Expansions of the "Old Testament" and legends, wisdom and philosophical literature, prayers, psalms and odes, and fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works.
Western culture has been shaped largely by the Bible. In attempting to understand the Scriptures, scholars of the last three hundred years have intensively studied both these sacred texts and other related ancient writings. A cursory examination reveals that their authors depended on other sources, some of which are lost and some of which have recently come to light. Part of these extant sources are the pseudepigrapha. Though the meaning of the word can be disputed by scholars, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha is a collection of those writings which are, for the most part, Jewish or Christian and are often attributed to ideal figures in Israel’s past.
The publication of Volume 2 now completes this landmark work. Together with Volume 1, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, these new translations present important documents, many for the first time in English, for all those “People of the Book” to study, contemplate, and understand.
This second volume contains: Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends Clarifications, enrichments, expansions, and retellings of biblical narratives. The primary focus is upon God’s story in history, the ongoing drama in which the author claims to participate. Wisdom and Philosophical Literature Various collections of wise sayings and philosophical maxims of the Israelites. Prayers, Psalms and Odes Until recently, the Davidic psalms were considered to be the only significant group of psalms known by the Jews. This is no longer true. This section presents other collections of hymns, expressions of praise, songs of joy and sorrow, and prayers of petition that were important in the period 100 b.c. to a.d. 200. Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works After the Babylonian exile, Judaism increasingly began to reflect ideas associated with the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, often filtered through the cultures of Syria and Egypt. These fragments are examples of how this mix of cultures influenced Jewish writings.
Together, both volumes of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha present literature that shows the ongoing development of Judaism and the roots from which the Christian religion took its beliefs. Using the very latest techniques in biblical scholarship, this international team of recognized scholars has put together a monumental work that will enhance the study of Western religious heritage for years to come.
James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, and a world-renowned translator, particularly of pseudepigraphical material.
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