Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Religious Studies

Major Professor

James F. Strange, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul G. Schneider, Ph.D.


Enoch, Apocalypse, Apocalyptic origins, Bible, Judaism


From what wells did the apocalyptic writers draw? What motivated them to write such bizarre and fantastic stories about the future end of history and battles between the forces of good and the forces of evil? The Book of Daniel is considered the first and only apocalypse of the Hebrew Bible, and it was the primary inspiration for much of the Book of Revelation, Apocalypse of John in the Christian New Testament. But well before Daniel, apocalyptic passages appeared in Jewish literature. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 came also the discovery of the oldest Jewish apocalypse, written in ancient Aramaic, and well-known in both ancient Judaism and early Christianity: a collection of books known as 1 Enoch. It was in these texts, especially the first and oldest one, the Book of Watchers, that apocalyptic imagery, including the Son of Man figure, first appeared in Jewish writing. Though scholars note developments from the Hebrew Prophets, particularly the Latter ones, a significant evolution took place. The question is why and when? My thesis is that the earliest Jewish apocalyptic writing, the Book of Watchers, 1 Enoch 1-36, was written as a result of Babylonian elements. With the help of scholars specializing in Jewish apocalyptic origins, I hope to show hoe the roots of this fascinating aspect of religion, which captivates and often frightens twenty-first century humans, took hold twenty-five hundred years ago in Mesopotamia.