Von Junzt (vonjunzt) wrote in enoch_discuss,
Von Junzt

Enoch in the Canon

Hi, everyone. Some time ago I posted about the fact that I was working on a paper about Enoch in the Ethiopian Biblical Canon. Thanks for all of your help. I've now finished the paper, or at least a draft thereof, and unless it displeases the moderator I'd like to post it here in segments. Following is the introduction and the bibliography (so that you don't have to wait until the last installment to see my sources).

I'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions for improvement.


by Marc A. Beherec

(c) 2005


The intention of this paper is to gather up whatever can be learnt about that famous figure in the Western tradition, Enoch, based on those books which have been enshrined in Jewish and Christian teachings as the authoritative Word of God. In an attempt to be all-inclusive, it analyzes all mentions of Enoch in the canons of not only the Bible recognized by Jews or even those recognized by Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, but also those books considered canonical by the Eastern Orthodox Churches, including the narrow canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the only Church which has preserved the Book of Enoch (I Enoch).

The Hebrew Bible is also referred to as the Tanakh – an acronym for Torah, Prophets (Nevi’im), and Writings (Kethuvim). Christian Bibles usually divide these books up into the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, the Wisdom Books, and the Prophets. The Tanakh consists of thirty-nine books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel (both books as one), Kings (both books as one), Chronicles (both books as one), Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, one hundred fifty Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth, the Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachai. The Jewish canon was probably fixed in the second century A. D., though the arrangement of the books was not set until the Tanakh was printed in the fifteenth century (Spanier 1948). These books constitute what Protestants call the Old Testament.

In addition to these books, the Roman Catholic and most Orthodox Churches add a number of books to the canon which were present in the Septuagint. The Septuagint is the earliest translation of the Bible. It therefore contains the books which were considered Biblical by early Jews before the Jewish canon was set. It probably dates to the second or third century B. C. (Vander Herren 1912). In addition, some books, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, which were originally written in Greek, were added to the Septuagint and recognized by early Greek-speaking Jews.

The Catholic canon, therefore, includes the following books in addition to those already mentioned: Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch (including the Letter of Jeremiah), Additions to Daniel, I Maccabees, and II Maccabees. This list was formalized at the Council of Trent on 8 April 1546, though the books had long been established as Biblical in the Roman Catholic Church (Council of Trent, Session IV, First and Second Decrees; Béchard 2002: 3-6).

The Greek, Russian, and most other Orthodox Churches also include the following books in their canon: I Esdras, II Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, III Maccabees, and Psalm CLI. IV Maccabees, although generally not considered canonical, is also included in most Greek Bibles (May and Metzger 1977).

The Ethiopian Church has the broadest canon of any Christian Church. What Cowley calls the narrower canon consists of those books contained in the official Bible commissioned by Emperor Haile Selasie, and are therefore what an Ethiopian is likely to find if he opens a Bible. The narrower canon includes, in addition to the books previously mentioned, IV Esdras 3-14 (the Ezra Apocalypse), Jubilees, and I Enoch. The Ethiopians also include three Books of Maccabees which are different from the four Books of Maccabees found in other Bibles, none of which are included in the Ethiopian Bible. The broader canon includes books which apparently have never even been printed in Ge’ez, the Ethiopian liturgical language. I have been unable to find them in English, and therefore they are not included in this study. Of the Old Testament books, this includes a history of the Jews by Pseudo-Josephus, called the Book of Josephus son of Bengorion but also known as Yosëf Wäldä Koryon, Zëna Ayhud, or Mäshäfä Serew (Cowley 1974).

Protestants, Catholics, and most of the Eastern Churches, including the Greek and Russian Orthodox, agree on the New Testament canon. It consists of twenty-seven books: The Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistle to the Romans, the two Epistles to the Corinthians, the Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, the two Epistles to Timothy, the Epistles to Titus, Philemon, and the Hebrews, the Epistle of James, the two Epistles of Peter, the three Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Book of Revelations, also known as the Apocalypse of St. John. Wilhelm Schneemelcher (1991) has written an excellent study of the formation of the New Testament canon.

The Armenian Church, at least in its Bibles before the nineteenth century, often included a Third Epistle from Paul to the Corinthians in their canon. III Corinthians is actually a letter purported by the Corinthians to Paul, along with Paul’s response (Hovhanessian 2000). These letters also appear inserted into the apocryphal Acts of Paul (Schneemelcher 1965: 374-378).

The broader canon of the Ethiopian Church includes several more books recognized by no other Church and which I was unable to find in English and which therefore are not included in this study. They include a letter from Peter to Clement which is different from the Clementine literature generally read in the West, the Ethiopian Didascalia and Sinodos, two books of Church order, and the Book of the Covenant, which is mostly about Church order but which also contains a discourse of the Risen Lord to the disciples at Galilee (Cowley 1974).

In short, the following study is of a composite, ecumenical Bible, which no single Church would recognize but which is made up of books recognized as canonical by Christian Churches and Jewish congregations. All of these works except those asterisked can be found in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (May and Metzger 1977). It consists of the following books:


Historical books
I Samuel (I Kingdoms)
II Samuel (II Kingdoms)
I Kings (III Kingdoms)
II Kings (IV Kingdoms)
I Chronicles
II Chronicles
Prayer of Manassah
Ezra (I Esdras)
Nehemiah (II Esdras)
Esther (and Additions to Esther)
I Maccabees
II Maccabees
III Maccabees
IV Maccabees
Wisdom literature
Psalms I-CLI
Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth)
Song of Solomon (Canticle of Canticles)
Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon)
Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach)
Prophetic works
Daniel (and Additions to Daniel)
I Enoch*
Ethiopian I Maccabees (Meqabyan)*
Ethiopian II Maccabees*
Ethiopian III Maccabees*


Church Histories
Acts of the Apostles
Epistles of Paul
I Corinthians
II Corinthians
III Corinthians*
I Thessalonians
II Thessalonians
I Timothy
II Timothy
Other Epistles
Catholic Epistles
I Peter
II Peter
I John
II John
III John
Revelations (Apocalypse of John)

This study examines each mention of, and one allusion to, Enoch in each of these books. The books are divided into Old and New Testaments and then examined approximately in the order they were written rather than where they appear in any published Bible. (It should be noted that the Ethiopian Books of Maccabees, though discussed at the end of the Old Testament section here, likely postdates even those New Testament works examined.) Relevant passages are quoted, and are then examined critically. Of course, most of these books never mention Enoch, and therefore do not appear again in these pages.


To Part II: Genesis 5:18-24
To Part III: Genesis 4:17-18
To Part IV: I Chronicles 1:3
To Part V: I Enoch
To Part VI: Ecclesiasticus or Sirach 44:16 and 49:14
To Part VII: Jubilees 4:16-26, 7:37-39, 10:17, 19:27, and 21:10
To Part VIII: Wisdom 4:10
To Part IX: Ethiopian I Maccabees 24:7
To Part X: The New Testament
Luke 3:37
Hebrews 11:5
Jude 14-15
To Part XI: Conclusions


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