Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Is The Book Of Enoch Inspired Scripture?

          A pseudepigraphal text known as the Book of Enoch was gradually written and assembled into one volume, with the oldest section being the Apocalypse of Weeks (dated to the second century BC). This work has caught the attention of numerous people because of its detailed descriptions of heaven and angels. The Book of Enoch has extra-biblical accounts regarding the Nephilim race and fallen angels. In a few words, it is a work of apocalyptical speculation. 

          Some Christians have raised the question as to whether the Book of Enoch is inspired due to it seemingly being quoted in Jude 14-15. A few others have even devised a conspiracy theory that it was removed from the canon of Scripture. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church includes Enoch in its own list of books comprising the Bible. This ancient compilation was even venerated by early Christian authorities such as Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, and Irenaeus. Nonetheless, there is no reason for us to accept it as inspired Scripture. The words of Dr. John Oakes are very pertinent here:

          "Why, then, did the church in Alexandria, and therefore eventually the Coptic church, including the Ethiopian and the Egyptian churches, accept this book? This is not clear, but we know from the evidence that the early church began to use the OT apocrypha and other books, such as 1 Enoch, as early as the second century. Why Alexandria in particular used 1 Enoch more than the churches in Antioch, Constantinople and Rome is not clear, but we can speculate that they had more interest in eschatology (the study of end times) and apocalyptic literature in general. We know that Origen was open to fairly speculative theology and that Alexandria was the center of allegorical interpretation."

          Furthermore, the Book of Enoch was never a part of the Hebrew canon. Jesus Christ affirmed the traditional threefold division of the Old Testament books (Luke 24:44). The piece was not actually written by the Enoch mentioned in the Bible. The Essenes regarded this five part compilation as inspired Scripture, but their beliefs were entrenched in mysticism. It does not appear in early canon listings provided in authoritative sources such as Codex Sinaiticus or the Muratorian fragment. The Book of Enoch contains things that are arguably false. As this source explains:

          "...it says that the giants of Biblical times were 400-450 feet tall. That is over 6 times taller than the largest dinosaur to ever exist, 4 times longer than a blue whale, longer than a football field, and the same height as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. If this is true, why does the Bible only speaks of giants as being 8-15 feet tall, and where are all the other legends in other cultures of giants who were this tall?"

          The Book of Enoch contains a number of absurd ideas. As this source illustrates:

          "Enoch tells...of angels (stars) procreating with oxen to produce elephants, camels and donkeys: 7:12-15; 86:1-5."

          Does not the fact that Jude makes reference to the Book of Enoch give us sufficient reason to incorporate that particular work into the canon of Scripture? Not by any means. The Apostle Paul on a few occasions quoted pagan philosophers, yet those who believe in the divine inspiration of Enoch would not argue for the inclusion of those into the canon. There also remains the possibility that Jude was not actually quoting from the Book of Enoch but to some valid oral tradition. Many truthful statements can be found apart from the Bible. The New Testament author does not call what he alludes to Scripture. Rather, the text reads as "Enoch said". The following article excerpt elaborates perfectly on this point:

          "This would be similar to a modern day preacher citing a line from an atheistic scientist or philosopher. While the atheist’s book is not entirely true, it does contain true statements. Jude’s argument does not hang on these apocryphal passages; instead, we could back up everything that is written elsewhere in the OT [See Isaiah 40:10; 66:15-16; Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 3:13]."

          How are Christians supposed to view the Book of Enoch? We are to approach it as a literary work. Some parts are truthful, others erroneous. This writing has been altered so many times by both Jews and Christians that there is no grounds to include it in the canon. As this source explains:

          "The full text of 1 Enoch exists in a Ethiopic translation of a Greek translation of an Aramaic original. There are some Greek fragments, as well as some Aramaic fragments. How can the church trust the reliability of a translation of a translation? Moreover, the textual transmission of 1 Enoch is ferociously complex. A related complication is how much of 1 Enoch we're supposed to canonize. 1 Enoch is a composite book. Even within that anthology, the Book of the Watchers is a composite work. 1 Enoch has a very complex editorial history."

          The Encyclopedia Britannica tells us that:

          "Its survival is due to the fascination of marginal and heretical Christian groups, such as the Manichaeans, with its syncretic blending of Iranian, Greek, Chaldean, and Egyptian elements."

4 comments:

  1. Wassup Jesse, how are you today? So you own a copy of the book of Enoch? I personally never read much of the apocryphal books. So are there any kind of heretical teachings in the book of Enoch? Could you name a couple if you don't mind. I too don't regard it as God's word. My post on abortion should be out tomorrow if your interested. Is all well where you live?

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  2. Hello Justin,

    It has been years since I have taken any time to make a perusal of this text. It talks about the Messiah, Day of Judgement, and much more. There is a part where Enoch unsuccessfully attempted to intercede before God for some fallen angels. The Book of Enoch has plenty of odd ideas.

    Nonetheless, I think that this article (and the one I linked to at the end of my first comment here) has sufficient evidence to convince any person who has an open mind that this work (however valuable it may be) is not God-breathed Scripture.

    We had a few severe thunderstorms about a week or so ago. The process of cleaning up yard debris and restoring electricity to homes is still going on in my area. The storm sounded very much as if it were a tornado, but thankfully for us it was only straight-line winds. Either way, it was quite powerful. But yes, everything is otherwise alright.

    I will take a look at your post on abortion whenever you choose to publish it.

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  3. Just FYI the article I wrote on Communism should be out tomorrow (Monday), it will also address some problems that I see regarding SSI, food stamps, and public schools. My article on Feminism will be out this friday as well. What articles are you currently working on?

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  4. Justin,

    I am currently developing an article on the Roman Catholic misuse of 2 Timothy 1:16-18. They sometimes quote that text in defending prayers to Mary and the saints. I will read your articles on communism and feminism whenever you choose to publish them.

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