Why didn’t the Jews consider the book of Enoch canonical?

I got the impression Enoch was rejected because of its violent and strange visions. Also, the work describes “fallen angels” rebelling against God, a story that exists nowhere in the bible, but which becomes an important tradition for Christianity and authors like Milton. Tertullian wrote that Jews rejected Enoch because of its references to Christ, but most Jews would reject Tertullian’s interpretation. 

One scholar, Margaret Barker suggests that the main problem  with Enochic judaism is that it rejected the tenets of mainstream Judaism: 

  • It makes no references to Torah commandments, sabbath observance, or circumcision
  • It rejects Second Temple Judaism’s practices of sacrifice
  • It portrays heaven, God, and the angels in ways rejected by second temple priests
  • It uses a solar calendar instead of a lunar calendar to set feast dates
  • It suggests life after death, a concept not embraced by mainstream Rabbinic Jews, at least at the time the canon closed. 

More on Barker’s thoughts here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch#Judaism

The Ethiopian Christian church and one Ethiopian sect of Judaism still consider this text canonical. But it was widely quoted and definitely made its way into early Christian thinking. And though it exists mainly in Aramaic and Ethiopic manuscripts, scholars did find Hebrew fragments of the text at Qumran among the Dea Sea Scrolls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *