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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writing Related to Scripture
Feldman, Louis H., James L. Kugel and Lawrence H. Schiffman, editors

Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2013 pp. xviii + 3361. $275.00



Description:

The Hebrew Bible is only part of ancient Israelís writings. Another collection of Jewish works has survived from late- and post-biblical times, a great library that bears witness to the rich spiritual life of Jews in that period. This library consists of the most varied sorts of texts: apocalyptic visions and prophecies, folktales and legends, collections of wise sayings, laws and rules of conduct, commentaries on Scripture, ancient prayers, and much, much more. While specialists have studied individual texts or subsections of this vast library, Outside the Bible seeks for the first time to bring together all the major components into a single collection, gathering portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the biblical Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, and the writings of Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. The editors have brought together these diverse works in order to highlight what has often been neglected; their common Jewish background. For this reason the commentaries that accompany the texts devote special attention to references to Hebrew Scripture and to issues of halakhah (Jewish law), their allusions to motifs and themes known from later Rabbinic writings in Talmud and Midrash, their evocation of recent or distant events in Jewish history, and their references to other texts in this collection. The work of more than seventy contributing experts in a range of fields, Outside the Bible offers new insights into the development of Judaism and Early Christianity. This three-volume set of translations, introductions, and detailed commentaries is a must for scholars, students, and anyone interested in this great body of ancient Jewish writings. The collection includes a general introduction and opening essays, new and revised translations, and detailed introductions, commentaries, and notes that place each text in its historical and cultural context. A timeline of the Second Temple Period, two appendixes (Books of the Bible; Second Temple Literature), and a general subject index complete the set.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Septuagint, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Old Testament Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Literature, Methods, Linguistics, Historical Approaches, Literary Approaches

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Review by Igal German
Published 6/11/2015
Citation: Igal German, review of Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel, and Lawrence H. Schiffman, eds., Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writing Related to Scripture, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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