[1.1] In autumn of 1975, I was asked to prepare a paper for the 1976 annual meeting of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS) at Duke University on “The Christianity of the Pseudepigrapha,” a topic closely related to my sabbatical project for 1975/76. After struggling with this assignment from a variety of perspectives, I finally decided to modify the title to “Christianity and the so-called Jewish Pseudepigrapha,” or more concisely, “The Pseudepigrapha in Christianity.” Thus I have chosen to deal less with precise details within particular pseudepigrapha, and more with questions of methodology that arise in the study of these writings.[2]
[1] Special credit and appreciation are owed to John C. Reeves (then [1994] of Winthrop University, now [2008] University of North Carolina in Charlotte), whose patience and diligence in filling out my roughly outlined footnotes and submitting them for my final revision and/or approval made it possible for this more fully documented form of the essay to be included in the anthology that he has edited entitled Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha (SBL Early Judaism and its Literature 6; Atlanta: Scholars 1994) 55–86. Any variations and additions in the notes of the electronic version, printed here, represent modifications subsequent to that March 1994 print version. The paragraph numbering represents an attempt to facilitate reference to the electronic version, in which normal hardcopy pagination (enclosed in double brackets, colored red in the electronic format) is less obvious. The footnotes in what follows have been significantly expanded, and no attempt is made to correlate their numbering with that of the 1994 print version.
[2] This essay had rested uneasily in my files for more than 15 years, waiting for me to find/take time to annotate it! As the years passed, I considered simply rewriting and updating it. But now that it has been “dusted off” at long last [1994], I have decided to leave the text basically as it was delivered in 1976, and to do all the significant updating in the notes. Otherwise, its original flavor and (at least to me) excitement will have been diluted and sometimes simply lost. Much relevant research has appeared in the intervening years, of which the footnotes attempt to give some notice. In various particulars, the essay does need to be rewritten today [1994] and periodically. But in its general thrust, its challenge to responsible scholarship still stands. In the footnotes, OTP refers to The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. James H. Charlesworth; 2 vols.; Doubleday, 1983–85; see below, Chapter Six), and EJMI to Early Judaism and its Modern Interpreters (ed. R. A. Kraft and G. W. E. Nickelsburg; Fortress/Scholars Press, 1986).
[1.2] I must confess at the outset that I am relatively unhappy about some of the directions that 20th century scholarship has been traveling in the study of this rather amorphous collection of writings that have been preserved to the modern period primarily by Christian efforts but are attributed to or closely identified with various heroes and heroines of pre-Christian Jewish tradition. Not that I think many of the conclusions reached in pseudepigrapha scholarship are necessarily wrong; on the contrary, I believe that much modern work is of great scholarly significance and suspect that most of the conclusions are relatively accurate. By and large, these [[56]] “pseudepigraphical” writings ought to be examined for any light they may be able to throw on the pre-rabbinic Jewish situation. Certainly we need to use all available help to illuminate that shadowy and variegated period! Nevertheless, I am unhappy about the relatively uncontrolled and hasty approach pursued by most scholars in sifting these materials for clues regarding Judaism. I am convinced that there is also a great deal to learn about Christianity from careful study of the “pseudepigrapha,” and that in most instances it is premature to distil from these writings information about pre-rabbinic Judaism before they are thoroughly examined for their significance as witnesses to Christian interest and activities.[3]

[3] I am not the first to make such observations or to think them of foundational importance. Note, for example, Marinus de Jonge’s treatment of The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: A Study of their Text, Composition, and Origin (Leiden: Brill, 1953), and the prize essay contest sponsored with his encouragement by the Teyler Foundation at Haarlem (The Netherlands) in 1985, on the subject “An investigation concerning the use and transmission of originally Jewish writings (and/or writings incorporating much Jewish traditional material) in Early Christianity,” which in turn made special reference to such discussions as: J. Jervell, “Ein Interpolator interpretiert. Zu der christlichen Bearbeitung der Testamente der Zwölf Patriarchen,” Studien zu den Testamenten der Zwölf Patriarchen (ed. C. Burchard, J. Jervell, and J. Thomas; Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 36; Berlin: Töpelmann, 1969) 30–61; or H. W. Hollander and M. de Jonge, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: A Commentary (Leiden: Brill, 1985), Introduction ##8–9. Subsequently, the discussion became the focus of the monograph by James R. Davila, The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, Or Other? (Leiden: Brill, 2005), among other relevant studies.

Problem Areas

[2.1] In a nutshell, my discontent centers on the following areas of study which seem to me to be inadequately pursued in much current investigation of the pseudepigrapha:


1. Comparative Linguistic Analysis. Little if any systematic attention has been given to how the vocabulary and syntax employed in the preserved manuscripts and forms of a given pseudepigraphon relate to vocabulary and syntax found in other writings from approximately the same time in the same language. As we all know, languages change over the years and often display local variations. To what extent is it possible to classify the Greek of a particular pseudepigraphon as hellenistic Egyptian, or as early byzantine from Antioch, or perhaps even as early modern? What post-hellenistic linguistic features recur in various Greek pseudepigrapha? What is the history of transmission and translation of these materials into such languages as Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian and Old Slavic, to mention only the most obvious? What can be learned about the most recent stages of development in a writing by careful attention to these linguistic matters?[4]
[4] It has come to be expected that scholars worry about whether the original language of any given writing was Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek or whatever, but few have concerned themselves with the language(s) in which the text has survived as a piece of valuable historical information in its own right. Some earlier authors comment on this type of problem, but do not exploit it fully: for example, M. R. James describes the language of “The Apocalypse of Sedrach” as “neo-Greek” since it “degenerates not seldom into modern Greek” (Apocrypha Anecdota 1 [Texts and Studies 2.3; Cambridge: CUP, 1893] 127–128; see further below, pp. xx–xx[148-9]), but is mostly concerned about parallels to earlier materials in language and ideas. (S. Agourides, in OTP 1.606, also simply notes in passing the “late” linguistic features of that text.) For the early Greek translations of Jewish scriptures, H. St J. Thackeray attempted to establish some linguistic-geographical correlations in his 1920 Schweich Lectures published as The Septuagint and Jewish Worship: A Study in Origins (London: H. Milford, 1921, 1923[2nd ed.]), but not many have pursued that sort of approach further. In more recent times, see David Satran, “Daniel: Seer, Philosopher, Holy Man,” Ideal Figures in Ancient Judaism: Profiles and Paradigms (ed. J. J. Collins and G. W. E. Nickelsburg; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980) 33–48, and his unpublished PhD dissertation at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation of the Fourth Chapter of the Book of Daniel (1985).

[2.2] I see this as an avenue for discovering more precisely who was interested in these materials at what periods. Is it possible to identify in time and space schools of revisors or translators? Insofar as details of [[57]] linguistic analysis are difficult to convey satisfactorily in an oral presentation, I will not elaborate on these matters here [in 1976]. But this approach will be facilitated considerably by the increase in relevant linguistic tools such as Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon,[5] Gignac’s Grammar of Greek Papyri,[6] the various concordances and lexicons in preparation covering such materials as Philo, Josephus, and the Greek pseudepigrapha themselves, not to mention the ambitious computer-based Thesaurus Linguae Graece (TLG) project or the proposed Septuagint lexicon.[7] Methods such as R. Martin’s “syntactical analysis” of Greek translated from Hebrew or Aramaic also should prove helpful when adapted for use with the Greek pseudepigrapha.[8] I am less familiar with the resources available for work in other relevant eastern Christian languages, but suspect that the situation there is not more encouraging.
[5] A Patristic Greek Lexicon (G. W. H. Lampe, ed.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1961).
[6] Francis Thomas Gignac, A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (2 vols.; Testi e documenti per lo studio dell’antichita 55; Milano: Istituto Editoriale Cisalpino-La Goliardica 1976–81).
[7] Efforts and products along these lines have multiplied in recent times, especially with the advent of computer-based texts and tools. The ability to search and analyze the data interactively is rapidly coming to replace the static concordances and linguistic aids of the past, and such “hardcopy” tools can in any event be produced more easily now with computer assistance—as for example, A.-M. Denis, Concordance grecque des pseudepigraphes d’Ancien Testament (Louvain-la-Neuve: Universite catholique de Louvain, Institut orientaliste, 1987); also the various publications in “The Computer Bible” series edited by J. Arthur Baird et al. (published by Biblical Research Associates, College of Wooster, Ohio). Now that the magnificent TLG data bank of Greek literature is almost complete (TLG updated CD-ROM “D” appeared in 1993; the material became available online for subscribers after CD-ROM “E” appeared around 1997), along with pioneering efforts in more detailed analysis (such as the Computer Assisted Tools for Septuagint Studies [=CATSS] project, co-directed by Emanuel Tov [Hebrew University] and myself; see the Packard Humanities Institute [PHI] CD-ROM 1, 1987; PHI CD-ROM 5.3, 1992; PHI CD-ROM 7, 1996), major advances in comparative linguistic research can be expected. For some publications related to the CATSS project, see the online list. Josephus and Philo are both available in the TLG data bank, along with virtually all Greek literature through the 6th century CE and beyond, and can be searched for concording and other purposes quite easily. Peder Borgen (Trondheim, Norway) also has created an electronic Philo data bank for the production of concordances and other tools—see Borgen with Keare Fuglseth and Roald Skarsten, The Philo Index: A Complete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of Alexandria (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). On Josephus, see also the more traditional tool edited by K. H. Rengstorf, A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus (4 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1973–1983). I am not sure where the related Josephus lexicon project begun by Thackeray and Marcus (4 fascicules; Kohut Memorial Foundation; Paris, Guenther 1930–1955) now stands, after the death in 1986 of its continuator, Horst Moehring (Brown University). A team of Australian scholars, including John A. L. Lee and Gregory Horsley, is engaged in the creation of a new Moulton-Milligan lexicon to the NT, with computer assistance. The classic collection of Latin Christian literature, Migne’s Patrologia Latina (1844–1865), is also searchable online for subscribers to the Chadwyk-Healy data bank. For other examples of computer projects and tools, see John Hughes, Bits, Bytes, & Biblical Studies (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987), and more recently The Humanities Computing Yearbook: 1989–90 (ed. Ian Lancashire; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991). The online HUMANIST discussion group, under the guidance of Willard McCarty, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2007—its archives can provide further relevant information and bibliography.
[8] Raymond A. Martin, Syntactical Evidence of Semitic Sources in Greek Documents (SBLSCS 3; Missoula: Scholars Press, 1974); idem, “Syntax Criticism of the Testament of Abraham,” Studies on the Testament of Abraham (ed. G. W. E. Nickelsburg; SBLSCS 6; Missoula: Scholars Press, 1976) 95–120. See also Benjamin G. Wright, “A Note on the Statistical Analysis of Septuagintal Syntax,” JBL 104 (1985) 111–114.
2. A second, closely related area of concern is The Role of the Pseudepigrapha in Christian Thought. Why was a particular writing preserved and transmitted? By whom? For whom? How was the writing understood and interpreted? With what other writings was it associated? What can we learn about Christianity from each document, and especially about non-Latin and non-Greek Christianity? In what follows, I intend to explore this approach in greater detail.


3. A third problem area is the Formulation of Satisfactory Hypotheses Regarding Origins and Transmission of Pseudepigrapha. If a writing has been preserved only by Christians, as is normally true for the pseudepigrapha, how strong is the possibility that the writing actually was compiled in its preserved form(s) by a Christian? To what extent is it possible that some or all of the supposedly Jewish contents are actually Christian in origin? What are suitable criteria for distinguishing “Jewish” from “Christian” elements? Is it possible that Christians appropriated the document or some of its Jewish contents from Jews in the medieval/byzantine period? What do we know of Jewish-Christian contacts after 135 CE?[9] What do we know of Christian writing and reading habits during the first millennium of Christian existence? What are acceptable criteria for the identification of “glosses,” “interpolations,” “redactions” and “recensions,” and how do [[58]] these types of literary activity differ from each other?[10] Who translated these materials from one language to another, for what reasons, and under what conditions? Again, a more detailed look at crucial aspects of this problem area will follow.

[9] See Marcel Simon, Verus Israel: etude sur les relations entre chretiens et juifs dans l’empire romain (135–425) (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1948; 2d ed. 1964 with a “postscriptum”); English translation, Verus Israel: A Study of the Relations Between Christians and Jews in the Roman Empire (135–425) (trans. H. McKeating; New York: OUP, 1986); John G. Gager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes Toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity (Oxford: OUP, 1985) 113–191. Regarding specific Church Fathers, see A.L. Williams, Justin Martyr: The Dialogue with Trypho (London: SPCK, 1930), esp. the Introduction; Melito of Sardis, On Pascha and Fragments (ed. S. G. Hall; Oxford: Clarendon, 1979) and more recently I. Angerstorfer, Melito und das Judentum (Regensburg: Universität Regensburg, 1986); David P. Efroymson, Tertullian’s Anti-Judaism and its Role in His Theology (PhD dissertation, Temple University, 1976); idem, “The Patristic Connection,” Anti-Semitism and the Foundations of Christianity (ed. Alan Davies; New York: Paulist Press, 1979) 98–117; N. R. M. de Lange, Origen and the Jews (Cambridge: CUP, 1976); Robert L. Wilken, Judaism and the Early Christian Mind: A Study of Cyril of Alexandria’s Exegesis and Theology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971); idem, John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late 4th Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). Similar studies with their focus on e.g., Epiphanius and Jerome (see the PhD dissertation in Hebrew by Hillel Newman, “Jerome and the Jews,” Hebrew University, 1997), would also be illuminating. For further bibliography and updated information, look for the relevant terms through an internet search engine.
[10] For further details, see my article “Reassessing the ‘Recensional Problem’ in Testament of Abraham” (included below, Chapter Six).
[2.3] In short, there seems to be a wide spectrum of important issues on which little attention has been focused and for which little precise information is presently available—issues of primary importance that require close examination before a suitably careful and consistent use can be made of “pseudepigrapha” for purposes of reconstructing pre-Christian, or at least pre-rabbinic Judaism. Recent developments in the study of Christian and Jewish history and literature offer promising rewards in this regard. I have already mentioned some of the more helpful tools for linguistic study. The fantastic increase in the number of known manuscripts and, through inexpensive mail-order microfilms [and more recently via the internet], in their accessibility, will hopefully lead to significant new insights about the literature that is already well known as well as providing access to hitherto little known or unknown writings and traditions.[11] Current interest in the relationships between emerging orthodoxy and its heterodox competitors in both Christian and Jewish settings[12] also provides a healthy context for reexamining the various pseudepigrapha, and the growing awareness among students of religious history of the possible value of insights and approaches drawn from anthropological-sociological studies should not be ignored. (I think especially of studies of so-called “millennial/millenarian movements” in various times and places, as this may apply to the production and use of various apocalyptic writings.)[13] 
[11] In addition to various efforts at cataloguing existing manuscripts (e.g., the project of Marcel Richard at Paris), note the development of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center at Claremont and the Hill Monastic Library Project in Minnesota. But in general, the interest in microform seems to have waned somewhat, or at least is being challenged by the development of computer technologies capable, among other things, of capturing (e.g., on CD-ROM) and even transmitting (on the international electronic networks) digitized images (equivalent to color photographs), enhancing and otherwise manipulating the images, and linking images and transcribed text along with other pertinent items in a “hypertext” electronic environment. A growing number of older and newer editions and translations of ancient texts are finding their way into electronic collections and archives in this new technological world. On electronic resources and developments in general, see Lancashire, Yearbook (above n. 7). Examples of online images abound, easily located through internet search engines and online lists.
[12] There have been a number of recent works relating to the multiplicity of forms of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world. See, e.g., the “new Schürer,” G. Vermes, F. Millar, and M. Goodman, eds., Schürer’s The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (4 vols. in 3; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973–87); John J. Collins, Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora (New York: Crossroad, 1983); S. J. D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987); E. J. Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988); Gabriele Boccaccini, Middle Judaism: Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991); L. L. Grabbe, Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian (2 vols.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992); for a more traditional synthesis of the same evidence, see L. H. Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). A survey and analysis of mid 20th century scholarship on Judaism to about 1980 can be found in EJMI. More recent internet information abounds also on this subject. For some recent studies on varieties of early Christianity, see the following note.
[13] For an application of such insights to early Christianity, see John G. Gager, Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1975), and the literature cited there; idem, Religious Studies Review 5/3 (1979) 174–80; W. D. Davies, “From Schwietzer to Scholem: Reflections on Sabbatai Svi,” JBL 95 (1976) 529–58; G. Theissen, The Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978); idem, The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982); D. J. Harrington, “Sociological Concepts and the Early Church: A Decade of Research,” TS 41 (1980) 181–90; W. A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983); R. A. Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987); idem, Sociology and the Jesus Movement (New York: Crossroad, 1989). On millennarianism, see further below, n. 54.


Contemporary Use of the Term “Pseudepigrapha”

[3.1] The term “pseudepigrapha” is not a precise term in contemporary scholarly usage. It has become useful primarily by default, and against the theological background of the discussion of the "Old Testament" canon among Christians. Especially in the byzantine Greek church, the traditional term for the literature with which we are concerned was “apocrypha”—as distinct from “canonical” and “ecclesiastical” [[59]] literature recommended for use in Christian churches. But modern protestant scholarship came to restrict the term “apocrypha,” used with reference to Jewish literature, to those particular writings or portions of writings accepted as “deutero-canonical” by Roman Catholics (with some ambiguity regarding Prayer of Manasseh and 4 Ezra/2 Esdras) but not included among the classical Jewish canonical scriptures. Thus some other term was needed to designate works attributed to or associated with revered persons of pre-Christian Jewish tradition that were considered neither canonical nor “apocryphal” in the limited sense of “OT Apocrypha.” The term “pseudepigrapha” has come to serve this function in relation to ostensibly Jewish material, although most scholars have retained the more traditional sense of the term “apocrypha” in dealing with so-called “NT Apocrypha” (not “pseudepigrapha”!).
[3.2] The exact range of items included as “pseudepigrapha” also varies considerably.[14] The standard older editions by E. Kautzsch (1900) and R. H. Charles (1913) agree in employing the term in a very restricted sense for about a dozen or so writings including the letter of Aristeas, 4 Ezra and the Psalms of Solomon. Charles even published Pirke Avot, Ahikar and the Zadokite fragment among the pseudepigrapha. At the opposite end of the scale, with regard to inclusiveness, is P. Riessler’s German edition of some 61 allegedly “non canonical ancient Jewish writings” (1928) other than Philo and Josephus. Judging from such late 20th century projects as the Pseudepigrapha Veteris Testamenti graece, edited by A.-M. Denis and M. de Jonge, or M. Philonenko’s Textes et Études series, or the history of H. F. D. Sparks’ long awaited British edition (see its preface!), or J. H. Charlesworth’s ambitious Duke-Doubleday edition [see reviews below, Chapter Five], or the work of the SBL Pseudepigrapha Group, the inclusive use of the term now predominates. Although I am not particularly fond of the term “pseudepigrapha,” I also employ it in a radically inclusive sense to indicate writings attributed to or associated with persons known primarily from Jewish scriptural tradition, and a few other similar writings such as the “Sibylline Oracles” (as an example of supposedly “pagan” prophecy).[15] [[60]]
[14] The editions and monographs cited in this paragraph are well known in the field. Recent literature that provides a larger context for this discussion includes EJMI (above, n. 2), with standard abbreviations and an appendix on editions; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981; revised edition 2005); Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (ed. M. E. Stone; CRINT; Assen and Philadelphia: Van Gorcum and Fortress, 1984); and the more recent anthologies such as La Bible: écrits intertestamentaires (ed. A. Dupont-Sommer and M. Philonenko; Paris: Gallimard, 1987), Charlesworth’s OTP, and The Apocryphal Old Testament (AOT, ed. H. F. D. Sparks; Oxford: Clarendon, 1984). For a review article on the last mentioned works, see M. E. Stone and R. A. Kraft, Religious Studies Review 14/2 (1988) 111–17 and below, Chapter Five. Extensive bibliography can also be found in DiTommaso, Bibliography (2001), and, of course, online. 
[15] After all, the etymological sense of “falsely attributed authorship” applies equally to some writings included in the traditional Jewish and Christian canons, and some of the writings usually discussed under the wider heading of “pseudepigrapha” do not have the same sort of authorship ascription problem—e.g., Lives of the Prophets, 3–4 Maccabees. Furthermore, the more recently discovered materials from the Judean Desert (“Dead Sea Scrolls”) need to be worked into the broader classification scheme somehow. For a discussion of some of these issues, see Stone and Kraft in Religious Studies Review 14/2 (1988) 111–17; see also Kraft’s review in JBL 106 (1987) 738 [below, Chapter Five]. Note that Sparks preferred to use the term “apocryphal” in its general sense in AOT.


Modern Methodologies in Studying Pseudepigrapha

[4.1] Not all scholars are methodologically self-conscious. There is often a tendency to be overawed by the results achieved by scholarly giants of past generations, without careful reevaluation of their operating procedures and presuppositions. We build on “the assured results of critical scholarship” without consistently analyzing how those results emerged. And many of us shy away from detailed work with the preserved texts themselves—I mean the actual manuscripts or facsimiles thereof—relying instead on whatever printed editions are conveniently available. Thus we and our students are too often unaware of the extremely complicated and often tenuous processes by which suspicions have been turned into hypotheses and hypotheses into “assured results,” which become enshrined as foundation stones for further investigations.

[4.2] In the modern investigation of “psudepigrapha,” the strong desire to throw light on a relatively obscure period of Jewish history that was believed to be of great significance for early Christian studies played an important role. The earliest pioneers of pseudepigrapha study tended to be understandably cautious in attributing hitherto unattested works to Jewish authorship, but were relatively quick to identify newly recovered writings with titles found in ancient lists. M. R. James is perhaps a good example of caution in the former regard—he seldom attached the unqualified adjective “Jewish” to the numerous psudepigraphic texts he helped to rescue for scholarly investigation. Other influential scholars, however, including some well-versed in Jewish traditions such as Louis Ginzberg or Kaufmann Kohler argued strongly for the Jewish origin of numerous traditions and sections in the pseudepigrapha.[16] Riessler represents this latter perspective. It is worth noting how important the argument from parallel passages was in these earlier investigations—M. R. James would list page after page of alleged verbal reminiscences to NT writings, with the conclusion that the writing being examined had made use of the NT and thus was Christian [[61]] in its present form. In contrast, Ginzberg would list at length the parallels to known rabbinic Jewish traditions and conclude that the basic core of the writing was Jewish. In this connection, assumptions about “canon formation” and acceptance played a major role.
[16] Examples may be found in the relevant articles by these scholars in the Jewish Encyclopedia (13 vols.; ed. I. Singer; New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1901–1907). E.g., see L. Ginzberg, “Abraham, Apocalypse of,” 1.91–92; “Abraham, Testament of,” 1.93–96; “Adam, Book of,” 1.179–180; “Baruch, Apocalypse of (Greek),” 2.549–551; “Baruch, Apocalypse of (Syriac),” 2.551–556; K. Kohler, “Job, Testament of,” 7.200–202; “Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,” 12.113–118. See also L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1909–1938). 
[4.3] We have, hopefully, come a long way in our critical awareness if not in our actual practice from simple “parallelomania” as Samuel Sandmel has dubbed it.[17] Most of us no longer assume that virtually any phrase that appears in NT literature necessarily originated there. We have become more aware of diversity within pre-Christian Judaism including the presence there of emphases on faith, on special knowledge, on imminent eschatological salvation, among other things. Now Qumran has supplied good examples of even such seemingly Christian ideas as the divine sonship of God’s eschatological agent, appropriation of God’s promised new covenant, eschatological asceticism and the religious importance of baptisms and special meals.[18] We have also become more aware of diversity in early Christianity—of a wide range of beliefs and attitudes ranging from a relatively conservative and cultic Jewish sort of Christianity to a highly philosophical and/or mystical dualistic gnostic Christianity.[19]
[17] Samuel Sandmel, “Parallelomania,” JBL 81 (1962) 1–13.
[18] The journal Revue de Qumrân (1958– ) is devoted to the study of these materials. For a general update and bibliography, see J. Murphy-O’Connor, “The Judean Desert,” EJMI ch. 5; J. A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools for Study (rev. ed.; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990). For regular updates, bibliography is conveniently found online at the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature site (
[19] See, for example, Walter Bauer, Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1934); 2nd ed., reprinted and supplemented by Georg Strecker (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1964); English translation, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity (ed. R. A. Kraft and G. Krodel; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971; also available online at

[4.4] In the study of the pseudepigrapha, realization of pre-rabbinic Jewish pluralism has played a much more influential role than recognition of early Christian pluralism. Perhaps this is only natural. After all, most Christianity built on a Jewish base and introduced relatively little that could be called uniquely Christian, beyond specific references to Jesus of Nazareth and other personages or events of specifically Christian history, or the trinitarian God-language that arose in classical Christian circles and became standardized by the 4th century. For the most part, Christians appropriated Jewish scriptures and traditions, Jewish liturgical language, Jewish eschatological hopes, Jewish ethical ideals and many Jewish practices.[20] Reflecting such a setting, most Christian writings contain apparently “Jewish” elements and aspects, as is obvious to any contemporary NT student. The problem comes in attempting to place a label on such materials. At what point do I describe an originally Jewish ethical tract that has been adopted and perhaps also adapted by Christians as [[62]] “Christian” rather than “Jewish”? And if a Christian author who has been trained to think about religious life and conduct in ethical terms that derive from Judaism now writes an ethical treatise based on that author’s own views—not simply copying an older tract—is the author not writing a Christian work—even though it may have all the characteristics of a Jewish work?[21]
 [20] Other areas for further exploration include the physical formats (e.g., scrolls, separate pages, codices) and modes of collecting (e.g., “library” issues, scrolls with multiple works) as well as scribal conventions; see Emanuel Tov, Scribal Practices and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert (STDJ 54; Leiden: Brill, 2004). For some of my own excursions into such areas, see the online listing at and at
[21] The actual and suspected history of the “Two Ways” traditions provides an excellent illustration of the problems. See my Barnabas and the Didache = volume 3 of The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation and Commentary (ed. R. M. Grant; New York: Nelson, 1965) (also online), and the literature discussed there.
[4.5] This methodological problem is perhaps best illustrated by quoting some actual operating procedures of earlier scholars. In his 1893 History of Ancient Christian Literature, Adolf Harnack included a valuable, pioneering section entitled “Jewish Literature Appropriated, and sometimes Reworked, by Christians.”[22] Harnack argues that Christians sometimes imitated the style of older Jewish forgeries, thus making it impossible any longer to distinguish Jewish from Christian elements. In this connection, Harnack suggests that the investigator will seldom err if the following rule is observed: “Whatever is not clearly Christian is Jewish”![23] L. S. A. Wells enunciates a similar philosophy in his study of the Adam-Eve materials in Charles’ Pseudepigrapha volume: “The complete absence of references, direct or indirect, to Christian notions of Incarnation, Redemption, even of Christian higher moral teaching, would make it impossible to assign to most of the work a Christian origin.”[24]
[22] Adolf Harnack, Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius I: dieÜberlieferung und der Bestand 2 (Leipzig, 1893; 2nd ed. reprinted Leipzig: Hindrichs, 1958); “Űbersicht über die von den Christen angeeignete und z[um] Th[eile] bearbeitete jüdische Litteratur,” 845–65.
[23] Ibid., 861.
[24] APOT 2.126–27.
[4.6] Dissenting voices were also heard occasionally, but were clearly in the minority. I have already alluded to the cautious approach taken by M. R. James. Similarly, F. C. Burkitt’s 1913 Schweich Lectures on Jewish and Christian Apocalypses provide a good example. Burkitt is explicitly critical of the tendency to proclaim as “Jewish” virtually any writing that is not overtly Christian. Regarding Slavonic (or 2nd) Enoch, he writes 
I do not know that a Christian romance of Enoch need differ very much from a Jewish romance of Enoch. And…the whole question of the channels by which rare and curious literature found their [sic] way into Slavonic requires fresh and independent investigation.[25]
According to the Harnack-Wells approach, a pseudepigraphon would be considered Jewish until proven otherwise; Burkitt would reverse the situation and put the onus of proof on those claiming Jewish origin. [[63]]
[25] F. C. Burkitt, Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (London: Milford, 1914) 76.

[4.7] Although I am emotionally disposed towards a position like that of Harnack-Wells, it is clear to me that the James-Burkitt approach is methodologically more defensible. Except in rare instances where Jewish fragments or clear early patristic usage renders the Jewish origin or location of a writing virtually beyond dispute (as with the “OT” deutero-canonical writings, some form of Ahikar and 1 Enoch, Aristeas), the preserved pseudepigrapha are known only from relatively late Christian manuscripts of various sorts. Clearly the pseudepigrapha, including those of demonstrable Jewish origin, have had a long association with Christianity and deserve more than passing attention in that context. Once their setting in Christianity has been recognized more clearly, it may be possible to pose more carefully the questions of origin and early transmission.


Attitudes to the Pseudepigrapha in Pre-Modern Christianity

[5.1] On the whole, the pseudepigrapha were viewed as a threat by leaders of classical Christianity, Greek and Latin, from about the mid-fourth century through at least the ninth. The gradual standardization of Christianity that was achieved in the internal battles against heterodoxy and the external achievement of official recognition in the Roman worlds (west and east) exhibited itself in the formation of an exclusive Christian scriptural canon. Aspects of the problem were recognized already in the late second century. Irenaeus rails against the Marcosians for “introducing an innumerable number of apocrypha and of counterfeit writings which they themselves created to amaze the foolish who do not understand the true writings” (Against Heresies 1.20.1=1.13.1). Perhaps around the same time, or not too much later, the author of the Muratorian canon rejects compositions associated with various heterodox groups including “those who composed a new book of Psalms for Marcion.”[26]
[26] Numerous websites can provide the text and information on the “Muratorian canon,” also known as the “Muratorian fragment” – use your favorite search engine.
[5.2] To what extent these early testimonies had allegedly Jewish writings in view is not clear. But the principle of opposition to unacceptable heterodox writings is quite plain, and is continued even more explicitly in later authors. According to Athanasius, who writes [[64]] from Alexandria at a time when Christianity had successfully withstood the attempts of emperor Julian (“the apostate”!) to revive old Roman “paganism” and is about to be proclaimed as the official religion of the Roman empire, the “apocryphal” books (that is, our “Jewish” pseudepigrapha, among others) are a “device of heretics” who compose them at will and assign them ancient dates to mislead the simple. Athanasius speaks with disdain of books ascribed to Enoch, and apocryphal books of Isaiah and Moses. Similar negative attitudes are found in such other later 4th century authors as Epiphanius, Cyril of Jerusalem, the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions, Rufinus and Jerome, while the prohibition of pseudepigrapha is buttressed with more extensive lists of titles in such later sources as the ps-Athanasian Synopsis of Scriptures (6th c.?), the ps-Gelasian Decree (6th c.?), the so-called Catalogue of 60 (canonical) Books (6/7th c.?), the Stichometry of Nicephorus (9th c), and elsewhere.[27] Among the writings to be avoided are those associated with the names of Adam, Enoch, Lamech, Abraham and the Patriarchs, Joseph, Eldad and Modad, Jambres and Mambres, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Baruch, Sofonia, Zachariah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, the Sibyl, and various angels. One list even refers to a “book of the giant named Og who is said by the heretics to have fought with a dragon after the flood” (ps-Gelasian Decree)![28]
[27] See H. B. Swete, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek (2nd ed.; Cambridge: CUP, 1902; supplemented by R. R. Ottley, 1914; reprinted, New York: KTAV, 1968; also online), part 2 chap. 1; also the “new Schürer,” History 3/2.797–98. Such “canon lists” and related materials are conveniently available on the web – e.g., at
[28] On “Og and the Giants,” see my online update of the section from M. R. James, Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament: their Titles and Fragments Collected, Translated and Discussed (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge 1920) also available online.
[5.3] Not all the preserved notices are equally negative. In the 2nd century, Justin Martyr accuses the Jews of excising certain passages from their scriptures in order to counter their use by Christians, including a passage attributed to Ezra and a reference to Isaiah’s death by means of a wooden saw (Dialogue 72, 120)[29]—in Justin’s view, of course, the excised materials are not “pseudepigrapha” (as they become for us!) but authentic scripture. Justin also refers with favor to various Greek philosophical authors as to “the Sibyl and Hystaspes” (Apology 20). Even more striking is the practice of Clement of Alexandria at the end of the 2nd century, who shows an extremely wide acquaintance with a great variety of writings, Jewish, Christian and “pagan,” as well as with [[65]] “Jewish scriptures” in a strict sense.[30] He is less concerned with what writings people use than with how they use the writings, including scripture (Stromateis 6.[15].124.3). Indeed, he believes that the scriptures are filled with mysteries that can only properly be understood by the true Christian gnostic whose life is in accord with the apostolic tradition. And non-scriptural literature also contains valuable material when understood properly—that is, “gnostically.” Clement cites “Paul” as exhorting his readers to “take also the Hellenic books, read the Sibyl,…and take Hystaspes to read…” (Stromateis 6.[5].43.1). Elsewhere Clement quotes material attributed to “Enoch” (Ecl Proph 2.1), to “the prophecy of Ham” (Stromateis 6.[6].53.5, indirectly, from Isidore’s Exegetica of the Prophet Parchor),[31] to a non-canonical revelation by “Sofonia the prophet” (Stromateis 5.[11].77.2), and refers to Moses’ “assumption” (Comm on Jude 9 and Stromateis 1.[23].153.1—at least referring to the event, if not the name of a writing). In none of these passages, nor in numerous other references to what are now non-canonical Christian materials, does Clement apologize or show discomfort about his use of such sources.
[29] See further R. A. Kraft, “Christian Transmission of Greek Jewish Scriptures: A Methodological Probe,” Paganisme, judaisme, christianisme: Influences et affrontements dans le monde antique: Melanges offerts a Marcel Simon (ed. Benoit et al.; Ouvrage publie avec le concours de l’Université des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg; Paris: Éditions E. de Boccard, 1978) 207–26 (included below, Chapter Three, also online).
[30] See the index of scriptural citations supplied in the four-volume Griechische Christliche Schriftsteller edition of Clement of Alexandria (Griechische Christliche Schriftsteller 12, 15, 17, 39) begun by O. Stählin in 1905 (Leipzig: Hinrichs), and partly revised by Ludwig Früchtel (1960) and Ursula Treu (1970–1985)—the 4th ed. of volume 2 appeared in 1985. Unfortunately, the Strasbourg project does not include non-scriptural citations in its Biblia Patristica: Index des citations et allusions bibliques dans la litterature patristique (7 vols. thus far; ed. J. Allenbach; Paris: Editions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1975– ).
[31] See Jean Doresse, The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics (London: Hollis and Carter, 1960; reprinted, Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1986) 20.

[5.4] The situation is recognizably different when we examine the evidence from Origen, who inherits Clement’s openness and exposure to a wide variety of sources but who also betrays some revealing reticence in using what came to be considered non-canonical sources. At least in the later part of his life, when he worked from Caesarea on the Hexapla, he was in first hand contact with Jewish informants and traditions.[32] For him, the Jewish scriptural canon was fairly well defined as is evident from his work on the Hexapla, his preserved list of canonical books, and his “exegetical” writings (scholia, homilies, commentaries). Nevertheless, he does not forsake the sympathetic use of extra-canonical, presumably Jewish works and traditions, although he sometimes prefaces such with words like “if anyone accepts such a writing”—so with reference to a passage about angels disputing at Abraham’s death (Homily on Luke 35), to a long quotation from the “Prayer of Joseph” (Commentary on John 2.31/25), to an “Isaiah Apocryphon” about the death of the prophet (Commentary on Matthew 13.57/23.37). Elsewhere he also shows knowledge of the book or books of Enoch (Against Celsus 5.54–55), of [[66]] Joseph-Aseneth materials (Selections in Genesis 41.45), of a Book of Jannes and Mambres (Homily on Matthew 23.37(25)/27.9) and of an apocryphon of Elijah or of Jeremiah (Homily on Matthew 27.9) among other non-canonical references. Thus Origen stands in personal tension between a relatively firm, exclusivistic view of scripture that apparently was present in some of the churches (and/or perhaps in the Jewish circles) with which he was in contact and the relatively less restrictive attitudes of his predecessor Clement.
[32] See in general N. R. M. de Lange, Origen and the Jews (New York: CUP, 1977); R. P. C. Hanson, Allegory and Event: a Study of the Sources and Significance of Origen’s Interpretation of Scripture (London: SCM Press, 1959). Studies that focus upon specific correspondences between the teachings of Origen and the Sages include E. E. Urbach, “Homiletical Interpretations of the Sages and the Expositions of Origen on Canticles, and the Jewish-Christian Disputation,” Scripta hierosolymitana 22 (1971) 247–75; R. Kimelman, “Rabbi Yohanan and Origen on the Song of Songs: A Third-Century Jewish-Christian Disputation,” HTR 73 (1980) 567–95; and D. J. Halperin, “Origen, Ezekiel’s Merkabah, and the Ascension of Moses,” Church History 50 (1981) 261–75.
[5.5] A couple of decades earlier, in North Africa, Tertullian had revealed similar reticence in citing the book of Enoch regarding fallen angels, in full recognition that some Christians rejected it because it was not included by the Jews in their scriptural collection (quia nec in armarium Iudaicum admittitur; Cult Fem 1.3). Around the middle of the third century, Origen’s pupil Dionysius (bishop of Alexandria c. 247–264) admits to having read “both the compositions and the traditions of the heretics” despite a warning from one of the presbyters that he would thereby injure his soul. But, in a vision, God instructed Dionysius to read everything at hand so as to be able to test and prove everything—and thus he was able to refute heresy all the more powerfully (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 7.7.1-3; cf 7.24).

[5.6] Even at the end of the 4th century (Filaster of Brescia) or as late as the 8th century (John of Damascus) we still hear faint ecclesiastical voices arguing, in the same vein as Clement, Origen and Dionysius, that enlightened Christians can profit from any and all available literature. But for the most part, the orthodox spokesmen of whom we know throughout this period were violently opposed to the pseudepigrapha, associating such writings with heterodox groups and even accusing the heretics of having forged some if not all of this material.

Alleged Heterodox Christian Transmitters of Pseudepigrapha

[6.1] Some of the orthodox Christian sources attempt to identify specific heterodox groups which produced, or at least used allegedly Jewish pseudepigraphical writings. Other heterodox groups are also described in terms that suggest an openness to such literature. In the [[67]] earliest period, apart from amorphous “Jewish Christian” outlooks for which wide use of Jewish materials would be fully expected, we hear of Elkesaites (early 2nd century) with their special traditions and their “Book of Elksai.”[33] Some decades later Basilides is said to have had a special Psalm Book,[34] and the 2nd century Montanist apocalyptic orientation appears to be well suited to the use of pseudepigraphic apocalyptic writings. (Tertullian argues for accepting “Enoch” as scripture, perhaps even before his Montanist alignment.) Irenaeus accuses the followers of Mark the gnostic of using and of forging apocrypha (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.20.1=1.13.1) in the late 2nd century. About the same time, Lucian of Samosata satirically describes the temporarily converted Peregrinus as having authored many books for his Christian associates (Peregrinus 11). Passing reference is perhaps appropriate here to the relatively obscure Melchizedekian Christians[35] and to the reputed Syrian rhapsodist Bar Daisan.[36]
[33] There is revived interest in the Elkesaites, partly due to the recent discovery and publication of the Cologne Mani Codex (see below, n. 38). Consult Origen apud Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.38; Hippolytus, Refutation 9.13–17; 10.29; Epiphanius, Panarion 19.1–6; 53.1; W. Brandt, Elchasai: ein Religionsstifter und sein Werk (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912); A. F. J. Klijn and G. J. Reinink, Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects (Leiden: Brill, 1973) 54–67; idem, “Elchasai and Mani,” Vigiliae Christianae 28 (1974) 277–89; G. P. Luttikhuizen, The Revelation of Elchasai (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1985); A. Henrichs and L. Koenen, “Ein griechischer Mani-Codex (P. Colon. inv. nr. 4780),” Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik 5 (1970) 97–217, esp. pp. 133–60. For a recent attempt to link the Elkesaites to Jewish literature and institutions, see J. C. Reeves, “The Elchasaite Sanhedrin of the Cologne Mani Codex in Light of Second Temple Jewish Sectarian Sources,” JJS 42 (1991) 68–91.
[34] For references and discussion, see Bauer, Orthodoxy, 170 n. 42.
[35] Epiphanius, Panarion 55. Interest in this sect has been spurred by the discovery and publication of Melchizedek texts from both Nag Hammadi (Nag Hammadi Codex IX 1) and Qumran (11QMelch). See A. S. van der Woude, “Melchisedek als himmlische Erlosergestalt in den neugefundenen eschatologischen Midraschim aus Qumran Hohle XI,” Oudtestamentische Studien 14 (1965) 354–73; J. T. Milik, “Milki-sedeq et Milki-resa` dans les anciens ecrits juifs et chretiens,” JJS 23 (1972) 95–144; F. L. Horton, The Melchizedek Tradition: A Critical Examination of the Sources to the Fifth Century A.D. and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Cambridge: CUP, 1976); P. J. Kobelski, Melchizedek and Melchiresa` (Washington: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1981); E. Puech, “Notes sur le manuscrit de XIQ Melkisedeq,” Revue de Qumran 12 (1987) 483–513; B. A. Pearson, “The Figure of Melchizedek in the First Tractate of the Unpublished Coptic-Gnostic Codex IX from Nag Hammadi,” Proceedings of the XIIth International Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion (Leiden: Brill, 1975) 200–8; Nag Hammadi Codices IX and X (Nag Hammadi Studies 15; ed. B. A. Pearson; Leiden: Brill, 1981).
[36] On a possible connection between Bardaisan and the Odes of Solomon, see W. R. Newbold, “Bardaisan and the Odes of Solomon,” JBL 30 (1911) 161–204; J. Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity (trans. John A. Baker; Chicago: Regnery, 1964, from Theologie du judeo-christianisme; Paris: Desclee, 1958) 30–3; H. J. W. Drijvers, Bardaisan of Edessa (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1966) 209–12.
[6.2] In the 3rd century, Mani consciously selected “the writings, wisdom, apocalypses, parables and psalms of all the previous religions” for use in his Manichaean super-religion.[37] His background seems to include close contacts with Elkesaites and Marcionites, at the very least. Unfortunately, the extent to which our allegedly Jewish pseudepigrapha might have been used among Manichaeans is presently unknown.[38] According to the Coptic text of Athanasius’ famous Easter letter of 367, unspecified apocryphal works also were used by the Meletian sect, which sometimes was closely identified with the Arians. A few decades later, Epiphanius names a great many books allegedly used by heretical groups: the Borborite gnostics use books in the name of Ialdabaoth and of Seth as well as an apocalypse of Adam and various books attributed to Mary and the Apostles (Panarion 26.8.1); other gnostics use a Gospel of Eve (26.2.6f) and a book of Noriah, wife of Noah (26.1.3–4); the Sethians write books in the name of great men such as Seth, or his offspring called Allogenes, or Abraham (an apocalypse), or Moses (39.5.1); the Archontics create “apocrypha” with such names as the Small and Great Symphonia or the Ascent of Isaiah or books in the name of Seth (40.2.1, 7.4). Also from the late 4th century we hear of the Priscillians in Spain who used [[68]] apocryphal-pseudepigraphical books associated with prophets such as Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others, and who were accused of Manichaeanism and of magic.[39] Some of their views seem to have survived among the medieval Cathari (and Albigenses?). 
[37] The quotation is taken from Kephalaia 154; see C. Schmidt and H. J. Polotsky, “Ein Mani-Fund in Agypten,” Sitzungsberichte der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1933) 41 (text p. 85). Our knowledge about the milieu from which Manichaeism sprang has been augmented by the discovery and publication of the Cologne Mani Codex. See L. Koenen and C. Romer, Der Kölner Mani-Kodex: Abbildungen und diplomatischer Text (Bonn: Habelt, 1985); idem, Der Kölner Mani-Kodex: Kritische Edition (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1988). For an English translation of the initial portion of the Codex, see Ron Cameron and Arthur J. Dewey (trans.) The Cologne Mani Codex (P.Colon. inv. nr. 4780) “Concerning the Origin of his Body” (SBLTT 15: Early Christian Literature Series 3; Missoula: Scholars, 1979). A recent comprehensive study that incorporates the new information about Mani is S. N. C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China (2nd ed.; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1992). For an extensive summary treatment and bibliography, see Werner Sundermann’s article “Cologne Mani Codex” in the online Encyclopedia Iranica (c 1990;
[38] The Cologne Mani Codex contains five citations from otherwise unknown pseudepigraphic works attributed to Adam, Seth, Enosh, Enoch and Shem. Albert Henrichs has suggested that Cologne Mani Codex 7.2–14 reflects dependence upon the Testament of Abraham; see Henrichs, “Thou Shalt Not Kill a Tree: Greek, Manichaean and Indian Tales,” BASP 16 (1979) 105–106; idem, “Literary Criticism of the Cologne Mani Codex,” The Rediscovery of Gnosticism: Proceedings of the International Conference on Gnosticism at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, March 28–31, 1978 (ed. B. Layton; 2 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1980­–81) 2.729 n. 20. A reliance upon Jewish Enochic literature has been vigorously advocated by J. C. Reeves, “An Enochic Motif in Manichaean Tradition,” Manichaica Selecta: Studies Presented to Professor Julien Ries on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (ed. A. van Tongerloo and S. Giversen; Louvain: International Association of Manichaean Studies, 1991) 295–98; idem, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992).  
[39] See H. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila: The Occult and the Charismatic in the Early Church (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976); Andrew Jacobs, “The Disorder of Books: Priscillian’s Canonical Defense of Apocrypha.” HTR 93 (2000) 135–159.

Resurgence of Interest in PSeudepigrapha in Mainstream Christian Circles

[7.1] Very few Greek manuscripts of allegedly Jewish pseudepigrapha have survived from the period prior to the 9th century.[40] To what extent this is a reflection of official orthodox hostility, or even censorship, or is simply due to the general paucity of materials that have survived from that early period is difficult to determine. In any event, from the 10th century onward there is a growing flood of Jewish pseudepigraphical materials in Greek, especially those that deal with the lives and deaths of ancient righteous persons.[41] From the 14th century onward, various apocalyptic pseudepigrapha MSS appear in Greek, including both the popular reward-punishment scenes of the afterlife (as in Dante’s “Comedy”)[42] and the more cosmic surveys of the mysteries of past and future history. Again, it may be simply due to coincidence that the preserved MSS are so late in date, but at least this information provides a starting point for further investigation. The main point I wish to make here is that by the later byzantine period, the orthodox Greek transcribers readily transmitted and used pseudepigraphical materials. The primary justification seems to be an avid interest in martyrology and hagiographic narrative.[43] Greek liturgical practice provided a framework for this by stipulating specific dates on which to commemorate the saints and martyrs of the Christian tradition—including pre-Christian Jewish notables. As nearly as I can determine, the Christian Latin manuscript tradition shows much less sustained interest in the Jewish pseudepigraphical materials in the late medieval period, although some noteworthy Latin MSS or fragments dating from the 6th century (Jubilees, [Assumption of] Moses, Ascension of Isaiah) to the 9th Century (Life of Adam, 4 Ezra) are known. [[69]]
[40] For the evidence, see A.-M. Denis, Introduction aux pseudepigraphes grecs d’Ancien Testament (Leiden: Brill, 1970); S. P. Brock, “Other Manuscript Discoveries,” EJMI 157–73; also DiTommaso’s Bibliography (2001).
[41] See especially the materials collected by F. Halkin, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca (3 vols.; 3rd ed; Bruxelles: Société Bollandistes, 1957).
[42] For the development of such materials, see Martha Himmelfarb, Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), followed by her Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (Oxford: OUP, 1993).
[43] An interest that I have largely overlooked, but that may have served as a preserver of traditions and “pseudepigrapha awareness” at a more “scientific-historical” level, is in world chronography, more clearly identified and documented by William Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to Georgius Syncellus (Dumbarton Oaks Studies 26; Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, 1989), esp. 80–97. In various ways, pseudepigraphic literatures seem to have been able to serve a wide range of interests in the “middle ages,” including science (especially astronomological and calendric issues), history, popular piety (especially with folkloristic tales) and ordinary worship (e.g., with models of prayer/hymn language). The interrelationship of such motives among Christian transmitters deserves closer study.

[7.2] The situation in eastern Christian circles other than Greek is more difficult to assess because so little pertinent scholarly work has been done therein. There are a great many relevant early Coptic materials, from the 4th century onward, which seems to indicate that the canon-centered orientation of Shenouti and his monastically inclined followers was by no means universal among literate Coptic Egyptian Christians.[44] There is also a significant amount of relatively early material in Syriac,[45] notably 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra from a 6th century MS, and the Psalms and Odes of Solomon from the 10th century. If it is assumed that most of the pseudepigrapha now preserved in Arabic were translated from Syriac, the impression that Syriac Christianity suffered little from the anti-pseudepigrapha attitudes of the orthodox Greek Christians is fortified. When we turn to the national churches in which the Armenian (from the 5th century),[46] Ethiopic[47] (from the 4/5th? century) and Old Slavic (from the 8th? century) languages were central, we are flooded with copies of a great variety of pseuepigraphical texts, dating mostly from the 12th century onward. These riches lie mostly untapped, and almost no precise information is available about the conditions under which the pseudepigrapha were introduced among those Christians. I have little idea of the extent to which other relatively early Christian literatures and traditions such as those in Gothic, Georgian, Old Irish,[48] Nubian, Sogdian or Anglo-Saxon[49] can contribute additional materials of relevance to this discussion.
[44] See, e.g., Janet Timbie, Dualism and the Concept of Orthodoxy in the Thought of the Monks of Upper Egypt (PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1979). For general background on the development of Christian communities in Egypt, see Bauer, Orthodoxy ch. 2, and more recently, Birger Pearson and James E. Goehring (eds), The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986). For a recent survey, David Frankfurter, Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance (Princeton: University press 1998).
[45] See David Bundy, “Pseudepigrapha in Syriac Literature,” SBL Seminar Papers 1991 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991) 745–65.
[46] On Armenian materials, see especially Michael E. Stone, Studies in the Pseudepigrapha, with Special Reference to the Armenian (SVTP; Leiden: Brill, 1991); idem, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and Armenian Studies: Collected Papers 1–2 (Leuven: Peeters, 2006) and below, n. 65.
[47] A project to microfilm Ethiopic manuscripts was undertaken by the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library (HMML) of St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, in conjunction with Vanderbilt Divinity School and with cooperation from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in 1971 and has continued as circumstances and funding have permitted since then. A brief introduction to the Ethiopian Monastic Manuscript Library (EMML) is available online.
[48] Martin McNamara, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1975); see also his (ed. with Maire Herbert) Irish Biblical Apocrypha: Selected Texts in Translation (Edinburgh: Clark, 1989).
[49] See Frederick M. Biggs et al., “Apocrypha,” in Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture: a Trial Version (ed. Biggs, T. D. Hill and P. E. Szarmach; Binghamton NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1990). A good example of the crossfertilization of some of these developments can be seen in E. Ann Matter, “The ‘Revelatio Esdrae’ in Latin and English Traditions,” Revue Benedictine 92 (1982) 376–92. Other examples may be found in the electronic logs of network discussion groups such as ANSAX-L and MEDTEXTL (listed, with others, at
[7.3] In a nutshell, the situation seems to have been approximately as follows: From about the 4th century onward, classical Greek and Latin Christianity tended to oppose the (public) use of non-canonical religious literature and to identify it closely with heterodoxy. But as the threat of “the old heresies” waned, and as hagiographical traditions became more and more important to orthodoxy, the Greek churches came to accept and rework certain types of pseudepigraphical literature in great quantity. It is possible, as Lebreton once suggested,[50] that orthodox editors actually purified some apocrypha of their heretical connections and sought “beneath gnostic accretions some harmless primitive tradition.” It is not clear where the Greeks obtained the [[70]] pseudepigraphical writings and traditions. My hunch is that many were preserved in Greek by monastics whose concern for personal piety and whose passive disdain for what was felt to be the tainted herd-mentality of urban organized Christianity led them to ignore prohibitions of such material. Chronographic and related “scholarly” interests doubtless played a role as well (see above, n. 43[??]). Apparently many pseudepigrapha were available in such languages as Coptic or Syriac even from the 4th to 9th centuries, and it is not likely that they would have disappeared extensively in Greek. Nor is it impossible that some traditions that had disappeared in written Greek form could be reintroduced from oral sources or from non-Greek literature. Our knowledge of eremetic outlooks, literary practices and contacts with other monastics of various language groupings is extremely poor, especially for the period from the 5th through the 9th centuries. And our knowledge of general developments in non-Latin Christianity in that period is not much better. 

[50] Jules Lebreton and Jacques Zeiller, The History of the Early Church (trans. Ernest C. Messenger; New York: Collier, 1962 [1944–47 original]) 4.90.

[7.4] What influence did the rise and spread of Islam during the 7th through the 9th centuries have on this situation? We know that there were concerted efforts by Muslim leaders and scholars to translate all sorts of Greek and Syriac materials into Arabic, especially in the late 8th and early 9th centuries.[51] This doubtless brought many literate Christians and Jews who knew at least Syriac and perhaps also Greek into closer contact with each other. And Muslims were interested in Jewish and Christian traditions of various sorts, including apocalyptic, as is evident from Islamic literature.
[51] The individual preeminently associated with this effort was the Christian physician Hunayn b. Ishaq (809–874 CE), regarding whom see G. Strohmaier, “Hunayn b. Ishak al-`Ibadi,” Encyclopaedia of Islam2 (1954–2005; vol. 3, 1979) 3.578-81. For a general discussion, see M. Plessner, “Science: The Natural Sciences and Medicine,” The Legacy of Islam (ed. J. Schacht and C. E. Bosworth; 2nd ed.; Oxford: Clarendon: 1974) 425­–60, esp. pp. 430ff
[7.5] Furthermore, reports of the discovery of non-canonical ancient Jewish writings come from this period—including the report of a Nestorian Christian leader (Timotheos, ca. 800) whose informants seem to be in fairly close contact with the Jewish discoverers.[52] The Jewish Karaite movement[53] develops in the late 8th century, with adherents who look with favor on Jesus as a Jewish righteous teacher and who present an elaborate angelology to mediate between God and his creation. Karaite tradition also knows of an influential Jewish messianic movement in this period, and there are a spate of Jewish would-be messiahs in succeeding centuries. Whether apocalyptic [[71]] pseudepigrapha had any role in these phenomena is unknown to me, but the possibility deserves mention. The probable connection between the Karaites, the Cairo geniza materials and the Dead Sea sectaries (or at least their cave-deposited literature) should not be overlooked in this connection. .
[52] O. Braun, “Ein Brief des Katholikos Timotheos I über biblische Studien des 9. Jahrhunderts,” Oriens Christianus 1 (1901) 299–313 (German text and English translation of the letter is also online). In his letter, Timetheos recounts a report (received from some Jewish converts to Christianity) of the recent discovery of a number of biblical and non-biblical manuscripts in a cave near Jericho. These manuscripts were removed to Jerusalem for further study. For more discussion of this find and its possible significance for Qumran, see O. Eissfeldt, “Der gegenwartige Stand der Erforschung der in Palastina neu gefundenen hebraischen Handschriften,” Theologische Litteraturzeitung 74 (1949) 597­–600; R. de Vaux, “A propos des manuscrits de la mer Morte,” Revue biblique 57 (1950) 417–29; A. Paul, Ecrits de Qumran et sectes juives aux premiers siécles de l’islam (Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1969) 94–6.
[53] For the origin and history of the Karaite schism, see S. W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (18 vols.; 2nd ed.; New York and Philadelphia: Columbia University Press and the Jewish Publication Society, 1952-83) 5.209–85; L. Nemoy, et al., “Karaites,” EncJud 10.761–85. Regarding the possible reliance of the Karaites upon non-canonical sources, see H. H. Rowley, The Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: Blackwell, 1952) 22–9, and Y. Erder and H. Ben-Shammai, “The Connection of Karaism with the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Apocryphal Literature,” Cathedra 42 (1987) 53–86 (Hebrew). Some scholars have also assessed the complicated problem of whether traces of the “pseudepigrapha” have survived in the literature of classical Judaism. In addition to the references cited in n. 16 above, see H. Albeck, “Agadot im Lichte der Pseudepigraphen,” MGWJ 83 (1939) 162–69; Y. Dan, “Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Medieval Hebrew Literature,” EncJud 3.186–87; idem, Ha-sippur ha-`ivri beyemey ha-baynayyim (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974) 133–41 (Hebrew); M. Himmelfarb, “R. Moses the Preacher and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,” American Jewish Society Review 9 (1984) 55–78.
[7.6] Whether any significant “millennarian movements” developed in eastern Christianity in the same period, and how they related to Jewish movements, would also be worth knowing for our purposes. The period around the year 1000 seems to have witnessed a rise in apocalyptic expectations in Christian circles,[54] but the detailed story remains to be written. Similarly, the history of contacts between Jews and Christians in this period, and especially with Christians who spoke Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, and perhaps even Old Slavic, also has yet to be written. I suspect it would be extremely enlightening for pseudepigrapha studies. Indeed, it probably cannot be written without careful attention to the topic of “the pseudepigrapha in Christianity.”
[54] H. Focillon, The Year 1000 (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), but see Bernard McGinn, Visions of the End: Apocalyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979) 88, 306 n. 1. For general discussions of medieval millenarianism, see Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium (3rd ed.; New York: OUP, 1970); P. J. Alexander, Religious and Political History and Thought in the Byzantine Empire (London: Variorum, 1978); idem, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). See now the work of the “Center for Millennial Studies” at Boston University ( and such articles as by its founder-director Richard Landes, “Apocalyptic Expectations Around the Year 1000” (1996).

Working Backwards Towards the Origins

[8.1] Methodological rigor requires us to work from what is more or less securely known towards what is unknown or only suspected. In the study of ostensibly Jewish pseudepigrapha, the area of what is unknown dominates. Nevertheless, some controls are available to help chart a path for further investigation. We do possess copies of certifiably Jewish writings that have been transmitted over long periods of time by Christian transcribers.[55] The most obvious examples are the canonical writings. There is extremely little evidence that Christian copyists tampered in a tendentious manner with those works. A couple of problematic passages appear in some manuscripts and/or versions of Psalms and even more rarely elsewhere. The mysterious “Sexta” version of Hab 3.13 is reported to have rendered the Hebrew leshua (“to save”) as διὰ Ἰησοῦν (dia Ihsoun—“through Joshua/Jesus”), which has been taken as evidence that the translator was Christian.[56] Allegedly Christian abbreviations of key terms (e.g., man, heaven, salvation) and key names (esp. Jesus) appear throughout the [[72]] manuscripts, but do not affect the meaning.[57] Occasionally prefixed superscriptions or affixed subscriptions to particular scriptural writings contain clearly Christian comments, but these are just as clearly differentiated by the annotator from the sacred text itself.[58] Various claims have been made to the effect that Christian transcribers have sometimes changed an “OT” text to harmonize with a variant NT quotation of that text, but such allegations are extremely difficult to substantiate.[59] On the whole, the evidence is strong that Christian transcribers were very careful and faithful to the text when they copied Jewish writings that they considered scriptural.[60] To what extent Christian transcribers may consciously have eliminated “Christian” sorts of variants they found in the Jewish scriptural MSS in order to foster scriptural harmony and sanctity can no longer be determined.[61] It is certainly not at all impossible that at a very early period in Christian history, before the issue of scriptural canonization had become such an obsession, characteristically Christian changes were introduced into some Jewish “scriptural” texts, only to prove an embarrassment at a later date, when the Jewish origin and orientation of the Christian “Old Testament” text became a cornerstone of the emerging orthodox faith.[62] But that is uncontrolled conjecture on my part, given the present state of the evidence.
[55] See Kraft, Transmission” (below, Chapter Three). Some recent studies of the Christian transmission of Jewish materials include David T. Runia, Philo in Early Christian Literature: A Survey (CRINT; Assen and Philadelphia: Van Gorcum and Fortress, 1993); James C. VanderKam and William Adler (eds), The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity (CRINT; Assen and Philadelphia: Van Gorcum and Fortress, 1998).
[56] E.g., Swete, Introduction, 56.
[57] On the treatment of such “nomina sacra” in the manuscript traditions, see Ludwig Traube, Nomina Sacra: Versuch einer Geschichte der christlichen Kürzung (Quellen und Untersuchungen zur lateinischen Philologie des Mittelalters 2; Munich: Beck, 1907), and A. H. R. Paap, Nomina Sacra in the Greek Papyri of the First Five Centuries AD: the Sources and some Deductions (Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava 8; Leiden: Brill, 1959). Much more has appeared on this topic subsequently, as a search of the web will show; e.g., Larry W. Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006).
[58] For a few examples, see Chapter Three below, n. 15.
[59] See further below, in Chapter Three, for some examples.
[60] See Kraft, “Transmission” (below, Chapter Three).
[61] As claimed by M. R. James for one Latin recension of 5 Ezra (see below, Chapter Eight); see now also Theodore A. Bergren, Fifth Ezra: The Text, Origin and Early History (SBLSCS 25; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990), and my own article “Towards Assessing the Latin Text of ‘5 Ezra’“ in Christians Among Jews and Gentiles: Essays in Honor of Krister Stendhal on his Sixty-fifth Birthday (ed. G. W. E. Nickelsburg and G. W. MacRae; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986) 158–69 (included below, Chapter Eight).
[62] To the extent that “Jewish” origins could be seen as evidence of both age and authority, Christian copyists might have had a tendency to emphasize “Jewish” features and eliminate what seemed to them to be obvious Christian “corruptions” in certain texts.

[8.2] On the other hand, there is strong evidence that some Christian transcribers sometimes did insert tendentious changes into the (non-canonical) Jewish texts they transmitted. The Josephus tradition is perhaps the best known example with its extremely laudatory testimony about Jesus and the various additions of possibly Christian significance in the Old Slavic version.[63] I am not aware of any similar problems with Philo texts[64] or with the most widely accepted “deutero-canonical” writings. Text-critical problems do exist in all these works, but there is nothing characteristically Christian about the preserved variants. Perhaps more detailed study of the entire textual tradition (including versional evidence) would modify this impression, since modern editors are usually more concerned with establishing the supposedly original form of the text than with identifying late and tendentious variants. But for the moment, the available evidence does [[73]] not suggest that Christian transcribers regularly tended to insert characteristically Christian passages into the Jewish texts they copied. Occasionally a relatively clear instance appears, either as a variant in the textual stream or, as with the Josephus passage about Jesus, as material that seems highly incompatible with its supposed Jewish origins. Although the apocalypse dubbed “4 Ezra” cannot be classified as “certifiably Jewish” on the basis of external criteria alone, its textual transmission offers a good example of what appears to be Christian interpolation in some witnesses. At 4 Ezra 7.28, where the other extant versions refer to “messiah” or to “my son the messiah,” Latin manuscripts have “my son Jesus.” While it is possible that an original “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ/Messiah” reference has been removed by copyists because of its incongruity with the rest of the document, it is more likely that Christian interest caused the insertion of the specific name “Jesus.”[65]

[63] For literature discussing the Testimonium Flavianum (Antiquities 18.63–4), see Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Books XVIII–XIX (LCL; ed. L. H. Feldman; reprinted, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981) 419–21; the “new Schürer,” History 1.428–41; L. H. Feldman, Josephus and Modern Scholarship 1937–1980 (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1984) 679–703; J. P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (3 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1991–2001 – a 4th volume is promised) 1.56–88; S. Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its Implications (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, 1971). Regarding Slavonic Josephus, see the references in “new Schürer,” History 1.60–1; Meier, Marginal Jew 1.71–2 n. 5.
[64] See now the careful study by Runia, Philo (above, n. 55). There is an interesting phenomenon in the Philonic textual tradition in which one family of MSS contains a different text type for the Jewish scriptural quotations, but there is nothing overtly or identifiably “Christian” about the results (despite the conjecture of Katz to this effect)—indeed, Barthelemy argues for a “Jewish” reviser; see Runia 24f for a succinct survey of the relevant literature and arguments, starting with Peter Katz, Philo’s Bible: the Aberrant Text of Bible Quotations in some Philonic Writings and its Place in the Textual History of the Greek Bible (Cambridge: CUP, 1950). See now my essay “Philo’s Bible Revisited: the ‘Aberrant Texts’ and their Quotations of Moses” in Interpreting Translation: Studies on the LXX and Ezekiel in Honour of Johan Lust (ed. F. Garcia Martinez and M. Vervenne with the collaboration of B. Doyle; Louvain: Peeters, 2005) 237–53 [an expanded version with working notes appended is available online].
[65] Compare the Armenian version at Paraleipomena Jeremiou 9.14, and see n. 74 below.

[8.3] The evidence is also clear that Christians sometimes radically revised and reedited texts they transmitted. This can be seen most clearly with certifiably Christian texts, where no question arises as to whether the revisions had already taken place under Jewish auspices. It should be unnecessary to list examples—if the synoptic problem or the western text of Acts do not seem to be immediately relevant, the three recensions of the letters of Ignatius[66] or the modification of Didache for incorporation into the Apostolic Constitutions[67] should suffice to illustrate the point. In fact we needn’t even go that far afield. The Ascension of Isaiah is a patently Christian composition in its preserved form, whatever one thinks about its opening sections which many scholars treat as a separate Jewish document and call the “Martyrdom of Isaiah.” Virtually the same material as is present in the Ascension of Isaiah appears in a reshuffled and equally Christian form in a 12th century Greek text entitled “Prophecy, Apocalypse and Martyrdom of…Isaiah.”[68]

[66] See M. P. Brown, The Authentic Writings of St. Ignatius (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1963); W. R. Schoedel, Ignatius of Antioch: A Commentary on the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985) 3–7.
[67] See R. A. Kraft, Barnabas and the Didache (1965) 58–9 (online).
[68] Ed. O. von Gebhardt, “Die Ascensio Isaiae als Heiligenlegende,” Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie 21 (1878) 330–53; see the updated description by M. A. Knibb in OTP 2.146.
[8.4] Similar types of editorial activity are also demonstrable on the part of Jewish transmitters of Jewish literature. We have received two rather different forms of the biblical book of Jeremiah.[69] Ben Sira is preserved in variant Hebrew forms.[70] My point is that the presence of [[74]] two or more versions of the same basic material in Christian hands does not necessarily mean that the variation originated with the Christians. There are numerous problems of this sort among the pseudepigrapha. Two radically different forms of Testament of Abraham have been preserved.[71] The Adam-Eve literature is found in a seemingly endless variety.[72] Various recensions of the Lives of the Prophets exist.[73] There are shorter and longer forms of Paraleipomena Jeremiou.[74]5th Ezra” appears in two significantly different Latin forms.[75] How do we know who has made the changes and for what reasons? With regard to writings that have been preserved in a relatively less complicated state, how do we know we are not simply victims of circumstance who have inherited only one stage (the latest?) of a rather lengthy development? By and large, the desired control evidence is inconclusive. Other lines of approach, such as careful linguistic analysis in relation to a wide selection of literature from approximately the same period, need to be carefully explored.
[69] A long form (represented by MT) and a shorter form (at Qumran and OG). For discussion, see E. Tov, “The Literary History of the Book of Jeremiah in the Light of its Textual History,” Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism (ed. J. H. Tigay; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985) 211–37; and more recently, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992, 20012) 319–27.
[70] See A. A. Di Lella, The Hebrew Text of Sirach: A Text-Critical and Historical Study (The Hague: Mouton, 1966); P. W. Skehan and A. A. Di Lella, The Wisdom of Ben Sira: A New Translation with Notes (AB 39; New York: Doubleday, 1987) 51–62; Benjamin G. Wright, No Small Difference: Sirach’s Relationship to its Hebrew Parent Text (SBLSCS 26; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989), esp. 1.1.
[71] See Chapter Six, below, and more recently E. P. Sanders, OTP 1.871-873.
[72] See M. D. Johnson, OTP 2.249-51, with reference also to J. L. Sharpe, Prolegomena to the Establishment of the Critical Text of the Greek Apocalypse of Moses (PhD dissertation, Duke University, 1969). Among related texts mentioned by Johnson are Apocalypse of Moses, Life of Adam and Eve, Cave of Treasures, Combat of Adam and Eve, Testament of Adam and Apocalypse of Adam (p. 250). See also D. A. Bertrand, La vie grecque d’Adam et Eve (Paris: A. Maisonneuve, 1987); W. Lowndes Lipscomb, The Armenian Apocryphal Adam Literature (University of Pennsylvania Armenian Texts and Studies 8; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990); M. E. Stone, A History of the Literature of Adam and Eve (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993).
[73] See E. Nestle, Marginalien und Materialien (Tübingen: J. J. Heckenhauer, 1893) 1–83; T. Schermann, Prophetarum vitae fabulosae indices apostolorum discipulorumque Domini Dorotheo, Epiphanio, Hippolyto aliisque vindicate (Leipzig: Teubner, 1907); idem, Propheten-und Apostellegenden nebst Jungerkatalogen des Dorotheus und verwandter Texte (TU 31.3; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1907); C. C. Torrey, The Lives of the Prophets: Greek Text and Translation (JBL Monograph Series 1; Philadelphia: SBL, 1946); D. R. A. Hare, OTP 2.379–84.
[74] The situation is summarized by S. E. Robinson, OTP 2.413–14, under the title “4 Baruch” (!). See also R. A. Kraft and A.-E. Purintun, Paraleipomena Jeremiou (Missoula: SBL, 1972).
[75] See now Bergren, Fifth Ezra (1990).

[8.5] There is another type of control that would be very helpful, but strict methodological considerations make it difficult to isolate. I expect that there were self-consciously Christian authors who wrote new works that focused on Jewish persons or traditions and contained no uniquely Christian passages.[76] Motives for producing this sort of quasi-Jewish literature would vary from the rather innocent homily on the heroic life of a Job or a Joseph to what we might call premeditated forgery for apocalyptic or hagiographical or some other purposes. But unless we have the testimony of some informed and reliable witness to what is taking place, we have only the evidence contained in the writing itself. And if, by definition, the writing contains no uniquely Christian elements, we will be at a loss to identify it as of Christian origin!

[8.6] Of course, we do have witnesses from Christian antiquity who claim to know that some Christians were forging Jewish pseudepigrapha. It is a polemical claim made and repeated from the late second century onward.[77] But as with most polemically conditioned claims, we do well to take it with a large lump of salt. The claim is probably accurate to the extent that heterodox groups made [[75]] use of Jewish, or apparently Jewish, pseudepigrapha. But the accusation that the heterodox were actually writing or compiling such works in an original manner can hardly be accepted at face value from witnesses like Irenaeus, Athanasius and Epiphanius. We only reach a methodological impasse along this avenue of inquiry, although I suspect that the polemicists are at least partly correct! 
[76] See also Sparks, AOT xiv–xv.
[77] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.20.1 (Marcosians); Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.25; Athanasius, Festal Letter 39; Epiphanius, Panarion 39.5.1 (Sethians); 40.2.1 (Archontics).
[8.7] From my perspective, “the Christianity of the Pseudepigrapha” is not the hidden ingredient that needs to be hunted out and exposed in contrast to a supposed native Jewish pre-Christian setting. On the contrary, when the evidence is clear that the material has been preserved only in Christians contexts, the Christianity of it is the given, it is the setting, it is the starting point for delving more deeply into this literature to determine what, if anything, may be safely identified as originally Jewish. And even when the label “originally Jewish” can be attached to some material in the pseudepigrapha, that does not automatically mean pre-Christian Jewish, or even pre-rabbinic Jewish. It might mean post-Jamnian Jewish, rabbinic Jewish or Karaite Jewish, for example; unless one assumes that neither the rabbis nor the Karaites ever reshaped traditions to be more useful for their immediate purposes, it could mean originally Jewish from Islamic times![78]
[78] The possibility of Samaritan Jewish should also be noted. See, for example, Ross S. Kraemer, “Could Aseneth be Samaritan?” A Multiform Heritage: Studies on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Robert A. Kraft (ed. Benjamin G. Wright III; Scholars Press Homage Series 24; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999) 149–65; Davila, Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha (2005), also mentions other possible Jewish-related groups (e.g., “Galileans”) as well as Samaritans.
[8.8] Furthermore, in a Christian setting that is almost obsessed with multiplying examples of God’s righteous athletes who struggled and conquered their demonic opponents in life and even in death, the characteristically Christian elements in a sermon or a narration may be entirely coextensive with possible Jewish interest. In a Christian setting that is self-conscious of its Jewish heritage and thrives on visions and revelations, how can one tell whether the predictions and prescriptions found on the mouth of an Adam or Seth were put there by a Jewish or a Christian author? We need to examine the literature as it has been preserved for us, attempt to recreate the conditions under which it was preserved and transmitted, and then perhaps we will be in a position to identify the sort of “Jewishness” it might represent. For the most part, and with significant exceptions (e.g., at least part of the “1 Enoch” anthology), this has not been the normal approach to the pseudepigrapha in recent decades.[79] I believe that our knowledge of Christian pluralism has suffered from [[76]] this fact, and although our awareness of early Jewish pluralism has profited, this has been at the expense of methodological rigor and may be paying us an inflated dividend.
[79] D. W. Suter, Tradition and Composition in the Parables of Enoch (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1979) 11–33; see also M. de Jonge’s Testaments … a Study (1953) and subsequent related publications. Note also M. R. James’ suggestion (above n. 61) that the more “Jewish” sounding version of 5 Ezra might be due to Christian editorial excision of overtly “Christian” elements!