Enoch and the Canon; was: Re: Nachmanides - Scapegoat

VALEDICTION info at valediction.com
Wed Jun 13 18:24:59 EDT 2001


Bearpecs at aol.com writes:
>>It is inconceivable that Ramban (Nachmanides) considered Enoch to be part of the canon in opposition to mainstream rabbinic practice.  Why should anyone think that because he quotes from a book there is an implication of canonicity?  He quotes Rashi also, and no one suggests that he considered Rashi to be part of the canon.  But of course, by "Holy Writ" you may not be referring to the canon as such but simply as writings inspired by G-d, in which case I can agree that it's possible he considered Enoch to have some degree of divine inspiration.  But it is equally possible that he considered Enoch to be secular but reliable.   Just as The Book of the Wars of Y-HWH etc. were quoted in the Torah but were not considered holy.

Yes, I was referring to its possibly being considered among the inspired writings... though I want to be careful not to draw any off-the-wall conclusions... I mean, just because someone has a book in his library that he draws information from doesn't necessarily mean that he considers the book divine.

For example, a student of the Bible might choose to draw some insights from a few science books to help reconcile some of the difficult passages of, say, Genesis 1... but his likely view is that the Bible is indeed Truth, while science only searches for truth... so, it would do him an injustice to poke through his library 300 years later and draw unfounded conclusions about him holding the view that Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" was divinely inspired...

But, with that said, I still think it's equally important for us to think outside of the box from time to time, and carefully make some conjectures which are within reason, as these are all things that ultimately help us to learn and grow.  And I don't think it's an off-the-wall possibility to wonder if perhaps the Ramban may have indeed considered the Book of Enoch to have some divine roots... especially in light of the fact that it wouldn't be unprecedented for one of the ancient commentators (beyond Judaism, perhaps) to have apparently held this view.

By the way, I do think it's worth noting that Nachmanides was one known for thinking outside of the box... or at least, that's the impression I've gotten from several years of hearing about his work.  

In fact, I have a book by David Novak called "The Theology of Nahmandies Systematically Presented."  My question would be, if his theology was so much in adherence to Rabbinical dictum, then why would it need to be systematically presented?  Why didn't Novak simply refer people to the Talmud Bavli to learn about the Ramban's theology?

Jonathan D. Safren writes:
>>I doubt it.  Ramban would have adhered to the Rabbinical dictum as set forth inTalmud Bavli, Bava Batra 14b-15a.

Yet another book that my library lacks... one thing is clear from this discussion, and it's that I need to really start beefing up my library... is it possible for you to type out those verses or perhaps point me to an on-line resource where I can pull up that reference?

Again, this is a subject I am really trying to understand, though I'm obviously not as well-versed as you guys are.

Also, since you brought up this whole topic, Jonathan, I wonder what was your thought in your original question:

"Could Nachmanides have known the Book(s) of Enoch (regardng his use of the term "the prince who rules over places of destruction" in his commentary on Lev. 16:8)?"

What are your thoughts on this?  In other words, what exactly was your thought in bringing up this subject?

I was also wondering... since I am probably among the minority here who cannot read Hebrew, but still enjoy trying to follow along with some of these discussions...  of the books we are discussing, namely the Book of Enoch, the Talmud Bavli, and Nachmanides' Commentary on the Torah, are there any good English translations of these which anyone might recommend?  I mean, I know of these books' existence and I've seen them for sale, but I'm afraid of picking up something with a bad translation.  Actually, a version with Hebrew and English would be ideal... 

Thanks, guys!

Joe Glean
Alexandria, VA - USA

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