Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

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Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre’ (1624) by Giovanni Lanfranco. Galleria Borghese  (Public Domain)

How The Sons Of God Became The Sethian Nephilim

According to the biblical story told in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 6:1-4, certain Sons of God fathered children with the daughters of men. They were called the Nephilim and are often identified with Giants. One of the fascinating aspects of the story of the Nephilim is the way in which they were presented in later post-Exilic Hebrew literature. The story as it appears in The Book of the Watchers, later incorporated in the first Book of Enoch, tells about the so-called Watchers or Fallen Angels. The Book of the Watchers was considered to have been a very important work within the Hasidim community associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. The term, “Sons of Seth”, is found in three literary works amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, and play an important role in the story. In the time of Jesus and most likely some time before that, the Sons of Seth became identified with the Nephilim. 

Dead Sea Scroll fragments 7Q4, 7Q5 and 7Q8, including a Greek copy of a scroll of Enoch from Cave 7 in Qumran, written on papyrus (Public Domain)

Dead Sea Scroll fragments 7Q4, 7Q5 and 7Q8, including a Greek copy of a scroll of Enoch from Cave 7 in Qumran, written on papyrus (Public Domain)

The Watchers in the Jewish Enochite Tradition

The Book of the Watchers is the most significant source from Jewish tradition at current disposal about the Nephilim. One ancient manuscript of the book found among the Dead Sea Scrolls is dated on palaeographical grounds to the early second century BC. The book was produced at least as early as 200 BC but it could be much older. The story of the Watchers told in Chapters 6-19 belongs to an even older part of the Enochite tradition.


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