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The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–38; BW) describes a series of punishments that God renders against Asael (10:4–8). Several scholars have tried to identify possible traditions that stand behind these punishments in light of Jewish and Greek literatures. However, Henryk Drawnel recently challenges such attempts, positing a Mesopotamian background. Although Drawnel has shown that interacting with Mesopotamian literatures has something to offer in grasping a fuller understanding of the mentioned passage, this article argues that Greek literatures are still valuable sources, potentially shedding further light on the design of the punishment motifs in BW. In order to demonstrate this supposition, I interact with the myths of Prometheus, Tantalus, and Teiresias. Ultimately, I suggest that scholars should be open to the possibility that various traditions, rather than a single tradition, stand behind the punitive descriptions in BW 10:4–8.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
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Abstract

The Book of the Watchers (i.e., 1 Enoch 1–36) contains several punishments for the fallen Watchers’ crimes. Interestingly, one of the penalties is optical in nature – God forces the Watchers to observe the eradication of their beloved offspring (10:12; 12:6; 14:6). However, the text itself does not explain why God chose to inflict this form of penalty. The present article seeks to provide a satisfactory explanation in light of the ocular theories contemporaneous with the mentioned literature. This undertaking reveals that the Watchers’ particular offense – voyeurism (6:2) – is critical to understanding their optical sentence because the deities often employed visual penalties to punish improper amorous gazing. In this regard, the Book of the Watchers demonstrates a talionic correspondence between the Watchers’ voyeurism and God’s response to it. Ultimately, the ocular penalty depicts God as the righteous judge who renders fitting retributions to the criminal.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
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Abstract

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.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism