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Publisher Description

The book known as Secrets of Enoch is one of the most mysterious ancient texts to survive to the present, and no two analyses of it seem to concur. Almost all copies that have survived to the present are in the Old Slavonic language, the official language once used by the Orthodox church in Slavic nations. As a result, some early scholars concluded the work was written in Old Slavonic, while others believed it was either translated from Greek or complied in Old Slavonic from a variety of ancient sources. Throughout the 1900s, a consensus developed within scholarly circles that work was likely written in a Semitic language and translated into Greek by the 9th century, and then into Old Slavonic by the 13th century. The text was quoted in the 13th century in the Merilo Pravednoe, an East Slavic collection of ethical texts. The view that the work did not originate in Old Slavonic was confirmed in 2009 when Coptic fragments were found in Egypt. As most Old Slavonic and Coptic Judaeo-Christian texts are translations of Greek texts, it is still accepted that the existing copies all derive from a Greek source. This book is also sometimes called Slavonic Enoch because until recently all known copies were written in Old Slavonic, or the 2nd Book of Enoch, which unfortunately conflicts with the other 2nd Book of Enoch, the Book of Parables which is then confusingly referred to as Enoch 2. This conflict over the name 2nd Enoch is based on the fact that Secrets of Enoch was first documented shortly after the Ethiopian Book of Enoch was discovered, and before it had been studied in any depth by scholars. At the time, it was not known that the Ethiopian Book of Enoch was composed of five separate books of Enoch, which has subsequently been confirmed by the study of the fragments of four of the books of Enoch found among the Dead Sea scrolls.

The various Old Slavonic manuscripts are not the same but do appear to be derived from a common source. Many manuscripts are missing entire sections of chapters, and most are missing the final few chapters that focus on Methuselah, Nir, Melchizedek, and Noah. The collection of Old Slavonic manuscripts is generally divided into shorter and longer recensions. The various short recensions clearly share a common manuscript that served as an influence but are not simply copies of that manuscript as each has unique lines that were copied from longer recensions. The general conclusion of researchers is that the various short recensions were the works of various Orthodox Christian scholars. The longer recensions contain several Gnostic references, which implies the text may have originally been used in Slavic lands by the Bogomil Gnostic-Christians who were common in the Balkans between the 12th and 14th centuries. Nevertheless, the Gnostic sections of the text do not appear to have been written by the Slavs and were almost certainly in the Greek manuscript by the 9th century AD.

Religion & Spirituality
May 20
Scriptural Research Institute

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