For many years it has been the accepted belief that ‘from the fourth century of our era’ the Book of I Enoch ‘gradually passed out of circulation, and became lost to the knowledge of Western Christendom’ until 1773, ‘when an Ethiopic version of the work was found in Abyssinia by Bruce.’ It is doubtless true that I Enoch was not in any exact sense known to Europe until the return of Bruce, but the belief that he was the first to ‘discover’ the book or its Ethiopic translation appears erroneous. This discovery had been made approximately two centuries before 1773. In his widely read Relation of a Journey George Sandys informs the reader that in a mountain fastness the
Abissens or A Ethiopians…have…the goodliest Librarie of the world: where many bookes that are lost with vs, or but meerely mentioned, are kept entire: as hath bin lately reported by a Spanish Frier that hath seene them, if we may beleeue him: amongst which, they say, are the oracles of Enoch (with other mysteries that escaped the Flood, ingrauen by him vpon pillars) and written in their vulgar language.
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