The Growth of the Apocrypha

Alison Salvesen

in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199254255
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Growth of the Apocrypha

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Apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works are increasingly studied at an academic level for what they reveal of the religious preoccupations of their writers and the communities which first received them. The apocryphal writings in particular are a valuable witness to the many strands of Judaism during the period when the Second Temple stood in Jerusalem, spanning roughly the time period between the composition of the Hebrew Bible and the writings of the New Testament. This chapter discusses apocryphal writings covering different genres. These include wisdom literature, which gives advice for right conduct and a successful life, linked to a religious outlook; apocalyptic writing, offering hope of momentous supernatural intervention at the end of history in order to save the people of God; historiography or writing that purports to be history; edifying stories which are essentially folk-tales with a religious message; rewritten Bible, where a familiar story from Scripture is retold with different emphases; prayers and psalms which may have had a liturgical or devotional function.

Keywords: apocryphal writings; pseudepigraphical works; Judaism; Esdras; Tobit; Judith; Sirach; Solomon; Maccabees

Chapter.  13297 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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