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orion Re: I (H)Enoch Chapter 108
To: Stephen Goranson and the Group
REF: Does Chapter 108 belong to 1 Henoch (Ethiopic) or is it an Addendum?
Chapter 108 of the Ethiopic Text of 1Henoch is famously problematical (both
textually and theologically). The original source-text may well have ended
at Chapter 107:3c. What follows after the end of Chapter 107( i.e. Chapter
108) is quite an elaborate insertion-patchwork of different styles and
viewpoints. It is best to try and first draw some preliminary conclusions
based on literary features before examining the theological anomalies in
the text as it stands today in the Ethiopic textus. There are no surviving
fragments of chapter 108 in the Dead Sea Scroll material yet uncovered or
positively identified, (but there do exist many rather large fragments from
other parts of I Henoch--mainly in a kind of early-Aramaic dialect).
To say that Chapter 108 should be regarded as a true part of (Ethiopic) 1
Henoch may be partially true, since portions of it (e.g. 108:4-7) may well
belong to earlier sections of the book and have for whatever reason become
dis-lodged from an original position which sometimes happens in ancient
manuscripts generally (cf: the story of the Woman caught in Adultery in the
4th Gospel which appears in different places in different text families of
the Greek MSS). Even though the present text of the Ethiopic 1 Henoch is
actually in the form of a "codex" (book) and not a "scroll", it was clearly
translated from an earlier Hebrew/Aramaic writing which almost certainly
was originally written on a scroll (or scrolls), and the peculiar feature
anomalies that surround "scroll texts" would therefore apply to this text
A careful study of the grammar of the Ethiopic Text of 1 Henoch Chapter 108
shows several "patches", where the language switches very abruptly (and
l. 3rd person singular (108:1)
2.to 2nd person plural (108:2)
3. to Imperative (2nd person plural) (108:3)
4. to 3rd person plural (108:3b)
5. to 1st person singular (108:4)
4. to 3rd person plural (108:7)
and so forth....clear indications that we are here dealing with a
conflation of "odd Henoch-like scraps" ( or originally
marginalia-insertions??) that were pieced together at the end of the
Ethiopic text--[perhaps the final editor of the MS of the Ethiopic could
not work it into the main body of his work?]. At any rate, the patches are
clearly out of coherent order both gramatically and logically. The fact
that they occur at the end of the text may be due to the fact that the
copyist had no other place to put these discrete fragments.
It seems that although a plausible "reconstruction" of some of the parts
can be attempted, it would be a little like trying to re-construct the
proverbial "pig" from the "sausage" as follows:
The end of Chapter 107 reads:
And when Methuselah had heard the words of his father Henoch (he revealed
to him everything in secret), he returned [home]. And he called the name of
that son [of his] Noah ("comfort") for it is he who will comfort the Earth
after the Destruction.
which is followed (in the Textus as it stands in the Ethiopic) by Chapter
"Another Book of Henoch--which he wrote down for his son Methuselah and for
those who will come after him observing the Torah in the last days...."
which already declares itself to be an insertion of some kind ("Another
boook of Henoch...") . If we link the gramatically-related passages in
chapter 108 together, they seem to form larger "patches" which were
inserted (rather clumsilly) into a text that may have originally read: (a)
107:3c + (b) 108:15c (= a formulaic scribal gloss to mark the end of the
(a) And he called the name of that son Noah, since he would comfort the
Earth after all the Destruction. + (b) Here endeth the Book of the
Revelation of the Secrets of Henoch."
INSERTION PATCH #1: ("Another book") seems to have been originally placed
AFTER the end of the Book of 1 Henoch as a "bridge" to another book in a
series (II Henoch? "The Book of Methuselah"?? The Book of Noah?) cf:
"Book of Seth", "Book of Adam", "Book of Giants", "Book of Noah"
(c) 108:1 + (d) 108:7 + (e)108:15 can be taken together fairly comfortably
(and are linked through a consistent grammar & thought pattern/logic
(c) Another Book of Henoch which he wrote down for his son Methuselah and
for those who would come after him observing the Torah in the Last Days.
(d) And some of these things were written and sealed in Heaven, so that
only the Angels can read the [things that were written] and shall know
therfore that which is about to befall the sinners, who are the spirits of
the ones who have erred, as well as those who had defiled their bodies, and
revenged themselves upon God, and who consorted with the evildoers. (e)
These [sinners] shall cry outloud and they shall see the Righteous being
resplendent-----they all shall go to the place which was prescribed for
them concerning the Days and the Seasons.
INSERTION PATCH #2 ("Then they shall see those in Darkness") seems to have
been the second (seems suspiciously like "marginalia") "insertion" which
was placed immediately after (e) above, which elaborates with concrete
details on the fate and nature of the Righteous and how they differ from
the Wicked: (f) 108: 14 + (g) 108:8-10 (This patch seems to echo the
passages contained in Ethiopic 1 Henoch chapters 57 and 58 and may have
formed part of those chapters)
(f) Then shall they see those who were born into Darkness being taken back
into the Darkness: while the Righteous ones shall be resplendent; + (g) who
are the ones who love God and have loved neither Gold nor Silver, nor all
the things of material-value in the world, but have given over their bodies
to tortures----who from the time of their very creation have not longed for
earthly food, but who regard themselves merely as breath that passes away.
INSERTION PATCH #3 ("These are the ones that witnessed...") uses "THE
LORD" as opposed to "GOD" which may denote a different source altogether
(or may be merely a scribal cambiata?); looks again like an additional
marginal gloss that found its way into the textus itself of the Ethiopic:
(h) These are they who observed all of these [things], the LORD having put
them through many tribulations: it was only then that He received the their
pure spirits, so that they should bless His Name [always].
INSERTION PATCH #4 (i) 1 Henoch 108:4-7 ("I also saw there something like
an invisible Cloud...") This patch do not seem to belong to Ethiopic 1
Henoch Chapter 108, but looks suspiciously as if it belongs to a section
earlier in the book (for example a logical fit for Patch #4 would be the
Ethiopic I Henoch 56:4b):
1 Henoch 56:4 And I asked the angel of Peace was walking with me, saying,
These who are holding nets, to whom are they going? And he said, [they are
going] to their Elect and Beloved Ones in order that they may be cast into
the crevices of the Abyss of the Valley. Theyn this valley shall be filled
with the Elect and Beloved Ones: and the era of their glory and the epoch
of their lives and the age of their leading others astray shall come to an
End, and shall not be reckoned at all.
(i) "I also saw there something like an invisible Cloud; and though
completely darkened, I could not behold the flame for its brightness was
consuming; and there were things like bright mountains which formed around
it as a ring; and were tossing it to and fro. And I asked one of the Holy
Angels with me: saying, What is this bright thing? For it is not a heaven,
but a flame of burning fire, and a voice weeping and lamenting and wailing
as if in agony. And he said unto me: This place which you see shall be
taken into it the spirits of the sinners, blasphemers and evil doers and
all those who alter the things that THE LORD [of spirits] has done through
the mouth of the Prophets, all of which must be fulfilled. "
INSERTION PATCH #5 (j) I Henoch 108:11-13a + (k) 1 Henoch 108:14 ("And I
have recorded in the Books all of their Blessings...") These patches seems
to belong to the end of Ethiopic 1 Henoch Chapter 61 following verse 13
which lists the various blessings of the spirits who have ascended into
Heaven and who praise the Elect One:
(I Henoch 61:12-13) "All the Vigilant Ones in Heaven shall bless him, all
the Elect Ones who dwell in the Garden of Life [shall bless him] and every
Spirit of Light that is capable of blessing, glorifying, extolling, and
sanctifying the Blessed Name [shall bless Him] and all Flesh shall glorify
and Bless [your] Name eith limitless Power for Ever. For the mercy of the
Lord of Spirits is great in Quantity, and he is long-suffering; All of his
works and all the dimensions of his Creation he has revealed to his
Righteous and Elect Ones in the name of the Lord of Spirits."
(j)" And behold, I have recounted in the Books all the Blessings [therein];
He has caused them to be recompensed for they wer all found to be lovers of
God more than the firey-desires of their eternal souls; and at the
self-same time that they were trodden down by evil persons, experiencing
abuse and evil-insults by them they still blessed us; so I shall summon
their Spirits, if they were born of the Light; and change those who were
born in Darkness---those whose bodies were not given the honour they
deserved for their faithfulness. I shall bring them into the bright Light,
all those who have loved my holy Name and seat them each one upon the
throne of his Honour, and they shall become resplendent for innumerable
ages + (k) Then they shall see those who were born in Darkness being taken
into Darkness, whilst the Righteous Ones shall remain resplendent."
INSERTION PATCH #6 (L) =1 Henoch 108:13b("for the Judgement of God is
Righteousness...") This seems to be another marginal gloss added to (j)
above, added almost as an afterthought; it contains a peculilar Theology of
granting "faith" to the dead ("those in their resting places"); it
interrupts the flow of (j) + (k) above.
(L) For the Judgement of God is Righteousness, because He will give
Faith---as well as the Paths of Truth---to the Faithful Ones in their
INSERTION PATCH #7 (m): I Henoch 108:2 ("You who have observed [the
Torah]..." The sudden change of voice to the 2nd person plural is abrupt
and un-natural, and seems to be a "floating passage" (among so many
floating passages observable in Ethiopic I Henoch). It seems to resemble
those passages in the 2nd person [plural] occurring in earlier sections of
the book: e.g. I Henoch 58:2 ("And I began to speak another parable,
concerning the Righteous and the Elect: Blessed are You, Righteous and
Elect Ones! For glorious is your portion!
+ (m) You who have observed the Torah shall wait patiently in all the days
until the time of those who work evil is complete, and the power of the
Evil Ones has passed away. ...
INSERTION PATCH #8 (n) I Henoch 108:3 ("As for you, wait patiently until
all sin passeth away...") is linked to the previous patch by subject ("sin
passing away") but is expressed in the "hortative" tense in Ethiopic,
equivalent to the Imperative Tense in modern English. The "hortative"
tense is fairly rare in the Ethiopic I Henoch (sometimes Angels like
Michael give commands to other angels, which makes use of the hortative;
or Enoch might instruct Methuselah using this tense but he is expecting
something that could be acted upon during his lifetime: There is no real
logical fit to place an Imperative Command to "wait patiently until sin
passeth away..." in the text since it seems to refer to a time after
Methuselah ("for those who will come after him") and seems directed to the
author's reading audience: (which may indicate a scribal marginal gloss
urging faith for the readers of the book):
(n) I Henoch 108:3 "As for you, wait patiently until sin passeth away,
for the names of [the sinners] shall be blotted out from the Book of Life
and the Books of the Holy One; their seed shall be destroyed forever and
their spirits shall die utterly; they shall cry and lament in a place that
is an invisible wilderness and burn in the fire----for there exists solid
ground there [as upon the earth].
The placement of (n) above may be due to link words (e.g. the word
"invisible" which occurs in I Henoch 108:4, the next verse in the Ethiopic
textus as it stands today).
NB: several of these "patches" seem to be placed in close proximity in the
final copy of the Ethiopic due to such link words. We see the same patten
emerging in, say, the gospel of Mark (9:49-50) where the word "salt" causes
three distinct sayings (spoken at different times and in wholly different
settings) to follow one after the other (l. For Every Sacrifice must be
salted with Salt; 2. Salt is useful, but what good is it when it loses its
flavour? 3. Have Salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another...).
Chapter 108 of the Ethiopic I Henoch is clearly a hotch-potch of marginalia
and displaced verses (as is the whole book in its present form in the
Ethiopic). Some of it certainly belongs to earlier portions of the book's
actual textus, and some of it bear the hallmarks of "pious marginalia" and
scribal "insertions" into a text that may well have ended at Chapter 107:3
and concluded with the formula: " Here endeth the Book of the Revelation of
the Secrets of Henoch."
I will address the Qumran parallels (whenever tenable) under separate
cover. Please respond to the group if you have any comments.
> From: stephen goranson[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> end of I Enoch is that book or another. Should chapter 108 be considered
> separately from 106-7 (as F. Garcia-Martinez; M. Black) or together (as
> Charlesworth. if I remember correctly)? Is one or the other (part of)
> "the/a Book of Noah"?
> Can we date chapter 108? Is it early Christian (as Milik?)? Is it
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