Page images

called Book of Enoch, seem to have been almost or quite unanimous in maintaining the affirmative of this question. The Testament of the twelve Patriarchs refers to it as ypaon 'Evwx, Bifros ’Evúx, ypapr vóuou ’E16x, ypapr ävía 'Evox (with some variation of Mss. as to the reading αγία), and λόγος Ενώχ. Tertullian, in defending the authenticity of this writing, says: “ Enoch apud Judam apostolum testimonium possidet ;" De Hab. Mulieb, cap. 2. Jerome, in speaking of Jude's epistle as one of the books which was rejected by some, says, that it was thus rejected, “ quia de libro Enoch, qui apocryphus est, in ea [sc. epistolâ] assumit testimonium,” Catal. Script. Ecc. C. 4; i. e. it was rejected because Jude quotes the apocryphal book of Enoch. Again, the same writer in his Comm. in Epist. ad Titum, c. I., speaking of the book of Enoch says: “ De quo Judas in epistolâ suâ testimonium posuit.” And finally, Augustine (de Civ. Dei, XV. 23) says: “ That Enoch, the seventh from Adam, wrote some divine things, we can not deny, cum hoc in epistolâ canonicâ Judas apostolus dicat." In the same work (Lib. XVIlI. cap. 38) he says: “ Nonne etiam in canonicâ epistolâ apostoli Judæ prophetasse prædicatur ?"

Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Anatolius (Alexand.), and Hilary, all of whom refer to the book before us and quote from it, say nothing which goes to establish the idea, that any Christians of their day denied or doubted that a quotation was made by the apostle Jude from the book of Enoch. Several, and in fact most, of these writers do indeed call in question the canonical rank or authority of the book of Enoch; but the apologies which they make for the quotation of it by Jude, shew that the quotation itself was, as a matter of fact, generally conceded among them.

At all events, most persons who compare the two passages, as above cited, will be spontaneously inclined, at first view, to the same opinion that was embraced by the ancient fathers. The contrary of this can never be made out, perhaps, with satisfactory certainty. And while such is the case, it becomes a matter of deep interest, to know something particular about a book, on which so much honour was apparently bestowed by the apostie Jude.

After the time of Jerome, we find very little said concerning the book of Enoch, until the eighth century. Near the close of this, Georgius Syncellus, a monk of Constantinople (Al. 790), in a work entitled Chronography from Adam to Diocletian, made large extracts from what he names the first Book of Enoch. These were first published by Joseph Scaliger, in his notes to the Chronicus Canon of Eusebius, at Paris in 1652, and at Amsterdam in 1658. The whole of these extracts are also reprinted, in a beautiful manner, in Dr. Laurence's English translation of the book of Enoch, 1st edit. 1821, 2nd edit. 1832. They may also be found in Fabricius' Codex Pseudep. Vet. Test. Vol. I. p. 179 seq. They shew, beyond all reasonable question, that the book of Enoch, which was quoted by Syncellus, was the same book for substance which now lies before us in an English version ; at least, so far as the quotations proceed they shew this, while the quotations made by other ancient writers serve the purpose of proving the same thing in regard to the book of Enoch in general; as we shall see in the sequel.

The latest mention that is made of the book of Enoch, as extant and well known in former times, is that of Nicephorus, a patriarch of Constantinople (A. Cent. IX.); who, in his List of Canonical and Uncanonical Books, inserted at the close of his Chronographiæ Compendium, mentions the book of Enoch as belonging to the latter class, and assigns, for the measure or extent of the book, 4800 orixon. This would seem to correspond very well with the extent of the book as it now lies before us.

From the time of Nicephorus down to the period when Scaliger published an edition of Syncellus, nothing of consequence appears to have been either said or known respecting the book of Enoch. But the large extracts of very curious matter which Syncellus had made, and which were now published, soon awakened a lively sensation throughout Europe, in regard to that ancient work. Scaliger himself spoke in very disparaging terms of the book, so far as it was disclosed to him by Syncellus ; although he maintains that the apostle Jude has quoted it. After him, Grotius, Cave, Grabe, Walton, Simon, Pfeiffer, Witsius, Drusius, Ludolf, Hottinger, Van Dale, Buddæus, Heber, and others, wrote more or less respecting the book of Enoch ; most of them saying many things which are not worth perusal now, since the discovery and publication of the book itself.

At one time in the 17th century, strong hopes were entertained, that the book had been discovered in the Ethiopic

language ; for there seems, from some cause not now known, to have existed at that period an apprehension, that the book was still extant in the Ethiopic. A monk froin Egypt, by name Ægidius Lochiensis, assured the famous N. C. F. Peiresc of Pisa, that he had seen the book in the Ethiopic language. Peiresc, at a great expense and with much effort, at length obtained possession of the book which had been thus described. Ludolf, the famous Ethiopic scholar, afterwards visited the Royal Library at Paris where it was depo. sited, in order to examine it; but he found the volume which Peiresc had so dearly obtained, to be nothing more than a worthless tract, replete with fable and superstition.

From this time all hopes of obtaining the book seem to have died away throughout Europe. Many things were said, here and there, and many conjectures indulged, respecting it; but it was generally supposed, that it must be ranked among the books irrecoverably lost.

Accident, so to speak, at last gave to Europe, what ages and generations had sought for in vain. A little more than half a century ago, James Bruce, the well known traveller in Abyssinia, published a copious account of that country, of which very little was then known in Europe. Bruce staid in Abyssinia during nearly six years, made himself in a good degree familiar with the language of the country, which is Ethiopic for substance, and brought home with him a large collection of curious and interesting objects. Among these were three copies, in Ethiopic, of the long sought for book of Enoch. It holds a place in the Canon of the Abyssinian or Ethiopic Scriptures, and is arranged immediately before the book of Job. One copy was presented by Bruce to the Royal Library at Paris; another to the Bodleian Library at Oxford ; while a third was reserved for his own use.

The report from France of the reception of such a present was spread abroad, and reached England before it was known there that one of its own libraries was enriched with the like treasure. The famous antiquarian and Egyptian scholar, the late Dr. Woide, librarian of the British Musæum, immediately obtained letters, from the then Secretary of State, to the English Ambassador at the Court of Paris, requesting him to assist the zealous librarian in procuring a copy of the Paris manuscript of the book of Enoch.


This was accomplished, and Dr. Woide brought back the copy to England ; where it remained among his papers, until his death. Bruce states, that Dr. W. translated the Ethiopic MS. at Paris; but Dr. Laurence assures us that this is a mistake, inasmuch as no such translation has been found among the papers of Dr. W., all of which came into the hands of the Delegates of the University Press at Oxford. The book of Enoch was merely transcribed by Dr. W., and that somewhat imperfectly. It was not translated; nor does it appear that Dr. W. was competent to the task.

Zeal for the cause of this long sought relic of antiquity appears to have expired for a long time in England, along with the librarian of the British Musæum. In France the Book of Enoch scarcely awakened a sensation ; for the horrors of the revolution and its sequel exclusively occupied the public mind there, for a long period. Recently, however, in England, Dr. Laurence, the present Archbishop of Cashell, and late Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford, turned his attention, while at the University, to the study of the Ethiopic; and, as the fruits of this, he brought before the world a translation of the Book of Enoch into the English language, in 1821. A new edition of this work appeared at Oxford in 1832, somewhat corrected and enlarged.

The reader may desire to know something more of the history of the other two Mss. of the Book of Enoch, brought from Abyssinia by Mr. Bruce. The copy at Paris remained unnoticed, until the late learned De Sacy, of the Oriental School in Paris, translated a part of it into Latin, viz, chap. vi.-xvi., also chapters xxii. and xxxi., which he published in the Magazin Encyclopedique, Tom. I. p. 382, seq. Mr. Murray, the editor of the octavo edition of Bruce's Travels, has given, in a note to that edition, a brief and very imperfect summary of the contents of the Book of Enoch, made from the copy that was deposited in the library of Mr. Bruce. To Dr. Laurence belongs the honour of revealing to the world the treasure that had been hidden for so many ages, and which was almost universally supposed to be lost irrecoverably.

Dr. L. has prefixed to his translation a Preliminary Dissertation, in which he has given a brief account of the literature of the book, and made some very acute and sensible remarks on various topics of interest in respect to it, particularly in regard to the time and place of its composition and the author of the work. He has thus made a beginning which does him great honour; but the present state of criticism is such, that something may be, and ought to be, added to what he has accomplished.

In 1833 about one half of the Book of Enoch was published in Germany, translated into German from the version of Dr. Laurence, by A. G. Hoffmann, Professor of Theology at the University of Jena. It is accompanied by an ample apparatus of notes and explanations, in the usual style of the Germans, exhibiting the fruits of extensive research and knowledge, and making much, which is in itself obscure to a modern reader of the book in question, to become quite plain and intelligible. The work of Hoffmann extends to the 55th chapter, and constitutes a moderate-sized octavo. Whether the learned Commentator has completed his whole design, I have not yet been able to ascertain. In the mean time, he who desires to go thoroughly into an examination of the spirit and manner of the Book of Enoch, will find important aid from the Notes of Dr. Hoffmann.

In addition to the literature already laid before the reader, I may add, for the sake of inquiring critics, that some valuable remarks and criticisms upon the work, by De Sacy, may be found in the Journal des Savans, 1822, Oct. Art. II.; also an excellent critique upon the same, in Lücke's Einleitung in die Offenbarung Johannis, § 12, p. 52 seq.

Having thus put the reader in possession of the general outlines of the literary history of the Book of Enoch, and pointed out the means by which he may acquire a particular knowledge of the work and whatever pertains to it, it seems proper, in the next place, to present him with a sketch of the contents of the book itself. The possession of this work, in our country, is rare ; and our public, so far from being acquainted with the contents of the work, are in general not at all aware, as I have reason to believe, that the book has even been recovered and published to the world.

The general plan of the book of Enoch may be described in a few words. Enoch the seventh from Adam, who was translated because she walked with God,” is represented as the author of the work, and is introduced, nearly throughout the book, as speaking in the first person. The

« PreviousContinue »