Thursday, April 03, 2014

New frontiers in exobiology

No doubt OT parallels can be found for Jude 6 (not surprising since 1 Enoch itself is steeped in OT imagery).

I wasn't quoting Davids and Green on OT parallels. Davids cites what he takes to be a NT parallel, while Green cites what he takes to be Classical Greek parallels. 

I’m also glad to see that Davids makes the same connection with 1 Pet 3:19-10 as I do.

When Davids says Jude 6b refers to the same event as 1 Pet 3:19-20, that's contrary to your original claim that "the whole of Jude 6 is almost certainly a loose summary/paraphrase of 1 Enoch 12:4, 10:4 and 10:6 respectively"–or to Gen 6. It's a different source and a different event. 

I don’t see how your conclusion follows from Green’s point. Green himself does not conclude this, and, in fact, he subscribes to the same view of Jude 6 that I’ve already posited (viz., an allusion to the story in 1 Enoch).

i) Let's see. I preface my quotes from Davids and Green by saying "Even commentators who think Jude 6 includes an allusion to 1 Enoch…" 

You then act like it's inconsistent of my to quote Green since he thinks Jude 6 is an allusion to 1 Enoch. Far from being inconsistent with my appeal, my appeal made explicit allowance for the fact that they both think Jude 6 alludes to 1 Enoch. 

ii) In addition, the fact that they think it alludes to 1 Enoch makes their concessions and qualifications more significant. They only agree with you up to a point. 

iii) You're also equivocating. You said "the whole of Jude 6 is almost certainly a loose summary/paraphrase of 1 Enoch 12:4, 10:4 and 10:6 respectively."

But that is not Green's conclusion. Both Davids and Green distinguish between Jude 6a and Jude 6b (or Jude 6a, 6b, 6c). They attribute the first two clauses to 1 Enoch, but they attribute final clause to a different source (or referent). For Green, this is Classical Greek allusion rather than an Enochian allusion. That doesn't necessary mean Jude got it directly from Classical sources. It may have been a popular idiom within the Hellenistic Jewish circles in which he circulated. But in any event, if Green is correct, then it's not from 1 Enoch. I'm not necessarily vouching for Green's explanation. Just drawing attention to the complexities of the pinning down the source. 

In any case, the use of a phrase that is also used in Greek literature is not the same as relying on those Greek writers *conceptually*. Conceptually, he is quite clearly relying on Genesis 6 as informed by 1 Enoch.

You're asserting what you need to prove. 

Moreover, you're making to inconsistent claims:

i) He's relying on Genesis 6 as informed by 1 Enoch

ii) The whole of Jude 6 is almost certainly a loose summary/paraphrase of 1 Enoch 12:4, 10:4 and 10:6 respectively.

But if the whole of Jude 6 is summarizing/paraphrasing 1 Enoch, then you have no evidence that he's relying on Genesis as informed by 1 Enoch. The sole source/sole referent would be 1 Enoch rather than Gen 6.

You're acting as if Gen 6 is primary, and his use of 1 Enoch is just an explanatory gloss or interpretive expansion, but you're not getting that from Jude 6. If the whole of Jude 6 is summarizing/paraphrasing 1 Enoch, that that's front and center while Gen 6 is completely out of sight.

iii) You may try to get around that by saying 1 Enoch alludes to Gen 6, therefore Jude alludes to Gen 6 via 1 Enoch. However, Jude's use of 1 Enoch (assuming he's using 1 Enoch in v6) isn't controlled by 1 Enoch's use of Gen 6. Jude is free to do whatever he wants with 1 Enoch. The question at issue is not what Gen 6 meant to 1 Enoch, but how 1 Enoch functions in Jude's argument. He doesn't have to agree with 1 Enoch's interpretation of Gen 6. The question at issue is not how 1 Enoch interprets Gen 6, but how Jude appropriates 1 Enoch. 

iv) Keep in mind, too, that his use of this apocryphal literature may be ad hominem. Take the way Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Psalmists occasionally allude to pagan myths to polemicize against paganism.

And I don’t see the motif of Jude as “falling from heaven” (or falling from positions of authority, or any other version of that), because although the 'arch' language of v. 6 may lend itself to that idea in the case of the angels, that theme just doesn’t so readily apply to the other two examples Jude cites (the Exodus and Sodom and Gomorrah -- what 'positions of authority' did the men of Sodom fall from?). 
That's only a problem if you refuse to acknowledge the unique particularities of three different historical events. They all have similarities and dissimilarities. 
Not sure I’d characterize something like that as 'problematic.' Jude is not woodenly obliged to follow a single pattern in his writing style. V. 6 is a summary while vv. 14-15 is a quotation. Do we conclude that since the writer of Hebrews sometimes quotes from the Pentateuch and sometimes just alludes to it, that it’s thereby problematic to conclude he’s using the same source material in each case?
If, in fact, we already know, on independent grounds, that he's alluding to 1 Enoch in v6. If, however, that's the very issue in dispute, then why would he merely "summarize/loosely paraphrase" 1 Enoch in v6 if he quotes 1 Enoch directly/verbatim in vv14-15?
That works for concepts like 'bound' and 'kept'; not so much for phrases like 'cast into Tartarus.' Let’s face it. If this phrase were referring to unbelievers instead of angels, and we were in conversation with an annihilationist, would either of us be willing to argue this is just a metaphor for divine restraint?
Since I don't think discarnate spirits are physically chained or physically incarcerated in a subterranean prison, as a matter of fact I do construe the entire description as a figurative depiction. I don't arbitrarily break it up into literal elements and figurative elements. And the same applies to the souls of the damned during the intermediate state. 
Also, I have no antecedent objection to the possibility that the souls of the damned haunt some places on earth before they are finally consigned to hell at the Final Judgment. 
Keep in mind, I’m positing the view that Jude is alluding directly to Genesis 6 *as informed by* 1 Enoch.
And how do you ascertain that Gen 6 is the direct intended referent when you think paraphrased verses of 1 Enoch are the only actual passages on display? 
Figurative word-pictures that signify what exactly?
In Jude 6, the angelic fall and preliminary divine judgement thereof.  
I confess, I am uncomfortable with the notion that we can take positive statements made by a biblical writer about events he asserts actually 'happened' (especially events that are 'sandwiched' between two other OT events—do we conclude that Jude is likewise not invested in those?) and relegate them to the realm of idiomatic phraseology. Are you comfortable with that?
i) Are you trying to misunderstand my point? I distinguish between the reality of the event and the depiction of the event.
ii) Unlike you, I don't assume that Jude even referenced 1 Enoch in Jude 6. And even if I did, I don't assume that the actuality of the event is contingent on the veracity of 1 Enoch, rather than OT precedents. Likewise, even if I did think he alludes to 1 Enoch, I don't assume he's invested in 1 Enoch's cosmography.  
Nor do I think he’s committed to the notion that the offspring were 450 feet tall. What I think we can be certain he’s committed to is: (1) these angels did not keep their 'beginning state' (arche), (2) they 'abandoned' their 'oiketerion' (used only once elsewhere in the NT where it refers to our 'heavenly body' -- 2 Cor 5:1-4), (3) they were arguably involved in a sexual sin (the connection with 'sarkos heaters' in v. 7), and (4) as a result they are now being 'kept' in bonds in the 'undergloom' (into which 2 Peter insists they have been “cast”) for the day of judgment. Every other detail is up for grabs. 
Yet you previously said:
Why should this be significant? He summarizes the story from 1 Enoch, which makes that association explicit, and he's made it clear that his readers are already 'fully aware' of that story. What need does he therefore have to relay the story in detail?

There you seemed to indicate that Jude's reliance on 1 Enoch goes beyond what he explicitly uses in v6. We shouldn't confine ourselves to what he specifically selects in v6. Rather, he's cuing the reader to recall the detailed story in 1 Enoch. Now, however, you're cherry-picking 1 Enoch. 
My position is that if, in fact, Jude 6 alludes to 1 Enoch, then v6 itself is picking and choosing what Jude intended to evoke. You, however, are picking and choosing, not from what he himself chose to glean from his sources. Rather, you're going behind v6 to decide which elements of the Enochian angelic narrative Jude implicitly endorses, and which he ignores. Your procedure is quite arbitrary. It isn't consistent with Jude's selection or 1 Enoch. Rather, it combines Jude 6 with additional details of 1 Enoch, while suppressing other details.  
Your point is a fair one, and the concept of sonship is an important one in Scripture. I think it’s essential to consider the literary genre of the passages where the phrase occurs, but we have to establish usage first. None of your points overturns the fact that the phrase itself is not used in any of the passages you cite.
Seems to me that Deut 14:1 is an extremely close verbal parallel. Not to mention the many conceptual parallels I cited. 
It’s used only in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 and Gen 6. IF you agree that it refers to angels in the three instances in Job, and IF you agree that it occurs in the Pentateuch only in Genesis 6.
The Pentateuch is a literary unit. When interpreting terminology in Gen 6, Pentateuchal usage takes precedence. Likewise, Genesis routinely foreshadows concepts that receive further development in the remainder of the Pentateuch. 
So, the 'sons of God' were the mighty men? What exactly was the sin in their taking 'daughters of men' as wives? How is this connected with God’s displeasure in Gen 6:3?
Prohibited marriages in Scripture typically involve human partners. And there are various kinds of prohibited marriages in Scripture. It's not as if a prohibited marriage requires the angelic interpretation. 
Hence, in Gen 6, the phrase 'they took as their wives' is a euphemism for copulation.
Scripture isn't afraid to describe rape. 
It’s difficult to miss the connection between the Nephilim and the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men.
Commentators like Currid and Hamilton present exegetical arguments to the contrary. 
Nephilim simply means “giant.”
Actually, scholars usually take it to mean "fallen ones," assuming the noun means the same thing as the verb.
But that's incoherent on the angelic interoperation, for in that event, the "sons of God" would be the fallen ones (i.e. fallen angels) not their hybrid offspring.
And the author of Genesis 6 accounts for these types of giants that would come later (“and also afterward”). But the primary referent to 'Nephilim' still appears to be the offspring of the union between the 'sons of God' and the 'daughters of men.' The inclusion of 'Nephilim' in this passage makes no sense apart from recognizing this connection.  
You're making very generous assumptions about angelic biology. New frontiers in exobiology! How do you know that when angels mate with women, the offspring are giant men? I didn't realize we knew that much about angelic genetics. 


  1. It would make more sense than asserting that when the righteous marry the unrighteous they have giant offspring.

    1. How does that make more sense if we know nothing about angelic biology? Do we normally explain genetic anomalies by saying one of your parents was an angel?

      Moreover, it's the spies who said they were giants. And the spies were looking for a pretext to back out.