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Some years have now elapsed since the Book of Enoch translated by the profoundly learned Archbishop of Cashel, again became known to the world, after a lapse of at least fifteen hundred years, during which, even the fact that such a book had ever existed, was at length disbelieved.
We owe to the celebrated Bruce the recovery of this ancient record, which however might still have remained unnoticed or un valued, had it not been rescued from obscurity, by one who has added to his knowledge of a language so rarely acquired, not only the patience necessary for so tedious an undertaking, but the judgment and caution, without which the accuracy or fidelity of a version made under such difficult circumstances, might have been questioned.
But no such doubt can exist in the mind of any
one who observes the care and discrimination which are displayed in every criticism relating to the choice of words made by the translator, in cases of doubtful signification: and it requires little knowledge of the original language, to convince us that all which learning, united with caution and fidelity can accomplish, has already been done.
The reader is referred to the preliminary dissertation prefixed to the Archbishop's translation, for the various arguments whereby the priority of the book of Enoch to the Christian æra is fully established: and the various authorities which are there given in detail, will convince the enquirer that the same book which anciently existed is now recovered.
The Archbishop has in one instance only, transposed any part of the book; the places which he has thus amended manifestly containing portions of the same passage, separated from one another by some accident of transcription, or from some other fortuitous cause.
He has also remarked that “the different portions of the book may have been written at dif
ferent periods.” He has not however applied this principle to any examination of the work at large.
If there were cause to suppose that the book is now in its original order, I should certainly have deemed it beyond the province of criticism to reason upon the transitions which might occur in it, or to seek to amend the connexion of the several parts, by conjecture.
But having been convinced that the fact is otherwise, by finding in the Apocryphal “testaments of the twelve Patriarchs,” portions of the book which were quoted as early as the second century, but which are not now to be found in it, I have thought myself justified in assuming, that as the book has already undergone alteration, the connexion of its various parts, and the difference of the subjects which are treated of, may rightly be taken as guides in an attempt to restore at least some part of the original order.
Since the application of this principle has, as I imagine, shewn that the degree of authority due to one part differs widely from that which can be given to others; I have endeavoured to exhibit in a connected form that part which I judge to be the ancient book quoted by St. Jude: merely taking such notice of the more modern and rejected parts as may be sufficient to shew that they are not to be thrown aside as additions casually made to the more ancient work, but that they belong to books composed on other subjects, and that they may be so arranged as to form among themselves connected and consistent writings.
As to the probability that this book is not in all parts of equal authority, it is remarkable, that the shrewd Grotius formed this opinion, from the sight of those few fragments, which were known in the form of quotations, before the entire book was discovered.
“Credo initio, librum fuisse exiguum, sed cum tempore, quemque ea quæ voluit ei addidisse, ut in libris illis abstrusioribus factum est sæpe.
Bearing in mind that the Archbishop of Cashel has already proved the priority of this book to the Gospels, as far as such proof can be obtained
* Gr. Ad. Epist. Judæ.
from internal evidence; I have endeavoured to select some of those passages of the Scripture which appear most remarkably to agree with expressions found in this work also : and I have arranged them in such a manner that reference may be easily made to their context.
In the following observations I shall first endeavour to state the general arguments which may be applicable to the question of the preservation of ancient prophecies, unnoticed in the Scriptures.. I shall also enquire into the internal evidence which is attainable for the purpose of fixing the country, the time, and language, of the most ancient part ; as well as determining the probable period subsequent to which it could not have been written, supposing that it were altogether apocryphal.
I shall endeavour to make use of such scattered arguments as may seem to bear upon the question of its authenticity, and shall afterwards give the reasons which have induced me to prefer the present arrangement of the book, as being an approximation to its original form.
But I must first remark that I have no design