Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch (Ge'ez: መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ mäts'hafä henok) is an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, although modern scholars estimate the older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) to date from about 300 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to the end of the first century BC. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel. Most Christian denominations and traditions may accept the Books of Enoch as having some historical or theological interest or significance, but they generally regard the Books of Enoch as non-canonical or non-inspired. It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, but not by any other Christian group. It is wholly extant only in the Ge'ez language, with Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments. For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian belief is that the original language of the work was Ge'ez. By the 4th century, the Book of Enoch was mostly excluded from Christian canons, and it is now regarded as scripture by only the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church.
The Book of Enoch was considered as scripture in the Epistle of Barnabas (16:4) and by many of the early Church Fathers, such as Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who wrote c. 200 that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ.
The main peculiar aspects of the Enochic Judaism are the following:
- the idea of the origin of the evil caused by the Fallen Angelics, who came on the earth to unite with human women. These Watchers or Fallen Angelics are considered ultimately responsible for the spread of evil and impurity on the earth;
- the absence in 1 Enoch of formal parallels to the specific laws and commandments found in the Mosaic Torah and of references to issues like Shabbat observance or the rite of circumcision. The Sinaitic covenant and Torah are not of central importance in the Book of Enoch;
- the concept of "End of Days" as the time of final judgment that takes the place of promised earthly rewards;
- the rejection of the Second Temple's sacrifices considered impure: according to Enoch 89:73, the Jews, when returned from the exile, "reared up that tower (the temple) and they began again to place a table before the tower, but all the bread on it was polluted and not pure";
- a Solar calendar in opposition to the Lunar calendar used in the Second Temple (a very important aspect for the determination of the dates of religious feasts);
- an interest in the angelic world that involves life after death.
The relation between 1 Enoch and the Essenes was noted even before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. While there is consensus to consider the sections of the Book of Enoch found in Qumran as texts used by the Essenes, the same is not so clear for the Enochic texts not found in Qumran (mainly the Book of Parables): it was proposed to consider these parts as expression of the mainstream, but not-Qumranic, essenic movement. The main peculiar aspects of the not-Qumranic units of 1 Enoch are the following:
- a Messiah called "Son of Man", with divine attributes, generated before the creation, who will act directly in the final judgment and sit on a throne of glory (1 Enoch 46:1–4, 48:2–7, 69:26–29)
- the sinners usually seen as the wealthy ones and the just as the oppressed (a theme we find also in the Psalms of Solomom).
Some of the fallen angels that are given in 1 Enoch have other names such as Rameel ('morning of God'), who becomes Azazael and is also called Gadriel ('wall of God') in Chapter 68. Another example is that Araqiel ('Earth of God') becomes Aretstikapha ('world of distortion') in Chapter 68."Azaz" as in Azazael means strength, so the name Azazel can refer to strength of God. But the sense in which it is used most probably means impudent (showing strength towards) which comes out as arrogant to God. This is also a key point to his being Satan in modern thought.Nathaniel Schmidt states "the names of the angels apparently refer to their condition and functions before the fall," and lists the likely meaning of the angels names in the book of Enoch, noting that "the great majority of them are Aramaic.