The oath and the name in 1 enoch 69

Jonathan Ben-Dov, Eshbal Ratzon

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The paper offers a new explanation for the traditions preserved in 1 E noch 69:2-25 in the framework of a comprehensive discussion of the entire Third Parable (1 Enoch 58-69). A new translation is supplied for vv. 13-25, alongside detailed textual and exegetical notes, based on the collation of eleven Ge'ez manuscripts of group I, five of which are not previously studied. Much of the discussion proceeds from form-critical marks within chapters 64-9, as well as within chapter 69 itself. The need for small-scale analysis arises from the fact that in the Third Parable many themes are inextricably woven together. The demarcation of Enochic and Noachic passages in the Book of Parables is discussed anew. A central theme of the Third Parable, the instruction of angelic knowledge, appears both in the Noachic passages (chapters 65-8) and in the Enochic chapter 69 and is discussed here in particular. The unit 69:2-14 (except for 2b which is a late duplication of the list of angels from 6:7-8) comprises six angels with extraordinary names, mostly unknown elsewhere, with Kesab'el, the prince of the Divine Name concluding the list. A second tradition in vv. 15-25, focusing on the angel Michael, discusses the role of the Divine Oath in the creation and sustenance of the world. Parts of v. 14 are a late attempt to bridge the gap between the two traditions. Several notorious cruxes in vv. 2-25 are explained on the basis of Ethiopic scribal practices, leaving little place for speculation about their meaning. Finally, several later Jewish sources from the Cairo Genizah reflect knowledge of the chapter in its final form, with the two angelic traditions joined together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-51
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Semitic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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