E. J. Jenkinson

[We prefix a note to this account of the Slavonic Enoch from the text of W. R. Morfill (Oxford, 1896).

"The Book of the Secrets of Enoch" in its present form was written about the beginning of the Christian era. Its author or final editor was a Hellenistic Jew, and the place of its composition was Egypt.

Written at such a date, and in Egypt, it was not to be expected that it exercised a direct influence on the writers of the New Testament. On the other hand, it occasionally exhibits striking parallelisms in diction and thought, and some of the dark passages of the latter are all but inexplicable without its aid.

Although the very knowledge that such a book ever existed was lost for probably twelve hundred years, it nevertheless was much used both by Christian and and heretic in the early centuries. - Editor.]

While the pseudepigraphic writings have been extensively used to illustrate the New Testament, they have not as yet perhaps entirely come into their own as sources for Mohammedan tradition. The parallels between Koran and Hadith, and the Slavonic group of pseudepigraphic writings are many and striking. This is especially true of the work known as "Slavonic Enoch," or "The Book of the Secrets of Enoch."

In the following study we shall use the text given in Dr. Charles' "Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament," and use the same labels A and B to define the two recensions.

Let us commence with Enoch himself. In Koran 19.56-57 we read, "And mention Idris in the book; for he was a great person, a prophet, and we exalted him to a high place." This Idris is one of the elusive personalities of the Koran. Sura 21.85 mentions him along with Isma'il and Dhu-l-Kifl as one of the patient ones; and Nöldeke suggests, not unreasonably, that Idris is none other than Andreas, Alexander the Great's cook. Post-Koranic Muslim writers, however, will have it that he was Enoch. As for the exaltation, some commentators understand this to refer to the honor of the prophetic office, and his familiarity with God; but others suppose that his translation is meant, for they say that he was taken up by God into heaven at the age of three hundred and fifty, having first suffered death; and been restored to life; and that he is now alive in one of the seven heaven, or in Paradise.

While in the above tradition Enoch was taken up at the age of three hundred and fifty years, the book of the Secrets of Enoch agrees with Gen. 5:23 in making it three hundred and sixty-five years. The idea that he revisited the earth, and then again went either to Paradise or to one of the heavens, agrees with Slavonic Enoch.

Traditionally it is said that books were sent down to prophets before Mohammed (Cf. Koran 2.4), and thirty such are attributed to Enoch by Al-Baidawi. Enoch has the books of the former prophets (33.8-10) where books of Adam, Seth, etc. are mentioned. The books written by Enoch himself are referred to in a number of passages. "Bring out the books from my storehouses, etc." (Enoch 22.12).

Idris appears in Moslem legend as initiated in science and arts, and was also credited with being the first astronomer and chronologist, and with being skilled in medicine. This agrees with Slavonic Enoch in that he is shown the mysteries concerning the heavenly bodies and their times, and in the fact that there is a great deal of chronological matter in this book. Chapter four introduces the angels rulings the stars; chapter eleven the course of the sun and moon; chapter twenty-four the mystery of creation; chapter 40.2-7 (A only), "I know all things - the heavens, and their end and plenitude - I have measured and scribed the stars, etc."; chapter forty-eight the sun's passage; and in chapter fifty-four he instructs his sons to hand down his books for the instruction of posterity.

Finally we note that his association with arts is confirmed by the introduction of recension A, which commences with: "There was a wise man, a great artificer."

The traditions which link Enoch with astronomy, and which look towards a solar myth in the background, may have partly arisen by deriving the name Enoch from chanack, to initiate, and from his three hundred and sixty-five years corresponding to the days of the solar year. Moreover the emphasis in Slavonic Enoch on the sun's course would have no little influence on the Mohammedan tradition, if we grant that they are indeed indebted to this work.

In Moslem tradition Enoch was the first to use pens. With this compare Slavonic Enoch 22.12: "The Lord said to Pravuil, 'Bring out the books from my storehouses, and a reed for quick writing, and give it to Enoch -'"

Two other points of contact with regard to Enoch himself may be noticed in passing: the Moslems claim that the angel of death visited Enoch in the form of a man, while the Slavonic work tells of two angelic beings in the form of men; furthermore, the Islamic belief that Enoch went through Hell is again in accordance with the Jewish Pseudepigraph.

What has been cited above may appear inconclusive as a proof that Mohammed personally knew and used the earlier writing, but it makes it tolerably certain that this book has had no little influence upon the tradition of Islam as a whole. Other arguments and parallels make the cumulative argument stronger. A slight variation here and there between the two sets of authorities is inconsequential, in view of the general carelessness of Moslem writers, and their notoriety for inexact citation.

The belief in seven heavens appears in Sura 41 and Sura 65, which agrees with our B text: the A text of the Secrets (21.6 to 22.3) which introduces an interpolation, bringing the number up to ten, may here be disregarded. The four rivers of Paradise occur in Sura 108 and Sura 47.2, and in Secrets of Enoch 8.5-7. Heaven as a garden of fruitful trees, as in Sura 2.25: 2.41: 69.23, finds its counterpart in Enoch 72 and 7.8.

Traces of direct imitation of Enoch are to be found in the fact that both Enoch and the "prophet" make a tour of the heavens. The Moslem version appears in Koran 17.1 and in the Mishkatu'l-Masabih. Again Gabriel encounters both Mohammed and Enoch (Cf. Sura 2, "Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel: for he hath caused the Koran to descend on thy heart, etc."; Sura 53, "One mighty in prayer, etc."). He also saw Gabriel another time by the lote tree, beyond which there is no passing; near it is the garden of eternal abode.

This tree, say the commentators, stands in the seventh heaven, on the right hand of the throne of God; and this is the uttermost bound beyond which the angels themselves must not pass: or, according to others, beyond which no creature's knowledge can extend. The parallel here is in the idea expressed in Slavonic Enoch 21.3, where at the end of the seventh heaven Gabriel is sent to Enoch, and says to him, "Have courage, Enoch - Come with me."

The well known eschatological theme of the casting of Satan out of Paradise figures both in the Koran and the Jewish apocryphal writing. Compare Koran, Sura 7, "Get thee down from Paradise - give me respite till the day of resurrection," with Slavonic Enoch 29.4-5 (A).

The figure of the balance is less decisive, by reason of its wide circulation. Thoth guards the scales (in a papyrus from an Egyptian tomb of the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty) while Rashnu presides over the scales at the bridge of destiny, in old Persian teaching. Michael, Hermes, and Mercury are shewn to have held the same office. Here the Koranic references are 7.8-9: 23.102: 55.7-9: 42.17. Slavonic Enoch talks of a set of scales to weigh the winds, in 40.11. Neared is Enoch 44.4-5, where the judgement of the righteous is compared to the weighing in the scales of a market place. Best of all is the passage in Enoch 52.15, where it is written, "For all these things will be laid bare in the weighing scales and in the books, on the day of the great judgment."

Let us now glance for a moment at the idea of Hell entertained by our authorities. Koran, Sura 22, tells of beating with maces of iron, and Enoch 10 of angels, fearful and merciless, bearing terrible weapons. Koran 22 relates that boiling water will be poured on the heads of the condemned, while Enoch 10 expatiates on a fiery river coming forth. According to Mohammed the condemned will suffer in Hell from both heat and cold. This theme is well worked out in the recently recovered Apocalypse of Peter, but we must look for the Koranic doctrine elsewhere. We find it, in fact, in Slavonic Enoch 10, where we read that the whole place is fire, and everywhere there is frost and ice. (Koran, Sura 61 and 77.)

The doctrine of Islam concerning the guards of Hell (Cf. Sale. Preliminary Discourse, p. 73) is found in Enoch 18, in the soldiers there called Grigori. The same belief is, however, expressed in the Talmud (Midrash Yalkut Shemuni, part II, fol. 116).

The investing with the garment of Paradise, which is such an old theme with Gnostic writers, and mystics generally, finds a place in both our writings. Compare Koran 76, "Upon them shall be garments of green silk, etc.," with Enoch 22.8, "Go and take Enoch from out his earthly garments, and anoint him with my sweet ointment."

In conclusion we may compare the reference to looking on God's face in Koran, Sura 10, etc., and the parallel idea in Enoch 22.1.

In this preliminary study there is doubtless much that has been overlooked, and possibly other parallels between the Koran and the Secrets of Enoch may be discovered. Yet even from so much as has been here brought forward it appears that most probably, either at first or second hand, Mohammed did know Slavonic Enoch.



E. J. Jenkinson, "Did Mohammed Know Slavonic Enoch?", The Moslem World, Volume XXI (1931), pp. 24-28.

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