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Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, The (Volume 1): Apocalyptic Literature & Testaments

Product no.: 0-385-09630-5
For the first time, all the important documents (65 in all, published in two separate volumes) from the period between Old and New Testaments have been collected in this landmark work.

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Publisher's Synopsis

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.

Volume 1 includes a new, definitive translation of the Ethiopic Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) by E. Isaac.

Reviews

"This work supersedes R. H. Charles's The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (1914) as the standard English edition of the Pseudepigrapha. Charlesworth includes 19 apocalypses, whereas Charles published only eight, and Charlesworth prints eight works in English for the first time. Two texts which Charles defined as apocalypses, the Assumption of Moses and Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, become testaments in Charlesworth's collection. Thus the current concern with genre definition reflects itself in the structure of the book. The insightful Introduction for the General Reader stresses the role of pseudepigrapha (spurious works purporting to emanate from biblical characters) in understanding early Judaism..."     ~The Christian Century

Excerpt
The prolific 3rd century father of Latin Christianity and predecessor of Augustine, Tertullian, informs us that the antediluvian Scripture of Enoch had been deliberately deleted from the Jewish Old Testament canon...

"I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch, which has assigned this order (of action) to angels, is not received by some, because it is not admitted into the Jewish canon either. I suppose they did not think that, having been published before the deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things...

But since Enoch in the same Scripture has preached likewise concerning the Lord, nothing at all must be rejected by us which pertains to us; and we read that 'every Scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired.' By the Jews it may now seem to have been rejected for that (very) reason, just like all the other (portions) nearly which tell of Christ."     ~Chapter III.—Concerning the Genuineness of The Prophecy of Enoch, Tertullian

Since the historical Messiah had appropriated Enoch's unusual epithet, ben-Adam, the Jews were forced to sacrifice their most precious and ancient scriptures - which gave them their solar calendar - to oblivion. The overwhelmingly prophetic prescience of the holy Scripture had to be suppressed...

"At that place, I saw the One to whom belongs the time before time. And his head was white like wool, and there was with him another individual, whose face was like that of a human being. His countenance was full of grace like that of one among the holy angels.

And I asked the one - from among the angels - who was going with me, and who had revealed to me all the secrets regarding the One who was born of human beings, ‘Who is this, and from whence is he who is going as the PROTOTYPE OF THE BEFORE-TIME?’

And he answered me and said to me, ‘This is the Son of Man, to whom belongs righteousness, and with whom righteousness dwells. And he will open all the hidden storerooms; for the Lord of the Spirits has chosen him, and he is destined to be victorious before the Lord of the Spirits in eternal uprightness. This Son of Man whom you have seen is the One who would remove the kings and the mighty ones from their comfortable seats and the strong ones from their thrones. He shall loosen the reins of the strong and crush the teeth of the sinners. He shall depose the kings from their thrones and kingdoms'."       ~I Enoch 46:1-5

“At that hour, that Son of Man was given a name, in the presence of the Lord of the Spirits, the Before-Time; even before the creation of the sun and the moon, before the creation of the stars, he was given a name in the presence of the Lord of the Spirits. He will become a staff for the righteous ones in order that they may lean on him and not fall.

He is the light of the Gentiles and he will become the hope of those who are sick in their hearts. All who dwell upon the earth shall fall and worship before him; they shall glorify, bless, and sing the name of the Lord of the Spirits. For this purpose he became the CHOSEN ONE; he was concealed in the presence of the Lord of the Spirits prior to the creation of the world, and for eternity.

And he has revealed the wisdom of the Lord of the Spirits to the righteous and the holy ones, for he has preserved the portion of the righteous because they hated and despised this world of oppression (together with) all its ways of life and its habits in the name of the Lord of the Spirits; and because they will be SAVED IN HIS NAME and it is his good pleasure that they have life."        ~I Enoch 48:2-7

Biography

James H. Charlesworth is Princeton Theological Seminary’s George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature. He specializes in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old and New Testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Jesus research, and the Gospel of John.

As director of the Seminary’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project, he has worked on the Qumran Scrolls to make available, in cooperation with more than fifty international specialists, an accurate text with apparatus criticus, an English translation, and an introduction.

Editor Charlesworth, James H.
Book Type Hardcover
Page Count 995 pp.
Publisher ABRL Doubleday 1983
Series The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
Gold Medal

Gold Medal

 
 

  Gold Medal Essential Reading

Browse these categories as well: Biblical Exegesis and Pseudepigrapha, Torah, Talmud and Midrash, Judaism: Prophets and Patriarchs, Eschatology and the Apocalypse, Nostradamus and Ancient Auguries, Gold Medal Essential Reading, Angelology: Watchers and Celestial Intelligences, Demonology: Grays, Reptilians and Inorganic Beings

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