A Book Review
Phil Long’s The Book of Enoch for Beginners: A Guide to Expand Your Understanding of the Biblical World is a clear and compact introduction to 1 Enoch, a Jewish apocalyptic work composed “as early as the third century BCE in Judea” (3). According to the biblical scholar and expert on pseudepigrapha R. H. Charles, “The Book of Enoch is for the history of theological development the most important pseudepigraph of the first two centuries B.C. (163). Every student of the Bible should know something about this Jewish apocalyptic book. It deals with matters of Messianism, angels, and eschatology. Long has provided the ideal introductory guide with easy-to-understand summaries and commentary on 1 Enoch. He distills key concepts and highlights the significance of Enoch for our understanding of early Judaism and Christianity.
Part 1 of the book, “An Introduction to 1 Enoch,” orients readers to the work by providing helpful background information such as the contents of its five books and the circumstances of its rediscovery. Long identifies its connection with the Bible (e.g., the question of canonicity, Enoch the person) and the books of 2 and 3 Enoch. Part 1 is a solid orientation. It’s much shorter than Part 2, but the second part of this book includes many one-page side-bar discussions on introductory matters such as the 1 Enoch quotation in Jude 14–15, Tartarus, heaven, and resurrection in the Old Testament.
The much longer Part 2, “Uncovering the Book of Enoch,” devotes a chapter to each of the five books of 1 Enoch. Each chapter presents the following:
- A one-page summary of the book
- A “Facts at a Glance” section
- Introductions to each section
- Key verses quoted from the translation of R. H. Charles
- Fascinating sidebar discussions on related topics
The book also has an attractive layout with nice design elements and a cohesive color palette. At the back of the book, readers will also find suggested resources for further reading available online and in print.
The Book of Enoch for Beginners is an excellent introduction and worthy companion to read alongside this esoteric apocalyptic text. First Enoch is a text I’ve had very little exposure to. Reading Long’s concise guide taught me a lot and piqued my interest to read and learn more about the Book of Enoch.
Note: I was provided an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
Order this book and other Enoch resources on Amazon.