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The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 2: Expansions of the Old Testament and Legends, Wisdom and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms, and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic works 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0385188135
ISBN-10: 0385188137
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Expansions of the "Old Testament" and legends, wisdom and philosophical literature, prayers, psalms and odes, and fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works.

From the Inside Flap

Expansions of the "Old Testament" and legends, wisdom and philosophical literature, prayers, psalms and odes, and fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday and Company; 1st edition (September 27, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385188137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385188135
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 2.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the most spectacular volume of literature from the period c. 200 BCE to 200 CE. There is the Hebrew Bible and there is the New Testament writings. In between is the myth of the 'four hundred years of silence'. This volume and the second volume reveal that writings during this time were prolific.
In this volume are such vital works as 1 Enoch. The apocalyptic literature which began, if scholars are correct, with Daniel (and traces in some of the Prophets) blossomed into an entire genre of literature which would greatly influence what would become Christianity. The book of Jude quotes from 1 Enoch expressly and Revelation and other New Testament books bear many commonalities wih 1 Enoch. This is just a taste of what is in store for the reader.
This volume and the second volume reveal just what was going on in the Judaism(s) of this period of time. There was lots going on and it is not so cut and dry as it is often traditionally taught. The variety of beliefs derived, no matter how loosely, on the Jewish Scriptures is endlessly diverse. This book does an excellent job of placing the actual writings in one book.
Charlesworth and those who have introduced/translated the works contained herein have done a great job tracing the history of the works and what is known about the communities in which they were written. Also included are margin notes that show the connection, directly or indirectly, to the Tanakh and the New Testament (including the Apocrypha).
This is a necessary resource for anyone interested in and open to understanding exactly how it was that Christianity and Rabbinical Judaism emerged from the tumult of the period between c. 200 BCE and 200 CE.
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Format: Hardcover
Some of the best literature, whether divinely inspired or not, has long been lost to the world, too often for political ends. Fortunately, volumes like this one, admirably edited by James H. Charlesworth, replenish much of what was "lost" between the time of the Councils at Jamina and Nicaea.
Whatever one's creed or intentions, if one approaches this volume in earnest, one will find much of interest including, but not limited to, strong, implied historical evidence of egregious tampering by the early Church fathers of certain non-canonical works. A good example in this collection is 1 Enoch, which had been in the canon for centuries before being finally removed and, in the West, abandoned. In other instances, copies were, on Church orders, simply destroyed. Fortunately, complete copies of Enoch (or Henok) were preserved in Ethopic texts. In fact, the version of 1 Enoch presented in this volume (translated by E. Isaac) is largely structured on the Ethiopic texts, though the Aramaic fragments found among the Dead Sea Scrolls have been consulted along with Greek and Hebrew renditions. Charlesworth has also included many other fine renditions of apocalyptic works, including selections from the Syriac and Slavonian. Even more is to be had in the many non-canonical Testaments presented here, many with apocalyptic passages.
Matters of whether these "rebel" and "outcast" books appeared to be divinely inspired by the various communities that embraced them is a matter of conjecture, though there are strong hints here and there from the various communities of seekers that preserved these texts around the Mediterranean world. Of greater interest to me was the thoroughness with which each non-canonical text has been researched and translated.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best collection of the non-canonical Jewish writings available. It does not contain the official Apocrypha or the complete Dead Sea Scrolls but it has the major complete works like Enoch and Jubilees from there, and essentially everything else including works still unavailable online and in other collections such as the Apocalypse of Elijah.

Charlesworth's introductions and notes are invaluable covering themes, dates, authorships rescensions, translations notes and variants.
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Format: Hardcover
I finished reading Volume 1 of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in August 2004, and after some further study of the development of early Christianity and much dithering, I finally acquired Volume II in May 2007. I got round to reading it in November 2007, and it was certainly an easier book to read then the first one. This volume was published in 1985, a couple of years after Volume I, but the layout is essentially the same, with the preliminary sections - Foreword, Introduction to General Reader, Abbreviations seemingly identical to that of Volume 1. Despite this repetition, these are worth reading again if for no other reason to prepare the reader for reading the documents themselves. Volume II includes a full index for both volumes in this work, whereas none is included in Volume I.

The documents in this Volume II are all considered to have been written over a period of about five hundred years from the beginning of the 3rd Century BC to the beginning of the 3rd Century AD. They are grouped into 4 sections, each of which has a short introduction describing the nature of the contents, and a list of documents included within the section. The documents within each section are in date order, and each is introduced by a discussion of the contents, the original language of the text, the probable date, and where it was written, its historical, theological, and cultural importance, the earliest translations, relationship to other books, and a select bibliography. The texts themselves contain cross references to other biblical texts as well as copious detailed notes on the text itself.

I found it was as important to read the introductory section and the detailed notes as it was to read the texts themselves.
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