Minutes for RelSt 525 (Parabiblical Literature)

Spring 2006 Robert A. Kraft, University of PA


  • class #01 (10ja2006) Virginia Wayland and RAK [preliminaries]
  • class #02 (17ja2006) Adam Moore             [Deuterocanonicals, Jubilees]
  • class #03 (24ja2006) Andrew Mihailoff       [Jubilees]
  • class #04 (31ja2006) Moriah Hazani           [Jubilees and Enoch]
  • class #05 (07fe2006) Virginia Wayland      [Enoch and Testaments]
  • class #06 (14fe2006) Virginia Wayland      [Testaments of Patriarchs]  
  • class #07 (21fe2006) Adam Moore            [other Testaments]
  • class #08 (28fe2006) Andrew Mihailoff      [Jeremiah-Baruch traditions]
  • break
  • class #09 (14mr2006)  [Ezra traditions]
  • class #10 (21mr2006)  [other Apocalypses]
  • class #11 (28mr2006)  [Apocalypses continued]
  • class #12 (04ap2006) Andrew Mihailoff [reports by Adam & Moriah; LAB]
  • class #13 (11ap2006) [Psalms and Poetry]
  • class #14 (18ap2006)


Class #1 (10 January 2006)


We went over the first part of the class web page, with a focus on definitional issues. Andrew wondered whether Christian usage of classical texts such as Vergil in the middle ages would also qualify as "parabiblical." Perhaps a category of "post-canonical parabiblical" is warranted, along with "pre-" and "extra-" canonical.


Class requirements include:

1.     Doing class minutes as needed -- probably every student will need to do at least two sets.

2.     A report in class on a book or relevant subject area, accompanied by a brief written summary.

3.     A research project in connection with the updating of the M.R.James approach, for electronic publication (due in the final exam period).

4.     An "exit interview" with the instructor (about half an hour long), after all other course work is completed.


Class #2 (17 January 2006)by Adam Moore

Discussed the Wesley Center Online Site and Early Jewish Writings.

After today, we will spend time on the Enoch materials (see the class home page).

The Dead Sea Scrolls are not all available online yet.

Students will complete a research topic that contributes to the M.R.James project.

Sibylline Oracles & Hystapes are unlike parabiblical texts in that they do not resemble biblical materials in any obvious way.

The RESCH volume on "Agrapha" deals with a lot of quotations that are not found in the complete works that have survived from antiquity.

Today the plan is to look at things labeled "Apocrypha" and "Pseudepigrapha" (general overview) as well as to start with Jubilees.

We need  to be aware of name changes from Greek to Latin, and in other languages (see the various lists, including NT parabiblical materials).

On the "Apocrypha" (or better, "Deuterocanonical" writings), note the following possible confusions:

The Greek "1 Esdras" is similar to the biblical Ezra, but is longer and significantly different.

1st and 2nd Maccabees relate to the background and early years of of the Maccabean/Hasmonean rebellion against the Greek Seleukid regieme. They have been used by people writing history of the period, such as Josephus.

"3rd Maccabees" is a tale of crisis that put the Alexandrian Jewish community in danger. It has nothing to do with the Maccabees, and is included in the Eastern Orthodox Christian bible, but not in the Roman Catholic deuterocanonical collection.

4th Maccabees is very specialized, a philosophical discourse on how "reason" (i.e. fidelity to God's law) overcomes "passion" (i.e. the desire to live at all costs). A martyrs tale. A tale of a woman and her seven sons, mentioned also more briefly in 2 Maccabees. Again, this work is included by Eastern Orthodox Christians, but not by Roman Catholicism.

"2nd Esdras" in most modern English language bibles that include the deuterocanonical materials is also sometimes known as "4th Ezra": It is 3 works joined together in the Latin tradition, none of which is preserved as such in Greek (or in Semitic). The three writings should be separated out thus: 5th Ezra = chapters 1-2, 4th Ezra = chs 3-14, and 6th Ezra = chs 15-16. The portion called "4 Ezra" contains angelic revelation, thus is an "apocalypse." Near the end, there is an account of how Jewish scriptures were destroyed in the destruction of the Temple, and restored by Ezra under divine direction. The book is usually dated around the same time as the NT book of Revelation (and as "2 Baruch"), in the early 2nd century CE. Barkokba led the unsuccessful 2nd revold against Roma around that time. He identifies himself as the "son of the star" (see Numbers 24.17, an oracle of Balaam). This is a "para messianic title." He hoped to overthrow Roman rule and reestablish a Jewish theocratic state.

Greek "3rd Esdras" (sometimes also called "2nd Esrdas") is basically a translation of the combined biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

"5th Ezra" (i.e. "2 Esdras" 1-2) is not apocalyptic in form, although it does have some revelatory content. It sounds more like prophetic exhortation to live appropriately after judgment. At the start there are two different textual streams, one of which gives a genealogy of Ezra. These manuscripts are Latin and late (e.g. 12th century and later). We possibly have a 7th century parallel quotation in Greek.

"6th Ezra" (i.e. "2 Esdras" 15-16) is eschatological. There was a Greek fragment found in Egypt.

Baruch was Jeremiah's "grad student" type secretary. Some of his activities are described in the book of Jeremiah. He is also identified with some Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical (the book of Baruch, or "1 Baruch") and Pseudepigraphal ("2 Baruch," "3 Baruch," Paralipomena Jeremiou also called "4 Baruch") works. The book of Baruch combines two sources, one in prose (1.1-3.8)  and the rest in poetry. Probably these were originally written in Hebrew (or Aramaic). LIsts and manuscripts tend to group Baruch with Jeremiah, Lamentations, and the Epistle of Jeremiah.

The "Epistle of Jeremiah" (a Greek fragment was found in cave 7 of DSS) is a short letter attributed to Jeremiah, mostly exhorting the captives in Babylonia to avoid idolatry. It is found as chapter 6 of Baruch in some manuscripts.

The Old Greek version of Daniel apparently was viewed as problematic in some circles, and was replaced by the translation attributed to "Theodotion" in most surviving manuscripts. The latter is closer to what became the standard Hebrew/Aramaic test, much more literal. Both Greek versions include several "additions" ("Song of the Three Young Men," "Susannah," "Bel and  the Dragon"). There are also "additions" to Esther in the Greek translation.

Date of the Semitic Daniel around 168 BCE?

Hippolytus (c 220 CE) wrote a commentary on Daniel and a related work on the Antichrist.


Jubilees: until discovery of thel DSS, this book was only known from relatively late Ethiopic (Ge'ez) manuscripts -- as part of the Ethiopic Orthodox Christian Bible. Some early Christians included it among their scriptures (especially Tertullian, around 210 CE). Jubilees is older than the 2nd century BCE. It has a strong concept of calendar. It sets up a chronology of events and appeals to the authority of the heavenly tablets and the various early ancestors (Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, etc.) as well as of Moses. Recounts Moses on Mt. Sinai. Could be parallel to or derivative from the pentateuchal materials. It has been called the "Little Genesis." The book anticipates problems in the Jewish community and tells the "fathers" and ultimately Moses how to deal with them. In this book, God tells Moses to go up Mt. Sinai and receive the "tablets." The book has an abrupt ending. Most modern scholars believe that it was at one time viewed as authoritative in some Jewish (as well as Christian) circles.


Class #3 (24 January  2006) by Andrew Mihailoff 

We began class with a follow up on Jubilees.  Of particular note in Jubilees is the emphasis placed on the skill of writing.  An authority is attached to written materials, the writers of written materials, and the interpreters of written materials.  All the major figures in Jubilees receive and transmit books about correct living, as well as correct interpretation of natural wonders.  These correct interpretations contribute to an understanding of time and calendar.


We also noted the special consideration Enoch himself is given in Jubilees, depicted as the first earth-born who masters writing, who ends up in the Garden (untouched by the flood) writing the judgements of humankind.  It has been suggested that parts of "1 Enoch" might have been known to the compiler-author of Jubilees. More on this when we look more closely at the Enoch materials.


At this point a few questions were raised:

Q:        Holy Ones—are these humans or divine beings?  Line not always clear.

Q:        What are the Heavenly Tablets?  They record the fate / acts of humans from the beginning of time to the end of time.

Q:        Enoch is described in Jubilees as the first human to master writing.  Do we know when humans “really” mastered writing?  Not really.


We then moved on to consider why/how Enoch and his writing of condemnations were saved at the time of the flood in Jubilees.  The text suggests that it might be connected to his presence on the "mountain to the east," one of the four special mountains, especially if Eden is imagined to have been inundated (some manuscripts of Jubilees affirm this, others deny it!).


At this point Virginia presented research concerning the text of Jubilees and the problem of the calendar, stemming from her study of VanderKam's book on the subject.


Whereas Genesis provides evidence for both a solar and a lunar calendar, the Jubilees text only talks about a solar calendar of 364 days.  Jubilees claims that an alternate calendar to the true solar calendar causes festivals to come on the wrong days, for sacred and profane days to be mixed.  In terms of calendar, the Jubilees and Enoch traditions are not entirely congruent.  "Astronomical Enoch" uses both lunar and solar, while Jubilees mandates solar only.


Kraft reported the claim (e.g. by A. Jaubert) that there are trips taken in Genesis whose time schedules coalesce with the Jubilees type of solar calendar.


It was proposed that perhaps a conflicting calendrical system was a cause for flight to Qumran.  Fourteen copies of Jubilees, all in Hebrew, have been found at Qumran.  There is significant evidence that there were people associated with the Qumran texts who used the 364 day solar calendar, and that this was at least one reason for their separation from the temple cult (cf. fragment 4Q394 of "4QMMT").


Next time we will look at astronomical material in the book of 1 Enoch.


Class #4 (31 January 2006) by Moriah Hazani


Close reading: parts of the Book of Jubilees and Enoch.

What does the author/compiler of the Book of Jubilees think about the "book" and its authority? The author declares that the contents of the book are important because of their heavenly/divine origin.

Who is the author?
James C. VanderKam in his article "The Putative Author of the Book of Jubilees" Journal of Semitic Studies 26, 209-17, discusses the problem. Jubilees gives conflicting statements regarding the identity of the actual transcriber. The text is said to be given to Moses but it is not entirely clear what is written directly by God (e.g. the Sinai tablets) or by an angel (the creation account; see Jubilees 1.27) or by Moses himself (1.5,7,26, etc.). This problem surfaces also in the manuscript tradition since we find variations that seem to represent two understandings regarding Moses' role in the transmission of the text (see Jubilees 1.26). Reference to the (or an) "angel of the presence" (Jubilees 1.27, 2.1) appears only once in the Jewish scriptures in Isaiah 63.9; later Jubilees refers to "angels of the presence" (plural) several times.

What was given to Moses?
Again we find two traditions: the writing of Jubilees, and/or of the Sinai tablets. The biblical/canonical tradition of breaking the tablets does not appear in Jubilees. The Sinai tablets according to Jubilees were written by God and/or by Moses, while the creation narrative (2.1ff) and perhaps the rest of Jubilees were written by the angel and/or Moses; both writings presumably reflect the "heavenly tablets." In the biblical tradition about Sinai we find God as the first writer (Exodus 34.1) and later on, after angry Moses smashes those tablets, Moses as the writer (Exodus 34.27). It is possible that the ambiguities in Jubilees about who writes the Sinai material are reflections of a more complex tradition such as this.


1. The shift from 'Moses wrote/said' in Philo to 'the holy scriptures say' in rabbinic literature and in some manuscripts of one of Philo's treatises is worth noting..
2. We were introduced to the Hexapala of Origen -- the Jewish scriptures with transliteration and several translations to Greek, from the first half of the third century -- as a possible context for Jewish sensitivities affecting the manuscript tradition of Philo (Origen used Philo's writings, and also used Jewish informants).]

What was the function of the written book of Jubilees?
There is no explicit mention in Jubilees for how this written book was to be used, when and if there is a need to read it (e.g. in "liturgical" situations), despite its appearance as a book of instructions. This is in contrast to second Enoch where we find the purpose of the book clearly stated -- to be read and delivered to the next generation. In Jubilees 23.32 Moses is commanded to create a sort of mirror book that will reflect for the next generations. The book is called 'a testimony,' which sounds like legal terminology; this is why reading it is important.We find two kinds of tablets: the heavenly tablets and the Sinai tablets, it seems the former represent a broader idea than the latter. These "heavenly tablets" appear with other biblical figures like Abraham and Jacob, which emphasizes their role as tablets including history and calendric instructions and not just for bringing the law(s)..

Food for thought:
How is the giving of laws envisioned in relation to pre-Sinai revelations? When do people start referring to certain books as "scripture" and collectively as "scriptures"? How does Josephus deal with these issues?

The language:
Jubilees 12.26: "Hebrew" as the language of creation. It is not clear if this refers to the Hebrew language as such (in whatever script) or to a specific way of writing letters (paleo Hebrew, square Hebrew) or as a more general reference to Semitic language without any clear distinction between Aramaic and Hebrew (compare Josephus and his use of the term 'Hebrew').

The chain of tradition:

At the beginning of Jubilees God give the tablets to Moses so the faithfulness of God will be remembered for the next generations who will be unfaithful. The testimonies that appear in Jubilees are relevant to the authority of the book for the next generations. But there is no specific conclusion to the book; it ends with a section on keeping the sabbath and not with a declaration for the future.

Comparison to the canonic literature:
According to Kraft, Jubilees is not necessarily dependent on what came to be canononical scriptures, but could represent independent or parallel traditions (thus "parabiblical"), some of which are similar to the canonical accounts and may even have been used by the compilers of the canonical materials. The differences from canonical accounts are clear but it is difficult to determine whether the author/compiler of Jubilees was selfconscious about such relationships. What can we infer from this possible independency with reference to the time of composition of the book? Was the book was written before or after the canonical traditions became widely known and used?. Kraft does not see the author as sitting in a library picking from available writings, but transmitting more "popular" oral and written familial and tribal traditions. Jubilees would thus be parallel to the biblical material and not derived from it, in contrast to the approaches that see Jubilees as selfconsciously "rewriting" scriptures. The attempt to use the language of the book to determine its time of composition is problematic since the Hebrew of the biblical writings themselves is difficult to place into a controlled chronological continuum for comparison (aside from some poetic parts, perhaps), but nevertheless attention to the language and concepts used is an important tool for trying  to understand the book (or any book).

The Enoch cycle and the Relevant Passages from it:

Once more we are looking for the sources of authority and what the authors/compilers are attempting to accomplish with their writings. In second Enoch, which survives only in Slavic, we find the writing angel (chapter 10 = 23 in  the online text). It is a similar to the heavenly tablets in Jubilees. Here Enoch is also writing, he writes 360 books (the number is not clear, it is not parallel the days of the year; some manuscripts say 366 books. Similar to this, king David writes, according to a dead sea Psalm scroll, 3600 psalms) that are transmitted from generation to generation.

First Enoch as a Library:
We find different references to books in the anthology called "1 Enoch": chap. 106: Enoch writes another book to his son Methuselah, chap. 92: another book is written. The context sometimes resembles the "testament" of an aged father Enoch passing his wisdom along to his sons. We will explore this material more closely next week, including the references to Enoch in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.



Class #05 (07fe2006)by Virginia Wayland


              We examined the references to the writings of Enoch in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs.  In the group of Greek manuscripts of the Testaments that R.H. Charles labelled β [beta = aef+Slavonic, and bdg+Armenian] , and that de Jonge labelled "group 1," there are several references to writings of Enoch which do not appear in the group that Charles labelled α [alef = chi] and M. de Jonge labelled "group 2."  It is not clear whether there were references to Enoch in the oldest recoverable form of the work(s), which were removed for some reason, or whether there was a systematic attempt to make the work(s) more congenial to an "Enochic" group or sect  by inserting such references as part of the editing/redacting of the text.  As we have it, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarch were preserved by scribes and copyists in Christian contexts.  De Jonge thought the Testaments were edited/redacted into the current form by Christians, possibly in the 3rd century, while Charles argued for a Hebrew original from the 2nd century BCE that had been interpolated both by Jewish and by Christian transmitters.


                 Charles and de Jonge both worked with the available manuscripts of the Greek text and the Armenian and Slavic translations.  They also knew of a medieval Hebrew Testament of Naphthali and of Aramaic parallels to the Testament of Levi; but these diverge in structure and substance from the Greek Testaments so as to be considered separate traditions.  The Aramaic Testament of Levi from the Cairo Geniza also overlaps with fragments found at Qumran, and parts of the Mount Athos manuscript (e).  The overlaps are in parts of the Mount Athos manuscript which are not contained in the other Greek manuscripts.  (See recent work by Michael Stone and Jonas Greenfield concerning the T. Levi traditions and recensions.) 


              The questions that we are addressing are:

1.  Do the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs belong to a group of texts that use writings of Enoch as a source? (See: William Adler on Enoch as a source for medieval chronographers, Gabriele Boccaccini for the possible existence of an Enochic community in pre-Christian Judaism.)


2.  Are these "Jewish" or "Christian" texts?  (see now James R. Davila, The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, or Other? [Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism = SJSJ 105; Brill 2005)  Some Jewish texts were adapted by Christians using brief insertions (such as the name of Jesus inserted into Latin manuscripts of 4Ezra) or longer stories/episodes added to the beginning or end of a text (Paralipomena Jeremiou, Assumption of Isaiah).  M.R. James suggested that one version of 5 Ezra may have been "Judaized" in the 9th/10th centuries by Christian transmitters to make it seem older (and hence more "authoritative" or "authentic").


3.  Why remove (or add) the name of Enoch as a source? 

  • (a) Christians in the 4th century were in the midst of a "canonical crisis." Some popular books such as Tatian's Diatesseron (harmonizing the Jesus traditions) were replaced by the emerging canonical selections (the four gospels).  Some other books such as the Didache which were considered "useful for instruction" were named in association with canon lists but excluded from the canon (see e.g. Athanasius' Easter/Paschal Letter of 367).  The interest in and preservation of "parabiblical" literature tended to move outside of the influence of the "orthodox" church to "marginal" groups such as the Priscillans in Spain (and Ireland) and the non-Greek or Latin language groups such as Syriac, Armenian, Slavic, and Ethiopic (Ge'ez).
  • (b)  References to Moses or the covenant at Sinai are historically anachronistic from the perspective of the patriarchs during their lifetime.  Enoch, as an earlier special revealer, is more historically plausible than Moses as the author of books the patriarchs could read and transmit. 


One of the difficulties with this test case is that the wording in the references in question (bold type) does not represent a clear quotation or identifiable section of the books of Enoch which we have, although many of the "citations" are very general and conform to the tone of extant Enoch literature.


Table (adapted from ccat.sas.upenn.edu/gopher/other/journals/kraftpub/Judaism/Testaments (original below)



MS b and most others (de Jonge)

MS c hij (Charles)

Passage in Enoch referred to

T. Sim. 5.4

characters of a writing of Enoch

characters of a writing of Enoch

none known.  Sons of Simeon injure sons of Levi.

T. Lev. 5.4

in the tablets of heaven

in the tablets of the fathers

none known.  Refers to Levi putting an end to the sons of Hamor.

T. Lev. 10.5

the book of Enoch the righteous

the book of Enoch the righteous

none known.  "The house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem."

T. Lev 14.1

I know from the writings of Enoch

I know

? "in the endtime you will act impiously against the Lord..."

T. Lev 16.1

I know in the book of Enoch

I know

? "for seventy weeks you shall wander astray and profane the priesthood and..."

T. Jud 18.1

I read in the books of Enoch the righteous

I know

? "the evil things you will do in the last days."

T. Zeb 3.4

in the writing of the law of Enoch it is written

in the book of the Law of Moses it is written

  "Anyone who is unwilling to raise up posterity for his brother..."  Deut.25.5-10

T. Dan 5.6

I read in the book of Enoch

I know

? "your prince is Satan and ..."

T. Naf 4.1

I read in the (holy) writing of Enoch

I know in the writing of Enoch

? "you will go astray from the Lord..."

T. Ash 2.10

on the tablets of the heavens it said

on the tablets of the commandments it said

? "Such persons are hares, because they are halfway clean..."

T. Ash 7.5

I read in the tablets of the heavens

I know

? "You will be thoroughly disobedient..."

T. Ben 9.1

From the words of Enoch the Righteous

from the words of Enoch the righteous

? "you will be sexually promiscuous like the promiscuity of the Sodomites and will perish.."

original table (needs Greek characters): 

MS b and most others (de Jonge) || MS c hij (Charles)

T.Sim 5.4 hewraka...grafhs E. || hewraka...grafidi E.
T.Lev 5.4 en tais placi twn ouranwn |: en placi twn paterwn
10.5 periexei biblos E. tou dikaiou || p. h b.E.t.d.
14.1 egnwn apo grafhs E. |- egnwn
16.1 egnwn en bibliw E. |- egw egnwka
T.Jud 18.1 anegnwn en biblois E. tou d. |- egnwka
T.Zeb 3.4 en grafh nomou E. gegraptai |: e.g.n. Mwusews g.
T.Dan 5.6 anegnwn en biblw E. tou d. |+ + kai egnwn (heuron)
T.Naf 4.1 anegnwn en grafh (hagia) E. || egnwn en th g. E.
T.Ash 2.10 en tais placi twn ouranwn eipen |: e.t.p.t. entwlwn e.
7.5 anegnwn en tais placi twn o. |- egnwn
T.Ben 9.1 huponow apo logwn E. tou d. || legw a.logiwn E.t.d.

Reminder:  Choose a book to report on!!


Class #06 (14fe2006)by Virginia Wayland


For the research papers, follow the pattern of the M.R. James project that organizes and summarizes literature and references to literature (that we do not have, or do not know that we have) around particular figures known from biblical and related texts.

For careful discussion of "Testaments" we need to create better categories: e.g. "Testament of Abraham" is a title found in some of the manuscripts, but what does it have in common with other "testaments"? To what extent is it helpful to speak of "testaments" as a genre?

Probably the parabibilcal model for defining such a genre is the "Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs," which has briefer parallels in Genesis 49.2-27 (Jacob deathbed address to and "blessing" on his sons, including exhortation and expectation, and some "historical" flashbacks) and Deuteronomy 33 (before he dies, Moses "blesses" the children of Israel [i.e. of Jacob?]).

The "Testaments" in the version(s) known from surviving medieval/byzantine Greek materials have not yet been identified among the Dead Sea Scrolls, although material closely related to
the later "Testament of Levi" in Aramaic has been found there and in the Cairo Geniza. A medieval Hebrew "Testament of Naphthali" is also known from the Geniza. R.H. Charles provides details on what was known by 1908 in The Greek Versions of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: edited from nine MSS together with the Variants of the Armenian and Slavonic Versions and some Hebrew [and Aramaic] Fragments (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

[Virginia Wayland adds this] The following texts from Qumran provide new materials for this discussion (see the Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, Florentino Garcia-Martinez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar):

  • Aramaic Testament of Levi: 1Q21, 4Q213, 4Q213, 4Q214, and possibly 4Q540-541.
  • possible Aramaic Testament of Judah? 3Q7, 4Q484, 4Q538.
  • possible different Hebrew Testament of Naphthali 4Q215.
  • an Aramaic Testament of Joseph? 4Q539.
  • an Aramaic Testament of Jacob? 4Q537.
  • an Aramaic "Testament of Qahat" [son of Levi] 4Q542.
  • Aramaic Visions of Amram [son of Qahat] 4Q543-548.

The final section of "1Enoch" has some characteristics of a Testament (of Enoch to Methuselah)

Question: How do books of Enoch relate to or give rise to "Enochic Traditions" (Boccaccini). The author/compiler of Genesis plugs into Enoch traditions (e.g. Gen 6:1-4). What is the relationship of Enochic traditions to Sethian traditions? See: Festschrift for Eugene Ulrich 80-93 Devorah Dimant on the "Book of Noah" /Noah cycle /Noah traditions.

Characteristics of "Testaments": Introduce an old man about to die, gathers sons (and
daughters). Is it also characteristic of this literature that the text looks to the future character/well-being of the sons in contrast to the past experiences/lessons of the father?

The "Testaments" of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob are somewhat different. As now preserved they are more hagiographic in character, and the manuscripts are mostly associated with Christian commemoration of particular figures on specific days of the calendar. They are probably shorter (condensed) versions of earlier texts.

Aside concerning the relationship of parabiblical texts to "Bible": How much does knowledge of a story or tradition imply knowledge of a specific surviving text? Is canon a reaction to feeling threatened? to competition? is it outside the main stream? availability? When does canonical inclusion/exclusion take place? In what ways? Official lists? Inclusion in liturgy?

For some of the issues of transmission and interaction in late antiquity, see: Rachel Anisfeld on Christian sermons as an influence on Jewish sermonic activities (UPenn dissertation).


Class #07 (21fe2006)by Adam Moore

First we looked at Lists and Stichometries from the M.R.James Project .

List of the Sixty Books: (7th century) Greek list, has 60 canonical books (OT and NT), then nine of the "deuterocanonicals" (in a special middle category), plus 24 or 25 others (Jewish and Christian parabiblical examples, called "apocryphal").


More canons are linked on the left hand side of that page.

In the Stichometry of Nicephorus, the total number of lines noted ("stichoi" -- a standard length for copying) can be used to determine if we have all of the work or not.

Gelasian Decree -- Latin list, authorship and date are disputed. It gives a long list of "rejected" books associated both with Judaism and with Christianity., including:

  • Leptogenesis, or the daughters of Adam (probably our "Jubilees")
  • Penitence of Adam (see the Armenian Adam literature)
  • Book about  the giant Ogias
  • The Testament of Job
  • Penitence of Jannes and Mambres
  • "Interdiction (or Contradiction) of Solomon" -- could be an accumulation of things, some of which are "magical recipes" as in the "Testament of Solomon" (see below).

Mechithar of Airivank gives two lists, with some overlapping. He mentions, among others:

  • "Prayers of Asenath," which may be related to the "Prayer of Joseph" in other lists.
  • Paralipomena ("remnants") concerning Jeremiah in Babylon (aka "the Rest of the Words of Baruch" -- but it focuses more on Jeremiah than on Baruch).
  • The Deaths of the Prophets (a version of the Pseudo-Epiphanian "Lives of the Prophets")
  • Sirach = The Wisdom of Jesus(Joshua) ben Sira = "Ecclesiasticus" (among the "deuterocanoncial writings")


On the "Testaments" Literature:

The theoretical relationships between versions of basically the same story or work are explored in Dr. Kraft's article on the Testament of Abraham. In the article, he outlined the possibilities of its original dates and languages. Link to the url.

In the book Early Judaism and Its Modern Interpreters (= EJMI) there are two helpful articles on "Testaments," by Kolenko and Collins.

Testament of Job -- deals with oppressed Job, with more activity from Satan than in the canonical account. Satan interacts especially with Job's wife, named Sitis, who dies in the process (40). At the end, Job distributes his possessions to his seven sons and gives powerful "magical" belts to his three daughters. Then a heavenly chariot takes Job's soul and his body is buried. Job's brother Nereus writes all of this down. Interesting references to other similar literature are made, as in 40.14 and 41.6 (see Spittler's notes in Charlesworth). The details are mostly unparalleled to canonical Job. Coptic fragments (5th century) are known, although most of the surviving manuscripts are Greek and Slavic.

Testament of Moses -- known only from a 6th century Latin palimpsest of which the first three lines are missing as well as the ending. Moses speaks to Joshua, his successor, not to his own sons. This book was apparently aware of the canoncial book of Deuteronomy (see 1.5) which it supplements. It is somewhat testamentary, but more successionary, including reference to the "seat of Moses." Main theme is that of sin and repentance.

Testament of Solomon -- At the beginning, it doesn't sound like a testament, and in terms of content, it's not a testament. Very few manuscripts (mostly Greek, and late medieval or early modern) include the entire text as presented in Charlesworth. This book centers on the building of the Jerusalem Temple. Solomon controls the demons to help him. The Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila refers to a "Testament of Solomon" and the episode of sacrificing locusts.

Next time we will look at the Jeremiah-Baruch materials.

Class #08 (28fe2006) by Andrew Mihailoff

-We are moving on to Jeremiah-Baruch materials.
-1 Baruch ("deutero-canonical") should also be included.
-Paraleipomena Jeremiou starts with the fall of the city, and that section (chs 1-4) might have circulated separately at some point. See also the various titles found in the manuscripts, one of which is "Concerning the Capture of Jerusalem."

-There are three recensions of Paralipomena; the short one is a hagiographical text for commemoration days. See the detailed Introduction.

-A 17th century Greek historian also has made a version for his history account, and Professor Kraft would not be surprised if Eastern Christian groups use similar versions.

-We move on to 2 Baruch and 3 Baruch (apocalypses)

-Virginia introduces an article of Klijn about sources, as well as the entry in the Jewish Encyclopaedia by Ginsberg

-Early part of the 20th century laid the foundations in our understanding of varieties of Judaism in the Greco-Roman Period.

-See also Bogert, 1969, Commentary on Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch)

-2 Baruch is preserved in Syriac, 3 Baruch in Greek

-Kraft promises to show us the picture (in an illustrated manuscript) of the eagle carrying the papyrus.
-Adam wonders who would make a drawing of parabiblical scenes.

-At this point we all paused to wonder at the calm vocal emissions of Moriah's newborn baby, and Kraft noted that there was something calming in the room.

-Kraft now makes the point that "paral(e)ipomena" essentially means parabiblical, though Andrew insists that it means relinquished because of the etymological correspondence between Greek leipo and Latin linquo.

-Last verse of Testament of Job 40 uses "paralipomena," i.e. a category of additional materials which are something which exists alongside as well as before the text.

-We all agree that we should look to see any connections in the Greco-Roman world with paralipomena.

-We discuss the "Paraleipomena of Sitis" (TJob 40) and Virginia wonders whether the name Sitis is significant.

-Kraft posits that Sitis is the feminine version of Uz [??].

-We agree that the traditions behind Paraleipomena Jeremiou and 2 Baruch are probably the same, due to the correspondence in passages. Kraft prefers a "common source" approach.

-The question in 2 Baruch is why the Chaldeans came and destroyed the city if it is God's city, and the answer given was that they (the Chaldeans) didn't, but that it was God who destroyed the city.

-At this point we begin to examine the text of 2 Baruch
-Virginia notes correspondences with canonical Ezekiel
-Adam wonders about the repetition of the same word three times in 2 Baruch, how often this sort of thing occurs, something like Holy Holy Holy (the "trishagion")..
-Kraft wants to explain the repetition as possibly a scribal error, as no parallels come to mind.

-We jointly note that Jeremiah addresses the earth in Paraleipomena, but the angels do it in 2 Baruch.

-Virginia poses a question: Whenever traditions are assembled how much is reworked?

-We now proceed to examine the text of 3 Baruch
-Jeremiah is not mentioned in 3 Baruch
-It is the "Angel of the Powers" instead of "Angel of the Presence" (see Jubilees)

Next class we move on to explore the Ezra traditions.


Class #09 (14mr2006) Adam Moore

(We spent considerable time talking about things other than Parabiblical Texts.)

Ezra is usually associated with priestly interests.

We discussed the background and meaning of "JEDP" as proposed sources in the Pentateuch and Historical Books of Jewish scriptures.

In a commonly accepted definition, "Judaism" begins with Ezra in the 5th century BCE.  Before that there is "the religion of Israel" and its history. For the next stage after Ezra's "Judaism," German scholars coined the term "Spätjudentum" (late-Judaism), followed by the ultimate development of "rabbinic (or classical) Judaism."

In the scriptural account, Ezra's return to Jerusalem is described somewhat as a formal cultic procession.

In many of the Ezra traditions, he is depicted as a new Moses, leading a second exodus, restoring the law, etc.

Interesting question: is there any parabiblical treatment of Nehemiah?

There is a striking contrast between 4th and 5th Ezra on the fate of the people: in 4th Ezra they are restored to the land; in 5th Ezra they are abandoned  and replaced.

In 4th Ezra 14, Ezra receives secret information along with the "public" -- 24 books are open, 70 are secret. Is the book itself (4 Ezra) included in that number?

5th Ezra ends with a very Christian sounding introduction of God's "Son" on Mount Zion, although Kraft thinks the general tenor of  the short book is not inconsistent with tendencies in early Judaism.

4th-5th-6th Ezra are preserved together in Latin, with only a small section extant in Greek. There are other versions of 4 Ezra, which help us to see these as three separate works.

4 Ezra 7 in the online material is faulty after verse 35. A new Latin MS was found after the King James translators worked on it, supplying verses 36-105 between verse 35 and 36 of the older texts. The versions in Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic and Arabic also include this material.

Next time, we will move into other apocalypses. Sedrach, et al.


Class #10 (21mr2006)Doug Finkbeiner with Virginia Wayland

We began the class looking at the visual illustrations in the margins of Ps. 32 in the Theodore Psalter (ca. 1066 C.E.) found on the internet (with translation of the text and a brief commentary). We were especially interested in the imagery of an eagle with figs and a scroll and its viable connection to the Paraleipomena of Jeremiah. The illustrations in the margin included several other pictures -- God looking down from a heavenly throne, as well as farmers, the city of Jerusalem, someone sleeping under a tree beside a river. The written descriptions of the pictures in the margin are broken at points and difficult to read (e.g. the identity of the person sleeping along the river -- Baruch, Abimelech, etc.).

[We learned that technical name for our inquiry into codex formats and other features, including inscriptions within the margins of a text is called "codicology." We noted that the letters on this parchment hung from the line rather than rising from it.]

Interestingly enough, Psalm 32 does not seem to have any obvious verbal pointers to the visual illustrations in the margin. It would appear that some (or all) of the visual imagery is based upon the Paraleipomena. It may be that the imagery is conflated from Paraleipomena and the Baruch apocalypses, but note that 2 Baruch does not include the vineyard of Agrippa or the eagle's taking figs along with the letter, while 3 Baruch has the Agrippa "farm," but no eagle.

The difference between Paraleipomena and 2 Baruch led us into a discussion of 2 Baruch 77:18-19. We noted in the larger context that 2 letters were sent but only the content of one of the letters was recorded in 2 Baruch.

Next, we began to discuss the Apocalypse of Sedrach. Charlesworth considers this work a Christian compilation of Jewish traditions. This may be true, but other options are also possible. Perhaps it originated in a Jewish context or perhaps in a Christian context. It is very difficult to determine which option is most likely. Sedrach has several ties, though, to the similarly "late" Greek Apocalypse of Ezra.

Dr. Kraft noted that Davila is editing a volume entitled More OT Pseudepigrapha. This volume is looking at additional works that have been found since Charlesworth's edition or that were omitted by Charlesworth because of the later origin of these works. Davila argues that in order to get a fuller picture of the development and history of such texts, it is important to make them all available together.

Virginia<92>s part--


Class #11 (28mr2006)

Class #12 (04ap2006) by Andrew Mihailoff

Today Moriah and Adam each made oral presentations.

Moriah discussed James R. Davila's new book THE PROVENANCE OF THE PSEUDEPIGRAPHA: JEWISH, CHRISTIAN, OR OTHER? (Brill 2005)

The text of her summary follows:
The books is based on two methodological arguments (chapters 1-2). The first argument is that according to Kraft's position only positive evidence might indicate the source of a certain text. Since most of the texts were transmitted through Christian circles and not Jewish circles, we have to examine carefully the criteria of provenance, in order to consider the origins of any work to be a Jewish work. Davila does it first from a historical point of view, he lays out the preliminary Jewish corpus and examines the "problem of 'common Judaism'" by which Davila means that we can not speak about Judaism, rather we find Judaisms -- different views of Judaism during the second temple era. Davila counts different forms of Judaism and continues this method of parsing and grouping Jews during the early Christianity period, he mentions Jews, non-Christian gentiles, proselytes, God fearers, sympathizers, and syncretistic Jews. Each group is defined by its level of obligation to Judaism and to the Mosaic Law. In terms of the Jewish Christian relationship he also counts groups in Christianity (Jews or Gentiles) with different levels of Jewish observance. In addition he identifies non or quasi-Jewish Israelites, the Samaritans and the Galileans. By doing that Davila enlarges the range of possibilities for the provenance of the pseudepigrapha.

The second argument is based on Tigay's model in his book EMPIRICAL MODELS FOR BIBLICAL CRITICISM and checks what was written by Christians in the beginning of Christianity and what we can learn from their writings in comparison to the pseudepigrapha. The main point of the chapter is to show that the fact that a certain work that deals with the Bible is lacking Christian elements does not mean that this work can not have been written by a Christian, since we find Christian recognized writings that lack any signs of Christianity and show sympathy to the Jewish tradition. At the same time we can look at some pseudepigrapha writing without a known origin and examine how they present themselves, what are the religious elements in them and their transmission to us in order to conclude regarding
their provenance. Davila examines two homilies by John Chrystostom; Ephram the Syrian's commentaries on Genesis and Exodus; the Heptateuchos of Pseduo-Cyprianus and others. He shows that each one of these works does not exhibit significant Christian elements and if we did not know that these were Christian works we might have considered them Jewish or at least not Christian.

Chapters 3-4 deal with some examples to support Davila's claim.

1. The layout of the book

2. The agenda behind the book

3. Davila's view on Judaism and Christianity in antiquity

4. The importance of this book as a survey of the present research and mapping the texts.

As a group we discussed what it means to talk about "Judaisms" instead of "Judaism." Kraft noted that Davila's book opens doors wider and makes the reader aware of certain problems in the analysis of the relevant materials. We all wondered a bit about the strange format of Davila's pages, which has page numbers, notes, and chapter titles at the bottom of every "lefthand" page.

As an aside, a recent discussion of "myths" about machine translation involving such idioms as "the sprit is willing but the flesh is weak" (=THE WINE IS GOOD BUT THE STEAK IS ROTTEN!) was mentioned.

Next Adam reported on references to Jeremiah in parabiblical materials. Matthew 27.9-10 (on Judas' betrayal of Jesus) gives a quotation about the thirty pieces of silver as occuring "in Jeremiah" but it does not occur in our Jeremiah. Instead, it resembles closely a passage from Zachariah. One suggestion is that a scroll of Jeremiah may have had Zachariah tacked on to the end, thus the reference could have been to the entire scroll. Another possibility is that the author worked from a set of excerpts that put a passage from Jeremiah next to one from Zachariah.

Jerome cites something from the end of Jeremiah which doesn't occur in the canonical Hebrew or Greek texts, but is found at the end of some Aethiopic texts of Jeremiah.

Midrashic materials refer to Jeremiah and Moses on the same level. The formula which occurs is this: As Moses...So Jeremiah.

Next Adam discussed the "Apocryphon of Jeremiah," 5 fragments of which have been found in Qumran cave 4 with no overlaps. It has been dated (paleographically) to about 50 BCE. Then Adam discussed the Epistle of Jeremiah, a Greek fragment of which has been found in Qumran cave 7. It is included in the Greek bible. It is in the epistolary literary genre, written to captive Jews in Babylon.

In connection with such unidentified passages, Kraft called attention to the book by Resch with its lists of quoted correspondences including Christian "Agrapha" (quotes attributed to Jesus but not recorded in the canonical gospels).

Finally we looked at the very interesting document LIBER ANTIQUITATUM BIBLICARUM (LAB, or Biblical Antiquities of Pseudo-Philo), a Latin edition of which was published in 1949 by Kisch, the first English translation of which was done by M. R. James (1917), and is on the internet in a searchable form, with some comments added by Kraft. This text was probably written in the first century CE, and presents such alarmingly disparate anecdotes as Abraham rescued from the furnace (chapter 6). Rather than being "rewritten scriptures" as it is often described, Kraft prefers to consider it "scripturally enhanced" (laced with scriptural passages and other materials by the compiler).

class #13 (11ap2006)

class #14 (18ap2006)