- – Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew
Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew is an intriguing look at the influence of the “Enoch template” on the composition of Matthew’s gospel. More specifically the author Amy Richter explores the possibility that Matthew included the four women in Yeshua’s lineage to draw his readers attention to events described in Genesis 6, events which included the illicit interactions between the fallen angels and women of earth as more fully described in the book of Enoch.
According to Genesis 6 and more completely elucidated in the book of Enoch these illicit affairs between fallen angels and women produce giant offspring who became a terror to the inhabitants of earth. Further these fallen angels taught mankind knowledge for which they were not ready or for which they were never intended. This knowledge include the arts of seduction, metallurgy, and warfare.
Amy Richter describes the theses of her book in this way:
“ This dissertation makes no claims of direct dependency of the Gospel of Matthew on the text of 1 Enoch. However, when examining Matthew chapters 1-2 in light of motifs of the Enoch watchers’ template, evidence of these motifs as background for the Gospel material is apparent. This evidence appears in the frequency with which Enochic motifs can be identified in connection with material in Matthew’s Gospel. The evangelist does not replicate any large sections of 1 Enoch, nor, as mentioned above, does he quote from 1 Enoch, with the possible exception of Sim’s example. However, again and again in Matthew’s genealogy and infancy narrative one finds motifs and allusions to the material that one also finds in 1 Enoch. The number of instances in which Enochic motifs occur even within the first two chapters of Matthew’s gospel, is too great for Matthew not to have been familiar with the Enochic tradition and for these to appear as background material as the evangelist tells his version of the story of Jesus.”
Mrs. Richter spends considerable time explain how she believes the four women in Matthew 1 were included specifically to draw the reader’s attention to the evil with which the fallen angelic host corrupted mankind in the years leading up to the great flood of Noah’s day. This corruption not only included the illicit arts as mentioned above but also include the pollution of the “seed” of mankind through whom the promised messiah would come.
Mrs. Richter goes on to explore the possibility that Matthew contrasts the illicit interactions between the “sons of God” and women and their gigantic offspring with the divinely ordain interaction of the Holy Spirit and Mary the mother of Yeshua. The former unsanctioned affair producing a consuming evil which threatened to destroy mankind and the later affair producing the promised messiah through whom all things are ultimately restored.
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Thought not mentioned by the author there is additional evidence in the gospel of Matthew which may support her thesis.
First the manner in which Matthew arranged Yeshua’s lineage is truly exceptional in the biblical record. This amazing lineage not only provided a detailed listing of Yeshua lineage but it also arranged that listing into three 14 generational groupings. This arrangement of 41 names had the further intriguing result of making Yeshua the 13th generation in the third generational grouping (14x14x13). That this was intentional on Matthew’s part is made clear when it is realized that in order to arrange Yeshua’s lineage in the manner he did he had to leave out four of Yeshua’s ancestors. These omissions occurring in the 2nd generational groupings between the 6th & 7th generation as well as the 13th & 14th generation.
The Jewish reader was unlikely to miss that symbolic nature of this arrangement. 6 bring the number of mankind and 7 the divine, thus this combination making 13. Keeping in mind that his arrangement also made Yeshua the 13th generation, then by his death and resurrection he would symbolically become the 14th generation as well.
Further a reasonable case can be made that the offspring of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 act like chronological markers which point the reader back in a larger chronological context to the events and people surrounding the story of Jared, Enoch, Noah and Abraham.
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Overall this was a fascinating and informative reader which will challenge the reader to reevaluate how they see the gospel of Matthew and the lineage of Yeshua within the context of the Enochian and Noachian traditions mentioned in both the Bible and the historical record.
Author: Amy E. Richter
Book Title: Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew (Princeton Theological Monograph Series Book 183
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse