While not considered canonical scripture by the majority of Jewish and Christian authorities in antiquity, the Book of Enoch had a very wide readership, including the authors of New Testament books. Dr. Michael Heiser, scholar in the fields of biblical studies and the ancient Near East, joined Richard Syrett (Twitter) to share his insights on the ancient tome. The book is ascribed by tradition to Enoch (mentioned in Genesis 5), who was the great-grandfather of Noah. In the Old Testament the character Enoch does not die but is instead taken up by God, Heiser revealed. A few fragments of the Book of Enoch written in Aramaic were found with the Dead Sea Scrolls, he explained, noting the only full manuscripts are in Ethiopian and date to the 14th or 15th century.
There is no evidence the biblical character Enoch wrote the book, and it was never considered canonical except in Ethiopian religious traditions, Heiser continued. The book is apocalyptic literature which focuses on the end of days and the reason evil is in the world. It lists 20 angels who rebelled before the flood, though this is not an exhaustive list of supernatural bad guys in the book, he disclosed. According to Heiser, the Book of Enoch traces evil to interactions between The Watchers and humankind. "It's what these entities taught humans so they would more efficiently destroy themselves and turn what God wanted in the world into utter chaos," he said.
Followed by Sean Patrick Hazlett, an Army veteran and speculative fiction writer, who delved into horrifying alternative visions of World War III from his anthology, Weird World War III, which features 19 short stories by some of today's greatest minds in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Hazlett described the book as Tom Clancy meets Stephen King. The stories speculate about what could have happened if the United States had fought World War III with the Soviet Union, he added. The format allowed writers to include some of the stranger-than-fiction aspects of the cold War era, such as Project Star Gate, and other fringe science theories.
He described one story about a covert war between the US and Russia in which each nation was able to psychically assassinate the other's leaders. Another tale from the anthology is based on physicist Hugh Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. It imagines a mirror world adjacent to our own where the Soviets travel to gain tactical advantage over the US, he explained. Yet another speculative yarn explores what could have happened if the Soviets had aligned with inhuman entities against the US, Hazlett added.