Editor’s Note: The following comes from Jeffrey’s new book, Enoch and the Gathering of Zion.

While Enoch is, of course, the indisputable star of Moses 6–7, the choice of his co-star is equally obvious: Mahijah. Why is that? Well, for one thing Mahijah is the only other named character in the Enoch chapters of the Book of Moses. But, in addition, as it turns out, a similarly named character is also the pivotal character in the Book of Giants (BG)—and, of all the named individuals in BG, the one most likely to be authentically ancient.

In this article, we’ll tell the story of Hugh Nibley’s discovery of Mahijah’s counterpart in BG, a finding whose importance has been confirmed by two non-Latter-day Saint Enoch scholars. We’ll also see how new research on the Book of Moses and BG has transformed Mahijah from a bit player in the Enoch story into a central character who seems to have made two separate journeys to meet Enoch. Thanks to illustrations of key events of BG found within the recently found Manichaean Cosmology Painting (MCP), it’s now possible to “map out” the general directions taken by Enoch in his missionary journeys. It also appears that MCP also provides ancient portraits of both Enoch and Mahijah.

Left: Title page of the last Article in the Ensign “Strange Thing in the Land” series[i]; Right: Title Page of Milik and Black’s 1976 book on the Aramaic fragments of Qumran Cave 4, which included fragments of the Book of Giants.[ii]

Hugh Nibley’s Discovery of the Book of Giants Mahijah

In 1976-77, Hugh Nibley dashed off one long, heavily-footnoted article each month for a series about ancient Enoch manuscripts and Moses 6–7 that was running in the Church’s Ensign magazine. As he was finishing the last article he received—“just in time”[iii]—the anxiously awaited first complete publication of BG.[iv]

This image is from Hugh Nibley’s copy of J. T. Milik and Matthew Black’s 1976 book, located in the BYU Harold B. Lee Library Hugh Nibley Ancient Studies Room. [v] Note that Nibley circled the Aramaic name Mahawai in pencil. The passage shown here tells of an incident where the wicked ʾOhyah, Hahyah, and their fellows send Mahawai to ask Enoch about their frightful dreams of pending destruction. In its original form, which customarily lacked vowels, the name Mahawai (or Mahaway) (MHWY) closely resembles a name element in the Hebrew text of Genesis 4:18, Mehuja-/Mehija- (MḤWY-/MḤYY-) as well as the only other names besides Enoch found in the Book of Moses: Mahujah (the English H corresponds equally well to MHWY or MḤWY) and Mahijah (MHYY or MḤYY).[vi]

Working quickly to meet his publication deadline, Nibley found several interesting connections between BG and the Book of Moses. His best-known discovery is that a character with the name of Mahijah in the Book of Moses is a remarkable match for a character with a similar name in BG. Nibley found that the characters not only match well in their unusual names but also in the roles they play in the two accounts.

Mahijah the Messenger

In a previous publication,[vii] Matthew Bowen, Ryan, Dahle, and I have shown how the Book of Moses name Mahijah and its BG equivalent might best be explained on the basis of the Akkadian maḫḫû, a word which denotes “a certain class of priests and seers.”[viii] And what was the role of these seers? Among other things, the royal archives of the Old Babylonian kingdom of Mari recount the comings and goings of maḫḫû as intermediaries and messengers, bearing words of warning from the gods for the king,[ix] a role that evokes the role of Mahijah. For example, one BG scholar calls him “the messenger par excellence of the [gibborim] both in [BG] Enochic tradition from Qumran and in Manichaeism.”[x] Much earlier, Hugh Nibley had already observed that “this is exactly the role, and the only role,”[xi] that Mahijah plays in the Book of Moses.

Consistent with his role as a messenger, during Mahijah’s first visit to Enoch in the Book of Moses, he raised a direct question during Enoch’s earthly preaching mission to the gibborim: “Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest?” (Moses 6:40). Both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Manichaean versions of BG also describe Enoch’s preaching to a group of gibborim, presumably in connection with Mahijah’s first visit to Enoch.[xii]

Matthew Black, who collaborated with J. T. Milik on the first English translation of BG, heard about the appearance of Mahijah’sname in the Book of Moses from Latter-day Saint graduate student Gordon C. Thomasson. Black acknowledged to Thomasson that it “could not have come from 1 Enoch. He then formulated a hypothesis … that a member of one of the esoteric groups he had described previously must have survived into the nineteenth century, and hearing of Joseph Smith, must have brought the group’s Enoch texts to New York from Italy for the Prophet to translate and publish.[xiii] A short while later, a visit to BYU was arranged for Black to give two lectures and to meet Hugh Nibley. Near the end of the visit, Nibley said that he asked Black whether he had an explanation for the appearance of the name Mahujah in the Book of Moses and reported Black’s answer as follows: “Well, someday we will find out the source that Joseph Smith used.”[xiv]

Matthew Black was not the only non-Latter-day Saint scholar to see the importance of Nibley’s find. In his 2010 thesis at the University of Durham,[xv] Salvatore Cirillo emphasized the uniqueness of the window of evidence that is opened by BG’s named characters. Specifically, he called the names of the BG characters “the most conspicuously independent content” in BG being “unparalleled in other Jewish literature.” But, even more significant, according to Cirillo, is that “the name Mahawai in the Book of Giants and the names Mahujah and Mahijah in the Book of Moses represent the strongest similarity between the Latter-day Saint revelations on Enoch and the pseudepigraphal books of Enoch (specifically the Book of Giants).”[xvi]

Harmony of storylines in Moses 6–7, the Book of Giants, and other ancient Enoch literature.

Piecing Together a Common Storyline

The table above summarizes the major storyline elements in the Book of Moses that can be found in BG and other important ancient Enoch texts. Of course, both the story of Enoch in the Book of Moses and its counterparts in other ancient Enoch texts are “incomplete.” For example, in the case of the Book of Moses, we aren’t given any details about the identity and biography of Mahijah. And, likewise, in the case of other Enoch texts, we are only given the parts of Enoch’s story that was relevant to the editors’ objectives. In addition—and especially in the case of BG—only a small fraction of the original text has survived. For instance, based on BG references to a “second” visit of Mahijah to Enoch, most scholars have concluded that BG originally contained an account of a first visit (possibly correlating with the visit of Mahijah to Enoch in Moses 6:40), even though the BG account of Mahijah’s first visit is now lost.

Going further, Enoch scholar Loren T. Stuckenbruck has concluded that several themes appear in pairs within BG.[xvii] Does this also apply to the overall structure of the Book of Moses story of Enoch as well as to some of its specific details? Perhaps. If we are willing to conjecture a primary two-part division to Moses 6–7, we might conceive of the story beginning with an earth-focused mission followed by a second, heaven-focused commission. In other words, while Moses 6 is primarily concerned with Enoch’s initial divine call to preach repentance and salvation to the wicked on earth, the major preoccupation of Moses 7 is Enoch’s subsequent heavenly commission as a new member of the divine council that equips him with the Christlike love and knowledge he will need to prepare his people to meet God face-to-face (see Moses 7:69).

Looking at two-part structure of one of the story details, Mahijah, our co-star, seems to be positioned in the story as a dual to Enoch. Our interpretation of the storyline of the Book of Moses leads us to believe that he was initially responsive to Enoch’s preaching as he heard it during a first, earthly visit to the prophet where he outlined the teachings, principles, and ordinances of the Gospel. Later, Mahijah seeks out Enoch a second time. From our reading of the Book of Moses, we learn that has met Enoch in a “heavenly” setting, ascending with the prophet just far enough up the sacred mountain to cry with him in prayer to the Lord. It seems that in this experience he also received a new name, Mahujah. However, in BG, which also confirms the heavenly setting of this second encounter, we also learn that Mahijah, unlike Enoch, does not continue his discipleship as he began. When the repentant people of Enoch’s Zion ascend to heaven, Mahijah is left behind.

The trajectory of the personal story of Mahijah can be seen as mirroring the larger story of the unrepentant faction of his people. Moreover, in Mahijah’s biography, modern Saints can see themselves. Each of us has come up the sacred mountain partway. Will we continue our ascent or rejoin the well-attended party at the base camp?

Left: Top-down view of three zones of sacredness in the Garden of Eden and the temple; Right: Adam and Eve at the top of the newly created paradise.From the frontispieceof an Armenian adaptation of the Treatise on the Work of the Six Days of Creation by Bartholomew of Bologna (d. 1333).[xviii]

Toward a Hieorocentric Map of Enoch’s Call and Missionary Journey

The opening verse of Enoch’s call tells us very little about its location and circumstances, stating only that it came to him while he “journeyed in the land, among the people” (Moses 6:26). Fortunately, a little later in the story Enoch reveals a little about his homeland:

I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day (Moses 6:41).

That still isn’t much information. However, when the clues we are given are seen in the light of depictions of sacred geography in the ancient world and the illustrated version described below, it is enough to begin some guesswork.

First, a little background on the ancient idea of a “hierocentric” universe. Hugh Nibley, following Eric Burrows, defined “the term ‘hierocentric’ as that which best describes those cults, states, and philosophies that were oriented about a point believed to be the exact center and pivot of the universe.”[xix] Like the story of Enoch in BG and the Book of Moses, such visualizations and descriptions are constructed around a “sacred center” (Hence the term “hierocentric.”)

Sacred centers in these kinds of maps often coincide with the location of a “mountain or artificial mound and a lake or spring from which four streams flowed out to bring the life-giving waters to the four regions of the earth. The place was a green paradise, a carefully kept garden, a refuge from drought and heat.”[xx] An example of this perspective is reflected biblically in the layout of the Garden of Eden and the temple (see figure at left above).[xxi]

A similar conception of Eden is depicted at right above. It shows Adam and Eve, seemingly within a cave-like structure, at the top and in the center of the paradisiacal creation. In that unique setting, they have direct access to the divine Presence above, while also being surrounded by a perimeter of angels beneath.

Adam and Eve Outside Paradise, Cain and Abel, 12th century.

A twelfth-century Christian illustration also shows Adam and Eve at the top of a mountain. However, the fig leaf aprons they wear witness that the scene represents their fallen state after their transgression but before they were clothed by God. In contrast to the earlier figure at right above showing their happy state in Eden, they are now “lamenting their Fall on a brown, bare hill.” The symbology of three zones of sacredness on the mountain corresponds to the earlier top-down view of Eden shown in the earlier figure above at left. In a central place at the top of the mountain, Adam and Eve sit within the most sacred of the three zones pictured. In the heart of the mountain, the middle zone of sacredness, an aged Adam and Eve, having been cast out of the Garden and clad in robes of animal skins made by God for their protection, confer within a “Cave of Treasures,” in some sources, the cave is symbolically equated to the Holy Place of the temple, where heaven and earth meet.[xxii]

Cain and Abel offer their respective grain and animal sacrifices on the other hills portrayed on either side of the principal peak at the center. At right, God is shown consuming the sacrifice of Abel while, at left, He rejects that of Cain. At the bottom of the mountain, the mortal world that corresponds symbolically to the least-sacred “outer courtyard” of the temple, Cain has words with Abel, leads him out to the field, and, finally, murders him. Because of Cain’s grievous killing, we are told in scripture that he and his posterity were “shut out from the presence of the Lord” and cast further downward and outward to dwell “in the land of Nod [that is, wandering], on the east of Eden” (Moses 5:41). Following what became the standard tradition in the Syriac Church that saw the “sons of God” as Sethites and the “daughters of men” as Cainites,[xxiii] Ephrem the Syrian wrote that, tragically, some of “those who lived on higher ground [compare Moses 7:17], who were called ‘the children of God,’ left their own region and came down to take wives from the daughters of Cain down below.”[xxiv]

Significantly, the early Christian description of the geography of the story of the Sethites is a good fit to what we read in the Book of Moses. Moses 6:23 speaks of how “preachers of righteousness” also (figuratively) descended from higher ground. They did so voluntarily, not to join in the revels of the wicked, but rather to initiate a missionary program aimed at wanderers who had deliberately forsaken God and dwelt below. Among these preachers was Jared,[xxv] the father of Enoch, the root of whose name probably means “to descend.”[xxvi] And among those to whom they preached were the “giants” or nephilim,[xxvii] a name that fittingly means “fallen ones.”

Enoch Illustrated: The Manichaean Cosmology Painting

Taking these conjectures about the symbolic geography of the story of Enoch one step further, we find further confirmation of the Book of Moses Enoch story in a remarkable illustration. This illustration is called the Manichaean Cosmology Painting (MCP, sometimes called the Manichaean Diagram of the Universe[xxviii]). Its scenes are depicted on a silk hanging scroll that originally measured about 158 by 60 centimeters. It was probably created by a painter from southern China during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368).

In the Manichaean tradition, paintings such as MCP were often created for teaching purposes. In the brief summary of Gulácsi and Jason BeDuhn, they give readers some idea of the monumental conceptual scale of this complex painting. They write that it is “a visual catechism … conveyed within a complex iconography of over 900 motifs distributed in a layered symmetry that merges anthropomorphic, geomorphic, and architectonic features into a monumental cosmic map of salvation.”[xxix]  Recently, it was discovered that, along with many other images relating to Manichaean teachings, significant snapshots of the BG account of Enoch are illustrated in the painting. These visual details fill gaps in our understanding of the story and help define some of the events and characters more concretely.

Detail of MCP. Hierocentric map of earth, showing the earth with Mount Sumēru in the scared center. Several motives from the Manichaean version of BG are featured in the illustration, along with themes from elsewhere in the Manichaean scriptural canon.[xxx]

The depiction of the “eighth and fifth layers of the earth,” shown above, is located within the bottom one-third of the painting. It features a symbolic representation of the four continents of the earth and the great ocean below a large treelike mountain. In Indian culture, this feature is identified as Mount Sumēru, the sacred center place, “from which flow all rivers,” recalling the mountain of Eden as the source of all the rivers of the earth. The name “Sumēru,” which literally means “good Mēru,” refers not only to a place in the symbolic geography of the story but also to an actual mountain located in the Himalayas.

Thirty-two palaces at the top of Sumēru surround a larger palace of Deity, pictured with an attendant on either side. The four pleading figures who kneel around the throne may represent either the bringing of a judicial complaint from the earth itself or a request for mercy for the repentant wicked before the heavenly judge.

Four archangels mentioned in BG, who (in the Manichaean conception) led the battles against the wicked and gathered the repentant to divinely prepared cities, are clothed in armor in front of a seated deity—likely Enoch—below the smaller green mountains at the foot of Mount Sumēru. In other parts of the painting that depict the “ten firmaments of the sky,” wicked “demons” (identified elsewhere in the ancient Enoch literature as “Watchers”) are imprisoned.

Detail of MCP.[xxxi] The figures are thought to be the gibborim Ohyah and Hahya kneeling on pitch-black clouds with their hands clasped. One BG fragment relates how Ohyah knelt down and called upon the Sun God, “imploring mercy for his sins.”[xxxii]

Enoch’s reading of out of a book containing the record of the evil deeds of the gibborim put them in great fear (Moses 6:47): “And as Enoch spake forth the words of God, the people trembled, and could not stand in his presence.”[xxxiii] Likewise, BG tells us that some of his hearers “bowed down and wept in front of [Enoch.” In the detail of MCP shown above, two repentant figures kneel, probably representing the prominent twin gibborim, Ohyah and Hahyah “imploring mercy for [their] sins.”[xxxiv]

So, what might we guess from all this about Enoch’s homeland and the direction of his missionary journey? In line with the symbolic and presumed hierocentric geography of Enoch’s world, the description of his home in “Cainan” (Moses 6:42) as “a land of righteousness” (Moses 6:41) might have led ancient readers to expect that he would have lived in the vicinity of a central, sacred mountain. Then, after leaving the center, Enoch would have continued in an easterly direction until he reached the land of the gibborim, which, we might infer, was somewhere along the route he had already taken to reach “the sea east” (Moses 6:42). Not surprisingly, this is where we find the repentant gibborim pictured above. (In Genesis, eastward movement usually coincides with the themes of exile or apostasy.[xxxv])

It was, of course, somewhere near the “sea east” that Enoch received the vision that inaugurated his mission. Remarkably, the Book of Moses description of Enoch’s journey and vision “by the sea east” echoes the 1 Enoch account of a vision that Enoch received “by the waters of Dan.”[xxxvi] By accepting the conclusions of George Nickelsburg’s research, we can easily see the “waters of Dan” as a “sea east.”[xxxvii]

Angel of Revelation 14:6, Carrying a Scroll.[xxxviii] In similar fashion within the BG account (though certainly lacking the elegant robe, massive wings, and other Victorian trappings), Mahijah was envisioned as having “mounted up in the air like strong winds and [flying] with his hands like an eagle to the east of the earth … in the direction of the Paradise of Justice.”[xxxix] Unlike the angels of Revelation 14:6 and Moses 7:25, Mahaway was not sent to proclaim the Gospel, but instead carried urgent questions to Enoch from a party of anxious gibborim.

Mahijah and Enoch Meet a Second Time

As mentioned earlier, the BG account has Mahijah taking two separate journeys—one earthly and one heavenly—to meet with Enoch. But in the Book of Moses, it is usually assumed that Mahijah had only one encounter with Enoch, as recorded in Moses 6:40. Are there hints elsewhere in Moses 6–7 of a second journey of Mahijah corresponding to his second, heavenly journey in BG? The answer is yes.

The BG account of Mahijah’s second journey to Enoch pictures him as having mounted up “in the air like strong winds” and flying “like an eagle” to the “east of the earth … in the direction of … Paradise.”[xl]

Though in the symbolic geography of the ancient world a central, cosmic mountain typically represents the most sacred place on earth, the “east edge”[xli] of terrestrial geography, the dawn horizon,[xlii] the figurative location of the boundary where the round dome of heaven meets the square plane of earth,[xliii] is not only where, in the ancient conception of things, visions of God are often situated but also the “launching point” from which actual heavenly ascents took place.[xliv]

“In the conception of the universe in the book of [1 Enoch], the sun emerges from the six eastern gates, moves in the six months between the winter and summer solstices, and sets in the western gates. The seven great mountains are based on the ancient Babylonian conception of the universe. Adapted from Milik’s reconstruction.”[xlv] In contrast to most other hierocentric maps, the sacred center, in this case Jerusalem, is not shown here as being at the top of a mountain. However, the city is widely known in prophecy as the place where “the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills” (Isaiah 2:2).[xlvi]

Consistent with this view, in 1 Enoch 20–36, the figure of Enoch describes a journey that took him “from the west edge of the earth to its east edge.”[xlvii] There he came to “the ends of the earth, on which the heaven rests, and the gates of heaven open,”[xlviii] and gave a brief account of its great beasts and birds with beautiful voices.[xlix] Likewise, the description of Methuselah’s journey to the end of the earth in the Genesis Apocryphon,[l] where Enoch’s “dwelling is with the angels,”[li] “can be plausibly understood as [an allusion] to the [Garden of] Eden.”[lii] Of course, the Garden of Eden, the paradisiacal place that sits between heaven and earth and provides a revelatory point of contact between them, corresponds symbolically to the temple.[liii]

Couched within this symbolic geography, Mahijah’s second journey to visit Enoch in BG[liv] “is clearly from the west to the east and back again.”[lv] Among his other qualifications to make this voyage to the eastern end of the earth,[lvi] he seems to be “the only giant with wings.”[lvii] Just as Enoch, who flew east with the angels, used “this mode of transportation … to visit areas that normally humans cannot reach,”[lviii] so also:[lix]

Camille Flammarion (1842–1925): Engraving, 1888. “The image depicts a man crawling under the edge of the sky, depicted as if it were a solid hemisphere, to look at the mysterious Empyrean beyond. The caption … translates to ‘A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven and earth meet.’”[lx] In line with the idea that the Garden of Eden is at the eastern edge of the earth, note the prominent tree just behind the man. [lxi]

the flight of [Mahijah] should be understood in a similar way. [He] is able to reach Eden because he can fly over a desolate desert that would be, following this logic, impossible to cross on foot. This underscores the extraordinary and difficult nature of [his] voyage. Asking [Mahijah] to undertake such an arduous journey highlights how seriously [the gibborim] wanted an interpretation to the two visions of Ohyah and Hahyah.

Salvatore Cirillo finds the parallel accounts of Mahijah’s journeys in BG and the Book of Moses impressive: “The emphasis that [Joseph] Smith places on Mahijah’s travel to Enoch is eerily similar to the account of Mahaway to Enoch in [BG]. Like Mahijah, Mahaway travels to Enoch to ask him a question at which point the narrative shifts and Enoch responds in a vision or speech.”[lxii]

Detail of MCP depicting a solitary, repentant individual, possibly representing Mahaway kneeling atop a high mountain.[lxiii] The imagery recalls the OT1 text of Moses 7:2 where Mahujah and Enoch “cried unto the Lord” and heard the divine command: “Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon.[lxiv]

A Second Visit to Enoch by Mahijah in the Book of Moses?

In MCP, a lone figure kneels on the top of the only other mountain shown in the scene. His seemingly repentant pose matches that of two figures further away in the northeast quadrant of the image. The two remote figures have been tentatively identified by Kósa as the gibborim Ohyah and Hahyah.[lxv] So far as I am aware, no BG scholar has attempted to identify the uniquely prominent figure kneeling on the mountain. However, it is hard to imagine a better candidate than Mahijah. But why would a seemingly repentant Mahijah be perched alone on a mountain top?

A clue to that possibility lies in Old Testament Manuscript 1 (OT1), the manuscript of the Book of Moses that was directly recorded from Joseph Smith’s dictation. While our current version of Moses 7:2 reads (with the name spelled slightly differently as “Mahujah” rather than “Mahijah”):

As I was journeying, and stood upon the place Mahujah, and cried unto the Lord, there came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon.

By way of contrast the OT1 version of the verse reads (with modernization and my punctuation):

As I was journeying and stood in the place, Mahujah and I cried unto the Lord. There came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon.

Note that the canonized version of Moses 7:2 reads Mahujah as a place name, while OT1 renders Mahujah as a personal name.[lxvi]

In other words, the original dictation seems to indicate that Enoch is “standing with” the figure Mahujah, “not standing on” the placeMahujah.[lxvii] In addition, OT1 also seems to indicate that the two of them prayed together. There is no doubt that this “Mahujah” is the same individual known earlier in the account as “Mahijah.”

With respect to the mention of “the place,” BYU professor S. Kent Brown has elsewhere observed that in a biblical context, references to “the place” (Hebrew maqōm; Greek topos)may describe a special or sacred location.[lxviii] In addition, the initial words of God’s command “Turn ye” express something more than physical movement. Though the Hebrew term teshuvah literally denotes “return,” it can be understood by modern English speakers as signifying “repentance” or “conversion” in scriptural contexts. God turns to the petitioner when the petitioner turns to Him.[lxix]

All this seems consistent with the idea that Mahujah may be the individual depicted in the MCPscene shown earlier. Significantly, the mountain on which the figure kneels is nearer to Mount Sumēru, in other words closer to the sacred center of the scene, than the other gibborim who kneel in the distant land across the river.

As to the similarly spelled name that appears at this point in the story—“Mahujah” instead of “Mahijah”—the question arises as to whether this is a scribal error or a deliberate change.[lxx] If taken as a deliberate and meaningful change, the sacred setting of the change, in close association with the mention of Enoch’s being “clothed upon with glory” (Moses 7:2) recalls the bestowal of new names upon Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah.[lxxi] Simultaneously seeming both to highlight Enoch’s personal investment in the spiritual progress of Mahijah and the sacred symbolism of names in initiatory rites, BG obliquely relates the brief remembrance of Mahijah that Enoch “very affectionately … called out my name.”[lxxii] We cannot help but wonder whether the name mentioned was “Mahijah” or “Mahujah,” Mahijah’s new name. BG scholar Jens Wilkens comments, “One is tempted to postulate an emotional relationship between [Mahijah] and Enoch.”[lxxiii]

The End of Mahijah’s Story

Then, as Mahijah departed, Enoch spoke to him a last time. His words poignantly punctuate his final call with a reference to Mahijah’s parentage. Enoch’s expression is heavy with irony and pathos: “I call you, o son of Virogdad, I know [th]is: you are like some of them.”[lxxiv] The statement must be understood as a portentous warning. The sense of the warning seems to be “you are too much like some of them.” In other words, it seems that Enoch foresaw the likelihood that Mahijah, like the wicked faction of the gibborim,[lxxv] would reject the invitation to repent and be exalted with him.

Indulging further speculation in the interest of making sense of these events, we might read Mahijah’s experience as a sort of parable in the spirit of Jesus’ meeting with the rich young ruler.[lxxvi] Like the rich young ruler, we might say in modern terms that Mahijah was offered the gift of eternal life if he would continue as a disciple in the same spirit of consecration that was later demonstrated by Enoch’s people in Zion. Sadly—after Mahijah’s promising but brief encounter with Enoch in a sacred place where together they “cried unto the Lord,” a place where Mahijah had been called by name “very affectionately”[lxxvii] and lovingly warned at his departure—the account implies Mahijah not only lost his life but also perished spiritually.

Of course, we cannot be certain whether Mahijah remained repentant or became recalcitrant, but in either case the BG description of his slaughter suggests that he remained too long in the “tents of [the] wicked” (Numbers 16:26) and for that reason, if for no other, he ultimately shared in their tragic demise. BG records these words as a lament for Mahijah’s violent death:

Slain, slain was

      that angel who was great,

      [that messenger whom they had[lxxviii]].

Dead were those who were joined with flesh.[lxxix]

From this article, I hope readers will understand more fully why the story of Enoch and Mahijah is our story. And why this story of the first days is also the story of the last days. My hope is that in this tentative effort in this book to weave the storylines of modern scripture and ancient Enoch texts together as one, readers will not only gain a greater appreciation for the ancient threads in the Book of Moses but will also be blessed with the increased desire, understanding, and faith they will need if they are to be ready to meet the people of Enoch’s city when they return.


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[i] H. W. Nibley, Strange Thing, Part 13, p. 64.

[ii] J. T. Milik et al., Enoch.

[iii] H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 276. Cf. Ibid., pp. 267–268. Nibley complained that the Ensign editors only gave him two pages to wrap up the series, implying that they were weary of it (H. W. Nibley, Hugh Nibley on the Book of Enoch).

[iv] Published as J. T. Milik et al., Enoch.

[v] Ibid., p. 305, showing a transcription and translation of 4Q530, Fragment 2, column ii, lines 20-23. Photo by Stephen T. Whitlock taken on February 1, 2021. Photo ID: HBLL-ASR_STW9072-EC.jpg.

[vi] For a detailed study of the resemblances among these names, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?.

[vii] Ibid..

[viii] U. Cassuto, Adam to Noah, p. 232.

[ix] W. Heimpel, Letters to the King, 26 220, p. 262; 26 221, p. 263.

[x] J. Wilkens, Remarks, p. 227.

[xi] H. W. Nibley, Enoch, p. 278.

[xii] For example, D. W. Parry et al., DSSR (2013), 4Q203 4, p. 943; F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (4Q203) 4, 6, p. 260; W. B. Henning, Book of the Giants, text E, p. 66.

[xiii] For a full account of Matthew Black’s encounter with the Book of Moses, see G. C. Thomasson, Matthew Black and Mircea Eliade, 423–427. For S. Kent Brown’s account of Black’s visit to Provo, see S. K. Brown, Enoch, the Book of Moses, and the Book of Giants. Nibley recounts the story himself in H. W. Nibley, Hugh Nibley on the Book of Enoch; H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, pp. 267–269. See for a short video telling of the story.

[xiv] H. W. Nibley, Teachings of the PGP, p. 269.

[xv] S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 97. Cirillo drew upon the similar conclusions of the well-known Book of Giants’ scholar Loren Stuckenbruck (L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 27).

[xvi] In this and later quotes from Cirillo, we spell out the names of works he cites rather than using abbreviated versions of the names as he did.

[xvii] For example, L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, p. 20.

[xviii] Église Notre-Dame de K’rni (Nakhidjewan), vers 1670-1680. Papier occidental, 89 f., 26 × 18,5 cm. Acquis en 1847. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Manuscrits orientaux, arménien 149, f. 5 r°-5. See A. Vernay-Nouri, Livres, p. 44, https://books.openedition.org/editionsbnf/docannexe/image/1153/img-5.jpg (accessed May 26, 2021).

[xix] H. W. Nibley, Hierocentric, p. 104. See E. Burrows, Some Cosmological Patterns, p. 46. Burrows further distinguishes “three cosmological patterns corresponding to three ways of imagining the relation between heaven and earth. The first pattern is formed when the interest is at the center, on earth; the second when it is at the periphery, in heaven; the third may be considered a synthesis. … One might almost formulate a law that in the ancient East contemporary cosmological doctrine is registered in the structure and theory of the temples” (ibid., p. 45).

[xx] H. W. Nibley, Hierocentric, p. 110. For a survey of beliefs in the ancient Near East regarding the cosmic mountain at the center of the world, see N. Wyatt, Space, pp. 147–57.

[xxi] See, for example, J. M. Bradshaw, Book of Moses as a Temple Text, pp. 425–29; J. M. Bradshaw, Tree of Knowledge, pp. 50–52; D. W. Parry, Garden; J. M. Lundquist, Reality; J. A. Parry et al., Temple in Heaven; T. Stordalen, Echoes, pp. 112-116, 308-309; T. D. Alexander, From Eden, pp. 20-23; G. K. Beale, Temple, pp. 66–80; G. J. Wenham, Sanctuary Symbolism; R. N. Holzapfel et al., Father’s House, pp. 17–19; J. Morrow, Creation; D. R. Seely et al., Crown of Creation.

[xxii] A. S.-M. Ri, Commentaire de la Caverne, p. 179.

[xxiii] See, for example, Sebastian Brock in Ephrem the Syrian, Paradise, p. 189n1:11.

[xxiv] Ephrem the Syrian, Paradise, 1:11, pp. 81–82. See S. C. Malan, Adam and Eve, 3:4, p. 147; H. W. Nibley, Enoch, pp. 178–93; J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, p. 388n5:41b; J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, p. 203A. S.-M. Ri, Commentaire de la Caverne, p. 225–26. Ri observes: “The fall of humanity at the time of Jared is a very ancient tradition that is found in the books of Enoch and Jubilees” (ibid., p. 255, my translation). See, for example, O. S. Wintermute, Jubilees, 4:15, p. 62; J. L. Kugel, Jubilees, 4:15, p. 302; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 6:6, p. 174; 106:13, p. 536; D. A. Machiela, Dead Sea Genesis Apocryphon, 3:3–4, pp. 37–38; D. W. Parry et al., DSSR (2013), 1QapGen, 3:3–4, p. 517.

[xxv] For an account of Jared’s descent, see, for example, E. A. W. Budge, Cave, 84–86.

[xxvi] R. S. Hess, Studies, pp. 69–70. On the possible connection of Jared to the place names of Arad, Eridu, etc. and related etymological and interpretive issues, see C. Westermann, Genesis 1-11, 4:18, p. 328; 5:15–17, p. 357; G. J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, pp. 111–112; U. Cassuto, Adam to Noah, pp. 229–232.

[xxvii] Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33, possibly to be equated with the “giants” in Moses 7:15; 8:18. In contrast to some others (for example, E. van Wolde, Sons of God, pp. 65–67), V. P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, pp. 269–270 sees this group “as being distinct from the mighty men” (that is, gibborim).

[xxviii] Manichaean Diagram of the Universe, Manichaean Diagram of the Universe.

[xxix] Z. Gulácsi et al., Picturing Mani’s Cosmology, abstract.

[xxx] Z. Gulácsi, Mani’s Pictures, p. 470.

[xxxi] G. Kósa, Book of Giants Tradition, p. 185.

[xxxii] E. Morano, New Research, p. 103.

[xxxiii] F. G. Martinez, Book of Giants (4Q203), 4:6, p. 260.

[xxxiv] E. Morano, New Research, p. 103.

[xxxv] J. M. Bradshaw, Enoch and the Gathering of Zion, p. 238n175.

[xxxvi] G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 13 :7–8, p. 237.

[xxxvii] See J. M. Bradshaw, Enoch and the Gathering of Zion, p. 238n177.

[xxxviii] Wood engraving from a Bible illustration of Revelation 14:6–7, ca. 1885. Image licensed from Alamy, ID: AJ8AKO or D965XN.

[xxxix] D. W. Parry et al., DSSR (2013), 4Q530, frg. 7, col. ii, l. 3–5, p. 951.

[xl] Ibid., 4Q530, frg. 7, col. ii, l. 3–5, p. 951. The Paradise in the eastward location is designated in some conceptions as the “Paradise of Justice,” containing the Tree of Knowledge, presumably by way of contrast to the “Mountain of God” to the north, which contains the Tree of Life.

[xli] G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, p. 290. See J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, p. 97nM6–20.

[xlii] For an overview and examples of the Egyptian concept of the horizon, see N. Wyatt, Space, pp. 184–85, 187–92.

[xliii] 2 Enoch locates paradise “between the corruptible [earth] and the incorruptible [heaven]” (F. I. Andersen, 2 Enoch, 8:5, pp. 116 and 116nl).

[xliv] Wyatt discusses the “two seemingly opposed ideas … of the end of the world, often represented by the notion of a ‘cosmic ocean,’ and … the center of the world” in the ancient Near East (N. Wyatt, Space, pp. 183–84). See pp. 77–78, 83–84, 184–207 for examples from the ancient Near East of traversals of cosmic boundaries in heavenly ascent and of symbolic boundaries as part of ritual ascent in the temple.

[xlv] H. W. Nibley et al., One Eternal Round, p. 364, Figure 43 and caption.

[xlvi] In explaining this verse, Victor L. Ludlow has argued that this verse has multiple applications, including to both Old and New Jerusalem in the last days (V. L. Ludlow, Isaiah, pp. 87–89). Doctrine and Covenants 133:13 directly applies Isaiah’s words to Jerusalem.

[xlvii] G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, p. 290. See J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, p. 97nM6–20

[xlviii] G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 33:2, p. 329

[xlix] See ibid., 33:1, p. 329.

[l] D. A. Machiela, Dead Sea Genesis Apocryphon, 2:23, p. 37: “And [Methusaleh] went through the length of the land of Parvain, and there he found the end of [the] ea[rth.”

[li] G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 106:7, p. 536.

[lii] M. Goff, Where’s Enoch?, p. 488. Compare S.-H. Oh, Circular World Maps, pp. 31, 32: “Mt. Yupa … is located in the East Sea, a great distance away or farthest from the center. … Given that pine trees are one of the ten traditional symbols of longevity, the trees in the [north, east, and west] of the [circular world maps] can be regarded as deeply related to [the] ‘Taoist idea of immortality.’”

In medieval times, European biblical drama sometimes contained portrayals of Elijah and Enoch that had them situated in the Garden of Eden: (L. R. Muir, Biblical Drama, p. 139)

As Christ leads the redeemed souls out of Hell … a few plays include the scene of their arrival in Earthly Paradise (usually escorted by Michael) where they meet Elijah and Enoch, who have not yet died and will return to earth to fight against Antichrist.

[liii] J. M. Lundquist, Meeting Place.

[liv] Scholars do not agree as to whether it is Mahijah’s first or second journey. About this controversy, see J. Wilkens, Remarks, pp. 219–22, 224–25.

[lv] Ibid., p. 222.

[lvi] For a survey of the examples of the concept of the “ends of the earth” in the ancient Near East, see N. Wyatt, Space, pp. 113–20.

[lvii] J. Wilkens, Remarks, p. 225.

[lviii] M. Goff, Where’s Enoch?, p. 488: “Or as it says in 1 Enoch 17:6, ‘where no human walks’” (emphasis is Goff’s). Compare G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 17:7, p. 276: “where no flesh walks.” See also ibid., 19:3, p. 276: “I, Enoch, alone saw the visions, the extremities of all things. And no one among humans has seen as I saw.”

[lix] M. Goff, Where’s Enoch?, p. 488.

[lx] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flammarion.jpg (accessed May 25, 2020). Public domain. Published in Camille Flammarion, L’Atmosphère: Météorologie Populaire (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1888), 163, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k408619m/f168.image.

[lxi] M. Goff, Where’s Enoch?, pp. 486–88.

[lxii] S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 105. Looking for additional ideas besides the Book of Giants for what he takes to be a necessary manuscript source for ancient parallels to Joseph Smith’s Enoch, Cirillo argues: “This journey … is not unique to [BG], it is also found (and likely based on) the journey of Methuselah in 1 Enoch [see The Birth of Noah, in G. W. E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch 1, 106:1–107:3, pp. 536–37]. … This format, for one person journeying to Enoch to question him, is evident once more in 1 Enoch [see The Apocalypse of Noah, in G. W. E. Nickelsburg et al., 1 Enoch 2, 65:1–68:1, pp. 273–74]” (S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., pp. 105–6). However, a careful reading of the 1 Enoch accounts will show that evidence for any meaningful resemblance of details of the journey to the Book of Moses itself is strained. Especially significant is the fact that, unlike BG,there is no mention in 1 Enoch of Mahijah or Mahujah.

[lxiii] Z. Gulácsi, Mani’s Pictures, p. 470.

[lxiv] Detail of MCP, published in ibid., p. 470. The only comment I have found describing this scene is found in ibid., p. 489:

A third demon inhabits a mountaintop. This demon is shown kneeling atop the gold highland of a mountain, the sides of which are defined similarly to the sides of Mount Sumēru.

[lxv] G. Kósa, Book of Giants Tradition, p. 174.

[lxvi] See S. H. Faulring et al., Original Manuscripts, OT1 p. 15, p. 103 and plate 5.

[lxvii] Salvatore Cirillo agrees with this reading (S. Cirillo, Joseph Smith., p. 103).

One problem with the OT1 with this reading is that afterward, Enoch went up to meet God alone (“I turned and went up on the mount; … I stood upon the mount” [Moses 7:3]). The only way to reconcile the absence of Mahujah in subsequent events would be if he did not follow Enoch to the mount as he had been commanded to do in Moses 7:2 (taking the “Turn ye” to be plural).

On the other hand, in a different reading, David Calabro points out that the phrase in Moses 7:2 “As I was journeying … and I cried” “could be an example of the use of ‘and’ to introduce a main clause after a circumstantial clause, which is a Hebraism that is frequently found in the earliest Book of Mormon text” (D. Calabro, January 24 2018). In this case, the “ye” in “Turn ye” would have to be interpreted as singular rather than plural.

[lxviii] See S. K. Brown, Luke, p. 1020.

[lxix] For an analysis confirming the low likelihood of error in transcriptions of “Mahijah” and “Mahujah” in the earliest manuscripts of Moses 6–7, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Where Did the Names “Mahaway” and “Mahujah” Come From?, pp. 122–31.

[lxx] See Genesis 17:5, 15; 32:28. On the tests and changes of name for Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah, see, for example, E. D. Clark, Blessings, pp. 166–67. On the test and change of name for Jacob/Israel, see C. T. R. Hayward, Israel.

[lxxi] J. Wilkens, Remarks, p. 227.

[lxxii] Ibid., p. 226.

[lxxiii] Ibid., p. 226.

[lxxiv] Ibid., Mainz 317 fragment, p. 228.

[lxxv] “‘Some of them’ in the fragment from BG obviously refers to the [gibborim]. … Does the phrase ‘like some of them’ allude to a distinction between the [gibborim]? We have evidence from other fragments that this seemingly was the case. Stuckenbruck has detected evidence for factions among the [gibborim] in two fragments from Qumran” (ibid., p. 224. See L. T. Stuckenbruck, Book of Giants, pp. 107–8).

[lxxvi] See Matthew 19:16–30; Mark 10:17–31; Luke 18:18–30.

[lxxvii] J. Wilkens, Remarks, p. 226.

[lxxviii] The bracketed phrase substitutes for Reeves’ version the translation of ibid., p. 227. Wilkens reads the entire phrase as “the great angel has slain that messenger whom they had,” differing with Reeves and Sundermann by reading “great angel” as the agent of the death of Mahaway rather than as a description of Mahaway.

[lxxix] Translation in J. C. Reeves, Jewish Lore, p. 123 of W. Sundermann, Mittelpersische, M5900, lines 1574–77, p. 78:

Erschlagen, erschlagen hat

der große Engel (?) jenen

Boten, den (sie) hatten (?).

Getötet wurden die Fleischverschlingenden.