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The Ahistorical Nature of 1 Enoch 56:5-8 and Its Ramifications upon the Opinio Communis on the Dating of the Similitudes of Enoch

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Over the past several decades the hypothesis that 1 Enoch 56:5-8 alludes to the historical Parthian incursion into Palestine in 40 B.C.E. has garnered increasing support, and it is by this alleged allusion that the Similitudes of Enoch are often assigned a Herodian date. In contrast, this article argues that a more fruitful approach to the interpretation of 1 Enoch 56:5-8 would be to understand the text as drawing upon a (proto-)apocalyptic tradition that expects foreign invaders to attempt to wage war against Jerusalem in an eschatological battle. Since other passages containing this tradition (Ezek 38-39; Sib. Or. 3.657-732; Rev 20:7-10; 4 Ezra 13:5-11) are not considered to be rooted in vaticinium ex eventu, the validity of using this text within the historical-allusional method of dating is consequently called into question.

Affiliations: 1: Trinity Western University, Seal Kap, 7600 Glover Road, Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1 Canada;, Email:


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