1 Enoch in Jude and in the EOTC "Canon" : developing an adequate insight in second temple literature (STL) in the various Ethiopian churches for a better understanding of each other and for the promotion of ecumenism and mutual cooperation.
Asale, Bruk Ayele.
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The Epistle of Jude not only used 1 Enoch and some Second Temple Literature as authoritative Scripture, but also it has been significantly influenced by it. Until it disappeared from the Church since the fifth and sixth centuries, except the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 1 Enoch has been used as authoritative Scripture among many Jewish and Christian communities. Unlike any other church, the EOTC is the Church that has preserved the text in Ge’ez in its entirety and made 1 Enoch part of its canon, which is unique both in its concept and extent. As part of its Scriptures, which has been received as early as the reception of Christianity itself, 1 Enoch has significantly influenced the EOTC directly and other Ethiopian churches indirectly. However, the unifying factor of the Scriptures and the positive role 1 Enoch and other STL would have played, have been misunderstood as a source of differences among Ethiopian churches. This misunderstanding arises from the neglect and misrepresentation of the concept and extent of the canon of the EOTC by the western scholarship, which is permeated Ethiopian Evangelicalism. So, the central question this thesis asks is: Why do the Ethiopian Churches, Orthodox and Evangelicals, who have the Scriptures in common, who are considered as Trinitarian churches and who have been shaped and influenced by 1 Enoch, hold strongly opposing views on the STL in general and on 1 Enoch in particular? The tripolar African contextual approach, complement by the history of reception approach, and an ecumenical appreciative approach, is the best framework to this study. The tripolar African contextual approach helps us to see this from an African/Ethiopian context, against the western approach which tends to assume that all contexts as the same. Whereas the history of reception approach helps us to frame the reception history of both the Scriptures and Christianity to Ethiopia, the ecumenical appreciative approach directs us to positive impacts in cooperation and unity. The findings suggest that (1) the concept of the canon of the EOTC refers more to the “rule of faith” understanding than a “list of books”. (2) 1 Enoch has an impact in shaping the ancient Ethiopian literature, culture, theology, spirituality, chronography and popular religious practices. (3) With all the possible interpretive differences, the Scriptures have more of a unifying than a dividing effect in the Ethiopian churches, and if other dividing elements are adequately and properly addressed, they can play a positive role in ecumenical unity. (4) Ecumenical unity is indispensable for all Ethiopian churches not only to tackle the challenges of the twenty-first century, but also for their very existence. It is suggested that these findings should be taken positively and seriously for a better future of both citizens and churches in Ethiopia.