The Second Book of Enoch (usually abbreviated 2 Enoch, and otherwise variously known as Slavonic Enoch or The Secrets of Enoch) is a pseudepigraphic (a text whose claimed authorship is unfounded) of the Old Testament. It is usually considered to be part of the Apocalyptic literature. Late 1st century CE is the dating often preferred. The text has been preserved in full only in Slavonic, but in 2009 it was announced that Coptic fragments of the book had been identified. Greek is indicated as the language behind the Slavonic version. It is not regarded as scripture by Jews or any Christian group. It was rediscovered and published at the end of 19th century.

Most scholars consider 2 Enoch to be composed by an unknown Jewish sectarian group, while some authors think it is a 1st century Christian text. A very few scholars consider it a later Christian work. This article discusses 2 Enoch. It is distinct from the Book of Enoch, known as 1 Enoch. There is also an unrelated 3 Enoch. The numbering of these texts has been applied by scholars to distinguish the texts from one another.

Content

The Second Book of Enoch can be divided in four sections:

In the first section (chapters 1-21) Enoch, when already at the age of 365, is taken by two angels and made pass through the seven heavens, one by one. The first heaven is found to be the place where the angels control atmospheric phenomena. In the second heaven he finds the prison for the rebel angels. In the third heaven he finds both paradise (as in 2 Cor 12:2) and hell for the men. The fourth heaven is the place of movements of the sun and of the moon which are described in detail. In the fifth heaven Enoch finds some Grigori that are grieved and he persuades them to resume their liturgical service. In the sixth heaven he finds the angels in charge of governing the cosmos and peoples.

In the second section (chapters 22-37) Enoch, now guided by Gabriel, is allowed to enter in the seventh heaven where he sees the Lord face to face. Afterwards he is anointed by Michael and becomes similar in appearance to the angels. The Lord asks the angel Vereviel to dictate to Enoch 360 books containing all that is knowable. Later, the Lord himself tells to Enoch the secrets of the creation up to the flood, which are unknown even to the angels. Enoch is finally sent back on the earth for thirty days.

The third section (chapters 38-68) is a list of doctrinal and ethical instructions given by Enoch to his sons: the main moral principle is the love for all the living beings (similar to the ethics found in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs), particularly noticeable is the lack of interest for the sin of fornication and not once is the Law of Moses referred to; Enoch teaches the uselessness of intercessions. At the end of the thirty days Enoch is taken into the heaven forever.

The last section (sometimes referred to as the Exaltation of Melchizedek) outlines the priestly succession of Enoch. Enoch’s son, Methuselah is asked by the people to act as priest but this solution is seen as temporary. Also temporary is the priesthood of Nir, grandson of Methuselah. Afterwards is narrated the miraculous birth of Melchizedek and his new priesthood (see Melchizedek in the Second Book of Enoch for a short summary). In manuscript B and in the long versions this section ends with a short narrative of the Deluge