century CE.  None of the books of Enoch were included in the Septuagint, and are therefore called pseudepigraphal books— books supposedly written by a Biblical character—rather than apocryphal books. As such, they are not included in any version of Holy Scriptures.

Nevertheless, Enoch was tremendously influential in those centuries of late Second Temple Judaism. Its influence on the Dead Sea community is obvious, and the piece of chapter 6 of the book of Enoch presented here in replica by Biblical Reproductions is part of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. The book was known to the New Testament as well. Enoch was influential in the composition of the Book of Revelation, and indeed a passage in 1 Enoch 1:9 is to be found fully quoted in the Letter of Jude, Verse 14:

14. Enoch the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them:  See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones, 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

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Author: Walter Zanger