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Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students (Christian Classics Bible Studies) Paperback – August 5, 2002

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this comprehensive and well-informed volume, Larry Helyer provides an exemplary introduction to the world of Second Temple Judaism, its history and its literature. What is distinctive about Helyer's work is his deliberate reading of this material with the New Testament in mind. In so doing he is able to show how deeply Jewish the New Testament is and how knowledge of this material can enrich our reading of the New Testament. This book is impressive not only for the high quality of its scholarship but also for its exceptional clarity and judiciousness. Especially commendable are Helyer's positive attitude to things Jewish and his adamant rejection of anti-Semitism. Highly recommended!" (Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"There are many useful books on Second Temple Jewish literature, for which reason I nearly passed this book by. But once I began actually examining it, I recognized the thoroughness of Larry Helyer's acquaintance with the sources and how carefully he has prepared this book with New Testament students in mind. I believe it will provide an excellent resource for those who want access to the most important materials for New Testament study." (Craig S. Keener, Professor of New Testament, Palmer Seminary)

"The literature of Second Temple Judaism is so vast that few college or seminary students ever receive a decent introduction to it at all. Here, in one volume, are references to judicious samplings from every major corpus, complete with introduction and background, and detailed explanation of relevance for New Testament studies. A wonderful gift for students and professors alike. Perhaps many will now actually teach, and teach substantially, on the topic!" (Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary)

About the Author

For twenty nine years Larry R. Helyer was professor of biblical studies at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Now retired, he continues to write on theological topics and serve as an adjunct professor in the United States and abroad. He is the author of Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period.
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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Classics Bible Studies
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (August 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830826785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830826780
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Larry Helyer does an excellent job of introducing most of the relevent literature of the Second Temple period and its general influence on the writers of the New Testament and the Early Church. Excellent review or introduction depending on your background. I think this should be mandatory reading for every pastor and bible student. Well written with many chapter breaks to keep the organization of this large volume. This is the context of the New Testament that most Christians are not even aware exists. I have already recommended this texts to many people.
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Format: Paperback
Larry R. Helyer (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana. Helyer has published numerous articles and reviews and has authored several books, including, Yesterday, Today and Forever: The Continuing Relevance of the Old Testament (Sheffield, 2004), The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology (IVP, 2008), and The Life and Witness of Peter (IVP, 2012). Still, it is within the present volume, Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students (IVP, 2002), that Helyer has offered the reader his most notable investment and contribution to the study of the New Testament.

Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period begins with a brief introduction outlining the history and importance of the Second Temple period for NT studies. While the information in this section may be considered foundational for the incoming reader, it is quite brief and could easily be ignored without consequence. However, the content that follows this section exhibits a much different story. Helyer systematically introduces the reader to the wealth of literature produced between the Babylonian exile and the rise of rabbinic Judaism. It is here that Helyer examines literary works generally categorized within groups such as the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls, Mishnah, Targums, etc. Within each of the sections, the reader is carefully guided through various literary pieces, including information such as genre, sources, purpose, date, composition, structure and outline, content and characteristics, as well as a section devoted to the significance of the particular book to NT studies.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit when I first got this book I thought it was going to be one of those massive (500+ pages!) dry textbooks I can hardly finish. I was pleasantly surprised! Helyer's writing style is clear, engaging, and smooth. I haven't read much about Jewish literature of the 2nd Temple period, so I'm glad to own this book as a resource. I'm sure I'll consult it quite a bit in my NT studies, especially since there's a Scripture index in the back as well as a topical index.

In case you were wondering, Helyer discusses most of the important Jewish writings, including those found in the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, and the Dead Sea Scrolls; he also interacts in detail with Philo, Josephus, and the Mishna (along with others). He typically gives the dating of each work, the outline, the main contents, and what it has to do with our studies of the NT. The structure is helpful and easy to read/reference.

I do wish there was a summary chart of each Jewish writing (dating, main themes, etc.) in the appendix so one could have a quick-reference guide. However, the book is valuable as is. It's a very long introductory survey, but it is one I'm glad to own. In fact, Helyer's work has led me to start reading some of these Jewish writings themselves (i.e. I've already read Susanna, Ben Sira, and parts of Tobit). I do recommend this book.
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