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The Lost Books of the Old Testament: The History of Ancient Jewish Apocrypha Not Included in the Bible

The Lost Books of the Old Testament: The History of Ancient Jewish Apocrypha Not Included in the Bible

Gustavo Vázquez-Lozano , Charles River Editors (Editor)
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Description

*Includes pictures
*Includes ancient accounts
*Includes a bibliography and online resources for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

The Bible is the most famous book in the world, read by a countless number of Christians and others over the centuries. Even those who aren’t Christian or remotely religious can rattle off Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the first four gospels of the New Testament, and books like Genesis and Exodus include some of the most famous stories in human history.

The study of the apocryphal gospels, documents about the life or sayings of Jesus that did not become part of the New Testament, is a popular discipline among scholars that now fills several shelves of any respectable library. Despite the growing secularization of society, there seems to be an appetite for the historical figure of Jesus. However, fewer readers consider the question of whether the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, is "complete," and whether in antiquity there were other books besides Genesis, the Exodus or Judges, with different histories and unknown characters, that were excluded from the canon and got lost in the sands of time. Most readers assume that the great saga of Israel, beginning with the pastoral stories of the patriarchs, the epic of the Exodus, and the conquest of the Promised Land, until the court of King David, is a compact, complete and unique story. In its current form, it seems to start from the beginning, and as such it was accepted by all in antiquity, but did someone in ancient Israel write other renditions?

Recent archaeological and textual discoveries have revealed that literary production among the people of Israel before the life of Jesus was much more extensive and varied than previously supposed. The earliest Christian and Jewish exegetes were aware of some texts whose status was imprecise. Did the books of Tobit, Maccabees and Judith belong to Israel's sacred scriptures or not? What happened to certain books that are mentioned in the Bible but have not been found, such as stories about the court of King David, the Annals of Solomon, a Book of Jasher, and prominently the Book of Wars of the Lord?

There is another group of books that arouses special interest, including an extensive collection of Jewish and Jewish-Hellenistic writings that are available (some in fragmentary state) but for some reason were excluded from the Old Testament. Some have been recovered or unearthed over the last 2,000 years, while others remained under the custody of secret or heretical libraries. Among them are the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees the Apocalypse of Moses, and many others. In spite of not having been admitted into the canon, many of their doctrines permeated in the popular culture even in antiquity, including among the first Christians. The rebellion of the evil angels led by Satan, the punishment for sinners in the valley of the dead, the concept of a Messiah who would die for his people, and the belief in the resurrection of the martyrs with the literal restitution of their mutilated bodies are ideas that arose in apocryphal books of the Old Testament. These beliefs are not found in the Hebrew Bible.

That the Old Testament was not a finished product at the time of the Second Temple (500 BCE-70 CE) and that there were more books in circulation can be established considering that Jewish apocryphal literature is quoted in the New Testament. The Epistle of Jude mentions a fight between the devil and an archangel for the soul of Moses, an episode not found in the Pentateuch. The author of that epistle is quoting from Enoch, an apocryphal Book of the Old Testament, or possibly from the Ascension of Moses, which the author of Judas considered as authoritative. The apostle Paul quotes twice from the apocryphal book known as the Life of Adam and Eve in his second letter to the Corinthians, and the Gospel of Matthew quotes a written prophecy that is undiscovered to this day.

Categories

All eBooks » History » Ancient

Properties

Producer:
Charles River Editors
Binding:
Kindle Edition
Release Date: 29.07.2018
Language: English
Format: Kindle eBook