Titans and Nephilim in the Bible and greek mythology

2 Peter, Jude and 1 Enoch

The verb ταρταρόω does not occur in the Greek manuscripts of 1 Enoch. Only the noun Tartaros occurs once (20:2). The source of the verb form ταρταρόω is found in other Greek literature. It always appears in the context of theogonic myths of Uranos, Gaia, tytanomachia and Titans. Another NT hapax legomenon, σὶρος, does not appear in the Greek manuscripts of 1 Enoch but is used in other Greek texts to denote the Underworld (in Kobe myth) and can be an equivalent of Tartarus.[6]

Jude reveals his acquaintance with the 1 Enoch[7] (200-50 B.C) when he writes:

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: „See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14-15)

This prophecy comes directly from 1 Enoch:

And behold, he comes with the myriads of the holy to pass judgment upon them, and will destroy the impious, and will call to account all flesh for everything the sinners and the impious have done and committed against him. (1 Enoch 1:9)

There is a debate whether Jude quotes from 1 Enoch or from some other work, but it is assumed here that he is. Firstly, he says it himself in the introduction to the quotation; secondly, the wording and sequence of phrases are crucial. But our interest is in the motif of the myth of the fallen angels. So let us look how Jude and 1 Enoch can be compared on the same basis as it has been proved by R. Rubinkiewicz.[8] First of all verbal parallels are obvious:

And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, he has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)

Go and make known to the Watchers of heaven who have abandoned the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women. (1 Enoch 12:4)

For what reason have you abandoned the high, holy, and eternal heaven; and slept with women and defiled yourselves with the daughters of the people….I did not make wives for you for the proper dwelling place of spiritual beings of heaven is heaven. (1 Enoch 15:3, 7)

Bind Azazel hand and foot and throw him into the darkness….He covered his face in order that he may not see light; and in order that he may be sent into the fire on the great day of judgment. (1 Enoch 10:4-6)

Bind Semjaza and the others who are with him, who fornicated with the women, that they will die together with them in all their defilement…Bind them for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment and of their consummation, until the eternal judgment is concluded. (1 Enoch 10:11-12)

Apart from verbal correspondences that same can be said about thematical similarities (abandoning the proper abode, keeping in bondage in darkness with the purpose to judge them in the future). Jude does not mention only that they interacted with women.  2 Peter and 1 Enoch speak of the purpose of putting angels in the prison:

For God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment. (2 Peter 2:4)

And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‚Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgment he shall be cast into the fire. (1 Enoch 10: 4-7)

Bind Semjaza and the others who are with him, who fornicated with the women, that they will die together with them in all their defilement…Bind them for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment and of their consummation, until the eternal judgment is concluded. (1 Enoch 10:11-12)

2 Peter also does not say anything about angels sleeping with women but repeats the same place where they are kept and the same purpose of keeping them. Only the striking occurrence of ‘Tartarus’ here makes such a big impression. Just as there is only one place where we can find ‘Tartarus’ in the Bible, the same is true about 1 Enoch. There is only one instance of the word ταρταρόω in 1 Enoch (20:1-2) and it occasionally brings another very interesting notion:

Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus. (1 Enoch 20: 2)

Uriel, one of God’s angels is said to be in charge of Tartarus, it is a unique notion that have any parallel in either the Theogony or any other Greek Myth. Surpassingly, the Sibylline Oracles (II-VI CE, based on original from VI century BC) is the only text which speaks of Uriel in that context:

And then shall Uriel, mighty angel, break the bolts of stern and lasting adamant which, monstrous, bold the brazen gates of Hades, straight cast them down, and unto judgment lead all forms that have endured much suffering, chiefly the shapes of Titans born of old, and giants, and all whom the deluge whelmed, and all that perished in the billowy seas, and all that furnished banquet for the beasts and creeping things and fowls, these in a mass shall (Uriel) summon to the judgment-seat. (Sib. Or. 280-290)

Uriel is the one who brings Titans and giants (both symbolize evil) who were imprisoned during the Deluge but also, as it seems wicked people. They were put into Tartarus by Plato (Gorgias 523B). This partly proves identification of angels from 2 Peter with the Titans from Theogony. Moreover, this image is also present in Revelation 20:1-3a:

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him. (Rev 20:1-3a)

Although the angel remains unknown by name, by his characteristic (having a key symbolizes authority) and action (the chain symbolizes leading to judgment) we can tell Uriel was in John’s mind. Notice also that he is here leading personifications of evil to the Judgment.

1 Enoch, as typical apocryphal writing, devotes attention to the names of the fallen angels who have been put in Tartarus, while Jude and 2 Peter restrict themselves only to give the general notion of ‘angels’. 1 Enoch extends the story from Genesis 6:2-4 and describes in more details the incident of interfeaction between the sons of God with earth’s women and in that way proving its dependency upon extra-biblical accounts. 1 Enoch uses the literal images ‘slept with women’, ‘defiled (…) with the daughters of the people’ while Genesis 6:2 tries to euphemize these descriptions saying only that they married women of their choice. The general image of what happened in 1 Enoch and Jude and 2 Peter is congruent if it comes to the sequence of events, moral judgment of action or final destination of those who transgressed their authority and last but not least the verbal expressions. The dependency of 2 Peter and Jude upon earlier 1 Enoch is recognized and enables us to trace back the mysterious motif that fired up the imagination of the authors of 1 Enoch.

Pearson’s conclusion is that whereas Jude mixes traditions from Jewish traditions, the author of 2 Peter avoids any references of that kind, making explicit allusions to pagan mythology instead. It is probable that author of 2 Peter did not engage the motives originating from Jewish background because either his audience or he himself were unfamiliar with them.[9] Similar, 2 Peter draws from Greek motifs for the same reason. Jude’s borrowed imaginary from Jewish apocalypses is somehow abrupt. It does not seem to be necessary for him to endorse all the theological concepts of the mythical heavenly war. Angels who sinned serve in Jude as a model of rebellion, similar to Sodom and Gomorrah.[10] It also shows that for Jude the message was more important than the source of the imaginary.[11]

We already see that (1) angels imprisoned in Tartarus from 2 Peter and Jude (2) ‘sons of God’ from Genesis 6:2-4 (3) the Watchers (or angels) thrown to Tartarus from 1 Enoch and  (4) Titans bond with chains in Tartarus from Greek mythology are connected. We must restrain ourselves from saying that they are the same beings too quickly. First let us find out if angels, the Watchers and Titans are names for the same group of divine beings. That will partly occur when it will be proven that the fall of the Watchers and the Tartarus in 1 Enoch is derived from Greek Mythology.

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