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Enoch (Biblical figure)

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Saint Enoch
Holy Forefather
Venerated in Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Catholic Church
Feast July 30
Biblical longevity
Name Age LXX
Methuselah 969 969
Jared 962 962
Noah 950 950
Adam 930 930
Seth 912 912
Kenan 910 910
Enos 905 905
Mahalalel 895 895
Lamech 777 753
Shem 600 600
Eber 464 404
Cainan 460
Arpachshad 438 465
Salah 433 466
Enoch 365 365
Peleg 239 339
Reu 239 339
Serug 230 330
Job 210? 210?
Terah 205 205
Isaac 180 180
Abraham 175 175
Nahor 148 304
Jacob 147 147
Esau 147? 147?
Ishmael 137 137
Levi 137 137
Amram 137 137
Kohath 133 133
Laban 130+ 130+
Deborah 130+ 130+
Sarah 127 127
Miriam 125+ 125+
Aaron 123 123
Rebecca 120+ 120+
Moses 120 120
Joseph 110 110
Joshua 110 110

Enoch (Hebrew: חֲנוֹךְ, Modern Ḥanokh Tiberian Ḥănōḵ; Arabic: إدريس‎) is a figure in the Generations of Adam. Enoch is described as Adam's greatx4 grandson, through Seth, and the text reads--uniquely in the Generations--that Enoch "walked with God: and he was not; for God took him," avoiding the mortal death ascribed to Adam's other descendants. Additionally, Enoch is described as the father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah (Genesis 5:22-29).

Despite the brief descriptions of him, Enoch is one of the main two focal points for much of the 1st millennium BC Jewish mysticism, notably in the Book of Enoch.

In Islam, he is usually referred to as Idris (إدريس), and regarded as a prophet. Additionally, Enoch is important in some Christian denominations: he features in the Latter Day Saint Movement, and is commemorated as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church on July 26.

Enoch in classical Rabbinical literature

In classical Rabbinical literature, there are divergent opinions of Enoch. After Christianity and Judaism had completely separated, the prevailing view regarding Enoch was that of Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, which thought of Enoch as a pious man, taken to Heaven, and receiving the title of Safra rabba (Great scribe).

However, while Christianity was separating from Judaism, the Jewish view of Enoch was he was the only pious man of his time and was taken away before he would become corrupted.

According to Rashi [1] [from Genesis Rabba [2]], “Enoch was a righteous man, but he could easily be swayed to return to do evil. Therefore, the Holy One, blessed be He, hastened and took him away and caused him to die before his time. For this reason, Scripture changed [the wording] in [the account of] his demise and wrote, ‘and he was no longer’ in the world to complete his years.”

Among the minor Midrashim, esoteric attributes of Enoch are expanded upon. In the Sefer Hekalot, Rabbi Ishmael is described as having visited the 7th Heaven, where he meets Enoch, who claims that earth had, in his time, been corrupted by the demons Shammazai, and Azazel, and so Enoch was taken to Heaven to prove that God was not cruel. Similar traditions are recorded in Ecclesiasticus. Later elaborations of this interpretation treated Enoch as having been a pious ascetic, who, called to remix with others, preached repentance, and gathered (despite the fewness of people on the earth) a vast collection of disciples, to the extent that he was proclaimed king. Under his wisdom, peace is said to have reigned on earth, to the extent that he is summoned to Heaven to rule over the sons of God. In a parallel with Elijah, in sight of a vast crowd begging him to stay, he ascends to Heaven on a horse.

Enoch is often confused with Enos. However, Enos is grandson to Adam (Genesis 5:5-6), and great-great-grandfather of Enoch (Genesis 5:9-18).

Enoch in Christianity

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says "By faith Enoch was transferred, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well." (Hebrews 11:5)

The Epistle of Jude (1:14-15) makes mention of Enoch in a statement which has much perplexed interpreters. The author does not cite his source although it is commonly believed to have originated in the Book of Enoch. It is hypothesized that Jude fails to cite his source as the Book of Enoch was not considered authority by the early church but rather a part of Jewish literature. The question is whether Jude took this passage from any book written by Enoch, which might be extant in his time, or whether he received it by tradition or by revelation. One possibility is that he already had come to that belief through tradition, read of it in the book of Enoch, and cited it as an example of that belief regardless of his own views on the text's authenticity. Another possibility is that he did accept the book as authoritative but that standards of canonicity have tightened within the Church or that the text was simply lost to the western Church after a while.

Justin, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Lactantius, and others borrowed an opinion out of this book of Enoch, that the angels had connection with the daughters of men, of whom they had offspring ('the giants of the past').
Tertullian, in several places, speaks of this book with esteem; and would persuade us, that it was preserved by Noah during the deluge.

Most churches, including the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant churches, do not generally accept it. Origen, Jerome and Augustin, mention it as of no authority.

Specimens of an Ethiopian work known as the Book of Enoch have been brought into Europe, and translations of parts of it have been published. It is likely that this Ethiopian book is the same or similar to the Book of Enoch known in Europe in the late Classical and medieval periods. Though there is now no known text in Latin or Greek, similarities between the Ethiopian book and references in other extant European texts suggest that the Ethiopian book is related to a now lost Latin or Greek text.

Some consider Enoch to be one of the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation due to the fact that he did not die according to Genesis 5:24. Two notable televangelists holding this view, for example, are Perry Stone and John Hagee, a belief each has stated at least once on their respective programs.

Enoch in the Qur'an and Muslim traditions

The Qur'an presents Enoch in a similar manner, referring to him as Idris (which is Arabic for Enoch), meaning the instructor, regarding him as a man of truth and a prophet, as well as a model of patience; popular Muslim traditions credit Idris as inventor of astronomy, writing, and arithmetic. Enoch is often described as having been compelled to defend his life with the sword, against the depraved children of earth. Among his lesser inventions, in popular Muslim tradition, were said to be scales, to enable just weights, and tailoring.

He is mentioned twice in the Quran in the following verses:


AND CALL to mind, through this divine writ, Enoch. Behold, he was a man of truth, a prophet, whom We exalted onto a lofty station.


AND [remember] Ishmael and Enoch, and every one who [like them] has pledged himself [unto God]. They all were among those who are patient in adversity, and so We admitted them unto Our grace: behold, they were among the righteous!

Enoch in LDS theology

Among the Latter Day Saint movement and particularly in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Enoch is viewed as having founded an exceptionally righteous city, named Zion, in the midst of an otherwise wicked world. This view is encountered in the Mormon scripture (see Standard Works), the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants, which states that not only Enoch, but the entire peoples of the city of Zion, were taken to Heaven without death, because of their piety. (Zion is defined as "the pure in heart" and this city of Zion will return to the earth at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.) The Doctrine and Covenants further states that Enoch prophesied that one of his descendants, Noah, and his family, would survive a Great Flood and thus carry on the human race and preserve the Gospel. The Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price has several chapters that give an account of Enoch's preaching, visions and conversations with God. In these same chapters are details concerning the wars, violence and natural disasters in Enoch's day, and notable miracles performed by Enoch. The Book of Moses is itself an excerpt from Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible, which is published in full, complete with these chapters concerning Enoch, by Community of Christ, as the Holy Scriptures/Inspired Version of the Bible, where it appears as part of the Book of Genesis. D&C 104:24 (CofC) / 107:48-49 (LDS) states that Adam ordained Enoch to the higher priesthood (now called the Melchizedek, after the great high priest) at age 25, that he was 65 when Adam blessed him, and he lived 365 years after that until he was translated, so making him 430 years old when that occurred.

Additionally in LDS theology, Enoch is implied to be the scribe who recorded Adam's blessings and prophecies at Adam-ondi-Ahman, as recorded in D&C 104:29b (CofC) / 107:53-57 (LDS).

The Books of Enoch

Three extensive apocryphal works are attributed to Enoch (Henosch):

These recount how Enoch is taken up to Heaven and is appointed guardian of all the celestial treasures, chief of the archangels, and the immediate attendant on God's throne. He is subsequently taught all secrets and mysteries and, with all the angels at his back, fulfills of his own accord whatever comes out of the mouth of God, executing His decrees. Enoch was also seen as the inventor of writing, and teacher of astronomy and arithmetics, all three reflecting the interpretation of his name as meaning initiated.

Much esoteric literature like the 3rd Book of Enoch identifies Enoch as the Metatron, the angel which communicates God's word. In consequence, Enoch was seen, by this literature, and the ancient kabbala of Jewish mysticism, as having been the one which communicated God's revelation to Moses, in particular, the dictator of the Book of Jubilees.

Association with other figures

Due to the association of Enoch in Jewish legend (jHenosch) with learning and writing, the Ancient Greeks identified him as Hermes Trismegistus, a syncretic deity. Consequently, they also regarded him as the discoverer of the zodiac and of astronomy in general. Enoch also appeared in tales describing heroes being permanently taken by the Gods, such as Ganymede. In historical criticism, these stories are seen as being the influence behind more elaborate traditions such as Enoch travelling to Heaven via a flying horse (compare pegasus).

Scholars link Enoch with the ancient Sumerian king Emmeduranki. The specific lifespan of Enoch, 365 years, corresponding to the duration of the solar year, is linked to Emmeduranki's association with the sun god Utu.

According to figurists (a group of Jesuit missionaries mainly leaded by Joachim Bouvet into China at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century and based on ideas of Matteo Ricci 1552 to 1610)[3][4][5], Fu Xi in China's ancient history is actually Enoch.[6][7][8] Fu Xi or Fu Hsi (Chinese: 伏羲; ||pinyin]]: fúxī; aka Paoxi (simplified Chinese: 庖牺traditional Chinese: 庖犧; ||pinyin]]: páoxī)), mid 2800s BC, was the first of the Three Sovereigns (三皇 sānhuáng) of ancient China. He is a culture hero reputed to be the inventor of writing, fishing, and trapping. However Cangjie is also said to have invented writing. Traditionally, Fu Xi is considered the originator of the I Ching (also known as the Yi Jing or Zhou Yi), which work is attributed to his reading of the He Map (or the Yellow River Map). According to this tradition, Fu Xi had the arrangement of the trigrams (八卦 bāgùa) of the I Ching revealed to him supernaturally.This arrangement precedes the compilation of the I Ching during the Zhou dynasty. He is said to have discovered the arrangement in markings on the back of a mythical dragon-horse (sometimes said to be a turtle) that emerged from the river Luo. This discovery is also said to have been the origin of calligraphy. Fu Xi is also credited with the invention of the Guqin, together with Shennong and Huang Di.[9][10][11]

In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, the angel Metatron is revealed to have been Enoch when he lived on Earth.

In Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy and the earlier Cryptonomicon, the character Enoch Root or Enoch the Red is alive through several centuries and may be suspected of being a supernatural being.

the author of the book "Chariots of the gods" Erich von Däniken , claims that an ancient pharoe by the name of saurith may have also been enoch .

available on youtube (History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009 HD 720p part 5)

See also

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Enoch (Biblical figure). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.


  1. Rashi's Commentary on Genesis 5: 24. See also Commentary of Ibn Ezra.
  2. 25:1
  4. Brock, H. (1907). Joachim Bouvet. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. Etat présent de la Chine, en figures gravées par P. Giffart sur les dessins apportés au roi par le P. J. Bouvet (Paris, 1697)
  7. Portrait histoique de l'empereur de la Chine (Paris, 1697)
  8. Li, Shenwen, 2001, Stratégies missionnaires des Jésuites Français en Nouvelle-France et en Chine au XVIIieme siècle, Les Presses de l'Université Laval, L'Harmattan, ISBN 2747511235
  9. Etat présent de la Chine, en figures gravées par P. Giffart sur les dessins apportés au roi par le P. J. Bouvet (Paris, 1697)
  10. Portrait histoique de l'empereur de la Chine (Paris, 1697)
  11. Li, Shenwen, 2001, Stratégies missionnaires des Jésuites Français en Nouvelle-France et en Chine au XVIIieme siècle, Les Presses de l'Université Laval, L'Harmattan, ISBN 2747511235

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