Many Christians know the Book of Enoch, which isn’t included in the biblical canon anywhere except the Oriental Church in Ethiopia. But why has this book not received universal recognition?
In this article, you will find out all the questions that may arise about the Book of Enoch!
Inspiration By God
All the books in the Bible are inspired by God, that is, people wrote these books under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
The most important question in determining whether a book will be included in the canon would be «Is it inspired by God?»
God used Jewish teachers to compile the canon of the Old Testament, but we know for sure that the Jews never included the book of Enoch in their canon, despite the popularity of the book in ancient times.
There is no evidence that they ever accepted at least part of this book into the canon. The book wasn’t even originally written in the Jewish language.
The Jews met in 90 AD (Council of Jamnia) in order to compile a canon, but the book of Enoch wasn’t even included in the list of possible options.
The Early Church’s Opinion
The early Сhurch also never included it in its canon. However, in the first centuries of the formation of Christianity, this book and the thoughts expressed in it were so popular that there are even a number of Church Fathers who seriously considered this book and believed in the events described in it.
For example, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Athenagoras of Athens, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Ambrose of Milan, and many others.
However, there was another group of Church Fathers who didn’t consider this book canonical. For example, John Chrysostom, Ephrem the Syrian, Theodoret of Cyrus, Jerome of Stridon, and Augustine of Hippo.
It’s worth remembering that the Orthodox Church recognizes only the common consent of the Church Fathers as true.
With regard to the book of Enoch, there was no agreement in the first centuries, but it’s believed that if the Church Fathers closer to us in time formulated a different view than the more ancient ones, then they corrected what the ancient Church Fathers misinterpreted.
Consequently, the book of Enoch cannot be considered canonical in the Orthodox Church.
Why Did The Ethiopian Church Recognize The Book of Enoch?
The Ethiopian Church is an exception, but its motives for including the book in its canon remain unclear. Perhaps this is due to the influence of Clement of Alexandria because the Church in Alexandria strongly influenced the Ethiopian Church.
While the Book of Enoch was widely read and considered authoritative in some early Christian communities, it’s not considered part of the canon of the Old Testament.
However, Ethiopia was often separated and isolated from other Christian Churches, so this Church simply included an apocryphal book popular in the first centuries in the canon.
What is The Book of Enoch About?
As we have found out, the Book of Enoch isn’t inspired by God. We can say this book is rather mythological.
The book describes a story where angels have children with women. This is the result of an incorrect interpretation of what is called the sons of man in the Old Testament. In fact, the sons of man are the descendants of Seth, who married the descendants of Cain.
At least this fact shows that the author of the book didn’t understand the content of the Old Testament, which means that the book wasn’t inspired by God.
At the same time, in the New Testament, Jude speaks of Enoch:
«Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones» (Jude 1:14)
Saint Augustine wrote about this:
«If the writings of Enoch did not receive authority either from the Jews or from us, the reason for this is extreme antiquity, as a result of which they considered it necessary to treat them with distrust, so as not to mistake the false for the true.»
There are many versions of why Judas mentioned Enoch. We can assume that when Judas referred to this book, he wanted to use a familiar example to show what he was trying to teach people, and not to prove the inspiration of the book.
Despite the unreliability of the authorship of the book and the lies in the events described, some parts of the book clearly show the light of truth, which means they were suitable for preaching to people who were familiar with this book.
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The Book of Enoch is a pseudepigraphical work, which means it was written in the name of someone who lived in a different time period. In this case, it was written in the name of Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah.
We know this for the reason that Enoch lived before Noah and no one believes that it was actually written by him.
False authorship is one of the sufficient reasons for rejecting any claims about the inspiration of this book.
Not a single pseudepigraphic book is included in the Biblical Canon.
Can We Read The Book of Enoch?
People exclude the book of Enoch from the canon of the Bible. Canon refers to the collection of texts that are considered authoritative and inspired by God.
The Book of Enoch wasn’t included in the Old Testament, which means that it isn’t considered authoritative by Christianity.
It must be remembered that almost all scholars and Christians exclude this book from the canon. Like other Jewish writings from the time between the Testaments, it’s interesting to read and can shed some light on Jewish thinking and Scripture.
Despite the fact that the book isn’t included in the canon, there is no reason to close access to the book. This book has some interest for historians. But this article is about the usefulness of the book for Christians.
The main reason to stay away from the Book of Enoch is that its authorship is uncertain.
The Authorship of The Book of Enoch
The text was written in the name of Enoch, but it’s widely believed to have been written by multiple authors over several centuries.
This means that it contains a mixture of different ideas, some of which are inconsistent with each other.
Since we don’t know the author and date of the text it’s difficult to determine its true meaning.
This book won’t help an ordinary person to know the truth described in the Bible, but on the contrary, it will mislead.
The Book of Enoch contains elements of Jewish, Christian, and pagan beliefs. Additionally, some of the beliefs and practices described in the text are considered to be heretical by Christianity.
For example, the Book of Enoch describes angels who had children, which isn’t true according to Christian opinion about the nature of angels. The author of the book simply misunderstood the meaning written in the Old Testament.
Another reason to stay away from the Book of Enoch is that its historical accuracy is questionable.
The Historical Accuracy
The text contains many details about the ancient world and describes events that took place before the Flood. However, many of these details are inconsistent with what is known from other sources, such as the Bible and other ancient texts. The book also contains many mythical elements, such as giant angels.
The book of Enoch is authentic in the sense that it was written in the second century BC. Scientists don’t consider it a later forgery. This is indeed an ancient document, which, however, is not inspired by God.
There are several reasons to stay away from the Book of Enoch.
Its authorship is uncertain and the beliefs described in the book are confusing. The book of Enoch isn’t considered a part of the canon because the book isn’t inspired by God.
While it may be interesting to read and study this book, it’s important to approach the text with caution and not take its teachings as authoritative.
CharalamposCharalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.
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