New Testament Studies

Seminar Report

The Date of the Parables of Enoch: A Critical Review*


Amongst the many incidental issues raised by J. T. Milik in his edition of the Aramaic fragments of Enoch from Qumran1 that of the date of the Parables of Enoch is perhaps one of the most important. Although there has never been anything approaching a consensus as to the exact date of this work, I would think it fair to say that many scholars in this century, if not the majority, have taken the view that the Parables are Jewish in origin; many have also argued that they date from before A.D. 70.2 Milik's view that the Parables are Christian and date from around A.D. 270 has such enormous implications for our understanding of the development of intertestamental Judaism and of the use of the term ‘Son of Man’ in the gospels that it demands very careful consideration. It also suggests that the evidence on which the Jewish origin and pre-A.D. 70 dating has been based needs to be re-examined.


* A preliminary draft of this paper was read at a New Testament Seminar held at University of London King's College on 23 May 1978; it was subsequently iead at a session of the Pseudepigrapha Seminar of the SNTS held at the Paris Conference on 26 July 1978. I am grateful to the members of both seminars, and particularly to Professor G. N. Stanton, for their helpful comments.