New in Print: Two books on Jewish Pseudepigrapha

Susan Docherty, The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple period (London: SPCK, 2014).This looks like a nice counterpart to my Secret Scriptures Revealed book (also from SPCK). Here is the publisher's blurb:

An understanding of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha forms an integral part of all courses on New Testament background and Christian origins This will be the first student introduction to appear for over thirty years Highlights the key theological themes and significance of each text Reviews the texts on their own merits as examples of early Jewish religious literature as well as looking at the light they shed on NT theology and scriptural interpretation This is a concise yet comprehensive guide to the Pseudepigrapha: the Jewish texts of the late Second Temple Period (circa 250BCE – 100CE) that are not included in the Hebrew Bible or standard collections of the Apocrypha. Each chapter deals with a specific literary genre (e.g. apocalyptic, testaments, rewritten Bible), encouraging readers to appreciate the texts as literature as well as furthering their understanding of the content and significance of the texts themselves. As well as providing helpful introductions to the different genres, the book surveys key issues such as: date, authorship, original language; purpose; overview of contents; key theological themes and significance.

Joel M. Hoffman, The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible (Macmillan, 2014). The book was recently reviewed on Patheos by James McGrath. Here is the publisher's blur:

The Bible you usually read is not the complete story. Some holy writings were left out for political or theological reasons, others simply because of the physical restrictions of ancient bookmaking technology. At times, the compilers of the Bible skipped information that they assumed everyone knew. Some passages were even omitted by accident.

In The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor, acclaimed author and translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman gives us the stories and other texts that didn’t make it into the Bible even though they offer penetrating insight into the Bible and its teachings.

The Book of Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve’s time in the Garden of Eden, but not their saga after they get kicked out or the lessons they have for us about good and evil. The Bible introduces us to Abraham, but it doesn’t include the troubling story of his early life, which explains how he came to reject idolatry to become the father of monotheism. And while there are only 150 Psalms in today’s Bible, there used to be many more.

Dr. Hoffman deftly brings these and other ancient scriptural texts to life, exploring how they offer new answers to some of the most fundamental and universal questions people ask about their lives. An impressive blend of history, linguistics, and religious scholarship, The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor reveals what’s missing from your Bible, who left it out, and why it is so important.

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