AḴNŪḴ, Enoch, in Manichean texts. According to the Cologne Mani Codex, the outstanding Greek Mani-vita, the prophet grew up in a Judeo-Christian environment, in the sect founded by Elkhasai (*Alkhasā in a Parthian text) in Eastern Syria about 100 A.D. Given this background it can be assumed that in Mani’s spiritual world Enoch must have been a well-known figure, since he was a favorite to Jews and Christians alike. He is mentioned, quoted, or alluded to in Biblical and post-Biblical Jewish literature (e.g., the Testaments of the twelve Patriarchs, the Assumption of Moses, 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch [or the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch], the Book of Jubilees), in the New Testament, and among the Church Fathers (e.g., Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Cyprian, Hippolytus); but after the third century A.D. the Enoch literature fell into discredit and gradually passed out of circulation. The great antediluvian hero of the Bible (cf. Genesis 4.17, 5.18 ff.), Enoch gave rise to a complex of traditions. Towards the middle of the first century B.C., these were probably collected in different books (cf. “en biblois Enōkh tu dikaiu,” Test. Jud. 18.1; “in libellis qui appellantur Enoch,” Origen, In Num. Homil. 27.2; etc.) in Hebrew or Aramaic, or in Hebrew and Aramaic (such as the Book of Daniel; in Qumran both Hebrew and Aramaic texts have been found). These traditions, or rather essential parts of them, were collected in what is now known as 1. Enoch, or the Ethiopic Book of Enoch (in contradistinction to 2. Enoch, or the Slavonic Enoch, and 3. Enoch, or the Hebrew Enoch); partial Greek versions of the Ethiopic Book, a Latin fragment, and some excerpts made by the Byzantine chronographer Georgios Synkellos (8th-9th cent., in the ʾEklogḕ chronographías: 1. Enoch 6.1-7.4, 8.4-10.14, 15.8-16.1, and a short extract to which the Ethiopic version yields no parallel) have also been preserved. There is, however, no reason to doubt that those texts that cannot be exactly identified in 1. Enoch belong nonetheless to the same chain of tradition. The Epistle of Barnabas, for example, has in free rendering (16.5) the text of 1. Enoch 89.56ff. as well as (4.3) a reference to Enoch (“. . . as Enoch says . . .”) that cannot be clearly located, and in the New Testament the Epistle of Jude 14-15 quotes 1. Enoch 1.9, but with certain alterations—surprisingly, since the source is evident. The same sort of thing can be observed in Manichean literature: In the Greek Cologne Mani Codex, 1. Enoch 90.41 is quoted (“. . . Enoch . . . in his Apocalypse . . .”), although rather freely, and in the Book of the Giants (see below) Mani is clearly dependent on 1. Enoch and other, more detailed material from the same tradition that now has emerged from Qumran Cave IV.

To Mani the figure of Enoch, the eschatology of the Enoch tradition, and above all, the story of the fallen angels and their giant sons (1. Enoch 6-11) were of eminent importance. Enoch was one of the thirteen apostles or prophets that appeared before Mani came with the final message from Heaven: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Enoch, Nikotheos, Noah, Sem, Shem, Abraham, Buddha, Aurentes, Zarathushtra, and Jesus (O. Klíma, Manis Zeit und Leben, Prague, 1962, pp. 303ff.). He was one of those prophets that the Holy Ghost (wāxš yōǰdahr) used as instruments, in the Middle Persian M 299a (hwnwx, Hunōx; W. B. Henning, “Ein Manichäisches Henochbuch,” SPAW 5, 1934, p. 28), in the Coptic Homilies 68.19 (“. . . the years of Enoch . . .”), and in the Coptic Kephalaia 12.12 (on the coming of the Apostles [apostolos]). But the name of Enoch as an apostle was not the only thing dear to Mani; he was also familiar with the Enoch literature and fervently recommended his disciples to read it. Of special interest to him was the Enochian story of the fallen angels (the Watchers, the egrēgoroi, Syriac ʿīr [taken over as a loan-word in the Middle Persian M 625c, but only here]), two hundred in number, that Mani transformed into demons (dēwān, so in all Iranian texts), because according to his teaching no evil could come from the Realm of Light and their giant sons (kawān). As already was rightly suggested by Isaac de Beausobre in his masterly and in many ways unsurpassed Histoire critique de Manichée et du manichéisme (I, p. 429, published by J. Frédéric Bernard in Amsterdam, 1734), Mani used that material extensively in his Book of the Giants. In 1943, W. B. Henning (“The Book of the Giants,” BSOAS 11, pp. 52-74) published all known fragments (Middle Persian, Uighur, and Sogdian) of this book, the Kawān, together with Sogdian excerpts and quotations and allusions in Middle Persian, Sogdian, Parthian, Coptic, and Arabic (Ḡażanfar). The fragments of Mani’s Kawān make clear that in compiling his version of the story of the fallen angels he drew upon more detailed material than that available in 1. Enoch. Aramaic Qumran texts, however, show with absolute certainty that this material was not Mani’s own invention; on the contrary, it formed part of an Enoch tradition belonging to 1. Enoch, though not included in the “authorized version.” The contents of Mani’s literary source are briefly indicated in the Decretum de libris recipiendis et non recipiendis ascribed to Pope Gelasius I (492-96), but in essence probably made under Pope Damasus I (366-84; cf. H. Kraft, Kirchenväterlexicon, München, 1966, pp. 163-64). There we read, “Liber de Ogia nomine gigante qui post [ante!] diluvium cum dracone ab hereticis pugnasse perhibetur apocryphus.” Ogia is Ohyā, the brother of Ahyā (ʾwh[ḥ]yʾ and ʾhyʾ in Manichean); both are sons of Samīazāz, who, in most contexts at least, is leader of the fallen angels (in the Greek fragments and Synkellos he is called Semiazá/Semiazãs [1. Enoch 6.7], which is “Iranized” as Šahmīzād [Šhmyzʾd; cf. Shamkhazai in Targum Jonathan on Genesis 6.3]). Another giant son mentioned in the Manichean texts is Māhawai (Middle Persian mʾhwʾy, Sogdian mʾhʾwy), the son of the fallen angel Barāqīyal, Greek Barakiḗl, Synkellos Balkiḗl (in the Manichean texts correctly “translated” as Virōgdād [wrwgdʾd]; in Uighur vrukdad, “given, created by the lightning;” e.g., vrukdad oγlī, “Virōgdād’s son,” in a text where xunox burxan, “Buddha [God] Enoch,” is mentioned). The mere reference to these sons is a detail not to be found in the extant 1. Enoch; but it belongs to this tradition, as is shown by the Qumran texts. In the texts from Cave IV several names are mentioned: Ohyā (ʾwhyh), Ahyā (hhyh), their father Śemīxazah (šmyḥzh), Māhawai (mhwy, with whom Ohyā quarreled; in 6Q8.4 he is mentioned along with “my father Baraqʾel [Virōgdād],” brqʾlʾby), and another of the twenty leaders of the fallen angels, Hōbābīš (in the Middle Persian fragment j hwbʾbyš, in the Aramaic fragment ḥwbbš, Xōbabeš), i.e. Kokabiel in the Ethiopic text, Xōxariḗl in the Greek fragments and Xōbabiḗl in Synkellos. Mani himself took over the Aramaic names, but, strictly according to his usual practice, made no use of the Iranian mythological tradition. But his disciples, astonishingly capable of finding substitutes pleasing to any public, “translated” Ohyā into Sām (both dragon-killers!) and Ahyā into Narīmān (but Pāt-Sāhm in Sogdian). By introducing 1. Enoch tradition in the Book of the giants Mani gave his communities a literature that was to enjoy great popularity from North Africa to China. In a Parthian text (F. C. Andreas and W. B. Henning, “Mitteliranische Manichaica aus Chinesisch-turkestan III,” SPAW 27, 1934, p. 858), a letter to Mar Ammo, the Kawān is mentioned as the first book sent to the great missionary, and, it is added, “another Kawān” (ʾny kwʾn) has been made in Marg. Indeed it was a popular and important book. 


See also R. H. Charles (ed.), The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament II, Oxford, 1913, repr. 1963, pp. 163ff.

J. C. Greenfield, “Prolegomenon,” in H. Odeberg, 3 Enoch or The Hebrew Book of Enoch, New York, 1973, pp. xvi and xliff.

W. B. Henning, “Soghdische Miszellen,” BSOS 8, 1936, p. 583.

Idem, “Neue Materialien zur Geschichte des Manichäismus,” ZDMG 90, 1936, pp. 3-6.

O. Klíma, Manis Zeit und Leben, Prague, 1962, pp. 408ff., 484.

M. A. Knibb and E. Ullendorff, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch: A New Edition in the Light of the Aramaic Dead Sea Fragments I-II, 1978.

J. T. Milik, “Turfan et Qumran. Livre des Géants juif et manichéen, Tradition und Glaube,” Festgabe für Karl Georg Kuhn zum 65. Geburtstag, Göttingen, 1971, pp. 117ff.

Idem, “Problèmes de la littérature hénochique à la lumière des fragments araméens de Qumran,” HTR 64, 1971, pp. 334, 366ff.

Idem, with the collaboration of M. Black, The Books of Enoch. Aramaic Fragments from Qumran Cave 4, Oxford, 1976.

M. Philonenko, “Une citation manichéenne du Livre d’Henoch,” Revue d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 52, 1972, pp. 337ff.

H. B. Swete (ed.), The Psalms of Solomon with the Greek Fragments of The Book of Enoch, Cambridge, 1899 (including the excerpts of Synkellos).

(J. P. Asmussen)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 29, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 7, pp. 727-728

Cite this entry:

J. P. Asmussen, “AḴNŪḴ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, pp. 727-728; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/aknuk-enoch-in-manichean-texts (accessed on 13 May 2014).