Invitation to the Apocrypha

Invitation to the Apocrypha

Invitation to the Apocrypha

Invitation to the Apocrypha

Excerpt

The word serendipity refers to the making of a desirable discovery by acci- dent (or, by divine providence). This introduction to the Old Testament Apocrypha had a serendipitous origin.

In May 1998 I had just finished teaching once more a course on suf- fering in the Bible and theology. In the course we work through key Old and New Testament texts as well as classic and modern theological essays on the mystery of suffering. The material helps students (and me) to inte- grate their biblical and theological studies with their personal and pasto- ral experiences. It is a privilege for me as the professor to take part in the discussions and to read the students' papers. I have offered the course sev- eral times, and often have wanted to write something on the topic. But what? I had planned vaguely to begin work on a writing project about suf- fering during the summer of 1998. However, I had no clear idea what shape it might take.

In late May I received a letter from Dr. Daniel C. Harlow, Editor of Biblical Studies at Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. In it he in- vited me to write a college and seminary level introduction to the Old Testament Apocrypha. This was an opportunity too good for me to re- fuse. For many years I have studied and taught these texts, written about them, and followed developments in scholarship on them. Here was the opportunity to bring together thirty-five years of work. And so the proj- ect on suffering would have to be pushed aside and put off for another time. Or so I thought.

As a way of getting started on my new project, I read through the . . .

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