The document on which this translation is based was delivered to my office nearly twenty years ago in a nondescript cardboard box wrapped in weathered brown paper. The package bore no return address, but its postmark indicated that it had been mailed from St. Catherine, a tourist village in the Sinai Desert. At first glance, the document appeared to be a medieval illuminated manuscript of about average quality. However, closer examination revealed that it actually was a palimpsest, an older parchment that had been scrubbed and overwritten with new text. The language of the medieval manuscript was Latin, but a few clearly visible fragments of the earlier text revealed that the original language had been Palestinian Aramaic, a dialect in which I am an acknowledged expert. I did realize that the proper thing to do would have been to forward the document to a museum, but I was unable to resist the temptation of attempting, on my own, to restore and translate this curious document that had so mysteriously been entrusted to my care.
After many frustrating years of painfully slow progress, recent advances in digital imaging technology have finally made it possible for me to restore the hidden text, and so I've been able to complete my translation, which follows. (You'll notice that I tend to use fairly modern English in my translation, a technique which may be offensive to some purists, especially given the "Biblical" nature of this particular material. However, it is my firm belief that modern audiences respond best to modern language, and that nothing is to be gained by translating ancient texts into "King James" English in order to appeal to the lofty sensibilities of scholars and pedants.)
As soon as I can bear to part with it, I will donate the manuscript to a museum that can apply radiometric dating techniques to determine its authenticity, in terms of its age. Like so many other documents that have been handed down to us from antiquity, no one will ever be able to determine the historicity of the events that it describes. But so that scholars may at least be able to evaluate the accuracy of my translation, I've posted an image of the restored manuscript on the Internet at http://www.PassionOfEnoch.com/. -- HCM
[ Selected Writings ]
©2004 Henry Charles Mishkoff