Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature

Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature

Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature

Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature


Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Literature offers more than simply an introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). The Hebrew Bible remains not only the primary quantitative source for our knowledge of the literature of Ancient Israel, it also enjoys decisive religious and cultural significance for both Judaism and Christianity. However, increased interest in Early Judaism as successor to the religion of Ancient Israel and background to the New Testament demands an introduction that guides the reader through the maze of Jewish literature dating from the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods. This introduction primarily offers a literary and historical-critical approach to the material it treats. Given the nature of certain Ancient Israelite inscriptions, the books of the Hebrew bible and the texts of Early Judaism, however, it contains some religio-historical or theological explanations where appropriate. In particular, the literary-historical analysis found in this volume underlines the canonical character of the Hebrew Bible. The book concludes with a helpful appendix that briefly explains technical concepts and exegetical methods.


Modern text editions of the Hebrew Bible: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), Stuttgart 1984 (a new text edition Quinta is in preparation). Translations of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) include the New Revised Standard Version (Oxford-New York 1989; employed for English quotations in the present volume unless otherwise stipulated); La Bible de Jerusalem (Paris 1973); Einheitsübersetzung (Stuttgart 1980); Traduction oecuménique de la Bible (TOB). Ancien Testament (Paris 1983); NBG (a new Dutch translation to be completed in 2004); KBS (second edition, Den Bosch 1995); Nije Fryske Bibeloersetting (Amsterdam-Boxtel 1978). Hebrew inscriptions:

D. Diringer, Le iscrizione antico-ebraiche palestinesi, Florence 1934; Th. C. Vriezen and J. H. Hospers, Palestine Inscriptions (Textus minores XVII), Leiden 1951; H. Donner und W. Röllig, Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften I-III (KAI), Wiesbaden 1973 ; J. C. L. Gibson, Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions I. Hebrew and Moabite Inscriptions, Oxford 1973 ; R. Hestrin e.a., Inscriptions Reveal. Documents from the Time of the Bible, the Mishna and the Talmud, Jerusalem 1973; A. Lemaire, Les ostraca hébreux de I'époque royale israélite, Paris 1973; id., Inscriptions hebraïques I. Les ostraca, Paris 1977; Y. Aharoni, Arad Inscriptions, Jerusalem 1981; K. Jaroš, Hundert Inschriften aus Kanaan und Israel. Für den Hebräischunterricht bearbeitet, Fribourg 1982; D. Pardee e.a., Handbook of Ancient Hebrew Letters, Chico 1982; K. A. D. Smelik, Behouden schrift. Historische documenten uit het oude Israel, Baarn 1984 (lit.!); R. W. Suder, Hebrew Inscriptions: A Classified Bibliography, Selinsgrove 1984; N. Avigad, Hebrew Bullae from the Time of Jeremiah: Remnants of a Burnt Archive, Jerusalem 1986; J. H. Tigay, You Shall Have No Other Gods. Israelite Religion in the Light of Hebrew Inscriptions (Harvard Semitic Studies 31), Atlanta GA 1986; G. I. Davies e.a., Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions. Corpus and Concordance, Cambridge 1991; J. Renz und W. Röllig, Handbuch der althebräischen Epigraphik, Band I: J. Renz, Die althebräischen Inschriften, Teil 1. Text und Kommentar, Darmstadt 1995; Band 11/1: J. Renz, Die aldiebräischen Inschriften, Teil 2. Zusammenfassende Erörterungen, Paläographie und Glossar, Darmstadt 1995; Band III: J. Renz, Texte und Tafeln, Darmstadt 1995 (lit.!).

The primary source of our knowledge of Ancient Israelite literature is the Hebrew Bible, referred to in Christian circles as the Old Testament. The 39 books collected therein, however, constitute only

For the Roman Catholic tradition, the Old Testament also includes the Apocryphal
Books that are referred to as Deuterocanonical (see further the introduction to part
III of the present volume). For our own purposes we will employ the concept Old
Testament or Hebrew Bible in line with the Protestant tradition and its under
standing of the contents thereof.

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