“ቃለ፡በረከት፡ዘሄኖክ፡ዘከመ፡ባረከ፡ኅሩያነ፡ወጻድቃነ፡እለ፡ሀለዉ፡ይኩኑ”

“በዕለተ፡ምንዳቤ፡ለአሰስሎ፡ኵሉ፡እኩያን፡ወረሲዓን።”

 

(“Word of blessing of Henok, wherewith he blessed the chosen and righteous who would be alive in the day of tribulation for the removal of all wrongdoers and backsliders.”)

 

And so begins the Book of Enoch–an antediluvian religious work ascribed by many to Enoch himself, the great-grandfather of Noah.

The book recounts the fall of the Watchers, angels that begat the Nephilim, then relates Enoch’s travels throughout the heavens in great detail.

In this passage, the fallen angel Azâzêl teaches men:

 

“And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl, taught astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Ezêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon.”

 

The book is only extant in Ge’ez, the liturgical language of both of the Orthodox Churches of the Horn of Africa, and is only otherwise found in fragmentary form in Latin and Greek, and various Aramaic fragments in the Red Sea scrolls.

For this reason, the book was lost to the Jews and to the West, until 1773, when the Scottish explorer James Bruce returned from his travels in Ethiopia with three Ge’ez manuscripts in his baggage.

It follows that while the Book of Henoch is canonical to the Ethiopian and Eritrean Tewahedo Orthodox Churces, it is solely recognised as a Jewish sacred text by the Bete Israel, originally from Ethiopia themselves. For all other Christian denominations the book remains to this day an apocrypha.