E is for Enoch

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Many books of the Bible will contain stories of the angels and report on their actions of incredible, mythic proportion, but the stories in the Book of Enoch are a whole other point of comparison. The book of Enoch is written much later than most the other books of the Old Testament and isn’t considered in the same category of scholarly or religious significance as the other books. It focuses on the earlier stages of Genesis and specifically on the histories surrounding he time before the Flood. The book is named for a man named Enoch (Noah’s grandfather), a man who only gets a sentence or two in Genesis and is described as “one who walks with God.” In this particular book he details the specifics of the fallen angels’ relationships with humankind in the early days of creation. It’s a bizarre little corner of the story of humanities rise and fall.

“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, ‘Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven . . .” (Enoch 8)

So in Enoch’s telling, it was fallen angels who brought the arts and industry to humanity. It has some similar threads to Greek myth, but there is something interesting about these particular components, especially the idea of the corrupting nature of civilization and industry. Many patrons of nature would paint a similar story and The Lord of the Rings delved into those themes as well. There are many directions you can go with those themes and the idea of a cadre of former agents of good falling to temptation and becoming powerful tools of darkness. A former friend or hero makes for a very compelling enemy and a powerful fallen friends makes for a very dangerous threat. One of the best villains I ever used was an ally who betrayed the forces of good and increased the sense of hopelessness that the party felt. It made the party question, “If he could fall, then what hope is there for the normal person?” Not a bad way to do damage to an opponent that can’t be marked in hitpoints or other mechanical abstracts.”

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