Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature

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The idea of heaven held a special place in the late antique imagination, which was marked by a poignant sense of the relevance of otherworldly realities for earthly life. Such concerns can be found not only in Judaism and Christianity but Transcending social, regional and creedal boundaries, the preocupation with heaven in Late Antiquity serves as a focus for an interdisciplinary approach to understanding this formative era in Western culture and history.

Drawing upon the expertise of scholars of Classics, Ancient History, Jewish Studies and Patristics, this volume explores the different functions of heavenly imagery in different texts and traditions in order to map the patterns of unity and diversity within the religious landscape of Late Antiquity.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Paperback reprint, This volume grows out of a joint This volume grows out of a joint Princeton-Oxford project dedicated to exploring the limits of the traditional model and to charting new directions for future research. Drawing on the expertise of scholars of both Jewish Studies and Patristics, it offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the interaction between Jews and Christians between the Bar Kokhba Revolt and the rise of Islam. The contributors question the conventional wisdom concerning the formation of religious identity, the interpenetration of Jewish and Christian traditions, the fate of 'Jewish-Christianity', and the nature of religious polemics in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

By moving beyond traditional assumptions about the essential differences between Judaism and Christianity, this volume thus attempts to open the way for a more nuanced understanding of the history of these two religions and the constantly changing yet always meaningful relationship between them. More Info: Edited with Adam H. TSAJ Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, Paperback reprint: Fortress Press, View on books.

This essay reflects on the relationship between the study of the origins of Christianity and the discipline of Religious Studies in conversation with William Arnal's ''What Branches Grow out of this Stony Rubbish? Christian Origins and Extending Arnal's call for specialists in the New Testament and early Christianity to engage Religious Studies, it explores a reorientation of perspective, towards the aim of a doubled lens from and upon both Christian Origins and Religious Studies. Particularly promising may be the interrogation of ancient and modern practices of periodization and category-creation, especially as they intersect with imperial and anti-imperial discourses about ''origins,'' knowledge, and power.

View on journals. Countering the assumption that the significance of this Countering the assumption that the significance of this literature pivots on its value for understanding the origins of Christianity, this essay calls for fresh attention to the afterlives of these writings. The second section surveys evidence for the elasticity of such writings and for their reception in contexts as far-flung as medieval Christian art and contemporary Japanese anime.

Fallen angel

This evidence points to the value of alternate approaches to NT apocrypha, reread as an integral part of the making of the memory of the biblical past from late antiquity to the present. More Info: Journal of Biblical Literature View on jstor. Michael L. Jewish - Christian Relations and Jewish Messianism. View on iupress.

Judaism and Christianity on Satan: Rabbi Tovia Singer explains why we Differ

Stratton, Oxford: Oxford University Press, , pp. Mimouni, B. Pouderon, and C. Clivas, Paris: Cerf, Pierluigi Piovanelli, Leiden: Brill. More Info: in The Cosmography of Paradise, ed. More Info: in R. Boustan, K. Herrmann, R. Leicht, A. Reed, and G. Veltri, eds. This essay revisits testamentary texts and traditions from the Second Temple period in relation to themes of death, memory, and writing.

Rather than debating the classification or morphology of the parabiblical testament, it focuses upon Rather than debating the classification or morphology of the parabiblical testament, it focuses upon its determinative feature—the framing of texts as the first-person teachings of ancient biblical heroes near death.

It traces some precedents for this literary choice, and speculates about the cultural worlds in which such a choice made sense. To do so, it surveys the representation and modeling of the written word as a technology of memory, first within Aramaic works with testamentary features from the Hellenistic period esp. In both sets of works, the narrative setting of near-death teaching is used to address challenges of continuity and succession.

Representations of textual practices, however, differ; in some, writing and reading are presented as necessary complement to remembered speech and ethical emulation, while in others, books function as safeguard or stand-in. More Info: Jewish Quarterly Review View on muse.

Inasmuch as new Coptic evidence for 2 Enoch lends confirmation to the priority of the shorter recension and adds plausibility to the theory of its Egyptian provenance, this discovery invites us to shift from the compilation of parallel Inasmuch as new Coptic evidence for 2 Enoch lends confirmation to the priority of the shorter recension and adds plausibility to the theory of its Egyptian provenance, this discovery invites us to shift from the compilation of parallel motifs towards more integrative approaches to contextualizing this enigmatic apocalypse.

This essay is an experiment in situating 2 Enoch within the intellectual culture of early Roman Egypt. View on booksandjournals. Bardakjian and S. La Porta, eds. Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha Leiden: Brill, , — Ben-Dov and S. View on dlib. Boustan, M. Himmelfarb, and P. More Info: Annali di storia dell'esgesi More Info: in H. Shanks, ed. More Info: Sino Platonic Papers : Early Christian Apocryphal Literature and Syriac literature. View on sino-platonic. Arbel and A. Orlov Berlin: De Gruyter, — More Info: Journal of Theological Studies View on jts.

More Info: Journal for the Study of Judaism More Info: History of Religions Craig A. Evans and H. Early Christianity and Enoch literature. Iricinschi and H. Heresy and Orthodoxy and Pseudo-Clementine Literature. Amsler, et al. More Info: Henoch Luca Arcari : 55— Enoch literature and Second Temple Judaism Religion. DiTommaso and L. Adler and P. Chronicle of Yerah. Gaster, The Chronicle of Jerah. In the course of presenting a genealogical list of those who lived before the Flood, it notes his Sethian ancestry via Jared and his fathering of Methusaleh The brevity of the biblical comments stands in stark contrast with the wealth of traditions about Enoch in Judaism and Christianity.

As visionary, he is taken up to heaven and travels with angels to the ends of earth. Moreover, books begin to circulate under his name, purporting to record the visions and teachings that the antediluvian patriarch passed on to his progeny and bequeathed to the righteous of future generations. Used in the context of BW, it typically denotes fallen angels. To an even greater degree than inages past, the mystery surrounding Enoch came to be associated with lostbooks and secret scrolls, wisdom suppressed and writings forgotten.

Even asthe books themselves were gone, the ancient allusions remained. Milik from to Inaddition, the paleographical evidence of the earliest fragments suggested thattwo of these documents, the Astronomical Book 1 En. Although the Astronomical Book may be older, the Book of the Watchers hasproved most helpful in illuminating the emergence and development of thegenre.

See further Flemming and Radermacher, Henoch, 2. Milik, Commentary, —65, —74; Nickelsburg, Commentary, 7. An initial effort was made by Milik in the introduction to theeditio princeps of the Aramaic fragments from Qumran. Inquiries into the Nachleben of the Book of the Watchers have mostlycentered on the quotation of 1 En. From that point for-ward, the focus has fallen on the fate of these early Jewish texts in thechurch. Building on H.

Towardsthis goal, this study will trace the reception-history of the Book of the Watchersfrom its composition in the third century bce until the early Middle Ages, byfocusing on its distinctive treatment of the fallen angels as corrupting teachersof humankind. The Nephilim were on the earthin those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughtersof men, and they bore children to them.

These were the Gibborim of old, men ofrenown. Gen —4 24The Book of the Watchers provides our earliest extant evidence for the exe-gesis and expansion of this tantalizing terse passage. Translations from biblical literature here and throughout follow JPS. Insofar as this motif represents a distinctive fea-ture of the apocalypse, it also provides an heuristic focus for research into itsreception-history.

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Jewish and Christian references to the fallen angels abound,but the tradition that their teachings corrupted humankind is relatively rare. Unlike traditions about theirbinding and imprisonment, this motif occurs rarely in other pre-Rabbinictexts. As we shall see, even authors who are otherwise dependent on this apoca-lypse seem reticent to accept its assertion that sinfulness has a supernatu-ral origin, arising neither from a primeval act of human disobedience, norfrom an evil inclination in the human heart, but from a breach of heavenlyharmony.

An investigation of this motif has the potential to illumine the history ofinterpretation of Gen —4 as well as the history of the transmission andreception of early Enochic texts and traditions. The Book of the Watchers provides an ideal subject for such an inquiry. Wepossess codicological evidence from more than one stage and language of itstransmission as well as from different geographical areas and religious com-munities. Even as the evidenceof later Enochic pseudepigrapha e. In addition, two witnesses preserve parts of the Book of the Watchers in Greektranslation.

Not only do ourGreek witnesses preserve almost all of the Book of the Watchers, with dupli-cations both within and between them,30 but they evince a surprisingly livelyinterest in Enoch and the fallen angels among different Christian groups in LateAntiquity and the early Middle Ages. These manuscriptsthus provide important material and contextual evidence for the Christianreception-history of this work.

Although he warnsthe reader that this work is spurious, he nevertheless preserves it, as a tradi-tional prooftext in the chronographical discussion of early human history. Hisquotations from the Book of the Watchers shed light on its use in yet anothersetting, in which doubts about its authenticity were outweighed by its valuefor supplementing the information about primeval times in the Hebrew Bibleand Hellenistic historiography.

In contrast to the Greek version, thistranslation was made by Christians for Christians. There are also a number of references to the Book of the Watchers in Jewishand Christian literature, as well as explicit comments about Enochic books anddiscussions about their authority and authenticity. Examples can be found in texts composed in Hebrew, Greek,Latin, Coptic, and Syriac, showing that Enochic texts and traditions circulatedacross a surprisingly broad geographical range. Since the days of A. Dillman and R. Any interdisciplinaryapproach, however, inevitably risks dependence on outdated or inadequatemodels.

The relationship between oralityand textuality was often so fraught in premodern times, precisely because thetwo spheres were so tightly intertwined. Accordingly, some of the textsin our survey emerged from strictly scribal milieux. Jaffee, Torah. Inasmuch as readingwas primarily an oral and aural experience, oral traditions shaped and wereshaped by literature, just as the aural reception of writings affected theirliterary transmission. In concentrating on the literarytransmission of traditions, I am not denying the continued oral circulation oftraditions. Rather, I am questioning the validity of understanding oral trans-mission and textual activity as separate spheres and of privileging the formerin our analyses of ancient literature.

In the case of some midrashic and aggadic motifs, oral transmission maystill provide the most plausible explanation for the reappearance of the sametradition in different times and places. I will suggest, however, that this is notthe case for the motif of illicit angelic instruction.

During its composition and its subsequenttransmission, oral performance surely facilitated its reinterpretation in termsof other traditions about Enoch and the fallen angels, both oral and written. Likewise, my statements about changingattitudes towards the Book of the Watchers claim only to concern the groupswho were either responsible for literary production or had access to thosewho were. I make no claimto represent the full diversity of biblically based religious movements in LateAntiquity and the early Middle Ages, and any omissions on my part shouldnot be read as normative judgments.

Abandonedby early Rabbinic Jews, it continues to be read and copied by Christ-believingJews and other early Christians.


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Like so much of the Jewish literature composedduring the centuries of Ptolemaic, Seleucidic, Hasmonean, and Roman rule inPalestine prior to the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism, the Book of the Watchersowes its preservation to Christian copyists. This interplay highlights another way in which the present study departsfrom earlier research, namely, the scope of my inquiry.


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The present work, however, is based on differentviews of the relationship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity andthe early Middle Ages. When studying later periods, scholars have typically examinedthese religions in isolation, assuming that their separation was decisive andthat their subsequent interaction was limited to mere polemics and mutualmisperception. Our evidence, however, tells of the continued interpenetra-tion of Jewish and Christian traditions long after the second century. Long after the deathof Jesus, the destruction of the Second Temple, and the failure of the BarKokhba Revolt, the histories of Judaism and Christianity remain meaningfullyintertwined.

This perspective is embodied in the structure of the present study, whichfocuses equally on Judaism and Christianity and which investigates theinterrelation between developments in the two traditions throughout theirearly histories. After analyzing the motif of illicit angelic instruction in theBook of the Watchers Ch. Next, Iwill turn to the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers in late antiqueChristianity Ch. Within this chronological framework, I will address the broader issuesraised by each stage in the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers.

The second and third chapters locate the Book of the Watchers within pre-Rabbinic Judaism, inclusive of earliest Christianity. Here, I will focus on thedifferent social settings of its composition as well as the earliest stages in itstransmission. Around the sec-ond century, Rabbinic Jews appear to have abandoned the Enochic booksand polemicized against the angelic interpretation of Gen —4. Within his writings, the motif of illicit angelic instruction resurfaces onceagain to play a pivotal role in the etiology of human culture and its tragicdistance from the divine.

Justin not only reinterprets the Enochic myth ofangelic descent, but he locates it within a Christianized history of culturein which demonology contributes to the construction of a Christian iden-tity in contradistinction to both Jews and pagans.

The sixth chapter centers on another critical moment in the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers: the rejection of the Enochic pseudepigraphaby late antique ecclesiarchs in the Roman Empire. Whereas most inquiriesinto the formation of the Christian canon concentrate on books that are nowcanonical, I will here consider the dynamics of canonization by focusing ona contested text.

First, I will show how the third- and fourth-century debatesabout the authority of the Enochic books often appealed, both positively andnegatively, to their omission from the Jewish canon of scriptures. Lastly, I will consider thesettings of the continual use and preservation of this apocalypse, exploringthe tensions between canonicity and textual authority. Broadly speaking, this study seeks to explorehow text-selection can function as a means of asserting religious identity andhow social circumstances affect the degree of canonical consciousness in dif-ferent groups at different times.

As we shall see in Chapter 1 , the Book of the Watchers was not theresult of a single act of authorial creativity. Rather, this apocalypse was shapedby multiple stages of authorship, redaction, and compilation. Although we can discern several, originally distinct textual units and tradi-tions within 1 En. As the next chapterdemonstrates, the redactional combination of these units has resulted in acoherent whole. It can thus betempting to read it as a single document and to interpret each of its compositeparts in terms of the others, even despite the differences in date and prove-nance.

Black, Commentary, 10, 12— From the oldest fragments of Enochic writings found at Qumran 4QEnastra; 4QEna,b , it appears that the Aramaic Astronomical Book andthe Book of the Watchers circulated independently in the third and secondcenturies bce. For instance, the surviv-ing fragments of 4QEnc preserve 1 En. Scholars have attempted to use this evidence to reconstruct the prehistory ofthe Ethiopic collection 1 Enoch.

He proposes that the Similitudes 1 En. Hence Milik dates the Greek archetype of1 Enoch to the sixth or seventh century. He suggests that1 En. He leaves open the possibility that the Bookof the Watchers may have circulated as an independent document in the thirdand early second centuries bce. As noted above, the former contains two incomplete manuscripts of theBook of the Watchers, bound together with Petrine writings, while the lattercontains the entirety of the Epistle of Enoch, together with Pseudo-Ezekielianwritings and passages from Melito of Sardis.

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XXVI, Consequently, we cannot rule out thepossibility that 1 Enoch originated as an Ethiopian collection of Enochic writ-ings or as a Greek collection current only in some Christian circles at thetime. Levi ; Origen,Princ. We know thatthe Book of the Watchers was often copied and collected together with otherEnochic pseudepigrapha, but this does not mean that we can draw a straightline from the Aramaic fragments from Qumran to the Ethiopian collection1 Enoch.

To whatdegree — and where and when — did ancient Jews and Christians encounter1 En. Should we liken the compilation of Enochicwritings to the redactional growth of a book like Isaiah, to which parts wereconsecutively added? Or should we compare it to collections of discrete textswith common themes and concerns, such as the NT? As demonstrated by thereception-histories of closely related writings, such as Ezra, Nehemiah, andthe later Ezra apocalypses, there are many possibilities in between. On 1 Enoch as a Christian collection, see Black, Commentary, 11; cf. Even when authors seem to be referring to BW, it is impossible to ascertain the shape and scope of the book s that they knew.

This work, moreover, may have been transmitted in multiple forms. When we turn to examine the Christian use of the Book of the Watchers inChapters 4, 5, and 6, we encounter the excerption of portions whether from atext of 1 En. As is well known, Christian quotations of Jewish scriptureswere often drawn from testimonia. Although the Ecloga Chronographica is an authored product, itis thus no less anthological in character than 4QEnc,d,e, Codex Panopolitanus,and 1 Enoch, albeit in a different way.

In this, the redaction-history and reception-history of the Book of theWatchers are hardly unusual. There are profound differences between the pro-duction and reception of books in premodern and modern times. Although itsliterary growth stabilized around the third century bce, tradents continued tocopy and translate this text for centuries afterwards, anthologizing it togetherwith other writings and excerpting portions for inclusion in new works.

Thissustained period of literary activity is consistent with what we know of the65 Tov, Textual Criticism, 27—36, —95, — Similarly, the brief Latin quotation from BD 1 En. See Ch. This is evident, not only in the complex literaryhistories of other Second Temple Jewish texts transmitted by Christians, butalso in Jewish texts composed after 70 ce.

If anything, Rabbinic and post-Rabbinic Jewish literature is even more complex in this regard. Nevertheless, the dependence on source-collections shows that, even here, we cannot draw an absolute distinctionbetween the author, on the one hand, and the tradent, redactor, and antholo-gist, on the other.

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