In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Nephilim and Demons in the Book of Enoch, Nehemia talks with Dr. Miryam Brand about the Book of Watchers, which is another name for the first 36 chapters of 1 Enoch. The intrigue begins in Genesis 6:1-4 when “sons of God” got together with “daughters of men” and “Nephilim” seem to have been the result—a passage Nehemia considers the most difficult in the Tanakh. The Book of Watchers is an attempt by ancient Jews to explain this mysterious passage in the Torah.
Gordon and Brand tread through centuries of biblical and extra-biblical literature to exposit how original and subsequent readers have viewed the Watchers. Brand explains the “distancing” from God that took place in the Second Temple period as evidenced by the increased focus on the angelic world. We also learn that early Christianity was aware of the Watchers; the epistle of Jude quotes from the Book of the Watchers and Justin Martyr also addressed the issue in his Dialogues with Trypho (chapter 79).
If Genesis 6:1-4 has ever caused you to scratch your head, this episode will help you approach it in a more informed way as Gordon and Brand explore context and usage for “watchers,” “angels,” “sons of God,” “awake ones,” “giants,” “mighty men,” "Nephilim," and “Elohim.”
The image at the top of this page is of a famous hoax, expressing a Photoshop-artist's rendition of what the bones of Nephilim might look like.