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“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons δαιμονια believe—and shudder!” ‭‭James‬ ‭2:19‬

If James is not referencing 1 Enoch 13:5 then from where does he get his information about δαιμονια daimonions, that they believe in God yet tremble/shudder? When do heavenly hosts tremble if not here during the Gen 6 incursion referenced in 1 Enoch 13?

1 Enoch 13:5. And they (sons of heaven) all became terrified, and trembled

  • Did you @Dottard read v3 in your version? I’m trying to get free online access to your version. I can’t confirm just yet but I believe the version I quoted from is King James Version. – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 15 at 23:45
  • In Charlesworth it is V3 and in Lumpkin it is V4. I am unaware of a King James Version of 1 Enoch. – Dottard Aug 16 at 0:29
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  • 13:3 And then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid; fear and trembling seized them. M.Knibbs version. Thank you for the links. And prior to publishers trying to save money and produce a lighter more compact version of the KJV 1885 I believe the year this happened, the book of Enoch was included among others that were taken out @Dottard. In any case we have concluded that this verse 3-5 depending on the version is in Enoch. – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 16 at 1:16
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The verse numbering of the NT Pseudepigrapha is not completely standardized yet. Thus, the phrase, "And they (sons of heaven) all became terrified, and trembled" from 1 Enoch 13 is found in:

  • V3 in the Charlesworth/Isaac translation
  • V4 in the Lumpkin translation and the Charles translation
  • V5 in the Lawrence Translation

I could find no reference to such an idea in any other early literature including the NT apocrypha, nor NT pseudepigrapha.


If we understand that the book of James, specifically James 2:19 was divinely inspired (as I do) then it is (at least theoretically) not necessary to find an extra-Biblical source for this idea. James does not suggest nor even hint at one. [By contrast Jude 14, 15 appears very close to 1 Enoch 1:9.]

Therefore, it is not known if James was quoting or alluding to 1 Enoch, or it is just a coincidence that they happened to use similar language. In deciding this question we have the following possibilities:

  1. The similarity of languages is just a coincidence and James wrote under divine inspiration
  2. James did quote the book of Enoch
  3. James quoted another written source (now lost) that 1 Enoch was also using
  4. James was inspired to use an oral tradition that 1 Enoch also used

My personal choice is #1 above for the following reasons:

  • The passage in James is discussing what the demon believe (that God is One) while the passage in 1 Enoch is discussing the demons reaction to being told something about final judgement
  • The similarity of the two passages is not great - they really only share one word: trembling/shuddering. In James it is demons who shudder; in 1 Enoch it is watchers who tremble.
  • The subject matter is quite different: In James it is faith vs works; in 1 Enoch it is final judgement.

Therefore, if James 2:19 quoted 1 Enoch 13 he did a very poor job. I also note that UBS5 compilers have not observed any link between James 2:19 and 1 Enoch 13:3/4/5 (not that this conclusive at all.)

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  • Actually it isn’t so much demons daimons that tremble but daimonions and there is a difference in the Greek between the two though the English translations and other translations don’t differentiate. I can appreciate you have a biased preference but divine inspiration is not plucking things from thin air in the NT, it all mirrors in the OT Scriptures (Essenes considered these pseudepigrapha as Scriptures). The Bereans checked their Scriptures to test Paul. It’s no different today in testing James. If James is making a claim it has to be substantiated. James is alluding to common knowledge v19 – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 16 at 2:05
  • @NihilSineDeo - I fully agree that NT writer very often quoted or otherwise drew from other sources, including the OT - Luke was a master at this and used sources no longer available to us. That is stated in my answer. But that does not prevent an inspired writer from providing fresh material as directed from the Holy Spirit. – Dottard Aug 16 at 2:59
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    @NihilSineDeo - Further, neither daimons nor daimonions are mentioned in 1 Enoch 13 either which is what makes me think that Jude had some other source. – Dottard Aug 16 at 3:02
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    I’m starting to understand the disconnect that isn’t obvious to me @Dottard. James had a historical world view and certain things came to mind when he thought of daimonions, who they are and where they came from and what they are involved with presently, even if we in the west centuries later have lost that perspective. James understood the connection between the sons of heaven(God) and their connection to the Greek daimonions and why he didn’t choose daimon. These are all details that matter. But again I appreciate your insight. – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 16 at 15:25
  • @NihilSineDeo - I fully agree with you comment. – Dottard Aug 16 at 20:47
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When do heavenly hosts tremble if not here during the Gen 6 incursion referenced in 1 Enoch 13?

One such place would be the liturgies of John Chrysostom and Basil the Great, which read:

No one bound by the desires and pleasures of the flesh is worthy to approach you or draw near to you or minister to you, King of glory; for to serve you is great and fearful (φοβερόν) even for the heavenly Powers.

As you are probably aware, ancient Christian liturgies have historically evolved from earlier Jewish liturgical services. This idea in particular seems based on passages such as Isaiah 6:2-3, wherein the seraphim themselves are forced to cover their feet and faces with their wings, so as to protect themselves (as Moses earlier in Exodus 33:18-23) from God's unfathomable glory. Job 15:15 also appears to express a somewhat similar idea, as does the penitential prayer of king Manasseh:

O Lord God Almighty, [...] you who have made heaven and earth with all their order; who have shackled the sea by your word of command, who have confined the deep and sealed it with your terrible (φοβερῷ) and glorious name; at whom all [things] shudder (φρίττει), and tremble (τρέμει) before your power, for your glorious splendor cannot be borne (ἄστεκτος) [...]


If James is not referencing 1Enoch 13:5 then from where does he get his information about δαιμονια daimonions, that they believe in God yet tremble/shudder?

One possible source would be Jewish exorcisms, some of which were performed by Christ himself:

Mark 1:23-24  ¶And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying: Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Mark 5:2-7  And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, but when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said: What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

Luke 4:33-34  And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying: Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

Luke 8:27-28  And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said: What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

As can be easily glimpsed from this pair of parallel passages, the fearful demoniacs profess knowledge of both God and His Son Jesus Christ.


Is James 2:19 referencing 1 Enoch 13:5?

Possibly, but inconclusive.

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  • Good research. +1. – Nigel J Aug 16 at 7:38

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