Enoch’s Teaching Mission: Secret Works, Oaths, and Murders

Book of Moses Insight #9

Moses 6:15

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Consistent with the presentation of the biblical gibborim as “mighty warriors,” the Enoch writings found in the Book of Moses describe scenes of wars, bloodshed, and slaughter among the people.1 For example, in Moses 6:15 we read:2

And the children of men were numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.

The Book of Giants account likewise begins with references to “slaughter, destruction, and moral corruption”3 that filled the earth.4 The mention of “secret works” and “administering death”5 in the Book of Moses recalls a similar description in the Book of Giants:6 “they knew the se[crets…7 ] and they killed ma[ny … ].” Elsewhere the Qumran manuscripts refer to the spread of the “mystery of wickedness.”8 This recalls the deeds of the “Watchers”9 of Jewish tradition—semi-divine, semi-mythical beings who fell prey to sin.10

Mysteries of Wickedness among the “Watchers”

In his summary of accounts of the kind of knowledge that the Watchers were said to have possessed, Hugh Nibley describes their era as a “time of great intellectual as well as material sophistication.”11 Nibley continues:12

The leaders of the people devoted most of their wealth to all kinds of engineering projects for controlling and tempering nature. But the Lord altered the order of creation, making the sun rise in the west and set in the east, so that all their plans came to naught.13 The idea of controlling the environment independently of God was not so foolish as it sounds, says the Zohar, “for they knew all the arts … and all the ruling chieftains [archons] in charge of the world, and on this knowledge they relied, until at length God disabused them by restoring the earth to its primitive state and covering it with water.”14 Rabbi Isaac reports: “‘In the days of Enoch even children were acquainted with these mysterious arts [the advanced sciences].’ Said R. Yesa: ‘If so, how could they be so blind as not to know that God intended to bring the Flood upon them and destroy them?’ R. Isaac replied: ‘They did know,’” but they thought they were smart enough to prevent it. “What they did not know was that God rules the world. … God gave them a respite all the time that the righteous men Jered, Methuselah, and Enoch were alive; but when they departed from the world, God let punishment descend …, ‘and they were blotted out from the earth’ (Genesis 7:23).”15

Nibley infers that the knowledge of the Watchers also included information about sacred ordinances (or, perhaps, devilish imitations of them16) that was not to be divulged to others. For example, an Ethiopian text states:17

In the days of Cain and his sons, evil and deceitful practices increased. Those who gloried [in their bodies] before Adam are the wicked angels. Having received bodies, they learned a great sin. They therefore openly exposed all the work they had seen in heaven.

Likewise, a Greek fragment of 1 Enoch (Gizeh) presents:18

the Great Angels returning from earth to report to God that they had found ‘Azael teaching all manner of unrighteousness upon the earth, and he has laid bare those mysteries of the age which belong to heaven, which are [now] known and practiced among men; and also Semiazas is with him, he to whom thou gavest authority [over] those who go along with him.

Moreover:19

Clement of Alexandria attributed to Musaeus, the founder of the Greek Mysteries, an account of “how the angels lost their heavenly heritage through the telling of the secret things [mysteria] to women,” things, Clement observes, “which the other angels keep secret or quietly perform until the coming of the Lord.”

Islamic tradition teaches that the most important of these mysteria, taught without authorization to a woman who was their accomplice in sin,20 was knowledge of the “Name of God” by means of which the Watchers were able to “ascend to Heaven.”21 Commenting on such texts, Nibley observes:22

The ordinances are not secret, and yet they are, so to speak, automatically scrambled for those not authorized to have them. … This is the classical account of the Watchers, angels who came to call the human race to repentance, but who, being tempted by the daughters of men, fell and gave away the covenants and the knowledge they possessed. This was their undoing, and was always treated as the most monstrous of crimes, divulging the pure ordinances of heaven to people unworthy to receive them, who then proceeded to exercise them in unrighteousness while proclaiming their own righteousness on the grounds of possessing them.

Mahujah/Mehuja-el and the Mysteries of Wickedness

A tentative case can be made for the identification of the Book of the Giants Mahujah with the biblical Mehuja-el, who was a descendant of Cain and the grandfather of the wicked Lamech.23 This case is only made stronger when we consider the additional material about Mehuja-el’s family line included in the Joseph Smith account. Note that in the Book of Moses, Mehuja-el’s grandson, like the other “sons of men,”24 “entered into a covenant with Satan after the manner of Cain.”25 Similarly, in 1 Enoch26 we read that a group of conspirators, here depicted as fallen sons of God, “all swore together and bound one another with a curse.” Elsewhere in 1 Enoch we learn additional details about that oath:27

This is the number of Kasbe’el, the chief of the oath, which he showed to the holy ones when he was dwelling on high in glory, and its (or “his”) name (is) Beqa. This one told Michael that he should show him the secret name, so that they might mention it in the oath, so that those who showed the sons of men everything that was in secret might quake at the name and the oath.

The passages in 1 Enoch are similar to a section of the Book of Moses that describes a “secret combination” that had been in operation “from the days of Cain.”28 As to the deadly nature of the oath, we read in the Book of Moses: “Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die,”29 just as in 1 Enoch the conspirators “bound one another with a curse.”30

In 1 Enoch, the conspirators agreed on their course of action by saying,31 “Come, let us choose for ourselves wives from the daughters of men.” Likewise, in the Book of Moses, Mehuja-el’s grandson became infamous because he “took unto himself … wives”32 to whom he revealed the secrets of their wicked league (to the chagrin of his fellows).33 In 1 Enoch, as in the Book of Moses,34 we also read specifically of how “they all began to reveal mysteries to their wives and children.”35 We will revisit the consequences of the revelation of these disastrous mysteries in a future discussion of Moses 5.

In summary, the Book of Moses, 1 Enoch, and the Book of Giants reveal the same dreary, recurrent pattern of wickedness, a pattern that Enoch was required by God to disrupt.

This article was adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 45–46.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 585–590 (Watchers).

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 45–46.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, p. 88.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 178–184, 192, 198 (Watchers).

References

al-Tha’labi, Abu Ishaq Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim. d. 1035. ‘Ara’is Al-Majalis Fi Qisas Al-Anbiya’ or “Lives of the Prophets”. Translated by William M. Brinner. Studies in Arabic Literature, Supplements to the Journal of Arabic Literature, Volume 24, ed. Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

Albeck, Chanoch, ed. Midrash Bereshit Rabbati. Jerusalem, Israel: Mekitze Nirdamim, 1940.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ronan J. Head. “The investiture panel at Mari and rituals of divine kingship in the ancient Near East.” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 4 (2012): 1-42. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., Matthew L. Bowen, and Ryan Dahle. “Where did the names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” come from?: A response to Colby Townsend’s “Returning to the sources”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship (2020): in press. www.templethemes.net.

Charles, R. H., ed. The Book of Enoch Together with a Reprint of the Greek Fragments 2nd ed. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1912. Reprint, Kila, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2005.

Clement of Alexandria. ca. 190-215. “The Stromata, or Miscellanies.” In The Ante-Nicene Fathers (The Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325), edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 10 vols. Vol. 2, 299-568. Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.

Collins, John J. “The sons of God and the daughters of men.” In Sacred Marriages, edited by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro, 259-74. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008.

Elliott, Nicholas. 1988. John Bright: Voice of Victorian Liberalism. In The Freeman. http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/john-bright-voice-of-victorian-liberalism#axzz2RtlkTEaO. (accessed April 29, 2013).

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. , ed. The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave 1 (1Q20): A Commentary Third ed. Biblica et Orientalia 18/B. Rome, Italy: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2004.

Grébaut, Sylvain. 1911. “Les computs et les symboles (Fascicule 3, No. 28).” In Patrologia Orientalis, edited by Pontificio Istituto Orientale Roma. Vol. 6, 428-57. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers NV, 2003.

Lesses, Rebecca. “‘They revealed secrets to their wives’: The transmission of magical knowledge in 1 Enoch.” In With Letters of Light: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Early Jewish Apocalypticism, Magic, and Mysticism, edited by Daphna V. Arbel and Andrei A. Orlov. Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, ed. John R. Levison, 196-222. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter, 2011.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia. “The Book of Giants (1Q23).” In The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, edited by Florentino Garcia Martinez. 2nd ed. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson, 260. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

———. “Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen ar).” In The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, edited by Florentino Garcia Martinez. 2nd ed. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson, 230-37. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

Matt, Daniel C., ed. The Zohar, Pritzker Edition. Vol. 1. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.

Mika’el, Bakhayla. ca. 1400. “Another discourse concerning the birth of Enoch.” In The Book of the Mysteries of the Heavens and the Earth and Other Works of Bakhayla Mika’el (Zosimas), edited by E. A. Wallis Budge, 140-62. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1934. Reprint, Berwick, ME: Ibis Press, 2004.

———. ca. 1400. “The book of the mysteries of the heavens and the earth.” In The Book of the Mysteries of the Heavens and the Earth and Other Works of Bakhayla Mika’el (Zosimas), edited by E. A. Wallis Budge, 1-96. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1934. Reprint, Berwick, ME: Ibis Press, 2004.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986.

———. 1986. “Return to the temple.” In Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, edited by Don E. Norton. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 12, 42-90. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1992. http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1123&index=5. (accessed July 26, 2016).

Nickelsburg, George W. E., ed. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1-36; 81-108. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001.

Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.

Reeves, John C. Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions. Monographs of the Hebrew Union College 14. Cincinnati, OH: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992.

———. n.d. Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael (English Translation). In Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. https://pages.uncc.edu/john-reeves/course-materials/rels-2104-hebrew-scripturesold-testament/bereshit-rabbati-on-shemhazai-azael/. (accessed May 13, 2020).

Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.

Thomas, Samuel I. The “Mysteries” of Qumran: Mystery, Secrecy, and Esotericism in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Early Judaism and its Literature 25, ed. Judith H. Newman. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.

Wintermute, O. S. “Jubilees.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Vol. 2, 35-142. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.

Wise, Michael, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, eds. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. New York City, NY: Harper-Collins, 1996.

Wright, Archie T. The Origin of Evil Spirits. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 198, ed. Jörg Frey. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2005.

Notes on Figures

Figure 1. Speaking as if he were standing before the scene in the figure, John Bright (1811–1889), a Quaker, movingly addressed the English House of Commons in opposition to the Crimean War (N. Elliott, John Bright): The angel of death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings. There is no one as of old … to sprinkle with blood the lintel and the two side-posts of our doors, that he may spare and pass on; he takes his victims from the castle of the noble, the mansion of the wealthy, and the cottage of the poor and lowly.

Footnotes

 

1 See Moses 6:15; 7:7, 16.

2 Moses 6:15.

3 J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 67.

4 M. Wise et al., DSS, Book of Giants (1Q23), 9+14+15:2-4, p. 291; F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (1Q23), 9+14+15:2-4.

5 Moses 6:15.

6 M. Wise et al., DSS, Book of Giants (1Q23), 9+14+15:2-4, p. 291.

7 Martinez translates the term as “mysteries” (F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (1Q23), 9+14+15:2, p. 291). Stuckenbruck is more cautious: “Not enough is visible on 1Q23 14 to verify this reading” (L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 58).

8 M. Wise et al., DSS, Tales of the Patriarchs (1QapGen), 1:2, p. 91. Cf. F. G. Martinez, Genesis Apocryphon, 1:2, p. 230; J. A. Fitzmyer, Genesis Apocryphon, 1:2, p. 67: “mystery of evil.” See also 2 Thessalonians 2:7 (ibid., p. 120 n. 1:2). For an extended discussion, see S. I. Thomas, Mysteries, pp. 180-182.

9 For the etymology of the term “Watchers,” see G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, pp. 140–141. See also J. J. Collins, Sons of God, pp. 263–264.

10 The best-known accounts of the Watchers, outside of brief allusions in scripture, are found in 1 Enoch chapters 6–16, 85–88, 106–107 and the book of Jubilees (e.g., O. S. Wintermute, Jubilees, 4:15, p. 62; 5:2, p. 62). Many scholars see 1 Enoch 6–16 (part of what is called the Book of the Watchers) merely as “the author’s explanation of an oppressive political situation that Israel is facing,” however Archie T. Wright persuasively argues that the text is primarily the author’s account “of the origin of evil spirits based on his interpretation of Genesis 6:1–4” (A. T. Wright, Evil Spirits, p. 9. Cf. pp. 49, 138–165).

11 See G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 8:1–3, p. 188.

12 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, pp. 184–185.

13 See D. C. Matt, Zohar 1, Be-reshit 1:56a, pp. 315–316 and n. 1545.

14 Ibid., Be-reshit 1:56b, pp. 318–319.

15 See ibid., Be-reshit 1:56b, p. 319; Genesis 7:23.

16 See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 398 n. 5:53-a.

17 S. Grébaut, Computs, p. 431; cf. B. Mika’el, Enoch, pp. 141–142; B. Mika’el, Mysteries, pp. 26–27. See also H. W. Nibley, Enoch, pp. 182–183; J. J. Collins, Sons of God, p. 269; Job 4:18, 15:8, 15; Matthew 24:36–37; 1 Peter 1:12. See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 727 n. E-104.

18 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 183; cf. R. H. Charles, Enoch, 9:6–7, p. 283; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 9:6–7, p. 202.

19 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 184; cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 5:1:10, p. 446.

20 J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 727 n. E-105.

21 A. I. A. I. M. I. I. al-Tha’labi, Lives, p. 88; cf. C. Albeck, Midrash, English translation in J. C. Reeves, Midrash Shemhazai and Azael (English) (see p. 587).

22 H. W. Nibley, Return, p. 63; cf. Genesis 6:4-6; J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 398 n. 5:53-a.

23 See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 96 n. M6-19. Because of differences in Hebrew spelling, some have questioned whether a connection can be made between Mahijah/Mahujah (in the Book of Moses), Mahaway (in the Qumran Book of Giants), and Mehuja-el (in Genesis 4:18). See Insight #7. For a detailed response on this issue, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?

24 Moses 5: 52, 55.

25 Moses 5:49.

26 G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 6:5, p. 174.

27 G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 69:13–14, p. 304.

28 Moses 5:51.

29 Moses 5:29. For more on the uses of such oaths within and outside of scripture, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, Moses 5:29-b, c, d, pp. 377–378; J. M. Bradshaw et al., Investiture Panel, pp. 33–34.

30 G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 6:5, p. 174.

31 G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 6:1, p. 174.

32 Moses 5:44. See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 392 n. 5:44-a: “The wording ‘took unto himself’ is paralleled in the description of the illicit relationships of the wicked husbands in the days of Noah (Moses 8:14, 21). A. T. Wright, Evil Spirits, pp. 135–136 observes that “there is no indication … that a marriage actually took place, but rather [the phrase] could be translated and understood as ‘Lamech took to himself two women.’”

33 Moses 5:47–55. See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, pp. 395–399 n. 5:47a-54c.

34 Moses 5:53: “Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion.”

35 G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 8:3, p. 188. For an extensive discussion of this topic, see R. Lesses, They Revealed.

Mahijah and Mahaway Interrogate Enoch

Book of Moses Insight #8

Moses 6:40

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Hugh Nibley has pointed out intriguing similarities between Mahijah in Joseph Smith’s Book of Moses and Mahaway in the Book of Giants, not only in their names but also in their respective roles. He observes:1

The only thing the Mahijah in the Book of Moses is remarkable for is his putting of bold direct questions to Enoch. … And this is exactly the role, and the only role, that the Aramaic Mahujah [i.e., Mahaway] plays in the story.

In the Book of Giants, we read the report of a series of dreams that troubled the gibborim. In the dream of Hahyah:2

7. … there was a large garden planted with all sorts of trees …
9. [and from one tree came three shoots I watch]ed until tongues of fire from
10. [heaven came down …] …, and the fire burned all
11. [the trees of this orchard all around and it did not burn the tree and its shoots …]

In the dream of Ohya:3

16. … the Ruler of Heaven came down to earth …
18. … and behold[ boo]ks were opened and a judgment was pronounced.

The dreams seem to have been meant to “symbolize the destruction of all but Noah and his sons by the Flood.”4
The three “shoots” represented the three surviving sons of Noah, while the burning of the other trees in the orchard and the judgment pronounced represented the future destruction of the gibborim.

In an impressive correspondence to the questioning of Enoch by Mahijah in the Book of Moses, the gibborim send Mahaway to “consult Enoch in order to receive an authoritative interpretation of the visions.”5 In the Book of Giants, we read:6

20. … [ … Thereupon] all the gibborim [and monsters] grew afraid
21. and called Mahaway. He came to the assembly [of the monsters] and the gibborim and they sent him to Enoch
22. [and they delib]erated and said to him: ‘Go …’7
23. ‘He will tell [y]ou the interpretation of the dreams and everyone will be appeased.

In an effort to strengthen his case that Joseph Smith simply borrowed this material from the Book of Giants, Salvatore Cirillo comments: “The emphasis that [Joseph] Smith places on Mahijah’s travel to Enoch is eerily similar to the account of Mahaway to Enoch in the [Book of Giants].”8 However, the idea that Joseph Smith’s revelation was textually dependent upon the Book of Giants is impossible because the Book of Giants wasn’t discovered until 1948—more than a century after the publication of the Book of Moses.

An additional phrase in some translations of the passages cited above implies that Mahaway was chosen because he had been to Enoch for advice before: “previously you listened to his [Enoch’s] voice.”9 This may correspond to Mahaway’s assertion that this is the second request he has made of Enoch.10 “Beyer understands this … passage to signify … that Mahaway was the only [gibbor] capable of executing this mission due to his personal acquaintance with Enoch.”11 Nibley goes further, seeing hints that it is more than this character’s previous acquaintance with Enoch that is driving the requests:12

They are scared; they don’t know who Enoch is so they force Mahijah [i.e., Mahaway] to go and ask who they really are.

Which, in Nibley’s interpretation, leads directly to Mahijah’s question in the Book of Moses:13

Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest?

In conclusion, it is remarkable that both the similar names and roles of Mahijah and Mahaway are preserved in both the Book of Giants and the Book of Moses. Going further, Loren Stuckenbruck observes the same pattern of preservation in Chinese Manichaean fragments of the Book of Giants, which includes names of other individuals besides Mahawai that are, for one reason or another, significantly altered. Especially given the potential for “instances in which onomastic changes [i.e., changes in characters’ names] may have been due to the change of the language media,” he is impressed with the “straightforward correspondence between the name(s) Mahawai in the Manichaean texts and Mahaway in the Aramaic [Book of Giants], in which the character, acting in a mediary role, encounters Enoch ‘the scribe.’”14

Trying to make sense of the connections between the Aramaic Book of Giants, the Manichaean Book of Giants, and certain passages in medieval Jewish midrash, John C. Reeves argues that it is:

plausible to assume that these stories are … textual expressions of an early exegetical tradition circulating in learned groups during the Second Temple era. One version appeared in Aramaic at Qumran and was presumably the version later studied and adapted by Mani. Another version of the same tradition recurs in Hebrew in the Middle Ages. Still other versions (if not one of the two aforementioned ones) apparently influenced Islamic exegetes of the Qur’anic passage regarding the sins of Harut and Marut.15

The confluence of resemblances in both the names and roles of Mahijah and Mahaway is a witness of this character’s importance across Enoch texts separated by vast distances in time, culture, and geography. Given that the Book of Moses Enoch story resembles the Aramaic Book of Giants more than any of the later versions argues in favor of the antiquity of the Book of Moses.

This article was adapted and updated from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ryan Dahle. “Could Joseph Smith have drawn on ancient manuscripts when he translated the story of Enoch? Recent updates on a persistent question (4 October 2019).” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 33 (2019): 305–373. (accessed October 23, 2019), pp. 316–317.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 44–45, 95 n. M6-17.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, p. 96.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 277–279.

———. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 268.

References

al-Tha’labi, Abu Ishaq Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim. d. 1035. ‘Ara’is Al-Majalis Fi Qisas Al-Anbiya’ or “Lives of the Prophets”. Translated by William M. Brinner. Studies in Arabic Literature, Supplements to the Journal of Arabic Literature, Volume 24, ed. Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

Albeck, Chanoch, ed. Midrash Bereshit Rabbati. Jerusalem, Israel: Mekitze Nirdamim, 1940.

Angel, Joseph L. “Reading the Book of Giants in Literary and Historical Context.” Dead Sea Discoveries 21 (2014): 313-46.

———. “The humbling of the arrogant and the “wild man” and “tree stump” traditions in the Book of Giants and Daniel 4.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 61-80. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Cirillo, Salvatore. “Joseph Smith, Mormonism, and Enochic Tradition.” Masters Thesis, Durham University, 2010.

Davis Bledsoe, Amanda M. “Throne theophanies, dream visions, and righetous(?) seers.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 81-96. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Dawood, N. J. 1956. The Koran. London, England: Penguin Books, 1997.

Klimkeit, Hans-Joachim. Manichaen Art and Calligraphy. Institute of Religious Iconography, State University Groningen, Iconography of Religions 20. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1982.

Kósa, Gábor “Peacocks under the Jewel Tree : New hypotheses on the Manichaean painting of Bezeklik (Cave 38).” Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology 4 (2009): 135-48. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285171957_Peacocks_under_the_Jewel_Tree_New_Hypotheses_on_the_Manichaean_Painting_of_Bezeklik_Cave_38. (accessed January 27, 2020).

Martinez, Florentino Garcia. “The Book of Giants (4Q530).” In The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, edited by Florentino Garcia Martinez. 2nd ed. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson, 261-62. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

Milik, Józef Tadeusz, and Matthew Black, eds. The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments from Qumran Cave 4. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1976.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986.

———. 1978. “Churches in the wilderness.” In The Prophetic Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 8, 289-327. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1989.

———. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004.

Nickelsburg, George W. E., ed. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1-36; 81-108. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001.

Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters  37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.

Orlov, Andrei A. “The flooded arboretums: The garden traditions in the Slavonic version of 3 Baruch and the Book of Giants.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 65, no. 2 (April 2003): 184-201.

Parry, Donald W., and Emanuel Tov, eds. The Dead Sea Scrolls Reader. 6 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2005.

Rashi. c. 1105. The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Vol. 1: Beresheis/Genesis. Translated by Rabbi Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg. ArtScroll Series, Sapirstein Edition. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, 1995.

Reeves, John C. Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions. Monographs of the Hebrew Union College 14. Cincinnati, OH: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992.

———. n.d. Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael.  In Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. http://www.religiousstudies.uncc.edu/jcreeves/bereshit_rabbati_29-31.htm. (accessed September 6, 2007).

Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.

———. “The Book of Giants among the Dead Sea Scrolls: Considerations of method and a new proposal on the reconstruction of 4Q530.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 129-41. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Vermes, Geza, ed. 1962. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English Revised ed. London, England: Penguin Books, 2004.

Wilkens, Jens. “Remarks on the Manichaean Book of Giants: Once again on Mahaway’s mission to Enoch.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 213-29. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Wise, Michael, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, eds. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. New York City, NY: Harper-Collins, 1996.

Notes on Figures

Figure 1. Painting of the Uygur Manichaean-Buddhist Mural of the Three-Trunked “Jewel Tree” from Thousand Buddha Caves, Cave No. 25 [No. 38 in the modern Chinese numbering system], Bezeklik, Moutou Valley, Flaming Mountains, China, ninth-tenth century. Copie de la fresque de la grotte 25 : l’arbre de vie. Iacovlev Alexandre (1887–1938), Iakovleff (aka). Paris, musée Guimet (musée national des Arts asiatiques), 00-000530/MG24341. Photo copyright RMN-Grand Palais (MNAAG, Paris)/Thiérry Ollivier. https://www.photo.rmn.fr/CS.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2CMFCI865EDV&SMLS=1&RW=1560&RH=1630 (accessed January 27, 2020). The former scholarly consensus about the relationship of this painting to the Book of Giants (see, e.g., H.-J. Klimkeit, Manichaean Art, pp. 31–32) was based on a faulty attribution of citations of Severus of Antioch to the Book of Giants in his critique of Manichaeism. It was refuted in J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, pp. 165–174—notwithstanding the fact that the painting was depicted on the cover of Reeves’ book. Later, G. Kósa, Peacocks advanced several new ideas about the interpretation of the mural, including a convincing argument that the three trunks in the painting were meant to evoke the Manichaean concept of the “Three Constancies” rather than Noah and his sons. Despite this new interpretation, no scholar disputes the strong connection between the Manichaean Book of Giants (well known to Manichaeans in the East) and the Qumran Book of Giants —only the idea that Severus was quoting the Book of Giants rather than another Manichaean source.

Footnotes

 

1 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 278. Noting the possibility of wordplay, Nibley conjectures that “what the Ma- [in Mahijah] most strongly suggests is certainly the all-but-universal ancient interrogative, Ma (“who?” or “what?”), so that the names Mahujah and Mahijah both sound to the student of Semitics like questions” (H. W. Nibley, Churches (1989), p. 290).

2 D. W. Parry et al., Reader, 4Q530, Frg 2 Col. Ii + 6 + 7 Col. I + 8-11 + 12 (?), 3:485, 7–11. Cf. C. Albeck, Midrash, in the English translation of J. C. Reeves, Shemhazai and Azael:

It is taught that one night [when] Hayya and Hiyya, the sons of Shemhazai, were asleep, they both dreamed dreams. … And the other saw in his dream a large and flourishing garden, and that garden was planted with every type of tree and all sorts of delightful [plants], and then angels came bearing hatchets and cut down the trees, leaving only one tree which had three branches. When they awoke from their slumber, they arose in terror and came to their father and recounted the dreams to him. He said to them: “My sons, the Holy One, blessed be He, is planning to bring a Deluge into the world to destroy it, and nothing will be left in it except for one man and his three sons.”

3 D. W. Parry et al., Reader, 4Q530, Frg 2 Col. Ii + 6 + 7 Col. I + 8-11 + 12 (?), 3:485, 16, 18. This dream may be related to the following passage in another fragment of the Book of Giants (ibid., 2Q26, 3:47478, 1–4):

1. ]’Wash the tablet in order to ef[face (it!)’
2. ]and the waters rose up over the [tab]let[
3. ] and they lifted the tablet from the waters, the tablet which[
4. ] [ ]for them all[

Cf. C. Albeck, Midrash, in the English translation of J. C. Reeves, Shemhazai and Azael:

One of them beheld in his dream a large stone spread out over the earth like a table, and the whole of it was chiseled and inscribed with many rows [of characters]. Then an angel descended from heaven with a type of knife in his hand, and scraped and effaced all of those rows [of characters], leaving only one row containing four words.

4 M. Wise et al., DSS, p. 292. Regarding the details of the first dream, see J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, pp. 84–90, 95–102. On the second dream, see ibid., pp. 92–93. For more on the interpretation of the dreams, including a discussion of resonances between the Book of Giants and 3 Baruch, see A. A. Orlov, Flooded Arboretums.

5 J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 84. A. M. Davis Bledsoe, Throne Theophanies, p. 95 fruitfully compares this sequence to Daniel 4 (cf. J. L. Angel, Humbling, pp. 63ff.):

That the giants look for a Jewish sage to explain the meaning of their dreams is not so surprising. Indeed, when we look at other cases of non-Jews receiving symbolic dream-visions in the Hebrew Bible, they too lack understanding of their dreams and must seek out an interpreter upon waking. Perhaps the closest parallel to our text is Daniel 4, where King Nebuchadnezzar receives a frightening dream, which only Daniel is able to interpret. Like our text, the focus of the narrative is on the gentile dreamer, who often speaks in the first person, while the Jewish interpreter plays only a minor role. Perhaps another point of comparison can be found in that Daniel 4 tells not only of Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment but also of his subsequent rehabilitation and restoration—the Greek edition even has him convert. Perhaps, like Nebuchadnezzar, some of the giants are likewise granted an opportunity for repentance and rehabilitation.

However, in the case of the throne theophany of Daniel 7, 1 Enoch 14, and the Book of Giants (vs. King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 4), Davis Bledsoe notes that the Book of Giants is “noticeably different from the other two in that it is not a righteous Jewish seer who experiences the dream vision (and sees the throne theophany), but a culpable giant” (A. M. Davis Bledsoe, Throne Theophanies, p. 82). For additional comparisons of the Book of Giants and Daniel 4, see J. L. Angel, Humbling; J. L. Angel, Reading the Book of Giants.

6 D. W. Parry et al., Reader, 4Q530, Frg 2 Col. Ii + 6 + 7 Col. I + 8-11 + 12 (?), 3:485, 487, 20–23. Note that the translation of Martinez differs somewhat from that in the Parry and Tov volume (F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (4Q530), 2:20–23, p. 261):

[Then] all the [gibborim] [and the nephilim] … called to Mahawai and he came to them. They implored him and sent him to Enoch, [the celebrated scribe] and they said to him: “Go […] … and death for you, who […] hears his voice and tell him to [explain to you] and interpret the dream …”

Reeves translates the phrase “the celebrated scribe” as scribe [who is] set apart” (J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 91), taking the Aramaic term to describe the separation of Enoch from human society by way of analogy to the description of how Joseph was “set apart from his brethren” (Genesis 49:26) when he went to Egypt (ibid., p. 77). Rashi understood “set apart” in the sense of “separated” or “isolated” (ibid., p. 139 n. 107; Rashi, Genesis Commentary, Genesis 49:26, 4:559).

7 Cf. the word “go” in Enoch’s formal commission (Moses 6:32). For more about the use of this form in the commissioning of Mahujah and in similar contexts in the Enoch literature, see J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, pp. 93–94.

8 S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 105. Looking for additional ideas besides the Book of Giants for what he takes to be a necessary manuscript source for ancient parallels to Joseph Smith’s Enoch, Cirillo argues (ibid., pp. 105–106): “This journey … is not unique to the [Book of Giants], it is also found (and likely based on) the journey of Methuselah in 1 Enoch (The Birth of Noah, G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 106:1–107:3, pp. 536–537). … This format, for one person journeying to Enoch to question him, is evident once more in 1 Enoch (The Apocalypse of Noah, G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 65:1–68:1, pp. 273–274).” However, a careful reading of the 1 Enoch accounts will show that evidence for a resemblance to the Book of Moses is strained. Especially significant is the fact that, unlike the Book of Giants, there is no mention in 1 Enoch of Mahijah or Mahujah.

9 G. Vermes, Complete, p. 550. Cf. D. W. Parry et al., Reader, 4Q530, Frg 2 Col. Ii + 6 + 7 Col. I + 8-11 + 12 (?), 3:485, 487, 22–23: “[… for the ro]ad [of the place] is similar for you since for the first [time] you have heard his voice”; M. Wise et al., DSS, 2:23, p. 294: “you have heard his voice”.

10 F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (4Q530), 3:7, p. 261: “For a second time I beg you for an oracle.”

11 J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 94 n. 23. Affirming the idea that Enoch and Mahujah had been previously acquainted, Stuckenbruck cites the Manichaean Uygur fragment in which Enoch calls out Mahijah’s name “very lovingly” (L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 127 n. 140. See also Henning, cited in J. T. Milik et al., Enoch, p. 307. For intriguing details about Mahaway’s journey derived largely form looking at Manichaean Book of Giants fragments, see J. Wilkens, Remarks, pp. 217–229.

12 H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, p. 268.

13 Moses 6:40.

14 L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants among the DSS, pp. 134–135.

15 N. J. Dawood, Koran, 2:102, p. 19. For a collection of related traditions in Islam, see A. I. A. I. M. I. I. al-Tha’labi, Lives, pp. 86–91.

Could Joseph Smith Have Borrowed Mahijah/Mahujah from the Book of Giants?

Book of Moses Insight #7

Moses 6:40

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

As Hugh Nibley was finishing the concluding, August 1977 article in his long-running series on ancient Enoch manuscripts and Moses 6–7 for the Ensign magazine, he received—“just in time”1—the anxiously awaited English translation of the fragments of Aramaic books of Enoch from cave 4 at Qumran.2 In his article, Nibley was the first to suggest a remarkable correspondence between a Book of Giants character named Mahaway3 (Aramaic MHWY) and the names “Mahujah” (likely equivalent to Hebrew MHWY or MḤWY) and “Mahijah” (likely equivalent to MHYY or MḤYY) in the Book of Moses.4 In this Insight, we describe this finding in more detail.

A Remarkable Correspondence

In Joseph Smith’s story of Enoch, Mahijah appears out of nowhere, as the only named character in the account besides Enoch himself:

And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest? (Moses 6:40)

Later in the account, the similar name “Mahujah”5 appears. Curiously, in the Masoretic Hebrew text of the Bible, the name variants MḤYY’L (= Mahijael, with the suffix “-el” representing the name of God) and MḤWY’L (= Mahujael) both appear in a single verse of the King James Bible as references to the same person.6

Significantly, because the King James translation renders both variants of the Hebrew name identically in English, Joseph Smith would have had to access and interpret the Hebrew text to see that there were two versions of the name, similar to the two versions found in the Book of Moses. But there is no evidence that he or anyone else associated with the translation of Moses 6–7 knew how to read Hebrew at that time or, for that matter, even had access to a Hebrew Bible.7

It should be observed that Joseph Smith was well aware that the biblical book of Jude explicitly cites Enoch,8 even if he evinced no knowledge of 1 Enoch, the source Jude was quoting. If he had actually been looking for ways to bolster the case for the authenticity of his Bible translation, the most obvious thing he could have done would have been to include the relevant verses from Jude somewhere within his Enoch account. But this the Prophet did not do.

Were the Names “Mahaway,” “Mahujah,” and “Mahijah” Simply Copied from the Bible?

A possible historical explanation for the similarity of the Book of Moses and Book of Giants names is that Joseph Smith and the Qumran author independently created highly similar names for an important character in their respective accounts. One might well ask: What are the chances that they would come up with these closely resembling names independently?

Even if, for a moment, we were to grant the hypothesis that Joseph Smith created the name directly or indirectly through his knowledge of Genesis 4:18, why did he pick this name for his account instead of some other? If it were an arbitrary choice, why did he not pick Irad or Methusael or the more prominent Lamech from the same verse, or some other name from the surrounding verses instead? Why is Mahujah the only named character in the Enoch chapters of the Book of Moses apart from Enoch himself—and also the only other plausibly biblically-related name besides Enoch in the Book of Giants as well?

Going further, one of the most important parallels in the Book of Giants and Book of Moses names is that, in contrast to the biblical name, they both lack the theophoric element (-el). If Joseph Smith derived the names “Mahujah” and “Mahijah” by adapting them from Genesis 4:18, why wouldn’t he, for the sake of consistency, have dropped the “-el” in his translation of the Bible verse itself? And if, instead, he were deliberately trying to create a new and distinctive name with the theophoric ending “-jah,” what sufficiently important purpose would that have served for him to have gone to that trouble?

Moreover, since the author of the Book of Giants was apparently not completely bound to the written tradition and had the liberty to include names unattested elsewhere such as ’Ohyah and Hahyah to facilitate wordplay, as some have suggested, why wouldn’t he have invented a name that was more similar to the other two instead of the more distinctive name Mahaway?9 And why would Joseph Smith, who has sometimes drawn criticism for the many new names that have been included in his scriptural translations, have been averse to “making up” just one more?

Instead, both authors are, without a viable explanation for motive, putatively seen as creating a name that is coincidentally very similar to one found in the same biblical verse, then using these modified names to serve as a moniker for a prominent player who just happens to function in an analogous role within two independent accounts of the prophet Enoch.

Salvatore Cirillo’s Explanation for the Origin of the Names

Some non-Latter-day Saints have taken notice of the striking nature of the resemblance of these prominent names in the Book of Moses and the Book of Giants. For example, in his master’s thesis at the University of Durham, Salvatore Cirillo, drawing upon the similar conclusions of the well-known Book of Giants’ scholar Loren Stuckenbruck,10 considers the names of the gibborim, notably including Mahaway, as “the most conspicuously independent content” in the Book of Giants, being “unparalleled in other Jewish literature.” Moreover, according to Cirillo, “the name Mahawai in the Book of Giants and the names Mahujah and Mahijah in the Book of Moses represent the strongest similarity between the Latter-day Saint revelations on Enoch and the pseudepigraphal books of Enoch (specifically the Book of Giants).”11 Arguing in strong terms that Joseph Smith must have known about the Book of Giants as he prepared the Book of Moses account of Enoch, Cirillo writes:12

Nibley‘s own point that Mahujah and Mahijah from the Book of Moses share their name with Mahaway in the Book of Giants is further evidence that influence from pseudepigraphal books of Enoch occurred in Joseph Smith’s Enoch writings.13

What goes conspicuously unmentioned in Cirillo’s arguments for the influence of the Aramaic Enoch text on Moses 6–7 is that, apart from 1 Enoch, none of the significant Jewish Enoch manuscripts were available in an English translation during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. It is baffling that Cirillo’s strongest arguments for the Prophet’s having been influenced by ancient Enoch pseudepigrapha come from the Qumran Book of Giants—a work that was not discovered until 1948! Cirillo does not attempt to explain how a manuscript that was unknown until the mid-twentieth century could have influenced the account of Enoch in the Book of Moses, written in 1830.

Figure 2. Walter Bird: Portrait of Matthew Black (1908–1994), 1965.

Matthew Black’s Explanation for the Origin of the Names

The only known attempt to explain how a manuscript discovered in 1948 could have influenced Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Moses in 1830 comes from remembrances by two individuals about the well-known Aramaic scholar Matthew Black, who collaborated with Józef Milik in the first translation of the fragments of the Book of Giants into English in 1976. Black certainly knew enough about ancient Hebrew and Aramaic to have recognized whether the Book of Moses names Mahujah and Mahijah were reasonable English equivalents of the Book of Giants “Mahaway.”

Black was approached by doctoral candidate Gordon C. Thomasson after a guest lecture at Cornell University, during a year that Black spent at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton (1977–1978).14 According to Thomasson’s account:15

I asked Professor Black if he was familiar with Joseph Smith’s Enoch text. He said he was not but was interested. He first asked if it was identical or similar to 1 Enoch. I told him it was not and then proceeded to recite some of the correlations Dr. [Hugh] Nibley had shown with Milik and Black’s own and others’ Qumran and Ethiopic Enoch materials. He became quiet. When I got to Mahujah,16 he raised his hand in a “please pause” gesture and was silent.

Finally, he acknowledged that the name Mahujah could not have come from 1 Enoch. He then formulated a hypothesis, consistent with his lecture, that a member of one of the esoteric groups he had described previously [i.e., clandestine groups who had maintained, sub rosa, a religious tradition based in the writings of Enoch that pre-dated Genesis] must have survived into the 19th century, and hearing of Joseph Smith, must have brought the group’s Enoch texts to New York from Italy for the prophet to translate and publish.

At the end of our conversation he expressed an interest in seeing more of Hugh’s work. I proposed that Black should meet with Hugh, gave him the contact information, [and he] contacted Hugh the same day, as Hugh later confirmed to me. Soon Black made a previously unplanned trip to Provo, where he met with Hugh for some time. Black also gave a public guest lecture but, as I was told, in that public forum would not entertain questions on Moses.

Hugh Nibley recorded a conversation with Matthew Black that apparently occurred near the end of the latter’s 1977 visit to BYU. Nibley asked Black if he had an explanation for the appearance of the name Mahujah in the Book of Moses, and reported his answer as follows: “Well, someday we will find out the source that Joseph Smith used.”17

A More Satisfying Explanation for the Origin of the Names

During the intervening years, no documentary evidence has surfaced that bears out Black’s unsupported hypothesis that Joseph Smith somehow obtained access to an Enoch manuscript like the Book of Giants from an esoteric religious group in Europe. On the other hand, during this same span of time much additional evidence has come forth linking Joseph Smith’s revelation about Enoch to a variety of relevant ancient textual traditions, notably including many from the Book of Giants.18 The Mahijah/Mahujah parallel is just one of many ancient connections for which there is no completely satisfying historical explanation. In our view, the idea that these correspondences have come by coincidence or through borrowing and alteration is unconvincing. Instead, we are persuaded that they are due to a common ancient tradition that pre-dates both texts, as Matthew Black apparently felt compelled to believe.19

In contrast to the idea that the Book of Giants is almost exclusively dependent on the Bible and 1 Enoch, current scholarship sees hints of more ancient and complex roots for the text than were once acknowledged. For example, André Caquot, among other scholars, has argued that “the reference to Gilgamesh argues for the original of the Book of Giants in an eastern diaspora.”20

Consistent with this idea, Nahum Sarna21 and Richard Hess,22 following Umberto Cassuto,23 suggest that the name Mahaway might be explained on the basis of the Akkadian maḫḫû, denoting “a certain class of priests and seers.”24 And what was the role of these seers? Among other things, the royal archives of the Old Babylonian kingdom of Mari recount the comings and goings of maḫḫû as intermediaries and messengers, bearing words of warning from the gods for the king,25 a role that is arguably similar to that of Mahaway.

Further strengthening Cassuto’s argument for the derivation of the name is the agreement he finds in the word maḫḫû behind Mehujael, the name of Mehujael’s son Methusael (a name that is “analogous not only in form but also in meaning”26), and the name of Mehujael’s grandson Lamech, which Cassuto sees as likely to have come from the Mesopotamian word lumakku, also signifying a certain class of priests.27 Significantly, Hess reports that while the root lmk is unknown in West Semitic, it is found both in third millennium BCE personal names and in names from Mari in Old Babylon in the early second millennium BCE.28

In summary, though additional possibilities may yet be found, scholars have already identified what seems to be an attractive option for a common Akkadian root behind the similar names in the Bible, the Book of Giants, and the Book of Moses. In light of such a suggestion, is it possible that Mehujael, Mahaway, Mahujah, and Mahijah were independently derived from the same or similar roots, having come down to the author through extracanonical traditions rather than merely borrowed from the Bible? At present, we do not see any reason why this plausible scenario should be ruled out.

Conclusion: Ancient Names Restored Through Revelation

After a review of the evidence, readers may understandably question whether the names “Mahujah” and “Mahijah” were merely borrowed and adapted from the Bible. This scenario makes it hard to account for the surprisingly specific parallels between these names in the Book of Moses and the name “Mahaway” from the Book of Giants.

Could Joseph Smith have been aware of the names through an unknown Aramaic manuscript of the Book of Giants that was translated into English and secretly made available to him before its discovery by scholars at Qumran in 1948? Were the names somehow transferred to Joseph Smith through an unknown esoteric group, as professor Black proposed? Once again, purely historical explanations disappoint. Such proposals are based purely on speculation, and can provide no answers about the identity of these putative collaborators, how they stumbled upon such a manuscript, why they secretly translated it into English and made it available to Joseph Smith, and how the Prophet either hid this fraud from his associates or persuaded them to collude with him. As the chain of required conjectures grows, their cumulative likelihood diminishes.

A more convincing conclusion, in our view, is that these names, along with other evidences of antiquity in the Book of Moses Enoch account, were directly restored from the ancient world through the process of divine revelation.

This article was adapted from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., Matthew L. Bowen, and Ryan Dahle. “Where did the names ‘Mahaway’ and ‘Mahujah’ come from? A response to Colby Townsend’s ‘Returning to the Sources’,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship (2020): submitted for review.

Further Reading

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 42–45, 69, 128.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ryan Dahle. “Could Joseph Smith have drawn on ancient manuscripts when he translated the story of Enoch? Recent updates on a persistent question (4 October 2019).” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 33 (2019): 305–373. https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/could-joseph-smith-have-drawn-on-ancient-manuscripts-when-he-translated-the-story-of-enoch-recent-updates-on-a-persistent-question/. (accessed October 23, 2019), pp. 312–319.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., Matthew L. Bowen, and Ryan Dahle. “Where did the names ‘Mahaway’ and ‘Mahujah’ come from?: A response to Colby Townsend’s ‘Returning to the sources’.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship (2020): submitted for review.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 96, 112.

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 277–279.

———. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 268–269.

———. 1992. Hugh Nibley on the Book of Enoch. YouTube video from FairMormon, with description of the visit of Matthew Black to BYU at about 6:04–6:50 in the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3PvM-4T7dU.

References

al-Tabari. d. 923. The History of al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood. Vol. 1. Translated by Franz Rosenthal. Biblioteca Persica, ed. Ehsan Yar-Shater. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989.

al-Tha’labi, Abu Ishaq Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim. d. 1035. ‘Ara’is Al-Majalis Fi Qisas Al-Anbiya’ or “Lives of the Prophets”. Translated by William M. Brinner. Studies in Arabic Literature, Supplements to the Journal of Arabic Literature, Volume 24, ed. Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

Bandstra, Barry L. Genesis 1-11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text. Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible, ed. W. Dennis Tucker, Jr. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2008.

Black, Jeremy, Andrew George, and Nicholas Postgate, eds. A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian Second ed. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2000. https://books.google.com/books?id=-qIuVCsRb98C. (accessed May 19, 2020).

Bledsoe Davis, Amanda M. “Throne theophanies, dream visions, and righetous(?) seers.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 81-96. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Bowen, Matthew L. E-mail message to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, March 18, 2020.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., Matthew L. Bowen, and Ryan Dahle. “Where did the names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” come from?: A response to Colby Townsend’s “Returning to the sources”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship (2020): submitted for review.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ryan Dahle. “Textual criticism and the Book of Moses: A response to Colby Townsend’s “Returning to the sources”.” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship (2020): in press. www.templethemes.net.

Brenton, Lancelot C. L. 1851. The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005.

Calabro, David. E-mail message to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, January 24, 2018.

Caquot, André. “Les prodromes du déluge : légendes araméenes du Qoumrân.” Revue d’Histoire et de Philosophie religieuses 83, no. 1 (2003): 41-59. https://www.persee.fr/docAsPDF/rhpr_0035-2403_2003_num_83_1_1011.pdf. (accessed April 11, 2020).

Cassuto, Umberto. 1944. A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Vol. 1: From Adam to Noah. Translated by Israel Abrahams. 1st English ed. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1998.

Cirillo, Salvatore. “Joseph Smith, Mormonism, and Enochic Tradition.” Masters Thesis, Durham University, 2010.

Clarke, Adam. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments. New York City, NY: N. Bangs and J. Emory, for the Methodist Eposcopal Church, 1825. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Holy_Bible_Containing_the_Old_and_Ne.html?id=Lds8AAAAYAAJ. (accessed February 19, 2020).

Dogniez, Cécile, and Marguerite Harl, eds. Le Pentateuque d’Alexandrie: Texte Grec et Traduction. La Bible des Septante, ed. Cécile Dogniez and Marguerite Harl. Paris, France: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2001.

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

George, Andrew, ed. 1999. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London, England: The Penguin Group, 2003.

Goff, Matthew. “Gilgamesh the Giant: The Qumran Book of Giants’ appropriateion of Gilgamesh motifs.” Dead Sea Discoveries 16, no. 2 (2009): 221-53.

Halloran, J. A. Sumerian Lexicon: A Dictionary Guide to the Ancient Sumerian Language. Los Angeles, CA: Logogram Publishing, 2006. https://www.sumerian.org/sumerlex.htm. (accessed May 20, 2020).

Heimpel, Wolfgang. Letters to the King of Mari: A New Translation with Historical Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003.

Hendel, Ronald S. The Text of Genesis 1-11: Textual Studies and Critical Edition. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Hess, Richard S. Studies in the Personal Names of Genesis 1-11. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2009.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia. “The Book of Giants (4Q203).” In The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, edited by Florentino Garcia Martinez. 2nd ed. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson, 260-61. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

McKane, William. 1994. Matthew Black. In Obituaries of Past Fellows, Royal Society of Edinburgh. http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/obits_alpha/black_matthew.pdf. (accessed April 3, 2013).

Milik, Józef Tadeusz, and Matthew Black, eds. The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments from Qumran Cave 4. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1976.

Nibley, Hugh W. “Churches in the wilderness.” In Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless, edited by Truman G. Madsen, 155-212. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1978.

———. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986.

———. 1992. Hugh Nibley on the Book of Enoch. Excerpted from a FARMS videocassette entitled “The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Era Dawns.” The videocassette contains material recorded in connection with a National Interfaith Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 20 November 1992 in the Kresge Auditorium of Stanford University. In FairMormon Channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3PvM-4T7dU. (accessed May 20, 3030).

———. “Letter to Frederick M. Huchel.” Provo, UT: L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Boyd Jay Petersen Collection, MSS 7449, Box 3, Folder 3, May 6, 1997.

———. 1978. “Churches in the wilderness.” In The Prophetic Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 8, 289-327. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1989.

———. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004.

Oppenheim, A. Leo. 1964. Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization. Revised ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

Peters, Melvin K. H., ed. A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included under that Title: Deuteronomy Provisional ed. NETS: New English Translation of the Septuagint, ed. Albert Pietersma and Benjamin Wright. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2004. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/deut.pdf.

Reeves, John C. Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions. Monographs of the Hebrew Union College 14. Cincinnati, OH: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992.

Sarna, Nahum M., ed. Genesis. The JPS Torah Commentary, ed. Nahum M. Sarna. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989.

Shoulson, Mark, ed. The Torah: Jewish and Samaritan Versions Compared: LightningSource, 2008.

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew F. Ehat, and Lyndon W. Cook. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, 1980. https://rsc-legacy.byu.edu/out-print/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph. (accessed April 25, 2020).

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1805-1844. The Joseph Smith Papers, ed. Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008-. https://www.josephsmithpapers.org.

———. 1902-1932. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Documentary History). 7 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1978.

———. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.

Thomasson, Gordon C. “Items on Enoch — Some Notes of Personal History. Expansion of remarks given at the Conference on Enoch and the Temple, Academy for Temple Studies, Provo, Utah, 22 February 2013 (unpublished manuscript, 25 February 2013).” 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaRw40r-TfM.

———. “Email message to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw.” April 7, 2014.

Tsedaka, Benyamim, and Sharon Sullivan, eds. The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah. Translated by Benyamim Tsedaka. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2013.

Weber, Robert, ed. Biblia Sacra Vulgata 4th ed: American Bible Society, 1990.

Wevers, John William. Notes on the Greek Text of Genesis. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1993.

Notes on Figures

Figure 1. Photograph of 4QEn Giantsa[4Q203], Fragment 7, column ii from Plate 31, J. T. Milik et al., Enoch, with permission. Unlike many of the other poorly preserved Aramaic fragments of the Book of Giants, the translation of this one is straightforward: “(5) [ … ] to you, Mah[awai … ] (6) the two tablets [ … ] (7) and the second has not been read up till now [ … ].” Though the “Ḥ” is difficult to see in the photograph of the manuscript we have reproduced here, F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (4Q203), Fragment 7, column ii, lines 5–7, p. 260, reads the end of line 5 as “MḤ.” Milik also sees an “MḤ” on line 5 and interprets it as being the first part of the name MḤWY (J. T. Milik et al., Enoch, p. 314). By way of contrast, L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 84 and J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 110 see only “M” and not “MḤ” in this particular fragment. Although only the first one or two letters of the name MḤWY are extant in Fragment 7 of 4Q203, the full name Mahawai/Mahujah appears in other, more complete fragments from the Book of Giants (e.g., 4Q530, 7 ii). In English translations of the Book of Giants, the name is usually transliterated as “Mahaway” or “Mahawai,” but in the Book of Moses it is given as “Mahijah” (Moses 6:40) or “Mahujah” (7:2).

Figure 2. National Portrait Gallery, London. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp77746/matthew-black (accessed September 16, 2019).

Footnotes

 

1 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 276. Cf. Ibid., pp. 267–268.

2 Published as J. T. Milik et al., Enoch.

3 Note that the vowels in the English transliteration of the Book of Giants name MHWY are largely a matter of conjecture, since no vowels appear in the Aramaic text. On the other hand, with respect to Mahujah (MHWY/MḤWY) and Mahijah (MHYY/MḤYY) from the Book of Moses, we have English versions of the names containing vowels, but it is impossible to tell from the English text alone whether the second consonant in the names would have been written anciently as the equivalent of an “H” (as in the Book of Giants) or an Ḥ (as in Genesis 4:18).
With respect to the similar King James Bible name Mehujael, twice-mentioned in Genesis 4:18, the underlying Hebrew is spelled differently in each case, i.e., both as Mehujael (MḤWY-EL) and Mehijael (MḤYY-EL). The presence of variant spellings of the name (“u” vs. “i”) is intriguing in light of the Book of Moses names with similar vowel variants (Mahujah vs. Mahijah). On the one hand, the Book of Moses names resemble the two Hebrew versions of the name in Genesis 4:18 in that both a “u” and an “i” variant of the name is present. On the other hand, the Book of Moses names are both similar to the Book of Giants name in that they omit the Genesis 4:18 theophoric ending “-EL,” a name for God.
The Book of Moses names terminate with an “h” in their English spellings. This makes them different from both the names in both Genesis 4:18 and in the Book of Giants. It is impossible to know from the manuscript evidence alone whether the “-jah” termination of the Book of Moses names was meant to stand for the name of the God of Israel (Psalm 68:4), or if the “h” on the end of the English version of the name is present for some other reason. For example, given the prevalence of “-jah” terminations in Old Testament names (e.g., Elijah), it is not surprising that an English-speaking scribe who heard the JST Genesis name pronounced during the dictation process might have written the name with an “h” at the end to make the spelling conform to this common naming convention.
Compounding the difficulty for non-specialists in recognizing similarities and differences in the spellings of ancient names is that translators differ in their English transliteration conventions. For example, the English letters “j,” “y,” and “i” variously used to represent the Semitic letter yod. Thus, in English translations of the Book of Giants, we see several variants of the same name: Mahaway (the most common), Mahawai, Mahway, and Mahuy — or, with the “y” transliterated with a “j” as frequently done with other names containing a yod in the King James Bible, Mahuj.
As in every language, the form and spellings of names also change over time and as they pass from one culture to another. In J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?it is argued that despite a significant difference in one consonant (“Ḥ” [Bible] vs. “H” [Book of Giants]), there is currently no compelling reason why the Book of Giants name MHWY (with all the variety of its English equivalents) could not have been related at some point in its history to the King James Bible name elements Mehuja-/Mehija- (spelled as both MḤWY- /MḤYY-) and to the Book of Moses names Mahujah (MHWY/MḤWY) and Mahijah (MHYY/MḤYY).

4 H. W. Nibley, Enoch, pp. 277–279; H. W. Nibley, Churches, pp. 156-159; H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, pp. 267–269. In evaluating Nibley’s suggestions, LDS scholar David Calabro observes that Nibley, while brilliant, was more of a philologist than a linguist, “and as such he did not generally focus on laying out the details of linguistic connections. He was also treating connections at a broad literary level, taking for granted that words and names sometimes get garbled in transmission” (D. Calabro, January 24 2018).
While maintaining the possibility of a correspondence between the ancient equivalent of these names, Calabro explains why we cannot posit a direct equivalence between all of them (including the related names Mahujael/Mahijael in Genesis 4:18) in their current forms (ibid.):

The -ah in Mahujah and Mahijah is problematic if you are interpreting the current forms of these names as equivalents of both Mahawai and also of Mehuja-/Mehija- in Mahujael/Mahijael at the same time. In other words, Mahujah can = MHWY + Jah or Mehjael can = Mahujael can = Mahujah + El, but both equations can’t be applied to the current forms of these names at the same time.

Of course, Calabro observes, the rules were different in earlier times, since “dropping of final vowels only happened sometime between 1200 and 600 BC” (ibid.):

But it’s unlikely that the names in Moses are making a point of this. Joseph left the rest of the biblical names untouched. And if Lehi, Paul, and Jude all had access to the Book of Moses (as I believe they did), the name would have dropped any final short vowels before the text was finished being transmitted.

That said, Calabro goes on to explain why the connections between these names are not unlikely, even in the face of these considerations (ibid.):

Very often in pseudepigraphal traditions, you get names that sound similar (or sometimes not even similar), just garbled a bit. It’s frequent in Arabic forms of biblical names: Ibrahim for “Abraham” (perhaps influenced by Elohim or some other plural Hebrew noun), ‘Isa for Yasu‘ “Jesus,” etc. So Mahujah, Mahijah, Mehujael/Mehijael, and MḤWY could all be connected, with something getting mixed up in transmission.

With respect to correspondences between Mahujah and Mahijah, Nibley (H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 278; H. W. Nibley, Churches, p. 157) argues that they are variants of the same name, given that “Mehuja-el” appears in the Greek Septuagint as “Mai-el” (C. Dogniez et al., Pentateuque, Genesis 4:18, p. 145; M. K. H. Peters, Deuteronomy, Genesis 4:18, p. 8) and in the Latin Vulgate as Mawiah-el (R. Weber, Vulgata, Genesis 4:18, p. 9). Since the Greek version had no internal “Ḥ,” Nibley reasons that “Mai-” could come only from “Mahi-” (MḤY-).
J. W. Wevers likewise writes that the Septuagint spelling of Mai-el [in Genesis 4:18] “follows the Samaritan tradition of [Mahi-el]” (J. W. Wevers, Notes, p. 62 n. 4:18) with the only difference being the dropped “h.” According to Nibley, the Mahawai version that we see in the Book of Giants, is probably related to Genesis 4:18. It shows up in the Latin Vulgate as “Maviahel” likely because the fact that Jerome went to the Hebrew version for his translation. He didn’t use the “Ḥ” either and made the “W” a consonant (“v”) instead of a vowel (“u”) in his transliteration. This is why in the Douay-Rheims Bible (based on the Vulgate), we see the name rendered as “Maviael.” See more on Genesis 4:18 below.
Note that the grandfather of the prophet Enoch also bore a similar name to Mahawai/Mahujah: Mahalaleel (Genesis 5:12–17; 1 Chronicles 1:2; Moses 6:19-20. See also Nehemiah 11:4). As a witness of how easily such names can be confused, observe that the Greek manuscript used for Brenton’s translation of the Septuagint reads “Maleleel” for “Maiel” in Genesis 4:18 (L. C. L. Brenton, Septuagint, Genesis 4:18, p. 5).

5 Moses 7:2. It has been argued that the presence of two similar names, “Mahijah and “Mahujah,” in the Book of Moses is due to a transcription error. In J. M. Bradshaw et al., Textual Criticism it is argued that the evidence for such an error is questionable.
Note that Mahujah can be read either as a place name or a personal name. In the 2013 canonical version of the Book of Moses, Moses 7:2 reads: “As I was journeying, and stood upon the place Mahujah, and cried unto the Lord, there came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon.”
On the basis of the pronoun “I” that is present in the OT1 manuscript (see S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, p. 103) and the use of the second-person plural “ye” that appears twice later in the verse, Cirillo argues for an alternate reading: “As I was journeying and stood in the place, Mahujah and I cried unto the Lord. There came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon” (S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 103, punctuation modified). This reading turns the name Mahujah into a personal name instead of a place name, i.e., with the meaning that Enoch is “standing with” Mahujah, “not on Mahujah” (ibid., p. 103). An issue with this reading is that afterward, Enoch went up to meet God alone (“I turned and went up on the mount; … I stood upon the mount” [Moses 7:3]). The only way to reconcile the absence of Mahujah in subsequent events would be if he did not follow Enoch to the mount as he had been commanded to do in Moses 7:2 (taking the “Turn ye” to be plural).
On the other hand, in a different reading, David Calabro points out that Moses 7:2 “As I was journeying … and I cried” “could be an example of the use of ‘and’ to introduce a main clause after a circumstantial clause, which is a Hebraism that is frequently found in the earliest Book of Mormon text” (D. Calabro, January 24 2018). In this case, the “ye” in “Turn ye” would have to be interpreted as singular rather than plural.
If indeed the name for mount Mahujah on which Enoch ascended to pray relates to the idea of questioning (as proposed in a note by Nibley below), it would provide a neat counterpart to the name of the mount Simeon (Hebrew Shi’mon = he has heard), where Enoch was commanded to go in order to receive his answers. Note Al-Tha’labi’s account of Adam and Eve being rejoined after their separation when “they recognized each other by questioning on a day of questioning. So the place was named ‘Arafat (= questions) and the day, ‘Irfah.” (A. I. A. I. M. I. I. al-Tha’labi, Lives, p. 54; cf. al-Tabari, Creation, 1:120, p. 291).

6 The use of two variations of the same name in one statement is not uncommon in the Hebrew Bible. In this case, the Masoretic text of Genesis 4:18 includes both spellings of the name (Mehuja-el and Mehija-el) one right after the other, and in a context that leaves no doubt that the two occurrences refer to the same individual (see, e.g., B. L. Bandstra, Genesis 1-11, p. 268; ibid., p. 268; ibid., p. 268). R. S. Hendel, Text, pp. 47-48; ibid., pp. 47-48; ibid., pp. 47-48 attributes this phenomenon either to a graphic confusion of “Y” and “W” (cf. H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 278; H. W. Nibley, Churches (1989), pp. 289–290) or to linguistic modernization of what seems to be the older form (Mehuja-el). Note that instead of featuring two different forms of the name in succession as in the Masoretic text, some other texts render the names consistently. For example, the Cairo Geniza manuscript gives Mehuja-el twice, while the Samaritan version has Mahi-el (cf. Mehijael) twice (M. Shoulson, Torah, Genesis 4:18, p. 11; B. Tsedaka et al., Israelite Samaritan, Genesis 4:18, p. 12).

7 As an alternative explanation for the two variant names in the Book of MOses, it has been argued that Joseph Smith possessed and used a copy of Adam Clarke’s 1825 Bible commentary (A. Clarke, Holy Bible), which lists transliterations of the two variant Hebrew variants of Mehujael in Genesis 4:18 on page 151. But, for reasons fully explained in J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?, this seems unlikely.
Among other considerations, evidence from Joseph Smith’s name translations in Genesis 4:18–19 cast doubt on the idea that he would have been interested in meticulous scrutiny of Clarke’s table of spelling variants for two versions of the name Mehujael he could alter and use in his account of Enoch. Within the span of the few lines that contain his rendering of the biblical name Mehujael, we find three examples of variant name spellings: Mehujael/Mahujael, Mathusael/Mathusiel, Lameh/Lamech (S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 page 10, p. 95). The evidence provided by these variants gives the impression that these name spellings were based simply on what the scribes heard Joseph Smith read, rather than on an effort to conform to the Bible or other written documents for consistency.
Regardless of whether or not Joseph Smith referenced a published commentary as a translation aid during the earliest phases of his work on the Bible, what weakens the argument that Joseph Smith relied on Clarke’s table in this case is the lack of a credible argument for why the Prophet would have been motivated to do so. Readers will have to judge for themselves the likelihood that Joseph Smith would actually have had the time, patience, and — most importantly — a compelling reason to search through Clarke’s commentary for two variant names he could use for an obscure, twice-mentioned character in his Genesis translation, presumably in order to give it more credibility. It should be remembered that he had no hesitation in previously publishing scores of strange-looking names in the Book of Mormon for which he had no Bible to back him up.

8 Jude 1:14–15. For evidence of Joseph Smith’s awareness of these verses, see this remark in the preface to Moses 7, the account of Enoch’s vision, as part of his history (J. Smith, Jr., Documentary History, December 1830, 1:132. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Papers 2008-, History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], p. 81, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-a-1-23-december-1805-30-august-1834/87 [accessed May 20, 2020]):

The common remark was, they are “lost books”; but it seems the Apostolic Church had some of these writings, as Jude mentions or quotes the Prophecy of Enoch, the seventh from Adam.

Though the portion of Joseph Smith’s history in which this quote appears was not compiled before about January 1843 when William W. Phelps began assisting Willard Richards in this task, Joseph Smith “dictated or supplied information for much of A-1” and was well-acquainted enough with the New Testament to make his knowledge of these verses in Jude probable by December 1830 and January 1831 when the account of Enoch was translated.
Note also that the Prophet quoted a passage from Jude’s citation of Enoch (Jude 1:14) in a letter to the Saints in Missouri written on December 10, 1833 (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 10 December 1833, p. 36. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Papers 2008-, JS Letterbook 1, Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 10 December 1833, p. 72, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-to-edward-partridge-and-others-10-december-1833/4 [accessed May 20, 2020]). And he used Jude 1:14–15 in connection with his teachings about Enoch on October 5, 1840 (See J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 5 October 1840, p. 170; J. Smith, Jr. et al., Words, discourse recorded in the hand of Robert B. Thompson, 5 October 1840, p. 41; J. Smith, Jr., Papers 2008-, Instruction on Priesthood, 5 October 1840, p. 6, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/instruction-on-priesthood-5-october-1840/11 [accessed May 20, 2020]).

9 It seems possible that the names ’Ohyah and Hahyah were invented for wordplay based on the Hebrew forms of their names. However, for a detailed description of several reasons that wordplay based on an Aramaic form of a verb in the name Mahaway is unlikely, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?.

10 S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 97. Cf. L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 27.

11 In this and later quotes from Cirillo, we spell out the names of works he cites rather than using abbreviated versions of the names as he did.

12 S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 126.

13 Cirillo goes on to say “And additional proof of Smith‘s knowledge of the [Book of Giants] is evidenced by his use of the codename Baurak Ale.” For more on Barak Ale/Baraq’el, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, M6-19, pp. 96–97.

14 W. McKane, Matthew Black.

15 G. C. Thomasson, Items on Enoch — Some Notes of Personal History. Expansion of remarks given at the Conference on Enoch and the Temple, Academy for Temple Studies, Provo, Utah, 22 February 2013 (unpublished manuscript, 25 February 2013); G. C. Thomasson, April 7 2014.

16 Moses 7:2.

17 H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, p. 269. For the complete account, see pp. 267–269. Elsewhere Nibley gives a similar account (H. W. Nibley, Letter to Frederick M. Huchel):

On the week [the Milik and Black translation of the Aramaic Enoch fragments] appeared in 1976, I spent several days with Dr. Black. He was greatly impressed by certain parallels between the Qumran Book of Enoch and Joseph Smith’s. When I started asking for explanations he would switch to other topics. … He is president of the St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland, the oldest in the world, and greatly preferred talking golf with Billy Casper, who also happened to be visiting here at the time, than splitting heads about the Book of Enoch. He did say a number of times, shaking his head in a bemused fashion, “Someday we will find out where Joseph Smith got that. … Someday a source will turn up.” Which I doubt not for a moment, since we already have an impressive sampling. I am afraid it will not be what Brother Black is hoping for.

See also the video excerpt of an interview of Hugh Nibley recorded in connection with a National Interfaith Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 20 November 1992 in the Kresge Auditorium of Stanford University (H. W. Nibley, Hugh Nibley on the Book of Enoch). Nibley’s comments on his encounter with Black appear at about 6:04–6:50.

18 See “Enoch’s Teaching Mission: Were ancient Enoch manuscripts the inspiration for Moses 6–7?” Book of Moses Insight #5 (May 29, 2020), for an overview of these connections.

19 An argument for common, older Mesopotamian traditions within Ezekiel 1, Daniel 7, 1 Enoch 14, and the Book of Giants is given in A. M. Bledsoe Davis, Throne Theophanies, p. 85. Specifically, she argues that 1 Enoch 14’s adoption of the Danielic idea of the deity shows only that this idea was “accepted even at a late period, and does not automatically make [1 Enoch 14] older even if the tradition may be observed in generally more ancient writings.” More generally, she concluded “that all three of these texts drew from a common tradition(s) regarding the heavenly throne and then adapted it to fit within their individual context” (ibid., p. 90). In other words (according to Bledsoe-Davis), Daniel, 1 Enoch, and the Book of Giants independently draw on “common tradition(s)” that are older than any of the three texts.
With specific respect to the origins of the names in the Book of Giants, scholarly consensus recognizes that the surprise appearance of the names Gilgamesh and Ḥobabish in the Book of Giants is due to direct and/or indirect influences of some kind from the Akkadian Gilgamesh epic (A. George, Gilgamesh). Milik was the first to note the first and “only mention of Gilgamesh outside the cuneiform literature” as well as to recognize that the name Ḥobabish derives from Humbaba, the monster slain by Gilgamesh (J. T. Milik et al., Enoch, p. 313 n. L-6). Matthew Goff, among others, has clarified and amplified the relationship among the Old Babylonian epic and the fragmentary Aramaic Enoch text (M. Goff, Gilgamesh the Giant). Though a few of the Book of Giants names (e.g., ’Ohyah, Hahyah) may be ad hoc inventions to facilitate wordplay in the text, it has been argued elsewhere that such invention for that purpose seems much less plausible for the name Mahaway (J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?). Like Gilgamesh, Mahaway appears more likely to be a name already known in tradition than one that was created ad hoc for the Book of Giants for wordplay (like ’Ohyah and Hahyah).

20 A. Caquot, Les Prodromes, p 50.

21 N. M. Sarna, Genesis, p. 36.

22. R. S. Hess, Studies, p. 41.

23 U. Cassuto, Adam to Noah, p. 232.

24 Ibid., p. 232. For more about their role and function, see A. L. Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, p. 221. Cf. W. Heimpel, Letters to the King, p. 578 s. v. ecstatic.

25 See W. Heimpel, Letters to the King, 26 220, p. 262 and 26 221, p. 263.

26 U. Cassuto, Adam to Noah, p. 233.

27 Ibid., p. 233. Cf. R. S. Hess, Studies, p. 46.

28 R. S. Hess, Studies, p. 46. Bowen further comments on Cassuto’s analysis and other possible Mesopotamian etymologies for these names as follows (M. L. Bowen, March 18 2020):

Methusael may or may not constitute a Hebraization of the widely accepted, but still (as yet) theoretical and unattested Akkadian form, mutu ša ili (“man of god”). Nevertheless, Mesopotamia seems to be a good place to look in terms of obtaining more precise etymologies for the names in the Genesis genealogies.
Since Umberto Cassuto opens the door to considering Akkadian maḫḫû (“ecstatic, prophet,” J. Black et al., Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, p. 190) as the source of the first element in Mehujael, we can also consider the word maḫḫû (“great”) as a possible source. The latter term derives from Sumerian MAḪ (adj. “high[;] … exalted, supreme, great, lofty, foremost, sublime, splendid” J. A. Halloran, Sumerian Lexicon, p. 168). If Cassuto is right that Lamech can be connected to Akkadian lumakku , we do well to note that lumakku or lumaḫḫû (which can also mean “chief, ruler,” J. Black et al., Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, p. 185) also appears to derive from Sumerian MAḪ (LÚ.MAḪ = “great man”). This may have some further bearing on the etymology of the Book of Moses name “Mahan” in Moses 5:31, 49 [spelled “Mahon” in Joseph Smith Translation OT1, p. 10, S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, p. 94].
I think the point that lmk does not occur in West Semitic is more important than it may seem at a glance.

Enoch’s Teaching Mission: Enoch and the Other “Wild Man”

Book of Moses Insight #6

Moses 6:15, 37–68; 7:2, 13, 38

With contribution by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

As Enoch set out to fulfill his prophetic commission, it seems that his preaching at first attracted listeners only because of its value as local entertainment. Everyone was eager to see the noisy religious fanatic:

And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers:1 Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us. (Moses 6:38, emphasis added)

The rare term “wild man” fairly pops out at the reader. It is used only once elsewhere in scripture, as part of Jacob’s prophecy about how Ishmael will live to become everyone’s favorite enemy.2 However, a much more interesting parallel to the Book of Moses can be found in the Book of Giants —an Aramaic Enoch manuscript discovered at Qumran. To fully appreciate the significance of what this small detail adds to the larger Enoch story, some background will be helpful.

Holy and Unholy Wild Men

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar is the best-known biblical type of a “wild man.” After spurning the Lord’s call to repentance, his fate was announced by the prophet Daniel:3

O king Nebuchadnezzar, … The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field … until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

In William Blake’s grotesque depiction of Nebuchadnezzar shown above, “we see [the king] in exile, animal-like on all fours. Naked, he gazes with mad horror at his own reflection like some kind of anti-Narcissus.”4

Seeking to characterize the typological “children of Nebuchadnezzar” in sacred and secular literature, Penelope Doob contrasted the literary convention of the “unholy wild man” with that of the “holy wild man.”5 Nebuchadnezzar is the prototype of the former category, his madness and self-exclusion from society ending only when he satisfactorily completed the process of penance.6 Other “wild men” in the Bible who, by way of contrast to Nebuchadnezzar, never lost their “wildness” include Ishmael,7 Esau,8 Samson,9 and the archetypal forebear of the biblical gibborim, Nimrod.10 Of interest in tracing the history of these characters is that they often served as “the secondary, wild counterpart to the primary hero”11 —Ishmael vs. Isaac, Esau vs. Jacob, Nimrod vs. Abraham,12 or perhaps even the “wild and savage”13 Lamanites vs. the Nephites.

In its single appearance in scripture outside of the story of Enoch, the term “wild man” (used in the King James Bible for Ishmael) translates the literal Hebrew “wild-ass man,” calling to mind:14

the sturdy, fearless, and fleet-footed Syrian onager (Hebrew pere’), who inhabits the wilderness and is almost impossible to domesticate. Jeremiah describes the wild ass of the desert: “snuffing the wind in her eagerness, whose passions none can restrain.”15 Hagar … will produce a people free and undisciplined.

The description of Ishmael as an “onager man” matches that of Enkidu as akkanu (onager) in the old Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, an indomitable warrior whose prowess was proved in bloody battle: a “wild ass on the run, donkey of the uplands, panther of the wild”16 who “slaughtered the Bull of Heaven” and “killed Humbaba.”17

On the other hand, Adam,18 Elijah,19 John the Baptist,20 and later Christian practitioners of monasticism and asceticism are sometimes identified as exemplars of the “holy wild man,” though it is important to point out that they are never actually called that in scripture.21 These figures voluntarily took on their rough clothing as “fools for God”22 in a quest for “greater knowledge.”23 The single luxury afforded by the spartan lifestyle of these “prophets in the wilderness,”24 was the freedom to dedicate themselves single-mindedly to the preaching of repentance with a loud voice to spiritually deaf hearers.25

Was Enoch a Wild Man?

Enoch was certainly not an “unholy wild man.” But does he actually fit the description of a “holy wild man”? Two ways of answering this question present themselves. The first option is quite simple and obvious. The second is more complex and speculative but may offer a more complete explanation of what little relevant information we have in scripture. In order to adequately discuss both options, this Insight will be a little longer than usual.

Option 1: Enoch was a “holy wild man,” somewhat of the same mold as John the Baptist. In certain respects, Enoch seems to fit the bill of a “holy wild man” when we compare him with John the Baptist. Like Enoch, John the Baptist drew crowds who had more interest in seeing some “strange thing”26 than in hearing their entrenched beliefs challenged. The Book of Moses account paints the people addressed by Enoch as spiritual cousins to Paul’s Athenian audience who “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”27 Had Enoch’s appearance been a trivial, commonplace event, a mere “reed shaken in the wind,”28 they would have just stayed home to begin with—as unchanged as they were when they returned home after hearing him. Surely, as the account implies, such individuals would not have left their tents simply “to gaze upon an everyday sight,” 29especially when, as with John, they would have had to travel to “the hills and high places”30 to find him.

In addition to whatever else we might infer in a speculative mood about the Enoch’s appearance being a “strange thing in the land,”31 the Book of Moses itself gives us an explicit example of what piqued people’s interest in going to see Enoch — namely, because “he prophesieth.”32 Does this mean, perhaps, that “the word of the Lord was precious [i.e., rare] in those days; there was no open vision”?33 If so, the very scarcity of prophets and prophecy may also help explain Enoch’s appeal as a local novelty.34

Whatever factors might have established Enoch as a strange and rare spectacle, the Book of Moses goes on to reveal that he was a formidable source of fright:35

when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him.

Later, when warfare erupted with Enoch’s followers, his power over natural elements when speaking “the word of the Lord” provoked fear throughout the entire region:36

And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

To sum up, Enoch’s rare appearance as an outsider and a formidable prophet, perhaps a sort of proto-Samuel the Lamanite,37 preaching a disruptive message in the wilderness at a time when prophets may have been scarce, when combined with the fearful power over nature and his enemies that God had given him may have been sufficient reason for the people to have describe him as a “wild man.”38

Option 2: Enoch was not a “wild man,” but was simply called one in mockery. Apart from the description of Enoch’s dominance in battle (to which we will return below), the direct evidence from scripture indicates only that Enoch shared certain aspects of John’s “strangeness.” But are there strong indications in the Book of Moses39 that Enoch also shared the key identifiers of John’s “wildness”—for example, his rough apparel, his social isolation, and his rigorous diet? Surprisingly, we do not find enough evidence in scripture to make us wholly confident that Enoch embodied the essential qualities of the “wild man” typology that seem to have been prevalent in his day.

To situate Enoch’s audience more precisely, we turn from the later examples of Elijah and John the Baptist to the older and more pointedly relevant literature that illustrates the concept of “wild man” in times closer to the life of Enoch. Several useful studies of recurring appearances and echoes of various peoples that were called gibborim (Hebrew “mighty warriors”40) may help us understand older meanings of the term “wild man” and the social setting of Enoch’s mission from the perspective of Jewish tradition.

The Hebrew word gibbor itself gives us a starting point. “Etymologically, with its doubled middle consonant,” writes Gregory Mobley, “gibbor is an intensive form of geber, ‘man.’ In this regard, as masculinity squared, gibbor roughly compares to the English compound ‘he-man.’”41 And in what manly qualities was a gibbor expected to excel? Brian R. Doak summarizes a relevant aspect of his sociolinguistic analysis of the culture of the gibborim in biblical times as follows:42

As human-like embodiments of that which is wild and untamed, the biblical [gibbor] takes on the role of “wild man,” “freak,” and “elite adversary” for heroic displays of fighting prowess.

If the cultural values hinted at in the Book of Giants and similar literature about the gibborim bear any resemblance to those of Enoch’s audience in the Book of Moses—and certainly the brief but highly revealing description of merciless ethnic warfare described Moses 7:5–10 provides some support for this hypothesis43—the personal quality most admired among the gibborim was indeed “fighting prowess.” We might infer that the greatest compliment that one gibbor could pay to another would be to acknowledge his standing as a veritable “wild man.”

In the Enoch literature inside and outside of scripture, how does Enoch measure up to how a gibbor might describe a “wild man”? Did he ever revel in the wild thrill of human slaughter? Had he ever slain a lion with his bare hands?44 Did he have any reputation at all as a bow-man or a hunter? For that matter, was he said to have been “large in stature,”45 like Nephi and Mormon, Book of Mormon prophets who later became military leaders? When we look for any match between descriptions of Enoch and the core traits of a “wild man” in the biblical tradition (and more especially in the gibborim culture), we come up empty-handed.

If we grant that Enoch is not explicitly said to have the core qualities and experiences that would have clearly marked him as a “wild man,” why then would anyone have called him one?46 That is the puzzle.

So we start at the beginning: What do we know about the character of Enoch from the Book of Moses at the time of his call? Since we know very little, what little we know from scripture becomes important. And from what Robert Alter, the eminent scholar of the literary aspects of the Old Testament, tells us about the way biblical narrative works, “at the beginning of any new story, the point at which dialogue first emerges will be worthy of special attention, and in most instances, the initial words spoken by a personage will be revelatory, … constituting an important moment in the exposition of character.”47

What did Enoch say at that moment? He “bowed himself to the earth” — and then humbly expounded his unfitness for the task: “I … am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech.”48 “With a few deft strokes the [scriptural] author, together with the imagination of his reader, constructs a picture that is more ‘real’ than if he had drawn it in detail.”49 Enoch’s words have provided what Laurence Turner calls an “announcement of plot.”50 Thus, as readers, we are now equipped with clues about what we should be looking for as the story proceeds.

Indeed, Enoch’s first statement is especially telling: “I … am but a lad.”51 In a warrior culture, a “lad” (Hebrew na‘ar) occupies the lowest rung on the ladder of respect. To the gibbor to whom fighting was everything, the inexperienced na‘ar was a nothing. Mobley explains:52

A na‘ar … can mean many things—“boy,” “servant,” “assistant,” “infantryman”—but in every case is less than a gibbor. To the superior party, a veteran warrior, there was no glory in fighting below his station. Goliath disdains the na‘ar David, who emerges from the Israelite camp to face him.53

Then, once Enoch begins to preach, we are led to ask: If Enoch’s own people hated him, and plausibly mocked him for being “slow in speech,” why would his enemies have been any more charitable to him when he first made his appearance? Would hostile locals who had only heard rumors about Enoch be prone to speak glowingly of his anticipated oratory style, stature, or prowess? Or is it more likely that they would continue the sort of mockery to which Enoch had been accustomed back home? Moreover, it should be observed that any initial prejudice against Enoch’s appearance and delivery was apparently magnified by the content and severity of the message itself: he “cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.”54

Another important clue to understanding the changing attitudes of the people toward Enoch is found in verses 38 and 39. These verses seem to be deliberately contrastive, revealing the difference in the attitude of the crowd before and after they heard Enoch. In verse 38, before the people “came forth … to behold the seer,” they mentioned to the “tent-keepers”—perhaps in a sarcastic or derisive manner—that “a wild man hath come among us.”55 It seems that only after Enoch opened his mouth to his hearers is their mocking tone replaced by an awestruck attitude: “When they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him.”56

By the time we reach the end of the story, we realize that Enoch’s initial self-characterization as being “slow in speech” has prepared us for the ironic turning of the tables that plays out on a larger stage in his final military victory. This may constitute one of the primary lessons of the account: namely, that Enoch conquered his foes through the “virtue of the word of God.”57 In contrast to the gibborim, aspiring wild men who “conquered according to [their] strength,”58 Enoch, who lacked any of the macho qualities his enemies held dear, won his battles as “he spake the word of the Lord.”59 His former weakness had become his strength60 through “the power of the language which God had given him.”61 And the physical strength of the gibborim was, crushingly, nothing but weakness when facing Enoch, a divinely empowered adversary.62

Consistent with the moral of such a lesson, later biblical authors pointedly taught that “Israel’s future did not lie along”63 the “way [of] all [their] warriors [gibborim],”64 but rather in “turn[ing] back to the Lord with all [one’s] heart.”65 Proverbs 24:25 averred that “A wise man is mightier than a strong one.”66 Paraphrasing, we might understand this to mean that the “wise man” is more of a geber67 than the gibbor — in other words, the “wise man” is more of a “man” than the “he man.” Similarly, the preacher of Ecclesiastes 9:16 concluded that “wisdom (ḥokmâ) is superior to [“manly”] heroism (gĕbûrâ).”68

Is there a precedent in the Book of Moses for the incident that attached in mockery the incongruous label of “wild man” to Enoch? Yes, one can find the same style of rude humor in Moses 8, where a reversal of labels was used to please the party-goers in Noah’s day. As the drunken crowd of “sons of men”69 who had spurned Noah’s preaching70 and married his granddaughters71 filled and refilled their wine cups, they laughingly called themselves the “sons of God.”72 At the same time, after playfully exalting their own status, they sarcastically called their wives “daughters of men,”73 deliberately deprecating the lineage of their wives as daughters of the sons of Noah. Significantly, these sons of Noah, the fathers of these wives, had been specifically characterized as “the sons of God.”74 Though the labels vary, the tasteless and worn-out brand of humor remains the same in every generation.

Elmer Fudd: “How am I ever going to catch that scwewy duck?”
Daffy Duck: “Precisely what I was wondering, my little Nimrod.”

Continuing with a modern example, we suggest that the term “wild man” might have been used sarcastically by the gibborim to mock the relatively smaller stature of Enoch when compared to themselves, perhaps similar to the case of Daffy Duck calling the hopelessly inept hunter Elmer Fudd “my little Nimrod.”75

What about the “Wild Man” in the Book of Giants?

As to the “wild man” who appears in the Aramaic Enoch tradition from Qumran, it should first be noted that past scholars have sometimes doubted that the term “wild man” even appears in the Book of Giants. However, while earlier Book of Giants translations of the relevant passage sometimes contained either one or the other but not both of the terms “wild man” and “wild beasts,” there is an increasingly solid consensus that both terms are present in the original manuscript.76

If the growing consensus is correct, one of the wicked leaders of the gibborim, perhaps Gilgamesh,77 called himself “the wild man.” We draw on the translation of Edwin Cook to provide background for the statement of the wicked gibbor as an admission of his humiliating defeat and resulting personal debasement by Enoch and his people:78

3. [ … I am] mighty, and by the mighty strength of my arm and my own great strength
4. [and I went up against a]ll flesh, and I made war against them; but I did not
5. [prevail, and I am not] able to stand firm against them, for my opponents
6. [are angels who] reside in [heav]en, and they dwell in the holy places [ … ] And they were not
7. [defeated, for they] are stronger than I. [ … ]
8. [ ] of the wild beast has come, and the wild man they call [me.]

Joseph Angel ably compares the humbling of the arrogant leader of the gibborim, muttering to himself in dismay after his defeat, to the principal theme of the story of Nebuchadnezzar. Angel perceptively recognizes that the characterization of both Nebuchadnezzar and Gilgamesh as “wild men both appear to be related to the Epic of Gilgamesh.”79 In this dramatic turn of events, the would-be mighty wild man (in the proud tradition of the gibborim) is literally or figuratively transformed into a beastly wild man of Mesopotamian and biblical tragedy.80 The reader of the account will also see, in line with the typical biblical “wild man” tradition, that Enoch’s enemy has played “the secondary, wild counterpart to the primary hero”81—who, in both the Book of Giants and the Book of Moses, is clearly Enoch himself.

Conclusion

The Book of Moses and the Book of Giants are two different works, published millennia apart, each with a unique past and their own story to tell. That said, whatever the exact meaning of the term “wild man” in these two accounts may be, the fact that this rare and peculiar description shows up in these already closely related stories about Enoch hints that they may each contain shards of a common, pre-existing literary tradition. So far as we are able to determine, the single occurrence of the term “wild man” in the extant ancient Enoch literature is in the Book of Giants and the only instance of it in the scripture translations of Joseph Smith is in the Enoch account in the Book of Moses.

This article was adapted and expanded from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 42, 68.

Further Reading

Angel, Joseph L. “The humbling of the arrogant and the ‘wild man’ and ‘tree stump’ traditions in the Book of Giants and Daniel 4.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 61–80. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 42, 68 (“wild man”), 84, 203, 225 (sons of men and daughters of Noah).

Doak, Brian R. “The giant in a thousand years: Tracing narratives of gigantism in the Hebrew Bible and beyond.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 13–32. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016, pp. 24–25.

Doob, Penelope B. R. Nebuchadnezzar’s Children: Conventions of Madness in Middle English Literature. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974.

Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 74 n. 45, 96 (“wild man” and “tent-keepers”), 161–164 (sons of men and daughters of Noah).

Mobley, Gregory. “The wild man in the Bible and the Ancient Near East.” Journal of Biblical Literature 116, no. 2 (1997): 217-33. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3266221. (accessed April 6, 2020).

Nibley, Hugh W. Enoch the Prophet. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986, pp. 180, 211–213.

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Angel, Joseph L. “The humbling of the arrogant and the “wild man” and “tree stump” traditions in the Book of Giants and Daniel 4.” In Ancient Tales of Giants from Qumran and Turfan: Contexts, Traditions, and Influences, edited by Matthew Goff, Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Enrico Morano. Wissenschlaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 360, ed. Jörg Frey, 61-80. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

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Davies, W. D., and Dale C. Allison. 1991. The Gospel According to St. Matthew. 3 vols. The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, ed. J. A. Emerton, C. E. B. Cranfield and G. N. Stanton. London, England: T&T Clark, 2012.

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Doob, Penelope B. R. Nebuchadnezzar’s Children: Conventions of Madness in Middle English Literature. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974.

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MichaelK. In which cartoon (if any) did Bugs Bunny use the term “nimrod”? Movies & TV Stack Exchange, 2017. https://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/81453/in-which-cartoon-if-any-did-bugs-bunny-use-the-term-nimrod. (accessed February 22, 2020).

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—. The Empty Men: The Heroic Tradition of Ancient Israel. The Anchor Bible Reference Library, ed. David Noel Freedman. New York City, NY: Doubleday, 2005.

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Pseudo-Clement. ca. 235-258. “Recognitions of Clement.” In The Ante-Nicene Fathers (The Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325), edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 10 vols. Vol. 8, 77-211. Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1886. Reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.

Reeves, John C., and Annette Yoshiko Reed. Sources from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 2 vols. Enoch from Antiquity to the Middle Ages 1. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Sarna, Nahum M., ed. Genesis. The JPS Torah Commentary, ed. Nahum M. Sarna. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989.

Smith, Joseph, Jr. “Persecution of the prophets.” Nauvoo, IL: Times and Seasons 3, No. 21, 1 September 1842, 1842, 902-03. https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/times-and-seasons-1-september-1842/8. (accessed May 2, 2020).

Smith, Joseph, Jr., Andrew F. Ehat, and Lyndon W. Cook. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, 1980. https://rsc-legacy.byu.edu/out-print/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nauvoo-discourses-prophet-joseph. (accessed April 25, 2020).

Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.

Stuckenbruck, Loren T. The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.

Turner, Laurence. Announcements of Plot in Genesis. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 96, ed. David J. A. Clines and Philip R. Davies. Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, 1990. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/14343346.pdf. (accessed July 28, 2017).

Vaughan, Agnes Carr. Madness in Greek Thought and Custom. Baltimore, MD: J. H. Furst Company, 1919. https://books.google.com/books?id=RfnOAAAAMAAJ. (accessed April 7, 2020).

Widtsoe, John A. “Enoch, whom the Lord took unto himself.” The Juvenile Instructor 36, no. 11 (1 June 1901): 342-46. https://books.google.com/books?id=c6XtAAAAMAAJ. (accessed May 2, 2020).

William Blake Online: Blake’s Cast of Characters: Personification of the Fallen Tyrant. In Tate Gallery. http://www.tate.org.uk/learning/worksinfocus/blake/imagin/cast_04.html. (accessed April 27, 2007).

William Blake: Blake’s Cast of Characters. In Tate Gallery. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/william-blake-39/blakes-characters. (accessed May 2, 2020).

Zurski, Ken. 2020. The Nimrod effect: How a cartoon bunny changed the meaning of a word forever. In Unremembered History. https://unrememberedhistory.com/2017/01/09/the-nimrod-effect-how-a-cartoon-bunny-changed-the-meaning-of-a-word-forever/. (accessed February 26, 2020).

Footnotes

 

1 With regard to the tent-keepers, R. D. Draper et al., Commentary, p. 96 comment:

These people were evidently a servant class. In addition, the term may be a further indicator that Enoch was preaching among Cain’s people, for it was they who inaugurated a life of dwelling in tents (see Moses 5:45); moreover, the tasks of the tent-keeper apparently included watching over livestock (see ibid., p. 74 n. 45).

2 Genesis 16:12.

3 Daniel 4:31–33.

4 Blake Online, Blake Online. See also W. Blake, Illuminated Blake, p. 121; N. Frye, Symmetry, pp. 270-272. It has often been claimed that Blake himself struggled with madness. On the topic of Blake’s possible madness, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 783. Blake’s image was painted in 1795. In France, Louis XVI had been executed two years before. “Meanwhile, in England, George III, whose control the American colonists had recently thrown off, suffered from bouts of insanity[—thus] this picture of a degraded king [could] be an expression of Blake’s sympathy for the republicans in France and America” (William Blake’s Cast, William Blake’s Cast). “In his outcry against the imposition of any code of uniformity upon contrary individualities,” Blake reminds society that “it tempts the fate of Nebuchadnezzar, a fall into dazed bestiality, if it will not heed the warnings of [the prophet’s transforming] vision” (H. Bloom, Blake’s Apocalypse, p. 96).

5 P. B. R. Doob, Nebuchadnezzar’s Children. We exclude from the present discussion additional individuals that some might class as “wild men,” but for different reasons. These might include David, who feigned madness to blunt reports that he was a threat to Achish the king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:12–15) and Solon, who needed a cover of madness to expound his illegal message (D. Laertius, Solon, pp. 46–51; A. C. Vaughan, Madness, p. 63). However, in scripture and the ancient world, “madness,” the domain of the “irrational,” was generally a different category than “wildness,” the domain of “otherness.” Describing this “otherness,” Gregory Mobley, following Richard Bernheimer, observed: “if the wild man is residing nearby, he is a demonic figure; if far away, a representative of a monstrous race; if far away in time, a prehistoric specimen” (G. Mobley, Wild Man, pp. 219–220).

6 Besides the scriptural example of Nebuchadnezzar, Doob includes in the former category the Arthurian knights Yvain, Lancelot, and Tristan, who were driven mad by disappointments in love. See, e.g., C. de Troyes, Yvain, p. 189, where Yvain “dwelt in the forest like a madman or a savage.” Thanks to BYU professor Jesse Hurlbut for this reference.

7 Of Ishmael, Mobley writes (G. Mobley, Wild Man, p. 226): Ishmael’s early life is associated with the midbar (“wilderness,” Genesis 16:7, 21:14, 20, 21) … and gains renown as a bow-man.

8 Of Esau, Mobley writes (ibid., p. 226): Esau is called an ish sadeh (“man of the field,” Genesis 25:27) and an ish sair (“hairy man,” Genesis 27:11). This famous hunter even exudes the earthy aroma of nature (Genesis 27:27).

9 Of Samson, Mobley writes (ibid., p. 229):

Though the Bible does not say a word about body hair, Samson’s hair, uncut since birth, is his signal trait. Samson establishes his credentials as master of beasts in his inaugural feat of wrestling a lion (Judges 14:5–6) and later by capturing and controlling the foxes (Judges 15:4–5). … Samson sleeps in a rock crevice (15:8), and he eats wild honey (Judges 14:9–10) and drinks [neither wine nor beer] (Judges 13:4, 7, 14); that is, he eschews city food. Samson usually works without tools — he tears the lion apart and uproots the city gate of Gaza bare-handed (Judges 14:6; 16:3 — and when he does require a tool, it is drawn directly from the animal world, the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:15).

Though Mobley also describes several important characteristics of Samson that are not typically associated with the Old Testament “wild man,” he asserts that Samson “cannot be understood … apart from the wild man tradition, both in its specific ancient Near Eastern manifestations and within the larger international horizon of its folkloric development” (ibid., p. 231).

10 For more on Nimrod, see Book of Moses Insight #12, forthcoming.

11 G. Mobley, Wild Man, p. 228.

12 On Nimrod vs. Abraham, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, pp. 338, 350–352.

13 D&C 109:65.

14 N. M. Sarna, Genesis, p. 121 n. 12 a wild ass of a man.

15 Jeremiah 2:24.

16 A. George, Gilgamesh, Tablet 8, line 51, p. 65.

17 S. Mitchell, Gilgamesh, Book 8, p. 153.

18 G. Mobley, Wild Man, p. 227. See also J. M. Bradshaw, Moses Temple Themes (2014), pp. 177–179.

19 G. Mobley, Wild Man, p. 227 notes the literal Hebrew description of Elijah as “lord of hair” (2 Kings 1:8, vs. King James “man of hair”), a “frequenter of caves” (1 Kings 19:9) whose successor Elisha “sends bears to do his bidding” (2 Kings 2:23-24). He further observes: The epithets for Elijah and Esau, [“lord of hair” and “hairy man”], respectively, are the semantic equivalent of … laḫmu[, the carefully coiffed Akkadian type of the wild man (see ibid., pp. 223–224)].

20 Of John the Baptist, Mobley writes (ibid., p. 228):

John the Baptist lives in the wilderness, eats a primitive diet, wears animal skins, dies through the agency of a woman, and, above all, functions as the secondary, wild counterpart to the primary hero.

Ibid., p. 228 n. 49 further observes that ”the traditions about John explicitly compare him to Elijah (e.g., Matthew 17:9–13; Mark 9:11–13; Luke 1:17). John’s birth story (Luke 1:5-80) has parallels with the book of Judges’ and Pseudo-Philo’s versions of Samson’s birth.”

21 However, Joseph Smith did once call John the Baptist a “wild man of the woods” (J. Smith, Jr. et al., Words, James Burgess Notebook, 23 July 1843, p. 235). But it seems doubtful that this description was intended to match the Mandaean Ginza description of some of Enoch’s contemporaries, who were branded as as false prophets. Their appearance and behavior is characterized as follows (J. P. Migne, Livre d’Adam, pp. 17, 46, translation by Bradshaw. Cf. H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 212):

From there come corruptors who wander through the mountains and hills, completely naked like demons, with bristly hair. … We call them vagabond pastors. They feed themselves on the grasses of the field … and say to themselves: “God speaks in mysteries from our mouths.”

.By way of contrast, some Muslim traditions credit Enoch with the invention of sewing with cloth (perhaps a confusion of “the homophonic Arabic verbs khaṭṭa ‘write’ and khāṭa ‘sew’”), in contrast to earlier people who are said to have worn animal skins (J. C. Reeves et al., Enoch from Antiquity 1, pp. 104-107).

22 See 1 Corinthians 4:10.

23 Abraham 1:2.

24 See G. Mobley, Wild Man, p. 227. Joseph Smith once said (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 1 September 1842, p. 261. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Persecution of the Prophets, p. 903):

It is a shame to the Saints to talk of chastisements, and transgressions, when all the Saints before them, prophets and apostles, have had to come up through great tribulation. … How many have had to wander in sheep skins and goat skins, and live in caves and dens of the mountains, because the world was unworthy of their society?

25 See H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 213.

26 Moses 6:38, emphasis added.

27 Acts 17:21.

28 Matthew 11:7.

29 W. D. Davies et al., Gospel According to Matthew, 2:247. Having written that, however, Davies and Allison admit that:

one should not … altogether exclude the possibility that Jesus or Matthew had something very different in mind. To one steeped in the Hebrew OT, the image of reeds blown by the wind might have recalled Exodus 14–15, where God sends forth a strong wind to drive back the Sea of Reeds. The meaning of Jesus’ query would then be: Did you go out into the wilderness to see a man repeat the wonders of the Exodus?

Given Enoch’s power over the elements (see Insight #4), such a miracle in his case would not have been impossible.

30 Moses 6:37.

31 Moses 6:38.

32 Moses 6:38, emphasis added.

33 1 Samuel 3:1.

34 Cf. J. A. Widtsoe, Enoch, p. 345), who wrote:

He prophesied many things of the future, and revealed the secrets of men’s hearts so plainly, that the people flocked about him in astonishment, saying that “there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.” In their ignorance and unbelief they could only think that the power of prophecy was the product of a crazy brain.

35 Moses 6:39.

36 Moses 7:13.

37 Helaman, chapters 13–15.

38 Moses 6:38.

39 Outside the Book of Moses, we currently find only one source that hints at such an affinity. If one takes the Enosh referred to in relevant passages of the Mandaean Ginza to be based upon traditions about Enoch as is clear in certain other places in the Ginza (see Insight #4), the following summary of Lidzbarski’s conclusions by Robert Eisler (very briefly translated and paraphrased in H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 212) may bear on the possibility of traditions that saw John the Baptist as “Enosh/Enoch reborn” in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of the coming of “one like unto the son of man” (R. Eisler, Messiah Jesus, pp. 231–232):

It may appear strange that Josephus does not know the Baptist’s name and speaks of him only as the “wild man” (’ish sadeh [literally “man of the field”]). But the explanation is surprisingly simple; it is given by the Baptist’s elusive answer, as quoted by the historian [i.e., Josephus, in the Slavic version of his account], to the question as to who he is: celovek esmi, “I am a man and as such (hither) has the spirit of God called me.” The Baptist therefore replied, ’Enosh ’ani, “I am ‘Enosh,’” i.e., simply “man,” just as Jesus called himself Bar nasha (cf. the Mandaean Bar-’Anosh = Adam, M. Lidzbarski, Ginza, p. 118 n. 14) the “Son of Man,” or simply “the man.” This explains at last how the Mandaeans, i.e., the Nasoraeans of Mesopotamia (see, e.g., M. Lidzbarski, Johannesbuch, p. 243; M. Lidzbarski, Liturgien, pp. 10ff., 25ff.; M. Lidzbarski, Ginza, pp. 29, 32, 47, 55), arrived at their peculiar doctrine, namely that Enosh reappeared in Jerusalem at the same time as ’Ishu Mshiha, Jesus Christ. The latter they are wont to call the “liar” or “impostor” (ibid., pp. 49ff) because he posed as a worker of miracles whom, however, Enosh unmasked. In all these transactions Enosh appears in a cloud, wherein he dwells or conceals himself and wherefrom at need he makes for himself the semblance of a body, walking thus on earth in human form (ibid., pp. 29, 199ff.). It has long since been recognized that this cloud has its origin in Daniel’s version, “there came with (or ‘on’) the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man” (Daniel 7:13). From all this it would appear that there must have existed a fierce rivalry between the disciples of the Baptist and those of Jesus who belonged to this particular circle. The inference might long ago have been drawn from the passage in the Fourth Gospel on the Baptist as the “forerunner” of the Messiah, inasmuch as the “wild man” throughout regards himself not as the forerunner of someone greater, but as the “reborn Enosh” foretold in Daniel’s vision, i.e., as the Messiah. At any rate, he was so regarded by his disciples (Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions, 1:54, p. 92; 1:60, p. 93. Cf. Luke 3:15).

40 See the discussion of the Hebrew term gibborim in Book of Moses Insight #5. In the context of the Book of Giants, it is arguably better understood as “mighty warrior” than “giant.”

41 G. Mobley, Empty Men, p. 35.

42 B. R. Doak, Giant in a Thousand Years, p. 24.

43 See H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, pp. 281–282.

44 Judges 14:5–6.

45 1 Nephi 2:16; 4:31; Mormon 2:1.

46 Moses 6:38.

47 R. Alter, Narrative, p. 74.

48 Moses 6:31.

49 A. Berlin, Poetics, p. 137, speaking of the conventions of biblical narrative.

50 See L. Turner, Announcements, pp. 13-14. An “announcement of plot” is not a description of what is happening at the moment in the narrative, but rather a brief anticipatory summary of the principal events of the story that follows. Turner gives the book of Genesis as an example (ibid., pp. 13-14):

Each of the four major narrative blocks which comprise the book (i.e., the primaeval history and the stories of Abraham, Jacob, and Jacob’s family) is prefaced by statements which either explicitly state what will happen, or which suggest to the reader what the major elements of the plot are likely to be. Thus the initial divine command to humans in 1:28 sets out in a brief compass what human beings are supposed to do, and it is a natural question for the reader to ask whether in fact what is expected to happen actually does happen. … While passages which drop clues concerning plot development are interspersed throughout the Genesis stories, it is significant that statements which have an explicitly programmatic purpose are set right at the beginning of narrative cycles. …
Because the Announcements cause the reader to expect the plot to develop in certain ways, one key consideration will be the fate of the individual Announcements. Does the plot in fact develop as the Announcement leads us to believe? If so, in what way, and if not, in what way and why not?

51 For more on Enoch as a “lad,” see Pearl of Great Price Central, “Enoch’s Prophetic Commission: Enoch As a Lad,” Book of Moses Insight #3 (May 15, 2020).

52 G. Mobley, Empty Men, p. 51.

53 See the relationship between Enoch and David as “lads” described in Insight #3 endnote 2.

54 Moses 6:37.

55 Moses 6:38.

56 Moses 6:39.

57 Alma 31:5. Note that the word “virtue” is a term whose older meaning connotes strength, especially strength in battle. It comes from the Latin nominative virtus (= valor, merit, moral perfection), which derives from the root vir (= man).

58 Alma 30:17.

59 Moses 7:13.

60 See Ether 12:27.

61 Moses 7:13.

62 Sss G. Mobley, Empty Men, pp. 59–68 for a description of how inspiration, fear, and courage functioned as heroic conventions.

63 Ibid., p. 2.

64 R. Alter, Hebrew Bible, Hosea 10:13, 2:1230–1231.

65 Ibid., 2 Kings 23:25, 2:606.

66 Ibid., Proverbs 24:5, 3:426.

67 G. Mobley, Empty Men, p. 3 uses the phrase “more the geber.”

68 Ibid., p. 4.

69 Moses 8:14.

70 Moses 8:20.

71 Moses 8:13–14.

72 Moses 8:21.

73 Moses 8:21.

74 Moses 8:13. For more on this episode, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, pp. 84, 203, 225; J. M. Bradshaw, Temple Themes in the Oath, pp. 53–65. Cf. H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 180.

75 For more on Nimrod as a “wild man” and the defeat of the gibborim, see Book of Moses Insight #12, forthcoming. See “What Makes Daffy Duck (1947),” at about 5:35. For a history of how the name of the biblical “mighty hunter” Nimrod (Genesis 10:9) became a synonym for an inept person, see K. Zurski, Nimrod Effect. Zurski seems to be mistaken about Bugs Bunny using the term “nimrod” to describe Elmer Fudd (MichaelK, In Which Cartoon), even though several websites claim he did it in “A Wild Hare” (1940). However in a cartoon called “Rabbit Every Monday” (1951) Bugs calls Yosemite Sam “the little nimrod” (at about 6:53).

76 See the discussion in J. L. Angel, Humbling, pp. 66–68. For an earlier discussion of translation difficulties in this passage, see L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 163. Edward Cook’s “preferable” (J. L. Angel, Humbling, p. 67) translation is: “[ ] of the wild beast has come, and the wild man they call [me]” (Edward Cook, “4Q531 (4QEnGiants(c) ar),” 22:8 in D. W. Parry et al., Reader, 3:495). Others, going further than Stuckenbruck’s more conservative reading of “rh of the beasts of the field is coming” (L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 164), understand the phrase as “the roar of the wild beasts has come” (F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (4Q531), 22:8, 262) or “the roaring of the wild beasts came” (J. T. Milik et al., Enoch, p. 208).

77 See J. L. Angel, Humbling, pp. 67–68.

78 Edward Cook, “4Q531 (4QEnGiants(c) ar),” 22:3–8 in D. W. Parry et al., Reader, 3:495. For a rationale that gives credit for the defeat of the gibborim to Enoch and his people, see Insight #24.

79 J. L. Angel, Humbling, p. 68. Angel continues:

The portrayal of Gilgamesh roaming like a wild man after the death of Enkidu is a well-known image from the Mesopotamian epic. And, as Matthias Henze has pointed out, Daniel’s portrait of Nebuchadnezzar as [having become] a wild man is best understood as a polemical reversal of Enkidu’s metamorphosis portrayed in Gilgamesh.

80 See J. L. Angel, Humbling, p. 68.

81 G. Mobley, Wild Man, p. 228.