restricted access Preface

From: 1 Enoch 1

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Preface 1 Enoch is a collection ofJewish apocalyptic traditions that date from the last three centuries before the Common Era. The collection is extant in its entirety only in an Ethiopic translation of a Greek translation of its Aramaic original. Although it is arguably the most importantJewish text of the Greco-Roman period , no scholar has written a full-blown critical commentary on the entire work since the first manuscripts of it were brought from Ethiopia in 1773. This volume and one to follow seek to fill this major gap in scholarship. My fresh English translation is supplied with a full apparatus of all significant variant readings in the Ethiopic manuscripts, the manuscripts that preserve parts of the Greek version, and the Qumran Aramaic fragments. The verse-by-verse commentary and excursuses treat major philological, literary, theological, and historical questions; and the synthetic introduction places the work in the broader context of Hellenism, contemporaryJudaism, and early Christianity. I have attempted to concretize those contexts through the prolific citation of parallel passages from Israelite, ancient Near Eastern, Greco-Roman, and early Christian literature. The index of these passages at the back of the volume offers scholars of earlyJudaism and Christianity some new vectors into the literature in which they are expert. Because of the length of 1 Enoch (roughly equivalent to the book of Isaiah) and the extraordinary time required for me to delve into this complex text, I have divided the commentary into two volumes. For literary reasons explained in the introduction (§3.1.2-3), I treat chaps. 1-36 and 81-108 in this first volume. In volume 2James VanderKam and I will discuss the rest, he the Book of the Luminaries (most of chaps. 72-82) and I the Book of Parables (chaps. 37-71). Work on that volume is already underway. In the near future we will publish our translation of the whole of 1 Enoch in the Hermeneia Supplements series. My NT colleagues may consider my deferral of a commentary on the Book of Parables an act of betrayal. After all, the Parables are where one can read all about the "Son of Man"-so central to early christology. I encourage them to read on; the apocalypticism of the earlier parts of 1 Enoch treated here is of great consequence for an understanding of the transition between late biblical Israelite religion and both first-centuryJudaism and early Christianity, as I argue in the various sections of my introduction. The Book of Parables and the figure of the Chosen One/ Son of Man are only one part of that picture. During the three decades in which I have occupied myself with this ancient text, I have accumulated many debts among the colleagues and friends from whom I have learned so much. I happily acknowledge these with gratitude and in the hope that this volume offers repayment. The opinions expressed here are, of course, solely my responsiblity. At a time when methodologies change quickly and the history of scholarship is subject to convenient amnesia, I mention three of my precedessors whom I would have liked to have met: Richard Laurence, who presented 1 Enoch to the Western world; and August Dillmann and R. H. Charles, whose prodigious scholarship xxiii xxiv firmly rooted 1 Enoch in the landscape of nineteenth- and twentieth-century biblical studies. In a course at Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) in 1960, Edgar Krentz first turned me loose on 1 Enoch. For one schooled in the Christian canonical Scriptures, it was an epiphanic experience-entering aJewish text that was at once so familiar and so strange. Life has never been the same. More than any one else, John Strugnell has been my mentor and colleague in the study of Enoch, sharing his broad knowledge and testing my own. He graciously offered to read the entire manuscript, and his numerous queries, comments, and corrections and our extensive conversations have made this a better book. ToJ. T. Milik I owe thanks for his brilliant identification and assembling of the Qumran Aramaic fragments that are indispensable for any modern treatment of this work. My one-time teacher, Frank Moore Cross, the chairman of the Hermeneia editorial board, invited me to write the commentary and has patiently awaited its incarnation. From the start, Klaus Baltzer has been my editor and has enthusiastically aided, abetted, and encouraged my work, offering many insightful suggestions. Over the years, I have profited from conversations and correspondence with my companions in the study of...


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