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Joseph Smith and 1 Enoch


David Bokovoy

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There exist some intriguing parallels between the Pseudepigraphic 1 Enoch and the Book of Mormon, at least one of which to my knowledge has not yet been emphasized.

The first translation of this forgotten book appeared in 1821 and was produced by Richard Laurence, the Archbishop of Cashel and professor of Hebrew at Oxford. In the book, Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman states that at the time the Prophet produced his own version of Enoch "it is scarcely conceivable that Joseph Smith knew of Laurence's Enoch translation" (pg. 138).

In contrast to Bushman's argument, Michael Quinn states that in 1825, Thomas Hartwell Horne's four-volume work, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures was advertised in Palmyra's newspaper and that apparently 1 Enoch appears mentioned in Horne's section, "On the Apocryphal Books Attached to the Old Testament" (see Mormonism and the Magic World View, pg 191).

Of course it's all fine and well that the book was mentioned in a scholarly work advertised in the Palmyra newspaper, but what's the latest on this issue? Is there any evidence suggesting that Joseph could have accessed 1 Enoch prior to publishing the Book of Mormon in 1830?

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There exist some intriguing parallels between the Pseudepigraphic 1 Enoch and the Book of Mormon, at least one of which to my knowledge has not yet been emphasized.

The first translation of this forgotten book appeared in 1821 and was produced by Richard Laurence, the Archbishop of Cashel and professor of Hebrew at Oxford. In the book, Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman states that at the time the Prophet produced his own version of Enoch "it is scarcely conceivable that Joseph Smith knew of Laurence's Enoch translation" (pg. 138).

In contrast to Bushman's argument, Michael Quinn states that in 1825, Thomas Hartwell Horne's four-volume work, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures was advertised in Palmyra's newspaper and that apparently 1 Enoch appears mentioned in Horne's section, "On the Apocryphal Books Attached to the Old Testament" (see Mormonism and the Magic World View, pg 191).

Of course it's all fine and well that the book was mentioned in a scholarly work advertised in the Palmyra newspaper, but what's the latest on this issue? Is there any evidence suggesting that Joseph could have accessed 1 Enoch prior to publishing the Book of Mormon in 1830?

I daresay the folks who spend so much time on the KEP would be falling all over themselves on substance instead of procedure, were there something substantive out there like actual plausibility of JSJr's [or SR's or somebody else's] access to an English Enoch 1 in the mid '20s - '30s.

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I daresay the folks who spend so much time on the KEP would be falling all over themselves on substance instead of procedure, were there something substantive out there like actual plausibility of JSJr's [or SR's or somebody else's] access to an English Enoch 1 in the mid '20s - '30s.

Indeed, there are a lot of folks who've invested quite a bit of time trying to find books that Joseph could have possibly accessed at some point in his ministry, so I'm hoping for a little bit of help from those in the know. I'll accept Quinn's argument that Joseph might have heard of the new book of Enoch prior to 1830, but it seems to me highly unlikely that anyone along the western frontier would have seen an actual copy prior to the publication of the BofM.

Is this correct?

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Indeed, there are a lot of folks who've invested quite a bit of time trying to find books that Joseph could have possibly accessed at some point in his ministry, so I'm hoping for a little bit of help from those in the know. I'll accept Quinn's argument that Joseph might have heard of the new book of Enoch prior to 1830, but it seems to me highly unlikely that anyone along the western frontier would have seen an actual copy prior to the publication of the BofM.

Is this correct?

I think it is likely. Enoch 10:5-7 (Raphael binding Azazael) was of particular interest to 19th century treasure seekers. As you may know, Raphael was among the names found on the Smith family parchments.

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I think it is likely. Enoch 10:5-7 (Raphael binding Azazael) was of particular interest to 19th century treasure seekers. As you may know, Raphael was among the names found on the Smith family parchments.

Of course, Raphael is a big part of the Book of Tobit, part of the apocrypha . . . and there was a nice English translation available in the KJV.

But let's go with unlikely Enoch . . . and not the likely KJV Apocrypha . . . as the source for Raphael's name in the alleged "Smith family parchments."

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Of course, Raphael is a big part of the Book of Tobit, part of the apocrypha . . . and there was a nice English translation available in the KJV.

But let's go with unlikely Enoch . . . and not the likely KJV Apocrypha . . . as the source for Raphael's name in the alleged "Smith family parchments."

Where exactly does Raphael bind Azazel in the Book of Tobit?

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Where exactly does Raphael bind Azazel in the Book of Tobit?

That's rather the point, isn't it, MR?

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That's rather the point, isn't it, MR?

I take that back. I must've conflated the Book of Tobit's story of Raphael exorcizing Asmodeus with the Book of Enoch's binding of Azazel. Oops!

Edit: Ok... so I take back saying it was "likely". I'll instead say it is "possible," and that there could have been motive to have access to the text, since Raphael was a character of particular interest to treasure seekers.

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If Joseph Smith had direct knowledge of 1 Enoch, I expect we would see more striking parallels between the two, and more especially between Joseph's Enoch in the JST. Joseph was not shy about drawing extensively from his sources (hence the extensive quotations, including those not attributed, of the KJV in the BofM). The appearance of Raphael in the Smith family parchments is likely due to the importance of the archangels in popular folk-magic, which is quite independent of Raphael and the other archangels in 1 Enoch (they appear prominently in several medieval and later magic guidebooks).

David, what unique parallels do you see between the BofM and 1 Enoch?

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The appearance of Raphael in the Smith family parchments is likely due to the importance of the archangels in popular folk-magic, which is quite independent of Raphael and the other archangels in 1 Enoch (they appear prominently in several medieval and later magic guidebooks).

This is what I had in mind when I first posted in this thread:

"[Treasure seekers would draw ] a circle on the surface of the ground round the spot, so large that the earth thrown out of the hole should not roll over the ring
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Where exactly does Raphael bind Azazel in the Book of Tobit?

The point is very clearly that the Smith family use of the name Raphael has a number of more likely sources than 1 Enoch.

EDIT: I see you've provided a source and corrected an assumption. Apologies.

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Most of Nibley's arguments against Joseph Smith seeing the Lawrence Enoch are still valid. Particularly that the Joseph Smith Enoch contains strong parallels to two Enoch passages that do not occur in the Lawrence Enoch. See Nibley Enoch the Prophet, where he discusses the Ethiopian Enoch chapter 11, compared to Moses 7:62. He could have added the Mahijah story to that argument, where he shows that the Joseph Smith Enoch contains a story only found the Dead Sea Scrolls Enoch.

Plus, from my perspective, if the Lawrence Enoch was available to Joseph, it was equally available to his neighbors and critics. Indeed, for economic reasons, more so. Here's an argument from my Truth and Method essay, footnote 180(FARMS Review, 16:1, p 342)

Compare D. Michael Quinn's remark: "Another common criticism of the Book of Mormon relates to its unusually extensive pre-Christian knowledge of Jesus Christ. . . . However, such details were consistent with previously published occult content in pseudepigraphic writings. Ten years before Smith published his translation of the Book of Mormon, Richard Laurence published his translation of the Ascent of Isaiah." D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 210. Quinn's endnote specifies that the text in question was published in England in 1819; it was referred to in an 1825 volume called Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (Quinn, Early Mormonism, 211). Quinn claims that "various Book of Mormon details therefore were not unusual within the preexisting literature about heavenly ascent and about Enoch" (Quinn, Early Mormonism, 211). Quinn does not discuss the complexities of the ritual and historical context in which the details appear
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Thanks to all those who've commented thus far in the thread.

David, what unique parallels do you see between the BofM and 1 Enoch?

I'm writing a paper for the forthcoming Sperry symposium on divine council imagery in Nephi's tree of life vision. I'm really excited about the paper. But this is just a minor point. Most of the comparative sources I'm using derive from the ancient Semitic world. I am intrigued, however, by the connection with 1 Enoch and will no doubt include the issue in my analysis.

Has anyone pointed out before that during his celestial ascent and vision of a tall mountain, Enoch interacts personally with the angel Michael through a question and answer session in which the angel serves as an interpretive guide. In essence, the angel asks Enoch what is wanted, and Enoch responds,

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Nibley is rather dismissive of Joseph Smith having access to The Book of Enoch. However, there was a very popular and common source for a summation of The Book of Enoch which was highly popular. The Book of Enoch was first discovered by James Bruce who published a highly popular travel narrative called Travels to discover the source of the Nile. The 1813 edition of this book has the following summary of the contents of the Book of Enoch.

The translation from the Greek, which is found in the Ethiopic bible, under the name of Metsahaf Henoc, is divided into 90 Kefel, or chapters. It begins with this preface: " In the name of God, the merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and of great mercy and holiness. This book is the book of Henoch the prophet. May his blessing and help be with him, who loves him for ever and ever. Amen. Chap. I. The word of the blessing of Enoch, with which he blessed the chosen and the righteous, that were of old. May it be in the day of temptation a protection against all the evil and wicked. And Enoch lifted up his voice and spake, a holy man of God, while his eyes were open, and he saw a holy vision in the heavens, which the angels revealed to him. And I heard from them every thing, and I understood what I saw." After this follows the history of the angels, of their having descended from heaven, and produced giants with the daughters of men ; of their having instructed these in the arts of war, and peace, and luxury. The names of the leading spirits are mentioned, which appear to be of Hebrew original, but corrupted by Greek pronunciation. The resolution of God to destroy them is then revealed to Enoch. These topics occupy about 18 chapters, which Mr Bruce had translated into English, but, weary of the subject, proceeded no further.

From the 18th to the 50th chapter, Enoch is led by Uriel and Raphael through a series of visions, not much connected with the preceding. He saw the burning valley of the fallen spirits, the paradise of the saints, the utmost ends of the earth, the treasuries of the thunder and lightning, winds, rain, dew, and the angels who presided over these. He was led into the place of the general judgment, saw the ancient of days on his throne, and all the kings of the earth before him.

At the 52d chap. Noah is said to have been alarmed at the enormous wickedness of mankind, and, fearing vengeance, to have implored the advice of his greatgrandfather. Enoch told him, that a flood of waters would destroy the whole race of man, and a flood of fire punish the angels, whom the deluge could not affect. (Chap. 59.) The subject of the angels is resumed. Semeiaza, Artukafa, Arimeen, Kakaba-el, Tusael, Ramiel, Danael, and others to the amount of twenty, appear at the head of the fallen spirits, and give fresh instances of their rebellious disposition. At Kefel (62), Enoch gives his son Mathusala, a long account of the sun, moon, stars, the year, the months, the winds, and like physical phenomena. This takes up eight chapters, after which the patriarch makes a recapitulation of what he had uttered in the former pages. The remaining 20 chapters are employed on the history of the deluge, Noah's preparations for it, and the success which attended them. The destruction of all flesh, excepting his family, and the execution of Divine vengeance on the angels and their followers, conclude this absurd and tedious work.

http://books.google.com/books?id=DMENAAAAQAAJ&dq=James%20Bruce%20and%20book%20of%20enoch&lr&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=1700&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1840&as_brr=0&client=safari&pg=PA415

Unlike Lawrence's work this book was highly popular. While it does contain the whole story of the Book of Enoch, it does contain some of the more interesting tidbits.

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Nibley is rather dismissive of Joseph Smith having access to The Book of Enoch. However, there was a very popular and common source for a summation of The Book of Enoch which was highly popular. The Book of Enoch was first discovered by James Bruce who published a highly popular travel narrative called Travels to discover the source of the Nile. The 1813 edition of this book has the following summary of the contents of the Book of Enoch.

The translation from the Greek, which is found in the Ethiopic bible, under the name of Metsahaf Henoc, is divided into 90 Kefel, or chapters. It begins with this preface: " In the name of God, the merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and of great mercy and holiness. This book is the book of Henoch the prophet. May his blessing and help be with him, who loves him for ever and ever. Amen. Chap. I. The word of the blessing of Enoch, with which he blessed the chosen and the righteous, that were of old. May it be in the day of temptation a protection against all the evil and wicked. And Enoch lifted up his voice and spake, a holy man of God, while his eyes were open, and he saw a holy vision in the heavens, which the angels revealed to him. And I heard from them every thing, and I understood what I saw." After this follows the history of the angels, of their having descended from heaven, and produced giants with the daughters of men ; of their having instructed these in the arts of war, and peace, and luxury. The names of the leading spirits are mentioned, which appear to be of Hebrew original, but corrupted by Greek pronunciation. The resolution of God to destroy them is then revealed to Enoch. These topics occupy about 18 chapters, which Mr Bruce had translated into English, but, weary of the subject, proceeded no further.

From the 18th to the 50th chapter, Enoch is led by Uriel and Raphael through a series of visions, not much connected with the preceding. He saw the burning valley of the fallen spirits, the paradise of the saints, the utmost ends of the earth, the treasuries of the thunder and lightning, winds, rain, dew, and the angels who presided over these. He was led into the place of the general judgment, saw the ancient of days on his throne, and all the kings of the earth before him.

At the 52d chap. Noah is said to have been alarmed at the enormous wickedness of mankind, and, fearing vengeance, to have implored the advice of his greatgrandfather. Enoch told him, that a flood of waters would destroy the whole race of man, and a flood of fire punish the angels, whom the deluge could not affect. (Chap. 59.) The subject of the angels is resumed. Semeiaza, Artukafa, Arimeen, Kakaba-el, Tusael, Ramiel, Danael, and others to the amount of twenty, appear at the head of the fallen spirits, and give fresh instances of their rebellious disposition. At Kefel (62), Enoch gives his son Mathusala, a long account of the sun, moon, stars, the year, the months, the winds, and like physical phenomena. This takes up eight chapters, after which the patriarch makes a recapitulation of what he had uttered in the former pages. The remaining 20 chapters are employed on the history of the deluge, Noah's preparations for it, and the success which attended them. The destruction of all flesh, excepting his family, and the execution of Divine vengeance on the angels and their followers, conclude this absurd and tedious work.

http://books.google.com/books?id=DMENAAAAQAAJ&dq=James%20Bruce%20and%20book%20of%20enoch&lr&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=1700&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1840&as_brr=0&client=safari&pg=PA415

Unlike Lawrence's work this book was highly popular. While it does contain the whole story of the Book of Enoch, it does contain some of the more interesting tidbits.

Thanks so much, George, for drawing this source to our attention. It seems safe to assume that Joseph might have heard about the once forgotten book, and may have even been aware on an extremely rudimentary level of some its content. Still, given the research I've done (which admittedly is not exhaustive) I agree with Bushman that it seems highly unlikely that Joseph could have accessed the book prior to 1830.

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Has anyone pointed out before that during his celestial ascent and vision of a tall mountain, Enoch interacts personally with the angel Michael through a question and answer session in which the angel serves as an interpretive guide.

Ahem . . .

Seven or eight years back, I threw the following together:

1 Nephi 10 and 1 Enoch 24-25

In the overview dealing with 1 Nephi 10 and The Ascension of Isaiah, a parallel was discussed in that both texts appear to make an intentional equation between the Lord and a tree, or in other words having a tree symbolize the Lord, and more specifically the tree of life symbolizing and representing the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven to earth to minister in mortality.

It appears that 1 Enoch 24-25 may be another instance in which a reference is made to the tree of life representing the descent of the Lord to earth.

A. The Tree of Life

Enoch is shown the tree of life, situated in the midst of seven mountains:

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To me, I think more interesting than literary parallels is the parallel of the composition and purpose behind 1 Enoch, and the composition and purpose of the Enoch portions of the JST and even the Enoch revelations in the D&C. I wrote a little bit about this in my blog:

Joseph Smith's Revelations as Enoch Literature

Pseudepigrapha (literally 'false writing') is a term used generally to designate a collection of writings that purport to be from a biblical author, but were in actually written by a later author writing in the name and persona of the ancient. One of the most popular and well known is the book of 1 Enoch.

Pseudepigrapha generally had one of two purposes:

  • As a forgery, intended to fool others into believing a text was an original by the purported author
  • As a literary device to 'cloak' the present author, and to present modern events and teachings in an ancient familiar context.

Evidence seems to show that the work known as 1 Enoch fits into the latter. It is understood to be a polemic written in the post-exilic era by a persecuted religious community against the wicked and apostate priesthood, using the symbols of fallen angels to represent the wicked priesthood. The writer places himself in the persona of Enoch, and not only warns, but also prophesies, and promises great blessings to the Righteous, who are believed to be the members of his own community, which may be related to the Qumranic communities.

Another work, known as 2 Esdras, while set during the time of the destruction of the First Temple, is, in its current form, a thinly veiled Christian work exploring the events of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and the persecution of the Christian community there. (The Ascension of Isaiah is a similar text, and it has been suggested that it may be using the character of Isaiah to stand in for James the brother of Jesus). Certain elements in the JST, particularly the Enoch passages (see Moses 6 -7 in the Pearl of Great Price), appear to follow in the footsteps of these texts in the second category.

The text presents a large expansion independent of the Genesis narrative featuring Enoch as receiving a revelation and vision from the Lord, and then receiving a commandment to preach to the wicked. He does so, and builds a Christian community known as Zion, which is so righteous it is eventually taken up to be one with the Lord.

This is directly analogous to the modern revelations and commandments Joseph was receiving at that time to build and establish a consecrated community known as Zion, to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

The Enoch chapters of the JST establish a parallel example in a scriptural context. The connection between the Enoch chapters and contemporary events was not lost on Joseph. In fact, he knowingly continued the parallelism. In March 1832, Joseph Smith presented a revelation to the people of the Church that would establish a mercantile institution (the United Firm) for the welfare of those living the consecrated-communal way of living in the land of Zion (Independence), Missouri. Names of those responsible are given, and promises of blessings are given to the faithful, and warnings are given to those who will break such covenants.

This revelation was first published in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, and when it was, there were several changes from how it appears in the original manuscript Book of Commandments and Revelations. First, it was re-framed as a Revelation to Enoch. Names were changed to ancient sounding names (Newel Whitney became Ahashdah, Sidney Rigdon became Pelegoram, and Joseph was

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Seven or eight years back, I threw the following together:

Well done! Thanks for sharing.

As you've pointed out, Nephi's experience shares much in common with ancient ascent literature, including the Ascension of Isaiah. I think you've proven that there's a lot that could be done here in terms of comparing/contrasting. My specific interest this time around is quite narrow, focusing on the formula for exchange in 1 Enoch, whereby the angel asks the question "what is wanted," as a means of testing the true desire of the visionary prior to imparting spiritual knowledge. I'm excited to share the paper.

Best

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The Enoch chapters of the JST establish a parallel example in a scriptural context. The connection between the Enoch chapters and contemporary events was not lost on Joseph. In fact, he knowingly continued the parallelism. In March 1832, Joseph Smith presented a revelation to the people of the Church that would establish a mercantile institution (the United Firm) for the welfare of those living the consecrated-communal way of living in the land of Zion (Independence), Missouri. Names of those responsible are given, and promises of blessings are given to the faithful, and warnings are given to those who will break such covenants.

Very cool! That is a great insight that I'd never before considered.

Love,

--DB

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My specific interest this time around is quite narrow, focusing on the formula for exchange in 1 Enoch, whereby the angel asks the question "what is wanted," as a means of testing the true desire of the visionary prior to imparting spiritual knowledge. I'm excited to share the paper.

Best

I will look forward to it, David.

We had a thread a few years back where an interesting aspect of 1 Enoch was brought to light, and here it is to the best of my recollection:

One unique aspect of PGP Enoch is that it pictures God as weeping.

1 Enoch also indicates God ("the Holy One") as crying.

This is so remarkable a connection that some have used it as evidence that Joseph Smith must have had access to the 1821 Laurence translation of 1 Enoch; the only English translation published before PGP Enoch was written.

The interesting part is that, in the Laurence translation, it does not say "the Holy One" cried, but rather that "the holy ones" cried. It was only in later (post PGP Enoch) English translations of 1 Enoch that the wording was corrected to "the Holy One" cried.

I am not aware of this point having made it beyond the confines of the message board . . .

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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In the Book of Moses, Enoch is taken up to the presence of God. Enoch beholds God weep for the sinfulness of mankind. After watching God weep for mankind, Enoch weeps also. However, Enoch weeps in away that demonstrates a quasi-deified status:

Moses 7:41

"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook."

.

Saying that Enoch's heart "swelled as wide as eternity", and that when his bowels yearned "eternity shook", associates Enoch with a quasi-deified status for "Endless and Eternal" is one of the names of God. Both God and Enoch look upon and know the misery and wickedness of mankind. Enoch weeps and his weeping has a cosmic effect. All of this makes Enoch very much like God. This is interesting when considering 3 Enoch and it's description of Enoch as the "little Yahweh".

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