Noachic Polemics and the Date of 2 Enoch

Andrei Orlov
Kelly Chair in Theology and Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University. View Entries

Noachic Polemics and the Date of 2 Enoch

This investigation of Noachic polemics in 2 Enoch has several objectives. First, it intends to further illustrate the polemical nature of 2 Enoch by showing that the text represents a complicated web of arguments involving the traditions of the elevated patriarchs and prophets. Second, it will demonstrate that, as with the Adamic and Mosaic counterparts, the purpose of these polemics is to enhance the figure of the seventh antediluvian patriarch and diminish the threat of competing mediatorial characters. Third, it will show that the Noachic developments can serve as decisive proof for the early date of the Slavonic apocalypse. The investigation will try to establish that Noachic polemical developments, which deal with the issues of sacrificial practices and priestly successions, cannot be dated later than 70 C.E. since they reflect a distinctive sacerdotal situation existing at the time when the Temple was still standing. It will be demonstrated that the Noachic polemics in 2 Enoch belong to the same stream of early Enochic testimonies to the priestly-Noah tradition as those reflected in the Genesis Apocryphon and the Epistle of Enoch, written before the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple.

Before our study proceeds to a detailed analysis of the polemics in the Slavonic apocalypse, a brief introduction to the recent research into Noachic traditions is necessary. In recent years a growing number of publications have been devoted to the Noachic traditions.1 Even though the book of Noah is not listed in the ancient catalogues of the apocryphal books,2 writings attributed to Noah are mentioned in such early materials as the Book of Jubilees (Jub 10:133 and Jub 21:104), the Genesis Apocryphon from Qumran, and the Greek fragment of the Levi document from Mount Athos.5 In addition to the titles of the lost book of Noah, several fragmentary materials associated with the early Noachic traditions have survived. Most researchers agree that some parts of the lost book of Noah “have been incorporated into 1 Enoch and Jubilees and that some manuscripts of Qumran6 preserve some traces of it.”7

A large bulk of the surviving Noachic fragments is associated with the Enochic materials. This association points to an apparent unity behind the Enoch-Noah axis. In some pseudepigraphic texts, the words of Noah often follow closely the words of Enoch. Already in the earliest Enochic materials, one can see this link between Noachic and Enochic traditions. Helge Kvanvig points out that in the Noachic traditions Noah and Enoch often appear in the same roles.8

In some Enochic writings, however, this unity of Enoch and Noah appears for some reason to be broken. These writings ignore the Enoch-Noah axis and reveal fierce theological polemics against Noah and the traditions associated with his name. One of the pseudepigraphic texts which attests to such an uncommon critical stand against Noah is the Slavonic apocalypse.9 The study now proceeds to the analysis of these polemical developments.

Noah’s Sacrifices

Genesis 8:20 depicts Noah’s animal sacrifice after his disembarkation. It may be the first account of an animal sacrifice on an altar found in the Bible. Although Abel’s animal offerings are mentioned in Gen 4:4, these sacrifices did not establish any significant sacrificial pattern for future generations.10 Until Noah, the Bible does not attest to any ongoing tradition of animal sacrifices. When Jubilees mentions the offerings of Adam and Enoch, it refers to them as incense sacrifices.11

Noah can thus be regarded as the originator of the official ongoing tradition of animal sacrifices. He is also the first person to have received from the Lord the commandment about blood. As Michael Stone observes, Noah’s connection to the sacrificial cult and to instructions concerning blood was not accidental.12

In 2 Enoch, however, the role of Noah as a pioneer of animal sacrificial practice is challenged by a different story. In this text one learns that immediately after Enoch’s instructions to his sons during his short visit to the earth and his ascension to the highest heaven, the firstborn son of Enoch, Methuselah, and his brothers, the sons of Enoch, constructed an altar at Ahuzan,13 the place from which Enoch had been taken up. In 2 Enoch, Chapter 69, the Lord appeared to Methuselah in a night vision and appointed him the priest before the people. Verses 11-18 of this chapter describe the first animal sacrifice of Methuselah on the altar. The text says that the people brought sheep, oxen, and birds (all of which have been inspected) for Methuselah to sacrifice before the face of the Lord.14 Further, the text gives an elaborate description of the sacrificial ritual during which Methuselah slaughters with a knife, “in the required manner,” sheep and oxen placed at the head of the altar.15 It is apparent that Methuselah’s role in animal sacrificial practice conflicts with the canonical role of Noah as the originator of the animal sacrificial tradition.

The text16 poses an even more intensive challenge to Noah’s unique place in the sacrificial tradition by indicating that before his death Methuselah passes his priestly/sacrificial duties to the younger brother of Noah – the previously unknown Nir. Chapter 70 of 2 Enoch recounts the last days of Methuselah on earth before his death. The Lord appeared to Methuselah in a night vision and commanded him to pass his priesthood duties on to the second son of Lamech, Methuselah’s grandson Nir. The text does not explain why the Lord wanted to pass the priesthood to Nir instead of Noah (Lamech’s17 firstborn son),18 even though Noah is also mentioned in the dream. The text only relates the response of the people to that request: “Let it be so for us, and let the word of the Lord be just as he said to you.” Further, the book mentions that Methuselah invested Nir with the vestments of priesthood before the face of all the people and “made him stand at the head of the altar.”19 He also taught him “everything that he would have to do among the people.”20

The text offers a detailed description of Nir’s sacrifice, during which he commanded people to bring sheep, bulls, turtledoves, and pigeons. People brought them and tied them up at the head of the altar. Then Nir took the sacrificial knife and slaughtered them in front of the face of the Lord.21 The important detail here is that immediately following the sacrifice the text offers a formula in which the Lord is proclaimed to be the God of Nir. This title apparently stresses the patriarchal authority of Nir: “and all people made merry in front of the face of the Lord, and on that day they glorified the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, (the God) of Nir”22 2 Enoch 70:21–22.23

Noah as the Originator of Sacrificial Instruction

The teaching about sacrifices comes from ancient times and is connected with Noah both in Jubilees 21 and in the Levi document (Mount Athos) §57.24 Jubilees 21:10 refers to the sacrificial traditions written “in the words of Enoch and in the words of Noah.”25 The first part of this statement about Enoch as the originator of sacrificial instruction fully agrees with 2 Enoch’s story. The text offers a lengthy account of Enoch’s sacrificial prescriptions to his sons during his short visit to the earth. These instructions have the form of sacrificial halakhot. The halakhic character of these commands is reinforced by the specific Slavonic vocabulary which employs the term  (“law”) in reference to these sacrificial regulations. The text stresses that “he who puts to death any animal without binding it, it is an evil law,26 he acts lawlessly27 with his own soul.” Clearly the passage speaks, not about secular legal prescriptions, but about halakhic precepts. The Slavonic word ,commonly used to denote a binding custom or a rule of conduct in the community, connotes in some instances something much more restricted and technical: it sometimes refers to the Mosaic law and serves as an alternate designation for halakha.28

Enoch’s sacrificial precepts occupy an important place in the narrative of 2 Enoch. Some of these sacrificial rules, however, have an apparent sectarian flavor. In Chapter 59, Enoch offers Methuselah, as well as his brothers – Regim, Ariim, Akhazukhan, Kharimion – and the elders of all the people, some instructions in animal sacrifices. These halakhot include the following guidelines:

1. Enoch commands his sons to use clean beasts in their sacrifices. According to his prescriptions, “he who brings a sacrifice of clean beasts, it is healing, he heals his soul. And he who brings a sacrifice of clean birds, it is healing, he heals his soul.”29

2. Enoch teaches his sons that they should not touch an ox because of the “outflow.”30

3. Enoch’s prescriptions address the issue of atoning sacrifices. He suggests that “a person bring one of the clean animals to make a sacrifice on account of sin, so that he may have healing for his soul.”31 Although the blood is not mentioned in these sacrificial prescriptions of Enoch, the text extensively uses the term “an animal soul.” Enoch commands his sons to be cautious in dealing with animal souls, because those souls will accuse man in the day of judgment.32

4. Enoch also teaches his sons to bind sacrificial animals by four legs:

And everything which you have for food, bind it by four legs33; there is healing, he heals his soul. He who puts to death any animal without binding it, it is an evil custom; he acts lawlessly with his own soul.34

Shlomo Pines draws attention to this unique practice of tying together four legs during animal sacrifices. On the basis of the passage in the Mishna (m. Tamid 4:1) which states that each of the forelegs of the sacrificial animal be tied to the corresponding hind leg, Pines notes that the tying together of all four legs was contrary to the tradition.35 Pines gives one of the two explanations found in the Gemara of the Babli: this disapproval sought to prevent the imitation of the customs of the heretics, minim:36 the authors of Mishnaic sacrificial prescriptions considered the practice of tying together all four legs to have strong sectarian overtones. In his conclusion, Pines suggests that “it may have been an accepted rite of a sect, which repudiated the sacrificial customs prevailing in Jerusalem. It might be conjectured that this sect might have been the Essenes, whose sacrificial usage differed, according to the one reading of the passage of Josephus,37 from those practiced at the Temple.”38

As one can see, 2 Enoch depicts Enoch as the originator of sacrificial instruction. Although some of these instructions are not necessarily canonical, the role of Enoch in the sacrificial tradition fully agrees with Jubilees 21:10a. On the other hand, 2 Enoch is completely silent about Noah’s role in these sacrificial instructions. He is referred to neither as the originator of these instructions nor as their practitioner. While the text speaks several times about the future role of Noah as a procreator of the postdiluvian race, it is silent about his place in the priestly/sacrificial tradition.39 One might expect that Noah, then, will have an opportunity to do his part after the Flood, but the text leaves out any significant role for Noah in the postdiluvian priestly/sacrificial tradition. The duty of the priestly successor is given to Nir’s son Melchisedek, who “will be the head of the priests” in the postdiluvian generation.40 Noah’s role is less prominent. According to the Slavonic Enoch, he “will be preserved in that generation for procreation.”41

Noah and Divine Revelations

In the Bible and the pseudepigrapha, Noah is portrayed as a recipient of divine revelations, given to him both before and after the Flood. In Genesis 6:13–21 and Genesis 7:1–5, God speaks to Noah about the Deluge and the construction of the ark. The evidence for the direct communication between God and Noah is further supported by 1 Enoch 67, Jubilees 5, and the Genesis Apocryphon 6–7. According to the pseudepigrapha, Noah also enjoys various angelic revelations. In 1 Enoch 10:1–3, the angel Asuryal warns Noah about the upcoming destruction of the earth. Jub 10:1–14 records the angelic revelation to Noah about evil spirits and healing herbs which he wrote in a book and gave to Shem, his oldest son.42 Scholars also believe that in 1 Enoch 60 it is Noah who was described as a visionary.43 These traditions depict Noah as the chosen vessel of divine revelation who alone found favor in the sight of the Lord in the antediluvian turmoil.44

These details and emphasis on the direct communication between the Lord and Noah are challenged by the information about Noah found in 2 Enoch. As has been shown earlier, in the Slavonic Enoch Noah keeps a low profile. Although Noah is the firstborn of Lamech, he is portrayed as a family man, a helper to his prominent younger brother Nir, who assists him during the troubles with Sothonim and Melchisedek. While Nir is a priest surrounded by crowds of people, Noah is a timid relative whose activities are confined to the circle of his family. After Melchisedek’s situation was settled, Noah quietly “went away to his own place.”45

In contrast to this modest role of Noah, Methuselah and Nir are portrayed as priests of the Lord who have dreams/visions in which the Lord gives them important instructions about priestly successions and future events. These portrayals sharply contrast with the absence of any indication of direct revelations of the Lord to Noah.46 One therefore learns about the Flood and Noah’s role in it from Methuselah and Nir’s dreams.47

In 2 Enoch 70, the Lord appears to Methuselah in a night vision. The Lord tells him that the earth will perish, but Noah, the firstborn son of his son Lamech, will be preserved in order that “another world rise up from his seed.”48 The account of the Lord’s revelation to Methuselah about the Flood and Noah in 2 Enoch 70:4–10 might belong to the original Noachic tradition. It shows some similarities with the account of Enoch’s revelation to Methuselah in 1 Enoch 106:15–19.

A symmetrical parallel to Methuselah’s dream in 2 Enoch 70:4–10 is Nir’s night vision in 71:27–30. In this short dream, which also describes in almost identical terms the future destruction of the earth, one important detail is missing.49 Noah is absent from this revelation,50 and his place is now occupied by Melchisedek, who according to the will of the Lord will not perish during the Flood but will be the head of the priests in the future.51 This revision, which substitutes one survivor of the Flood for another, fits perfectly into the pattern of Noachic polemics reflected elsewhere in the text. The important role of Noah as the bridge between the antediluvian and postdiluvian worlds is thus openly challenged in the Slavonic apocalypse.

Noah as the Bridge over the Flood

Michael Stone stresses that “the sudden clustering of works around Noah indicates that he was seen as a pivotal figure in the history of humanity, as both an end and a beginning.”52 He also points out that the writings from Qumran, which ascribe the priestly teaching to Noah, underline Noah’s role as the bridge between the ante- and postdiluvian worlds.53 In the pseudepigrapha, Noah carries the priestly tradition through the Flood. Jubilees portrays Noah and his sons as priests. Targumic and rabbinic traditions also attest to the priestly functions of Noah’s family. The canonical emphasis on the role of Noah in sacrificial practice has been mentioned earlier.

In 2 Enoch, however, the function of Noah as a vessel of the priestly tradition beyond the Flood54 is seriously undermined by Melchisedek – the child predestined to survive the Flood in order to become the priest to all priests in the postdiluvian generation. This story is repeated in the text several times during the Lord’s revelations to Nir and to the archangel Gabriel.55

In Chapter 71 the Lord appears to Nir in a night vision. He tells Nir that the child Melchisedek will be placed by the archangel in the paradise of Eden, where he can survive the destruction of the earth in order to become the priest to all priests after the Flood.56 Further, in Chapter 72 the Lord commands his archangel Gabriel to take Melchisedek and place him in paradise for preservation, so that he becomes “the head of the priests” in the postdiluvian generation.57

In the midst of this Noachic polemic, Noah himself recognizes the future priesthood of Melchisedek and surrenders his own and his descendents’ priestly right to this child. From 71:20–21 one learns that when Noah saw the child Melchisedek with the badge of priesthood on his chest, he said to Nir: “Behold, God is renewing the continuation of the blood of the priesthood after us.”58

The Birth of Noah

It has been shown that in the course of the Noachic polemics, the elements of Noah’s story are transformed and his traditional roles are given to other characters. It is therefore no surprise to see that some details of Noah’s birth are transferred in 2 Enoch to a new hero – the future postdiluvian priest, Melchisedek.

The birth of Noah occupies an important place in Noachic traditions. In 1 Enoch 106–107 and in the Genesis Apocryphon 2–5 Noah is portrayed as a wonder-child.59 1 Enoch depicts him with a glorious face and eyes like the rays of the sun. He was born fully developed; as he was taken away from the hand of the midwife, he spoke to the Lord.60 These extraordinary qualities of the wonder-child lead his father Lamech to suspect the angelic origin of Noah’s birth.

In the context of the Noachic polemics of 2 Enoch, this prominent part of Noah’s biography finds a new niche. Here again one has the polemical rewriting of the Noachic narrative – the peculiar details of Noah’s story are transferred to another character, Melchisedek.

Scholars have previously noted that Melchisedek’s birth in 2 Enoch bears certain parallels with the birth of Noah in 1 Enoch and in the Genesis Apocryphon.61 The Melchisedek narrative occupies the last chapters of 2 Enoch. It should be noted that initially this part of the apocalypse was considered to be an interpolation in the text of 2 Enoch. The earlier publications of Charles, Morfill, and Bonwetsch62 argued that 2 Enoch 69-73 was a kind of appendix and did not belong to the main body of the text. Since then this view has been corrected, and these chapters are now considered as an integral part of the text.63

The content of the Melchisedek account is connected with the family of Nir. Sothonim, the wife of Nir, gave birth to a miraculous child “in her old age,” right “on the day of her death.” She conceived the child, “being sterile” and “without having slept with her husband.” The text relates that Nir the priest had not slept with her from the day that the Lord had appointed him before the face of the people. Therefore, Sothonim hid herself during all the days of her pregnancy. On the day she was to give birth, Nir remembered his wife and called her to himself in the temple. She came to him, and he saw that she was pregnant. Nir, filled with shame, wanted to cast her away from him, but she died at his feet. Melchisedek was born from Sothonim’s corpse. When Nir and Noah came in to bury Sothonim, they saw the child sitting beside the corpse with “his clothing on him.” According to the story, they were terrified because the child, marked by the sign of priesthood, was fully developed physically. The child spoke and blessed the Lord. The story mentions that the badge of priesthood was on his chest, glorious in appearance. Nir and Noah dressed the child in the garments of priesthood and fed him holy bread. They decided to hide him, fearing that the people would have him put to death. Finally, the Lord commanded His archangel Gabriel to take the child and place him in the paradise of Eden, so that he might become the high priest after the Flood. The final passages of the short recension describe the ascent of Melchisedek on the wings of Gabriel to the paradise of Eden.

The details of Noah’s birth correspond at several points with the Melchisedek story:

1. Both Noah and Melchisedek belong to the circle of Enoch’s family.

2. Both characters are attested as survivors of the Flood.

3. Both characters have an important mission in the postdiluvian era.

4. Both characters are portrayed as glorious wonder-children.

5. Both characters are depicted as ones born by autogenesis, i.e. fully developed physically at birth.64

6. Immediately after their birth, both characters speak to the Lord. According to 1 Enoch 106:3, “when he (Noah) arose from the hands of the midwife, he opened his mouth and spoke to the Lord with righteousness.” In 2 Enoch 71:19 we read that “he [Melchisedek] spoke with his lips, and he blessed the Lord.”65

7. Both characters are suspected of being of divine/angelic lineage.

M. Delcor notes that Lamech’s affirmation in the beginning of the Genesis Apocryphon, “Behold, then I thought in my heart that the conception was the work of the Watchers and the pregnancy of the Holy Ones.…” can be compared with the words of Noah in 2 Enoch uttered at the time of the examination of Melchisedek: “This is of the Lord, my brother.”66

8. Their fathers were suspicious of the conception of their sons and the faithfulness of their wives.67 In 1 Enoch 106 and the Genesis Apocryphon, Lamech is worried and frightened about the birth of Noah, his son. Lamech suspects that his wife Bathenosh has been unfaithful to him and that “the conception was (the work) of the Watchers and the pregnancy of the Holy Ones, and it belonged to the Nephil[in].”68 The motif of Lamech’s suspicion about the unfaithfulness of Bathenosh69 found in 1 Enoch and the Genesis Apocryphon seems to correspond to Nir’s worry about the unfaithfulness of Sothonim: “And Nir saw her, and he became very ashamed about her. And he said to her, ‘What is this that you have done, O wife? And why have you disgraced me in front of the face of all people? And now, depart from me, go where you conceived the disgrace of your womb.’”70

9. Their mothers were ashamed and tried to defend themselves against the accusation of their husbands. In the Genesis Apocryphon, the wife of Lamech responds to the angry questions of her husband by reminding him of their intimacies: “Oh my brother and lord! remember my sexual pleasure… […] in the heat of intercourse, and the gasping of my breath in my breast.”71 She swears that the seed was indeed of Lamech: “I swear to you by the Great Holy One, by the King of the hea[vens…]…[…] that this seed comes from you, […] and not from any foreigner nor from any of the watchers or sons of heav[en].”72 In 2 Enoch Sothonim does not explain the circumstances of the conception. She answers Nir: “O my lord! Behold, it is the time of my old age, and there was not in me any (ardor of) youth and I do not know how the indecency of my womb has been conceived.”73

10. Their fathers were eventually comforted by the special revelation about the prominent future role of their sons in the postdiluvian era. It is noteworthy that this information is given in both cases in the context of the revelation about the destruction of the earth by the Flood. In 1 Enoch 106:16–18 we read: “And this son who has been born unto you shall be left upon the earth, and his three sons shall be saved when they who are upon the earth are dead.”74 In 2 Enoch 71:29–30 the father is told: “And this child will not perish along with those who are perishing in this generation, as I have revealed it, so that Melchisedek will be … the head of the priests of the future.”75

One cannot fail to note a host of interesting resemblances between the birth of Noah in the pseudepigrapha and the birth of Melchisedek in 2 Enoch. The author of 2 Enoch wants to diminish the extraordinary nature of Noah’s person and transfer these qualities to Melchisedek. The text therefore can be seen as a set of polemical improvisations on the original Noachic themes.

Noah’s Son

Shem b. Noah plays a prominent role in Noachic traditions. According to Jubilees, Shem is Noah’s choice in the transmission of his teaching. From Jub 10:13–14 one learns that “Noah wrote down in a book everything … and he gave all the books that he had written to his oldest son Shem because he loved him much more than all his sons.” 76 Because of his unique role in the Noachic tradition, Shem b. Noah is also one of the targets of the Noachic polemics of 2 Enoch. This debate takes place in the last chapters of the book, which are connected with the Melchisedek legend.

The previous exposition shows that the Melchisedek story is closely connected with Nir’s family. Even though Nir is not the biological father of Melchisedek, he later adopts him as his son. In 2 Enoch, Chapter 71, Nir says to the Lord: “For I have no descendants, so let this child take the place of my descendants and become as my own son, and you will count him in the number of your servants.”77 In this instance of Nir’s adoption of Melchisedek, one has again an anti-Noachic motif.

In targumic and rabbinic literature Melchisedek is often identified with the oldest son of Noah, Shem. The identification of Melchisedek and Shem can be found in Tg. Ps.-J., Frg. Tg., Tg. Neof., Gen. Rab. 43.1; 44.7, Avot R. Nat. 2, PRE 7; 27, and b. Ned. 32b. The purpose of the passages from the Targumim and rabbinic literature is the building up of the priestly antecedents of Melchisedek (Shem) in the context of the transmission of this priestly line to Abraham.78 In these texts Melchisedek takes on Shem’s role, representing an important link in the passing of the Noachic priestly/sacrificial tradition to Abraham. This prominent motif of the succession of the Noachic priestly/sacrificial tradition by the tradition of Abraham and his descendants, including Isaac and Levi, can be found already in Jubilees 21 and in the Levi document from Athos. This targumic and rabbinic connection between Melchisedek and Shem helps to clarify the polemical intention of 2 Enoch’s authors, whose purpose is to strip Noah of his parenthood of the future scion of the priestly succession. Nir, the previously unknown young brother of Noah, plays an important theological role in this polemical deliberation. The replacement of Noah’s fatherhood with Nir’s fatherhood thus represents one more facet of the complicated Noachic polemics in 2 Enoch.

Purpose of the Polemics

2 Enoch evinces a systematic tendency to diminish or refocus the priestly significance of the figure of Noah. These revisions take place in the midst of the debates about sacrificial practice and priestly succession. But what is the role of this denigration of the hero of the Flood and the traditions associated with his name in the larger framework of the mediatorial polemical interactions found in the Slavonic apocalypse?

Previous sections of this study have been able to trace the devaluation of the figures of Adam and Moses, the two major rivals of the seventh antediluvian patriarch. These polemical moves are consistent with the ambiguous attitude towards these characters in the earliest Enochic materials. But why do the authors of the Slavonic apocalypse attempt to diminish the significance of Noah, who was traditionally considered as the main ally of the seventh antediluvian patriarch and, as a result, occupied a prominent place among the main heroes of the Enochic lore starting from the earliest Enochic booklets?

The important feature of the removal of Noah’s priestly and sacrificial roles in 2 Enoch is that, although the significance of the hero of the Flood is almost completely sacerdotally denigrated, it does not affect or destroy the value or meaning of the alternative priestly tradition which he was faithfully representing for such a long time. The legacy of this priestly-sacrificial office is still strictly maintained within the Enochic family since Noah’s priestly garments are not lost or destroyed but instead are skillfully transferred to other kinsmen of the Enochic clan, including its traditional member Methuselah and two other, newly-acquired relatives, Nir and Melchisedek.

This shows that the impetus for the denigration of Noah, this important character of the Enochic-Noachic axis, does not come from opponents to the Enochic tradition, but rather originates within this lore. It represents a domestic conflict that attempts to downgrade and devalue the former paladin who has become so notable that his exalted status in the context of mediatorial interactions now poses an imminent threat to the main hero of the Enochic tradition. It is noteworthy that in the course of the aforementioned polemical transferences, the priestly profile of Enoch and the sacerdotal status of some members of his immediate family become much stronger. His son Methuselah, the first-born and heir of his father’s teaching, has now acquired the roles of high priest and pioneer of animal sacrificial practice by constructing an altar on the high place associated with the Jerusalem Temple. Further, it should not be forgotten that the priest Nir is also a member of Enoch’s family, so the future priest Melchisedek, who despite the fact of his bizarre fatherless birth, is nevertheless safely brought into the circle of Enoch’s family through his adoption by Nir. The priestly succession from Enoch and Methuselah to Shem-Melchisedek, an important carrier of sacrificial precepts, thus occurs without the help of Noah. Moreover this enigmatic heir of Enoch’s priestly tradition is then able to survive the Deluge not in the ark of the hero of the Flood, but through translation, like Enoch, to heaven.

Enoch also seems to have benefited from Noah’s removal from priestly and sacrificial duties since this has made him the only remaining authority in sacrificial instruction, an office that he previously shared with Noah. This fact might have encouraged him to openly deliver a series of sacrificial halakhot to his children that he never did previously in the Enochic materials.

It is also significant that, although the priestly profile of Noah is removed in the text and his elevated qualities are transferred to other characters, he still remains a faithful member of the Enochic clan. Although he ceases to be an extraordinary figure and peacefully surrenders his prominent offices to his relatives, he still manages to perfectly fit in the family surroundings by virtue of his newly-acquired role of an average person and a family helper in the new plot offered by 2 Enoch’s authors. This depiction of Noah as an ordinary person provides an important key for understanding the main objective of Noachic polemics in the Slavonic apocalypse as an argument against the exalted profile of the hero of the Flood posing as a mediatorial rival of Enoch.

The changing attitude toward Noah as a potential threat to Enoch’s exalted role, might already be detected in the late Second Temple Enochic developments. A tradition preserved in the Ethiopic text of the Animal Apocalypse portrays Noah with imagery identical to that used in the portrayal of Moses in the Aramaic and Ethiopic versions of the text, that is, as an animal transformed into a human; in the zoomorphic code of the book this metamorphosis signifies the transformation into an angelomorphic creature. The Aramaic fragments of 1 Enoch do not attest to the tradition of Noah’s elevation, which suggests that this tradition was a later Second Temple development. It might indicate that in the later Second Temple Enochic lore, about the time when 2 Enoch was written, Noah was understood as an angelomorphic creature similar to Moses, thus posing a potential threat to the elevated profile of the seventh antediluvian hero.

Debates about the Date

The foregoing analysis of Noachic polemics in the Slavonic apocalypse witnesses to the complex process of interaction between the various mediatorial streams competing for the primacy of their heroes. Yet these conceptual engagements allow us not only to clarify the question of the enhancement of Enoch’s elevated profile but also to determine a possible date for the text.

The question of the date of the Slavonic apocalypse is an important issue for the present discussion about the origins of early Jewish mysticism in general and the Metatron tradition in particular, since the whole argument of this study is built on the presupposition that 2 Enoch was written during the Second Temple period, that is, long before the subsequent rabbinic and Hekhalot developments of the Metatron lore took place.

Students of early Jewish mystical traditions have previously raised concerns about the date of the Slavonic apocalypse, pointing to the fact that the text does not seem to supply definitive evidence for placing it within precise chronological boundaries. James Davila voices this concern in relation to the dating of the Jewish mystical traditions found in the Slavonic apocalypse. He remarks that despite the fact that there is an apparently close relationship between 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch

the exact nature of that relationship, especially which complex of traditions is stratigraphically earlier, remains to be established. Although many commentators take for granted a date as early as the first century C.E. for 2 Enoch, the fact remains that it survives only in Medieval manuscripts in Slavonic and that exegesis of it needs to commence at that point and proceed backwards to a putative (and to my mind, highly debatable) first-century Jewish original only on the basis of rigorous argument.79

The previous analysis in this study has shed some light on the problem of the mutual relationship between 2 Enoch and Sefer Hekhalot and has helped to demonstrate that the mystical traditions attested in the Slavonic text are comparatively rudimentary in nature and therefore “stratigraphically earlier” than those found in 3 Enoch. In many instances they represent incipient sketches of the roles and offices of the angelic hero that were later advanced in the Hekhalot lore about Enoch-Metatron. In this situation the important question still remains whether these early mystical developments are really found in the Second Temple text, or whether this text is merely the Greek and Slavonic translation of the later Hekhalot work.80 In view of the previous analysis that has firmly established that Jewish mystical traditions permeate the fabric of the text and belong to the original core of 2 Enoch, the question of the chronological boundaries of these mystical developments appears now to be identical with the query about the date of the pseudepigraphon itself. 81

It should be noted that the scholarly attitude towards the Slavonic apocalypse as evidence of Second Temple Jewish developments remains somewhat ambiguous in view of the uncertainty of the text’s date. Although students of the apocalypse working closely with the text insist on the early date of the Jewish pseudepigraphon, a broader scholarly community has been somehow reluctant to embrace fully and unconditionally 2 Enoch as a Second Temple Jewish text.82 Such an attitude is especially noticeable in the field of early Jewish mysticism, where unambiguous acceptance would necessarily lead to the reevaluation of the origins and the development of the Jewish mystical lore. Scholars might find such ambiguity pertaining to the date of the Slavonic apocalypse convenient, since it allows them to bypass in their scholarship this major evidence for early Jewish esoteric traditions. In scholarly debates about the Second Temple pseudepigrapha, one can often find references to Francis Andersen’s remark that “in every respect 2 Enoch remains an enigma. So long as the date and location remain unknown, no use can be made of it for historical purposes.”83

The uncritical use of this brief statement about 2 Enoch as an enigma “in every respect” unfortunately tends to oversimplify the scholarly situation and diminish the value of the long and complex history of efforts to clarify the provenance and date the text.84 The following brief excursus into the history of arguments against the early date of the text demonstrates the extreme rarity of critical attempts and their very limited power of persuasion.

1. In 1896, in his introduction to the English translation of 2 Enoch, R. H. Charles assigned “with reasonable certainty” the composition of the text to the period between 1–50 C.E.,85 before the destruction of the Temple; this view, however, did not remain unchallenged.86 In 1918 the British astronomer A. S. D. Maunder launched an attack against the early dating of the pseudepigraphon, arguing that the Slavonic Enoch does not represent an early Jewish text written in the first century C.E., but instead is “a specimen of Bogomil propaganda,” composed in the Slavonic language in “the ‘Middle Bulgarian’ period – i.e., between the 12th and 15th centuries.”87 In the attempt to justify her claim, Maunder appealed to the theological content of the book, specifically to its alleged Bogomil features, such as the dualism of good and evil powers. She found that such dualistic ideas were consistent with the sectarian teaching that “God had two sons, Satanail and Michael.”88 Maunder’s study was not limited solely to the analysis of the theological features of the text but also included a summary of the astronomical and calendarical observations which attempted to prove a late date for the text. Her argument against the early dating of the pseudepigraphon was later supported by J. K. Fotheringham, who offered a less radical hypothesis dating 2 Enoch not earlier than the middle of the seventh century C.E.89

Scholars have noted that Maunder’s argumentation tends to underestimate the theological and literary complexities of the Slavonic Enoch. The remark was made that, after reading Maunder’s article, one can be “astonished at the weakness of this argument and at the irrelevant matters adduced in support of it.”90 Charles responded to the criticism of Maunder and Fortheringam in his article published in 1921 in the Journal of Theological Studies, in which he pointed out, among other things, that “the Slavonic Enoch, which ascribes the entire creation to God and quotes the Law as divine, could not have emanated from the Bogomils.”91

2. Another attempt to question the scholarly consensus about the early date of 2 Enoch was made by Józef Milik in the introduction to his 1976 edition of the Qumran fragments of the Enochic books.92 In the introductory section devoted to the Slavonic Enoch, Milik proposed that the apocalypse was composed between the ninth and tenth centuries C.E. by a Byzantine Christian monk who knew the Enochic Pentateuch “in the form with which we are familiar through the Ethiopic version.”93 In order to support his hypothesis of a late date Milik draws attention to several lexical features of the text. One of them is the Slavonic word 94 found in 2 Enoch 22:11 which Milik has traced to the Greek term surmaio&grafoj,95 a derivative of the verb surmaiografei~n, translated as “to write in minuscule, hence quickly.”96 He argues that this verb appears to be a neologism which is not attested in any Greek text before the beginning of the ninth century. In addition in his analysis of the lexical features of the apocalypse, Milik directed attention to the angelic names of Arioch and Marioch found in 2 Enoch 33, arguing that they represent the equivalents of the Harut and Marut of the Muslim legends attested in the Qur’an.97

John Collins, among others, has offered criticism of Milik’s lexical arguments, noting that even if the Slavonic text uses the Greek word surmaio&grafoj, “a single word in the translation is not an adequate basis for dating the whole work.”98 He has also pointed out that “the alleged correspondence of the angels Arioch and Marioch to Harut and Marut of Muslim legend is indecisive, since the origin of these figures has not been established.”99

Milik’s arguments were not confined only to the lexical features of the apocalypse. He also argued that the priestly succession from Methuselah to Noah’s nephew Melchisedek described in the third part of 2 Enoch reflects “the transmission of monastic vocations from uncle to nephew, the very widespread custom in the Greek Church during the Byzantine and medieval periods.”100 This feature in his opinion also points to the late Byzantine date of the pseudepigraphon. Unfortunately Milik was unaware of the polemical nature of the priestly successions detailed in the Slavonic Enoch and did not understand the actual role of Nir and Melchisedek in the polemical exposition of the story.

It should be noted that Milik’s insistence on the Byzantine Christian provenance of the Slavonic apocalypse was partially inspired by the earlier research of the French Slavist André Vaillant who argued for the Christian authorship of the text.101 Vaillant’s position too generated substantial critical response since the vast majority of readers of 2 Enoch had been arguing for the Jewish provenance of the original core of the text.102

The foregoing analysis of the arguments against the early dating of the pseudepigraphon demonstrates how scanty and unsubstantiated they were in the sea of the overwhelming positive consensus. It also shows that none of these hypotheses has been able to stand up to criticism and to form a rationale that would constitute a viable counterpart to the scholarly opinion supporting the early date. Still, one should recognize that, while the adoption of an early date for the text itself does not face great challenges, placing the text within the precise boundaries of Second Temple Judaism is a much more difficult task.

In proceeding to this task one must first understand what features of the text point to the early date of the text in the chronological framework of Second Temple Judaism. It is noteworthy that the vast majority of scholarly efforts have been in this respect directed towards finding possible hints that might somehow indicate that the Temple was still standing when the original text was composed.103 Thus, scholars have previously noted that the text does not seem to hint that the catastrophe of the destruction of the Temple has already occurred at the time of its composition. Critical readers of the pseudepigraphon would have some difficulties finding any explicit expression of feelings of sadness or mourning about the loss of the sanctuary.

The affirmations of the value of the animal sacrificial practices and Enoch’s halakhic instructions also appear to be fashioned not in the “preservationist,” mishnaic-like mode of expression, but rather as if they reflected sacrificial practices that still existed when the author was writing his book.104 There is also an intensive and consistent effort on the part of the author to legitimize the central place of worship, which through the reference to the place Ahuzan (a cryptic name for the temple mountain in Jerusalem), is transparently connected in 2 Enoch with the Jerusalem Temple.105 Scholars have also previously noted that there are some indications in the text of the ongoing practice of pilgrimage to the central place of worship; these indications could be expected in a text written in the Alexandrian Diaspora.106 Thus, in his instructions to the children, Enoch repeatedly encourages them to bring the gifts before the face of God for the remission of sins, a practice which appears to recall well-known sacrificial customs widespread in the Second Temple period.107 Moreover, the Slavonic apocalypse also contains a direct command to visit the Temple three times a day, advice that would be difficult to fulfill if the sanctuary has already been destroyed.108

One can see that the crucial arguments for the early dating of the text are all linked to the themes of the Sanctuary and its ongoing practices and customs. These discussions are not new; even Charles employed the references to the Temple practices found in the Slavonic apocalypse as main proofs for his hypothesis of the early date of the apocalypse. Since Charles’ pioneering research these arguments have been routinely reiterated by scholars.

Recently, however, Christfried Böttrich attempted to broaden the familiar range of argumentation by bringing to scholarly attention a description of the joyful celebration which in his opinion may fix the date of the apocalypse within the boundaries of the Second Temple period. In the introduction to his German translation of 2 Enoch published in 1995, Böttrich draws attention to a tradition found in Chapter 69 of the Slavonic apocalypse, which deals with the joyful festival marking Methuselah’s priestly appointment and his animal sacrifices.109 According to Böttrich’s calculations, this cult-establishing event falls on the 17th of Tammuz, which in his opinion is identified in 2 Enoch as the day of the summer solstice.110 Böttrich links this solar event with the imagery found in 2 Enoch 69, where Methuselah’s face becomes radiant in front of the altar “like the sun at midday rising up.” He then reminds us that, since the second century C.E., the 17th of Tammuz was observed as a day of mourning and fasting because it was regarded as the day when Titus conquered Jerusalem.111 Böttrich suggests that the description of the joyful festival in 2 Enoch 69, which does not show any signs of sadness or mourning, indicates that the account and consequently the whole book were written before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.112

Böttrich’s observations are of interest, but his understanding of Chapter 69 and especially of the motif of the radiant face of Methuselah, pivotal for his argument, is problematic in light of the polemical developments detected in the Slavonic apocalypse. Böttrich is unaware of the Noachic polemics witnessed to by the Slavonic apocalypse and does not notice that the description of Methuselah as the originator of the animal sacrificial cult in 2 Enoch 69 represents the polemical counterpart to Noah’s role, who is portrayed in the Bible and the pseudepigrapha as the pioneer of animal sacrificial practice.113 Methuselah, who has never been previously attested in Second Temple materials as the originator of sacrificial cult, thus openly supplants Noah, whose prominent role and elevated status the authors of the Slavonic apocalypse want to diminish. It has already been shown that in the course of the Noachic polemics, many exalted features of the hero of the Flood have been transferred to other characters of the book. One of these transferences includes the motif of the luminous face of Noah, the feature which the hero of the Flood acquired at his birth.

As one might recall, the early Enochic materials portray Noah as a wonder-child. 1 Enoch 106,114 the Genesis Apocryphon,115 and possibly 1Q19116 depict him with a glorious face and eyes “like the rays of the sun.” 1 Enoch 106:2 relates that when the new-born Noah opened his eyes, the whole house lit up. The child then opened his mouth and blessed the Lord of heaven. Scholars have previously noted117 that the scene of the glorious visage of the young hero of the Flood delivering blessings upon his rising up from the hands of the midwife has a sacerdotal significance and parallels the glorious appearance and actions of the high priest.118 It manifests the portentous beginning of the priestly-Noah tradition.119 The priestly features of Noah’s natal account are important for discerning the proper meaning of the symbolism of Methuselah’s luminous visage in 2 Enoch 69.

In his analysis of the account, Böttrich recognizes that the description of Methuselah’s radiant face alludes to the picture of the high priest Simon attested in Sirach 50:1–24. Still, Böttrich is unable to discern the Noachic meaning of this allusion. Meanwhile Fletcher-Louis clearly sees this Noachic link, demonstrating that Methuselah’s radiant face in 2 Enoch 69 is linked not only to Sirach 50:5–11 but also to 1 Enoch 106:2120 and 1Q19.121 Sirach’s description of the high priest Simon serves here as an intermediate link that elucidates the connection between Noah and Methuselah. All three characters are sharing the identical priestly imagery. Fletcher-Louis notes strong parallelism between Simon’s description and the priestly features of the story of Noah. He observes that

this description of Simon the high priest comes at the climax of a lengthy hymn in praise of Israel’s heroes which had begun some six chapters earlier with (Enoch and) Noah (44:16–17), characters whose identity and purpose in salvation-history the high priest gathers up in his cultic office. Obviously, at the literal level Noah’s birth in 1 Enoch 106:2 takes place in the private house of his parents. However, I suggest the reader is meant to hear a deeper symbolic reference in that house to the house (cf. Sirach 50:1), the Temple, which Simon the high priest illuminates and glorifies. Just as Simon appears from behind the veil which marks the transition from heaven to earth and brings a numinous radiance to the realm of creation at worship, so Noah breaks forth from his mother’s waters to illuminate the house of his birth.122

It has been mentioned that Böttrich points to the possible connection of the radiance of Methuselah’s face to solar symbolism. Nevertheless, he fails to discern the proper meaning of such a connection, unable to recognize the Noachic background of the imagery. It is not coincidental that in the Noachic accounts the facial features of the hero of the Flood are linked to solar imagery. Fletcher-Louis notes the prominence of the solar symbolism in the description of Noah’s countenance; his eyes are compared with “the rays of the sun.” He suggests that “the solar imagery might ultimately derive from the Mesopotamian primeval history where the antediluvian hero is closely identified with the sun.”123 Yet, in the Second Temple period such solar imagery has taken on distinctively priestly associations.124

In the light of the aforementioned traditions, it is clear that Methuselah, who in 2 Enoch 69 inherits Noah’s priestly office is also assuming there the features of his appearance as a high priest, one of which is the radiant visage associated with solar symbolism. The radiant face of Methuselah in 2 Enoch 69 thus represents a significant element of the polemics against the priestly Noachic tradition and its main character, whose facial features were often compared to the radiance of the sun.

Noachic Polemics and the Date of the Text

The analysis of the Noachic background of the priestly and sacrificial practices in 2 Enoch leads us to the important question about the role of Noachic polemical developments in discerning the early date of the apocalypse. It is possible that the Noachic priestly polemics reflected in 2 Enoch represent the most important and reliable testimony that the text was composed at a time when the Second Temple was still standing.

The central evidence here is the priestly features of the miraculous birth of the hero. It has been already demonstrated that the main concern of the story of the wondrous birth was sacerdotal; the story is permeated with imagery portraying the newborn as the high priest par exellence. It also has been shown that the anti-Noachic priestly tradition reflected in 2 Enoch is not separate from the Enochic-Noachic axis but belongs to the same set of conceptual developments reflected in such Second Temple Enochic and Noachic materials as 1 Enoch 106, the Genesis Apocryphon, and 1Q19.125 The traditions prevalent in these accounts were reworked by the Enochic author(s) of the Slavonic apocalypse in response to the new challenging circumstances of the mediatorial polemics. The priestly features of 2 Enoch’s account of the wondrous birth might thus point to the fact that this narrative and, as a consequence, the whole macroform to which it belongs was written in the Second Temple period. It should be emphasized again that the distinct chronological marker here is not the story of the wonder-child itself, which was often imitated in later Jewish materials, but the priestly features of the story that are missing in these later improvisations.

The analysis of the later pseudepigraphic and rabbinic imitations of the account of Noah’s birth shows that the priestly dimension of the story never transcended the boundaries of the Enochic-Noachic lore, nor did it cross the chronological boundary of 70 C.E. since it remained relevant only within the sacerdotal context of the Second Temple Enochic-Noachic materials. Although some later Jewish authors were familiar with the account of Noah’s birth, this story never again became the subject of priestly polemics once the dust of the destroyed Temple settled.

Several examples can illustrate this situation. In search of the later variants of the story of the wonder child Fletcher-Louis draws attention to the account of Cain’s birth in the primary Adam books.126 Thus, the Latin Life of Adam and Eve 21:3 relates that Eve “brought forth a son who shone brilliantly (lucidus). At once the infant stood up and ran out and brought some grass with his own hands and gave it to his mother. His name was called Cain.”127 Fletcher-Louis points out that this narrative of the wonder-child recalls the story of Noah. Yet he notes that “all the features which in the birth of Noah signal the child’s priestly identity – solar imagery, birth in a house and child’s blessing of God are markedly absent in the Adamic story.”128 Such absence of the significant features can be an indication that the final form of the text was composed outside the chronological boundaries of Second Temple Judaism and therefore, unlike 2 Enoch, displays no interest in the sacerdotal dimension of the story. Although the authors of the Latin LAE might have been familiar with the narrative of Noah’s birth, the priestly concerns associated with the story were no longer relevant to them.

The same absence of sacerdotal concern is also observable in the rabbinic stories of Moses’ birth reflected in b. Sotah 12a,129 Exod. R. 1:20,130 Deut. R. 11:10,131 PRE 48,132 and the Zohar II.11b,133 whose authors were possibly cognizant of the Noachic natal account.

Reflecting on this evidence Fletcher-Louis notices that, although the authors of the rabbinic accounts of Moses’ birth appear to be familiar with Noah’s narrative, these materials do not show any interest in the sacerdotal dimension of the original story. Buried in the ashes of the destroyed Sanctuary, the alternative portrayal of the Noachic priestly tradition was neither offensive nor challenging for the heirs of the Pharisaic tradition. Fletcher-Louis observes that, although Moses, like Noah, is able to speak from his birth and the house of his birth becomes flooded with light, “the differences of the specifically priestly form of that older tradition can be clearly seen.”134 He points out that while Moses is able to speak as soon as he is born, he does not bless God, as do Noah and Melchisedek.135 The same paradigm shift is detected in the light symbolism. While in the rabbinic stories the whole house becomes flooded with light, the Mosaic birth texts do not specifically say that Moses is himself the source of light.136 These differences indicate that, unlike in 2 Enoch, where the priestly concerns of the editors come to the fore, in the rabbinic accounts they have completely evaporated.137 Fletcher-Louis notices that “the fact that in the Mosaic stories the child is circumcised at birth indicates his role as an idealized representative of every Israelite: where Noah bears the marks of the priesthood, Moses carries the principal identity marker of every member of Israel, irrespective of any distinction between laity and priesthood.”138

The marked absence of sacerdotal concerns in the later imitations of the story may explain why, although the rabbinic authors knew of the priestly affiliations of the hero of the Flood, the story of his priestly birth never appeared in the debates about the priestly successions. This fact convincingly demonstrates that the Noachic priestly tradition reflected in 2 Enoch can be firmly placed inside the chronological boundaries of the Second Temple period, which allows us to safely assume a date of the Melchisedek story and the entire apocalypse before 70 C.E.


This exegetical and historical study of the Enochic and Metatron traditions was formally divided into two parts. The first part analyzed the evolution of the celestial roles and titles of the seventh antediluvian hero in the Mesopotamian, early Enochic, Hekhalot, and rabbinic materials. The study demonstrated that the imagery of the roles and titles of Enoch-Metatron found in 2 Enoch constitutes an intermediary stage between early Enochic and Merkabah traditions and stands in many respects on the very edges of the important transition from one conceptual world to the other. The study showed that the evolution of the roles and titles of the exalted hero in the Slavonic apocalypse involves two distinct processes: first, the emergence of the new roles and titles prominent in the later Hekhalot and rabbinic lore, including Metatron’s offices of the Youth, the Prince of the Presence, the Prince of the World, God’s Vice-Regent, and the Measurer of God; and second, the advancement of the traditional roles of the seventh antediluvian hero, such as scribe, priest, diviner, and mediator toward their later Merkabah forms. The evolution of the imagery of the celestial roles and titles demonstrates that 2 Enoch represents a significant bridge between the early pseudepigraphic mystical evidence and the later rabbinic and Hekhalot testimonies.

The second part of the study explored polemical developments in the Slavonic apocalypse. The analysis demonstrated that the polemics with the traditions of the exalted patriarchs and prophets played an important role in facilitating the transition from Enoch to Metatron in 2 Enoch. The study showed that the Metatron tradition began its conceptual development, not in the rabbinic era but in the Second Temple period, as a polemical response to the traditions in which Adam, Noah, Jacob, Melchisedek, Yahoel, Moses, and other biblical characters were depicted as exalted figures. The initial traces of this conceptual trend within the Enochic tradition can already be seen in the Book of the Similitudes. In 2 Enoch the process reached its decisive formative stage, when the specific Metatron titles, and even the prototype of the name “Metatron,” appeared.

The investigation of the evolution of the roles and titles of the exalted hero in the early Jewish mystical lore can be of help in forming a new methodological approach. This approach will allow scholars better to navigate the fluidity and fragmentary nature of the esoteric imagery of early Jewish mysticism and discern more clearly the connections between the different stages of this important religious movement.

Besides the broader methodological implications for the future investigation of the early Jewish mystical testimonies, this study could be also helpful in refining methodological approaches to the Slavonic apocalypse itself. Previous scholarship on the Slavonic apocalypse has been reluctant to emphasize the significance of mediatorial polemics in the understanding of the conceptual dynamics of the pseudepigraphon. In my judgment this reluctance constituted a grave methodological flaw since it did not allow the discernment of the original theological intentions of the authors of the text. In this previous “monological” perspective, many conceptual trends of the pseudepigraphon remained concealed.

The “dialogical” perspective, in its turn, enables scholars to see the textual and conceptual features of the pseudepigraphon in a new light. The analysis of the polemical developments reveals that both recensions of the Slavonic apocalypse contain original material. It brings new evidence against those scholars who were arguing for the originality of only one recension, shorter or longer, and ignored the repeated warnings that all of the material calls for reassessment. This investigation of Enoch-Metatron’s roles and titles demonstrates that the longer, as well as the shorter, recension contains the unique traditions which belong to the original theological framework of the Slavonic apocalypse.

This new methodological approach also shows that the original message and purpose of the pseudepigraphon cannot be properly understood without determining 2 Enoch’s place in the history of early Jewish mysticism. The analysis demonstrated that, contrary to some scholarly opinions, the array of early Jewish mystical motifs and traditions in the Slavonic apocalypse represents, not later interpolations into the original text, but that these motifs and traditions are a crucial element of the primary core itself. The investigation of the roles and titles of the exalted hero demonstrates that Jewish mysticism permeates the original fabric of the text.

This investigation of 2 Enoch can be seen as only an initial preliminary step in the larger task of appropriating of the Slavonic pseudepigraphic evidence for understanding the origins of early Jewish mysticism. Such important texts as the Apocalypse of Abraham and the Ladder of Jacob are now awaiting their turn. Future research on these Slavonic materials will help to resolve the mystery of this enigmatic collection of pseudepigraphic materials, which might have preserved traces of one of the earliest molds of Jewish mysticism. Such investigation could assist in further clarifying the origin and nature of this important religious movement.

1 On Noachic traditions, see: M. Bernstein, “Noah and the Flood at Qumran,” in: The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues (eds. D. W. Parry and E. Ulrich; STDJ 30; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 199–231; D. Dimant, “Noah in Early Jewish Literature,” in: Biblical Figures Outside the Bible (eds. M. E. Stone and T. A. Bergren; Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998) 123–50; F. García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic (STDJ 9; Leiden: Brill, 1992) 24–44; idem, “Interpretation of the Flood in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in: Interpretations of the Flood (eds. F. García Martínez and G. P. Luttikhuizen; TBN 1; Leiden: Brill, 1998) 86–108; Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 33ff.; R.V. Huggins, “Noah and the Giants: A Response to John C. Reeves,” JBL 114 (1995) 103–110; H. Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic: The Mesopotamian Background of the Enoch Figure and the Son of Man (WMANT 61; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988) 242–54; J. Lewis, A Study of the Interpretation of Noah and the Flood in Jewish and Christian Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1968); G. W. E. Nickelsburg, “Patriarchs Who Worry About Their Wives: A Haggadic Tendency in the Genesis Apocryphon,” in: Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. E. Chazon and M. E. Stone; STDJ 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 137–158; J. Reeves, “Utnapishtim in the Book of Giants?” JBL 12 (1993) 110–15; J. M. Scott, “Geographic Aspects of Noachic Materials in the Scrolls of Qumran,” in: The Scrolls and the Scriptures: Qumran Fifty Years After (eds. S. E. Porter and C. E. Evans; JSPSup 26; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997) 368–81; R. C. Steiner, “The Heading of the Book of the Words of Noah on a Fragment of the Genesis Apocryphon: New Light on a ‘Lost’ Work,” DSD 2 (1995) 66–71; M. Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” in: Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. E. Chazon and M. E. Stone; STDJ 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 133–49; M. Stone, “Noah, Books of,” in: Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Keter, 1971) 12.1198; J. VanderKam, “The Righteousness of Noah,” in: Ideal Figures in Ancient Judaism: Profiles and Paradigms (eds. J. J. Collins and G. W. E. Nickelsburg; SBLSCS 12; Chico: Scholars Press, 1980) 13–32; J. VanderKam, “The Birth of Noah,” in: Intertestamental Essays in Honor of Józef Tadeusz Milik (ed. Z. J. Kapera; Qumranica Mogilanensia 6; Krakow: The Enigma Press, 1992) 213–31; Cana Werman, “Qumran and the Book of Noah,” in: Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. E. Chazon and M. E. Stone; STDJ 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 171–81.

2 García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic, 24.

3 “Noah wrote down in a book everything (just) as we had taught him regarding all the kinds of medicine…” VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.60.

4 “…because this is the way I found (it) written in the book of my ancestors, in the words of Enoch and the words of Noah.” VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.123.

5 “For thus my father Abraham commanded me for thus he found in the writing of the book of Noah concerning the blood” §57. J. C. Greenfield and M. Stone, “The Aramaic and Greek Fragments of a Levi Document,” in The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs (ed. H. W. Hollander and M. de Jonge; SVTP 5; Leiden: Brill, 1985) 465. Among other important late allusions to Noah’s writings, the Chronography of Syncellus and the Book of Asaph the Physician should be mentioned. See García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic, 25 and 38.

6 Florentino García Martínez presented an in-depth reconstruction of the work. According to García Martínez, the following Qumran materials can be related to the Book of Noah: 1QapGen 1–17, 1Q19; 1Q20; 4Q534, and 6Q8. See: García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic, 43–4.

7 García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic, 26.

8 Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic, 117.

9 Michael Stone notes that “an extensive development of Noachic traditions is to be observed in 2 Enoch 71–72 which rewrites the story of Noah’s birth, transferring the special traditions to Melkisedek.” Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 139.

10 Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 138.

11 “On that day, as he was leaving the Garden of Eden, he burned incense as a pleasing fragrance – frankincense, galbanum, stacte, and aromatic spices….” Jub 3:27; “He burned the evening incense of the sanctuary which is acceptable before the Lord on the mountain of incense.” Jub 4:25. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.20 and 2.28.

12 Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 138.

13 Slav. .

14 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 199.

15 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 198–201.

16 It should be stressed that both the longer and the shorter recensions of 2 Enoch include all significant points of the Noachic polemics. There is no substantial difference between the recensions in the representation of these materials.

17 Lamech died before Methuselah. According to the Masoretic text of Gen 5:26–31, after Lamech was born, Methuselah lived 782 years. Lamech lived a total of 777 years.

18 This priestly succession from Methuselah to Nir is an apparent violation of all the norms of traditional succession. See the traditional view in Jub 7:38–39: “For this is how Enoch, your father’s father, commanded his son Methuselah; then Methuselah his son Lamech; and Lamech commanded me everything that his fathers had commanded him. Now I am commanding you, my children, as Enoch commanded his son in the first jubilee.” VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.49–50.

19 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 197–203.

20 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 202–03.

21 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 202.

22 Slav. . Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.70.

23 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 202.

24 Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 138.

25 VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.123.

26 Slav. . Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.100.

27 Slav. . Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.100.

28 P. I. Avanesov, ed., Slovar’ drevnerusskogo jazyka XI–XIV vv. (10 vols.; Moscow: Russkij jazyk, 1988–) 3.317–9; S. G. Barhudarov, ed., Slovar’ russkogo jazyka XI–XVII vekov (25 vols.; Moscow: Nauka, 1975–) 5.217–8; R. M. Cejtlin, ed., Staroslovjanskij slovar’ po rukopisjam X–XI vekov (Moscow: Russkij jazyk, 1994) 228; J. Kurz, ed., Lexicon Linguae Palaeoslovenicae (4 vols.; Prague: Akademia, 1966–) 1.643–4; I.I. Sresnevskij, Slovar’ drevnerusskogo jazyka (3 vols.; Moscow: Kniga, 1989) 1. 921–2.

29 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 185.

30 The terminology of this precept is unclear. For a detailed discussion of the passage, see Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 184–5.

31 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 184.

32 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 185.

33 Slav. . Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.100.

34 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 185

35 S. Pines, “Eschatology and the Concept of Time in the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” in Types of Redemption (ed. R.J. Zwi Werblowsky; Leiden: Brill, 1970) 74–75.

36 b. Tamid 31b.

37 Ant. 18.18.

38 Pines, “Eschatology and the Concept of Time in the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” 75. For criticism of Pines’ hypothesis, see M. Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) 42.

39 “Then I will preserve Noah, the firstborn son of your son Lamech. And I will make another world rise up from his seed, and his seed will exist throughout the ages” 2 Enoch 70:10. Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 203. “For I know indeed that this race will end in confusion, and everyone will perish, except that Noah, my brother, will be preserved in that generation for procreation” 2 Enoch 71:37. Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 209.

40 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 211.

41 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 209.

42 VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.60.

43 Kvanvig argues that “in 1 Enoch 60, 1–10.24c–25 Noah is described as a visionary (as in 4QMess Ar) and in a vision he is warned about the coming catastrophe. This description of the flood hero as a visionary had its parallel in both Atra-Hasis and Berossos’ version of the Flood story when the flood hero is warned in a dream.” Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic, 242.

44 Gen 6:8 and Jub 5:5 – “He was pleased with Noah alone.” VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.33.

45 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 206–7.

46 2 Enoch 73, which attests to such a revelation, is a later interpolation represented only by the manuscript R and partly (only one line) by Rum. Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.80 and 1.155. The previous analysis of Noachic polemics strengthens the hypothesis that 2 Enoch 73 is a later addition, foreign to the original core of the text. For the discussion about Chapter 73, see Vaillant, xxii; Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 212.

47 The motif of these divine/angelic revelations to Methuselah parallels 1 Enoch 106, 1QapGen 2:19 and the text of Pseudo-Eupolemus where “Methuselah … learned all things through the help of the angels of God, and thus we gained our knowledge.” Holladay, Fragments, 1.175.

48 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 203.

49 Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.69 and 1.75.

50 It is clear that Noah’s name was purged from the original Noachic account which lies behind Nir’s vision. The additional supporting detail here is that right after Nir’s vision, when he arose from the sleep, he repeats the vision in his own words. In this repetition Nir mentions both Melchisedek and Noah as survivors of the Flood. It is apparent that we have here two different traditions which are sometimes not reconciled. “And Melchisedek will be the head of the priests in another generation. For I know indeed that this race will end in confusion and everyone will perish, except that Noah, my brother, will be preserved in that generation for procreation” 2 Enoch 71:33–7. Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 209.

51 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 208.

52 Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 141.

53 Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 143.

54 Another challenge to Noah’s role as a carrier of antediluvian traditions over the Flood is the theme of Enoch’s books. From 2 Enoch 33:8–12 we learn that the Lord commanded his angels Ariokh and Mariokh to guard Enoch’s books, so “they might not perish in the impeding flood.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 157. This motif of the secret books by which antediluvian wisdom reached postdiluvian generations plays a prominent role in the Mesopotamian flood stories. Grelot, “La légende d’Hénoch dans les apocryphes et dans la Bible: Origine et signification,” 9–13.

55 This story is supported by the lengthy priestly genealogy which also includes Enoch, Methuselah, and Nir. Noah, of course, is not presented in this list: “Therefore honor him (Melchisedek) together with your servants and great priests, with Sit, and Enos, and Rusi, and Amilam, and Prasidam, and Maleleil, and Serokh, and Arusan, and Aleem, and Enoch, and Methusalam, and me, your servant Nir.” 2 Enoch 71:32. Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 208.

56 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 208–9.

57 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 211.

58 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 207.

59 1 Enoch 106:1–4 “And after (some) days my son Methuselah took for his son Lamech a wife, and she became pregnant by him and bore a son. And his body was white like snow and red like the flower of a rose, and the hair of his head (was) white like wool … and his eyes (were) beautiful; and when he opened his eyes, he made the whole house bright like the sun so that the whole house was exceptionally bright. And when he was taken from the hands of the midwife, he opened his mouth and spoke to the Lord of Righteousness. And his father Lamech was afraid of him….” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.244.

60 Scholars have previously remarked that these features of Noah’s story reflect priestly imagery. See Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 33ff. This connection will be investigated later.

61 M. Delcor, “Melchisedek from Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the Hebrews,” JSJ 2 (1971) 129; idem, “La naissance merveilleuse de Melchisédeq d’après l’Hénoch slave,” Kecharitomene: Mélanges René Laurentin (ed. C. Augustin et al.; Paris: Desclée, 1990) 217–229; M. Mach, Entwicklungsstadien des jüdischen Engelglaubens in vorrabbinischer Zeit (TSAJ 34; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1992) 236, footnote 340; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981) 185; A. de Santos Otero, “Libro de los secretos de Henoc (Henoc eslavo),” in: Apocrifos del Antiguo Testamento (ed. A. Dies Macho; Madrid: Ediciones Christiandad, 1984) 4.199; R. Stichel, Die Namen Noes, seines Bruders und seiner Frau. Ein Beitrag zum Nachleben jüdischer Überlieferungen in der außerkanonischen und gnostischen Literatur und in Denkmälern der Kunst (AAWG.PH 3. Folge 112; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979) 42–54.

62 R. H. Charles and W. R. Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896); G. N. Bonwetsch, Das slavische Henochbuch (AGWG 1; Berlin, 1896).

63 For a detailed discussion of the subject, see A. Orlov, “Melchisedek Legend of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch,” JSJ 31 (2000) 23–38.

64 Crispin Fletcher-Louis observes that “the characterization of Melchizedek, as one born by autogenesis, who is ‘fully developed physically’ at birth (ch 71), recalls traditions associated with the angelomorphic Noah….” Fletcher-Louis, Luke-Acts, 155.

65 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 207.

66 Delcor, “Melchisedek from Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the Hebrews,” 129.

67 George Nickelsburg observes that the miraculous circumstances surrounding Melchisedek’s conception and birth are reminiscent of the Noah story in 1 Enoch, although the suspicion of Nir is more closely paralleled in the version of the Noah story in the Genesis Apocryphon. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, 188.

68 García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.29

69 On this motif, see: Nickelsburg, “Patriarchs Who Worry About Their Wives: A Haggadic Tendency in the Genesis Apocryphon,” 137–158.

70 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 205.

71 García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.29

72 García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.29–31.

73 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 205.

74 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.246.

75 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 208.

76 VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.60.

77 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 209.

78 See, for example, b. Ned. 32b: “R. Zechariah said on R. Ishmael’s authority: The Holy One, blessed be He, intended to bring forth the priesthood from Shem, as it is written, ‘And he [Melchisedek] was the priest of the most high God’ (Gen 14:18). But because he gave precedence in his blessing to Abraham over God, He brought it forth from Abraham; as it is written, ‘And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the most high God’ (Gen 14:19). Said Abraham to him, ‘Is the blessing of a servant to be given precedence over that of his master?’ Straightway it [the priesthood] was given to Abraham, as it is written (Ps 110:1), ‘The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool;’ which is followed by, ‘The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek’ (Ps 110:4), meaning, ‘because of the word of Melchisedek.’ Hence it is written, And he was a priest of the most High God, [implying that] he was a priest, but not his seed.” The Babylonian Talmud, 98–9.

79 Davila, “Melchisedek, the ‘Youth,’ and Jesus,” 261, n. 20.

80 This hypothesis was formulated by the Russian scholar Nikita Meshcherskij, who proposed that the shorter recension of the text was translated into Slavonic directly from a medieval Hebrew work. See N. Meshcherskij, “Sledy pamjatnikov Kumrana v staroslavjanskoj i drevnerusskoj literature (K izucheniju slavjanskih versij knigi Enoha),” Trudy otdela drevnerusskoj literatury 19 (1963) 130–147, esp. 147; idem, “K istorii teksta slavjanskoj knigi Enoha (Sledy pamjatnikov Kumrana v vizantijskoj i staroslavjanskoj literature),” Vizantijskij vremennik 24 (1964) 91–108; idem, “K voprosu ob istochnikah slavjanskoj knigi Enoha,” Kratkie soobshchenija Instituta narodov Azii 86 (1965) 72–8. Meshcherskij’s hypothesis was supported by Anatolij Alekseev. See A. Alekseev, “Perevody s drevneevrejskih originalov v drevnej Rusi,” Russian Linguistics 11 (1987) 1–20. For a detailed critique of Meshcherskij and Alekseev, see: H. G. Lunt, and M. Taube, “Early East Slavic Translations from Hebrew,” Russian Linguistics 12 (1988) 147–87. Since Meshcherskij’s research is available only in the Russian language, it would be useful to give a brief outline of his arguments. Nikita Aleksandrovich Meshcherskij (1906–1987) was a student of medieval Slavonic literature. His scholarly activity was connected with the Slavonic translations of the Second Temple materials, including Josephus’ “Jewish War” (the Iosippon) and 2 Enoch. He formulated a hypothesis about the existence of a Slavic school of Kievan translators responsible for the translations of some Jewish works, including the Book of Esther and the short recension of 2 Enoch from Hebrew into Slavonic during the early period of Kievan Russia. Cf. Meshcherskij, “K voprosu ob istochnikah,” 77. He argued that these texts share a similar unique vocabulary, which in his opinion can be found only in the Slavonic translations from Semitic originals. [Meshcherskij, “K voprosu ob istochnikah, 78]. Thus, Meshcherskij points to the peculiar tendency of the shorter recension of 2 Enoch toward transliteration of proper names according to Hebrew spellings. In his opinion this represents a departure from the usual Greek–Slavonic patterns of the translations of Byzantine Greek originals connected to the Septuagint tradition. One of Meshcherskij’s examples of such type of transliteration is the spelling of the name of Methuselah as “Mefusalom” instead of the normal Byzantine-Slavonic form “Mafusal.” Meshcherskij, “K voprosu ob istochnikah ,” 77. Meshcherskij argued that the most important evidence in support of his hypothesis of the Hebrew original is the grammatical form of some phrases with the nouns “hand,” “face,” “head,” and “soul,” which are used in 2 Enoch not in their proper immediate meanings but as metaphors for describing conditions of presence, dominion, etc., a usage widespread in Hebrew and Aramaic. He noticed that in 2 Enoch these nouns are accompanied by certain prepositions:  (in) and  (on). In his opinion these features are very unusual for Greek and Slavonic grammar, where the absence of prepositions is expected in these particular phrases. [Meshcherskij, “K voprosu ob istochnikah,” 77–78]. Meshcherskij proposed that the possible Semitic original of the shorter recension of 2 Enoch could be a medieval text which preserved some Enochic material from the early period. He suggested that this possible medieval Semitic original was probably 3 Enoch, especially its central part, which in his opinion is most closely connected with the material of 2 Enoch. It is noteworthy that Meshcherskij did not have access to the text of 3 Enoch published by H. Odeberg probably because of the Soviet censorship of Jewish and Christian texts and authors. For his conclusions he used the description of the book in Rudolph Bultmann’s review published in Theologische Literaturzeitung 25 (1937) 449–453. Meshcherskij’s hypothesis was critically assessed by Horace Lunt and Moshe Taube, who suggested that “the vision of a school of Kievan translators from the Hebrew is a myth created almost single–handedly by Meshcherskij.” They also noted that “Meshcherskij’s enthusiasm for his thesis cannot disguise the fact that his published work, riddled with inaccuracies and unfounded statements as it is, must be regarded as generally unsatisfactory.” After analysis of the Slavonic materials, Lunt and Taube concluded that “in the light of all evidence so far available, we find it thoroughly unlikely that translations from Hebrew into any sort of written Slavic were made in any region of Slavdom before the middle of the fifteenth century.” H. G. Lunt, and M. Taube, “Early East Slavic Translations from Hebrew,” Russian Linguistics 12 (1988) 160.

81 Böttrich’s hypothesis that these mystical developments constitute later additions to the original core of the pseudepigraphon, which were acquired during its transmission history, is no longer valid and should be completely discarded. For a detailed discussion of this issue, see Chapter Five of this study.

82 The early date of the pseudepigraphon was supported by, among others, the following investigations: R. H. Charles and W. R. Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896) xxvi; Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 2.165; G. N. Bonwetsch, Das slavische Henochbuch (AGWG.PH Neue Folge Bd.1 Nr.3; Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1896); N. Schmidt, “The Two Recensions of Slavonic Enoch,” JAOS 41 (1921) 307–312; G. Scholem, Ursprung und Anfänge der Kabbala (Berlin, 1962) 62–64; M. Philonenko, “La cosmogonie du Livre des secrets d’Hénoch,” in: Religions en Egypte: Hellénistique et romaine (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1969) 109–116; S. Pines, “Eschatology and the Concept of Time in the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” in: Types of Redemption (eds. R. J. Zwi Werblowsky and C. Jouco Bleeker; SHR 18; Leiden: Brill, 1970) 72–87; J. C. Greenfield, “Prolegomenon”, in Odeberg, 3 Enoch or the Hebrew Book of Enoch (New York: KTAV, 1973) XVIII–XX; U. Fischer, Eschatologie und Jenseitserwartung im hellenistischen Diasporajudentum (BZNW 44; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1978) 38–41; J. H. Charlesworth, “The SNTS Pseudepigrapha Seminars at Tübingen and Paris on the Books of Enoch (Seminar Report),” NTS 25 (1979) 315–23; J. J. Collins, “The Genre Apocalypse in Hellenistic Judaism,” in: Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East (ed. D. Hellholm; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1983) 533; F. Andersen, “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. J. H. Charlesworth; New York: Doubleday, 1985 [1983]) 1.91–221; M. E. Stone, Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran Sectarian Writings, Philo, Josephus (CRINT 2.2; Assen: Van Gorcum, 1984) 406; A. de Santos Otero, “Libro de los secretos de Henoc (Henoc eslavo),” in: Apocrifos del AT (ed. A. Diez Macho; Madrid: Ediciones Christiandad, 1984) 4.147–202; C. Böttrich, Das slavische Henochbuch (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlaghaus, 1995) 812–13. P. Sacchi, Jewish Apocalyptic and its History (JSPSS, 20; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996).

83 Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 97.

84 After all it should not be forgotten that in the same study Francis Andersen explicitly assigns the book to the late first century C.E. Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 91.

85 In his introduction to Forbes’ translation of 2 Enoch in APOT, Charles broadened the range of the dating of the apocalypse, postulating that “2 Enoch in its present form was written probably between 30 B.C. and AD 70. It was written after 30 B.C., for it makes use of Sirach, 1 Enoch, and the Book of Wisdom, … and before A.D. 70; for the temple is still standing.” R. H. Charles and N. Forbes, “The Book of the Secrets of Enoch,” The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (2 vols.; ed. R. H. Charles; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913) 2. 429. This opinion about the early date of 2 Enoch was also supported by Charles’ contemporaries, the Russian philologist Matvej Sokolov and German theologian Nathaniel Bonwetsch. Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo; Bonwetsch, Das slavische Henochbuch; idem, Die Bücher der Geheimnisse Henochs.

86 R. H. Charles and W. R. Morfill, The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896) xxvi.

87 A. S. D. Maunder, “The Date and Place of Writing of the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” The Observatory 41 (1918) 309–16, esp. 316.

88 Maunder, “The Date and Place of Writing of the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” 315.

89 J. K. Fotheringham, “The Date and the Place of Writing of the Slavonic Enoch,” JTS 20 (1919) 252.

90 A. Rubinstein, “Observations on the Slavonic Book of Enoch,” JJS 15 (1962) 1–21, esp.3.

91 R. H. Charles, “The Date and Place of Writings of the Slavonic Enoch,” JTS 22 (1921) 162–3. See also K. Lake, “The Date of the Slavonic Enoch,” HTR 16 (1923) 397–398.

92 J. T. Milik, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumrân Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976).

93 Milik, The Books of Enoch, 109.

94 Sokolov, Slavjanskaja Kniga Enoha Pravednogo, 1.23, footnote 13.

95 Milik’s hypothesis is implausible. Most scholars trace the word to the Slavonic  which corresponds to smu&rna, myrrha. J. Kurz, ed., Slovnik Jazyka Staroslovenskeho (Lexicon Linguae Palaeoslovenicae)(4 vols.; Prague: Akademia, 1966) 1.677–8. Andersen’s translation renders the relevant part of 2 Enoch 22:11 as follows: “And Vereveil hurried and brought me the books mottled with myrrh.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 141.

96 Milik, The Books of Enoch, 111.

97 Milik, The Books of Enoch, 110.

98 J. J. Collins, “The Genre Apocalypse in Hellenistic Judaism,” in: Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East (ed. D. Hellholm; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1983) 533, n. 7.

99 Collins, “The Genre Apocalypse in Hellenistic Judaism,” 533, note 7.

100 Milik, The Books of Enoch, 114.

101 A. Vaillant, Le Livre des secrets d’Hénoch: Texte slave et traduction française (Textes publiés par l’Institut d’études slaves 4; Paris: L’Institut d’études slaves, 1976 [1952]).

102 Some of the supporters of the idea of the Jewish authorship of the text include the following scholars: Amusin, Andersen, Bonwetsch, Böttrich, Bousset, Charles, Charlesworth, Collins, De Conick, Delcor, Denis, Eissfeldt, Ginzberg, Gieschen, Greenfield, Gruenwald, Fletcher-Louis, Fossum, Harnak, Himmelfarb, Kahana, Kamlah, Mach, Meshcherskij, Odeberg, Pines, Philonenko, Riessler, Sacchi, Segal, Sokolov, de Santos Otero, Schmidt, Scholem, Schürer, Stichel, Stone, and Székely.

103 Fischer, Eschatologie und Jenseitserwartung im hellenistischen Diasporajudentum, 40–41; Böttrich, Das slavische Henochbuch, 812–13.

104 2 Enoch 59.

105 Milik, The Books of Enoch, 114.

106 Böttrich, Das slavische Henochbuch, 813.

107 2 Enoch 61:1–5; 2 Enoch 62:1–2.

108 2 Enoch 51:4: “In the morning of the day and in the middle of the day and in the evening of the day it is good to go to the Lord’s temple on account of the glory of your creator.” Andersen, “2 Enoch,” 178.

109 Böttrich, Das slavische Henochbuch, 813. See also: Böttrich, “The Melchizedek Story of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch: A Reaction to A. Orlov” JJS 32.4 (2001) 451.

110 There are many discrepancies and contradictions in the calendarical data presented in the text.

111 y. Taan. 68c and b. Taan. 26b.

112 Böttrich, Das slavische Henochbuch, 813.

113 Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” 138.

114 1 Enoch 106:5 “… his eyes (are) like the rays of the sun, and his face glorious….” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.244–5.

115 1QapGen 5:12–13 “…his face has been lifted to me and his eyes shine like [the] s[un…] (of) this boy is flame and he….” García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.31.

116 A similar tradition is reflected in 1Q19. 1Q19 3: “…were aston[ished …] [… (not like the children of men) the fir]st-born is born, but the glorious ones […] […] his father, and when Lamech saw […] […] the chambers of the house like the beams of the sun […] to frighten the […].” 1Q19 13: “[…] because the glory of your face […] for the glory of God in […] [… he will] be exalted in the splendor of the glory and the beauty […] he will be honored in the midst of […].”García Martínez and Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 1.27.

117 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 33ff.

118 Crispin Fletcher-Louis notes parallels between this scene and the description of the ideal high priest from Sirach 50. He argues that “in Sirach 50 the liturgical procession through Simon’s various ministrations climaxes with Aaron’s blessings of the people (50:20, cf. Numbers 6) and a call for all the readers of Sirach’s work ‘to bless the God of all who everywhere works greater wonders, who fosters our growth from birth and deals with us according to his mercy’ (50:22). So, too, in 1 Enoch 106:3 the infant Noah rises from the hands of the midwife and, already able to speak as an adult, ‘he opened his mouth and blessed the Lord.’” Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 47.

119 Fletcher-Louis argues that “the staging for [Noah’s] birth and the behavior of the child have strongly priestly resonances.” Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 46.

120 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 50.

121 He notes that the statement “I shall glorify you in front of the face of all the people, and you will be glorified all the days of your life” (2 Enoch 69:5) and the references to God “raising up” a priest for himself in 69:2,4 “is intriguingly reminiscent of 1Q19 13 lines 2–3” Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 50.

122 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 47.

123 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 46.

124 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 46.

125 Fletcher-Louis suggests that the authors of Jubilees probably also knew the story of Noah’s birth, since the text mentions his mother Bitenosh. Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 35, n. 9.

126 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 51–52.

127 A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 24–24E. See also Armenian and Georgian versions of LAE: “Then, when she bore the child, the color of his body was like the color of stars. At the hour when the child fell into the hands of the midwife, he leaped up and, with his hands, plucked up the grass of the earth…” (Armenian). “Eve arose as the angel had instructed her: she gave birth to an infant and his color was like that of the stars. He fell into the hands of the midwife and (at once) he began to pluck up the grass…” (Georgian). A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, 24E.

128 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 52.

129 “He was born circumcised; and the Sages declare, At the time when Moses was born, the whole house was filled with light – as it is written here, ‘And she saw him that he was good’ (Ex 2:2), and elsewhere it is written, ‘And God saw the light that it was good’ (Gen 1:4).” Sotah 12a.

130 “…she saw that the Shechinah was with him; that is, the ‘it’ refers to the Shechinah which was with the child.” Midrash Rabbah, 3.29–30.

131 “Moses replied: ‘I am the son of Amram, and came out from my mother’s womb without prepuce, and had no need to be circumcised; and on the very day on which I was born I found myself able to speak and was able to walk and to converse with my father and mother … when I was three months old I prophesied and declared that I was destined to receive the law from the midst of flames of fire.’” Midrash Rabbah, 7.185.

132 “Rabbi Nathaniel said: the parents of Moses saw the child, for his form was like that of an angel of God. They circumcised him on the eight day and they called his name Jekuthiel.” Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer (tr. G. Friedlander; 2nd ed.; New York: Hermon Press, 1965) 378.

133 “She saw the light of the Shekinah playing around him: for when he was born this light filled the whole house, the word ‘good’ here having the same reference as in the verse ‘and God saw the light that it was good’ (Gen 1:4).” The Zohar (trs. H. Sperling and M. Simon; 5 vols.; London and New York: Soncino, 1933) 3.35. See also Samaritan Molad Mosheh: “She became pregnant with Moses and was great with child, and the light was present.” Samaritan Documents Relating to Their History, Religion and Life (tr. J. Bowman; Pittsburgh: Pickwick, 1977) 287.

134 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 52.

135 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 52.

136 Fletcher-Louis reminds that “the illumination of the house through Noah’s eyes and the comparison of the light to that of the sun are specifically priestly features of Noah’s birth.” Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 52–53.

137 Although the priestly affiliation of the hero of the Flood was well known to the rabbinic authors, as the story of Shem-Melchisedek has already demonstrated.

138 Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam, 53.

Andrei Orlov
Kelly Chair in Theology and Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University.