Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures - Vol. 1

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures - Vol. 1

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures - Vol. 1

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This work stands among the most important publications in biblical studies over the past twenty-five years. Richard Bauckham, James Davila, and Alexander Panayotov's new two-volume collection of Old Testament pseudepigrapha contains many previously unpublished and newly translated texts, complementing James Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and other earlier collections.

Including virtually all known surviving pseudepigrapha written before the rise of Islam, this volume, among other things, presents the sacred legends and spiritual reflections of numerous long-dead authors whose works were lost, neglected, or suppressed for many centuries. Excellent English translations along with authoritative yet accessible introductions bring those ancient documents to life for readers today.

Excerpt

by Richard Bauckham and James R. Davila

The “Old Testament pseudepigrapha,” as the term is now commonly used, are ancient books that claim to be written by a character in the Old Testament or set in the same time period as the Old Testament and recount narratives related to it, but which do not belong to the Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant biblical canons. They include apocalypses (angelic revelations to prophets and sages such as Enoch, Moses, and Ezra); magical, oracular, and mantic works attributed to prophets and sages such as Solomon, the Sibyl, and Jeremiah; testaments put in the mouths of Old Testament characters such as Job and the twelve sons of Jacob at the end of their lives; songs and poetry attributed to Old Testament characters, especially David; “rewritten scripture” that retells stories known from the Old Testament from the fall of Adam and Eve to the deaths of the Maccabean martyrs; legends and tales set in the Old Testament period and usually, although not always, involving Old Testament characters; and various other obscure and intriguing works. This volume is a new collection of Old Testament pseudepigrapha.

Terminology

For readers to make sense of what follows, a few terms need to be defined at the outset. “Old Testament” is a Christian phrase, referring first and foremost to the collection of twenty-four “scriptures” found in what Jews call the “Hebrew Bible.” the term “scripture” is a Latin term that means simply “writing,” but it translates Hebrew and Greek words that were used in ancient Judaism and earliest Christianity in certain contexts to mean a book with sacred (specifically prophetic) authority and considered to be divinely revealed. the scriptures in the Hebrew Bible are written in Hebrew (with a few scattered chapters and verses in Aramaic) and they include, first, the Torah, or five books of Moses; second, the Neviʾim, or Prophets, comprising both the “former prophets” or historical books of Joshua, Judges, 1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings and the “latter prophets,” the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as well as the book of the twelve “minor” (i.e., shorter) prophets; and third, the Ketuvim or Writings, the remaining books: Psalms, Job, Proverbs, the Five Scrolls (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Daniel), Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1–2 Chronicles. the Catholic Old Testament contains the same books in a different order but also includes thirteen additional documents, some as separate books and some as expansions within books of the Hebrew Bible. These are known as “Deuterocanonical” works to Catholics, whereas Jews and Protestants refer to them as the Old Testament “Apocrypha.”

1. the additional documents are the Epistle of Jeremiah, Tobit, Judith, 1 Esdras, Additions to Esther, the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Youths, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, 1 Baruch, Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus), the Wisdom of Solomon, and 1–2 Maccabees. the book of 3 Maccabees is also included in

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