Introduction

From: 1 Enoch 2

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335 Introduction 1 “Trois mss. ne contiennent que la partie III, astronomique, mais dans une rédaction plus longue, plus détaillée et plus intelligible que celle de l’Hénoch éthiopien. Pourtant, vers la fin de cette section (ch. LXXVI–LXXIX), les deux textes redeviennent à peu près identiques” (“Le travail d’édition des fragments manuscrits de Qumrân,” RB 63 [1956] 60 [the article, written by the members of the international committee for scrolls work, was submitted in 1955]). See also Milik, “Le travail d’édition des manuscrits du désert de Juda,” in Volume du Congrès: Strasbourg 1956 (VTSup 4; Leiden: Brill, 1957) 24. 2 J. T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea (SBT 26; London: SCM, 1959) 33 = Dix ans de découvertes dans le Désert de Juda (Paris: Cerf, 1957) 31. 3 As we will see, even in the material for these chapters there are substantial differences between the Aramaic and Ethiopic versions. 4 Milik, Ten Years, 34 (= Dix ans, 31). Because of the special problems posed by the textual witnesses for an Enochic astronomical work, the manu­ script evidence will be addressed first. The textual section is followed by a literary analysis and a treatment of the historical setting of the work. 1.0 The Textual Situation 1.1. The Astronomical Book of Enoch (Aramaic) For the purposes of this commentary, the Aramaic work that is associated with Enoch and that deals with the heavenly bodies and related topics will be designated the Astronomical Book. The Ethiopic text that is indirectly—via a Greek intermediary stage—based on the Aramaic work but differs significantly from it will be termed the Book of the Luminaries. In this section the evidence regarding the Aramaic work will be adduced. Some of the major advances in recent times in the study of the Enochic literature have resulted from the availability of ancient copies preserved in Aramaic, the earliest language for such compositions. 1.1.1. Discoveries and Early Reports J. T. Milik, who was responsible for identifying the Aramaic copies of various sections of the Enoch literature, was the scholar to whom they were assigned for editing and publication. Qumran cave 4 was located and excavated in August–September 1952, and by 1955 Milik was able to report: “Three mss. contain only the third—astronomical—part but in a version longer, more detailed, and more intelligible than the one in the Ethiopic Enoch. Toward the end of the section (chaps. 76–79), however, the two texts become almost identical.”1 In a publication dated to 1957, he was able to write about four copies of the astronomical section of Enoch. After noting that the versions of other parts of 1 Enoch had more faithfully translated and preserved the original text, he observed regarding the astronomical work: “The latter is represented by four Aramaic manuscripts from Cave IV, which provide a clearer and more intelligible text than that hitherto available.”2 By this point, then, it was clear that there were four manuscripts containing astronomical material written in the Aramaic language and that there were marked differences between the text preserved in these copies and that of the Ethiopic version. Only in chaps. 76–79 were the two nearly identical.3 In his introductory book about the Qumran discoveries, Milik offered a hypothesis to account for the differences. The secondcentury Jewish Christian writer who, on his view, composed the Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) had organized the compositions of Enoch into a pentateuch. He “copied the Journey, the Visions and the Apocalypse of Weeks as he found them, but the astronomical treatise, which was of less interest to him, he condensed in a way that leaves it scarcely intelligible. His purpose was to set forth his speculations on the Son of Man, and to clothe them with the renowned Patriarch’s authority.”4 That is, a simple lack of interest on the part of the compiler led to a major textual abbreviation of the tedious astronomical booklet. VanderKam_introduction.indd 335 8/10/2011 7:32:33 AM 336 5 J. T. Milik, “Hénoch au pays des aromates (ch. xxvii à xxxii): Fragments araméens de la grotte 4 de Qumrân,” RB 65 (1958) 76. At the time he designated the two copies 4QHen astra,c but said that the sigla were provisional. The first of the two was later to be called 4QEnastrb . 6 Ibid. He added that, while...


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