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Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel, and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1 Enoch 6-11

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The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36; = BW ) features Asael as the culprit who illicitly distributed forbidden knowledge to the mortals. In retaliation, God rendered multiple punishments, one of which was the targeting of Asael’s sight (10:5). However, the text itself does not explain why God chose to inflict this form of penalty. This article aims to fill in this literary lacuna in light of the triadic association between sight, light, and knowledge – an association that was widely known in antiquity. This undertaking suggests that the particular offense of the Watchers, including Asael, described in 16:3 (i.e., misusing sight and light in knowledge acquisition) is critical to understanding Asael’s optical sentence. Ultimately, BW demonstrates a talionic correspondence between Asael’s sin and sentence.
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The literary pattern of Asael's punishment in the Enochic myth does not seem to stem from biblical literature or Greek mythology. It is far more probable that one has to look for its antecedents in Babylonian anti-witchcraft literature. The Jewish author who lived in Mesopotamia in Late Babylonian period treated Asael and other Watchers as warlocks against whom exorcistic rituals have to be applied. The elimination of Asael and other Watchers from the earthly realm paved the way for the Jewish context of knowledge transmission, exemplified by Enoch and his insight into the structure of the world, revealed to him by angels faithful to God of Israel.
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The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–38; BW ) describes a series of punishments that God renders against Asael (10:4–8). Several scholars have tried to identify possible traditions that stand behind these punishments in light of Jewish and Greek literatures. However, Henryk Drawnel recently challenges such attempts, positing a Mesopotamian background. Although Drawnel has shown that interacting with Mesopotamian literatures has something to offer in grasping a fuller understanding of the mentioned passage, this article argues that Greek literatures are still valuable sources, potentially shedding further light on the design of the punishment motifs in BW . In order to demonstrate this supposition, I interact with the myths of Prometheus, Tantalus, and Teiresias. Ultimately, I suggest that scholars should be open to the possibility that various traditions, rather than a single tradition, stand behind the punitive descriptions in BW 10:4–8.
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In both Second Temple Judaism and the patristic era, there was a conceptual exegetical practice known as defectus litterae (“the missing literal sense”) that understood absurd, dubious, or scandalous biblical passages as signifying deeper spiritual truths. The hermeneutical goal was to develop an interpretation that was theoprepēs (God-befitting). In other words, ancient writers sought a biblical interpretation that would rationalize and justify God’s immoral behavior in order to maintain belief in a good and righteous deity. However, there is another aspect of defectus litterae that patristic scholars have yet to classify. Coined here for the first time as hermeneutical hagioprepēs, or saint-befitting, many Jewish and patristic writers employed the same exegetical tactic to salvage the reputation of so-called saintly biblical characters. This stratagem allowed ancient interpreters to rationalize certain behavior in order to justify continued reverence for members of their own religious heritage. To illustrate the use of hagioprepēs, this study will first present examples of ancient interpreters minimizing, sanitizing, or omitting the embarrassing and immoral behavior of biblical saints. The study will then offer post-hermeneutical examples of hagioprepēs being used to rationalize and justify the crimes of fellow religionists.
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From the weberian formulation of theodicy, this inquiry will hold the centrality of the question of theodicy for religion. However, the weberian definition of theodicy presents problems for its application to texts of antiquity, because, according to Sarot, theodicy would be a modern phenomenon that would mark a new way of thinking about evil. From which the article reviews various theodicy showing the variety of responses, highlighting a different picture than that presented by Weber and Berger. The question about the suffering of the visionary and the prophet transcends the habitual ways of thinking about the existence of suffering and evil at a specific time to be open to interrogation and protest against all suffering, leading us to think again about God's relationship in the world, in such a way that rather than talking about a justification of God for suffering and evil in the world, theodicy interrogates and challenges the believer and God to look for other answers.
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The macro social space of the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36)An analysis of the material of the Book of the Watchers ( 1 Enoch 1-36) indicates a preference for the spatial aspect in these revelation narratives. In an attempt to understand this preference, an investigation is launched into the macro social world of the narratives. Themes in Enoch from literature in the Bible, the Syro-Phoenician world, Pseudo Epolemus, Zenon Papyri, Persia and Greece, are identified. Ptolemean Palestine is also investigated as the context within which an Enochic tradition was formed. Amongst other traditions an opposing Mosaic Judaism and Enochic Judaism are identified. Both take up the challenges of the third century with its Hellenistic onslaught and explosion of knowledge. The Book of the Watchers represents an Enoch tradition, which forms an early trajectory of apocalyptic thinking, and which is being influenced by various traditions such as wisdom literature in its mantic form, cosmological schemes of the world, and mythic traditions.
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