Bock

Slavonic Enoch (2 Enoch) Loses an Adjective June 14

The opening of the Enoch Conference on 2 Enoch and various Jewish mediatorial figures opened in Naples today. We heard a lecture on new Coptic manuscript fragments (4 total) of 2 Enoch discovered in Southern Egypt in the 1970’s but just now identified. This are the first manuscripts of this book not to be in Slavonic.

The opening of the Enoch Conference on 2 Enoch and various Jewish mediatorial figures opened in Naples today. We heard a lecture on new Coptic manuscript fragments (4 total) of 2 Enoch discovered in Southern Egypt in the 1970’s but just now identified. This are the first manuscripts of this book not to be in Slavonic. It means it is highly unlikely this text came from medieval Judaism, but that it has Greek roots (as most works in Coptic had Greek roots) and could well be a text from the Second Temple period. (Many papers here are arguing for a pre-70 date). The mss was dated to the 10th or eleventh century. We also heard about some new fragments on 1 Enoch found at Qumran. This book has Enoch travel through the 7 heavens and talk about the experience while exhorting people to be faithful to the Creator God. The result: Slavonic Enoch is no longer just Slavonic, but 2 Enoch.

So a nice start to the conference. It was preceeded by a visit to Pompeii, which is always fascinating (my second time there). To those of you who have been to Ephesus. It is even a more extensive site than Ephesus. I have now spent 5 hours there and have seen only about 60% of the site. Nice frescos on the walls of the House of Mysteries was the key site I saw this time.

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13 Comments

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    Brett Williamss

    Dating 2 Enoch – Coptic
    Dr. Bock:

    2 Questions:

    1. What is the uncertainty about with dating these fragments? I know in dating Greek mss paleontologists can usually get to within 50 years, plus or minus. Are the Coptic scholars comparing these to other dated mss?

    2. What were these Coptic fragments doing since the 1970s such that nobody read them to determine their contents? How many other mss, Greek/Latin/Syriac/Coptic/etc. are there that have been discovered but still have not yet been read to determine their contents? At least someone should photograph these and post them on a website so scholars can look at them to see if there are any old, important NT mss!

    I hope you are the type who takes pictures so you can share pics of Ephesus when you return!!

    Brett Williams

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      bock

      2 Questions dlb

      1. What is the uncertainty about with dating these fragments? I know in dating Greek mss paleontologists can usually get to within 50 years, plus or minus. Are the Coptic scholars comparing these to other dated mss?

      The mss are datable once found. There is only one scholar working on this. The issue is dating the contents and finding the mss. Right now all that exists are photographs. The collection they were a part of was huge; the fragments are small. 

      2. What were these Coptic fragments doing since the 1970s such that nobody read them to determine their contents? How many other mss, Greek/Latin/Syriac/Coptic/etc. are there that have been discovered but still have not yet been read to determine their contents? At least someone should photograph these and post them on a website so scholars can look at them to see if there are any old, important NT mss!

       

      They are a part of a collection of thousands of pieces of material that are only now being analyzed. These pieces are not easy to locate or photograph and then read. It is a slow process.

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        Brett Williamss

        “Slow process”
        Dr. Bock:

        I must be overlooking the obvious here. This ‘slow’ process to which you are referring is now more than 30 years!! Once they were photographed, and I’m referring to the 1,000s of fragments, was not the next step to read them immediately, if not faster 😼 ) If there is only one scholar working on this, are there not 20 more scholars ready and willing to help out?

        I’m really struggling with why we discover ancient fragments and some scholar is not on that like white of rice. What am I missing? When Dan went into the Benaki Museum in Athens, it didn’t take him very long to assess the contents of the manuscripts. Within just a very short period of time, he initially estimated a discovery of 8 uncatalogued mss. If you add up the other locations he’s checked (and has not even photographed yet), the uncatalogued mss are approaching 22!!

        I just don’t understand why new discoveries like these are not assigned a priority almost immediately. I guess there are fewer Coptic scholars, but are there not at least a dozen or so who would jump at the chance to read these mss days after they are discovered? This is exciting stuff!

        Brett

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          bock

          It Is More Complicated dlb
          How does this work? Well, someone digs it up and makes an initial catalog, but because they contiunue digging, no analysis. Then that person dies. Someone hasoto pick up and know or have a suspicion what is there. If not, it sits for years. The reason Dan finds the stuff is because it has sat in libraries for years. The few people who know Coptic well enough to do this is another problem. When the location is obscure and circumstances unusual (these mss were in the southern most part of Egypt and were rescued as part of a rush operation before the Aswan dam flooded out the area), not many even know something might be happening until something surfaces.  There also are government agencies to deal with, since these are their antiquities. So it is all very complicated.

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    Anonymous

    Question
    Hello Prof. Bock,

    I am taking a humanities course at a public university. My professor remarked the other day that the church or early christians did not accept the other gospels that existed because it presented women as heroes. Do you address this objection in any of your books? Is there any book you can point me to that would answer this objection. Thanks.

    – Brian

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      bock

      Question dlb

      Hardly. Read Gospel of Thomas 114 and ask how this makes women heroes. Or look at the female deity who as a woman botches the creation and puts us in the mess we are in and ask if she is a hero. This is in a key Gnostic text Apocryphon of John.

      The claim is exaggerated and is not the reason. My book (The Missing Gospels) does cover this. 

      dlb 

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    Anonymous

    Another question

    Prof. Bock,

    I had another question. My professor referred to the Epic of Gilgamesh and stated that the Epic of Gilgamesh was the oldest story ever written. He then talked about how the hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh was a being or person who was 2/3 god and 1/3 man(the supposed similarity with Jesus being fully man and fully God). I’ve also heard that in the Epic of Gilgamesh there is also a flood story. My question is how do I deal with the similarities of the hero and the flood in EOG and our bible? How do I answer these objections? Thanks.

    – Brian

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      bock

      Another question dlb

      Brian:

      The issue is in the details. Many times the "parallels" are only in the broadest terms. For example, some say the Anatolians (where modern Turkey is today) had a resurrected god in Attis. The problem is that his "resurrection" was very limited. His hair could grow. He could move one finger (in other words, not much of a resurrection). So keep your eyes on the details.  

      Some imagery (Leviathan) does overlap. It is interesting when this happens, but cannot be used to deny what Scripture is saying.

      dlb 

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    Peter Smith

    Hypocritical Dating?
    I’m sure the title of this response could invoke some sort of idea about a double standard romance but I just wanted to know if I read your post correctly: If the only extant Coptic MSS of 2 Enoch only date to the “10th or eleventh century” yet “Many papers [at the conference] are arguing for a pre-70 date” then how come many won’t date Greek NT MSS from the 4th century or earlier to first century origins? If they are willing to put an archtype back 9 or 10 centuries why wouldn’t similar archtypes be acceptable for NT Greek MSS going back less than that?

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    bock

    Dating dlb

    Peter:

    Great question. The fact is only the most radical do this with the New Testament. They show they do not know the difference between the date of the manuscript and the date of the origin of the contents in it (which is earlier, unless you have the original). But as I said, only the most radical try to overplay this issue.

    dlb 

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    Anonymous

    One more Question
    Prof, Bock,

    Again thanks for the reply. I have heard about the movie ‘ Zeitgeist ‘. Have you ever thought of responding to the claims the movie makes? Thanks.

    – Brian

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      bock

      Question dlb

      I have heard of it but have not seen it. So no plans to respond currently.

      dlb 

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