Grigori! Nephalim! Watchers! Enochs! All that fun stuff!
WHO IS THE METATRON? (wiki) Thiis is our new record for quickest digression! It’s kind of on topic…the Metatron is the voice of God, a powerful angel mentioned in the Talmud and Rabbinical literature. among other things he’s the recording angel, the Lesser YHVH (!), and may be Enoch after Enoch was taken into heaven. He’s a lot of things. But Alan Rickman was him in Dogma, and that embiggens both of them, doesn’t it?
With thanks to Home Speakeasy, we have teh “Year of the Flood” cocktail – bourbon, tequila, benedictine, and raspberry vanilla syrup. It sounds like this was, in its inception, more about the syrup. But it’s a delightful color, isn’t it?
Once again we bring you citrus trivial night! The Buddha’s Hand, or fingered citron, is a strange, twisty little fruit that is sometimes given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. It’s not really a fruit that you can eat, but it’s zest and peel are used in candies and beverages and suchlike.
From the world of hell-adjacent news, we have a hellishly hot layer of molten rock under the earth’s crust, some Dante-inspired haute couture at Paris Fashion Week (read the article! See the runway!) And the usual unhinged noise about how Rihanna’s Superbowl outfit was satanic, but let’s ignore that, it was a great outfit…although it wasn’t a faux lion head. Victoria found the lion’s head garment evocative of football mums, which was probably what the designer was going for.
We’re absolutely all over the place with this term and it’s the “focus” of the espisode…so…briefly, the watchers are a category of angels, some of which (according to 1 Enoch and other texts) were seduced by the very attractive Daughters of Man, and married them. Their children were “giants” or “nephilim” but not every Enoch translator has the same vocabulary – the Elioud (wiki) were angel-human hybrids that survived the flood? Maybe. It’s quite muddled. Sometimes the nephilim are the second generation, after the Gibborim. There really isn’t a “canon” here, so go with it.
We don’t know what a watcher looked like, back in the Enoch days, but once you see Marvel’s “Uatu” you’ll have that stuck in your head. Or MODOK.
Another term, and there are so many, is the Repha’im (wiki), who are, similarly, a race of giants…or departed spirits? They were (sometimes) the previous inhabitants of “the promised land,” an older race that inhabited Canaan before Israel took the land over. There’s a “fairy folk” quality to them, because they’re also the shades of ancestors and residents of the netherworld, and some commentators have suggested that the Rephaim were, redacted from the bible over time to remove the supernatural, polythiestic elements from the text.
Did the watchers “fall”? That’s hard to say. They never became demons, but after they had sex with humans, they were impure, and God does not handle impurity very well. So at the very least they were not fit for service in God’s kingdom. And not all watchers were corrupted, only this group of 200 or so. Jamin references the fall of Lucifer, which is a more active fall (and its own complicated story in terms of how Lucifer, the “one third of the host of heaven.,” and other stories are related.)
There doesn’t seem to be a complete list of the 200 or so watcher angels, but here’s a list of 30 or so.
The Garden of Edin?
“Edin” may be derived from a Sumerian word for “the steppes,” which had some associations with the wilderness, particularly the supernatural aspect of wilderness as underworld. But Jacob can’t find that article. You can read some fun academic back-and-forth over Edin, Shemhat, Ekindu, and the Garden of Eden in “The Serpent in the Garden of Eden and its Background,” this is one of the few times I’d encourage someone to read the comments, they’re energetic.
(wiki) Wiki’s got a good summary on the development of apocalypitic literature, which flourished inthe 200s-100s and into the New Testament period (The Book of Revelations is a very well-known example of the style. It’s got a “the world will be destroyed and remade” vibe, usually with a chosen people saved and the wicked given what they’re due. It’s worth remembering that “the end of the world” isn’t a bad thing in these texts, because the world woudl be remade and set right.
Words for the Day: Synoptic, Recension
From “Synopsis,” “seeing all together.” The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are heavily dependent on each other, only about 22% of the content of Luke and Matthew is unique to those texts. John does its own thing.
“Recension” is a revised version of a text, with the implication that it was an informed, careful revision of the text. The various recensions of a text can give some clue as to what the original document might have been, when the original is lost to time.
From an old Akkadian word meaning “dressed like a fish”…wait…”wise” or “sage”…the Apkallu are seven demigods who are associated with human wisdom, passing on knowledge to humanity. They may get a nod in the Epic of Gilgamesh, as a group of seven sages that helped found the city of Uruk. The word “Apkallu” has also had the meaning of “those who watch,” and while it may be a bit much to say “the Apkallu are originally the watchers,” one version of the Apkallu….statues of the sages used to ward off evil spirits…were alled the mats-tsarey, which does mean watchers.” (“Where do Demons Come From?” by Michael Heiser)
A mountain range on the border of Lebanon and Syria, and the highest point in Syria.. Of course in Mesopotamian mythology high points are very important, and this one is…..the highest.
In Mesopotamian myth, this is the place where Gilgamesh kills the demon Humbaba, and the home of Ba’al in Ugaritic myth. The word “Hermon” might be related to the root “hrm” which means consecrated/taboo.
Hermon turns up several times in the old testament, which is reasonable as it’s a big landmark, and is where the Watchers cam to earth and made bad decisions.
It is currently a ski resort, the only one in Israel.
It’s been a while since we covered this, so let’s touch on the me again (wiki). The me are the decrees of creation, sometimes represented by physical items. The list is long, there’s at least a hundred mentioned, but they include kingship, law, mourning, a range of arts and crafts, truth and lying, terror and victory, sex and prostitution…it’s a list.
The me were stolen from their creator, Enki, by his daughter, Inanna/Astarte, who goes on to be the most awesome goddess in the pantheon.
Depending on who you ask, the apkallu , as servents of Enki, helped distribute the me to humanity.
Referenced in Enoch, this one is the “cauldron of god,” and it’s where the fallen watchers are going to be bound and set to burn for quite some time. It’s analogous to Tartarus, a part of the underworld set aside for more serious punishment.
Was Enoch the first bromance? Victoria asks these important questions. I think we established that Gilgamesh and Enkidu was the first bromance, but this is a cute video all the same.
A Companion to the Book of Enoch, by the sadly late Michael S. Heiser. Volume one, an approachable reader’s commentary. (Amazon)
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, ed. James Charlesworth. Two huge doorstop books, with excellent annotated translations. The “Testament of Solomon” version contained therein is one of the best. Each text has a few pages on its cultural, historical, and theological contexts, very helpful in wrestling with Enoch. (Amazon)