"Enoch" Texts and Parabiblical Literature: Language about Authoritative Writing

The "Enoch Cycle" includes the various separable sections of "1 Enoch," the book preserved in Old Church Slavic ("Slavonic") called "2 Enoch," the Hebrew "mystical" book of "3 Enoch," and various lost writings to which allusions are sometimes made in ancient literature such as the Testaments of the Patriarchs.

Of these materials, probably 2 Enoch is most explicit about the presence of numerous Enoch books (360!) and by implication, its status among them. They are to be passed along generation to generation (compare Jubilees) for instruction in right living. The Astronomical Book is similarly explicit about its authority (see 82), as is the Exhortations material (92.1 and context, 104.10ff) and other traditions addressed to Methuselah (e.g. 106-108). The image of "Enoch" as a revealer and transmitter of books and writings that both condemn (e.g. 14.1-7; see also Jubilees 4.22) and exhort (passim), sometimes in explicit association with the "heavenly tablets" (e.g. Astronomical Book [81], Exhortations [93, 103], Methuselah [106]) is pervasive.

From the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36):

1.1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. [1.2] And he took up his parable and said: Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is for to come. [1.3] Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them: . . . .

14.1 The book of the words of righteousness, and of the reprimand of the eternal Watchers in accordance with the command of the Holy Great One in that vision. [.2] I saw in my sleep what I will now say with a tongue of flesh and with the breath of my mouth: which the Great One has given to men to converse therewith and understand with the heart. [3] As He has created and given to man the power of understanding the word of wisdom, so hath He created me also and given me the power of reprimanding the Watchers, the children of heaven. [4] I wrote out your petition, and in my vision it appeared thus, that your petition will not be granted unto you throughout all the days of eternity, and that judgement has been finally passed upon you: yea (your petition) will not be granted unto you. [5] And from henceforth you shall not ascend into heaven unto all eternity, and in bonds of the earth the decree has gone forth to bind you for all the days of the world. [6] And (that) previously you shall have seen the destruction of your beloved sons and you shall have no pleasure in them, but they shall fall before you by the sword. [7] And your petition on their behalf shall not be granted, nor yet on your own: even though you weep and pray and speak all the words contained in the writing which I have written.

[NOTE: On Enoch as reprimander of  the Watchers, see also Jubilees 4.22.]

From the Parables/Similitudes of Enoch (1 Enoch 37-71)

37.1 The second vision which he saw, the vision of wisdom -- which Enoch the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, saw. [2] And this is the beginning of the words of wisdom which I lifted up my voice to speak and say to those which dwell on earth: Hear, you men of old time, and see, you that come after, the words of the Holy One which I will speak before the Lord of Spirits.

39.1 [And it shall come to pass in those days that elect and holy children will descend from the high heaven, and their seed will become one with the children of men. [2] And in those days Enoch received books of zeal and wrath, and books of disquiet and expulsion.] And mercy shall not be accorded to them, saith the Lord of Spirits.

40.8 After that I asked the angel of peace who went with me, who showed me everything that is hidden: 'Who are these four presences which I have seen and whose words I have heard and written down?'

47.3 In those days I saw the Head of Days when He seated himself upon the throne of His glory,
And the books of the living were opened before Him:
And all His host which is in heaven above and His counselors stood before Him,

[4] And the hearts of the holy were filled with joy;
Because the number of the righteous had been offered,
And the prayer of the righteous had been heard,
And the blood of the righteous been required before the Lord of Spirits.

68. 1 And after that my grandfather Enoch gave me the teaching of all the secrets in the book in the Parables which had been given to him, and he put them together for me in the words of the book of the Parables.

[NOTE: is this a reference to the book of the Watchers (Enoch's first "parable" in the collection; see 1.2-3), or to the surrounding material in which this Noah section is embedded -- or to something else?]

69.8 And the fourth was named Penemue: he taught the children of men the bitter and the sweet, and he taught them all the secrets of their wisdom. [9] And he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paper, and thereby many sinned from eternity to 10 eternity and until this day. For men were not created for such a purpose, to give confirmation 11 to their good faith with pen and ink. For men were created exactly like the angels, to the intent that they should continue pure and righteous, and death, which destroys everything, could not have taken hold of them, but through this their knowledge they are perishing, and through this power it is consuming me.

The Astronomical Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 72-82)

72.1 The book of the courses of the luminaries of the heaven, the relations of each, according to their classes, their dominion and their seasons, according to their names and places of origin, and according to their months, which Uriel, the holy angel, who was with me, who is their guide, showed me; and he showed me all their laws exactly as they are, and how it is with regard to all the years of the world and unto eternity, till the new creation is accomplished which dureth till eternity.

74.1 And I saw another course, a law for her, (and) how according to that law she performs her monthly revolution. [2] And all these Uriel, the holy angel who is the leader of them all, showed to me, and their positions, and I wrote down their positions as he showed them to me, and I wrote down their months as they were, and the appearance of their lights till fifteen days were accomplished.

81.1 And he said unto me:

'Observe, Enoch, these heavenly tablets,

And read what is written thereon,
And mark every individual fact.'

[2] And I observed the heavenly tablets, and read everything which was written (thereon) and understood everything, and read the book of all the deeds of mankind, and of all the children of flesh that shall be upon the earth to the remotest generations. . . . [4] And after that I said:
' Blessed is the man who dies in righteousness and goodness,
Concerning whom there is no book of unrighteousness written,
And against whom no day of judgement shall be found.'

[5] And those seven holy ones brought me and placed me on the earth before the door of my house, and said to me: ' Declare everything to your son Methuselah, and show to all your children that no flesh is righteous in the sight of the Lord, for He is their Creator. [6] One year we will leave you with your son, till you give your (last) commands, that you may teach your children and record (it) for them, and testify to all your children; and in the second year they shall take you from their midst.

82.1 And now, my son Methuselah, all these things I [Enoch] am recounting to you and writing down for you! and I have revealed to you everything [om], and given you books [their book] concerning all these: so preserve, my son Methuselah, the books [book] from your father's hand, and (see) that you deliver them [it] to the generations of the world. [2] I have given Wisdom to you and to your children,
[And your children that shall be to you],
That they may give it to their children for generations,
This wisdom (namely) that passeth their thought.

[NOTE: This seems to be as clear a claim of authority as possible, although exactly which Enochic "book" (or "books") is referred to, if distinct from the one he is "writing down" at the time, is unclear. Perhaps anything believed to be from "Enoch" could fit into this category.]

The Dream Visions of Enoch (1 Enoch 83-90)

83.1 And now, my son Methuselah, I will show you all my visions which I have seen, recounting them before you. [2] Two visions I saw before I took a wife, and the one was quite unlike the other: the first when I was learning to write: the second before I took your mother, (when) I saw a terrible vision.

89.68 And the shepherds and their associates delivered over those sheep to all the wild beasts, to devour them, and each one of them received in his time a definite number: it was written by the other in a book how many each one of them destroyed of them. [69] And each one slew and destroyed many more than was prescribed; and I began to weep and lament on account of those sheep. [70] And thus in the vision I saw that one who wrote, how he wrote down every one that was destroyed by those shepherds, day by day, and carried up and laid down and showed actually the whole book to the Lord of the sheep-(even) everything that they had done, and all that each one of them had made away with, and all that they had given over to destruction. [71] And the book was read before the Lord of the sheep, and He took the book from his hand and read it and sealed it and laid it down. . . . [76] And this one who wrote the book carried it up, and showed it and read it before the Lord of the sheep, and implored Him on their account, and besought Him on their account as he showed Him all the doings of the shepherds, and gave testimony before Him against all the shepherds. [77] And he took the actual book and laid it down beside Him and departed.

90.19 And I saw that man, who wrote the book according to the command of the Lord, till he opened that book concerning the destruction which those twelve last shepherds had wrought, and showed that they had destroyed much more than their predecessors, before the Lord of the sheep. . . . [20] And I saw till a throne was erected in the pleasant land, and the Lord of the sheep sat Himself thereon, and the other took the sealed books and opened those books before the Lord of the sheep.

Exhortations and Miscellaneous (1 Enoch 91-105, 106-108)

91.1 [[Possibly misplaced from after 92]] And now, my son Methuselah, call to me [Enoch] all your brothers
And gather together to me all the sons of your mother;
For the word calls me,
And the spirit is poured out upon me,
That I may show you everything
That shall befall you for ever.

92.1 The book written by Enoch -- [Enoch indeed wrote this complete doctrine of wisdom, (which is) praised of all men and a judge of all the earth] for all my children who shall dwell on the earth. And for the future generations who shall observe uprightness and peace.

93.1 And after that Enoch both gave and began to recount from the books. [2] And Enoch said:

' Concerning the children of righteousness and concerning the elect of the world,
And concerning the plant of uprightness, I will speak these things,
Yea, I Enoch will declare (them) to you, my sons:

According to that which appeared to me in the heavenly vision,
And which I have known through the word of the holy angels,
And have learnt from the heavenly tablets.'

[3] And Enoch began to recount from the books and said:

98.5 Woe to you who write down lying and godless words; for they write down their lies that men may hear them and act godlessly towards (their) neighbour. [6] Therefore they shall have no peace but die a sudden death.

100.6 And (then) the children of the earth shall see the wise in security,
And shall understand all the words of this book,
And recognize that their riches shall not be able to save them
In the overthrow of their sins.

103.1 Now, therefore, I swear to you, the righteous, by the glory of the Great and Honoured and Mighty One in dominion, and by His greatness I swear to you.
[2] I know a mystery
And have read the heavenly tablets,
And have seen the holy books,
And have found written therein and inscribed regarding them:

104.6 And now fear not, you righteous, when you see the sinners growing strong and prospering in their ways: be not companions with them, but keep afar from their violence; for you shall become companions of the hosts of heaven. [7] And, although you sinners say: "All our sins shall not be searched out and be written down," nevertheless they shall write down all your sins every day. [8] And now I show unto you that light and darkness, day and night, see all your sins. [9] Be not godless in your hearts, and lie not and alter not the words of uprightness, nor charge with lying the words of the Holy Great One, nor take account of your idols; for all your lying and all your godlessness issue not in righteousness but in great sin. [10] And now I know this mystery, that sinners will alter and pervert the words of righteousness in many ways, and will speak wicked words, and lie, and practice great deceits, and write books concerning their words. [11] But when they write down truthfully all my words in their languages, and do not change or minish ought from my words but write them all down truthfully -- all that I first testified concerning them. [12] Then, I know another mystery, that books will be given to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom. [13] And to them shall the books be given, and they shall believe in them and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt therefrom all the paths of uprightness be recompensed.

More Instructions for Methuselah (106-108)

106.17 And after that there shall be still more unrighteousness than that which was first consummated on the earth; for I know the mysteries of the holy ones; for He, the Lord, has showed me and informed me, and I have read (them) in the heavenly tablets. [107.1] And I saw written on them that generation upon generation shall transgress, till a generation of righteousness arises, and transgression is destroyed and sin passes away from the earth, and all manner of good comes upon it.

108.1 Another book which Enoch wrote for his son Methuselah and for those who will come after him, and keep the law in the last days. [2] You who have done good shall wait for those days till an end is made of those who work evil; and an end of the might of the transgressors. And wait indeed till sin has passed away, for their names shall be blotted out of the book of life and out of the holy books, and their seed shall be destroyed for ever, and their spirits shall be slain, and they shall cry and make lamentation in a place that is a chaotic wilderness, and in the fire shall they burn; for there is no earth there. . . . [10] And all the blessings destined for them I have recounted in the books.


"2 Enoch" [Note that there are two main recensions, and lots of variation; also newer chapter/verse divisions have been introduced]

22.10 = 10.1 And the Lord summoned one of his archangels by name Vreveil, whose knowledge was quicker in wisdom than the other archangels, who wrote all the deeds of the Lord; and the Lord said to Vreveil: Bring out the books from my store-houses, and a reed of quick-writing, and give it to Enoch, and deliver to him the choice and comforting books out of your hand. [23.1 = 10.4] And he was telling me all the works of heaven, earth and sea, and all the elements, their passages and goings, and the thunderings of the thunders, the sun and moon, the goings and changes of the stars, the seasons, years, days, and hours, the risings of the wind, the numbers of the angels, and the formation of their songs, and all human things, the tongue of every human song and life, the commandments, instructions, and sweet-voiced singings, and all things that it is fitting to learn. [23.2 = 10.5] And Vreveil told me: All the things that I have told you, we have written. Sit and write all the souls of mankind, however many of them are born, and the places prepared for them to eternity; for all souls are prepared to eternity, before the formation of the world. [23.3 = 10.7] And all double thirty days and thirty nights, and I wrote out all things exactly, and wrote three hundred and sixty [or 366] books.

[NOTE: The name of the archangel varies greatly in the manuscripts, including Vreteil and Pravuil. It sounds like a corruption of the name Uriel, a well-known archangel.]

33.2 = 11.22 And now, Enoch, all that I [God] have told you, all that you have understood, all that you have seen of heavenly things, all that you have seen on earth, and all that I [you?] have written in books by my great wisdom, all these things I have devised and created from the uppermost foundation to the lower and to the end, and there is no counsellor nor inheritor to my creations. [3] I am self-eternal, not made with hands, and without change. [4] My thought is my counsellor, my wisdom and my word are made, and my eyes observe all things how they stand here and tremble with terror. [5] If I turn away my face, then all things will be destroyed. [6] And apply your mind, Enoch, and know him who is speaking to you, and take thence the books which you yourself have written. [7] And I give you Samuil (11) and Raguil (12), who led you up, and the books, and go down to earth, and tell your sons all that I have told you, and all that you have seen, from the lower heaven up to my throne, and all the troops. [8] For I created all forces, and there is none that resists me or that does not subject himself to me. For all subject themselves to my monarchy, and labour for my sole rule. [9] Give them the books of the handwriting, and they will read them and will know me for the creator of all things, and will understand how there is no other God but me. [10] And let them distribute the books of your handwriting -- children to children, generation to generation, nations to nations. [11] And I will give you, Enoch, my intercessor, the archistratege Michael, for the handwritings of your fathers Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahaleleel, and Jared your father.

35.1 = 11.33 Behold from their seed shall arise another generation, much afterwards, but of them many will be very insatiate. [2] He who raises that generation, shall reveal to them the books of your handwriting, of your fathers, to them to whom he must point out the guardianship of the world, to the faithful men and workers of my pleasure, who do not acknowledge my name in vain. [3] And they shall tell another generation, and those others having read shall be glorified thereafter, more than the first. [36.1 = 11.33] Now, Enoch, I give you the term of thirty days to spend in your house, and tell your sons and all your household, that all may hear from my face what is told them by you, that they may read and understand, how there is no other God but me. [2] And that they may always keep my commandments, and begin to read and take in the books of your handwriting. [3] And after thirty days I shall send my angel for you, and he will take you from earth and from your sons to me.

40.1 = 13.14 And now, my children, I know all things, for this is from the Lord’s lips, and this my eyes have seen, from beginning to end. [2] I know all things, and have written all things into books, the heavens and their end, and their plenitude, and all the armies and their marchings. [3] I have measured and described the stars, the great countless multitude of them.

47.1 = 13.49 And now, my children, lay thought on your hearts, mark well the words of your father, which are all come to you from the Lord’s lips. [2] Take these books of your father’s handwriting and read them. [3] For the books are many, and in them you will learn all the Lord’s works, all that has been from the beginning of creation, and will be till the end of time. [4] And if you will observe my handwriting, you will not sin against the Lord; because there is no other except the Lord, neither in heaven, nor in earth, nor in the very lowest places, nor in the one foundation.

48.5 = 13.53 Thus I make known to you, my children, and distribute the books to your children, into all your generations, and amongst the nations who shall have the sense to fear God, let them receive them, and may they come to love them more than any food or earthly sweets, and read them and apply themselves to them. [6] And those who understand not the Lord, who fear not God, who accept not, but reject, who do not receive the books, a terrible judgment awaits these. [7] Blessed is the man who shall bear their yoke and shall drag them along, for he shall be released on the day of the great judgment.

52.15 = 13.71 For all these things will be laid bare in the weighing-scales and in the books, on the day of the great judgment.

54.1 = 13.75b At that time, not understanding this let these books which I have given you be for an inheritance of your peace. [2] Hand them to all who want them, and instruct them, that they may see the Lord’s very great and marvellous works.

68.1 = 19 [only in two manuscripts] Enoch was born on the sixth day of the month Tsivan, and lived three hundred and sixty-five years. [2] He was taken up to heaven on the first day of the month Tsivan and remained in heaven sixty days. [3] He wrote all these signs of all creation, which the Lord created, and wrote three hundred and sixty-six books, and handed them over to his sons and remained on earth thirty days, and was again taken up to heaven on the sixth day of the month Tsivan, on the very day and hour when he was born. [4] As every man’s nature in this life is dark, so are also his conception, birth, and departure from this life. [5] At what hour he was conceived, at that hour he was born, and at that hour too he died.

[[chs 20-23: The strange story of the birth of Melchizedek found in several manuscripts after this does not refer to books or writings.]]