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The Watchers: whence and whither?

At the origin of the Watchers tradition is the single enigmatic reference in Genesis 6 to the sons

Harkins | Bautch | Endres

of God who had intercourse with human women, producing a race of giants upon the earth.
That verse sparked a wealth of cosmological and theological speculation in early Judaism. In The
Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions, leading scholars explore the contours of the Watchers
traditions through history, tracing their development through the Enoch literature, Jubilees, and
other early Jewish and Christian writings. This volume, edited by Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley
Coblentz Bautch, and John C. Endres, S.J., provides a lucid survey of current knowledge and
interpretation of one of the most intriguing theological motifs of the Second Temple period.


IntroductionThe Editors II. Second Temple Developments

The Watchers Traditions in Book of the Watchers

I. Origins and Biblical Discussions and the Animal ApocalypseKarina Martin Hogan
of the Fallen Angels

The Watchers
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers John C. Endres, S.J.
TraditionsIda Frhlich Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 Samuel Thomas
(MT and LXX)Christopher Seeman The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers ParablesLeslie Baynes
Anathea Portier-Young
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and III. Reception in Early Christianity
Deuterocanonical LiteratureT. J. Jeremy Corley and Early Judaism

in Jewish and Christian Tradititions

Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles
Eric F. Mason The Descent of the Watchers and Its Aftermath
According to Justin MartyrRandall D. Chesnutt
Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic

The Watchers
TraditionsScott M. Lewis, S.J. Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in The Life
of Adam and EveSilviu Bunta
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 6-16:
The Fall of the Angels and the Rise of Demons The Watchers Traditions in Targum and
Kevin Sullivan MidrashJoshua Ezra Burns

Angela Kim Harkins is associate professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut
and in the Center for Judaic Studies.
Kelley Coblentz Bautch is associate professor of religious studies, St. Edwards University. in Jewish and Christian Traditions
John C. Endres, S.J. is professor of sacred scripture at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara

Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch,

and John C. Endres, S.J., Editors


Fortress Press

Copyright 2014 Fortress Press. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in
critical articles or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner
without prior written permission from the publisher. Visit or write to Permissions, Augsburg
Fortress, Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440.

Chapter 3 is excerpted and adapted from Anathea Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against

Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 11-23,
with the kind permission of the publisher.

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright
1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of
Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Cover image: Scala / Art Resource, NY

Cover design: Tory Herman

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available

Print ISBN: 978-0-8006-9978-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4514-6513-6

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For those who participated in the Scripture in Early Judaism and Early
Christianity Continuing Seminar and Task Force, which met from 2008-2012 at the
annual meetings of the Catholic Biblical Association.

Abbreviations ix
Introduction 1

Part I. Origins and Biblical Discussions of the Fallen Angels

1. Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions 11
Ida Frhlich
2. The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) 25
Chris Seeman
3. Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers 39
Anathea Portier-Young
4. The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical 51
Jeremy Corley
5. Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles 69
Eric F. Mason
6. Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic Traditions 81
Scott M. Lewis, S.J.
7. The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616: The Fall of Angels 91
and the Rise of Demons
Kevin Sullivan

Part II. Second Temple Developments

8. The Watchers Traditions in the Book of the Watchers and the 107
Animal Apocalypse
Karina Martin Hogan
9. The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees 121
John C. Endres, S.J.

10. Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls 137
Samuel Thomas
11. The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables 151
Leslie Baynes

Part III. Reception in Early Christianity and Early Judaism

12. The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to 167
Justin Martyr
Randall D. Chesnutt
13. Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and 181
Silviu N. Bunta
14. The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash 199
Joshua Ezra Burns

Index of Names 217

Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature 223

Periodicals and Series

AB Anchor Bible
ABD Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D.N. Freedman. 6 vols. New York,
AGJU Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums
AnBib Analecta Biblica
ANF Ante-Nicene Fathers
ANRW Aufstieg und Niedergang der rmischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms
im Spiegel der neuren Forschung. Edited by H. Temporini and W. Haase. Berlin,
AOAT Alter Orient und Altes Testament
AAWG.PH Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Gttingen:
Philologische-Historische Klasse
ASNU Acta Seminarii neotestamentici upsaliensis
BDB Brown, F., S.R. Driver, and C.A Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon
of the Old Testament. Oxford, 1907.
BECNT Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
BETL Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium
BIOSCS Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate
BJS Brown Judaic Studies
BNTC Blacks New Testament Commentaries
BZAW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fr die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
CBQ Catholic Biblical Quarterly
CBQMS Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series
CBR Currents in Biblical Research
CEJL Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature
CRINT Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum
CSCO Corpus scriptorum christianorum orientalium. Edited by I.B. Chabot
et al. Paris, 1903
DCLS Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies

x | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

DCLY Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook

DJD Discoveries in the Judaean Desert
DRev Downside Review
DSD Dead Sea Discoveries
EJL Early Judaism and its Literature
FO Folia Orientalia
GRBS Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
HCS Hellenistic Culture and Society
HSM Harvard Semitic Monographs
HTR Harvard Theological Review
HUCA Hebrew Union College Annual
IOS Israel Oriental Studies
JAC Jahrbuch fr Antike und Christentum
JAOS Journal of the American Oriental Society
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
JECS Journal of Early Christian Studies
JJS Journal of Jewish Studies
JRH Journal of Religious History
JSJ Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods
JSJSup Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman
Periods Supplement Series
JSNT Journal for the Study of the New Testament
JSNTSup Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series
JSP Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
JSPSup Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Supplement Series
JTS Journal of Theological Studies
LCL Loeb Classical Library
MHUC Monographs of the Hebrew Union College
NIB The New Interpreters Bible
NICNT New International Commentary on the New Testament
NovTSup Supplements to Novum Testamentum
NPNF Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
NTS New Testament Studies
NTT Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift
OTP Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Edited by J.H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. New
York, 1983, 1985.
Abbreviations | xi

PG Patrologia graeca [= Patrologiae cursus completes: Series graeca]. Edited

by J.P. Migne. 162 vols. Paris, 18571886.
PL Patrologia latina [= Patrologiae cursus completes: Series latina]. Edited by
J.-P. Migne. 217 vols. Paris, 18441864.
RB Revue biblique
RevQ Revue de Qumran
RSR Recherches de science religieuse
SBLDS Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series
SBLSP Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers
SBLEJL Society of Biblical Literature Early Judaism Literature
SDSSRL Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature
SJS Sanhedrin Jewish Studies
SNTSMS Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series
W.PH Schsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig; Philologisch-
Historische Klass
ST Studia theologica
STDJ Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah
SVTP Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigraphica
TANZ Texte und Arbeiten zum neutestamentlichen Zeitalter
TBN Themes in Biblical Narrative
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Edited by G. Kittel and G.
Friedrich. Translated by G.W. Bromiley. 10 vols. Grand Rapids, 19641976.
TJ Trinity Journal
TNTC Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
TSAJ Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum
TZ Theologische Zeitschrift
VC Vigiliae christianae
WBC Word Biblical Commentary
WMANT Wissenschaftliche Mongraphien zum Alten und Neuen Testament
WUNT Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament
W Zeitschrift fr alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
ZNW Zeitschrift fr die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der lteren

1 En. 1 Enoch (Ethiopic Book of Enoch)
2 En. 2 Enoch (Slavonic Book of Enoch)
xii | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

3 En. 3 Enoch (Hebrew Book of Enoch)

Jub. Book of Jubilees
LAE Life of Adam and Eve
Sib. Or. Sibylline Oracles
T. Ab Testament of Abraham
T. Job Testament of Job
T. Levi Testament of Levi
T. Moses Testament of Moses
T. Reu Testament of Reuben

Mishnah, Talmud, and Related Literature

b. Ab. Zar Avodah Zarah
b. ag agigah
b. N
id. Niddah
b. abb abbat
b. So Soah
b. Yeb. Yebamot
Gen. Rab. Genesis Rabbah
arg.. P
s.-J. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

Early Jewish and Christian Writings

Adv. haer. Irenaeus, Against Heresies
AdvMarc Tertullian, Against Marcion
Ant. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities
onf.. Philo, De confusione linguarum
ona Tertullian, De Corona
Dial. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho
Gig.. Philo, De gigantibus
Hist. Eccl. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastics
Opif.. Philo, De opificio mundi
at. Tertullian, De Oratione
Ps.-Clem. H
om. Pseudo-Clementines Homilies
Q.G. Philo, Quaestiones et solutiones in Genesin
Tract. ep. Jo Augustine, Tractates on the First Epistle of John
Tri. T
Trrac. Tripartite Tractate
Abbreviations | xiii

War Josephus, Jewish War

Other Greek and Roman Literature

on. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica
PV Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
The proliferation of traditions associated with angels in Second Temple and late
antique Judaism and Christianity is well known by the scholars and students
of the texts associated with these periods. Especially striking are the numerous
writings that take up various aspects of the myths about angels who descend
from heaven to mate with womenan account only briefly mentioned in Gen.
6:1-4. In an enigmatic sequence of events, the sons of God leave heaven and
sire the warriors ( )and men of renown ( ) with earthly
women (Gen 6:4). This succinct story in Genesis stands in contrast to the many
traditions that circulated in the Second Temple period that elaborated upon the
angels themselves, their deeds on earth, and their divine chastisement. These
interpretive traditions make frequent reference to the angels who descend to
earth as Watchers (in Aramaic, or in Greek, ), and their
union with mortals has grave consequences.
Well-known stories about fallen angels were engaged either directly or
indirectly by much of the literature of this period. Diverse communities of Jews
and Christians expanded upon, reacted against, and appropriated the varied
traditions concerning the Watchers and their fall from heaven. Their wide
reach is demonstrated by the currents that run through later Jewish mystical
traditions, the Quran, medieval Christianity, and even seventeenth-century
Western writers. While scholars have traditionally sought to study Judaism and
Christianity in antiquity by separating and isolating aspects of each religion
as distinct from one another and from various other cultural influences, it
is clear that memorable stories like the ones associated with the Watchers
moved easily among religious communities. These stories about the fallen
angels, known especially from Second Temple Jewish traditions, contain many
elements from even older myths of the Near East. Narrative traditions about
angels circulated in ways that defy scholarly attempts to isolate and segregate
them in an orderly manner. Indeed, stories about heavenly beings descending
to earth and falling in love with humans, along with the theme of the origin
of evil and cosmic battles between good and evil, continue to entertain popular
audiences, both religious and secular, to this day.1 Interpretive traditions did not
circulate in predictable and tidy ways in antiquity; nevertheless, the contributors

1. New York Times bestsellers by Anne Rice, Memnoch the Devil: The Vampire Chronicles (New York:
Knopf, 1995), and Danielle Trussoni, Angelology (New York: Viking, 2010), along with the movie

2 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

in this volume take up the challenge of providing historical contexts for these
texts, realizing that anchoring them in this way artificially freezes the dynamic
movement of traditions.
The present volume seeks to complement what is a rapidly growing body
of studies on the fallen angels traditions.2 Building on the insights of recent
scholarship on the Watchers, the fourteen essays in this collection examine
a range of topics surrounding these traditions and sharpen scholarly
understandings of their transmission and transformation in various literary
contexts throughout history.

Legion (2010), are but a few recent examples of the lasting hold that these ancient myths have on the
modern imagination.
2. Some of these works include the collection of essays edited by F. Reiterer, T. Nicklas, K. Schpflin,
The Concept of Celestial Beings: Origins, Development and Reception, DCLY (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007) and
the stimulating monograph by Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and
Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). A significant volume that examines how
otherworldly beings rebelled against the divine was edited by Christoph Auffarth and Loren T.
Stuckenbruck, The Fall of the Angels (Leiden: Brill, 2004). Two other resources associated with the
Watchers traditions also merit mention. The first, Fallen Angels in Jewish, Christian and Mohammedan
Literature by Rabbi Leo Jung, appeared initially as a Jewish Quarterly Review article that in its revised and
expanded form was published by Ktav in 1926 (and reprinted in 1974). Jung approaches the topic of
fallen angels more generally, and explores especially traditions that involve Satan (and to a lesser extent
Samael, Asmedei and other accounts where a single malevolent otherworldy being predominates); the
Watchers account is discussed in the final chapter of Jungs book. James C. VanderKams seminal survey
of the Watchers traditions in various early Christian writings, 1 Enoch, Enochic Motifs, and Enoch in
Early Christian Literature, in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity, CRINT 3.4, ed. James
VanderKam and William Adler (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996) 33101, esp. 6088, like that of H.J.
Lawlor, Early Citations from the Book of Enoch, The Journal of Philology 25 (1897): 164225, helps
scholars follow the trajectory, growth and development of watchers traditions among early Christians.
Contemporary scholarship on the Watchers traditions in Enochic literature is benefited especially by the
publication of the Hermeneia commentaries on 1 Enoch (George W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A
Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 136; 81108 [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001]) and
Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 3782,
Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012); Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch: The Hermeneia
Translation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012). Other important studies that illumine especially Watchers
traditions in early Enoch literature include D. Dimant, The Fallen Angels in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in
the Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphic Books Related to Them, PhD diss. (Jerusalem: Hebrew University,
1974) (Hebrew), Siam Bhayro, The Shemihazah and Asael Narrative of 1 Enoch 611: Introduction, Text,
Translation and Commentary with Reference to Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Antecedents, AOAT 322
(Mnster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2005), Archie T. Wright, The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis
6.1-4 in Early Jewish Literature, WUNT 2.198 (Mohr Siebeck, 2005) and Claudia Losekam, Die Snde der
Engel: Die Engelfalltradition in frhjdischen und gnostischen Texten, TANZ 41 (Tbingen: Francke, 2010).
Introduction | 3

While traditions about the fallen angels flourished in pre-modern times,

few resources exist for students of the Bible and non-specialists in Second
Temple Judaism to consult today. Thus the primary purpose of this collection
is to provide convenient access to the myriad ways myths about the fallen
angels left their mark in the literature and imagination of ancient Jewish and
Christian communities. To this end, the collection serves to guide educated
non-specialists in an exploration of many primary texts and also offers some
discussion of the influence that each vantage had on later traditions as well.
The topos of the fallen angels makes for an ideal study of interpretive traditions
because these figures appear in a broad range of texts from various periods,
providing a useful window into ancient practices of interpretation and
transmission of traditions.
Where should one begin a study of the fallen angels or the Watchers?
Those familiar with the Hebrew Bible would think especially of Genesis 6,
which describes the sons of God who descend to earth just prior to the
account of the flood. Yet, given the opaque nature of this pericope, readers of
Genesis rightly ask what the author and audience assumed or took for granted
about this account. Further, scholars have also explored the biblical account in
light of Near Eastern and Hellenistic parallels, with the aim of shedding light on
this brief and provocative text.3
Extended traditions about angels who fall, not only in terms of a descent
from heaven but also as a sort of moral failing, flourished in post-exilic Judaism.
Writings associated with the patriarch Enoch (cf. Gen. 5:21-24) provide the
fullest expression of the fallen angels tradition. The classical form of the account
appears in the Book of the Watchers, chapters 136 of 1 Enoch (also known as
Ethiopic Enoch because the entire anthology is extant only in Geez), where
angels, both loyal and rebellious, are referred to by the designation Watchers
().4 The designation Watchers may derive from the notion that angels
are vigilant (or awake per the root )and do not sleep (cf. 1 En. 71:7). Or,

3. See, for example, Ronald Hendel, Of Demigods and the Deluge: Toward an Interpretation of
Genesis 6:1-4, JBL 106 (1987): 1326 and The Nephilim were on the Earth: Genesis 6:1-4 and its
Ancient Near Eastern Context, The Fall of the Angels, 1134; Jan Bremmer, Remember the Titans! in
The Fall of the Angels, 3561 and Andreas Schle, Der Prolog der hebrischen Bibel: Der literar- und
theologiegeschichtliche Diskurs der Urgeschichte (Genesis 111) (Zrich: Theologischer, 2006), 22232 and
The Divine-Human Marriages (Genesis 6:14) and the Greek Framing of the Primeval History, TZ 65
(2009): 11628.
4. For examples of the designation in Aramaic (), see 4Q206 4, 19; 1 En. 22:6 and Dan. 4:10, 14,
20; the Greek expression, , which renders , may be observed in Gr. 1 En. 10:7 and the
Geez teguhn occurs in 1 En. 1:5.
4 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

the title might indicate that these beings keep watch over humankind (see, for
example, 1 En. 20:1).5 Whatever the origin of the term, the Watchers appear
in early Jewish literature as a type of celestial being, likely a particular class
of angels.6 The Book of the Watchers presents in dramatic fashion the descent
of angels (designated also in the versions as Watchers, sons of heaven) to
earth, how their descent negatively impacts humans and the earth, and their
punishment by the Divine. The nucleus of the account (1 En. 611) offers in
its final form the merging of two different stories that concern angelic leaders
and their transgressions. In one stream, the leader of the angels, Shemihazah,
instigates other angels to have sexual relations with human women. These
unions lead to the birth of the Giants that subsequently cause much bloodshed
and violence on earth. The other interwoven tradition features the angelic
leader Asael, who reveals knowledge otherwise forbidden to human beings.
This knowledge relates to sexuality, metalworking, makeup, weaponry,
alchemy, magic, and astrology. Archangels play a role in calling Gods attention
to the dire situation of the world and in asking for divine intervention. Gods
response involves not only judgment against the Watchers, but also their
imprisonment and punishment, which are recounted in detail. Enoch, here
presented as a scribe, serves as an intercessor for these rebel angels. In that
role, Enoch ascends to the Divine, to the heavenly throne room, where he
receives Gods judgment against the angels. Thereafter, Enoch is granted visions
of otherworldly sites, some of which relate to the angels incarceration and
Scholars have long explored the relationship of the tradition described in 1
En. 611 to the tradition in Gen. 6:1-4, though there is no absolute consensus
as to how that relationship might be named. In the last fifty years, scholars have
tended to favor the idea that the Book of the Watchers depends on the account in
Gen. 6:1-4; still, some prominent dissidents have argued that Genesis features
an abbreviated account of the Enochic version. Recently a growing number of
voices have suggested that both Genesis and the Book of the Watchers feature
independent renderings of a common tradition; nevertheless, the Watchers
traditions were hardly univocal. Many of the texts surveyed in the volume speak
to the pluriform nature of the Watchers traditions. For example, references to

5. Helpful studies on the designation and this class of celestial beings include Robert Murray, The
Origin of Aramaicir, Angel, Or 53 (1984): 30317, Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 140 and Maxwell J.
Davidson, Angels at Qumran: A Comparative Study of 1 Enoch 136, 72108 and Sectarian Writings from
Qumran, JSPSup 11 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), 3839.
6. For further discussion of the Watchers as a class of angelic beings, see Kevin Sullivan, The
Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616: The Fall of Angels and the Rise of Demons in this volume.
Introduction | 5

the Watchers appear in Dan. 4, but these beings are not associated with rebel
angels who sin with the daughters of men; rather, they are presented as holy
celestial beings who serve as licit messengers. Similarly, accounts of angels who
descend to teach and representations of biblical personae as Giantsthe wicked
offspring of the rebel angels in many Watchers traditionssuggest that there
were multiple views of angelic descent and hybridity. At this juncture, we
recognize that there is much yet that we do not know about Watchers myths
and attempts to gain a clear account of origins are not always fruitful.
Nevertheless, there is a value in beginning our discussion with the
traditions that are known to be the most ancient. In light of the critical
scholarship that has demonstrated connections and points of contact between
many early Watchers and Near Eastern traditions, the volume opens with
a discussion of the Watchers within a Near Eastern context. Ida Frhlich
establishes the broad currency of the antecedent Watchers traditions in the
ancient lore of Mesopotamia and Persia. She proposes that these angelic myths
were introduced into Jewish interpretive traditions in the sixth century bce,
during the time of the Babylonian exile. Her essay provides an important
study of the vitality of the long-lived traditions about angels and demons that
circulated in the ancient Near East and contributed characteristic elements to
the Watchers lore.
While myths about the fallen angels (the angels who mate with women)
held sway over the imagination of various Jewish and Christian communities
for some time, elements of these traditions receive only fleeting mention in the
Hebrew Bible. Perhaps the most striking reference to the Watchers appears in
the apocalyptic Book of Daniel. In Dan. 4, the Watchers are the celestial beings
who bear nighttime visions to King Nebuchadnezzar (NRSV Dan. 4:13, 23;
MT Dan. 4:10, 20). They are also said to sentence decrees (NRSV Dan. 4:17;
MT Dan. 4:14).7 Brief references to the Nephilim, familiar from Genesis 6
and the Enoch traditions about the Watchers, are also found in the Book of
Numbers and the Book of Ezekiel. In Numbers, the mysterious Giants make

7. The relationship of Danielic and Enochic traditions has also been explored by scholars who have
long noted similarities in the throne visions of Dan. 7 and 1 En. 14. See T. Francis Glasson, The Son of
Man Imagery: Enoch XIV and Daniel VII, NTS 23 (1977): 8291; Helge S. Kvanvig, Henoch und der
Menschensohn. Das Verhltnis von Hen 14 zu Dan 7, ST 38 (1984): 10133; Kvanvig, Throne Visions
and Monsters: The Encounter between Danielic and Enochic Traditions, ZAW 117 (2005): 24972;
Loren Stuckenbruck, Daniel and Early Enoch Traditions in the Scrolls, in The Book of Daniel:
Composition and Reception, vol. 2, ed. John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 36886;
Ryan Stokes, The Throne Visions of Daniel 7, 1 Enoch 14, and the Qumran Book of Giants (4Q530): An
Analysis of Their Literary Relationship, DSD 15 (2008): 34058.
6 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

a fleeting appearance in the reconnaissance mission of the Israelites in the land

under the leadership of Joshua the son of Nun (Num. 13:33). According to
the Book of Ezekiel, the Nephilim are the fallen soldiers who go down to
Sheol (Ezek. 32:27). There may be yet another brief biblical reference that can
be associated with the Watchers traditions: Leviticus 16 refers to a wilderness
spirit known as Azazel who receives the goat in the scapegoat ritual.8 The Dead
Sea Scrolls also know of an Azazel (4Q180) who, along with the angels siring
Giants, leads the world astray. One also recalls from the Book of the Watchers the
principal Watcher by the name of Asael (Aramaic), whose name appears as
Azazel in the Ethiopic version of the text.
Given the long and sustained attention that the fallen angels and Watchers
traditions receive in later Jewish and Christian interpretive traditions, it is
surprising to see how rarely this myth of human and angelic encounter occurs
in the Hebrew Bible. A discussion of the biblical passages, the relationship
between the textual traditions, and the key terms in the narratives about the
fallen angels is offered here by Chris Seeman. He discusses key lexemes that are
attested in the versions of Gen. 6:1-4 that are found in the MT and LXX and
explores the expressions used in the texts to describe various characters in the
brief drama such as sons of God, daughters of men, and the Nephilim, the
offspring of the angels union with women, who possess extraordinary powers
and are called Giants.
The discussion of the Watchers by Anathea Portier-Young sets the stage
for the Hellenistic period and identifies significant parallels between the Jewish
angel traditions and Greek mythology. Given the paucity of references to the
Watchers traditions in the Hebrew Bible, it is perhaps not surprising to see
that traces of them appear unevenly in the deuterocanonical/apocryphal texts.
Jeremy Corleys essay presents some evidence for the Watchers traditions in
the deuterocanonical/apocryphal literature of Wisdom of Ben Sira, Baruch, 3
Maccabees, and the Wisdom of Solomon, but the data for some of these texts is
not overwhelming.
The biblical locus for the tale about the angels who mate with women,
Gen. 6:1-4, is both brief and enigmatic and appears with some variation in
the MT and LXX textual traditions. While stories about fallen angels are not
well-attested in the Jewish Scriptures, traditions related to the judgment and
imprisonment of the Watchers appear in select texts of the New Testament,
with the so-called Catholic Epistles asserting them in a distinctive way. While
the theme of judgmentso critical to the Watchers mythsis steadily

8. Paul D. Hanson, Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel, and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1 Enoch 6-11, JBL 96
(1977): 195233, esp. 22026.
Introduction | 7

represented throughout the New Testament literature (Matt. 25:31-46; Rom.

14:10; 1 Cor. 15:5152; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 20:1115), the
clearest reference to the judgment of the fallen angels appears in Jude 6. The
passage in 2 Pet. 2:4 is thought to be dependent upon this reference in Jude.
Eric Masons essay takes up the task of describing the Watchers traditions in
these Catholic Epistles. So too, references to angelic beings play a role in Pauls
first letter to the Corinthians, as we see in Scott Lewiss treatment of the topic.
Kevin Sullivans essay on the fallen angels and the rise of demons establishes the
distinctive traits and actions that characterize the Watchers and the theme of
their downward movement from heaven to earth by these heavenly angels and
the resulting moral decline of humanity. Sullivan proposes that these are two
aspects of the fallen Watchers that eventually develop in characteristic ways
in early Christian demonology. His essay proposes that references in the Gospel
traditions presume fallen angel motifs.
Watchers traditions are also known to have flourished in a number of texts
designated in contemporary times as pseudepigrapha (so-called false writings).
While a number of these writings were well known and influential in the
Second Temple period, they ultimately did not achieve canonical status by the
majority of communities that later became Judaism and Christianity. Many of
the instances of the Watchers that appear in this body of literature belong to the
corpora designated today as 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch, and also the Book of Jubilees.
Each section of 1 Enoch has its own history of composition and context. Authors
in this section discuss how aspects from the specific Enochic booklet known as
the Book of the Watchers (1 En. 136) come to be transformed in new literary
contexts. Karina Hogans essay focuses on the specific theme of angelic sexual
transgression as it appears in the Animal Apocalypse (chapters 8590 of the
Book of Dreams from 1 En.). The Book of Jubilees, a pseudepigraphic retelling of
traditions from Gen. 1 to Exod. 12, has its own distinctive history and rendering
of the Watchers traditions, described by John Endres whose essay traces how
the Watchers in Jubilees descended initially for good purposes. Their subsequent
sin with womena source of evil corresponding to the Eden storyoccurred
on earth, not in the heavens. Moreover, Jubilees suggests that the example of the
Watchers should serve to encourage human responsibility. Watchers traditions
are well represented among the Second Temple literature associated with the
Dead Sea Scrolls, with a notable concentration of texts found among the Cave
4 scrolls. Samuel Thomas discusses the distinctive traditions about the Watchers
that appear in the Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen) and other Aramaic Scrolls
from Qumran. Leslie Baynes discusses the Enochic booklet known as the Book
of Parables (1 En. 3771), a text that scholars date to the first century bce or ce.
8 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

In the final section of the collection, themes associated with the fallen
angels are explored in late antique Christian and Jewish literature. Randall
Chesnutts essay details the significant influence of Watchers elements in the
writings of Justin Martyr. Silviu Buntas essay on Cain the Giant describes
how traces of the Watchers traditions appear in the later manuscript traditions
of the Life of Adam and Eve (LAE). And Joshua Burns examines rabbinic
references to and knowledge of these traditions in his essay.
Authors of ancient and late antique interpretive traditions found the myths
about the Watchers and their fall from heaven to be compelling. While the core
of the traditions about these angels is likely rooted in ancient Mesopotamian
lore, stories about the Watchers came to exert a lasting influence on the
imaginations of Jewish and Christian interpreters. Like the Watchers
themselves, the stories about these angelic beings passed with ease among the
boundaries that modern scholarship has conceptualized as separating Judaism
and Christianity. The vivid details and unusual aspects of these angelic traditions
have left a lasting legacy on the Western imagination and is a testimony to
the compelling power of these tales.9 Even in contemporary times, mythical
traditions associated with the fallen angels continue to provide rich fodder for
storytellers of popular audiences.
The essays in this volume seek to present foundational information for
particular texts and offer a look at the status quaestionis for each. Essays focused
on a specific text follow a template that discusses the authorship, audience, and,
at times, manuscript history of that writing. The introductory material is then
followed by a synopsis of the Watchers traditions as they appear in the text
under consideration, suggestions for further research, and a brief bibliography.
Thus, this collection can easily serve as a resource for a classroom study of the
reception history of the Watchers traditions that stretches from antiquity into
the early medieval period of the rabbinic literature. At the same time, these
studies provide a broader context for a discussion of these interpretive traditions
and will be of use to specialists as well. This collection seeks to fill out and
deepen general scholarly understanding of mythic elements that have especially
captivated contemporary imaginationsheavenly beings, origins of evil, scenes
of judgmentall of which can be considered stock elements of an apocalyptic

9. For example, modern readers are likely most familiar with Miltons retelling of the fallen angels
myth in his Paradise Regained, Book 2, lines 17881.

Origins and Biblical

Discussions of the Fallen

Mesopotamian Elements and the

Watchers Traditions
Ida Frhlich

By the time of the exile, early Watchers traditions were written in Aramaic,
the vernacular in Mesopotamia. Besides many writings associated with Enoch,
several works composed in Aramaic came to light from the Qumran library.
They manifest several specific common characteristics concerning their literary
genres and content. These are worthy of further examination.1 Several Qumran
Aramaic works are well acquainted with historical, literary, and other traditions
of the Eastern diaspora, and they contain Mesopotamian and Persian
elements.2 Early Enoch writings reflect a solid awareness of certain
Mesopotamian traditions.3 Revelations on the secrets of the cosmos given to
Enoch during his heavenly voyage reflect the influence of Mesopotamian

1. Characteristics of Aramean literary texts were examined by B.Z. Wacholder, The Ancient Judeo-
Aramaic Literature 500164 bce: A Classification of Pre-Qumranic Texts, in Archaeology and History in
the Dead Sea Scrolls, JSOTSup8, ed. L.H. Schiffman (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990), 25781.
2. The most outstanding example is 4Q242, the Prayer of Nabonidus that suggests knowledge of
historical legends on the last Neo-Babylonian king Nabunaid (555539 bce). On the historical
background of the legend see R. Meyer, Das Gebet des Nabonid, SSAW.PH 107, no. 3 (Berlin: Akademie,
1962). 4Q550 uses Persian names and the story reflects the influence of the pattern of the Ahiqar novel;
see I. Frhlich, Stories from the Persian Kings Court. 4Q550 (4QprESTHAR a-f), Acta Ant. Hung. 38
(1998): 10314.
3. H. L. Jansen, Die Henochgestalt: eine vergleichende religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung, Skrifter utgitt av
det Norske videnskaps-akademi i Oslo. II. Hist.-filos. klasse no. 1 (Oslo: I kommisjon hos J. Dybwad,
1939) examined the figure of Enoch in the light of the Mesopotamian tradition years before the finding
of the Qumran manuscripts. On the figures of the Watchers in the background of Mesopotamian
tradition, see Amar Annus, On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study of the Antediluvian
Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions, JSP 19 (2010): 277320.

12 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

cosmological lore.4 The figure of Enoch and the elements of the revelation
tradition associated with him originate in the figures of the Mesopotamian
apkall-s (wise ones), more exactly in the figure of the Mesopotamian diviner-
king Enmeduranki, and in the tradition about divine revelation given to him.5
Thus it can be assumed that the kernel of the Enochic tradition, the Book of
the Watchers (1 Enoch 136), was shaped either in a Babylonian Jewish diaspora
community or perhaps in a community of returnees that maintained traditions
from the Babylonian exile. This group of writings might have been expanded
by later additions to the text.6
The narrative of the Watchers (1 En. 611) belongs to the earliest textual
layer of 1 Enoch and represents one of the earliest traditions of the collection.
In chapters 611 two distinct narratives exist: the narrative on Shemihazah and
that on Asael.7 The bulk of this early tradition is contained in the Shemihazah
story (1 En. 6:17:62). According to the Shemihazah story, a group of the
sons of heaven (6:2), whom the text refers to as the Watchers (rn as in Dan.
4:10), glimpses the daughters of men, desires them, and decides to descend
to them. Their leader Shemihazah (myzh) considers the plan to be sinful,
and he does not want to bear the responsibility alone (6:3). Therefore, the
Watchers, in order to fulfill their plan, swear to unite on Mount Hermon (1
En. 6:6). Then the Watchers . . . began [to go in to them, and to defile
themselves with them and (they began) to teach them] sorcery and spellbinding

4. P. Grelot, La Gographie mythique dHnoch et ses sources, RB 65 (1958): 3369; Grelot, La

Lgende dHnoch dans les Apocryphes et dans la Bible, RSR 46 (1958): 526, 181210; Grelot,
LEschatologie des Essniens et le livre dHnoch, RevQ 1 (195859): 11331; Grelot, Hnoch et ses
critures, RB 82 (1975): 481500, written before the publication of the Aramaic fragments.
5. James C. VanderKam, Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition, CBQMS 16 (Washington
DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1984), 116. On the Mesopotamian background of the
Enoch figure and of the Son of Man figure, see H.S. Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic: The Mesopotamian
Background of the Enoch Figure and of the Son of Man, WMANT 61 (Neukirchen: Neukirchener Verlag,
1988). See also S. Bhayro, Noahs Library: Sources for 1 Enoch 611, JSP 15 (2006): 16377. It is again
the group of the Mesopotamian apkallu-s (sometimes viewed negatively and counted as demonic and evil
beings in Mesopotamian tradition itself) that A. Annus understands to be the origins of the Watchers. See
Annus, On the Origins of Watchers, 282.
6. A similar case is the Danielic collection, the earliest pieces of which demonstrate a good knowledge
of Mesopotamian lore.
7. Early scholars dealing with this work have already noted this fact. R.H. Charles, The Book of Enoch
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1893), 1314, differentiated between two narratives in the text of 1 En. 611. More
recently Paul D. Hanson, Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1 Enoch 611, JBL
96 (1977): 197233 and G.W.E. Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic and Myth in 1 Enoch 611, JBL 96 (1977):
383405 have analysed the constituents of the text and they too differentiated between two sources.
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions | 13

[and the cutting of roots; and to show them plants (7:1). The women became
pregnant from them and bore children, who became Giants. The Giants were
devouring [the labour of all the children of men and men were unable to
supply] them. (7:4). After this, the Giants begin to devour men, and then .
. . they began to sin against all birds and beasts of the earth] and reptiles .
. . and the fish of the sea, and to devour the flesh of one another; and they
were] drinking blood. [Then the earth made the accusation against the wicked
concerning everything] which was done upon it (7:5-6).8 These then are the
transgressions, which finally bring about the punishment of the flood (1 En.
9:1ff). Thus the story serves as a justification for the catastrophic punishment
wreaked upon humanity.
The Asael story (1 En. 8:1-2) is not a retelling of the story of the Watchers;
it is rather a commentary on certain elements of the narrative. It mentions
Asael who taught metalworking, making weapons and jewels for men, and
the knowledge of eyeshadows, of precious gems and dyes of mineral origins
for women.9 The section on Asaels teaching is followed by a report on the
teachings of Shemihazah and his companions; they taught the interpretations of
heavenly omina, each Watcher teaching the signs of the natural phenomenon
that was included in his name (1 En. 8:3-4).
The whole section ends with a report of the punishment of Asael and
the Watchers. Asael was punished by the angel Raphael for the sin Asael
perpetrated; he was bound and cast into darkness, where the Watchers will
stay until the great day of judgment (1 En. 10:4-7). On the other hand, the
punishment mentioned in the Shemihazah story is the binding of Shemihazah
and his companions by Michael for seventy generations after they were forced
to witness their children, the Giants, perish (1 En. 10:11-12). The devastation
of the flood following these events signifies the purification of the earth (1 En.
10:1-3, 20-22).10 The narratives on Shemihazah, Asael, and the flood revolve
around the problem of the origin of evil. The Shemihazah narrative is similar
to Gen. 6:1-4, which is also connected with the flood. The relation of the
two stories is complicated. The story of Shemihazah and his companions is a

8. Translated by J.T. Milik, based on the Aramaic text reconstructed by him; see Milik, The Books of
Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (London: Clarendon, 1976), 16667.
9. 1 En. 65:6 supplements the list of the teachings of Asael by adding that the Watchers also taught
people to cast metal and to make cast metal statues. According to 1 En. 69, a Watcher named Penemue
taught people writing and the use of ink and papyrus, practices that later could be the source of several
misunderstandings. For further discussion of these traditions associated with the angel Penemue, see the
essay by Leslie Baynes in this collection.
10. Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic and Myth.
14 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

logical and continuous narrative, whereas Gen. 6:1-4 seems to be a series of

theological reflections on the story narrated in 1 Enoch.11 As to the background
and meaning of the story of the Watchers, earlier theories saw historical and
mythological motifs behind the narrative. The motif of the integration of
heavenly and earthly beings would have referred to and negatively judged the
mixed marriages of the priests in the postexilic era, objected to by Ezra. The
motif of the bloodshed would have mirrored the wars of the Diadochi.12 Other
theories look for mythological models, seeing the motif of the teachings of
the Watchers as modeled after the myth of Prometheus, Asael being a protos
heuretes. Of course, neither historical-sociological nor mythological models,
including Greek images, can be ruled out. However, observation of only one
or two motifs of the narrative does not illuminate the background and meaning
of the whole story. Many elements of the story, such as cannibalism and
consuming blood, the basically negative nature of the teachings of the
Watchers, magic and interpretation of omina, are left unexplained. In order to
ascertain the background and the exact meaning and message of the narrative,
all major elements of the narrative must be considered. This can be followed by
a discussion of the issue of foreign literary influences. The traditions associated
with the Watchers were relevant themes in Qumran literature. They were
often cited and referred to in other works, certainly because the meanings
were considered relevant for the spiritual world of the community.13 The
Watchers supposedly held significance for them, and motifs associated with
them embodied basic ideas of the Essene tradition.14 Notions that are related to
each of the motifs of the story are those of sin and impurity and magic and the

11. Scholars generally consider the Shemihazah story as an expansion and explication of Gen. 6:1-4.
There is no room here to discuss the relation of the two texts; this will be the aim of a further study.
12. D. Suter, Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: The Problem of Family Purity in 1 Enoch 616, HUCA 50
(1979): 11535; R. Rubinkiewicz, The Book of Noah and Ezras Reform, FO 25 (1988): 15155;
Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic and Myth in 1 Enoch 611, 383405.
13. The Nachleben and infuence of the Watchers story in the literature of Qumran requires a separate
study. See the essay by Samuel Thomas in this collection.
14. According to P. Sacchi, the peculiar conception of evil based on 1 En. 611 was a distinct
ideological tradition that was the catalyst of the schism between the group and Judaism in the fourth
century bce. Michael Stone and David Suter date the schism to the third century. See G. Boccaccini,
Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of Ways Between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1998), 7677.
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions | 15

Sin, Impurity, and the Story of the Watchers

The purity system of ancient Israel is acquainted not only with physical
impurities, but also ethical ones.15 Ethical impurity grows out of situations that
are controllable and are not natural or necessary, such as delaying purification
from physical impurity, polluting specific sancta, sexual transgressions, idolatry,
and murder. The locus of uncleanness may be the person, but proscriptions
refer more to the pollution of the sanctuary or land.16 Punishments of these
sins are more severe than the consequences of physical impurities. Punishment
of the sinner is usually the banishing/driving away (krt) from the land or
the extinguishing of ones family.17 The main list of ethical impurities is in
the Holiness Code (Lev. 1726). Sins are related to four categories: sexuality,
violence, death, and magic.

1. Sins related to sexual relations are cases of the zent, usually translated as
fornication, which includes all kinds of illicit sex: sex among blood relatives,
with anothers wife, homosexual relations, sex with a menstruating woman, and
prostitution (see Lev. 18:1-30; 19:29). A special case in the list is kilayim, the
prohibition of mixing together different kinds of animals, plants and materials
in human clothing (Lev. 19:19, Deut. 22:9-11). A special case of zent not listed
in Lev. 1726 is remarriage with ones divorced wife with her, in the meantime,
having been remarried and then divorced or widowed (Deut. 24:1-4; cf. Jer.

2. Sins related to blood: bloodshed (Deut. 21:1-9; cf. Gen. 4:10; Ps. 106:38-39).

3. Sins related to the dead: a corpse left on the tree for the night (Deut. 21:22-23;
cf. 11QT 64:11-12).

4. Sins related to magic: Do not resort to ghosts and spirits or make yourselves
unclean by seeking them out. I am the lord your God (Lev. 19:31). Magical
practice is sometimes conceived as zent (Lev. 20:6), and those who practice it
are to be killed (Exod. 22:17).

15. On the distinction between types of purity based on nonbiblical anthropological evidence, see L.N.
Rosen, Contagion and Cataclysm: A Theoretical Approach to the Study of Ritual Pollution Beliefs,
African Studies 32 (1973): 22946.
16. W.D. Davies, The Territorial Dimension of Judaism (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991); D.P. Wright,
Unclean and Clean, Old Testament, ABD 6:72941, esp. 73839.
17. For example, the Assyrian exile of Israel is explained in 2 Kgs. 17:523 as a punishment resulting
from the sin of Jeroboam, the improper cultic practice of the northern kingdom.
16 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Results of ethical impurities are summarized in Lev. 18:27-30: The people

who were there before you did those abominable things and the land became
unclean. So do not let the land spew you out for making it unclean as it spewed
them out. Observe my charge, therefore.18 Qumran texts enrich the biblical
theory of impurities.19
The sins of the Watchers are their transgression of the cosmic order and
mixing with earthly women, and their teaching of magic. They became impure
by this process (1 En. 7:1; cf. 4Q531 1, 1). The Book of Giants qualifies their
relation as a case of zent (4Q203 8, 9), one of the main categories of ethical
impurities. On an analogical basis the mixing of heavenly and earthly beings
can also be a violation of the kilayim, prohibition of the mixing of categories.
The practice of magic is again an ethical impurity according to the biblical
The sins of the Giants, sons of the Watchers, are violence, bloodshed
(cannibalism), sins against the animals, birds, and fishes, and drinking of blood
(1 En. 7:4-5). Homicide is among the sins that make the land impure (Deut.
21:9). Cannibalism is not known from the biblical system. The meaning of
the sins committed against the animals is not clear; it can be a violation of
the prohibitions concerning food. This presupposition is confirmed by the
report of the Giants consumption of blood, which is a violation of the biblical
prohibition (Gen. 9:3-4). These are the sins of the Watchers and their offspring
that made the earth impure. The resultant flood is not only a punishment of
these sins but also, at the same time, a purification of the earth.

The Giants in the Enochic Tradition

1 En. 15:8 refers to the offspring of the Giants as demons (Ethiopic nafsat,
Aramaic ).20 These beings are spiritual in nature, following their fathers
nature; they do not eat, they are not thirsty, and they know no obstacles. Their

18. The citation is a summary of the Holiness Code in Lev. 1726. The land is the Land of Canaan
into which the people were about to enter.
19. The Temple Scroll (11QT) considers as impure the non-observance of the dietary laws (11QT
48:67), the bodily signs of mourning (tattooing) (11QT 48:10), covenant and marriage with the
inhabitants of the land, which constituted idolatry (11QT 2:115, cf. Exod. 34:1016), burial grounds
not separated from surroundings (11QT 48:1117), the non-separation of sufferers from bodily
impurities (flux, leprosy, plague, scab, menstruating women, women after childbirth), and idolatry
repeatedly mentioned as zent defiling the land. 4QMMT (4Q394399) adds to the list of impurities the
offering taken from the pagan corn, and highlights cases of forbidden marriages (priests marriage with
commoners daughters) as cases of kilayim.
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions | 17

destructiveness first and foremost affects children and women, as they were
born of women.21 The Giants are also the protagonists of the Book of Giants.
The Aramaic fragments belonging to these manuscripts from Qumran are not
contained in the Greek and Ethiopic translations. According to the narrative of
a Qumran fragment, one of the Giants took to the air as whirlwinds, and he
flew with his hands/wings kl as [an[ eag[le.22 According to this, Giants were
shaped like human figures that could fly like the wind.
Although the story of the Watchers in the Book of the Giants does not
mention any demons,23 the motifs of the story are related to the realm of the
demonic. The characteristics of the Giants evoke the Mesopotamian tradition
about the utukku-s, a term generally used for demonic beings. The Enochic
Giants have the same characteristics as the Mesopotamian demons; they are
tall and obtrusive beings, roaming in bands, attacking their victims
indiscriminately. They ravage the work of humans,24 devour the flesh of animals
and humans, and consume their blood. They are born from a sexual union of
heavenly and earthly beings, considered in the Enochic story to be impure.
The punishment for the sins of the Watchers is binding them and casting
them into darkness. Asael is bound by the angel Raphael and Shemihazah is
bound by Michael. Demonological texts regularly mention that the demon
is binding his victim. The witch, a constant figure of the Mesopotamian
incantation series, Maql, binds her victim by her practices. The binding effect
of the witchcraft is mentioned in the title of a series of incantations entitled
The pregnant woman who was bound.25 The bonds made by witches can be
solved by another kind of magichealing incantations.
Binding is a constant motif in the Mesopotamian creation myth Enma
el, in which the triumph of the gods over their demonic enemies is marked
by binding the enemies. Triumphant Ea binds Apsu, the primeval ocean, and

20. For a discussion of the Watchers traditions and later demonology, see the essays by Kevin Sullivan
and Silviu Bunta in this collection.
21. This part of the tradition is known only from the Greek and the Ethiopic translations. 4Q204, the
fragment that supposedly contains this part of the text, is not legible at this place. It is to be supposed that
this part was also contained in the Aramaic text tradition of the Enochic collection.
22. 4Q530 2ii4 (= DJD 4Q530 7ii4), see L.T. Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts,
Translation, and Commentary (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 12834.
23. See, though, 1 En. 19:1, and the essay by Randall Chesnutt in this volume.
24. 4Q531 2+3, 1-10 speaks in more concrete terms than the Shemihazah story, and mentions that the
Giants were devastating fruit, wheat, trees, sheep, and cattle.
25. V. Haas, Magie und Mythen in Babylonien: von Dmonen, Hexen und Beschwrungspriestern, Merlins
Bibliothek der geheimen Wissenschaften und magische Knste 8 (Gifkendorf: Merlin, 1986), 170.
18 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

builds his house over his breast. He also binds Apsus helper, Mummu. Marduk
binds Tiamat; after splitting Tiamat in two, he forms the netherworld from the
monsters inner parts.26

Magical Arts
In the Shemihazah story, the Watchers teach humans magical practices: sorcery
(hrh) and spellbinding (ksph) [and the cutting of roots (Gr. ridzotomia); and to
show them plants . . .] (1 En. 7:1). The first two nouns are general terms for
magical practices. The cutting of roots means, in all probability, the making of
herbal ingredients for magic and making amulets containing herbs and roots. 27
Asael and his companions teach men metallurgy, the making of weapons
and jewels. To the women they teach the art of makeup and cosmetics, the
most precious and choice stones, and all kinds of coloured dyes (1 En. 8:1).
Metallurgy and smithing are very closely related to the notion of magic.
Ironsmiths were considered sorcerers in the belief system of the ancient and
modern Near East.28 Weapons made by forgers were attributed to magical
power. Jewels served originally as amulets with apotropaic function. 29
The ancient magical origin of makeup, especially the painting of eyes and
lips, is well known, and similarly the magic of jewels.30 In Enma el, the
Mesopotamian creation myth, all the gods at war wear amulets, using their
magic power against their enemies. According to the myth of Inannas (Itar)
Descent into the Netherworld, the fertility goddess going to the netherworld must

26. Ibid., 92.

27. The Talmud is acquainted with two sorts of kemiot (amulets): a written one (a parchment with
quotations from various sources, including the Scriptures), and the kamea el iqrin, an amulet made from
roots of a certain plant (Shab. 61b).
28. On the general idea see M. Eliade, Forgerons et alchimistes, Homo Sapiens (Paris: Flammarion,
1956). In Ethiopic, ironsmith and magician are denoted by the same word (duban-ansa); see W. Leslau,
Concise Dictionary of Geez (Classical Ethiopic) (Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, 1989), 181; similarly the
descendants of Cain, who are ironsmiths in the Bible (Gen. 4:16-24), in the later tradition related to them
are associated with magical motifs (Syriac Cave of Treasures, folia 12a, col. 2; for an edition, see C.
Bezold, Die Schatzhhle [Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1883; reprint Amsterdam: APA-Philo Press, 1981]). In the
Ethiopian tradition the belief that ironsmiths have magic capabilities and knowledge is alive to this day;
they are considered sorcerers and therefore members of other groups do not marry their daughters to
them. In an incantation of the series Maql (II.128) the witch (kaaptu) is called silversmith, whose
spells could be undone or removed by the incantation. See G. Meier, Die assyrische Beschwrungssammlung
Maql neu bearbeitet (Osnabrck: Biblio-Verlag, 1967)
29. Haas, Magie, 19798.
30. Ibid.
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions | 19

part with one of her seven magical powers, represented by an item of her
garments and jewels, at each gate of the netherworld. At the end of her journey
she arrives naked and powerless before Erekigal, the lady of the netherworld. In
the Sumerian variant of the myth, two pieces of Ishtars cosmetics and jewels are
specified as having the power of sexual attraction: her eye-mascara is called Let
a man come, let him come, and her pectoral is called come, man, come. 31
The holistic worldview of the Mesopotamians considered everything an
omen for future events, and the interpretation of omina was generally practiced.
Such traditions were collected and systematized in a series of interpretations. A
collection of interpretations on heavenly phenomena and meteorological omina
can be found in the series Enma Anu Enlil (When Anu and Enlil) from the
Neo-Babylonian era.32 Its content is similar to the teachings of Shemiazah and
his companions that are referred to in the Enochic story.

The Story of the Watchers as a Myth of the Origin of Evil

The story of the Watchers is a myth that speaks to the origin of evil in the
world.33 According to the narrative of the Enochic collection this is the first
event following creation (the material of Gen. 25 [with the exception of
the reference to the patriarch] is not included in the Enochic collection). The
first stage of the birth of evil is dysfunction in the cosmic order, a result of
the mixing of heavenly and earthly beings, a deed considered as a sin related
to sexual relations (zenut), and a case of ethical impurity (sin resulting in
the impurity of the sinner and the land). Sins of heavenly beings (bloodshed,
consuming blood) are again considered sins that make impure the sinner and
the land he or she lives in; therefore evil in the world originates from sins
resulting in impurity (ethical impurities). Initiators of the sins are the heavenly
beings who descend to the earthly women, driven by their desire. The
Watchers are conscious of the nature of their deeds. They even agree together
to commit the sin collectively. The narrative does not mention human
responsibility. The authors and agents of the deeds are the Watchers. The
Giants, the beings born from the cosmic dysfunction, initiate further anomalies

31. Innanas descent to the nether world, lines 22-23. For the text and translation, see ETCSL (The
Electronic Text Corpus of the Sumerian Literature [Oxford],
32. W.H. van Soldt, Solar omens of Enuma Anu Enlil: Tablets 23 (24)-29 (30), Uitgaven van het
Nederlands historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul 73 (Istanbul: Nederlands historisch-
Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 1995).
33. On the problem, see G. Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis, 7273.
20 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

in the world. These anomalies are ethical sins resulting in the defilement of the
earth. Impurity of the earth results in the punishment of the flood.
The story of the Watchers is an independent story that is parallel to
the narrative of Gen. 6:1-4 about the angels and the daughters of men, and
not an interpretation of Gen. 6:1-4.34 The story of the Watchers contains a
message that cannot be found in Gen. 6:1-4. It is a determinist myth and an
alternative tradition to the message of the primeval history of Genesis. In the
Enochic tradition evil originates from the deeds of the Watchers, after creation.
According to Genesis, the origin of evil is due to human disobedience (Gen.
23). The tradition of the Watchers is often referred to in Qumran texts, with
the implication that this is the origin of evil. On the other hand, the biblical
story of Gen. 23 is almost never mentioned at Qumran.
The author(s) of the Enochic story in the Book of the Watchers consciously
use Mesopotamian lore to theorize about the origins of evil. The bearers of evil
and impurity are demonic beings, the offspring of the Watchers. For the author
and audience, demons are working in world history. The story of the Watchers
(1 En. 611) was written following the Babylonian exile. The terminus ad quem
is the end of the third century bce. Its language is Aramean, the vernacular of
Mesopotamia and the lingua franca of the exiled Judaeans from the sixth century
The attitude of the Enochic collection toward the Mesopotamian world
and tradition is manifold. The figure of Enoch and the revelations given to
him reflect a working knowledge of the Mesopotamian traditions about the
apkall, the antediluvian sages, a priestly tradition from the city of Eridu.35 In

34. There is no room here to go into the problems of the relation of the two texts. Although
Wellhausenian text criticism assigned Gen. 6:1-4 to the Yahwistic source, there is no evidence for an
early provenence of this short and disjointed text that may even be a series of reflections of a Priestly
redactor (fourth century bce). The Enochic story of the Watchers is backgrounded by a tradition not
dependent upon Gen. 6:1-4, which was formed prior to the end of the third century date of the
manuscripts of the Book of the Watchers as they are known to us. The Enochic story is thought by some
scholars to be an interpretation of Gen. 6:1-4. See D. Dimant, 1 Enoch 611: A Fragment of a
Parabiblical Work, JJS (2002): 22337. Similarly S. Bhayro, Daniels Watchers in Enochic Exegesis of
Genesis 6:1-4, in Jewish Ways of Reading the Bible, JSSSup 11, ed. G.J. Brooke (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2000), 5866, and Archie T. Wright, The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis
6.1-4 in Early Jewish Literature WUNT 2.198 (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005). For a different view see
Philip R. Davies, And Enoch Was Not, For Genesis Took Him, in Biblical Traditions in Transmission:
Essays in Honour of Michael A. Knibb, JSOTSup 111, ed. Charlotte Hempel and Judith M. Lieu (Leiden:
Brill, 2006), 97107. See, too, the essay by Chris Seeman in this volume.
35. See James C. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man For All Generations, Studies on Personalities of the Old
Testament (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1995).
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions | 21

fact, several elements of the story of the Watchers are shaped by the effect of
a gentile Mesopotamian background of the work. Genealogical impurity (the
Giants born from the relations of the Watchers and the earthly women) is the
first level of the systematic spread of the evil in the world. Elements related to
impurity, sin, and intermarriage were those necessary for the self-determination
of a group, the keeping of shabbat and special purity rules being the qualities
that distinguished the exiles from their native gentile neighbours. The meaning
of the Watchers story is that impurities and sins lead to the defilement of the
earth and a catastrophic punishment.
Traditions related to magic and connected with the origin of the evil
in the story are a reaction against magic, which was widely practiced in
Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamian elements in the Watchers story are not
simply borrowed; they are recontextualized and appropriated in many ways.
Mesopotamian utukku-s, the evil spirits, may have served as models to the
figures of the Giants. Mesopotamian lists of interpretations of omina were
referred to in the names of the Watchers who were told to transmit forbidden
knowledge.36 Elements related to magic in the Book of the Watchers may be
backgrounded by Mesopotamian magical practices that were well known
among people living in the Babylonian diaspora.
The fragments of the Book of Giants found in Qumran represent a literary
tradition related to the core of the Enochic collection, the account of the
Watchers contained in 1 En. 611.37 Due to the fragmentary nature of the text,
its plot cannot be reconstructed fully and only some details can be recognized.
Events of the antediluvian period are referred to several times. Such are the
deeds of the Watchers, their defilements, the begetting of Giants and
monsters, as well as to the devastation and bloodshed of the Giants (4Q531
frag. 1,2 and lines 4-6, 8); and the great corruption in the [earth] that
they caused (4Q532 frag. 2, 9). The Giants, sons of the heavenly Watchers,
are victims of the devastation; they must perish in the Flood, together with
humans.38 Their doom is presaged in several dream-visions related in the Book

36. On the scribal series and related literature, see Annus, On the Origins of Watchers, 287292.
37. This tradition is not contained in the Greek or in the Ethiopic tradition of 1 Enoch. Among
Qumran texts it is represented by 4Q203, 4Q530, 4Q531, 4Q532, 4Q533. The fragments were edited
first by J.T. Milik, The Books of Enoch. Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (London: Clarendon, 1976).
A further publication of the text (adding to the list 1Q23, 1Q24, 2Q26, 4Q206 2-3, 4Q556, 6Q8, and
not including 4Q533), with a commentary is Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran. The
definitive publication, with further additions and joins is from . Puech, Qumrn Grotte 4. XXII: Textes
aramens. Premire partie, 4Q529-549, DJD 31 (Oxford: Clarendon, 2001), 17116.
38. The Watchers do not perish in the Flood; their punishment is binding; cf. 1 En. 10:4-7, 11-12.
22 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

of Giants. The interpreter of their dreams is Gilgamesh who probably is an

independent figure in the text, and not one of the Giants.39 His name appears
in the company of Giants whose names (Ohyah, Hahyah, and Mahawai) are of
unknown origin, and with Watchers, part of those names are unknown from
other lists.
The Book of Giants makes frequent references to dreams, and sections of
dream-visions are found in it. The dreams are oracles on the future destruction
of the Giants. Gilgamesh is mentioned twice in the fragments. The first
mention is a message of Gilgamesh on the doom of the Giants, in Ohyas words
(4Q530 frag. 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12[?], 1-2). The second time Gilgamesh is
the interpreter of a dream, the interpretation is being transmitted to the Giant,
Ohya. It cannot be established from the fragments if Gilgamesh belongs to
the Giants or notonly his function as a dream-interpreter is certain. It is to
be noted that the same fragments mention also Enoch, the noted scribe as
an interpreter of dreams who is told to be able to interpret for us (i.e. for
the Giants) a dream (4Q530 frag. 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12[?], 14). Enoch is an
authority in revelation: Mahawai is sent to him in order to learn their fate
(4Q530 frag. 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12[?], 21).
Previous research associated the figure of Gilgamesh in the Enochic
collection with the epic hero.40 However, no episode known from the epic can
be connected with the Gilgamesh of the Book of Giants. On the other hand, in
Mesopotamian texts beyond the Gilgamesh epic, Gilgamesh is clearly pictured
as a netherworld ruler.41 Described sometimes as Nergals little brother he
was a figure with special relation to Nergal, ruler of the netherworld.42 He
appears in the company of chtonic deities as one who sits in judgment in the
netherworld.43 His name is very rarely found in Old Babylonian documents,

39. Gilgamesh is mentioned twice, in 4Q530 frag. 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12[?], 2) and 4Q531 frag. 22,
12; 4Q203 frag. 3, 3.
40. D.R. Jackson, Demonizing Gilgames, in Gilgames and the World of Assyria, ed. Joseph Azize
(Leuven: Peeters, 2007), 107114; John C. Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the
Traditions, MHUC 14 (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992); Loren T. Stuckenbruck, Giant
Mythology and Demonology: From the Ancient Near East to the Dead Sea Scrolls, in Die
DmonenDemons: Die Dmonologie der israelitisch-jdischen und frhchristlichen Literatur im Kontext ihrer
UmweltThe Demonology of Israelite-Jewish and Early Christian Literature in Context of Their Environment,
ed. A. Lange and H. Lichtenberger (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 31838; Matthew Goff,
Gilgamesh the Giant: the Qumran Book of Giants appropriation of Gilgamesh motifs, DSD 16 (2009):
41. It is worth noting that Gilgamesh is never mentioned in the epic as one who becomes a
netherworld god.
42. See A.R. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic, vol. 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 107.
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions | 23

apart from the several copies of the epics.44 In turn, religious texts from the
late libraries mention him frequently as the sovereign of the underworld who,
after his life on earth, became king of the underworlda Babylonian Osiris,
identified with Nergal.45 Gilgamesh as judge and ruler of the shades in the
netherworld had a specific role in ancestor cult and magical healing
(incantations).46 Netherworld connections and mantic functions are regularly
interrelated in religious beliefs. Gilgamesh as king of the netherworld interprets
omina pertaining to kings. The omen of Gilgame the mighty king (amt
gilgame arru dannu), who had no rival and variations are frequent in the omen
tradition of the late period.
Thus, Gilgamesh, as a ruler of the shades in the netherworld,, had three
primary functions. As a judge, he judged the case of the sufferer (the prayers use
legal terminology to speak of the sufferer). As an omen-interpreter he was able
to foretell future events and to prognosticate the sufferers fortune if he dies or
remains alive. Finally, as one who had authority over troublesome ghosts he was
believed to be an effective healer. The three roles were interrelated, and each of
them was related to the healing of a sickness (believed to be caused by harmful
The Gilgamesh motif in the Book of Giants reflects a good awareness of
the Mesopotamian scholarly tradition of the interpretation of omina, taught in
the higher-level schools (it is here to be noted that first-millennium scholarship
focused more on magic and divination).48 Several Qumran Aramaic texts
witness that Jewish authors were well acquainted not only with literary texts
but also with astronomy, calendar, and the tradition of the interpretation of
omina. The figure of Gilgamesh in the Book of Giants reflects knowledge where
Mesopotamian elements are used and transmitted with the same meaning as
they were applied in the Mesopotamian culture. This figure matched perfectly
with the demonic images of the Watchers and the Giants, shaped with the help
of characteristic elements from Mesopotamian culture.

43. Ibid., 127.

44. W.G. Lambert, Gilgame in Literature and Art: The Second and First Millennia, in Monsters and
Demons in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds, ed. Ann E. Farkas (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern,1987), 3752,
esp. 46.
45. Ibid., 40.
46. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic, 12735.
47. Lambert, Gilgame, 45; see George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic, 11314.
48. Petra D. Gesche, Schulunterricht in Babylonien im ersten Jahrtausend v. Chr. Alter Orient und Altes
Testament (Mnster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2001), 81152; David M. Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart:
Origins of Scripture and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 2527.
24 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Brief Bibliography
Annus, Amar. On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study of the
Antediluvian Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions. JSP 19
(2010): 277320.
Klawans, Jonathan. Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2000.
Kvanvig, Helge S. Primeval History: Babylonian, Biblical, and Enochic: an
Intertextual Reading. JSJSup 149. Leiden: Brill, 2011.
Sparks, Kenton L. Enma Elish and Priestly Mimesis. Elite Emulation in
Nascent Judaism. JBL 126 (2007): 62543.
Stone, Michael E. Ancient Judaism. New Visions and Views. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2011.
Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second
and Third Century bce Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of
Early Apocalyptic Traditions. DSD 7 (2000): 35477.

The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4

(MT and LXX)
Chris Seeman

In the book of Genesis, sweeping accusations are brought against the human
race, justifying Gods decision to eradicate it by flood: the wickedness of
human beings was great in the earth . . . every day; every formation of the
thoughts of their hearts was only evil (6:5).1 Not even animals escape
judgment: all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth . . . the earth is filled
with violence because of them (6:12, 13). The global reach of this indictment,
and the clear connection it establishes between crime and punishment, stand in
tension with the verses that immediately precede it.
The intrinsic fascination of this passage is rivaled only by its awkwardness
as a prelude to the deluge. Whereas the flood narrative deals with terrestrial
creatures, these verses introduce a hitherto unidentified category of ostensibly
supra-mundane beings. The divine response to the interruption of normalcy is
restrained and adaptive, not radically destructive as with the flood. The most
striking feature of Gen. 6:1-4 is its closing verse, interpretable either as an
identification of the offspring of the sons of God, or as a parenthetical remark
dating the divine-human miscegenation to a time when a wholly unrelated
group (the Nephilim) first appeared on the earth. Neither interpretation links
this verse in any obvious way to the blanket condemnation of humanity that
follows. It is precisely these enigmatic qualities that make this story central to
discussion of the Watchers traditions.

1. All translations are my own.

26 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

MT Gen 6:1-4 LXX Gen 6:1-4

1 And when human beings began 1And at the time when human
to multiply upon the face of the beings began to become many
ground and daughters were born upon the earth, daughters were
to them, 2 the sons of God saw the born to them. 2 And the sons of
daughters of human beings, that God, having seen the daughters of
they were beautiful. And they took human beings, that they were
for themselves wives from among beautiful, took for themselves
all whom they chose. 3 And wives from all whom they chose. 3
YHWH said: My spirit will not And the Lord God said: My spirit
[]* in human beings forever, will not remain in these human
because they are flesh, and their beings forever, because they are
days will be one hundred and flesh, and their days will be one
twenty years. 4 The Nephilim hundred and twenty years. 4 And
were on the earth in those the Giants were upon the earth in
daysand also afterwardswhen those days and thereafter,
the sons of God went into the whenever the sons of God went
daughters of human beings and into the daughters of human
they bore children for them. Those beings, and they bore children for
were the warriors who were from them. Those were the Giants, the
of old, the men of name. ones from of old, the renowned
human beings.

*The meaning of Hebrew is uncertain.

The task of the present essay is twofold: first, to consider Gen 6:1-4 as part of
the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible (MT); second, to explore how Watchers
traditions may have affected ancient Greek translations of Genesis, especially
the Septuagint (LXX). The relationship between MT and LXX in these verses
is uncertain; with the exception of the Samaritan Pentateuch (which does not
differ substantially from MT), no non-Masoretic witnesses to the Vorlage of
Gen. 6:1-4 have been found. This allows more than one interpretation of the
differences between the MT and LXX versions of this passage.
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) | 27

Author and Audience

Although Gen. 6:1-4 functions as a meaningful unit within the larger narrative
block of Genesis 111and is therefore implicated in theories of Pentateuchal
compositionits abrupt, fragmentary character, as well as its internal
idiosyncrasies, indicate that the story (in some form) preexisted the Pentateuch
and may also have been subject to secondary modification following its
integration into the primeval history. Therefore, to ask who wrote Gen 6:1-4,
and for whom, it is necessary to consider the passage from three distinct vantage
1. as a fragment of pre-Pentateuchal tradition
2. as a part of the primeval history
3. as a possible site of redaction

Despite the frequent appearance in the Bible of filiation and marriage as

metaphors for YHWHs relationship to Israel (e.g., Exod. 4:22; Hos. 2:1-23),
no biblical text apart from Gen. 6:1-4 depicts sexual union between mortals
and divine beings. Conversely, such unions are a prominent fixture of both
Mesopotamian and Greek mythologies. These observations favor the view that
Gen. 6:1-4 contains or alludes to a myth either derived from non-Israelite
tradition or cognate with it.2 It is impossible to reconstruct an original author
and audience for this stage with any confidence. However, if the provenance of
the myth is judged to be non-Israelite, then the earliest documentable Israelite
exposure to that tradition becomes a terminus a quo for its absorption into the
Pentateuchal narrative.3
Gen. 6:1-4 manifests features of the Yahwist (J) strand as defined by the
classical Documentary Hypothesis; in addition to its use of the divine name,
YHWH, the pericope displays lexical and thematic parallels with other J-
passages in the primeval history.4 Scholars agree that this material functions

2. See Ronald S. Hendel, Of Demigods and the Deluge: Toward an Interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4,
JBL 106 (1987): 1326; Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, The Mesopotamian Counterparts of the Biblical
Nplm, in Perspectives on Language and Text, ed. Edgar W. Conrad and Edward G. Newing (Winona
Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1987), 3943.
3. This inference has been enlisted in support of pre-exilic (Robert B. Coote and David R. Ord, The
Bibles First History [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989]), exilic (John Van Seters, Prologue to History: The
Yahwist as Historian in Genesis [Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1992]) and even post-exilic (Russell
E. Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch
[London: T&T Clark, 2006]) timeframes for the primeval historys formation.
4. Although the nature and even existence of J is now widely contested, the literary and historical
issues addressed by the documentary paradigm remain vital to Pentateuchal studies. For an orientation to
the current debate, see Ernest W. Nicholson (The Pentateuch in the Twentieth Century: The Legacy of Julius
28 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

to set the narrative of Israelite national identity within a universal context;

they differ concerning the circumstances that precipitated this literary move.
Nineteenth-century scholars generally located J in monarchic Judah (pre-722
bce).5 Gerhard von Rad atypically pushed its date back to the united monarchy
under Solomon (ca. 950 bce), but his central thesisthat the primeval history
creates a negative foil for the blessing of Abraham, a blessing realized in the
achievements of David and his heirswould presumably have been attractive
to the Davidic dynasty at any stage of its career.6 The House of Davids loss
of sovereignty to Babylon in 586 bce created a different context in which
Judahites might reflect on their own identity within a larger world, particularly
in relationship to the experience of geographical displacement (a recurrent
motif in the primeval history).7
Two components of Gen. 6:1-4 are unlikely to have been integral to the
original myth. Verse 3 has often been judged to be intrusive, either because
it superimposes a moralizing perspective on an otherwise neutral etiology
of quasi-divine heroes, or because it was the original conclusion of the myth
and has been repositioned in order to generalize responsibility for the flood to
all human beings. Alternatively, verse 3s interest in longevity might link the
pericope (and the deluge that follows it) to the genealogy in Gen. 5,8 or it
might represent the introduction of a late Israelite wisdom theme.9 Similarly,
the interjection and also afterwards (v. 4, discussed below) might be seen
as a redactional attempt to relate the Nplm of Gen. 6:4 to those of Num.
13:33. Whether these modifications were simultaneous with or posterior to the
passages inclusion into the primeval history is difficult to decide; either way,
they disclose an impulse to re-contextualize the myth and, conversely, to re-
contextualize other biblical passages and ideas in light of it.

Three basic interpretive questions confront the reader of Gen. 6:1-4:

Wellhausen [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998]) and Jean-Louis Ska (Introduction to Reading the
Pentateuch [Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006]).
5. Defended by Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (New York: HarperCollins, 1987),
6. Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 2931.
7. Van Seters, Prologue, 332.
8. Joseph Blenkinsopp, The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible (New York:
Doubleday, 1992), 76.
9. Van Seters, Prologue, 153.
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) | 29

1. The identity of the miscegenators (Who are the sons of God?)

2. The logic of the divine response (Why target the whole of
3. The relationship of the Nephilim to the offspring of the sons of
God (Are they one and the same?)


The Hebrew expression can mean either the sons of God or the
sons of the gods, depending on how is construed. The latter (plural)
sense is known from other West Semitic inscriptions, where it inclusively
designates the gods (male and female alike).10 This cannot be its primary
connotation in Genesis, since the sexual scenario requires the actors to be
exclusively male. Also, the textual tradition of LXX unanimously supports the
singular reading of ( ).
Who, then, are the sons of God? The expression is not unique to Genesis. It
appears also in the book of Job, where it designates a class of deities who attend
God in his divine court (1:6; 2:1; cf. 38:7). The image of the divine council is
well known from Ugaritic literature,11 and is dramatically evoked by Psalm 82,
where God comprehensively acknowledges the other gods as sons of Elyon (v.
7). Identical in meaning is , attested in Pss. 29:1 and 89:6. The singular
form in Aramaic ( )is found in Dan. 3:25.12
Thus, MT attests a plurality of divine beings who relate to God as actuaries
of his will or (in the case of Psalm 82) as conciliar associates.13 Neither of these
connotations is hinted at, much less developed, by our passage. Rather, the
author seems to be enlisting a conventional expression in order to foreground
the theme of boundary transgression and category mixing. In this connection,
one may note the symmetrical opposition highlighted by the construct chains,
( the sons of God) and ( the daughters of Adam).

10. Simon B. Parker, Sons of (the) God(s), in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, ed. Karel
van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. van der Horst, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999),
794800, 79495.
11. E. Theodore Mullen, The Assembly of the Gods: The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew
Literature, HSM 24 (Chico, CA: Scholars, 1980).
12. Another text that shares this idiom is Deut. 32:8, which, in LXX and 4QDeut j, speaks of Elyon as
having apportioned the nations and their territories according to the number of the sons of God. MT,
with the Samaritan Pentateuch, reads sons of Israel in place of this.
13. Their filial connection to God, though seemingly entailed by the moniker, is nowhere elaborated
in the Hebrew Bible, but is present, again, in Ugaritic texts concerning El. On the complicated matter of
YHWHs equivalency (or not) with El/Elyon, see Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and
the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002).
30 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

In somebut not allMT passages where or its equivalents

occur, LXX reads angels in place of sons.14 It is uncertain whether this
substitution also took place with respect to our passage. Both major surviving
manuscripts of the fourth century ce (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) lack Gen.
6:1-4 due to incomplete preservation. The third most important manuscript,
Alexandrinus (fifth century ce), includes the pericope, but deviates from the
majority of later witnesses by reading angels in v. 2.15 Even if this represents a
later revision to LXX, it remains significant for the question of how Watchers
traditions may have influenced reception of this text. But caution is needed
here. By itself, a shift in terminology need not imply a different understanding
of Gen. 6:2.16


Even without the benefit of LXXs version of v. 3, which lacks the obscure
wording of MT, the implication of the divine reply seems clear enough:
cohabitation of mortals with immortals will not result in enhanced longevity
for the former. This verdict sits uneasily with vv. 1-2. Unlike other divine
reactions in Genesis 311, which target those who transgress the divine will,
the present judgment neither affects nor is its impact restricted
to their spouses or progeny. Another element conspicuously lacking here is
displacement: unlike Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah and the tower-builders, none

14. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Dan. 3:25. The Psalms retain sons.
15. The fact that angels appears over an erasure in this codex may cast doubt on its value for
determining the original LXX reading. On the other hand, Philo of Alexandria, our earliest surviving
witness to this passage, cites Gen. 6:2 verbatim with angels (Gig. 6). But cf. Q.G. 1.92, where Philo
refers to both and in his discussion of the pericope. The commentary format of
Philos writings makes it unlikely that he altered the version (or versions) of LXX at his disposal, though
there is a possibility that a later tradent modified some of his citations in order to bring them into
conformity with contemporary translations. On this complicated question, see David W. Gooding and
Valentin Nikiprowetzky, Philos Bible in the De Gigantibus and Quod Deus sit Immutabilis, in Two
Treatises of Philo of Alexandria: A Commentary on De Gigantibus and Quod Deus sit Immutabilis, BJS 25; ed.
David Winston and John Dillon (Chico, CA: Scholars, 1983), 89125. For a comprehensive survey of
scholarship on Philos biblical citations, see Anna Passoni DellAcqua, Upon Philos Biblical Text and the
Septuagint, in Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, ed. Francesca Calabi (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 2552.
16. As Annette Yoshiko Reed (Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of
Enochic Literature [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005], 217) observes, prior to the third
century ce, translation alone did not dictate whether the sons of God in Gen. 6:1-4 were interpreted as
angelic beings. A parallel example of such fluidity may be seen in Gen. 5:22 and 5:24, which appear to
allude to the tradition of Enochs interaction with angels by saying that he walked with the gods
() .
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) | 31

of the participants in Gen. 6:1-4 suffers forced dislocation from their place as
a result of the ruptured order of things.
As noted, the apparent disconnect between vv. 1-2 and v. 3, combined
with the disjointed character of the whole pericope, has led scholars to posit an
older mythological narrative whose original conclusion has been overwritten
by the biblical author. Be that as it may, such a conjecture does not wholly
mitigate the verses uneven quality. This unevenness is highlighted by
comparison with LXX, which (unlike MT) specifies the object of Gods
pronouncement: these human beings ( ). Although these
could conceivably refer to humankind as a whole, it makes more sense to
understand the pronoun as designating a specific group of people: the offspring
of the sons of God, implied by the taking of wives in v. 2 and overtly discussed
in v. 4.


Genesis appears to be uninterested in the identity, nature or motives of the
sons of God; their sole function in the narrative is to beget offspring. However,
the syntax of v. 4 is ambiguous. Does the masculine plural demonstrative
pronoun, those ( ;), refer back to the offspring (who appear at
the conclusion of the preceding sentence) or to the Nephilim (who appear
at its beginning)? If those refers to the Nephilim (who would consequently
have to be identified with the warriors who were from of old, the men
of name), then they would appear to be an entirely different group from
the children whom the daughters of humankind bore. If, on the other hand,
the antecedent of those is the children, then Nephilim is simply another
designation for these hybrid offspring. On the first reading, the focus of v. 4
remains the act of miscegenation itself, which the Nephilim reference merely
anchors chronologically in a legendary epoch. On the second reading, the
focus shifts to the identity of the offspring: who they were and why they were
remembered. Does v. 4 speak of three groups (sons of God, offspring, Nephilim)
or just two (sons of God, offspring/Nephilim)?
The question is complicated by the claim that the Nephilim also existed
afterwards. This interjection is troublesome not just because it disrupts the
flow of the sentence, but because it is proleptic, implying events that have
not yet been narrated. The same is trueetymologically at leastof the term,
Nephilim, itself, which probably means fallen ones.17 Whoever the
Nephilim were, their chief claim to fame would appear to be the fact that at

17. Hendel, Demigods, 22.

32 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

some point (after the events of Gen. 6:1-4?) they fellpresumably in battle, if
they were warriors. But the afterwards also implies that they are antecedents
and archetypes for more contemporary men of name.18
The expression, the men of name () , used appositively with
the warriors who were from of old, appears to connote the fame attaching to
deeds of martial prowess.19 However, the human proclivity to make a name
for oneself can carry a negative valence in Genesis, especially when contrasted
with YHWHs proposal to make Abrahams name great (compare Gen. 11:4
with 12:2). YHWHs militant contest with Pharaohwhich climaxes in the
killing of offspringinvokes the name motif (Exod. 9:16; cf. 15:1-18, esp. v. 3).
Thus, despite the ostensibly neutral portrayal of the in Gen. 6:4,
their description may actually signal the larger theme of hubris that plays itself
out elsewhere in the primeval history.
Nephilim resurface in the book of Numbers. As the Israelite war-host
prepares to invade Canaan, its spies bring back unwelcome news that the land
is filled with powerful, bellicose inhabitants. Among these are the sons of Anak,
who are said to be from the Nephilim (13:33). The preposition ( from)
must carry either an originary or partitive sense in this context. If the Anakites
are descendants of the Nephilim, then the Nephilim constitute a genealogical
grouping not to be conflated with their latter-day progeny. If, on the other
hand, the Anakites are to be reckoned as a sub-group among the Nephilim, then
the Nephilim become, in effect, a sociological category: an aristocratic warring
class, not confined to any one era, place or lineage. As the next passage to be
discussed suggests, these alternatives need not be mutually exclusive.
Used attributively, the qal active form of figures prominently in
Ezekiels dirge for the king of Egypt. Faced with the prospect of annihilation in
battle, the doomed Pharaoh and his army are mockingly consoled by YHWH:
when they descend into the netherworld, they will enjoy the company of
warriors from every nation fallen by the sword () .20 But these
war dead compare poorly with the fallen warriors ( ) who
descended to Sheol with their battle-gear, and whose swords were given under

18. If the Nephilim and the offspring are one and the same, their repeated emergence raises the
possibility that the sons of God impregnated the daughters of humankind on more than one occasion.
LXXs translation of by the indefinite, whenever ( ), followed by the imperfect, seems to
favor this possibility.
19. For parallel uses of this idiom, see Num. 16:2 and 1 Chr. 5:24. See also the description of Nimrod
in Gen. 10:8-9.
20. Ezek. 32:22, 23, 24; cf. the coordinate expression, slain by the sword (), in vv. 20, 21,
25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32.
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) | 33

their heads, and whose shields are upon their bones (32:27).21 Whether or not
this verse consciously alludes to the warriors of Gen. 6:4, the oracle illustrates
how the fallen ones trope is capable of functioning within the same passage
both genealogically (as a unique group) and typologically (as an antecedent for
other groups).
LXX reinforced affinities among Genesis, Numbers, and Ezekiel by
rendering and by the same Greek word: (Giants).22
In LXX, regularly translates the Hebrew .23 It is also used to render
Rephaim (), a term for the shades of the dead.24 Rephaim are sometimes
equated with the aboriginal inhabitants of Canaan, eradicated by Israelite
martial valor,25 and thus mirror Ezekiels fallen warriors. The translators instinct
to homogenize these groupsNephilim, Gibborim, Rephaimunder a single,
all-purpose label reveals their sensitivity to the thematic interconnectedness of
these groups in the Bible.
None of the foregoing can resolve the more basic question of the
Nephilims identity or non-identity with the offspring of the sons of God.
However, if the Nephilim are not the offspring, what is the point of mentioning
them here? Given the tightly interwoven motifs of name, progeny, and hubris
elsewhere in the Pentateuch,26 it seems unwarranted to minimize the Nephilim
as simply a phenomenon of prediluvian antiquity that is worthy of note
without connection to the miscegenation incident.27 In the final analysis,
though, the plausibility of either option will hinge upon larger conclusions
about how the Pentateuch was composed and what motivated its authors to
include material like Gen. 6:1-4.

21. The MT reads ( from among the uncircumcised), while the LXX reads
(from of old).
22. As early as the eighth century bce, appear in Greek mythology as the monstrous,
belligerant progeny of Gaia (fertilized by the blood of Uranuss castration) who strove to supplant the
Olympian gods until the latter were aided by Heracles, who defeated and destroyed the upstarts (e.g.,
Hesiod, Theogony, 183187, 954; cf. frag. 43a 65; Homer, Od. 7.59-61, 205). By classical times, had
also acquired the neutral, adjectival meaning of mighty (e.g., Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 692), much as we
today might speak of something as being titanic without intending any conscious comparison with the
Titans of Greek mythology. This linguistic usage parallels the career of in LXX.
23. Gen. 10:8-9; Pss. 18:6; 32:16; Isa. 3:2; 49:24-25; 1 Macc. 3:3.
24. Job 26:5; Prov. 21:16; Isa. 14:9.
25. Josh. 12:4; 1 Chr. 11:15.
26. Coote and Ord, The Bibles First History, 6062, 8586, 9596.
27. John J. Collins, The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men, in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-
Human Sexual Metaphor From Sumer To Early Christianity, ed. Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro (Winona
Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008), 25974, 262.
34 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The influence of Gen. 6:1-4 on the Watchers traditions is undeniable.28
Whatever historical process lay behind the production, promulgation and
acceptance of the Pentateuch as an authoritative document, once this had
happened, it was inevitable that our passage would serve as a lightning rod
for the reception of Watchers traditions among Jews, Christians, and related
groups. It is also possible in the case of LXXand very likely in the case of its
successorsthat the translation history of Gen. 6:1-4 has itself been shaped by
these traditions. In other words, influence may have gone both ways.
While a few scholars have proposed that Gen. 6:1-4 is an abridgement
of the Book of the Watchers,29 most would see the latter as an expansion of
the former.30 On balance, it seems reasonable to expect derivative textseven
when abridgingto clarify rather than obfuscate their source material. Thus,
if Gen. 6:1-4 were dependent on the Book of the Watchers rather than the
other way around, we might expect the resulting adaptation to display less
awkwardness and fewer lacunae than it does. Yet the very premise of direct
textual dependency assumes either Genesis or the Book of the Watchers to be
the sole bearer of a myth not available elsewhere. The major alternative to this
model is to posit a common body of lore that predates both texts. In this view,
Genesis and the Book of the Watchers may be seen as independent reflexes of a
much more widespread tradition.
Whichever scenario one opts for, it is clear that individual elements of
Gen. 6:1-4 have stimulated the growth of Watchers lore. The characterization
of the Watchers in some traditions as fallen angels obviously owes much to
the probable etymology of , even though Genesis does not apply this title

28. Note the differing views on the relationship between Gen. 6:1-4 and the Watchers traditions in
this volume.
29. J.T. Milik, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumrn Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976),
3031; Matthew Black, The Book of Enoch, or, I Enoch: A New English Edition with Commentary and
Textual Notes, SVTP 7 (Leiden: Brill, 1985), 12425; Margaret Barker, The Older Testament: The Survival
of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity (London: SPCK, 1987),
30. John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, 2nd ed.
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 3839; James C. VanderKam, Biblical Interpretation in 1 Enoch and
Jubilees, in The Pseudepigrapha and Early Biblical Interpretation, JSPSup 14, ed. James H. Charlesworth and
Craig A. Evans (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1993), 1037; George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A
Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 136; 81108, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
2001), 166168; Siam Bhayro, The Shemihazah and Asael Narrative of 1 Enoch 611: Introduction, Text,
Translation and Commentary with Reference to Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Antecedents (Mnster:
Ugarit-Verlag, 2005), 79.
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) | 35

to the miscegenators themselves. Equally influential has been the obscure and
also afterwards, which contributed to a long-standing debate concerning the
postdiluvian fate of the Giants.31 Even more basic to the development of the
Watchers traditions is the identity of the sons of God, of whose nature and
origin Genesis breathes not a word.32 Enigma invites elaboration.
One peculiarity of LXX is that the minority reading of angels in place
of sons in v. 2 is almost never replicated in v. 4 (where is
retained). This inconsistency may be a reflex of the angelic interpretation of
in the Book of the Watchers, which parallels Gen. 6:2 but not
6:4.33 Another feature of LXX that might point to interaction with Watchers
traditions is the specifying of Gen. 6:3. Although the verse lacks any
punitive implications, the probability that it intends to single out the offspring
moves the narrative in the same direction as Watchers traditions that target
the Giants for punishment. On the other hand, the harmonization of Nephilim
and Gibborim as moves in a different direction from the Book of the
Watchers, which not only distinguishes these groups, but has them begetting
each other sequentially (1 En. 7:2).
The second century ce saw a proliferation of alternative Greek translations
of the Bible, the most famous of whichthose of Theodotion, Aquila and
Symmachuswere preserved in Origens Hexapla. These translators share a
tendency to correct LXX in accordance with the emerging standardized
Hebrew text. In the case of our passage, however, only Theodotion stands in
continuity with what would later become the MT reading. Aquila renders
as sons of the gods ( ), probably meaning worshippers
of the gods, idolaters.34 Symmachus departs even more radically from the
Hebrew with sons of the powerful ones ( ), a
development with parallels in early rabbinic literature.35 These renderings open
up the possibility of interpreting the miscegenators of Gen. 6:2 and 6:4 as
human rather than superhuman beings, which may signal a conscious rejection
of Watchers traditions.36

31. Loren T. Stuckenbruck, The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second and Third Century
bce Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of Early Apocalyptic Traditions, DSD 7 (2000):
32. Unless one finds oblique allusions to them in Gen. 1:26 and 2:1.
33. Reed, Fallen Angels, 118.
34. For analysis, see Philip S. Alexander, The Targumim and Early Exegesis of Sons of God in
Genesis 6, JJS 23 (1972): 6072, esp. 6465.
35. Targums Onqelos and Pseudo-Jonathan provide an exact Aramaic equivalent to Symmachuss
reading, while Targum Neofiti has sons of the judges. See Alexander (Targumim, 64) for synopsis.
36 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Since we do not know what the Vorlage of LXX Gen. 6:1-4 looked like,
we are not in a position to decide whether its translation is a literal rendering
or an interpretive rewrite. If the translation faithfully reproduced its Hebrew
source, this would mean that the story once existed in a form different from
what we find in the stabilized MTa form either influenced by Watchers
traditions or participating in exegetical moves shared by those traditions. If,
on the other hand, LXXs Vorlage possessed the basic attributes of MT and
the Samaritan versions, then the translations deviations from its source would
likewise suggest influence. Either way, the case for interaction with Watchers
traditions is strong.

Recommendations for Further Research

The canonical status of the Bible tends to breed unidirectional models of
tradition, whereby a fixed textual bedrock is thought to give rise to diverse
reformulations as its tradents and translators collide with changing historical
circumstances. The foregoing analysis of Gen. 6:1-4 points to a more dynamic
situation. Whether one dates the primeval history to pre- or post-exilic times,
the myth it encapsulates and transforms may already be implicated in a broader
web of traditions that are genetically linked to Watchers lore. Even if the Book
of the Watchers is thought to be literarily dependent on Gen. 6:1-4, it cannot
be denied that the former has also independently (re?)absorbed mythological
motifs that may have directly or indirectly contributed to the Genesis story as
well.37 In other words, when viewed together, the compositional and translation
histories of Gen. 6:1-4 point to multiple moments of two or even three-way
interaction among the Bible, the Book of the Watchers, and the underlying
traditions shared by both.
Undoubtedly the twin advent of Macedonian rule and Hellenic
cosmopolitanism supplied an important catalyst for such feedback loops
within the Watchers traditions. Not only did the emergence of Greek as the
new lingua franca necessitate the translation of Genesis, it also brought its
translators and readers into renewed contact with both western and eastern
mythological traditions. This should draw our attention to the intercultural
dimensions of translation.38

36. Alexander, Targumim; Reed, Fallen Angels, 206218; See as well, Franklin T. Harkins, The
Embodiment of Angels: A Debate in Mid-Thirteenth Century Theology, Recherches de thologie et
philosophie mdivales 78 (2011): 2558.
37. Consider Ida Frlichs case for Mesopotamian influence on the Book of the Watchers (in this
collection) in the light of Kilmers comments on Genesis (Mesopotamian Counterparts).
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) | 37

To take just one example, the identification of Nephilim and Gibborim

as plays on objectively similar (perhaps even genetically related)
mythological traditions shared by Israelite and Hellenic cultures.39 It must
be remembered, however, that the Jewish readers of LXX were themselves
immersed in the Greek cultural universe whose koine they spoke, and they
often appropriated that universe in deliberate and creative ways.40 Intercultural
analysis of must therefore move beyond questions of functional
equivalency between words in the source and target languages in order to
explore how the use of might go hand-in-hand with the absorption
of distinctively Greek traditions about the Giants. It invites us to consider more
closely how LXX may have mediatedor, retrospectively, how it provides
evidence forthe colonization of the Watchers traditions by Hellenic notions.

Brief Bibliography
Collins, John J. The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men. Pages 259-74
in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor From Sumer to
Early Christianity. Edited by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro. Winona Lake,
IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008.
Hendel, Ronald S. Of Demigods and the Deluge: Toward an Interpretation of
Genesis 6:1-4. JBL 106 (1987): 13-26.
. The Nephilim were on the Earth: Genesis 6: 1-4 and its Ancient Near
Eastern Context. Pages 11-34 in The Fall of the Angels. TBN 6. Edited by
Christoph Auffarth and Loren T. Stuckenbruck. Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Reed, Annette Yoshiko. Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and
Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Vervenne, M. All They Need is Love: Once More Genesis 6.1-4. Pages
1940 in Words Remembered, Texts Renewed: Essays in Honour of John F. A.
Sawyer. Edited by Jon Davies, Wilfred G.E. Watson, and Graham Harvey.
Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995.
Wevers, John William. Notes on the Greek Text of Genesis. Atlanta: Scholars,

38. Most recently discussed by Tessa Rajak, Translation and Survival: The Greek Bible of the Ancient
Jewish Diaspora (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
39. As was observed already by Josephus, Ant. 1.73.
40. For examples of this phenomenon, see Erich S. Gruen, Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of
Jewish Tradition, HCS 30 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).
38 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Wright, Archie T. Strategies of Interpreting Genesis 6:1-4. Pages 5195 in

The Origin of Evil Spirits. WUNT 2.198; Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005.

Symbolic Resistance in the Bo

ok of the
Anathea Portier-Young

The Book of the Watchers provides one of our most important starting points
for tracking the growth and development of the Watchers traditions. As is
well known, its writers crafted their portrait and myth of the Watchers by
drawing on other earlier traditions. Much attention has been given to the
connection between the Book of the Watchers and traditions preserved in Genesis
68. I focus on the use of non-native myths and motifs in the formation of
the early Watchers traditions. The writers of the Book of the Watchers adapted
key myths and motifs from Hellenic and Mesopotamian traditions to mount
a pointed critique of their Hellenistic rulers and the local cultic leaders who
collaborated with them. In so doing they countered imperial claims to power
and the ordering of the world. They simultaneously assailed the practices
and epistemological foundations of local religious leadership. Through critical
inversion of non-native myths and motifs the writers of the Book of the Watchers
engaged in symbolic resistance to imperial violence and hegemony and to
perceived corruption of the cult, asserting an alternative cosmology and
epistemology that sought to reclaim and reshape the political, religious, and
moral imagination of its audience.
Hellenistic kings ruled by force. Conquest was the engine of empire, and
warfare was accordingly a constant throughout the Hellenistic kingdoms.1 But
empires success also depended on nonviolent means of control. Commonly
labeled hegemony, these means include the whole range of dominant
cultural institutions and social practices, from schooling, museums, and political

1. Michel M. Austin, Hellenistic Kings, War, and the Economy, Classical Quarterly 36 (1986):

40 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

parties to religious practice, architectural forms, and the mass media.2 These
institutions and practices, including a cultures arts, technologies, stories, and
myths, convey a cosmology, a story and map of the world that establishes a
framework for belief and action.3 Hegemony asserts as normative and universal
what are in fact particular and contingent ways of perceiving the world,
mapping the universe and humanitys place in it, and defining poles of
opposition. This cosmology demarcates inside from outside, center from
periphery, normal from aberrant. Its logic legitimates claims about truth and
Some have emphasized the difficulty of thinking beyond hegemonic
cosmologies.4 Its logic can become so invisible as to resist questioning.5 To
the extent that this logic becomes internalized, the merely possible appears
necessary, the contingent appears absolute, and ways of ordering human life
that have taken shape through time appear to be part of nature.6 In this way,
hegemonic cosmologies simultaneously constrain imagination and action. Yet
periods of rapid change, including experiences of intensive cultural contact and
crisis, open up possibilities for challenging this cosmology, for renaming, and
answering hegemony with resistant counter-discourse.7
The Book of the Watchers presents this alternative cosmology in part
through its narrated heavenly journey. It also answers myth with myth,
inverting symbols to assert an alternative order and account of reality. The very
binary nature of the hegemonic construction of reality (inside/outside, center/
periphery, good/bad, civilized/barbaric, normal/aberrant) creates the possibility
for resistance to hegemony through critical inversion, wherein categories are
retained but the hierarchy of values or assignment of value is turned upside

2. Timothy Mitchell, Everyday Metaphors of Power, Theory and Society 19 (1990): 54577, 553. See
further Joseph Femia, Gramscis Political Thought: Hegemony, Consciousness, and the Revolutionary
Process (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981).
3. Daniel Miller, The Limits of Dominance, in Domination and Resistance, ed. Daniel Miller, Michael
Rowlands, and Christopher Tilley (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 6379, 64.
4. Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1977), 168.
5. Miller, Limits of Dominance, 66.
6. Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, 7879.
7. Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, 166. Richard Terdiman, Discourse/Counter-Discourse: The
Theory and Practice of Symbolic Resistance in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Press, 1985), 59.
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers | 41

down.8 This inversion is most effectively achieved by recasting myths and

revalorizing symbols.
The Book of the Watchers asserts not only cosmology but also cosmic drama.
In both, the Watchers play a crucial role. They represent, in part, the Hellenistic
rulers. They represent, in part, priestly leaders in the Jerusalem cult. But they are
more than ciphers. They are figures charged with maintaining and displaying
the order of the cosmos, marking time and seasons, demarcating earth from
heaven, human from divine, and human from angelic. Their transgressions
destabilize order and corrupt knowledge.
The writers of the Book of the Watchers created a new mythology by joining
inverted structures and motifs from Greek and Babylonian mythology to native
Israelite traditions. Here I focus on the Prometheus myth and Gigantomachy
from Greek traditions, and the motif of astral mediation from Babylonian
religious traditions.

Prometheus, the Fallen Watchers, and Enoch

The Book of the Watchers adapts elements of the Greek Prometheus myth,
assimilating the role of the titan and culture hero Prometheus to two of its
characters, Asael (and the fallen Watchers more generally) and Enoch, both of
whom cross the boundary between earth and heaven to transmit knowledge
to humankind.9 Both Prometheus and the fallen Watchers, Asael among them,
are condemned for excessiveindeed inappropriatelove of humankind.10 As
in the Prometheus myth, so in the Book of the Watchers the high god punishes

8. David Snchez traces the inversion of imperial myths in Rev 12 and in later appropriation of its
imagery in the Americas. Referring to the dragon slayer myth, Snchez writes, Subjects of the empire
were well aware of the power of this mythical motif and understood that effective diatribes against
emperor and empire could begin only with a critique of this foundational myth. From Patmos to the
Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008), 13.
9. See George W.E. Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic and Myth in 1 Enoch 611, JBL 96 (1977): 383405,
esp. 399404.
10. Prometheuss chains will teach him to stop his way of loving humankind (
PV 11; line numbers correspond to Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, ed. and trans.
Anthony J. Podlecki [Oxford: Aris & Phillips, 2005]); he names his crime as loving mortals too much
( 123; cf. 30, 54344). On the theme of Prometheus philanthrpos, see
Podleckis introduction to Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 1627. Yet in PV it is Zeuss lust for Io that
more closely parallels the fallen Watchers transgressive sexual desire for human women, prompting the
chorus to reflect on the wisdom of marrying ones own kind ( 890) and proclaiming nor
would I be the bride of any god come out of heaven ( , 897).
Translation is that of James Scully in Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, trans. James Scully (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1975).
42 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

the one who transmits stolen knowledge to humans by having him bound
in a deserted place and subjected to physical torment (1 En. 10:4-5). These
structural parallels allow for a series of inversions. While Prometheus, the
patron of suffering [hu]mankind,11 was portrayed by Aeschylus as a noble
benefactor whose teachings bettered human existence and even saved humans
from extinction (PV 23136), Asael is portrayed in the Book of the Watchers as
the one who has taught all iniquity on the earth (1 En. 9:6). The consequences
of the Watchers transgressions threaten the earth and humankind. By contrast,
in the Book of the Watchers, it is God who intervenes so that all humankind may
not perish as well as for the healing of the earth (1 En. 10:7).
The inversion delivers an epistemological and theological critique.12 The
content of the Watchers stolen knowledge in the Book of the Watchers can be
identified with various cultural legacies from Babylonian and Greek traditions,
including military technologies, metallurgy, cosmetology, herbology, sorcery,
and astronomy (1 En. 8:1-3), all valued in Greek and Babylonian traditions.
In the Book of the Watchers these are degraded as the false teachings of fallen

11. C. John Herington, introduction to Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1975), 11.
12. Few scholars would dispute that the Book of the Watchers is sharp in its critique. Yet its complex
composition history and the multiple traditions it engages make it impossible to pin down one target for
all its layers, or even for its final form. Its rich symbolism speaks into many moments and settings and
addresses multiple, shifting concerns. While Nickelsburg has called attention to a likely critique of the
Diadochoi in chs. 611 (Apocalyptic and Myth), David Suter has argued that chs. 616 take aim at an
internal threat, namely a corrupt priestly group that has violated purity laws concerning marriage. David
Suter, Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: The Problem of Family Purity in 1 Enoch, HUCA 50 (1979):
11535. Suters suggestion relies in part on the reconstructions of the growth of apocalyptic from
within a movement that exhibited growing dissatisfaction with the priestly establishment in Jerusalem
(134) as argued in the works of Otto Plger (Theocracy and Eschatology, trans. S. Rudman [Oxford:
Blackwell, 1968]; originally published as Theokratie und Eschatologie [Neukirchen: Neukirchener Verlag,
1959]) and Paul D. Hanson (The Dawn of Apocalyptic: The Historical and Sociological Roots of Jewish
Apocalyptic Eschatology [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975]) (both are cited in Suter, Fallen Angel, 134,
n. 52). Yet the sociological models used by Plger and Hanson have rightly been challenged, most
notably in the work of Stephen L. Cook, Prophecy and Apocalypticism: The Postexilic Social Setting
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995). This does not invalidate all of Suters arguments. The reference to the
Watchers abandoning the heavenly sanctuary (1 En. 12:4) and violating ordained boundaries certainly
suggests priestly concerns. See also David Suter, Revisiting Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest, Henoch 24
(2002): 13742. William Loader suggests that the critique of forbidden mixing in 1 Enoch 1216 may
extend beyond inner-priestly critique to a critique of marriage with Gentile women more generally,
with a special concern for the knowledge they bring from their native cultures. Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees
on Sexuality: Attitudes Toward Sexuality in the Early Enoch Literature, the Aramaic Levi Document, and the
Book of Jubilees (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 43, 4649.
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers | 43

Watchers (1 En. 9:6; 13:2; 16:3).13 At the same time, the role of transmitter of
salvific knowledge is transferred to Enoch, a human being. The knowledge he
carries across heavens threshold (i.e., the revealed wisdom transmitted through
the Enochic literature) is preserved not among the Greeks but among the Jewish
tradents of the Enoch traditions. Knowledge is power, and knowledge claims
underwrite power. By condemning various forms of knowledge associated
with Babylonian and Greek traditions as false and demonicincluding the
knowledge of warfare and methods of prognostication that played a crucial role
in military campaigns and other affairs of state14and by elevating Enochic
revealed wisdom, the Book of the Watchers begins to deconstruct the very
epistemological claims of the Hellenistic empires and assert in their place a
knowledge that reveals the universal sovereignty of the one God.

Prometheus played an important role in the Greek myth of titanomachy, or
the war between the Olympian gods and the titans (a generation of gods older
than the Olympians) that would give the Olympians rule in heaven and confine
the titans to Tartaros.15 Closely related to the titanomachy was the myth of

13. As Nickelsburg points out (Apocalyptic and Myth, 400), several of these types of knowledge
were associated with the teachings of Prometheus. See also Podlecki, introduction to Prometheus Bound,
25. Examples from PV include astronomy (45458), mantic arts (48499), metals (500503), chariotry
(46566), and healing arts (47883). At the same time, the treatment of these forms of knowledge in the
Book of the Watchers is not dependent on or interacting with solely Greek traditions. The fact that
multiple fallen angels, associated with the stars, are mediators of the knowledges in question suggests a
strong connection to Babylonian learning as well. For the relation of the study of metals, herbs, and
sorcery to astronomy in Babylonian thought and scholarship, see Erica Reiner, Astral Magic in
Babylonia, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 85 (1995): i150.
14. Francesca Rochberg, The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian
Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 7677, 22126. Rochberg notes that in the
classic compendium enuma anu enlil the apodoses were concerned with the health and life of the body
politic, both agricultural and political, with political concerns including the kings military campaigns,
diplomatic relations, [and the] downfall of kingdoms (7677). She notes that the scribal office of tupshar
enuma anu enlil reemerged in Seleucid Babylonia (228). Though its social roles and location had changed
considerably (most notably moving from palace to temple), traditional associations would have remained
strong (Heavenly Writing, 233, 295). On Alexanders regard for Babylonian prognostication, see Robartus
van der Spek, Darius III, Alexander the Great, and Babylonian Scholarship, in A Persian Perspective:
Essays in Memory of Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, ed. Wouder Henkelman and Amlie Kuhrt (Leiden:
Nederlands Instituut voor het nabije Oosten, 2003), 289346.
15. On the influence of the titanomachy on Jewish traditions, including 1 Enoch, see Jan M. Bremmer,
Remember the Titans! in The Fall of the Angels, ed. Christoph Auffarth and Loren Stuckenbruck
44 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

gigantomachy in which the earth (Gaia), angered by the imprisonment of the

defeated titans, roused her children the Giants to challenge the rule established
by the Olympians through their earlier victory. By the fifth century bce, the
two myths were frequently merged, paving the way for creative adaptation of
elements from both traditions in the Book of the Watchers.16
The gigantomachy served as political myth, allegorically portraying Greek
victory over barbarian enemies.17 In the symbolism of the gigantomachy,
Giants represent uncivilized peoples, distinguished above all by their
violence.18 David Castriota argues that by the fifth century bce the violence
and disorder of the Giants and other monsters had already come to appear as
the antithesis of the human values of moderation, virtue, and piety considered
essential to civilized life.19 The defeat of the Giants by the Olympian gods
served as the ultimate mythic paradigm for the defense of law and sophrosyne
[moderation or self-control] and the punishment of hubris.20 At the political
level, the myth thus provided a paradigm for conceiving the victory of
Greeks, symbolically identified with the Olympians they worshipped, against
excessive, disorderly barbarians.21 In the Hellenistic period, the conquests of
the Hellenistic kings and the spread of their culture, religion, and forms of

(Leiden: Brill, 2004), 3561. Prometheus himself was a titan, but in the great combat he allied himself
with the Olympian gods.
16. On the merger or confusion of the two traditions, see Bremmer, Remember the Titans! 54. See
also Eduard Fraenkel, The Giants in the Poem of Naevius, The Journal of Roman Studies 44 (1954):
1417. In this fragmentary poem from the third century bce, the designations Titani and Gigantes are
employed in synonymous parallelism.
17. For analysis of how this mythology functioned in monumental art, see David Castriota, Myth,
Ethos, and Actuality: Official Art in Fifth Century Athens (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992);
and Franoise-Hlne Massa-Pairault, La gigantomachie de Pergame ou limage du monde (Athens: cole
franaise dAthnes, 2007). While the altar at Pergamon postdates the Book of the Watchers, it testifies to
the enduring legacy of the gigantomachy as political myth in the Hellenistic era. For a study of the
classical gigantomachy tradition that gives special attention to its religious and cultic associations, see
Francis Vian, La guerre des gants: le mythe avant lpoque hellnistique (Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck,
18. Cf. Richard T. Neers analysis of the North frieze of the Siphnian treasury at Delphi (dating to the
sixth century bce): Siphnian North expresses the difference between gods and giantsthe difference
between order and impietyas a difference of fighting style. Richard T. Neer, Framing the Gift: The
Siphnian Treasury at Delphi and the Politics of Public Art, in The Cultures within Ancient Greek Culture:
Contact, Conflict, Collaboration, ed. Carol Dougherty and Leslie Kurke (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2003), 12952, 143.
19. Castriota, Myth, Ethos, and Actuality, 139. See also Ken Dowden, The Uses of Greek
Mythology (London: Routledge, 2005), 58, 96, 11214.
20. Castriota, Myth, Ethos, and Actuality, 139.
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers | 45

civilization could be conceived as a reenactment of and participation in the

gigantomachy myth and the political and cultural ideals it enshrined. 22
Drawing heavily on native Israelite traditions, especially those found in
Gen. 6:1-4, 1 Enoch 611 reverses this allegory in its own elaborated
mythology, suggesting an identification between the Giants and the Hellenistic
rulers themselves.23 In a variation on the theme of gigantomachy, the Watchers
that have abandoned their place in heaven to live among and have intercourse
with human women beget monstrous children, Giants characterized above all
by their brutality and voracious appetites. First they devour the labor of all
human beings until humans no longer have food to feed them (1 En. 7:3).
Then they devour people (7:4). Finally, they begin to devour one another
(7:5).24 In a pointed inversion of Gaias outrage against the Olympians, in the

21. Susan A. Stephens, Seeing Double: Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 2003), 64. She notes that in classical Greek art the defeat of the Giants signaled
iconographically the civilizing influence of the Greek city-states and their individual or collective defeat
of the irrational, uncivilized worlds that preceded them. See also Edith Hall, Inventing the Barbarian:
Greek Self-Definition Through Tragedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 53, 68, 102.
22. This development goes against the grain of one of the most famous renderings of the
gigantomachy, namely the west metopes of Pheidiass Parthenon frieze. Here, as Castriota has
demonstrated, the aim was not to legitimate empire, which would violate Athenian democratic ideals,
but rather to deny empire and lift up instead the ideal of symmachia (Myth, Ethos, and Actuality, 19498).
It is precisely in the transition from symmachia (the allied city-state model) to empire, and in efforts, like
those of the Diadochoi Antigonus and Demetrius, to yoke symmachia to imperial ambitions, that the
Greeks become susceptible to the critique through inversion that I describe here.
23. For the argument that the fallen Watchers and Giants in the Book of the Watchers symbolize, at one
level, the Diadochoi and their successors, see Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic and Myth, 383405. Rainer
Albertz also finds that in the battle of mutual extermination fought by the Giants anyone could
recognize the battles of the Diadochi and the never-ending chain of Syrian wars (History of Israelite
Religion [Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994], 579). I treat the violent legacy of the Hellenistic
kings in greater detail in Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 4977. A later Jewish corpus uses the same myth to convey a polemic against
Alexander and his successors: in the Sibylline oracles Alexander and his descendants are identified as
from the race of Cronos, the progeny of bastards and slaves (Sib. Or. 3.383). Alexander is called savage,
stranger to justice (3.390; cf. 11.216) and the bastard of the son of Cronos who lay waste the cities of
many articulate men (11.198). The Diadochoi are kings who are devourers of the people and
overbearing and faithless. Translations are those of John J. Collins, Sibylline Oracles, Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, ed. James H. Charlesworth (New York:
Doubleday, 1983), 317472. The verses from book 3 date to the late first century bce, while the verses
from book 11 date to the turn of the era (Collins, Sibylline Oracles, 358, 432).
24. Cf. Greg Careys reading of Rev. 17:16: We cannot readily account for how Revelation at once
identifies Babylon with the Beast, then depicts the devastation of the one by the other. That the Empire
devours its own self, however, seems evident. The Book of Revelation as Counter-Imperial Script, in
46 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Book of the Watchers the ravaged earth accuses the Giants before the heavenly
court (7:6). Inverting the ideals of moderation/self control (sophrosyne), law, and
order, they are the portrait of excess, lawlessness, and disorder. Their appetites
know no limits, exhausting food supplies, violating the sacred boundaries that
mark life from death (their final crime: they drank the blood, 7:5), devastating
humanity, and eventually consuming one another. Gabriel receives the
commission to destroy them, yet in a radical twist on the traditional
gigantomachy myth, their destruction will come about through their very lack
of self-control: he will send them against one another in a war of destruction
This critical inversion retains the polarities and value structures of inside/
outside, civilized/uncivilized, ordered/violent, and moderate/excessive. But in
refracting the myth through native Israelite traditions regarding Enoch, the
sons of God, and the mighty warriors found in Genesis 56 and by
symbolically recasting the role of the Giants in both myths, 1 Enoch 611
implicitly assigns the negative value of each pair to the Greeks or, more
accurately, the warring rulers, generals, and armies of the Hellenistic empires.25
This critical inversion is closely linked with the inversion of the Prometheus
myth, noted above. That is, the unceasing violence and devastating appetite of
the Hellenistic rulers and their armies suggest that they, not the people they
have conquered, are the mythic Giants. The corollary to this identification is
that they are also uncivilized. The culture and knowledge they bear, as noted
above, is not civilizing, as they and others imagine, but destructive and death

Astral Messengers
A third example of inversion draws on Babylonian traditions. Babylonian astral
magic identified the stars as heavenly mediators. A line from a cultic prayer to
the Yoke star portrays this role by means of a tightly structured chiasm that
foregrounds the messenger role while underscoring the reciprocity between
human and divine made possible by the stars mediation:

iapparkuni ilu ana amli amlu ana ili

In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance, ed. Richard A. Horsley
(Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2008), 15782, 167.
25. Elsewhere in the Book of the Watchers the Giants provide an etiology for diseases and evil spirits (1
En. 15:616:1).
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers | 47

The god sends you to a human, and human to the god.26

In this latter role, sent from human to god, stars could carry prayers from the
human realm to the divine realm, conveying the extent of human suffering and
presenting petitions to the gods.27 In this intercessory role, stars are [hu]mans
medium of communication with the divine.28 In the prayer quoted above, the
verbal root apru, to send a message or to write, not only underscores the
mediatorial function of the star as messenger but also evokes the correlation
between stars and writing.29 Other prayers address the stars as divine judges (il
dajn). They rendered verdicts or decrees, sometimes in the form of dreams (cf.
the decree of the heavenly Watchers delivered to Nebuchadnezzar in his dream
in Dan. 4:17), at other times through omens.30
1 Enoch 1216 inverts key features of this cosmic relationship between
humanity, God, and divinely appointed heavenly mediators by means of a
partial correlation between the Watchers and stars.31 Like the stars, the
Watchers are to mediate between humans and God. Yet in abandoning their
heavenly sanctuary (1 En. 12:4, 15:3) they have also forsaken their proper role

26. Reiner, Astral Magic in Babylonia, 15.

27. Ibid., 16.
28. Ibid., 15.
29. See Rochberg, Heavenly Writing, 12 and passim. For a semiological account of the relation
between writing and creation, destiny, and divination in Mesopotamia, see Zainab Bahrani, The Graven
Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003),
96120, 20210.
30. Reiner, Astral Magic in Babylonia, 6873.
31. Their precise relationship is ambiguously constructed in the earliest Enochic booklets (see 1 En.
18:12-16; 21:1-5; 75:1, 80:1, 6-8; 82:4, 9-20). Nickelsburg notes that when 18:15 speaks of
transgressing stars, it is alluding to a variation on the myth of the rebellion of the watchers. 1 Enoch 1:
A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 136; 81108, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
2001), 288. Stars symbolize the Watchers in the allegory of the Animal Apocalypse (1 En. 86:1, 3). In
Babylonian prayer, the stars are addressed as You who see the entire world (hi kibrti, CT 23 36;
Reiner, Astral Magic in Babylonia, 17). The verb to see, bar, can also mean watch over. The
Babylonian god Shamash was also identified as the one who sees, and the br priesthood who served
him derived their name from this root (Reiner, Astral Magic in Babylonia, 65). For a suggested connection
between the Watchers and the br priests, see Siam Bhayro, Daniels Watchers in Enochic Exegesis
of Genesis 6:1-4, in Jewish Ways of Reading the Bible, ed. George Brooke (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2000), 5866, esp. 6364. In keeping with the inversion described here, the Book of the Watchers
transfers many characteristics of Enmeduranki, the legendary founder of the br priesthood, to Enoch.
See James C. VanderKam, Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition, CBQMS 16 (Washington,
DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1984), 4345, 5670; and Andrei A. Orlov, The Enoch-
Metatron Tradition (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 2376.
48 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

as mediators. God now assigns this role to Enoch, righteous scribe (12:4),
who will convey the verdict to the Watchers. They are condemned to make
perpetual petition (12:6), with no hope of mercy (14:4), while Asael is denied
even the possibility of petition (13:2). When Enoch conveys the message to
the Watchers, they ask him to write and convey their petition for them, which
he does (13:4-7). The rebuke he carries to them in response denies them any
possibility of serving as intermediaries in the future, for they will never again
ascend to heaven (14:5). Not only will their own petition be forever refused,
but they cannot intercede for the children they love, the Giants (14:6-7). Enoch
must proclaim to them the irony of the inversion: You should petition in behalf
of humans, and not humans in behalf of you (15:2).
The emphasis on the mediating function of the Watchers, linked with their
heavenly temple service, appears at first glance to be only loosely connected
with the critique, described above, of the Hellenistic rulers, their armies and
ideology of conquest, and the culture they represent. The references to the
heavenly sanctuary suggest instead an interest in those who have responsibility
for the temple cult in Jerusalem.32 Yet these concerns are closely intertwined.
Priests within the Jerusalem establishment worked closely with the imperial
administration and derived at least a portion of their authority from this
source.33 Recognizing this connection, Patrick Tiller suggests that the Book of
the Watchers reflects an anti-imperial stance that rejects not only the foreign
rulers, but also their local, priestly representatives.34 Local cultic leaders who
have allied themselves closely with the imperial administration, whether
through nontraditional marriages or other forms of alliance and patronage,
have, according to the Book of the Watchers, abandoned their proper mediating
role between God and Gods people. By combining inverted elements from
Babylonian and Greek traditions with native traditions that highlight purity
concerns and (abandoned) temple service, the books composers symbolically
locate the practices of local religious authorities within the broader hegemonic

32. At the same time, other features suggest an identification of the Watchers (and not only the Giants,
as posited above) with the Hellenistic rulers, including the forms of knowledge they bring, their
superhuman stature and might (see Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire, 4977), their outsider
status, and their transgressive desire (here reading sexual desire as a symbol for the desire enacted through
conquest and imperial exploitation). They are not simply stand-ins for Hellenistic rulers or for priests, but
supple symbolic vehicles for critique of a complex and shifting target.
33. Ibid., 5762, 7073.
34. Patrick Tiller, The Sociological Settings of the Components of 1 Enoch, in The Early Enoch
Literature, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and John J. Collins (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 252.
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers | 49

system and hold them accountable alongside the Hellenistic rulers with whom
they now appear to be complicit.

Brief Bibliography
Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
Castriota, David. Myth, Ethos, and Actuality: Official Art in Fifth Century Athens.
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.
Femia, Joseph. Gramscis Political Thought; Hegemony, Consciousness, and the
Revolutionary Process. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Mitchell, Timothy. Everyday Metaphors of Power. Theory and Society 19
(1990): 54577.
Nickelsburg, George W. E. Apocalyptic and Myth in 1 Enoch 611. JBL 96
(1977): 383405.

The Enochic Watchers Traditions and

Deuterocanonical Literature
Jeremy Corley

This chapter explores echoes of some Enochic Watchers traditions occurring

in the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament. While the
closest connections are with the Wisdom of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus), there
are passing mentions of the primeval Giantsoffspring of the Watchers in
some traditions within three other Septuagintal books: Baruch, 3 Maccabees,
and the Wisdom of Solomon. Later in this chapter, we shall see that these
Septuagintal books all have reminiscences of some traditions found in the Book
of the Watchers. But first of all, my quest to relate the Enochic Watchers texts
with Ben Sira will present the argument that in some respects we are dealing
here with two competing theologies.1
In general, Enochic groups and Ben Sira differ significantly over the
importance of Moses, even if the non-Mosaic character of many Enochic
traditions does not necessarily make them anti-Mosaic.2 While the Enoch
circles claim to possess secret knowledge granted to the patriarch (1 En. 1:2-3;

1. In this chapter all quotations from 1 Enoch are taken from George W.E. Nickelsburg and James C.
VanderKam, 1 Enoch: The Hermeneia Translation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), while the
translations of other Qumran texts are from Florentino Garca Martnez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar, The
Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1997, 1998). All translations from biblical and
deuterocanonical books are mine. My thanks are due to Bradley Gregory, Eric Mason, Patricia
McDonald, and the editors of the volume for commenting on a draft of this article.
2. George W.E. Nickelsburg, Enochic Wisdom and Its Relationship to the Mosaic Torah, in The
Early Enoch Literature, JSJSup 121, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and John J. Collins (Leiden: Brill, 2007),
8194, esp. 9394; Anathea Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early
Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 294307, esp. 304. Although the Book of the Watchers briefly
mentions Sinai as the place of Gods appearing (1 En. 1:4), the marginalizing of the Mosaic Torah in 1

52 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

19:3; 82:1-2), Ben Sira focuses on what has been revealed in the Mosaic Torah
(Sir. 3:21-24; cf. Deut. 29:28 [NRSV 29:29]).3 Indeed, Ben Sira acknowledges
Moses as the revealer of the Law necessary for life (Sir. 24:23; 45:1-5), while
mentioning Enoch only briefly in the Praise of the Ancestors (Sir. 44:16;
In addition, in contrast to the narrative emphasis on Enochs entry into
the divine presence within the Book of the Watchers (1 En. 14:18-25), Ben Sira
focuses attention on Moses encounter with God (Sir. 45:3). While the Book of
the Watchers reports Enochs testimony to his meeting with God: I heard his
voice (1 En. 15:1), Ben Sira celebrates Moses encounter with God: He let him
hear his voice (Sir. 45:5). The fragmentary Hebrew manuscript B of Sir. 45:2
says of Moses (rather than Enoch) that the Lord honored him like God, an
allusion to Exod. 4:16 and 7:1 (cf. 4Q374 2ii6).5

Author and Audience

Whereas most of the traditions in the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 136) and
the Astronomical Book (1 Enoch 7282) were probably fairly well developed
before the end of the third century bce, the date of Ben Siras Hebrew work
can be fixed between 195175 bce. The poem praising the high priest Simeon
II (Sir. 50:1-24) employs such phrases as in his days (50:3), so it was probably
composed after Simeons death around 196 bce. On the other hand, Ben Sira
gives no direct hint of the religious upheaval (1 Macc. 1:10-64) that followed
the accession of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175164 bce), and
hence 175 bce is likely the latest possible date for the book.6 Thus, Ben Sira
probably postdates most of the Book of the Watchers and the Astronomical Book.

Enoch is recognized by George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
2001), 61.
3. Benjamin G. Wright, Fear the Lord and Honor the Priest: Ben Sira as Defender of the Jerusalem
Priesthood, in The Book of Ben Sira in Modern Research, ed. Pancratius C. Beentjes, BZAW 255 (Berlin:
de Gruyter, 1997), 189222, esp. 20812. Cf. Jeremy Corley, Wisdom Versus Apocalyptic and Science
in Sirach 1:1-10, in Wisdom and Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Biblical Tradition, BETL
168, ed. Florentino Garca Martnez (Leuven: Peeters, 2003), 26985, esp. 275.
4. Though the Genizah Hebrew and Greek text of Ben Sira have both references to Enoch, Sir. 44:16
is absent from the Masada manuscript and may be a later addition; cf. Jeremy Corley, A Numerical
Structure in Sirach 44:150:24, CBQ 69 (2007): 4363, 47.
5. Text reconstruction here follows Patrick W. Skehan and Alexander A. Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben
Sira, AB 39 (New York: Doubleday, 1987), 509. However, the grandsons Greek translation of Sir. 45:2
emphasizes the divine transcendence by limiting Moses resemblance to the angels (rather than to God):
He made him like the holy ones in honor.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 53

While much of the Book of the Watchers has a geographical focus in

northern Galilee (1 En. 13:7-9) and around Mount Hermon (1 En. 6:6), the
place of composition of Ben Siras book is Jerusalemwhich may also be the
holy mountain in 1 En. 26:2.7 Several indications exist that Ben Sira was close
to the circles in control of the temple, perhaps working there. The praise of the
high priest Simeon II mentions repairs to the temple and city walls (Sir. 50:1-4)
and provides a detailed account of the temple service (50:5-21). Moreover,
the wisdom celebrated in 24:1-29 comes to dwell in Jerusalem (24:10-11). In
addition, the Greek text of 50:27 calls the original author the Jerusalemite.
Both the Book of the Watchers and the Wisdom of Ben Sira reflect a
scribal milieu. Enoch is called scribe (1 En. 12:4; 15:1; cf. 92:1), and his
activity in the Astronomical Book includes writing down what is revealed (1
En. 74:2; 82:1; cf. Jub. 4:17-19).8 Ben Sira himself may have belonged to the
scribes of the temple mentioned by Josephus (Ant. 12.3.3 142), and we
can view the description of the scribe in Sir. 39:1-11 as a self-portrait of the
author. Ben Sira evidently ran an educational establishment (51:23), and his lifes
work involved educating male students to become leaders of Israelite society
(7:18-26), including civil servants and temple scribes (8:8; 38:34). He mentions
having traveled widely (34:9-13)an indication that he may sometimes have
served as a diplomat (39:4).
Several elements within the Book of the Watchers and the Astronomical Book
suggest priestly interests, including the description of the heavenly sanctuary
modeled on Ezekiels vision of the new temple (1 En. 14:816:4) and concern
for the liturgical calendar (1 En. 75:2; 82:4-7).9 Similarly, Ben Siras Praise
of the Ancestors (Sir. 44:1-50:24) includes long passages on priestly figures
(Aaron, Phinehas, Simeon II), although it is uncertain if Ben Sira himself was
a priest. Nevertheless, whereas Ben Sira exhibits a close and supportive attitude

6. Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 810. Such a dating also fits the grandsons assertion in
the prologue to his Greek translation that he reached Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of King Euer-
getes, in other words, in 132 bce.
7. On geographical traditions and the Book of the Watchers, see David W. Suter, Why Galilee? Galilean
Regionalism in the Interpretation of 1 Enoch 6-16, Henoch 25 (2003): 167212, and Kelley Coblentz
Bautch, A Study of the Geography of 1 Enoch 17-19: No One Has Seen What I Have Seen, JSJSup 81
(Leiden: Brill, 2003), esp. 28485.
8. Loren T. Stuckenbruck, 1 Enoch 91108, CEJL (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007), 21920.
9. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 254; George W.E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch 2,
Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 55152. Whereas the Astronomical Book advocates a solar
calendar (1 En. 75:2; 82:4-7), Ben Sira asserts the role of the moon in fixing the dates of feasts (Sir.
54 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

toward the temple priesthood (Sir. 7:29-31), the Book of the Watchers and the
Astronomical Book seem to offer a coded attack on the Jerusalem priesthood,
perhaps by some of its disaffected members.10

Here I will explore parallels between some Enochic Watchers traditions and
specific Ben Sira texts. Two sections will deal (in turn) with the heavenly beings
themselves, and then the sin and punishment of the Watchers. A third section
will then compare Enochic references to the Giantsoffspring of the Watchers
in some Enochic traditionswith Baruch, 3 Maccabees, Greek Sirach, and the
Wisdom of Solomon. We shall see that Ben Siras general lack of interest in
angelic figures offers a significant contrast with the emphasis on the sinful
Watchers found in the Enochic account of the origins of the world.
Two major Ben Sira passages supply the majority of his brief references
to angelic figures: Sir. 15:11-18:14 (esp. 16:26-28; 17:17, 32) and 42:1543:33
(esp. 42:17; 43:8-10).11 The earlier passage offers a lengthy discussion of human
responsibility for everyday sinful actions in light of divine mercy, in sharp
contrast to the Enochic emphasis on the primeval sin by the Watchers. Without
providing a sequential narrative, Sir. 15:11-18:14 includes passing references to
punishment for sin directed at the rebellious angels (17:32) and the Giants (16:7
in the Greek), references that show some awareness of Enochic tradition. Sirach
42:15-43:33, a long poem in praise of God for the marvels of creation, affirms
that these phenomena are beyond the power of angels to enumerate (42:17).
Such an assertion may reflect a tension with the Enochic circles over the roles
they ascribed to angelic figures. While the depiction of the divinely ordered
creation in Sir. 42:15-43:33 has a function somewhat akin to the description of
Gods created works in 1 En. 2:1-3:3, Ben Siras poem hardly refers to angelic
agency behind meteorological phenomena except in 43:8-10.


Some Enochic texts employ a double phrase to denote the angels who bring
revelation to Enoch: the Watchers and holy ones (1 En. 1:2; 93:2).12 A singular

10. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 67, 184; Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire, 22; cf. Benjamin G.
Wright, Ben Sira and the Book of the Watchers on the Legitimate Priesthood, in Intertextual Studies in
Ben Sira and Tobit, CBQMS 38, ed. Jeremy Corley and Vincent Skemp (Washington, DC: Catholic
Biblical Association of America, 2005), 24154, esp. 24142.
11. Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 26786, 48496; Gian Luigi Prato, Il problema della
teodicea in Ben Sira, AB 65 (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1975), 116299.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 55

form of the phrase, used to describe Raphael in 1 En. 22:6, also denotes the angel
bringing revelation to King Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4:10, 20 (NRSV Dan.
4:13, 23, where LXX renders angel). Ben Sira avoids the word Watchers but
employs the term holy ones (42:17) to refer to the angels.
If we seek the Hebrew word ( messenger or angel) in Ben Sira,
we find a single instance in the medieval Genizah manuscript B: For his sake
a messenger succeeds, and because of his words it performs his will (43:26).
Although here the Lucianic Greek text uses the word (messenger or
angel), the term messenger seems to refer either to the divine word (cf. Ps.
147:15) or to created things (cf. Ps. 104:4), and not specifically to one angel or a
group of angels.13 Thus, it is likely that the Hebrew text of Ben Sira never uses
the word in reference to angels.14
Various early Enochic traditions depict God surrounded by angelic figures,
as in the theophany that opens the Book of the Watchers: He will appear with
his army; he will appear with his mighty host from the heaven of heavens (1
En. 1:4). Similarly, the account of Enochs vision of God describes the heavenly
court: Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him (1 En. 14:22; cf.
Dan. 7:10). In a comparable fashion, the Masada text of Sir. 42:17cd affirms,
Adonai has strengthened his hosts to stand firm before his glory.15 Yet despite
this heavenly retinue, the Book of the Watchers asserts that Gods splendor cannot
actually be seen by the myriads of angels in attendance before him: No angel
could enter into this house and look at his face because of the splendor and
glory (1 En. 14:21).

12. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 14041.

13. Randal A. Argall, 1 Enoch and Sirach: A Comparative Literary and Conceptual Analysis of the Themes
of Revelation, Creation and Judgment, SBLEJL 8 (Atlanta: Scholars, 1995), 151; Prato, Il problema, 19798;
Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 495.
14. The major Greek manuscripts of Sirach only once employ the term , denoting the angel
that destroyed King Sennacheribs army (Sir. 48:21; cf. 2 Kgs. 19:35; Isa. 37:36), though the Hebrew says
simply that God routed them with a plague. Elsewhere, the Greek text of Sir. 21:27 seems to say, When
someone impious curses (the) Satan, he really curses himself. But as with the indeclinable Greek form in
1 Kgs. 11:14, Ben Siras original reference was probably to a human enemy (cf. 21:28): When someone
impious curses an enemy, he really curses himself; cf. Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira,
15. The declaration emphasizing Gods power at the end of 1 En. 14:22, He needed no counselor; his
every word was deed, has a parallel in Sir. 42:21d (MS B): He has no need of anyone to give
understanding, and in Sir. 42:15c (Masada MS): By the utterance of the Lord came his works. Cf.
Argall, 1 Enoch and Sirach, 162.
56 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The great sapiential poem in Sirach 24 (not preserved in Hebrew) also

refers to the angelic court in personified Wisdoms self-introduction (Sir. 24:1-2

Wisdom will praise herself,

and in the midst of her people she will boast.
In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth,
and before his army she will boast.

It is likely that verse 1 speaks of the Israelite community with the word people,
whereas Gods army in the second verse refers to the angelic hosts (cf. Ps.
82:1; Isa. 34:4).16 If so, Ben Sira portrays personified Wisdom addressing both
the earthly assembly of Israelites and the heavenly gathering of angels. A
comparable pattern of divine revelation in heaven and on earth appears at the
conclusion of the Book of the Watchers, where Enoch blesses the Lord of glory,
who has wrought great and glorious wonders, to show his great deeds to his
angels and to the spirits of human beings (1 En. 36:4).
Like other texts from the late Second Temple period (e.g., Dan. 10:13-21;
1QM 13:10; 1QS 3:20; T. Levi 5:6), the Book of the Watchers refers to an angelic
ruler or defender of Israel. Thus, 1 En. 20:5 includes among the archangels
Michael, one of the holy angels, who has been put in charge of the good ones
of the people.17 In contrast, the Greek text of Sir. 17:17 declares of God: For
each [Gentile] nation he established a ruler, but Israel is the Lords portion.
The allusion to the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:8 according to 4QDeutj and LXX)
suggests that the reference is to angelic rather than human rulers, so that Ben
Sira here asserts Gods direct rule over Israel without angelic intermediaries. A
parallel occurs in the Book of Jubilees: For there are many nations and many
peoples and all belong to him. He made spirits rule over all in order to lead
them astray from following him. But over Israel he made no angel or spirit rule
because he alone is their ruler (15:31-32).18
Just as 1 En. 18:14 connects stars and angels when it reports how the end
of heaven and earth has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven,
so Sir. 16:26-28 likely refers to angels in connection with heavenly luminaries.
The statement in 16:27 about Gods works neither hungering nor thirsting

16. Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 331.

17. From the confused textual witnesses of 1 En. 20:5, it is unclear whether Michael's task was to
supervise all Israel or only the righteous within Israel; cf. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 294-96.
18. James C. VanderKam, trans., The Book of Jubilees, CSCO 511 (Louvain: Peeters, 1989), 93.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 57

(even with its echoes of Isa. 40:26 and 49:10) hardly applies to human beings or
animals, but fits well with angels or stars. Indeed, despite Gen. 18:8 and 19:3, it
is a widespread Second Temple period Jewish belief that angels do not eat (Judg.
13:16; Tob. 12:19; Philo, On Abraham 117-18; Josephus, Ant. 1.11.2 197). In
a comparable fashion, 1 En. 15:11 observes that the spirits of the Giants . . .
eat nothing. Furthermore, the declaration that Gods works never cease from
their labors (Sir. 16:27) is akin to the later assertion that the stars never relax in
their watches (43:10).19 Thus, at least implicitly, Ben Sira may share the ancient
belieffound in the Book of the Watchersconnecting heavenly luminaries, such
as stars, with angels (cf. Rev. 9:1).
Similarly, the sages long poem celebrating Gods wonders in creation (Sir.
42:1543:33) seems to refer to angels in its depiction of the stars. The Masada
text of Sir. 43:9-10 declares,

The beauty of the heavens and the splendor of the starry array
are a shining adornment in the heights of God.
By the word of Adonai it [the starry array] stands as a statute,
and it does not sink down in their [the heavens] watches.

The idea in 43:10 of the heavenly luminaries keeping watch also occurs in Bar.
3:34-35: The stars shone out in their guard duties and rejoiced. He called them
and they said, We are present. They shone out with rejoicing for the one
who made them (cf. Bar. 6:60; 1QS 10:1-4). In similar fashion, the Book of
the Watchers uses the heavenly luminaries as examples of obedience to Gods
commands: Contemplate all [his] works, and observe the works of heaven,
how they do not alter their paths; and the luminaries of heaven, that they all rise
and set, each one ordered at its appointed time; and they appear on their feasts
and do not transgress their own appointed order (1 En. 2:1). Nevertheless, Ben
Sira here ignores the sin of the rebel stars, as recounted later in the Book of the
Watchers (1 En. 18:15; cf. 82:6).20
Elsewhere, the Book of the Watchers names twenty chiefs of the rebel
angels, known collectively as the Watchers: Shemihazah, Arteqoph, Remashel,

19. Note that Sir. 16:29 continues with after this [this presumably being the creation of Gods
heavenly works] and goes on to describe the creation of human beings, just as Jub. 2:2 speaks of the
origin of the angels on the first day of creation, before human beings have been made.
20. Nuria Calduch-Benages, The Hymn to the Creation (Sir. 42:1543:33): A Polemic Text? in The
Wisdom of Ben Sira: Studies on Tradition, Redaction, and Theology, DCLS 1, ed. Angelo Passaro and
Giuseppe Bellia (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), 11938, 127.
58 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Kokabel, Armumahel, Ramel, Daniel, Ziqel, Baraqel, Asael, Hermani, Matarel,

Ananel, Setawel, Shamshiel,21 Sahriel, Tummiel, Turiel, Yamiel, and Yehadiel
(1 En. 6:7).22 The role of several of them is explained soon afterward: Baraqel
taught the signs of the lightning flashes. Kokabel taught the signs of the stars.
Ziqel taught the signs of the shooting stars. Arteqoph taught the signs of the
earth. Shamshiel23 taught the signs of the sun. Sahriel taught the signs of the
moon (1 En. 8:3).
In contrast, Ben Sira sees these celestial and meteorological phenomena as
testifying to Gods unchallenged glory (Sir. 43:1-26). Among such phenomena
he mentions lightning ( in 43:13 MS B, though , hail, appears
in the Masada text, MS M), stars (, collective, 43:9 MSS B and M),
flashes or shooting stars ( in 43:13 MSS B and M), sun ( in
43:2 MSS B and M), and moon (43:6 MSS B and M have Hebrew rather
than Aramaic ). Other such phenomena also testify to the divine glory,
including thunder ( in 43:17 MSS B and M; contrast Ramel), rain or
precipitation ( in 43:18 MSS B and M, referring to snowfall; contrast
Matarel), cloud ( in 43:15 MS M; 43:22 MS B; contrast Ananel), and the
sea ( in 43:24 MS B; contrast Yamiel).24
Whereas the Astronomical Book describes the archangel Uriel revealing to
Enoch the heavenly meteorological phenomena, Ben Sira is more reticent about
how angels influence these phenomena. Admittedly, the Genizah Hebrew text
of Sir. 43:8cd concludes the portrait of the moon: Instrument of the host
of the water-skins on high, making the firmament shine with its splendor.
This passage may imply an angelic role in operating the heavenly water-
skins from which rain descends to earth (1 En. 60:20-22; cf. Job 38:37; Sir.
43:14). The picture of celestial water-skins controlled by God also appears in
the fragmentary Genizah Hebrew text of Sir. 39:17: By his word he sets in
order the skin bottle of waters, and the utterance of his mouth (sets in order)
his storehouse. Nevertheless, according to Ben Sira, the angels fail fully to

21. This rendering of the angels name follows Nickelsburgs transcription of the Aramaic (1 Enoch 1,
181). Cf. 1 Enoch 1, 174, 188, where Nickelsburg provides alternate spellings of the name Shamshiel.
22. These names, which vary somewhat in the traditions, are given here according to the 2012
translation of Nickelsburg and VanderKam. For discussion of these names see Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1,
17981. In my interpretation, the name Shemihazah is Aramaic for He has seen heaven (cf. 1 En. 1:2),
while Arteqoph is Aramaic for He has overpowered the earth. Note that 1 En. 8:3 repeats eight of these
names, of which six are here listed in the next quotation.
23. See note 20 above.
24. Note that Sir. 39:22-31 sees meteorological phenomena as being directly in Gods hand to use for
blessing or punishment; for instance, storm winds, fire, and hail can serve as Gods punishing instruments
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 59

comprehend all such astronomical or meteorological phenomena, since 42:17ab

(Masada MS) asserts, Gods holy ones have not sufficed to recount all his
Just as Sir. 42:17 emphasizes the limitations of the angelic beings, the Greek
text of 43:31 asks, Who has seen him and can describe him? This question
may imply a critique of the Enochic descriptions of Gods dwelling (1 En.
14:8-23), though after reporting, I was looking and I saw a lofty throne
(14:18), Enoch is also overwhelmed at the vision and says, And I was unable
to see (14:19). Admittedly, while 1 Enoch 1416 has several echoes of Ezekiels
vision of Gods glory (Ezek.12), Ben Sira also recalls the same vision, since Sir.
49:8 (MS B) says, Ezekiel saw a vision and recounted the types of chariot.26
Nevertheless, despite this brief mention of Ezekiels chariot vision, Ben Sira
shows no developed interest in the beginnings of Merkabah mysticism, unlike
the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q405 21-22; cf. 1En. 75:3; 4Q385 4, 5-14).
Moreover, whereas the Book of the Watchers emphasizes Enochs ascent into
heaven (1 En. 14:8), Ben Sira is generally skeptical of such means of revelation
(Sir. 34:1), claiming that dreams set the senseless flying upward. 27


The Book of the Watchers interprets Gen. 6:2 and 4 as referring to the sin of
the Watchers: These [twenty named Watchers] and all the others with them
took for themselves wives from among them such as they chose. And they
began to go in to them, and to defile themselves through them. . . . And they
[the wives] conceived from them and bore to them great giants (1 En. 7:1-2).
Although this Enochic tradition presents the Giants as the sons of the Watchers
and human women, Ben Sira does not directly describe either the Watchers
transgression or the origin of the Giants.
In contrast to the naming of Tubal-cain as the first metalworker in Gen.
4:22, the Book of the Watchers narrates that Asael taught men to make swords of
iron and weapons and shields and breastplates and every instrument of war (1

25. On Sir. 42:17, see Calduch-Benages, The Hymn to the Creation, 12526.
26. For a table of parallels between 1 En. 1416 and Ezek. 12, see Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 25556. On
Sir. 49:8, see Johannes Marbck, Apokalyptische Traditionen im Sirachbuch? in Weisheit und
Frmmigkeit, BS 29 (Frankfurt: Lang, 2006), 13753, 14950.
27. Argall, 1 Enoch and Sirach, 81; Wright, Fear the Lord, 21214. However, the Hebrew text of Sir.
49:14 notes that (like Elijah in Sir. 48:9) Enoch was taken by God into heaven: Few have been created
upon the earth like Enoch, and he also was taken up within (or: into the Presence). The exact meaning
of the noun ( used adverbially) is either within [the heavenly sanctuary] (cf. Ezek. 41:3) or [into
the divine] Presence (cf. Exod. 25:30; 2 En. 20:2-3 [J]).
60 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

En. 8:1). Whereas 1 Enoch attributes such military equipment to the invention
of the Watchers, Sir. 46:2 favorably mentions Joshuas use of a sword and Sir.
38:28 describes the blacksmiths work.
Asaels activity is further reported: He showed them metals of the earth
and how they should work gold to fashion it suitably, and concerning silver,
to fashion it for bracelets and ornaments for women (1 En. 8:1). In contrast to
1 Enochs negative view of gold and silver used for female ornamentation, Ben
Sira compares a womans fine appearance to these precious metals: Like golden
pillars on a silver base are beautiful legs upon steady heels (Sir. 26:18 Sinaiticus;
cf. 7:19). Asaels activity had another aspect: He showed them concerning
antimony and eye paint and all manner of precious stones and dyes (1 En. 8:1).
Here the Book of the Watchers implicitly condemns the use of jewels and makeup
for female beautification, though Ben Sira refers favorably to the use of precious
stones and dyed cloth in Israels liturgy (e.g., Sir. 45:9-12; 50:9).
The Book of the Watchers also mentions the activity of another Watcher:
Shemihazah taught [human beings] spells and the cutting of roots, presumably
for medicinal purposes (1 En. 8:3; cf. 7:1). This reference implies a negative
view of the healing arts, as in 2 Chr. 16:12. By way of contrast, Ben Sira speaks
of the medicinal use of plants as a divine gift given to the physician: God from
the earth brings forth medicines, and an understanding person will not despise
them (Sir. 38:4 MS B). Similarly, the Greek Wisdom of Solomon includes
knowledge of the medicinal powers of plant roots among the gifts of wisdom
granted by God (Wis. 7:20).
After the account of the Watchers transgression, 1 En. 9:1-11 reports
the intercession made on behalf of their human victims by the four good
archangels: Michael, Sariel (Greek: Uriel), Raphael, and Gabriel (cf. 1QM
9:15-16).28 As a result, each of the four archangels receives a commission:
Sariel is commissioned to instruct Noah, Raphael to imprison Asael, Gabriel to
destroy the Giants, and Michael to bind Shemihazah and renew the earth (1 En.
10:1-11:2). Although Ben Sira does not mention any archangels, Gabriel and
Michael are named in the Book of Daniel (Dan. 8:16; 10:13), while Raphael
appears in the Book of Tobit (Tob. 3:17). In fact, there is a striking parallel in
the description of Raphaels activity in two Aramaic writings that were written
around the third century BCE, the Book of the Watchers and Tobit. Just as God

28. See Christoph Berner, The Four (or Seven) Archangels in the First Book of Enoch and Early
Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period, in Angels: The Concept of Celestial BeingsOrigins,
Development and Reception, DCLY, ed. Friedrich V. Reiterer, Tobias Nicklas, and Karin Schpflin
(Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007), 395411.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 61

commands, Go, Raphael, and bind Asael hand and foot, and cast him into
the darkness (1 En. 10:4), so Raphael goes to restrain the demon Asmodeus:
Raphael went and bound him there hand and foot and immediately fastened
him (Tob. 8:3 Sinaiticus).29
Whereas 1 En. 10:111:2 recounts Gods commissioning of the archangels
to punish the Watchers, Ben Sira does not directly narrate the Watchers
transgression. Nevertheless, there is a reference to their punishment in Sir.
17:32, a text that comes at the conclusion of the sages call to repentance
(17:25-32). The Syriac version of 17:32 asserts, God judges the hosts of
heaven. According to Randal Argall, the statement refers to the punishment of
the angelic leaders of the stars, as in 1 En. 18:14-16 and 21:6.30 In particular, 1
En. 21:6 says, These are the stars of heaven that transgressed the command of
the Lord; they have been bound here until ten thousand years are fulfilledthe
time of their sins. Similarly, the Greek text of Sir. 17:32 says, He himself
punishes the power of the height of heaven.31 Sirach 17:32 has echoes of
passages in Isaiah and Job, referring to a rebellion by angels, such as Isa. 24:21:
On that day, YHWH will have a visitation upon the host of the height in the
height, and upon the kings of the ground on the ground (cf. Isa. 14:12-14; Job
4:18-19; 15:15-16; 25:5-6).


Although the apocryphal/deuterocanonical writings do not refer explicitly to
the Watchers, the primeval Giants are mentioned in four Septuagintal books:
Baruch, 3 Maccabees, Greek Sirach, and the Wisdom of Solomon.32 These
works preserve echoes of some early Enochic traditions, in combination with
some Hellenic notions about the titans (cf. Hesiod, Theogony, 18587; 20710).
Just as the Book of the Watchers transforms Hebrew, Greek, and Babylonian
traditions about the Giants, so Baruch and 3 Maccabees rework motifs
concerning the Giants as a critique of Greco-Roman imperial power.33
The Book of Baruch, perhaps written in the first century bce, speaks of
the Giants within its central sapiential poem (3:94:4). Here, as in the Book

29. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 221.

30. Argall, 1 Enoch and Sirach, 137 and 159; cf. Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 285.
31. In Sir. 17:32, the ambiguous verb (review, inspect, visit, punish) probably means
punish, as in Sir. 35:21: until the Most High punishes.
32. On these books, see David A. deSilva, Introducing the Apocrypha (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic,
2002), 198213 (Bar.), 30422 (3 Macc.), 15397 (Sir.), and 12752 (Wis.).
33. On the political symbolism of the Giants, see the chapter by Anathea Portier-Young in the present
62 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

of the Watchers, the Giants may serve as ciphers for Greek or Roman kings.34
Overall, the sapiential poem may include a polemic against Greco-Roman rulers
for amassing wealth (3:17) and claiming to have wisdom (3:23), as well as for
developing military might (3:26). In particular, Bar. 3:26-29 refers to divine
punishment of the Giants, despite the fact that they originally occupied Gods
boundless dwelling:

There were born the Giants, renowned from the beginning, having
become very tall, understanding warfare. God did not choose these,
nor did he give them the way to understanding. And they perished
because of not having wisdom; they perished on account of their
recklessness. Who has gone up into heaven, and taken it [wisdom],
and brought it down from the clouds?

The depiction of the Giants here as tall and militaristic (Bar. 3:26) agrees not
only with the Book of the Watchers (1 En. 7:2-4; 8:1; 9:9; cf. CD 2:19) but also
with Hesiods Theogony (18687). The perishing of the Giants through their
lack of wisdom (Bar. 3:28) echoes Enochic tradition (cf. 1 En. 16:3), while the
implication of Bar. 3:29 is to deny that the Giants could ascend to heaven to
receive wisdom there (cf. 1 En. 14:4-7). Akin to Bar. 3:26-28 is the description
of the death of the Giants (sons of the Watchers) in the Damascus Document:
Having walked in the stubbornness of their hearts the Watchers of the heavens
fell. . . . And their sons, whose height was like that of cedars and whose bodies
were like mountains, fell. All flesh which there was on the dry earth expired and
they became as if they had never been (CD 2:17-20; cf. 4Q266 2ii17-20). 35
Originating in a Hellenistic context, 3 Maccabees (probably written in the
first century bce or ce) recalls the Genesis tradition about the Giants within
the prayer of the high priest Simon (3 Macc. 2:1-20). This prayer asks God to
protect the Jerusalem temple from profanation by an invading Ptolemaic king.

34. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 63, 170; Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire, 19. For a dating of
Baruch to the aftermath of Pompeys conquest of Jerusalem (63 bce), see Jeremy Corley, Emotional
Transformation in the Book of Baruch, in Emotions from Ben Sira to Paul, DCLY, ed. Renate Egger-
Wenzel and Jeremy Corley (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 22551, esp. 22832. On Bar. 3:26-29, see Gerald
T. Sheppard, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical Construct, BZAW 151 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1980), 8492.
35. The perishing of the Giants in the flood is also narrated symbolically in the Animal Apocalypse (1
En. 89:6), and more directly in the Qumran Admonition on the Flood: And he destroyed them in the
flood. . . . And the gi[ant]s did not escape (4Q370 1i5-6). According to another interpretation, however,
Bar. 3:27 may refer to the Israelite conquest of Canaan, a land previously dominated by Giants according
to Pentateuchal tradition (Num. 13:28, 31; 14:12; Deut. 1:28); cf. Sheppard, Wisdom as a Hermeneutical
Construct, 8687.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 63

The catalog of Gods previous saving deeds in 3 Macc. 2:4-8 mentions divine
destruction of three groups of rebels: the Giants, the people of Sodom, and
Pharaohs army. Along with the mention of Pharaoh, the reference to the Giants
here implies a parallel with the invading Ptolemaic king, just as the Giants in
the Book of the Watchers suggest the symbolism of the cruel Hellenistic rulers.36
Referring to the flood, 3 Macc. 2:4 declares, You yourself destroyed
those earlier practicing iniquityamong whom there were even Giants trusting
in presumptuous mightby bringing upon them immeasurable water. This
negative assessment of the Giants matches 1 En. 7:4: And the giants began
to kill men and to devour them, and especially 1 En. 9:9: The daughters of
men have borne . . . Giants . . . And the whole earth is filled with iniquity.
Similarly, Josephus also speaks critically of the Giants as lacking virtue and
having confidence in their own strength (Ant. 1.3.1 73): Many angels of
God now consorted with women and begat sons who were overbearing and
disdainful of every virtue, such confidence had they in their strength; in fact the
deeds that tradition ascribes to them resemble the audacious exploits told by the
Greeks of the Giants.37 It is noteworthy that Josephus draws an explicit parallel
between Jewish traditions about the build-up to Noahs flood (based on Gen.
6:1-4) and Hellenic myths about the Giants.
The Greek translation of Sir 16:7 (late second century bce) also interprets
Gen. 6:1-4 in its declaration that God was not propitiated over the ancient
Giants who rebelled in their might. Observing that the Hebrew Bible says
nothing about pardon being sought for the rebellious angels or their giant
offspring, Argall draws a specific connection between the Greek text of Sir.
16:7 and the Book of the Watchers: The rebel Watchers ask Enoch to write a
petition that they might have forgiveness (1 En. 13:4). This petition, which
was subsequently rejected by God, concerned the Watchers and their sons,
the Giants (14:6-7; cf. 15:3).38 Indeed, the Book of the Watchers narrates the
commissioning of Enoch to announce to the Watchers that they would be
bound for eternity, after their giant offspring had been destroyed by the sword
(1 En. 14:4-7):

36. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 170; Portier-Young, Apocalypse against Empire, 19.

37. Henry St. J. Thackeray, trans., Josephus: Jewish Antiquities Books IIV, LCL (New York: Putnam,
1930), 35. On 3 Macc. 2:4 within its context, see Jeremy Corley, Divine Sovereignty and Power in the
High-Priestly Prayer of 3 Macc 2:1-20, in Prayer from Tobit to Qumran, DCLY, ed. Renate Egger-
Wenzel and Jeremy Corley (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004), 35986, esp. 37274.
38. Argall, 1 Enoch and Sirach, 230; cf. Marbck, Apokalyptische Traditionen, 149. A fragmentary
parallel appears in the Book of Giants (4Q203 7i5-7).
64 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Judgment has been consummated in the decree against you, that

from now on you will not ascend into heaven for all the ages; and it
has been decreed to bind you in bonds in the earth for all the days
of eternity. And that before these things, you will see the destruction
of your sons, your beloved ones, and that you will have no pleasure
in them, but they will fall before you by the sword. Accordingly,
you will not obtain your petition concerning them, nor concerning

Despite variations in textual traditions and interpretations, many interpreters

understand Sir. 16:7at least in the Greek textto refer to the punishment of
the biblical Giants. For instance, Annette Yoshiko Reed observes Ben Siras
selectivity here in drawing on Enochic traditions: He omits any reference to
the Watchers teachings and any hint of their culpability for the origins of evil.
Instead, he focuses on their progeny, the Giants, and he cites them as examples
of wicked and punished creatures.39
Viewed in its context, Sir. 16:7 belongs within a passage (16:5-14) that
warns sinners not to presume on Gods forgiveness, emphasizing the point
through several examples of divine punishment (cf. 3 Macc. 2:4-8; 2 Pet. 2:4-6).
In the Hebrew text, Sir. 16:7 (MS B) declares, He did not forgive the ancient
princes who revolted in their might. According to Matthew Goff, however, in
a primary sense the ancient princes are human rulers rather than Giants, even
though Ben Sira employs giant-like language to describe them.40
Finally, in the Wisdom of Solomon (probably written in the first century
bce or ce), Gen. 6:1-4 is interpreted under the influence of Greek as well
as Enochic traditions about the Giants.41 The reference in Wis. 14:6 appears
within an attack on wooden idols (Wis. 13:1014:11). Here the author skilfully
contrasts the idolaters (miserable are those whose hopes are in dead things,
13:10) with Noah, the hope of the world (14:6), who was providentially saved
from the great flood by the wood of the ark.

39. Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of
Enochic Literature (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 71.
40. Matthew J. Goff, Ben Sira and the Giants of the Land: A Note on Ben Sira 16:7, JBL 129 (2010):
64555. Similarly, according to Prato, Il problema, 256, the ancient princes in the Hebrew of Sir. 16:7
(ancient kings in the Syriac) are human rulers. They are interpreted as the four kings who made war on
Abraham (Gen. 14:1-16) by Maurice Gilbert, Ben Sira, Reader of Genesis 111, in Intertextual Studies in
Ben Sira and Tobit, 8999, 92. Since Sir. 16:6 echoes Num. 11:1-3 and Sir. 16:10 echoes Num. 14:22-23,
possibly the ancient princes refer to Sihon and Og (Num. 21:21-35; cf. Josh. 13:21), who were not
forgiven for denying passage to the journeying Israelites (Deut. 2:263:7)
41. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 186.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 65

The reference to Noah (who is unnamed) harks back to the time when
the Giants were perishing: Even at the beginning, when arrogant Giants were
perishing, the hope of the world, taking refuge on a raft, left to the world
the seed of offspring, having been steered by your hand (Wis. 14:6). The
description of Noahs leaving for the world the seed of offspring could be
interpreted in light of common botanical imagery, as in 1 En. 10:3: From
him [Lamechs son Noah] a plant will be planted, and his seed will endure for
all the generations of eternity (cf. 1 En. 84:6).42 Interestingly, the portrayal
here of the Giants as arrogant matches Hesiods Theogony (150), which uses
the phrase arrogant children to describe three Giants, offspring of a union
between Heaven and Earth.

The understanding of the Watchers implied in Ben Sira, together with the view
of the Giants within other apocryphal/deuterocanonical books, can now be
situated within a larger interpretive tradition.43 As someone connected with the
Jerusalem sanctuary (perhaps a temple scribe), Ben Sira adheres to the traditions
of Genesis, though he uses them selectively for his own purposes. Wishing to
place emphasis on human responsibility for good or evil (Sir. 15:15-17), he not
only marginalizes some of the Enochic traditions that blamed the Watchers
for the origin of evil in the world, but also makes no direct reference to the
sin in the Garden of Eden. Instead, he passes over Adams transgression in Sir.
17:1 when mentioning the decree of death (Gen. 3:19; cf. Sir. 41:3-4)though
he perhaps alludes elsewhere to the sin of Eve (Sir. 25:24). Moreover, it is
noteworthy that while the Book of the Watchers narrates both the sin and the
punishment of the Watchers, Ben Sira mentions only the punishment of the
Watchers (17:32)and perhaps of the Giants (16:7 Greek).
We may compare the catalogs of divine punishments found in Sir. 16:7-9
and 3 Macc. 2:4-8 with the listing in 2 Pet. 2:4-6, which adds a mention of the
sinful angels. While they do not speak of the sin of Adam and Eve, a reference
to the Giants primeval transgression is in each case followed by a sampling of

42. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 220, 445; Portier-Young, Apocalypse against Empire, 356. A closer parallel
to Wis. 14:6 appears in the later Book of Similitudes (1 En. 67:2-3), which also adds a reference to Gods
hand guiding a vessel of wood: And now the angels are making a wooden (vessel), and when the angels
have completed that task, I will put my hand upon it and protect it. And from it will come the seed of
life. . . . And I will establish your seed in my presence forever and ever.
43. For a helpful listing of Second Temple period Jewish texts on Enoch and the Watchers, see James
L. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), 173212.
66 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

sins committed after Noahs flood. In particular, all three listings speak of the
inhabitants of Sodom immediately after the Giants.44

Recipients of Ben Sira 16:7-9 3 Maccabees 2 Peter 2:4-6

divine 2:4-8

Sinful angels 2:4 (angels that


Giants 16:7 [Greek] 2:4 (giants) 2:5 (the ancient

(giants) world)

Inhabitants of 16:8 (neighbors 2:5 (the people 2:6 (Sodom and

Sodom of Lot) of Sodom) Gomorrah)

Pharaoh 2:6-8

Canaanites 16:9 (doomed


In each case, the primeval history has been linked to the Abraham story, and
in two cases, it has been followed by later history, dealing with Moses (3 Macc
2:6-8) or Joshua (Sir 16:9).
The early Enochic texts and Ben Siras book came to be rejected from
the rabbinic Jewish canon, although the Qumran Scrolls attest five manuscripts
of the Book of the Watchers, and four of the Astronomical Book, as well as two
fragments of Ben Sira (plus one longer manuscript from Masada). Ben Siras
general suspicion toward the Watchers traditions doubtless represented the
view of Jerusalems priestly and educational aristocracy, a view that later tended
to prevail within the orthodox branches of Judaism and Christianity. 45
Like the Enochic texts, Ben Siras book has a complex textual history.
However, while 1 Enoch did not become canonical except in the Orthodox

44. Compare Jub. 20:5, which combines the judgment of the Giants and the judgments of the
Sodomites; cf. Goff, Ben Sira and the Giants of the Land, 654, n. 37.
45. Cf. Gabriele Boccaccini, Where Does Ben Sira Belong? The Canon, Literary Genre, Intellectual
Movement, and Social Group of a Zadokite Document, in Studies in the Book of Ben Sira, JSJSup 127, ed.
Gza G. Xeravits and Jzsef Zsengellr (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 2141, esp. 3437.
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature | 67

Ethiopian Church, Ben Siras book was preserved as scriptural in the Greek,
Latin, and Syriac Churches, though not in rabbinic Judaism or in Protestant
Christianity. Because Ben Siras work was not included in the rabbinic canon,
Hebrew copies of it were generally lost, though quotations survived in the
Talmud.46 Most early Greek, Latin, and Syriac Bibles included translations of
the book, and many church fathers accepted it as canonical (e.g., Augustine)
though others did not (e.g., Jerome). Since the Second World War, three
ancient Hebrew manuscripts from the Dead Sea area have been discovered. 47

Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Research

We have seen that the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books do not directly attest
a developed Watchers tradition as elaborated in Enochic circles, though there
are similarities in certain motifs. However, these books do attest to diverse
traditions about angels and Giants, thereby situating the Enochic material
within the wider cultural context of Second Temple Judaism. Various Enochic
traditions develop the role of angelic figures, both positively as revealers of
heavenly secrets and negatively as causes of evil in the world, whereas Ben
Sira regards angels as playing a less significant role as obedient attendants on
God (Sir. 16:28; 43:10). Obedience to God is an emphasis also found in 1
En. 2:1-3:3, though the Book of the Watchers goes on to describe the sinful
activity of the fallen angels (1 En 68). Without including a narration of
their sin, Ben Sira texts refer briefly to the punishment of the rebel angels
(17:32) and of the Giants (16:7 Greek). Moreover, passing references to Giants
occur in other apocryphal/ deuterocanonical books (Baruch, 3 Maccabees, and
Wisdom). These writings emphasize the theme of divine judgment, whereby
God overthrows the powerful Giants despite their strength (Bar. 3:26-28; 3
Macc. 2:4; Greek Sir. 16:7; Wis. 14:6), a motif that echoes the Book of the
Watchers (e.g., 1 En. 14:4-6; cf. CD 2:17-19). While some previous scholars
have drawn interesting contrasts between 1 Enoch and Ben Sira, there is scope
for further studies to explore how far Ben Sira and other apocryphal/
deuterocanonical books are in tension (or in dialogue) with various Enochic
traditions, as well as to situate such traditions more exactly within a wider
eastern Mediterranean context.

46. Skehan and Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, 1721, 5162. From 1896 onward, six different
medieval manuscripts were rediscovered in the Genizah (storeroom) of the Old Cairo synagogue, and
nowadays about two-thirds of the Hebrew text has been recovered.
47. The Masada scroll (first century bce) contains parts of Sir. 3944; 2Q18 (first century bce) has
fragments from Sir. 6; 11Q5 (first century ce) includes verses from Sir. 51.
68 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Brief Bibliography
Argall, Randal A. 1 Enoch and Sirach: A Comparative Literary and Conceptual
Analysis of the Themes of Revelation, Creation and Judgment. SBLEJL 8. Atlanta:
Scholars, 1995.
Calduch-Benages, Nuria, The Hymn to the Creation (Sir 42:15-43:33): A
Polemic Text? Pages 119-38 in The Wisdom of Ben Sira: Studies on Tradition,
Redaction, and Theology. DCLS 1. Edited by Angelo Passaro and Giuseppe
Bellia. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008.
Marbck, Johannes. Apokalyptische Traditionen im Sirachbuch? Pages
137-53 in Weisheit und Frmmigkeit. BS 29. Edited by Johannes Marbck.
Frankfurt: Lang, 2006.
Prato, Gian Luigi. Il problema della teodicea in Ben Sira. AnBib 65. Rome:
Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1975.
Reed, Annette Yoshiko. Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity:
The Reception of Enochic Literature. New York: Cambridge University Press,
Reiterer, Friedrich V., Tobias Nicklas, and Karin Schpflin, eds. Angels: The
Concept of Celestial BeingsOrigins, Development and Reception. DCLY 2007.
Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007.
Wright, Benjamin G. Fear the Lord and Honor the Priest: Ben Sira as
Defender of the Jerusalem Priesthood. Pages 189-222 in The Book of Ben Sira
in Modern Research. BZAW 255. Edited by Pancratius C. Beentjes. Berlin: de
Gruyter, 1997.
Xeravits, Gza G. and Jzsef Zsengellr, eds. Studies in the Book of Ben Sira.
JSJSup 127. Leiden: Brill, 2008.

Watchers Traditions in the Catholic

Eric F. Mason

Watchers traditions are present in three books among the Catholic Epistles: 1
Peter, Jude, and 2 Peter. Most scholars agree that 2 Peter is dependent on Jude
and that there is no direct authorial relationship between 1 and 2 Peter. Each of
these texts exhibits some level of independent use of Watchers traditions, and
this provides insight into the influence of these traditions on early Christian
thought. The ways in which the letters make use of the Watchers traditions,
especially allusions to the punishment of the Watchers, suggest that Christian
audiences were well acquainted with the larger narrative frame associated with
the angels.

Author and Audience

Though some scholars defend the tradition of Petrine authorship of 1 Peter
shortly before the apostles martyrdom in the mid-60s, the mainstream
consensus is that the epistle is the product of a Petrine school or a
pseudepigraphic author, writing from Rome to Christians in Asia Minor in
the latter decades of the first century ce.1 Scholarly agreement that 2 Peter

1. Commentators defending Petrine authorship include Ernest Gordon Selwyn, The First Epistle of St.
Peter, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martins, 1947); Wayne A. Grudem, The First Epistle of Peter: An
Introduction and Commentary, TNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988); and Karen H. Jobes, 1 Peter,
BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005). Those assuming pseudonymity include Leonhard
Goppelt, A Commentary on 1 Peter (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993); Ralph P. Martin, in The Theology of
the Letters of James, Peter, and Jude, NTT, ed. Andrew Chester and Ralph P. Martin (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1994); Pheme Perkins, First and Second Peter, James, and Jude, Interpretation
(Louisville: John Knox, 1995); Paul J. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996);
John H. Elliott, I Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, AB (New York: Doubleday,

70 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

is pseudepigraphicand by extension not directly related to 1 Peteris even

stronger. J.N.D. Kelly could write already in 1969 that scarcely anyone
nowadays doubts that 2 Peter is pseudonymous, and this view is finding
increasing acceptance even in conservative circles.2 Though earlier generations
of scholars debated how best to explain the literary relationship between 2
Peter and Jude (whether Jude was excerpted from 2 Peter, 2 Peter used Jude
as a source, both relied on common traditions, or both had the same author),
virtually all scholars today recognize the dependence of 2 Peter on Jude.
Proposals for dating the book extend as late as 125 ce.3
In contrast, most recent commentators on Jude are inclined to consider its
authenticity, and those who ultimately decide otherwise often do so cautiously.
Richard Bauckham, who argued for pseudonymity for 2 Peter, defends the
traditional view that Jude is the product of mid-first century ce Palestinian
Jewish Christianity, even by the brother of Jesus himself, while others
question whether Jude would have had the requisite rhetorical and linguistic
skills to produce this epistle. Alternately, Udo Schnelle argues that the authors
concept of tradition, distinction between orthodoxy and heresy, and discussion
of the rise of false teachers as a sign of the last days demand a date in the late first
century ce; thus the letter, in his estimation, would be pseudonymous. 4

2000); and Reinhard Feldmeier, The First Letter of Peter: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Waco, TX:
Baylor University Press, 2008). Both J.N.D. Kelly (The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, BNTC [London:
A&C Black, 1969]), and J. Ramsey Michaels (1 Peter, WBC [Waco, TX: Word, 1988]) admit difficulties
with the assumption of Petrine authorship but opt for theories that find strong Petrine influence on a
letter written after the apostles death. Peter H. Davids (The First Epistle of Peter, NICNT [Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1990]) opts for Silvanus as author, writing on behalf of Peter.
2. Kelly, Epistles, 235; see the similar comment of Jerome Neyrey, 2 Peter, Jude: A New Translation with
Introduction and Commentary, AB (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 128. Richard J. Bauckhams rejection of
Petrine authorship (Jude, 2 Peter, WBC [Waco, TX: Word, 1983]) has been influential among evangelical
scholars; see also Scot McKnight, 2 Peter, in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, ed. J.D.G. Dunn and
J.W. Rogerson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). Others, though, defend Petrine authorship (Gene L.
Green, Jude & 2 Peter, BECNT [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008]) or argue for a core of authentic
Petrine tradition (Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical
Commentary on 12 Peter [Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008]).
3. See Neyrey, 2 Peter, Jude, 12022, for discussion of the four options. On dating, see John H. Elliott,
Peter, Second Epistle of, ABD 5:28287, esp. 287. Elliott (284) also notes the extent of use of Jude in 2
Peternineteen of Judes 25 verses have some sort of parallel in 2 Peter, and 111 words of the 460-word
vocabulary of Jude appear in 2 Peter.
4. See Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 1316, and Jude, Epistle of, ABD 3:10981103, esp. 110102;
similarly Martin, Letters; Duane F. Watson, Jude, NIB vol. 12; and Green, Jude & 2 Peter, 9 (albeit
likely with some scribal assistance). Compare also Udo Schnelle, The History and Theology of the New
Testament Writings (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998) 41718; and the similar argument of Perkins, First
Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles | 71



This short letter includes one explicit quotation of 1 En. 1:9 (in Jude 14-15)
along with several possible allusions to portions of the Book of the Watchers (1
Enoch 136).5 Among the allusions, three are most significant. The statement
in Jude 8 that the false teachers defile the flesh ( )
likely alludes to the frequent comments in the Book of the Watchers that the
fallen angels defile themselves () with women.6 Also, the language
of Jude 13 seems indebted to 1 En. 18:15-16; 21:5-6 as the author of the
letter concludes a series of negative examples from nature with mention of
wandering stars; Judes wandering stars are reminiscent of the stars that did
not rise at the appointed time and were subsequently punished in the Enochic
Most important for the present discussion, however, is Jude 6: And the
angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling,
he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the
great day. Mention of these disobedient angels appears as the second of three
examples of Gods judgment on unfaithfulness in Jude 5-7, between unbelievers
in the Exodus period and Sodom and Gomorrah. In Jude 8, the author recalls
elements of these three examples, but not in a way that one-to-one correlations
may be discerned. Appeals to these particular storiesespecially associating the
chastisement of the Watchers with that of Sodomare common in Second
Temple period literature; here they function not as condemnation of personal
conduct of the recipients, but as types for contemporary antitypes they
encounter.8 The tie between the Watchers and Sodom examples is evident
from Jude 7in both, there is a desire for (strange flesh)
that involves sexual transgression of the natural order dividing heavenly and

and Second Peter, 14243). Neyrey leans toward pseudonymity but concludes that there is scant data for
taking a firm position as to date, place, and author (2 Peter, Jude, 31).
5. Some of the following discussion of Jude and 2 Peter also appears in my chapter titled Biblical and
Nonbiblical Traditions in Jude and 2 Peter: Sources, Usage, and the Question of Canon, forthcoming in
2014, Eric F. Mason and Troy W. Martin, eds., Reading 1-2 Peter and Jude: A Resource for Students,
Resources for Biblical Study (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature).
6. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 56, who cites 1 En. 7:1; 9:8; 10:11; 12:4; 15:3, 4.
7. Bauckham finds the most substantive ties between the broader context of Jude 13 and 1 En. 80 (Jude,
2 Peter, 8991).
8. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 4647, who notes that the examples are linked closely by . . . in
Jude 7.
72 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

earthly figures.9 Clearly the author of Jude has the Watchers in mind, with
the (admittedly restrained) descriptions of their misdeeds and corresponding
punishment in v. 6. That the author is appealing to the Enochic account of the
Watchers (as opposed to versions of the story preserved in other texts), however,
is very likely because Enochic traditions also appear elsewhere in Jude.
The aforementioned quotation in Jude 14-15 concerns judgment of the
ungodly. It is adapted from theophoric introductory comments in 1 Enoch
that in turn draw heavily from Jer. 25:30-31; Isa. 66:15-16; and especially
Deut. 33:1-3.10 While numerous correspondences between the wording of the
quotation in Jude and the Greek of this Enochic passage preserved in Codex
Panopolitanus confirm that this is a quotation, several divergences may also
imply knowledge of the Enoch text both in Greek translation and in the
original Aramaic.11
Two interrelated issues concerning use of this passage in Jude demand
brief attentionthe identity of the figure bringing judgment and the timing
of this event. God is the active figure in 1 En. 1:9, coming () with
his myriads and his holy ones (following Codex Panopolitanus) at some future
time, whereas in Jude 14 the Lord came ( ) to bring judgment.
Most interpreters assert that the author of Jude has recast this quotation as a
prophecy of Jesus parousia, so for example Bauckham understands in
Jude 14 as Jesus and the aorist verb as a prophetic perfect.12 Likewise, George
Nickelsburg notes that in 1 En. 52:5-9, the coming of the Anointed and Chosen
One is described in light of the language of 1 En. 1:3-7.13
Despite the popularity of this approach, one should consider the possibility
that Jude 14-15 denotes Gods judgment in the past. The language admittedly

9. Ibid., 54.
10. George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch Chapters 136,
81108, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 14344, 14849.
11. See the chart of parallel texts and discussion of variants in Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 9496. Codex
Panopolitanus, also called the Akhmim Manuscript, was discovered in a grave at a Coptic cemetery at
Akhmim (Panopolis) and dates to the fifth or sixth century CE. Its contents include partial versions of the
Gospel of Peter, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the text of 1 En. 19:321:9, followed immediately by the
complete text of 1 En. 1:132:6a. See Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 12.
12. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 93, 9697; virtually the same position is defended in Kelly, Epistles, 276;
Perkins, First and Second Peter, 153; and Watson, NIB 12:494. Both the NRSV and NIV render the
passage as the Lord is coming; cf. NAB the Lord has come. Jesus is elsewhere called in Jude 4,
17, 21, 25; and the term is used for God in Jude 9. Jude 5 is plagued with textual variants, several
involving ; the context of judgment on the unfaithful of Israels wilderness generation would
imply that God is the intended referent, though some scribes explicitly sought to evoke Jesus here.
13. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 149.
Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles | 73

may be read as that of final judgment (though the Deut. 33:1-3 language to
which this passage is strongly indebted describes a theophany at Sinai, not
an eschatological event), but the author next turns in Jude 17-23 to remind
the audience that the apostles also foretold of events of the last days, both of
the presence of the ungodly and the return of Jesus. The pattern has been to
compare the wicked of the past with those of the recipients generation; since
the biblical chronology in Genesis placed Enoch prior to any of the negative
examples in Jude 5-7, Enochs prophecy of judgment by the God in
Jude 14-16 might be read as the precedent guaranteeing the validity of the
apostolic foresight in Jude 17-23, thus affirming that the Jesus Christ will
also bring judgment on a later generation of scoffers. Ultimately, ones decision
hinges on the identity of these in v. 14, whether they are the contemporary
opponents of the author (as most interpreters assume) or the ancient prototypes
of evil.


Because the author of 2 Peter is dependent on Jude as a source for his epistle,
two issues demand attention: how does the author of 2 Peter deal with Watchers
materials present already in Jude, and does the author of 2 Peter independently
value and utilize Watchers traditions?
Regarding the first question, it was noted above that four passages in
Jude have significant Enochic influence. Though most of the contents of Jude
appear in some form in 2 Peter, the quotation of 1 En. 1:9 in Jude 14-15 was
not retained, nor were the comments about wandering stars (Jude 13) and
defilement of the flesh (Jude 8, assuming that 2 Pet. 2:13-14 instead reflects
Jude 12). Whereas nothing stands in their place in 2 Peter, elsewhere materials
from Jude are retained but domesticated in 2 Peter, as happens with Jude 9.
This is not an Enochic passage and thus was not addressed above, yet it relies
on pseudepigraphical traditions (likely the Assumption of Moses or Testament
of Moses) about the death of Moses. Judes explicit discussion of the verbal
restraint of the archangel Michael in his dispute with the devil for Moses body
is replaced with considerably more vague language in 2 Pet. 2:11.
Judes fourth major Enochic passage is the example of Gods judgment of
the Watchers in v. 6. This material is retained in 2 Peter but is used differently.
Now it heads a series of three examples of Gods actions in the past, but it is
followed by accounts of the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
(stressing Gods judgment of the wicked, but with no strange flesh mentioned
for the latter). It is also paired with reminders of Gods mercy toward Moses and
Lot (providing examples of Gods deliverance of the righteous). A few common
74 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

terms remain from Jude 6 (especially various forms of the verb , here
underlined), but 2 Peter seems paraphrastic:

Jude 6And the angels [] who did not keep [

] their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he
has kept [] in eternal chains in deepest darkness [
] for the judgment [ ] of the great Day

2 Pet 2:4For if God did not spare the angels [] when

they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of
deepest darkness [ ] to be kept [] until the
judgment [ ]14

This comparison of language leads to the second question raised above, whether
the author of 2 Peter independently utilized Watchers traditions. It should be
noted that the blunting of Enochic traditions from Jude does not indicate that
the author of 2 Peter considered such things vulgar. Rather, the author retains
discussion of the imprisoned Watchers from Jude 6 and likely reflects other
non-canonical traditions in 2 Pet. 3:4-13.15 One should also note that the author
of 2 Peter changes the description of the imprisonment of the sinful angels,
going beyond what he finds in Jude. Use of the term (NRSV cast
into hell) in 2 Pet. 2:4 is reminiscent of the story of the confinement of the
Titans to Tartarus by Zeus, the Olympian gods, and the Hundred-handers
in Hesiods Theogony (617-819).16 Though one might argue that the author
of 2 Peter has connected the Watchers story with the Greek mythological

14. Some manuscripts read or (pits or caves) in 2 Pet. 2:4 rather than .
Bauckham argues that if the former were original, it could imply independent knowledge of the
description of the dungeon of the Watchers in 1 Enoch. See Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 249; and Green, Jude
& 2 Peter, 268.
15. See the discussion of literary relationships between 2 Peter and texts of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha
in Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 13940. Bauckhams explanation for 2 Peters omission of most of the non-
canonical materials in Jude is that they (other than the ubiquitous story of the imprisoned Watchers)
were unfamiliar to the author, who presumed the same would be true for his audience. Bauckham notes
that 1 Enoch was very popular in Greek translation among Christian writers of the second century ce, but
the author of 2 Peter presumably could not read these texts in Aramaic as did the author of Jude.
Bauckham asserts, however, that both the authors of 2 Peter and 1 Clement utilized traditions from the
Book of Eldad and Modad. Nickelsburg (1 Enoch 1, 14) argues that at least the Book of the Watchers must
have been in Greek translation by the late first century because of the quotation of 1 En. 1:9 in Jude
14-15 (but see comments above) and use of the book by the author of Revelation.
Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles | 75

tradition in the course of his paraphrase, Tartarus language appears elsewhere

in the Greek translation of 1 Enoch and in other Second Temple period Jewish
literature (including the Septuagint).17


Most scholars agree that Watchers traditions are present in 1 Peter 3. Indeed,
Nickelsburg finds 1 Peter steeped in this and other Enochic parallels:

The author of 1 Peter works from an apocalyptic worldview similar

to that of 1 Enoch . . . The eschaton and the final judgment are
imminent, and the reader can take comfort in the knowledge that,
in spite of present tribulation, heaven holds a reward, as yet unseen,
for the righteous (1:3-12). In addition, the author, alluding to the
tradition about the watchers, attributes to Jesus a journey to the
underworld that parallels Enochs interaction with the rebel watchers
(3:19-20), and compares baptism to the purifying effects of the flood
(cf. 10:21). With its criticism of braiding hair, decoration of gold,
and wearing fine clothing, 1 Pet 3:3 may also reflect the story of the

Elliott is significantly more restrainedhe observes that no quotations of books

of the Pseudepigrapha appear in 1 Peter, and he limits possible links almost
exclusively to 1 Pet. 3:19-20.19
This key passage appears in the context of the household code and its
related exhortations, including calls to endure undeserved suffering. Christ
earlier was presented as a model of such suffering in connection with the
admonitions to slaves in the household code, and this topic is resumed in

16. See especially Birger A. Pearson, A Reminiscence of Classical Myth at 2 Peter 2:4, GRBS 10
(1969): 7180. Bauckham is sympathetic and notes precedents in Hellenistic Jewish texts (Jude, 2 Peter,
249). See also the survey of possible influences of the Titans story elsewhere in Second Temple Jewish
literature in Brook W.R. Pearson, Resurrection and the Judgment of the Titans: in
lxx Isaiah 26.19, in Resurrection, JSNTSup 186, ed. S.E. Porter, M.A. Hayes, and D. Tombs (Sheffield:
Sheffield Academic, 1999), 3351, esp. 4147.
17. See the list in Green, Jude & 2 Peter, 25051.
18. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 86. See also his chart of relationships between 1 Peter and 1 Enoch 108
19. Elliott, I Peter, 18, though he briefly mentions 1 Pet. 1:12 as a second possible passage with Enochic
influence. Neither Achtemeier nor Michaels devotes significant attention to possible ties.
76 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for
the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death
in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went
and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former
times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah,
during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons,
were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured,
now saves younot as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an
appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of
Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of
God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Much has been written about this passage, which has significant theological
implications for understanding the approach to suffering encouraged by the
author and his teachings on baptism; as such it poses numerous challenges to
interpreters in terms of style, coherence, and context.20 Specific issues of debate
include how to understand (flesh) and (spirit) in v. 18 (and,
related to the latter, the interpretation of [in which] in v. 19); the
identity of the preacher (Jesus, Jesus through Noah or Enoch, or Enoch on
the basis of textual emendation?) in v. 19; the purpose of the proclamation in
v. 19; the identity of the spirits of v. 19; and the nature and location of the
prison in v. 19. Also, the hymnic nature of vv. 18-19 is frequently discussed,
as is the possible relationship of the spirits of 3:19 and the dead of 1 Pet.
4:6. These issues are covered extensively in the major commentaries and in
important monographs, so the details and history of interpretation need not be
addressed here.21 It will suffice to note the position that is now standard among
most interpreters, especially since the original publication of William J. Daltons
book Christs Proclamation to the Spirits in 1965.
Though earlier generations of scholars tended to be unaware of the
Watchers traditions in 1 Enoch, few today deny their use by the author of 1
Peter.22 Watchersnot humansare normally understood as the imprisoned
spirits of 3:19 to whom Jesus makes proclamation, which accords with the

20. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, 240.

21. Bo Reicke, The Disobedient Spirits and Christian Baptism: A Study of 1 Pet. III. 19 and Its Context,
ASNU 13 (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1946); William Joseph Dalton, Christs Proclamation to the Spirits:
A Study of 1 Peter 3:184:6, 2nd ed., AnBib 23 (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1989); and more
recently Chad T. Pierce, Spirits and the Proclamation of Christ: 1 Peter 3:1822 in Light of Sin and
Punishment Traditions in Early Jewish and Christian Literature, WUNT 2/305 (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck,
Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles | 77

standard use of the plural term in the NT to refer to malevolent

spiritual beings rather than humans.23 The content of the preaching typically is
understood as confirmation of Gods victory over evil through the resurrection
of Jesus, not an evangelistic appeal; the latter would make sense only if humans
(rather than angels) were the imprisoned spirits.24 Dalton notes that unlike
the modern practice of incarceration as punishment, in the ancient world
imprisonment was a preliminary stage: the period of detention, no matter how
painful or miserable, was only an interval leading to judgment.25 This too fits
well the account of the binding of the Watchers in 1 Enoch in anticipation of
their later judgment.
The text in 1 Peter 3 is not explicit about the location of these spirits,
but contemporary scholarship largely rejects earlier notionsin part influenced
by creedal formulationsthat Jesus went down to the abode of the dead to
preach in the period between his crucifixion and resurrection. According to 1
Peter, Jesus went () in v. 19 to make the proclamation and went

22. The first scholar to appeal to the Watchers tradition was Friedrich Spitta, Christi Predigt an die
Geister (1 Petr. 3, 19ff.): Ein Beitrag zur neutestamentlichen Theologie (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht, 1890). Modern dissenters include Wayne Grudem, Christ Preaching Through Noah: 1 Peter
3:19-20 in the Light of Dominant Themes in Jewish Literature, TJ 7 n.s. (1986): 331; Goppelt,
Commentary, 25560; and Feldmeier, First Letter, 20206. Jobes (1 Peter, 2447) assumes that Watchers
traditions lie behind the passage yet still questions whether Gentile readers in the mid-first century
ce (assuming authentic Petrine authorship) would know 1 Enoch. She nevertheless concludes that the
Watchers traditions were so widespread as to make it likely that the recipients of the epistle would
understand this passage, and she follows Paul Trebilco (Jewish Communities in Asia Minor, SNTSMS 69
[Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991]) in arguing that Noah and flood traditions were well
known in Asia Minor among both Gentiles and Jews. Michaels agrees that the Watchers tradition from 1
Enoch is utilized by the author of 1 Peter, but he understands the spirits as the offspring of the fallen
angels and human women (not the disobedient angels themselves), and they are understood to be in
security or in refuge rather than imprisoned (1 Peter, 20512, esp. 209).
23. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, 255. See also his brief survey (25456) of various proposals for understanding
the imprisoned spirits as humans (whether all the dead, only those who died before the birth of Jesus,
wicked contemporaries of Noah, only the righteous, etc.). Michaels (1 Peter, 207) identifies Heb. 12:23 as
the only NT use of spirits for humans (spirits of just people made perfect). Goppelt (Commentary, 258)
suggests also Luke 24:37, 39; he understands the spirits in 1 Pet. 3:19 as human, commenting that I
Peter, like Hebrews and Luke, tries always to present biblical concepts in Greek terms, and is an
ancient Greek synonym for .
24. Davids (First Epistle, 140) notes that in the NT, normally refers to the proclamation of
the kingdom of God or the gospel . . . but it does on a few occasions retain its secular meaning of
proclaim or announce. He also observes that the verb and noun otherwise
are used in 1 Peter for proclamation of the gospel (1:12; 1:25; 4:6; 4:17).
25. Dalton, Christs Proclamation, 159. See also Achtemeier, 1 Peter, 261.
78 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

to heaven ( ) in v. 22. This correlation is important

for Achtemeier, who finds here graphic language implying Jesus ascent to the
right hand of God after his resurrection.26 Dalton argues similarly, noting that
is never used in the NT to discuss a descent of Jesus to the abode
of the dead, nor does any passage address activities of Jesus between his death
and resurrection.27 Others note that would be more appropriate
language to describe a descent.28
One must consider, however, whether the author of 1 Peter intends to
address the spatial location of the prison. Whereas the Watchers traditions in
1 Enoch locate the prison on, at the end of, or under the earth, Kelly notes
that 2 Enoch locates the prison in the second heaven; this allows Kelly to
reconcile the location of the prison with the ascension motif he discerns in
use of .29 Achtemeier, however, is more concerned to explain how
Jesus preaches rather than whereJesus does so made alive by the Spirit (v. 18,
parallel to the statement that he had been put to death by flesh).30 As for the
spatial location of the prison, there is no uniform tradition in Second Temple
Jewish texts or the NT, thus such ambiguity prevents us . . . from coming to
any firm conclusion about the prisons location.31

As discussed above, the authors of Jude and 1 Peter clearly know Watchers
traditions consistent with those in 1 Enoch. Scholarly assessments vary
concerning the overall nature of the influence of 1 Enoch on 1 Peter, though
most agree that 1 Pet. 3:19 is best interpreted as reflecting the Watchers
tradition. On the other hand, the text of Jude is thoroughly imbued with the
Watchers tradition and numerous other elements paralleled in 1 Enoch. The
author of 2 Peter inherits and adapts the Watchers tradition from Jude but may

26. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, 26061.

27. Dalton, Christs Proclamation, 162.
28. Davids, First Epistle, 140n37, following Kelly, Epistles, 15556.
29. Kelly, Epistles, 15556. Elliott (I Peter, 65455) also implies that the author of 1 Peter assumes the
prison is located in a level of heaven.
30. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, 24853, 260; see also his translation of the passage on 239. Achtemeier argues
here for a reference to the Holy Spirit, as does Michaels (1 Peter, 205). The thrust of Elliotts
interpretation is similar, but he finds an affirmation of Gods activity rather than explicit mention of the
Holy Spirit (I Peter, 646). Davids is more cautious, preferring instead (following Selwyn and Kelly) to
understand here only a reference to Jesus post-resurrection activity. See Davids, First Epistle, 138.
31. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, 256.
Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles | 79

also demonstrate independent knowledge of the legend in a form influenced by

Greek mythology.
The nature of the use of the Watchers traditions in all three of these NT
books is consistent in that an explanation of the Watchers is never the focus.
Rather, the authors can mention the Watchers in passing without elaboration
in order to illustrate more central themes in the respective passages. This
pattern is significant, as it demonstrates indirectly that familiarity with Watchers
traditions may be assumed among many early Christians, something also
evidenced in other essays in this volume.

Conclusion and Recommendations for Future Research

Major thrusts of New Testament scholarship in the twentieth century included
an awareness of the impossibility of neatly distinguishing between Jewish and
Hellenistic thought and influences, along with a renewed appreciation for the
Jewish roots of early Christianity. As such, scholars increasingly recognized the
importance of non-canonical texts like the Dead Sea Scrolls and those classified
as Pseudepigrapha for understanding Second Temple Judaism and hence also
early Christianity. The presence of the Watchers traditions in 1 Peter, Jude, and
2 Peter illustrates very well the importance of these developments. Likewise, this
use of the Watchers tradition in the NT also points to an issue already emerging
as a key focus for twenty-first century scholarshipthe question of how, when,
and even whether one may speak of neatly-defined lines between canonical
and non-canonical texts in Second Temple Judaism and earliest Christianity.
Clearly any resolution to this issue which would seek (or that would attain) a
scholarly consensus will have to pay significant attention to use of Enochic and
other non-canonical texts in these three Catholic Epistles.

Brief Bibliography
Achtemeier, Paul J. 1 Peter. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.
Bauckham, Richard J. Jude, 2 Peter. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, TX:
Word, 1983.
Dalton, William Joseph. Christs Proclamation to the Spirits: A Study of 1 Peter
3:184:6. 2nd ed. AnBib 23. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1989.
Elliott, John H. I Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. AB.
New York: Doubleday, 2000.
Nickelsburg, George W.E. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch
Chapters 136, 81108. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001.

Because of the Angels: Paul and the

Enochic Traditions
Scott M. Lewis, S.J.

Pauls injunction in 1 Corinthians 11:10 that women should be veiled during

worship because of the angels is one of the most puzzling and obscure
passages in the New Testament. In what sense should angels be understood?
Is the angelic presence a positive or negative phenomenon? Why should human
dress and comportment be of any concern to angels? One possibility, noted
even in antiquity, is that Pauls warning resonates with elements of the Enochic
traditions concerning the primeval angelic interference in human affairs. The
themes from the Watchers traditions that would be most relevant to a study
of the Pauline corpus are (1) the transgression of the cosmic boundaries by the
Watchers in the form of intercourse with human women and the generation of
hybrid offspring; and (2) the disclosure of heavenly and forbidden knowledge
to humans (1 En. 7:1 and 12:4).1
The story of the sons of God and their misadventures with the daughters
of men in Gen. 6:1-42 is paralleled by detailed accounts of the Watchers or
fallen angels in 1 En. 619 as well as Jub. 4:21-22 and 7:21. The reference in
Gen. 6 does not speak of any enticement on the part of the daughters of men,
nor does it make an explicitly negative judgment of the progeny of the unions

1. George W.E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch: The Hermeneia Translation
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 24, 31. These themes are well articulated in 1 En. 7. In addition to the
angelic-human miscegenation, the gigantic offspring sin against non-human creatures as well as
engaging in cannibalism and the drinking of blood. The earth itself finally brings accusation against
them. See also Karina Martin Hogans essay The Watchers Traditions in the Book of the Watchers and the
Animal Apocalypse in this volume.
2. ; LXX .

82 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

or link them with the violence and wickedness that follows. It is not entirely
clear that the Nephilim were totally destroyed.3
There are well-known echoes of the tradition of the Watchers found in
Jude 6 and 2 Pet. 2:4.4 The same tradition is recounted in Jubilees, especially
in Jub. 4:22 and 7:21, but with a slight variation in that the emphasis is placed
on the sexual transgression. The Watchers were authorized to impart some
knowledge to humankind but far exceeded their mandate.5

Author and Audience

Pauls authorship of 1 Corinthians has never been seriously challenged and it
stands among the seven undisputed letters. Most scholars place the composition
of 1 Cor. to the mid-50s with some minor variation. The years 5557 ce
represent a modern consensus in terms of dating this letter.6 Paul addresses the
Corinthian community directlyit is not a general theological treatise but a
pastoral missive dealing with very distinct and concrete community issues. He
seeks to call them to unity and concord (1:11) because of the fractiousness and
competition that has seriously damaged the community. He will deal with issues
of authority, sexual morality, marriage, sacrificial meat, eschatology, and, most
importantly for us, worship and liturgy. Chapters 11 and 14 focus on the Lords
Supper, prophecy, spiritual gifts, and prayer, especially the corrosive effects of
competition, quarrelling, and moral laxity. In 1 Cor. 11:2-16, Paul engages in
a long and rather obtuse discussion of head coverings and the necessity for
women to be veiled during worship, and that is the focus of our discussion.

3. Loren T. Stuckenbruck, The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second and Third Century
bce Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of Early Apocalyptic Traditions DSD 7 (2000):
354377, esp. 363.
4. See Eric Masons essay Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles in this volume.
5. O.S. Wintermute, Jubilees, OTP 2:35142. Jub. 4:21-22 relates that the flood came upon the earth
as punishment. The Watchers exceeded their authority and fornicated with women, resulting in the
Giants. Eventually human minds became filled with vanity and evil, resulting in much injustice and
bloodshed. The spilled blood is the final and principal reason for the blotting out of the earth. On the
Watchers tradition in Jubilees, see the contribution by John Endres in this volume.
6. A date of late 56 to early 57 ce is given by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, First Corinthians, AB (New Haven,
CT: Yale University Press, 2008). Most would agree with this range, but other possibilities are suggested
by Raymond F. Collins (First Corinthians [Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999]) who proposes 5354
and Hans Conzelmann (1 Corinthians [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975]) who posits a date of 55 ce.
Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic Traditions | 83

The situation Paul addresses is most likely the over-realized eschatology of
the Corinthian community that led them to flout many of the norms of the
old order including sexual mores and gender roles.7 We can prescind from the
many lengthy discussions of hairstyles and social customsonly his justification
for the warning concerns us. Pauls exegesis of the Genesis creation account
and his argumentation is rather convoluted and vague. In the context of an
argument stressing correct order and unity during communal worship, Paul
describes the creation of male () rather than human being () by
conflating chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. Using (head, or source) three
times, he establishes a hierarchical order of creation: God > Christ > man >
woman. It is 1 Cor. 11:10 that is the focus of our interest, in which it is stated
that the woman is obligated to have on her head (
). This has best translated as sign of
authority, but whose? It cannot mean husband for that would apply only to
married women, and grammatically must mean the ability or
power to control someone or something. The sense of the phrase is that the
woman should exercise control over her own head, that is, take care that her
comportment is commensurate with her dignity and status before God and the
angels.8 Additionally, D. Hall proposes that Pauls insistence that a prophesying
woman exercising authority over her head would have served to illustrate that
one inspired by the spirit was still in control. Ecstatic prayer and prophecy were
totally compatible with a climate of dignified and self-controlled behavior. 9
But Pauls reason for their obligation to remain veiled is puzzling:
. Why are the angels used as the trump card to secure his argument?
Despite many attempts to classify this as an interpolation with little connection
with the main argument, it has been shown to be relevant to the main point. 10

7. Jerome Murphy-OConnor, Sex and Logic in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, CBQ 42 (1980): 482500,
esp. 490.
8. Jol Delobel, I Cor 11, 2-16: Towards a Coherent Interpretation in LAptre Paul: Personnalit, style
et conception du ministre (Louvain: Louvain University Press, 1986), 36989. Joseph Fitzmyer (First
Corinthians, 416) points out that a translation of veil as in the RSV is based on a variant reading that is
not found in any Greek text. Modern translations (NRSV, NAB, ESV, NEB, REB) render as a
sign or symbol of authority.
9. David R. Hall, A Problem of Authority, Expository Times 102 (1990): 3942, esp. 40.
10. Jason D. BeDuhn, Because of the Angels: Unveiling Paul's Anthropology in 1 Corinthians 11,
JBL 118 (1999): 295320. Murphy-OConnor refers to A. Padgetts revival of an old hypothesis by J.
Lightfoot that should be taken in the literal sense; that is, that the reference is to messengers or
envoys from other church communities. The literal sense is used in Matt. 11:10; Luke 7:24; 9:52; and Jas.
2:25. This is possible but unlikely in the immediate context of Pauls discussion of prophesying and
84 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

BeDuhns novel interpretation is one that takes into account what he

calls Pauls heterodox anthropogony that is linked with his soteriology. The
creation of the separate genders was an act of angels rather than of God.11 Being
in Christ is a new creation, and in this new creation there is no male or
female (Gal. 3:28). The restoration of the divine image means that there is no
longer any division or separation since the primordial unity has been restored.
But the Corinthians were premature in their transcendence of genders, for the
eschatological process is not complete; this would be a classic case of already,
not yet. The symbols of the present order, including gender distinctions, must
be preserved along with the created order. Full unity will be achieved only at
the eschaton.12 But it is strange that Paul is so cryptic and offhanded about so
important a matter and he does not develop it elsewhere in his letters. It also
ignores his insistence that man is the .
There is nothing explanatory in the passage, so before analyzing this
passage through the lenses of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Enochic literature,
it should be compared with a general sketch of angels as portrayed in the
New Testament. The angelology in the New Testament is not necessarily fully
developed or coherent. Angels make an entrance at critical points in the gospels:
the Annunciation and birth (Luke 1:11-38; 2:9-21); the temptations (Mark 1:13;
Matt. 4:11; Luke 4:10); possibly in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43);
and at the empty tomb (Luke 24:23; Matt. 28:25; John 20:12, 18). They play
an eschatological role as reapers, punishers, or part of Jesus retinue at his return
(Matt. 13:39-49; 16:27; 24:31; 25:31; 26:53; Mark 8:38; 13:27). They are in the
divine presence (Luke 12:8-9; 15:10; 16:21). They play a major role in the Book
of Acts: revealers (8:26; 10:3, 22; 11:13); rescuers (5:19; 12:7-15); and executors
of divine judgment (7:53). The role is positive: they are messengers, guardians,
and they minister to Jesus in his need. The only negative reference to angels
is in Matt. 25:41 and that is to the fiery punishment awaiting the devil and his
Their representation in the undisputed Pauline corpus and the deutero-
and non-Pauline epistles is somewhat ambiguous, and it is these passages that
resonate more closely with the Enochic literature in question. In general, the
epistolary references to angels in the New Testament stress their temporary

prayer. Jerome Murphy-OConnor, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Once Again, CBQ 50 (1988): 265274. The
reference is to A. Padgett, Paul on Women in the Church: The Contradictions of Coiffure in 1
Corinthians 11:2-16, JSNT 20 (1984): 7172.
11. BeDuhn, Because of the Angels, 295320.
12. Ibid., 316319. He cites a number of references for angels present at creation: Justin Martyr Dial. 7;
Tri. Trac. 1, 5; 112.35-113.1; Philo, Opif. 72-75; Conf. 178-79; Tg. Ps.-J. Gen. 2:16-22.
Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic Traditions | 85

and mediating nature and their complete subordination to Christ. Both Jude 6
and 2 Pet. 2:4 allude to the judgment and punishment of the angelic Watchers
described in 1 En. 619. Jude 6 describes the failure of the angels to remain
in their own domain and their subsequent imprisonment in chains until the
final judgment for their transgression.13 Drawing on Jude, 2 Peter echoes the
condemnation of the angels in efforts to battle false teachers.14 Both letters
display an acquaintance not only with the Enochic tradition but with other
pseudepigraphal works.
The author of Hebrews repeatedly hammers home the subordinate status
of the angels with regard to Christ (1:4, 5, 7, and 13). The angels were
intermediaries for Gods communications, and their messages were valid (2:2),
but the world to come was not subjected to them (2:5). Human beings were
temporarily lower than the angels (2:7), but Christ, who came to help the
descendants of Abraham rather than angels (2:16), was for a short time also
lower than the angels. All of this was to defeat death and receive the crown of
glory and honor, which he shares with believers. The status of angels, then, is
temporary and transcended by Christ and his followers. Angelic status does not
imply omniscience, for the angels longed to see the salvation brought by Christ
(1 Pet. 1:12), and again it is made clear that the angels have been made subject
to Christ (3:22).
There is a certain ambiguity about their nature that has been noted.
Credulity and subservience before angelic mediators can result in confusion and
error, as noted forcefully in Col. 2:18 (
; Do not let anyone disqualify
you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels NRSV). Their word
need not be and should not be accepted if it deviates from the gospel that Paul
has received and preached (Gal. 1:8). In fact, that angel should even be
(cursed). No one inspired by the Spirit of God can say (Let

13. Richard Bauckham, Jude, Epistle of, ABD 3:10981103. Jude 6 reflects 1 En. 10:4-6, 12; 12:4;
15:3, 7; Jude 1416 quotes 1 En. 1:9; and Jude 16 refers to T. Moses 7:7, 9; 5:5. Jude 6 states,

. [And the angels who did not keep their own position, but
left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great
14. 2 Peter 2:4 says, For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and
committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment. In 1 Pet. 3:19 there is
reference to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey. Although it does not call them
angels explicitly, these are the spirits destroyed in the flood, which is the context for the passage. The
spirits are understood stemming from the offspring of the Watchers and human women. For a discussion
of the Watcher traditions in the Catholic Epistles, see Eric Masons essay in this volume.
86 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Jesus be cursed), implying that it may have occurred, and the Spirit of God
distinguishes itself by enabling the believer to say (Jesus is
Lord; 1 Cor. 12:3). Moreover, Satan can even disguise himself as an angel of
light ( , 2 Cor. 11:14). Although angels are not mentioned in
connection with Pauls mystical ascent in 2 Cor. 12:1-12, he heard things in the
third heaven that are not for human ears and not to be repeated, echoing the
tradition of the firm boundary between above and below, divine and human. As
an antidote for pride resulting from the experience, Paul receives a thorn in the
flesh, which is referred to as an angel in the literal sense of messenger (
, 2 Cor. 12:7). The Law itself, added because of transgressions, was
ordained through angels by a mediator ( , Gal.
3:19). A voice spoken in an angelic tongue is useless if lacking love (1 Cor.
13:1). Angels are seen as fallible entities, for they will be judged by the faithful
at the parousia ( , 1 Cor. 6:3).
After the flood the spirits of the dead, Giants become the evil spirits
and demons that afflict humankind (1 En. 15:816:1). Stuckenbruck draws
attention to the references to bastard spirits 4Q520 1, 5 and 4Q511 35, 7),
presumably of the gigantic progeny of the fallen angels. They are spoken of
as if they still represent a threat. Testament of Solomon 5:3 and 17:1 makes a
firm connection between demons and the offspring of the angels, and unless
humans know the names of the angels who rule over these demons, they will
be worshiped as gods. Stuckenbruck makes an interesting connection with
Mark 5:1-20 and the many demons that long to inhabit human or even animal
bodies.15 The possibility of divine judgment against some of the angels is
expressed in 1QH 18:36-38. Even though the demons and evil spirits were not
in themselves angels, it appears that there is still a threat posed malign forces that
are at times referred to in angelic terms.


The Dead Sea community at Qumran can also shed some light on the passage
in question. Fitzmyer draws a parallel between liturgical life in the Corinthian
community and that of the Dead Sea sect at Qumran. The admonition to the
women to veil their heads, he suggests, is not to ward off the advances of malign
angels. At Qumran, rather, there was a hyper-reverence and concern for purity
in connection with the worship of the community for it was believed that
angels were actually present during the worship (1QSa 2:3-11; 1QM 7:4-6). 16

15. Stuckenbruck, The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4, 376.

Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic Traditions | 87

There are numerous references in the Dead Sea Scrolls that suggest a
communion or intermingling between humans and angels/holy ones during
the liturgy. The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400-407 Maskil) contain
numerous allusions to ascent and intermingling during the celestial worship.
The purified can share the lot of the holy ones in 1QH 19:6-17. The War
Scroll describes the holy ones, the angels, and the community of the elect as
being mustered together for the final eschatological battle (1QM 12:1-7), a
battle that will include angels both on the side of light and on the side of Belial
(1QM 1:10-15). The community has seen the angels of holiness and has heard
profound things (1QM 1:16).
Aharon Shemesh has analyzed texts in the Hebrew Bible, rabbinical
halakhah, and Qumran literature that pertain to exclusion from the temple,
sanctuary, and sacred assemblies due to deformities, uncleanness, and lack of
mental faculties. At Qumran, the explanation for exclusion was that the holy
angels are in their council ( ) the language of pilgrimage
is important in that it spoke of appearing before the Lord your Godin other
words, to be seen by God. 17 Physical deformities, even aesthetic deficiencies
were seen as an affront to God and even an act of defiance.18 Lists of those
disqualified for appearance before the Lord included a deaf man, an imbecile

16. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, A Feature of Qumran Angelology and the Angels of 1 Cor 11:10, NTS 4
(1957): 4858. No man who suffers from a single type of the uncleanness that affects humanity shall
enter their assembly; neither is any man so afflicted to receive an assignment from the congregation. No
man with a physical handicapcrippled in both legs or hands, lame, blind, deaf, dumb, or possessed of a
visible blemish in his fleshor a doddering old man unable to do his share in the congregationmay
en[ter] to take a place in the congregation of the men of reputation. For the holy angels are [a part of]
their congregation. If [one] of these people has some[thing] to say to the holy congregation, let an oral
[de]position be taken, but the man must n[ot] enter [the congregation,] for he has been smitten (1QSa
2:3-11). The War Scroll contains a similar prohibition: No one crippled, blind, or lame, nor a man who
has a permanent blemish on his sin, or a man affected with ritual uncleanness of his flesh; none of these
shall go with them to battle. All of them shall be volunteers for battle, pure of spirit and flesh, and
prepared for the Day of Vengeance. Any man who is not ritually clean in respect to his genitals on the
day of battle shall not go down with them into battle, for holy angels are present with their army. There
shall be a space between all their camps and the latrine of about two thousand cubits, and no shameful
nakedness shall be seen in the environs of all their camps (1QM 7:4-6). The translations are taken from
Michael O. Wise, Martin G. Abegg, Jr., and Edward M. Cook, trans., The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New
Translation (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 138 and 154 respectively. See also Samuel
Thomas, Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in this volume; and Angela Kim Harkins,
Reading with an I to the Heavens: Looking at the Qumran Hodayot through the Lens of Visionary Traditions,
Ekstasis 3 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012).
17. A. Shemesh, The Holy Angels are in Their Council: The Exclusion of Deformed Persons From
Holy Places in Qumranic and Rabbinic Literature, DSD 4 (1997): 179202.
88 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

and a minor, a person of unknown sex, a hermaphrodite, women, unfreed

slaves, the lame, the blind, the sick, the aged and one who is unable to go up
on foot (ag. 1.1).19 Of interest for our discussion is the exclusion of those
of ambiguous gender, for women prophesying unveiled would be considered
an impious and unseemly blurring of gender distinctions and offensive to the
angelic presence. Pauls temple imagery for the community (1 Cor. 3:16-17 and
6:19) would be consistent with that interpretation. The first passage insists that
Gods temple is holy; and you are that temple. This implies that the reverence
that L. Peerbolte sees in Pauls cautious attitude regarding prophesying and
praying may reflect attitudes and ideas found both in contemporary Jewish
literature and in the literature of Qumran. Angels continually worship around
Gods throne in a sort of celestial liturgy, and they act as couriers, bearing
human prayers to God and divine instruction to humans. Great care was
taken to ban all those crippled, deformed, or deficient in parentage from the
communal worship, since angels were present in the congregation. The time of
prophesying, then, would be a liminal experience, one particularly vulnerable to
boundary transgression especially between women and angels. The possibility
of inciting the sexual interest of angels remains a possibility, even though the
Watchers have been imprisoned and the spirits of their offspring are thought of
in demonic rather than angelic terms. Because of the ending of one aeon and
the beginning of another, primal events are in danger of being replicated. 20

The Testament of Reuben provides a spin on the tradition that might shed light
on 1 Cor. 11. This misogynist rant lays the blame for the sin of the Watchers
on women who enticed the angels in the same manner in which they attract
men by adorning their heads and appearances.21 If this passage is similar to the

18. Ibid., 189. The ordinance requiring the appearance before the Lord is based on Deut. 16:16; Exod.
23:17 and 34:23. The notion of being seen by God is mentioned in Sifre Deut. 143.
19. Ibid., 181.
20. L.J. Lietaert Peerbolte, Man, Woman, and the Angels in 1 Cor 11:2-16 in The Creation of Man
and Woman: Interpretations of the Biblical Narratives in Jewish and Christian Traditions, ed. Gerard P.
Luttikhuizen (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 9091. This is found in 4Q405, frags. 19 and 23i.
21. H.C. Kee, trans., Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, OTP 1:775828. T. Reu. 5:1-7: For
women are evil, my children, and by reason of their lacking authority or power over man, they scheme
treacherously how they might entice him to themselves by their looks. And whomever they cannot
enchant by their appearance they conquer by a stratagem. Indeed, the angel of the Lord told me and
instructed me that women are more easily overcome by the spirit of promiscuity than are men. They
contrive in their hearts against men, then by decking themselves out they lead mens minds astray, by a
Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic Traditions | 89

reasoning behind 1 Cor. 11, then the warning for women to cover their heads
might be intended as protection for both the men in the congregation and the
The Latin church father Tertullian associates 1 Cor. 11:10 with the
tradition of the fall of the Watchers from Gen. 6.22 The veil was to designate
them as married women and therefore unavailable, for the unveiled heads of
virgins he considered particularly enticing to the angels.

Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Research

What sort of angelic consequences result from women praying and
prophesying while uncovered? The two possibilities, either sexual advances
from wayward angels or grave offense against the divine presence, need not be
mutually exclusive. It is clear that the presence of the spirit signaled the divine
presence (1 Cor. 14:25). There was a tradition at Qumran of intermingling
between angels and members of the community during worship and the need
for hyperpurity. There were also competitors within the community in the
form of demonic presences (1 Cor. 10:14-22), and any form of idolatry is a
communion with these demons (1 Cor. 10:20-22). Pauls main concern was
proper order, for God is a God not of disorder but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).
This would include keeping the proper social roles and boundaries, and failure
to do so would bring to mind the chaos and transgression of boundaries that

look they implant their poison, and finally in the act itself they take them captive. For a woman is not
able to coerce a man overtly, but by a harlots manner she accomplishes her villainy. Accordingly, my
children, flee from sexual promiscuity, and order your wives and your daughters not to adorn their heads
and their appearances so as to deceive mens sound minds. For every woman who schemes in these ways
is destined for eternal punishment. For it was thus that they charmed the Watchers, who were before the
Flood. As they continued looking at the women, they were filled with desire for them and perpetrated
the act in their minds. Then they were transformed into human males, and while the women were
cohabiting with their husbands they appeared to them. Since the womens minds were filled with lust for
these apparitions, they gave birth to giants. For the Watchers were disclosed to them as being as high as
the heavens.
22. Tertullian, On the Veiling of Virgins, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. IV: Translations of the Writings of
the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and A.C. Coxe (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research
Systems, 1997), 7. For if (it is) on account of the angelsthose, to wit, whom we read of as having fallen
from God and heaven on account of concupiscence after femaleswho can presume that it was bodies
already defiled, and relics of human lust, which such angels yearned after, so as not rather to have been
inflamed for virgins, whose bloom pleads an excuse for human lust likewise? [5] For thus does Scripture
withal suggest: And it came to pass, it says, when men had begun to grow more numerous upon the
earth, there were withal daughters born them; but the sons of God, having descried the daughters of
men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all whom they elected. There are similar
references in Corona 14:2; AdvMarc 5.8.2; and Orat 22:5-6.
90 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

had been so much a part of the catastrophe in the tradition of the Watchers. To
pray and prophesy in the presence of angelic powers would require no less than
this. But failure to do so would not only be irreverent of the holy presence, it
could also invite the same sort of boundary transgression that occurred in the
beginning. The warning because of the angels might evoke a range of reasons
from within the entire tradition and the necessity of absolute rectitude in the
context of worship.
Further research in the angelology of Second Temple Judaism and the
Dead Sea community, especially in the context of worship, will be useful for
illuminating this enigmatic passage.

Brief Bibliography
BeDuhn, Jason D. Because of the Angels: Unveiling Pauls Anthropology in
1 Corinthians 11. JBL 118 (1999): 295320.
Delobel, Jol. I Cor 11, 2-16: Towards a Coherent Interpretation. Pages
369-89 in Laptre Paul: Personnalit, style et conception du ministre. Edited by
A. Vanhoye. Louvain: Louvain University Press, 1986.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. A Feature of Qumran Angelology and the Angels of 1
Cor 11:10. NTS 4 (1957): 4858.
Hall, David R. A Problem of Authority. Expository Times 102 (1990): 3942.
Kee, H.C. Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. Pages 775-828 in The Old
Testament Pseudepigrapha. Edited by James Charlesworth. New York:
Doubleday, 1983.
Lietaert Peerbolte, L.J. Man, Woman, and the Angels in 1 Cor 11:2-16.
Pages 76-92 in The Creation of Man and Woman: Interpretations of the Biblical
Narratives in Jewish and Christian Traditions. Edited by Gerard P.
Luttikhuizen. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
Murphy-OConnor, Jerome. Sex and Logic in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. CBQ
42 (1980): 482500.
. 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Once Again. CBQ 50 (1988): 265274.
Shemesh, Aharon. The Holy Angels Are in Their Council: The Exclusion of
Deformed Persons From Holy Places in Qumranic and Rabbinic Literature.
DSD 4 (1997): 179202.
Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second
and Third Century bce Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of
Early Apocalyptic Traditions. DSD 7 (2000): 35477.

The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch

616: The Fall of Angels and the Rise of
Kevin Sullivan

The Watchers are a type of intermediary being, apparently a distinctive class.1
There may well be Near Eastern precedents for this type of being that were
adopted by Second Temple Jews. While the Watchers may have been associated
with a type of angelic being at some point, they come to be associated with
demons in later Jewish and Christian traditions. In this essay, we explore how
the changing status of the Watchers mirrors the emergence in Second Temple
Judaism of supernatural or otherworldly beings associated with evil; such beings
stand in opposition to God and become especially prevalent in New Testament
It is clear from texts like 1 Enoch 616 that the Watchers are not considered
equivalent with God, and yet it is also clear that they are much more than
humanthey initially reside in heaven and are privy to knowledge that humans
do not have. The Watchers are in a liminal space between the divine and the

1. For overviews of the Watchers, see John J. Collins, Watchers, in the Dictionary of Deities and
Demons in the Bible (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 168185; Michael Mach, Entwicklungsstadien des jdischen
Engelglaubens in vorrabbinischer Zeit (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1992), 34; R. Murray, The Origin of
Aramaic ir, Angel, Or 53 (1984): 30317; and R.M. Tuschling, Angels and Orthodoxy: A Study in their
Development in Syria and Palestine from the Qumran Texts to Ephrem the Syrian (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck,
2007), 8991; see also, Siam Bhayro, The Shemihazah and Asael Narrative of 1 Enoch 611: Introduction,
Text, Translation and Commentary with Reference to Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Antecedents (Mnster:
Ugarit-Verlag, 2005).

92 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

human where angels and other intermediary beings often reside. The Book of
Watchers indicates that the Watchers are angels, who, because of their conduct,
become a separate class of angels (i.e., fallen angels).
The idea of the fall of the angels appears to be part of a significant shift in
the conceptualization of the spiritual world in the late Second Temple period. It
seems that the fall of the Watchers from heaven corresponded chronologically
with (and is directly related to) the development of the idea that a single, evil
entity (e.g., Satan) stood in opposition to God on earth. The spirits of the
offspring of the fallen angels who remained on earth (even after the Flood)
helped give rise to the New Testament concept of the demons as Satans
minions, so the very concept of the fall of the angels gave rise to the idea
of demons as they are envisioned in some late Second Temple writings and
especially in the New Testament.
The meaning of the term Watcher ( )is not entirely clear.2 It likely
relates to its Hebrew root, which means to rouse oneself / be awake.3 The
term is used in the Book of the Watchers to refer not only to angels who
ultimately fell, but also to angels who remain in heaven (e.g., 1 En. 12:3).
The first biblical reference to the Watchers that appears to refer to them
as heavenly beings is found in Daniel 4 (vv. 13, 17, and 23). In Daniel, the
Watchers are also referred to as holy ones. As John Collins says of the
Watchers, Their function overlaps with that of the malak in so far as they
can convey a divine message to earth, but they were apparently conceived as a
distinct class of angelic beings.4 Beyond these references, the Watchers appear
more commonly in the non-canonical literature: Jub. 4:15, 7:21f, 10:4, T. Reu.
5:6-7, T. Naph. 3:5, CD 2:18, the Genesis Apocryphon, and importantly in the
Book of Watchers (1 En. 136).5 So, 1 Enoch 616 fits into a broader Second
Temple Jewish context concerning the fall of the angels.

Author and Audience

Given the composite nature of this booklet within 1 Enoch, it is difficult to be
certain about the author and audience of the Book of the Watchers. Presumably

2. For a discussion of its origins, see Amar Annus, On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study
of the Antediluvian Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions, JSP 19 (2010): 277320, esp. 294
and 314.
3. The root for Watchers is a hollow one ( ;)see BDB, 73435.
4. Collins, Watchers, 1684.
5. For a useful summary of the Watchers in Jewish Literature, see Rick Strelan, The Fallen Watchers
and the Disciples in Mark, JSP 20 (1999): 7579.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616 | 93

both the author of the text and its intended audience were Jews of the mid-to-
late Second Temple period. George W.E. Nickelsburg suggests a date in the
third century bce for this section of 1 Enoch.6 This period corresponds with the
rise of apocalyptic literature in Jewish writings, and so, not surprisingly, we see
discussion of angels and the heavenly realm in other early booklets of 1 Enoch,
the Book of Daniel, and the writings from Qumran.
Due to the status of Enoch and his role as a scribe, it has been suggested
that the Book of Watchers (1 En. 136) was written by scribes.7 This is certainly
possible, and if it is correct, then it gives us an insight into the social setting of
the author and possibly the audience. While consensus is unlikely, a plausible
suggestion for the location of the writing of the text is in or around Judea with
some scholars suggesting Galilee specifically.8
The audience for the Book of the Watchers would likely have been familiar
with the tradition seen in Gen. 6:1-4.9 The primary concern of 1 En. 616
appears to be explaining the origins of evil in the world. The transgression of
heavenly beings, the Watchers, was ultimately the cause of evil. The Watchers
crossed boundaries that were set by God between heaven and earth, and their
lust for human women led to hybrid beings, the Nephilim or Giants, who were
not part of the divine order. It is implied in Genesis and clearer in 1 Enoch that
the Giants were a primary reason for the flood.
What purpose do the Watchers serve in the narrative for the author and
audience? The Watchers appear to offer a further explanation and also a way to
explain the origins of evil in the world that removes responsibility directly from
God, moving it to a set of created beingsthe Watchers. Interestingly, without
a reference to the Adam and Eve story (though there is an allusion to them and
the garden in 1 En. 32:3-6), this account in some ways exonerates humans and
God and places blame for the fallen nature of the world upon the intermediary
class; the struggle for the world is placed into this sphere and its inhabitants.

6. George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of Enoch Chapters 136; 81108,
Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 170, 230.
7. John J. Collins, The Sage in the Apocalyptic and Pseudepigraphic Literature, in The Sage in Israel
and the Ancient Near East, ed. J. Gammie and L. Perdue (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 34447;
D. Suter, Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: The Problem of Family Purity in 1 Enoch 616, HUCA 50
(1979): 115135; see also C. Schams, Jewish Scribes in the Second-Temple Period (Sheffield: Sheffield
Academic Press, 1998), 9294.
8. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 119.
9. See the article, The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX) by Chris Seeman in this
94 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

While the archangels quickly move to eradicate the Giants and subdue the fallen
Watchers, the damage to the world is done.

In 1 Enoch 6:2, the Watchers are referred to as sons of heaven. This
designation appears to juxtapose them with the sons of men (6:1) who had
comely daughters. The distinction is quite important. It seems to establish the
fact that each group, the Watchers and human beings, have clearly delineated
habitats: humans are on earth, while the Watchers are in heaven. Immediately
after this general description, a particular celestial being, Shemihazah, is named
(6:3). Nineteen others are then named in 6:7 and along with their leader
Shemihazah, each was the chief of ten others for a total of 200 who would
descend to earth. Once they are on earth, they immediately transgress the
established boundary between heavenly and earthly beings, taking wives to
themselves and going into them and in so doing, defile themselves (7:1).10 The
outcome of this transgression is the production of the Nephilim, the great
Giants (7:2). After outlining the secrets that the Watchers revealed to humanity
(ch. 8), Michael, Sariel, Raphael, and Gabriel are brought into the story. These
names are elsewhere used for archangels (e.g., 1QM 9:15). In this text they refer
to themselves as the holy ones of heaven (9:3). It seems logical to assume that
these four are understood as (arch)angels. These four seem to understand the
Watchers as peers and are appalled by their actions. The four appeal to God,
outlining the wrongs of the Asael and Shemihazah and ask what they should do
(9:4-11). They are then sent to earth with tasks in response to the actions of the
Watchers: Sariel is sent to Noah to prepare him for the Flood (10:1-3), Raphael
is sent to imprison Asael (10:4-8), Gabriel is sent to destroy the Giants (10:9-10),
and Michael is to imprison Shemihazah, destroy the Giants, and restore the earth
After all of this work is outlined, the narrative shifts to a discussion of
Enoch, his being taken up to heaven, and his residence with the Watchers
(12:1-2). Enoch is sent to speak to Asael and the fallen Watchers (13:1-3). The
Watchers, hearing the words of woe that Enoch brings, commission Enoch to
speak to God on their behalf (13:4-7). Chapter 14 recaps much of the preceding
discussion, and in chapter 15 more is revealed to Enoch.

10. On the idea of defilement, see Karina Martin Hogans essay in this volume and also William
Loader, Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes Towards Sexuality in the Early Enoch Literature, the
Aramaic Levi Document, and the Book of Jubilees (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 652.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616 | 95

1 Enoch 15:6 clearly differentiates heavenly and earthly boundaries when it

says the following about the fallen Watchers: you originally existed as spirits,
living forever, and not dying . . . therefore I did not make women among you.
The hybrid offspring, the Giants, constitute an abomination of which God says,
Evil spirits they will be on the earth, and evil spirits they will be called. The
spirits of heaven, in heaven is their dwelling; but the spirits begotten on earth,
on the earth is their dwelling (1 En. 15:9).
Enoch returns to the Watchers a second time and is told to say to them,
You were in heaven, and no mystery was revealed to you; but a stolen mystery
you learned; and this you made known to the women in your hardness of heart;
and through this mystery the women and men are multiplying evils on the
earth. Say to them, You will have no peace (16:3-4).
Reed sums up the situation in 1 Enoch 616 succinctly:

[T]he birth of the Giants is explored in terms of the mingling

of spirits and flesh (15:8). Angels properly dwell in heaven, and
humans properly dwell on earth (15:10), but the nature of the Giants
is mixed. This transgression of categories brings terrible results: after
their physical death, the Giants demonic spirits come forth from
their bodies to plague humankind (15:9, 11-12; 16:1). According
to 1 En. 16, the angelic transmission of heavenly knowledge to
earthly humans can also be understood as a contamination of distinct
categories within Gods orderly Creation. As inhabitants of heaven,
the Watchers were privy to all the secrets of heaven; their revelation
of this knowledge to the inhabitants of the earth was categorically
improper as well as morally destructive.11

Because the hybrid offspring were conceived on earth, their spirits are doomed
to remain there, and while Shemihazah and Asael are imprisoned, they are not
gone completely. This tale sets the stage for a different understanding of the
spiritual realm that is seen in other late Second Temple writings. The early
Enochic writings seem to be looking for ways to explain the existence of
evil in the world, as are some texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New
Testament. In these texts an individualwhether it is Belial (1QH, 2 Cor.
6:14-15), Melchiresa (11QMelch), Mastema (Jub. 10:7-9), or Satan (Job 1-2,
Zech. 3, Matt. 4:1-11)stands in opposition to Gods plan, and his chosen
people or agents. While the Watchers seem to begin as angels, they seem also

11. Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of
Enochic Literature (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 46.
96 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

to have given birth (literally and figuratively) to the demons of later Christian
literature. To understand this shift, we need to examine some other texts and
scholarly nomenclature in more detail.

The Watchers, Angels, and Demons

Elsewhere, I have laid out some of the key criteria for defining an angel in
ancient Jewish and early Christian literature.12 Some of the primary attributes of
angels are that they reside in heaven (although they can and do travel to earth),
are immortal13needing no sustenance and also having no need for procreation
(thus they appear to be asexual by nature)and, when they appear to humans,
angels are often luminous and cause fear and falling to the ground in their seers.
We see these same characteristics noted for the Watchers (residing in heaven,
no need for female counterparts, etc.).
In 1 Enoch, the Watchers seem to enjoy a special status in heaven, very
close to God, but the Watchers who choose to go down to earth become
distinct for very different reasons: their transgression of having intercourse with
human females, which brings about the Giants, and also their role as bringers of
secret knowledge into the world. It appears that the conduct of these Watchers
was significantly evil as to cause them and their hybrid offspring to be barred
from heaven. This means that while their original abode was with God, they
would no longer be able to return there. Beings who were originally created
for heaven are evicted, and the beings to whom they give birth, the Giants,
are doomed to remain on earth. Thus, two sets of beings with evil actions or
evil origins in their past are now roaming outside of heaven, providing two
opportunities to explain the reason for evil in the world.
The fact that the Watchers begin as a distinct class of angels, and more
importantly, the fact that some of them function in the Book of the Watchers
as transgressors of divine boundaries and as transmitters of hidden knowledge
suggests that they would be better classified not as angels but as demons.
However, we need to consider carefully the word demon and, more
importantly, if that term had a particular meaning for the authors of the Book
of the Watchers. The word and in some sense the concept of demon is not
common in the Book of the Watchers (though, it appears once in 1 En. 19:1),

12. Kevin Sullivan, Wrestling with Angels: A Study of the Relationship Between Humans and Angels in
Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 2735.
13. Enoch, interestingly enough, is a human who does not die, but is taken up into heaven (Gen. 5:24)
and seems to share the same abode and possibly the same status as the Watchers and holy ones (1
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616 | 97

such that to speak of the fallen Watchers as demons is to import a culturally

loaded term. A modern definition of demon, is an evil spirit or devil, esp.
one thought to possess a person.14 This definition is quite close to what we
see in late Second Temple Jewish texts and the New Testament. While this is
a modern definition, it generally reflects the context of ancient literature from
the late Second Temple period; it is still important to examine the background
of demons in the ancient world.
The concept of demon is not common in the Hebrew Bible;
nevertheless, there are a few references worth considering. One reference
occurs in Deut. 32:17: They sacrificed to demons [ ;LXX: ]
which were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had
come in of late, whom your ancestors had never dreaded, and in an apparent
reference to Deut. 32, Ps. 106:37 reads, They sacrificed their sons and their
daughters to the demons [ ;LXX: ].15 These two texts are
suggestive of an idea being present in ancient Judaism of evil spirits, and this is
not surprising, but the idea seems to be limited in scope in that the demons/evil
spirits are conceived of as being the object of false or misdirected worship.
Platos description of the daimones in The Symposium (202e-203a) is a good
starting point for thinking about the demons in the Greco-Roman context. 16

Hes a great spirit, Socrates. Everything spiritual, you see, is in

between god and mortal. What is their function? I asked. They
[daimones] are messengers who shuttle back and forth between the
two, conveying prayer and sacrifice from men to gods, while to men
they bring commands from the gods and gifts in return for sacrifices.
Being in the middle of the two, they round out the whole and bind
fast the all to all. Through them all divination passes, through them
the art of priests in sacrifice and ritual, in enchantment, prophecy,
and sorcery. Gods do not mix with men; they mingle and converse
with us through spirits instead, whether we are awake or asleep. 17

As is clear from the passage above, conceptually, demons start out somewhat
similar to what we have come to understand as the role of angelsmoving back

14. Concise Oxford Dictionary, 9th ed., s.v. demon.

15. For other references to demons in the LXX, see Isa. 13:21; 34:14; 65:3.
16. On the Greco-Roman traditions relating to the Watchers, see the contribution in this volume by
Anathea Portier-Young, as well as Apocalypse against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 4977.
17. John Cooper and D. Hutchinson, Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997), 48586.
98 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

and forth between heaven and earth and communicating between heaven and
earth. As H.S. Vernel notes, Platos concept of daimones as beings intermediate
between god and men is completely new, but this notion was adopted by
all subsequent demonologies.18 Clearly, though, there is a dramatic shift in
the conception of demons from the time of Plato to the writings of the New
Testament, and much of that shift may have to do with the interplay with
Jewish beliefs.
Demons are also seen in some contemporaneous Jewish texts. Baruch
4:7 states, For you provoked him who made you, by sacrificing to demons
[] and not to God, and in 4:35, For fire will come upon her
[Jerusalem] from the Everlasting for many days, and for a long time she will be
inhabited by demons [].
Interestingly, similar to the naming of archangels in the Book of Daniel,19
and the leaders of the fallen Watchers in the Book of the Watchers, a demon
is named in Tobit 3:7-8, On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it also
happened that Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was reproached by her fathers
maids, because she had been given to seven husbands, and the evil demon
Asmodeus [ ] had slain each of them before
he had been with her as his wife.20 This text is quite similar to the Book of the
Watchers in its conception of a specific malevolent individual being.21
Lastly, demons appear in the writings from Qumran.22 One example will
suffice to demonstrate the range with which malevolent spirits were being
conceived in the Dead Sea Scrolls. 4Q510 fragment 1, 4-6 says, And I, the
Sage, declare the grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terrify all
the spirits of the ravaging angels, and the bastard spirits, demons, Liliths, owls
and [jackals] and those who strike unexpectedly to lead astray the spirit of

18. H. S. Vernel, Daimones, in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1996), 426.
19. On the naming of angels, see also 1 En. 20:1-8 and cf. Josephus, War 2.142, and in like manner
carefully to preserve the books of the sect and the names of the angels.
20. Cf. Tob. 6:7, 14-17, and 8:3.
21. On the naming of demons in rituals, see Pierluigi Piovanelli, Sitting by the Waters of Dan, or The
Tricky Business of Tracing the Social Profile of the Communities that Produced the Earliest Enochic
Texts, in The Early Enoch Tradition, ed. G. Boccaccini and J.J. Collins (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 25781.
22. See Samuel Thomass essay in this volume; see also Philip Alexander, The Demonology of the
Dead Sea Scrolls, in The Dead Sea Scrolls After 50 Years, ed. Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam
(Leiden: Brill, 1999), 2:33153; the response to Alexander by Andy Reimer, Rescuing the Fallen Angels:
The Case of the Disappearing Angels at Qumran, DSD 7 (2000): 334353, and James Davila, The
Hodayot Hymnist and the Four Who Entered Paradise, RevQ 17 (1996): 45778.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616 | 99

knowledge.23 This list appears to be meant to cover the significant range of evil
beings that were present in late Second Temple Jewish literature.
When we examine the writings of the early Christians, we see that daimon
takes on a decidedly negative connotation (cf. 1 En. 7:1-6, 15:11). Gone is the
neutrality found in Platos description. Angels take on the role of intermediary
between God and humans. Demons and all its cognate words are seen as
malevolent powers in early Christian writings.24
Demons in the New Testament gospels take on a more specific role.25
They are malevolent beings who can invade and inhabit human beings causing
mental and physical illness (e.g., Mark 1:34). They can be exorcised (e.g., Mark
1:34), especially by Jesus,26 but not exclusively (Mark 3:14-15). One scholar has
even made a direct connection between the fallen Watchers and the disciples
in the Gospel of Mark.27 The demons invasion of the human being, causing
mental or physical illness seems to be a key difference between them and
As otherworldly beings, angels and demons have some similarities. Their
common traits are mentioned in many ancient texts: immortality, special
knowledge, and so on, but the distinguishing characteristic of demons from
the New Testament period onward seems to be their ability to possess human
beings. Angels are not said to possess humans, so the better parallel for demons
is spirits, while angels may be something of a class unto themselves. The
Watchers, then, do not fit one of the key criteria for being considered demons
as they came to be known in New Testament and later writings, that is, they do
not possess human beings. In this respect, their role in the Book of the Watchers is
closer to Prometheus in the Greek myths than to Satan in the New Testament.
Nevertheless, their actions, I think, ultimately lead to the demons of the New
Testament, because the spirits of the Giantsthe hybrid offspring of the fallen
Watchersremain on earth and cause evil in the world.

23. Translation from F. Garca Martnez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English,
trans. Wilfred G.E. Watson (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 371.
24. April DeConick, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (London:
Continuum, 2007), 50.
25. On the use of daimon in the NT, see TDNT 2:1619. For detailed discussion of the meaning of
daimon in various contexts, see TDNT 2:120, and DDD, 44555.
26. On Jesus as exorcist, see H. Kee, The Terminology of Marks Exorcism Stories, NTS 14 (1967):
23246. For a much fuller exploration of the idea of Jesus as an exorcist, see the study by G. Twelftree,
Jesus the Exorcist: A Contribution to the Study of the Historical Jesus (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993).
27. Strelan, The Fallen Watchers, 7392.
28. See Kevin Sullivan, Spiritual Inhabitation in the Gospel of Mark: A Reconsideration of Mark
8:33, Henoch 32 (2010): 40119.
100 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

It seems that 1 Enoch 616 draws upon Gen. 6:1-4.29 It is not clear, however,
where the enigmatic tale in Genesis originates.30 Whatever the origin of the
tale, it is clear that speculation about the Watchers, their fall, and the origin
of the Giants, was significantly widespread in the literature of the late Second
Temple period. This corresponds closely with an observable increase in
speculation about angels and the heavenly realm in the literature of the same
period (and beyond).
The Watchers also appear in one text from the Hebrew Bible, which
is roughly contemporaneous to the Book of the Watchers. The Watchers are
referred to as holy ones in Daniel, and this seems to fit with their (pre-fall)
situation in the Book of the Watchers. Daniel 4:17 states, The sentence is by the
decree of the watchers [], the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the
end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of mortals,
and gives it to whom he will, and sets over it the lowliest of human beings.
Here the Watchers appear in apposition to the holy ones, and thus seem to
be denizens of the heavens who are close to God and even render judgments
(cf. Dan. 4:13, 23).31 It is not clear, however, which way the influence flows
regarding Daniel and 1 Enoch 616. Their conceptions of the Watchers are
quite similar, so it is best to consider them as closely linked, but it is not
necessary here to choose which preceded the other.32
It is also clear that the Book of Watchers influenced the authors of the Dead
Sea Scrolls. Texts from Qumran such as 4Q511 and 1QM also demonstrate
similar conceptions of the spiritual realm and may give a clue as to why many
booklets from the contemporary collection of 1 Enoch were found among the
Scrolls.33 The Watchers traditions also clearly had significant influence upon the

29. Barker and Milik suggest instead that the short narrative in Genesis is dependent upon 1 Enoch.
Jozef T. Milik, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments from Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976),
3032, and Margaret Barker, The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in
Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity (London: SPCK, 1987), 1819. Also, in this volume, see Ida
Frlich, Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions.
30. Ronald S. Hendel, Of Demigods and the Deluge: Toward an Interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, JBL
106 (1987): 1326.
31. On the Watchers, see Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 140141, and John J. Collins, Daniel: A Commentary
on the Book of Daniel, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 22426.
32. For studies on Divine Courtroom scenes in Dan. and 1 Enoch, see Ryan Stokes, The Throne
Visions of Daniel 7, 1 Enoch 14, and the Qumran Book of Giants (4Q530): An Analysis of Their Literary
Relationship, DSD 15 (2008): 34058; and Scott D. Mackie, Ancient Jewish Mystical Motifs in
Hebrews Theology of Access and Entry Exhortations, NTS 58 (2011): 88104.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616 | 101

Book of Giants found at Qumran.34 It is difficult to assess the impact that the
Watchers traditions had on later literature; beyond influencing other portions of
1 Enoch,35 2 Enoch,36 and other Second Temple period texts,37 there seems little
doubt that speculation on the Watchers traditions was far-reaching and lasting.
There are also many references in the New Testament (e.g., Jude),38 and
later Christian writers, such as Justin Martyr, made the link between the fallen
watchers and demons explicit.39 For example, we read in Justins 2 Apology
5 that the angels transgressing this order, yielded to women in lust, and
begat children, who are called demons (cf. 1 En. 15:816:1).40 This influence
continued for many centuries in both Jewish and Christian circles. 41

Conclusions and Recommendations for Further Research

It seems that according to 1 Enoch 616 the Watchers were heavenly beings
similar to and probably understood by ancient authors to be angels.
Nevertheless, after the fall (by this I mean their physical movement down
to the earth and then below it; as well as the metaphorical fall of humans
by giving them knowledge that causes evil in the world) of the Watchers,
they can appropriately be called fallen angels. Further, their actions both in
defiling human women and in bringing secret knowledge to humanity make
them outliers from heaven, yet they are clearly not human. We should note,

33. For more on the relationship between the Book of Watchers and the Dead Sea Scrolls, see the
contributions in this volume by Samuel Thomas (previously noted).
34. Loren T. Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran: Text, Translation, and Notes (Tbingen:
Mohr Siebeck, 1997).
35. In this volume see Karina Martin Hogan (previously noted) and Leslie Baynes, The Watchers
Traditions in the Book of Parables.
36. See Andrei Orlovs, The Watchers of Satanail: The Fallen Angels Traditions in 2 (Slavonic)
Enoch, in New Perspectives on 2 Enoch, SJS 4, ed. A. Orlov, G. Boccaccini, Jason Zurawski (Leiden: Brill,
37. See John Endres, The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees; Jeremy Corley, The Enochic
Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature, and Silviu Bunta, Cain the Giant: Watchers
Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve, all in this volume.
38. For detailed studies relating to the NT, see the contributions in this volume by Scott Lewis and
Eric Mason.
39. On this see Randall Chesnutt, The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin
Martyr, in this volume.
40. For a much fuller discussion, see Reed, Fallen Angels, 16089.
41. See Joshua Ezra Burnss essay in this volume, The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash,
and also Franklin T. Harkins, The Embodiment of Angels: A Debate in Mid-Thirteenth-Century
Theology, Recherches de thologie et philosophie mdivales 78 (2011): 2558.
102 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

however, that in most instances of the name Watchers the title fallen angels
can be applied. Interestingly, even in Daniel some distinction seems to be made
between the Watchers and named archangels.42
The Watchers as fallen angels themselves do come to be associated with
demons in later literature, but it is not appropriate to refer to the Watchers (in
the Book of the Watchers and I think elsewhere) as demons per se. They are best
conceived of as a unique subset of angels who, by their transgression of Gods
boundaries, made themselves something unique, and also brought about the
origins of unique hybrids (the Giants).
Many Enochic writings come from a cultural milieu in which speculation
about the heavenly realm (as a subset of apocalyptic fervor) was rampant. It
seems that in this text, what we are observing is the beginning of a significant
change in the cultural understanding of evil. In the wake of the exile and the
spread of Hellenism, the reason that Jews suffered needed to be explained, and
it needed to be explained through the Scriptures. It also needed to be explained
in a way that removed any taint from YHWH. Genesis 6:1-4 provided fertile
ground for further development that would explain not just the abstract or
philosophical arguments why evil existed, but more importantly, the concrete
reason that evil was in the world and people suffered. A subset of angels fell
from heaven and by that choice separated themselves from heaven and YHWH.
While the Giants were wiped out by the flood, the angels themselves were
immortal, and so they remained on earth and became the demons of later
Jewish and Christian speculation. In this way, evil was physically in the world.
While it is by no means certain that there is a literary link between the
Enochic literature and the writings of the New Testament (esp. Jude and
the Gospels), I suggest that potential points of contact merit further research;
whatever the relationship, it appears that at least conceptually, the fall of the
angels in the Book of the Watchers was a precursor to the rise of the demons in
the Gospels.

Brief Bibliography
Alexander, Philip S. The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Pages 33153
in Volume 1 of The Dead Sea Scrolls after 50 Years. 2 vols. Edited by P.W.
Flint and J.C. VanderKam. Leiden: Brill, 1999.

42. There is the tradition in Gen. Rab. (on Gen. 18:1) that the names of the angels were brought back
from the Babylonian Exile, which might suggest different provenances for the Watchers and the named
angels within Daniel. On this see J.J. Collins, Daniel, 337.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 616 | 103

Auffarth, Christoph and Loren T. Stuckenbruck (ed.). The Fall of the Angels.
Themes in Biblical Narrative 6. Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Davidson, Maxwell J. Angels at Qumran: A Comparative Study of 1 Enoch 136,
72108 and the Sectarian Writings from Qumran. JSPSup 11. Sheffield: Sheffield
Academic Press, 1992.
Hanson, Paul D. Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel, and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1
Enoch 611. JBL 96 (1977): 195233.
Hendel, Ronald S. Of Demigods and the Deluge: Toward an Interpretation of
Genesis 6:1-4. JBL 106 (1987): 1326.
Orlov, Andrei. Dark Mirrors: Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology
(Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2011).
Reed, Annette Yoshiko. Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity:
The Reception of Enochic Literature. New York: Cambridge University Press,
Reimer, Andy M. Rescuing the Fallen Angels: The Case of the Disappearing
Angels at Qumran. DSD 7 (2000): 334353.
Strelan, Rick. The Fallen Watchers and the Disciples in Mark. JSP 20 (1999):
Sullivan, Kevin P. Wrestling with Angels: A Study of the Relationship Between
Humans and Angels in Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament. Leiden:
Brill, 2004.
Suter, David. Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: The Problem of Family Purity in 1
Enoch 616. HUCA 50 (1979): 11535.

Second Temple

The Watchers Traditions in the BoBook

ok of
the W
atchers and the Animal A
Karina Martin Hogan

The most striking and influential traditions in the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch
136) are the myths about the rebellion of the Watchers. The term Watchers,
meaning wakeful ones (Aramaic ), glossed as sons of Heaven in 1
En. 6:2, refers to a class of angels, mentioned in the Bible only in Dan. 4:10,
14, 20.1 Even within the Book of the Watchers it is sometimes used of the
holy angels in heaven (e.g., 12:2-3, 20:1). Nevertheless, in the phrase the
Watchers traditions, the Watchers are understood to be those angels who
violated the boundary between heaven and earth, both by procreating with
human women and by revealing heavenly secrets to human beings. Traditions
about the rebellion of the Watchers are concentrated in chapters 616 of the
Book of the Watchers. Two basic myths of angelic rebellion are intertwined
in chapters 611, while chapters 1216 connect the combined myths with
the figure of Enoch and offer abstract reflections on the implications of the
Watchers transgressions.2
The remainder of the Book of the Watchers is only tangentially related to
the Watchers myths. Chapters 15, consisting mainly of a theophany and a

1. See John J. Collins, Watchers, in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, ed. K. van der
Toorn, B. Becking and P.W. van der Horst, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 89395. Early extra-biblical
uses of the term Watcher(s) include Jub. 4:15; CD 2:18; 1QapGen 2:1,16; 4Q534 1ii+2, 15; T. Reu.
5:6-7; T. Naph. 3:5. For a discussion of the Watchers traditions in the Qumran texts, please see Samuel
Thomass essay in this volume.
2. John J. Collins, The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men, in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-
Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early Christianity, ed. Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro (Winona
Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008), 25974, esp. 26869 on the metaphysical implications of the myth.

108 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

judgment speech, serve as an introduction to the Book of the Watchers but focus
mainly on the judgment of humankind (the Watchers are mentioned only in
1 Enoch 1:5). The introductory chapters present sin as a violation of the order
of creation and provide an eschatological context within which to interpret the
Watchers myths as a warning to humankind. Chapters 1719, which relate the
first of Enochs journeys, are more closely connected to the Watchers traditions,
in that Enochs destination is the abyss where the rebellious Watchers are being
held until the final judgment. Enoch also visits the place where the fallen
Watchers are imprisoned as the first stop on his second journey (in 21:7-10), but
the myths of the Watchers are not a primary focus of chapters 2036.

Author and Audience of the BOOK OF THE WATCHERS

The Book of the Watchers is a composite text that was completed by the late
third century bce, while the earliest traditions in the book are possibly as
early as the late fourth century.3 The identity of the authors of the Book of
the Watchers is unknown, but it has been proposed that they were part of
a priestly movement that emerged in the fourth century bce in opposition
to the Zadokite priesthood that controlled the Second Temple in Jerusalem.4
Although this hypothesis has not been universally accepted, a number of
scholars have nevertheless seen a critique of the Jerusalem priesthood in parts of
the Book of the Watchers, especially chapters 1216.5 While it seems likely that

3. George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 136; 81108,
Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 7.
4. Gabriele Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002). See the critiques of this hypothesis by James C. VanderKam, Mapping Second
Temple Judaism, in The Early Enoch Literature, JSJSup 121, ed. G. Boccaccini and John J. Collins
(Leiden: Brill, 2007), 120, esp. 1520; and John J. Collins, Enochic Judaism and the Sect of the Dead
Sea Scrolls, The Early Enoch Literature, 28399.
5. David W. Suter, Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: The Problem of Family Purity in 1 Enoch, HUCA 50
(1979): 11535; Suter, Revisiting Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest, in The Origins of Enochic Judaism:
Proceedings of the First Enoch Seminar, University of Michigan, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy, June 1923, 2001, ed. G.
Boccaccini (Turin: Zamorani, 2002 = Henoch 14 [2002]), 13742; George W.E. Nickelsburg, Enoch,
Levi and Peter: Recipients of Revelation in Upper Galilee, JBL 100 (1981): 575600; Nickelsburg, 1
Enoch 1, 23032, 26972; Benjamin G. Wright III, Ben Sira and the Book of the Watchers on the
Legitimate Priesthood, in Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit, CBQMS 38, ed. Jeremy Corley and
Vincent Skemp (Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2005), 24153; Martha
Himmelfarb, Levi, Phinehas, and the Problem of Intermarriage at the Time of the Maccabean Revolt,
JSQ 6 (1999): 124; Himmelfarb, The Book of the Watchers and the Priests of Jerusalem, in Origins of
Enochic Judaism, 13135; Himmelfarb, Temple and Priests in the Book of the Watchers, the Animal
Apocalypse, and the Apocalypse of Weeks, in The Early Enoch Literature, 21935.
The Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse | 109

the authors of the Book of the Watchers were either priests or closely associated
with priests, it can be said with more certainty that they were scribe-sages, since
Enoch is introduced as a scribe in 12:3-4 (cf. 15:1).6
It has also been suggested that the earliest myth of the Watchers reflects
the wars among the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great) in the
late fourth century. The Watchers traditions would hence have originated as
a parody of the claims by some of the Diadochi to divine parentage, and as a
commentary on the violence their rivalry engendered.7 On the other hand, John
Collins has pointed to the apocalyptic polyvalence of the Watchers traditions:
their meaning is not exhausted by connecting them to one particular historical

Synopsis: The Watchers Traditions in the BOOK OF THE

The Watchers traditions developed over time, and at least three stages of that
development can be seen in the Book of the Watchers, in 1 Enoch 611 and
1216. The earliest stage, the Shemihazah myth, is itself an interpretation of
Genesis 69, and especially of Gen. 6:1-4.9 In 1 Enoch 611, Shemihazah
is the leader of a conspiracy of Watchers to commit a great sin (6:3) by
taking human wives and begetting children. This sin is presented as defiling
the Watchers (7:1) because it is a forbidden union: it violates the boundaries
between spirit and flesh, heaven and earth.10 The resulting offspring are called
Giants (7:2) and later bastards or half-breeds (9:9). In contrast to the
positive or neutral description of the Nephilim in Gen. 6:4 (rendered as Giants
in the Septuagint), the Giants in the myths of the Watchers are man-eating
destroyers; the forbidden unions between Watchers and human women also

6. Benjamin G. Wright III, 1 Enoch and Ben Sira: Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Relationship, in
The Early Enoch Literature, 15976.
7. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 170.
8. John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Technique: Setting and Function in the Book of the Watchers,
CBQ 44 (1982): 91111, 9799; Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish
Apocalyptic Literature, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 5152.
9. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 16668. On the relationship of the Book of the Watchers to the Flood myth,
see further Helge S. Kvanvig, The Watchers Story, Genesis and Atra-Hasis: A Triangular Reading, in
The Origins of Enochic Judaism, 1721. On the Book of the Watchers as an interpretation of Gen. 6:1-4, see
Archie T. Wright, The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6:1-4 in Early Jewish Literature,
WUNT 2 (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), chs. 4 and 5.
10. William Loader, Enoch, Levi and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes towards Sexuality in the Early Enoch
Literature, the Aramaic Levi Document and the Book of Jubilees (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 15.
110 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

lead to the defilement of the earth, through bloodshed (7:3-6, 9:1). The human
victims of the Giants cry out to heaven for help (8:4), and four archangels
(Michael, Sariel, Raphael, and Gabriel) intercede with the Most High (ch. 9),
who responds by sending the flood to cleanse the earth (10:20), after first
commissioning the angel Sariel to instruct Noah on how to save a remnant of
humankind (10:1-3). In the Shemihazah myth, the sexual transgressions of the
Watchers are the direct cause of the flood, and human beings are essentially
helpless victims.
The material in 1 Enoch 611 that has to do with the Watchers revealing
illicit knowledge to humankind is generally thought to represent a second stage
in the development of the Watchers traditions. According to George W.E.
Nickelsburg, the Shemihazah myth was first expanded to include the revelation
of heavenly mysteries and magical secrets to the women with whom the
Watchers mated (1 Enoch 7:1de, 8:3 and 9:8c). Some time later, an independent
myth about a single Watcher, Asael, descending to earth to teach human beings
forbidden knowledge about metallurgy, mining, and personal adornment, was
incorporated into chapters 611.11 Nickelsburg has argued that the
interpolations concerning Asael (8:1-2, 9:6 and 10:4-8) were placed so as to
imply that Asaels descent preceded the rebellion led by Shemihazah and that
Asael bears ultimate responsibility for the proliferation of sin leading to the
flood.12 For example, Raphael is commissioned to bind Asael and throw him
into an abyss (10:4-8) before Gabriel is told to incite the Giants to destroy one
another (10:9-10) and Michael is commanded to imprison Shemihazah and the
rest of the fallen Watchers in a fiery abyss and also to destroy the spirits of the
Giants (10:11-15). At the same time, the interpolation of the Asael tradition
allows the blame for the sexual misconduct of the Watchers to be shifted to the
human women: by means of their newly acquired knowledge of cosmetics and
ornamentation, they led the holy ones astray (8:1c).13 Although the distinction

11. Nickelsburg (1 Enoch 1, 19193) argues that the Asael myth is modeled after the Prometheus myth
as it appears in Aeschyluss Prometheus Bound. It is possible, however, that the author of the Book of the
Watchers knew an Israelite myth about the origins of metallurgy and related arts, alluded to in connection
with Tubal-cain in Gen. 4:22. See Wright, Origin of Evil Spirits, 11517.
12. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 17172.
13. Loader, Enoch, Levi and Jubilees on Sexuality, 18. The longer version of 8:1 that includes the notion
that the angels were seduced by the women is preserved in only one late Greek manuscript (Syncellus),
but Nickelsburg (1 Enoch 1, 19596) believes it reflects an early version of the myth. For a full discussion
of the arguments for and against the antiquity of Syncellus version of 8:1, and its implications, see Kelley
Coblentz Bautch, Decoration, Destruction and Debauchery: Reflections on 1 Enoch 8 in Light of
4QEnb, DSD 15 (2008): 7995.
The Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse | 111

between the Shemihazah and Asael myths explains some of the inconsistencies
within 1 Enoch 611, it is important to bear in mind that in the received form of
the Book of the Watchers, the two traditions are allowed to stand in tension with
one another.14
Chapters 1216 represent a third stage in the development of the Watchers
traditions, reflecting on and reinterpreting the combined Watchers myths, with
more space devoted to the illicit sexual unions than to the revelation of heavenly
secrets.15 Enoch the scribe is introduced somewhat awkwardly into the story
of the Watchers at the beginning of chapter 12; he functions in these chapters
both as a mouthpiece for God and an intercessor for the fallen Watchers, a
combination of roles that makes him analogous to a prophet.16 Enoch is first sent
to condemn the rebellious Watchers for forsaking heaven to defile themselves
with women . . . as the sons of earth do (12:4-6) and then to pronounce
judgment upon Asael for revealing unrighteous deeds to humankind (13:1-2).
Enoch carries out his commission to speak to all of the fallen Watchers (13:3)
but also agrees to their request to write a memorandum of petition asking
forgiveness from the Lord of heaven, for they were no longer able to speak or
to lift their eyes to heaven out of shame for the deeds through which they had
sinned and for which they had been condemned (13:4-5).
Like a prophet, Enoch seems torn between his commission to deliver
the divine sentence against the Watchers and his human sympathy with their
predicament, which includes being barred from heaven, bound in bonds in
the earth, and forced to witness the destruction of their beloved sons (14:2-7).
The emphasis in 14:2-3 on Enochs human tongue (lit., tongue of flesh) and
human ability to understand with the heart underscores the ironic inversion
that pervades these chapters.17 In the heavenly ascent that follows, Enoch crosses
in reverse (albeit in a vision) the very boundary that he is commissioned to

14. Collins, The Apocalyptic Technique, 97.

15. Carol A. Newsom has argued that chs. 1216 were composed before the Asael traditions were
added to chs. 611; she regards the mentions of Asael (13:1-3) and the revelation of mysteries (16:2-3) as
redactional insertions. See her article The Development of 1 Enoch 619: Cosmology and Judgment,
CBQ 42 (1980): 31029, esp. 319. Annette Yoshiko Reed makes a convincing counterargument that the
motif of illicit angelic teaching is integral to chs. 1216 in her essay Heavenly Ascent, Angelic Descent,
and the Transmission of Knowledge in 1 Enoch 616, in Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late
Antique Religions, ed. R.S. Boustan and A.Y. Reed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004),
16. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 229.
17. On the elevation of Enoch as an inversion of the descent of the Watchers, see Annette Yoshiko
Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 4449.
112 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

rebuke the Watchers for transgressing. The description of what Enoch saw
in his heavenly ascent (14:8-23) emphasizes the transcendence of God and
the otherness of the heavenly realm. Yet Enoch, a human being, is twice
summoned into the divine presence (14:24, 15:1), where even the angels are
forbidden to approach (14:21-22).
The oracle (divine speech) in 15:116:4 is the actual indictment that
Enoch is to deliver to the rebellious Watchers. It also functions as a
reinterpretation of the myths of the Watchers in 1 Enoch 611 and as a reflection
on the implications of transgressing the boundaries between heaven and earth
and between spirit and flesh.18 Addressing Enoch, the Lord acknowledges the
ironic inversion that Enochs ascent to heaven entails: Go and say to the
watchers of heaven, who sent you to petition in their behalf, You should
petition in behalf of humans, and not humans in behalf of you (15:2). Enoch
is addressed only once more in the oracle (in 16:2), but the human messenger
lingers in the background, creating an ironic tension with the message of
the indictment, which denigrates flesh and blood, the sons of earth, and
(especially) the daughters of men.
The remainder of the oracle falls into three parts. The first, 15:3-7a, makes
explicit the boundaries that the Watchers have transgressed. They have
forsaken the high heaven, the eternal sanctuary, their proper sphere, and have
defiled [themselves] with the daughters of men, doing as the sons of earth
do, by begetting offspring (15:3). The next verse reiterates the charges in a
more poetic form: You were holy ones and spirits, living forever. With the
blood of women you have defiled yourselves, and with the blood of flesh you
have begotten; and with the blood of men [i.e., of human beings] you have
lusted, and you have done as they doflesh and blood, who die and perish
(15:4). Since heaven is described as a sanctuary and the sin of the Watchers is
expressed in terms of defilement by blood, some scholars have read these verses
as a critique of the priests of the Second Temple for violating restrictions on
whom they may marry, or the laws of menstrual purity.19 As frequently in the
Bible (e.g., Gen. 9:4-5, Lev. 17:14, Deut. 12:23), however, blood functions in
15:4 as a symbol of mortal life. The Watchers are not being condemned for

18. Nickelsburg (1 Enoch 1, 269) calls it the heart of this authors reinterpretation of chapters 611,
while Collins (Sons of God, 268) sees it as the most explicit formulation in 1 Enoch of the metaphysical
implications of the descent of the Watchers.
19. See note 5 above. In her most recent treatment of this passage, however, Himmelfarb (Temple and
Priests, 223) acknowledges the lack of fit between the myth and the criticism implicit in it. Loader
(Enoch, Levi and Jubilees on Sexuality, 2830) cautions against a too narrow understanding of defilement
by blood, interpreting it as the result of illicit mixing in intercourse with human flesh and blood.
The Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse | 113

their particular choice of wives or for violations of family purity, but more
fundamentally, for choosing marriage and procreation and a mortal life on
earth over immortality in heaven, as 15:5-7 make clear. Women are thoroughly
objectified in 15:5, as vessels created for the sole purpose of procreation, but
the absence of women among the Watchers (15:7) points to the only possible
motivation for forsaking heaven.
Although in 10:15 Michael was ordered to destroy all the spirits of the
half-breeds and the sons of the Watchers, in the next section of the oracle,
15:7b16:1, the spirits of the Giants are called evil spirits on the earth (15:8)
and are blamed for causing various kinds of trouble on earth until the day of
the consummation of the great judgment (16:1).20 This is the most significant
reinterpretation of the Watchers myth in chapters 1216, since it implies that
Gabriel and Michael were only partially successful in eliminating the Giants.
As hybrids of Watchers and human beings, the Giants flesh is mortal but
their spirits are immortal; the proper abode of immortal spirits is heaven, but
since they were begotten on the earth, on the earth is their dwelling (15:10;
cf. 15:7b-8). Apparently out of pure spite (since they no longer need to eat,
according to 15:11), the spirits of the Giants continue to attack human beings
and make desolate the earth (15:1116:1). The case of the Giants undercuts
the neat dichotomies of heaven and earth, spirit and flesh, immortal and mortal
laid out in 15:3-7a.
The final section of the oracle, 16:2-4, condemns the Watchers for
revealing a heavenly mystery to the women. Although Asael is the only
Watcher named in chapters 1216, the revelation associated with him in 8:1-2,
9:6 and 10:7-8 is here subsumed under the illicit knowledge transmitted by
Shemihazah and his associates to their wives (16:3; cf. 8:3).21 Coming at the very
end of chapters 1216, the shift in focus from sexual transgression to forbidden
revelation is significant for two reasons. First, it counters the impression created
by the previous section of the oracle that the spirits of the Giants are the
cause of most evils on the earth, since 16:3 clearly states that through this
mystery the women and men are multiplying evils on the earth. Second, these
verses serve as a transition to Enochs otherworldly journeys (chapters 1719
and 2036), setting up a contrast between improper and proper revelation of
heavenly secrets.22

20. As Nickelsburg points out (1 Enoch 1, 273), these verses are the point of departure for the more
developed demonology of Jubilees.
21. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 274. He points out that the parallel structure of 15:2-3 and 16:2-3 suggests
that the same group of Watchers is being indicted for both transgressions, the sexual and the revelatory.
22. Reed, Fallen Angels, 4849.
114 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Enoch visits the abyss where the fallen Watchers are imprisoned on both of
his journeys, in 1 Enoch 18:10-11; 19:1-2; and in 21:7-10. Of these verses, only
19:1-2 offer a novel interpretation of the Watchers myth. This interpretation
is distinct from that of chapters 1216, in that it is the spirits of the Watchers
(who are here called the angels who mingled with the women), and not
of their offspring, that bring destruction on men and lead them astray to
sacrifice to demons as to gods until the day of the great judgment (19:1).23
The generally accepted reading of 9:2 adds a surprising twist: the wives of the
transgressing angels will become sirens. In Greek mythology, the Sirens were
seductive bird-women who lured sailors to destruction (see especially Homer
Od. 12.39-54, 153-200; Apollonius Rhodius Argon. 4.891-919); in later sources
they came to be associated with mourning and the underworld.24 Associating
the wives of the Watchers with the Sirens may be meant to reinforce the idea
that they seduced the Watchers, after being instructed in personal adornment
by Asael (cf. 8:1c).25 The focus of 19:1-2 is less on explaining the sin of the
Watchers, however, than on describing its ongoing ill effects on the world.
Given that the ongoing influence of the wives of the Watchers is not elaborated
either here or in any of the later developments of the Watchers traditions, it may
be that the reading they will become sirens represents a double corruption of
an original Aramaic text meaning they will be brought to an utter end. 26

Influence: The Watchers Traditions in the ANIMAL APOCALYPSE

The Animal Apocalypse (1 Enoch 8590), an allegorical retelling of biblical
history in which people are symbolized by animals, is the second of the two
dream visions in the fourth major section of 1 Enoch. It contains the most
extensive interpretation of the Watchers myth in 1 Enoch outside of the Book of
the Watchers; in fact, 1 Enoch 611 is the main source for the Animal Apocalypse
apart from the Bible.27 The Animal Apocalypse was probably written late in
the third century and redacted during the Maccabean revolt (between 165 and

23. Reed, Fallen Angels, 50. Nickelsburg (1 Enoch 1, 287) interprets their spirits in 19:1 as
functionally equivalent if not identical with the evil spirits that went forth from the bodies of the dead
Giants, according to 15:8-12. This seems unlikely, both because chs. 1516 distinguish clearly between
the Watchers and the Giants, and because the charge of inciting human beings to idolatry is absent from
chs. 616, as Reed observes (ibid.); see also Loader, Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality, 5354.
24. Kelley Coblentz Bautch, What Becomes of the Angels Wives? A Text-Critical Study of 1 Enoch
19:2, JBL 125 (2006): 76680, esp. 77071.
25. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 288; Loader, Enoch, Levi and Jubilees on Sexuality, 54. See note 13 above on
26. Coblentz Bautch, What Becomes of the Angels Wives? 77880.
The Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse | 115

160 bce), almost certainly by scribal sages who were part of the same Enochic
intellectual tradition as the authors of the Book of the Watchers.28 Hence it sheds
light on the ongoing process of reinterpretation of the Watchers myths within
Enochic circles.
The Animal Apocalypse seeks to resolve the ambiguity in chapters 611
about which happened first: the descent of Asael to reveal forbidden knowledge
or the conspiracy of Shemihazah and his associates. Watchers are represented
by stars in the symbolism of this allegory; a single star falls from heaven
first, in 86:1, and causes social disruption and grief among the descendents
of Cain, represented by black cattle (86:2). Patrick Tiller suggests that the
author associates the descent of Asael with the theme of cultural innovation
in the genealogy of Cain in Gen. 4:17-24, which ends with another murder,
by Lamech, following immediately upon the invention of bronze and iron
implements by Tubal-cain.29 A large group of stars (Shemihazah and company)
follows the first star to earth, and after transforming themselves into bulls
and let[ting] out their organs like horses, they begin to mount the cows
of the bulls (86:3-4), apparently the white cows (Sethites) as well as the
black (Cainites).30 The offspring of these unions are elephants, camels, and
asses, perhaps alluding to the three categories of Giants (Giants, Nephilim, and
Elioud) mentioned in the long form of 1 Enoch 7:2 and in Jub. 7:22.31 Even
before the elephants, camels, and asses begin to devour the bulls (86:6), the bulls
themselves begin to bite with their teeth and devour and gore with their horns
(86:5), suggesting that the immediate result of the descent of Shemihazah and
his company is an increase of violence by human beings (though possibly in
self-defense against the Giants).
The description of the activities of the Watchers in the Animal Apocalypse
seeks to clarify several other points left ambiguous by the Book of the Watchers.
For instance, the Book of the Watchers never explains how the Watchers, being
spirits, were able to impregnate the human women. Here, their transformation
from stars to bulls suggests that they took on human flesh, or at least human

27. Patrick Tiller, A Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch, SBLEJL 4 (Atlanta: Scholars,
1993), 83.
28. Ibid., 7879, 11626; cf. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 36062.
29. Tiller, Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse, 23739. He understands those large and black cattle
in 86:2 to refer to the black cattle only (i.e., the descendants of Cain).
30. Nickelsburg (1 Enoch 1, 373), in disagreement with Tiller, thinks that 86:2 refers to intermarriage
between Sethites and Cainites, so that Asael is responsible for the corruption of both groups.
31. Tiller, Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse, 24043. As with 8:1, it is the Syncellus Greek text that
preserves the longer reading of 7:2 (see n. 13 above).
116 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

form, as soon as they came to earth; the animal imagery obscures the exact
nature of the transformation. The comparison of their genitals to those of horses
may be meant to suggest that they were still distinguishable from ordinary men
(also represented by bulls at this stage).32 On the other hand, the proverbial
association of stallions with lust (cf. Jer. 5:8, Ezek. 23:20) may be sufficient to
explain that detail.33 In any case, despite the prior descent of Asael, there is
no indication in the Animal Apocalypse that the women actively seduced the
Watchers. Finally, whereas the Book of the Watchers is inconsistent about Asaels
involvement in the sexual transgression of the Watchers (he is listed among
the company of Shemihazah in 6:7 but is rebuked only for revealing forbidden
knowledge in 8:1, 9:6 and 10:4-8), the Animal Apocalypse makes clear that he
was not part of Shemihazahs conspiracy. He is not said to transform into a bull
when he descends to earth in 86:1, and in both the pre-flood punishment and
the final judgment of the Watchers, he is judged separately from (and prior to)
the stars whose organs were like the organs of horses (88:1, 3; 90:21).
In narrating the punishment of the Watchers prior to the flood, the Animal
Apocalypse follows the Book of the Watchers fairly closely. Chapter 87 of the
Animal Apocalypse introduces seven heavenly beings with the appearance of
white men, three of whom immediately escort Enoch (in his vision) to a
high place, from which he is to watch the events of human history unfold
(87:3-4) until the eschaton, when the three men return him to the New
Jerusalem (90:31). The remaining four men, in 88:189:1, fulfill exactly the
tasks assigned to Sariel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael in 10:1-15, with the
exception that Sariels warning of Noah is moved to the last place, so that it
leads smoothly into the narrative of the flood.34 Asael and the other group of
Watchers seem to be bound in separate abysses in the Animal Apocalypse, just
as in chapter 10 of the Book of the Watchers (88:1 //10:4-5, 88:3 // 10:12), but in
contrast to the single abyss that Enoch sees on both of his journeys (18:10-11
and 21:7-10).35

32. Reed (Fallen Angels, 75, n. 69) points out that this question is also addressed by later interpretations,
such as the T. Reu. 5:5-7 and Ps.-Clem. Hom. 8.12-13. While the T. Reu. is vague on whether the
Watchers became flesh-and-blood men or mere apparitions evoking lust and perhaps awe in the women,
Ps.-Clem. Hom. 8.12-13 records a two-step process: first the Watchers took on human forms with the
honorable intention of showing humankind the possibility of living holy lives. Having become human,
however, they experienced lust and cohabited with women; as a result, their fiery substance changed
irrevocably into flesh, so that they were unable to return to heaven.
33. Tiller, Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse, 240.
34. Ibid., 8388.
35. Ibid., 25253.
The Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse | 117

In fact, there is no clear evidence that the author of the Animal Apocalypse
knew the final form of the Book of the Watchers, since the only close parallels are
with chapters 611. Although the seven archangels in 87:2 could be an allusion
to chapter 20, all seven angels apparently accompany Enoch on his second
journey (chs. 2133), not just three of themand in any case the number
seven for the archangels could easily be an independent tradition. There is
no hint in the Animal Apocalypse of Enochs intercession for the Watchers;
although his ascent to a high place in 87:3 might be seen as parallel to his
ascent to heaven in chapters 1416, Tiller has shown that it must refer to his
transition to paradise, where he is to remain until the final judgment.36 Thus,
while the Animal Apocalypse represents another stage in the development of the
Watchers myth, it may in fact be independent of and parallel to the second
stage (the interpolation of the Asael traditions into chapters 611) and the third
(the incorporation of Enoch as an intermediary for the Watchers in chapters

Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Research

The process of reworking of the Watchers traditions that begins in the Book
of the Watchers and continues in the Animal Apocalypse is only the beginning
of the long history of interpretation that is the subject of this volume. Why
did the myths of the Watchers have such lasting resonance in Judaism and
Christianity? One reason may be that they both intersect with and challenge
the worldview, or rather the competing worldviews, expressed in the myths in
Genesis 111. For example, the central concerns of the Watchers mythsthe
boundary between the divine and the human; the meaning of mortality and
sexuality; the ambivalence of knowledge; the origins of sin and eviloverlap
considerably with those of the Garden of Eden myth.38 The final redactor of the
Book of the Watchers was certainly aware of the story of Adam and Eve (see 1 En.
32:6), but evidently did not feel that it addressed those concerns adequately.39

36. Ibid., 24650. For Enochs dwelling in paradise / the Garden of Eden, understood to be on a
mountain (cf. 1 Enoch 2832), until the final judgment, cf. 1 En. 106:8, 70:3-4; Jub. 4:23-24; 2 Enoch [A]
36:3; T. Ab. 11; see Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 7475.
37. Tiller, Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse, 9394. He notes that even the order of the second
and third stages is not certain; see note 15 above.
38. Carol A. Newsom, Genesis 23 and 1 Enoch 616: Two Myths of Origins and their Ethical
Implications, in Shaking Heaven and Earth: Essays in Honor of Walter Brueggemann and Charles B. Cousar,
ed. Christine Roy Yoder et al. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 722.
39. John J. Collins, Before the Fall: The Earliest Interpretations of Adam and Eve, in The Idea of
Biblical Interpretation: Essays in Honor of James L. Kugel, JSJSup 83, ed. Hindy Najman and Judith H.
118 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

More directly, the Watchers myths challenge the explanations in Genesis 111
for the flood and for the drive toward cultural and technical advancement that
culminates in the Tower of Babel story, by suggesting that human beings are
not completely responsible for cultural innovation, nor for the proliferation of
evil on the earth. The theological anthropology of the Book of the Watchers,
especially in conversation with the competing anthropologies in Genesis 111,
is a possible topic for future research. There is a particular need for further
study of the anthropology (and angelology) of the Book of the Watchers from the
point of view of gender, given the objectification of women in 15:5-7a and the
attempt to blame them for the fall of the Watchers in 8:1c. 40
Another avenue for exploring the theological anthropology of the Book
of the Watchers might be a literary treatment focusing on irony. This essay has
noted a few examples of irony, especially in 1 Enoch 1516, but there is an
irony inherent in the Watchers mythology, in that it calls into question the very
boundaries that it insists on: namely, between heaven and earth, spirit and flesh,
immortal and mortal. The Giants, and especially their immortal, earth-bound
spirits (15:7b16:1), are just the most striking example of the permeability
of those boundaries. If immortal spirits can give up heaven for sex, so can
righteous human beings like Enoch ascend to heaven and become immortal.41
Through irony, the Book of the Watchers grapples with the same paradox of
human nature expressed so poignantly by the poet of Psalm 8.

Newman (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 293308, esp. 3018 on Enochic interpretation of the Garden of Eden
40. Kevin P. Sullivan (Wrestling with Angels: A Study of the Relationship between Angels and Humans in
Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament, AGJU 55 [Leiden: Brill, 2004], 130) has noted the need
for more research on angel beliefs in relation to gender, since angels always appear on earth as men,
and with one exception (the daughters of Job in the T. Job), it is always men who are described as
becoming (or becoming like) angels.
41. Collins, Sons of God, 269. He believes that Enoch is paradigmatic for righteous human beings
and that the Book of the Watchers reflects a belief that human destiny finds its fulfillment in an angelic life
in heaven. It is true that both 10:16-22 and ch. 25 of the Book of the Watchers speak of the reward of the
righteous as an extraordinarily long and blessed life on earth, but it is missing the irony of chs. 1516 to
insist that they preclude the possibility of a heavenly afterlife for human beings as Bernhard Lang argues
in No Sex in Heaven: The Logic of Procreation, Death and Eternal Life in the Judaeo-Christian
Tradition, in Mlanges bibliques et orientaux en lhonneur de M. Mathias Delcor, ed. A. Caquot, S. Lgasse,
and M. Tardieu (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1985), 23753, 23839.
The Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse | 119

Brief Bibliography
Bhayro, Siam. The Shemihazah and Asael Narrative of 1 Enoch 611: Introduction,
Text, Translation and Commentary with Reference to Ancient Near Eastern and
Biblical Antecedents. Mnster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2005.
Boccaccini, Gabriele and John J. Collins, ed. The Early Enoch Literature. JSJSup
121. Leiden: Brill, 2007.
Collins, John J. The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men. Pages 25974
in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early
Christianity. Edited by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro. Winona Lake, IN:
Eisenbrauns, 2008.
Himmelfarb, Martha. Temple and Priests in the Book of the Watchers, the
Animal Apocalypse, and the Apocalypse of Weeks. Pages 21935 in The
Early Enoch Literature. JSJSup 121. Edited by Gabriele Boccaccini and John J.
Collins. Leiden: Brill, 2007.
Loader, William. Enoch, Levi and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes towards Sexuality
in the Early Enoch Literature, The Aramaic Levi Document and the Book of
Jubilees. Part One, chapters 1 and 2 on Book of the Watchers and Animal
Apocalypse. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
Newsom, Carol A. Genesis 23 and 1 Enoch 616: Two Myths of Origins and
Their Ethical Implications. Pages 722 in Shaking Heaven and Earth: Essays
in Honor of Walter Brueggemann and Charles B. Cousar. Edited by Christine
Roy Yoder, Kathleen M. OConnor, E. Elizabeth Johnson, and Stanley P.
Saunders. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005.
Nickelsburg, George W.E. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch,
Chapters 136; 81108. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001.
Reed, Annette Yoshiko. Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and
Christianity. Chapters 1 and 2 on Book of the Watchers. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2005.
. Heavenly Ascent, Angelic Descent, and the Transmission of
Knowledge in 1 Enoch 616. Pages 4766 in Heavenly Realms and Earthly
Realities in Late Antique Religions. Edited by R.S. Boustan and A.Y. Reed.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Tiller, Patrick A. A Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch. SBLEJL
4. Atlanta: Scholars, 1993.
Wright, Archie T. The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6:1-4 in
Early Jewish Literature. Chapters 4 and 5 on Book of the Watchers. WUNT 2/
198. Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005.

The Watchers Traditions in the Bo

ok of
John C. Endres, S.J.

The Book of Jubilees provides its audience with a reworked narrative and
halakhic account of events from the creation of the world to the meeting of
Moses with God at Mount Sinai; thus, in many sections it parallels the Books
of Genesis and Exodus 1-24. Close reading of this text reveals a number of
details and emphases that would not be known even to students of the Torah
(Masoretic tradition). Women who are anonymous in Genesis receive names as
the wives of patriarchs in Jubilees; laws that appeared first in texts deriving from
revelation to Moses at Sinai are known by patriarchs and matriarchs in Jubilees;
and the entire story and its interpretation has been revealed through angelic
mediation to Moses. Moreover, its reflection on sin and evil in the world seems
to depend on an interpretation of Genesis 3 and 6, as well as on the Watchers
Considering Jubilees as a prime example of Second Temple rewritten
Scripture, we can learn much about it when reading it in tandem with Genesis,
beginning with Genesis 111.1 But the rewriting of Genesis texts in Jubilees
57, concerning human sin from different perspectives, demonstrates a complex
relationship with the Scriptural version in Genesis 3 and 6, and especially with
the account of the fallen angels in the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 136,
especially in 1 Enoch 616). Unlike 1 Enoch, where the Watchers story seems
to provide explanation for the origin or existence of sin and evil in the world,
Jubilees presents the various facets of Genesis and the Watchers tradition as its

1. Jacques T.A.G.M. van Ruiten, Primaeval History Interpreted: The Rewriting of Genesis 111 in the Book
of Jubilees, JSJSup 66 (Leiden: Brill, 2000).

122 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

own paradigmatic approach to sin, violence, and evil in the world. The author
of Jubilees deploys these traditions to warn humans against particular behaviors
that were highlighted in the story of the Watchers.

Author and Audience

We consider the Book of Jubilees as a product of the Second Temple Palestinian
Jewish community. The question of provenance links closely with that of the
original language of the book. Since this book became known anew in the
West in 18442, following its discovery in Ethiopia, many scholars opined that
it had been written in Hebrew, but there was no sound basis for that judgment
on the issue until the discovery of fourteen copies (manuscripts) of Jubilees
among the scrolls found at Qumran. Study of these manuscripts confirmed the
conclusion that the book was written in Hebrew, then later translated into other
languages: Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Geez (Ethiopic). Textual fragments in
Greek, Latin, and Syriac have long been known, and many complete Ethiopic
copies are now known to exist.3 Comparison of the Qumran Hebrew fragments
with the Geez text establishes that the Ethiopic version represents a reliable
translation of the Hebrew text.4 In addition, the large number of manuscripts
found at Qumran witnesses to its popularity and significance for that Jewish
community, which so carefully preserved it.
Discovery of Jubilees manuscripts at Qumran also helps to establish the
dating of this text, to a time before the destruction of the community in 66 ce.
Paleographic studies of the earliest exemplars of Jubilees (4Q216, the oldest
manuscript, dated around 125 bce) indicates that the text was probably copied
ca. 125100 bce; this dating suggests that it would have been composed earlier,
perhaps in the mid-second century bce.5 Discussion continues about the precise
dating within that era, with debate about whether Jubilees was written before,
during or after the time of the persecutions under Antiochus Epiphanes IV.
This text never explicitly indicates its target audience, but several issues
and emphases in it seem to point to particular interest groups. Judging from a

2. James C. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees Translated, CSCO 511 (Louvain: Peeters, 1989), xviii.
3. VanderKam, Jubilees Translated, xviiixxxi; James C. VanderKam, The Manuscript Tradition of
Jubilees, Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Giovanni Ibba
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 321, esp. 1821.
4. James C. VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies in the Book of Jubilees, HSM 14 (Missoula, MT:
Scholars, 1977). He speaks of the Ethiopic version as an extraordinarily precise reflection (287).
5. James C. VanderKam, Qumrn Cave 4.VIII: Parabiblical Texts, Part I, DJD 13, ed. Harold W. Attridge
et al. in consultation with James C. VanderKam (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), 14.
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 123

number of references to matters normally connected with priestly and Levitical

groupsmatters of worship, purity, calendar, interpretation of Torah,
particularly in cases involving sexuality, intermarriage, and genealogyJubilees
seemingly addressed Jews from priestly and Levitical families.6 This opinion
gains strength from the opening scene of the book, where Moses stands as
authorizing mediator of Gods message to Israel in this book.
The issue of authorship remains a matter of debate. Many scholars argue
that Jubilees reflects the viewpoint of a single author, whose rewriting of
Scriptural narratives and legal halakhic matters constitute a single, credible
viewpoint.7 Others have seriously challenged this view.8 The most recent and
sustained challenges come from Michael Segal (who has proposed a schema of
rewritten narratives, not written by the redactor/author, joined together with
legal and chronological materials)9 and James Kugel (who discerns the presence
of multiple interpolations into a basic text).10 Their works also incorporate
and build on important earlier studies by Liora Ravid.11 At present this author
prefers the position of VanderKam and Hanneken12 and others that the literary
inconsistencies identified in the text do not seem serious enough to demonstrate
multiple authorship.

The Watchers traditions emerge in five passages, all early in the book: Jub.
4:15, 22; 5:1-10; 7:20-25; 8:1-4; 10:1-11. This next section will describe their
contents, approaches to their study (where available), and comment on unique
aspects of the tradition found here.

6. John C. Endres, Biblical Interpretation in the Book of Jubilees, CBQMS 18 (Washington, DC: Catholic
Biblical Association of America, 1987), 22650, esp. 23334, 23648.
7. James C. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, Guides to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, ed. Michael
A. Knibb (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), 1722.
8. Cf. Gene L. Davenport, The Eschatology of the Book of Jubilees (Leiden: Brill, 1971).
9. Michael Segal, The Book of Jubilees: Rewritten Bible, Redaction, Ideology and Theology, JSJSup 117
(Leiden: Brill, 2007).
10. James Kugel, On the Interpolations in the Book of Jubilees, RevQ 24 (2009): 21572.
11. Liora Ravid, The Special Terminology of the Heavenly Tablets in the Book of Jubilees,
[Hebrew] Tarbiz 68 (1999): 46371; Liora Ravid, The Book of Jubilees and its Calendar: A
Reexamination, DSD 10 (2003): 37194.
12. James C. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees; Recent Scholarship on the Book of Jubilees, CBR 6
(2008): 40531, esp. 41016. Todd Hanneken, The Subversion of the Apocalypses in the Book of Jubilees,
EJL 34 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012) discusses the issue and various claims on pp. 1011
(especially nos. 20, 21, and 22; he makes clear his position, a single composition by one author [273)]).
124 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The traditions include the following: (1) In the Sethite genealogy (4:11-28)
the Watchers are introduced and later critiqued by Enoch, because of their
sinful mixing with the daughters of men. (2) When the Jubilees author
rewrites the mythic tradition in Gen. 6:1-4, he provides a more detailed
account, focusing on the actions of the Watchers and their sin (5:1-11).
Certainly the author of Jubilees has distilled that tradition as he found it in the
Book of the Watchers, 1 Enoch 616, especially 1011. As in Genesis, this event
provides an entry point to the Flood story (5:19-32). (3) Jubilees reproduces
stories of Noah after the Flood, but then adds a section in which he teaches
his grandsons about the reasons for the Flood, due to the sins of the Watchers
(7:20-25). (4) In the genealogy of Shem there occurs a further reference to the
Watchers (8:1-4). (5) Jubilees conclude Noahs life with his prayer to God to
eradicate the influence of the evil spirits and demons, the descendants of the
Watchers (10:1-11).


The first appearance of the Watchers in Jubilees comes in the genealogy of Seth,
as explanation of the name Jared, son of Malalael and Dinah: during his lifetime
the angels of the Lord who were called Watchers descended to earth to teach
mankind and to do what is just and upright upon the earth (4:15).13 The writer
cleverly connects the action of these angels who descended to earth (Hebr.
)with the name of the patriarch, Jared (). According to this author
he received this name because he lived during the time of those angels who
descended, that is, the Watchers.
The writer then narrates the birth of Enoch to Jared and Barakah and
appends a description of Enoch that lauds and glorifies him as the first on
earth to do many things: writing (including signs of the sky), the pattern of
months (4:17), a testimony, details of a calendar (4:18), and a vision of events
of the past and future (4:19). He then married Edni who bore him their son
Methuselah (4:20). Later, we hear that Enoch was with Gods angels for six
jubilees of years and they showed him everything . . . and he wrote down
everything (4:21); seemingly he observed matters of astral activity and history
in the heavens.14 Then Enoch testified to the Watchers who had sinned with

13. All translations are from VanderKam, Jubilees Translated.

14. van Ruiten (Primaeval History, 164) describes this verse of Jubilees as an interpretation of Gen. 5:24,
as the sojourn of Enoch with the angels. See also James C. VanderKam, The Angel Story in the Book
of Jubilees, in Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea
Scrolls: Proceedings of the International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 125

the daughters of men because these had begun to mix with earthly women
so that they became defiled. Enoch testified against all of them (4:22). What
strikes a modern reader as odd about this judgment is that Jubilees has not yet
narrated the sinful sexual mixing of the Watchers with women; so the notion of
evil Watchers must already been known to readers of Jubilees before they read
the rewritten account.15 Readers must wait until 5:1-2 for details of this event.
The most unique aspect of Jubilees characterization of the Watchers
appears in the initial mention of them, that they descended to earth to teach
mankind and to do what is just and upright upon the earth (4:15). Although
the impact of their actions quickly turns to evil, their mission began with a
positive goal. The Book of the Watchers (1 En. 611) offers no such positive
interpretation of the Watchers, although two texts could be construed as
positive: 1 En. 8:1 and 86:1.16 Still, the initial goal of the Watchers journey to
the earth, to teach the inhabitants of the earth to do what is just and upright,
runs against the current view of the Watchers tradition known in 1 Enoch 136.


The main Watchers tradition appears in Jub. 5, where the author interacts
with Gen. 6:1-4 and 1 Enoch 611. Jub. 5:1-5 seems to rewrite Gen. 6:1-12,
while Jub. 5:6-19, lacking a clear parallel in Genesis, seems not [to] have been
caused by exegetical problems. The text of Genesis is altered and rewritten as
the story of the imprisonment of the Watchers and the destruction of their
children.17 Jub. 5:1-12 notes the great increase in the human population, then
narrates the ancient story of heavenly beings who saw human daughters who
were attractive to look at; then the angels of the Lord married of them
whomever they chose, and the women gave birth for them and they were
giants (5:1). Evil began then to arise on the earth, all flesh corrupted their way,
and injustice flourished (vv. 1-2). In Jubilees, wickedness has infected all animate
beingspeople, cattle, animals, birds, creeping things (Jub. 5:2ab). The author
comments, as in Genesis, Every thought of all mankinds knowledge was evil

and Associated Literature, 1214 January 1997, STDJ 31, ed. Esther G. Chazon and Michael Stone (Leiden:
Brill, 1999), 15170, esp. 156.
15. No commentaries that I have consulted mention this oddity.
16. GeorgeW.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch: Chapters 136;
81108, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 72. The first text, 8:1, is discussed by
Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 195, with explicit reference to Jub. 4:15; the second text, 86:1, is discussed by him
on p. 373.
17. van Ruiten, Primaeval History, 212.
126 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

like this all the time (Jub. 5:2c). God observes all of this evil and determines
to bring punishment on all the angels (5:6) and their offspring (5:7-9). The
Giants engaged in internecine fighting, killing each other until all were dead.
Subsequently, their spirits were bound in the depths of the earth, awaiting
judgment (Jub. 5:3-11).
The Book of Jubilees thus explores wickedness on a number of levels:
Watchers, angels, and the Giants whom they engendered (5:1); all the earth, all
animate beings, including humans (5:2). When the Lord saw this corruption
he decreed that he would obliterate all animate beings except for Noah
alone (5:4). The wickedness of angels and humans seem intertwined in 5:6-19,
especially because the offspring took up swords and began to kill each other
(5:7). Here emerges a divine judgment already known from Gen. 6:3: My spirit
will not remain on people forever, for they are flesh. Their lifespan is to be
120 years (Jub. 5:8). In Genesis the judgment is directed at humans, while here
it seems directed at the offspring of the Watchers and human women, that is,
the Giants (Jub. 5:6-9). Divine judgment is clear: God sent his sword among
them so that they would kill one another. They began to kill each other until
all of them fell by the sword and were obliterated from the earth (5:9). Jubilees
recognized a divine judgment in the internecine violence perpetrated by the
offspring of the Watchers and the women. But a note of hope emerges: God
made a new and righteous nature for all his creatures so that they would not
sin with their whole nature until eternity. Everyone will be righteouseach
according to his kindfor all time (Jub. 5:12).
Jubilees author knew well the traditions of Genesis and the Book of the
Watchers. James VanderKam provides overviews of the relationship between the
Watchers traditions and Jubilees, especially the parallels with 1 Enoch.18 First,
while 1 Enoch 616 locates the initial sin of lust in heaven, Jub. 4:15 and
5:6 differ: since the Watchers were sent to earth by God for positive reasons,
their sin must have occurred on earth.19 Second, in 1 Enoch 616 the sin of the
angels with the women is followed by motifs of violence and illicit teachings.
In Jubilees, however, violence and sexual immorality are the consequences

18. A very helpful overview of the way that Jubilees drew on Enochic traditions is found in James C.
VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for all Generations (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1995),
11021, esp. 11920.
19. Was their sin spurred on or caused by the attractive women whom they viewed? William Loader
does not think there exists enough evidence for this claim (Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes
towards Sexuality in the Early Enoch Literature, the Aramaic Levi Document, and the Book of Jubilees [Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007], 143).
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 127

of the marriages.20 While the author of Jubilees seems to know many earlier
Watcher traditions, he presents them selectively and nuances their themes
to a certain extent so that they conform more nearly the concerns expressed
in his book.21 Van Ruiten argues that Jubilees frequently follows the biblical
tradition so closely that divergences clearly stand out. He emphasizes the
negative view of the Watchers in Jub. 5:1-19 and its elaboration of Gen. 6:1-4;
in particular, Jub. 5:4 omitted the notion that the lord regretted that he had
made humans on earth (Gen. 6:6) and all creatures (Gen. 6:7b). Van Ruiten thus
concludes that Jubilees bypassed the notion of Gods repentance, commenting:
Any imperfection of God in his work is unacceptable for the author of Jubilees.
. . for his foreknowledge would preclude actions he would later regret.22It
seems that Gods character cannot be questioned or qualified in Jubilees, a move
that could detract from Gods dignity.
William Loader examines this narrative in his books section on the motif
of sexual wrongdoing.23 Regarding the statement that the angels of the Lord
. . . married of them whomever they chose, he claims that the verb married
correctly interprets the reading they took women/wives for themselves. It
does not suggest a wedding ceremony of any kind, but rather an act of
sexual intercourse is assumed,24 considered tantamount to marriage. What
constituted the offence, according to Loader, was the mixing of angels and
humans, of two different kinds, which had already been mentioned as an
offence in Jub. 4:22: these had begun to mix with earthly women so that they
became defiled.25 Concerning the two different kinds, Loader acknowledges
a question whether they might refer to acts of homosexuality or bestiality;
however, he downplays this possibility since neither practice emerges elsewhere
in Jubilees as a major concern.26 Rather, the mixing in Jub. 4:22 serves as
a paradigm for any who transgress their nature without discrimination
(5:13-16).27 The defilement introduced here likely refers to mixing of kinds;

20. VanderKam, Enoch, 120.

21. Ibid.
22. van Ruiten, Primaeval History, 191.
23. Loader, Sexuality in Jubilees, 113285, esp. 12646 (on the Watchers in Jubilees).
24. Ibid., 129, n. 353.
25. According to Loader (Sexuality in Jubilees, 130), the Watchers corrupted their ways (fenot) (twice
in Jub. 5:2; 5:3; 5:10; also in 5:13 and 17). They transgressed the order of things, the separate realms of
angels and humans, by their sexual intercourse. As he notes, the element which makes this, their sin, so
distinctive is the mixing of kinds (131). Perhaps Jubilees makes a case against intermarriage with
26. Loader, Sexuality in Jubilees, 132.
128 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

for this audience it could most plausibly refer to intermarriage with Gentiles,
by taking wives from beyond your kind, namely from beyond the holy people
Israel.28 Jubilees exploration of the sins of the Watchers may inform the later
warning against exogamy (Jub. 30) for his Jewish hearers.
Michael Segal attends carefully to the Watchers story in Jubilees,29 arguing
that its author based Jub. 5 both on Gen. 6 and 1 En. 1011, with the Watchers
story in 1 Enoch providing the most significant source.30 A careful survey of
literary development of 1 En. 611 (including its incorporation of at least
two source traditions) leads to his procedure of identifying similar doublets
and difficulties in Jub. 5 as evidence that the author: (1) incorporated some
literary difficulties/ contradictions from 1 En. 1011, and (2) also engaged in
careful rewriting of that tradition for his own purposes. Segal identifies and
examines four exegetical issues in Jub. 5:1-12 (cannibalism, 5:2; repeating the
imprisonment of the angels, 5:6, 10; interpreting Gen. 6:3 as referring to Giants
in light of Jubilean chronology; the new creation, 5:11), which demonstrate
the authors care in rewriting traditions. Segal analyzes this positive view of
the descent of the angels (Jub. 4:15), finding not a theological position but an
exegetical judgment connected to his study of chronology: there is a gap of
more than 700 years between the birth of Jared and the descent and sin of the
Watchers so their descent to the earth cannot be construed as a rebellion, but
must have been the result of other objectives.31
Finally, Segal examines 5:13-18, on God as a righteous judge. This text
does not rewrite earlier passages but introduces new content that depends
heavily on Deuteronomy and special terminology found elsewhere in Jubilees.
He sees the Watchers story transformed into a paradigm of reward and
punishment which calls on all people to behave according to their way in
which it was ordained for them to go.32 Identifying the rewriting of sources
in the Watchers story strengthens Segals claim about the literary development
of Jubilees, that it combines rewritten narratives (from earlier traditions, not
written by Jubilees) with legal passages (connected with the Heavenly Tablets)
written by a redactor.33 This thesis of a legal redactor and a chronological

27. Ibid., 140.

28. Ibid., 141.
29. Segal, Jubilees, 10343.
30. Segal, Jubilees, 116. The similarities between the two texts can lead to only one conclusion: Jub. 5
used 1 En. 1011 (or another composition which used 1 En. 1011) as a source when it rewrote the
Watchers story.
31. Ibid., 132.
32. Ibid., 140.
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 129

redactor leads to the notion that the author (redactor) of Jubilees strove to
motivate humans to observe divine commands; conversely an explanation of the
existence of evil in the world pertains more to traditions distilled from 1 Enoch.34


References to the Watchers traditions also appear in Jub. 7:20-25, Noahs
instruction to his grandsons about ordinances and commandments that they
should follow (Jub. 7:20-39). After the general command to do what is right
there follow four positive commands (cover the shame of their bodies, bless
the one who had created them, honor father and mother, love one another),
and Noahs testimony that they should keep themselves from fornication,
uncleanness, and from all injustice (Jub. 7:20b). The warning against these
three sins derives from their connection with the flood, due to fornication
that the Watchers had illicit intercourseapart from the mandate of their
authoritywith women. When they married of them whomever they chose
they committed the first [acts] of uncleanness (Jub. 7:21).35 Moreover, he
describes the cannibalism, violence, and bloodshed committed by the
descendants of the angels, concluding that thus the earth was filled with
injustice (Jub. 7:23).36 Noah reminds his descendants about the story in Gen.
6:1-4 and 1 Enoch 1011, where the angels go down to earth and cohabit with
women, which occasions the flood (Jub. 7:21). When those angels cohabited
with the women they chose they committed the first (acts) of uncleanness (Jub.
Jacques van Ruiten finds close parallels between Jub. 7:21d-25 and Jub.
5:1-4, noting one new element in this list of sins: the shedding of blood (Jub.
7:23, 24, 25).37 As Loader notes, in this schema it appears that uncleanness
results from the angels act of sexual intercourse with women, considered as
fornication, and this sequence (uncleanness) reflects Jub. 4:22.38He also observes
how differently Jubilees describes the murderous violence in Jub. 5:7-9 and
7:22: the former passage seems not to concern the violence of the Giants

33. Ibid., 142.

34. Loader (Sexuality in Jubilees, 140) has a similar explanation of the way Jubilees integrates the
Watchers traditions, though he follows a less complicated theory of literary development than Segal.
35. Segal, Jubilees, 147, identifies sources (from Genesis) for these commandments: only two
commands lack a source in Genesis: bless the one who created them and love one another.
36. Bloodshed is mentioned also in vv. 24 and 25.
37. van Ruiten, Primaeval History, 298.
38. Loader, Sexuality in Jubilees, 134.
130 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

against humans or animals, but the second says that Elyo [killed] mankind;
and people their fellows39 (Jub. 7:22). This passage opens with a claim that the
flood signals a divine judgment on the sons of God, that is, the Watchers,40
but it also clearly implies that such evil was spread by human violence, as in
Gen. 6:1-4. Loren Stuckenbruck interprets this point in Jub. 5:3-5 and 7:20-25
as the deeds of sinful humanity: Whatever the role of the fallen angels and
giants in the narrative, humans provide the reason for the flood, serving as a
warning to Jews that in the future they should avoid fornication, uncleanness,
and injustice.41 Again Jubilees interprets the tradition more for paradigmatic
exhortation than for an explanation of the source of evil.


The genealogy of Shem (Jub. 7:18, 8:1-8) mentions the Watchers in the next
reference, which comes embedded within information about the birth of
Kainan, who was taught the art of writing when he grew up (Jub. 8:1-2). The
name Kainan does not occur in the comparable Hebrew text of Genesis, but
it is known from the Greek translation (LXX), where its insertion makes the
full complement of the 22 patriarchs in Jubilees.42 When Kainan searched for a
location to establish a city, he discovered

. . . an inscription which the ancients had incised in a rock. He read

what was in it, copied it, and sinned on the basis of what was in it,
since in it was the Watchers teaching by which they used to observe
the omens of the sun, moon, and stars and every heavenly sign.43(Jub.

This notice about the Watchers paints a unique portrait, where they possess
knowledge of astrological teachings. Van Ruiten suggests that in Jubilees it
may be due to the fact that the Watchers first appear just before the birth
of Enoch, who was the first to learn writing, and who wrote about calendar

39. Ibid., 140.

40. van Ruiten, Primaeval History, 299.
41. Loren Stuckenbruck, The Book of Jubilees and the Origin of Evil, in Enoch and the Mosaic Torah:
The Evidence of Jubilees, ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Giovanni Ibba (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009),
294308, esp. 300 and 303.
42. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees, 41.
43. According to R.H. Charles, The Book of Jubilees or the Little Genesis: Translated from the Editors
Ethiopic Text and Edited, with Introduction, Notes, and Indices (London: Black, 1902), 66f. The knowledge
and wisdom here attributed to the Watchers parallels a description in Josephus, Ant. 1.2.3.
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 131

matters.44 Since this portrait does not highlight the sexual impropriety of the
Watchers, one might wonder whether these omens of the sun, moon, and
stars and heavenly sign constituted part of the knowledge and lore that the
Watchers were sent to teach human beings (Jub. 4:15).


The final passage about the Watchers occurs shortly before Noahs death (Jub.
10:1-14). The situation of his grandchildren greatly vexed him, since they
were being misled and destroyed by impure demons, and then his sons came
to tell him what their children were doing and how demons . . . were
misleading, blinding, and killing his grandchildren (Jub. 10:2). In his prayer,
Noah petitioned God to void the power of the wicked spirits who attempt to
rule him and his children (Jub. 10:3-6). Reminding God of the pattern of divine
mercy already shown to the patriarchs offspring, he prays that God now repeat
the pattern by neutralizing the power of the evil spirits, by imprisoning them
and holding them captive.45 Noah reminds God how he had shown them mercy
and kindness by saving him and his sons from the flood and then complains
about the demons/ spirits: they are agents of Mastema, the ruler of the realm of
evil, often called the Prince of Mastema, the leader of the evil spirits or demons.
The Hebrew term signifies animosity, hostility but Jub. 10:11 mentions the
Satan; here he seems to function as a counterpart to the angel of the presence.46
Noah addresses God:

You know how your Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, have acted
during my lifetime. As for these spirits who have remained alive,
imprison them and hold them captive in the place of judgment. May
they not cause destruction among your servants sons, my God, for
they are savage and were created for the purpose of destroying. (10:5)

Noah asks a blessing in Jub. 10:4, probably referring to the blessing of Noah
in Gen 9:1, 7, but here it seems more poignant: bless me and my children so
that we may increase, become numerous, and fill the earth. He begs God to

44. van Ruiten, Primaeval History, 318, n. 21. In Jub. 4:15, the Watchers appear, followed by the birth
and activities of Enoch in 4:16-18.
45. See John C. Endres, The Prayer of Noah: Jubilees 10:3-6, in Prayer from Alexander to Constantine:
A Critical Anthology, ed. Mark Kiley (London: Routledge, 1997), 5358.
46. For more information, see VanderKam, Jubilees, 128 and 141.
132 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

reverse the destructive impact of the Watchers on humans, who are his (Noahs)
God responds, telling the angels of presence to tie up each of the demons
(Jub. 10:7), but Mastema complains that without any demons left unbound he
could not exercise the authority of his will, since the demons are meant for
destroying and misleading (Jub. 10:8). God thus decides that one tenth of them
should be left free, but the other nine parts descend to the place of judgment
(Jub.10:9). This text contributes three points significant for the overall schema
of the Watchers tradition in Jubilees. First, the sons of the Watchers are defined
as evil spirits, demons (cf. 1 En. 15-16 and 1 En. 19:1-2). Second, their leader
Mastema guides them to acts of savagery and hostility, and operates in some
way as a counterpart to Satan.47 Third, all but ten percent of the demons are
bound by the angels at Gods command, thus implying that the forces of evil
and enmity shall not hold sway in this post-deluvian world.
Noahs prayer offers a slightly different view on the source and persistence
of evil. The Watchers, source of evil in the Book of the Watchers (1 En. 136),
were there held bound by the good angels, so they are no longer active in
human affairs.48 In Jubilees, the tenth part of evil spirits should warn humans
about their conduct, and it also avers that some other source of evil was present.
Finally the angel of the presence mentions that the remaining tenth of the
demons would wreak havoc on Noahs family, bringing diseases and deceptions
to hurt them (Jub. 10:10, 12). Something needs to be done to protect humans,
so God tells one angel to teach Noah medicines, useful antidotes to the
demoniacally-induced afflictions (cf. Jub. 10:12-14).49 This incident in Jubilees
recasts the fate of the Watchers in 1 Enoch: there they were bound by the good
angels, but in Jubilees some of those demons remain active.

Judging from the number of manuscripts found there (at least fourteen), Jews
at Qumran held Jubilees in high esteem. In one collection, described as Pseudo-
Jubileesa-c (4Q225-227), one text (4Q227 frag. 2) seems to present some of the
Enoch material as it had appeared in Jub. 4:15-26.50 The Damascus Document

47. Philip Alexander (Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 341f) shows how Mastema resembles
Belial, Satan, Melchiresha, and that his origins are to be found not in the Watchers tradition but in the
figure of Satan in the Bible. See Philip Alexander, The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in The
Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, ed. Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 341f.
48. Ibid., 341.
49. Ibid., 347.
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 133

apparently mentions Jubilees (CD 16:2-4) and the next sentence mentions . . .
the angel of Mastema, perhaps picking up on the Noah prayer in Jub.10.51
The Pseudo-Clementine literature (third to fourth century CE) might echo
Jubilees 4 with its notion of a positive mission of the angels to the earth (cf.
Homily 8:10-20), descending to convince humans to abandon their ingratitude
to God.52 Another reference to Jubilees 10 emerges in Hom. 8:18-20 where an
angel sent by God both allowed the demons to subject humans to their power
and placed limits on their power.53
VanderKam urges that Jubilees does not seem to have much of an
interpretive afterlife in Judaism, though he mentions two possible instances:
first, the Book of Asaph (tenth or eleventh century?) cites from a Book of Noah
for material that parallels parts of Jub. 10:1-14; second, a benign purpose for
the descent of the angels in the time of Jared is found in Midrash Aggadahs
commentary on Gen. 5:18.54
In medieval Hebrew works, Martha Himmelfarb notes some important
connections with Jubilees, commenting on Jared and the Watchers, Enochs
astronomical knowledge, and the (previously mentioned) Book of Asaph and
Jub. 10:1-14.55 She claims that Jubilees was not used very long by Christians
in Europe, based on the existence of only one Latin version, and no Greek
manuscripts but some citations, mostly in Greek chronographers. But medieval
Hebrew literature shows some influence of Jubilees, especially Midrash Aggadah
and Midrash Tadsche.
The greatest area of reception is Ethiopia, where the book was generally
included with other texts in the Bible of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. So
many Ethiopic manuscripts have been discovered that its influence is considered
to be very significant in this church.

50. VanderKam, Jubilees, 144.

51. Ibid.
52. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 97.
53. Ibid., 98. James VanderKam offers a similar analysis with extensive citation of the Homily in The
Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity, CRINT 4, ed. James C. VanderKam and William Adler
(Van Gorcum: Assen; Fortress: Minneapolis, 1996), 7680.
54. VanderKam, Jubilees, 147f.
55. Martha Himmelfarb, Some Echoes of Jubilees in Medieval Hebrew Literature, in Tracing the
Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha, SBLEJL 6, ed. John C. Reeves (Atlanta: Scholars,
2004), 11541, 118f, 124f.
134 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Research

Two important tendencies emerge in Jubilees use of Watchers traditions.
First, Jubilees emphasizes that the Watchers were sent to the earth for positive
reasons like teaching and judging (clearly differing from the source in the
Book of the Watchers). Second, the goal of Watchers traditions in Jubilees focused
more on ways that human beings might imitate or avoid the behavior of
the Watchers rather than to explain the origins of evil. Loren Stuckenbruck
considers these stories as exhortational, since the writer reshaped the Enoch
traditions(s) to reinforce the responsibility humans ultimately have before God
. . . human beings are accountable to God on the same terms as the disobedient
angels and giants.56 Thus Jubilees allows for more variety in the description of
sin and evil in the world; since Jubilees also retells the Eden story (Adam and
Eve), it appears that humans bear some responsibility for the sin in the world
(rather than pointing at Watchers for it all).
Questions for ongoing research abound. First and foremost, the proposals
regarding literary development of Jubilees, especially as raised recently by
Michael Segal and James Kugel, should be pursued, with particular attention to
the varied roles and understandings of the Watchers in these proposals. Second,
the notion that the Watchers originally descended to earth with a constructive
task requires further reflection, both with regard to its source-traditions and
also its influence on the later Jewish and Christian theological reflection on evil
and sin. Third, it could prove beneficial to research the Ethiopian interpretive
tradition; in what ways could the particular Watchers traditions in Jubilees
impact the theology and religious practice of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church?

Brief Bibliography
Alexander, Philip. The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Pages 33153 in
Volume 2 of The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years. 2 vols. Edited by Peter W.
Flint and James C. VanderKam. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
Hanneken, Todd. The Subversion of the Apocalypses in the Book of Jubilees.
SBLEJL 34. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.
Kugel, James, On the Interpolations in the Book of Jubilees. RevQ 24(2009):

56. Loren Stuckenbruck, The Book of Jubilees and the Origin of Evil, in Enoch and the Mosaic Torah,
307. The studies of William Loader and Michael Segal also reach similar conclusions.
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees | 135

Loader, William, Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes Towards

Sexuality in the Early Enoch Literature, the Aramaic Levi Document, and the Book
of Jubilees. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
Ruiten, Jacques T.A.G.M. van. Primaeval History Interpreted: The Rewriting of
Genesis 111 in the Book of Jubilees. JSJSup 66. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
Segal, Michael. The Book of Jubilees: Rewritten Bible, Redaction, Ideology and
Theology. JSJSup 117. Leiden: Brill, 2007.
Stuckenbruck, Loren. The Book of Jubilees and the Origin of Evil. Pages
294308 in Enoch and the Mosaic Torah. Edited by Gabriele Boccaccini and
Giovanni Ibba. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.
VanderKam, James C. The Angel Story of the Book of Jubilees. Pages 15170
in Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Light of the
Dead Sea Scrolls: Proceedings of the International Symposium of the Orion Center
for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 1214 January 1997.
STDJ 31. Edited by Esther G. Chazon and Michael Stone. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
. The Book of Jubilees. Guides to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.
Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.

Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea

Samuel Thomas

It is well known to scholars of Second Temple Jewish literature that Watchers

( )and Giants ( or )1 were important features of early Jewish
apocalyptic thought. The Book of the Watchers of 1 Enoch (1 En. 136) is just
one example of the many creative elaborations of Gen. 6:1-4 to be produced
during the mid-late Second Temple period. Indeed, the Book of the Watchers
doubtless gave rise to its own interpretive traditions that were cultivated among
the circles in which it was read and passed along. The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS)
include both Hebrew and Aramaic texts that exhibit familiarity with Watchers
and Giants traditions. In addition to the fragments of 1 Enoch (4Q201-202;
4Q204-2122) and the Book of Giants3 (1Q23-24; 2Q26; 4Q203; 4Q206;

1. Early Greek translations render the of Gen. 6:4 and Num. 13:33 as , thereby
conflating the references to and mighty men in Gen. 6:4. This conflation can also be
seen in the Aramaic Book of the Watchers and in the Book of Giants ().
2. Beyond those listed here, several other fragments of 1 Enoch have come to light in recent years. The
fragments are unprovenanced (they have surfaced on the antiquities market), but Esther Eshel presumes
they are from Qumran, assigning one of them to 4Q204 (= 1 En. 7:1-5) and recognizing 1 En.
106:19107:1 on a papyrus fragment (Esther Eshel, Two New Fragments of 1 Enoch from Qumran,
paper presented at the Fifth Enoch Seminar, Naples, Italy, June 14, 2009). See also Esther Eshel and
Hanan Eshel, New Fragments from Qumran: 4QGenf, 4QIsab, 4Q226, 8QGen, and XQpapEnoch,
DSD 12 (2005): 13457, for discussion of XQpapEnoch. There are also several Greek fragments from
Cave 7 that are probably related to 1 Enoch (7Q4, 8, 11-14).
3. The Book of Giants relates the story of the Watchers hybrid, malevolent offspring, expanding on the
tradition found in Gen. 6:1-4 and dovetailing it with the Enochic myths of the Watchers to form a
narrative later incorporated into Manichean tradition. See Jozef T. Milik with the collaboration of
Matthew Black, The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumrn Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976);
Black, Turfan et Qumran: Livre des gants juif et manichen, in Tradition und Glaube: Das frhe

138 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

4Q530-32; 4Q556; 6Q8), there are several other Aramaic compositions from
Qumran in which Watchers are mentioned or alluded to: the Genesis
Apocryphon (1Q20); the so-called Elect of God text (4Q534-36); and the
Visions of Amram (4Q543-49).
Many of these Aramaic works were evidently influential among the
group(s) responsible for the collecting, copying, composition, and preservation
of the Qumran manuscripts, and some of their themes were incorporatedor
translatedinto sectarian texts written in Hebrew.4 While John Collins is
correct to note the discrepancy that in view of the strong manuscript evidence
for interest in the books of Enoch at Qumran, there is remarkably little appeal to
the Enoch tradition in the major sectarian documents of Qumran,5 the motifs
of Watchers and Giants are perhaps important exceptions to this rule.6 This

Christentum in seiner Umwelt. Festgabe fr Karl Georg Kuhn zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Gert Jeremias, Heinz-
Wolfgang Kuhn, and Hartmut Stegemann (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971), 11727;
Florentino Garca Martnez, Qumran and Apocalyptic: Studies on the Aramaic Texts from Qumran, STDJ 9
(Leiden: Brill, 1992); Loren T. Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran, TSAJ 63 (Tbingen:
Mohr Siebeck, 1997); George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of Enoch Chapters
136; 81108, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001); John C. Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean
Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions, MHUC 14 (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press,
1992). Not all traditions about the Giants regarded them as evil beings: for discussion about the Greek
Pseudo-Eupolemus fragments in which at least some Giants are given elevated status see Loren T.
Stuckenbruck, The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second and Third Century bce Jewish
Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of Early Apocalyptic Traditions, DSD 7 (2000): 35477. Milik
and other scholars have suggested the possibility that the Book of Giants was part of an Enochic
Pentateuch that did not include the later Book of Parables (1 En. 3771).
4. Enochic material regarding Watchers and Giants has been incorporated also into the Book of Jubilees,
which is well attested among the Qumran manuscripts. For a discussion of the Watchers traditions in
Jubilees, see the essay by John Endres in this volume.
5. John J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (London: Routledge, 1997), 3536. Other
scholars have attempted to demonstrate that there is a more direct line between Enochism and the
sectarian group(s) related to Qumran; see especially Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis:
The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998); and the
many contributions to Gabriele Boccaccini, ed., Enoch and Qumran Origins: New Light on a Forgotten
Connection (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005).
6. Of course, it would be a mistake to assume that ideas about Watchers and Giants originated with the
Enochic literature and were then simply appropriated by the Yahad. Both textual communities may have
drawn on these traditions from elsewhere (e.g., Greek traditions about ) and incorporated
them into their own syntheses (even if Enochic lore is the primary channel of transmission to Qumran).
In general, interest in angels and demons was apparently strong among the Yahad. For a good general
discussion, see Philip A. Alexander, The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in The Dead Sea Scrolls
After 50 Years: A Comprehensive Assessment, 2 vols., ed. Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam (Leiden:
Brill, 1999), 2:33153; John J. Collins, Powers in Heaven: God, Gods, and Angels in the Dead Sea
Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls | 139

essay discusses the appearances of the Watchers and their offspring in Qumran
Aramaic texts (not including 1 Enoch and the Book of Giants7), and in Hebrew
sectarian texts. While the precise relationship between the Aramaic corpus and
the sectarian compositions cannot always be definitively ascertained, there are
several important continuities among them.8
There is in general considerable difficulty in determining the precise
authorship, date, and sectarian status of compositions from Qumran.9 While
there is some scholarly agreement that the Aramaic compositions do not derive
originally from the sectarian milieu associated with the site of Qumran (even
if some of them may have been transmitted and appropriated into a sectarian
context), they prove elusive with regard to dating and authorship.10
Determining the sectarian status of texts written in Hebrew is also difficult,
though some progress has been made in recent years toward clarifying the
criteria by which scholars might make such assessments.11 In any case, it is clear

Scrolls, in Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls, SDSSRL, ed. John J. Collins and Robert A. Kugler (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 928. If we may assume some kind of connection between the Yahad and the
Essenes, the comment by Josephus that the latter cultivated a careful practice of preserving the names of
the angels (War. 2. 142) should also be taken into account. In any case, the general topic of angelology
and demonology in the DSS goes well beyond the focus of the present essay, which is limited to
discussing explicit references and allusions to the Watchers traditions tied to 1 Enoch.
7. See Milik, Books of Enoch; Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants from Qumran. See also Michal Langlois, Le
premier manuscrit du Livre dHnoch: tude pigraphique et philologique des fragments aramens de 4Q201
Qumrn (Paris: CERF, 2008); this is apparently the first among a series of works providing a full
treatment of the Qumran manuscripts of 1 Enoch. While the thrust of the work is a full paleographic
study, Langlois also offers many interpretive insights into 1 Enoch.
8. See the essays in Aramaica Qumranica: The Aix-en-Provence Colloquium on the Aramaic Dead Sea
Scrolls, STDJ 94, ed. Katell Berthelot and Daniel Stkl ben Ezra (Leiden: Brill, 2010); Joseph Fitzmyer,
Aramaic, in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 2 vols., ed. Lawrence Schiffman and James C.
VanderKam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 1:4851; William Schniedewind, Qumran
Hebrew As an Antilanguage, JBL 118 (1999): 23552; Schniedewind, Linguistic Ideology in Qumran
Hebrew, in Diggers at the Well: Proceedings of a Third International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead
Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira, STDJ 36, ed. T. Muraoka and John F. Elwolde (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 24555;
Steven Weitzman, Why Did the Qumran Community Write in Hebrew? JAOS 119 (1999): 3545.
9. For general discussion of these issues, consult James C. VanderKam and Peter Flint, The Meaning of
the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity (San
Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 2033, 23992.
10. Holger Gzella, Dating the Aramaic Texts from Qumran: Possibilities and Limits, RevQ 24
(2009): 6178.
11. Devorah Dimant, Sectarian and Non-Sectarian Texts from Qumran: The Pertinence and Usage of
a Taxonomy, RevQ 24 (2009): 718; Francesco Zanella, Sectarian and Non-Sectarian Texts: A
Possible Semantic Approach, RevQ 24 (2009): 1934; Florentino Garca Martnez, Sectario, no
140 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

that all of the texts in question were composed either in Aramaic or Hebrew by
Jewish scribes who were steeped in Israels biblical-interpretive traditions and
probably were (or had been) associated in some way with the priestly circles of
the Jerusalem Temple. Of course, each individual composition from Qumran
has its own authorial or editorial history, provenience, and audience(s), and
these will be addressed wherever possible or relevant in this essay.

Aramaic Texts
It goes without saying that Watchers and Giants are intimately associated in
early Jewish Aramaic literature with the story of Noah and the Flood, which
in turn is complexly related to older Mesopotamian lore about Gilgamesh
and Utnapishtim.12 The author(s) of the Book of Giants, for instance, likely
understood Gilgamesh and Hobabish (Humbaba) (and perhaps Atambish =
Utnapishtim) to be figures who were in fact Giants themselveswhich might
help to explain the point made rather defiantly in the Qumran birth of Noah
materials (1QapGen ar 2-5; 1 En. 106107; 1Q19 3; cf. 4Q534-3613) that despite
any recognizable affinities with hoary Mesopotamian heroes, Noah was not the

sectario, o qu? Problemas de una taxonoma correcta de los textos qumrnicos, RevQ 23 (2008):
38494; Charlotte Hempel, Kriterien zur Bestimmung essenischer Verfasserschaft von Qumrantexten,
in Qumran kontrovers: Beitrge zu den Textfunden vom Toten Meer, ed. Jrg Frey et al. (Paderborn:
Bonifatius, 2003), 7185; refer also to the discussion in Alison Schofield, From Qumran to the Yahad: A
New Paradigm of Textual Development for The Community Rule, STDJ 77 (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 2167.
12. See the discussion in Stuckenbruck, The Angels and Giants ; Stuckenbruck, Giant Mythology
and Demonology: From the Ancient Near East to the Dead Sea Scrolls, in Demons: The Demonology of
Israelite-Jewish and Early Christian Literature in Context of their Environment, ed. Armin Lange, Hermann
Lichtenberger, and K.F. Diethard Rmheld (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 31838; John Reeves,
Utnapishtim in the Book of Giants? JBL 112 (1993): 11015; R.V. Huggins, Noah and the Giants: A
Response to John C. Reeves, JBL 114 (1995): 10310.
13. There has been some debate about whether the composition underlying 4Q534-36 relates to the
figure of Noah, or whether the protagonist in that text is another righteous figure such as Enoch or
Melchizedek. See mile Puech, 534-536. 4QNaissance de Noa-car: Introduction, Qumrn Grotte
4.XXII: Textes aramens, premire partie: 4Q529-549, DJD 31 (Oxford: Clarendon, 2001), 11727; Daniel
Machiela, The Dead Sea Genesis Apocryphon: A New Text and Translation with Introduction and Special
Treatment of Columns 1317, STDJ 79 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 1718; Dorothy M. Peters, Noah Traditions in
the Dead Sea Scrolls: Conversation and Controversies of Antiquity, SBLEJL 26 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical
Literature, 2008), 10127. There is also the question whether all of these Noah texts together point to the
existence of a Book of Noah in antiquity; for discussion of this problem see Michael E. Stone, The
Book(s) Attributed to Noah, DSD 13 (2006): 423; Peters, Noah Traditions, 12124. Also consider the
excellent studies in Michael Stone, Aryeh Amihay, and Vered Hillel, eds., Noah and His Book(s), SBLEJL
28 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010).
Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls | 141

offspring of the Watchers even in light of the aberrant circumstances of his

The Book of the Watchers and the Book of Giants aside, the Genesis
Apocryphona rewriting of the Genesis stories involving primarily Noah and
Abra(ha)mwitnesses to the most extensive and perhaps the earliest rendition
of the Watchers story among the Qumran Aramaic scrolls.14 In the extant
portions of this text, the Watchers are mentioned explicitly several times (e.g.
2:1, 16; 6:13; 7:2) in passages relating to Noahs birth and his subsequent
experiences of revelation. In addition, it is quite clear that columns 01 contain
materialpreviously unknown to modern scholarshipabout the Watchers as
a kind of prelude to the Noah cycle of the composition. These two columns
appear to preserve an address from the Watchers to the Lord (or from Enoch
speaking on behalf of the Watchers; cf. 1 Enoch 1314), in which the Watchers
describe their transgression and lament the ensuing punishment of their
imprisonment and the destruction of their offspring (the Giants) in warfare.15
As Daniel Machiela notes, this petition itself is unique in Second Temple Jewish
literature, though the occasion for the address is probably tied to 1 En. 13:4-7,
in which the Watchers entreat Enoch to appeal to the Lord on their behalf. The
words of the address itself are not provided in 1 Enoch, and it is possible that it
is this omitted portion that is recorded by the Apocryphon, either preserving a
part of the Enochic tradition that has not survived in 1 Enoch, or filling in what
was perceived as a gap in the story by the scrolls author.16

14. For a presentation of the various theories of the dating of this text, see Machiela, The Dead Sea
Genesis Apocryphon, 17, 142. Machiela concludes that relative datingcompared to Jubilees, 1 Enoch
106107, and other textsand other factors suggest a range in the early-mid second century bce (before
the composition of Jubilees and perhaps 1 Enoch 106107). For another view, and much helpful
commentary on the Noah material in the Genesis Apocryphon, see Daniel K. Falk, The Parabiblical Texts:
Strategies for Extending the Scriptures in the Dead Sea Scrolls, LSST 63 (London: T&T Clark, 2007), 26106,
esp. 4253.
15. As both Moshe Bernstein (From the Watchers to the Flood: Story and Exegesis in the Early
Columns of the Genesis Apocryphon, in Reworking the Bible: Apocryphal and Related Texts at Qumran, ed.
Esther G. Chazon, Devorah Dimant, and Ruth A. Clements, STDJ 58 [Leiden: Brill, 2005], 4445) and
Daniel Machiela (Genesis Revealed: The Apocalyptic Apocryphon from Qumran Cave 1, in Qumran
Cave 1 Revisited: Texts from Cave 1 Sixty Years After Their Discovery: Proceedings of the Sixth Meeting of the
IOQS in Ljubljana, STDJ 91, ed. Daniel K. Falk et al., [Leiden: Brill, 2010], 2078) have pointed out, the
speaking subjects of this section are in the first-person plural: We have undertaken this adulterous act
(0:2); And now we are prisoners (0:8); our imprisonment (0:13). Machiela concludes that it is clear
that the narrators are the fallen Watchersan antagonistic group from which we hear so little in the first
person in Enochic literature (208). Cf. 1 En. 6:1-4. I am grateful to Dan Machiela for providing a copy
of his essay while it was still in the proof stage.
142 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The second and highly fragmentary column of the scroll (col. 1) appears
to preserve YHWHs response to the Watchers petition (or Enochs relating of
this response to the imprisoned Watchers), and here the Apocryphon picks up
on several signature themes from the Book of the Watchers, especially 1 Enoch
611. The column mentions the descent of the Watchers and some activity
with women, a mystery of wickedness () , and medicines, sorcery,
and divination. It appears that at some point in this highly degraded column,
Lamech, the father of Noah, begins speaking in the first-person, thus beginning
his discourse about the strange circumstances of his sons birth (cf. 1 Enoch
106107; 1Q19 3, 4).
Columns 25 open with Lamechs utterance that suddenly it occurred to
me that the conception [of Noah] was from the Watchers, and the seed from the
Holy Ones, and to Nephil[in ] (2:1), a statement that is followed by a slight
marital dispute between Lamech and his wife Batenosh regarding the paternity
of Noah. Batenosh recalls her pleasure and panting breath in the heat of the
moment and swears that Lamech is the father (2:9-16), and yet perhaps still
with some suspicion Lamech enlists Methuselah to inquire to Enoch about the
truth of the matter. Enochwho now dwells at the end of the earth among
the Holy Onesconfirms that Lamech is the father and the child is a light
(5:13) whose righteousness will counteract the impurity and violence of the
Watchers and their offspring. After a reference to a [c]o[p]y of the book of
the words of Noah at the end of column 5 (5:29), Noah begins speaking in the
first person about his righteous destiny, his family, and, most important for the
author of the Genesis Apocryphon, the eschatological revelations given to him
regarding the mystery of the conduct of the sons of Heaven (6:11-22).
In summary, the Watchers material of columns 01 serves as a prelude to
the Noah material, but unlike in Genesiswhere the flood and its aftermath
is the main event of the Noah cyclethe Genesis Apocryphon plays up the
righteousness of Noah, the revelations given to him, and his subsequent activity
with the Watchers. The flow of the narrative of the Genesis Apocryphon places
a relatively short (and fragmentary) section about the flood between the
embellished story of Noahs birth and a lengthy exposition on the geography
of Noahs dream visions.17 Throughout this narrative, the Watchers continue
to serve as a foil to the righteousness and ultimate vindication of Noah, and

16. Machiela, Genesis Revealed, 208.

17. See Machiela, The Dead Sea Genesis Apocryphon, 85130, for a fascinating discussion of the
geography of the Genesis Apocryphon.
Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls | 143

their knowledge offers a contrast to the mysteries known by Noah and his
A text variously named 4QElect of God, 4QMess ar, and 4QNaissance
de No18 presents the characteristics of an especially righteousthough
anonymousfigure in language reminiscent of the Genesis Apocryphons
descriptions of Noah. Additionally, 4Q534-36 portrays this figure in
physiognomic terms, thereby exhibiting an awareness of ancient Babylonian
and Hellenistic (Greco-Egyptian) practices and connecting also with other texts
from Qumran.19 While Watchers are not directly mentioned in this text, the
large number of parallels with the Genesis Apocryphon and 1 Enoch 106107
suggest that those nefarious beings lurk in the background or in unpreserved
portions of the composition. The protagonist of 4Q534-36 ( ) is
the chosen one of God (4Q534 1i10; cf. 1Q19 15, 2) who experiences
opposition and lives in days of wickedness ( )in which the works [of
evil] are compared to those of the Watchers (4Q536 2 ii+3, 11-13; 4Q534 1i9;
4Q534 1ii+2, 15-17).20
One more Aramaic text deserves brief attention in the present survey.
Since its initial publication, the Visions of Amram (4Q543-49) has been a text
of considerable interest.21 The oldest manuscript can be dated on paleographical
grounds to the second half of the second century bce, though the date of its
composition is usually taken to be as early as the late third century bce. While
the term Watcher is only a possible reconstruction in this composition,22
the evil figure Melchireshawho elsewhere is opposed to the righteous
Melchizedek (e.g. 11QMelch) in a fashion that was common at the
time23appears in a way that may be suggestive of the Watcher tradition.
In 4Q544, the official editor has reconstructed two lines to refer to the
Watchers. The first is the statement by Amram, [/
[ ] and I thought about the angels/Watchers that I had seen]
(4Q544 1, 9). This reconstruction appears to be made to provide a transition

18. For discussion and bibliography see Peters, Noah Traditions, 101106; Puech, Qumrn Grotte
4.XXII, 11721. Puech has assigned a date for 4Q534-36 in the middle part of the second century bce
19. Mladen Popovi, Reading the Human Body: Physiognomics and Astrology in the Dead Sea Scrolls and
Hellenistic-Early Roman Period Judaism, STDJ 67 (Leiden: Brill, 2007).
20. Peters, Noah Traditions, 106.
21. One of the few close treatments of the Visions of Amram is Paul Kobelski, Melchizedek and
Melchirea, CBQMS 10 (Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association, 1981).
22. Puech, Qumrn Grotte 4.XXII, 32225.
23. Kobelski, Melchizedek and Melchirea, 4998.
144 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

between a statement about Amrams wife in line 9 and a new topic in line 10,
which begins in my vision, the vision of the dream, vacat and there were two
figures arguing over me (4Q544 1, 10). The text describes these two opposing
figures as contending for the possession of Amramor perhaps, given several
cultic references in other parts of the workfor the posterity of Amram, namely
the Aaronid priesthood. According to mile Puechs reconstruction, Amram
inquires after the name of the evil contender, saying, Who is this [Watcher?]
He said to me, This one is n[amed] [ and] Melchiresha, (4Q544 2, 12-13;
cf. 4Q546 22, 1?).
It is possible that these lines attest to a tradition that identified Melchiresha
with Belial and the Prince of Darkness (4Q544 1, 13; 2, 14-16), and opposed
these epithets with the monikers of the angelic protagonist, respectively
Melchizedek, Michael, and the Prince of Light.24 In any case, this composition
likely serves as an important ideological bridge between earlier, pre-sectarian
Aramaic works and the Hebrew sectarian texts, especially in its presentation of
heavenly antagonists who rival one another for the possession of human beings
and in its opposition of darkness and light.25

Sectarian Texts
Scholars have often noted several places in which Watchers and Giants appear
to be referenced in Hebrew sectarian texts: the Damascus Document (CD 2:18);
the Pesher on the Periods (4Q180 1 7-8)26; an Exhortation Based on the Flood
(4Q370 1i6); an Incantation (4Q444 1-4i+5, 8); and the Songs of the Sage (4Q510
1 5).27 While several of these are explicit references, others must be inferred by
deduction, and still others may hint at a traditional reflex no longer tied directly
to the Watchers motif. The remainder of this essay will present a brief review

24. Ibid., 7583.

25. See Jean Duhaime, Light and Darkness, in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1:49596.
26. In the editio princeps of this work, John Allegro published 4Q180-81 (which he called 4QAges of
Creation a-b) as two manuscripts of the same work (Qumran Cave 4.I: 4Q158-4Q186, DJD 5 (Oxford:
Clarendon, 1968], 7780). Subsequently, Devorah Dimant published a detailed transcription and
reconstruction, concluding that the two manuscripts were related but not of the same work (The Pesher
on the Periods [4Q180] and 4Q181, IOS 9 [1979]: 77102); the title Pesher on the Periods is Dimants.
27. In Jub. 10:1-13 and elsewhere the offspring of the Watchers are called bastards (), which
has led many scholars to identify the of 4Q444 and 4Q510-11 with Giants. See for example
Armin Lange, Considerations Concerning the Spirit of Impurity in Zech 13:2, in Demons: The
Demonology of Israelite-Jewish and Early Christian Literature in Context of their Environment, esp. 25559.
See below for further discussion.
Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls | 145

of the texts and suggest several new directions for research on the appropriation
of Watchers and Giants in Qumran sectarian texts.28
Many scholars agree that there is a reference to Watchers and their
offspring in the Damascus Document, though there has been some disagreement
over the proper way to interpret the passage. The reference occurs in the
context of the historical prologue in which the speaker recounts the long story
of sin and impurity caused by the sinful disposition and eyes of fornication
(CD 2:16)29 and against which the in-group of the text constructs its self-
identity. The mighty men of strength ( ) stumbled by their thoughts,
and still do (2:17), and the Watchers ( )fell because they did not observe
the commandments of God. (If we may take a cue from the Book of the
Watchers, presumably this transgression was understood to be a violation of
proper boundaries between heaven and earth occasioned by lust.) The offspring
of the Watchersas tall as cedars and as large as mountains (i.e., they were
Giants)30also succumbed and relinquished their bodily existence (cf. 1 En.
10:9; 4Q370 1i6).31 It is interesting here that the Giants are not explicitly
named as but instead are called the sons of the Watchers, and that the
reference to in CD 2:17 appears to relate to a category of people who
continue to sin. While it would not be surprising that this word could refer to
human beings, its proximity here to the Watchers of heaven ()
suggests that a wordplay is employed in order to link those who continue to sin
(viz. opponents of the sect) with the demonic forces of old. 32
Of course, there is nothing inherently sectarian about a reference to
Watchers or Giants (cf. Sir. 16:7), but in the broader context of the Damascus
Document the motif is put to a sectarian use. For the author(s) of the Damascus
Document, the history of sin had reached a point of culmination, so that those

28. For a discussion of Enochic traditions and the Qumran Hodayot see Angela Kim Harkins, Reading
the Qumran Hodayot in Light of the Traditions Associated with Enoch, Henoch 32 (2010): 359400;
and Harkins, Reading with an I to the Heavens: Looking at the Qumran Hodayot through the Lens of
Visionary Traditions, Ekstasis 3 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012).
29. Fornication is identified as one of the three nets of Belial in CD 4:12.
30. Cf. Humbaba (or Hobabish) in the Epic of Gilgamesh, who is the guardian of the Cedar Forest,
which in one ancient version (Babylonian Ishchali Tablet, 18th c.bce) is located between Lebanon and
Senir, perhaps corresponding to the location of the Watchers in 1 En. 13:9. For discussion, see
Stuckenbruck, Giant Mythology and Demonology, 32627; cf. Reeves, Jewish Lore and Manichaean
Cosmogony, 124.
31. The spirits of the Giants, however, were apparently thought to have endured; see below for
32. In Gen. 6:4, the hybrid offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men are called
, which is usually rendered heroes that were of old (NRSV).
146 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

who were diggers of the well (CD 3:16)those who were the exclusive
recipients of things hidden to Israel at largewould be redeemed by Gods
mysterious, atoning power (CD 3:13-19). Thus, the Watchers and Giants motif
has been appropriated and updated in the Damascus Document, to the effect
that it continues to provide a foil against which the self-understanding of the
community of the Damascus Covenant can be elaborated.
Though it may constitute a leap from one specific sectarian context to
another, we might read this passage alongside another important text from
Qumran, the Songs of the Sage (4Q510-11), a text that apparently records
magical, apotropaic incantations used by the Maskil(s).33 Assuming that this text
was in use (i.e., that it reflects an actual practice of ritual adjuration for the
purpose of exorcism), it suggestseven seems to presumethe idea that the
spirits of the Giants continued to plague humanity even after the flood (cf. 1
En. 15:8-12, 16:1; Jub. 10:1-13). The text offers an antidote to this situation,
as it endows the Maskil with the ability to terrify the different categories of
pernicious spirits. In particular, the spirits of the bastards () ,
which Philip Alexander suggests are perhaps synonymous with the spirits of
the angels (or agents) of destruction () ,34 are clearly meant
to represent the Giants when compared with other references to in
early Jewish literature.35 Thus the etiology of Giants as demons in the Enochic
literature takes its place in the history of salvation described in the Damascus
Document and finds its practical counterpart in the Songs of the Sage.
In a related sectarian, exorcistic text, 4Q444, are mentioned in
juxtaposition (or apposition?) to a spirit of impurity () , which may
help to clarify the sense of bastards in 4Q510-511.36 In 4Q444, the speaker
declares that with knowledge of His truth I open my mouth in order to
perform the efficacious ritual incantation, thereby cursing (or banishing) the

33. See Philip S. Alexander, Wrestling against Wickedness in High Places: Magic in the Worldview
of the Qumran Community, in The Scrolls and the Scriptures: Qumran Fifty Years After, JSPSup 26, ed.
Stanley E. Porter and Craig A. Evans (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 32930; Esther Eshel,
Genres of Magical Texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in Demons: The Demonology of Israelite-Jewish and
Early Christian Literature, 395415. A closely related Aramaic text is 4Q560; see D.L. Penney and Michael
O. Wise, By the Power of Beelzebub: An Aramaic Incantation Formula from Qumran (4Q560), JBL
113 (1994): 62750.
34. Alexander, The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.333.
35. For example, 1 En. 10:9 implies that the Giants are bastards (see Milik, Books of Enoch, 175, where
Milik reconstructs the Hebrew/Aramaic from ); cf. Jub. 10:1-13. For discussion
see Lange, Considerations Concerning the Spirit of Impurity, 25659.
36. Lange, Considerations Concerning the Spirit of Impurity, 25657.
Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls | 147

various objects of denunciation. In 4Q511, the speaker makes a similar claim:

His knowledge he placed [in my] hear[t ] / the praises of His righteousness,
and [ ] and by my mouth he frightens [all the spirits] / of the bastards to
decrease the [sin]ners37 of impurity (4Q511 48, 49+51, 2-3). Thus the demonic
bastards are connected with the notion of ritual impurity, which likely reflects
a specific association with human, cultic sin.38 Because of his superior, divinely
given knowledge, the speaker in each of these texts is able to subdue the
bastards, which may also imply that he is able to ensure the ritual purity of the
communitys sacred space.39
All this, according to the Pesher on the Periods (4Q180), was predetermined
by God who created and established the world and all its ages. In this text,
two councils are juxtaposed: that of the sons of h[eaven] and earth and that
of the angels among whom some of the sons of the world ( ) are
able to draw near. Perhaps we might understand these sons of heaven and
earth to pertain to the nefarious progeny of heavenly Watchers and earthly
daughters, especially since the text goes on to provide an interpretation ()
concerning Azazel and the angels ([ )who went into the daughters of

37. This is Langes reconstruction (ibid., 257); the text is fragmentary, but seems to fit with
the context (assuming the possibility that the aleph has elided).
38. Compare 4QMMT, in which the following injunction is addressed: [And concerning the
Ammonite] and the Moabite and the bastard ([ )and him whose testicles] have been crushed [and
him] whose male member [has been cut off], who (nevertheless) enter / the congregation ([ )and
and] take [wives? to be]come one bone / [and enter the ( ])sanctuary] (4Q396 1-2i39-41+par.).
Cf. 4Q174 1-2i4, which decrees that the eschatological temple will be a place of perfect purity in which
no defective humans will enterincluding Ammonites, Moabites, bastards, foreigners, aliens, and so on.
These injunctions are probably derived from Deut. 23:2-4, which does not include any reference to
bastards. See Aharon Shemesh, The Holy Angels Are in Their Council: The Exclusion of Deformed
Persons from Holy Places in Qumranic and Rabbinic Literature, DSD 4 (1997): 198201.
39. Esther Eshel has argued that the Songs of the Sage may be connected thematically to the so-called
Self-Glorification Hymn (4Q491c 11i8-24 / 4Q471b 1a-d, 1-10 / 4Q427 7i6-17/ 1QH 25:35-26:16)
insofar as both compositions present a first-person speaker who claims to dwell with God in the shelter
of the Most High (4Q511 8, 6-9) (Eshel, The Identification of the Speaker of the Self-Glorification
Hymn, in The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Technological Innovations, New Texts,
and Reformulated Issues, ed. Donald W. Parry and Eugene Ulrich, STDJ 30 [Leiden: Brill, 1999], 61935).
The identity of this speaker was likely understood to be the Eschatological Priest who will teach
righteousness at the end of days (CD 6:11; cf. 4Q174 1-2i12, 4Q541 9i1-7; 1QSb 4:22-28) and thereby
represent the final victory over the forces of both cosmic and earthly wickedness. This figure, in turn,
was possibly modeled on the communal recollection of the Teacher of Righteousness, about whom
similar claims were made regarding his teaching, status, and purpose (CD 1:11; 1QpHab 7;
4Q83 3:15-16; etc.). Cf. John J. Collins, The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and
Other Ancient Literature (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 125.
148 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

mankind,] so that they gave birth to ( )Giants (4Q180 1 7-9). The text
possibly suggests that the iniquity initiated by these figures was passed along
through the ages as an inheritance of guilt that would be dispelled in the final
age, though the full interpretation of the Azazel portion is unfortunately not
preserved in the manuscripts. In any case, we have here a presentation of the
Watchers and Giants motif that is similar to the other passages we have adduced
from among the Qumran sectarian texts.40
All the above leads to the following provisional conclusions: (1) There was
considerable interest in Watchers and Giants among the Yahad, an interest that
was expressed in exegetical treatments of both Genesis and the earliest Enochic
literature, as well as in the preservation of other (especially Aramaic) literature
dealing with primordial and patriarchal matters. (2) The sectarian elaboration
of ideas about wickedness was tied to these traditions, but the catalog of the
demonic realm was translated into the context of the Yahad and considerably
expanded to include other figures such as Belial, Mastemah, Lilith, Melchiresha,
Satan, Beelzebub, and Abaddonin a continuation of the rationalization of the
demonic world found already in the Book of the Watchers.41 (3) Certain ritual
(magical?) practices were exercised for the purpose of temporarily warding off
the demons who continued to afflict members of the Yahad. This praxis had
as its ideological counterpart the idea that only those who were privy to the
council of God could hope to avoid iniquity and impurity. (4) There was
possibly an expectation that a final solution to the legacy of the Watchers would
be realized in the coming of the Eschatological Priest in the final days (see note
39). Such a figure would embody the perfect teaching (in part because of his
status vis--vis God), ensure absolute cultic purity, and vanquish both earthly
and cosmic foes.

Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Research

The present essay provides an introductory survey of Watchers traditions in the
DSS, but there is more work to be done on this complicated issue. Now that
all the Cave 4 material has been published, it may be possible, for example, to
inquire anew into the transmission history of the Enochic traditions. As Michal
Langlois has recently demonstrated with his rigorous paleographical and text-
critical analysis of 4Q201, the Qumran manuscripts can yet reveal new insights

40. One possible avenue of research would be to inquire whether the Qumran sectarian manuscripts
provide any evidence for the transmission of the Shemihazah and Asael strands of the Watchers
traditionan inquiry I have not made in this study.
41. Alexander, Demonology, 339.
Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls | 149

into the development of Watchers lore in early Judaism.42 It is also the case
that new editions of old texts continually bring forth fresh readings that can
throw light on these traditions. Machielas edition of the Genesis Apocryphon, for
example, provides an excellent starting point for a more detailed and nuanced
understanding of the Watchers tradition presented in the initial columns of that
Finally, while this essay has discussed the relevant passages in their literary
contexts and has suggested some links among texts from different genres, for
the Yahad, the Watchers and Giants were not mere traditions to be treated
with exegesis but were a living part of reality that needed to be resisted using
prayer, exorcism, and other forms of esoteric praxisor what in some discourses
might be known as magic. One intriguing aspect of the Qumran remains
is the presence of a number of magical, medical, physiognomical, astrological,
and astronomical works that would appear, on the face of it, to fall into the
category of things proscribed by Deuteronomy, Daniel, 1 Enoch, and other
authoritative texts. Though scholars are still trying to learn more about the
actual practices reflected in these texts, it appears that many of them were likely
updated and translated into the context of the Yahad, revealing something of
a double standard by which forms of knowledge and practice were legitimated
or anathematized.44 While there have already been promising scholarly gains in
this area, there is more work to be done to understand these phenomena and to
relate them to the Yahads views about the demonic world.
Watchers traditions apparently played an important role in worldview of
the group that occupied the site of Qumran. These traditions were part of the
Yahads textual inheritanceinscribed and elaborated especially in the Aramaic
compositions preserved in the Qumran caves and elsewhereand yet they were
adapted and modified to suit the particular contexts of a continuously evolving
sectarian ideology. While it would be unwise to posit a straightforward
Qumran etiology of sin that was derived from the Enochic legend of the
Watchers (the evidence is too complex and varied for such an easy formulation),
it is at least clear enough that the Watchers traditions provided the Yahad

42. Langlois, Le premier manuscript. Langloiss use of infrared photography and other technologies and
his careful methodology for reconstructing text have afforded new readings of difficult portions of
4Q201; for salient examples, see his conclusion, 48789.
43. Machiela, Dead Sea Genesis Apocryphon. Machielas edition of the Genesis Apocryphon contains
several new readings, especially in cols. 02
44. See especially Jonathan Ben-Dov, Scientific Writings in Aramaic and Hebrew at Qumran:
Translation and Concealment, in Aramaica Qumranica, 37998.
150 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

with one important resource as its members attempted to articulate their

understanding of the nature and functions of evil.

Brief Bibliography
Alexander, Philip A. The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Pages 33153
in Volume 2 of The Dead Sea Scrolls After 50 Years: A Comprehensive
Assessment, 2 Vols. Edited by Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam.
Leiden: Brill, 1999.
Bernstein, Moshe. From the Watchers to the Flood: Story and Exegesis in
the Early Columns of the Genesis Apocryphon. Pages 3964 in Reworking the
Bible: Apocryphal and Related Texts at Qumran. STDJ 58. Edited by Esther G.
Chazon, Devorah Dimant, and Ruth A. Clements. Leiden: Brill, 2005.
Garca Martnez, Florentino. Qumran and Apocalyptic: Studies on the Aramaic
Texts from Qumran. STDJ 9. Leiden: Brill, 1992.
Milik, Jozef T. The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4.
Oxford: Clarendon, 1976.
Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second
and Third Century bce Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of
Early Apocalyptic Traditions. Dead Sea Discoveries 7 (2000): 35477.
. The Book of Giants from Qumran. Texte und Studien zum antiken
Judentum 63. Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.
. Giant Mythology and Demonology: From the Ancient Near East to
the Dead Sea Scrolls. Pages 31838 in Demons: The Demonology of Israelite-
Jewish and Early Christian Literature in Context of their Environment. Edited
by Armin Lange, Hermann Lichtenberger, and K.F. Diethard Rmheld.
Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003.

The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs

ok of Par
Leslie Baynes

The Book of Parables comprises chapters 3771 of 1 Enoch, the latest section
of that work and the only major part of it not found among the Dead Sea
Scrolls. It is extant today only in Geez, the ancient liturgical language of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The most notable development of the Watchers
traditions in the Parables is that it consistently links the fallen angels with the
kings and mighty on the earth, who are the adversaries of the congregation
of the righteous, the Lord of Spirits, and the Chosen One/Son of Man. While
the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 136) condemns all human sinners without
significant differentiation among them,1 the Book of Parables singles out the
powerful and conjoins their punishment with that of Watchers, and particularly
with Azazel.2 This juxtaposition is unique in the Enochic corpus and leads to
considerations of the Parables date and the identity of its targets.

As do the other sections of 1 Enoch, the Book of Parables claims that Enoch
wrote it, but it is in fact pseudonymous. Its real author is unknown; we can

1. See 1 En. 1:9; 5:4; 10:16; 22:10-14.

2. Asael and Azazel are the same character. The Geez of the Parables consistently calls that character
Azazel throughout 1 Enoch, but other versions use different spellings. I have followed George
Nickelsburg and James VanderKams translation in using Asael for the demon in the Book of the
Watchers, following the spelling in the Aramaic fragments, and Azazel for the same being in the Book of
the Parables, following the Ethiopic tradition. See Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch 2, Hermeneia
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012), 2012. I regret that the commentary was not available in time to use more
extensively in this essay.

152 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

only speculate about his identity from the content of his work. For the sake
of simplicity, I refer to an author of the Parables in the masculine singular.
Undoubtedly several hands contributed to the book. The Parables seems to have
incorporated sources (for instance, a Book of Noah), and chapters 7071 are
most likely an appendix added after the bulk of the book came together at the
beginning of the first century of the Common Era.

The author of the Parables uses the Book of the Watchers but creates his own new
work.3 Pierluigi Piovanelli calls the Parables a sort of midrashic rewriting of the
Book of the Watchers (1 En. 136) with the addition of many new motifs.4 The
first reference to the Watchers occurs in the first of the three parables that form
the macrostructure of the book.5 In those days the sons of the chosen and
holy were descending from the highest heaven, and their seed was becoming
one with the sons of men (39:1). In which days? The days when the mighty
and exalted (38:4) ruled the earth. Piovanelli counts fifteen citations of kings,
thirteen citations of the mighty, six citations of the exalted, and six citations
of those who possess the earth in the book. It seems clear from the context of
the Parables that these epithets designate a single group in terms of the books
rhetorical target. See, for instance, the conglutination of the terms in 55:4:
Mighty kings who dwell on the earth.6 The first parable opens with a verbal
volley against them, contrasting their fate with that of the righteous when the
Righteous One appears to judge sinners and reveal his hidden things (38:1-6).
The first parable predicts the ultimate destruction of the mighty, but they
emerge in full force in the second and third parables, which enumerate their
sinful activities.7 The incipit of the second parable addresses itself specifically

3. George W.E. Nickelsburg, Discerning the Structure(s) of the Enochic Book of Parables in Enoch
and the Messiah Son of Man: Revisiting the Book of Parables (hereafter EMSM), ed. Gabriele Boccaccini
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 25. Unless otherwise noted, quotations from 1 Enoch are from
Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch: The Hermeneia Translation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
4. Pierluigi Piovanelli, A Testimony for the Kings and the Mighty Who Possess the Earth: The
Thirst for Justice and Peace in the Parables of Enoch, EMSM, 363.
5. In terms of its structure, ch. 37 is an introduction to the booklet. The first parable comprises chs.
3844, the second parable chs. 4557, and the third parable chs. 5869. Chapters 7071 are an appendix
to the work.
6. Piovanelli, A Testimony for the Kings and the Mighty, 372.
7. David Winston Suter, Tradition and Composition in the Parables of Enoch, SBLDS 47 (Missoula:
Scholars, 1979), 107.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables | 153

to them, the ones who deny the name of the dwelling of the holy ones and
of the Lord of Spirits (1 En. 45:1). This group is guilty of many other sins as
well. They do not praise the Lord or acknowledge him as the source of their
kingdom; they judge the stars, manifest their unrighteousness in their deeds,
depend on their wealth for their power, put their faith in idols and, perhaps
most significantly, persecute those who depend on the name of the Lord
of Spirits (46:5-8). For their sins, the Chosen One/Son of Man will destroy
them (46:4-6)8 through the agency of the righteous (48:9) and the angels of
punishment (53:3-5) in concert with Azazel and his hosts:

Turning and looking at another part of the earth, I saw there a

deep valley burning with fire. And they brought the kings and the
mighty, and they threw them into this deep valley. I saw there with
my own eyes how their shackles were being forgediron chains of
incalculable weight. So I asked the Angel of Peace who went with
me: These shackling chainsfor whom are they being prepared?
He said to me: these are being prepared for the legions of Azazel, so
that they may seize them and throw them into the lowest hell (1
En. 54:1-5).9

Later within this same judgment narrative (interrupted by a digression

concerning the flood), the Lord of Spirits commands the mighty kings who
dwell on the earth to witness the Chosen One on his throne judge Azazel and
his hosts (55:4). Just as the Watchers in the Book of the Watchers were forced
to view the destruction of their offspring (10:12), so the kings and mighty
must observe the judgment of their associates, the host of Azazel. Daniel Olson
writes, Noticing that the one story [Book of the Watchers] features angels as its
main characters (the Watchers) the author [of the Parables] furnishes earthly
counterparts to the spiritual beings of the first legend Thus the kings and

8. This figure, on whom a vast amount of literature and controversy focuses, appears only in the
Parables in the Enochic corpus.
9. Regarding the placement of 54:2, I differ from the editorial judgment of Nickelsburg and
VanderKam, who put 54:2 between 53:7 and 54:1. They write, The line has been displaced. The kings
and mighty belong in this valley (53:5), not in the next, which is designated for the fallen angels (54:5),
1 Enoch: A Hermeneia Translation, 68. I adhere instead to the traditional reading as exhibited by, for
example, R.H. Charles, The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1912), M.A. Knibb,
The Ethiopic Book of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978), and Daniel Olson, Enoch: A New Translation
(North Richland: Bibal, 2004), from which the above quotation comes. To the best of my knowledge no
Ethiopic manuscript supports Nickelsburg and VanderKam on this point.
154 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

mighty who oppress the righteous and oppose themselves to the true God are
in some sense the Watchers reincarnated.10
Another theory illustrative of the Watchers/mighty in the Book of Parables
as a whole comes from David Suter, who argues convincingly that the
juxtaposition of the fate of the angels with that of the kings of the earth is a
midrash on Isa. 24:17-23:11

Terror, and the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the
Whoever flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit;
and whoever climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the
earth tremble.
The earth is utterly broken, the earth is torn asunder, the earth is
violently shaken.
The earth staggers like a drunkard, it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.
On that day the lord will punish the host of heaven in heaven,
and on earth the kings of the earth.
They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be
Then the moon will be abashed, and the sun ashamed;
for the lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before his elders he will manifest his glory.

The apocalyptic scenario at the beginning of this passage includes the flood
(the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble),
an important element in the Parables (1 En. 54:755:2; 66:167:3) that its
author also inherited from the earlier Watchers tradition (cf. 1 En. 1:5-7, 10:2).
In both Isaiah 24 and the Parables, but not in Book of the Watchers, the Lord acts
against both the host of heaven and the kings of earth, who will be gathered
together in a pit and then punished. Adding to these ideas cosmic imagery (the
moon will be abashed, and the sun ashamed, cf. Parables at 1 En. 41:3-8; 63:6,
11) and the Lords ultimate public triumph, it becomes abundantly clear how

10. Olson, Enoch, 1112.

11. Suter, Tradition and Composition in the Parables of Enoch.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables | 155

the author of the Book of Parables found inspiration for his own work in Isaiah
The Watchers and the kings and the mighty share more than a common
eschatological fate. The Parables alternate scenarios of their mutual end with
vignettes of their career together. Two of these joint ventures give readers their
main clues for dating the book.12 In the first, the angels (Geez malekt) . . .
assemble themselves and hurl themselves toward the East against the Parthians
and Medes. They will stir up the kings, and a spirit of agitation will come upon
them, and they will shake them off their thrones (1 En. 56:5). Terminology
used for the Watchers is fluid throughout the Enochic corpus. In the Parables,
the wicked angels are called the sons of the chosen and holy (39:1), the host
of Azazel (54:5, cf. 55:4), and angels (64:2; 65:6; 67:4, 6-7, 11-12; 69:2),
with angels thus appearing as the most common designation. The angels in
56:5, therefore, are quite plausibly the Watchers, as it seems unlikely from
the perspective of the Parables author that beneficent angels would instigate
a process that tramples the holy land (56:6) and results in a deadly civil war
(56:7).13 It is the Watchers, after all, who introduce humanity to metallurgy and
thus weapons of war (1 En. 65:6-8; 69:6).
Most scholars have understood this passage as a reflection of a historical
event, but they differ as to exactly which event it is.14 Gillian Bampfylde and
Daniel Olson, for example, argue for the first Parthian incursion into Roman
territory (Syria) in 5150 bce.15 Many others, however, including Paolo Sacchi,
Gabriele Boccaccini, Jonas C. Greenfield, Michael E. Stone, Adela Yarbro
Collins, John Collins, and Pierluigi Piovanelli, believe that the passage more
likely reflects the Parthian invasion of Judea in 40 bce, which was an integral
part of the civil war between the two Hasmoneans Antigonus and Hyrcanus

12. Determining the date of the Book of Parables is difficult for a number of reasons. At present it is
extant only in late Ethiopic manuscripts (fifteenth century and later). Patristic authors do not directly
quote it, but they may allude to it; see below, Influence. The attempt to argue a date from the fact that
it does not appear among the discoveries at Qumran holds no water (see James H. Charlesworth, Can
We Discern the Composition Date of the Parables of Enoch? EMSM, 45068). For these reasons,
internal clues are particularly important for dating the book.
13. That Josephus portrays the Parthian invasion positively in some ways does not mean that everyone
shared his views. On this topic see Luca Arcari, A Symbolic Transfiguration of a Historical Event: The
Parthian Invasion in Josephus and the Parables of Enoch, EMSM, 47886.
14. David Suter, on the contrary, sees it more or less as an apocalyptic myth with some basis in
history. See Suter, Enoch in Sheol: Updating the Dating of the Book of Parables, EMSM, 422; Suter,
Tradition and Composition, 17677.
15. Gillian Bampfylde, The Similitudes of Enoch: Historical Allusions, JSJ 15 (1984): 931; Olson,
Enoch, 138.
156 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

(cf. 56:7, They will begin [to make] war among themselves . . . a man will not
acknowledge his brother, nor a son his father or his mother).16 This conflict led
directly to the enthronement of Herod the Great, which leads us in turn to the
second conjunction of the angels with the adventures of the kings and mighty:
namely, their propensity to land in hot water:

And he will confine those angels who showed iniquity in that

burning valley . . . by the mountains of gold and silver and iron and
soft metal and tin. And I saw that valley in which there was a great
disturbance and troubling of waters. And when all this happened,
from that fiery molten metal and the troubling (of the waters) in
that place, the smell of sulfur was generated, and it mixed with those
waters; and the valley of those angels who had led (humans) astray
burned beneath that ground. And through the valleys of that (area)
rivers of fire issue, where those angels will be judged who led astray
those who dwell on the earth. And in those days those waters (will
serve) the kings and the mighty and the exalted and those who dwell
on the earth, for the healing of (their) flesh and the judgment of
their spirits. Their spirits are full of pleasure, so that their flesh will
be judged, because they denied the Lord of Spirits . . . And the more
their flesh is burnt, the more a change takes place in their spirits,
forever and ever . . . And I heard Michael answer and say, This
judgment with which the angels are judged is a testimony for the
kings and the mighty who possess the earth. (1 En. 67:4-9, 12)

In the geography of the Parables, mountains of metal border the valley that
imprisons the angels (cf. 52:1-2). When Enoch in his visionary journeys initially
sees those mountains, his angelus interpres, the angel of peace, tells him that they
will soon melt like wax before the Chosen One, so that none will save himself
either by gold or silver, and neither will there be any iron or other metals left
for war (1 En. 52:1-9). According to the Parables, pursuit of wealth and war
are two notable activities of the kings and the mighty, who are condemned for
their reliance on their wealth (46:7, 63:10) and for their violence, both against
the congregation of the righteous (46:8-47:1) and against one another (56:7-8).
The heat produced by molten metal mountains and flaming tortured
angels creates hot springs that serve as spas for the kings and the mighty and

16. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 178. Piovanelli, A
Testimony for the Kings and the Mighty Who Possess the Earth, EMSM, 37576. For the others, see
Suter, Enoch in Sheol, EMSM, 42022.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables | 157

exalted and those who dwell on the earth. The kings believe that the waters
heal them, when in fact they judge them for their lust. Lust is a new complaint
against the kings and mighty. It does not appear before this point in the Parables
(67:8) even as an accusation against the angels, surprisingly enough, considering
its importance in the Book of the Watchers (cf. 6:1-2). The idea of lust does serve
to link the kings and the mighty more closely to the Watchers as they appear
in the Book of the Watchers, and in addition it foreshadows some elements of the
dual angel lists in chapter 69 (see below).
In terms of dating the Parables, both the sojourn in the hot springs and the
lust attributed to the kings and the mighty in chapter 67 can be associated with
the life and death of Herod the Great. According to Josephus Ant. 17.168-72
(cf. War 1.656-58), at the end of his life Herod, suffering from great physical
affliction, repaired to the hot springs of Callirrhoe to attempt a healing. No
healing ensued, and he died shortly thereafter (4 bce). Darrell Hannah remarks
that scholars are usually cautious about concluding that we have here an
actual allusion to Herod and his unsuccessful treatment at Callirrhoe, but he
overcomes that caution with the strength of his argument in favor of just
that.17 Hannah observes that the one sin of the kings and the mighty ones
singled out in the text of 1 En. 67:8-13 is that of lust. This distinguishes it from
all the others concerning the kings and mighty ones in the Parables. Herod
and his family, moreover, were infamous for their uncontrolled passions,18
and David J. Ladouceur has argued that Josephuss description of Herods final
illness implies that the author considers it commensurate divine punishment for
his licentiousness.19 Indeed, some of Herods afflictions do not make for good
family reading.
In light of the growing scholarly consensus identifying the Parthian
conflict in 1 En. 56 and the watering hole incident in chapter 67 with the
beginning and the end of Herods career, respectively, Paolo Sacchi in his
summation of the 2005 meeting of the Enoch Seminar devoted to the Parables
proclaimed that the burden of proof has shifted to those who disagree with the
Herodian date of the Parables of Enoch.20 Herod the Great and his retainers,

17. Darrell D. Hannah, The Book of Noah, the Death of Herod the Great, and the Date of the
Parables of Enoch, EMSM, 474.
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid., 475. D.J. Ladouceur, The Death of Herod the Great, CP 76 (1981): 2534.
20. Paolo Sacchi, The 2005 Camaldoli Seminar on the Parables of Enoch: Summary and Prospects for
Future Research, EMSM, 511. For an alternative view, see Ted Erho, The Ahistorical Nature of 1
Enoch 56: 5-8 and Its Ramifications upon the Opinio Communis on the Dating of the Similitudes of Enoch,
JSJ 40 (2009): 23-54.
158 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

therefore, emerge as strong candidates for the kings and the mighty of the
earth who persecute the righteous in the book.21 And from whom do they
receive their power? From the wicked angels.
The kings and the mighty play and pay in league with the angels, while
the angels for their part are servants of Satan/the satans.22 This linkage of the
Watchers with Satan is another one of the new motifs about them in the Book
of the Parables.23 In 54:6, Azazel and his hosts are thrown into the deep valley
burning with fire for their unrighteousness in becoming servants of Satan, and
leading astray those who dwell on the earth. In 1 En. 65:6-7, the Lord informs
the inhabitants of the earth that

their end is accomplished, for they have learned all the secrets of
the angels, and all the violence of the satans, and all their powers,
the hidden secrets and all the powers of those who practice sorcery,
and the powers of (brightly) color(ed garments), and the powers of
those who cast molten (images) for all the earth. And how silver is
produced from the dust of the earth and how soft metal [is poured
out] on the earth.

Earlier in the Parables, the kings and mighty have been condemned for their
violence (46:8, 56:5-8), their idolatry (46:7), and their wealth (46:7, 52:7). The
diabolical truth of the matter, according to the author of the Parables, is that
all these things come from the secrets of the angels, who are associates of the
satans. Considering the attitude of the Parables author toward the kings and
the mighty, it is not surprising that he would put them in league with Satan/
satans, but something else is happening here, too. The question of theodicy
haunts every apocalypse, and no Jewish or Christian apocalypse (or any other
work) will be able to solve it satisfactorily as long as those two religions
remain monotheistic. The faithful never allow that to prevent them from
trying, however. In the Book of the Watchers, the Watchers come from heaven,
where God lives, and no explanation is forthcoming as to why Asael and his
hosts would wish to share the secrets of heaven with humanity (cf. 16:3). In
the Parables, the angels still come from heaven, but the author deflects the

21. 1 En. 46:5-8 may support this contention as well. The accusation that the kings do not humbly
acknowledge whence the kingdom was given to them may reflect Herods unconventional rise to
power, and the accusation of idolatry his construction of the temple of Roma and Augustus. Thanks go
to Harold Attridge for these observations.
22. In Geez as in Hebrew, there is no capital letter to distinguish Satan from satan.
23. I do not count Mastemas dominion over the children of the Watchers (= demons) in Jub. 10:7-9.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables | 159

possibility of faulting God by placing blame directly upon the angels through
their decision to become servants of Satan. They in turn teach the crafts of
metallurgy that lead to wealth (coinage), idolatry (in making figures of the
gods), and violence against the righteous (through weaponry).
Both the Book of the Watchers and the Parables contain two lists of angels
and their sins. In the Book of the Watchers, the first is led by Shemihazah, when
a group descends to earth to breed with human women (6:7), and the second
led by Asael, when a group descends to earth to teach people metallurgy, which
they use to form weapons of war and jewelry for ornamentation, as well as
cosmetics, spells, herbology, and the interpretation of astronomical phenomena
(8:1-3). This knowledge causes people to perish (8:4).
Chapter 69 of the Parables, like Book of the Watchers, contains two lists of
angels. The first list, in 69:2-3, corresponds quite closely to 6:7,24 the group led
by Shemihazah, the only time his name is mentioned in the Parables (without,
however, mentioning what he did).25 With the exceptions of 39:1 and 69:4-6,
the Parables appear unconcerned with the intermixing of the sons of God with
the daughters of men. The angels are condemned in the Parables because they
revealed their secrets. The Parables refers neither to the lust of the angels, nor to
any lust of the women (cf. T. Reu. 5:5-6), but only to the lust of the kings (1 En.
The second list in the Parables, 69:4-12, is in some respects similar to and
in others different from the list in 8:1-3 headed by Asael. While both of these
lists first name the angels and then the teachings that they promoted, there is
no overlap among the names and little overlap among the teachings.26 Here the
Parables mentions angelic intercourse with women (69:4-6). Most interestingly,
the Parables dates the instigation of this angel/human interaction not to the
period right before the flood, as does the Book of the Watchers, but rather much
earlier, to Eden, where Gadreel not only shows people how to kill each other
with all the implements of death, but also [leads] Eve astray (69:6). Perhaps
the author of the Parables perceived the problem that ensued when fallen angels

24. For a comparison/contrast see Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch: A New Translation, 88.
25. George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of Enoch Chapters 136; 81108,
Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 172, writes, The identification of Asael as the archdemon
marks the beginning of a tendency in most of the strata of 1 Enoch and in other Jewish literature: a) to
continue to mention the descent of the watchers and the procreation of giants; b) to expunge the name
of Shemihazah; c) and to emphasize the name of Asael/Azazel, though not necessarily the sin of angelic
26. For more details on these lists, see Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism
and Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 11316.
160 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

ostensibly introduced violence to the earth just prior to the flood in the Book of
the Watchers, but Cain killed Abel well before that time in the biblical narrative.
The end of the third and final parable predicts that those who led the
world astray will be bound in chains, and in the assembly place of their
destruction they will be shut up; and all their works will vanish from the face
of the earth (69:28). Who led the world astray? Who will be bound in chains,
and whose works expunged? The angels or the kings and the mighty? At this
point, does it really matter? By pairing the careers and the ultimate ends of the
Watchers with those of the kings and the mighty, the author of the Book of
Parables mythologizes and apocalyptizes his conflict with the latter, just as his
predecessors did with their foes: the author of the Book of the Watchers with the
Jews Hellenistic overlords,27 the author of Daniel with Antiochus IV Epiphanes
(Dan. 712), and the author of 1 Enochs Animal Apocalypse with the shepherds
of Israel (1 En. 8590).
In the making of apocalypses is fear and hope: fear in the mundane struggle
on the earthly front, and hope against hope for help from heaven. Despite its
unique foci among the books in the Enochic corpus (the juxtaposition of the
Watchers with the kings and mighty, the presence of the Chosen One/Son of
Man, the influence of Satan/satans on the Watchers), the Parables shares with
other sections of 1 Enoch its longing to make meaning and ultimately find
vindication in the divine scheme of things.

No manuscript, fragment, or direct quotation of the Book of Parables predating
late Geez works (fifteenth century and following) is currently extant.
Furthermore, when it appears that certain texts may allude to the Parables, it
can be difficult to discern whether the allusion actually stems from the Parables
itself as opposed to the Watchers tradition in Book of the Watchers. Nonetheless,
there are several early texts that may indeed allude to or echo material about the
Watchers that is apparently unique to the Parables.
The New Testament Book of Revelation overlaps in some interesting
ways with the Parables (for instance, compare 1 En. 47:1-4 with Rev. 6:9-11).
The most important of these concerning the Watchers is the Apocalypses
demonization of its own kings and mighty ones. As in the Parables, Revelation
argues that Satan is the fundamental power behind the elites who oppress the
righteous. The great red dragon, who is Satan (Rev. 12:9), gives its power and

27. George W.E. Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic and Myth in 1 Enoch 6-11, JBL 96 (1977): 383405.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables | 161

authority to the beast with ten horns and seven heads (Rev. 13:2), and that beast
is the Roman empire, with whose rider (who also represents Rome) the kings
of the earth have committed fornication (Rev. 17:2,18). The seer John, like
Enoch, looks forward to the destruction of the mighty and wealthy oppressors
of his people (Rev. 1819). Revelation never quotes the Hebrew Scriptures
directly, and neither does it quote from the Parables. Nonetheless, Revelation
and the Parables do share a very similar emphasis on the demonization of the
rich and powerful over against the authors own community of righteous ones.
In his Second Apology 5, Justin Martyr writes that the Watchers subdued
the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings.28 While this may
be a reference to 1 En. 7-9, it may also reflect knowledge of the Parables fallen
angel Penemue, who revealed to humanity the secret of writing with ink and
papyrus, on account of which many went astray from of old and forever and
until this day, even to the point of death (1 En. 69:8-11). While 1 En. 7-9
certainly includes spells and sorcery among the secrets the Watchers divulge, it
does not mention writing, much less emphasize it as a technology that imperils
humanity as the Parables does.
Much later traditions from the Ethiopian Orthodox church also refer to
the connection between the Watcher Penemue and writing. Maafa Mestir,
an esoteric work of the fifteenth century, includes a list of fallen angels and the
forbidden knowledge they taught humanity. The only angel in the list whose
name bears any resemblance to the angels in 1 Enoch is nmus (cf. 1 En. 69:8,
nmu), who taught architecture and writing.29
Magic scrolls are an important part of Ethiopian religious practice, and
some Ethiopian thought attributes them not to Penemue, but to Azaziel (cf. the
Parables Azazel), who gave them to humanity before the flood. Jacques Mercier
writes that Adams son Seth and his descendents prayed in company with the
angels, but two hundred of Seths descendants, tempted by the devil Azaziel,
went down from the Holy Mountain to intermarry with the daughters of Cain.
These sons of Seth taught men secrets which until then were known only to
celestial beings: among these mysteries were writing with red and black ink,
the protective talismans associated with rituals for calling up devils, the secret
Names of God, and the talismans for exorcising devils from those possessed.30

28. ANF, vol. 1.

29. J. Perruchon, ed., Le Livre des mystres du ciel et de la terre, PO 1.1 (Paris: Brepols, 1903), 22. English
translation E.A. Wallis Budge, ed., The Book of the Mysteries of the Heavens and the Earth (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1935; repr., Berwick, ME: Ibis, 2004), 28.
30. Jacques Mercier, Ethiopian Magic Scrolls (New York: Braziller, 1979), 78.
162 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Here Azaziel takes on the role of Penemue, the one who introduces humanity
to writing with ink in the Parables.
Another reference to Azazel that has sometimes been understood as
deriving from Book of the Watchers (1 En. 79) may stem instead from the
Parables. Daniel Olson argues that Irenaeuss Adv. haer. 1.15.6 alludes to 1 En.
54:4-6. Irenaeus quotes a poem written against a certain Marcus: Marcus,
maker of idols, observer of portents, Skilled in astrology and in all arts of
magic, Whereby you confirm your erroneous doctrines. Showing wonders
to whomever you lead into error; showing the works of the apostate Power,
Marvels which Satan, your father, teaches you always to perform through the
power angelic of Azazel, Using you as the precursor of godless evil. Olson
comments, In both passages Azazel acts as an instrument of Satan for the express
purpose of leading humanity astray (Ethiopian asata = Greek plana). This is a
coherent and distinctive concept, and it is unique to these two documents, as far
as I know. The figure of Satan (singular) appears only here in 1 Enoch, and so it
is not surprising to find Christian interest in this passage.31 As with the allusion
to writing in Justins Second Apology, I believe that Irenaeuss text bears more
resemblance to the Parables than to Book of the Watchers.
The best known of the possible patristic allusions to the Parables appears in
Origens Contra Celsum 5.52, 54-55. Origen quotes his opponent Celsus, who
apparently garbles some form of 1 En. 67:4-11, the passage about imprisoned
angels making hot springs. Celsus writes that 6070 angels became wicked,
and were cast under the earth and punished with chains, and that from this
source originate the warm springs, which are their tears (5.52).32 Origen
ridicules Celsuss rendition of the story, noting that he quotes as from the book
of Enoch, but without naming it (5.55) and that he does not seem actually to
have read Enoch, since such a thing was neither mentioned nor heard of in the
Churches of God (5.54). Origen is in fact correct; neither 1 En. 67:4-11 nor 1
Enoch as a whole mentions such angels tears, which, Origen adds sardonically,
would be somewhat salty, whereas most springs are composed of fresh water.
At the same time, the similarities between Celsus and the Parables are obvious.
The dearth of references to the Book of Parables relative to the number of
allusions to the Book of the Watchers in antiquity is a puzzle if the Parables were
written around the turn of the Common Era, and that phenomenon has been
used to argue for a late date for its composition.33 Nevertheless, arguments for

31. Daniel C. Olson, An Overlooked Patristic Allusion in the Parables of Enoch? EMSM, 49495,
emphasis in original.
32. ANF, 4.
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of Parables | 163

the earlier dating based on internal evidence in the book seem more convincing
than arguments from relative silence in patristic works.

Recommendations for Further Research

Barring the discovery of early manuscripts of the Book of Parables, disputes
about the book will continue to rage. One area of Parables studies that offers a
huge cache of documents awaiting analysis, however, is the Ethiopian tradition.
The Ethiopian Orthodox church has an especially high regard for angels, and
it considers 1 Enoch canonical scripture.34 As Ethiopian manuscripts become
increasingly accessible, scholars may well discover in them further
appropriations of the Watchers tradition as refracted through the Book of

Brief Bibliography

Boccaccini, Gabriele, ed. Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man: Revisiting the Book
of Parables. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.
Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam. 1 Enoch 2: A
Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 3782. Hermeneia. Minneapolis:
Fortress Press, 2012.
Suter, David Winston. Tradition and Composition in the Parables of Enoch. SBLDS
47. Missoula, MT: Scholars, 1979.

33. J. T. Milik, ed., The Books of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976), 9192.
34. Leslie Baynes, Enoch and Jubilees in the Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in A Teacher
for All Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam, JSJSup 153/2, ed. Eric F. Mason et al (Leiden:
Brill, 2012), 799818.
35. The Ethiopian Manuscript Imaging Project (EMIP) based at the Hill Museum and Manuscript
Library, St. Johns University (MN), has placed many manuscripts online.

Reception in Early
Christianity and Early

The Descent of the Watchers and its

Aftermath According to Justin Martyr
Randall D. Chesnutt

In the second and third centuries ce, as rabbinic Judaism attempted a

suppression of Enochic traditions that was somewhat successful until those
traditions reemerged with a vengeance in medieval Jewish mysticism,1 a lively
and diverse use of Enochic texts and ideas continued unabated among many
Christian writers. Foremost among these writers in the mid-second century was
Justin Martyr, the Christian apologist and philosopher who made much of the
descent of the Watchers or deviant angels known to us from the Book of the
Watchers (1 Enoch 136). What follows is an analysis of Justins interpretation
and appropriation of this Enochic myth. Three aspects of his usage, anchored in
turn in the Second Apology, First Apology, and Dialogue with Trypho, provide a
framework for the discussion.2

1. See the excellent reception history of the Book of the Watchers in Annette Y. Reed, Fallen Angels and
the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2005).
2. This arrangement does not reflect the order of Justins writings but serves only to lead with his most
extensive treatment of the myth, which appears in the Second Apology. It is clear from Justins own cross-
references that the Second Apology follows the First Apology and that the Dialogue with Trypho comes last.
Of the many other works attributed to him, only fragments of dubious authenticity survive. The present
study is restricted to the three undisputed works, which date from the 150s to the mid-160s ce. Whether
the two Apologies are discrete works is debated; see the survey of views and a new proposal in Paul Parvis,
Justin, Philosopher and Martyr: The Posthumous Creation of the Second Apology, in Justin Martyr and
His Worlds, ed. Sara Parvis and Paul Foster (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 2237. Here we follow the
generally accepted view that the Second Apology is a sort of appendix to the First Apology, perhaps
prompted by the persecution under Urbicus rehearsed at the beginning of the Second Apology.

168 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Primordial Watchers and Present Woes

Justins most developed appeal to the Watchers tradition appears in his Second
Apology, written in Rome on behalf of Christians being condemned to death
by state officials. Such injustices happen, Justin explains, because of the wicked
demons who hate us, and who keep such people as these in subjection to
themselves, and serve them as judges, incite them, as rulers moved by evil spirits,
to put us to death (2 Apol. 1).3 To account for how the demons came to have
such leverage in the first place, Justin invokes the myth of the rebellious angels:

God, when He had made the whole world, and subjected earthly
things to men and women, and arranged the heavenly elements
for the increase of fruits and change of the seasons, and ordered
the divine law for themthese things also He made for people to
seeand entrusted the care of men and women and of things under
heaven to angels whom He appointed over them. But the angels
transgressed this order, and were captivated by love of women, and
produced children who are called demons. And besides later they
enslaved the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings,
and partly by fears and punishments which they occasioned, and
partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices and incense and libations,
which they needed after they were enslaved with lustful passions;
and among people they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate
deeds, and every evil. (2 Apol. 5)

This brief account of the primordial angelic incursion into the world and
its tragic consequences preserves in nuce the fuller version in the Book of the
Watchers. As in the Book of the Watchers, the story of the angels transgression is
prefaced by a celebration of the orderly cosmos created by God. The evidences
of this order are the same as in the Book of the Watchers: the methodical
movements of the heavenly bodies, the predictable rotation of the seasons, and
the perennial cycle of vegetation (1 En. 25). As in the Book of the Watchers, this
cosmic harmony is shattered not by human failing but by angelic misdeeds. In

3. This and subsequent quotations of Justins Apologies follow the translation by Leslie W. Barnard, St.
Justin Martyr: The First and Second Apologies, Ancient Christian Fathers: Works of the Fathers in
Translation 56 (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1997). Translations of the Dialogue with Trypho are from Thomas B.
Falls, trans., and Michael Slusser, ed., St. Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho (Washington, DC: Catholic
University of America Press, 2003). The Greek text employed is from Iustini Martyris. Apologiae pro
Christianis; Dialogus cum Tryphone, Patristische Texte und Studien 38, 47, ed. Miroslav Marcovich (Berlin:
de Gruyter, 2005).
The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr | 169

both texts the essence of the angels sin is the breach of the distinct domains
ordained by God for angels and human beings (1 En. 15). As in the Book of
the Watchers, the fallen angels promulgate wickedness both by their production
of anomalous offspring, whose evil spirits continue to plague the earth, and
through their teachings (1 En. 1516; 19:1). Justins reference to the
enslavement of humankind by magical writings recalls the Book of the Watchers
description of illicit angelic instruction of humankind in sorcery, magical arts,
and divination (1 En. 79). His claim that the fallen angels and their demonic
progeny teach mankind to offer pagan sacrifices echoes Uriels warnings in
the Book of the Watchersthat the spirits of the angels who impregnated human
women would lead humankind astray to sacrifice to demons (1 En. 19:1). Just as
the Book of the Watchers blames Asael and other Watchers for causing all manner
of violence and promiscuity by introducing weapons, jewelry, and cosmetics to
humankind (1 En. 8:1-2; 9:6-9; 10:8; 13:2), 2 Apol.5 accuses the angels and their
offspring of sowing murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and every
Justins understanding of the demons as offspring from the primordial
angelic transgression fixes his demonology solidly within the orbit of the
Watchers tradition. He was no doubt influenced by the Greco-Roman
tendency to attribute bad things to demons, but classical sources do not account
for the essence of his thought. Although Socrates suggests that demons may
be the offspring of union between gods and nymphs (Plato Apology 15 [27 B-
E]), and Hesiod says that demons are the disembodied spirits of men who died
in the Golden Age (Works and Days 110-27), nowhere in Greek literature are
these separate ideas brought together into the kind of worldview that we find in
Enochic tradition and works dependent on it. Demons tend to be neutral rather
than categorically negative in classical sources;4 nowhere are they construed as
a horde of evil spirits responsible for evil in the world.5 The determinative
matrix of Justins demonology is Enochic rather than classical, as is evident
slightly later in the case of Tertullian, who expressly attributes his beliefs about
the fallen angels and their demonic brood to Enoch and Enochic writings
(Apology 22; On Idolatry 4; On the Apparel of Women 2-3).

4. On demons in the Greek world, see Walter Burkert, Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, trans. John
Raffan (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1985) 17981; Everett Ferguson, Demonology of the Early Christian
World, Symposium Series 12 (New York: Mellen, 1984), 3367; and Frederick E. Brenk, In the Light of
the Moon: Demonology in the Early Imperial Period, ANRW 2.16.3 (1986): 20682145.
5. George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch. Chapters 136; 81108,
Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 273.
170 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Thus far, Justins understanding of the Watchers disastrous descent closely

parallels that in the Book of the Watchers and does not vary from it in the
well-known ways that other early tradents in Enochic traditions do. In both
Apologies Justin embraces without qualification the Book of the Watchers appeal
to the primordial angels to show the supernatural origins of evil; he shows no
tendencyas do the authors of the Epistle of Enoch (1 En. 91105), Enochs
Dream Visions (1 En. 8390), Jubilees, and 2 Baruchto mitigate this emphasis by
appealing to Adam and Eve or otherwise shifting the blame for sin and suffering
to human beings.6 Unlike purveyors of the Watchers traditions who stress the
angels sexual transgression and the violence of their hybrid progeny to the
exclusion or diminishing of their role as corrupting teachers of humankind
(e.g., the Epistle of Enoch, the Animal Apocalypse in the Book of Dreams, and
Jubilees),7 or, conversely, who emphasize the Watchers revelation of forbidden
secrets to the point of disregarding the sexual sin and resulting hybrid offspring
(e.g., the Book of Parables [1 En. 3771]), Justin maintains both traditions intact,
just as the compiler of the Book of the Watchers conflates the Shemihazah and
the Asael strands of tradition.8 Neither does Justin go beyond the Book of the
Watchers by having the Giants eradicated in the flood, thereby eliminating any
postdiluvian role for them, as the Animal Apocalypse does (1 En. 89:6).9 Neither

6. See James C. VanderKam, The Angel Story in the Book of Jubilees, in Pseudepigraphic Perspectives:
The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls, STDJ 31, ed. Esther G. Chazon and
Michael E. Stone (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 15170. As will be noted below, in the Dialogue with Trypho Justin
does appeal to the story of Adam and Eve. The Animal Apocalypse in the Enochic Book of Dreams
accentuates human responsibility not by appealing to the story of Adam and Evewhich it ignoresbut
to Cains murder of Abel as the paradigmatic sin that begins the path of decline along which the angels
transgression continues (1 En. 85:4).
7. Reed, Fallen Angels, 7576, 8081, 9293.
8. There is consensus among Enoch specialists that 1 Enoch 611 conflates these two cycles of
traditions related, respectively, to the angels sexual transgression and their revelation of illicit knowledge,
but little agreement on the stages by which these strands were incorporated into the Book of the Watchers
as we know it. See Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 19093, for one learned attempt to sort out the literary
evolution of these materials.
9. Again it is necessary to distinguish between the redacted form of the Book of the Watchers and the
diverse literary strata embedded within it. According to 1 En. 10:9-10, 12, the Giants are to slaughter
each other and therefore be annihilated, unlike their fathers and Asael, who are to be bound in the
underworld to await final judgment (10:4b-6, 11, 12b-13). In the redactional compilation, the spirits of
the Giants survive the death of their human side and carry on the wicked activities of their fathers until
the final judgment (15:8-12; 16:1; 19:1; see Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 26970). Cf. Jub. 1012, where most
of the demons are bound in Noahs time, but at the request of Mastemah, prince of the spirits, one tenth
are allowed to survive and continue the violent and corrupting activities of the pre-diluvian Giants. See
The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr | 171

does he adopt any of the euhemeristic alternatives to identifying the sons of

God ( ) in Gen. 6:1-4 as angels, as do Jewish writers ranging
from Pseudo-Eupolemus to rabbinic authorities, and early Christian authors
including Julius Africanus and Origen.10 Annette Reeds suggestion that Justins
Apologies adhere more closely than any earlier Jewish or Christian source does
to the form and function of the Book of the Watchers is well justified.11
Whether Justin drew directly from the Book of the Watchers is impossible
to say with certainty, but it seems most likely that he was dependent upon
something closely akin to the work we know by that name. The books early
composition and widespread circulation from the second century bce on (as
documented in Qumran manuscripts), its early translation into Greek, its use
as an authoritative source in some of the earliest Christian writings (Jude, 1
Peter, 2 Peter), and Tertullians express dependence on the Scripture of Enoch
for the same traditions (On the Apparel of Women 2-3; see also Apology 22; On
Idolatry 4) make it the most likely conduit of the Watchers myth to Justin.
Dependence on oral transmission and written materials now lost except as
embedded in the extant Enochic works cannot be excluded, but neither should
it be privileged over a well-documented literary channel, especially in view of
the detail and specificity with which Justins presentation of the myth parallels
that in the Book of the Watchers. Erwin R. Goodenoughs suggestion that some
Christian source had already appropriated the Jewish Enochic traditions into
Christianity and mediated them to Justin12 is possible but speculative.
As closely as Justin follows the Book of the Watchers distinct version of the
Watchers myth, he also adds a quite innovative dimension. The passage from 2
Apol. 5 quoted above continues:

Whence also the poets and mythologists, not knowing that it was the
angels and those demons who had been begotten by them that did
these things to men and women and cities and nations, which they
related, ascribed them to God Himself, and to those who were His
offspring, and to the offspring of those who were called His brothers.

Loren T. Stuckenbruck, The Angels and Giants of Genesis 6:1-4 in Second and Third Century bce
Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of Early Apocalyptic Traditions, DSD 7 (2000):
10. See Stuckenbruck, Angels and Giants, 35862; Philip S. Alexander, Targumim and Early
Exegesis of Sons of God in Genesis 6, JJS 23 (1972): 6071; and Reed, Fallen Angels, 21826.
11. Fallen Angels, 164, 166.
12. Erwin R. Goodenough, The Theology of Justin Martyr (Jena, Germany: Frommann, 1923), 200.
172 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

For whatever name each of the angels had given to himself and his
children, by that name they called them.

Here Justin takes the bold step of identifying the Greco-Roman pantheon with
the fallen angels and their demonic progeny. He is the first known writer to
make this equation, although some Greek writers associate the worst of the
ancient gods with evil demons,13 and the Septuagint of Deut. 32:17 and Ps.
106:37 equates idolatrous sacrifice with the worship of (demons).
The Book of the Watchers further associates the spirits of the primordial Giants
with present-day demon worship:

There stand the angels who mingled with the women. And their
spiritshaving assumed many formsbring destruction on men and
lead them astray to sacrifice to demons as to gods until the day of the
great judgment, in which they will be judged with finality. (1 En.

In the Septuagintal rendering of Ps. 95:5 (MT 96:5), All the gods of the nations
are demons,15 Justin found the additional link he needed to claim that the gods
celebrated in Greek myths and worshiped by pagan persecutors of Christians
are none other than the demons descended from the fallen angels.16 The very
names of the gods, he asserts, were given them by the fallen angels (2 Apol. 5; 1
Apol. 5, 9).
The Watchers traditions thus afforded Justin both a general etiology of
the worlds ills and an explanation for the immediate crisis for Christians that
occasioned the writing of his Apologies. Because the fallen angels are responsible
not only for the initial corruption of humankind but also for generating
offspring who will roam the earth until the final judgment, the contemporary
persecution of Christians can be blamed on the evil angels and their demonic

13. F.C. Conybeare, Christian Demonology II, JQR 9 (1896): 113; Goodenough, Theology of Justin
Martyr, 109; and Arthur J. Droge, Homer or Moses? Early Christian Interpretations of the History of Culture
(Tbingen: Mohr, 1989), 5455.
14. The Epistle of Enoch likewise associates idolatry with demon worship (1 En. 99:7, the only other
reference to demons in the extant Greek text of 1 Enoch). This and other quotations from 1 Enoch follow
the translation of the Ethiopic by George W.E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch: The
Hermeneia Translation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012).
15. Here the Septuagint uses for the Hebr. , idols, lit. worthless ones, nonentities.
16. In Dial. 55, 73, 79, 83; and 1 Apol. 41, Justin cites Ps. 95:5 explicitly to support this identification.
See also Dial. 19, 27, 119, 133; and 1 Apol. 5, 9. Jub. 1:11; 22:17; Bar. 4:7; 1 Cor. 10:20; and Rev. 9:20 also
draw a connection between idolatry and demon worship.
The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr | 173

brood no less than humanitys first introduction to wickedness was occasioned

by the angels transgression. The demons descended from those rebellious
angels masquerade as deities, enslave people through magic and visions, draw
people into every form of vice, mimic Christian doctrines in pagan myth
and ritual, trick people into worshiping idols, deceive pagans into persecuting
Christians, and inspire false teachers (1 Apol. 5, 9, 10, 14, 26, 44, 54, 56, 58, 62,
Justins use of the Watchers myth to critique pagan cultureindeed,
literally to demonize pagan culturehad profound influence on subsequent
Christian usage. Following Justin, numerous apologists and
heresiologistsincluding some who apparently did not know the Book of the
Watchers or depend directly on Gen. 6:1-4deployed the myth to contend
against a range of ills, from heretical doctrines to abusive imperial powers, from
Greek philosophy to feminine vanity and the use of cosmetics.17 Peter Brown
aptly comments:

To Christians of the second and third centuries . . . this story of

the mating of the angels with the daughters of men and of its dire
consequences for the peace of society, was not a distant myth: it was
a map on which they plotted the disruptions and tensions around

The Watchers and the Word

Although 2 Apol. 5 is Justins only narrative recounting of the Watchers myth,
he refers often to the demonic source of the worlds ills and occasionally to
the angels dalliance that accounts, in turn, for the origin of the demons. Even
his well-known doctrine of the Logos is informed by this complex of ideas.
In answering anti-Christian slanders in 1 Apol. 5, Justin accuses Christianitys
detractors of not using reason (Logos) but being swayed by demons disguised
as gods:

17. See James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch, Enochic Motifs, and Enoch in Early Christian Literature, in
The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity, CRINT 3.4, ed. James C. VanderKam and William
Adler (Assen, Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1996), 33101; Walter H. Wagner, Interpretations of Genesis
6.1-4 in Second Century Christianity, JRH 20 (1996): 13755; Richard Bauckham, The Fall of the
Angels as the Source of Philosophy in Hermias and Clement of Alexandria, VC 39 (1985): 31330; and
Elaine Pagels, Christian Apologists and the Fall of the Angels: An Attack on Roman Imperial Power,
HTR 34 (1985): 30125.
18. Peter Brown, The Making of Late Antiquity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978), 75.
174 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

. . . you do not investigate the charges made against us; but, giving
in to unreasoning passion, and the instigation of evil demons, you
punish us without trial or consideration. For the truth shall be told;
since of old these evil demons manifested themselves, both defiled
women and corrupted boys, and showed terrifying sights to people,
that those who did not use their reason in judging the acts that
were done, were filled with terror; and being taken captive by
fear, and not knowing that these were demons, they called them
gods, and gave to each the name which each of the demons had
chosen for himself. And when Socrates tried, by true reasoning and
definite evidence, to bring these things to light, and deliver people
from the demons, then the demons themselves, by means of people
who rejoiced in wickedness, compassed his death, as an atheist and
impious person, on the charge of introducing new divinities; and in
our case they show a similar activity. For not only among the Greeks
through Socrates were these things revealed by reason [logos], but
also among the Barbarians were they revealed by logos personally,
when He had taken shape, and become man, and was called Jesus
Christ; and in obedience to Him, we not only deny that they who
did such things as these are gods, but state that they are wicked and
impious demons, whose actions will not bear comparison with those
even of people who long after virtue. (1 Apol. 5)

The juxtaposition of Justins Logos doctrine and his insistence on the

demonic inspiration of pagan religion is ironic in that the one builds positively
on an aspect of the very Greco-Roman culture that the other radically indicts.
Justin is well known for his effort to render Christian beliefs and practices
plausible by exploiting their resemblances with traditions familiar from
philosophers and poets (e.g., 1 Apol. 20-24). He argues that whatever either
lawgivers or philosophers uttered well, they elaborated according to their share
of logos (2 Apol. 10; see also1 Apol. 44), and therefore that whatever things
were rightly said among all people, are the property of us Christians (2 Apol.
13). Eusebiuss characterization of Justin is apt: in the garb of a philosopher he
served as ambassador of the word of God (Hist. Eccl. 4.11).
Even as Justins Logos doctrine draws positively on diverse philosophical
currents,19 his concept of the demons who oppose the Logos builds on the

19. See the dated but still useful discussion in Goodenough, Theology of Justin Martyr, 13975, 25061.
See also Carl Andresen, Justin und die mittlere Platonismus, ZNW 44 (195253): 15795; Ragnar
Holte, Logos Spermatikos: Christianity and Ancient Philosophy according to S. Justins Apologies, ST
The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr | 175

Enochic story of the primordial Watchers who generated them. According

to the excerpt just quoted from 1 Apol. 5, the demons have defiled women,
caused great terror, and influenced people toward false worship and shameful
behaviorprecisely what their deviant angelic progenitors are said to have
done in the Book of the Watchers. In depicting the Logos and the demons
as opposing forces competing for human souls and minds, Justin follows the
pattern in the Book of the Watchers wherein the fallen angels transmission
of illicit knowledge is the exact inversion of divine revelation. He broadens
the Book of the Watchers contrast between Enochs revelations about the heavens
and the Watchers cosmological speculation (1 En. 1216) to cover the whole
of pagan culture.20 Justin contrasts the promotion of true piety by the Logos
with the evil demons promotion of false divinities to whom esteemed pagan
writers attribute the most shameful pleasures and unmentionable sexual conduct
(1 Apol. 21; 25; 2 Apol. 12; 14). Through the seed of logos ( )
implanted in every race of men and women, he writes, people everywhere .
. . have made laws and conducted philosophy according to right reason (
); 2 Apol. 7-8; see also Dial. 141), whereas the wicked angels
appointed laws conformable to their own wickedness (2 Apol. 9). In this last
quotation, Justin blames the wicked angels for the opposition to right reason
(or Logos) that he elsewhere blames on demons, showing the close continuity
in his mind between the demons who plagued his world and the primordial
angels who generated them.
Because he considers the Logos always to have been present in some
measure, both through rational thought and through the inspired writings
of Moses, Justin can posit the existence of pre-Christian Christians such as
Socrates. Through Christ, who was and is the logos who is in every person,
Socrates acted rationally, unmasked the pagan gods as demons, rejected idolatry,
and willingly suffered martyrdom (2 Apol. 10; 1 Apol. 46; 1 Apol. 5, 46). Justin
therefore does not hesitate to say that Christ . . . was partially known even by
Socrates (2 Apol. 10), and even that Socrates and others who lived before Christ
but according to reason ( ) were Christians (1 Apol. 46). On the

12 (1958): 10968; Henry Chadwick, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition: Studies in Justin,
Clement, and Origen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966): 130; Leslie W. Barnard, The Logos
Theology of St. Justin Martyr, DRev 89 (1971): 13241; R.M. Price, Hellenization and Logos
Doctrine in Justin Martyr, VC 42 (1988): 1823; M.J. Edwards, On the Platonic Schooling of Justin
Martyr, JTS n.s. 42 (1991): 1734; and Charles Nahm, The Debate on the Platonism of Justin Martyr,
Second Century 9 (1992): 12951.
20. Reed, Fallen Angels, 172.
176 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

other hand, those before Christ who lived without logos ( ), were
wicked and hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived with the logos (1 Apol.
46), as the antagonists continue to do in Justins own time. These antagonists
were and are impelled to these things by evil spirits and act according to the
working of wicked demons (2 Apol. 7).
With the Incarnation, Justin considers the tide of the perennial battle with
demonic forces to have turned. Christ was made man . . . for the destruction
of the demons (2 Apol. 6; see also Dial. 45; 100). Before the Incarnation,
the demons had the upper hand against those with only a diffused portion
of the seed of logos ( ) and prevailed in all but a
few individuals; but by the concentration of the whole logos into a single
invincible force in the Incarnate Christ, the power of the demons has been
broken and people freed from demonic enslavement (2 Apol. 8; 10; 13).21
Nevertheless, the victory is not complete; just as the Book of the Watchers
distinguishes between a preliminary subduing and a final eschatological
punishment of the Watchers and their sons (1 En. 10:9-16; 12:4-6; 15:8-12),
Justin situates current affairs in the interim between Christs two advents:
demons have suffered a preliminary overthrow in Christs coming and in
ongoing exorcisms in his name, but these are only an intimation of the
punishment in eternal fire that awaits the wicked angels and demons at the
final conflagration (2 Apol. 7-8; 1 Apol. 45; 52).22
From the foregoing it is evident that Justin views the whole of history,
including the activity of the Logos, in light of the Watchers tradition. The
traditions that feed into his Logos doctrine are many and complex, but the myth
of the Watchers deserves more attention than it has received as an important
one of them.23 Whether contemplating Socrates martyrdom for using reason to

21. See Goodenough, Theology of Justin Martyr, 25259; Holte, Logos Spermatikos, 10968; J. H.
Waszink, Bemerkungen zu Justins Lehre vom Logos Spermatikos, in Mullus: Festschrift Theodor Klauser,
JAC supplements 1, ed. Alfred Stuiber and Alfred Hermann (Mnster: Aschendorff, 1964), 38090; Leslie
W. Barnard, Justin Martyr: His Life and Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967),
12223; and M.J. Edwards, Justins Logos and the Word of God, JECS 3 (1995): 26180.
22. The same pattern appears in the New Testament passages that cite Enochic traditions: Jude 6; 1
Pet. 3:18-22; 2 Pet. 2:4-11; see too Eric Masons essay in this volume.
23. The gross understatement in the recent commentary by Denis Minns and Paul Parvis, Justin,
Philosopher and Martyr: Apologies, Oxford Early Christian Texts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009),
69, illustrates this neglect. Minns and Parvis dismiss the ideology behind Justins allusion to the descent of
the angels and its terrible aftermath in one brief sentence (The origin of this seems to be Jewish
speculation based on Gen 6:1-4) with a footnote that refers to but does not discuss one verse from 1
Enoch (19:1).
The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr | 177

discern the truth, or the contemporary Roman persecution of Christians, Justin

discerns a common pattern: the demonic offspring of the fallen angels represent
the opposition to the Logos and its rational adherents (1 Apol. 44; 2 Apol. 8).
The story of the Watchers is the theological backdrop for the ongoing struggle
between the Logos and the inimical demonic forces in the world.

Who is To Blame? Conflicting Etiologies of Evil

Conspicuously absent from the writings of Justin considered thus far is any
reference to Adam and Eve. The summary of primeval history in 2 Apol. 5
moves directly from creation to the descent of the angelic Watchers to account
for the origins of evil, skipping over the story of Adam and Eve and effectively
omitting any concern for human culpability. Indeed, there is no mention of the
first couple in either of the Apologies,24 even as references to the fallen angels and
demons abound. In the Dialogue with Trypho, on the other hand, Justin appeals
regularly to Gen. 23 to account for human wickedness. Here he insists to his
Jewish interlocutor that Christ redeems humankind from the sins of Adam and
Eve, whose acts in the garden not only brought about death but also remain
paradigmatic of all human disobedience (Dial. 88, 94, 98, 124, 141).25
Reed is no doubt correct that this difference reflects the respective
polemical agendas of the Apologies and the Dialogue.26 In the formerwhether
the address to imperial authorities indicates the actual target audience or is
only a literary fiction27Christian identity is defined vis--vis pagan culture.
Justin promotes Christianity as the true philosophy, exploiting the similarities

24. Here Justin goes even further than the Book of the Watchers, which does allude in passing to the first
couple (1 En. 32:6) but does not use the story as an etiology of evil; indeed, the rather dismissive allusion
to the first parents omits the very features that others would exploit for this purposethe serpent, the
forbidden fruit, and the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The tree of knowledge is even relocated so that
it is but one of many stops on Enochs cosmic tour. See Martha Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish
and Christian Apocalypses (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 74.
25. Justin is careful to present Adams transgression as marking the origin of human sin but not the
cause of its continuation. Even as he acknowledges that the transgression of Adam was influenced by the
Serpent, whom he identifies with Satan, Justin emphasizes the free will of the first couple and their
descendants. To explain why the vast majority of people choose the wrong even though they are free to
choose, he appeals again to the influence of the demons. See Barnard, Justin Martyr, 115; and
Goodenough, Theology of Justin Martyr, 22731.
26. Annette Reed, The Trickery of the Fallen Angels and the Demonic Mimesis of the Divine:
Aetiology, Demonology, and Polemics in the Writings of Justin Martyr, JECS 12 (2004): 15359; and
Fallen Angels, 162, 16670.
27. For a summary of this issue, see Sebastian Moll, Justin and the Pontic Wolf, in Justin Martyr and
His Worlds, 14647, and the references cited there.
178 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

between Christianity and Greco-Roman culture but also asserting the demonic
element in definitive aspects of that culture. In the Dialogueagain whether or
not the ostensible effort to attract Jews to Christianity indicates the actual target
audience28the dialogue partner is Jewish, and Christian identity is defined vis-
-vis Judaism; Christians are the true people of God, the spiritual Israel (Dial.
11, 25, 123). Here Justin regularly emphasizes the Jews hardhearted propensity
to disobey God; God gave them laws and rituals not because of their chosen
status but as punishment for their sins and as a means of curtailing their further
slippage into pagan practice (Dial. 18-22, 46, 92).29 Nevertheless, the Jews have
been willfully and chronically disobedient, acting like the nations, worshiping
demons, and even sacrificing their own children to demons (Dial. 19, 27, 46, 73,
131-135). While pagans are unwitting victims of the demons, Jews knowingly
stray from the God of their scriptures and have only themselves to blame
for their adversity; it is retributive justice. Pagan persecutors of Christianity
are puppets of the demons, but Jewish opposition to the godless heresy is
calculated and purposeful (Dial. 17; see also 96, 108).30 It is not surprising,
therefore, that the Apologies and the Dialogue point to different moments in
primordial history to offer an etiology of evil. Vulnerability to demons born of
the primordial transgression of supernatural beings serves well to account for
the prevalent pagan evils decried in the Apologies, but the sin of Adam and Eve
serves better to address the human propensity to willful disobedience ascribed
to Jews in the Dialogue.
Although the Dialogue diagnoses Jewish obstinacy by appealing to the
original human sin rather than to the actions of the otherworldly Watchers,
key elements of the Watchers myth underlie the Dialogue as well. In Dial. 79,
Trypho correctly accuses Justin of believing that the angels have sinned and
have apostatized from God. As in the Apologies, Justin assumes throughout the
Dialogue that pagan religion is demonically inspired (30, 83, 91). He regularly
cites Ps. 95:5 (LXX: All the gods of the nations are demons) to justify

28. See, among others, Tessa Rajak, Talking at Trypho: Christian Apologetics as Anti-Judaism in
Justins Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, in Apologetics in the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews, and Christians,
ed. Mark Edwards et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 5980; Frances Young, Greek
Apologists of the Second Century, in Apologetics in the Roman Empire, 8285; Judith Lieu, Image and
Reality: The Jews in the World of Christians in the Second Century (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999),
10309; Stephen G. Wilson, Related Strangers: Jews and Christians, 70170 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress
Press, 1995), 26165; and Oskar Skarsaune, The Proof from Prophecy: A Study in Justin Martyrs Proof-Text
Tradition: Text Type, Provenance, Theological Profile, NovTSup 56 (Leiden: Brill, 1987), 25859, 433.
29. See Ben Zion Bokser, Justin Martyr and the Jews, JQR 64 (1973): 12022.
30. Reed, Fallen Angels, 16869; and Trickery, 158.
The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr | 179

identifying the gods of the nations with the demons begotten by the angelic
Watchers (Dial. 55, 73, 79, 83). As in the Apologies, demonic activity is
evidenced in the world by the demons deception of unwary pagans by such
means as parodying ideas found in the Scriptures (Dial. 69-70). Jews, by their
chronic penchant for disobedience and idolatry, have knowingly aligned
themselves with the same demonic forces that draw pagans unknowingly into
worshiping false gods (Dial. 19, 22, 27, 73, 92, 133). Exactly where the initiative
lies is never fully resolved: whereas 1 Apol. 63 says that it was the demons who
caused Christ to suffer at the hands of the Jews, the Dialogue points directly to
Jewish initiative rather than demonic influence; in Dial. 17 Justin even suggests
that it is the Jews rather than the demons who influence others to persecute
Christians. Notwithstanding some ambivalence as to cause and effect, it is clear
that Justin considers Jewish persecutors of Christians to be in league with the
demons descended from the rebellious angels (Dial. 131).

The story of the angelic Watchers, in a form closely akin to if not the same as
that in the Book of the Watchers, informs a broad interpretive scheme whereby
Justin Martyr both addresses his immediate crisis and understands the human
condition and the whole of salvation history. For him evil and injustices on
earth, including pagan religion itself, derive from the fallen angels and the
demons begotten by them; the very gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon are
none other than disguised demons generated from the original breach in the
divinely ordained cosmic order. As in the Book of the Watchers, these demons
continue to roam the earth and promulgate all kinds of evil with their deceitful
actions and corrupting teachings. By the implanted Logos people can and
should recognize the demons for what they are and resist idolatry and the
associated evils. However, unwary pagans continue to be manipulated and
controlled by these demons, as they have been throughout history; and Jews,
with their chronic penchant to repeat the disobedience of Adam and Eve,
align themselves with the same demonic forces. The persecution of Christians
that plagued Justins contemporariesand that would soon earn Justin himself
the cognomen Martyris but one deadly manifestation of a perennial struggle
between those empowered by the Logos and those swayed by the fallen angels
and their demonic progeny.
180 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Brief Bibliography
Barnard, Leslie W. St. Justin Martyr: The First and Second Apologies. Ancient
Christian Fathers: Works of the Fathers in Translation 56. Mahwah, NJ:
Paulist, 1997.
Falls, Thomas B., trans., and Michael Slusser, ed. St. Justin Martyr: Dialogue
with Trypho. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2003.
Goodenough, Erwin R. The Theology of Justin Martyr. Jena, Germany:
Frommann, 1923.
Marcovich, Miroslav, ed. Iustini Martyris. Apologiae pro Christianis; Dialogus
cum Tryphone. Patristische Texte und Studien 38, 47. Berlin: de Gruyter,
Minns, Denis, and Paul Parvis. Justin, Philosopher and Martyr: Apologies. Oxford
Early Christian Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Parvis, Sara, and Paul Foster, ed. Justin Martyr and His Worlds. Minneapolis:
Fortress Press, 2007.
Reed, Annette Y. Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity:
The Reception of Enochic Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
. The Trickery of the Fallen Angels and the Demonic Mimesis of the
Divine: Aetiology, Demonology, and Polemics in the Writings of Justin
Martyr. JECS 12 (2004): 14171.
VanderKam, James C. 1 Enoch, Enochic Motifs, and Enoch in Early
Christian Literature. Pages 33101 in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in
Early Christianity. CRINT 3.4. Edited by James C. VanderKam and William
Adler. Assen, Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1996.

Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in

the Lif
Lifee of Adam and Eve
Silviu N. Bunta

The title Life of Adam and Eve (henceforth LAE) is commonly used in
reference to an entire corpus of literature1 that contains the Greek Apocalypse
of Moses known widely today as the Greek Life of Adam and Eve (GLAE),2 the
Latin Vita Adae et Evae (LLAE),3 the Armenian Penitence of Adam (ALAE),4 the
Slavonic Book of Adam and Eve,5 the Georgian Book of Adam (GeLAE),6 and the

1. For succinct introductions to this corpus, see particularly Michael E. Stone, A History of the Literature
of Adam and Eve, SBLEJL 3 (Atlanta: Scholars, 1992), and Marinus de Jonge and Johannes Tromp, The
Life of Adam and Eve (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997).
2. This title is a misnomer, based on an introduction prefaced to the text at a later time and uncritically
appropriated by the earlier editions of the book (cf. Marinus de Jonge, Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
as Part of Christian Literature [Leiden: Brill, 2003], 201, n. 2). A synoptic presentation of the major text
forms is available in John R. Levison, Texts in Transition: The Greek Life of Adam and Eve, SBLEJL 16
(Atlanta: SBL, 2000). Critical editions of the Greek text exist in Albert-Marie Denis, Concordance grecque
des pseudpigraphes dAncien Testament (Louvain-la-Neuve: Universit catholique de Louvain, 1987);
Johannes Tromp, The Life of Adam and Eve in Greek: A Critical Edition (Leiden: Brill, 2005).
3. W. Meyer, Vita Adae et Evae, Abhandlungen der kniglichen Bayerischen Akademie des
Wissenschaften, Philosoph.-philologische Klasse 14 (1878): 185250.
4. Michael E. Stone, The Penitence of Adam, CSCSO 42930 (Louvain: Peeters, 1981); Stone, Texts and
Concordances of the Armenian Adam Literature, SBLEJL 12 (Atlanta: Scholars, 1996), 7081.
5. Only the longer recension has received a critical edition to date: Vatroslav Jagi, Slavische Beitrge
zu den biblischen Apocryphen, I: Die altkirchenslavischen Texte des Adambuches, in Denkschriften der
kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften philosophisch-historiche Klasse 42 (1893): 1104. In 1925, Iordan
Ivanov published another manuscript of the longer recension, MS 433 of the National Library in Sofia,
which was apparently unknown to Jagi: Iordan Ivanov, Bogomilski knigi i legendi (Sofia, Bulgaria 1925). I
consulted this work in its French translation, Jordan Ivanov, Livres et lgendes bogomiles: Aux sources du
catharisme, trans. M. Ribeyrol (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1976).

182 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Romanian Story of Adam and Eve.7 The Latin writing is the only one of these
texts to actually carry the title used loosely in reference to the entire corpus. All
text forms follow generally a similar story line: the expulsion of Adam and Eve
from paradise; Abels death at the hands of his brother Cain; a fatal illness of
Adam; Adams account of the fall; Eves and Seths quest for healing oil; Eves
account of the fall; Adams death and assumption to paradise; Adams burial;
Abels burial; and Eves death and burial.8
Scholars have previously noted several points of convergence between this
Adamic corpus and early Enochic literature, that is, 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch. Thus,
almost thirty years ago George Nickelsburg argued that LLAE 25-29 shows
parallels with 1 Enoch 14 and 8390 and that LLAE 4950 comes from a
tradition influenced by 1 Enoch 91 and 93.9 Even more points of convergence
have been assumed between the LAE corpus and 2 Enoch. Michael Stone notes
that 2 Enoch 31:5-6 (recension J) and 22:7 reflect a tradition of the fall of Satan
similar to the one extant in LLAE, ALAE, and GeLAE 11:217:3, according to
which Satan and other angels refused to venerate the first human.10 Moreover,
he argues that there is a clear parallelism between the storyline in 2 Enoch
2122 and the narrative of the fall of Satan in LAE. Andrei Orlov remarks that
some features of 2 Enoch reflect Adam traditions, particularly the designation of
Enoch as the king of creation and as youth, the hunger theme, and the motif
of the oil from the tree of life.11 He further notes that 2 Enoch 7, which depicts

6. French translation in J.P. Mah, Le Livre d'Adam gorgienne de la Vita Adae, in Studies in
Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions, ed. R. van den Broek and M. J. Vermaseren (Leiden: Brill, 1981),
22760, 23435.
7. The only manuscript of the Romanian version published to date is MS 469: Moses Gaster Texte
romne inedite din sec. XVII, Revista pentru istorie, archeologie i filologie 1 (1883): 7880. Gaster
reprinted the same text in his Chrestomathie roumaine, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Brockhaus-Socecu, 1891), 1:6365.
Gaster also introduced the text in Literatura popular romn (Bucureti: Ig. Haimann, 1883), 271274.
However, even this publication is incomplete. It only covers the final seven folios (400r-407r) of the text
in its original Cyrillic characters. My forthcoming article, The Shorter Recension of the Life of Adam
and Eve: The Oldest Manuscript of the Romanian Version, (forthcoming in the Journal for the Study of
the Pseudepigrapha) is meant to fill in this gap. It provides the entire text of MS 469, with an English
8. All translations from LAE are from Gary A. Anderson and Michael E. Stone, A Synopsis of the Books
of Adam and Eve, 2nd ed. (Atlanta: Scholars, 1999), unless noted otherwise.
9. George W.E. Nickelsburg, Some Related Traditions in the Apocalypse of Adam, the Books of
Adam and Eve, and 1 Enoch, in The Rediscovery of Gnosticism, 2 vols., ed. B. Layton et al. (Leiden: Brill,
19801981), 2:51539, esp. 526.
10. Michael Stone, The Fall of Satan and Adams Penitence: Three Notes on The Books of Adam and
Eve, in Literature on Adam and Eve, ed. Gary Anderson et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 4356, 4647.
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 183

the fallen angels as bowing down to Enoch and asking for his intercession,
could also echo the motif of angelic veneration found in the primary Adam
books.12 According to him, this act of angelic bowing before Enoch . . . might
anticipate later angelic obeisance the patriarch received in chapter 22 of the
Slavonic apocalypse.13
This paper explores a further possible parallelism between the LAE corpus
and the early Enochic literature. A close analysis of the former reveals intriguing
correspondences with expressions of the myths of the Watchers as found in 1
Enoch and, to a more limited extent, in 2 Enoch.

Cain the Giant

Late antique Jewish literature contains a tradition according to which Eve had
an illegitimate union with Satan. According to b. abb 196a and b. Soah 9b.,
the serpent approached Eve and not Adam because the serpent desired the first
woman. Other texts, such as b. Yeb. 103b and b. Ab. Zar. 22b (and possibly b.
abb. 146a), go further and suggest that Satan had sexual relations with Eve.
The tradition that Cain is the product of a sexual relation between Satan
and Eve may be a development of this lore. According to Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer,
Eve conceived Cain with Sammael, who came to her riding on the serpent
(Pirqe R. El. 21).14 The tradition seems to be exegetically grounded in Gen. 4:1
( / ; I have produced
a man with the help of the Lord), in which is taken to mean literally
(sexually) with:

And Adam knew Eve his wife (Gen. iv. 1). What is the meaning of
knew? (He knew) that she had conceived. And she saw his likeness
that it was not of the earthly beings, but of the heavenly beings, and
she prophesied and said: I have gotten a man with the Lord. (Pirqe
R. El. 21)15

The reading is further supported with Gen. 5:3:

11. Andrei Orlov, On the Polemical Nature of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch: A Reply to C. Bttrich, JSJ 34
(2003): 274303.
12. Ibid., 287288.
13. Ibid., 288.
14. M. Friedlander, Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer (Skokie, IL: Varda Books, 2004), 173.
15. Ibid., 174.
184 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and he begat in his
own likeness after his image (Gen. v. 3). Hence thou mayest learn
that Cain was not of Adams seed, nor after his likeness, nor after his
image. (Adam did not beget in his own image) until Seth was born,
who was after his father Adams likeness and image, as it is said, And
he begat in his own likeness, after his image. (Pirqe R. El. 22)16

The ensuing speculations propose that Seth is the ancestor of all the righteous
and Cain of all the wicked.
While Cain is clearly omitted from the image of Adam because he is not
Adams son, Abel is not even brought into the discussion. A similar reading of
Gen. 5:3 explains the apparent omission of Abel from the lineage of Adam with
the fact that Abel was already dead:

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years he begot Seth,
who resembled his image and likeness. For before that, Eve had
borne Cain, who was not from him [that is, Adam] and who did
not resemble him. Abel was killed by Cain, and Cain was banished,
and his descendants are not recorded in the book of the genealogy of
Adam. But afterwards he [Adam] begot one son who resembled him
and he called his name Seth. (Targ. Ps.-J. at Gen. 5:3)

The reading of in Gen. 4:1 as the marker of the direct object does not lead to
a significantly different interpretation in the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. According
to its translation/interpretation of Gen. 4:1, Adam knew about Eve his wife
that she conceived from Sammael, the angel of the Lord, and bore Cain; and
he was like the upper ones, and not like the lower beings; and she said, I have
acquired a man, the angel of the Lord.17
The same reading of as a marker of the direct object appears among
Gnostic texts. The Apocryphon of John 24:16-25 mentions Eloim/Cain and Yave/
Abel as the sons of Eve and of her seducer, the chief archon Yaldabaoth.18 The

16. Ibid., 182.

17. The only surviving manuscript of the passage (the British Librarys Additional Aramaic MS 27031),
which is the one translated in Michael Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis (Collegeville: Liturgical
Press, 1992), has a shorter form of the passage that lacks Eves exclamation (see Maher, Targum Pseudo-
Jonathan: Genesis, 31). However, Florentino Garca Martnez notes that the editio princeps of 1591 was
based on another manuscript and he convincingly argues that this lost manuscript preserves the oldest
form of the text. The abbreviated form of MS 27031 seems indeed to be due to a homoioteleuton (Eves
Children in the Targumim, in Eves Children, ed. Gerard P. Luttikhuizen [Leiden: Brill, 2003], 2746,
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 185

text speaks to a lore that excluded both Cain and Abel from Adams lineage
based on Gen. 5:3 and read references to both Cain and Abel in Gen. 4:1.
The same exegesis seems to have been professed in the sect of Archontics,
according to Epiphanius (Adv. Haer. 1.40). Moreover, the Archontics also shared
the tradition that Cain is the ancestor of all the wicked people:

People of their sort tell yet another myth, that the devil came to Eve,
lay with her as a man with a woman, and sired Cain and Abel by her.
. . . This allows them to say, if you please, that Cain was the Son of
the devil, because the Saviour said that the devil was a murderer from
the beginning, and that the devil was a liar because his father was, to
show that Cains father was the devil, and the devils was the lying
archon. In blasphemy against their own head, the fools say that this
is Sabaoth himself, since they hold that Sabaoth is a name for some

Augustines statement in Tract. ep. Jo. 5.8 that it only appeared that he [Cain]
was a child of the devil (apparuit quia filius erat diaboli), which understands 1
John 3:12 as a metaphor, may also indicate his disapproval of the tradition about
the mixed human-angelic origin of Cain.20 The tradition seems to be known to
Tertullian (On Patience 5.15).
This tradition about the mixed angelic-human conception and nature of
Cain is, I would propose, a development of the more ancient myths of the
Watchers. According to these myths, the origin of evil on earth lies in the
illegitimate marriages between fallen angels, or Watchers, and human women.
The earliest expression of this myth may be Gen. 6:1-4:

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the
land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw
that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for
themselves, whomever they chose. Then the lord said, My Spirit
shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless
his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were
on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God
came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.

18. J.M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 112.
19. Frank Williams, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1987), 1:265268.
20. English translation from NPNF 7:491; Latin from PL 35:2017.
186 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Gen.

The myth receives its fullest articulations in the Book of the Watchers and in
Jubilees. Several parallels between this myth and the Cain tradition suggest that
the latter, which developed at a later time, is a growth of the Watchers story:

1. Both traditions envision the illegitimate union between the

angelic world and the human world;
2. In both traditions the female side of the union is human and the
male side is angelic;
3. In both cases the illegitimate union produces offspring;
4. In both myths the offspring is male;
5. In both the Cain lore and the Watchers traditions not only are the
offspring of the angel-woman unions of a mixed origin, but this
origin translates further into a mixed nature.

Loren Stuckenbruck has shown recently that early Jewish sources of the
Watchers traditions do not offer an exclusively negative picture of the
antediluvian Giants, the products of the illegitimate union between Watchers
and women.21 The earliest text to incriminate the Giants in unambiguous terms
is the Book of the Watchers, in which the Giants violate both in their origin and
in their mixed nature the borders between spiritual and earthly beings:

The Giants, who are the progeny of such an illegitimate union and
neither fully angelic nor fully human, are called bastards (10:9
in Codex Panopolitanus, likely transliterated from
the Heb./Aram. ).22

A very similar portrait of Cain emerges from Targ. Ps.-J. on Gen. 4:1. As
Florentino Garca Martnez has pointed out, Cain is not only of mixed origin
but of mixed nature, human and heavenly . . . Eves son is a man, but he is also
an angel of the Lord . . . Not completely angel, but certainly not human, a real
bastard in all senses of the word.23

21. L. T. Stuckenbruck, The Origins of Evil in Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition: The Interpretation of
Genesis 6:1-4 in the Second and Third Centuries bce, in The Fall of the Angels, ed. C. Auffarth and L.
Stuckenbruck (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 87118; Stuckenbruck, The Angels and the Giants of Genesis
6:1-4 in Second and Third Century bce Jewish Interpretation: Reflections on the Posture of Early
Apocalyptic Traditions, DSD 7 (2000): 35477 [a first, shorter version of the previous article].
22. See Stuckenbruck, The Angels and the Giants, 364.
23. Garca Martnez, Eves Children in the Targumim, 33, 35.
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 187

6. In several of the depictions of Cain mentioned above (Pirqe R. El.

21, 22, and Targ. Ps.-J. on Gen. 4:1), Cains angelic origin is discovered
at birth based on the unnatural appearance of the newborn. Thus, Pirqe
R. El. 21 mentions that Eve saw his [Cains] likeness that it was not
of the earthly beings, but of the heavenly beings. Similar moments of
discovery of angelic paternity occur in the accounts of the birth of Noah
in 1 Enoch 106107 and of Melchizedek in 2 Enoch 71. 1 Enoch 106
pictures the newborn Noah in extraordinary terms, as being luminous
and able to stand up (1 En. 106:2-3, 5, 10-11).24 Based on the fact that
Noah is not like human beings but rather looks (like) the sons of the
angels of heaven (1 En. 106:5),25 his father Lamech suspects that Noah
was conceived through an illegitimate union with an angel. Although
Lamechs suspicion is disproved by his grandfather, Enoch, Noahs
heavenly character remains evident. Intriguingly, in the parallel story of
Melchizedeks birth in 2 Enoch 71,26 the patriarchs heavenly origin is not
denied. It is not attributed to the angels, but directly to the Lord (2 En.
71:11 [both recensions] and 19 [shorter recension]), attribution that could
be an early expression of the exegesis of Gen. 4:1 as witnessed in Pirqe R.
El. 21.
Beside these obvious parallels between the myths of the Watchers and the Cain
tradition, Pirqe R. El. 22 links the Cain tradition directly with the myth of
the Watchers. According to a rabbinic interpretation preserved in this eighth
or ninth century text, the women whom the Watchers lusted for and later

24. George W.E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch: The Hermeneia Translation
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 16364.
25. Ibid., 164.
26. For the parallelism between Noahs birth in 1 Enoch 106107 (also in the 1QapGen 2-5) and
Melchizedeks birth in 2 En. 71, see Andrei Orlov, Noahs Younger Brother: The Anti-Noachic
Polemics in 2 Enoch, Henoch 22 (2000): 207221; Orlov, Melchizedek Legend of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch,
JSJ 31 (2000): 2338; M. Delcor, Melchizedek from Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the
Hebrews, JSJ 2 (1971): 129; Delcor, La naissance merveilleuse de Melchisdeq daprs lHnoch slave,
in Kecharitomene: mlanges Ren Laurentin, ed. C. Augrain et al. (Paris: Descle, 1990), 21729; George
W.E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981),
185; A. de Santos Otero, Libro de los secretos de Henoc (Henoc eslavo), in Apocrifos del Antiguo
Testamento, ed. A. Dies Macho (Madrid: Ediciones Christiandad, 1984), 4:199; R. Stichel, Die Namen
Noes, seines Bruders und seiner Frau: Ein Beitrag zum Nachleben jdischer berlieferungen in der
auerkanonischen und gnostischen Literatur und in Denkmlern der Kunst, AAWG.PH Klasse 112
(Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979), 4254.
188 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

married were daughters of Cain, because only the sinful descendants of Cain
went around naked and tempted the Watchers with their nakedness.
Two much earlier sources, Josephus and Irenaeus, depict Cain in terms that
recall prior speculations about the fallen angels. Thus, in Josephuss portrayal
of Cain certain features allude to the Watchers and the Giants. Cains self-
centered and destructive behavior shows a complete disregard for creation: he
only aimed to procure every thing that was for his own bodily pleasure, though
it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors (
) (Josephus, Ant. 1.60).27 Moreover, Cain is said to have
become a great leader of men into wicked courses ( )
. . . Whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of
such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness (Josephus, Ant. 1.61).28
This description recalls both the portraits of the Watchers and of their bastard
progenies, the Giants, in the Book of the Watchers. Just like Cain, the Watchers,
assuming a position of leadership, teach people crafts that corrupt them (1
En. 7:1; 8:1-4; 9:8). Also like Cain, the Giants, who are ontologically flawed
and innately evil (cf. 1 En. 15:3-10), show a similar behavior: self-centered,
insatiable, destructive, and injurious to humans. They devour the labor of all
the sons of men (1 En. 7:3).29
In Irenaeus description, the Sethian speculation according to which the six
powers of Sophia, admiring the beauty (formositas) of Eve and falling in love
with her (concupiscentes hanc), begat sons (filios) by her, whom they [Sethians]
also declare to be the angels (angelos) (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 1.30.7),30 is an early
attestation of the inclusion of the Watchers myth into the story of Adam and
Eve. Three elements of the Sethian doctrine recall Gen. 6:1-4. Like the biblical
text, the Sethian story envisions a sexual union between a supra-human power
and a human woman, describes the woman as beautiful and desired for her
beauty, and mentions that this union leads to the procreation of sons (and not
The account of Cains birth extant in LLAE, ALAE, and GeLAE 21:3,
recalls the tradition about the angelic origins of Cain:

27. Greek from B. Niese, trans., Flavii Iosephi opera, by Flavius Josephus (Berlin: Weidmann, 1892).
English translation from W. Whiston, trans., The Works of Flavius Josephus, by Flavius Josephus (Auburn,
NY: Beardsley, 1895).
28. Greek from Niese, Flavius Josephus. English translation from Whiston, Flavius Josephus.
29. Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch, 25.
30. English translation from ANF 1:356; Latin from PG 7a:698.
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 189

She brought forth a son who shone brilliantly (erat lucidus). At once
the infant stood up and ran out and brought some grass with his own
hands and gave it to his mother. His name was called Cain. (LLAE

Then, when she bore the child, the colour of his body was like the
colour of stars. At the hour when the child fell into the hands of the
mid-wife, he leaped up and, with his hands plucked up the grass of
the earth near his mothers hut; and infertilities became numerous in
that place. (ALAE 21:3)

Eve arose as the angel had instructed her: she gave birth to an infant
and his color was like that of the stars. He fell into the hands of the
midwife and (at once) he began to pluck up the grass, for in his
mothers hut grass was planted. (GeLAE 21:3)

All three versions agree in describing the newborn as being extraordinarily able
to stand up immediately. Only the Latin version mentions explicitly that Cain
was luminous (erat lucidus), but the Armenian and Georgian versions certainly
imply luminosity when they compare the color of Cains body to the stars.
The star-like appearance of the newborn Cain suggests that he is of angelic
nature, at least in part. The fact that the newborn is developed enough to
stand up and pluck up grass may be an exegetical development of in Gen.
4:1,31 but it also further suggests that Cain is angelic. More specifically, several
elements of the story recall the depiction of the birth of Noah in 1 En. 106107
and the parallel story of Melchizedeks birth in 2 En. 71:

1. Cains luminosity resembles the luminosity of the newborn Noah,

who has eyes that shine like the rays of the sun and make the
whole house bright (1 En. 106:2-3, 5, 10-11).32 For this
extraordinary quality, Noah is suspected to have an angelic father.
2. Cains ability to stand up also recalls Noah standing up from the
hands of the midwife (1 En. 106:3, 11).33 Moreover, 2 Enoch 71
mentions that Melchizedek was fully developed physically at his

31. Lieve M. Teugels, The Twin Sisters of Cain and Abel: A Survey of the Rabbinic Sources, in Eves
Children, 4757, 47; Garca Martnez, Eves Children in the Targumim, 2829.
32. Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch, 16364.
33. Ibid.
190 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

birth (71:18) and it implies that he stood up in order to sit on the bed
at his mothers side (71:17).34
3. Both the Armenian and Georgian versions of LAE 21:3, on the
one hand, and 1 En. 106:3, 11, on the other, describe the newborns as
standing up from the hands of the midwife.
4. Both the Armenian and Georgian versions of LAE 21:3, on the
one hand, and 1 En. 106:2, 10, on the other, refer to the color of the
body of the newborn.

In one other instance in LAE does the angelic nature of Cain come through
clearly, namely in the story of the killing of Abel. All versions, with the
exception of the Slavonic and Romanian, depict a vision of Eve in which the
first woman sees her son Cain drink the blood of his brother. While the Latin
version is less graphic, the Greek, Armenian, and Georgian texts are quite

My lord, Adam, behold, I have seen in a dream this night the blood
of my son Amilabes who is styled Abel being poured into the mouth
of Cain his brother and he went on drinking it without mercy. But
he begged him to leave a little of it. Yet he hearkened not to him, but
gulped it down completely; nor did it stay in his stomach, but came
out of his mouth. (GLAE 2:2-3)

While Cains ghastly behavior, given its oneiric garb, should undoubtedly be
taken as a metaphor for the killing of his brother, the imagery recalls the equally
gruesome behavior of the antediluvian Giants mentioned in 1 En. 7:5-6: And
they began to sin against the birds and beasts and creeping things and the fish,
and to devour one anothers flesh. And they drank the blood.35
There is another possible allusion to the myths of the Watchers in GLAE
1:3. The textual tradition of this passage is far from uniform.36 The manuscripts
differ primarily on the epithet of Cain: Eve conceived and bore two sons;
Adiaphotos/Diaphotos ( / ), who is called Cain, and
Amilabes (), who is called Abel. Samuel T. Lachs makes a convincing
argument that Abels name, , is a corrupted transliteration of
, he who dons the garment.37 The name that the same verse attributes to

34. F.I. Andersen, 2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch, in OTP 1:91222, 206.
35. Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch, 25.
36. See a thorough presentation of the variants in Johannes Tromp, Cain and Abel in the Greek and
Armenian/Georgian Recensions of the Life of Adam and Eve, in Literature on Adam and Eve, ed. G.
Anderson et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 27796.
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 191

Cain is / . The form (one devoid of light),

which is attested in most manuscripts, is most probably primary.38 Johannes
Tromp, O. Merk, and M. Meiser suggest that should be associated
with (to enlighten) and it denotes therefore a loss of light.39
However, even the secondary variant may suggest a loss of light;
expresses not only transparency (cf. as opposed to ; e.g.,
[luminatefalse light]), but also separation (cf.
common Indo-European root with ); hence its use to convey dissolution
in composite words (cf. as opposed to ; e.g.,
[separationcombination], [disagreeagree]).
could therefore mean both one that has light shining through and
one that has lost the light. The second connotation, the closest in meaning to
and the most likely to be associated with Cain, constitutes a better
candidate for the meaning of . Therefore, the name of Cain, in both
variants, most probably refers to a loss of luminosity. Cains loss of light creates
a sharp opposition to Abel, who, as suggests, retains his garments,
presumably luminous.40 Cains name suggests the Greek authors awareness of
the tradition about the luminescence of the newborn Cain that is no longer
extant in the Greek text. The apparent contradiction between Cains name,
which suggests a loss of light, and his luminosity is best explained within the
context of Watchers traditions, in which the Giants retain their partly angelic
natureand Cains physical luminosity should be taken for the angelic side of
his mixed nature, as I argued abovewhile being inherently corrupted and evil.
Cains loss of light should be taken as a similar expression of corruption. That
Cains corruption lies within his nature, as does the corruption of the Giants,
becomes evident in two aspects of the LAE text: first, Cains loss of light is
inscribed in his very name, from birth; second, in the Georgian and Armenian
versions the epithet consistently ascribed to Cain is the lawless one. He is

37. Samuel T. Lachs, Some Textual Observations on the Apocalypsis of Moses and the Vita Adae et
Evae, JSJ 13 (1982): 172176. Ginzberg has made the less probable proposal that the name originates in
, the destroyed one (Legends, 5:135). M.D. Johnson has adopted the proposal (Life of Adam and
Eve, OTP 2:249295, 267 n.c).
38. Johannes Tromp argues convincingly that is the original reading of the Greek text
(Cain and Abel, 279).
39. Ibid. O. Merk and M. Meiser, Das Leben Adams und Evas, ed. H. Lichtenberger, Jdische Schriften
aus hellenistisch-rmischer Zeit 2/5 (Gtersloh: Gtersloher Verlagshaus, 1998), 801.
40. The obvious contrast between the two sons of Adam associates the garments of Abel with
luminosity. Crispin Fletcher-Louis suggests a connection between these names and the tradition about
Adam wearing not garments of skin, but of light (All the Glory of Adam [Leiden: Brill, 2002], 18).
192 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

called the lawless one even before he is born, immediately after the moment
of his conception (cf. ALAE 18:3).

The Fall of Adam and Eve in LAE and the Fall of the Watchers
in 1 and 2 ENOCH
If Cain seems to be portrayed in LAE in terms reminiscent of the Giants, we
might expect to find parallels between the LAE corpus and the Watchers myth
in regard to the falls that lead to the procreations of Cain and of the antediluvian
creatures. And there are several parallels.
To begin by pointing out more detailed parallels, Eve is being led into her
sin (cf. GLAE 19:1a; ALAE 44.19:3), as are the Watchers. In both cases, the sin
entails desire, and the object of desire is pleasing to look at (cf. GLAE 18:5; 1
En. 6:1-2). In both cases, there is hesitation and fear of consequences (GLAE
18:6; ALAE and GeLAE 44.18:6; 1 En. 6:3-5) and eventual repentance. Also,
both falls result in loss of status. Furthermore, in the LAE corpus, the fall of
Adam and Eve leads to a council of the angels (cf. GLAE 22:1-2; GeLAE and
ALAE 44.21:1-2), as does the fall of the Watchers in 1 En. 9:1-2. Finally, both
falls generate children of mixed angelic-human character.
In the broader narrative, there is a subtle parallelism between the desire of
Adam and Eve to become gods or god-like (cf. ALAE and GeLAE 44.19:1c)
and the Watchers desire to become human or act humanly/perform human
actions (cf. the emphasis in 1 En. 15:3-4: you have taken for yourselves wives
and done as the sons of earth and you have done as they do). This parallelism
may be already hidden in the biblical texts (contrast Gen. 3:5 and Gen. 6:1-4).
In this sense, in the Adamic lore the story of the fall of the angels due to a human
temptation is reversed into the fall of humans due to a heavenly temptation.
Furthermore, both the Adamic and the Watchers traditions construct a
subtle imagery of role reversal between angels and humans. James VanderKam
notes that the Book of the Watchers depicts a reversal of roles between Enoch and
the Watchers.41 This reversal develops into ironic undertones: as VanderKam
perceptively remarks, the angels request that Enoch serve as an emissary
between them and the Lordanother task that angels should do for people. 42

41. James C. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations (Columbia: University of South Carolina
Press, 1995), 4546. See also David Halperin, The Faces of the Chariot: Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiels
Vision (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1988), 85: Enochs ascent is a movement parallel and opposite to the
angels descent. The exaltation of the human being corresponds to the degradation of the heavenly
42. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man, 46.
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 193

And they asked that I write a memorandum of petition for them,

that they might have forgiveness, and that I recite the memorandum
of petition for them in the presence of the Lord of heavens. (1
En. 13:4)43

Moreover, Enochs countenance becomes terrifying for the angelic eyes in an

evident reversal of natural behavior: Then I went and spoke to all of them
together. And they were all afraid, and trembling and fear seized them (13:3).44
Shortly after Enoch announces to the angels that they will not ascend into
heaven for all the ages (1 En. 14:5), he describes his own ascent to heaven
(14:8-9). The irony is fully evident in 1 En. 15:2 when God rebukes the angels
in words that emphasize the exchange of roles between them and Enoch: You
should petition in behalf of humans, and not humans in behalf of you.45 A
similar reversal of roles is expressed in 2 En. 7:4-5 (recension J):

And I felt very sorry for them; and those angels bowed down to
me and said to me, Man of God, pray for us to the lord! And I
answered them and said, Who am I, a mortal man, that I should pray
for angels? Who knows where I am going and what will confront
me? Or who indeed will pray for me? (2 En. 7:4-5 [J])46

The LAE corpus constructs similarly an elaborate reversal of roles and statuses
between Adam and Satan. First, Adam is to receive the glory that Satan lost
(cf. LLAE 17:1). Specifically, the protoplast will sit on the throne of him who
supplanted him (LLAE 47:3; also GLAE 39:2-3, ALAE 47.39:2-3, and GeLAE
47.39:2-3). Second, the argument that Satan makes in the Latin and Georgian
versions that Adam should have rather bowed down to him and the intricate
consonances of GeLAE 13:247 also suggest a competition and such a reversal

43. Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch, 32.

44. Ibid.
45. Ibid., 36.
46. Andersen, 2 Enoch, 114.
47. The very day when you were created, on that day I fell from before the face of God, because
when God breathed a spirit onto your face, you had the image and likeness of divinity. And then Michael
came; he presented you and made you bend down before God. And God told Michael, I have created
Adam according to (my) image and my divinity. Then Michael came; he summoned all the troops of
angels and told them, Bow down before the likeness and the image of the divinity. There is a subtle
parallelism in this text between Gods face and Adams, suggested by the repetition of two words, face
and bow down, which are both used first in relation to God and second in reference to Adam. Thus, as
Satan falls from before Gods face, God breathes a spirit onto Adams face. Moreover, Adam bows
194 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

of roles between Satan and Adam. Third, in both stories the sin is a discovery
of sexuality. Fourth, both the Adamic traditions of LAE and the Watcher
traditions of 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch conceive the world as ordered within a set of
boundaries that are not to be crossed. In both traditions, the fall (of Adam and,
respectively, of the Watchers) is a violation of this structure.
In 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch God sets certain boundaries for the world in its
very creation and keeps those boundaries in place through commandments. In
1 Enoch, the fall of the Watchers is the foremost illegitimate crossing of these
boundaries (see particularly 1 En. 25).48 2 Enoch shows a similar concern with
the order of creation. This concern transpires primarily in the depiction of
Adam as the governor of creation (cf. 2 En. 58:3) and the portrayal of Enoch as
the measurer and scribe of the arrangements of the world (cf. 2 En. 3940 and
43). Orlov, who explores these motifs at length,49 notes that the functions of
Enoch in his role as the king/manager of the earth include, just as in the role
of Adam, the duty registering the created order.50 That the proper order of the
world is one of the major foci of LAE becomes particularly clear in GLAE 37:5.
In this passage God commands Michael to take Adam into the third heaven to
rest until that great day of the oikonomia that I will establish in the world
( ).
Most Latin manuscripts of this passage suggest that the proper order mentioned
here is the exaltation of Adam to the place that Satan lost: he [that is, Adam]
will sit on the throne of him who supplanted him (sedebit in throno eius qui eum
supplantavit: LLAE 47:3).51 It is significant that supplanto does not simply convey
treachery, but it also implies a disturbance in the right functioning of things, an
uprooting of the proper order.52

down before Gods face as all the angels bow down (or rather worship: before Adam. There is also an
evident contrast between Adam and Satan. First, Adam is brought before God as Satan loses his position
before the divine face. Second, the text presents a subtle contrast of movement between the fall of Satan
from before the face of God and Gods breathing of the spirit onto Adams face.
48. See, for example, the insightful discussion of this aspect of early Enochic literature in Stuckenbruck,
The Origins of Evil, 87118.
49. Orlov, On the Polemical Nature, 280285.
50. Ibid., 284.
51. The Latin section has parallels in GLAE 39:2-3, ALAE 47.39:2-3, and GeLAE 47.39:2-3.
52. A recently published manuscript contains a text closer to the Greek: Pone eum in paradiso in tertio
caelo usque in diem dispensationis qui dicitur economia quando faciam omnibus misericordiam per dilectissimum
filium meum (J. Pettorelli, Vie latine dAdam et dve. La recension de Paris, BNF, lat. 3832, Archivum
Latinitatis Medii Aevi 57 [1999], 552).
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 195

The falls of the characters in LAE are blatant violations of the stability
and boundaries that God set in the world. Several scenes in the LAE corpus
serve more or less subtly as illustrations of this proper order of the world and/
or its post-lapsarian disarray. The story of the encounter with the beast is an
evident example. It is extant in all text-forms. That the story is primarily about
the godlike or iconic status of humanity is established in its first lines. In all
versions, Eve expresses her indignation at the beasts desire to devour Seth with
a reference to humanitys status as the image of God:

You wicked beast, do you not fear to fight with the image () of
God? (GLAE 10:3)
cursed beast, why are you not afraid to cast yourself at the image
(imago) of God, but dare to fight against it? (LLAE 37:3)
wild beast, how do you not fear the image of God, that you dared to
fight with the image of God? (ALAE 37.10:3)
evil beast, have you no fear? Did you dare to fight the image of God?
(GeLAE 37.10:3)
beast, arent you afraid before the image of the divine countenance?
(SLAE 14)

The Greek, Armenian, and Georgian text-forms associate the concept of image
specifically with the issue of subjection or proper hierarchy:

How did you not call to mind your subjection? For long ago you were
made subject to the image of God. (GLAE 10:3)
Or how have you not recalled the first order of God and have opened
your mouth against the image of God? (GeLAE 37.10:3)
How did you not remember the obedience which you formerly displayed,
that your mouth was opened against the image of God? (ALAE

In the Greek version the answer to Eves question lies in the dislocation of
the world order. Specifically, Eve subjected herself to beasts in accepting the
leadership of the serpent:

Then the beast cried out and said: It is not our concern, Eve, your
greed and your wailing, but your own; for (it is) from you that the
rule of the beasts has arisen. How was your mouth opened to eat of
the tree concerning which God commanded you not to eat of it?
On this account, our nature () also has been transformed. (GLAE
196 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The vulnerability of humanity in front of animals seems to be a consequence

of the fall. Another passage in the Greek text, GLAE 24:4, records the tradition
succinctly: The beasts, over whom you [Adam] ruled, shall rise up in rebellion
against you, for you have not kept my commandment. This new situation
contrasts sharply with the fact that in the beginning all animals obeyed Adam
and Eve, tradition that the text also presents repeatedly (see particularly SLAE
As becomes clear from the previous point, in both traditions the fall
threatens the proper order of the entire world. As in the case of the Watchers,
who are summoned by their leader, Shemihazah, to take an oath that they will
not hesitate to carry out their plan (cf. 1 En. 6:3-6), Eve also is asked by Satan to
take a similar oath to follow through on her intention (cf. GLAE 19:1-3; ALAE
and GeLAE 44.19:1-3).

Admittedly, there is nothing in the evidence presented above to coerce us to
read the LAE corpus from the perspective of a direct literary dependence on
Enochic literature. However, the evidence presented above does indicate that,
over the course of its transmission and redaction, the primary Adam literature
knew a story of the Watchers that strongly resembles the one attested in the
early Enochic texts (1 and 2 Enoch) and that the LAE corpus alludes to it
and appropriates several elements of this story into its narrative. Since it is
quite unlikelyif not impossiblethat the proximity to the Watchers myth was
constantly and uniformly noted, maintained, and developed in LAEs different
milieus of transmission throughout the corpus long textual history, it is logical
to assume that most Watchers imageries and traditions permeated the Adamic
literature in its earliest stages, before the bifurcation of the text into its extant
forms. After all, these Watchers traditions do surface in most, if not all text forms
of LAE and they do seem to be an essential component of the very thematic
hinges of the overall LAE narrative.

Brief Bibliography
Aptowitzer, Victor. Kain und Abel in der Aggada der Apokryphen, der
hellenistischen, christlichen und muhammedanischen Literatur. Wien, Leipzig: R.
Verlag Lewitt, 1922.
Bunta, Silviu N. Cain and Abel, Story of. In Rabbinic Judaism. Pages 75052
in Volume 4 of the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. 30 volumes.
Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve | 197

Edited by H. Spieckermann et al. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter,

. Cain (Person). In Judaism. Pages 73538 in Volume 4 of the
Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception.
Luttikhuizen, Gerard P., ed. Eves Children: The Biblical Stories Retold and
Interpreted in Jewish and Christian Traditions. Leiden: Brill, 2003.
Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Origins of Evil in Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition:
The Interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 in the Second and Third Centuries
B.C.E. Pages 87118 in The Fall of the Angels. Edited by C. Auffarth and L.
Stuckenbruck. Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Tromp, Johannes. Cain and Abel in the Greek and Armenian/Georgian
Recensions of the Life of Adam and Eve. Pages 27796 in Literature on Adam
and Eve. Edited by Gary Anderson et al. Leiden: Brill, 2000.

The Watchers Traditions in Targum

and Midrash
Joshua Ezra Burns

Evidence for the Jewish reception of the Watchers traditions between the
Second Temple period and late antiquity is fairly limited. A number of narrative
and exegetical motifs relating to the legend of the fallen angels appear as glosses
on the text of Genesis in the targumim (singular targum), the ancient Jewish
translations of the Hebrew Scriptures into the Aramaic language.1 Traces of
the legend also appear sporadically in the classical Midrash and the Babylonian
Talmud, works normally ascribed to the rabbinic sages of late ancient Palestine
and Babylonia. The appearance in these treatises of themes drawn from the
Book of the Watchers or related traditions naturally suggests that their authors
knew of those materials, if not necessarily in the forms preserved in 1 Enoch. Yet
the impression of their cultural currency in Jewish circles is offset by the fact
that the very sources attesting to their reception speak to controversy over their
transmission. In what follows, I will present the relevant textual witnesses while
attempting to plot their respective positions amid a tableau of evolving Jewish
sensibilities regarding the authenticity of the Enochic pseudepigrapha.

1. All targumic readings employed in this study are based on the texts compiled by the contributors to
The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon, ed. Stephen A. Kaufman (database online at
For complete bibliography, see Corresponding English
translations and comments on the relevant passages appear in Bernard Grossfeld, Targum Onqelos to
Genesis, Aramaic Bible 6 (Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1988), 5153; Martin McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1:
Genesis, Aramaic Bible 1a (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1992), 7072; and Michael Maher, Targum
Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, Aramaic Bible 1b (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1992), 3638. For the
Peshitta, see The Old Testament in Syriac According to the Peshitta Version, vol. I.1: Preface, Genesis-Exodus,
ed. T. Jansma and M.D. Koster et al. (Leiden: Brill, 1977), 910.

200 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Authors and Audiences

Before delving into the texts under consideration, it will be instructive to
discuss the relationship between the literary genres of targum and midrash. Until
recently, scholars generally assumed that the targumim derived from the same
sources as the great works of rabbinic scriptural exegesis, that is, the Mishnah,
the Talmud, and the classical Midrash. The literature of the early rabbinic sages
abounds in testimony to their use of Aramaic scriptural translations in a variety
of pedagogical and ritual contexts as early as the first century ce.2 That the
actual examples of such literature traditionally ascribed to those sages were
products of their own textual practices was, to many, a foregone conclusion.
Recent studies, however, have led to comprehensive shift in critical opinion
about the varied origins of the surviving targumim and their places in the history
of Jewish biblical interpretation.3 Consequently, the apparent affinities between
targumic exegesis and rabbinic exegesis are no longer considered proof of their
common provenance. The targumic treatises commonly associated with the
rabbis are today widely acknowledged to have been written long after they
introduced the practice of targum to their discipline. These texts, moreover,
have been shown to incorporate diverse assumptions, techniques, and literary
motifs locating their respective origins alternatively within and without the
cultural compass of the rabbinic movement.4 Whatever remains, therefore, of
the translations produced and/or utilized by the early rabbinic sages is difficult
to discern beneath the innumerable layers of exegetical accumulation beneath
the surfaces of the targumim.5

2. On the rabbinic witnesses to the practice of targum, see Steven D. Fraade, Rabbinic Views on the
Practice of Targum, and Multilingualism in the Jewish Galilee of the ThirdSixth Centuries, in The
Galilee in Late Antiquity, ed. Lee I. Levine (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1992),
25386; Willem F. Smelik, The Rabbinic Reception of Early Bible Translations as Holy Writings and
Oral Torah, Journal for the Aramaic Bible 1 (1999): 24972.
3. For the following, see Philip S. Alexander, Jewish Aramaic Translations of Hebrew Scriptures, in
Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early
Christianity, CRINT 2.1, ed. Martin Jan Mulder and Harry Sysling (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1988), 21753.
4. See Avigdor Shinan, Sermons, Targums, and the Reading from Scriptures in the Ancient
Synagogue, in The Synagogue in Late Antiquity, ed. Lee I. Levine (Philadelphia: American Schools of
Oriental Research, 1987), 97110; Shinan, The Aramaic Targum as a Mirror of Galilean Jewry, in The
Galilee in Late Antiquity, 24151; Shinan, The Late Midrashic, Paytanic, and Targumic Literature, in
The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, ed. Steven T. Katz
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 67898, esp. 69195; Steven D. Fraade, Locating
Targum in the Textual Polysystem of Rabbinic Pedagogy, BIOSCS 39 (2006): 2991.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 201

In contrast to targum, the genre of midrash appears to have taken shape

squarely within the rabbinic study halls of Roman Palestine. As early as the
first century, the forerunners of the rabbinic movement began to assimilate
the interpretive traditions and techniques cultivated by their people during
the Second Temple period. The application of those traditions to the unique
rhetorical purposes of the rabbinic movement is what defines the practice of
midrash against the older modes of Jewish exegesis on which it relies.6
Yet the midrashic texts traditionally ascribed to the ancient rabbis are
not quite so antiquated. Most of the treatises typically categorized as examples
of classical midrash are actually compilations recorded and reworked by
anonymous rabbinic scribes active in Palestine, Babylonia, and Europe through
the late ancient and early medieval periods.7 Ongoing critical inquiries into
the origins of these documents have served to diminish the credibility of their
ancient ascriptions. Rather than confide in the ancient provenance of a given
example of midrashic exegesis, contemporary scholars usually will draw the
lemma under consideration out of its redacted context in order to determine its
literary allusions and textual dependencies in view of corresponding evidences
culled from elsewhere in the rabbinic library.8 This approach makes it difficult
to correlate any given example of midrashic exegesis with a matching example
of targumic exegesis simply on the basis of their superficial similarities.
In sum, advances in scholarship on targum and midrash have helped reshape
the critical conversation on the relationship between their respective modes
of exegesis. To acknowledge, therefore, the unique character of each of the
works of targum and midrash attesting to the Jewish reception of the Watchers
traditions will be crucial to the present study.
Since the Watchers themes are attested primarily in targumic versions
of Genesis, our focus here will be on the targumim to the Pentateuch. The

5. See Steven A. Kaufman, Dating the Language of the Palestinian Targums and Their Use in the
Study of First Century ce Texts, in The Aramaic Bible: Targums in Their Historical Context, JSOTSup
166, ed. D.R.G. Beattie and M.J. McNamara (Sheffield: JSOT, 1994), 11841, esp. 11630.
6. On the origins of the genre of midrash, see Paul Mandel, The Origins of Midrash in the Second
Temple Period, in Current Trends in the Study of Midrash, JSJSup 106, ed. Carol Bakhos (Leiden: Brill,
2006), 934; Steven D. Fraade, Rabbinic Midrash and Ancient Jewish Biblical Interpretation, in The
Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature, ed. Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert and Martin
S. Jaffee (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 99120.
7. For the following, see H.L. Strack and Gnter Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash,
trans. and ed. Markus Bockmuehl, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), 23346; Shinan, The Late
Midrashic, Paytanic, and Targumic Literature, 68191.
8. For a recent study exemplifying this method, see Richard Kalmin, Midrash and Social History, in
Current Trends in the Study of Midrash, 13359.
202 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

earliest of the three major extant targumim to the Pentateuch is Targum Onqelos.9
Though traditionally attributed to the second-century proselyte Aquila of
Sinope, the reputed author of the Greek translation bearing his name, the
Aramaic text is now generally acknowledged to have originated in Babylonia
during the third or fourth century. Onqelos is widely regarded as the most
sympathetic of the extant targumim to the exegetical sensibilities of the early
rabbinic sages. Its author frequently emends ambiguous or theologically
challenging aspects of the biblical text in tune with the conventions of classical
rabbinic thought. Yet Onqelos is also the most conservative of the targumim
in respect to its translation technique. Despite its frequent emendations of the
Hebrew text, Onqelos seldom uses the occasion of its translation to expand its
original content. For this reason, it is often regarded as a prototype for later
additions to the targumic literary corpus.
A less constrained translation is that of Targum Neofiti.10 Prior to the
twentieth century, this Byzantine-era Palestinian treatise was known to modern
readers primarily on the basis of the doctored excerpts of its text transmitted
alongside Onqelos under the title Targum Yerualmi. When a nearly complete
edition of the original treatise was discovered in a Vatican manuscript in 1949,
its restoration to the field of targumic scholarship revealed its textual affinities
not only with the Yerualmi fragments, but also with a range of previously
undocumented targumic materials recovered from the Cairo Genizah. The
correlation of these geographically and temporally diverse documents has
served to establish the independence of Neofiti from Onqelos as well as its own
position of influence on the subsequent targumic tradition.
Unlike Onqelos, Neofiti and its related fragments frequently embellish the
biblical text with interpretive glosses reflecting the idiosyncratic theological
proclivities of their author. As in the case of Onqelos, these glosses often appear
to reflect the exegetical impulses of rabbinic midrash, particularly in the realm
of halakhah or applied legal interpretation. Yet they also encompass a range of
narrative traditions and interpretive tropes contrary to the sensibilities of the
rabbis. Notable for our purpose is Neofitis recurring interest in cosmology and
angelology, topics rooted not in the early rabbinic intellectual context but in
the more adventurous Jewish discourses of the Watchers traditions.

9. On Onqelos, see Grossfeld, Targum Onqelos to Genesis, 140, and cf. Alexander, Jewish Aramaic
Translations, 21718; Shinan, The Late Midrashic, Paytanic, and Targumic Literature, 69293.
10. On Neofiti and its related textual traditions, see McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1: Genesis, 146, and cf.
Alexander, Jewish Aramaic Translations, 21819, 22021; Shinan, The Late Midrashic, Paytanic, and
Targumic Literature, 693.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 203

The most expansive of the targumim on the Pentateuch is Targum Pseudo-

Jonathan.11 Traditionally linked to the first-century rabbinic disciple Jonathan
ben Uzziel, the reputed author of the Targum of the Prophets, Pseudo-Jonathan
is actually an early medieval Palestinian treatise exhibiting many of the same
exegetical traits exemplified in Targum Neofiti. Pseudo-Jonathan, however, tends
to embellish the Hebrew text more frequently than Neofiti and, moreover,
with enough literary ingenuity to qualify as a thorough reworking of the
Pentateuch rather than a mere translation thereof. Like Onqelos, Pseudo-Jonathan
frequently incorporates exegetical themes and assumptions attested in classical
rabbinic works such as the Talmud and the classical Midrash. But it also exhibits
influences of ancient Jewish books of non-rabbinic provenance such as those
conventionally known as the pseudepigrapha.
Although nominally a Christian translation, the Syriac Peshitta is likely
an artifact of the same Jewish exegetical enterprise attested in the targumic
tradition. Typically dated to the second century ce, the Peshitta to the
Pentateuch regularly exhibits affinities with Onqelos, the earliest surviving
targum. This suggests that the two Aramaic translations, despite their divergent
histories of reception, incorporate elements of a common prototype perhaps of
the same variety known to the early rabbinic sages.12 Distinguishing between
the Jewish and the Christian contributions to the Peshittas interpretive program
to any degree of certainty is admittedly difficult. Simply to acknowledge,
however, the operation of both interpretive miens within its text makes the
Peshitta a potentially valuable witness to the Jewish reception of the Watchers
traditions and, consequently, germane to our investigation.
Let us now proceed to the classical Midrash. The two major sources of
midrashic testimony to the Watchers traditions are Genesis Rabbah and the
Babylonian Talmud. Typically dated to the mid-fifth century, Genesis Rabbah
is a compilation of Palestinian provenance assembling earlier Jewish exegetical
traditions pertaining to the biblical book of Genesis.13 Although these traditions
are cited in the names of rabbinic sages of the first through fourth centuries,
the editorial contributions of unknown generations of scribal tradents makes it
difficult to assess their the accuracy of its individual ascriptions. Except where

11. On Pseudo-Jonathan, see Maher, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, 114, and cf. Alexander, Jewish
Aramaic Translations, 21920; Shinan, The Late Midrashic, Paytanic, and Targumic Literature, 693.
12. See Michael P. Weitzman, The Syriac Version of the Old Testament: An Introduction, University of
Cambridge Oriental Publications 56 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), esp. 20662.
13. On the composition and organization of Genesis Rabbah, see Strack and Stemberger, Introduction to
the Talmud and Midrash, 27680; Shinan, The Late Midrashic, Paytanic, and Targumic Literature,
204 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

verified by earlier rabbinic documents, the ancient exegetical traditions attested

in Genesis Rabbah cannot be said with certainty to originate earlier than the
fairly late timeframe of the books composition.
The Babylonian Talmud presents similar challenges of interpretation.14
The composition of this voluminous treatise involved the collection of
innumerable traditions of legal and narrative exegesis spanning the first through
fifth centuries and variously originating in the rabbinic academies of Palestine
and Babylonia. These materials were subsequently edited by anonymous
Babylonian scribes over the course of the sixth and seventh centuries and
assembled into the massive textual corpus that would become the primary
vehicle for the popular diffusion of rabbinic culture after the classical age.
Like Genesis Rabbah, the Babylonian Talmud presents a labyrinthine collection
of untraceable rabbinic texts and traditions resistant to the nuanced historical
criticism required of our investigation. Nevertheless, critical analyses of the
modes of composition reflected in the Talmuds text have shed light onto
its unique qualities as a product of the heterogeneous cultural environs of
late ancient Mesopotamia.15 The temporal and cultural gaps separating the
respective compositions of Genesis Rabbah and the Babylonian Talmud might
well account for the divergent attitudes toward the Watchers traditions
exhibited in their pages.


In view of the commonplace association of the legend of the fallen angels
with the figure of Enoch, some comments on the characterization of Enoch
in targum and midrash will be instructive. The biblical text in Gen. 5:21-24
casts Enoch as a righteous individual who walked with God and, at the end
of his journey, simply was no more, because God took him. These terms
evoke images of other pious men such as Noah (cf. Gen. 6:9) and Elijah (2 Kgs.
2:11-12), presaging the portrait of Enoch as the heavenly visionary featured in
the Book of Watchers and subsequent Enochic texts. The targumim agree that
Enoch walked with God in the proverbial sense of revering him (Onqelos,
Peshitta)16 or serving him (Neofiti, Pseudo-Jonathan). Yet their authors differ as

14. On the origins of the Babylonian Talmud, see Strack and Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud
and Midrash, 190207; Richard Kalmin, The Formation and Character of the Babylonian Talmud, in
The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, 84076, esp. 84047.
15. See, in general, Kalmin, The Formation and Character of the Babylonian Talmud, 84760.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 205

to the circumstances of Enochs demise.17 Onqelos plainly states in his rendering

of Gen. 5:24 that Enoch was no more, for God had caused him to die.18
Neofiti, however, prevaricates, asserting, It is not known where he is, for he was
withdrawn by a command from before God.19 Finally, Pseudo-Jonathan states
that Enoch was not with the inhabitants of the earth because he was taken
away and he ascended to the firmament at the command of God.20 Once in
heaven, the targum continues, He was called Metatron, the Great Scribe. This
characterization clearly echoes the so-called Hebrew Apocalypse of Enoch or 3
Enoch, a late ancient mystical text in which the eponymous hero likewise is said
to have undergone a celestial transformation into the angel Metatron. 21
The evident disagreement among the authors of the targumim as to the fate
of Enoch appears to reflect a related controversy attested in Genesis Rabbah.22
Commenting on Gen. 5:24, several Palestinian sages of the second through
fourth centuries are said to said to have read against plain sense of the biblical

16. Compare the corresponding glosses of Onqelos and the Peshitta on Gen. 6:9, 17:1, 24:20, and 48:15.
For a complementary rabbinic assessment, see b. Sot. 14a.
17. For the following, see James C. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations (Columbia, SC:
University of South Carolina Press, 1995), 16568.
18. Some texts of Onqelos appear to reverse this reading on the basis of a late midrashic tradition
asserting that Enoch did not, in fact, die (cf. Der. Er. Zuta 1, end). For discussion, see Grossfeld, Targum
Onqelos, 51n3.
19. Fragmentary Targum P (MS Paris Hebr. 110) here reads, We do know what happened to him in the
end because he was drawn away from before God. Fragmentary Targum V (MS Vatican Ebr. 440) reads
simply, He is not for he was withdrawn by a command from before God. For discussion, see
McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1, 70, n.11. The possibility of Enochs divine ascent is expressly denied by the
author of a marginal gloss in the Neofiti manuscript on Gen. 5:23, which states that Enoch died and was
gathered from the midst of the world following his 360 years on earth. For details, see the textual
apparatus in McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1, 70.
20. The implication that Enoch did not actually die prior to his heavenly translation is presaged by
Pseudo-Jonathans stipulated reading of Gen. 5:23: And all the days of Enoch with the inhabitants of the
earth were three hundred and sixty five years. By comparison, his days with the inhabitants of heaven
are implied to be considerably more numerous.
21. See Andrei A. Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition, TSAJ 107 (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005),
97101; Philip S. Alexander, From Son of Adam to Second God: Transformations of the Biblical
Enoch, in Biblical Figures Outside the Bible, ed. Michael E. Stone and Theodore A. Bergren (Harrisburg,
PA: Trinity Press International, 1998), 87122, esp. 10407. Further discussion of the evolution of
Enochs legend in the Jewish mystical tradition will follow below.
22. For the Hebrew text, see Julius Theodor and Chanoch Albeck, eds., Midrash Bereshit Rabbah:
Critical Edition with Notes and Commentary, 3 vols. (Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1965), 1:23839, with
corresponding English translation in H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, (ed.), Midrash Rabbah, 10 vols.
(London: Soncino, 1939), 1:205.
206 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

text, characterizing Enoch not as a man of virtue but, rather, as an unrepentant

sinner. This argument appears directed toward the exegetical motif at issue
between the targumim and alleged by the sages to be supported by certain
unnamed Jewish heretics (minim)23 and gentiles literate in the Hebrew
Scriptures.24 In fact, the midrash reserves its strongest condemnation for these
individuals.25 The rabbinic polemic against Enoch therefore represents a proxy
polemic against heresy, or at least what the sages perceived as heretical in view
of their own preferred standards of belief.26
Precisely what made the Enochic literature so abhorrent to the rabbis is
not said. One is tempted, however, to read their hostility toward Enoch as a
reflection of the brand of apocalyptic speculation characteristic of the Enochic
pseudepigrapha.27 This attitude naturally would have impacted the attitudes of
the rabbinic collective toward the Watchers traditions, as likely reflected in the
reading of Onqelos on Gen. 5:24. The retreat of the subsequent targumim to the
position of the Book of the Watchers would appear to reflect a corresponding
confluence of rabbinic and popular Jewish attitudes toward apocalyptic thought
and expression during the late ancient period.28 This development in Jewish
cultural sensibilities provides a likely context for the evidence of the reception
of the legend of the fallen angels in the textual traditions presently under

23. Although the rabbinic denominative minim is often taken to refer exclusively to Christians,
contemporary scholars tend to recognize its original subjects of reference as alleged Jewish sectarians or
heretics of all persuasions. For comments to this effect, see Richard Kalmin, Christians and Heretics in
Rabbinic Literature of Late Antiquity, HTR 87 (1994): 155169; Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The
Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 5458.
24. As typified in the Midrash by a Roman lady or matrona. For lady (Hebr. ;cf. Latin
matron), Oxford MS 147 reads one, presumably in reference to one of the unnamed heretics of the
previous lemma.
25. See, for example, VanderKam, Enoch, 16164; Alexander, From Son of Adam to Second God,
10810; Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of
Enochic Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 13839.
26. For the following interpretation, cf. Martha Himmelfarb, A Report on Enoch in Rabbinic
Literature, SBLSP 13 (1978): 25969, esp. 260; Reed, Fallen Angels, 13940.
27. On the tendency of the early rabbinic sages to avoid apocalyptic speculation, see Lawrence H.
Schiffman, Messianism and Apocalypticism in Rabbinic Texts, in The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol.
4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, 105372, esp. 106165; Philip S. Alexander, The Rabbis and
Messianism, in Redemption and Resistance: The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity, ed.
Markus Bockmuehl and James Carleton Paget (London: T&T Clark, 2007), 22744, esp. 23437.
28. See Alexander, The Rabbis and Messianism, 22931, for a complementary assessment of the
evolution of apocalyptic influence on the targumim.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 207

The most substantive targumic and midrashic witnesses to the reception of
the Watchers traditions occur in reference to Gen. 6:1-4.29 Around Enochs
time, the verse relates, certain unnamed sons of God chose to cohabit with
human beings, taking wives from the earths female populace (6:1-2). This
reportedly prompted God to declare the offspring of these divine unions as
mortals, limiting their lifespans and those of their human descendants to one
hundred and twenty years (Gen. 6:3; cf. Gen. 5). The actual progeny, however,
of these sons of God are cited as exceptions to the new order. These semi-
divine individuals, dubbed Nephilim, literally the fallen ones, are hailed in an
apparent editorial aside as mighty ones of old and men of renown (Gen.
The Book of the Watchers identifies the sons of God as the company of
errant angels or Watchers who accompany Enoch on his heavenly journey
(see, e.g., 1 Enoch 12). Their anomalous celestial station is explained in an
expansion of the biblical narrative. Surveying the earth from on high, the angels
were enticed by the beauty of human women. Despite knowing the potentially
perilous consequences of their actions, they resolved to descend from heaven
to pursue their reckless lustfulness. Led by the assertive Shemihazah and Asael,
the angels spawned a race of Giants of superior intellect who, in turn, begat
the fearsome Nephilim (1 En. 6). Unmatched in their strength, the Nephilim
set about terrorizing humanity (1 En. 78). This prompted God to dispatch a
team of virtuous archangels to imprison the fallen angels, to destroy the crazed
Giants, and to secure the survival of humanity in advance of the coming deluge
(1 En. 911).
Echoes of this version of the legend of the fallen angels appear in each
of the targumim. The following synopsis will facilitate our discussion of their
variant readings.

29. The following synopsis is meant to emphasize the exegetical cruxes most pivotal to the present
inquiry. See Chris Seemans contribution to this volume for a more detailed discussion of the biblical
passage at issue.
208 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Verse Masoretic Onqelos Neofiti and Pseudo- Peshitta

Text derivatives Jonathan

Gen. sons of God sons of the sons of sons of the sons of God
6:2 great ones judges great ones / sons of

Gen. Nephilim mighty ones mighty ones Shamhazai mighty ones

6:4 and Azahel

sons of God sons of the sons of sons of the sons of God

great ones judges great ones / sons of

mighty ones mighty ones mighty ones mighty ones mighty ones

men men mighty ones men mighty ones

Onqelos renders both instances of the enigmatic Hebrew denominative sons

of God as sons of the great ones. Neofiti, followed by a minority Peshitta
tradition, renders the term in both instances as sons of judges.30 Pseudo-
Jonathan renders the term with Onqelos as the indeterminate sons of the great
ones. The author of Pseudo-Jonathan goes on to clarify his position on the
identity of these individuals in Gen. 6:4 by identifying them implicitly as
the Nephilim and explicitly as Shamhazai and Azahel, who reportedly fell
from heaven. Onqelos, Neofiti, and the Peshitta likewise correlate the sons of
god with the Nephilim by rendering the latter term as the mighty ones,
echoing the characterization of the former with the Hebrew denominative
( gbrym) in Gen. 6:4.
The reliance of the targumim upon the Book of the Watchers must not be
assumed in all cases of their agreement.31 For instance, the recurring targumic

30. For the Peshitta variants, see the apparatus in The Old Testament in Syriac, 10, with comments on
the relevant manuscript (ca. fifth century), ibid., viviii. Marginal notes in the Neofiti manuscript provide
the alternate readings sons of the kings in Gen. 6:2 and sons of the angels in Gen. 6:4; see apparatus in
McNamara, Targum Neofiti 1, 7172.
31. For the following, cf. Archie T. Wright, The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6.1-4 in
Early Jewish Literature, WUNT 2.198 (Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 7989.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 209

designation of the Nephilim as mighty ones clearly evokes the depiction of

these individuals as Giants, or at least the offspring of Giants, as reported in 1
Enoch. This characterization, however, also evokes the Pentateuchs portrait of
the Nephilim in Num. 13:31-33, along with the Septuagints rendering of the
term as Giants (; LXX Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:33) and an independent
rabbinic gloss on Gen. 6:4 (Gen. Rab. 26.7).
Yet other targumic variants seem to presuppose more elaborate versions
of the legend of the fallen angels specific to the Watchers traditions. The
decision of nearly all the Aramaic translators to emend the denominative sons
of God suggests a common motivation to relieve the Hebrew text from
its potentially divisive theological implications. The alternate term favored
by Onqelos and Pseudo-Jonathan achieves this effect without imposing any
specific exegetical valence upon the biblical text, as the identities of neither
the great ones nor their sons are actually revealed. But the corresponding
emendation to sons of judges in Neofiti, the fragment targumim, and the
minority Peshitta tradition is more telling. This reading seems to relate to a
common targumic gloss on Gen. 6:3. There, in view of their corruption, God
is said to declare, My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever. Neofiti, the
fragment targumim, and Pseudo-Jonathan exposit this phrase as follows (Onqelos
features a corresponding gloss, albeit without the explicit judicial terminology):
Having spent one hundred and twenty years observing His human subjects,
God was displeased with their predominant tendency toward wickedness (cf.
Gen. 6:1-2). Resolving, therefore, to destroy humanity, God declared that
neither the present generation nor their future successors would be afforded
their due judgment before him. Thus, these targumim imply, humanity
relinquished the reward of great longevity enjoyed by their primordial
Although the features of this story do not correspond precisely with the
literary traditions preserved in 1 Enoch, the parallels are suggestive. As usual,
the immediate basis of the targumic gloss seems to be the ambiguous language
of the biblical verse. The Hebrew term , translated in the NRSV as
shall not abide, is a negative imperfect form of the common verb , which
typically indicates the act of judging. The appearance of this lexeme in the
present context is certainly unusual. The targumic authors were therefore not
unjustified to have read the Hebrew text to indicate that God chose to deny
judgment to the as yet unidentified subjects of Gen. 6:1-2.32 This reading,
however, necessitated indication that those so-called sons of God were liable
to be judged from the outset of their misadventure. This, in turn, explains their
210 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

retroactive identification as sons of judges in Neofiti, the fragment targumim,

and the minority Peshitta tradition.
Yet it would be a mistake to assume that this exegetical gloss arose solely
from the ambiguity of the Hebrew text. In fact, the theme of divine surveillance
assumed in the targumim seems to evoke the Watchers traditions.33 Although
the evidence is too sparse to allow firm identification of the unnamed judges
or their sons, the intimation of a failed delegation of divine mediators clearly
presupposes some version of the fallen angels narrative. In fact, the targumic
sons of the great ones and sons of judges seem to play roles directly
analogous to those ascribed to the degenerate angels whose intermingling with
humans are said in the Book of the Watchers to have caused the great deluge.
The ensuing judgment articulated in the targumim likewise evokes the decision
of God to send the upstanding archangels to punish the degenerate angels
and their offspring. Just as in the Book of the Watchers, therefore, the targumic
tradition on Gen. 6:3 unambiguously cites the moral failure of the subjects of
Gen. 6:1-2 as the direct cause of humanitys corruption.
More subtle reactions to the legend of the fallen angels are evident at each
point in the targumic tradition. To the author of Onqelos, the interpretation of
the sons of God as fallen angels hardly would have been an improvement over
the literal sense of the Hebrew text. He therefore chose to call these individuals
sons of great ones, that is, prominent human beings. To the author of Neofiti,
the legend seemed sufficiently reliable to have conditioned his understanding
of the term sons of God, albeit not to the extent of convincing him that
these individuals were actually divine beings. To his mind, therefore, they
were merely judges, mediators commissioned by God to monitor humanity
from within its ranks. Finally, to the author of Pseudo-Jonathan, the connection
between the legend of the fallen angels and the existing targumic tradition was
obvious. Hence his impetus to describe the offending sons of God as divine
beings, none other, in fact, than the infamous Shemihazah and Asael. 34
A corresponding evolution of thought regarding the identities of the sons
of God is echoed in the rabbinic tradition. A sequence in Genesis Rabbah

32. The intimation that God chose to deny judgment to the subjects of Gen. 6:1-2 might relate to the
tradition attested in Jub. 4:22-24 in which Enoch is said to have judged the Watchers prior to their fall.
For further discussion, see the contribution of John Endres to this volume.
33. For the following, see, in general, Philip S. Alexander, The Targumim and Early Exegesis of Sons
of God in Genesis 6, JJS 23 (1972): 6071; Reed, Fallen Angels, 21316.
34. Although this appears to be the result of an intentional conflation of the sons of God and the
Nephilim, it is also possible that the author of Pseudo-Jonathan was aware of an otherwise unknown
version of the Watchers tradition likewise identifying the two parties with one another.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 211

(Gen. Rab. 26.4-7) demonstrates the efforts of certain early rabbis to explain
the obscure allusions of Gen. 6:1-4 in reference to the corruption of humanity
during the age before the flood. Yet while this interpretive impulse obviously
recalls the legend of the fallen angels, none of the midrashic readings actually
endorses that legend.35 One reading, however, seems to respond to the legend.
Commenting on the term sons of God, the Midrash preserves the following
statement in the name of the Palestinian sage Simeon bar Yohai, who was active
during the late first and early second centuries:36

Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai called them sons of judges. Rabbi Simeon
bar Yohai also would curse anyone who called them sons of God.
Said Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, Any breach that is not from great
men is no breach at all.

Although the ascription is impossible to verify, the Midrash seems to suggest

that Rabbi Simeon offered his reading of the biblical text as a rejoinder to
the legend of the fallen angels. Although the rabbi seems most disturbed by
the scriptural verse itself, his repeated insistence that its sons of God were
actually human beings counteracts the unspoken supposition that they were
angels. This position recalls with the aforementioned rabbinic polemic against
Enoch and his literature.37 This observation is reinforced by the correspondence
of Simeons words with the variant readings of the targumim. The rabbis
interpretation of sons of God as sons of judges precisely matches the
readings of Neofiti and the minority Peshitta tradition. It is therefore possible
that Simeon assumed the same apologetic interpretive stance on Gen. 6:3 as that
of the authors of those Aramaic texts. His subsequent comparison of the sons
of judges with great men might have informed the humanizing appellation
sons of great ones cited in Onqelos and curiously repeated in Pseudo-Jonathan.
While the rabbinic stand against the Watchers traditions evidently lasted
long enough to influence the authors of Onqelos and Neofiti, it seems to have
faded by the time of the Babylonian Talmuds composition. Included in that
compendious rabbinic treatise are two brief but noteworthy allusions to the

35. Cf. VanderKam, Enoch, 16465.

36. Gen. Rab. 26.5 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1.247). For the following, cf. Alexander, The Targumim,
6162; Reed, Fallen Angels, 13637.
37. Rabbi Simeons protest is echoed by the second century church father Justin Martyr, who depicts
his Jewish interlocutor Trypho as protesting the Christian endorsement of the legend of the fallen angels
(Justin, Dial. 79; cf. 1 Apol. 5.2). For comments, see Alexander, The Targumim, 62; Reed, Fallen Angels,
212 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

legend of the fallen angels. The first appears in tractate Niddah, where an
anonymous rabbinic master questions why God had to advise Moses not to
fear the Amorite king Og in advance of their initial meeting (Num. 21:34).
Moses, the rabbi explains, had good reason to tremble before Og and his fellow
Amorite king Sihon, as these men were grandsons of Shamhazai, that is, the
fallen angel Shemihazah.38 They were, in other words, Nephilim, descendants
of the mighty Giants thought to have populated the land of Canaan since the
days of the flood. Efforts to trace this legend to the Book of Giants recovered at
Qumran and attested in early Manichaean sources have proven inconclusive.39
But its reference to the legend of the fallen angels is unmistakable.
An unrelated passage in tractate Yoma likewise invokes the legend as an
exegetical aid. The citation appears amid a series of efforts to explain the
etymology of the Hebrew word Azazel, the term denoting the scapegoat to
be utilized in the Day of Atonement liturgy (Lev 16:8-10). An anonymous
teaching credited to the school of Rabbi Ishmael associates the obscure title with
the affair of Uza and Azael, an incident here accounted as the matrix of human
sinfulness and, by extension, of the very concept of atonement.40 This seems to
be another allusion to a Watchers tradition. The Talmuds Azael refers to the
fallen angel Asael, while its Uza appears to be a corrupted or shortened form
of Shemihazah.
Although these passing references to the story of the fallen angels do
not allow much insight into the attitudes of the Babylonian sages toward
the Watchers traditions, they do suggest a departure from the earlier rabbinic
position on the Enochic literature cited in Genesis Rabbah. It seems significant,
moreover, that the narrative elements attested in the Babylonian Talmud
directly parallel the cursory allusions to the legend of the fallen angels in Targum
Pseudo-Jonathan to Gen. 6:4. Like their targumic counterparts, the midrashic
sources speak to a certain degree of controversy among ancient Jewish readers
over the legitimacy of the Watchers traditions. But they also indicate a gradual
movement toward the accommodation of those traditions among the rabbinic

38. The passage appears in b. Nid. 61a. For comments, see Reed, Fallen Angels, 23435.
39. On the improbability of correlation between the Talmudic legend and this lost (possibly) Enochic
treatise, see Loren T. Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translations, and Commentary,
TSAJ 63 (Tbingen, Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 38, n. 143, and cf. John C. Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean
Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992),
2122, with reference to the present Talmudic passage, ibid., 42, n. 85.
40. The passage appears in b. Yoma 67ba. For comments, see Reed, Fallen Angels, 235.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 213

Given its relative paucity, it is difficult to say whether the targumic and
midrashic evidence for the reception of the Watchers traditions significantly
impacted its revival as an authoritative source of Jewish scriptural knowledge
during the late ancient period. Nevertheless, the reconciliation of the divergent
attitudes toward the literature attested in these sources likely contributed to
that cultural development. The rabbinic compromise with the popular Jewish
stance on the Enochic literature is perhaps best exemplified in the late midrashic
compilation Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer. Typically dated no earlier than the eighth
century, this exegetical companion to the Pentateuch draws upon a range
of ancient Jewish legends attested in texts of the Second Temple period but
theretofore lost to the rabbinic literary tradition.41 The story of the fallen angels
is discussed at length in a series of expositions on Gen. 56 pseudonymously
ascribed to various rabbinic sages of the first and second centuries.42 Although
the Midrash seems to rely on numerous apocryphal Jewish texts, its debt to
the Watchers traditions is patent throughout. The terms, moreover, of its
engagement of those traditions recall the prior their exegetical applications as
exemplified in the targum and midrash.
The rabbinic rehabilitation of Enoch himself is more notably attested in the
hekhalot literature, the corpus of late ancient texts associated with the medieval
Jewish cultural phenomenon known as Merkabah mysticism. The hekhalot texts
preserve a number of obscure narrative traditions construed by contemporary
scholars as elements of a lost text known as the Hebrew Apocalypse of Enoch
or 3 Enoch.43 Like many constituent elements of the hekhalot literature, the
Enochic fragments are notoriously difficult to date. The literary forms preserved
in the Merkabah tradition appear to have originated no earlier than the eighth
century, although external evidence suggests that the Enochic narrative thread
is rooted in rabbinic narrative traditions roughly contemporaneous with the

41. On the composition and character of this text, see Strack and Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud
and Midrash, 32830.
42. Pirqe R. El. 22. For discussion of this passage and its relationship to the Enochic literature, see
Rachel Adelman, The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha, JSJSup 140
(Leiden: Brill, 2009), 10937. See also David L. Everson, A Brief Comparison of Targumic and
Midrashic Angelological Traditions, Aramaic Studies 5 (2007): 7591, who argues for reciprocal
influence between the Midrash and the late targumic tradition, with comments specific to the legend of
the fallen angels, ibid., 7678.
43. On the date and provenance of 3 Enoch, see Philip S. Alexander, The Historical Setting of the
Hebrew Book of Enoch, JJS 28 (1977): 15680; Schfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, (Tbingen:
Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 31516.
214 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

composition of the Babylonian Talmud, that is, as early as the fifth or sixth
The reconstructed text of 3 Enoch describes a heavenly ascent of the
second-century Palestinian sage Rabbi Ishmael and his encounter with the
angel Metatron, the captain of Gods celestial sanctuary. Upon meeting the
rabbi, Metatron discloses his identity as the divine manifestation of Enoch
before leading his guest on a tour of heaven. Ishmaels tour includes a visit
with the Watchers (3 Enoch 2829). Whether this fantastic tale should be
assigned to a rabbinic author is unclear. Its rabbinic outlook is abundantly
evident in its classical Hebrew idiom, its dramatis personae, and its eschatological
assumptions.45 But the text also imbues its account of Ishmaels mystical journey
with imagery characteristic of the decidedly non-rabbinic Watchers traditions
attested in the earliest surviving examples of the Enochic pseudepigrapha.

Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Research

Although the evidence for the reception of the Watchers traditions in targum
and midrash is sparse, it is no less provocative. Illuminating a centuries-long
controversy among Jewish readers over the authority of the Enochic literature,
these witnesses also herald the resolution of that debate among the heirs of the
early rabbinic movement. Precisely what precipitated this resolution remains a
matter of debate. Some scholars have argued for continuous Jewish cultivation
of the Watchers traditions throughout the ancient period. 46 According to this
argument, the extended lull in mainstream Jewish interest in these traditions
prior to late antiquity was due to the efforts of the rabbinic sages to suppress that
heterodoxic literature. Accordingly, the Jewish transmitters of the Watchers
traditions would have stood at odds with the rabbinic sages during the early

44. See, for example, the narrative account of Metatrons heavenly station in b. Hag. 15a (cf. 3 Enoch
16), with comments in Alexander, The Historical Setting, 17778; Schfer, The Origins of Jewish
Mysticism, 23336.
45. The concomitant turn toward apocalyptic expression is manifest in late rabbinic texts such as the
Babylonian Talmud and the Byzantine-era midrashim; see Schiffman, Messianism and Apocalypticism,
106570; Alexander, The Rabbis and Messianism, 23740.
46. For the following, see especially Gabriele Boccaccinis theory of the emergence of a distinct
Enochic Judaism, as articulated in Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran
and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), esp. 16596; Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism:
An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), esp. 89103, 16369. See
also Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition, 29599; Michael E. Stone, Ancient Judaism: New Visions and
Views (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 3158, esp. 5152.
The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash | 215

centuries of their operation, only reconciling with their latter-day disciples apt
to accept modes of Jewish literary expression shunned by their predecessors.
Others have argued that the rabbinic rehabilitation of Enoch was the
result not of the populist overtures of the sages but of their efforts to combat
Christian influence.47 According to this argument, the adoption of Enoch
as an icon of the early Church posed a serious dilemma to the rabbis as
the cultural forces of Christianization began to make inroads among their
fellow Jews. Increasing exposure to Christian literature would have confronted
Jewish readers with a portrait of Enoch native to their religious tradition yet
reinforcing the credibility of the proto-orthodox Christological narrative. The
threat of popular dissonance thus provoked the rabbinic sages of late antiquity
to relent from the position of their forebears and reclaim Enoch as one of
their own, recasting the one-time villain of rabbinic orthodoxy as the great
Metatron, second only to God and the primordial champion of the Jewish
The results of the foregoing survey seem to support the former line of
interpretation, albeit not to the exception of the latter. As I hope to have shown,
the diversity of reactions to the Watchers traditions in the classical targumic
and midrashic traditions reflect an equally diverse climate of Jewish reception
resistant to simple categorization. Continuing efforts, however, to examine
these witnesses in light of other Jewish and Christian texts of their respective
eras should help clarify their places within the multiple evolutionary trajectories
of the Watchers traditions in late ancient and early medieval Jewish culture.

Brief Bibliography
Alexander, Philip S. The Targumim and Early Exegesis of Sons of God in
Genesis 6. JJS 23 (1972): 6071.
Boccaccini, Gabriele. Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways
Between Qumran and Enochic Judaism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Himmelfarb, Martha. A Report on Enoch in Rabbinic Literature. SBLSP 13
(1978): 25969.

47. This following argument has been put forth by Reed, Fallen Angels, esp. 23372, and followed
closely by Schfer, The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, 31827, 34345. See also Marcel Poorthius, Enoch
and Melchizedek in Judaism and Christianity: A Study in Intermediaries, in Saints and Role Models in
Judaism and Christianity, Jewish and Christian Perspectives 7, ed. Marcel Poorthius and Joshua Schwartz
(Leiden: Brill, 2004), 97120, esp. 99110.
216 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Kaufman, Stephen A., ed. The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon. Hebrew Union
College and Jewish Institute of Religion.
Orlov, Andrei A. The Enoch-Metatron Tradition. TSAJ 107. Tbingen: Mohr
Siebeck, 2005.
Reed, Annette Yoshiko. Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity:
The Reception of Enochic Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Schfer, Peter. The Origins of Jewish Mysticism. Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.
Strack, H.L., and Gnter Stemberger. Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash.
Translated and edited by Markus Bockmuehl. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: T&T
Clark, 1996.
Index of Names
Abegg, Martin G., 87 Ben-Dov, Jonathan, 149
Achtemeier, Paul J., 69, 75, 76, 77, 78, Bergren, Theodore A., 205
79 Berner, Christopher, 60
Adelman, Rachel, 213 Bernstein, Moshe, 141, 150
Adler, William, 2, 133, 173, 180 Berthelot, Katell, 139
Albeck, Chanoch, 205, 211 Bezold, C., 18
Albertz, Rainer, 45 Bhayro, Siam, 2, 34, 47, 90
Alexander, Philip S., 35, 36, 98, 103, Black, Matthew, 34, 137
132, 134, 138, 146, 148, 150, 171, Blenkinsopp, Joseph, 28
200, 202, 203, 205, 206, 207, 210, Boccaccini, G., 14, 19, 48, 51, 66, 98,
211, 213, 214, 215 101, 108, 119, 122, 130, 135, 138,
Allegro, John, 144 152, 155, 163, 214, 215
Amihay, Aryeh, 140 Bockmuehl, Markus, 201, 206, 216
Andersen, F. I., 190, 193 Bokser, Ben Zion, 178
Anderson, Gary A., 182, 190, 197 Bttrich, C., 183
Andresen, Carl, 174 Bourdieu, Pierre, 40, 49
Annus, Amar, 11, 12, 21, 24, 92 Boyarin, Daniel, 206
Aptowitzer, Victor, 196 Bremmer, Jan, 3, 43, 44
Arcari, Luca, 155 Brenk, Frederick E., 169
Argall, Randal A., 55, 59, 61, 63 Brooke, G., 20, 47
Attridge, Harold W., 122, 158 Brown, Peter, 173
Auffarth, Christoph, 2, 37, 43 Boustan, R. S., 111, 119
Austin, M. M., 39 Budge, E. A. Wallis, 161
Azize, Joseph, 22 Bunta, Silviu, xii, 8, 17, 101, 181, 196
Burkert, Walter, 169
Bahrani, Zainab, 47 Burns, Joshua, xii, 8, 101, 199
Bampfylde, Gillian, 155
Barker, Margaret, 34, 100 Calabi, Francesca, 30
Barnard, Leslie W., 168, 175, 176, 177, Calduch-Benages, Nuria, 57, 59, 68
180 Caquot, A., 118
Bauckham, Richard J., 70, 71, 72, 73, Carey, Greg, 45
74, 79, 85, 173 Carr, David M., 23
Baynes, Leslie, 7, 13, 101, 151, 163 Castriota, David, 44, 45, 49
Beattie, D. R. G., 201 Chadwick, Henry, 175
Becking, Bob, 29, 107 Charles, R. H., 12, 130, 153
BeDuhn, Jason, 83, 84, 90 Charlesworth, James H., 34, 45, 90, 155
Beentjes, Pancratius C., 52, 58 Chazon, Esther, 125, 135, 141, 150, 170
Bellia, Giuseppe, 57, 58 Chesnutt, Randall, 8, 17, 101, 167

218 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Chester, Andrew, 69 Egger-Wenzel, Renate, 62, 63

Clements, Ruth, 141, 150 Eliade, M., 18
Coblentz Bautch, Kelley, 53, 110, 114 Elliot, John H., 69, 70, 75, 78, 79
Collins, John J., 5, 33, 34, 37, 45, 48, 51, Elwolde, John F., 139
90, 92, 93, 98, 100, 102, 107, 108, Endres, John, 7, 82, 101, 121, 123, 131,
109, 111, 112, 117, 118, 119, 138, 138, 210
147, 155, 156 Eshel, Esther, 137, 146, 147
Collins, Raymond F., 82 Eshel, Hanan, 137
Conrad, Edgar W., 27, 33 Evans, Craig A., 34, 146
Conybeare, F. C., 172 Everson, David L., 213
Conzelmann, Hans, 82
Cook, Edward M., 87 Falk, Daniel K., 141
Cook, Stephen L., 42, 87 Falls, Thomas B., 168, 180
Cooper, John, 97 Farkas, Ann E., 23
Coote, Robert B., 27, 28 Feldmeier, Reinhard, 69, 77
Corley, Jeremy, 6, 51, 52, 54, 62, 63, Femia, Joseph, 40, 49
101, 102, 108 Ferguson, Everett, 169
Coxe, A. C., 89 Fitzmyer, Joseph A., 82, 83, 86, 87, 90,
Dalton, William J., 76, 77, 78, 79 Fletcher-Louis, Crispin, 191
Davenport, Gene L., 123 Flint, Peter W., 5, 98, 103, 132, 134,
Davids, Peter H., 70, 77, 78 138, 139, 150
Davidson, Maxwell, 4, 103 Fonrobert, Charlotte Elisheva, 201
Davies, John, 37 Foster, Paul, 167, 180
Davies, P. R., 20 Fraade, Steven D., 200, 201
Davies, W. D., 15 Fraenkel, Eduard, 44
DeConick, April, 99 Freedman, H., 205
Delcor, Mathias, 118, 187 Frey, Jrg, 140
DellAcqua, Anna Passoni, 30 Friedlander, M., 183
Denis, Albert-Marie, 176, 180, 181 Frhlich, Ida, xii, 5, 11
de Jonge, Marinus, 181
Delobel, Jol, 83, 90 Gammie, J., 93
deSilva, David A., 61 Garca Martinez, Florentino, 51, 52, 99,
Di Lella, Alexander A., 52, 53, 54, 55, 138, 139, 150, 184, 185, 186, 189
56, 61, 67 Gaster, Moses, 182
Dillon, John, 30 George, A. R., 22, 23
Dimant, Devorah, 2, 20, 139, 141, 144, Gesche, Petra D., 23
150 Gilbert, Maurice, 64
Dougherty, Carol, 44 Ginzberg, Louis, 191
Dowden, Ken, 44 Glasson, T. Francis, 5
Droge, Arthur J., 172 Gmirkin, Russell E., 27
Duhaime, Jean, 144 Goff, Matthew, 22, 64, 66
Goodenough, Erwin R., 171, 172, 174,
Edwards, M. J., 175, 176 175, 177, 180
Index of Names | 219

Gooding, David W., 30 Johnson, M. D., 191

Goppelt, Leonhard, 69, 77 Jung, Leo, 2
Green, Gene L., 70, 75
Gregory, Bradley, 51 Kalmin, Richard, 201, 204, 206
Grelot, P., 12 Katz, Steven T., 200
Grossfeld, Bernard, 199, 202, 205 Kaufman, Stephen A., 199, 201, 216
Gruden, Wayne A., 69, 77, 80 Kee, H. C., 88, 90, 99
Gruen, Erich S., 37 Kelly, J. N. D., 70, 72, 78
Gzella, Holger, 139 Kiley, Mark, 131
Kilmer, Ann Draffkorn, 27, 36
Haas, V., 17, 18 Klawans, Jonathan, 24
Hall, Edith, 45 Knibb, Michael A., 20, 123, 153
Hall, David R., 83, 90 Kobelski, Paul, 143
Halperin, David, 192 Koster, M. D., 199
Hannah, Darrell D., 157 Kugel, James, 65, 117, 123, 134
Hanneken, Todd, 123, 134 Kugler, Robert A., 138
Hanson, Paul, 6, 12, 42, 103 Kuhn, Karl Georg, 137
Harkins, Angela Kim, 87, 145 Kuhn, Heinz-Wolfgang, 138
Harkins, Franklin T., 36, 101 Kuhrt, Amlie, 43
Harvey, Graham, 37 Kurke, Leslie, 44
Hayes, M. A., 75 Kvanvig, Helge, 5, 12, 24, 109
Hempel, Charlotte, 20, 140
Hendel, Ronald, 3, 27, 31, 37, 100, 103 Lachs, Samuel T., 190, 191
Henkelman, Wouder, 43 Ladouceur, D. J., 157
Herington, C. John, 42 Lambert, W. G., 23
Hermann, Alfred, 176 Lang, Bernhard, 118
Hillel, Vered, 140 Lange, A., 22, 140, 144, 146, 147, 150
Himmelfarb, Martha, 108, 112, 119, Langlois, Michal, 138, 148, 149
133, 177, 206, 215 Lawlor, H. J., 2
Hogan, Karina, 7, 81, 94, 101, 107 Layton, B., 182
Holte, Ragnar, 174, 175, 176 Lgasse, S., 118
Horsley, Richard A., 45 Leslau, W., 18
Huggins, R. V., 140 Levine, Lee, 200
Hutchinson, D., 97 Levison, John R., 181
Lewis, Scott, xii, 7, 81, 101
Ibba, Giovanni, 122, 130, 135 Lichtenberger, H., 22, 140, 140, 191
Lieu, Judith, 20, 178
Jackson, D. L., 22 Lightfoot, J., 83
Jaffee, S., 201 Losekam, Claudia, 2
Jagi, Vatroslav, 181 Luttikhuizen, Gerard P., 88, 89, 184,
Jansen, H. L., 11 197
Jansma, T., 199
Jeremias, Gert, 137 Machiela, Daniel, 140, 141, 142, 149
Jobes, Karen H., 69, 77 Mackie, Scott D., 100
220 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Mah, J. P., 182 138, 151, 152, 153, 159, 160, 163,
Maher, Michael, 184, 199, 203 169, 170, 172, 182, 187, 188, 189,
Mandel, Paul, 201 190, 193
Marbck, Johannes, 59, 63, 68 Nicklas, Tobias, 2, 60, 68
Marcovich, Miroslav, 168, 180 Niese, B., 188
Martin, Ralph, 69, 70 Nissinen, Martti, 33, 37, 107, 119
Martin, Troy W., 71
Mason, Eric, 7, 51, 69, 71, 82, 85, 101, Olson, Daniel, 153, 154, 155, 162
163, 176 Ord, David R., 27, 33
McKnight, Scott, 70 Orlov, Andrei A., 47, 101, 103, 182,
McNamara, Martin, 199, 201, 202, 205, 183, 187, 194, 205, 214, 216
Meier, G., 18 Padgett, A., 83, 84
Meiser, M., 191 Paget, James Carleton, 206
Mercier, Jacques, 161 Parker, Simon B., 29
Merk, O., 191 Parry, Donald W., 147
Meyer, R., 11 Parvis, Paul, 167, 176, 180
Meyer, W., 181 Parvis, Sara, 167, 180
Michaels, J. Ramsey, 70, 75, 77, 78 Passaro, Angelo, 57, 68
Milik, J. T., 13, 21, 34, 100, 137, 138, Pearson, Birger, 74
139, 146, 150, 163 Pearson, Brook W. R., 75
Miller, Daniel, 40 Peerbolte, L. J. Lietaert, 88, 90
Minns, Denis, 176, 180 Penney, D. L., 146
Mitchell, Timothy, 40, 49 Perdue, Leo, 93
Moll, Sebastian, 177 Peters, Dorothy M., 140, 143
Mulder, Martin Jan, 200 Perkins, Pheme, 69, 70, 72
Mullen, E. Theodore, 29 Perruchon, J., 161
Muraoka, T., 139 Pettorelli, J., 194
Murphy-OConnor, Jerome, 83, 84 Pierce, Chad T., 76
Murray, R., 4, 90 Piovanelli, Pierluigi, 98, 152, 155, 156
Podlecki, A. J., 41, 42
Nahm, Charles, 175 Poorthius, Marcel, 215
Najman, Hindy, 117 Popovic, Mladen, 143
Neer, Richard T., 44 Porter, S. E., 75, 146
Newing, Edward G., 27 Portier-Young, Anathea, 6, 39, 48, 51,
Newman, Judith H., 118 54, 61, 62, 63, 65, 97
Newsom, Carol A., 111, 117, 119 Prato, Gian Luigi, 54, 55, 64, 68
Neyrey, Jerome, 70, 71 Puech, E., 21, 140, 143, 144
Nicholson, E. W., 27
Nickelsburg, G. W. E., 2, 4, 12, 13, 14, Raffan, John, 169
34, 41, 42, 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 54, 55, Rajak, Tessa, 178
58, 59, 62, 63, 64, 65, 72, 74, 75, 80, Ravid, Liora, 123
81, 93, 100, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, Reed, Annette Yoshiko, 2, 35, 36, 37,
113, 114, 115, 117, 119, 125, 133, 64, 68, 95, 101, 103, 111, 113, 114,
Index of Names | 221

116, 119, 159, 166, 170, 171, 175, Smelik, Willem F., 200
177, 178, 180, 206, 210, 211, 212, Smith, Mark S., 29
215, 216 Sparks, Kenton L., 24
Reeves, John C., 22, 133, 138, 140, 145, Spitta, Friedrich, 77
212 Stegemann, Hartmut, 138
Reicke, Bo, 76 Stemberger, Gnter, 201, 203, 204, 213,
Reimer, Andy, 98, 103 216
Reiner, Erica, 43, 46, 47 Stephens, Susan A., 44
Reiterer, F., 2, 60, 68 Stichel, R., 187
Ribeyrol, M., 181 Stokes, Ryan, 5, 100
Rice, Anne, 1 Stkl ben Ezra, Daniel, 139
Roberts, Alexander, 89 Stone, Michael, 14, 18, 24, 125, 135,
Robinson, J. M., 185 140, 155, 170, 181, 182, 205, 214
Rochberg, Francesca, 43, 47 Strack, H. L., 201, 203, 204, 213, 216
Rogerson, J. W., 70 Strelan, Rick, 92, 99, 103
Rmheld, Diethard, 140, 150 Stuckenbruck, Loren, 2, 5, 17, 21, 23,
Rosen, L. N., 15 24, 35, 37, 43, 53, 82, 86, 90, 101,
Rowlands, Michael, 40 103, 130, 134, 135, 138, 139, 140,
Rubinkiewicz, R., 14 145, 150, 170, 171, 186, 194, 197
Stuiber, Alfred, 176
Sacchi, P., 14, 155, 157 Sullivan, Kevin, 4, 7, 17, 91, 96, 100,
Snchez, David, 40 103, 118
Santos Otero, A. de, 187 Suter, David, 14, 42, 53, 93, 103, 108,
Schfer, Peter, 213, 214, 215, 216 152, 154, 155, 156, 163
Schams, C., 93 Sysling, Harry, 200
Schiffman, Lawrence, 11, 139, 206, 214
Schnelle, Udo, 70 Tardieu, M., 118
Schniedewind, William, 139 Teugels, M., 189
Schpflin, Karin, 2, 60, 68 Thackeray, Henry St. J., 63
Schle, Andreas, 3 Theodor, Julius, 205, 211
Schwartz, Joshua, 215 Thomas, Samuel, 7, 14, 87, 99, 101, 107,
Scully, James, 41 137
Seeman, Chris, 6, 20, 25, 93, 207 Tigchelaar, Eibert J., 51
Segal, Michael, 123, 128, 129, 134, 135 Tiller, Patrick, 48, 115, 116, 117, 119
Selwyn, Ernest Gordon, 69, 78 Tilley, Christopher, 40, 49
Shemesh, A., 87, 90, 147 Tombs, D., 75
Sheppard, Gerald T., 62 Trebilco, Paul, 77
Shinan, Avigdor, 200, 201, 202, 203 Tromp, Johannes, 181, 190, 191, 192
Simon, Maurice, 205 Trussoni, Danielle, 1
Skarsaune, Oskar, 178 Twelftree, G., 99
Skehan, Patrick W., 52, 53, 54, 55, 56,
61, 67 Ulrich, Eugene, 147
Skemp, Vincent, 54, 108 Uro, Risto, 33, 37, 107, 119
Slusser, Michael, 168
222 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

van den Broek, R., 182 Weitzman, Michael P., 203

VanderKam, James, 2, 12, 20, 34, 47, 51, Weitzman, Steven, 139
53, 56, 58, 81, 98, 103, 109, 122, Wellhausen, J., 20, 28
123, 124, 126, 128, 130, 131, 132, Wevers, John William, 38
133, 134, 135, 138, 139, 150, 152, Whiston, W., 188
153, 159, 163, 170, 172, 173, 180, Williams, Frank, 185
187, 188, 189, 190, 192, 193, 205, Wilson, Stephen G., 178
206, 211 Winston, David, 30
Van der Horst, 29, 107 Wintermute, O. S., 82
van der Spek, Robartus, 43 Wise, Michael O., 87, 146
Van der Toorn, 29, 107 Witherington, Ben, 70
van Ruiten, Jacques T. A. G. M., 121, Wright, Archie T., 2, 20, 38, 109, 110,
124, 125, 127, 129, 130, 131, 135 120, 208
Van Seters, John, 27, 28 Wright, Benjamin G., 52, 54, 59, 68,
van Soldt, W. H., 19 108, 109
Vermaseren, M. J., 182 Wright, D. P., 15
Vernel, H. S., 98
Vervenne, M., 37 Xeravits, Gza, 66, 68
Vian, Francis, 44
von Rad, Gerhard, 28 Yoder, Christine Roy, 117, 119
Young, Frances, 178
Wacholder, B. Z., 11
Waszink, J. H., 176 Zsengellr, Jzsef, 66, 68
Watson, Duane F., 70, 72 Zurawski, Jason, 101
Watson, Wilfred G. E., 37, 99
Index of Biblical References
and Ancient Literature
Genesis 6:525
11127 6:6127
1283 6:7127
17 6:9204
1:2635 6:1225
2519 6:1325
2320, 177 7:1-259
2:135 9:1131
31130 9:3-416
3:5192 9:7131
3:1965 10:8-932, 33
4:1183, 184, 185, 187, 189 11:432
4:1015 12:232
4:16-2418 14:1-1664
4:2259 18:856
5646, 213 19:356
528, 207
5:3183, 184, 185 Exodus
5:21-243, 204 4:1652
5:2230 4:2227
5:2430, 96, 205 7:152
61146 9:1632
6839 127
63, 5, 81, 89 15:1-1832
6:1-41, 4, 6, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 15:332
27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 45, 63, 22:1715
64, 81, 93, 102, 127, 129, 130, 137, 23:1788
171, 173, 176, 185, 186, 187, 25:3059
192, 207, 211 34:10-1616
6:1-230, 31, 207, 209, 210 34:2388
6:229, 30, 31, 35, 59, 208 Leviticus
6:328, 30, 31, 35, 126, 128, 207, 166
209, 210 16:8-10212
6:428, 31, 32, 33, 35, 59, 137, 145, 172615, 16
207, 208, 209 18:1-3015

224 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

18:27-3015 2 Kings
19:1915 2:11-12204
19:2915 17:5-2315
19:3115 19:3555
Numbers5, 32, 33 3:233
11:1-364 13:2197
13:2862 14:933
13:31-33209 14:12-1461
13:3162 24154, 155
13:336, 28, 32, 137, 209 24:17-23154
14:1262 24:2161
14:22-2364 26:1975
16:232 34:456
21:21-3564 34:1497
21:34212 37:3655
Deuteronomy149 49:1056
1:2862 49:24-2533
2:263:764 65:397
16:1688 66:15-1672
21:916 Jeremiah
21:22-2315 3:115
22:9-1115 25:30-3172
24:1-415 Ezekiel5, 32, 33
29:28 [NRSV 29:29]52 1259
3297 32:2032
32:829, 56 32:2132
32:1797, 172 32:2232
33:1-372, 73 32:2332
Joshua 32:2532
12:433 32:2632
13:2164 32:276, 33
Judges 32:2932
13:1657 32:3032
1 Kings 32:3232
11:1455 41:359
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 225

Hosea 712160
2:1-2327 7:1055
Zechariah 10:1360
395 10:13-2156

Psalms 1 Chronicles
18:633 5:2432
29:129 11:1533
8229 2 Chronicles
82:156 16:1260
89:629 Tobit
95:5 (MT 96:5)172, 179 3:7-898
104:455 3:1760
106:3797, 172 6:798
106:38-3915 6:14-1798
147:1555 8:361, 98
21:1633 Wisdom of Solomon6, 51, 54, 61,
Job 7:2060
1295 13:1064
1:629, 30 13:1014:1164
2:129, 30 14:664, 65, 67
15:15-1661 Wisdom of Ben Sira
25:5-661 (Ecclesiasticus)6, 51, 52, 54, 61
26:533 3:21-2452
38:729, 30 667
38:3758 7:18-2653
Daniel149 7:29-3154
3:2529, 30 8:853
45 15:1118:1454
4:103, 12, 55 15:15-1765
4:13 (NRSV)5, 55, 92, 99 16:5-1464
4:143 16:664
4:175, 47, 92, 100 16:7-965, 66
4:203, 55 16:7 (Greek)54, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67,
4:23 (NRSV)5, 55, 92, 99 145
75 16:866
226 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

16:966 43:9-1057
16:1064 43:958
16:26-2854, 56 43:1057, 67
16:2756, 57 43:1358
16:2867 43:1458
16:2957 43:1558
17:165 43:1758
17:1754, 56 43:1858
17:25-3261 43:2258
17:3254, 61, 67 43:2458
17:3465 43:2655
21:2755 43:3159
21:2855 44:150:2453
2456 44:1652
24:1-2953 45:1-552
24:1-256 45:252
24:10-1153 45:352
24:2352 45:552
25:2465 45:9-1260
26:1860 46:259
34:159 48:2155
34:9-1353 49:859
35:2161 49:1452, 59
38:460 50:1-2452
38:2859 50:1-453
38:3453 50:352
394467 50:5-2153
39:1-1153 50:960
39:453 50:2753
39:1758 5167
39:22-3158 51:2353
41:3-465 Baruch6, 51, 54, 61, 67
42:1555 3:94:461
42:1543:3354, 57 3:1762
42:1754, 55, 58, 59 3:2362
42:2155 3:26-2962
43:1-2658 3:26-2862, 67
43:258 3:2662
43:6-853 3:2762
43:658 3:2862
43:8-1054 3:2962
43:858 3:34-3557
4:798, 172
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 227

4:3598 22:4384
6:6057 24:2384
1 Maccabees 24:3977
3:333 John
3 Maccabees6, 51, 54, 61, 62, 67 20:1884
2:4-862, 64, 65, 66 Acts of the Apostles
2:463, 66, 67 5:1984
2:566 7:5384
2:6-866 8:2684
Matthew 10:2284
4:1-1195 11:1384
4:1184 12:7-1584
13:39-4984 Romans
16:2784 14:107
25:31-467 1 Corinthians
25:3184 1:1182
25:4184 3:16-1788
26:5384 6:386
28:2584 6:1988
Mark 10:20-2289
1:1384 10:20172
1:3499 1182, 88, 89
3:14-1599 11:2-1682
5:1-2086 11:1081, 83, 89
8:3884 12:386
13:2784 13:186
Luke 14:2589
1:11-3884 14:3389
2:9-2184 15:51-527
7:2483 2 Corinthians
9:5283 5:107
12:8-984 6:14-1595
15:1084 11:1486
16:2184 12:1-1286
228 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

12:786 2 Peter69, 70, 71, 73, 75, 79, 171

Galatians 2:4-664, 65, 66
1:885 2:47, 66, 74, 82, 85
3:1986 2:566
3:2884 2:666
Colossians 2:13-1473
1 John
2 Thessalonians 3:12185
Jude69, 70, 72, 78, 79, 101, 102,
Epistle to the Hebrews 171
1:485 472
1:585 5771, 73
1:785 572
1:1385 67, 71, 72, 73, 74, 82, 85, 176
2:285 771
2:585 871, 73
2:785 972, 73
2:1685 1273
4:105 1371, 73
4:145 141673, 85
4:205 141571, 72, 73, 74
12:2377 1472, 73
James 172373
1 Peter69, 70, 79, 171 6:9-11160
1:1275, 77, 85 9:157
1:2577 9:20172
375, 77 1240
3:375 12:9160
3:1876, 78 13:2161
3:18-2275, 176 17:2161
3:18-1976 17:1645
3:19-2075 17:18161
3:1976, 77, 78, 85 18-19161
3:2278, 85 20:11-157
4:676, 77
Book of Eldad and Modad74
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 229

7:235, 94
Book of Noah133, 152 7:2-462
7:345, 188
1 Enoch 7:413, 45, 63
1 Enoch 1-36 (Book of the Watchers) 7:4-516
1-363, 7, 12, 52, 71, 92, 93, 132, 7:545, 46
137, 151, 152, 167 7:5-613, 190
1:1-32:6a72 7:646
1:254, 58 894
1:2-352 8:118, 59, 60, 62
1:3-772 8:1-213, 169
1:3-1275 8:1-342, 159
1:451, 55 8:1-4188
1:53 8:358, 60
1:971, 72, 73, 74, 85, 151 8:3-413
2-5168, 194 8:4159
2:157 9-11207
2:1-3:354, 67 9:113
3:19-2075 9:1-1160
5:4151 9:394
6207 9:4-1194
6-867 9:642, 42
6-114, 12, 14, 20, 21, 42, 45, 128, 9:6-9169
142, 170 9:871, 188
6-1642, 91, 92, 93, 95, 100, 101, 9:962, 63
126 10:1-313, 94
6-1981, 85 10:1-11:260, 61
6:194 10:365
6:1-2157, 192 10:460
6:1-4141 10:4-541
6:1-7:6212 10:4-685, 170
6:212, 94 10:4-713, 21
6:312, 94 10:4-894
6:3-5192 10:73, 42
6:3-6196 10:8169
6:612, 53 10:946, 145, 146, 186
6:757, 94, 159 10:9-1094, 170
781 10:9-16176
7-8207 10:1171, 170
7-9161, 162, 169 10:11-1213, 21
7:112, 16, 18, 60, 71, 81, 94, 188 10:11-2294
7:1-5137 10:1285, 153
7:1-699 10:12-13170
230 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

10:16151 15:6-16:146
10:20-2213 15:695
10:2175 15:785
10-11128, 129 15:816, 95
12207 15:8-12146, 170, 176
12-1642, 47, 175 15:8-16:186, 101
12:1-294, 96 15:995
12:392 15:1095
12:442, 47, 53, 71, 81, 85 15:1157, 99
12:4-6176 15:11-1295
12:647 1695
13-14141 16:195, 146, 170
13:1-394 16:342, 62, 158
13:242, 48, 169 16:3-495
13:3193 18:12-1647
13:463, 193 18:1456
13:4-748, 94, 141 18:14-1661
13:7-953 18:1547, 57
13:9145 18:15-1671
145, 94, 182 19:117, 96, 169, 170, 172, 176
14-1659 19:1-2132
14:447 19:352
14:4-667 19:3-21:972
14:4-762, 63 20:14
14:548, 193 20:1-898
14:6-748, 63 20:556
14:859 21:1-547
14:8-9193 21:5-671
14:8-2359 21:661
14:8-16:453 22:63, 55
14:1859 22:10-14151
14:1959 26:253
14:18-2552 32:3-693
14:2155 32:6177
14:2255 36:456
1594, 169
15-16132, 169 1 Enoch 37-71 (The Book of Parables)
15:152, 53 37152
15:248, 193 37-717, 151, 170
15:347, 63, 71, 85 38-44152
15:3-4192 38:1-6152
15:3-10188 38:4152
15:471 39:1152, 155, 159
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 231

45-57152 67:4-9156
45:1153 67:4-11162
46:4-6153 67:6-7155
46:5-8153, 158 67:8-12159
46:7156, 158 67:8-13157
46:8158 67:11-12155
46:8-47:1156 67:12156
47:1-4160 6913, 157, 159
48:9153 69:2155
52:1-2156 69:2-3159
52:1-9156 69:4-6159
52:5-972 69:4-12159
52:7158 69:6155, 159
53:3-5153 69:8161
53:5153 69:8-11161
53:7153 69:28160
54:1153 70-71152
54:1-5153 71:73
54:4-6162 1 Enoch 72-82 (Astronomical Book/Book
54:5153, 155 of the Luminaries)52, 54
54:6158 74:253
54:7-55:2154 75:147
55:4152, 153, 155 75:253
56157 75:359
56:5155 8071
56:5-8158 80:147
56:6155 80:6-847
56:7155 82:153
56:7-8156 82:1-252
58-69152 82:447
60:20-2258 82:4-753
63:6154 82:657
63:10156 82:9-2047
64:2155 1 Enoch 83-90 (Enochs Dream
65:613, 155 Visions)7, 170
65:6-7158 83-90170, 182
65:6-8155 84:665
67157 1 Enoch 85-90 (Animal
67:2-365 Apocalypse)170
67:4155 85-907, 160
232 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

86:147 71:18190
86:347 71:19187
89:662, 170
3 Enoch205, 213, 214
1 Enoch 91-105 (The Epistle of 16214
Enoch)170 28-29214
91-105170 Book of Giants16, 17, 22, 23, 101,
92:153 141, 212
93:254 Book of Jubilees7, 170, 186
99:7172 1:11172
1 Enoch 106-107 (The Birth of Noah) 4133
106 187 4:1592, 126, 128, 131
106-107140, 141, 142, 143, 187,
4:21-2281, 82
106:2-3187, 189
4:2282, 127, 129
106:3189, 190
106:5187, 189
106:10-11187, 189
106:11189, 190
1 Enoch 108 (Another Enochic Book). . . 5:2126, 127, 128
75 5:3127
2 Enoch78, 101, 183, 192, 194
5:4126, 127
5:6126, 128
5:7-9126, 129
5:10127, 128
71187, 189
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 233

7:20129 CD
7:20-25129, 130 1:11147
7:20-39129 2:16145
7:2181, 82, 92, 129 2:17145
7:21-25129 2:17-1967
7:22129, 130 2:17-2062
7:23129 2:1892, 144
7:24129 2:1962
7:25129 3:13-19146
8:1-2130 3:16145
8:1-4130 4:12145
8:1-8130 6:11147
8:2-3130 16:2-4133
10-12170 1QpHab (1QPesher Habakkuk)
10:1-11131 7147
10:1-13144, 146, 146
10:1-14131, 133 1Q19 (1QBook of Noah)
10:2131 3140
10:3-6131 3, 4142
10:492, 131 15, 2143
10:7132 1Q20 (1QapGen ar / Genesis
10:7-995, 158 Apocryphon) 7, 92, 138, 141,
10:8132 149
10:9132 0-1141, 142
10:10132 0-2149
10:11131 0:2141
10:12132 0:8141
10:12-14132 0:13141
15:31-3256 1142
20:566 2-5140, 142, 187
22:17172 2:1141, 142
30128 2:9-16142
2 Baruch170 5:13142

1. For the notation of the highly fragmentary Cave 4 manuscripts, the order is as follows without any commas:
first the fragment number; the column within that fragment in lower-case roman numerals (when relevant); the line
numbers within that fragment. Commas are used only for large fragments (where the fragment number is followed
by a comma and then the line number[s]). For large scrolls from Cave 1, colons are used to distinguish the column
numbers from the lines.
234 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

6:11-22142 4Q56 (4QIsaiahb)137
7:2141 4Q83 (4QPsalmsa)
1Q23 (1QEnoch Giantsa ar)21,
137 4Q174
1Q24 (1QEnoch Giantsb ar)21, 1-2i12147
4Q1806, 144, 147
1QS 1 7-8144
3:2056 1 7-9147
1Q28a (1QSa)
2:3-1186, 87 4Q201 (4QEnocha ar) 137, 148

1QSb (1QSb) 4Q202 (4QEnochb ar)137

4Q203 (4QEnGiantsa)21, 137
3, 322
8, 916
7:4-686, 87
4Q204 (4QEnochc ar)17, 137

1QHodayot (1QH / 1QThanksgiving 4Q206 (4QEnoche ar)137

Hymns)95 4, 193
18:36-3886 2-321
25:35-26:16147 4Q207 (4QEnochf ar) 137

2Q1867 4Q208 (4QAstronomical Enocha

2Q26 (2QBook of Giants ar)21,
137 4Q209 (4QAstronomical Enochb
4Q6 (4QGenesisf)137
4Q210 (4QAstronomical Enochc
4Q37 (4QDeuteronomyj)29, 56 ar)137
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 235

4Q211 (4QAstronomical Enochd 4Q471b

ar)137 1a-d, 1-10147

4Q212 (4Q Enochg ar)137

4Q225 (4QPseudo-Jubileesa)132
4Q510 (4QSongs of the Sagea)144,
4Q226 (4QPseudo-Jubileesb)132,
1, 4-698
1, 5144

4Q227 (4QPseudo-Jubileesc)132
4Q511 (4QSongs of the Sageb)100,
144, 146
35, 786
48, 49+51, 2-3146
1, 586
1i6144, 145
4Q530 (4QEnGiantsb ar)21, 138
4Q374 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12(?), 1-222
2ii652 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12(?), 222
2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12(?), 1422
4Q385 2ii+6+7i+8+9+10+11+12(?), 2122
4, 5-1459 7ii417

4Q394-399 (4QMMT)16, 147 4Q531 (4QEnGiantsc ar)221, 138

1, 116
4Q400-40787 1, 221
1, 4-621
4Q405 1, 821
1988 2+3, 1-1017
21-2259 22, 1222
4Q532 (4QBook of Giantsd ar)21,
2, 921
1-4i + 5, 8144 4Q533 (4QEnGiantse)21

2. The fragment numbers for 4Q531 here correspond to the edition published by mile Puech, DJD 31.50-94,
which numbering differs from that published in Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants, 14177.
236 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

7Q4, 8, 11-14 (7QpapEn gr)137

4Q534 (4QNoah ar / the so-called Elect
of God / 4QMess ar / 4QNaissance 8Q1 (8QGenesis)137
de No)138, 140, 143
1i9143 11QMelch95, 143
1ii-2, 15-17143 11Q5 (11QPsalmsa)67

4Q535 (4QAramaic N / the so-called 11QTemple (11QT)

Elect of God / 4QMess ar / 2:1-1516
4QNaissance de No)138, 140, 48:6-716
143 48:1016
4Q536 (4QAramaic C / the so-called 64:11-1215
Elect of God / 4QMess ar /
4QNaissance de No)138, 140, XQpapEnoch137
9i1-7147 The Apocryphon of John
4Q543-48 (4QVisions of Amrama-
Tract. ep. Jo.
4Q544143 5.8185
1, 9143
1, 10144 Cave of Treasures (Syriac)18
1, 13144
2, 12-13144 1 Clement74
2, 14-16144
4Q546 Adv. Haer.
22, 1?144 1.40185

4Q549 (4QWork Mentioning Hur and EUSEBIUS

Miriam ar)7 Ecclesiastical History (Hist. Eccl.)
4Q55621, 138
4Q560146 Adversus haereses (Adv. haer.)
6Q821, 138 1.30.7188
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 237

2 Apology (2 Apol.)162, 167, 168,

5101, 161, 168, 169, 171, 172, 173,
Antiquities of the Jews (Ant.)
1.2.3130 6176
1.3.1 7363 7175, 176
1.11.2 19757 8175, 176, 177
1.60188 9175
1.61188 10174, 175, 176
1.7337 12175
12.3.3 14253 13174, 176
17.168-72157 14175

The Jewish War (War)

Dialogue with Trypho (Dial.)167,
177, 178
2.14298, 139
1 Apology (1 Apol.)167, 170
17178, 179
5172, 173, 174, 175
19172, 178, 179
9172, 173
10173, 175
27172, 178, 179
21174, 175
55172, 179
73172, 178, 179
79172, 178, 179, 211
83172, 178, 179
44173, 174, 177
92178, 179
46175, 176
238 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

131179 44.19:1-3196
131-135178 47.39:2-3193, 194
133172, 179
141175, 177 Slavonic Book of Adam and Eve
Life of Adam and Eve (LAE)8, 181, 14195
182, 183, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194,
195, 196 Georgian Book of Adam
21:3190 (GeLAE)181, 188, 190, 191
Greek Life of Adam and Eve 13:2193
(GLAE)181 21:3188, 189
1:3190 37.10:3195
2:2-3190 44.18:6192
10:3195 44.19:1-3196
11:1-2195 44.21:1-2192
18:5192 44.19:1192
18:6192 47.39:2-3193, 194
19:1-3196 Romanian Story of Adam and
22:1-2192 Eve181
37:5194 Tripartite Tractate (Tri. Trac.)
39:2-3193, 194 1, 584
Latin Vita Adae et Evae
(LLAE)181, 182, 188 ORIGEN
17:1193 Contra Celsum
21:3188, 189 5.52162
25-29182 5.54-55162
49-50182 De Abrahamo (On Abraham)
Armenian Penitence of Adam
(ALAE)181, 182, 188, 190, 191 De confusione linguarum (Conf.)
18:3192 178-17984
21:3188, 189
37.10:3195 De gigantibus (Gig.)
44.18:6192 630
44.21:1-2192 De opificio mundi (Opif.)
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 239

72-7584 5.15185

Quaestiones et solutions in Genesin (Q.G.) On the Apparel of Women

1.9230 2-3169, 171

Pseudo-Clementines (Ps.-Clem.) On the Veiling of Virgins89

Homily 8:10-20133
Homily 8:18-20133 De Corona (Corona)
Sibylline Oracles (Sib. Or.)
345 Against Marcion (AdvMarc)
3.38345 5.8.289
11.19845 De Oratione (Orat)
11.21645 22:5-689

Testament of Levi (T. Levi) OTHER GREEK AND ROMAN

Testament of Moses (T. Moses) AUTHOR)
7:985 Prometheus Bound (PV)41, 46, 99
Testament of Naphtali (T. Naph.) 12341
3:592 231-3642
Testament of Reuben (T. Reu.) 465-6643
5:1-788 478-8343
5:5-6159 484-9943
5:6-792 500-50343
Testament of Solomon 890 41
5:386 89741
Gigantomachy41, 43, 44, 45
Apology Agamemnon
22169, 171 69233

On Idolatry HESIOD
4169, 171 The Odyssey
On Patience 205 33
240 | The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions

TALMUD200, 201
frag. 43a 6533 Babylonian Talmud203, 204, 212,
15065 214
185-8761 b. Avodah Zarah (b. Ab. Zar.)
186-18762 22b183
617-81974 b. agigah (b. ag.)
Works and Days
110-27169 b. Niddah212
The Symposium
b. abbat (b. abb.)
Apology 196a183
15 [27 B-E]169
b. Soah (b. So)
Book of Asaph133
b. Yebamot (b. Yeb.)
MIDRASH200, 201, 206, 214 103b183

Genesis Rabbah (Gen. Rab)203, 204, b. Yoma212

212 67ba212
Gen 5:24205
Gen 6:1-4211 TARGUM/TARGUMIM201, 206,
Gen 6:4209 207, 211, 213, 214
Gen 18:1102
Fragment Targumim
Midrash Aggadah Gen 6:3209
Gen 5:18133
Fragmentary Targum P205
Midrash Tadsche133
Fragmentary Targum V205
Sifre Deuteronomy
Syriac Peshitta203, 204, 209, 211
143 88
Gen 6:2208
MISHNAH200 Gen 6:4208
Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature | 241

Targum Neofiti202, 205, 209, 210, Gen. 4:1184, 186, 187

211 Gen. 5:3184
Gen 5:23205 Gen 5:23205
Gen 6:2208 Gen 5:24205
Gen 6:3208 Gen 6:2208
Gen 6:8208 Gen 6:3209, 211
Gen 6:4208, 212
Targum Onqelos202, 203, 204, 209,
210, 211 Targum Yerualmi 202
Gen 5:24205, 206
Gen 6:1-2209 Targum of the Prophets203
Gen 6:2208
Gen 6:3209, 211 Derekh Eretz Zuta (Der. Er. Zuta)
Gen 6:4208 1205
Gen 6:9205
Gen 17:1205 Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer (Pirqe R.
Gen 24:20205 El.)213
Gen 48:15205 21183, 187
22184, 187, 213
Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (Tg. Ps.-
J.)203, 204, 209, 210, 211 OTHER WRITINGS
Gen. 2:16-2284 The Epic of Gilgamesh22, 145
The Watchers: whence and whither?
At the origin of the Watchers tradition is the single enigmatic reference in Genesis 6 to the sons

Harkins | Bautch | Endres

of God who had intercourse with human women, producing a race of giants upon the earth.
That verse sparked a wealth of cosmological and theological speculation in early Judaism. In The
Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions, leading scholars explore the contours of the Watchers
traditions through history, tracing their development through the Enoch literature, Jubilees, and
other early Jewish and Christian writings. This volume, edited by Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley
Coblentz Bautch, and John C. Endres, S.J., provides a lucid survey of current knowledge and
interpretation of one of the most intriguing theological motifs of the Second Temple period.


IntroductionThe Editors II. Second Temple Developments

The Watchers Traditions in Book of the Watchers

I. Origins and Biblical Discussions and the Animal ApocalypseKarina Martin Hogan
of the Fallen Angels

The Watchers
The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees
Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers John C. Endres, S.J.
TraditionsIda Frhlich Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 Samuel Thomas
(MT and LXX)Christopher Seeman The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enochs Book of
Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers ParablesLeslie Baynes
Anathea Portier-Young
The Enochic Watchers Traditions and III. Reception in Early Christianity
Deuterocanonical LiteratureT. J. Jeremy Corley and Early Judaism

in Jewish and Christian Tradititions

Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles
Eric F. Mason The Descent of the Watchers and Its Aftermath
According to Justin MartyrRandall D. Chesnutt
Because of the Angels: Paul and the Enochic

The Watchers
TraditionsScott M. Lewis, S.J. Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in The Life
of Adam and EveSilviu Bunta
The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 6-16:
The Fall of the Angels and the Rise of Demons The Watchers Traditions in Targum and
Kevin Sullivan MidrashJoshua Ezra Burns

Angela Kim Harkins is associate professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut
and in the Center for Judaic Studies.
Kelley Coblentz Bautch is associate professor of religious studies, St. Edwards University. in Jewish and Christian Traditions
John C. Endres, S.J. is professor of sacred scripture at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara

Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch,

and John C. Endres, S.J., Editors