The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments

The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments

by James H. Charlesworth
     
 

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.…  See more details below

Overview

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. Volume 1 of this work contains two sections. The first is Apocalyptic Literature and Related Works. An apocalypse, from the Greek meaning revelation or disclosure, is a certain type of literature which was a special feature of religions in late antiquity. In the past, the definition was derived from the study of only some of the extant apocalypses, especially the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation. This has changed and the present edition of the pseudepigrapha includes nineteen documents that are apocalypses or related literature. It will now be easier to perceive the richness of apocalyptic literature and the extent of early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic ideas and apocalyptic religion.

The second section of Volume 1 is Testaments (Often with Apocalyptic Sections). These eight testaments represent a type of writing that was presaged in the Old Testament but which did not reach maturity until the time of the Second Temple (c. 500 B.C. to A.D. 70). Just as the Old Testament contains for Jews and Christians a record of God's covenant, testament, and will, so these works reputedly preserve the solemn last words and wills of model figures, all designed to instruct the heirs in the way of righteousness. Often a model figure illustrates his words with a feature common to apocalyptic literature -- the description of the future as it has been revealed to him in a dream or vision. Here, then, is the first volume of this landmark work. These new translations present these important documents, many for the first time, in modern English, for all those "People of the Book" to study, contemplate, and understand.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385096300
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1983
Series:
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Series
Pages:
995
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 2.47(d)

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