A Study of the Background of the Divine Title the “Lord of Spirits” in the Parables of Enoch

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Fiodar Litvinau Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Munich Germany

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The aim of the present article is twofold. The first task is to provide a survey of the parallels to the title “Lord of spirits” in the Parables of Enoch (1 En. 37–71) to understand the background of the divine epithet. The studied parallels include titles in the Ancient Near Eastern literature, Biblical and Early Jewish texts, including Dead Sea Scrolls, magical compositions, and Christian texts (New Testament, Patristic and liturgical texts). The second task is to analyze the concept of “spirit” and its cognates in 1 Enoch to provide some clues to the function of the epithet within the composition. The survey aims to demonstrate that a generally accepted interpretation that associates the “spirits” with “angels” should not be overemphasized, since the basic meaning of the title “Lord of spirits” was to indicate God’s authority over human spirits.