I have heard that the book of Enoch is in the Bible over in Ethiopia. I have also heard that in Enoch there is a reference to the 1000 year reign of revelation. Why did the Church deny the book as inspirered? And Enoch is mentioned in the letter of Jude.
[quote=J.W.B.]I have heard that the book of Enoch is in the Bible over in Ethiopia.
Not quite. The entire book of Enoch (except for fragments) was believed lost until 1773, when it was discovered in two Ethiopic manuscripts in Abyssinia (since then, several other copies have been discovered).
But it is not a part of any modern or ancient canon that I am aware of (the manuscripts found were not part of a larger “Bible”). To my knowledge, there has NEVER been a single collection of writings which may rightly be considered a “Bible” which included this book.
The book was known and highly regarded by many in the Early Church (as you say, it was quoted in James, and also by several of the Early Fathers).
But the book seems to have fallen out of favor by the Fifth Century (when the first formal efforts were made to define the Canon of Scripture). There is no indication that anyone in the Fifth Century thought it ought to be part of our Canon - I cannot find any record that it was even considered.
The book was, indeed, quoted in the Epistle of James, which gave it credibility in the Early Church, but it does not demonstrate that Divine inspiration. After all, other non-Biblical works are also quoted in Scripture (for example, in 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul quotes from Menanderr (a Fourth Century BC poem): “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Why didn’t the Book of Enoch make the cut? Probably because it lacks Divine inspiration (just like the many other writings which were considered for inclusion but rejected).
That is a poor response. One may ask then besides in the Sacred Scriptures, Jude vs. 14-16 maybe even the whole book of Jude, how many other of the books are uninspired/irrelevent to modern days?
We know from Genesis 5:19-24 and Hebrews 11:5-6 that Enoch was a historical person. Jewish tradition preserved his prophecy and it was later incorporated into the non-canonical book of Enoch. But just because an entire work is not inspired does not mean that it does not contain any truth. Jude (1:14-15) chose to include this in his letter and because we believe in the Church’s infallibility in discerning the canon of scripture, we can be confidient that Enoch really uttered this prophecy.
Peter also alludes to Enoch when he spoke about the fallen angels being locked in darkness for eternity. It doesn’t make The Book of Enoch scriptural. For all we know the Book of Enoch is simply a fictional work inspired by the oral prophesies of Enoch that were handed down, not unlike the Infancy Narratives about Jesus.
If I might interject
The book of Enoch (or atleast the first one of that name which was found in ethiopia) is quoted or atleast its language and terminology is used nealy a hundered times in the bible, with the exception of one all of these are contained in the new testament. It is on this basis that scholars base their late dating of the book. The most obvious of these references are Jude and Peter, but they also appear in most of the books of the new testament. Admittedly it is possible that this is because the style writting is simillar, but this is not certian, and enoch certianly predates the new testament writtings.
As to why the book of enoch fell out of favor, this would probably largely have to do with the anathma placed against the teachings of Origen which coincides with enoch’s fall from favor. Origen was of the opinion that the “sons of god” spoken of in Gen 6 were fallen angels, an opinion which the Book of enoch shares, and one which the early church condemned.
When it came to setting the Canon of the New Testament those books and writings which had stood the test of time were incorporated. The test of time meant that they were often quoted by the Church Fathers and read at Mass almost universally across the Church. In other words commonly held for a long period to have the truth. Some that were at some point quoted and used but which fell by the wayside were left out. Persistence and longevity of use were taken as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s endorsement. The gathered Bishops in a way only made formal the sense of the Faithful, the whole Church on the validity of these books as sacred Scripture. They did not pull the list out of thin air.
Origen was of the opinion that the “sons of god” spoken of in Gen 6 were fallen angels, an opinion which the Book of enoch shares, and one which the early church condemned.
When and where was this view condemned? I’ve never heard this interpretation having been condemned. The anathemas against Origen involve the pre-existance of souls, and the idea that taking on material form happened because of a falling away from God. There is nothing against Church teachings about angels lusting after humans; Paul himself warns about this when he speaks of modest dress for women in church.
The general anathema againsi Origen’s teachings was strengthened by the condemnation of Filastrius (Liber de Haeresibus, no. 108) aimed directly against the Book of Enoch because of its view of the angels. Justin Martyr, however, agrees with the views in the Book of Enoch (Second Apology) as did Lactantius (lived from 260-330), Tatian (110-172), and Tertullian (160-230). On the other side there was Cyprian (200-258), Julius Africanus (200-245), Hilary of Tours, Theodoret (who calls believers in the story “stupid and very silly” Quaestiones in Gen. Interrogatio XLVII), and Jerome (348-420) who implied that Enoch contained the teachings of the Manichaeans and was heretical (Homily 45 on Psalm 132). Then we have Chrysostom (346-407) who says concerning the book of enoch “it would be folly to accept such insane blasephemy” (Homelies sur la Genese). Augustine also weighs in against the book of enoch saying that the “sons of god” refered to in Gen6 (and to which the nephilim in the book of enoch also refer) must be the sons of seth (City of God)
So it is not just Origen that this hinges on but that there is a general change of opinion between the earlier and later church fathers
But For Grace: None of those are official condemnations of the belief, however. The opinions of the Church Fathers are hardly binding. I’m looking for official condemnation of the belief that angels can mix with humans. Again, both Genesis and the writings of St. Paul imply that they can.
Here is what apologist Peggy Frye has to say regarding Enoch being apocryphal: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10228&highlight=Enoch
She also recommends a couple of other links on the subject.
Ghosty - sorry, I was trying to show an overall trend that slowly began leaning further against the views expressed in the book of enoch, as to normative teaching there is Les formes multiples de la superstition issued on June 26, 1975 by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship which in its fourth chapter states, “The majority of the Fathers rejected Origen’s idea that the fallen angels had committed a fleshly sin and, instead, saw the angels’ pride as the reason for their fall. The ‘pride’ of the angels was manifested in their desire to exalt themselves above their condition, to maintain complete indepedence and to make themselves divine.” This is the same view taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (391-395, 415) where it is taught that the angels sinned by “radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign” (CCC392). All of these agree with Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica) in that angels are purely spiritual beings without physical matter to their beings (Summa, question L, article 2) but that they assume bodies (Summa, question LI, article 2) and specifically deals with the question of Gen 6:4 (whether angels can procreate with humans) (Summa, question LI, article 3, objection and reply no. 6) and while Aquinas is not normative teaching, he does have great effect on it as should be obvious to the numerous references to his Summa in both the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.