J. H. Charlesworth
The heading to the Apocalypse of Abraham in Manuscript S provides a genealogy that situates Abraham in the history of salvation, connecting him with Shem, Noah, Lamech, Methuselah, and Enoch: “The Book of the Apocalypse of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, son of Serug, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared” [OTP 1.689]. The genealogy reminds us of Noah’s lineage.
The Qumran fragments focused on Noah or the Flood should be included with the text and translation of the Genesis Apocryphon, because the latter claims to be “A [c]o[p]y of the book of the words of Noah” (5.29 [italics mine]). The Noah story is found in GenApoc 5:6-19:13. If 1Q20 had not received the name “Genesis Apocryphon,” it might have been recognized as “the Book of the Words of Noah,” as one scholar now calls it.
The compilers of the Books of Enoch pay special attention to Noah, whose grandfather is Enoch (1En 65). R. H. Charles concluded that 1 Enoch 6-11 were derived from “the Book of Noah,” and that “Noachic fragments are preserved in” 1 Enoch 54-55:2, 60, 65-69:25, and 106-107. J. T. Milik suggested that the Genesis Apocryphon and 1 Enoch are independent summaries of a “Book of Noah.” This introduction warns that we must not presuppose the existence of “the Book of Noah” or a closed coherent collection of works with Noah in focus.
While it is likely that the Genesis Apocryphon focuses on three biblical luminaries who speak in first-person narration, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, it is unlikely that the author was simply one who excerpted earlier documents. The unifying compositional technique in the Genesis Apocryphon suggests an original narrative that is indebted to earlier sources, possibly written and oral. Thus the relationship between the Genesis Apocryphon 5-19 and 1 Enoch 106-107 is complex; most likely each has absorbed different elements from a popular Noah story that had circulated over a long period of time and had a rich oral history.
The purpose of the present work is to organize all Qumran Noah documents –defined as texts found in the Qumran caves that mirror the story of Noah; thus, the following texts and translations should facilitate further research on the Noah cycle of compositions (which should be conceived loosely and not as a collection of works about Noah). Numerous compositions have been incorrectly judged to belong to a putative Noah cycle and some fragments were incorrectly related. One scholar, perhaps misreading Jubilees 10:13 and 21:10, imagines the existence of an Apocalypse of Noah. Confusion has too often surrounded the understanding and the presentation of Qumran fragments that seem to echo Noah’s story. In light of recent research, some fragments are disassociated from “the Noah cycle” and some titles have been corrected.
The authors of the Noah fragments from Qumran mention Noah’s miraculous birth, flood, and the earth’s division according to Noah’s sons (see my notes to the translations of 1Q19a, 4Q370, 4Q534 ar, 4Q535, 4Q536, 4Q577, and 6Q 19). In contrast to the author of 4 Maccabees 15:31, the authors of these texts were not interested in the Noah’s ark. Noah, as the first one to plant a vineyard and his drunkenness either are not of interest to these authors or not preserved in the remaining fragments.
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