While doing research for an assignment into the history of the Book of Enoch, I was able to get a Protestant view from this source: https://www.gotquestions.org/book-of-Enoch.html

The article says that no scholars believe the Book of Enoch to have truly been written by Enoch, the son of Jared (Genesis 5:18) and the great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch was seven generations from Adam, prior to the Flood (Genesis 5:1-24).

I also found a Wikipedia article that suggested the Book of Enoch was written by the Patriarch Enoch of Genesis. However, it did concede that:

It is not part of the biblical canon used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews). While the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church consider the Book of Enoch as canonical, other Christian groups regard it as non-canonical or non-inspired, but may accept it as having some historical or theological interest. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch

I am less concerned with why the Book of Enoch is not regarded as canonical as I am with trying to find out the history and the origins of this book. In particular, I would like to find out what the Catholic Church has to say about the Book of Enoch because of this quote from Wikipedia:

The Book of Enoch was considered as scripture in the Epistle of Barnabas (16:4) and by many of the early Church Fathers, such as... Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who wrote c. 200 that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch#Christianity

What is the history behind the Book of Enoch and what is the Catholic view of the Book of Enoch?

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    It was referenced by the Epistle of Jude too, wasn't it?
    – Peter Turner
    Jul 28, 2021 at 13:27
  • The catholic view of the book of Enoch is that it isn't scripture. All that means is that it is open to error, whereas scripture is guaranteed to be free of error. It's possible that everything in Enoch is true, but it's also possible that anything in Enoch could be false.
    – jaredad7
    Jul 28, 2021 at 13:50
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    @PeterTurner - Yes, Jude verses 14-15 makes reference to Enoch, but my NIV study Bible notes say this was not the Enoch in the line of Cain (Genesis 4:17) but the one in the line of Seth (Genesis 5:18-24;1 Chronicles 1:1-3). It also says the book of Enoch was well-resepected in NT timesbut didn't turn up until the first century B.C. That's why I'm asking about the history of this book - to establish when it was written and by whom.
    – Lesley
    Jul 28, 2021 at 15:23
  • @jaredad7 - I agree that the book of Enoch is not holy, inspired scripture. What I'm trying to find out is who wrote it and when, and what the Catholic Church has to say about it. It's the history behindthe book of Enoch that I need to find out about.
    – Lesley
    Jul 28, 2021 at 15:25
  • 1
    @Lesley "What I'm trying to find out is who wrote it and when and ..." : I hope my answer to another question helps. Jul 28, 2021 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


What is the history behind the Book of Enoch and what is the Catholic view of the Book of Enoch?

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned the Book of Enoch is listed amongst the the Apocrypha.

Book of the Secrets of Henoch (Slavonic Henoch)

In 1892 attention was called to Slavonic manuscripts which on examination proved to contain another Henoch book differing entirely from the Ethiopic compilation. "The Book of the Secrets of Henoch" contains passages which satisfy allusions of Origen to which there is nothing corresponding in the Ethiopic Henoch. The same may be said about citations in the "Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs". Internal evidence shows that the new Henoch was composed by an Alexandrian Jew about the beginning of our Era, and in Greek. The work is sharply marked off from the older book by the absence of a Messias and the want of reference to a resurrection of the dead. It mingles many bizarre details concerning the celestial realm, the angels, and stars, with advanced ideas on man's destiny, moral excellence, and the punishment of sin. The patriarch is taken up through the seven heavens to the very throne of the Eternal. Some of the details throw interesting light on various obscure allusions in the Bible, such as the superimposed heavens, the presence of evil powers "in heavenly places", Ezechiel's strange creatures full of eyes.

Although considered Apocrypha within the Catholic, it does form part a the Biblical Canon within the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches (the only Churches to do so). The Catholic Ethiopian and the Catholic Eritrean Church recognizes the Book of Enoch as being listed amongst the Apocrypha

There are phrases within the New Testament that seem to make reference to the Book of Enoch. The canonical Epistle of St. Jude, in verses 14, 15, explicitly quotes from the Book of Enoch; the citation is found in the Ethiopic version in verses 9 and 4 of the first chapter. There are probable traces of the Henoch literature in other portions of the New Testament.

By the 4th century, the Book of Enoch was mostly excluded from Christian biblical canons, and it is now regarded as scripture only by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Here follows what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say on the Book of Enoch.

The Book of Henoch (Ethiopic)

The antediluvian patriarch Henoch according to Genesis "walked with God and was seen no more, because God took him". This walking with God was naturally understood to refer to special revelations made to the patriarch, and this, together with the mystery surrounding his departure from the world, made Henoch's name an apt one for the purposes of apocalyptic writers. In consequence there arose a literature attributed to him.

It influenced not only later Jewish apocrypha, but has left its imprint on the New Testament and the works of the early Fathers. The canonical Epistle of St. Jude, in verses 14, 15, explicitly quotes from the Book of Henoch; the citation is found in the Ethiopic version in verses 9 and 4 of the first chapter. There are probable traces of the Henoch literature in other portions of the New Testament.

Passing to the patristic writers, the Book of Henoch enjoyed a high esteem among them, mainly owing to the quotation in Jude. The so-called Epistle of Barnabas twice cites Henoch as Scripture. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and even St. Augustine suppose the work to be a genuine one of the patriarch. But in the fourth century the Henoch writings lost credit and ceased to be quoted. After an allusion by an author of the beginning of the ninth century, they disappear from view.

So great was the oblivion into which they fell that only scanty fragments of Greek and Latin versions were preserved in the West. The complete text was thought to have perished when it was discovered in two Ethiopic manuscripts in Abyssinia, by the traveler Bruce in 1773. Since, several more copies in the same language have been brought to light. Recently a large Greek fragment comprising chapters i-xxxii was unearthed at Akhmîn in Egypt.

Scholars agree that the Book of Henoch was originally composed either in Hebrew or Aramaic, and that the Ethiopic version was derived from a Greek one. A comparison of the Ethiopic text with the Akhmîn Greek fragment proves that the former is in general a trustworthy translation. The work is a compilation, and its component parts were written in Palestine by Jews of the orthodox Hasidic or Pharisaic schools. Its composite character appears clearly from the palpable differences in eschatology, in the views of the origin of sin and of the character and importance of the Messias found in portions otherwise marked off from each other by diversities of subject. Critics agree that the oldest portions are those included in chapters i-xxxvi and (broadly speaking) lxxi-civ.

It will be seen that the work is a voluminous one. But the most recent research, led by the Rev. R.H. Charles, an English specialist, breaks up this part into at least two distinct constituents. Charles's analysis and dating are: i-xxxvi, the oldest part, composed before 170 B.C.; xxxvii-lxx, lxxxiii-xc, written between 166-161 B.C.; chapters xci-civ between the years 134-95 B.C.; the Book of Parables between 94-64 B.C.; the Book of Celestial Physics, lxxii-lxxviii, lxxxii, lxxix, date undetermined. Criticism recognizes, scattered here and there, interpolations from a lost apocalypse, the Book of Noah. Expert opinion is not united on the date of the composite older portion, i.e. i-xxxvi, lxxi-civ. The preponderant authority represented by Charles and Schürer assigns it to the latter part of the second century before Christ, but Baldensperger would bring it down to a half century before our Era.

Just because it's called the Book of Enoch doesn't mean it's written by him. It's considered one of Pseudopigraphical book, literally "false attribution" (See: Pseudepigrapha (Wikipedia).

It seems almost everyone had a view on this subject matter regarding who wrote the Book of Enoch. That include Catherine Emmerich in her revelations. Although Catholics are not obliged to believe in private revelation, she does give it an interesting twist:

The nature of that original language remains controversial, interpretations showing many nationalist flavours:

•Traditional Jewish exegesis such as Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 38) says that Adam spoke Old Hebrew or rather its linguistic ancestor Proto-Canaanite, because the names he gives Eve – “Isha” (Book of Genesis 2:23) and “Chava” (Genesis 3:20) – only make sense in Hebrew.

•Traditional Christians based on Genesis 10:5 have assumed that the Japhetite, or Indo-European, languages are rather the direct descendants of the Adamic language, having separated before the confusion of tongues, by which also Hebrew was affected.

1.Early Christian fathers claimed that Adam spoke Latin to explain why God would make it the liturgical language of his Church, although “Latin” here would be a loose way of referring to its ancestor, Proto-Italic or older Europe’s Indo-European.

2.Modern traditional Catholics follow Anne Catherine Emmerick’s revelations (1790), which stated that the most direct descendants of the Adamic language were Bactrian, Zend and Indian languages (i.e., the Indo-Iranian languages), associating the Adamic language with the then-recent concept of the “common source” of these tongues, now known as Proto-Indo-European:

This language was the pure Hebrew, or Chaldaic. The first tongue, the mother tongue, spoken by Adam, Shem, and Noah, was different, and it is now extant only in isolated dialects. Its first pure offshoots are the Zend, the sacred tongue of India, and the language of the Bactrians. In those languages, words may be found exactly similar to the Low German of my native place.

From Adamic or the language of the Garden of Eden until the Tower of Babel: the confusion of tongues and the earliest dialects attested

We can see that oldest portion of the Book of Enoch I is placed at about 300 BC. That simply does not mean that older texts at one time did exist or that Enoch is not the author. It is the oldest copy we have. It seems history may have passed into legend and we may never know the full truth of its origins.

The following articles may be of interest:

  • 1
    Lesley, if you have particular point of the Book’s history to be found, please let me know this post is simply speaking on general terms. Pax.
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 28, 2021 at 16:31
  • In your opinion, is it weird that Wikipedia doesn't mention 'apocryphal for Catholicism' ?
    – BCLC
    Feb 3, 2023 at 19:13

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