Have you studied the intertestamental pseudepigraphal texts?

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  • Have you studied the intertestamental pseudepigraphal texts?

    Some time back, I did a lengthy study on the intertestamental period. Part of that included reading a body of texts written in that time period that are known as the pseudepigrapha. Examples would be like the Book of Enoch (I Enoch), the Book of Jubilees, the Assumption of Moses, Life of Adam and Eve, et al. While in no way, shape, or form part of the Bible, I did find them interesting from a purely historical standpoint.

    Has anyone else read some of these works? What did you take away from it? Thanks for sharing. :)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nahum View Post
    Some time back, I did a lengthy study on the intertestamental period. Part of that included reading a body of texts written in that time period that are known as the pseudepigrapha. Examples would be like the Book of Enoch (I Enoch), the Book of Jubilees, the Assumption of Moses, Life of Adam and Eve, et al. While in no way, shape, or form part of the Bible, I did find them interesting from a purely historical standpoint.

    Has anyone else read some of these works? What did you take away from it? Thanks for sharing. :)
    I have spent quite a bit of time studying the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. I have read most of them. The ones which I have spend the most time on are: 1 Maccabees, 4 Esdras, Tobit, Enoch, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Ascension of Isaiah, Assumption of Moses.

    These documents gives us a better insight in the culture and historical context of the time. They are a window into the thoughts and ideas of the writers. They tell us what the authors thought was important, the issues, the events. These texts provide a matrix for their understanding of the Scriptures just as the DDS did for Qumran community.

    There is also the linguistic impact these texts have had upon lexical studies, the understanding of idioms, and syntax. The more literature we have the better our understanding of the languages (i.e. Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.).
    Last edited by Origen; 06-03-2016, 04:38 AM.
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    • #3
      Thanks for the note and agreed completely. Beyond the pseudepigrapha, and since it was mentioned above, I have enjoyed studying the Apocrypha too, though it is not considered scripture in my tradition. In the Maccabean literature, I've found 4 Maccabees particularly inspiring with respect to discipleship. The Wisdom of Solomon is another one that is particularly illuminating.
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      • #4
        Many of the translations of the pseudepigrapha found online are taken from The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (2 Vols.) edited by R. H. Charles. These volumes were first published in 1913 so they are a bit out of date. These tranlations also used the KJV 1611 language style. In my opinion this was pointless. Nevertheless Charles' is a scholarly effort and the introductions and footnotes are very helpful.

        Probably the best complete edition of the pseudepigrapha is the two volume work The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments and The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume 2: Expansions of the Old Testament edited by James H. Charlesworth. These were first published in 1985.

        There is a new series being done. The first volume is Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures (2013) edited by Richard Bauckham, James Davila, and Alex Panayotov. This is first rate and up to date.

        There are also commentaries on these texts. The Anchor Bible Commentary has the Apocrypha. The Hermeneia: A Critical & Historical Commentary on the Bible has volumes on Fourth Ezra, 1 Enoch, 2 Maccabees, and others. This set is by no means finished.
        Last edited by Origen; 06-03-2016, 04:59 PM.
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        • #5
          I've read Maccabees. The books are historically accurate. Of course they are written by Jews so there is some information ommitted which you will find in history books but for the most part they are accurate. As for the other books the one I believe should be canonized is the book of Enoch because an apostle quotes it.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Smithee View Post
            As for the other books the one I believe should be canonized is the book of Enoch because an apostle quotes it.
            The book of Enoch is not mentioned in the Bible. All we have is one reference to one prophecy by Enoch in Jude. This cannot be considered an endorsement of the whole book. Jude does not refer to the book of Enoch as Scripture.

            If all that is needed for a work to be considered Scripture is to cite it, Paul quotes the Greek philosopher Menander in Acts 17:28 and the Greek philosopher Epimenides in Titus 1:12.

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