[Page 305]Abstract: In this article, we offer a general critique of scholarship that has argued for Joseph Smith’s reliance on 1 Enoch or other ancient pseudepigrapha for the Enoch chapters in the Book of Moses. Our findings highlight the continued difficulties of scholars to sustain such arguments credibly. Following this general critique, we describe the current state of research relating to what Salvatore Cirillo took to be the strongest similarity between Joseph Smith’s chapters on Enoch and the Qumran Book of Giants — namely the resemblance between the name Mahawai in the Book of Giants and Mahujah/Mahijah in Joseph Smith’s Enoch account. We conclude this section with summaries of conversations of Gordon C. Thomasson and Hugh Nibley with Book of Giants scholar Matthew Black about these names. Next, we explain why even late and seemingly derivative sources may provide valuable new evidence for the antiquity of Moses 6–7 or may corroborate details from previously known Enoch sources. By way of example, we summarize preliminary research that compares passages in Moses 6–7 to newly available ancient Enoch texts from lesser known sources. We conclude with a discussion of the significance of findings that situate Joseph Smith’s Enoch account in an ancient milieu. Additional work is underway to provide a systematic and detailed analysis of ancient literary affinities in Moses 6–7, including an effort sponsored by Book of Mormon Central in collaboration with The Interpreter Foundation.
Both in the expansive nature of its content and the eloquence of its expression, Terryl and Fiona Givens consider the account of Enoch in chapters 6 and 7 of the Book of Moses as perhaps the “most remarkable religious document published in the nineteenth century.”2 It was produced early in Joseph Smith’s ministry — in fact in the same year as the publication of the Book of Mormon — as part of a divine commission to “retranslate” the Bible.3 Writing the account of Enoch appears to have occupied a few days of the Prophet’s attention sometime between 30 November and 31 December 1830.
According to Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Joseph Smith’s “Book of Enoch” provides “eighteen times as many column inches about Enoch … than we have in the few verses on him in the Bible. Those scriptures not only contain greater quantity [than the Bible] but also … contain … [abundant] new material about Enoch on which the Bible is silent.”4 Current scholarship casts doubt on the assertion that this new material was derived from deep study of the scriptures5 or absorbed in significant measure from Masonic or hermetical influences.6 Hence, the most common naturalistic explanation for the account is that Joseph Smith drew the major themes in the Latter-day Saint stories of Enoch from exposure to ancient Enoch manuscripts from outside the Bible.7
[Page 307]Of these Enoch manuscripts, the best-known is 1 Enoch, a Jewish compilation of five originally separate books thought to have been written between about 200 BCE and 100 CE. 1 Enoch is one of the most important Jewish works of pseudepigrapha, highly valued in the early Christian community and explicitly8 (and implicitly9) cited in New Testament epistles. However, apart from the shared prominence of selected themes in its Book of Parables (in particular a “Son of Man” motif), there are relatively few specific and unique resemblances to Moses 6–7, especially considering the great length of 1 Enoch. Commonalities of equal or perhaps greater interest are also to be found in 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch (e.g., detailed descriptions of Enoch’s heavenly ascent and its characterization of the prophet as a “lad”) as well as the Aramaic Book of Giants (particularly the stories of Enoch’s preaching mission and his battles with formidable adversaries). In addition, scattered passages in late Jewish and Islamic documents provide unique correspondences and sometimes corroborate earlier Enoch sources. Yet none of these sources, except Richard Laurence’s 1821 English translation of 1 Enoch, were published in English prior to Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Moses.
Pioneering insights on the relationship between ancient Enoch writings and the Book of Moses can be found in the writings of Hugh W. Nibley, who wrote a series of articles on the subject for the Ensign magazine in 1975–1977. Unfortunately, Nibley received one of the most important manuscripts relevant to his study — Józef Milik and Matthew Black’s 1976 publication of the first English translation of the Book of Giants — only days before the publication deadline for the last article in the series.10 As a result, of the more than 300 pages Nibley devoted to Enoch in the volume that gathered his writings on the subject, only a relative handful were dedicated to these significant Aramaic “Enoch” fragments.11 Regrettably, after Nibley completed his initial research for the Ensign articles, he turned his attention to other subjects and never again took up a sustained study of the relationships between Moses 6–7 and ancient writings on Enoch.
In collaboration with David J. Larsen, Bradshaw published a verse- by-verse commentary on Moses 6–7 that includes extensive discussion of related themes in Enoch pseudepigrapha, including the Book of Giants. In the present article, we do not attempt to duplicate what has already been written on this subject.12 Rather, our intent is to summarize and update selected findings from the previous study.
Could Joseph Smith Have Borrowed from 1 Enoch?
As a starting point for the answer to this question, we observe that since Joseph Smith was well aware that the biblical book of Jude explicitly quotes 1 Enoch,14 the most obvious thing he could have done to bolster his case for the authenticity of the Book of Moses (if he were a conscious deceiver) would have been to include the relevant verses from Jude somewhere within his revelations on Enoch. But this the Prophet did not do.
[Page 309]As a second anchor point, the question also requires that we assess the likelihood that Joseph Smith knew about the 1821 publication of Laurence’s translation of 1 Enoch. In his 2010 master’s thesis from Durham University, Salvatore Cirillo15 cites and amplifies the arguments of Michael Quinn,16 arguing that the available evidence that the Prophet had access to this translation of 1 Enoch has moved “beyond probability — to fact.” He sees no other explanation for the substantial similarities that he finds between the Book of Moses and the pseudepigraphal Enoch literature.17 However, Cirillo’s confidence is at odds with the views of other scholars who have addressed this issue.
For example, as a result of his study of the potential availability to the Prophet of the 1821 printing of 1 Enoch, renowned Latter-day Saint historian Richard L. Bushman concluded:18 “It is scarcely conceivable that Joseph Smith knew of Laurence’s Enoch translation.”19
Because Joseph Smith’s access to the 1821 printing is unlikely, some scholars have argued that he may have seen a purported 1828 American edition of the work. However, Yakov Ben Tov (online pseudonym) has shown that the arguments of Michael Quinn and Salvatore Cirillo concerning this 1828 American printing are flawed in at least two major respects:20
- “Cirillo badly misquotes Quinn as stating that the supposed 1828 printing happened in America. Not only does Quinn not say that, the National Union Catalog says explicitly that it was Oxford.”
- “It is unlikely that there was an 1828 publication of Laurence’s translation of the Book of Enoch at all.” “An editor must have mistakenly read 1838 as 1828 when the entries were made for publication.”
Moreover, even if 1 Enoch had been available to the Prophet, a study by Latter-day Saint historian Jed Woodworth concludes that the principal themes of “Laurence’s 105 translated chapters do not resemble Joseph Smith’s Enoch in any obvious way.”21
An exception to this rule is 1 Enoch’s Book of Parables, which holds special interest for students of the Book of Moses.22 Notably, both books describe heavenly ascents of Enoch that include visions with a central figure and a common set of titles. For instance, the title “Son of Man,” which is a notable feature of the Book of Parables,23 appears in marked density throughout Enoch’s grand vision in the Book of Moses.24 Remarkably, the titles “Chosen One,”25 “Anointed One,”26 and “Righteous One”27 also appear prominently in both texts.
Consistent with the conclusions of Enoch scholars George W. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam about the use of these multiple titles in the Book of Parables,29 the Book of Moses applies them all to a single individual.30 Moreover, Moses 6:57 gives a single, specific description of the role of the Son of Man as a “righteous judge.”31 According to Nickelsburg and VanderKam,32 this conception is highly characteristic of the Book of Parables, where the primary role of the Son of Man is also that of a judge. Chapters 70–71 close the Book of Parables by describing Enoch being hidden from those on earth, ascending to heaven, acquiring all of the knowledge of the secrets of heaven, and experiencing a vision of the angels and others dwelling with God. In somewhat of a surprise ending, Enoch is declared to be the Son of Man — or perhaps, more descriptively and in line with modern scripture, a Son of Man.33
[Page 311]Aside from the shared prominence of the “Son of Man” and related motifs in the Book of Parables (a section of 1 Enoch) and the Book of Moses, only a few significant and unique parallels have been identified between the two Enoch chapters of the Book of Moses and the sizable text of 1 Enoch.34 Besides the contrast in emphasis in the two books, there is a significant difference in tone. After careful comparison of 1 Enoch and Moses 6–7, Woodworth succinctly states: “Same name, different voice.”35 Similarly, in Ben Tov’s review of the evidence, he concludes: “the literary connections between Moses 6–8 and 1 Enoch are in my opinion very loose, and more time and attention should be placed elsewhere.”36
In summary, ongoing research has shown that it is not only improbable but also off the mark to conclude that 1 Enoch served as the primary inspiration for Joseph Smith’s writings about Enoch. In spite of all the spilled ink spent on 1 Enoch, more striking affinities are found in other pseudepigrapha, such as 2 Enoch, 3 Enoch, and the Qumran Book of Giants.
Could Joseph Smith Have Borrowed
from Other Enoch Pseudepigrapha?
Reflecting the trend of some scholars to look beyond 1 Enoch for potential sources of Joseph Smith’s Enoch accounts, Latter-day Saint scholar Cheryl L. Bruno, in a 2014 article in the Journal of Religion and Society,37 attempts to make the case that Jewish Enoch traditions, mediated by Masonic accounts that Joseph Smith presumably encountered, significantly influenced Moses 6–7. In support of her claims, she points out that in addition to 1 Enoch and other Jewish sources, there are similarities in 2 Enoch and the Book of Moses Enoch in “Enoch’s call to preach”38 and his divine transfiguration.39 She also cites 3 Enoch in relation to Enoch’s enthronement.40 Surprisingly (and disappointingly), apart from making brief reference to Enoch as a scribe for divine tablets,41 she does not mention the prominent and unique resemblances between Moses 6–7 and the Aramaic Book of Giants.
The fragmentary Book of Giants has proven to be of tremendous importance to Enoch scholarship, in part because it is arguably the oldest extant Enoch manuscript.42 Although fragments of the Book of Giants had been found previously in the writings of Mani, its discovery at Qumran as part of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” showed that its composition “is at least five hundred years [earlier] than previously thought.”43 Thus it helps us “to reconstruct the literary shape of the early stages of the Enochic tradition.”44
[Page 312]Note that the term “giants” in the title Book of Giants is misleading.45 Actually, the book describes two different groups of individuals, referred to in Hebrew as the gibborim and the nephilim. In discussing Enoch’s mission among the gibborim, it is probably more appropriate to read the term with its customary biblical connotation of mighty hero or warrior rather than as “giant.”46 Later, the terms gibborim and nephilim (the latter term originally used to refer to what seems to have been a remnant of a race of “giants”) seem to have been erroneously equated in some contexts.47 Consistent with this distinction between these two groups of people, Joseph Smith, in his Enoch account, specifically differentiated “giants” (nephilim?) from Enoch’s primary adversaries (gibborim?).48
Although the combined fragments of the Book of Giants scarcely fill three pages in the English translation of Martinez,49 we find in it the most concentrated and extensive series of parallels between a single ancient text and Joseph Smith’s account of Enoch’s teaching mission and subsequent battles with the gibborim. These resemblances range from general themes in the story line (secret works, murders, visions, earthly and heavenly books of remembrance that evoke fear and trembling, moral corruption, hope held out for repentance, and the eventual defeat of Enoch’s adversaries in battle — ending with their utter destruction and imprisonment) to specific occurrences of rare expressions in corresponding contexts (the reference to a “wild man,” the name and parallel role of Mahijah/Mahujah, and the “roar of the wild beasts”).
With respect to resemblances between the Aramaic Book of Giants fragments and the Manichaean Book of Giants materials, Loren T. Stuckenbruck observes: “Given the very different geographical, socio-religious, and ideological context” it is “all the more remarkable that there can be any overlap in content at all.”50 This observation applies even more convincingly when comparisons are made between the Aramaic Book of Giants and the account of Enoch in the Book of Moses.
With respect to two of the entries in Figure 4, we note recent research on the description of a war scene in the Book of Giants that includes references to a “wild man” and “the roar of wild beasts.” These two terms resonate with the people’s (sarcastic) description of Enoch in the Book of Moses as a “wild man” (Moses 6:38) and a puzzling phrase that appears later in the account, “the roar of the lions” (Moses 7:13). While earlier Book of Giants translations sometimes contained only one or the other of the two terms of significance, there is increasing consensus [Page 313]that both terms are present in the original manuscript.51 As a plausible explanation for why the terms “wild man” and “wild beast/lion” should appear in close proximity within the Book of Giants, Brian R. Doak’s sociolinguistic analysis, made independently of the new advances in translation, deliberately conflates the “potentially distinct categories of the ‘elite adversary’ and the ‘elite animal’ in order to highlight the correspondence between elite military victory against a prestige animal (lion) and the defeat of an Egyptian giant in 1 Chronicles 11:22–23.”52
|Event||Book of Moses||Book of Giants|
|Secret works and murders||6:15||1Q23, 6+14+15:2–4|
|A “wild man”||6:38||4Q530, 22:8|
|Mahijah/Mahawai questions Enoch||6:40||4Q530, 2:20–23|
|Enoch reads record of deeds||6:46–47||4Q203, 8:1–11|
|Trembling/weeping after Enoch reads||6:47||4Q203, 4:6|
|Call to repentance||6:52||4Q203, 8:14–15|
|Conceived in sin||6:55||4Q203, 8:6–9|
|Enoch defeats gibborim||7:13||4Q531, 22:3–7|
|The “roar of wild beasts”||7:13||4Q531,22:8|
|Imprisonment of gibborim||7:38||4Q203, 7B 1:553|
While Bruno omitted discussion of important parallels with the Aramaic Enoch in her discussion, Cirillo did not let the significant resemblances between Book of Giants and Moses 6–7 go unnoticed. Indeed, he argued in strong terms in his master’s thesis that Joseph Smith must have known about this ancient Enoch text. Cirillo writes:55
Nibley’s own point that Mahujah and Mahijah from the [Book of Moses] share their name with Mahawai in the [Book of Giants] is further evidence that influence [from pseudepigraphal books of Enoch] occurred [in Joseph Smith’s Enoch writings]. And additional proof of Smith’s knowledge of the [Book of Giants] is evidenced by his use of the codename Baurak Ale.
[Page 314]What goes conspicuously unmentioned in Cirillo’s arguments for the influence of Enoch pseudepigrapha on Moses 6–7 is that, apart from 1 Enoch, none of the significant Jewish Enoch manuscripts were available in an English translation during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. It is baffling that Cirillo’s strongest arguments for the Prophet’s having been influenced by these ancient works comes from the Qumran Book of Giants — a work that was not discovered until 1948! Cirillo never attempts to explain how a manuscript that was unknown until the mid- twentieth century could have influenced the account of Enoch in the Book of Moses, written in 1830.
Bruno takes a different route than Cirillo, arguing that resemblances to ancient Jewish pseudepigrapha in Joseph Smith’s Enoch writings were mediated to an important degree by (as it is argued) the Prophet’s early exposure to the traditions of Freemasonry. However, it should be remembered that, as Bruno’s own article demonstrates, the most numerous, significant, and specific echoes of antiquity in the Book of Moses are not found in the secondary Masonic literature she cites but rather in the primary Jewish traditions themselves.
This is not to say that the rituals, ideas, and ideals of Freemasonry were not important to Joseph Smith, particularly after he became institutionally involved during the Nauvoo period from 1839 onward.56 What is important is that one must not overstate resemblances with Freemasonry while understating more relevant and specific affinities to ancient traditions not present in Freemasonry — thus making proverbial molehills into mountains while reducing mountains to molehills.
In summary, it would have been virtually impossible for Joseph Smith in 1830 to have been aware of the most important resemblances to ancient literature in his Enoch revelations. Other than the limited and typically loose parallels found in 1 Enoch (which, as discussed previously, was unlikely to have been available to Joseph Smith), the texts that would have been required for a modern author to derive significant parts of Moses 6–7 had neither been discovered by Western scholars nor translated into English. Even if relevant Masonic traditions had been available to Joseph Smith by 1830, they would not have provided the Prophet with the suite of specific and sometimes peculiar details that are shared by Moses 6–7 and pseudepigrapha like 2 Enoch, 3 Enoch, and the Book of Giants.
Could Joseph Smith Have Borrowed “Mahijah/Mahujah”
from the Book of Giants?
In this section, we summarize recent updates to research concerning the name “Mahawai,” considered by Cirillo to be the strongest similarity between Joseph Smith’s chapters on Enoch and the Qumran Book of Giants. Although the discussion summarized below has not substantively changed from what Bradshaw has already argued elsewhere, new contributions in the endnotes from David Calabro and Matthew L. Bowen shed further light on details of these similarities.
The Name and Role of Mahawai in the Book of Giants
Cirillo, drawing upon the similar conclusions of Stuckenbruck,60 considers the names of the gibborim, notably including Mahawai, as “the most conspicuously independent content” in the Book of Giants, being “unparalleled in other Jewish literature.” Moreover, according to Cirillo, “the name Mahawai in the [Book of Giants] and the names Mahujah [Page 316]and Mahijah in the [Book of Moses] represent the strongest similarity between the [LDS revelations on Enoch] and the [pseudepigraphal books of Enoch] (specifically the [Book of Giants]).” Remember that this argument comes from a scholar arguing against the authenticity of Joseph Smith’s revelations by claiming that the (earlier) Book of Moses Enoch account was influenced by the (later) Aramaic Book of Giants.
In Joseph Smith’s story of Enoch, Mahijah appears out of nowhere, as the only named character in the account besides Enoch himself:
And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest? (Moses 6:40)
In the Book of Moses, the name “Mahijah” appears a second time in a different form, namely “Mahujah.”61 Also, in the Masoretic Hebrew text of the Bible, the variants MḤYY [= Mahija-] and MḤWY [= Mahuja-] both appear in a single verse (with the suffix “-el”) as references to the same person, namely “Mehuja-el.”62 Because the King James translation renders both variants of the Hebrew name identically in English, Joseph Smith would have had to access and interpret the Hebrew text to see that there were two versions of the name. But there is no evidence that he or anyone else associated with the translation of Moses 6–7 knew how to read Hebrew at that time or, for that matter, even had access to a Hebrew Bible.
Even if someone were to claim that Joseph Smith became aware of these two variants by examining the Hebrew text, it would still be difficult to explain why, assuming that he did indeed possess this information, the Prophet would have chosen not to normalize the two variant versions of the name into a single version in the Book of Moses, as is almost always done in translations of Genesis 4:18. Instead, each of the attested variants of the name is included in the Book of Moses in appropriate contexts, preserving both ancient traditions. Moreover, Joseph Smith’s versions of the name omit the suffix “-el,”63 thus differing from the Hebrew text of the Bible and instead according appropriately with its Dead Sea Scrolls64 equivalent in the Book of Giants.
Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that there are intriguing similarities between Mahijah in Joseph Smith’s Book of Moses and [Page 317]Mahawai in the Book of Giants, not only in their names but also in their respective roles. Hugh Nibley observes:65
The only thing the Mahijah in the Book of Moses is remarkable for is his putting of bold direct questions to Enoch. … And this is exactly the role, and the only role, that the Aramaic Mahujah plays in the story.
In the Book of Giants, we read the report of a series of dreams that troubled the gibborim. The dreams “may symbolize the destruction of all but Noah and his sons by the Flood.”66 In an impressive correspondence to the questioning of Enoch by Mahijah in the Book of Moses, the gibborim send Mahawai to “consult Enoch in order to receive an authoritative interpretation of the visions.”67 In the Book of Giants, we read:68
[Then] all the [gibborim] [and the nephilim] … called to Mahawai and he came to them. They implored him and sent him to Enoch [the celebrated scribe],69 and they said to him: “Go … and tell him to [explain] and interpret the dream.”
Cirillo comments: “The emphasis that [Joseph] Smith places on Mahijah’s travel to Enoch is eerily similar to the account of Mahawai to Enoch in the [Book of Giants].”70
In conclusion, it is remarkable that both the similar name and role of Mahawai/Mahijah are preserved in both the Book of Giants and the Book of Moses. Going further, Stuckenbruck observes the same pattern of preservation in Chinese Manichaean fragments of the Book of Giants, which include several other names that are, for one reason or another, significantly altered. Especially given the potential for “instances in which onomastic changes (e.g., characters’ names) may have been due to the change of the language media,” he is impressed with the “straightforward correspondence between the name(s) Mahawai in the Manichaean texts and Mahaway in the Aramaic [Book of Giants], in which the character, acting in a mediary role, encounters Enoch ‘the scribe.'”71 This confluence of resemblances in both name and role witnesses the importance of this character across three versions of the text, separated by vast distances in time, culture, and geography.
Matthew Black’s Explanation for “Mahujah” in the Book of Moses
The only attempt of which we are aware to explain how a manuscript discovered in 1948 could have influenced a work of scripture translated in 1830 comes from remembrances by two individuals about the well- known Aramaic scholar Matthew Black, who collaborated with Józef Milik in the first translation of the fragments of the Book of Giants into English in 1976. Black was approached by doctoral candidate Gordon C. Thomasson after a guest lecture at Cornell University, during a year that Black spent at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton (1977–1978).73 According to Thomasson’s account:74
I asked Professor Black if he was familiar with Joseph Smith’s Enoch text. He said he was not but was interested. He first asked if it was identical or similar to 1 Enoch. I told him it was not and then proceeded to recite some of the correlations Dr. Nibley had shown with Milik and Black’s own and others’ Qumran and Ethiopic Enoch materials. He became quiet. When I got to [Page 319]Mahujah (Moses 7:2), he raised his hand in a “please pause” gesture and was silent.
Finally, he acknowledged that the place-name Mahujah could not have come from 1 Enoch. He then formulated an hypothesis, consistent with his lecture, that a member of one of the esoteric groups he had described previously [i.e., clandestine groups who had maintained, sub rosa, a religious tradition based in the writings of Enoch that pre-dated Genesis] must have survived into the 19th century, and hearing of Joseph Smith, must have brought the group’s Enoch texts to New York from Italy for the prophet to translate and publish.
At the end of our conversation he expressed an interest in seeing more of Hugh’s work. I proposed that Black should meet with Hugh, gave him the contact info, and he contacted Hugh the same day, as Hugh later confirmed to me, and soon made a previously unplanned trip to Provo, where he met with Hugh for some time, and also gave a public guest lecture but, as I was told, in that public forum would not entertain questions on Moses.
Hugh Nibley also recorded an account of his interactions with Matthew Black during the latter’s 1977 visit to BYU. The account included a conversation with Black that apparently occurred near the end of the visit. Nibley asked Black if he had an explanation for the appearance of the name Mahujah in the Book of Moses, and reported his answer as follows: “Well, someday we will find out the source that Joseph Smith used.”75
Newly Available Enoch Sources
In 2018, John C. Reeves and Annette Yoshiko Reed published the first volume of their book series entitled Enoch from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.76 This volume makes available in English many little-known texts about Enoch from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic sources. The following section summarizes preliminary research comparing passages in Moses 6–7 to newly available sources in the volume by Reeves and Reed, including the notable mention of a character that seems to corroborate the prominent role of Mahawai in the Aramaic Book of Giants and of Mahujah/Mahijah in Moses 6–7. Like the ancient Enoch sources we have discussed earlier, none of these newly available sources would have been accessible when Joseph Smith translated the Book of Moses.
[Page 320]Most of the Enoch manuscripts we highlight below are relatively late and in some instances may have been preserved largely through oral rather than written traditions. That being the case, one might legitimately question whether such texts could preserve early Enoch traditions with any degree of accuracy. Therefore, before discussing these new findings, we summarize the reasons why Enoch sources of relatively late provenance might still contain unique information that stretches back deeper into antiquity.
Do Late, Secondary Sources Ever Preserve Ancient Traditions?
Recent scholarship has increasingly recognized the importance of the role of oral transmission in the preservation of religious traditions later normalized by scribes — both with respect to the Bible77 and, perhaps, to the Book of Mormon.78 It should also be noted that vestiges of otherwise lost oral tradition79s are frequently included in extracanonical sources.80 Significantly, these latter writings rarely if ever constitute de novo accounts. Rather, they tend to incorporate diverse traditions of varying value and antiquity in ways that make it difficult to tease out the contribution each makes to the whole.81 As a result, even relatively late documents rife with midrashic speculations unattested elsewhere,82 unique Islamic assertions,83 or seemingly fantastic Christian interpolations84 may sometimes preserve fragments of authentically inspired principles, history, or doctrine, or may otherwise bear witness of legitimate exegetically derived85 or ritually transmitted86 realities.
Arguing specifically for the possibility that Jewish scholars in the Middle Ages might have “back borrowed” previously neglected early Enoch texts, Annie Yoshiko Reed explains:87
This renewed interest in Enoch and his books [in medieval Judaism] forms part of a broader pattern within Jewish literature, whereby Second Temple texts and traditions rejected or otherwise not attested in the Rabbinic literature of Late Antiquity reemerge anew in post-Talmudic sources. This phenomenon remains much noted but still understudied. Nevertheless, it certainly undermines the common scholarly narrative, popularized in part by Charles and other early scholars of 1 Enoch, whereby the apocalyptic and related creativity of Second Temple Judaism is purported to have been totally abandoned in post-70 Judaism and bears fruit only within Christianity. In some cases, what we see in these medieval Jewish materials may be Second Temple traditions that developed in the interim outside of Rabbinic circles [Page 321]and/ or within the Jewish magical tradition. Other cases may reflect instances of “back-borrowing” whereby learned Jews in the Middle Ages reencountered pre-Christian Jewish texts and traditions that had been transmitted by Christians or others (e.g., as most famously with Josephus and the medieval Hebrew Yosippon). It is certainly intriguing that the same sources in which other evidence of such “back-borrowing” clusters, such as the Chronicle of Yerahmeel (which knew Yosippon and perhaps Pseudo- Philo LAB) and the writings of R. Moshe ha-Darshan (which include intriguing parallels with Jubilees and other “pseudepigrapha”), traditions about Enoch are prominent as well. It is in this Hebrew Chronicle and in R. Moshe ha-Darshan’s Bereshit Rabbati (11th c.), for instance, that we find not just motifs that echo earlier Enochic texts and traditions but also extensive material paralleling the Enochic Book of the Giants (ca. 2nd c. BCE) now known in Aramaic from the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Before giving brief summaries of new findings from the Reeves and Reed volume, we discuss two examples of unique and corroborating resemblances from late texts in more detail.
Example of a unique resemblance. Sometimes a given resemblance to the Book of Moses Enoch account may be unique in the extant Enoch literature. Joseph Smith’s Enoch is promised that he will manifest God’s power in his words and actions. Specifically, he is told that “the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course” (Moses 6:34).
Later in the Book of Moses we read the fulfillment of this promise: “So great was the faith of Enoch that … the rivers of water were turned out of their course” (Moses 7:13). Enoch’s experience in the Book of Moses can be profitably compared to this Enoch account from the Mandaean Ginza:88
The [Supreme] Life replied, Arise, take thy way to the source of the waters, turn it from its course. … At this command Tauriel indeed turned the sweet water from its course.
We find no account of a river’s course turned by anyone in the Bible. However, such a story appears in this pseudepigraphal account and in its counterpart in modern scripture — in both instances within a story of Enoch.
Example of a corroboration of previously known resemblances. In other cases, late texts may corroborate or provide additional details about Enoch traditions in more ancient accounts. We find such examples [Page 322]in the Reeves and Reed publication of extracts from Pseudo-Mas’ūdī’s Akhbār al-zamān wa-min abādat al-hidthān, wa-‘ajā’ib al-buldān, wa’l-ghāmir bi-al-mā’ wa’l-‘imrān,89 where a variant of Mahawai/Mahujah/Mahijah appears as the name of a king — namely, Yamaḥuel — who commanded that Enoch be put to death.90
Reeves and Reed take Yamaḥuel to be an intended reference to the biblical Mehujael,91 a name whose relationship to Mahawai in the Aramaic Book of Giants and of Mahujah/Mahijah in Moses 6–7 we have discussed previously. Significantly, Yamaḥuel’s primary role in the Islamic text is to ask questions,92 just as it is in the Book of Moses and the Book of Giants.
Pseudo-Mas’ūdī’s account is set “at the time when Idris [Enoch] … was born,” and idol worship was prevalent among “the descendants of Cain.” In one version of the story, the devil told the king of the idolaters that a descendant of “Mahalalel” — doubtless a reference to Mahalaleel, the grandfather of Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5:13–17 — would “foment opposition to [idolatrous] divinity and to kingship.” Satan tried to bring about Enoch’s demise, but “God assigned for Idris [Enoch] angels to protect him.” The account also states that “when Iblis [Satan] [Page 323]and some of those who were with him from his forces came (to do Idris [Enoch] harm), they [i.e., the angels] kept them from harming him.”
The mention of angelic protection in the Islamic account recalls God’s promise of protection to Enoch when He said in Moses 6:32 that “no man shall pierce thee.” These accounts also resonate with the following passage from the Mandaean Enoch account discussed above:94
When I saw myself thus surrounded by enemies, I did flee. … And since that time, with my eyes fixed on the road, I looked to see … if the angel of Life would come to my aid. … Suddenly I saw the gates of heaven open.
Later in the same account, Enoch’s enemies lament their inability to harm him and his companions. Then they complain that the eventual escape to heaven of Enoch and his companions has brought a final end to their attempts:95
In vain have we attempted murder and fire against them; nothing has been able to overcome them. And now they are sheltered from our blows.
The phrase “And now they are sheltered from our blows” seems to refer to the ascent to heaven of Enoch and his fellows. The text immediately preceding this phrase reads, somewhat obscurely:96
By fleeing and hiding these men from on high have gone up higher than us. We have never known them. However, now you see that they are covered with glory and splendors that appear to us in all the brightness of their triumph.
The probable meaning of this passage is revealed through a similar complaint and explanation of ‘Ohya, a leader of the gibborim in the Book of Giants. He gives a description of his defeat in a great battle with Enoch and his people97 and then says that his mortal opponents now “reside in the heavens and live with the holy ones.”98 This account can be compared with Moses 7:21, which states that Zion, the city of Enoch, “in process of time, was taken up into heaven.” Similarly, Moses 7:69 avers, “And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled.“99
[Page 324]Preliminary Findings within the New Sources
Below we summarize some other preliminary findings within the Reeves and Reed volume:
- “Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (Moses 5:10). In a Jewish text, Adam is similarly reported to have had such a vision in which God showed him “each generation and its scholars.”100 This passage is immediately followed by a description of how Enoch learned to see divine visions “in his normal (i.e., bodily) state.” This description recalls Moses 6:36, where Enoch is reported to have “beheld … things which were not visible to the natural eye.”
- “Satan came among them,” i.e., the “sons” and “daughters” of Adam (Moses 5:13, emphasis added). The implication in scripture and Islamic Enoch sources is that the devil appeared to the people in the form of a man. Pseudo-Mas’ūdī’s account says specifically that “Iblis [Satan] came among them in the form of an old man,”101 and Pseudo-Asmain’s version states that the Angel of Death “came down to him [Enoch] in a human form.”102
- “I am also a son of God” (Moses 5:13). In al-Kisa’i’s Tales of the Prophets, Satan makes a similar claim:103 “I am a servant from the servants of God. I worship Him like you.” However, in the Interrogatio Joannis, a Latin text, it is said that Satan presented himself as God and called for the worship of Enoch’s sons:104 “Know that I am God; there is no other god apart from me!”105 This agrees with the description in Moses 6:49: “Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him.” It also recalls Satan’s words to Moses in Moses 1:12: “Moses, son of man, worship me.”
- “Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God” (Moses 6:21). Similarly, Pseudo-Mas’ūdī’s account reports that Jared106 “taught [Enoch] the knowledge which he had received … and handed over to him the Book of Secret(s).“
- [Page 325]“All the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6:31). Wahb b. Munabbih reported that Enoch “was soft-spoken and gentle in his manner of speaking.”107 Other accounts portray Enoch as having been “deliberate in his speech” and “often silent.”108
- “They taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good” (Moses 6:55). Somewhat similarly, three Islamic accounts report Enoch’s request to sample death (“taste death for a moment during the day”), explaining that if he could “experience the pain of death and its sorrow” he would “be more prepared” and “more attentive in [his] worship.”109
- Enoch succeeded in making his people “of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18). A Jewish text similarly reports that Enoch “united the nations under the worship of God.”110
- “Enoch … built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion” (Moses 7:19). Several ancient texts celebrate Enoch as a builder of temples and cities.111 Note, however, that there is frequent confusion on this matter, because Cain’s son Enoch was also known for building a city (Genesis 4:17).
- “The residue of the people which were the sons of Adam … were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black,112 and had not place among them” (Moses 7:22, emphasis added). A similar stigma is reported in Islamic Enoch texts such as this one: “Enoch sent for his people and warned them, and commanded them to obey God, may He be praised and glorified, and to resist Satan, and not to associate with the descendants of Qabil [Cain].”113
- “Satan … had a great chain … and he looked up and laughed,” and Enoch “had bitterness of soul … and refuse[d] to be comforted” (Moses 7:26, 44). In al-Kisa’i’s Tales of the Prophets,114 we are told that Enoch was given a tour of hell by the Angel of Death, who placed Enoch by the path of Mālik, the Keeper of the Fire. When Mālik (a Satan figure) saw Enoch, it is reported that his face “broke into a grin.”115 Moreover, “chains” were among the “horrors” of hell that [Page 326]Enoch witnessed, and “had God Most High not fortified him, he would have lost his mind. … [H]e could not sleep or enjoy the taste of food out of the fear of the punishment of God Most High which his own eyes had witnessed.”116 As Joseph Smith’s Enoch “refused to be comforted,” so Rabbi Joshua ben Levi (who shares archetypal affinities with Enoch) refuses to come out of Paradise117 until, as in the Book of Moses (Moses 7:60), he is persuaded by the Lord’s oath to him.
- “Whoso … climbeth up by me shall never fall” (Moses 7:53). In al-Kisa’i’s Tales of the Prophets, we read that Ridwa, the gatekeeper of Paradise, told Enoch that a branch of the Tuba Tree would “hang down toward him” and that “he should cling to it, and it will bring him into Paradise.”118 Some of the imagery in this story (particularly of the need to climb up a branch to enter into Paradise) can be meaningfully compared to the Narrative of Zosimus and to Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life.119
Continued study of the Book of Moses is important. The renowned sociologist of religion Rodney Stark has concluded that, on its own, “the Book of Mormon … may not have added enough doctrinal novelty to the Christian tradition to have made [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] more than a Protestant sect.”120 On the other hand, Terryl Givens has rightly argued that in actuality it was the lesser-known Pearl of Great Price that provided the “essential foundations of a radically new religious tradition.”121 One important element of this argument is the fact that the Book of Moses “largely informs and guides [Latter-day Saint] temple theology.”122
Paradoxically, however, Harold Bloom laments that the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham are conspicuous not only because they are two of the “more surprising” works of Latter-day Saint scripture, but also, regrettably, because they are also the most “neglected.”123 With the great spate of publications over the decades since fragments of Egyptian papyri were rediscovered in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,124 we have begun to see a remedy for the previous neglect of the Book of Abraham.125 Now, gratefully, because of wider availability of the original manuscripts and new detailed studies of their contents, the Book of Moses is also beginning to receive its due.126
Why Comparative Studies Matter to Latter-day Saints
Whether we are talking about primary works, such as the Book of Giants or, for example, obscure, secondary Islamic sources from the ninth century, the possibility that traditions of deep antiquity are contained within pseudepigraphal texts cannot be dismissed out of hand. Latter-day Saint scholars who accept that the Book of Moses preserves genuine antediluvian threads, rather than springing solely from the imagination of Joseph Smith, naturally welcome opportunities to compare ancient texts with modern scripture for evidence that may bear on the plausibility of an Enoch figure who, according to the scripture and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, lived as an actual person thousands of years earlier.
[Page 328]Although some Latter-day Saint scholars have raised arguments that Enoch and other significant scripture characters were not themselves “historical figures of the material past,”128 such discussions, though often sincere and worthy of careful consideration, will typically be unpersuasive to believing members of the restored Church.129 For example, Joseph Smith recorded extensive descriptions of personal visions and manifestations in which he saw and spoke with many prominent characters of the Book of Mormon130 and the Bible.131
Why New Approaches Are Needed
Methodologies for determining when a given text like, say, 3 Enoch was likely composed in its current form are relatively mature and in widespread use. However, what is more difficult or often nigh impossible is determining the milieu in which the major and minor themes or motifs within such a text are likely to have originated. Consistent with this observation, Reeves and Reed articulate the rationale for newer methods of biblical scholarship that involve “a shift away from the older scholarly obsession with ‘origins’ whereby the study of scriptures often focused on the recovery of hypothetical sources behind them”:132
Scholars of the Hebrew Bible and specialists in ancient Judaism and Christianity have increasingly come into conversation around the trajectories of biblical interpretation and the continued lives of authoritative writings within and between religious communities. Alongside traditional source-critical, redaction-critical, and text-critical inquiries into the Torah/Pentateuch, for instance, new approaches have emerged in the attempt to recover what James Kugel has termed “the Bible as It Was”133 — that is, not simply the text of this or that biblical book as it came to be fixed in writing, but also the much broader array of common exegetical motifs and legends through which premodern peoples encountered the primeval and patriarchal past. What has emerged, in the process, is a new sense of the degree to which premodern Jews, Christians, and Muslims — as well as Samaritans, Manichaeans, “gnostics,” and others — participated in preserving and developing a common store of traditions about figures such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses.
So too with Enoch. The traditions associated with this figure, however, expose the limitations of modern notions of “the [Page 329]Bible” to capture the scope, dynamism, and complexity of premodern discourses about the biblical past. There has been much attention, for instance, to Jewish and Christian traditions about the fallen angels in relation to the exegesis of Genesis 6. What such studies have shown, however, is the impossibility of accounting for the history of interpretation without a sense of the ample influence of Enochic and other texts now commonly deemed “noncanonical.” So too with Genesis 5 and traditions about Enoch, which took form from an ancient matrix of Mesopotamian traditions that continued to be developed in new ways in writings produced alongside and after what we know now as “the Bible.”
Traditions surrounding Enoch thus offer especially rich foci for tracing the transmission and transformations of traditions across religious boundaries. In light of new insights into scribal practices and textual fluidity from the biblical and related manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, it has become clear that the process of the formation of “the Bible” was much longer and more complex than previously imagined. Likewise, the recent growth of concern for the mechanics of written and oral transmission and pedagogy among ancient Jews has redescribed biblical “authorship” in continuum with interpretation, redaction, collection, and transmission — wherein oral/aural and written/visual components, moreover, often remained intertwined in various ways in various settings. Just as these insights lead us to question the assumption of any clear line between scripture and interpretation in relation to the Torah/Pentateuch, so they also open the way for integrating what we know of the formation, transmission, and reception of Enochic literature into a more complete picture of the biblical past as remembered by premodern Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others.
What Remains To Be Done
With all that said, there is much more to be done. For instance, with respect to the subject of the present article, Ben Tov has observed that “a systematic and detailed analysis of other literary influences on Moses 1 or the major additions in Moses 6–8 has not yet been completed.”134 While not sharing Ben Tov’s premise that Book of Moses accounts of [Page 330]the heavenly ascent of Moses (Moses 1) and of the ministry of Enoch (Moses 6–7) can be explained primarily in naturalistic terms — namely, through “literary influences” on Joseph Smith — we are convinced of the value of “a systematic and detailed analysis” of ancient literary affinities to these works of modern scripture.
We hope to be able to help address the need for such analysis through a current effort sponsored by Book of Mormon Central in collaboration with The Interpreter Foundation. Our methodology will build on the work of others who have offered useful guidelines for avoiding the pitfalls of comparative approaches.135 Recently, Bradshaw, David J. Larsen, and Stephen T. Whitlock have completed a preliminary study of ancient affinities with Moses 1 that was conducted in this general spirit.136
Eventually we also hope to explore whether Moses 6–7 can make a contribution to the ongoing effort by Stuckenbruck and others to reconstruct the outline of the Book of Giants narrative through systematic examination of Aramaic and Manichaean fragments containing common elements of the basic storyline.137 A similar approach that compared Moses 1 to the Apocalypse of Abraham, a work of Jewish pseudepigrapha, proved useful in revealing and confirming details in both accounts — shedding light both on the meaning of obscure phrases and also the overall narrative structure.138
Naturally, our expectations in this respect must be qualified. Although Joseph Smith’s revisions and additions to the Bible sometimes contain stunning echoes of ancient sources, he understood that the primary intent of modern revelation is to give divine guidance to latter-day readers, not to provide precise matches to texts from other times. Thus, it is not our claim that every word of these modern productions is necessarily rooted in ancient manuscripts, nor that every item of preliminary evidence we have presented in this article should be given equal weight. However, to those who accept Joseph Smith’s role as a prophet, seer, and revelator it would be no surprise if long, revealed passages such as Moses 1, 6, and 7 were to provide plausible evidence of having been drawn, at least in part, from a common well of ancient textual or oral traditions. Whether or not it can be argued that any elements of these writings reflect modern language and concerns, we concur with Hugh Nibley that if they show “any tendency at all to conform to the peculiar conditions” imposed by a relevant ancient milieu, their “critics must be put to a good deal of explaining.”139
In this respect, we do not envy the position of Joseph Smith’s detractors. For (1) if they insist upon wholly naturalistic origins for [Page 331]correspondences between the Book of Moses Enoch account and ancient Enoch texts, (2) if they agree with Ben Tov’s conclusions that the possibility of Joseph Smith’s having been aware of 1 Enoch is increasingly unlikely and moreover that, in any case, “the literary connections between Moses 6–8 and 1 Enoch are … very loose, and more time and attention should be placed elsewhere,”140 and (3) if they accept the strong and seemingly incontrovertible evidence that none of the other major ancient Enoch sources now available were known and accessible to Joseph Smith by 1830, then they face daunting challenges.
In light of the considerable challenges to proving that currently known Enoch sources influenced Joseph Smith’s Enoch account, to plausibly argue that correspondences with ancient traditions came through naturalistic means might instead require the discovery of new Enoch sources with an explanatory power greater than that of the combined evidence from extant texts. In addition, these new texts would have to be shown as having been available in English to Joseph Smith. Further, one would have to explain the fact that even the variety of texts already known, though containing many peculiar correspondences to Moses 6–7, overwhelmingly fail to capture the genius and coherence of the account as a whole.
As any alternative currently seems both unlikely and unsupportable, the possibility that the Enoch chapters of the Book of Moses contain divinely revealed, authentically ancient history and teachings becomes increasingly appealing, thus validating the prediction of William W. Phelps that “the world [would] prove Joseph Smith a true prophet by circumstantial evidence.”141
The Respective Roles of Faith and Argument
Of course, in comparing an ancient text to modern scripture we cannot go beyond arguments for historical plausibility to argue for the historicity of the specific events recounted in Moses 6–7. As Hugh Nibley wrote with respect to the Book of Mormon, the only thing that might be shown with some certainty when evaluating the authenticity of ancient documents is that a given event142
really could have happened. Not that it did happen: to prove that is neither necessary nor possible. Unique events in history can never be reconstructed with certainty; but characteristic related events — manners, customs, rituals, etc., things that happen not just once but again and again in familiar patterns — may be the object of almost absolute certainty. Hence, they, [Page 332]and not particular events, are the hardest things to fake; in testing forgeries and identifying documents it is the general pattern that is all-important.
Regarding the value of the “greatness of the evidences” (Helaman 5:50) available to enhance our study of modern scripture, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said:143
Our testimonies aren’t dependent on evidence — we still need that spiritual confirmation in the heart of which we have spoken — but not to seek for and not to acknowledge intellectual, documentable support for our belief when it is available is to needlessly limit an otherwise incomparably strong theological position and deny us a unique, persuasive vocabulary in the latter-day arena of religious investigation and sectarian debate. Thus armed with so much evidence … we ought to be more assertive than we sometimes are in defending our testimony of truth.
The wealth of evidence for antiquity scattered throughout Joseph Smith’s translations not only provides a source of light and understanding for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but also for some broad-minded scholars outside the faith. For example, as part of a more general discussion of Latter-day Saint theology, Stephen Webb,144 not a member of the Church, concluded that the Prophet “knew more about theology and philosophy than it was reasonable for anyone in his position to know, as if he were dipping into the deep, collective unconsciousness of Christianity with a very long pen.”
Yet, far more significant to believers than the astonishing discovery of ancient echoes in a work of modern revelation is that Joseph Smith recovered a story of Enoch the Seer which manifests a deep understanding of what it means to become a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4)145 and through that process to become a partner with God Himself in the salvation and exaltation of His children,146 allowing us, like Enoch, “to be raised to a perspective from which [we see] the world through God’s eyes.”147
[Authors’ Note: Our thanks to Matthew L. Bowen and David Calabro for their contributions to the discussion of the names Mahujah/Mahijah/Mahawai. We are also grateful to Calabro for checking and updating Hugh Nibley’s English translation of the Hebrew text of the story of the ascent of Enoch’s followers from Jellinek’s Bet ha-Midrasch.]
Observe also that the “restrained, assured, and polished” nature of Joseph Smith’s prose from his later years (ibid., 14) was not evident in his early personal writings to the degree found in his very first translations and revelations. Indeed, Joseph Smith’s wife Emma (Joseph Smith, III, “Last testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald 26, no. 19 [October 1, 1879]: 289–90, https://ia801300.us.archive.org/6/items/TheSaintsHerald_Volume_26_1879/the%20saints%20herald%20volume%2026%201879.pdf) testified that during the time he was fully engaged in translation, her husband “could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, ‘a marvel and a wonder,’ as much so as to anyone else.”
Michael Quinn claims there is a link to Laurence’s 1821 translation of Enoch and cites a reference to Enoch in a book advertised in a Palmyra newspaper. He does not find the actual Book of Enoch in Palmyra or vicinity, only this reference in a scholarly commentary.
We note that Bruno (Cheryl L. Bruno, “Congruence and concatenation in Jewish mystical literature, American Freemasonry, and Mormon Enoch Writings,” Journal of Religion and Society 16 (2014), 2, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d1a4/8b6dc49647fe1d886d41cc59c468e6eff467.pdf) lists additional parallels with 1 Enoch, some of which are so loose as to be nonsensical (e.g., 1 Enoch 10:4–5, an account of Asael’s binding that is described by Bruno as an instance of “Foreknowledge and prophetic warning of the destruction of the world,” is compared with Moses 7:41–67; 1 Enoch 60, an account of the flood and final judgment that is described as “A revolutionary social order,” is compared with Moses 7:18–19, etc.).
While I do not share the confidence the parallelist feels for the inaccessibility of Laurence to Joseph Smith, I do not find sharp enough similarities to support the derivatist position. The tone and weight and direction of [1 Enoch and the Book of Moses] are worlds apart. … The problem with the derivatist position is [that] … Laurence as source material for Joseph Smith does not make much sense if the two texts cannot agree on important issues. The texts may indeed have some similarities, but the central figures do not have the same face, do not share the same voice, and are not, therefore, the same people. In this sense, the Enoch in the Book of Moses is as different from the Enoch of Laurence as he is from the Enoch in the other extra-Biblical Enochs in early American culture. Same name, different voice.
Caution should be exercised in concluding a dependence of Book of Giants on 1 Enoch. For example, comparing Ezekiel 1, Daniel 7, 1 Enoch 14, and the Book of Giants, Amanda M. Davis Bledsoe, “Throne theophanies, dream visions, and righteous(?) seers,” in Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, eds. Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano (Tübingen, DEU: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 85 argues that 1 Enoch 14’s adoption of the Danielic idea of the deity shows only that this idea was “accepted even at a late period, and does not automatically make [1 Enoch 14] older even if the tradition may be observed in generally more ancient writings.” More generally, ibid., 90 concludes “that all three of these texts drew from a common tradition(s) regarding the heavenly throne and then adapted it to fit within their individual context.”
Regarding Angel’s thesis that the Book of Giants, as we have it, reflects “the realities of life under Hellenistic imperial occupation,” the author himself hints at more ancient and complex roots for the story (Joseph L. Angel, “The humbling of the arrogant and the ‘wild man’ and ‘tree stump’ traditions in the Book of Giants and Daniel 4,” in Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, eds. Matthew Goff, [Page 342]Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano [Tübingen, DEU: Mohr Siebeck, 2016], 80):
There are hints in the Book of Giants that signal a more nuanced and developed plot. The giants argue with one another and there are perhaps different factions among them. Thus, if I am correct that the Book of Giants models the humbling of Hellenistic figures of power, it seems that the composition now before us preserves only the remains of a complex allegory, whose original referents cannot be recovered.
Wright gives two possibilities for the somewhat unexpected use of gigantes, the Greek word for giants in the Septuagint (Wright, The Origin of Evil Spirits, 92):
It may be suggested that the Greek translators of the Hebrew Bible had difficulty in understanding some of the Hebrew terminology (e.g., nephilim and gibborim) in the text and therefore translated the terms [Page 343]imprecisely, thus enhancing the ambiguity of the passage. Another possibility is that modern scholars have misunderstood what the Greek translators meant by their use of the term [gigantes]. It appears that more work needs to be done in order to discover the use of this term in the Greek literature prior to the translation of the [Septuagint].
For more on the impact of the Septuagint on later traditions and on interaction among related Jewish and Greek conceptions of the “giants,” see Michael Tuval, “‘Συναγωγὴ Γιγάντων’ (Proverbs 21:16): The giants in Jewish literature in Greek,” in Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, eds. Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano (Tübingen, DEU: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 41–57; Samantha Newington, “Greek titans and biblical giants,” in Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, eds. Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 33–40. For Mesopotamian influences in descriptions of the “giants” in 1 Enoch, see Henryk Drawnel, “The Mesopotamian background of the Enochic giants and evil spirits,” Dead Sea Discoveries 21 (2014), 14–38.
The term gbryn is the Aramaic form of Hebrew gibborim (singular gibbor), a word whose customary connotation in the latter language is “mighty hero, warrior,” but which in some contexts later came to be interpreted in the sense of “giants.” [The term is translated seventeen times with the Greek word for [Page 344]giants in the Septuagint.] … Similarly nplyn is the Aramaic form of the Hebrew np(y)lym (i.e., nephilim), an obscure designation used only three times in the Hebrew Bible. Genesis 6:4 refers to the nephilim who were on the earth as a result of the conjugal union of the [“sons of God” and the “daughters of Adam”] and further qualifies their character by terming them gibborim. [More plausibly, Wright (ibid, 81–82) argues for Genesis 6:1–4 as being a chronological description, concluding that the nephilim were on the earth prior to this conjugal union between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of Adam.”] Both terms are translated in [Septuagint] Genesis 6:4 by [“giants”] and in Targum Onkelos by gbry’. Numbers 13:33 reports that gigantic nephilim were encountered by the Israelite spies in the land of Canaan; here the nephilim are associated with a (different?) tradition concerning a race of giants surviving among the indigenous ethnic groups that inhabited Canaan. A further possible reference to both the nephilim and gibborim of Genesis 6:4 occurs in Ezekiel 32:27. The surrounding pericope presents a description of slain heroes who lie in Sheol, among whom are a group termed the gibborim nophelim [sic] me’arelim. The final word, me’arelim, “from the uncircumcised,” should probably be corrected on the basis of the Septuagint … to me’olam, and the whole phrase translated “those mighty ones who lie there from of old.” …
The conjunction of gbryn wnpylyn in QG1 1:2 may be viewed as an appositional construction similar to the expression ‘yr wqdys — “Watcher and Holy One.” … However, the phrase might also be related to certain passages that suggest there were three distinct classes (or even generations) of Giants, names for who of which are represented in this line. … [C]ompare Jubilees 7:22: “And they bore children, the Naphidim [sic] … and the Giants killed the Naphil, and the Naphil killed the ‘Elyo, and the ‘Elyo [killed] human beings, and humanity (killed) one another.”
As human-like embodiments of that which is wild and untamed, the biblical giant takes on the role of “wild man,” “freak,” and “elite adversary” for heroic displays of fighting prowess. In the pre-modern world, as Richard Bernheimer argues, “wildness” was a very [Page 346]potent category, encompassing all that “was uncanny, unruly, raw, unpredictable, foreign, uncultured, and uncultivated. It included the unfamiliar as well as the unintelligible.” Moreover, the giant’s “wild” status, at least in the developed anthropological theology of the Middle Ages, posed difficult questions about the giant’s origins, and thus questions about the status of the giant’s soul (do giants have a soul or not?) and the categorization of giants as a type of non-human animal. Ancient Mesopotamian kings routinely bragged of their hunting exploits, the prey being exotic animals in faraway lands; the Assyrian royal lion hunt represents the apex of this tradition insofar as it has been passed down to us visually.
While maintaining the possibility of a correspondence between the ancient equivalent of these names, Calabro explains why we cannot posit a direct equivalence between all of them (including the related names Mahujael/Mahijael in Genesis 4:18) in their current forms (ibid.):
The -ah in Mahujah and Mahijah is problematic if you are interpreting the current forms of these names as equivalents of both Mahawai and also of Mehuja-/Mehija- in Mahujael/Mahijael at the same time. In other words, Mahujah can = MHWY + Jah or Mehjael can = Mahujael can = Mahujah + El, but both equations can’t be applied to the current forms of these names at the same time.
Of course, Calabro observes, the rules were different in earlier times, since “dropping of final vowels only happened sometime between 1200 and 600 bce” (ibid.):
But it’s unlikely that the names in Moses are making a point of this. Joseph left the rest of the biblical names untouched. And if Lehi, Paul, and Jude all had access to the Book of Moses (as I believe they did), the name would have dropped any final short vowels before the text was finished being transmitted.
When translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was very careful about the spelling of proper names, especially the first time they occurred. It seems reasonable that this was the case with the Book of Moses also.
That said, Calabro goes on to explain why the connections between these names are not unlikely, even in the face of these considerations (ibid.):
Very often in pseudepigraphal traditions, you get names that sound similar (or sometimes not even [Page 348]similar), just garbled a bit. It’s frequent in Arabic forms of biblical names: Ibrahim for “Abraham” (perhaps influenced by Elohim or some other plural Hebrew noun), ‘Isa for Yasu’ “Jesus,” etc. So Mahujah, Mahijah, Mehujael/Mehijael, and MῌWY could all be connected, with something getting mixed up in transmission.
With respect to correspondences between Mahujah and Mahijah, Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, 2:278 argues that they are variants of the same name, given that “Mehuja-el” appears in the Greek Septuagint as “Mai-el” (Cécile Dogniez and Marguerite Harl, eds. Le Pentateuque d’Alexandrie: Texte Grec et Traduction. La Bible des Septante [Paris, France: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2001], 145; Melvin K. H. Peters, ed. A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included under that Title: Deuteronomy [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004], 8, http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/05-deut-nets.pdf) and in the Latin Vulgate as Mawiah-el (Robert Weber, ed., Biblia Sacra Vulgata, 4th ed. [Philadelphia: American Bible Society, 1990], 9). Since the Greek version had no internal “ῌ,” Nibley reasons that “Mai-” could come only from “Mahi-” (MῌY-).
J. W. Wevers likewise writes that “the Septuagint spelling of Mai-el [in Genesis 4:18] follows the Samaritan tradition [Mahi-el], the only difference being the dropped ‘h’ The [Mahawai] version that we see in the Book of Giants, which is probably related to Genesis 4:18, shows up in the Latin Vulgate as Maviahel, likely owes to the fact that Jerome went to the Hebrew version for his translation. He didn’t use the ‘ῌ’ either and made the ‘W’ a consonant (‘v’) instead of a vowel (‘u’) in his transliteration. This is why in the Douay-Rheims Bible (based on the Vulgate), we see the name rendered as Maviael” (John William Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Genesis [Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993], 62n4:18). See more on Genesis 4:18 below.
Note that the grandfather of the prophet Enoch also bore a similar name to Mahawai/Mahujah: Mahalaleel (Genesis 5:12–17; 1 Chronicles 1:2; Moses 6:19–20. See also Nehemiah 11:4). As a witness of how easily such names can be confused, observe that the Greek manuscript used for Brenton’s translation of the Septuagint reads “Maleleel” for “Maiel” in Genesis 4:18 (Lancelot [Page 349]C. L. Brenton, The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005], 5).
[Page 350]As a second option, David Calabro points out that Moses 7:2 “As I was journeying … and I cried” “could be an example of the use of ‘and’ to introduce a main clause after a circumstantial clause, which is a Hebraism that is frequently found in the earliest Book of Mormon text” (David Calabro, email messages to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, January 23 and 24, 2018). In this case, the “ye” in “Turn ye” would have to be interpreted as singular rather than plural.
If the name for mount Mahujah on which Enoch ascended to pray indeed relates to the idea of questioning (as proposed in a note by Nibley below), it would provide a neat counterpart to the name of the mount Simeon (Hebrew Shi’mon = he has heard), where Enoch was commanded to go in order to receive his answers. Note Al-Tha’labi’s account of Adam and Eve being rejoined after their separation when “they recognized each other by questioning on a day of questioning. So the place was named ‘Arafat (= questions) and the day, ‘Irfah.” (Abu Ishaq Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim al-Tha’labi, ‘Ara’is Al-Majalis Fi Qisas Al-Anbiya’ or “Lives of the Prophets,” trans. William M. Brinner [Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2002], 54; cf. al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, trans. Franz Rosenthal [Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989], 291).
Calabro points out that in order to posit an equivalence between Mahujah and Mehuja-el, one must, of course, “say that MḤWY is the ‘hypocoristic’ form (i.e., the form of the name minus the divine name element of Mahujah” (David Calabro, email messages to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, January 23 and 24, 2018).
Richard Hess gives two possible meanings of the name Mehuja-el: 1. god/El enlivens; 2. life of god/El, i.e., divine life (Richard S. Hess, Studies in the Personal Names of Genesis 1–11 [Winona Lake,IN: Eisenbrauns, 2009], 41–43). Hess sees the former meaning as more probable. Sarna proposes two additional alternatives: “from m-ḥ- h, meaning ‘blotted out by God’; and from Akkadian maḫḫû, ‘an ecstatic,’ meaning ‘seer of God'” (Nahum M. Sarna, ed. Genesis. The JPS Torah Commentary [Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989], 36). Matthew L. Bowen comments as follows (Matthew L. Bowen, email message to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, January 23, 2018):
I … think it’s interesting that JST has Mahujah instead of Mehujah, which the MT also has written as Mehijael (same w/y spelling issue as in Mahujah and Mahijah – the LXX-A, Peshitta, and Vulgate all point to Mehijael or Mahijael), I’m drawn to the idea that the name derives from ḤYY/ḤYH and means “God gives life” (Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, Johann Jakob Stamm, M. E. J. Richardson, G. J. Jongeling-Vos, and L. J. de Regt. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament [Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1994], [Page 352]568). However, a paronomastic connection with MḤY/MḤH (“wipe out,” “annihilate” — i.e., “blot out”) is also intriguing, especially since this name occurs in the degenerate line of Cain before the Flood (cf. the use of this verb in Genesis 6:7 and 7:4). I’m even more intrigued by a possible connection between this root and the name-title “Mahan” in “Master Mahan,” which could easily be MḤN (with N as an appellative), which might suggest the idea of “destroyer” or “annihilator.”
That the giants look for a Jewish sage to explain the meaning of their dreams is not so surprising. Indeed, when we look at other cases of non-Jews receiving symbolic dream-visions in the Hebrew Bible, they too lack understanding of their dreams and must seek out an interpreter upon waking. Perhaps the closest parallel to our text is Daniel 4, where King Nebuchadnezzar receives a frightening dream, which only Daniel is able to interpret. Like our text, the focus of the narrative is on the gentile dreamer, who often speaks in the first person, while the Jewish interpreter plays only a minor role. Perhaps another point of comparison can be found in [Page 353]that Daniel 4 tells not only of Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment but also of his subsequent rehabilitation and restoration — the Greek edition even has him convert. Perhaps, like Nebuchadnezzar, some of the giants are likewise granted an opportunity for repentance and rehabilitation.
However, in the case of the throne theophany of Daniel 7, 1 Enoch 14, and the Book of Giants (vs. King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 4), Davis Bledsoe notes that the Book of Giants is “noticeably different from the other two in that it is not a righteous Jewish seer who experiences the dream vision (and sees the throne theophany), but a culpable giant” (ibid., 82). For additional comparisons of the Book of Giants and Daniel 4, see Angel, “The humbling of the arrogant and the ‘wild man’ and ‘tree stump’ traditions in the Book of Giants and Daniel 4,” 61–80.
An additional phrase in Vermes’ translation (Geza Vermes, ed., The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (London: Penguin Books, 2004), 550) implies that Mahujah was chosen because he had been to Enoch for advice before: “previously you listened to his [Enoch’s] voice” (cf. Wise, Abegg, and Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 294: “you have heard his voice”). This may correspond to Mahujah’s assertion that this is the second request he has made of Enoch (Martinez, “The Book of Giants (4Q530),” 3:7, 261: “For a second time I beg you for an oracle”). “Beyer understands this … passage to signify … that [Mahujah] was the only Giant capable of executing this mission due to his personal acquaintance with Enoch” (Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony, 94n23). Affirming the idea that Enoch and Mahujah had been previously acquainted, Stuckenbruck cites the Manichaean Uygur fragment in which Enoch calls out Mahujah’s name “very lovingly” (Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran, 127n140. See also Henning, cited in Milik and Black, The Books of Enoch, 307).
Considering this fact, it should not be at all surprising if genuinely revealed teachings, promulgated at one time but subsequently lost or distorted (see Bradshaw, In God’s Image and Likeness, 1:29n0– 37), may sometimes appear to have survived in heterodox strands of religious traditions the world over (see Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney, “Statement of the First Presidency: God’s Love for All Mankind (February 15, 1978),” [Page 356]excerpted in Spencer J. Palmer, “World Religions, Overview,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow [New York City: Macmillan, 1992], 4:1589, http://www.lib.byu.edu/Macmillan/; Spencer J. Palmer, ed. The Expanding Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), v; Orson F. Whitney, “Discourse (April 1928),” in General Conference Report of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ninety-Eighth Annual Conference (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1928), 59, https://archive.org/details/conferencereport1928a; “Respect for diversity of faiths,” Newsroom: The Official Resource for News Media, Opinion Leaders, and the Public, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/respect-for-diversity-of-faiths).
Wasserstrom refers to “arguments to the effect that active reading of ‘biblical’ or ‘extrabiblical’ narratives by Muslims was an exercise which reflexively illuminates those ‘original’ sources'” and cites Halperin’s argument that transmitters of these stories in the Islamic tradition “tended to make manifest what had been typically left latent in the Jewish version which they had received” (Steven M. Wasserstrom, “Jewish pseudepigrapha in Muslim literature: A bibliographical and methodological sketch,” in Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha, ed. John C. Reeves (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994), 100.
La Vie [souveraine] lui répondit : Lève-toi, prends ta course vers la source de l’eau, détournes-en le cours, et que cette eau vive et subtile, tombant dans l’eau profonde, en adoucisse l’amertume en s’y mêlant, et que les hommes qui la boivent deviennent semblables à la Vie souveraine.
A ce commandement Tavril détourna en effet le cours de l’eau subtile, et la dirigeant dans l’eau amère, il en adoucit l’amertume, en sorte que les hommes se réjouissaient en la buvant.
Cf. Mark Lidzbarski, ed. Ginza: Der Schatz oder das Grosse Buch der Mandäer. Quellen der Religionsgeschichte, der Reihenfolge des Erscheinens 13:4 [Göttingen and Leipzig, Germany: Vandenhoeck Ruprecht, J. C. Hinrichs’sche, 1925], 266–67, https://ia802305.us.archive.org/7/items/MN41563ucmf_2/MN41563ucmf_2.pdf:
[Page 359]Da sprach das große Leben zu Mandä dHaije: “Mache du dich auf, geh an der Spitze des Wassers hin und ziehe einen dünnen Zug lebenden Wassers hin. Es soll hingehen, in das trübe Wasser fallen, und das Wasser werde schmackhaft, auf daß die Menschenkinder es trinken und dem großen Leben gleich werden.”
Da sprach er zu Taurel-Uthra, dieser machte sich ans Werk, er zog einen dünnen Zug Wassers hin, es fiel in die Tibil, in das Wasser, das nicht schmackhaft war, und das Wasser der Tibil wurde schmackhaft, daß die Menschenkinder es trinken und es ihnen schmecke.
In this case, the turning of the water’s course allowed “living water” to become available for Mandaean baptism, which includes immersion, drinking of the water, and a series of sacred handshakes. The first phase of the rite is described by Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley as follows (Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, The Mandaeans: Ancient Texts and Modern People, ed. Paul B. Courtright [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002], 82):
The priest submerges the person three times and uses his wet finger to draw a line three times across the person’s forehead, from the right to the left ear. Again thrice, the person in the water receives a palm full of water to drink. The sacred handshake, the kushta, takes place between the two.
Erik Langkjer further elaborates (Erik Langkjer, “From 1 Enoch to Mandaean religion,” Academia.edu, https://www.academia.edu/8438522/From_1.Enoch_to_Mandaean_Religion):
Tauriel[, the name of the angel,] is the old god “El, the bull”, tr il, acc. to the Ugarit texts having his throne by the double offspring of the water-brooks in the mountain Lel. In the Mandaean baptismal ritual any river used for baptism is called Jordan (Jardna) and baptism can only be done in running water (not in “cut off water” in a font or basin). Lidzbarski thinks that this reflects an old belief in the Jordan as the paradise-river from Hermon, the mountain of the sons of God in the North (“as no other river in Asia it runs in a straight direction north-south” [Lidzbarski, Ginza, v, 13–15]). Lidzbarski does not mention Psalm [Page 360]133:3: The unction on the head of the high priest is “like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion. There the Lord sends down blessing, Life eternal.” In Temple Theology the dew in the morning and the unction is identified with the “Water of Life” from the mountain of the sons of God.
In Mandaean scripture, Enoch is one of three semidivine messengers (uthra, along with “Seth” and “Abel”) that are sent down from the “Lightworld” in the beginning to instruct Adam and Eve in ordinances and prayer (Kurt Rudolph, “Part 2: Mandean [sic] Sources,” in Coptic and Mandaic Sources, ed. Werner Foerster [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974], 197; Lidzbarski, Ginza, 119). Although Enoch’s role in the Ginza relates mainly to his role as an uthra, the accounts draw on themes and roles found in extracanonical Enoch sources (e.g., role as a scribe and teacher of writing [E. S. Drower, The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1937), 4; cf. Idris (Enoch, Ezra) in Islam ibid., xxiv]; divine protection in the course of battles with formidable enemies (see below), etc.).
Nibley observes that the references to “little Enoch” within the account correspond to his appellation as a “lad” in 2 Enoch, 3 Enoch, and Moses 6:31 (Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, 2:201. See F. I. Andersen, “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983), 119; P. Alexander, “3 (Hebrew Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983), 2:2, 357, 3:2, 257, 4:1, 258, 4:10, 259; and Charles Mopsik, ed. Le Libre hébreu d’Hénoch ou Livre des Palais. Les Dix Paroles (Lagrasse, FRA: Éditions Verdier, 1989), 156 (97). For discussions of these and similar ancient references to Enoch as a “lad,” see, e.g., ibid., 188–90; Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, 2:208–9; Andrei A. Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition: Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 107 (Tübingen, Germany Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 133–36; Bradshaw and Larsen, In God’s Image and Likeness, 2:37–39.
Quand je me vis ainsi entouré d’ennemis, je m’enfuis, et, levant les yeux vers le séjour de la lumière, j’appelai à mon secours l’ange de la Vie. … Et depuis ce temps, les yeux fixés sur la route, je regardais si mes frères venaient à moi, si l’ange de la Vie venait à mon secours. Tout à coup je vis la porte du ciel ouverte.
Cf. Lidzbarski, Ginza, 264:
Täglich, alltäglich suche ich ihnen zu entrinnen, da ich allein in dieser Welt dastehe. Meine Augen blicken zu Mandä dHaije empor. …Täglich blicken meine Augen zu dem Wege empor, den meine Brüder gehen, und zu dem Pfade, auf dem Mandä dHaije kommt. Ich schaue hin und sehe, daß die Pforte des Himmels sich öffnete.
En vain nous avons essayé contre eux le meurtre et le feu ; rien n’a pu les atteindre. Ils sont maintenant à l’abri de nos coups.
Cf. Lidzbarski, Ginza, 268:
Bei seinen Brüdern wurde Feuer und Schwert weggenommen, und sie konnten an sie nicht heranreichen, jetzt [ … ], daß sie für sich dastehen.
C’est en fuyant, c’est en se cachant, que les hommes d’en haut ont monté plus haut que nous. Nous ne les avons jamais connus. Les voici pourtant couverts de gloire et de splendeurs qui nous apparaissent dans tout l’éclat de leur triomphe.
Cf. Lidzbarski, Ginza, 268:
Sei es daß sie vor uns davongelaufen sind, sei es daß sie sich vor uns versteckt haben, sie zeigten sich uns nicht. Jetzt zeigten sie sich uns in ihrem reichen Glänze und ihrem großen Lichte.
Compare also Henning, “The Book of the Giants,” Text A, fragment i (M101i), where the angels are said to have “veiled [or: covered, or: protected, or: moved out of sight] Enoch.” A similar veiling is described in a Parthian fragment (M291) in relation to “a later sequence of events” (Jens Wilkens, “Remarks on the Manichaean Book of Giants: Once again on Mahaway’s mission to Enoch,” in Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, eds. Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano [Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016], 225). Wilkens notes the passages from Henning as an explanation for “the fact that there is no direct contact between Mahawai and Enoch” (ibid., 225) in the Uyghur fragment, lines 11 and 12: “But I did not see him in person” (ibid., 224). Cf. “he dwelt [not] among human beings” (Stuckenbruck, “The Book of Giants,” 233); “his dwelling is with the angels” (Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 106:7, 536. See also 12:1–2, 233).
It happened at that time, that as the children of men were sitting with Enoch he was speaking to them, that they lifted up their eyes and saw something like a great horse coming down from heaven, and the horse moving in the air [wind] to the ground, And they told Enoch what they had seen. And Enoch said to them, “It is on my account that that horse is descending to the earth; the time and the day have arrived when I must go away from you and no longer appear to you.” And at that time that horse came down and stood before Enoch, and all the people who were with Enoch saw it. And then Enoch commanded, and there came a voice to him [literally “a voice passed over him”] saying, “Who is the man who delights to know the ways of the Lord his God? Let him come this day to Enoch before he is taken from us” [“him” is emended to read “us”]. And all the people gathered together and came to Enoch on that day. … And after that he got up and rode on the horse, and he went forth, and all the children of men left and went after him to the number of 800,000 men. And they went with him for a day’s journey. Behold, on the second day he said to them, “Return back to your tents; why are you coming?” And some of them returned from him, and the remainder of them went with him six days’ journey, while Enoch was saying to them every day, “Return to your tents lest you die.” But they did not want to return and they went with him. And on the sixth day men still remained, and they stuck with him. And they said to him, “We will go with thee to the place where thou goest; as the Lord liveth, only death will separate us from thee!” [cf. 2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6; [Page 364]Ruth 1:17] And it came to pass that they took courage to go with him, and he no longer addressed [i.e., “remonstrated with”] them. And they went after him and did not turn away. And as for those kings, when they returned, they made a count of all of them (who returned) to know the number of men who remained, who had gone after Enoch. And it was on the seventh day, and Enoch went up in a tempest [i.e., “whirlwind”] into heaven with horses of fire and chariots of fire. And on the eighth day all the kings who had been with Enoch sent to take the number of the men who had stayed behind with Enoch [when the kings left him] at the place from which he had mounted up into the sky. And all the kings went to that place and found all the ground covered with snow in that place, and on top of the snow huge blocks [literally “stones”] of snow. And they said to each other, “Come, let us break into the snow here to see whether the people who were left with Enoch died under the lumps of snow.” And they hunted for Enoch and found him not because he had gone up into the sky.
The account recorded by Jellinek is almost identical to the one found in Mordecai M. Noah, ed. The Book of Jasher, trans. Moses Samuel (Salt Lake City: Joseph Hyrum Parry, 1887), 7–8. Louis Ginzberg, ed. The Legends of the Jews, trans. Henrietta Szold and Paul Radin (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909), 1:129–30 summarizes this account. He makes an addition to the story on his own authority, recounting that when the people searched for those who had gone with Enoch “they discovered the bodies.” Though this idea might be reasonably inferred, it is found explicitly in neither of the two older accounts with which we are familiar.
For additional discussion of accounts from the ancient world that describe whole communities ascending to heaven (both literally and figuratively), see David J. Larsen, “Enoch and the City of Zion: Can an entire community ascend to heaven?” Presentation at the Academy of Temple Studies Conference on Enoch and the Temple, Logan, UT and Provo, UT, February 19 and 22, 2013.
Though readers have often assumed that the mark was a dark skin, the text of the verse itself fails to give warrant for any particular conclusion about the nature of the mark given to Cain. Nor is the verse explicit about whether the mark was passed on to his descendants (For arguments that it was not passed on, see, e.g., Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Vol. 1: From Adam to Noah, trans. Israel Abrahams [Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1998], 227–28; Claus Westermann, ed., Genesis 1–11: A Continental Commentary, trans. John J. Scullion [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994], 312–13). Of possible relevance to this question is Moses 7:22, which states that “the seed of Cain were black.” Cf. Smith, Documentary History, January 25, 1842, 4:501. Note also the statement that a “blackness came upon all the children of Canaan,” seemingly in direct consequence of a notable act of genocide [Page 366][Moses 7:7–8]. See Marcus H. Martins, Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood: Setting the Record Straight (Orem, UT: Millennial Press, 2007), 10–11. Allred, however, finds even this statement inconclusive, arguing that it could be a figurative expression referring to “those who followed Cain in his wicked practices,” referring to them “in the same manner that the Jews were called the children of the Devil” (Alma Allred, “The traditions of their fathers: Myth versus reality in LDS scriptural writings,” in Black and Mormon, ed. Newell G. Bringhurst and Darron T. Smith [Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004], 49n15. See John 8:44). Similarly, Goldenberg has argued that, as with the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1–8, the blackness of individuals depicted in 1 Enoch and in other ancient Near Eastern sources is used in a purely symbolic fashion to represent evil and exclusion from the covenant community (David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003], 152–54; cf. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 85:3–88:3, 364. See also manuscript versions of Moses 1:15 (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, OT1, 84, OT2, 592), as well as Bradshaw, In God’s Image and Likeness, 1:55). He conjectures that beliefs about Cain’s skin becoming black were the result of textual misunderstandings (Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham, 178–82). For similar conclusions relating to the mark imposed upon the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon (e.g., 1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21–24, Alma 3:6–19, 3 Nephi 2:14–16), see Brant A. Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 2:108–23; John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 90.
Consistent with this view is al-Kisa’i’s report of a tradition that Lamech (the son of the Sethite Methuselah — not to be confused with the Cainite [Page 367]Lamech of Moses 5:43–54) married Methuselcha, a descendant of Cain. Though mentioning the fact that there was “enmity that existed between the children of Seth and the children of Cain,” the story implies that there was nothing in their outward appearance that would identify them as being of different lineages, since Lamech had to tell her his parentage explicitly. Described in wholly positive terms, Methuselcha was said in this tradition to have become the mother of Noah (Muhammad ibn Abd Allah al-Kisa’i, Tales of the Prophets (Qisas al-anbiya), trans. Wheeler M. Thackston Jr. [Chicago: KAZI Publications, 1997], 91–93).