Astronomy in the book of Enoch

Jonathan Ben-Dov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A section of the Book of 1 Enoch is called “The Book of Heavenly Luminaries.“ This section was written in Aramaic in the second-third centuries BCE, with fragments discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The complete book is preserved in Ethiopic translation. The astronomical treatise reflects the traditional Mesopotamian astronomical models of the mid-first millennium BCE: length of daylight and nighttime, the place of the sun on the horizon (without mention of the ecliptic and the zodiac), and intervals of lunar visibility. Much of these parameters are measured by “Heavenly Gates”, i.e., specific sections on the horizon. The book of luminaries adds to the Mesopotamian models an interest in the place of the moon on the horizon using the same system of gates, as well as a crude geometrical model of the lunar and solar movement. In addition, it features some vague remarks about the role of stars as markers of the seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781461461418
ISBN (Print)9781461461401
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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