BEN: Let’s talk about the Watchers in 1 Enoch, or as I prefer to call them ‘the Insomniacs’ in view of the derivation of that term, meaning they never sleep. I wonder if you knew that these guys show up in Marvel comics as supernatural beings from other galaxies who are supposed to guide and steer things in the universe, only occasionally intervening. Stan Lee mush have read 1 Enoch somewhere along the line. Marvel Comics is where I first came across them as a kid, and they are portrayed as giants with humongous heads. But on a more serious note, I wonder what you make of the identification of Enoch with the Son of Man, which seems to even surprise Enoch in that body of literature. And do you really see the Watchers, at least in 1 Enoch as entirely evil, or are they also tour guides in heaven for Enoch? I would assume some good angel is his tour guide.
MICHAEL: Great. Now you have me stealing something else from you. (I love “Insomniacs”!) To answer the first question, the answer is yes. There are a number of instances where Marvel and DC dip into Enochian (and other) material for supernatural beings. Your readers may find Knowles’ book, Our Gods Wear Spandex interesting in that regard. This is something of an interest of mine in general, growing out of my own paranormalist interests: how science fiction and what passes for “speculative non-fiction” today (i.e., Ancient Aliens) is really a competing meta-narrative that intentionally presents a middle worldview between Judeo-Christianity’s meta-narrative and godless, materialist Darwinism. Late 19th century horror literature is also a big part of this mix, as Colavito’s book, Cult of Alien Gods shows. On the second question, I do see them as evil (that is, that particular term in the plural is used of the villains), though there are a handful of instances where Nickelsburg, for example, will argue on text-critical grounds that a singular Watcher (akin to the use in Daniel in apposition to “holy one”) might be in view for a good supernatural entity.