Courtesy of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Musems

Aramaic Fragment of the Book of the Watchers in the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 1:9–5:1). This fragment, found in a Qumran cave near the Dead Sea, dates from approximately the end of the first century B.C.

In the New Testament, the Epistle of Jude quotes from a Book of Enoch:

“It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14, 15).

For centuries, scholars such as John Wesley, who founded the Methodists, speculated that Jude may have known a book of Enoch that is now lost. At the beginning of the 19th century an Englishman, Richard Laurence, translated a Book of Enoch from a manuscript that James Bruce had brought from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1773. This manuscript was labeled The Ethiopic Book of Enoch. Today 1 (Ethiopic) Enoch, it is now in the Bodleian library in Oxford. The first chapter of this document contains the quotation in Jude cited above.

Although other copies of 1 (Ethiopic) Enoch have been recovered, scholars not be certain that the late medieval manuscripts of Ethiopic Enoch could be traced either to a document that is clearly Jewish or to a work that predates Jude (circa 100 A.D.)

Now, both issues are settled. Aramaic fragments of 1 Enoch have been discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. All of them are certainly Jewish and all of them predate the destruction of Jerusalem 70 A.D. One of them (above), called 4QEnc 1 i, contains part of the very passage quoted by Jude.