The Traveller’s Rest- Enoch, Enoch. Who’s there? Enoch. Enoch who?

Sorry we are not letting you in.

Since watching the Noah film and discovering the influence that the Book of Enoch had on the writer I have been pondering this book, its absence from the canon and why it was seemingly buried from the church at a certain point of history. Why is a writing that was obviously quotable by Jude in our canon, believed to be an influence on the theology of the infant church and accepted as Scripture by the early church Fathers such as Tertullian and Ireneaus now banished from our collection of writings and treated with suspicion by everyone except a couple of minority denominations? I understand the reasons of misplaced theology and apparent contradictions that can cause such decisions to be made in the collection of the Books together, but I think that then raises a whole set of bigger and newer questions. Who made the decisions about what was in and what was out? Were these people walking in some type of infallibility when they did it? Could their choices have come from their own prejudices and understandings? Why do some say 1 Esdres is Apocryphal and others say it is worthy of a place in the canon? Who decides to leave Enoch outside in the cold just because it is hard to understand?

The Hokey Cokey…in, out.

Full dogmatic articulations of the canons were not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism,[39] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox. Other traditions, while also having closed canons, may not be able to point to the exact years in which their respective canons were considered to be complete.

So we have only had a closed canon for the last 450 years. The way people act you would think no Christian could survive without the canon but obviously the church had 1500 years where there was flexibility, letters passed down, recognition but nothing concrete. many of these people would not have had a copy of the Bible in their own language and had to rely on the teaching from the church or their own idea of God. We think that everyone has always had access to the Word of God but this is only recent history. People have survived as Christians without the Bible in hand. Yes we are privileged to have access to these ancient words but I also think other dangers can arise from such access. We act now as if the Bible is part of the Holy Trinity itself. These men who decided on the books to include in the canon were not infallible, as neither was Enoch himself, but we act like they could not make a mistake, that they were taken over by God Himself and got everything spot on. If that is the case why did some who collected the canonical books choose some while others chose others, who was right and who was wrong. The group we belong to got it right of course.

God breathed?

All Scripture is God breathed. Is that just the canon that we have? Or is that just the Hebrew Scriptures because when these words were written there were no other Scriptures just letters written to churches and friends? Because Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch does that make that book God breathed? If not does that make the quote questionable? Or is the verse written by Paul to Timothy a recognition that the breath of God fills those writings from those who walked with God in some shape or form whatever their doctrinal value? Is the Song of Solomon of doctrinal value? Is it God breathed? When Ecclesiastes says everything is meaningless is that God breathed and an infallible word from God? Then the Book of Enoch says something like this;

He shall sow the congregation of the saints, and of the elect;
and all the elect shall stand before Him in that day.

All the kings, the princes, the exalted, and those who rule
over the earth shall fall down on their faces before Him,
and shall worship Him.

They shall fix their hopes on this Son of Man…

Is there not value in being able to read these words? The people who hide such things or do not allow such things, are they afraid that we might actually think for ourselves and risk getting things wrong compared to their conclusions and beliefs? Is it really so wrong to think that some angels decided to fall to earth to stand with banished man and try to lead them back to the Creator even risking being banished from heaven themselves? Seems like more of a teaching in selflessness here than on any story of the Kings or prophets. Can God possibly put some breath on something that is seemingly in error to the flow of the canon? Is His breath limited to the canon?

Is this it?

Is the revelation truly closed now since 1672? What of other parchments that may be found? What if a better version and interpretation can be brought into being? Could God never bring revelation for a writing with his breath infused in it ever again? Is the canon closed forever? Those few men in that one meeting decided the fate of something so awe inspiring until the last day? I guess we will never have another reshaped canon again, that would be sacrilegious. But with the internet there is access to other writings, other stories, the Book of Enoch. It will never be a canonical book but maybe we may find something of the breath of God somewhere or maybe not at all. Whatever the book did not exist to reveal itself but it is in existence to reveal Jesus. It was written so we could see Him. And once seen and walked with who wants to contain life within a book anyway. He is greater than all the words we have within our hands, He said that Himself, all the books of the world could not contain Him, they just reveal Him. The Gospel’s may be Gnostic and dualistic that are outside the canon, but so is much of the teaching brought to us through the canon we already have. A holy book is dualistic in itself. Now a book that helps us discover the Creator, that is a completely different thing. The journey and pondering continues…

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5 thoughts on “The Traveller’s Rest- Enoch, Enoch. Who’s there? Enoch. Enoch who?

  1. markrandallpixley

    I was told as a young man to not read the books in the Apocrypha, they would lead me to be deceived…as if those books could cast a spell over my mind and I would wander down some path to heresy and be damned forever…so my entire life I have held Enoch and books like it in suspicion…always a bit fearful of what might be inside…finally read it a few years ago and was surprised…oddly I did not lose my faith or belief in God…

    The issue of the canon is a huge deal for me…it points to a larger issue and that is who gets to own scripture, who determines what is and is not the “word”…and that in turn leads me to how we read the bible…or any scripture for that matter…

    Jesus and the disciples took some HUGE liberties with how they read scripture…Paul in particular makes radical departures from well established old testament understandings of prophetic verses…all of them essentially strip away a violent God meme…

    It seems to me the people who want control, and demand a perfect bible also need a violent God to go with it…as if violence makes God and the bible complete…

    Reply
  2. Mavis Andradez

    I learned of the Apocrypha when still in my teens (many years ago) and maybe it’s the non-conformist in me but I immediately went out and bought a copy. I did not find anything untoward in it – in fact I found it more palatable than some gory parts of the accepted bible.

    I remember once attending a Roman Catholic mass and they read from a book of the Apocrypha so it would appear that Roman Catholics accept it as part of their scriptures.

    Like you say Paul it seems to indicate more about the spirit of control of a few who decide what we should or should not read and accept.

    You’ve made me think – maybe I’ll read it again and refresh my memory. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. welshguru

    Been pondering over the gospel of Thomas. Seems Johns gospel got the vote to establish the four square new testament orthordoxy. Power and control in the Nicean council?

    Reply
  4. Geoff Reed

    Yeah like our friends have already mentioned, read the Apocrypha and never really found a problem with it, once again what have we been programmed to think.

    Reply
  5. Dyfed Wyn Roberts

    Surely we can agree on this: Jesus is our highest and final revelation of God – Jesus: born a man, died a man, resurrected a man.

    But Gnostic writings deny his humanity – which is why they have not been part of Scripture.

    Reply

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