Monday, November 16, 2009

Why isn't the Book of Enoch in the Bible?

Jude 1:14-15 [14] "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, [15] to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

Enoch is first mentioned in Genesis chapter five. His name is later mentioned in Hebrews 11:5 along with patriarchs of the faith, it’s referred to in 1 Peter 3:19-20, and finally in the letter of Saint Jude where he makes a specific reference to Enoch's prophecy of the coming of the Lord.

Why did Saint Paul list Enoch in among the great and few patriarchs of the faith? Hebrews 11:5, ' By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.'

I have two interesting questions that every seeker of truth should attempt to answer for themselves.
  1. Why would Saint Jude directly quote the prophecy from the Book of Enoch if it were not an inspired Divine source?
  2. Why would Saint Jude go further and write about the subject of the ben-Elohim or (Watcher angels) who did not remain in their first estate? Did Jude forget that the subject of the fallen ones is only explained most thoroughly in 1 Enoch and not in any other book of scripture?
Obviously, Saint Jude was familiar with the Book of Enoch, he read it and even memorized some of its' content. Not only did he read it, but Jude understood it to be a reliable source.

Questionable Authorship?

The Western church does not acknowledge the Book of Enoch as 'authorized canon' or inspired of God. Scholars have valid questions as to the authorship of the Book of Enoch.

According to Western scholars its older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) date from about 300 BCE and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably was composed at the end of the 1st century BCE;[4] it is argued that all the writers of the New Testament were familiar with it and were influenced by it in thought and diction.[5]

There is reason to believe that one author of the Book is none other than Noah.

The Book of Enoch chapter 68:1 "And after that my great-grandfather Enoch gave me all the secrets in the book and in the parables which had been given to him, and he put them together for me in the words of the book of the parables."

If these words were actually written by Noah there should be no reason for the church to discredit the work. Some of the early 'Church Fathers' of Christianity make reference to the Book of Enoch. In fact, they acknowledged the work as inspired scripture.

  • The "Epistle of Barnabus" written between 70 A.D. and 131 A.D. makes direct quotes from 1 Enoch 4:3, 16:5.
  • Other Church Fathers such as Justin of Caesarea 'the Martyr', Irenaeus, Origin and Clement of Alexandria refer to Book of Enoch. In their opinion it was rejected by the Jews because it contained prophesies of the coming of Messiah. The Book describes a Messiah figured called "Son of Man", with divine attributes, generated before the creation, who will be in command of all things during the final judgment and will sit on a throne of glory (1 Enoch 46:1-4, 48:2-7, 69:26-29)
  • Tertullian (160-230 C.E) even called the Book of Enoch "Holy Scripture".
  • The Ethiopian Orthodox Church regards the Book of Enoch as inspired of God and is part of the official canon.

In 1906 R.H. Charles published a new critical edition of the Ethiopic text, using 23 Ethiopic manuscripts and all available sources at his time. The English translation of the reconstructed text appeared in 1912 and the same year in his collection of 'The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament'.

In the early 1950s the first Aramaic fragments of 1 Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This discovery provided evidence of its antiquity and original text. The official edition of all Enoch fragments appeared in 1976, by Jozef Milik.

In 1978 a new edition of the Ethiopic text was edited by Michael Knibb, with an English translation, while a new commentary appeared in 1985 by Matthew Black. The renewed interest in 1 Enoch spawned a number of other translations: in Hebrew (A. Kahana, 1956), Danish (Hammershaimb, 1956), Italian (Fusella, 1981), Spanish (1982), French (Caquot, 1984) and other modern languages.

Authenticating the Book of Enoch

  • "I Enoch, also known as the Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch, is the oldest of the three pseudepigraphal books attributed to Enoch, the man who apparently did not die, but was taken up to heaven (Gen 5:24). The book was originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, perhaps both, but it survives in complete form only in Ethiopic (Ge'ez), and in fragmentary form in Aramaic, Greek (1:1-32:6; 6:1-10:14; 15:8-16:1; 89:42-49; 97:6-104), and Latin (106:1-18)."

"The materials in I Enoch range in date from 200 B.C.E. to 50 C.E. I Enoch contributes much to intertestamental views of angels, heaven, judgment, resurrection, and the Messiah. This book has left its stamp upon many of the NT writers, especially the author of Revelation."
- Craig A. Evans, Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation, (1992) p. 23

  • "Prior to the eighteenth century, scholars had believed the Book of Enoch to be irretrievably lost: composed long before the birth of Christ, and considered to be one of the most important pieces of Jewish mystical literature, it was only known from fragments and from references to it in other texts. James Bruce changed all this by procuring several copies of the missing work during his stay in Ethiopia. These were the first complete editions of the Book of Enoch ever to be seen in Europe."- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

  • "The Book of Enoch remained in darkness until 1821, when the long years of dedicated work by a professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford were finally rewarded with the publication of the first ever English translation of the Book of Enoch. The Reverend Richard Laurence, Archbishop of Cashel, had labored for many hundreds of hours over the faded manuscript in the hands of the Bodleian Library, carefully substituting English words and expressions for the original Geez, while comparing the results with known extracts, such as the few brief chapters preserved in Greek by Syncellus during the ninth century."

- Andrew Collins, From the Ashes of Angels - The Forbidden Legacy of a Fallen Race (1996) p. 21

  • "The original Aramaic version was lost until the Dead Sea fragments were discovered." "The original language of most of this work was, in all likelihood, Aramaic (an early Semitic language). Although the original version was lost in antiquity, portions of a Greek translation were discovered in Egypt and quotations were known from the Church Fathers. The discovery of the texts from Qumran Cave 4 has finally provided parts of the Aramaic original. ...Humankind is called on to observe how unchanging nature follows God's will."

- Milik, Jazef. T., ed. The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4

"1 Enoch, preserved in a full, 108-chapter form in Ethiopic, consists of five parts and one appended chapter. It originated in Aramaic (perhaps Hebrew for chaps. 37-71), was translated into Greek, and from Greek into Ethiopic."
- James C. Vanderkam (Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame)

"The Aramaic Book of Enoch...very considerably influenced the idiom of the New Testament and patristic literature, more so in fact than any other writing of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha."
- Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 366


  1. I have trouble believing 1 Enoch was written by Enoch (or Noah), but there's no doubt that Jude was treating it as authentic. If we consider Jude inspired, then how can we simply reject Enoch, at least as something to be read?

    The thoughts in Enoch clearly underlie and agree with the writings of the NT and early church fathers. The apostolic fathers were clearly familiar with the work during a time when there were no occult bookstores to get it from (how sad that such an orthodox Christian work is, for the most part, confined to occult bookstores). Clearly it was important to them.

    There's much modern Christians could learn from it if they would also learn what parts influenced early Christian and even New Testament thinking.

  2. I can't figure out why the early Christians rejected this book except maybe because of the supernatural tone of the entire book. But the Jews had just crucified the "son of man" this book spoke of. So it's certainly possible that this book was tossed out at this time to crush any thoughts of Jesus actually being the messiah.

  3. Seems that we have been void of this book throughout the ages because of historical ideas. But if Jude is quoting from this book then it must be important to Bibical teaching. If this important book had have been included in scripture then our outlook for the future would be very different as a Church. I believe that we should look closly at this book in regards to end-time prophesy.
    If this were to happen it would make present doctrine questionable.

  4. Thanks for this post. Someone suggested that I read the Book of Enoch, but I wanted to research its reliability first. This was very helpful! I listened to a recorded version of the first part. I found it fascinating and worthy of further study.


  6. My personal view is, if Enoch was worthy enough and chosen by God to be his scribe and if Noah and Jude referred to his books, then we should seriously take his books into account. Prehaps such knowledge should be known and shared especially considering facts about his predictions about Noah, Abraham, Israel, Joseph and some other future stuff that hasn't happened yet.

  7. Enoch even talks about those who exclude such information and how there is a special hell for them.