As for Enoch, why not read it? It is readily available now, just as it was in the time of Christ. Jesus would certainly have been familiar with some earlier forms of the Book of Enoch, as would any of his more educated disciples. I would expect the Apostle Paul knew it quite well. So to answer the OP’s question “How much light does the Book of Enoch throw on the origin and foundation of Christianity?” it almost certainly offers a substantive glimmer in this direction and is worthy of careful examination.
My 2 cents.
Comment from Brady Stephenson: "I’d be interested to see documentation of five centuries of widespread veneration of the book of Enoch."
Sure, that’s pretty easy; some places where Enoch is referenced as scripture in instructive ways:
1) Jude references
2) Other NT refs that have a very similar content to the Book of Enoch: 1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Peter 3:18–22; 2 Peter 2:4; and Revelation 4:1; 2:8. You can also see some of the more abstracted correlations here: On the Book of Enoch
2) Tertullian refers to it as scripture repeatedly (even calling it “the Scripture of Enoch”), and defends it wholeheartedly for edification (quoting the same 2 Tim reference you do Brady!) — see Tertullian’s “On the apparrel of Women” ch.3
3) In Origen’s “De Principiis” (Book IV) he favorably compares the authority of the Book of Enoch to Psalms.
4) The Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas quotes the Book of Enoch in numerous places (again as scripture)
5) Athenagoras’ Legatio relies on the Book of Enoch (repeatedly quoted) to support his angelology.
6) The above are not isolated occurrences…the veneration of the Book of Enoch was very widespread and well-documented, with references in Justin Martyr, Minucius Felix, Cyprean, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Commodianus, Lactatius, Cassian, St. Augustine and many others.
7) And of course the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches continued to treat Enoch as canonical up into modern times.
Of course, after the Council of Laodicea, Enoch’s popularity declined. But even as late as Nicephorus I of Constantinople Enoch is listed as an apocryphon, which would have been carefully studied by those committed to a deeper understanding of the Christian faith at that time.
I hope this was helpful.
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