all reputable modern versions – there is no doubt whatever that the Son of Man is not a dreamed-of messiah that is yet to come, it is Enoch himself. That point was made clearly by the authoritative edition of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha edited by James H. Charlesworth in the early 1980s.
In the most favorable view, Charles made a grievous error back in 1913, and one that has echoed through generations of later writing and preaching. His version leaves open the door that the text might prefigure Christ, rather than a named Old Testament person. And it doesn’t.
The question must remain: was his mistranslation deliberate?
This story raises troubling questions about the number of things we take to be obviously true, but which derive from simple academic error.
Philip Jenkinsis a Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor Universityand author ofThe Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade.