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Berossus, Manetho, and 1 Enoch In the World Chronicle of Panodorus*

  • William Adler (a1)

At the beginning of the ninth century, George Syncellus, a monk of Constantinople, composed a chronicle of world history which extended from the beginning of the world up to the reign of Diocletian. As the title suggests, the chronicle was an ἐκλογή of excerpts and citations from highly diverse sources. Among other things, these excerpts include kings lists from Africanus' and Eusebius' chronicles, arranged in parallel columns for the sake of comparison, material from various ethnic histories, and several extracts from Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha. These pseudepigraphic citations are clustered together in the antediluvian portion of his chronicle, and include material from Jubilees, the Life of Adam, the Testament of Adam, and the Jewish pseudepigraphon known as 1 Enoch. The citations from 1 Enoch consist of two large excerpts, both of which Syncellus assigns to the “Book of the Watchers.” Expanding on the Genesis 6 legend of the fall of the sons of God, these excerpts recount the descent of the Watchers from Mt. Hermon, their revelations to and intercourse with the daughters of men, and the subsequent corruption of the earth.

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1 The full title of the work according to MS A in Dindorf's edition is “Ἐκλογὴ χρονογραϕίας συνταγεῖσα ὑπὸ Γεοργίου Μονάχου Συγκέλλου γεγόνοτος ταρασίου πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινοπόλεως ἀπὸ Ἀδἀμ μεχρὶ Διοκλητιάνου” All citations from Syncellus' chronicle are from the edition of W. Dindorf in Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (=CSHB; Bonn: Weber, 1829).

2 The first excerpt (Sync. 20.1–23.5 = 1 Enoch 6:1–9:5) is under the heading “Ἐκ το⋯ πρῖτουνὼχ περ⋯ τῖν ⋯γρηγόρων”; it recounts the fall of the Watchers and their corruption of and revelations to the daughters of men. The second excerpt, entitled “Ἐκ το⋯λόγουνὼχ τ⋯ λοῖπα περ⋯ τ⋯ν ⋯γρηγ⋯ρων” (Sync. 42.18–47.20), is divided into three parts: 42.20–46.6, on the punishment of the Watchers = 1 Enoch 9:1–10:15; 46.7–47.3, on the savagery of the giants = 1 Enoch 15:8–16:2; 47.3–19, on the burning of Mt. Hermon (not attested in preserved witnesses to 1 Enoch). For other allusions to 1 Enoch in the antediluvian segment of Syncellus’ chronicle, see also 60.14–61.1 (⋯ν τῇ βιβλῷνὼχ), apparently a summary of “Book of Heavenly Luminaries” (= 1 Enoch 72–82); also Sync. 57.16ff., on revelations of Chorabiel about the orbit of the sun (cf. 1 Enoch 6.7). For discussion of Syncellus' fragments from 1 Enoch, see most recently Milik's, J. T.The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976) 78, 317–20; also Knibb, M., The Ethiopic Book of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978) 2. 19ff., 77ff.

3 Cf. the proemium to Theophanes' continuation of Syncellus' chronicle (ed. B. G. Niebuhr; CSHB; Bonn: Weber, 1839) 3.1–4.7. Among other things, Theophanes praises him for “having read other chronographies and histories, and having examined them critically” (ἀκριβῶς τούτους διαξερευσάμενος, 4.2–3).

4 The discussion of Syncellus and his sources is in Sextus Julius Africanus (Leipzig: Teubner, 1888) 2. 176–249 (reprinted by Burt Franklin, ed.; Research and Source Works Series 169; New York, ca. 1967). For Gelzer's discussion of Syncellus' citations from 1 Enoch and other pseudepigrapha, see Sextus Julius Africanus 2. 262–64.

5 For Annianus' quotations from 1 Enoch in the chronicle of Michael Syrus, see Chabot's, J. B. edition: Chronique de Michel le Syrien, Patriarche Jacobite d'Antioche (Paris, 1899) 1. 1,7. For Bar Hebraeus, see text and translation by E. A. W. Budge (London: Oxford University, 1932) 3. For discussion, see Gelzer, Sextus Julius Africanus, 2. 440–41; “Die vorflutigen Chaldäerfürsten des Annianos,”0 Byzantinische Zeitschrift 3 (1894) 391–93; see also Brock, Sebastian, “A Fragment of Enoch in Syriac,” JTS 19 (1968) 627.

6 So see most recently Milik, Books of Enoch, 76–78; Knibb, Ethiopic Book, 2. 20.

7 For Syncellus' characterization of the work of his Alexandrian predecessors, see 29.1–8; 30.4–20; 57.14–66.4; 74.7–76.10; 148.8–10; 592.4–7; 617.18–619.9.

8 See esp. Sync. 62.18–63.18.

9 For a critique of Gelzer's conjectures about Syncellus' Alexandrian sources, see R. Laqueur, “Synkellos,” PW Zweite Reihe, 4.2, 1402–5.

10 Josephus C. Apion. 1.215 (LCL Thackeray).

11 Ibid., 1.6.

12 Ibid., 1.7.

13 Quoted by Eusebius in PE 10.10.1–2 (trans E. H. Gifford; Oxford: Oxford University, 1903).

14 Eusebius Die Chronik 2.26–28 (ed. Karst; GCS 7.5; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911).

15 Chronology of early Babylonian and Egyptian history in ibid., 4.8–6.13; 63.18–64.7.

16 The major work on the Babyloniaca is still P. Schnabel's Berossos und die babylonischhellenistische Literatur (Leipzig: Teubner, 1923). The fragments from the Babyloniaca have been collected in FrGH 1CL 680 T.1–5. English translation of these fragments, based mainly on the Greek text of Syncellus, by Burstein, S. M., The Babyloniaca of Berossos: Sources and Monographs (Sources from the Ancient Near East; Malibu: Undena, 1978) 1. 5. For a collection of extant fragments from Manetho, see Waddell's, W. edition in LCL (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1940).

17 See C. Apion. 1.73; 1.228.

18 For Manetho's putative invective against the Jews, see J. Gager, Moses in Greco-Roman Paganism (Nashville: Abingdon, 1972) 116–18.

19 . According to Syncellus, Africanus reckoned the preflood period as 2262 years. Syncellus, however, on the authority of Eusebius, considered 2242 years more accurate (cf. Sync. 35.10–36.12).

20 Plato Timaeus 22D.

21 See Wacholder, Ben Zion, “Biblical Chronology in the Hellenistic World Chronicles,” HTR 61 (1968) 451.

22 See Eusebius Chronica 4.28–30 (Alexander Polyhistor's excerpt from Berossus); also Sync. 52.17–19.

The traditions about Manetho's primordial chronology are more diverse. Eusebius assigns to Manetho's chronology of the mythic period 24,900 years (Chronica 64.4–7); for other witnesses to Manetho, see Waddell, frgs. 2–5

23 Herodotus 2.4.

24 Ibid., 2.142.

25 Porphyry, quoted by Simplicius in his Commentary on Aristotle's De caelo 226B (ed. Heiberg, ; Berlin: Reimerus, 1893) 506.10–16.

26 Cicero De div. 1.19.

27 Proclus Comm. Tim.i.101.3 (ed. E. Diehl; Leipzig: Teubner, 1903). For an interesting discussion of this question, see Johnson, James William, “Chronological Writing: Its Concept and Development,” History and Theory 2 (19621963) 124–26.

28 Proclus Comm. Tim. i.101.4–5.

29 Cf. Seneca Quaest. nat. 3.29.1.

30 Waerden, B. L. van der, “Das grosse Jahr und die ewige Wiederkehr,” Hermes 80 (1952) 142.

31 Note that Josephus makes a similar observation when he states that the antediluvian generations had to live at least the duration of a Great Year in order to be able to predict the future with certainty (Ant. 1.104–6).

32 A useful comparison of Africanus' and Eusebius' epitomes of the Aegyptiaca can be found in Waddell's collection.

33 For a discussion of these epitomes, see Krall, J., “Die Composition und die Schicksale des Manethonischen Geschichtswerks,” SitzungsberAkWien, Phil-hist. Klasse 95 (1879) 208–21; R. Laqueur, “Manetho,” PW 14.1 (1928) 1080–84 (synopsis of Laqueur by Waddell, Manetho, xix-xx).

34 On the Egyptian authorship of these epitomes, see Krall, “Composition,” 210ff. Gelzer, however, believed they were Jewish or Christian compositions (Sextus Julius Africanus, 1.205; 2.53–54).

35 Sync. 95.9–10.

36 Ibid., 95.10–12.

37 Ibid., 96.16–97.4; cf. Waddell, app. iii, 231.

38 Ibid., 95.10–11.

39 For the date of composition of Ancient Chronicle, see Gelzer, Sextus Julius Africanus, 2. 215–17; Unger, E., Chronologie des Manetho (Berlin: Weidmann, 1867) 2028;Böckh, A., Manetho und die Hundsternperiode (Berlin: Veit, 1845). I see no reason to accept the view that the Ancient Chronicle was a Christian composition (cf. Gelzer, Sextus Julius Africanus, 2. 215).

40 On the Sothic cycle and its relationship to the Egyptian calendar, see Parker, Richard A., The Calendars of Ancient Egypt (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilizations 26; Chicago: University of Chicago, 1950) 5155.

41 Although Syncellus does not explain the significance of the number 25 in this computation of the cosmic revolution, it probably refers to the period of the Egyptian lunar cycle (see Parker, Calendars, 13–50).

Note that Iamblichus states, on the authority of “Manetho,” that the Hermetic corpus consisted of 36,525 books (De mysteriis 8.1 [ed. E. des Places]). The Sabians are said by Scharastani to have described a world-cycle of 36,425 years, probably a corruption of 36,525 (cf. Chwolson, D., Die Ssabier und Ssabismus [St. Petersburg, 1856] 1. 768 n. 4).

42 The pseudepigraphic character of the work is most visible in Manetho's introductory letter to the Book of Sothis, which applies the epithet “trismegistus” to Hermes, and refers to Ptolemy Philadelphus as “augustus” (σεβαστός). Both of these epithets are anachronistic. For analysis of this letter, see Speyer, W., Die literarische Falschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum. Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaften 1.2 (Munich: Beck, 1971) 255; Böckh, Manetho und die Hundsternperiode, 14–15; Scott, W., Hermetica (Oxford: Clarendon, 1936) 3. 492–93; Festugière, A.-J., La révélation d'Hermes Trismegiste (Paris: Gabalda, 1954) 1. 74–75; Laqueur, “Manetho,” 1099–1101.

43 Note that both Scott and Festugière include this work among the Hermetica; see also Plessner, M., “Hermes Trismegistus and Arab Science,” Studia Islamica 2 (1954) 5657.

44 Sync. 72.18–73.2.

45 Ibid., 72.20–22.

46 Ibid., 73.12–15.

47 See, e.g., Iamblichus (De mysteriis 8.5), who states that Bitys, the “prophet of Ammon,” explained the teaching of Hermes which he “found in the adyta of Sais in Egypt, written in hieroglyphics.”

48 According to Josephus' account (Ant. 1.68–72), Seth and his generation left two steles, one of brick (in case the cataclysm was a fire), and the other of stone (in case of flood). On these steles were inscribed the astronomical knowledge of preflood generations. These steles, Josephus writes, still exist in the “l and of Seiris.” For discussion of this legend see most recently Klijn, A. F. J., Seth in Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 1977) 121–24. For location of “Seiris,” see Reinink, G. J., “Das Land ‘Seiris’ (Sir) und das Volk der Serer in jüdischen und christlichen Traditionen,” JSJ 6 (1975) 7285.

49 Sync. 148.5; see also 95.8–10.

50 Celsus in Origen's C. Cel. 1.19–20; 4.9–13; 4.21; 4.79.

51 Ibid., 1.21; 4.11; 4.21. Origen's response to this is that Moses was older than those who formulated the doctrines about universal cycles (see 4.11–12).

52 See above, 422–23.

53 Note that Josephus' legend of antediluvian steles is very popular among the Byzantine world chroniclers. See, e.g., the anonymous chronicler included in Dindorf's edition of Malalas, who fuses Josephus' legend with a similar one told about the Watchers in Jub 8:3 ( 6.1–5 [ed. Dindorf; CSHB 8; Bonn: Weber, 1831]).

54 Ephrem argues from Gen 8:3 in his Commentary on Genesis 61.13–21 (on Gen 8:3) (ed. R. R. Tonneau; CSCO 152; Louvain: Durbecq, 1955). For discussion of Ephrem's view about Chaldean chronography, see Kronholm, T., Motifs from Gen 1–11 in the Genuine Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian (ConB 11; Lund: Gleerup, 1978) 30, 200–201.

55 Lactantius Div. inst. 7.14.

56 In Sync. 58.17–59.13.

57 . Comm. Tim. i.462.22–25.

58 Ibid., i.102.25–28. See also Lactantius Div. inst. 2.13 (quoting Varro); Pliny NH 7.48. Augustine (De civ. Dei 15.12) knows of “certain individuals” who had, on the authority of Pliny, applied the same method to the years of the biblical patriarchs, claiming that their years were only equal to one-tenth of a solar year.

59 Diodorus 1.26.1–5.

60 In Sync. 31.6–10.

61 Ibid., 31.7–8.

62 Ibid., 31.4–6.

63 Cf. Ibid., 31.11ff.

64 Chronica 63.31–64.25 (trans. Waddell, frg. 1,7–8 ). Eusebius asserts that if this solution does not prove adequate, then some other explanation might have to be sought, such as the possibility that primitive Egyptian kings did not rule one after the other, but that several kings ruled at the same time (cf. Chronica 64.26–65.1 [Waddell, frg. 1,9]).

65 Ibid., 9.31–32.

66 For Eusebius' reservations about chronological precision for the primordial period, see Chronica 36.16–37.9, where he states that it is impossible to date events from the beginning of the world because no one can know for certain how long Adam had been in Paradise.

67 Cf. E. Schwartz, who suggests (“Eusebios,” PW 6.1 [1907] 1378–79) that Eusebius included so many conflicting chronologies for the antediluvian period (i.e., the different biblical chronologies and Manetho and Berossus), in order to heighten the difficulty of establishing an absolute chronology for this period, thereby dampening the chiliastic applications of chronography.

68 Cf. Sync. 63.18–65.2.

69 Ibid., 63.18–64.2; 30.13–14.

70 Ibid., 73.2–75.18 (trans. Waddell, frg. 2, 11–15).

71 Cf. Ibid., 20.1–23.5 (= 1 Enoch 6.1 -11).

72 It is curious that Syncellus gives three different datings for the fall of the Watchers: 1000 AM (19.7), 1058 (29.15), and 1077 (34.9–10).

73 Cf. Sync. 22. 3–4: ὁδἐ τέταρτος (Χω βαβιήλ) ⋯δίδαξεν ⋯στρολογίαν.

74 Cf. also Ibid., 32.9–33.2. Although Syncellus does not say this explicitly, it is likely that Panodorus identified the Watchers with the Sethites and the “daughters of men” with the descendants of Cain. This naturalistic interpretation of Gen 6:lff., attested already in Africanus (cf. Sync. 34.11–35.6), was very widespread in the Christian chronographic tradition. See, e.g., Sync. 19.6–15; 24.14ff., and below n. 103. For discussion of Sethite interpretation of Gen 6:lff., see Klijn, Seth, 41–80.

75 Sync. 57.10–58.2

76 Cf. Ibid., 58.11–13.

77 Ibid., 74.10–13. (For “1282” read “1287”; cf. 60.14.)

78 Ibid., 60.14–61.1.

79 Cf. 1 Enoch 72. See Milik, Books of Enoch, 19–20.

80 See Jub. 4:17. For this tradition in the chronographers, see, e.g., Michael Glycas (ed. Bekker; CSHB 16; Bonn: Weber, 1836) 228, 7–13.

81 Agapius, Kitab al-ʾUnwan (ed. A. Vasiliev; PO 5.4 [1910]) 591–92.

82 Quoted by Eusebius in PE 9.17.2–9. For discussion of ps-Eupolemus see Wacholder, Ben Zion, “Pseudo-Eupolemus' Two Greek Fragments on the Life of Abraham,” HUCA (1963) 83113.

83 Chronica 12.24–25; Syncellus, probably on the authority of Panodorus, assigns 34,080 years to the reigns of these kings (147.12–13).

84 Sync. 148.8–10.

85 Serruys, D., “Les transformations de l'aera Alexandrina Minor,” Revue de Philologie, n.s. 31 (1907) 251.

86 Sync. 33.1; 74.10.

87 Ibid., 58.17–59.8.

88 Cf. Ibid., 59.11–12.

89 Böckh, Manetho, 108.

90 Unger, Manetho, 31.

91 For Syncellus' estimation of Panodorus' abilities, see 63.9ff.; 592.4–7; 617.18ff.

92 Ibid., 29.10–11.

93 For comparison of differing recensions of Manetho, see Waddell, frgs. 1–5.

94 For discussion, see Gelzer, Sextus Julius Africanus, 2. 206–14.

95 Sync. 60.9–10.

96 See above, 434ff.

97 If Syncellus' excerpts from Jubilees (13.16–15.10) also come from Panodorus’ chronicle, the same problem would apply; like 1 Enoch, Jubilees also adheres to a 364-day calendar.

98 See above, 432ff.

99 Sync. 42.15–17.

100 Ibid., 48.1–2.

101 See Jansen, H. L., Die Henochgestalt (Oslo: Dybwad, 1939) esp. 7678.

102 Hanson, Paul, “Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1 Enoch 6–11,” JBL 96 (1977) 196.

103 Ibid. For the historicization of the Watchers, see Annianus' interpretation of the Watchers' legend preserved by Michael Syrus. According to him, the Watchers were one of the Sethite lines. When they descended from Mt. Hermon, they set up a kingdom under Semiazos; subsequently, their brothers, whom Annianus identifies as the earliest Chaldeans, set up another kingdom to rival that of the Watchers (cf. Michael Syrus 1.4ff. [ed. Chabot]; see also Bar Hebraeus 1.3–4 [ed. Budge]). From Syncellus’ fragments of Panodorus' chronicle, it is not clear whether Panodorus also identified the Watchers and the first Chaldean kings as Sethites.

* This paper is a revised and augmented version of a paper delivered in December 1981, at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Francisco.

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