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The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume 1: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) Hardcover – September 28, 1983
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From the Publisher
The writers of the Bible depended on other sources for much of their work. Some of these sources may be lost forever, but many have recently come to light. Known as the pseudepigrapha, they are made available here in volumes. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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This book is great because there is about 4 to 6 pages of information presented about each collection of writings. This would include a full detailed synopsis so you don't actually have to read the actual writings to get all the details covered in them, It mentions the Title of the writing and where it came from, the texts in existence from where the translations come from, where they were found, and the languages they are in, The original languages the writings were written in, the date which they were written and evidences that points to certain dates, the provenance of the writing (Provenance, from the French provenir, "to come from", means the origin, or the source, of something, or the history of the ownership or location of an object), the theological importance of the document, The relation to Canonized books and other apocryphal books, the cultural importance of the book, and a bibliography of all the sources he uses to presume the above.
The book then contains the full text of each of the writings. I will list the titles of the works included as it is important to know these things when picking up collections like this to ensure you are not duplicating anything you may already have in your library.
APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE AND RELATED WORKS
1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch
2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch
3 (Hebrew Apocalypse of) Enoch
Treatise of Shem
Apocryphon of Ezekiel
Apocalypse of Zephaniah
The Fourth Book of Ezra (4 Ezra)
Greek Apocalypse of Ezra
Vision of Ezra
Questions of Ezra
Revelation of Ezra
Apocalypse of Sedrach
2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch
3 (Greek Apocalypse of) Baruch
Apocalypse of Abraham
Apocalypse of Adam
Apocalypse of Elijah
Apocalypse of Daniel
TESTAMENTS (OFTEN WITH APOCALYPTIC SECTIONS)
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
Testament of Job
Testaments of the Three Patriarchs
Testament of Abraham
Testament of Isaac
Testament of Jacob
Testament of Moses
Testament of Solomon
Testament of Adam
This is for the second book, which is a separate book and purchase, this is a two volume series sold separately.
EXPANSIONS OF "OLD TESTAMENT" AND LEGENDS
Letter of Aristeas
Maryrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
Joseph and Aseneth
Life of Adam and Eve
The Lives of the Prophets
Ladder of Jacob
James and Jambres
History of the Rechabites
Eldad and Modad
History of Joseph
WISDOM AND PHILOSOPHICAL LITERATURE
The Sentences of the Syriac Menander
PRAYERS, PSALMS, AND ODES
More Psalms of David
Prayer of Manasseh
Psalms of Solomon
Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers
Prayer of Joseph
Prayer of Jacob
Odes of Solomon
SUPPLEMENT: FRAGMENTS OF LOST JUDEO-HELLENISTIC WORKS
Philo the Epic Poet
Ezekiel the Tragedian
Fragments of Pseudo-Greek Poets
Demetrius the Chronographer
Aristeas ten Exegete
The attention focused on Gnosticism by Dan Brown's DaVinci Code may be debatable, but the fact is that increased attention on academics tends to be predominately positive, so I welcome those with first-time or renewed interest. At least first-timers to Gnosticism are not pursuing the oh-so-popular legends of the Holy Grail, Bloodline of Christ, and Mary Magdalene.
This is great......I seldom quote other reviewers, but there is one reviewer of Pagels' books who confided that he had been a Jesuit candidate and had been required to study a wide range of texts but was never was told about the Nag Hamadi texts. He said:
"Now I know why. The Gospel of Thomas lays waste to the notion that Jesus was `the only begotten Son of God' and obviates the need for a formalized church when he says, `When your leaders tell you that God is in heaven, say rather, God is within you, and without you.' No wonder they suppressed this stuff! The Roman Catholic Church hasn't maintained itself as the oldest institution in the world by allowing individuals to have a clear channel to see the divinity within all of us: they need to put God in a bottle, label the bottle, put that bottle on an altar, build a church around that altar, put a sign over the door, and create rubricks and rituals to keep out the dis-believing riff-raff. Real `Us' versus `them' stuff, the polar opposite from `God is within You.' `My God is bigger than your God' the church(s)seem to say. And you can only get there through "my" door/denomination. But Jesus according to Thomas had it right: just keep it simple, and discover the indwelling Divinity `within you and without you.'"
Here are quickie reviews of what is being bought these days on the Gnostic Gospels and the lost books of the Bible in general:
The Lost Books of the Bible (0517277956) includes 26 apocryphal books from the first 400 years that were not included in the New Testament.
Marvin Meyers' The Secret Teachings of Jesus : Four Gnostic Gospels (0394744330 ) is a new translation without commentary of The Secret Book of James, The Gospel of Thomas, The Book of Thomas, and The Secret Book of John.
James M. Robinson's The Nag Hammadi Library in English : Revised Edition (0060669357) has been around 25 years now and is in 2nd edition. It has introductions to each of the 13 Nag Hammadi Codices and the Papyrus Berioinensis 8502.
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (0140278079) by Geza Vermes has selected works....a complete work is more difficult to achieve than the publisher's marketing concept indicates. His commentary generates strong reactions.
Elaine Pagels has 2 books (The Gnostic Gospels 0679724532 and Beyond Belief : The Secret Gospel of Thomas 0375501568) that have received considerable attention lately. For many, her work is controversial in that it is written for popular consumption and there is a strong modern interpretation. She does attempt to reinterpret ancient gender relationships in the light of modern feminist thinking. While this is a useful (and entertaining) aspect of college women's studies programs, it is not as unethical as some critics claim. As hard as they may try, all historians interpret the past in the context of the present. Obviously there is value in our attempts to re-interpret the past in the light of our own time.
If you want the full scholarly work it is W. Schneemelcher's 2 volume New Testament Apocrypha.
Also, to understand the Cathars......try Barbara Tuckman's Distant Mirror for an incredible historical commentary on how the Christian Church has handled other points of view