Enoch and Written Authorities in Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs

[RAK for SBL 1993 Pseudepigrapha Symposium, Washington DC]

1. The textcritical (recension critical) problems:

The two most extensive "recensional" type differences are between the text represented in Greek MS b (= deJonge "fam 1" and included in Charles "beta" group) and that in Greek MSS chij (near the end of de Jonge's "fam 2" stemma, basic to Charles "alpha" text). This presentation focuses on an evaluation of b(k) evidence, relative to glmdA, efaS, cn, hij. [See comparative stemma charts by Charles and de Jonge]

2. The problem of the "story line":

Since this work (or anthology?) purports to be the words of each aged patriarch to his children/successors (see the pattern in Gen 49, where Jacob addresses each of the patriarchs before he dies), it assumes a situation prior to Moses and the development of what has come to be Jewish scriptures. It talks a great deal about "words/teachings" (<gk>logoi</>) and law (<gk>nomos</>) and commandments (<gk>entolai</>), but seldom in relation to written formats. When it does refer to written authority, it almost always identifies such either with Enoch (usually "book" of) or with the "tablets" (<gk>en placi</>, presumably understood to be in the heavens, as some texts explicitly state). It also uses "letter" (<gk>gramma</>) language on a few occasions to speak about literacy and education, including the ability to "read" (<gk>anagignoskein</> in most witnesses) the law of God (T.Levi 13.2 [om chij], in a poetic chapter that Kee thinks "intrusive" OTP 1.792); see also T.Reuben 4.1 -- be occupied with learning (<gk>en grammasi</>).

3. References to the (heavenly) "tablets":

T.Levi 5.4 [lacking in k's extracts] -- Levi's angelic guide instructs him to avenge Dinah, whereupon Levi comments "and at that time I dispatched (<gk>sunetelesa</>) the sons of Hemmor, as it is written in the tablets [var g: deeds (<gk>pracesi</>)] of the heavens [var: of the fathers chij, perhaps reflecting confusion in reading abbreviated words]" -- the potentially embarrassing story of Simeon and Levi deceitfully slaughtering Hamor and his supporters is told in Gen 34.25ff.

T.Asher 2.10 [lacking in l; T.Asher 1-6 lacking in k's estracts] -- at the conclusion of a lengthy discussion of good deeds done in an evil context, where both types of action would thus be judged evil, "for God also said this [var: explicitly hij] in the tablets [var g: deeds (<gk>pracesi</>)] of the heavens [var: of the commandments chij]" -- the immediate allusion is to the hare, which is considered "unclean" for not having split hooves, despite also having the "clean" feature of chewing its cud (see Leviticus 11.6, Deut 14.7).


T.Asher 7.5 [lacking in m] -- Asher instructs his children, including the expectation that "a man" will come from God to help save the day, but Asher "reads [var eaf chij: knows] in the tablets of the heavens [var g: in the deeds (<gk>pracesi</>) of men; om i.t.t.o.t.h chij]" that they will be rebellious towards him and will "not pay attention to the law of God, but to the commandments of men." Note that the chij text is significantly different in its reading "for I know that you will be disobeyingly disobedient to him..." (no reference to the tablets).

cf T.Zebulon 9.5 -- among warnings about not becoming divided, "I recognize (<gk>egnwn</>) in the scripture (<gk>grafhi</>) of my fathers that in the last days you will depart from the Lord..." - - I suspect that this is another of the Enoch or tablets of heavens passages, judging from the formulaic language and the textual variations present in similar contexts.

cf T.Judah 20.3f -- in a context discussing the two spirits vying in humans, "the things of truth and the things of waywardness are written (<gk>gegraptai</>) on the breast (<gk>sthqos</>) of a man, and the Lord knows each one of them; ... for in the breast of his bone it is inscribed (<gk>eggegraptai</>) before the Lord." There are some features here that might encourage the idea that behind this text lies a reference to the tablets and/or the book of Enoch.

4. References to book(s)/scripture of Enoch:

T.Simeon 5.4 -- in the context of warnings about envy and sexual promiscuity, "for I have seen (<gk>hewraka</>) in the writing (<gk>en xarakthri</>) of the scripture (<gk>grafhs</> [var chij <gk>grafidi</>]) of Enoch that your sons with you [om w.y. chij] will be corrupted by fornication and will deal unjustly with Levi by a sword."

T.Levi 10.5 -- Levi's descendants will be so wicked that Jerusalem cannot bear them, the temple veil will be rent, and they will be disgracefully scattered; "for the dwelling (<gk>oikos</>) which the Lord will select shall be called Jerusalem [var dm: Israel; var d: holy; om s.b.c.J. f], as the book of Enoch the righteous contains (<gk>periexei</>)." It appears that the anachronism of "Jerusalem" (and also the temple and its veil!) being mentioned at such an early time, and probably also the potential difficulty of abbreviated words, have produced some confusion in the transmission of this passage. The problem is addressed by referring vaguely to a prediction (see also T.Levi 15.1, T.Judah 23.5, T.Benjamin 9).

T.Levi 14.1 -- after the poem of T.Levi 13 (see above) on observing God's law and acquiring wisdom, "and now, [var therefore chij: + my m e chij] children, I know (<gk>egnwn</>) from a [var e: the] scripture (<gk>apo grafes</>) of Enoch [f.a.s.o.E. om chij] [var k: + the righteous] that at the end (<gk>epi telei</>, or similarly) [var chij: + of the ages] you will act impiously against the Lord ...." It is interesting to note that Milik identifies one of the 4Q Aramaic scraps with this context, and finds in it an explicit reference to Enoch after a passage about the moon and heavenly lights (see T.Levi 14.3f).

T.Levi 16.1f -- after reference to the destruction of the temple and subsequent captivity in the previous chapter, "and now I know (<gk>egnwn</> [var d: I read (<gk>anegnwn</>)]) in a [var d: the] book of Enoch [i.a.b.o.E. om chij] that you will wander (or go astray) for seventy weeks ... and you will set the law aside and nullify the words of the prophets ... you will abominate the words of the true witnesses (<gk>alhqinwn</>)."

T.Judah 18.1 -- after warning about the dangers of money and beautiful women, and reference to the kingly centrality of Judah, "for even so I read (<gk>anegnwn</> [var eaf: I know (<gk>egnwn</>); var chij: I know (<gk>egnwka</>)] in books [var gld: a book] of Enoch the righteous [i.b.o.E.t.r. om chij] how many bad things you will do in the last days" -- specifically <gk>porneia</> and love of money.

T.Zebulon 3.4 -- in an unusual explanation of the actions surrounding the sale of Joseph into slavery, the focus is placed on the purchase of shoes with the money that was received by the brothers, symbolizing distain for Joseph's lording it over them; "wherefore in a scripture of a law [of a law om d] of Enoch [var chij: Moses] it is written that the one who does not desire to raise up seed to his brother shall have his shoe pulled off and be spit upon in the face" (see Deut 25.5-10). But since Joseph's brothers did not want him to live, the Lord removed them as "Joseph's shoe" and when they went to Egypt Joseph had their shoes removed before the gate, where they did reverence to Joseph as Pharoah's representative -- and they were spit upon!

T.Dan 5.6 -- in a ringing condemnation of the expected evils of Dan's descendants, including acting like the gentiles and consorting with loose women, "I read (<gk>anegnwn</>) in a book of Enoch the righteous [var chij: + and I know/find] that your leader is the Satan ...." The textual evidence suggests that the text behind chij, as is normal for that text type (see above), did not refer to the book of Enoch here ("and I know" is the epected text of chij, here preserved as a doublet).

T.Naphthali 4.1 -- after warnings not to alter nature's way (God's way) like the idolatrous gentiles or the Sodomites, reference is made to the fall of the watchers, whom God cursed at the flood and on whose account God ordered the earth to be uninhabited by dwellers or produce. "I say these things [var deaf chij: + to you], my children, because I read (<gk>anegnwn</> [var eaf chij: I know (<gk>egnwn</>)] in a [var c: the] holy [ldeaf chij om] scripture of Enoch that even you yourselves will be estranged from the Lord, proceeding according to every wickedness of the gentiles, and you will do every lawless deed of Sodom [var d: demons]." The idea that the watchers were, in part, seduced by deceitful women, and influenced the birth of giants by appearing as apparitions while the women were having intercourse with their husbands, appears in T.Reuben 5, but without any explicit reference to Enoch traditions.

cf T.Naphthali 5.8 -- The patriarch has a dream about Levi and Judah being elevated by grasping the sun and moon, but Joseph seizes the bull with eagle's wings and ascends on high. "And I saw (<gk>eidon</>) that I was ... [confused text], and behold a holy scripture (<gk>grafh hagia</>) appeared to us [var m: me] saying" that various nations would share the captivity of Israel. Whether and to what extent this "scripture" is to be associated with either the heavenly tablets or the book(s) of Enoch is no longer clear, but the passage is suggestive of such a background.

T.Benjamin 9.1 -- in the context of warnings against sexual misconduct, "I perceive (<gk>uponow</>) [var c+: I tell you] that deeds shall be among you that are not good [t.d.s.b.a.y.t.a.n.g. om c+], [var l: + now I also read (<gk>anegnwn</>); var d: + for I know (<gk>egnwn</>)] from [var d: + the book of] the words [var c: oracles] of Enoch the righteous. For you will engage in the <gk>porneia</> of Sodom ...." The same textual features as appear in several other Enoch passages are present in some witnesses here, suggesting that similar developments lie behind the preserved texts.

5. Chart of Significant Textual Relations/Features

MS b and most others (de Jonge) || MS c hij (Charles) T.Sim 5.4 hewraka...grafhs E. || hewraka...grafidi E. T.Lev 5.4 en tais placi twn ouranwn |: en placi twn paterwn 10.5 periexei biblos E. tou dikaiou || p. h b.E.t.d. 14.1 egnwn apo grafhs E. |- egnwn 16.1 egnwn en bibliw E. |- egw egnwka T.Jud 18.1 anegnwn en biblois E. tou d. |- egnwka T.Zeb 3.4 en grafh nomou E. gegraptai |: e.g.n. Mwusews g. T.Dan 5.6 anegnwn en biblw E. tou d. |+ + kai egnwn (heuron) T.Naf 4.1 anegnwn en grafh hagia E. || egnwn en th g. E. T.Ash 2.10 en tais placi twn ouranwn eipen|: e.t.p.t. entwlwn e. 7.5 anegnwn en tais placi twn o. |- egnwn T.Ben 9.1 huponow apo logwn E. tou d. || legw a.logiwn E.t.d.

6. Conclusions Clearly there is a battle over the presence or absence of explicit references to Enoch, and also to the heavenly tablets, in the background of the preserved texts of the Testaments. Manuscript c and its allies (hij) are the most obvious "anti Enoch" witnesses, and the same group avoids identifying the tablets as "heavenly." Why this should be can only be conjectured. It seems less likely that the Enoch references are additions to an earlier text that made little or no reference to Enoch, than the opposite. Factors that could contribute to the demise of Enoch include the failure to find appropriately corresponding passages in the preserved Enoch literature, and the hesitation to use "scripture" language in connection with Enoch. Perhaps a general distancing from certain forms of apocalyptic traditions also played a role (as, e.g. with the formerly "heavenly" tablets?), although much apocalyptic influence remains in all full texts of the Testaments.

Appendix <gk>egnwn</> and <gk>anegnwn</> and related passages T.Levi 13.2 ... that they might read [var e d: know] the law ... 14.1 I know from [om chij] ... that (above) T.Judah 18.1 I read [var eaf chij: knew] in ... (see above) T.Zeb 9.5 I knew in the scripture of my fathers that... T.Dan 5.6 For I read in ... [var chij: + and knew] (see above) T.Napht 4.1 For I read [var eaf chij: knew] in ... (see above) T.Asher 7.5 For I read [var eaf chij: knew] in ... (see above) Reub 6.8 Levi knows Lord's [var: God's chij] law Sim 2.13 I know concerning Joseph 2.14 I know that (refers to sinfulness/porneia) 3.4 I know that (regarding redemption from sin) 4.3 I know that (I suffer and am freed) Levi 4.1 Now you know [var: ginwske g chij] that Lord judges 13.3 For everyone who knows God's law is rewarded ... 17.8 For those who do these things know Judah 10.3 He [Er] had not known her [Tamar] [see chij !] 10.4 He also [Onan], in a wicked act, knew her not 11.4 But knowing [var chij: epignous] what he did 12.10 I thought that noone would know that... Iss 1.15 And Jacob knew Leiah [var d: in that night !] 7.1 And I do not know on me a sin... 7.2 I knew no other [om chij] Zeb 1.4 I knew not, my child [om m.c. gldmeaf chi(?)j] that Naph 2.5 ... which knew not the Lord. 3.4 ... my children, know [see vars] in the firmament ... Gad 5.6 These things I knew last, after ... 8.2 For I know that ... Jos 3.9 And knowing this I was grieving ... 6.6 Now, then, know that ... 7.7 And I knew not that ... 10.5 My brothers know how ... 15.2 Behold we knew that ... 17.4 They knew that ... Benj 9.5 Now I knew which ... 10.2 You know, then, my children, that ...