People attribute the quote from the Book of Enoch 2:1. My question is how can this book be preserved over the great flood of Noah, span through the period of the Law of Moses, and to the period of the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and be available to Jude at the time of his writing?
The book of 1 Enoch was well known in the few centuries around the time of Christ and was then lost. It was only re-discovered in 1773 by the Scottish explorer, James Bruce, in Ethiopia, having been preserved only in the sacred Ge’ez language. Fragments of the book were also discovered among the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran in Aramaic.
The earliest parts of the book were probably composed no later than about the 3rd or 4th century BC. This ancient work, by its own internal admission, is not the work of the antediluvian patriarch, Enoch alone. It also contains several visions of Noah and apparently others.
Very few people actually argue that the book of 1 Enoch should be included in the Bible with the notable exception of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. But among those who do, the main reason invariably centres on the almost verbatim parallel between Jude 14, 15 and 1 En 1:9. (They are NOT identical because we now only have them in different languages, Ge’ez and Greek; despite this, the similarity is impressive.) This amazing “quote” could be due to any of the following phenomena:
- Jude actually quoted from 1 Enoch. However, this does not make 1 Enoch a Biblical book any more than Cyrus or Epimenides – see list below. (The Book of Revelation also quotes from 1 Enoch.)
- Jude quotes from the real patriarch Enoch who left a document, now lost, that the (false) book of 1 Enoch attempts to imitate by also quoting.
- Jude quoted the antediluvian patriarch Enoch via an oral tradition as did the book of 1 Enoch. Thus, Jude says nothing about the book of 1 Enoch which, under this scenario, could have been written much later than the patriarch to include such oral traditions to lend it greater credibility. A similar phenomenon has occurred with the “modern” book of Jasher.
Which of these Jude had in mind cannot now be determined (although I think the first is by far the most probable.) In any case, the so-called book of Enoch is a true pseudepigraphon (a document pretending to be written by someone famous). The fact that it is a clear forgery is relatively easy to show but that is not the subject here. Suffice to say that it is only a few hundred years older than the Biblical book of Jude.
Sacred writers of the Biblical canon often quoted from uninspired sources: here is a short sample:
- Book of Jashir, “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” Josh 10:13
- Book of Jashar, Lament for Jonathan. 1 Sam 1:18-27
- King Hiram’s Order (in a letter) to provide materials for Solomon’s temple. 2 Chron 2:11-16
- King Cyrus’ Edict to free Jews and return to Judah. 2 Chron 36:23
- Rehum’s Letter to King Artaxerxes. Ezra 4:9-16
- King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Rehum. Ezra 4:17-22
- Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius. Ezra 5:7-17
- Epimenides the Cretan, 6th Cent BC, “In him we live and move and have our being”. Acts 17:28
- Epimenides the Cretan, 6th Cent BC, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” Titus 1:12
There are many more.
Please note that First Enoch is only considered canonical by the Ethiopic Orthodox Church. Also, that the writer of Enoch is NOT the Enoch of Genesis. There is no evidence to suggest that this book was actually written by Enoch, who was seventh in descent from Adam. Rather, it is more likely that the prophecy attributed to Enoch in the biblical book of Jude was handed down verbally and eventually came to be written in the Book of Enoch. I found an article on this very question, part of which says this:
Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch in verses 14-15, “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.’” But this does not mean the Book of Enoch is inspired by God and should be in the Bible.
Jude’s quote is not the only quote in the Bible from a non-biblical source. The Apostle Paul quotes Epimenides in Titus 1:12 but that does not mean we should give any additional authority to Epimenides’ writings. The same is true with Jude, verses 14-15. Jude quoting from the book of Enoch does not indicate the entire Book of Enoch is inspired, or even true. All it means is that particular verse is true. It is interesting to note that no scholars believe the Book of Enoch to have truly been written by the Enoch in the Bible.
Enoch was seven generations from Adam, prior to the Flood (Genesis 5:1-24). Evidently, though, this was genuinely something that Enoch prophesied—or the Bible would not attribute it to him, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men” (Jude 1:14). This saying of Enoch was evidently handed down by tradition, and eventually recorded in the Book of Enoch. Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/book-of-Enoch.html
Please refer to this related question for more information: What about the noncanonical books quoted in Jude?