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The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions


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In this volume, leading scholars explore the contours of the Watchers traditions throughout history, tracing their development through the Enoch literature, Jubilees, and other early Jewish and Christian writings. At the origin of the Watchers tradition is the single enigmatic reference in Genesis 6 to the “sons of God” who had intercourse with human women, producing a race of giants upon the earth. That verse sparked a wealth of cosmological and theological speculation in early Judaism. This volume provides a lucid survey of current knowledge and interpretation of one of the most intriguing theological motifs of the Second-Temple period.

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Key Features

  • Explores an obscure, yet intriguing biblical text
  • Traces the Watcher traditions through history
  • Offers insight into Second-Temple Judaism


  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Origins and Biblical Discussions of the Fallen Angels
    • “Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions” by Ida Fröhlich
    • “The Watchers Traditions and Gen 6:1-4 (MT and LXX)” by Chris Seeman
    • “Symbolic Resistance in the Book of the Watchers” by Anathea Portier-Young
    • “The Enochic Watchers Traditions and Deuterocanonical Literature” by Jeremy Corley
    • “Watchers Traditions in the Catholic Epistles” by Eric F. Mason
    • “‘Because of the Angels’: Paul and the Enochic Traditions” by Scott M. Lewis, SJ
    • “The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch 6–16: The Fall of Angels and the Rise of Demons” by Kevin Sullivan
  • Part II: Second Temple Developments
    • “The Watchers Traditions in the Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse” by Karina Martin Hogan
    • “The Watchers Traditions in the Book of Jubilees” by John C. Endres, SJ
    • “Watchers Traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls” by Samuel Thomas
    • “The Watchers Traditions in 1 Enoch’s Book of Parables” by Leslie Baynes
  • Part III: Reception in Early Christianity and Early Judaism
    • “The Descent of the Watchers and its Aftermath According to Justin Martyr” by Randall D. Chesnutt
    • “Cain the Giant: Watchers Traditions in the Life of Adam and Eve” by Silviu N. Bunta
    • “The Watchers Traditions in Targum and Midrash” by Joshua Ezra Burns
  • Index of Names
  • Index of Biblical References and Ancient Literature

Praise for the Print Edition

Scholars and students alike can learn much from The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions. Written by leading scholars, the articles in this book comprise a rich introduction to a fascinating subject . . .

—Matthew Goff, associate professor of religion, Florida State University

The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions is an important collection of essays that should be of interest not only to scholars but to all educated non-specialists in the ways myths about the fallen angels have influenced the literature and imaginations of ancient Jewish and Christian communities.

—Jacques T.A.G.M. van Ruiten, professor, University of Groningen

The Watchers have finally come to the public attention thanks to the movie Noah. The essays in this volume provide the most comprehensive and reliable guide to the actual ancient evidence about these exotic figures that has ever been published. This is an important contribution to the study of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

This collection of essays offers some of the finest research on the Watcher Tradition to emerge in recent scholarship on the topic. . . . The volume is highly recommended for any scholar and student of Second-Temple Period literature."

Archie T. Wright, Regent University, School of Divinity

Product Details

About the Editors

Angela Kim Harkins is associate professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut and in the Center for Judaic Studies.

Kelley Coblentz Bautch is associate professor of religious studies at St. Edward’s University.

John C. Endres, SJ, has taught Old Testament and Hebrew Bible at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University since 1982. He was chief editor of Chronicles and Its Synoptic Parallels in the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Related Biblical Texts. He also writes and teaches on the Psalms, the deuterocanonical books, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Book of Jubilees.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


4 ratings


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  1. Ray Mills

    Ray Mills


  2. Dawn Brewer

    Dawn Brewer


  3. Jim Brooks

    Jim Brooks


  4. Edward Wright
    good background for NT


Digital list price: $19.99
Save $4.00 (20%)