Intersection: 1st Enoch 82.4-7 and Daniel 7.25

The Book(s) of Enoch are a series of mini-sections touching on differing themes and providing fodder for biblical studies, especially those who study the Second Temple period. In 1st Enoch 82.4-7 we find an account of one Jewish sect in a war of propaganda against other Jewish sect over the abandonment of the Lunar Calendar:

Blessed are all the righteous, blessed are all those who walk in the way of righteousness and sin not as the sinners, in the reckoning of all their days in which the sun traverses the heaven, entering into and departing from the portals for thirty days with the heads of thousands of the order of the stars, together with the four which are intercalated which divide the four portions of the year, which lead them and enter with them four days.

Owing to, then men shall be at fault and not reckon them in the whole reckoning of the year: yea, men shall be at fault, and not recognize them accurately. For they belong to the reckoning of the year and are truly recorded (thereon) for ever, one in the first portal and one in the third, and one in the fourth and one in the sixth, and the year is completed in three hundred and sixty-four days.

And the account thereof is accurate and the recorded reckoning thereof exact; for the luminaries, and months and festivals, and years and days, has Uriel shown and revealed to me, to whom the Lord of the whole creation of the world hath subjected the host of heaven. (1EN 82:4-7 OTP)

One group of Jews had evidently left the calender given in the Torah, for another, perhaps the solar year(?). In Daniel, a book which many scholars attach to the time period right before Enoch’s final development (regardless, Daniel did come first), we read,

He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time. (Dan 7:25 NLT)

Is their connection in the two communities? In both, we see an unrighteous person/group attempting to rid Israel of their calender Further, I note a similarity in language, when speaking of the heavenly court of angels meant to watch over the times of the seasons and stations of the earth (1st Enoch 82.8-19),

These are the names, and the orders, and the leaders of those heads of thousands: Gidaijal, Keel, and Heel, and the name of the head of a thousand which is added to them, Asfael: and the days of his dominion are at an end. (1EN 82:20 OTP)

And again in Daniel,

But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’ (Dan 7:26-27 RSV)

The original languages of Enoch is in dispute, but most look towards a Hebrew/Aramaic form much like Daniel (E. Isaac 1 Enoch, a new Translation and Introduction in ed. James Charlesworth The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol 1 ISBN 0385096305 (1983). The Ethiopian Church, which is the only strain of Christianity to accept Enoch’s canonization, believes that it was written in Ge’ez.

1st Enoch is late in development, but controversial and widely quoted among sects of Judaism and early Christians. Fragments (in Aramaic) have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a passage is quoted in Jude 14-15. The Essenes at Qumran (I take this view) were a group of Jews separated from the sects, for the most part,which we find in the New Testament writings, which looking forward to apocalyptic crisis shortly. (Jude as well has an apocalyptic undercurrent as well). Copies of Daniel abound in the community at Qumran (which adds fuel to the belief that the book was written well before the 2nd century BC date given by scholars).

I am of the opinion that Enoch’s community (or at least the community which developed this portion known as The Astronomical Book) saw itself, much like the Maccebean authors did (compare 1st Maccabees 1-2 to Daniel 7, 11), fulfilling Daniels predictions made centuries earlier.

Two morals here: 1.) (theological) Just because it looks like the last days, doesn’t mean that it is and 2.) (academics) the book of Daniel had to have been considered canonical/inspired, or at least written, for a while to have it impact different communities starting in the mid-2nd century.

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22 Replies to “Intersection: 1st Enoch 82.4-7 and Daniel 7.25”

  1. This is the whole problem with taking history and dogma from the Second Temple studies, we simply cannot trust the Books of Enoch! They are not canon, nor even clear genre and theology? What has happened to trusting the real biblical canon? This is a fad today, nothing more in my opinion.
    Fr. R.

    1. Fr. Robert, where in the world did I take dogma from the 2nd Temple Period or insist that you can trust the Book of Enoch? If you think that I did, then you sorely miss the point of the post in which I note first that Enoch uses Daniel in its sectarian quibbles and because of that, in which Daniel must be recognized as canonical, as with Maccabean books, meaning that contrary to scholarly opinion, Daniel didn’t suddenly appear after the middle of the 2nd century bc but long before.

      I never said anything about not trusting the biblical canon – on the contrary, I used 2nd Temple Theology to showcase that you can trust the biblical canon.

  2. Joel,
    I have had to retrace myself as to the whole 2nd Temple ideas, such as in the New Perspective, etc. I am seeing now that NT Wright, is though brilliant, simply going his own way, rather than both NT Pauline theology, and the truth about national Israel.
    Fr. R.

    1. I would agree, Fr. Robert, about Bishop Wright.

      However, my post does not promote his ideas.

      Besides, Dunn seems more in line with certain things than Wright does.

      1. Sorry, I am just cleaning house I guess, and the 2nd Temple stuff has got to take some hits, etc. I know my pendulum must be swinging again! I am thinking about that statement…”I only think in Scripture”! Right now that is my thought. Anyway, I don’t like Dunn either! lol He rejects the whole Pauline Corpus, very sad!
        Fr. R.

        1. No, I agree – but I was merely hoping to show that Daniel is clearly written long before 2nd century bc using 2nd Temple documents.

          Dunn is not perfect, but more traditional than Wright. I am not set on NPP, although some of it is interesting.

          1. Since I have been on my leave of absence, I have been hammered by my people in the UK (theologians, theolog’s, etc. on e-mails) on this New Pers. and 2d Temple stuff. I had been more toward it at first, but further study and thought has taken me more toward our tradtional Reformed thought again.
            Fr. R.

          2. Some of it is tempting, but it seems to me that it leads to the abandonment of the Gentile mission and the need for repentance.

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