Ancient Jewish Novels: An Anthology

Ancient Jewish Novels: An Anthology

Ancient Jewish Novels: An Anthology

Ancient Jewish Novels: An Anthology

Synopsis

This volume brings together for the first time all of the ancient Jewish novels and fragments of novels. Written at about the same time as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, but before the period of Rabbinic Judaism, these texts reveal the ambiguities and conflicts encountered by Jews in this period.

Excerpt

It is remarkable that the ancient Jewish novelistic tradition is so little known by modern readers. Though certain texts may be somewhat familiar, others are totally unknown, and the genre as a whole has often gone unrecognized. This situation appears to be changing, however, and with the recent increased interest in ancient Greek and Roman novels and in the social world of ancient Judaism, it seemed an appropriate time to publish new translations of these novels and related texts.

I have been working on the translations of these texts for several years, struggling with a number of intriguing problems connected with them: What texts should be included and why? What style in English best communicates the reading experience of the ancient audience? What ancient comparisons are relevant and illuminating? in this resultant attempt to introduce modern readers to the world of popular Jewish literature in the Greco-Roman period, there are still question marks hanging over many important issues, but the question marks can remain.

There are a number of people who have influenced my perceptions of the novels over the years, but a few have had a particular imprint on this collection: Richard Horsley, Gregory Nagy, and Christine Thomas. I am also indebted to the members of the Ancient Fiction Group of the Society of Biblical Literature for creating an invaluable forum for the study of ancient novels and related literature, and to the faculty and students at Episcopal . . .

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