Enoch, Book of
A Hebrew apocryphal book. It was originally written in Aramaic
rather than Hebrew and hence was not included in the
canon of the Hebrew Bible or in the Christian Old Testament.
It was included in the collection of other materials generally
called pseudepigrapha (various pseudonymous or anonymous
Jewish religious writings of the period 200 B.C.E. to 200 C.E.).
The original version was lost about the end of the fourth century,
and only fragments remained, but James Bruce, the Scottish
explorer, brought back a copy in Ethiopian from Abyssinia in
1773, which was probably made from the version known to the
early Greek fathers. In this work the spiritual world is minutely
described, as is the region of Sheol, the place of the wicked.
The book also deals with the history of the fallen angels,
their relations with the human species, and the foundations of
magic. The book says that
‘‘There were angels who consented to fall from heaven that
they might have intercourse with the daughters of Earth. For
in those days the sons of men having multiplied, there were
born to them daughters of great beauty. And when the angels,
or sons of heaven, beheld them, they were filled with desire;
wherefore they said to one another ‘Come let us choose wives
from among the race of man, and let us beget children.’
‘‘Their leader Samyasa, answered thereupon and said ‘Perchance
you will be wanting in the courage needed to fulfil this
resolution, and then I alone shall be answerable for your fall.’
But they swore that they would in no wise repent and that they
would achieve their whole design.
‘‘Now there were two hundred who descended on Mount
Armon, and it was from this time that the mountain received
its designation, which signifies Mount of the Oath. Hereinafter
follow the names of those angelic leaders who descended with
this object Samyasa, chief among all, Urakabarameel, Azibeel,
Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Sarakuyal, Asael, Armers,
Batraal, Anane, Zavebe, Sameveel, Ertrael, Turel, Jomiael, Arizial.
They took wives with whom they had intercourse, to whom
also they taught Magic, the art of enchantment and the diverse
properties of roots and trees. Amazarac gave instruction in all
secrets of sorcerers; Barkaial was the master of those who study
the stars; Akibeel manifested signs; and Azaradel taught the
motions of the moon.’’
In this account, which harkens back to several biblical passages
(Genesis 64; Isaiah 1412), there is a description of the
profanation of mysteries. The fallen angels exposed their occult
and heaven-born wisdom to earthly women, whereby it was
profaned, and brute force, taking advantage of the profanation
of divine law, reigned supreme. Only a deluge could wipe out
the stain of the enormity and pave the way for a restitution of
the balance between the human and the divine, which had been
disturbed by these unlawful revelations.
According to tradition, Enoch did not die, but was carried
up to heaven (Genesis 518–24), from where he will return at
the end of time. He has also been identified with Thoth of the
Egyptians, Cadulus of the Phoenicians, and Palamedes of the
Greeks. According to some occultists, he inspired the Kabala
and the symbols of the tarot.
The Book of Enoch is one of the most important works of
the pseudepigrapha and is actually a set of books. The first
book of Enoch was known from a surviving Ethiopian translation,
parts of which were found in the caves of Qumran among
the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1892, however, R. H. Charles found
a second manuscript of the Book of Enoch, which existed in a
Slavonic text. Upon seeing the book, he also discovered that it
was an entirely different Book of Enoch, and he soon translated
and published it. Finally, a third Book of Enoch, which has circulated
among the Babylonian Jews, was discovered and published
in 1928 by Hugo Odeburg.
Andrews, H. T. An Introduction to the Apocryphal Books of the
Old and New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. Baker Book
House, 1964.
Charles, R. H., ed. The Book of Enoch [Ethiopic text]. London
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1917.
Laurence, Richard, trans. The Book of Enoch the Prophet . . .
from an Ethiopian Manuscript. London Kegan Paul, Tench,
Morfill, W. R., trans. The Book of the Secrets of Enoch. Oxford,
England Clarendon Press, 1896.

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