An Examination of the Punitive Blindness of Asael in Light of the Triadic Relationship between Sight, Light, and Knowledge

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
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  • 1 Independent Scholar, San Francisco, CA, USA
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The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36; = BW) features Asael as the culprit who illicitly distributed forbidden knowledge to the mortals. In retaliation, God rendered multiple punishments, one of which was the targeting of Asael’s sight (10:5). However, the text itself does not explain why God chose to inflict this form of penalty. This article aims to fill in this literary lacuna in light of the triadic association between sight, light, and knowledge – an association that was widely known in antiquity. This undertaking suggests that the particular offense of the Watchers, including Asael, described in 16:3 (i.e., misusing sight and light in knowledge acquisition) is critical to understanding Asael’s optical sentence. Ultimately, BW demonstrates a talionic correspondence between Asael’s sin and sentence.

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