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RE: [XTalk] Re: 1 Enoch as commentary?

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... Genesis unanswered questions, somewhat analogous to the several infancy gospels?
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 6, 2000
      Rikk Watts said:

      >>Isn't it more likely that Enoch is an attempt to fill in all of
      Genesis' unanswered questions, somewhat analogous to the several
      infancy gospels?<<

      Well, as I said, "that does not mean it [i.e., my option #3] is
      right." <g>

      I only wonder, though, why the Genesis account was so fragmentary to
      begin with. That is why I suggested that Genesis may have abbreviated
      a then-well-known account of the fall of the Watchers. Thinking about
      it further, though, I suppose the story epitomized by Genesis 6 could
      just as easily have had nothing to do with Watchers at all. Yet the
      alternatives I have heard to date (sons of god = righteous men,
      daughters of men = depraved females, etc.) seem so, well, simplistic
      or overly moralistic.

      The extensive remains of the Book of Giants, discussed by Milik in
      _Books of Enoch_, and found all over the place in former Parthian
      lands, I think reflects more than just Mani's use of it for his
      propaganda purposes. There seems to have been a widespread Jewish
      belief in myths about ancient Giants and their destruction by God,
      which Mani probably took advantage of as he did other various
      traditions. If he had not, these fragments may not have been

      Milik proposes a date of writing between 128 and 100 BCE. After 128
      BCE because Jubilees makes no mention of a written Giants tradition,
      and so I suppose he assumes an oral tradition. But the lack of a firm
      reference to a written Giant tradition in Jubilees is no guarantee one
      did not exist. And if oral, just how far back might an oral tradition
      extend in the form we know it? I would expect myths to evolve.

      One question, though: Why would the speculative expansion of Gen 6
      found in 1 Enoch 6-36 have started when it did? I can understand it
      (speculation about the destruction of an evil age to be replaced by an
      new good age) as a secondary effect of eschatological fervor generated
      by the Maccabean revolt in the mid 2nd century, but would this have
      explained 1 Enoch 6-36 if Milik is right and it is actually a product
      of the late third century BCE?

      Sometimes when I find myself tracing these myths and traditions, I
      feel like a puppy chasing my tail. <g>


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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