The Old Testament pseudepigrapha are ancient quasi-biblical texts inspired by the Hebrew Bible. Although frequently mined as Jewish background by New Testament specialists, they were transmitted almost entirely in Christian circles, often only in translation. Christian authors wrote some pseudepigrapha and did not necessarily always mention explicitly Christian topics. This book challenges the assumption that pseudepigrapha are Jewish compositions until proven otherwise. It proposes a methodology for understanding them first in the social context of their earliest manuscripts, inferring still earlier origins only as required by positive evidence while considering the full range of possible authors (Jews, Christians, "God-fearers," Samaritans, etc.). It analyzes a substantial corpus of pseudepigrapha, distinguishing those that are probably Jewish from those of more doubtful origins.
James R. Davila, Ph.D., Harvard University, is Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and the author of
Liturgical Works (Eerdmans, 2000) and
Descenders to the Chariot: The People behind the Hekhalot Literature (Brill, 2003).
"This innovative work by Professor James Davila focuses on the tricky problem of the religious origins of “Old Testament pseudepigrapha.” It provides scholars and students of pseudepigraphic literature not only with a new, well-thought-out methodology in order to approach these texts but also important case studies. However, the interest of this book exceeds the scope of the pseudepigraphic corpus. Indeed, it offers important insight into the difficult (and occasionally painful) question of how to categorize late antique religious forms of identity and community." – Sabrina Inowlocki, in:
Review of Biblical Literature (2006)
All those interested in Old Testament pseudepigrapha and apocrypha; Judaism in the Hellenistic period and late antiquity; the Jewish background of the New Testament; early Christianity; and early Jewish-Christian relations.