3 Enoch and the Similitudes of Enoch
by Bankole Davies-Browne
[Bankole Davies-Browne is a postgraduate student working on the M.Phil. degree at the Divinity School of the University of St. Andrews.–JRD]
In my paper I have attempted to establish the relationship between 3 Enoch 3-15 and the Similitudes (1 Enoch 37-71); the former being a Hekhalot text. It is this section that deals with the elevation and transformation of the patriarch, Enoch. In my introduction I gave a brief background of both passages (pericopae). I did spend a fair bit of time discussing the relationship between 3 Enoch 3-15 and 3 Enoch (the Hebrew book of Enoch) as a whole; and also its relationship to chapter 16.
I noticed that the parallels between the Similitudes and 3 Enoch 3-15 are centred around eight elements in both pericopae: (1.) The heroes of the work (Rabbi Ishmael and Enoch: a biblical character and an extra-biblical character) (2.) Angelology (good and evil angels) (3.) Enoch / Metatron versus the “elect one” “the son of man. ” (4.) The throne and the Shekinah (5) Eschatology; ( 6). The oath / power inherent in letters, (7.) The heavenly ascent; and (8.) Wisdom. By the way, this is not an exhaustive list of parallels. My task was to try to explain some of these parallels. However, I decided to focus my attention on the Enoch/Metatron figure. Moreover, some of the aforementioned elements are interrelated to this figure in a rather complex manner. I have looked at the parallel from two different perspectives: (1). Apocalyptic tradition (See Saldarini and Himmelfarb) and (2). Hekhalot tradition (See Suter). There is evidence to show that 3 Enoch was dependent on the Similitudes. The thorny subject is to explain the parallels. Is 3 Enoch 3-15 (representing a later tradition) a product of exegesis or is it a result of a genuine mystical experience of a community?
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