43 Jaffee, Torah, 18-20; Elman and Gershoni, Transmitting, 4-8.
that led to its present form as well as for its continual recontextualization into new literary settings afterwards. During its composition and its subsequent transmission, oral performance surely facilitated its reinterpretation in terms of other traditions about Enoch and the fallen angels, both oral and written. In other words, the influence of the Book of the Watchers on later authors was literary, but it was "literary" in a sense that encompasses the oral/aural dimensions of ancient textual production, reception, and transmission, rather than merely the result of mutual dependence on a reservoir of motifs transmitted exclusively from mouth to ear.
My focus on literary transmission also has practical motivations, which reflect the constraints of our extant evidence. Even if so many ancient works had not been lost to us, our understanding of early Jewish and Christian literature would still reflect the concerns of relatively elite authors, due to the social stratification of literacy in the ancient world.45 Accordingly, my questions are literary questions, pertaining primarily to the production and transmission of writings amongst learned Jews and Christians. My choice to focus on the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers, rather than the development of the angelic descent myth more broadly, reflects my skepticism about our ability to reconstruct the beliefs of most Jews and Christians from the scant evidence that we now possess. Likewise, my statements about changing attitudes towards the Book of the Watchers claim only to concern the groups who were either responsible for literary production or had access to those who were. It is likely that these groups had some impact on the broader populace, but our data rarely allow us to map this influence with any degree of certainty.
This caution is especially warranted insofar as our extant literature reflects the interests not only of groups with access to literacy but of very specific groups. We owe the survival of some texts to fortuitous archaeological finds, but most were copied and preserved by the "winners of history": those movements that would eventually come to dominate Judaism and Christianity as we now know them. Although my study touches on "gnostics," "Jewish-Christians," Mandaeans, and Manichees, I have chosen to focus on developments in Rabbinic Judaism and Western Christian orthodoxy. I make no claim to represent the full diversity of biblically based religious movements in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, and any omissions on my part should not be read as normative judgments. Rather, I have attempted to structure this inquiry to reflect the limitations of our extant evidence, both in my choice of sources and in the questions that I bring to them.
45 Niditch, Oral World, 39-59; Jaffee, Torah, 15-16.
4. jews and christians in late antiquity and the early middle ages
This study argues that the Book of the Watchers influenced many different pre-Rabbinic Jewish groups - including, but not limited to, the authors of later Enochic pseudepigrapha, the Qumran community, and the Jesus Movement. Around the second century ce,we find a shift in the use of the text. Abandoned by early Rabbinic Jews, it continues to be read and copied by Christ-believing Jews and other early Christians. Like so much of the Jewish literature composed during the centuries of Ptolemaic, Seleucidic, Hasmonean, and Roman rule in Palestine prior to the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism, the Book of the Watchers owes its preservation to Christian copyists. Nevertheless, the adoption of the text may not have been only unidirectional: many centuries after Rabbinic Judaism and the "Great Church" excluded the early Enochic writings from their respective canons, some Jews may have rediscovered this ancient Jewish work due to the mediation of Christians.
This interplay highlights another way in which the present study departs from earlier research, namely, the scope of my inquiry. Other studies have either cited 1 Enoch as the Jewish "background" to Christian traditions or have limited their analyses to inner-Jewish developments. Such approaches embody an understanding of Jewish and Christian history that sees Jewish traditions as relevant primarily for illuminating Christian Origins and/or views post-Christian Judaism as a self-enclosed entity, almost wholly shut off from external influence. The present work, however, is based on different views of the relationship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.
Traditionally, research into late antique Judaism and Christianity proceeded on the assumption of their "Parting of the Ways" in the first or second century ce. When studying later periods, scholars have typically examined these religions in isolation, assuming that their separation was decisive and that their subsequent interaction was limited to mere polemics and mutual misperception. Our evidence, however, tells of the continued interpenetration of Jewish and Christian traditions long after the second century. This has led scholars from a variety of fields increasingly to question the regnant model of a single, early, and determinative separation between the two religions.46 Although we still await new models for understanding the complex interactions between Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, it has become clear that we lose too much by
46 E.g., Boyarin, Dying, 1 -19; Becker and Reed, Ways.
studying one tradition without reference to the other. Long after the death of Jesus, the destruction of the Second Temple, and the failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the histories of Judaism and Christianity remain meaningfully intertwined.
This perspective is embodied in the structure of the present study, which focuses equally on Judaism and Christianity and which investigates the interrelation between developments in the two traditions throughout their early histories. After analyzing the motif of illicit angelic instruction in the Book of the Watchers (Ch. 1), I will consider traditions about the fallen angels first in pre-Rabbinic Judaism and the Jesus Movement (Chs. 2-3) and then in early Rabbinic Judaism and proto-orthodox Christianity (Chs. 4-5). Next, I will turn to the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers in late antique Christianity (Ch. 6), and I will conclude with a consideration of early medieval Judaism (Ch. 7).
Within this chronological framework, I will address the broader issues raised by each stage in the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers. The first chapter focuses on the literary and theological function of the instruction motif in the Book of the Watchers itself. In contrast to earlier investigations, I will here use the redaction-history of this composite text to shed light on its final form, stressing the role of redaction in the production of literary meaning. This perspective highlights the importance of the instruction motif in the apocalypse as a whole and shows how this motif contributes not only to its reflections on human sin and suffering, but also to its exploration of the epistemological ramifications of revelation.
The second and third chapters locate the Book of the Watchers within pre-Rabbinic Judaism, inclusive of earliest Christianity. Here, I will focus on the different social settings of its composition as well as the earliest stages in its transmission. Due to its popularity among the Qumran sectarians and its influence on later Enochic works, its authors/redactors and early readers have often been situated on the periphery of "mainstream" Judaism. By contrast, I will stress the scribal and priestly milieu in which this apocalypse took form and point to its widespread influence on early Jewish understandings of antediluvian history. Moreover, I will show that there is a remarkable unanimity in the way that most Jews from this period - including followers of Jesus -approached the Enochic myth of angelic descent: a variety of authors draw from the Book of the Watchers' extrabiblical elaborations of Gen 6:1 -4, but the motif of illicit angelic instruction is generally ignored in favor of other approaches to explaining the origins of sin and suffering. This unanimity suggests that we cannot speak in terms of a Christian "appropriation" of this Jewish apocalypse; here, as often elsewhere, the discontinuities between nascent Christianity and early Judaism are best approached in terms of the profound continuities on which they are predicated.
The fourth and fifth chapters focus on developments in the second and third centuries, investigating the factors that led to the eventual preservation of the Book of the Watchers primarily in Christian circles. Around the second century, Rabbinic Jews appear to have abandoned the Enochic books and polemicized against the angelic interpretation of Gen 6:1 -4. At the same time, the Book of the Watchers' distinctive version of the angelic descent myth was being embraced by early Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr. Within his writings, the motif of illicit angelic instruction resurfaces once again to play a pivotal role in the etiology of human culture and its tragic distance from the divine. Justin not only reinterprets the Enochic myth of angelic descent, but he locates it within a Christianized history of culture in which demonology contributes to the construction of a Christian identity in contradistinction to both Jews and pagans. It is this redeployment of the instruction motif, I will argue, that renders the Enochic myth of angelic descent newly relevant for Christians living in the turbulent centuries between the Bar Kokhba Revolt and the Edict of Milan, thereby helping to explain the popularity of this apocalypse among "Church Fathers" such as Tertullian.
The sixth chapter centers on another critical moment in the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers: the rejection of the Enochic pseudepigrapha by late antique ecclesiarchs in the Roman Empire. Whereas most inquiries into the formation of the Christian canon concentrate on books that are now canonical, I will here consider the dynamics of canonization by focusing on a contested text. First, I will show how the third- and fourth-century debates about the authority of the Enochic books often appealed, both positively and negatively, to their omission from the Jewish canon of scriptures.47 Then, I will explore an interesting shift in the dynamics of Jewish-Christian relations, as exemplified by the strained attempts by some Christians to justify the rejection of the Enochic pseudepigrapha even despite Jude's quotation of the Book of the Watchers as Scripture in his canonical NT Epistle. Lastly, I will consider the settings of the continual use and preservation of this apocalypse, exploring the tensions between canonicity and textual authority.
The final chapter returns to focus on Judaism, tackling the puzzling reemer-gence of early Enochic traditions in post-Talmudic sources. Scholars of Jewish mysticism have often read the affinities between the Book of the Watchers and the late antique Jewish mystical works of the Hekhalot corpus as proof for
47 E.g., Tertullian, Cultfem. 1.3.1 -3; Origen, Hom.Num. 28; Augustine, Civ. 15.23.
the existence of an esoteric movement that flourished for centuries on the fringes of mainstream Judaism. I will critique this view by analyzing traditions about Enoch and the fallen angels in the Hekhalot macroform 3 Enoch and the so-called "Midrash of Semhazai and Azael." In contrast to those who have explained the absence of Enochic traditions in the classical Rabbinic literature with appeal to their allegedly "esoteric" character, I will propose that 3 Enochs allusions to the Book of the Watchers reflect Christian influence during the Byzantine stage in the growth of this work. By means of an analysis of the "Midrash on Semhazai and Azael," I will then consider the reemergence of Enochic motifs in late midrashic collections, asking whether these traditions may also betray the mediation of non-Jews, such as Christians, Manichees, and Muslims.
Throughout this inquiry, I will attempt to locate the complex Nachleben of the Book of the Watchers in the context of other attempts by Jews and Christians to delineate and defend their communities against a range of perceived "outsiders," as well as other evidence for the continued interpenetration of traditions across creedal lines. Broadly speaking, this study seeks to explore how text-selection can function as a means of asserting religious identity and how social circumstances affect the degree of canonical consciousness in different groups at different times. In this manner, I hope to contribute to our understanding of the role of parabiblical texts and traditions in the continued interaction between Jews and Christians, well after the alleged "Parting of the Ways."
5. the book of the watchers, 1 enoch, and the problem of textual identity
Especially in light of the textual focus of much of this study, it is important to begin by considering the scope and character of our witnesses to the Book of the Watchers and by clarifying what we mean when we call it a "text" and try to trace its reception.48 The boundaries of modern books tend to be quite clear, but this was not always the case with the products ofpremodern literary production. As we shall see in Chapter 1, the Book of the Watchers was not the result of a single act of authorial creativity. Rather, this apocalypse was shaped by multiple stages of authorship, redaction, and compilation. This accounts for the polysemous character of the work in its final form and helps to explain
48 For the below discussion, I am indebted to conversations with Peter Schäfer, as well as his published work on this topic (esp. Hekhalot-Studien, 13-16, 231; "Research on the Hekhalot," 231 -32; "Research into Rabbinic," esp. 146-52; "Once Again").
how it could later serve as the basis for so many different interpretations of angelic descent. Yet the complex literary history of the Book of the Watchers also raises questions about textual identity: if we are reticent to speak of the Ethiopic collection 1 Enoch as simply a single "text,"49 what of the no less composite Book of the Watchers?
Although we can discern several, originally distinct textual units and traditions within 1 En. 1 -36, the Book of the Watchers is not merely a conglomeration of diverse material about Enoch and the fallen angels. As the next chapter demonstrates, the redactional combination of these units has resulted in a coherent whole.50 Moreover, our manuscript evidence suggests that it circulated as a distinct document at an early stage: among the Aramaic fragments of this apocalypse found at Qumran, the two oldest (4QEna,b) contain only the Book of the Watchers and attest the combination of its different subsections into a redacted whole by the early second century bce at the very latest.51
When we turn to consider the reception-history of the Book of the Watchers in the following chapters, the issue of textual identity will be complicated in another way, due to its integration into larger collections. This is exemplified by Mashafa Henok Nabiy (i.e., 1 Enoch), an Enochic collection that functions as one text, canonical within the Ethiopian Church.52 This collection contains the following material:
Book of the Watchers (1 -36; third century bce) Similitudes of Enoch (37-71; first century bce/ce)
Ethiopic Astronomical Book (72-82; an epitome of the third-century bce
Aramaic version) Book of Dreams (83-90; second century bce) Epistle of Enoch (91 -105 /6/7; second century bce)
This version alone preserves the entirety of the writings therein. It can thus be tempting to read it as a single document and to interpret each of its composite parts in terms of the others, even despite the differences in date and provenance. In earlier Aramaic and Greek manuscripts, however, the Book of the Watchers was often copied or bound together with other works, in different
49 I stress 1 Enoch's identity as a collection due to my focus on diachronic developments. I do not mean to imply that the final product lacks a narrative and thematic cohesion of its own; on the contrary, the arrangement of this collection reflects unifying principles that enable it to function as a text (Knibb, "Christian Adoption," 411; Dimant, "Biography").
50 Cf. Black, Commentary, 10,12-18.
51 4QEna'b preserve parts from three of its five subsections: 1 En. 1 -5, 6-11, and 12-16. See Milik, Commentary, 25; Garcia Martinez, Qumran and Apocalyptic, 69-72.
52 Cowley, "Biblical Canon," 318-23.
configurations, the scope of which was not always limited to writings about Enoch or even antediluvian history.
From the oldest fragments of Enochic writings found at Qumran (4QEnastra; 4QEna,b), it appears that the Aramaic Astronomical Book and the Book of the Watchers circulated independently in the third and second centuries bce. Whereas the manuscript evidence suggests that Astronomical Book continued to be copied alone (4QEnastrb,c,d), the fragments of the Book of the Watchers from the first century bce (4QEnc,d,e) evince its collection/compilation with other Enochic writings. For instance, the surviving fragments of 4QEnc preserve 1 En. 1 -6, 10, 13-15, 18, 31 -32, 89, 104-7.53 Although it is impossible to reconstruct the precise length of the manuscript or the exact scope of its contents, this evidence suggests that 4QEnc contained the Book of the Watchers, together with part or all of the Book of Dreams and the Epistle of Enoch. Similarly, 4QEnd and 4QEne contain portions from 1 En. 20-36, the former together with 1 En. 89 (BD) and the latter together with 1 En. 88-89 (BD).
Scholars have attempted to use this evidence to reconstruct the prehistory of the Ethiopic collection 1 Enoch. Based on 4QEncAe and 4QEnGiantsa, Milik proposed that the Qumran sectarians possessed an "Enochic Pentateuch," a two-volume collection with the Aramaic Astronomical Book on one scroll and the Book of the Watchers, Epistle of Enoch, and Book of Dreams on another, together with the Book of the Giants.54 In his opinion, this "Enochic Pentateuch" was meant to replace its five-fold Mosaic counterpart and served as the basis for the Ethiopic collection 1 Enoch. He proposes that the Similitudes (1 En. 37-71) was composed by Christians in the third century ce and was substituted for the Book of the Giants after the fourth, when the latter became associated with Manichaeism. Hence Milik dates the Greek archetype of 1 Enoch to the sixth or seventh century.55
Milik's theory of an Aramaic "Enochic Pentateuch" has been widely rejected, particularly after the convincing rejoinder penned by Jonas Greenfield and Michael E. Stone.56 Questioning his interpretation of both the Qumran fragments and later Greek witnesses, Greenfield and Stone proposed a more fluid situation in which "diverse Enochic corpora were current in first century ce Palestine, some containing the Similitudes and others containing the Book of
53 Milik also proposed that 4QEnGiantsa was originally part of this same scroll (i.e., 4QEnc =
4Q204; Commentary, 310).
54 Milik, Commentary, 298-339; cf. Dix, "Enochic Pentateuch." Milik must propose two scrolls, due to the length of the Aramaic version of AB (Commentary, 58,76,182-84).
55 Milik, Commentary, 76-77.
56 Greenfield and Stone, "Enochic Pentateuch," 55 -60.
the Giants and still others containing material known to us only from random quotations."57
More recently, George Nickelsburg has offered another hypothesis, also based primarily on the configuration of texts in 4QEnc. Whereas Milik sees this manuscript as evidence for an early Enochic collection, Nickelsburg interprets it as evidence for one stage in the growth of a new Enochic text, which in his view was unified by a testamentary structure. He suggests that 1 En. 1 -36 (possibly lacking chs. 6-11) formed the core of this "Enochic Testament", to which additional materials slowly accrued, eventually resulting in an Aramaic prototype of 1 Enoch. He leaves open the possibility that the Book of the Watchers may have circulated as an independent document in the third and early second centuries bce. He argues, however, that these chapters were soon after supplemented by 81:1 -82:4, 91, and possibly other parts of 92-105 (chapters now found in AB and EE respectively), resulting in an "Enochic Testament."58
As with Milik's theories about the "Enochic Pentateuch," Nickelsburg's testamentary hypothesis has been critiqued on many grounds.59 For our present purposes, what proves significant is the assumption that he shares with Milik, namely, that there must be a single, unilinear development connecting the collection of Enochic materials at Qumran with the Ethiopic collection 1 Enoch. This assumption leads Nickelsburg to downplay the evidence of our Greek witnesses, Codex Panopolitanus and Chester Beatty-Michigan Papyrus XII. As noted above, the former contains two incomplete manuscripts of the Book of the Watchers, bound together with Petrine writings, while the latter contains the entirety of the Epistle of Enoch, together with Pseudo-Ezekielian writings and passages from Melito of Sardis.60 Not only does the latter shed doubt on Nickelsburg's view that the Epistle ofEnoch did not originate as a book separate from the Book of the Watchers, but the contents of both Greek manuscripts show that at least some ancient readers encountered the Enochic pseudepigrapha as discrete documents, which could be collected alongside other works in different configurations created for different purposes.61 In other words, 4QEnc,d,e and the Ethiopic collection 1 Enoch may be examples
57 Greenfield and Stone, "Enochic Pentateuch," 63, also 52-53. Recently, Stuckenbruck has questioned Milik's conclusion that 4QEna and 4QEnGiantsa were once part of the same scroll
(Qumran Cave4.XXVI, 10).
58 Nickelsburg, Commentary, 22-26; see my comments in "Textual Identity."
59 E.g. Knibb, "Interpreting," 439-42; Reed, "Textual Identity," 283-88.
60 Knibb, "Christian Adoption," 407.
61 The continued circulation of Enochic collections is suggested by the 9th c. Stichometry of Nicophorus, which lists the scope of "Enoch" as 4,800 lines (slightly smaller than
of a broader and more variegated phenomenon, akin to the literary activity that shaped the Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs.62 Both Greek manuscripts, moreover, date from around the same time that the Enochic pseudepigrapha were translated from Greek into Ge'ez. Consequently, we cannot rule out the possibility that 1 Enoch originated as an Ethiopian collection of Enochic writings or as a Greek collection current only in some Christian circles at the time.
Comments about Enoch's writings in early Jewish and Christian literature also suggest a situation more complex than Nickelsburg's theory allows.63 We find many references to the "book of Enoch" (T.Sim. 5:4; T.Levi 10:5; Origen, Princ. 1.3.3, 4.4.8) and to the "scripture of Enoch" (Tertullian, Cult.fem., 3.1 -3) in the singular. Some of the same texts and authors, however, also refer to multiple "writings of Enoch" (T.Levi 14:1) and "booklets called Enoch" (Origen, Hom.Num. 28). Even when Syncellus writes of the "first book of Enoch, concerning the Watchers," it is unclear whether he is referring to the Book of the Watchers or to a larger text similar in shape to 1 Enoch. We know that the Book of the Watchers was often copied and collected together with other Enochic pseudepigrapha, but this does not mean that we can draw a straight line from the Aramaic fragments from Qumran to the Ethiopian collection 1 Enoch.
Nevertheless, it remains that Nickelsburg's hypothesis raises important questions about the textual identity of the Book of the Watchers. To what degree - and where and when - did ancient Jews and Christians encounter 1 En. 1 -36 as part of larger Enochic "text," as opposed to a discrete document that tradents commonly copied alongside certain other documents with related themes and concerns? Should we liken the compilation of Enochic writings to the redactional growth of a book like Isaiah, to which parts were consecutively added? Or should we compare it to collections of discrete texts with common themes and concerns, such as the NT? As demonstrated by the reception-histories of closely related writings, such as Ezra, Nehemiah, and the later Ezra apocalypses, there are many possibilities in between.64 Like most ancient Jewish and Christian texts, Enochic pseudepigrapha did not have fixed
62 I.e., a Christian collection and redaction of originally Jewish texts, which themselves continued to circulate in other forms; Hollander and de Jonge, Testaments, 11 -33.On 1 Enoch as a Christian collection, see Black, Commentary, 11; cf. Knibb, "Christian Adoption," 410-11.
63 Quotations from and allusions to BW and other Enochic pseudepigrapha abound, but they are usually prefaced by statements like "Enoch prophesied/said that" (Jude 14-15; Tertullian, Idol. 4.2-3) or by scriptural quotation formulae like "it is written that" (Barn 16:6). Even when authors seem to be referring to BW, it is impossible to ascertain the shape and scope of the book(s) that they knew.
64 Bergren, "Transmission," 115-20.
titles until long after their composition, and it is likely that different readers and tradents encountered this work in different forms and settings.
This work, moreover, may have been transmitted in multiple forms. Text-critical scholarship on the Hebrew Bible has shown that, prior to the first century ce, many biblical books were far less stable than previously imagined; Jeremiah, for instance, circulated in two versions before the standardization of a single text-type soon after the destruction of the Second Temple.65 In approaching the Book of the Watchers as a text whose reception-history can be traced, we must thus be willing to adopt a more flexible understanding of the "text" in antiquity, leaving open the possibility that it changed both shape and setting during the course of its transmission.
When we turn to examine the Christian use of the Book of the Watchers in Chapters 4,5, and 6, we encounter the excerption of portions (whether from a text of 1 En. 1 -36 that circulated as an independent document or from a larger collection that included these chapters) and their integration into other texts and collections. As is well known, Christian quotations of Jewish scriptures were often drawn from testimonia. Likewise, Syncellus' extracts of the Book of the Watchers appear to have their ultimate origin in source-collections.66 He preserves five quotations from the Book of the Watchers alongside other sources about antediluvian history, his chronographical predecessors, and his owncomments. Although the Ecloga Chronographica is an authored product, it is thus no less anthological in character than 4QEnc,d,e, Codex Panopolitanus, and 1 Enoch, albeit in a different way.
In this, the redaction-history and reception-history of the Book of the Watchers are hardly unusual. There are profound differences between the production and reception of books in premodern and modern times.67 Our very concept of a text has been inextricably shaped by the invention of the printing press; the books that we read reflect the aims of their authors, their final form has been ratified by their publication, and their shape and contents remain identical, whatever the number of copies replicated. By contrast, the Book of the Watchers reflects the efforts of multiple authors and editors. Although its literary growth stabilized around the third century bce, tradents continued to copy and translate this text for centuries afterwards, anthologizing it together with other writings and excerpting portions for inclusion in new works. This sustained period of literary activity is consistent with what we know of the
65 Tov, Textual Criticism, 27-36,187-95,319-27.
66 Adler, Time, 229-31. Similarly, the brief Latin quotation from BD (1 En. 89:42-49) in Codex
Vaticanus Gr. 1809 may derive from a source-collection (Knibb, Commentary, 17-18). See
67 Graham, Beyond, 9-29; Beit-Arie, "Jewish Scribality," 226-37.
textual histories of many biblical books, particularly prior to the first century ce. Even if counterintuitive to modern Western sensibilities, this lack of fixity also fits well with the performative dimension of texts in antiquity: silent reading by a lone individual was more the exception than the norm, and both the oral dimension of a text's transmission and the aural dimension of its reception facilitated continual reinterpretation and recontextualization.
Despite the increasing standardization of biblical texts and collections in Late Antiquity, the transmission of noncanonical literature continued to be marked by a similar fluidity. This is evident, not only in the complex literary histories of other Second Temple Jewish texts transmitted by Christians, but also in Jewish texts composed after 70 ce. If anything, Rabbinic and post-Rabbinic Jewish literature is even more complex in this regard. The Hekhalot literature exhibits such an extreme degree of textual fluidity that it can even be difficult to delineate discrete "texts." The classical Rabbinic literature is comparably more stable, but the anthological character of the Mishnah and the two Talmudim (and their complex relationship with other works) suggests that the boundaries between authorship, redaction, and collection were often blurred.68 Peter Schafer thus characterizes Rabbinic textual production as "an open continuum in which the process ofemergence is not to be separated and distinguished without further ado from that of transmission, and the process of transmission from redaction," stressing that "emergence, transmission, and redaction overlap in various ways and overflow into one another."69 This characterization appears to be confirmed by the evidence of classical midrashic collections (i.e., collections of biblical interpretations) as well as later yalqutim (i.e., larger anthologies of the same sort), which attest the ongoing practice of re-collecting and recontextualizing traditional materials.70
Due in no small part to Greco-Roman influences, we find more examples in the early Christian literature of works attributed to individual authors, such as the so-called Church Fathers. Nevertheless, the dependence on source-collections shows that, even here, we cannot draw an absolute distinction between the author, on the one hand, and the tradent, redactor, and anthologist, on the other. Even here, we must allow for diverse modes of "authorial" creativity, which spanned the continuum from the composition of texts by
68 E.g., Houtman, Mishnah; Becker, Grossen Rabbinischen, esp. 149-56.
69 Schäfer, "Once Again," 89, also 90-94; the key phrase is "without further ado." See idem, "Research in Rabbinic," 145-94; cf. Milikowsky, "Status," 201 -211. On copying, redaction, and collection as nexus for continued "authorship," Alexander and Samely, "Introduction," 5 -16; Ta-Shma, "Open," 17-21; Alexander, "Textual," 159-74.
70 Elbaum, "Yalqut," 133-34.
named authors to the redaction and collection of traditional materials (both Jewish and Christian in origin) by anonymous scribes.
As we explore the redaction-history and reception-history of the Book of the Watchers, we will encounter this text in different forms, which shift with its adoption by different groups and with its displacement into new social settings. Furthermore, we will be forced to grapple with different modes of "authorship" in much of the literature influenced by this apocalypse, both Jewish and Christian. Consequently, the reception-history of this book highlights the dangers of imposing our modern understanding of authors, books, and readers on an era that long preceded the invention of the printing press. The character of ancient literary production complicates our inquiry, but I hope that it will also offer an interesting opportunity to explore the ways in which Jews and Christians composed, redacted, reshaped, and transmitted texts in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.
Was this article helpful?