Angelic Philology

Each one of the Watchers and the holy ones has seventy names corresponding to the seventy languages that are in the world, and all of them are based on the name of the Holy One, blessed be He. Every single name is written with a pen of flame upon the terrible crown that is on the head of the high and exalted King. From each of them sparks and lightnings shoot forth, from each of them rays of splendor stream out, and from each of them lights flash. Pavillions and tents of brilliance surround them, for even the seraphim and the creatures, who are greater than all the celestials, cannot look on them.

–Third Enoch 29


  1. Just before Nativity 2006 I met a member of St. Stephen’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Campbell, California who had recently was produced a new translation/commentary of Enoch. It is my understanding that he did the work with the Ethipioan Orthodox archbishop in the U.S. I wish I could remember the fellow’s name or the name of his book. Unfortunately, I have forgotten both. Are you familiar with the author or the book? Have you read it? If so, what to you think of it comapred to the work of Vanderkam, Black, and Neugebower, assuming you are familiar with their work?

  2. Hi Matt. I don’t know who that is, unfortunately. It sounds like it’d be a good read, though. Whoever it is probably worked with the traditional Ethiopian text, which would be interesting. The other guys you mention are working with that text, too, of course, but trying to reconstruct the lost original as far as possible, so they include all the input from the Aramaic and Greek fragments that are known, too.

    Another thing I’d like to find is a traditional/devotional commentary on 1 Enoch from the Ethiopian Orthodox perspective. I’m sure that’d be fascinating. It apparently plays a significant role in Ethiopian Orthodoxy.

    The above selection is from 3 Enoch, preserved in Hebrew, which work is a fine example of Merkabah mysticism. That’s the Jewish tradition of visionary travel to the “Chariot-throne” of God in the highest heaven.

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