What is the Jewish Pseudepigrapha and why is it important? What are these texts about and who read them? Susan Docherty (Head of Theology and Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism here at Newman University) answers these questions in an interview on the Voice of Israel , where she discusses her new book The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple Period (SPCK, 2014).
Talking to Voice of Israel’s Eve Harrow, Sue explains how the significance of this often overlooked collection of Jewish texts is so important to our understanding of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity.
Among the areas Sue discusses with Eve are:
- Its association with different religious groups in Second Temple period (particularly Qumran)
- ,Questions of textual authority
- Types of text contained within this collection
- Its Jewish and Christian readership and its influence of the development of Christianity and Judaism
- Its place within Jewish and Christian scholarship
- The development of angelology
- How these texts can offer a corrective to the traditional view of Jewish Messianic expectation (as a Davidic styled, warrior-king messiah) instead showing a far wider range of such figures.
- The way these texts begin to show a development of the teaching on the afterlife
- How these texts can give us greater insight into the shared-way Hebrew scriptural texts were interpreted and used within Jewish and early Christian tradition
The Pseudepigrapha reminds us…of the shared heritage and roots of Judaism and Christianity.
You can hear the interview here. Sue’s contribution starts at the 25:44 mark and lasts for about 30 minutes.
Within the interview, Sue also mentions that the Testament of Abraham as her ‘favourite’ pseudepigraphic text – and a favourite of mine too! This is a wonderfully warm and humane text that describes Abraham as he approaches his death at the grand old age of 995 years. It is full of humour and humanity.
To read the New Advent English version (both recensions) click here.
A Critical edition of the Greek text (Recension A and B) can be accessed (from a great resource – SBL’s Online Critical Pseudepigrapha) by clicking here.
If your interest is piqued by fascinating texts and would like to keep up with the latest develops in their research, you will find Jim Davila’s PaleoJudaica blog is an essential read.