Samuel Ifor Enoch

Samuel Ifor Enoch

The Rev. Professor Samuel Ifor Enoch MA (December 26 1914June 10 2001), was Professor of New Testament Studies and Principal of the Presbyterian United Theological College Aberystwyth in Wales.

Early life

Samuel Ifor Enoch, was born at Ciliau Aeron, Cardiganshire and was the son of the Rev J. Aeronydd Enoch. As a school boy in Ferryside in south Carmarthenshire Enoch grew up with serious breathing problems and he lost much of his grammar-school years due to recurring pneumonia. Enoch had pneumonia four times, once even surviving double pneumonia. Despite all this ill-health he continued to read and study and gained access to the University of Wales at Swansea and later read Theology at Westminster College, part of Cambridge University.

In 1933 Enoch contributed one shilling (5p) towards the public fund-raising campaign which bought the Codex Sinaiticus from the Russian government for £100,000. It is now in the British Library in London.

Student days

Enoch joined Columbia University, in New York City, where he researched for an MPhil degree. Here he came under the influence of the brilliant scholars at Union Theological Seminary, especially the Professor of Applied Christianity, Reinhold Niebuhr.

Enoch was ordained into the Presbyterian Church of Wales in 1941, and served for 10 years as minister in Aberdare, Glamorgan, where he became an exponent of the Social Gospel. He was proud of his left-wing credentials as a Christian Socialist and gave his support to the Labour Party. He was delighted when in 1964 Harold Wilson was elected Prime Minister.


From Aberdare Enoch went to Aberystwyth, where he stayed for nearly 50 years, as Professor of Greek and New Testament Studies (1952- 62), and then as a very successful and popular Principal of the United Theological College from 1963 (after the death of W.R. Williams), until his retirement in 1979.

He was an accomplished lecturer, preacher and linguist; he mastered five languages, Hebrew, Greek, English, Welsh, and German. He was deeply interested in the archaeological findings of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Gospels in 1945 and the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.


Enoch was involved in the interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and his 1968 monograph 'The Jesus of Faith and the Dead Sea Scrolls' is a notable work. His 1979 D.J. James lectures, delivered at the University College of Swansea, were published as 'Jesus in the Twentieth Century'. In 1966 Enoch was invited to revise the commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians prepared by his predecessor Professor David Williams. He was a prominent member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas and a member of the University of Wales Subject Panel (1971-74) 2

In his retirement he continued to lecture for the University of Wales in extramural adult classes and was an active preacher.

Professor Enoch was married with a son (who served with the Royal Marines during the Falklands War), and a daughter (a nurse). He died at Aberystwyth.


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