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Cain's monstrous progeny in Beowulf: part I, Noachic tradition

  • Ruth Mellinkoff (a1)
Extract

One of the most distinctive features of Beowulf is the presentation of Grendel and his mother as members of Cain's monstrous progeny. What knowledge of a race (or races) of giants and monsters descended from Cain, and of their survival after the Flood, is the poet likely to have had? I take up the first part of this question in this article and the second part in an article to be published later in Anglo-Saxon England.

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page 143 note 1 For a discussion of analogues and sources, see Beowulf and the Figbt at Finnsburg, ed. Klaeber, Fr., 3rd ed. (Boston, Mass., 1950), pp. xiixiii, and bibliography on pp. cxxxix-cliii, and bibliographical supplements at pp. 445 ff. and 462 ff.; Chambers, R. W., ‘Beowulf: an Introduction, 3rd ed. with a Supplement by Wrenn, C. L. (Cambridge, 1959), pp. 41203 and 451503, plus appropriate bibliography from pp. 565 ff.; Garmonsway, G. N., Simpson, Jacqueline and Davidson, Hilda Ellis, Beowulf and its Sinologues (New York, 1971). I am indebted to Fred Robinson for pointing out that Donald Fry, K., ‘Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg: a Bibliography (Charlottesville, Va, 1969) lists ninety-six publications dealing with the sources of the poem (pp. 210–11).

page 143 note 2 My translations of extracts from this work are taken from The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapba of the Old Testament in English, ed. Charles, R. H., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1913) 11, Pseudepigrapba (cited henceforth as Charles 11). For the description and translation of I Enoch see n, 163–281.1 Enoch is known in full only by the Ethiopian text and in part through some Greek fragments; it was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, though the Ethiopian text is a translation from a Greek version.

page 143 note 3 Bouterwek, K. W., ‘Das Beowulflied, cine Vorlesung’, Germania: Vierteljabrsschrift far deutsche Altertbumskunde 1 (1856), 401.

page 143 note 4 See, e.g., Emerson, Oliver F., ‘Legends of Cain, Especially in Old and Middle English’, PMLA 21 (1906), 878, n. 1, and Peltola, Niilo, ‘Grendel's Descent from Cain Reconsidered’, NM 73 (1972), 284–91.

page 144 note 1 ‘Beowulfand the Book of Enoch’, Speculum 46 (1971), 421–31.

page 144 note 2 Charles 11, 163, 168 and 169; and see Oesterley, W. O. E., introduction, The Book of Enoch, trans. Charles, R. H. (London, 1917), p. xix: ‘It is well to remember the point, already referred to, that there are at least four quite independent books included in the “Book of Enoch”, exclusive of certain “Noah” fragments and other pieces; the student is, therefore, advised to treat these as separate works, and to read them as such.’ See also Eissfeldt, Otto, The Old Testament, 3rd ed., trans. Ackroyd, Peter R. (New York and Evanston, 1965), pp. 618–19, and Russell, D. S., The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (London, 1964), p. 51.

page 144 note 3 Bowker, John, The Targums and Rabbinic Literature (Cambridge, 1969), p. 32.

page 144 note 4 Charles 11,168–9. See also Lawlor, H. J., ‘Early Citations from the Book of Enoch’, Jnl of Philol. 25 (1897), 173, 175 and 224; James, Montague Rhodes, The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament London, 1920), pp. 1112; Tenant, F. R., The Sources of the Doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin (1st ed. 1903; later ed. with introd. by Thelen, Mary F., New York, 1946; repr., Schocken Books, 1968), pp. 181–90; Bamberger, Bernard J., Fallen Angels (Philadelphia, 1952), pp. 1719; and Russell, , Jewish Apocalyptic, p. 66. There is evidence of other groups of Noachic texts – one that included medical–magic materials and another that was associated with ritual instructions; see the excellent and concise summary by Stone, Michael(Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem, 1971), under Noah, Books of) to the effect that, although a Book of Noah is not in the Christian canon lists, there is evidence that such a work or works existed. I am indebted to Jonas Greenfield of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for calling my attention to a recent book edited by Milik, J. T., The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford, 1976), in which Milik, though dealing primarily with Enoch ic writings (he postulates the probability of an Enochian Pentateuch by the beginning of the first century BC.), points out, e.g., that there are now four Aramaic manu-scripts and a Hebrew version (fragments, to be sure) belonging, he believes, ‘to a “Book of Noah” in which the birth of the Patriarch (with an astrological section giving a series of horoscopes), and probably his whole life, was narrated in great detail’. Milik (p. 56) assigns to the composition of the Book of Noah a terminus ante quem of the end of the fourth century or the first half of the third BC. (Charles (11,170) dated the Noachic elements in I Enoch as no later than 161 BC.)

page 144 note 5 E.g. by Torrey, Charles Cutler, The Apocryphal Literature (New Haven, Mass., 1945), p. 112, and Frost, Stanley Brice, Old Testament Apocalyptic (London, 1952), pp. 166–7. Neither is convincing.

page 145 note 1 Russell says, e.g. (Jewish Apocalyptic, p. 10): ‘A vast amount of information has suddenly become available, much of which brings into sharp focus beliefs and practices among the Jews which at best were formerly blurred and obscure’, and (p. 38), ‘This list of apocalyptic writings has been considerably augmented by the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls which have cast much light on the whole period and especially on the nature of Jewish apocalyptic itself.’ Bowker, The Targums, p. 33, acknowledges that the scrolls need to be cautiously used, but adds, ‘although caution is undoubtedly wise, caution is not the same thing as abstinence’.

page 145 note 2 Avigad, Nahmen and Yadin, Yigael, A Genesis Apocryphon: a Scroll from the Wilderness of Judaea (Jerusalem, 1956), pp. 1617 and esp. 38, where the authors suggest that the scroll may perhaps be divisible into books, ‘a Book of Lamech, a Book of Enoch, a Book of Noah, a Book of Abraham’. See also D. Barthélemey and Milik, J. T., Discoveries in the Judaean Desert – Qumran Cave I (Oxford, 1955), no. 19, ‘Livre de Noé’ (pp. 84–5), and no. 19 bis (p. 152); Abbé Jean Starcky, ‘Cave 4 of Qumran (4Q)’. Biblical Archaeologist 19.4 (1956), 94, reports, ‘There are two groups of fairly large fragments relating to the Noachic literature.’ For additional and recent bibliography, see Milik, , The Books of Enoch, p. 56, nn. 2, 3 and 4.

page 145 note 3 For a detailed analysis of the Dead Sea Scroll and its relationship to the elements designated Noachic by Charles, see Milik, J. T., ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls Fragment of the Book of Enoch’, Biblica 32 (1951), 393400; Milik (p. 398) says: ‘It is the merit of Charles that he marked these chapters [Enoch cvI etc.], together with 6–11.39, 1–2a.54–55, 2.60.65–69, 25, as fragments of the lost Book of Noah.’

page 145 note 4 See James, , Lost Apocrypha, pp. ixxiv; and see Russell, , Jewish Apocalyptic, pp. 391–5, for a convenient appendix of Christian lists of Jewish apocryphal books. See also von Dobschütz, Ernst, Das Decretum Gelasianum, de Libris Recipiendis et non Recipiendis (Leipzig, 1912), pp. 1013 and 283332.

page 145 note 5 Charles II, 168; see also Eissfeldt, The Old Testament, p. 618.

page 146 note 1 Biblical quotations are taken from the Douay translation of the Vulgate unless otherwise noted.

page 146 note 2 The broad and continuous impact of the fallen angels story as evidenced in Christian, Gnostic, Jewish and Muslim sources is summarized in Bamberger's Fallen Angels. See also Jung, Leo, Fallen Angels in Jewish, Christian and Mohammedan Literature, Ist ed. (1926; repr. New York, 1974), and Russell, , Jewish Apocalyptic, pp. 249–57. For a detailed analysis of early Christian citations, see Lawlor, ‘Early Citations’, who stresses that many of these early authors must have used texts that varied considerably from the extant Ethiopian or the remaining Greek fragments. See also Wickham, L. R., ‘The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men: Genesis VI.2 in early Christian Exegesis’, Oudtestamentische Studieēn 19 (1974), 135–47. A significant article by W. B. Henning and his discussion of I Enoch influence on Manichean doctrine has been generally overlooked; I am grateful to Jonas Greenfield who pointed it out to me, along with two further pertinent references: Henning, W. B., ‘The Book of the Giants’, Bull. of the School of Oriental and African Stud. 11 (19431946), 5274, and Milik, J. T., ‘Problèmes de la littérature hénochique à la lumière des fragments araméens de Qumrân’, Harvard Theological Rev. 64 (1971), 333–78, and ‘Turfan et Qumran, Livre des Gèants juif et manichéen’, Tradition und Glaube. Festgabe für Karl George Kubn, ed. Jeremias, Gert, Kuhn, Heinz-Wolfgang and Stegemann, Harmut (Göttingen, 1971), pp. 117–27.

page 146 note 3 For a description of aspects of this later version of a fall of angels, see, e.g., Ginzberg, Louis, The Legends of the Jews (1st ed. 1925; repr., Philadelphia, 1947) v, 84–6, and Bamberger, , Fallen Angels, pp. 32–4.

page 147 note 1 Bamberger, (Fallen Angels, p. 90) observes: ‘The Talmud never speaks of fallen or rebel angels. This is no accident; nor were the rabbis ignorant of the legend. They knew it and suppressed it.’

page 147 note 2 Julius Africanus seems to have been the first; see Bamberger, , Fallen Angels, pp. 78–9, and Wickham, ‘Sons of God and Daughters of Men’, p. 144.

page 147 note 3 City of God, xv.23; see English translation by Levine, Philip, The City of God, 7 vols., Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass., 1966) IV.

page 147 note 4 Jerome knew the story and firmly denounced it as apocryphal; see Lawlor, , ‘Early Citations’, p. 219. The fifth- or sixth-century pseudepigrapha known as the Ethiopian Book of Adam and Eve, or The Conflict of Adam and Eve, trans. and ed. Malan, S. C. (London, 1882), reports (pp. 146–7) that the children of Seth defiled themselves with the children of Cain etc., then continues, emphatically denying the old fallen angels story: ‘Certain wise men of old wrote concerning them, and say in their (sacred) books, that angels came down from heaven, and mingled with the daughters of Cain, who bare unto them these giants. But those (wise men) err in what they say. God forbid such a thing, that angels who are spirits, should be found committing sin with human beings. Never; that cannot be.’

page 147 note 5 A lengthy seduction sequence is reported in this same Book of Adam and Eve, ed. Malan, via the story of Genun, a descendant of Cain through Lamech (pp. 133–9). Genun, encouraged and instructed by Satan, creates musical instruments, strong drink and ornamentation, and by their means incites the Cainites to sin; they all then tempt and seduce the children of Seth: ‘Then Satan made them look most beautiful before the sons of Seth … so that the daughters of Cain lusted after the sons of Seth like ravenous beasts, and the sons of Seth after the daughters of Cain, until they committed abomination with them’ (p. 137). And see the lively account in the slightly later (sixth-century) Syriac Cave of Treasures, Trans. and ed. Budge, E. A. Wallis (London, 1927), pp. 8890. For further quotations and references, see notes, Malan's, Book of Adam and Eve, pp. 229–31.

page 147 note 6 See The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, ed. Skeat, Walter W. (Oxford, 1886) 1 276–8:

3et some, a3ein the sonde • of owre saueoure of heuene,

Caymes kynde and his [Seth's] kynde • coupled togideres…

And thus thourw cursed Caym • cam care vppon erthe;

And al for thei wrou3t wedlokes • a3ein goddis wille…

For some, as I se now • soth for to telle,

For coueitise of catel • vnkyndeliche ben wedded.

As careful concepcioun • cometh of suche mariages,

As bifel of the folke • that I bifore of tolde. (126–7,151–2 and 155–7)

And in many of the editions of the Douay (e.g. in the 1911 Murphy ed.) we can still read the annotation provided by Bishop Challoner in his 1750 version – in the notes to Genesis VI.2: ‘The unhappy consequence of the former marrying with the latter, ought to be a warning to Christians to be very circumspect in their marriages; and not to suffer themselves to be determined in their choice by their carnal passion, to the prejudice of virtue or religion.’

page 148 note 1 Pirkê de Rabbi Eliezer (The Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer the Great), introd. and trans. Friedlander, Gerald (1st ed. 1916; repr., New York, 1970), pp. 160–1.

page 148 note 2 See Ginzberg, , Legends of the Jews v, 172, n. 14; and see Zohar, , Bereshith 37a, The Zohar, trans. Harry, Sperling and Maurice, Simon, 5 vols. (1st ed. 1934; repr., London, Jerusalem and New York, 1973) I, 138.

page 148 note 3 Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews v, 147, n. 45; and see Bereshith 55a, The Zohar I, 175.

page 148 note 4 See Emerson, ‘Legends of Cain’, pp. 890, 892 and 896, for relevant quotations from these texts.

page 148 note 5 Yet the poet had a sense of a definite origin, for he speaks of the origin of ancient strife written on the sword-hilt (1688b–9a). There is, as suggested to me by Peter Clemoes, the likelihood that the origin the poet was thinking of was the act of Cain killing Abel. The Old English poem Genesis si emphasizes, by an elaborate tree-image, that out of this heinous deed has grown all the misery of the world from that day to this (987–95a).

page 148 note 6 ‘They [the Danes] do not know of a father, whether any secret spirit had been born before them [Grendel and his mother].’ We are not told that the Danes knew anything about the monsters’ descent from Cain. My quotations from Beowulf ‘are from Klaeber's 3rd ed.

page 148 note 7 ‘Beowulf and the Book of Enoch’.p. 427.

page 149 note 1 Kaske, R. E., ‘The Eotenas in Beowulf’, Old English Poetry, ed. Creed, Robert P. (Providence, R. I., 1967), pp. 285310, and Bandy, Stephen C., ‘Cain, Grendel, and the Giants of Beowulf,’ Papers on Lang. and Lit. 9 (1973), 235–49. I am indebted to Henry A. Kelly for bringing the latter to my attention.

page 149 note 2 Charles 11, 192. And see the important comments by Fred Robinson on blood-proscription in Old Testament injunctions, in Latin and vernacular writings and elsewhere, along with his interpretation of the cannibalism of Grendel, in his convincing explication of synsnadum, , ‘Lexicography and Literary Criticism: a Caveat’, Philological Essays: Studies in Old and Middle English Language and Literature in honour of Herbert Dean Meritt ed. Rosier, James L. (The Hague, 1970), pp. 102–4.

page 149 note 3 Goliath himself was only ‘six cubits and a span’ (I Kings xvn.4), and the bed of Og (king of Bashan) was only 9 cubits long and 4 broad (Deuteronomy 111.3:II). This same Og, however, was so expanded in size by later Jewish legends that he was described in the Talmud as uprooting a mountain the ‘size of three parasangs [about 12 miles]’; and the height of Moses (in the same Talmudic account) is 10 cubits – considerably more than the biblical Goliath. See The Babylonian Talmud, ed. and trans. Epstein, Isidore and Simon, Maurice, 18 vol. ed. (London, 1961) [Seder Zera’im], Berakoth 54a (p. 331). The size of most giants, I regret, cannot be made specific; we have to settle for something larger than ‘normal’ at one end of the range and as large and varied as fancy desires at the other. An eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon artist's concept of the giants of Genesis vi can be seen on I3r of the only extant copy of the illustrated Old English Hexateuch, BL Cotton Claudius B. iv, recently published in facsimile, ed. Dodwell, C. R. and Clemoes, Peter, EEMF 18 (Copenhagen, 1974). For references to other depictions of the giants in the visual arts, see Milik, The Books of Enoch, p. 212.

page 149 note 4 See Kaske, ‘The Eotenas in Beowulf’.

page 150 note 1 See Charles n, 24. The reasons given for the corruption of the angels differ in the later writings in the Book of Jubilees; these express the concept that the ‘Watchers’ were sent to earth by God to teach men judgement and righteousness, but that after they reached earth they were corrupted and lusted after by the daughters of men.

page 150 note 2 I Enochxix. 1–3; Charles II,200.

page 150 note 3 Charles II, 198.

page 150 note 4 Tolkien, J. R. R., ‘Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics’, Proc. of the Brit. Acad. 22 (1936), 280.

page 151 note 1 ‘Action in Beowulf and our Perception of It’, Old English Poetry: Essays on Style, ed. Daniel G. Calder (forthcoming).

page 151 note 2 Tolkien, ‘The Monsters and the Critics’, p. 280.

page 151 note 3 Charles 11, 279.

page 151 note 4 As was suggested by Crawford, S. J., ‘Grendel's Descent from Cain’, MLR 23 (1928), 207.

page 152 note 1 See Stephen Bandy, ‘Caines Cynn: a Study of “Beowulf” and the Legends of Cain’ (unpubl. dissertation, Princeton Univ., 1967), pp. 136–43, and Goldsmith, Margaret, The Mode and Meaning of ‘Beowulf’ (London, 1970), who suggests that both the Job verses and Gregory's Moralia influenced the poet's concepts, and that they, as well as other patristic writings, lie behind what she and Bandy see as shaping an allegorical intention on the part of the poet; but this kind of interpretation and criticism smacks of wishful thinking on the part of the critic.

page 152 note 2 Charles 11, 223–4. Bandy (‘Caines Cynn’, p. 131) noted this similarity, but he did not draw any distinctions between the various mythic traditions and descriptive language concerning these two monsters. Some of their origins are to be found in the ancient Babylonian myth concerning two primeval monsters, Tiamat and Kingu; there were, however, very many important variations and modifications in Jewish traditions. A good summary is provided by Russell, , Jewish Apocalyptic, pp. 122–5, and by Ginzbetg, , Legends of the Jews v, 41–9, nn. 118–43.

page 152 note 3 Charles II, 193–4.

page 152 note 4 See The Jewish Encylopedia, ed. Singer, Isidore (New York and London, 1916), under Leviathan. It is of special interest to see that Rashi, the eleventh-century French rabbi, explicating Cain's exile-habitation in the land of Nod, comments that all murderers dwell in the eastern region:

In the land

to which all exiles flee.

On the east of Eden

There did his father go into exile

when he was driven from the garden of Eden.

And we find [that the] eastern region

shelters everywhere

the murderers.

See The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary, trans. Abraham Ben Isaiah and Benjamin Sharfman (Brooklyn, 1949), p. 36.

page 153 note 1 ‘Non est igitur terra Naid, ut vulgus nostrorum putat; sed expletur sententia Dei, quod huc atque illuc vagus et profugus obberavit’ (Migne, Patrologia Latina 23, col. 994).

page 153 note 2 Genesis IV.16 of the Vulgate reads: ‘And Cain went out from the face of the Lord, and dwelt as a fugitive on the earth, at the east side of Eden’; the King James version revived and preserved the more ancient wording: ‘And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.’

page 153 note 3 Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 1.2) interpreted Nod as a definite place where Cain settled and had children, increased his vices and built the first city – not a wasteland; see trans. H. St J. Thackeray (London, 1930) IV, 29. The Ethiopian Book of Adam and Eve, ed. Malan, p. 104, states that after the burial of Abel, Cain married his sister, Luluwa, and they lived at ‘the bottom of the mountain, away from the garden, near to the place where he had killed his brother’, and Nod is described further (p. 133) as the ‘land of dark soil’. The Cave of Treasures, p. 70, describes Cain's place of exile as ‘a certain part of the forest of Nodh’. In the twelfth-century Irish Lebor Gab´la Érenn, ed. and trans. Macalister, R. A. Stewart (Dublin, 1938), pt 1, p. 89, Cain is said to dwell as a wild fugitive ‘in the eastern border of the land called Eden’, a gloss in the manuscript adding, ‘the land which is east of Asia’. The Zohar has a fascinating and explicit description of Cain's abode; see Bereshith 54b, The Zobar 1,173: ‘The earth found a place for him in a certain lower level, as it is written, “Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground”, implying that he was banished from the surface but not from underground. The level on which he found a resting-place was Arka … There was fixed his habitation, and this is what is meant by the words, “And he dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden”.’

page 153 note 4 ‘Then he departed outlawed, fleeing from the joy of men, marked with murder, and inhabited a wasteland.’

page 154 note 1 ‘two such great wanderers in the borderland occupying moors’.

page 154 note 2 See, e.g., Greenfield, Stanley B., ‘The Formulaic Expression of the Theme of “Exile” in Anglo-Saxon Poetry’, Speculum jo (1955), 200–6.

page 154 note 3 The Church History of Eusebius, trans. A. C. McGiffert, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church ser. 2 (New York, 1890) 1, 82.

page 154 note 4 Ibid.

page 154 note 5 Charles (II, 193, n. 4) pointed out that Dudael is equivalent to Beth Chaduda, a definite locality near Jerusalem where the scapegoat was led to die; more important for our purpose is Charles's emphasis on the difference between the places of punishment in I Enoch: ‘in the Noah sections this place is in the valleys of the earth, but in the genuine Enoch beyond the earth’.

page 154 note 6 Grendel's glove-pouch seems to be associated with magic and devil's craft (2085b–8) and it is thus also brought into close association with the secret arts of the fallen angels. Menner, Robert J., who edited The Poetical Dialogues of Solomon and Saturn (London and New York, 1941), in his explication of dier[n]e craftas in line 443b of the second poetic dialogue, connects this too with the secret arts of the fallen angels, saying (p. 140), ‘The secret arts by which the rebellious angels make standards and corslets go back to the legend in the Book of Enoch VIII, I ff. about the discovery by the evil angels under Azazel of metals and magic arts.’

page 155 note 1 In this connection Patrizia Lendinara has made good sense of an obscure phrase in the gnomic verse dealing with Cain, and Abel, , in ‘Un’allusione ai Giganti: versi gnomic exoniensi 192–200’, Annali, Sezione Germanica 16 (Naples, 1975), 8598. She has emended the text of The Exeter Book, ed. Krapp, G. P. and Van Dobbie, E., The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records 3 (New York and London, 1936), 163, substituting atole waran for their aþolwarum; she has also adjusted the punctuation to read:

Lendinara (p. 87) translates thus: ‘Da allora fu evidente dovunque che l'odio eterno danneggiδ gli uomini giacché gli esseri empi portarono il dangore delle armi per tutta la terra, inventarono e temprarono la spada distruttrice.’ The sequence in the gnomic verse is therefore that Cain slew his brother and that this then provoked lasting hate which injured men because ‘impious beings’ brought arms to earth, inventing and tempering weapons. The ‘impious beings’ are certainly reminiscent of the fallen angels and their giant progeny of the Noah fragments; the gnomic verse seems to have within it the same mixture of conflated ideas and traditions that I have suggested lies behind the attribution of weapon-making to the giants in Beowulf. I am indebted to Carl Berkhout for bringing the Lendinara article to my attention.

page 155 note 2 The Beowulf poet is obviously not interested in any vices associated with sex, but the women of the race of Cain were frequently interpreted as Jezebel types in their rdle as seducers of the sons of Seth; see above, p. 147.

page 155 note 3 In the Middle High German Genesis an allusion to magic herbs is suggested when the evil descendants of Cain, ignoring Adam's warning to avoid certain herbs, produce degenerate offspring of a fantastic, malformed nature; this too may spring from a conflation of traditions about Cain and the secret arts of the fallen angels. For a translation of the pertinent passage, see Emerson, ‘Legends of Cain’, p. 884.

page 155 note 4 There is, of course, no trace of ‘astrology’ in Beowulf.

page 155 note 5 Charles II,192–3.

page 156 note 1 ‘On it was cut the origin of ancient strife, after the flood, a pouring sea, killed the race of giants; they suffered terribly; that was a people estranged from the eternal Lord; the Ruler gave them a final reward for that through the surging of water.’

page 156 note 2 Charles 11, 279; see also I Enoch x.1–3 (Charles n, 193), Lrv.7–10 (p. 221), LXV.1–2 (pp. 230–1). and LXVI.1–3 (p. 231) and LXVII.1–13 (pp. 231–2).

page 156 note 3 ‘Then the Lord resolved to punish those faithless spirits, and slay the sinful giant sons, undear to God, those huge, unholy scathers, loathsome to the Lord.’ The Old English is from The Junius Manuscript, ed. Krapp, G. P., ASPR I (New York and London, 1931), 40; the translation is by Charles Kennedy, R.(The Cadmon Poems (London, 1916), p. 46).

page 156 note 4 As emphatically expressed by Emerson, ‘Legends of Cain’, p. 889: ‘Besides, the giants of Genesis 6 were not only connected with Cain on the one side, but more directly with the flood than is warranted by the Scipture narrative.’

page 157 note 1 See Robert J. Menner, ‘The Vasa Mortis Passage in the Old English Salomon and Saturn’, Studies in English Philology: a Miscellany in honor of Frederick Klaeber, ed. Malone, Kemp and Ruud, Martin B. (Minneapolis, 1929), p. 241: ‘A great deal of obscure apocryphal material found its way into Old English literature.’ At least in the second poetic dialogue (late-ninth- or early-tenth-century), Menner establishes a surprising amount of Jewish lore behind the poem, stating (p. 241), ‘At any rate, behind the second poem, with which we are here primarily concerned, doubtless lies a Latin original that embodied much Oriental lore derived from rabbinical sources.’ I am indebted to Fred Robinson who has called my attention to many references on this subject; I cannot list them all, but the following are of greatest interest: Bugge, Sophus, ‘Jüdische Vorstellungen in England und im Norden’, Studien ilber die Entstebung der nordischen Goter und Heldensagen (Munich, 1889), pp. 70–3, and esp. An Old English Martyrology, ed. Herzfeld, George, Early Eng. Text Soc. o.s. 116 (London, 1900). Herzfeld states (pp. xxxiv–xxxv), ‘A highly interesting feature of our text is the indirect influence on it of the Talmudic writings. It is a fact to which my learned friend, the Rev. Dr Gaster, has kindly drawn my attention, that the account of the creation of the world shows a marked resemblance to certain passages of Jewish origin.’ See also (though, unfortunately, superficial) Mirsky, Aaron, ‘On the Sources of the Anglo-Saxon Genesis and Exodus’, ESts 48 (1967) 385–97, and an evaluation of Mirsky's essay by Cross, J. E., ‘The Literate Anglo-Saxon – on Sources and Disseminations’, Proc. of the Brit. Acad. 58 (1972), 910. In general, I would opt for indirect influence of the Jewish ideas, as did Herzfeld, who suggested (Martyrology, p. xxxv) that the exchange of ideas took place in France.

page 157 note 2 See above, p. 145, n. 4.

page 157 note 3 See McNamara, Martin, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church (Dublin, 1975), pp. 35. I am indebted to Patrick Ford for bringing this important book to my attention. See also Ogilvy, J. D. A., Books Known to the English (Cambridge, Mass., 1967), p. 67: ‘During the early Middle Ages, papal authority was pretty well limited to exhortation, and was not infrequently ignored.’

page 157 note 4 McNamara, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, introduction; Siegmund, Albert, Die Überlieferung der griechischen christlichen Literatur in der lateinischen Kirche bis Zum Zwölften Jabrhundert (Munich, 1949), who shows (pp. 33–48) that there were numerous Latin translations of the apocrypha current during the early Middle Ages; Heist, William, The Fifteen Signs before Doomsday (East Lansing, Michigan, 1952); Bernard Bischoff, Mittelalterliche Studien (Stuttgart, 1966) 1, 205–73 (originally publ. as ‘Wendepunkte in der Geschichte der lateinischen Exegese im Frühmittelalter’, Sacris Erudiri 6 (1954), 189281); McNally, Robert E., The Bible in the Early Middle Ages (Westminster, 1959), PP. 25–8, and ‘The Imagination and Early Irish Biblical Exegesis’, Annuale Mcdiaevalc 10 (1969), 527; Murdoch, Brian, ‘An Early Irish Adam and Eve: Saltair Na Rann and the Traditions of the Fall’, MS 35 (1973), who analyses the apocryphal sources for the poem (pp. 146–7); and, above all, Dumville, D. N., ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish: a Preliminary Investigation’, Proc. of the R. Irish Acad. 73 (1973), 299338. Dumville also summarizes and gives references for the earlier studies on this subject by scholars such as M. R. James and St John D. Seymour; I am indebted to Patrick Ford for bringing this important article to my attention.

page 158 note 1 See Heist, , Fifteen Signs, pp. 200–3; McNamara, , The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, pp. 713; and Dumville, ’Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, p. 331. On the close contacts between the churches of England and Ireland, see Hughes, Kathleen, ‘Evidence for Contacts between the Churches of the Irish and English from the Synod of Whitby to the Viking Age’, England Before the Conquest: Studies in Primary Sources presented to Dorothy Wbitelock, ed. Peter, Clemoes and Kathleen, Hughes (Cambridge, 1971), pp. 4967.

page 158 note 2 See McNally, , The Bible in the Early Middle Ages, p. 25.

page 158 note 3 There is now a very extensive literature on this subject; for a reasonable beginning, see the introduction, notes and references of Hailperin, Herman, Rasbiandthe Christian Scholars (Pittsburg, Penn., 1963), and Smalley, Beryl, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1952), pp. 149–95. Moreover, one must always keep in mind the movement of ideas that must have flowed with the numerous Jewish conversions, both voluntary and forced; see esp. Katz, Solomon, The Jews in the Visigothic and Frankish Kingdoms of Spain and Gaul (Cambridge, Mass., 1937). Most of the Jews of the Diaspora did not speak Hebrew, but rather they adopted the languages of the countries they inhabited (ibid. pp. 61–3). The intimate knowledge of Jewish customs and mystical lore that a Christian might have is strikingly demonstrated by Agobard, the vigorous adversary of the Jews, who shows in his tractates a knowledge of their language and traditions (ibid. pp. 65–70). See also Schapiro, Meyer, ‘The Angel and the Ram in Abraham's Sacrifice: a Parallel in Western and Islamic Art’, Ars Islamica 10 (1943), 134–47.

page 158 note 4 See Ginzberg, , legends of the Jews v and vi, where a great many valuable references to these materials reside in his incomparable notes, and ‘Jewish Folklore: East and West’, Harvard Tercentenary Publications; Independence, Convergence, and Borrowing (Cambridge, Mass., 1937), pp. 89108. All the items listed above, p. 157, n. 1, contain information on this subject.

page 158 note 5 Dumville (‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, pp. 322–31) convincingly argues that Spain was one of the key places where apocryphal materials were preserved and transmitted; e.g. (p. 322): ‘the apocrypha known in early Ireland were most likely to have been transmitted there from Spain, where their availability may be ascribed to the influence of the long-lived Priscillianist heresy.’ The Priscillian love of apocrypha is well detailed by Chadwick, Henry, Priscillian of Avila (Oxford, 1976). This is indeed significant, for Lawlor, ‘Early Citations’, pp. 222–3, suggested that Priscillian was acquainted with books ascribed to Old Testament prophets (Priscillian having listed Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in his De Fide et Apocrypbis); moreover, Lawlor suggested that Priscillian may have known a Book of Noah, but not a Book of Enoch. For further references to Priscillian studies, see Dumville, ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, p. 322, n. 155. Heretical sects in the east also kept some of the apocrypha alive. There is, e.g., a fallen angels story in Bogomil theology reported by Runcitnan, Steven, The Medieval Manichee (Cambridge, 1947, repr., 1960), pp. 76–7: ‘The Flood was sent by Satan [a Bogomil substitute for God] to wipe out the race of giants born of the fallen angels and the daughters of men described in Genesis.’ I am indebted to Morton Bloomfield for bringing this to my attention.

page 159 note 1 McNally, , The Bible in the Early Middle Ages, p. 26.

page 159 note 2 ibid.

page 159 note 3 See McNamara, , The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, pp. 113, and Dumville, ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, p. 308: ‘It will become increasingly apparent that in addition to the substantial body of known apocrypha available in Ireland during the Middle Ages there was also known there a number of apocryphal texts which no longer survive in any other language.’

page 159 note 4 Jewish Apocalyptic, p. 53; and see Lawlor, ‘Early Citations’, p. 173, who clearly suggests that independent writings circulated, including a Noachic text.

page 159 note 5 Bowker, , The Targums, pp. 3 35, and /Russell, , Jewish Apocalyptic, pp. 3648.

page 159 note 6 Jonas Greenfield sums up the whole problem succinctly in his prolegomenon to the republication of 3 Enoch or The Hebrew Book of Enoch by Hugo Odebsrg (New York, 1973), p. xli: ‘Even more important for us at the moment is the question of the survival of these texts in the period after the dissolution of those centers, such as Qumran, which fostered and preserved this literature. The fate of books is a matter of luck we are told. True, and therefore arguments from silence cannot carry the burden that some scholars have chosen to impose on them. The transmission of these texts through an elaborate scheme will be postulated by some: Qumran (the Essenes) > Judeo-Christian groups > Syriac “Gnostic” Christians > Manichaeans. This is related to the question, under constant discussion in recent years, of the interrelationship of various “gnostic” groups, Jewish, Christian, and pagan. But one wonders if such an elaborate scheme is really necessary. The answer may simply be that Enoch material circulated in Jewish circles and surfaced in a variety of ways.’

page 160 note 1 Kaske, , ‘Beowulf and the Book of Enoch’, pp. 421–3; and see Dumville, , ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, pp. 330–1. See also Menner's detailed analysis of the influence of the Book of Enoch on the second poetic dialogue of the Old English Salomon and Saturn, ‘The Vasa Mortis Passage’, where (notably on p. 250) he states that the two leaders, Azazel and Semjaza of I Enoch, are the same as those who appear in the Solomon legend.

page 160 note 2 James, Montague Rhodes, Apocrypha Anecdota: a Collection of Thirteen Apocryphal Books and Fragments (Cambridge, 1893), pp. 146–50. The fragment is found in BL Royal 5. E. 13, 79V and 80r.

page 160 note 3 See Dumville, ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, p. 3 31 and n. 204.

page 160 note 4 Orléans, Bibliotheque Municipale, 221 and Paris, BN lat. 3182; see McNally, Robert E., ‘Dies dominica: Two Hiberno-Latin Texts’, MS 22 (1960), 357 and n. 9, and 358: ‘Together with the apocryphal account of the creation of the world which is built largely on the Book of Enoch and is found immediately after the Dies dominica in both Orléans 221 (193) and BN lat. 3182, the description of the eight consistencies from which Adam was created, which is presented in Vat. Reg. lat. 49, offers a clear testimonial to the tradition of the apocrypha in the early ninth century.’ See also Bishoff, Mittelalterliche Studien 1, 269, where is printed the Latin of the Orleans manuscript dealing with the Behemoth and Leviathan myth. McNamara, , The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, p. 27, points out, however, that this corresponds best with IV Esdras vi. 42–52 (Charles 11, 579). It should be noted, however, that IV Esdras is itself a compilation; no matter how these fragments are interpreted, they provide additional testimony of the influence of pseudepigraphical writings.

page 160 note 5 See Charles 11, 278–9, where the Latin fragment is printed parallel with the translation of the Ethiopian text. Lawlor (‘Early Citations’, pp. 174–5 and 224–5) convincingly argued that this same Latin fragment discovered by James was a translation of a Noachic writing and not of a Book of Enoch, stating (p. 175): ‘This Latin fragment however differs considerably from the Ethiopian text, and in a manner that cannot be accounted for by mere accident of transcription … For these and other reasons, which cannot be given here, I incline to the opinion that Dr James’ Latin is rendered, not from our Book, but from the Noachic Work.’

page 160 note 6 Barthelemy, and Milik, , Discoveries, p. 85, n. 3.

page 160 note 7 See Charles 11, 167 and 184. See also, Lawlor, ‘Early Citations’, p. 164; the Greek fragments preserved by Syncellus, denoted as σ a, can be followed through this article.

page 160 note 8 See above, p. 145x, n. 4.

page 161 note 1 See above, p. 15 7, n. 4.

page 161 note 2 Dumville, ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish’, p. 337, says, ‘and finally, a complete Christian apocryphon may join the native literary tradition where it becomes adapted to the story-types, and attracts the motifs, of the vernacular literature – such is the case with the Enoch and Elijah legend’.

page 161 note 3 On the popularity of these materials, see McNamara, , The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, p. 4: ‘It was natural that such legendary material should appeal to the Christian imagination’, and (p. I2):‘it is to these and a host of other texts we must turn if we are to form an idea how popular this branch of literature was in Irish circles in later medieval and early modern times.’ See also Russell, , Jewish Apocalyptic, pp. 2833, where it is said (p. 29): ‘One sign of the popularity of these books is the great number of languages into which they were in due course translated – Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Coptic, Slavonic, Georgian, etc. This wide range of translation no doubt reflects the degree of popularity they came to have among the Christians, but it is also an indication of the place they held with Judaism itself.’

page 162 note 1 Grateful thanks are due to Stanley Greenfield, Peter Clemoes, Fred Robinson, George Brown, Peter Brown, John Leyerle and Morton Bloomfield, who have given of their time beyond the call of duty and friendship; they are in no way responsible for my errors of fact, interpretation or judgement.

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Anglo-Saxon England
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  • EISSN: 1474-0532
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