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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.27 n.2 Pretoria  2014




Allotted place and cursed space in 1 Enoch 12-361



Pieter M. Venter

University of Pretoria





An analysis of the three journeys of Enoch (1 En. 12-36) shows that preference is given to the spatial aspect in these revelation narratives. Both the heavenly journey (1 En. 12-16) and the two earthly journeys to the ends of the earth (1 En. 17-36) implicate space. An actantial model as well as critical spatiality is used to analyze these stories. Allocated place and cursed space influenced by mantic wisdom using cosmological schemes are used here to depict the exclusive ideas of the author(s).




Prinsloo2 suggested that a "comprehensive spatial approach taking cognizance of different spatial aspects" should be followed when using critical spatiality. In literary space attention should be paid to the interaction of aspects such as "narrative space, social space and spatial orientation on the horizontal and vertical levels."3

The first thirty six chapters of Ethiopian Enoch is called "Book of the Watchers." It was probably written during the second century B.C.E., the same time as most of the Apocrypha. This book can be subdivided into three parts: the introduction (chs. 1-5), the descent of the sons of God (chs. 6-11) and the narratives of Enoch's three journeys (chs. 12-36). This paper investigates the travels in 1 En. 12-36.

Collins4 discerned between two forms of apocalypses: revelations as symbolic dreams/ visions and revelations where the "visionary is taken on an otherworldly journey, with an angelic guide, and sees the abodes of the dead, the place of judgment, and even the divine throne." These three journeys belong to this second category of otherworldly journeys. They can be categorised as typical apocalyptic literature with a narrative framework, angels in an intermediary role and a transcendent reality depicted in both temporal and spatial terms.

This investigation of 1 En. 12-36 will first address the narrative and spatial aspect of these three journeys. An actantial model will be used to analyse the role of the spatial depiction in these narratives. This spatial portrait will next be studied in terms of the theory of critical spatiality. Having summarised the depiction of spatiality in these three narratives, a proposal of the significance of space on the level of third space will be presented.



An actantial model could be used to understand the relations between the role players in a narrative.5 In the unfolding of a narrative a subject could be identified that eventually evolves into the object of the narrative. This development is driven by a sender who initiates the action. Other characters in the story could be helpers who aid the development of the plot. One character could benefit from the realisation of the object and is then called the receiver or beneficiary. An opponent could resist the development of the plot and attempts to impede the realisation of the object.

In a narrative "something happens to someone, somewhere and sometime."6 When this "somewhere" plays a predominant role, like in travel stories describing visits to different places, spatial analysis should be used as well.

The space utilised in this type of narrative is called "focal space." Focal space is used in a narrative as a strategy to convey an ideological perspective.7 McHale8 called this a "heterotopian space" or "zone." Soja9 used the term "trialectics of spatiality." Not only historicity and sociality are to be taken in account, but also space in a triple dialectic reflecting the all-embracing dimensions of human life.10 Knott11 refers to "a unified view of space in which . . . physical, mental and social space are brought together."

In this "dialectically linked triad"12 Soja discerns three levels of space: first, second and third space. "First Space" or "Perceived Space" indicates physical space that is experienced in terms of empirically measurable configurations, location, measurements, design and geography.13 Abel-Main and Dan refers to First Space in the first episode.

"Second Space" or "Conceived Space" refers to abstract conceptualising of space.14 Space is mentally constructed or ordered, shaped by political viewpoints dominating the concepts and ideas about space.15

The approaches used for First and Second Space are reinvigorated from ideas in "Third Space." Soja16 understood this third or lived space "as a strategic location from which to encompass, understand, and potentially transform all spaces simultaneously." From the ontological trialectic of spatiality-historicality-sociality totally new heuristic avenues can be opened up. Maier17 argued "that space described in biblical texts comprises all three dimensions of space: such 'narrated' space is produced by spatial practice that makes use of its materiality as well as by certain ideology and experience of living in it."

1 Enoch's First Journey (1 En. 12-16)

The first journey (12-16) reiterates "the message of chs. 6-11."18 It links the third section of the Book of the Watchers (12-36) to the second section (6-11). It also forms the first episode of the three sequential journey narratives in chs. 12-16, 17-19, and 20-36.

This first narrative depicts a visionary journey from earth to heaven. Himmelfarb19 described this as another example of an "ascent apocalypse."20 Himmelfarb formulated it as ". . . .[A]n understanding of heaven as a temple with angels and heavenly priests. . . "21 Sulzbach remarks that the depiction of the buildings in heaven, "draw heavily on the traditional layout of the Jerusalem Temple."22 It is an "extended celestial temple complex inhabited by the Deity."23

There are five scenes in this episode24: The heavenly watchers sent Enoch to the watchers on earth to announce God's divine judgment (12:1-6); Enoch then returned to the watchers and was requested by them to petition God for forgiveness (13:1-6); Enoch saw a vision and reported it to the fallen watchers at Abel-Main (13:7-10); a summary of the vision (14:1-7) follows and the episode ends with an extended summary of Enoch's vision when he visited the heavens and received an oracle from the Lord regarding the fallen angels (14:8-16:4).

In actantial terms the commissioning of Enoch is the subject of this narrative. Altogether there are three commissionings in this episode building up to the climax of the last one by God himself.25 These are interrupted by two interpolations referring to Asael and his group. Enoch was first commissioned by the angels in heaven to announce doom to the fallen watchers, then commissioned by them to petition God for forgiveness and lastly commissioned by God himself to announce his divine ordeal of the watchers.

The senders who initiated Enoch's actions are the heavenly angels and God. The angels echoed God's decision to punish the watchers on earth. In stereotypical liturgical language the Lord is called the Lord of majesty, King of the ages, the Great Holy One, the Great One and the Great Glory. His majesty guaranteed the finality and sublimity of the announcement Enoch was to make.

The fallen watchers oppose God's decision. They are characterised as transgressors who violated the boundary between heaven and earth and forsake their priestly status by defiling themselves with earthly women. They wanted to thwart God's decision and tried to nullify the judgment.

The object of the narrative is Enoch's comprehension of the message he was to deliver. He is depicted as a human being in contact with the heavenly watchers. He is a righteous man and scribe of truth (15:1). He is commissioned by the Lord to deliver his message of doom. He also acted as the intercessor between the fallen watchers and God by being the amanuensis of God, but also of the fallen watchers requesting him to present their petition to God. He is indeed the "first prophet"26 with full prophetic credentials and with free access to God.

His experience during his journey to heaven helps Enoch understand his commission. What he heard and saw when he was with the heavenly angels and again when he ascended to heaven in his vision, made God's decision clear to him. Space functions as helper in the narrative, helping Enoch to understand the contents of his commission.

The space referred to is everyday space restricted to only two identifiable areas (Abel-Main and Dan, south of Hermon). The narrative space (space depicted in the narration) is depicted in metaphorical language. The narrator used quasi mimetic language but depicted place and space in poetic and metaphorical terms. Usually three types of space are referred to in narrative localisation: geopolitical (towns and areas), topographical (earth, sea, dessert) and architectural (house, temple) space.27 However, in this episode walls and houses are built of hailstones, floors of snow and fire, ceilings are flaming fire and God's throne was like the shining sun. This type of depictions adds an additional meaning to space in the narrative.

Space plays a very important role in this episode. On a vertical axis it discerns between heaven and earth. The fallen watchers were bound in bonds on the earth for all eternity (14:5). They will never be able to ascend to heaven again. On the other hand Enoch ascended in his vision to heaven and received manifestation there of his commission by God himself. If we accept Sulzbach's28 proposal in understanding the depiction of the "heavenly realm as existing within a fourth or higher dimensional space, whereas the earthly realm is connected to a three-dimensional space" this difference between above and down becomes much clearer.

The narrator uses space to characterise God and the sublimity of his commission. The extensive description of space in primarily architectural terms enhances the characterisation of the Lord and his indictment. He sat on a holy throne, had apparel like the sun and flaming fire encircled him. Enoch saw him living in a house built of hailstones and tongues of fire, with a ceiling like shooting stars and a floor of fire. Each of these higher dimension spatial descriptions contributes to the majestic characterisation of the Lord.

On the horizontal level space is also divided between different areas. Down on earth the fallen angels were gathered at Abel-Main, while Enoch distanced himself from them by going to the waters of Dan, south of Hermon. Up in heaven Enoch also moved on a horizontal level approaching God on his throne. In this case locality undergirds the opposition between the fallen watchers and God on the vertical level and also between the trespassers and God's commissar on the horizontal level.

By depicting space in this way the narrator designed a map by means of which the places referred to in first space can be experienced.29 On the level of "Third Space" or "Lived Space" epistemologies are used that come from a "sympathetic deconstruction and heuristic reconstitution of the Firstspace-Secondspace duality."30 In this narrative the narrator depicted space in terms of metaphors originating from his general world view.

The space depicted in this first episode not only undergirds the divine meaning of Enoch's commission, but also represents the narrator's world view that there are two kinds of watchers: some of them in heaven with God and others restricted to an earthly existence. But also on earth there is a division between the fallen watchers who married human women and righteous servants like Enoch, commissioned by God to announce his judgment. The different scenes and especially those in heaven with all its extraordinary paraphernalia not only enhanced the sovereignty of the heavenly watchers and of the Lord, but also of his messenger Enoch. Enoch's journey up to heaven bestowed a dimension of authority on his commission. Enoch as righteous man was allowed into heaven to approach the source of the message. Vertically orientated space therefore expresses the difference between God with his company and those who are disobedient. This theme is also indicated by the use of horizontal orientated space. The fallen watchers lived in a different space than Enoch at Dan. There is a spatial distance between God's righteous messenger Enoch, and the place where the transgressors are staying. Enoch was admitted to heaven while they were finally restricted to earth. In the next two episodes their place will be indicated as allotted places and cursed spaces.

2 Enoch's Second Journey (17-19)

In conjunction with God's commission in the previous episode Enoch now gets insight into the extent of his commission. Enoch journeyed to the northwest of the earth guided by angels to receive "a tour of the mythical world."31

This episode comprises two sections. In 17:1-18:5 Enoch visited "the foundation of the earth and the cornerstone of the earth" (18:2). In the second section (18:6-19:3) he visited the prison assigned to the fallen watchers. Each section ends with a summary: 18:1-5 summarises the first section and 19:1-2 the second.32

There are seven scenes in total. In each the topography is that of rivers, mountains, and seas. Poetic expressions are used to picture these localities in metaphorical and architectural terms. They are called "rivers of fire" (17:5), "foundation of the earth" (18:2), "cornerstone of the earth" (18:2), "pillars of heaven" (18:3, 10), "prison for the stars" (18:14). Terms like fire, light and darkness contribute to the impression these phenomena made on Enoch. The spaces referred to in scenes six and seven are phantasmagorical places, often evasively indicated as "a" place.33 They are beyond the earth's surface, totally deserted and have no firmament or earth beneath them. They are so strange that the angel Uriel had to explain their meaning to Enoch. He indicated that they are the places that God allocated for the fallen angels who transgressed.

As this is a continuation of the previous episode, God is still the sender. The subject of this journey is Enoch's pursuit to understand the meaning of God's judgment. The objective is accomplished when the episode ends with Enoch's remark "I saw what no other human being ever saw" (19:3). God's plans are revealed to him.

The different places he visited helped Enoch understand this revelation. They have a specific meaning in terms of God's decision on the fallen watchers. The angels accompanying him during his quest (only Uriel being mentioned by name in 19:10) played a subsidiary role. They only function in so far as they helped him understand God's commission by interpreting the phantasmagorical places he visited. Space is therefore again the helper in this episode.

The portrayal of space gives expression to the cognitive spatial apocalyptic perspective of the narrator. In this episode the Lord's decision on evil is now linked to specific cosmologic spatial phenomena. The narrative space can therefore be called focal space. Characterisation and time depiction are all linked to the space narrated. Nickelsburg remarked that "space complements and reinforces time."34 It is actually space which is complimented by time.

Space is here changed into a horizontal orientation. Vertical orientation is also found but in a secondary role. The best way to describe spatiality here is by using the term "in-between." Enoch went west. The western direction was synonymous in ancient near eastern thinking to death. Enoch visited places where those who stayed there were like a flaming fire and could appear as human beings if they wished (17:1), where those who mingled with women could be found (19:1), and where the prison for the stars and for the host of heaven was (18:14). These were places with neither heaven above nor firm earth beneath (18:12). The winds stand between earth and heaven (18:3). There were mountains reaching to heaven (18:6) but also the waters of the abyss (17:7) and pillars of fire "immeasurable toward the depth and toward the height" (18:11). Enoch was moving through areas "in-between" heaven and abyss. He visited places of doom and irrevocable punishment. These places are also "in-between" chronologically. The stars were bound in their prison "until the time of the consummation of their sins - ten thousand years" (18:16).

God's decision is depicted here in terms of space and time, an "in-between area" where all those who transgressed are kept till the consummation of their ordeal. The areas towards the west are keeping those who God judged as prisoners. They are allotted specific cursed places on earth where they neither belonged to heaven nor to blessed earth.

3 Enoch's Third Journey

The third journey (20:1-36:4) continues from the previous journey (17-19). This time the movement is from west to east, from negative to positive. Continuing his journey to comprehend God's commission, Enoch visited more sites. More characters are introduced in this episode although they all play an identical role. It is a "reversed version" 35 of the journey in 17-19. Similarities can be indicated between the second and third journey: in both there is a prison of the stars (18:14), and a mountain like the throne of God (18:8, 24:3). This episode is also more extensive in narrating a journey on cosmological and eschatological scale from the west end of the world, following a "strict geographic scheme to the far east and then in a circle around the earth's disk."36 To the traditions already found in chs. 17-19 different kinds of material are added: places of eschatological significance, phenomena from the broader Enochic cosmological tradition and aspects of a wisdom tradition.37

Nine scenes are found in this episode. It starts with cursed space in the west and then fades out to blessed places in the east. The negative evil fades into the glory of God. The first scene (20:1-8) lists seven accompanying angels acting in the same order in the unfolding of the rest of the episode (except for Remiel who is not mentioned again). Scenes 2 (21:1-6), 3 (21:7-10), 4 (22:1-14) and 5 (23:1-24:1) depict places described as chaotic, terrible, a mountain with hollow places, pursuing fire. Each of these places contained stars of heaven that transgressed, imprisoned angels, spirits of the souls of the dead and luminaries of heaven pursued by fire. All of them are linked to God's judgment of those who transgressed. They are cursed places allocated by God for those whom he will judge.

Scene 4 (22:1-14) reflects a change from negative to positive in Enoch's journey. Not only are the following scenes 6 (24:2-25:7), 7 (26:1-27:5), 8 (28:1-32:6), and 9 (33:1-36:4) depicted in a very positive way, standing in stark contrast to the first four scenes but a darkness-light, righteous-sinners division is portrayed in scene 4. The division between Enoch at Dan and the fallen angels at Abel-Main of the first episode is repeated. The four hollow places in the high mountain (22:2, 9) are divided between these opposites. The hollow places contained the souls of the dead but the sinners and righteous were separated into different burial places. Three of these hollow places were dark, while another one was illuminated. The souls of the righteous were contained in the hollow place where the bright fountain of water was. In the other hollow places the spirit of the sinners were contained, separated from the righteous awaiting the day of judgment. This theme is repeated in scene 7 where a cursed valley is depicted and where the cursed are kept until the day of the judgment.

The theme of water, but specially that of fragrant and beautiful trees and mountains, is found in the last four scenes. These scenes are linked to the throne of God (25:3), the temple of God in the centre of the world (26:1), the paradise of righteousness with its tree of wisdom (32:3), and the cosmic winds, heavenly stars and the gates of heaven (33:1-34:4).

The accompanying seven angels helped Enoch to link the places he saw to God's commission. Like the previous episode they play a subsidiary role in Enoch's discovery of God's decision. Their function is restricted to interpret the places Enoch visited in terms of God's decision. At the places Enoch visited he progressively discovered the meaning of the Lord's decision regarding the unrighteous and the righteous for the final judgment.38 His exploiting journey of obtaining esoteric wisdom on how God's creation is linked to God's management of the earth, ended in the climax of his final exultation in 36:4: The Lord "wrought great and glorious wonders, to show his great deed to his angels . . . so that they might see the work of his might. . . and bless him forever" (63:4).

The depiction of space is again the actual helper in attaining the objective of the plot. Space and place are mysterious in this episode. The depiction of space in this episode is quasi mimetic. Although the narrative refers to everyday phenomena such as mountains and fire, the scenarios of the narrative are far removed from everyday reality. The different places have to be interpreted to Enoch for him to understand what he sees. In ten of the scenarios the space is explicitly symbolic and has only meaning within the narrative itself. Examples of this can be found inter alia in "holy mountain" (26:2),39, 40 "center of the earth" (26:1) and "paradise of righteousness"(32:3). Most of the places are topographical sites (mountains, sea, valleys) not named at all.41 Locality is indicated in terms of wind direction only. Structural space is also used.42

All these places are cosmologic mythical places. Each space is evaluated in terms of a good or bad relation between God and his creatures. Some are reserved for those who transgressed43 and some are for the righteous. These places are interpreted by the angels in terms of God's punishment and function as aids in the unveiling of God's decision.

The narrator used perceptual focalisation and particularly used space to explore his/her ideology of the dualistic relationship between God and man in terms of geographical space. Enoch's journey across the world is simultaneously a journey into God's will. He received privileged knowledge which God "has prepared . . . .for people (who are) righteous, and has created them and promised to give them" (25:7).44

4 Summary of Enoch's Journeys

The three journeys in 1 En. 12-36 continue the narration on the rebellion of the watchers in 1 En. 6-11. In all of them the object is God's commission for Enoch to announce God's punishment to the fallen watchers. To help Enoch to understand his mission he was sent to different places each explaining the cosmological comprehensiveness of the Lord's judgment.

While chronology is more often used in apocalypses, in these journeys preference was given to spatiality. The narrator did not use a traditional chronological scheme for his/her apocalyptic narrative. There is only one vague reference to "the time of the day of the end of the great judgment" (22:4). Thom45 indicated that everything Enoch experiences during his journeys ". . . has either a cosmological or an eschatological significance, and in most cases both." Nickelsburg remarked ". . .cosmology undergirds eschatology."46

Common to all three of these journeys is the supporting function of narrative space. Like 1 En. 41:1-44:1; 52:1-56:4; 59:1-60:16; 93:11-14 and 100:10-101:9, cosmological knowledge is used in the narratives. The angels of heaven were dedicated to help Enoch attain this knowledge. In each of the journeys revelation is linked to specific places on earth and to cosmological space. A gradual revelation takes place when the revealed truth is linked to space in one scene after the other. God's final decision is repeated again and again linking it to a growing quantity of scenes.

Nickelsburg stated that in 1 En. 13:7-9 we have "a pair of precise and accurate references to several known geographical locations in Upper Galilee."47 It is probable that the author "has at least a passing acquaintance with a kind of scientific knowledge that includes things that we would call botany, geography, astronomy and gemmology."48 However, the narrated space became a totally different kind of space in the literary creation of the narrative space in these narrations. It became second space related to a first space of which we know very little today. It is also related to the third space or lived space of the author that we can only deduct from the narration.

Being apocalyptic literature Enoch's journeys narrate the revelation of God's cosmic management of the world. It is revealed to Enoch not in terms of one or another chronological scheme, but in terms of allocation of space. Place and space embody the keys to God's decision in heaven. There is a social rivalry in the world between good and evil, righteousness and transgression. God already decided on the end result of this conflict by dividing the earth between places reserved for the ones who obey him and those who went against his will. God allotted different places to the righteous and to the transgressors. There are cursed places on earth reserved for those who transgressed and went against God's will. They are to wait there for the time of the day of the end of the great judgment (22:4). This secret is revealed to those like Enoch who obtain heavenly wisdom on their journey on earth.



The lived space of the narrator is firstly linked to the perceived space of Abel-Main and Dan south of Hermon. All three narratives are mapped in terms of Enoch's locality at Dan. This is the area from which Enoch started out on his journeys. Dan was in Upper Galilee and probably refers to the domicilium of the author and his group. Nickel sburg's49 study of sacred geography in 1 En. 6-16 took literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence of the Hermon area into account, compared 1 En. 13 and Testament of Levi 2-7, and came to the conclusion that there was ". . . Jewish religious, indeed, revelatory activity in this area during the Hellenistic period."50 Goulder's51 theory was that the Korahite Levites originating from Dan joined the Jerusalem priesthood maintaining an independent position and even opposing the Zadokites in Jerusalem. The use of the name of Dan and Hermon indicates their independent position and opposition to what was happening among the priests in Jerusalem.

Although no other place is named in the rest of the narratives, it reflects at least some kind of botanical, geographical and astronomical knowledge.52 There was "a developed 'scientific' lore about astronomy, astrology, calendar and angelology."53 Grelot54 and Collins55 indicated a Mesopotamian background for the astrological and calendric references in these narratives. Probably the Greek Nekyia reports of post mortem punishments narrated in the form of a journey to the underworld,56 or "ägyptischen Unterweltsbücher, die eine exakte Geographie der Unterwelt erstellen"57 were used in these narratives. A mythical geographical matter of some kind or another must have played a central role in the mind of the author. Some (older) northern tradition was entwined in an apocalyptical framework in which cosmic space plays a dominant role.

However, much more than mere ideological space is intended here. The narrative presents what Mills called "geo-graphing space.58" A dualistic "schema"59 is imposed on the places Enoch visited. Enoch lived at Dan while the fallen watchers gathered at Abel-Main. While some places are allotted to the evildoers, others are reserved for the righteous. The watchers who sinned will stay down on earth forever, while the righteous watchers and people like Enoch can ascend to heaven. Whatever the traditions or information that played a role in the narrator's composing the story; the cosmos is now represented in terms of a division into two parts. The division indicated on first space level with names like Dan and Abel-Main and the separation between places allotted to evildoers on second space level and those for the righteous, are integrated in a third space world view that experiences life in binary terms. Those who are obedient to the Lord are blessed. Those who went against God are cursed. The allotted places and spaces in the cosmos undergird this dualistic persuasion.

Man usually regards his locality as the centre of the world. Here he is at-centre. While Enoch was at Dan everything was in place. Starting out from there he soon experienced scenarios which left him dumbfounded. His journey is narrated in terms of a vertical and a horizontal orientation. On a vertical level he came into contact with what De Villiers, following the theories of Wyatt, would call "the world of the gods, those in transcendent and infernal spheres."60 Initially he feared and trembled because of what he saw up in heaven. However, when he summarizes his visionary visit to heaven he refers to his commission as that which the Great One has given to humans to understand with their heart, "to understand the words of knowledge" (14:3). His vertical movements brought understanding and security to him. That empowered him to continue his journey to the ends of the earth.

On a horizontal level orientation in the ancient world was from south to north and from east to west. The moral-spatial axis from south to north is not used directly in the narration of Enoch's journeys. The temporal axis of east-west is used for his journeys. The second journey deals with areas in a western direction indicating where the cursed watchers are kept for the future consummation of their sins for ten thousand years (18:16). It seems as if the chronological aspect usually playing the main role in apocalypses is downplayed here and is replaced by a spatial orientation using the direction to the west in the second journey as an indication of what is to be expected in future at the last judgment.

The east is where the sun rises and was seen as the origin of everything and of the past. Therefore, when Enoch moved from west in an eastern direction during his third journey he moved from cursed places in the west towards blessed places in the east. Not only does the idea of a dualistic division of space between good and bad occur again, it also follows a pattern of off-centre and at-centre as can be seen in Enoch's moving from one place to another. On four occasions he uttered a blessing during his third journey. He visited the hollow places containing the souls of the sinners and the righteous and after Raphael (in charge of the spirits of men) explained its meaning he blessed the "judgment of righteousness" (22:14) and the Lord as the Lord of majesty and righteousness. Having seen the future throne of God at a high mountain, he blessed the God of glory ''who has prepared such things for people (who are) righteous" (25:7). This blessing follows after Michael (in charge of the good ones among the people) explained the scene to him. After he saw the cursed valley where the righteous judgment will take place and the godless will praise the Lord of Glory as explained to him by Sariel (in charge of the spirits who sinned) he blessed again (See 27:5). He then proceeded to the end of the world with its four wind directions and observed everything. He blessed the Lord of glory who wrought wonders and who shown his great deeds to his angels and spirits of human beings (see 36:4).

He observed different places and had to ask for the meaning of these places. They set him off-centre and resulted in him being lost at how to understand what he sees. The moment it was explained to him he understood what it meant in terms of his commission. Each blessing is addressed to the God of Glory who judged righteous over the godless and the God fearing people. He understood61 what his commission entails and is then at-centre again.

This knowledge puts him in a position of power. What Geiger said elsewhere62 is also true of what is happening here: "the space of narration is expanded to a 'space of reflection' . . . creating utopian space." The narrator lives in a mental space where he identifies himself with the righteous in opposition to the cursed ones. As all maps are representations of power, the map drawn by Enoch's journeys empowers his position against the sinners. A type of "hierarchicalization"63 of space takes place. Some people and places are cursed, while the narrator and the places God allotted to him and his fellow righteous are blessed. A strategy of designing "religious geography"64 is used to justify the narrator's position and his knowledge. The utopian space in which Enoch lived, probably stood in opposition to the world view of people who viewed the whole world as under their control with their view being the only correct one.

The comprehensiveness of Enoch's spatially-revealed knowledge is also indicated by a pattern in these blessings. Enoch blessed God for his righteous judgment of the sinners in negative blessings one (22:14) and three (27:5). In positive blessings two (25:7) and four 36:4) he praised the Lord who favours the righteous. This forms an ABAB pattern parallelising the cursed and the blessed with each other. Enoch is not put off-centre when observing the cursed places, neither put at-centre only when he observed the blessed places. Whether places are cursed or blessed Enoch is after all still at-centre, because God judged righteously in all cases. Enoch and his comrades are in control of everything on earth. They know the meaning of both bad and good.

When Enoch saw the extremities of all things he declared: "And no one among humans has seen as I saw" (19:3). His exclusive knowledge gave Enoch an exclusive identity as well. This implies boundaries and alienation. The object of Enoch's journeys was to understand God's commission and its implications. He obtained esoteric wisdom of how God manages his creation allotting cursed spaces to transgressors and keeping aside blessed places for those who are obedient. This type of mantic wisdom explored the hidden order of the world and projected a dualistic pattern on the cosmos that divides the world into blessed and cursed places. Some space is reserved for the righteous and other cursed places are allotted to the transgressors. This division implies boundaries. Sulzbach refers to wisdom related to the spatial paradigm which is to be "understood within the framework of boundary crossings and boundary transgressions."65 Border demarcation "consists of precise criteria for determining on which side of the border one is located."66

The fallen angels transgressed the borders by mingling with human women. To draw the boundaries it is necessary to identify those who are on the other side of the boundary such as the fallen watchers. Soja's Thirding-as-Othering saw lived space as space of resistance.67 In Third Space imaginative and symbolic use is made of physical space "in order to realize the possibility of resisting the power of a dominant order, regime or discourse."68 To indicate the "Other" this esoteric wisdom used their apocalyptic map of the world to identify the righteous and the sinners. As Enoch's point of departure was Dan in Upper-Galilee the ideological identification of this region with the righteous seems to indicate a north-south moral-spatial axis dividing the righteous and the sinners. Those in the south are those who are to be resisted. On moral grounds they are inferior. As indicated above this is probably a reference to the Jerusalem priesthood who are in power.

This line of argument can be advanced by following Boccaccini who ascribed these narratives to "Enochic Judaism,"69 indicating a priestly group who were excluded from the ruling class. Whether this was a group or only a movement is debatable. According to Boccacini this type of Judaism based its theology on ancient myths in which Enoch was the hero. It stood in opposition to the Zadokite covenant theology in Jerusalem. A tradition is represented here which "viewed the Jerusalem priesthood as defiled and therefore under the irrevocable judgment of God."70 The narratives of Enoch indicate that space, place and identity played a central role in the physical and mental world they lived in. Their lived space is linked to spatiality and revealed wisdom in these stories.

A hint to the narrator's identity and frame of reference can be found in the relationship to the Ezra-Nehemiah literature. Nickelsburg71 links the weeping of the watchers at Abel-Main (13:9) with Ezra 9-10 and Neh 8. Enoch as scribe (1 En. 12:3) coincides with Ezra 7:6, 11 and Neh 8:1, 4.72 What is even more, the narrator has the same exclusive stance as the community in EzraNehemiah. Enoch distanced himself from the watchers at Abel-Main. Along with God and his heavenly angels he distanced himself from the fallen angels and everything associated with these transgressors.

The dream vision report in 1 En. 83-84 can be compared to the journey narratives.73 Three similar traditions are found there: the fall of the angels, call of Enoch and his intercession with God for a remnant on earth. Two theological messages can be found in those two chapters: the extent of salvation is restricted to those who are part of the posterity of Enoch and this salvation is founded in the power and wisdom of God. The world outside the communion is seen as tainted and the world inside is seen as a parallel reality to the other-world or heaven. They bear and live with a ". . . utopian mentality. . ."74

In the Trägerkreise of these narratives place and space therefore spelled out the identity of God's exclusive righteous. They live removed from those who lived in their allotted cursed places. They know where the doomed ones are living. The privileged secret is revealed to them and they can distance themselves from these disobedient beings. This represents exclusivism as one of the important markers of their identity.



An actantial analysis of Enoch's three journeys points out that space functions as the helper in these stories. Each place Enoch visited clarified the commission God gave Enoch to announce his judgment of the fallen watchers. A critical space analysis links this depiction of space to the narrator's third or lived space. The fictional spaces created in the narratives reflect the ideological space in which the author lived. His ideology that the fallen watchers and their compatriots stand under God's judgment claims to be universal and cosmologic. It represents revealed esoteric wisdom reserved for the righteous only. Every place in the world receives meaning in terms of God's judgment. According to his dualistic view the cosmos is divided into cursed places and blessed space. Enoch received explanations for the places he visited and this set him at-centre. This also gave him an exclusive identity enabling him to recognize the "Other" and to know the boundaries between them. He is given on a worldwide scale assurance that God judges in his favour.



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Pieter M. Venter
Emeritus Professor Department Old Testament Studies
University of Pretoria 0002, South Africa



1 This article is dedicated to prof Herrie van Rooy in appreciation of his levelheaded leadership over the years and the integrity of his person.
2 Gert T. M. Prinsloo, "Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World: Theory and Practice with Reference to the Book of Jonah," in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 11.
3 Prinsloo, "Place, Space and Identity," 11.
4 John J. Collins, "Enoch, Ethiopic Apocalypse of (1 Enoch)," in The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism (ed. John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 555.
5 See Dan Shen, "Why Contextual and Formal Narratologies Need Each Other," JNT35/2 (2005): 141-171.
6 Gerda de Villiers, "From the Walls of Uruk: Reflection on Space in the Gilgamesh Epic," in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 143.
7 See Elizabeth S. Malbon, Narrative Space and Mythic Meaning in Mark (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986), 2.
8 Brian McHale, Postmodernist fiction (New York: Routledge Methuen, 1987), 43.
9 Edward W. Soja, Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996), 53f.
10 See Soja, Thirdspace, 10. See also James W. Flanagan, "Ancient Perceptions of Space/Perceptions of Ancient Space," Semeia 87 (1999): 15-43 (26).
11 Kim Knott, "Spatial Theory and Method for the Study of Religion," Temenos 41/2 (2005): 153-184 (159).
12 Soja, Thirdspace, 65.
13 See Soja, Thirdspace, 66.
14 See Soja Thirdspace, 78-9.
15 See Christl M. Maier, "Whose Mother? Whose Space? Jerusalem in Third Isaiah." in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 107-124 (108).
16 Soja, Thirdspace, 68.
17 Maier, "Whose Mother?" 109.
18 George W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), 229.
19 Martha Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 4.
20 See Ezek 1:8-11:43, Isa 6 and Micha ben Himla's vision in 1 Kgs 22:19-22.
21 Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven, 4.
22 Carla Sulzbach, "When Going on a Heavenly Journey, Travel Light and Dress Appropriately," JSP 19/3 (2010): 170.
23 Sulzbach, "When Going," 172.
24 The translation of George W. E Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, 1 Enoch: A New Translation (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004), their parsing of the text and their headings of the different episodes, is used throughout in this article.
25 See Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 229-230.
26 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 229.
27 See Malbon, Narrative Space, 3.
28 Sulzbach, "When Going," 170.
29 See Jo-Mari Schäder, "The Implied Transcendence of Physical and Ideological Borders and Boundaries in Psalm 47" in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 70.
30 Soja, Thirdspace, 81.
31 Ryan E. Stokes, "Watchers, Book of the (1 Enoch 1-36)" in The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism (ed. John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 1332.
32 See Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 276, 284, 287.
33 See 1 En. 18:6, 12.
34 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 278.
35 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 290.
36 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 290.
37 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 290-291.
38 See chs. 6 toll.
39 This probably refers to Jerusalem. See George W. E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam, "Jerusalem, the Center of the Earth and the Place of Punishment" in 1 Enoch: A New Translation (ed. George W. E. Nickelsburg and James C. VanderKam; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004), 45.
40 This is not the home of the narrator. He just passed through there during his journey.
41 "Red Sea" in 32:2 is an exception.
42 "House of God" in 25:5, "throne of God" in 25:35 and "gates of heaven" in 33:1.
43 1 En. 21:6; 21:10; 22:3-4; 22:9-13; 23:4; 25:3-6; 27:2-4; 32:6.
44 Translation of Nickelsburg and VanderKam, 1 Enoch, 45.
45 Johan C. Thom, "Aspects of the Form, Meaning and Function of the Book of the Watchers," Neot 17 (1983), 44.
46 George W. E. Nickelsburg, "The Apocalyptic Construction of Reality in 1 Enoch," in Mysteries and Revelations: Apocalyptic Studies Since the Uppsala Colloquim (ed. John J. Collins and James Charlesworth; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), 97.
47 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 239.
48 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 292-293.
49 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 238-247.
50 Nickelsburg, Apocalyptic Construction, 586.
51 Michael D. Goulder, The Psalms of the Sons of Korah (JSOTSup 20; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1982), 51-84.
52 See Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 292-293.
53 Michael E. Stone, "The Book of Enoch and Judaism in the Third Century B.C.E.," CBQ 40 (1978): 491.
54 Paul Grelot, "La geographie mysthique d'Henoch et ses sources orientales," Revue Biblique 65 (1958): 33-69.
55 John J. Collins, "Cosmos and Salvation: Jewish Wisdom and Apocalyptic in the Hellenistic Age," HR 17/2 (1977): 131-132.
56 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 253.
57 Aleida Assmann, "Was ist Weisheit? Wegmarken in einen weiten Feld" in Weisheit: Archäologie der literarischen Kommunikation III (ed. Aleida Assmann; München: Wilhelm Fink, 1990), 32.
58 Mary Mills, "Narrative Space and the Construction of Meaning in the Book of Joel" in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 200.
59 See Schäder, "The Implied Transcendence," 71, for this term.
60 De Villiers, "From the Walls," 149.
61 See "understand the word of knowledge" in his heavenly tour in 14:3.
62 Michaela Geiger, "Fiction and Space in Deuteronomy" in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 37.
63 See Schäder, "The Implied Transcendence," 76.
64 Mills, "Narrative Space," 199.
65 Sulzbach, "When Going," 193.
66 Schäder, "The Implied Transcendence," 73.
67 See Reineth C. E. Prinsloo and Gert T. M. Prinsloo, "Family as Lived Space: An Interdisciplinary and Intertextual Reading of Genesis 34," in Constructions of Space V. Place, Space and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World (ed. Gert T. M. Prinsloo and Christl M. Maier; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 163.
68 Knott, "Spatial Theory," 171.
69 Gabrielle Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History from Ezekiel to Daniel (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002), 89-103.
70 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 231.
71 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 250.
72 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 231.
73 See Stephen B. Reid, Enoch and Daniel: A Form Critical and Sociological Study of the Historical Apocalypses (Berkeley, Calif.: Bibal Press, 1989), 57f.
74 Reid, Enoch and Daniel, 68.

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