edited by Robert A. Kraft and George W. E. Nickelsburg

Fortress Press / Scholars Press 1986


[Introduction (pp. 1-30), scanned and proofed by Laura Ng and RAK, March 2006;
this electronic version is made available with the consent of the Society of Biblical Literature (copyright holder) and George W. E. Nickelsburg (primary author), for non-commercial internet use. Any other uses require the express permission of the SBL and the authors. ]







George W. E. Nickelsburg, with Robert A. Kraft




The fact that a volume such as this is included in the SBL Centennial Series on The Bible and Its Modern Interpreters itself sheds light on modern scholarly approaches to biblical literature.  From the perspective of classical Judaism or of the Protestant Christian tradition, this volume does not deal with "biblical" writings at all.  It is, instead, a miscellany of what remains from Jewish sources not covered in the other two volumes -- chronologically, from rougly the close of volume 1 (Hebrew Bible, "OT") to roughly the close of volume 3 ("NT").  It is true that some of the ancient writings discussed in this volume are included in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Bibles ("the apocrypha" in Protestant terminology), but that is not the primary reason why such a volume is appropriate to this series.  Rather, it is because modern study of the biblical literature has insisted on examining the broad context of history and society within which the biblical materials appeared that the subject matter of this volume takes on such interest, both in relationship to the other volumes of the trilogy and as an area of study in and of itself.


Scholars have referred to this ragged-edged period by many names.  From the perspective of the Judaism that developed into classical orthodoxy and is the historical parent of modern varieties of Judaism, this volume deals with "postbiblical," "prerabbinic" Judaism, "between the Bible and the Mishna," or perhaps better (if also less flexible with respect to the biblical canon), "Second Temple Judaism" -- from the rebuilding of the temple in the late sixth century B.C.E. through the two revolts against Rome in 70 and 135 C.E. From a Protestant Christian perspective, this has often been dubbed "intertestamental Judaism," although it clearly extends through the NT period.  German Protestant scholarship even invented the term "late Judaism" to cover this material, apparently with a view to distinguishing between the "early" form of the Judahite religious impetus as found in Ezra and his colleagues, after the demise of "the religion of Israel" and its institutions, and the "later" developments that occurred in the Greco-Roman period -- with clear interest in shedding light on earliest Christianity. [[002]] But if the classical Judaism that emerged out of its Pharisaic-rabbinic roots and survived into the modern period is entitled to the unadorned and commonly accepted designation "Judaism," what preceded it must be described as "early" in terms of historical sequence.  Thus, although "early Judaism" is not a particularly precise term, especially with reference to its beginning point and to its biblical-canonical connections, the term is used here somewhat by default for its simplicity and relative comprehensiveness.  By "early Judaism" we intend to refer to the phenomena collectively designated "Judaism" in the period bounded approximately by Alexander the Great (330 B.C.E.) on the one end and the Roman Emperor Hadrian (138 C.E.) on the other.


     The chronological limits are not unambiguous since, by the very nature of the assignment, they must be correlated with the religious concept of biblical canon.  Although some of the latest writings in the Jewish Bible apparently come from the period of "early Judaism" as defined here, they are covered in volume 1 and have no special place in this volume.  The vagueness of the designation "early Judaism" contrasts sharply with the concreteness of "rabbinic Judaism," which is widely used to refer to the relatively homogeneous Judaism forged by the Pharisees-rabbis subsequent to our period.  Whereas rabbinic Judaism is dominated by an identifiable perspective that holds together many otherwise diverse elements, early Judaism appears to encompass almost unlimited diversity and variety -- indeed, it might be more appropriate to speak of early Judaisms.  Nor should it be surprising that the materials covered in this volume do not neatly cohere but resist organization into a unified package.  They have not, as a unit, been preserved through the ages by any single self-interested community (unlike Jewish and Christian scriptures or rabbinic Jewish literature).  Indeed, the majority of early Jewish writings were preserved by Christians, but not all by the same Christian groups or in the same languages.  A few were preserved also, in one form or another, by rabbinic Judaism.  Others were not transmitted by any surviving community but were recovered from their graves quite accidentally after their users had vanished.  Given this state of affairs, it is not surprising that the remains of early Judaism should be both exciting and frustrating to scholarly researchers, constituting a veritable museum of data that cry out to be analyzed, classified, and, to whatever degree is still possible, understood.




     The intensive modern study of these materials began in the early and middle nineteenth century with the publication of first editions and annotated translations of a number of apocalypses.  This wave of scholarship crested between 1880 and 1928 with the appearance of various editions, translations, and synthesizing handbooks associated with such names as [[003]] R. H. Charles (APOT), Emil Kautzsch (APAT), Emil Schürer, Wilhelm Bousset and Hugo Gressmann, George Foot Moore, and Paul Riessler.  An International Journal of the Apocrypha (at first called Deuterocanonica) was even published from 1905 to 1917.  Although a few significant new works appeared during the Depression and the Second World War, sustained progress in this area of scholarship did not resume until the late 1940s, when it reemerged with new vigor.  This explosion of interest in the history and literatures of early Judaism is one of the most remarkable developments in biblical studies in the past forty years, for it has involved the rebirth and rapid growth of an entire subdiscipline.


   Scholarly activity relating to these materials is now widely evident.  The books of the apocrypha are regularly included in major editions of almost all English translations of the Bible (e.g., JB, NAB, RSV, and NEB).  New translations and collections of the pseudepigrapha are appearing not only in English (OTP, ed.  Charlesworth; AOT, ed.  Sparks) but also in a number of other languages, including German (JSHRZ, ed. Kümmel), French, Dutch, Danish, and Japanese (Chariesworth, 1981:26-29, 239).  New introductory treatments of this literature are also available to scholar and student, clergy and laity (see below).  Monograph series such as AGJU, ALGHJ, SBLSCS, SJLA, SPB, STDJ, SUNT, and SVTP, and new periodicals like RevQ and JSJ have been created to handle the avalanche of studies in the area (see also the appropriate volumes of ANRW).


   Several factors have contributed to this rise of interest in early Judaism and its literatures.  Most important has been the discovery of new data, and the Qumran scrolls understandably have attracted the most attention.  Because the Dead Sea documents provided manuscript evidence from the three centuries surrounding the turn of the era and stemmed from a relatively little known sector of Judaism that seemed to show impressive similarities to early Christianity, they quickly refocused attention on the Jewish religion and culture of the period.  Although the Coptic texts from Nag Hammadi had less immediate relationship to the study of early Judaism, their discovery and publication reinforced the message that scholars were receiving from the Qumran scrolls: Judaism at the turn of the era was a variegated and complex phenomenon, and a close study of it promises rich rewards to the historian.  Alongside these two groups of texts were other newly discovered nonliterary texts that shed light on early Judaism.


   The new textual evidence, moreover, has continued to be supplemented by material evidence from archaeological excavations in Syro-Palestine and elsewhere (see Michael Stone's delightfully written and illustrated survey article in the 1973 Scientific American).  The appearance of new data was accompanied by the popularization of new methods of research, which promised new conclusions even from the sources that had long been known.  As each new approach was applied to the canonical scriptures (e.g., form criticism, new methods of literary analysis [see [[004]] Knight and Tucker: xvi]), it would in turn be applied to the deutero­canonical and other Jewish literatures.  Most recently, analytic methods derived from the social sciences are being applied to the written and material remains of early Judaism.


   Extrinsic factors also contributed to the emergence of the study of early Judaism as a field in its own right.  In the English speaking world, the rise of departments of religious studies in private and state universities has catalyzed new interest in early Judaism, and the study of pre- and non-rabbinic materials has flourished especially in these departments and in university affiliated divinity schools, where the constraints of canon are not a primary determiner of scholarly priorities.  At the same time, the rapid growth and program innovation in scholarly societies such as SBL and SNTS gave new opportunities for organizing sections on such developing areas of research and for exchanging and testing ideas (see Knight and Tucker: xv; Saunders: 58-61).


   Another extrinsic factor that has helped to create new interest in the study of early Judaism and has influenced the shape of the field is the historical fact of the Holocaust.  Reflection on this modern tragedy has led many NT scholars to question early Christian portrayals of Judaism, as well as typically Protestant interpretations of the texts and the anti-Jewish presuppositions that sometimes underlie both the texts and their interpretation.  As a result, there is emerging a new, more empathic view of early Judaism based primarily on Jewish texts.


New Texts, Editions, and Translations


The publication of new texts and editions has been a significant factor in the progress of the study of early Judaism.  The caves of the Judean Desert (see chap. 5) have yielded texts hitherto unknown to us.  In addition, scholars have identified among the scrolls fragments of some texts in their original languages of Hebrew and Aramaic, texts previously known only in translations once or twice removed from the originals, for example, 1 Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the book of Jubilees, and Tobit.  Study of these newly discovered Semitic fragments is proving important for research on ancient texts in a variety of ways.  For the first time, there are controlled criteria for judging the faithfulness and accuracy of primary and secondary versions.  The situation varies from book to book.  Aramaic fragments of a Levi apocryphon indicate that the compositional history of the Greek Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs included the compression and redaction of Semitic sources.  Hebrew fragments of Jubilees seem to indicate that the secondary Ethiopic translation is a relatively faithful representation of the original Semitic.  The Aramaic fragments of the Enoch literature bear witness to a more complex picture of the translation and literary development of that corpus. [[005]]


     In addition to shedding light on the issue of the faithfulness of the translations, comparison of the Semitic fragments with the translations will also reveal techniques and principles of translation (on 1 Enoch, see Barr).  Finally, with reference to 1Enoch and the Testaments, the appearance of the new texts has been directly or indirectly responsible for the publication of new critical editions of the versions (see the following works cited in the appendix: de Jonge, 1964, 1978; Milik; Knibb).


     In addition to the Qumran materials, many new editions of early Jewish texts, both biblical (chap. 9) and nonbiblical (chap. 6) have been published in recent years (see the appendix).  We have already noted above the growing number of new translations that are appearing, some of which are based on textual research that has not yet been published as such.  Equally impressive and potentially of great significance are the many and sometimes voluminous editions of nonliterary texts (chap. 6) and the valuable collection of non-Jewish texts with translations (a new Reinach) edited by Menahem Stern (see also chap. 4).


Introductions, Commentaries, Series, and Bibliographies


     Although the time is not yet ripe for massive new syntheses of the history of early Judaism, new introductions and handbooks provide entrée into the texts and the state of the field.  Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar, and Matthew Black are editing in three volumes an extensively revised form of Emil Schürer's classic study (the "new-Schürer").  A different approach has been taken in the new Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum (CRINT).  Its two-volume first section, The Jewish People in the First Century (1974), documents the history and institutions of Judaism, and its three-volume second section, The Literature of the Jewish People in the Period of the Second Temple and the Talmud (1984-), will provide critical introductions.  As a cooperative effort by Jewish and Christian scholars, this work emphasizes matters of interest to students of both traditions, taking care to clarify aspects of early Judaism that have often been misinterpreted by scholars governed by a Christian agenda.  Albert-Marie Denis has focused on the Greek pseudepigrapha in his useful French introduction (1970).  In English, G. W. E. Nickelsburg's introduction to major works of the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and Qumran scrolls (1981) is directed primarily to students, and John J. Collins has written an introduction to the literature of the Hellenistic Diaspora (1983).


     In our enthusiasm for incorporating recent discoveries and new understandings of previously known materials into the broader picture of early Judaism, we should also note that much solid synthetic work has been done in the recent past by a variety of scholars.  Many of the most influential and useful general treatments published in the past four decades are discussed below in chapters 1 and 2: for example, those by Elias Bickerman, David S. [[006]] Russell, Bo Reicke, Joachim Jeremias, Abraham Schalit, Martin Hengel, Michael Avi-Yonah, and Donald Gowan.  To that impressive group, we add reference to the compact and informative survey by Robert H. Pfeiffer, the foundational works of Ralph Marcus, and the handbook by W. Foerster.


     Commentaries on early Jewish literature are also beginning to appear with some regularity.  A number of commentaries on the major Qumran scrolls were published in the 1950s and 1960s in several languages (chap. 5).  The Anchor Bible (AB) promises a full complement on the apocrypha.  Commentaries on the pseudepigrapha are being published in the series Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha (SVTP), and several volumes on the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and scrolls are announced for the series Hermeneia.


     The prolific scholarly activity in this field is attested also by the creation of new monograph series and periodicals noted earlier in this essay.  A number of special bibliographical publications have arisen to monitor these developments, in addition to the standard bibliographical periodicals Elenchus bibliographicus biblicus, Old Testament Abstracts (which also covers the apocrypha), and New Testament Abstracts (which documents other material on Judaism relevant to the NT and early Christianity).  For convenience, special bibliographical tools are listed together in the appendix.


New Approaches, Methodological Self-consciousness


     In recent decades, students of the biblical and related materials have become especially self-conscious about the approaches they use in the literary, archaeological, and historical aspects of their discipline (Kraft, 1976; Kraabel; Smith, 1983).  It no longer suffices to assert what is meant by a passage or what happened in antiquity without attending closely to the tools and methods used to arrive at such conclusions.  This methodological awareness has been accompanied by a radical revolution in the formal "methods" adopted by such scholars.


       New approaches to literary analysis have led the way.  In the decades following the publication of the editions of the rypha and pseudepigapha by Kautzsch (1900) and Charles (1913), form criticism began to overshadow source criticism as the scholar's primary tool for the analysis of texts.  This method, along with new approaches to the history of tradition, has left indelible marks on the analysis of all texts.  This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the study of rabbinic materials (chap. 17).  The severe problems involved in using rabbinic literature as a window through which to view Judaism at the turn of the era are magnified by the newer approaches.  As a result, the position of the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and the Qumran scrolls as the primary literary witnesses to this period has become all the more central. [[007]]


     Within a decade after the publication of the first Qumran scrolls, students of biblical and related materials began to employ redaction criticism, which shifted the focus from the study of particular traditions contained in a text to an analysis of the whole text in its preserved, edited form.  The methodological situation has continued to change.  Redaction criticism has been overshadowed more recently by types of literary criticism drawn from nonhistorical disciplines, which interpret whole texts apart from the question of their sources and literary seams and without a central concern for their "theology." Thus, in a relatively short period of time, the literary interests of some scholars have turned from dissecting texts to discover their sources to the study of texts as coherent, independent wholes.  An early example of such an approach is Earl Breech's article on Ezra (1973).  His holistic analysis was especially significant because he was attacking the time-honored source criticism that had traditionally dominated the study of the early Jewish apocalypses.


     That the ancient documents need to be treated as literary wholes, at least in their preserved edited forms, is becoming axiomatic among scholars, although the methods for determining what constitutes the appropriate entity vary with the documents and their interpreters (see Kraft, 1976).  Strictly speaking, one could start with the actual manuscripts that have been preserved and ask how their actual users viewed the texts they contain.  For many early Jewish texts, this approach might shed considerable light on the Christian perspectives of those who perserved the texts.  When text-critical analysis has used the actual manuscripts to recreate the earliest recoverable form of a text, the scholar can investigate that "whole" as well and can attempt to determine the broader situation in which it functioned.  By various other means, even earlier recensions and ancestors of a given text may be uncovered, each of which deserves to be viewed as a whole in its own world.  In the hands of some interpreters, then, "holistic" analysis may not differ essentially from old-style source criticism, depending on the developmental stage identified as the "whole." Indeed, emphasis on the literary unity of the ancient texts has not precluded an interest in the smaller units within the texts or in literary aspects of those units.  The older method of form criticism continues to be a useful tool and, together with a more recent emphasis on rhetorical analysis, can be highly suggestive for exploring an author's purpose and an author's literary and cultural heritage.


     A combination of form analysis and the more recent approaches has proved especially fruitful in the study of the apocalypses.  Focus on the literary genre apocalypse has produced awareness of aspects of the contents of these works long ignored and raises significant questions regarding the human context in which the documents developed.  The study of genre also helps to clarify the development of the popular testamentary form and raises interesting questions about evident hybrid forms, like the Testament [[008]] of Moses, which is at once "biblical paraphrase," testament, and apocalypse (chap. 11a). Holistic literary analysis works from these insights to facilitate a better understanding of complex works like 2 Baruch (Sayler) and helps to explain how a text such as the Testament of Moses could have been composed initially during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and yet testify to conditions under Herod the Great (chap.  11b).  Appropriately, though surprisingly "late in the game," scholars are also beginning to study the early Jewish narrative texts in a similar manner, although firm conclusions about the genres of these texts may still be a long way in the future (chap. 12).  Although students of early Jewish literature have been using approaches that are at home in structuralist analysis and the "new criticism," in general the historical-critical training of these scholars has deterred them from a "purely" literary analysis of texts that would ignore their historical settings.


Another recent interdisciplinary influence on biblical studies has been the use of methods and models drawn from the social sciences, notably from sociology and social anthropology.  These concerns are not new to the study of early Judaism.  Social history has long been an aspect of the historiography of this period (chap. 1), and the form-critical concern with Sitz im Leben (setting in life) is fundamentally sociological.  Nonetheless, a new interest in these matters is widely evident, especially in the self-conscious use of extradisciplinary methods and models.  Concern with social analysis appears in some of the recent work on apocalypticism (on the study of Palestinian apocalyptic, see Nickelsburg, 1983).  One section of the 1979 International Colloquium on Apocalypticism was entitled "The Sociology of Apocalypticism and the 'Sitz im Leben' of Apocalypses" (Hellholm: 641-768).  Concern about the roots of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism has stimulated investigation of Christian and non-Christian attitudes toward the Jews in antiquity (chap. 4).  The roles of women in early Jewish society have also begun to attract more attention, although much less so than in the scholarship on the canonical scriptures (for a bibliographical treatment, see Kraemer).


The use of approaches developed largely in other disciplines presents its own set of problems.  One must be cautious about taking over models developed from empirically repeatable data and employing them in the study of an ancient time and culture for which such data is not available.  Nonetheless, the careful use of these methods and models as heuristic tools can provide a whole new dimension to a discipline often dominated by theological or even philological interests.


Methodological and technological innovations have revolutionized the science of "biblical archaeology" (Dever).  The material remains of Mediterranean and Near Eastern antiquity have significance that extends far beyond their relationship to the study of biblical texts and events, and as the archaeologists have moved beyond a preoccupation with "biblical [[009]] archaeology" they have begun to ask radically different questions of the materials they uncover.  The archaeological results must ultimately be coordinated with the findings of scholars who focus more on textual data and with the insights drawn from interests in social history, but the time does not yet seem ripe for this grand synthesis.


     A final example of major methodological refinement and advancement is in the area of Hebrew and Aramaic paleography.  The discovery of voluminous manuscript remains in the caves of the Judean Desert, in archaeologicaily controllable contexts, has provided important new data to help fill extensive gaps in the paleographical sequences.  This in turn helps to create new controls for editing, dating, and interpreting ancient texts and thus indirectly supplies new data for reconstructions of the history of the period.





     The discovery and publication of new data and the intensive study of old and new materials, partly on the basis of new approaches, are contributing to a drastically revised picture of early Judaism.  The fullness of that picture, with all its details and hues, is not yet in clear focus.  Research on the various parts has not yet advanced sufficiently to encourage preparation of a comprehensive synthetic social, political, or religious history of early Judaism.  Nonetheless, some aspects of the old syntheses remain valid and new research is producing fresh details from which a new picture, or a more representative collage, will ultimately emerge (see Stone; Kraft, 1975, 1976; Smith).


What Constitutes Evidence?

      The developing new picture of early Judaism rests on a different perception of what data can legitimately be used as evidence for its history.  New materials provide evidence that is, as a whole, richer and more variegated than what previously was available.  Some older data are no longer considered to be valid evidence for the period, or at least their validity is seriously questioned.


The new evidence includes, first of all, a mass of literary texts, non­literary materials, and inscriptions (chaps. 5-8).  Second, archaeological finds have been especially rich in the recent decades (chap. 7).  The number of excavations yielding evidence for Judaism of the Greco-Roman period is in itself noteworthy.  In addition to those treated in chapter 7 are the excavations at such Hellenistic sites as Beth Zur, Gibeah, and Araq el-Emir, Nabatean sites in Tannur and Petra, Samaritan sites at Shechem and Mount Gerizim, and other significant sites such as Qumran, the caves of the Judean Desert, and the Wadi ed-Daliyeh (see chaps. 5-6).  The list [[010]] could be extended.  The more sensational aspects of archaeological discovery should not overshadow the important subdiscipline of numismatics (chap. 8).  Large numbers of new coins have been found, and there have been significant changes in the interpretation of the evidence.


The information drawn from nonliterary texts, inscriptions, and archaeological projects promises to enrich and balance our picture of early Judaism.  We are much more in touch with the realia of Jewish life in Palestine and the Diaspora and with the domestic, social, economic, and legal factors of that life.  From material remains we can see more clearly where Jews lived and traded and met to worship.  And new models of social description and analysis may enable scholars to extract further valuable information from these data.  Although much remains to be done, it is a mark of the growth of the field that some of the evidence is already finding its way into the handbooks, e.g., the new Schürer, the volumes of CRINT, and especially Martin Hengel's Judaism and Hellenism.


Other aspects of the previously accepted data have become less significant for historical reconstruction or have come under suspicion.  As indicated above, the rabbinic texts are of much less use as testimonies to the life and religious orientation of the early period.  Moreover, some of the classical texts of the pseudepigrapha have come under suspicion.  No longer can it be assumed that any given passage in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs offers certain evidence of Jewish thought in Hellenistic or Roman times (chap. 11b).  The Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37-71) also have come under suspicion, if not with regard to their Jewish origin, at least with regard to their traditional dating in the Herodian period (see chap. 5; Suter).  In addition, we have learned to be very suspicious of tendentious statements about the Jews, notably the Pharisees, whether in the NT or in Jewish sources such as Josephus (see chap. 13).


A New Point of View   

     A central constitutive factor in the new scholarship on early Judaism has been a radical change in the point of view of the scholars themselves.  During the century between the early 1800s and the Second World War, the study of these texts was largely in the hands of Christian scholars.  It was rare to find a person who did not approach the texts with Christian presuppositions and prejudices.  Consequently, a portrayal of Judaism emerged that was characterized by stereotypes that appeared in NT polemics, were developed further in patristic interpretations, and came to fruition in Reformation law/gospel theology.  The details of this anti-Jewish interpretation of Judaism have been convincingly documented by G. F. Moore (1921), Charlotte Klein, and E. P. Sanders (33-59).  According to this view, postexilic Judaism as a whole was a sterile mutant of the earlier, vital prophetic religion.  The rabbis were legalistic nitpickers concerned [[011]] with the form rather than the essence of religion.  The Pharisees were self-righteous hypocrites.  Christianity, on the other hand, was the true blossoming of the faith of Israel, based on events that were the fulfillment of ancient prophecy.  Thus, Judaism in the Greco-Roman period could be called Spätjudentum ("late Judaism"); with the rise of Christianity, Judaism that did not accept the messianic status of Jesus had come to a dead end with respect to religious significance.


     Since the end of World War II the situation has changed drastically.  Hitler's Holocaust provides a grim reminder of the social and political anti-Judaism that is, in part, a function of the theological anti-Judaism already evidenced in the NT literature.  Partly as a consequence of this reminder, Gentile interpreters of early Judaism have worked more empathically and inductively from the Jewish sources, attempting to be conscious of the anti-Jewish hermeneutic in their intellectual heritage.  The result has been the beginning of a more balanced and historically responsible interpretation of early Judaism.  Moreover, in another change from the prewar situation, Jewish scholars have shown new interest in the nonrabbinic literary sources of postbiblical Judaism.  Their scholarly activity has tended to concentrate on the history of the period (e.g., Bickerman, Lieberman, Marcus) or on the Qumran scrolls, but they have made important contributions also to the literary and historical interpretation of the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha.  The prewar study of early Judaism was marked not only by Christian stereotypes and schematizations but also by a variety of other oversimplifications, many of which were functions of the philosophical (primarily Hegelian) presuppositions that governed much of nineteenth-century continental historiography and theology.  A fresh study of the sources has revealed that culturally, socially, and theologically, early Judaism was a complex and variegated phenomenon.  In the sections that follow, aspects of this variety and complexity will be outlined.


Judaism and Its Environment


One of the most damaging oversimplifications of earlier scholarship has been the dichotomy drawn between "Palestinian" and "Hellenistic" Judaism (chap. 2).  According to this scheme, Palestinian Judaism was free of the "pagan" (often philosophical) influences that had transformed Greek Diaspora Judaism for the worse.  One of the foundations of this division was linguistic: Palestinian Judaism spoke and wrote in Aramaic or Hebrew; Hellenistic Judaism in Greek.  Closer investigation of the older data (e.g., Lieberman), combined with new information and approaches, has called for a reorientation of attitudes.  It is now clear that even as an independent Maccabean/Hasmonean kingdom, Jewish Palestine is best viewed as part of the larger "hellenized" world, whether its representatives were speaking and writing in Greek or in a Semitic dialect (Aramaic or Hebrew).  That [[012]] there were different Jewish responses to that world is also clear, but they are not defined primarily along linguistic or geographical lines.  To state the issue more generally, the relation of Jews and Judaism to the Hellenistic environment was similar to that of other identifiable "subcultures" (e.g., in Egypt or Syria) and is treated most satisfactorily by accepting Hellenism as the norm against which to judge similarities and differences, rather than by positing some "pure" form of (Palestinian) Judaism as the norm.  Hellenization, whether in Palestine or in the Diaspora, was a complex and variegated phenomenon that involved the syncretistic use of Greek myth, philosophy, literary forms, historiography, iconography, ideals of kingship, and the like.


The Languages of the Jews


Continued study of the languages of the Jews has been an important feature of the field in the past few decades.  Although we have not been able to include a separate article on the subject in this volume, a few summary comments are appropriate here, in addition to the observations in chap. 7. The new manuscript discoveries and fresh nonliterary and inscriptional materials provide a wealth of new data of great value to philologians, linguistic historians, and exegetes.  A survey of the linguistic data from Palestine is provided by Joseph A. Fitzmyer (1970; see also H. B. Rosen), who cites Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin evidence.


The Qumran texts offer fresh data on the history of the Hebrew language.  Not only do they supply a missing link between the Hebrew of the late biblical books and the language of the Mishna; they also show irrefutably that Hebrew was alive and functional in Palestine around the turn of the era, at least in some literate circles.  Of equal significance are the Aramaic texts from Qumran and the other caves of the Judean Desert.  Joseph A. Fitzmyer and Daniel J. Harrington (1978) have gathered these and other nonliterary and inscriptional materials, together with translations, into a sizable manual of Palestinian Aramaic texts from the last two centuries B.C.E. and the first two centuries C.E.   Some of the implications of the new data for the history of the Aramaic language have been developed by E. Y. Kutscher, Fitzmyer (1971), and Jonas C. Greenfield (on Hebrew and Aramaic see also Naveh and Greenfield), and a comprehensive Aramaic lexicon project involving Fitzmyer, D. R. Hillers, and S. A. Kaufman has recently been announced (1985).  These materials provide a broader base for the continued study of two large bodies of early Jewish literature: Greek Jewish texts that were supposedly composed in Aramaic, including the sayings of Jesus and similar early Semitic-Christian traditions, and the language of the major Targums, the antiquity and provenance of which are now being vigorously debated.


The use of Greek even among Jews in Palestine is well attested by the discoveries in the Judean Desert (chaps. 5-6), although it is less clear [[013]] whether such Jews were predominantly multilingual and also knew Aramaic and/or Hebrew, or whether Greek was the primary or only language of large numbers of Jews in Palestine.  Similarly, little work has been done on the question of the use of Semitic in non-Palestinian Hellenistic areas (e.g., Alexandria, Antioch) and less still on the possible Jewish use of other non-Semitic languages such as Latin and Coptic (see chap. 7 for evidence from Jewish inscriptions).


Who Is a Jew?  Parties, Sects, and Social Structure

     The division of early Judaism into parties and sects is a traditional topic in all of the older histories of the period (chap. 2).  The customary schematization follows the description of Josephus, who claims that there were four Palestinian groups: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and the "Fourth Philosophy." He also mentions Samaritans as vacillating about their connections to Judaism.  Other ancient sources refer as well to other "Jewish" groups (Therapeutae, Nazoreans, Hemerobaptists, Menistae, Genistae, etc.; see Simon), and some modern scholarship has created "Hellenistic Jews" as a group represented especially by Philo.  The extent to which the named groups may have been influential outside of Palestine has not yet received extensive discussion.


What do such groups have in common?  What makes them "Jewish" -- or in the case of Samaritans, ambivalently Jewish?  Whether ancient authors such as Josephus ever thought of these questions in just such terms is doubtful.  Probably then, as now, a major consideration was how a person or group identified itself, a factor alluded to by Josephus in his treatment of the Samaritans.  When Josephus casts doubt on the Jewishness of Herod the Great or of Philo's nephew Tiberius Alexander, how should we treat that information?  When Paul refers vociferously to his Jewish credentials, should we listen?  When a "magical" text claims to be by and for "Hebrews," what conclusions are to be drawn?  How widely should the modern scholar's net be spread in attempting to bring together appropriate evidence for early Judaism in all of its multiplicity?  The problems and pitfalls of these definitional issues continue to haunt the study of early Judaism and call for detailed discussion at the general as well as the specific level.  An excellent example of the importance is issue is the relative difference it makes whether Paul is to be treated as a first century (Pharisaic!) "Jewish" representative or not.  Few students of early Judaism have faced such issues squarely (see further Kraft, 1975:188-99).


     At the level of Josephus's four Jewish sects, progress is being made.  The discovery of the Qumran scrolls (chap. 5) and recent work on the rabbinic texts have helped in challenging the rigid manner in which this schematization has often been applied (chap. 2).  If the scrolls derived from an Essene community, as most scholars hold, they attest that the Essenes [[014]] were not a monolithic sect or religious movement. (If they are not from Essenes, Josephus's list is itself flawed.) These writings show theological development over a period of time and reveal not only similarities to Josephus's descriptions of Essenes but also significant differences.  Comparison of the scrolls with various pseudepigrapha results in the same ambiguity.  Although there are close parallels between some of the scrolls and certain of the pseudepigrapha, none of the latter is indisputably a product of the community that wrote any one of the sectarian documents unique to the Qumran caves (excluding the Damascus Document).  With regard to the Pharisees, prolific modern discussion leaves unanswered many questions about this group, their history and practice, and the validity of the sources that refer to them (chap. 2).  Thus, for two of Josephus's four groups, the situation seems far more complex than earlier scholarship recognized, and the evidence suggests that other groups, or significant variations of those mentioned, also existed.


   Similarly complicated is discussion of the Hasidim mentioned in 1 and 2 Maccabees.  At least since Otto Plöger (7-9, 17, 23-24), it has been common to describe the Hasidim as the apocalyptic bearers of the prophetic tradition, and many commentators on the scrolls have posited close ties between the Essene authors of the scrolls and the Hasidim.  However, more recent studies have argued that we actually know very little about a specific "Hasidim" party, its history, its beliefs, and its relationship to the Pharisees and the Essenes of Qumran (Nickelsburg, 1983:647-48).


     In short, the discovery of the scrolls has forced us to revise drastically our religious and social map of early Judaism in Palestine.  That there were more than four Jewish religious groups in Palestine is neither a new nor a surprising observation.  From the scrolls we now know relatively more about the Essenes, or a certain Essene subgroup or sister group.  About the others and the interrelationships among all of them we know much less than we once thought.


     A discussion of the sects and groups of early Judaism must mention also the Samaritans (chap. 3).  Although it is debated whether they should be considered an offshoot of Judaism, they also were heirs of the Israelite religious tradition in Greco-Roman Palestine.  Here again, archaeological excavation and renewed study of the literary and inscriptional materials have led scholars to revise old theories and to move toward some new consensuses.


     Many question marks remain in the recent discussions of social structures in early Judaism (chap. 1).  The role of women at various times and places is beginning to receive close attention, but research is primarily at the data-gathering stage; and it is difficult to anticipate what adjustments to the existing conventional (male) wisdom -- or to treatments of Jewish women in the context of early Christianity (e.g., Fiorenza) -- will be necessitated (see Brooten; Kraemer). Another topic about which earlier studies [[015]] asserted firm conclusions, the relationship between the rabbis and the "people of the land" (`ammê hā'āreş), also is deservedly receiving closer examination.  Many studies by NT students notwithstanding, it is questionable whether we should even talk about formal rabbis prior to the close of the first revolt in the first century C.E., and it is uncertain what entity or "office" (if any) in the early period corresponded to that of the later rabbis.


Jewish Literature


Literary texts are the major source for our knowledge of early Judaism.  The appearance of new texts, editions, and tools has generated new discussions of this literature.  These discussions are characterized by two major factors.  The texts are being interpreted not simply as containers of ideas but as literature with generic shape and purpose.  Where possible, the attempt is being made to place this literature in its historical context.  In both instances, however, much uncertainty and ambiguity remain.


An interest in form and genre has been central to the discussion.  This is partly due to the use of new literary-critical tools, but it is also related to the nature of the new evidence.  First, new genres have been uncovered such as the Qumran commentaries (pĕšārîm) on scripture (chap. 10), which prompt new questions about diversity in early Jewish interpretations of scripture.  Second, we have new parallels to known genres.  The Genesis Apocryphon and the fragments of the Enochic Book of the Giants not only shed new light on the history of specific traditions but may also provide new evidence of a literary genre that interprets scripture by paraphrasing it (see also Jubilees, Pseudo-Philo Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum).  But there is a danger here.  Scholars must avoid begging the question concerning whether such paraphrases are consciously based on materials considered scriptural at that time, or whether these sources may independently attest the same traditions that became embodied also in the biblical texts.  Finally, the expanded corpus includes evolved examples of literary forms found in the Bible.  In content, structure, and prosody, if not in genre, the Qumran Hymns and noncanonical psalms look very different from their canonical counterparts (see chap. 16).


Tentativeness tends to characterize most scholarship on early Judaism with regard to the precise background and origins of particular writings contained in the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, largely because of methodological caution or as a result of uncertainty about the religious map of early Judaism (see above and Nickelsburg, 1973:7).  For example, works once identified confidently with the Pharisees are no longer so labeled, and even Essene affinities are treated relatively cautiously.  Also with regard to more general issues concerning the social setting and function of these writings, firm conclusions appear less frequently in the literature, except perhaps with reference to the antagonists envisioned in a particular [[016]] writing.  Such questions are not deemed invalid, but the answers are seen as more difficult.


Religion and Religious Thought


      New perspectives on the culture, social structure, and literature of early Judaism have led to a new understanding of some early Jewish religious expressions and their conceptual frameworks (e.g., Qumran and Pauline apocalypticism).  Essential to the discussion has been the recognition that theological conceptions are not disembodied entities, but that they arise, develop, and change in response to constantly changing historical circumstances.  It is crucial that the study of early Jewish religious thought acknowledges historical change and complexity and admits the uncertainty and ambiguity that result from the gaps in our knowledge of that history.


The Bible and Scriptural Interpretation

     It is not particularly useful to speak of a Jewish Bible in this period without asking: Whose Bible?  The question touches on a number of issues. (1) Textual: As the biblical scrolls from Qumran indicate, the Hebrew text of the biblical books was in flux at this time. (2) The language of the Bible: Some Greek speaking Jews ascribed authority to the Greek translations) of the Semitic texts, and here, too, there were a variety of textual traditions (chap. 9).  Concerning the use, function, and authority of Aramaic targums in this period we are, at present, ill informed. (3) Canonical consciousness: At what point and under what circumstances did Jews in our period come to consider certain writings to have special authority, beyond that of other writings?  Did those who perpetuated the apocalyptic materials have the same attitude to the authority of fixed biblical texts as did Philo? (4) Extent of the canon: Which writings were accorded what authority by whom and when?  Did Jews in the Greek Diaspora have different canonical lists from what was common in Palestine (on these problems, see Sundberg)?  Although we cannot discuss these issues in detail here, their importance for a satisfactory understanding of early Judaism is crucial.


            The heart of the Jewish Bible was the Torah, the five books of Moses.  Classical Judaism's concern with the law (tôrâ) contained in Moses' Torah, its interpretation and observance, has often led Christian theologians and historians of Judaism to describe early Judaism as legalistic.  Recent studies by Christian scholars have contradicted this view.  K. Baltzer showed that already in the scriptures tôrâ was associated with the recitation of the exodus event.  E. P. Sanders has also stressed the covenantal context of tôrâ, even if he has inappropriately universalized the pattern of "covenantal nomism" (see below).  Earlier studies drew their evidence from rabbinic texts whose concern was primarily to expound the content of tôrâ in a given [[017]] situation.  The texts of the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and Qumran scrolls provide narrative, liturgical, and exhortative contexts that help to reveal the motivation and dynamics for tôrâ observance in various early Jewish settings.


Early Jewish biblical interpretation is a broad topic worthy of numerous volumes yet to be written.  Here we will mention only four issues.


1.     Jews in our period used a variety of genres to transmit and interpret their scriptures.  They translated scriptures more or less faithfully into Greek and Aramaic, and perhaps other languages.  They produced pĕšārîm and other types of commentary, in which portions of scripture are explicitly quoted and then interpreted.  They collected specific scriptural texts and organized them as "testimonies" to elucidate particular interests.  They paraphrased scripture or expanded it for specific purposes (e.g., Philo on Moses).


2.     Nevertheless, it is not clear whether every apparent parallel to scriptural material in early Judaism should be interpreted as a self-conscious use of scripture in the senses listed above.  Apart from formulaic references to scripture, when is it legitimate to identify a text as an intentional interpretation of scripture?  Was the book of Daniel considered canonical when the interpolations and additions preserved in the Greek versions were inserted?  Are the earliest narrative strata in 1 Enoch 6-11 simply interpretations and expansions of a biblical text (Gen 6:1-4), or do they reflect very early traditions that have been abbreviated in Genesis?  How do the sapiential materials in the Wisdom of Joshua ben Sira relate to those in Proverbs, and was Proverbs accepted by ben Sira and his predecessors as scripture?  It would be unfortunate if, in our desire to know more about biblical interpretation, we neglected the possiblity that some of our sources may preserve pre- or nonscriptural formulations of certain scriptural traditions.


3.     Variety of interpretation of the same scriptural passages is especially apparent in the interpretation of Torah.  As the Qumran scrolls demonstrate in a number of ways, Essenic legal interpretations varied from later rabbinic, just as in rabbinic literature, Pharisaic interpretations sometimes vary from Sadducean or even among themselves.  Pseudepigrapha such as Jubilees and 1 Enoch indicate further variety in early Jewish interpretations of Torah.  Interpretations of the nonlegal parts of scripture also varied.  An important aspect of research in this field has been to trace the historical events and conditions that gave rise to this manifold interpretation of scripture.


4.     In some instances an interpretation of scripture is offered as one interesting possibility, whereas elsewhere an interpretation may be presented as authoritative.  The laws in Jubilees are said to be the authoritative exposition of laws recorded in scripture.  The Testament of Moses finds the revealed fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28-32 in the events of the author's [[018]] own time.  The Qumran pĕšārîm espouse a similar viewpoint.  This assertion of revealed authority relates to the topic of our next section.





     The most prolific and intensive area in the renewed study of early Judaism has been the reexamination of the phenomenon of apocalypticism (chap. 14).  Both in its debt to new sources and its use of new methods, this activity often represents a microcosm of the field as a whole.


     Social scientific models have called attention to the socio-historical contexts that gave rise to apocalyptic movements.  Literary-critical methods have suggested and facilitated the analysis of the genre apocalypse, and have provided tools for the holistic study of the extensive and complex major apocalypses.  Scholars are less concerned with compiling lists of theological themes in a given document and more interested in the literary indicators of emphasis, setting, and purpose.  These indicators have shown many of the texts to be more complex than earlier scholarship had recognized.  Apocalypticism, far from being preoccupied with eschatology, was encyclopedic in its interests and represented a fusion of elements that were at home also in prophetic and sapiential contexts.  Paleographic analysis of the Qumran Enoch fragments and literary considerations point to the third century B.C.E. and earlier for the composition of substantial parts of 1 Enoch.  Judaism at this time was a broader and more diverse religious phenomenon than the contents of the Hebrew canon and the rabbinic writings have suggested (Stone, 1978).


     Central to the apocalyptic phenomenon is a claim of revelation, whether of the future or of the heavenly world or both.  This imbues the apocalyptic literature with an authority parallel to that of scripture.  The Enochic corpus, for example, appears to be modeled, in part, on the book of Deuteronomy, but it claims more ancient origin.  The appeal to revelation plays an important role in some of the scriptural interpretation referred to in the previous section.  The teachings about the solar calendar contained in the Enoch corpus were revealed by an angel during a celestial journey.  The author of Jubilees cites the heavenly tablets as the source of his halakah.  The Qumran group believed that its interpretations of the Torah and its teacher's understanding of prophecy were revealed by God.  In such instances, differences in interpretation and disputes about law are raised to the level of absolute truth and falsehood and have as their consequences salvation and damnation.  We see at work here one of the essential characteristics by which sectarian division can be identified.





     Eschatology has always been recognized as an important component in early Jewish religious thought, though its importance has been [[019]] emphasized more by Christian than by Jewish scholars.  Contemporary study, fed primarily by the discovery of new texts, has stressed the wide diversity in Jewish eschatology.


Messianism is a prime example.  As the Qumran texts show, all Jews did not hold to the same expectation regarding a Messiah.  Indeed, the term does not permeate the Jewish eschatological literature.  Some Jews awaited a Davidic ruler, but for others a future anointed priest was central.  Other expectations included an eschatological prophet, and a heavenly deliverer identified with Michael or Melchizedek or seen as a combination of the Danielic son of man, the anointed one, and the servant of Lord described in Second Isaiah.  For still other Jews, God would be the eschatological deliverer.


Diversity also characterized Jewish speculations about the afterlife (Nickelsburg, 1972; Cavallin).  The popular scholarly distinction between the Hebraic belief in a resurrection of the body and the Greek idea of the immortality of the soul is not substantiated by careful analvsis of the primary sources.  Early Jewish texts testify to a variety of beliefs including resurrection of the body, immortality of the soul, resurrection of the spirit, assumption to heaven immediately after death, and participation in the blessings of eternal life here and now.



Sanctuaries and Priesthood


     It is an explicit teaching in much of the Hebrew scriptures that there is only one true temple, in Jerusalem.  Critical and questioning attitudes about that Temple are, however, widely evident in the NT, in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ "cleansing" of the Temple, in the Stephen episode of Acts, in Pauline and deutero-Pauline spiritualizing of Temple language, and perhaps in the idea of the heavenly temple set forth in the Epistle to the Hebrews.  The recent study of Judaism has shown, however, that the centrality and indispensability of the Jerusalem Temple were not axiomatic for all Jews, nor were the spiritualizing of the Temple and the idea of a heavenly temple Christian innovations.


Jewish temples were built in Egypt (Elephantine, Leontopolis) and at Araq el-Emir (Tyros) in Transjordan.  Sacred status continued to be accorded to the area around Dan long after Jeroboam's sanctuary was destroyed.  The Samaritans had their temple at Gerizim and their critique of the Jerusalem cult.  The Qumranites and probably others before them criticized the Jerusalem Temple and priesthood.  They spoke of their community as a temple with cultic functions and used liturgies that integrated their worship with that of the angelic choruses in the heavenly temple.





     It used to be axiomatic that early Jewish religion was anti-iconic.  The discovery of the Dura Europos synagogue seriously challenged that [[020]] viewpoint.  The large murals depicting scenes from biblical events showed that at least some Jews around 245 C.E. could make such representations without compunction.  Mosaic decorations in Palestinian synagogues of a later period indicate not only a lively iconographic tradition but also syncretistic influence.  How far back these traditions can be traced and exactly how they fit with attitudes about the commandment prohibiting images remain open questions.  But in any event, new evidence has overthrown an old stereotype (chap. 7).


Diversity and the Problem of Definition

     Historians have often sought principles by which to systematize and synthesize what they thought to be the essence of Judaism.  Writers such as Charles (APOT: xi; 1913) and Bousset and Gressmann made heavy use of the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha and emphasized eschatolology, the aspect of Judaism that became so important for the early church.  Moreover, like Schürer before them, they criticized rabbinic Judaism as a sterile and legalistic perversion of preexilic prophetic religion.  In reaction to this view, Moore maintained that rabbinic Judaism was "normative," and he relegated the apocalyptists to the fringe of hisdiscussion (1927: 2.126-27). Most recently, E. P. Sanders has attempted asynthesis of both corpora of literature, arguing that the authors of the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha (except 4 Ezra), and the Qumran scrolls, as well as the rabbis, espoused religious viewpoint of "covenantal nomism."


     The study of Judaism in the past three decades has created serious difficulties for any attempt to distill an essence of early Judaism, normative or otherwise.  In a multitude of ways we have come to find a previously unsuspected religious, cultural, and social diversity among the Jewish people of the Greco-Roman period.  Judaism during this period was dynamic rather than static, pluralistic rather than homogeneous.  It was transitional between what went before in the Persian period and what would follow with the rabbis, and was itself in transition, often in different ways at different times and places.  Surely there were norms and boundaries, but they differed from time to time and place to place and among groups that were contemporaneous and contiguous.


Because Sanders's is the most recent synthesis and one that is often cited, it is appropriate to consider it briefly in the light of the issues discussed in this essay.  Clearly Sanders is justified in criticizing the interpretation that early Judaism was legalistic and, given the history of research, his critique is salutary.  Nonetheless, like all harmonizing approaches, his own synthesis obscures the dynamic variety in the documents and material remains that have been preserved for us.  It may well be that, asked the question, any of the authors or rabbis that he cites would have said, "Of course, Torah stands in the context of covenant." Nonetheless, many of [[021]] them chose not to express themselves in these terms in the texts that are at our disposal.


Remarkable in these documents is a wide variety of religious expression and emphases.  Two examples will suffice.  For Joshua ben Sira, the priestly covenant is a more central concern than the Sinaitic (compare the respective discussions of Moses and Aaron in 45:1-5 and 45:6-22).  As Sirach 24 indicates, his emphasis is not on Torah as a gift bestowed at the historical event of Sinai; he stresses Torah as the perennial repository of divine wisdom, which both reveals God's will and enables obedience to it.  At many points in the apocalyptic corpus, the Mosaic Torah is taken for granted, but the emphasis is on the revealed interpretations of that Torah and on the revelation of other laws, obedience to which is also necessary for salvation.  In these and other texts, historical inquiry must listen to what the authors chose to emphasize and not stress what we think they took for granted.


Is it possible, then, to identify any elements common to the different individuals and groups lumped together under our collective descriptive category "early Judaism"?  The following emphases seem to be present in many of the texts, and the silence of other writings on one or another of these does not necessarily imply divergence of perspective: (1) There is a pervading, though not always dominating consciousness of connection to the history of Israel.  Even Ben Sira and the author of the Wisdom of Solomon make reference to it in their idiosyncratic catalogues of heroes and villains, and the Animal Apocalypse in 1 Enoch even surveys it in some detail. (2) There is a pervading belief that God has revealed his will and that it is to be obeyed, although authors differ on the content of divine law and the manner of its revelation. (3) Finally, there is the conviction that God rewards those who obey his law and punishes those who disobey it.


Although the presence of these elements is not inconsistent with Sanders's theory of "covenantal nomism" as the focus of early Judaism, it is important that diversity of perspectives in the sources also be noted.  God's activity in history is not always the focus.  Law is construed in many different ways.  Writers differ widely as to how, when, why, and to what extent divine justice is enacted. 1 Maccabees looks very different from 1 Enoch, and many of the wisdom elements in the latter have little in common with the writing of the sage, Joshua ben Sira (see chap. 15).  At the present stage of research, it would seem best to defer the construction of comprehensive syntheses until we understand better the elements that need to be synthesized.





            In many ways, the revival of research on early Judaism finds itself in a paradoxical situation.  On the one hand, new discoveries and the [[022]] intensified research they have stimulated are producing a revolutionized view of early Judaism.  But at the same time, this activity has raised almost as many questions as it has answered.  In what follows we will attempt to sketch some significant areas for continued research.

Textual Research


     The study of early Judaism is dependent largely on analysis of the preserved literary texts.  Critical editions of and critical commentaries on many of these texts are still needed.  Thanks to new technologies (e.g., computer processing and printing), it will be easier to prepare, publish, and search such materials, and new approaches to writing commentaries will increase the scholarly value of the needed new productions.


     Form-critical analysis is especially important in this field because studies of early Judaism have often tended to catalogue and synthesize particular ideas with little attention to the form and purpose of the larger texts that embody the ideas.  Study of genre has been focused primarily on apocalypses and, to some extent, testaments.  More of this type of analysis will benefit research on these two groups of literature, as well as the corpora of narrative, historical, exegetical, and hymnic texts.


     Certain aspects of the study of early Judaism have tended to become compartmentalized.  Although the Dead Sea scroll materials began to be available in quantity nearly three decades ago, Qumranic studies have tended to develop as a separate minidiscipline.  Much more integrative work needs to be done with the scrolls and other early Jewish materials, giving close attention to literary, conceptual, and historical matters.  The Qumranians may have isolated themselves from surrounding society, but they were still a constitutive part of the Judaism preceding, contemporary with, and following them.  A similar kind of scholarly segregation has sometimes characterized the study of Philo and Josephus.  Nevertheless, students of other early Jewish materials will often recognize in Philo and Josephus familiar ideas, traditions, and genres, and, of course, find especially in Josephus information about the historical contexts of the other materials.


     The study of the Old Greek scriptures needs to be more closely integrated with the general study of early Judaism.  The "Septuagint" texts are not simply tools for discussing the state of the Hebrew Bible text or philological aids in the study of early Christian Greek.  They constitute a major surviving monument to Hellenistic Jewish thought and biblical exegesis and, as such, should be studied as an integral part of the corpus of early Jewish religious literature.  This goal will be facilitated by the computerized data bank currently being prepared for this material under the joint direction of Robert Kraft and Emanuel Tov.


     Since texts need to be examined in their contexts, more attention must [[023]] be paid to the late Roman, Byzantine, and early medieval milieux in which many of the early Jewish writings were transmitted (Kraft, 1976:131-37).  Study of these works has understandably proceeded primarily from the Jewish contexts in which many of them are presumed to have originated.  But the fact remains that in their preserved manuscript form, such texts are products of Christian efforts.  In some instances, it remains to be seen to what extent the present literary forms of these texts are also the products of Christian redaction.  There is perhaps a fine line that separates such study from the analysis of texts that employ traditional Jewish genres and Christian pseudonyms.  Martha Himmelfarb has begun such work on early Christian apocalypses.


Intellectual and Social History

     Recent study has paved the way for new probes into the relationships between diverse conceptual orientations in early Judaism.  Using the Creek scriptural translations along with other early sources, we can study the history of early Jewish biblical interpretation.  New texts provide a wider range of data on the history of halakic (legal) development.  Such materials, combined with new and old narrative texts and the Qumran scrolls provide points of contact for comparative study with the rabbinic corpora.  Recognition that the "theology" of the apocalypses did not begin and end with eschatology bodes well.  Interesting questions can be posed about significant points of contact between sapiential and apocalyptic texts.  The nature and place of the eschatology, often called "apocalyptic," which is found in works that are not formally apocalypses can be assessed.  Relationships between early Jewish apocalypses and later mystical traditions also need to be restudied, although this will require much text-critical and tradition-critical work on the mystical texts as well.


The study of cultural and conceptual orientations in early Jewish materials must begin with the recognition that a major characteristic of the Hellenistic world was its ability to embrace variety and encourage its incorporation into the new synthesis.  To exist in the synthesis is, by definition, to be part of the synthesis.  The varieties of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world are, in a very real sense, representatives of the Hellenistic synthesis.  It is not helpful historically to protect "authentic Judaism" from "Hellenism" as though Judaism somehow presented a special case.  What is needed is careful and consistent analysis of the relationship of Jews and Judaism(s) to other groups in that world and to the dynamic synthesis that bound them all together.  Although some impressive and fruitful spade work has been done from this perspective, the hard questions need to be pursued with greater vigor.  What contributions do the Jewish materials make to the Hellenistic synthesis?  How are older Jewish perspectives affected by other streams that also flow into the synthesis (e.g., Egyptian, [[024]] Babylonian-Persian, Greek, Roman) as they become parts of the new situation (Nickelsburg, 1975)?  How does the cultural situation in the Eastern areas (Parthia, etc.) relate to and interact with that in the Greco-Roman world proper?  How are questions of language (Semitic, Greek, Latin, Egyptian, etc.) related to the larger issues of thought and culture?


     Although the concerns and approaches of the anthropological and social sciences, and of folklore research, have made a mark in the study of early Judaism, additional careful work is needed in these areas.  Unfortunately, there seem to be significant, if not irreconcilable, problems obstructing an easy appropriation of these approaches by the student of early Judaism.  Models based on living cultures and their traditions may not be easily transferable to the bits and fragments of antiquity preserved for us in written texts and archaeological remains.  It is not always possible to determine whether sufficient similarities are present between the modern models and the ancient evidence to give hope of fruitful results.  The problems indigenous to the early materials are not necessarily analogous to those of the available models.  Nevertheless, judicious exploration of such approaches should be encouraged, along with constant critical evaluation of the results.


Early Judaism in Relation to Its Broader Contexts


     The study of early Judaism is, of course, part of several larger pictures, whether in terms of its own historical setting (the ancient world), its relationship to the living Jewish religious and cultural traditions (ancient Israel, Samaritans, classical Judaism, Karaites), its relationship to its "daughter religions" (Christianity, Islam) and their offspring, or its place in the history of (Western) human thought and life.  Although it may be legitimate and even professionally necessary for a scholar to focus attention on early Judaism as such, its broader connections and relevance should not be neglected.


The study of early Judaism is, then, a segment of a larger scholarly task relating especially to the broader context of the history of the "Judeo-Christian" religious traditions.  Its findings should be of interest to the scholar of the Hebrew scriptures.  In the early Jewish texts one sees how the people who flourished at the time those scriptures were becoming authoritative interpreted them.  One also encounters the next stages of development of the ideas found in the scriptures and of the literary forms that embodied these conceptions.  Prophecy and wisdom contribute to the rise of apocalypticism, mysticism, and new wisdom forms.  Narrative approaches are reshaped, and historiography records new events in new ways.  Hymnic and liturgical expression serve new purposes.  And through it all, the "people of Israel" maintain a dynamic tension between their present historical circumstances and their received traditions. [[025]]


The study of early Judaism is also highly important for the student of the rabbinic writings.  The new interest that rabbinic scholars are showing in these materials will benefit everyone concerned.  Knowledge of the rabbinic corpus and its development of the earlier traditions helps our interpretation of both corpora.  A knowledge of Judaism in the Greco-Roman period is indispensable to a proper interpretation of the rabbinic material.


Earlier in this essay, it was noted that Christian scholars often allowed Christian presuppositions to govern their interpretation of Judaism.  This kind of historical and theological flaw notwithstanding, responsible study of early Christianity requires knowledge of its Jewish roots and context.  And if the air has been cleared for the study of early Judaism to proceed as a recognized field, then the origins of Christianity can properly be studied also as part of that Jewish context.


A renewed study of early Judaism has many implications for students of NT and early Christianity.  The following are a few examples: (1) Early Judaism research is in a state of flux; much is uncertain and still under discussion.  Unqualified statements about, for example, apocalyptic or midrash are not helpful while the precise definition of such categories is still being debated. (2) As the variety and complexity of early Judaism continue to unfold, historians of early Christianity must be cautious in their claims about the kind of Judaism to which a particular figure or writer is supposedly responding.  Since the variety extends to Jewish messianism and eschatology, much circumspection is needed in statements about the self-consciousness of Jesus, the nature of his teaching, the nuances of early Christologies, and reactions to Jesus and to early Christian preaching by Jews of that period. (3) Since so little is known about the types of Jewish teachers and preachers in first-century Palestine, special caution is required in relating Jesus to such models. (4) Responsible study of Paul and his thought must eschew the stereotype that early Judaism means legalism.  It must be recognized that for many Jews in this period Torah obedience presumed divine grace and that at the same time salvation and damnation (or life and death) were construed as rewards and punishments relating to a person's deeds. (5) Early Christian statements about salvation and damnation, both in Paul and elsewhere, must recognize this Jewish context and not be treated a priori as if they represented some special Christian theology of grace.


A revised understanding of early Judaism also has implications for the broader study of Christianity, since Christians preserved earlier Jewish texts and continued to use literary genres inherited from Judaism (e.g., apocalypses).  A better knowledge of the Jewish prototypes may shed light on the circles that generated their Christian counterparts.  Study of these Christian texts and the Jewish texts preserved by Christians should facilitate a more rounded view of Christianity in Roman, Byzantine, and early medieval times. [[026]]


     A concern for the broad contours of Judeo-Christian tradition cannot afford to ignore its important and variegated Hellenistic and Roman intellectual, cultural, and religious environments.  The history of Jewish and Christian religion is a crucial part of the general history of Western civilization as well as of the overall history of religions.


     This volume attempts to describe a somewhat artificially defined but highly important field of study within the history and thought of the Jewish and Christian traditions.  Much detailed work remains to be done within this field, and the results of such detailed study need to be incorporated into broader surveys of the pertinent subjects (Judaism, Christianity, Western civilization, history of religions, etc.). The latter task requires the cooperative enterprise of many scholars who are experts in their respective fields and are aware of the expertise of others in other areas.  The knowledge explosion helps make such a panoramic view possible, within the limits of the available data and reliable conclusions.  But it also can increase the scholarly tendency to isolation and fragmentation of knowledge.  Means must be sought within institutions of higher learning and learned societies to prevent such fragmentation without discouraging the detailed research and to encourage and facilitate the ongoing task of refining and updating the broader syntheses.






Baltzer, Kiam

1971     The Covmant Formulary.  Trans.  D. E. Green.  Philadelphia: Fortress.  German original, 1964.


Barr, James

1978-79 "Aramaic-Greek Notes on the Book of Enoch (1, 11)." JJS 23: 184-98, 24: 179-92.



Bickerman, Elias

1962        From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees:   The Historical Foundations of Post Biblical Judaism.  New York: Schocken Books.



Bousset,    Wilhelm, and Hugo Gressmmann

1926        Die Religion des Judentums im späthellenistischen Zeitalter. 3d ed. by Hugo Gressmann.  HNT 21.  Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck.



Breech,   Earl

1973        "These Fragments I Have Shored Against my Ruins; The Form and Function of 4 Ezra." JBL 92: 267-74.


Brooten,    Bernadette

1982        Women Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue: Inscriptional Evidence and Background Issues.  Brown Judaic Studies 36.  Chico, CA:  Scholars Press. [[027]]


Cavallin, H. C. C.

1974        Life after Death: Paul's Argument for the Resurrection of the Dead in 1 Cor 15.  Part 1, An Enquiry into the Jewish Background.  ConBNT 7. I. Lund: Gleerup.



Charles, R. H. [See also APOT.]

1913        Eschatology: The Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, Judaism, and Christianity: A Critical History.  New York: Schocken Books.  Reprint, 1963.



Charlesworth,    James H. [See OTP and Appendix.]

     1981            The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, with a Supplement.

                        SBLSCS 7S.  Chico, CA: Scholars Press.


Collins, John J.

1983                        Between Athens and Jesusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. 

                   New York: Crossroad.


Denis, Albert-Marie

1970       Introduction aux pseude/pigraphes grecs d’Ancien Testament.  SVTP

1. Leiden: Brill.


Dever, William G.

1985       "Syro-Palestinian and Biblical Archaeology." Pp. 31-74 in HBMI.


Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler

1985       In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of

Christian Origins.  New York: Crossroad.


Fitzmyer, Joseph A.

1970        "The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D." CBQ 22: 501-31.

1971        The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave 1. 2d ed.  BibOr 18A.  Rome: Biblical Institute Press.


Fitzmyer, Joseph A., and Daniel J. Harrington

1978       A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic Texts.  BibOr 34.  Rome: Biblical

Institute Press.


Foerster, W.

     1964          From the Exile to Christ: An Historical Introduction to Palestinian Judaism.  Philadelphia: Fortress.


Gowan, D. (See the bibliography of chap. 1.1


Greenfield, Jonas C.

1976       "Aramaic." IDBSup, 39-44.


Hellholm, David, ed.

1983        Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Apocalypticism, Uppsala, August 12-17, 1979.  Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck.


Hengel.  Martin [See the bibliographies of chaps.  1 and 2.]


Himmelfarb, Martha

1983        Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.


Jeremias, Joachim [See the bibliographies of chaps. 1 and 2.]


De Jonge, M., and S. Safrai [See CRINT.]


Kautzsch, Emil [See APAT.] [[028]]


Klein,   Charlotte

1978       Anti-Judaism in Christian Theology.  Trans.  Edward Quinn.  Philadelphia: Fortress.


Knight, Douglas A., and Gene M. Tucker

     1985      "Editors' Preface." Pp. xiii-xxi in HBMI.


Kraabel, A. Thomas

1982       "The Roman Diaspora: Six Questionable Assumptions." Pp. 445-64 in Essays in Honor of Y. Yadin.  Ed.  G. Vermes and J. Neusner.  JJS  33, nos. 1, 2.


Kraemer, Ross S.

     1983      “Women in the Religions of the Greco-Roman World.”  RelSRev 9:  127-39.


Kraft, Robert A.

1975       "The Multiform Jewish Heritage of Early Christianity." Pp. 174-99 in Christianity, Judaism and Other Greco-Roman Cults: Studies for Morton Smith at Sixty, Vol. 3. Ed.  J. Neumer.  Leiden: Brill.

1916       "Reassessing the 'Recensional Problem’ in Testament of Abraham.Pp. 121-37 in Studies on the Testament of Abraham.  Ed.  George W. E. Nickelsburg.  SBLSCS 6. Missoula, MT: Scholars Press.


Kümmel, Werner Georg [See JSHRZ.]


Kutscher, E. Y.

     1972        "Aramaic." EncJud 3: 259-87.


Lieberman, Saul

     1942           Greek in Jewish Palestine.  New York: Jewish Theological Seminary.

     1950           Hellenism in Jewish Palestine.  New York: Jewish Theological Seminary.


Marcus, Ralph

     1948           "Hellenistic Jewish Literature." Pp. 745-83 in The Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion Vol. 2. Ed.  L. Finkelstein.  New York: Harper.

     1956           "The Hellenistic Age." Pp. 93-139 in Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People.  Ed.  L. W. Schwarz.  New York: Random House.


Moore, George Foot

1921       "Christian Writers on Judaism." HTR 14: 197-254.

1927-30 Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Naveh, Joseph, and Jonas C. Greenfield

1984       "Hebrew and Aramaic in the Persian Period." Pp. 115-29 in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 1, The Persian Period.  Ed.  W. D. Davies and L. Finkelstein.  Cambridge: University Press, 1984.


Nickelsburg, George W. E.


1972       Resurrection, Immortality and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism.  HTS 26.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

1981       Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah.  Philadelphia: Fortress.

1983       "Social Aspects of Palestinian Jewish Apocalypticism." Pp. 641-54 in Heilholm, ed. [[029]] 

Nickelsburg, G. W. E., ed.

1973       Studies on the Testament of Moses.  SBLSCS 4. Missoula, MT:

               Scholars Press.

1975       Studies on the Testament of Joseph.  SBLSCS 5. Missoula, MT:

Scholars Press.                                      

1976             Studies on the Testament of Abraham.  SBLSCS 6. Missoula, MT:

                Scholars Press.


Pfeiffer,     Robert H.

1949       A History of New Testament Times with an Introduction to the Apocrypha.  New York: Harper & Row.


Plöger, Otto

      1968        Theocracy and Eschatology.  Trans.  S. Rudman.  Richmond: John



Reicke, Bo [See the bibliography of chap. 1.]


Reinach, Theodor

1895              Textes d'auteurs grecs et romains relatifs au Judaisme.  Paris: Leroux.  Reprinted, 1963.


Riessler, Paul

     1928         Altjüdisches Schrifttum ausserhalb der Bibel.  Heidelberg: Kerle.  Reprinted, 1966.


Rosen, Haiim B.

     1980         "Die Sprachsituation im römischen Palästina." Pp. 215-39 in Die Sprachen im römischen Reich der Kaiserzeit.  Beihefte der Bonner Jahrbücher 40.  Cologne: Rheinland-Verlag.


Russell, David S. [See the bibliography of chap. 1.]


Safrai, S. [See CRINT and the bibliography of chap. 1.]


Sanders, E. P.

     1977         Paul and Palestinian Judaism.  Philadelphia: Fortress.


Saunders, Ernest W.

     1982      Searching the Scriptures: A History of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1880-1980.     SBL Biblical Scholarship in North America 8. Chico, CA: Scholars Press.


Sayler, Gwendolyn B.

     1983      Have the Promises Failed?: A Literary Analysis of 2 Baruch.  SBLDS 72. Chico, CA: Scholars Press.


Schalit, Abraham [See the bibliography of chap. 1.]


Schürer, Emil [See the bibliography of chap. 1.]


Simon, Marcel

1967  Jewish Sects in the Time of Jesus Christ.  Philadelphia: Fortress. 

          French original 1960.


Smith, Morton

1956    "Palestinian Judaism in the First Century." Pp. 67-81 in Israel: Its Role in Civilization.  Ed.  M. Davis.  New York: Harper.

1983    "Terminological Boobytraps and Real Problems in Second-Temple Judaeo-Christian Studies." Pp. 295-306 in Traditions in Contact and Change: Proceedings of the 14th Congress IAHR.  Ed.  P. Slater and D. Wiebe.  Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.


Sparks, H. F.D. [See AOT. ]


Stern, Menahem [See GLAJJ.] [[030]]


Stone, Michael E, [See CRINT.]

1973       "Judaism in the Time of Jesus Christ." Scientific American {January): 80-87.

1978       "The Book of Enoch and Judaism in the Third Century B.C.E." CBQ 40: 479-92.


Sundberg, Albert

1964       The Old Testament of the Early Church.  HTS 20.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Suter, David Winston

1981       "Weighed in the Balance: The Similitudes of Enoch in Recent Discussion." RelSRev 7: 217-20.


Vermes, Geza, Fergus Millar, and Matthew Black, eds. [See the bibliography of

                      chap.  1 under Schürer.]