Book of Enoch

enoch-195x300The Book of Enoch is one of the oldest texts used by Manichaeans, pre-dating the flood. The Manichaean Church believes that Enoch was a Divine Messenger, equated with Hermes, also known as Hermes Trismegistus (Ἑρμῆς ὁ Τρισμέγιστος) – his name meaning “thrice-greatest Hermes.” In some texts, Enoch has been associated with Thoth.

While some modern day scholars claim the Book of Enoch may only have arrived on the scene about two hundred years after Gautama Buddha, Manichaeans believe the text derives from much earlier antiquity.

Other than Manichaeans, religious groups that consider the Book of Enoch to be canonical is the Religious Community of Orthodox Netzarim, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel), the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

The text is available in the Ge’ez language, with some Aramaic fragments within the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some fragments are also available in Greek and Latin. Most Ethiopian Christians believe the book was originally written in Ge’ez, however, Manichaean and secular scholars believe the book to have been written in Aramaic.

Parts of the Book of Giants, an apocryphal Jewish book and also viewed as canonical by Manichaeans, was worked into the later adaptation of the Book of Enoch and other texts as found in the Manichaean Holy Book of Light.


Photo: God took Enoch, as in Genesis 5:24: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for Good took him.” (English Standard Version) illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries