Preface

From: 1 Enoch 2

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

1 Enoch 72–82 The Book of the Luminaries VanderKam_introduction.indd 333 8/9/2011 7:21:58 PM In 1989 George Nickelsburg invited me to write the commentary on 1 Enoch 72–82 to be published as part of the second volume of his monumental Hermeneia commentary on 1 Enoch. Since I had worked with the text before and, as I found it intriguing, had written several publications on it, including Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition, I accepted his invitation. Work on the commentary had to take a back seat to publication of the cave 4 texts from Qumran during the 1990s and the early years of the new millennium, but that was not a problem because Nickelsburg was working on the first volume of his commentary, which appeared in 2001. He planned to turn to the Similitudes or Parables of Enoch after that. The bulk of my work on the commentary took place from 2005 to 2008. The delay was advantageous in a way because publication of the Aramaic fragments of the Astronomical Book was not completed until 2000, when DJD 36 appeared with the first full editions of 4Q208–209.   Since I completed work on the commentary in early 2008, a couple of important studies of the astronomical material in 1 Enoch have been prepared. The revised form of Jonathan Ben-Dov’s Hebrew dissertation appeared under the title Head of All Years in 2008; I have been able to work references to the book into the commentary, often where there are also references to the 2005 dissertation. Henryk Drawnel, who had contributed a very important essay elucidating the system for presenting the data regarding the monthly visibility of the moon in 4Q208– 209, has now written a lengthy and impressive study of the Aramaic fragments to which he has given the title The Aramaic Astronomical Book (4Q208–4Q209) from Qumran: Text, Translation and Commentary (forthcoming from Oxford University Press). I had given Drawnel an earlier draft of my commentary when he spent the fall term of 2007 at the University of Notre Dame, and he refers to it frequently in his manuscript. He has returned the favor by allowing me to use a copy of his forthcoming book. I have been able to incorporate some references to it into the final form of the commentary. I have benefited from conversations with both Ben-Dov and Drawnel, as we discussed the astronomical material in 1 Enoch and in the Qumran scrolls. I also wish to thank Drawnel for the invitation to participate in a conference at the University of Lublin in the fall of 2009 and for his gracious hosting of my visit to Poland. I should stress that his forthcoming book is primarily a study of the Aramaic fragments and their Mesopotamian backgrounds, although he considers the Ethiopic texts where relevant. My commentary is based on the Ethiopic text, while it adduces the Aramaic evidence (and Mesopotamian background) where it is pertinent.   The University of Notre Dame and the Department of Theology, chaired by John Cavadini, have provided wonderful contexts in which to do research, and several leaves contributed immeasurably to my ability to complete the commentary. I am most grateful for the privilege to be a member of the faculty here. A number of individuals at Notre Dame have helped me along the way. My thanks are due to Professor Terrence Rettig (the Physics Department at the University of Notre Dame) who allowed me to sit in on his course Physics 110: Descriptive Astronomy—a wonderful introduction to a fascinating subject. Several doctoral students at Notre Dame assisted with various aspects of the work. Stephàne Saulnier read and discussed with me a number of aspects of the commentary on 1 Enoch 72–82, especially some of the problems in chap. 74. Molly Zahn helped with the research, and Ardea Russo and Kevin Healy subjected a penultimate form of the manuscript to careful readings. Chris Brinks Rea did extensive editorial work with the bibliography, and Todd Hanneken and Brad Gregory came to the rescue when electronic problems arose. My sincere thanks are extended to each of them. I am also grateful to Professors Steven Kaufman, Eibert Tigchelaar, and Daniel Assefa for e-mail answers to questions that I posed to them. At the proofreading stage Monica Brady and Sarah Schreiber provided an immense amount of assistance, and they also prepared the indexes for my part of the volume. I am most grateful...