The Enoch Seminar focuses on the period of Jewish history, culture and literature from the Babylonian Exile (6th cent. BCE) to the Bar-Kochba revolt (2nd cent. CE) —the period in which both Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism have their roots. It is a neutral forum where scholars who are specialized in different sub-fields (OT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Philo, New Testament) and are committed to different methodologies, have the opportunity to meet, talk and listen to one another without being bound to adhere to any sort of preliminary agreement or reach any sort of preordained consensus.
The Enoch Seminar was founded in 2000 by Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan), who has chaired it ever since. Boccaccini is professor of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins at the University of Michigan (USA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Henoch. Vice-Directors are Hanan Eshel (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and Loren Stuckenbruck (University of Durham, UK).
Participation at the meetings of the Enoch Seminar is by invitation only and is restricted to University professors and specialists in Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins who have completed their PhD. Papers circulate in advance among the participants and the entire time at the meetings is devoted to discussion in plenary sessions or small groups. Since 2006, to graduate students, PhD candidates and post-doctorate fellows, the Enoch Seminar has offered a separate biennial conference (the Enoch Graduate Seminar).
Veterans and leaders of the Enoch Seminar are Daniel Assefa (Ethiopia), Albert Baumgarten (Israel), Kelley Coblentz Bautch (USA), Andreas Bedenbender (Germany), Gabriele Boccaccini (USA), Daniel Boyarin (USA), James H. Charlesworth (USA), Sabino Chialà (Italy), John J. Collins (USA), Michael Daise (USA), Marcello Del Verme (Italy), Torleif Elgvin (Norway), Yaron Eliav (USA), Esther and Hanan Eshel (Israel), Florentino García Martínez (Belgium), Ida Fröhlich (Hungary), Claudio Gianotto (Italy), Charles Gieschen (Italy), Lester L. Grabbe (England), Ithamar Gruenwald (Israel), Matthias Henze (USA), Martha Himmelfarb (USA), Michael Knibb (England), Klaus Koch (Germany), Robert Kraft (USA), Helge Kvanvig (Norway), Erik Larson (USA), Luca Mazzinghi (Italy), Hindy Najman (Canada), George W.E. Nickelsburg (USA), Andrei Orlov (USA), Pierluigi Piovanelli (Canada), Annette Yoshiko Reed (USA), Jacques van Ruiten (the Netherlands), Paolo Sacchi (Italy), Lawrence Schiffman (USA), Loren Stuckenbruck (England), Shemaryahu Talmon (Israel), Eibert Tigchelaar (USA), David Suter (USA), James Vanderkam (USA), Pieter Venter (South Africa), Ralph Williams (USA), Benjamin Wright (USA), and Adela Yarbro Collins (USA). Secretary of the group is J. Harold Ellens (USA).
The Enoch Seminar website, edited by Pierpaolo Bertalotto (PhD University of Bari, Italy), provides not only detailed information about the meetings of the Enoch Seminar (and of the Enoch Graduate Seminar) but also a general picture of the status of studies in Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins and of the history of research in the field.
The First Enoch Seminar was held in Florence, Italy (19-23 June 2001) at the Villa Corsi-Salviati of the University of Michigan at Sesto Fiorentino.
The conference was organized by Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan, USA) in consultation with the other founding members of the Enoch Seminar. It explored the role of the early Enoch literature in the time prior to the Maccabean revolt and probed the hypothesis of the existence of “Enochic Judaism” as a distinctive form of Judaism in the early Second Temple period.
In attendance were 35 scholars, from 8 countries.
J. Harold Ellens, James Waddell, and Adam Chalom of the University of Michigan served as secretaries of the conference.
The Proceeding were published in 2002 by Zamorani
The second Enoch Seminar was held in Venice, Italy (1-4 July 2003) at Palazzo Sullam.
The conference was organized by Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan, USA), in consultation with the other senior members of the Enoch Seminar. It focused on the role played by the Enoch literature in shaping the ideology and the practice of the Essene movement and the Qumran community. In attendance were 53 scholars from 10 countries:
J. Harold Ellens, James Waddell, Ronald Ruark, Jason von Ehrenkrook, and Aaron Brunell of the University of Michigan served as secretaries of the Conference.
The Proceeding were published in 2005 by Eerdmans An additional volume on the early Enoch literature was planned and published in 2007 by Brill
The second Enoch Seminar at Venice was followed by a conference on Jewish and Christian messianism, Il Messia tra memoria e attesa, jointly organized with the Italian biblical association BIBLIA The proceedings of the meeting were published in 2005 by Morcelliana
The conference was organized by Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan, USA) in consultation with the other senior members of the Enoch Seminar. It focused on the ideology and date of the Parables of Enoch as a Second Jewish document and on its message about the coming of the heavenly messiah "Son of Man. In attendance were 43 scholars from 11 countries:
J. Harold Ellens, James Waddell, Ronald Ruark, Jason von Ehrenkrook, Aaron Brunell, and Justin Winger of the University of Michigan served as secretaries of the Conference.
The Proceeding were published in 2007 by Eerdmans
The Forth Enoch Seminar was held at Camaldoli, Italy (8-12 July 2007) at the Foresteria of the Camaldoli Monastery, with a final meeting in Ravenna hosted by the University of Bologna (Ravenna Campus).
The Conference was organized by Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan, USA) in consultation with the other senior members of the Enoch Seminar. It focused on the interaction between Mosaic and Enochic traditions in Second Temple Judaism and on the synthesis between them in the Book of Jubilees.
In attendance were 84 scholars from 17 countries:
J.Harold Ellens, Todd Hanneken (University of Notre Dame), and Isaac Oliver (University of Michigan) served as secretaries of the Conference.
The Fifth Enoch Seminar will be held in Naples, Italy (14-18 June 2009) at the Istituto Cangiani.
The meeting is organized by Andrei A. Orlov (University of Marquette, USA), in consultation with the Chair of the Enoch Seminar, Gabriele Boccaccini, and the other senior members of the group. It will focus on the relationship between the characters of Enoch, Adam, and Melchisedek as mediatorial figures in Second Temple Judaism, with special emphasis on the Second Book of Enoch.