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Book of Lamech

LAMECH, BOOK OF, apocryphal book referred to in the List of Sixty Books, a Christian list of canonical and uncanonical books apparently dating from the fifth or sixth century. No definite quotation or fragment of an ancient Book of Lamechis known to exist, and the question arises whether the book relates to Lamech, Noah's father (Gen. 5:25–31), or Lamech, Cain's descendant (Gen. 4:18–24). M.R. James suggests that the book deals with the legend, unknown in Second Temple period sources, that Cain was killed by his own descendant, Lamech. In view, however, of the extensive early witnesses to the story concerning Lamech's role on the occasion of Noah's birth (Gen. Apocryphon col. 2; I En. 106, and the Latin fragment " The Book of *Noah " from Qumran (1Q 19), it is distinctly possible that the Book of Lamech dealt with this and related material. Such a view is supported, and perhaps a new dimension added, by the emphasis placed in Jubilees 7:38, on Lamech's part in the transmission of esoteric traditions first revealed to Enoch. James refers to a Slavonic work telling the story of Lamech's killing of Cain. The Qumran Genesis Apocryphon was mistakenly named by its first investigators "The Book of Lamech."


M.R. James, Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament (1920), 10–11.

[Michael E. Stone]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.