Tuesday, June 14, 2011

News on the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project

NEWS ON THE MORE OLD TESTAMENT PSEUDEPIGRAPHA PROJECT: I am very happy to announce that the first volume of texts edited for the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project has been sent to the publisher (Eerdmans) and we anticipate its publication within the next year. Below is a flier being circulated at the conference tomorrow which gives some additional details, and below that is a list of the table of contents of the volume.

A second volume is underway, but it will be some time before it comes out.


The More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha project at the University of St. Andrews (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/moreoldtestamentpseudepigrapha/) has assembled an international team of scholars to translate a new collection of Old Testament pseudepigrapha. The project is headed by Professor James R. Davila and Professor Emeritus Richard Bauckham, with Dr. Alexander Panayotov as co-editor. The "Old Testament pseudepigrapha," as the term is now commonly used, are ancient books that claim to be written by a character in the Old Testament or set in the same time period as the Old Testament and recount narratives related to it, but which do not belong to the Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant biblical canons. The Project is publishing two new volumes of pseudepigrapha, most of which were not included in the massive two-volume collection edited by James H. Charlesworth or the important collection edited by H. F. D. Sparks, both published in the 1980s. (The few overlaps are cases where we have significant new manuscript data or we believe that a text requires a new treatment for other reasons.)

Our new corpus consists of about 100 documents, about two-thirds of which are complete and the rest are fragments or quotations. They include apocalypses—angelic revelations to prophets and sages such as Elijah, Ezra, and Daniel; magical, oracular, exorcistic and mantic works attributed to prophets and sages such as Moses, David, Solomon, the Sibyl, and Jeremiah; songs and poetry attributed to Old Testament characters, especially David; "rewritten scripture" that retells stories known from the Old Testament from the fall of Adam and Eve to the deaths of the Maccabean martyrs; legends and tales set in the Old Testament period and usually, although not always, involving Old Testament characters such as Enoch, Melchizedek, Levi, and even the antediluvian giants; and various other obscure and intriguing works, including a legendary account of the hiding places of the Temple treasures, lost pre-exilic oracles of the seer Balaam, and a legend of how all human knowledge was preserved in the Great Pyramid during the Flood. The first volume of texts is now in press with Eerdmans and is slated to be published by mid-2012 under the title Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures.

The Old Testament pseudepigrapha are an important and much neglected part of the biblical tradition. The earliest were written down at the same time and in the same geographic area as the Hebrew Bible, and some are even cited therein. They continued to be composed and copied throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages and, indeed, new pseudepigrapha are still being written in the modern era. The corpus being published in these two volumes adds a great many texts to those already known from the earlier collections and together with them provides the reader with virtually all known surviving pseudepigrapha written before the rise of Islam. Some of these compositions provide us with fascinating background material to the New Testament. Others are a rich source of information on the reception history of the Hebrew Bible by Jews, Christians, and pagans through late antiquity. They frequently give us different perspectives from those found in writings of the same period which later acquired an authoritative status in Judaism (the rabbinic literature) and Christianity (the patristic literature). Together they present us with the sacred legends and spiritual reflections of numerous long-dead authors whose works were lost, neglected, or suppressed for many centuries. By making these documents available in excellent English translations and authoritative but accessible introductions we aim both to promote more scholarly study of them and to bring them to the attention of the vast lay audience who appreciate such treasures.

Table of contents of volume one:

James H. Charlesworth

Richard Bauckham and James R. Davila



Adam Octipartite/Septipartite
Grant Macaskill with Eamon Greenwood

The Life of Adam and Eve (Coptic Fragments)
Simon J. Gathercole

The Book of the Covenant
James VanderKam

The Apocryphon of Seth
Alexander Toepel

The Book of Noah
Martha Himmelfarb

The Apocryphon of Eber
James VanderKam

The Dispute over Abraham
Richard Bauckham

The Inquiry of Abraham
Richard Bauckham

The Story of Melchizedek
with the Melchizedek Legend from the Chronicon Paschale
Pierluigi Piovanelli

The Syriac History of Joseph
Kristian S. Heal

Aramaic Levi
James R. Davila

Midrash Vayissa‘u
Martha Himmelfarb

The Testament of Job (Coptic Fragments)
Gesa Schenke

The Tiburtine Sibyl (Greek)
Rieuwerd Buitenwerf

The Eighth Book of Moses
Todd E. Klutz

The Balaam Text from Tell Deir ‘Allā
Edward M. Cook

Eldad and Modad
Richard Bauckham

Songs of David
G. W. Lorein and E. Van Staalduine-Sulman

The Aramaic Song of the Lamb (Dialogue between David and Goliath)
C. T. R. Hayward

Exorcistic Psalms of David and Solomon
Gideon Bohak

The Selendromion of David and Solomon
Pablo A. Torijano

The Hygromancy of Solomon
Pablo A. Torijano

Questions of the Queen of Sheba and Answers by King Solomon
Vahan S. Hovhanessian and Sebastian P. Brock

The Nine and a Half Tribes
Richard Bauckham

The Heartless Rich Man and the Precious Stone
William Adler

Jeremiah's Prophecy to Pashhur
Darrell D. Hannah

The Apocryphon of Ezekiel
Benjamin G. Wright III

The Treatise of the Vessels (Massekhet Kelim)
James R. Davila

The Seventh Vision of Daniel
Sergio La Porta

A Danielic Pseudepigraphon Paraphrased by Papias
Basil Lourié

The Relics of Zechariah and the Boy Buried at His Feet
William Adler

Sefer Zerubbabel: The Prophetic Vision of Zerubbabel ben Shealtiel
John C. Reeves

Fifth Ezra
Theodore A. Bergren

Sixth Ezra
Theodore A. Bergren

The Latin Vision of Ezra
Richard Bauckham


The Cave of Treasures
Alexander Toepel

Palaea Historica ("The Old Testament History")
William Adler

Quotations from Lost Books in the Hebrew Bible
with an Excursus on Quotations from Lost Books in the New Testament
James R. Davila

Hebrew Visions of Hell and Paradise
Helen Spurling