1, 2, 3 Books of Enoch and Methuselah

Book of Enoch.jpg

Let us consider some information about the authorship, sectioning and dating game regarding what is generically known as The Book of Enoch. Below you will find some info on 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, 3 Enoch and the part played by Methuselah. Also, see my previous Did the prophet Enoch write the Book of Enoch?


That which is generally referred to as the (singular) Book of Enoch is more specifically 1 Enoch which is aka Ethiopic Enoch.

A clue as to when the Book of Enoch was written (at least the portions containing chapters 12-16) can be found in 13:7 which states, “I went off and sat down at the waters of Dan, in the land of Dan, to the south of the west of Hermon.”

The issue is that Enoch lived pre-flood but it was centuries after the flood that there was any such Biblically known person such as Dan and thus, there was certainly no tribe of Dan. This chronologically places the writing of this text to very much after the flood, after Enoch and thus not written by Enoch, the seventh from Adam.

Emil Schürer, in his work The Literature of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, relates the emergence of the once lost Book of Enoch:

Originally, an Ethiopic version was found in an Abyssinian Church.

1773 AD: James Bruce acquired three manuscripts.

1821 AD: Richard Laurence’s translation was published “which, from chap. i. to lv. (1833), was based upon the English version of Laurence, and from chap. lvi. to the end (1838) on the Ethiopic version collated with a new manuscript.”

1838 AD: Laurence published the Ethiopic text.

1851 AD: August Dillmann also published the Ethiopic text, “after having collated it with five manuscripts.”

1853 AD: Dillmann published a German translation “in which there were material emendations, and on which all disquisitions connected with this book have been based ever since.”

Schürer notes, “It seemed as though there were reason to hope that more light would be thrown upon this book when a small fragment of it in Greek (extending from ver. 42 to ver. 49 of chap. lxxxix.), taken from a Codex Vaticanus (cod. gr. 1809), written in tachygraphic characters, was published in facsimile by Mai (Patrum Nova Biblioth. vol. ii), and deciphered by Gildmeister (Zeitschr. der DMG. 1855, pp. 621-624).”

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Dead Sea Scroll 1 Book of Enoch fragment

James Charlesworth’s The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research p. 98 states, “…today there is a consensus that the book is a composite, portions of which are clearly pre-Christian as demonstrated by the discovery of Aramaic and Hebrew fragments from four of the five sections of the book among the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

Charlesworth states that fragment Hena (that is “Hen” with a superscripted “a”) “was copied in the second half of the second century B.C.”

Enoch’s chaps 37-71, its second section, contains “Son of Man” sayings and Charlesworth relates that Józef Tadeusz Milik speculates is probably a later accretion which is in the corpus of the early fragments and may have been written circa 270 AD.

The early portions are generally thought to date to the first half of the second century BC with chaps 37-71 being added during the range from first century BC to the first century AD.

Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus XVII:

[Gustaf] Dalman gives a number of examples of works written in Hebrew in the century which witnessed the birth of Christ: “A Hebrew original,” he says, “must be assumed in the case of the main part of the Aethiopic book of Enoch…” [emphasis added for emphasis]

British Museum, “MSS. from the Egyptian Monasteries,” Quarterly Review, 77: Nos. 153-4 (Dec. 1845-Mar. 1846), pp.39-69

The Book of Enoch, first made known to Europe by the translation of the late Archbishop Laurence, shows that something has been already recovered from the Aethiopic: and the Coptic too may yet make us better acquainted with writings hitherto only known to us by the tradition that they once existed.

In her 1888 AD book The Secret Doctrine, the occultist and founder of Theosophy, H. P. Blavatsky (1831-1891 AD), referenced the Book of Enoch within, of course, the context of her weaving tales regarding her concept of root races, etc.

Sections by chapter ranges:

1-36) The Book of the Watchers

37-7l) The Book of the Similitudes aka Parables

72-82) The Book of Astronomical Writings
83-90) The Book of Dream Visions

91-107) The Book of the Epistle of Enoch

Moreover, the Book of the Watchers itself appears to have been pieced together in stages and in fact, five segments may be discernible and have been segmented as follows by James Vanderkam (see his Enoch: A Man For All Generations):

1-5 theophany and eschatological admonition

6-11 stories of angels

12-16 fallen angels want Enoch to present their petition to YHVH

17-19 Enoch’s first journeys

20-36 Enoch’s second journey

Michael A. Knibb notes that amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, “No fragments were discovered corresponding to the second section of the Ethiopic book (chapters 37-71), the Parables” (Outside the Old Testament, p. 27).

Leonhard Rost (Intertestamental Literature) dates chaps 1-5 and 108 to the first century BC. James C. VanderKam (An Introduction to Early Judaism) dates chaps 1-36 via the latest date of the oldest Dead Sea Scroll fragment 200-150 BC thus, “it may be another third-century text.” Leonhard Rost (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon) dates chaps 12-16 date it to the first half of the second century BC and specifies that chaps 17-19 and 20-36 “probably belong” to the second century BC.

Martin McNamara (Intertestamental Literature) quotes Józef Tadeusz Milik to the effect that “from the first half of the second century B.C. onwards the Book of Watchers had essentially the same form as that in which it is known through the Greek and Ethiopic versions.” He then states that it may be “presumed that it circulated in this form already by 200 B.C.” and that “Certain sections of it can be presumed to be older still, e.g., the section on the fall of the angels (chs. 6-11, or even 6-19).” He also references G. W. Nickelsburg who dated chaps 6-11 to the fourth century BC.

Rost notes that the section known as the Similitudes aka Parables of Enoch (which are specifically found in chaps 38-44, 45-47 and 58-69) “contain various traditions dating from earlier ages but in their present recension cannot be designated earlier than the first century B.C.” J.T. Milik dates them as late as the second or third century AD.”

Rost specifies that the late dates are reckoned for this section are due to there being “no trace of them at Qumran” with which McNamara agrees, “No fragment of any part of Parables has been found in Qumran. For this, and for other reasons besides, some scholars doubt its pre-Christian and Jewish character.” However, he further notes that “contemporary scholarship tends to reckon the parables Jewish, and to assign their composition to the first century of the Christian era.”

VanderKam and Rost date 1 Enoch 72-82, the Astronomical Book, to 200 BC with Martin McNamara specifying the first quarter of the second century BC.

Rost dates chaps 85-90 “Depending on whether it concludes with Judas Maccabeus or ends with John Hyrcanus or even Alexander Jannaeus, it belongs to the middle or end of the second century, or to the first quarter of the first century B.C.”

VanderKam dates chaps 83-90 in accordance to “the last historical allusions in the vision” vision as that section is known as the Book of Dreams which “has led scholars to date it to the late 160s BC” and he dates chaps 91:11-17 and 93:1-10 to “approximately” 170 BC.

Rost dates chaps 91:12-17 and 93 as being “at least as early as the Book of Noah and possibly even earlier…around 170 B.C.” and he dates chaps 94-105 to the first century BC.

Rost notes that the section known as the Similitudes aka Parables of Enoch (which are specifically found in chaps 38-44, 45-47 and 58-69) “contain various traditions dating from earlier ages but in their present recension cannot be designated earlier than the first century B.C.” J.T. Milik dates them as late as the second century C.E., above all because there is no trace of them at Qumran.” (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, pp. 138-139)

McNamara specifies that the late dates are reckoned for this section

VanderKam notes that chaps 91-107 (the Epistle of Enoch which contains the Apocalypse of Weeks) “is difficult to classify…under any single rubric” but that “The Epistle may date to roughly the same time as the Apocalypse of Weeks, that is, not far from 170 BC.”


Second Book of Enoch aka 2 Enoch aka Slavonic Enoch aka The Secrets of Enoch.

Translated and published in 1892 AD and was found to be an altogether different text than 1 Enoch aka Ethiopic Enoch. Seventh century AD Byzantine chronicler and ecclesiastic, George Syncellus, had preserved a few chapters in Greek. W.R. Morfill originally translated the text from Slavonic. R.H. Charles edited it and included intro notes.

Craig A. Evans (Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation) notes that 2 Enoch “was written late first century C.E. [AD] in Egypt by a Jew…Major theological themes include:
(1) God created the world out of nothing (24:2);
(2) seven heavens (30:2-3) and angelic hosts;
(3) God created the souls of men before the foundation of the earth (23:5);
(4) abodes of heaven and hell are already prepared for righteous and sinners; and
(5) ethical teachings, which at times parallel those of the NT and Proverbs.”

McNamara notes that 1917 AD translator of the Book of Enoch, R. H. Charles, dated it to “the period before A.D. 70” as early as a 1896 AD statement. Józef Tadeusz Milik dated it to the ninth century AD, a date that has not gained much backing.

Rost dates chaps 51, 59, 61, 62, 68 to the first half of the first century AD.


Third Book of Enoch aka 3 Enoch aka The Book of the Palaces aka The Book of Rabbi Ishmael the High Priest aka The Revelation of Metatron.

Sections by chapter ranges:

1-2) Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha’s ascension and vision of the Merkabah

3-16) Concerning Metatron, the Prince of the Presence, who is also Enoch

17-28:6) Angelology

28:7-33:2) Divine judgment and the heavenly tribunal

33:3-40) The Merkabah phenomena

41-48a) Metatron reveals secrets to R. Ishmael

48b) Divine names

48c) Enoch-Metatron section

48d) Names of Metatron

James Charlesworth (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research) dates “at least portions of it” to pre 200 AD. Charlesworth references P. Alexander (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1) who noted that “It is impossible to reach a very firm conclusion as to the date of 3 Enoch…Certain rough chronological limits can, however, be established” and he tentatively dates it to after the tenth century AD.” Hugo Odeberg dated chaps 3-48a to the second half of the third century AD, chaps 48b and c, 1-2, 3-15 to the second or first century AD.

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia:

Slavonic Enoch…proved it not to be a version of the book before us [Ethiopic Enoch], but another and later pseudepigraphic book, taking, as the earlier had done, the name of Enoch. It is totally independent of the Ethiopic Enoch Book…the independence of the Slavonic Enoch is clear…the writer of the Slavonic Enoch had before him the book which has come down to us in Ethiopic, but the relationship is not by any means so close as to be called dependence.


Enoch’s son Methuselah plays a big role within the Book of Enoch as a chronicler of sorts.

Enoch 76, “I shown to thee, my son Methuselah.”

Enoch 81, “…those seven holy ones…said to me: ‘Declare everything to thy son Methuselah…’…that thou mayest teach thy children and record (it)…”

Enoch 82, “And now, my son Methuselah, all these things I am recounting to thee and writing down for thee, and I have revealed to thee everything, and given thee books concerning all these: so preserve, my son Methuselah, the books from thy father’s hand, and (see) that thou deliver them to the generations of the world.”

Enoch 83, “And now, my son Methuselah, I will show thee all my visions which I have seen, recounting them before thee…[I] wrote down my prayer for the generations of the world, and I will show everything to thee, my son Methuselah.”

Enoch 85 Enoch had a dream and stated, “I will show the whole dream to thee, my son. And Enoch lifted up (his voice) and spake to his son Methuselah.”

Enoch 91, “And now, my son Methuselah…the word calls me, and the spirit is poured out upon me, that I may show you everything…”

Enoch 107, “…Methuselah had heard the words of his father Enoch—for he had shown to him everything in secret.”

Enoch 108 notes refers to “Another book which Enoch wrote for his son Methuselah and for those who will come after him, and keep the law in the last days.”

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