Enoch’sMuse Official Launch
Enoch’s Muse, finalist in the 2017 Proverse Prize for Unpublished Fiction, Non-Fiction or Poetry, was launched at the Helena May on Garden Road in Hog Kong on November 15th, 2018. The winner of the prize was also announced. I’ve transcribed my acceptance speech below.
Enoch’sMuse is a book about the curious crossroads between Christianity/ Hebrew mythology and science.
Having said that, there is something I do want address. Some people have asked me why I chose to use a pagan symbol (flower of life) on the cover of my book. Most Christians and Catholics tend to have a negative view of Paganism and Pagan symbology. To those folks I say this; most of the events in Enoch’sMuse happen even before formal Judaism existed so there isn’t any Christian doctrine to speak of (yet). The “Flower of Life” also led to the discovery of the platonic solids so I consider it relevant to the technological frontier of that time. Remember also, that we only classified things as pagan, many centuries after the fact. The speech starts in the next paragraph.
One does not go through life with a Latin name such as mine and not become at least nominally familiar with the Catholic Church. Many wonder what Western society would look like had the Catholic Church not become the dominant religion of the west.
Perhaps, by now, the west would be a borderless utopia without crime, climate change or restricting dogma. Or perhaps another religion would have filled the void and we would be the same as now but without Christmas.
In any event, misrepresentations about Catholicsm (and religions in general) are quite fashionable these days. Due to the many atrocities being carried out under their banners.
Still, Christianity has been the most influential to the Western civilization we do have. Focusing in on Christianity invariably leads us to the bible. We think of it as 66 separate books, written over the span of several centuries about events that happened as far back as a thousand years earlier.
Events which were themselves the cumulative reckoning of a thousand years before that of kings, kingdoms and big personalities. Many think of the bible as just out-dated religious teaching but at its core it is actually the most famous short story collection to ever exist. Stories that, real or not, had to have had a source, a muse.
What many may not know is that our modern bible used to be much bigger. An entire tomb of stories and texts were removed by past church elders for reasons it has been very hard to define.
One of these is the Book of Enoch. The book of Enoch (in its totality) was first discovered by Scottish explorer, James Bruce during his travels to Ethiopia in the late 1700s. Later fragments were also discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls in the twentieth century.
Enoch, as some may know, is the great-grandfather of the biblical Noah. The Book of Enoch is a very detailed account of 200 angels who rebelled from God and descended to Earth. One of whom is the character we have come to call Lucifer.
TBOE also offers an alternative explanation for why Noah later needed to build his ark. What is interesting is that the bible also mentions the events of Enoch but with nowhere near enough detail and absolutely no context.
For anyone interested in the Book of Enoch and why the Catholic church chose to exclude it from inclusion in the bible, I highly suggest the work of RI Burns. Whose book; The Book of Enoch Messianic Prophecy Edition: Time Capsule to the Last Generation is a definitive account of what the Book of Enoch means for modern biblical prophecy.
My book, Enoch’s Muse, also draws heavily from what has been written and speculated about the life of Enoch with one major difference. While other books on Enoch are either scholarly or ecumenical in nature, my treatment of Enoch is as the hero of a grand adventure.
Enoch’s Muse is adapted from varied sources of Enochian lore and constructed into a story arc that spans 5 thousand years. And features real historical figures as supporting characters. Characters such as; the biblical King David; the first Semitic ruler, Sargon of Akkad; the cantankerous mayor of Chicago during the Chicago World’s fair of 1893, Carter Harrison Sr.
Writing these characters added an extra dimension of pressure in writing Enoch’s Muse. I felt I had to depict these real historical figures as they had actually existed and not as I needed them to be — in order to fit the narrative I created. Ensuring that I achieve this, manifested itself into a year of research before I wrote one word. It is my hope that I have done them justice, especially Enoch.
Enoch’s Muse is not a Christian interpretation of past events. I didn’t write it from the point of view of one specific religion or doctrine. It is important to remember that at the time of Enoch, Judaism, Christianity and Islam simply didn’t exist yet.
That what Enochian and other ancient texts describe, to the people of that age, must have undoubtedly been these life-changing events but also ones that would not see an explanation for a thousand years to come. To remind myself of this as I wrote Enoch’s Muse, I kept a few sobering thoughts in the back of mind.
One, is that religious doctrine eventually catches up to the arc of progress. That, in hell today, you would find just as many serial killers as you would people guilty of working on a Saturday 2000 years ago.
That in leveling justified criticisms at one faith or another, we often forget to keep these criticisms to specific actions of specific offending people — and instead place blame on the wider intentions that faith seeks to convey.
Enoch’s Muse is my take on ancient story but it would not have been possible without, first and foremost, God, who has guided my steps through this adventure called life.
I want to thank my wife for her unyielding support, I promise no more books (except maybe one follow-up and a quick little stand alone series, nothing major :) ). I also want to deeply thank Gillian and Verner Bickley for believing Enoch’s Muse was important enough to include in the 2017 Proverse Prize. Also, a special thank you to Peter Mann and Rena Hamstra-Dam for putting into words exactly what I wanted to convey in writing Enoch’s Muse. And also to the tireless work of the Proverse judges, editors and designers that worked on the manuscript.
[Sergio Monteiro lives in Asia with his wife and is the author of two books. His first book, Other American Dreams, dealt with the migrant crisis of Africa and Europe and was compared to the writing of Portuguese novelist, Jose Saramango. His latest work, Enoch’sMuse, follows the life of Enoch, a biblical figure, and is available on Amazon. Enoch’sMuse was selected as a finalist in the 2017 Proverse Prize for Unpublished Fiction, Non-Fiction or Poetry and has been compared to Mary Renault’s, The King Must Die.]
- Silvio Borges Graciano — Administrator, Macau Literary Festival.
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