By returning to the original manuscripts, he has identified problems in previous translations.
Translating the Book of Jubilees
According to the story, God took Enoch—who lived before the flood and whose life ended without death—to the Garden of Eden to record the deeds of humanity. Why the mistranslation? VanderKam is particularly interested in how the author of Jubilees worked with Genesis and Exodus, commenting on and solving problems in the original texts. Between 70 and 80 scholars have worked on editing the scrolls, says VanderKam. It was an international effort, and one that involved scholars from Jewish, Christian and other traditions.
At the high point of the Maccabean dominion, in the high-priesthood of John Hyrcanus, the Pharisees looked for the immediate advent of the Messianic kingdom. This kingdom was to be ruled over by a Messiah sprung, not from Levi—that is, from the Maccabean family—but from Judah. This kingdom would be gradually realized on earth, and the transformation of physical nature would go hand in hand with the ethical transformation of man until there was a new heaven and a new earth. Thus, finally, all sin and pain would disappear and men would live past the age of 1, years in happiness and peace, and in death enjoy a blessed immortality in the Messianic kingdom.
According to the author of Jubilees , Hebrew was the language originally spoken by all creatures, animals and man, and is the language of Heaven. After the destruction of the tower of Babel, it was forgotten, until Abraham was taught it by the angels.
Enoch was the first man initiated by the angels in the art of writing, and wrote down, accordingly, all the secrets of astronomy , of chronology, and of the world's epochs. Four classes of angels are mentioned: angels of the presence, angels of sanctifications, guardian angels over individuals, and angels presiding over the phenomena of nature. In regards to demonology, the writer's position is largely that of the deuterocanonical writings from both New and Old Testament times. The Book of Jubilees narrates the genesis of angels on the first day of Creation and the story of how a group of fallen angels mated with mortal females, giving rise to a race of giants known as the Nephilim.
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The Ethiopian version, considered canonical in Ethiopia, clearly states that the "angels" were in fact the disobedient offspring of Seth Deqiqa Set , while the "mortal females" were daughters of Cain. This is also the view held by most of the earliest commentators. Their hybrid children, the Nephilim in existence during the time of Noah , were wiped out by the great flood.
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Biblical references to "giants" found in Numbers , Deuteronomy , and Joshua have confused some who regard these "giants" to be the same as the antediluvian Nephilim; the Hebrew words for "giants" in most of these verses are "Anakim" or "Rephaim. These references do not necessarily contradict the account of the original Nephilim being completely destroyed in the Deluge. However, Jubilees does state that God granted ten percent of the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim to try to lead mankind astray after the flood.
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