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RE: [XTalk] Re: 1 Enoch as commentary

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... would, I think, be easy to understand why a priestly community (I assume Genesis to be essentially the work of the Jerusalem priests) would prefer one in
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 7, 2000
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      Robert Brenchley said:

      >>Just so. We have two 'rival' accounts of the origin of evil, and it
      would, I think, be easy to understand why a priestly community (I
      assume Genesis to be essentially the work of the Jerusalem priests)
      would prefer one in which evil was due to human sin, and thus required
      atonement, which was of course their stock-in-trade. But that's
      speculation.<<

      Maybe so, but the books of Enoch were also found, in abundance of
      copies, among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which also contain a large number
      of sectarian documents with seemingly priestly origins. It does not
      appear, then, that priests were better disposed to an interpretation
      of Gen 6 involving human sin rather than angelic sin.

      >>What about the use of these two stories in documents other than 1
      Enoch and Genesis? If one could be shown to be in use at an earlier
      time than the other, that might point to its priority. I assume
      Genesis 6 to refer to the myth of the Watchers (I hope my use of
      'myth' here will pass the examiners) because of the way it introduces
      the Flood story, but I may of course be wrong.<<

      Turning to Charlesworth's _Old Testament Pseudepigrapha_, the Watchers
      are mentioned in Jubilees (ca. 105 BCE), Sibylline Oracles 1 (ca. 30
      BCE - 70 CE), Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs, and fallen angels in
      Pseudo Philo (ca. 135 BCE-70 CE), Apocalypse of Abraham, 2 Baruch, 2
      Enoch, Questions of Ezra, Testament of Rueben (all of which are 1st
      century CE or later). A quick review of the index produced no
      references to Sons of God, Daughters of men, Sethites or Cainites,
      etc., so I am not sure what might be the best way to look for more
      human based explanations.

      R. H. Charles, in _The Book of Enoch_ (1913 ed), mentions "a very
      early myth, possibly of Persian origin, to the effect that demons had
      corrupted the earth before the coming of Zoroaster." His sources are
      likely well out of date by now (and in German), but I also seem to
      recall that the Babylonians had a flood myth where the gods destroy
      the earth because of the noise problem (from mankind?), but I do not
      have more up to date or more specific references at hand. Charles also
      notes that the Lxx translated Hebrew "Sons of men" as "AGGELOI TOU
      QEOU" and this is also the case in Philo's _de Gigantibus_. H. A.
      Wolfson confirms that Philo's language allows us to infer that to
      Philo the Sons of God are a class of angels (_Philo_ revised 2nd
      printing, 1948, 1.383-384).

      So both traditions are known by the beginning of the Christian
      (Common) era, but the fallen angel story appears to have earlier
      roots. If they are indeed Persian in origin, their introduction into
      Jewish traditions probably do not precede the captivity. Again, that
      should raise a question about the date of composition of Genesis, but
      that would be for some other list.

      It is probably best to finish this thread, unless someone can find a
      way to make it relevant to the Historical Jesus (probably through the
      "sons of God" angle). I can not think of one saying attributed to
      Jesus which deals *directly* with either the fallen angels myth or the
      "Sons of God" of Gen 6. I am even doubtful that he so much as alluded
      to it.
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