The Book of Enoch (also 1 Enoch; Ge’ez: መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ maṣḥafa hēnok) is an ancient Hebrew apocalyptic religious text, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch contains unique material on the origins of demons and giants, why some angels fell from heaven, an explanation of why the Genesis flood was morally necessary, and prophetic exposition of the thousand-year reign of the Messiah.
The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) of the text are estimated to date from about 300–200 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to 100 BC.
Various Aramaic fragments found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as Koine Greek and Latin fragments, are proof that the Book of Enoch was known by Jews and early Near Eastern Christians. This book was also quoted by some 1st and 2nd century authors as in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. Authors of the New Testament were also familiar with some content of the story. A short section of 1 Enoch (1:9) is cited in the New Testament Epistle of Jude, Jude 1:14–15, and is attributed there to “Enoch the Seventh from Adam” (1 En 60:8), although this section of 1 Enoch is a midrash on Deuteronomy 33:2. Several copies of the earlier sections of 1 Enoch were preserved among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
It is not part of the biblical canon used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews). Most Christian denominations and traditions may accept the Book of Enoch as having some historical or theological interest and 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.
It is today wholly extant only in the Ge’ez language, with earlier Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments. For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian belief is that the original language of the work was Ge’ez, whereas modern scholars argue that it was first written in either Aramaic or Hebrew, the languages first used for Judeo-Christian texts; Ephraim Isaac suggests that the Book of Enoch, like the Book of Daniel, was composed partially in Aramaic and partially in Hebrew.:6 No Hebrew version is known to have survived. It is asserted in the book itself that its author was Enoch, before the biblical flood.
The most complete Book of Enoch comes from Ethiopic manuscripts, maṣḥafa hēnok(መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ), written in Ge’ez; which was brought to Europe by James Bruce in the late 18th century and was translated into English in the 19th century.