Ancient Jewish and Christian Scriptures examines the writings included in and excluded from the Jewish and Christian canons of Scripture and explores the social settings in which some of this literature was viewed as authoritative and some was viewed either as uninspired or as heretical. John J. Collins, Craig A. Evans, and Lee Martin McDonald examine how those noncanonical writings demonstrate the historical, literary, and religious aspects of the culture that gave rise to the writings. They also show how literature excluded from the Jewish and Christian canons of Scripture remains valuable today for understanding the questions and conflicts that early Jewish and Christian faith communities faced. Through this discussion, contemporary readers acquire a broader understanding of biblical Scripture and of Jewish and Christian faith inspired by Scripture.
“Ancient Jewish and Christian Scriptures is a treasure trove of fascinating information and insight about a body of literature that in recent decades has attracted an enormous amount of scholarly and popular attention. This book is an extremely helpful and learned guide to the writings that constitute the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, materials not included in the ancient rabbinic scriptural canon or the Christians’ First Testament. Do these writings contribute to our understanding of biblical Jewish and Christian heroes and beliefs, concerning whom canonical texts have traditionally supplied the entirety of our source material, or should we reject the most extravagant claims made on behalf of the antiquity and reliability of this material? Ancient Jewish and Christian Scriptures establishes clearly that we should approach these materials with more nuanced questions in mind.” —Richard Kalmin, Theodore R. Racoosin Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and author of Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine
“As compelling as The Three Tenors, John J. Collins, Craig A. Evans, and Lee Martin McDonald combine their respective areas of expertise to update anyone interested in the latest thinking about scriptural canons. This brave new operatic volume enchants with its complex repertoire of chapters addressing the diversity of ancient understandings about inspiration, acceptance, and reception. Anyone interested in the emergence of sacred scripture must read this book.” —Clare K. Rothschild, Professor of Scripture Studies, Lewis University, and Professor Extraordinary, Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University, and author of Luke-Acts and the Rhetoric of History
“It is hard to imagine assembling a finer ‘dream team’ to guide a reader through the process of canon formation and the broader use of (what would become) extracanonical literature in early Jewish and Christian circles than Collins, Evans, and McDonald. Their collaboration has produced a well-planned and coherent book that consistently pushes us beyond our obsession with the boundaries of canon and draws us into the contributions this larger body of literature—the deuterocanonicals, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, and early Christian ‘Apocrypha’—have made to the shaping of both Judaism and Christianity through the centuries.” —David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Ashland Theological Seminary, and author of Introducing the Apocrypha: Context, Message, and Significance
“This book succeeds eminently in presenting in a very lucid way what is known and unknown, accepted and debated regarding the Jewish and Christian collections of scriptures. Questions of canonicity are discussed from all angles by three outstanding experts.”—Emanuel Tov, J. L. Magnes Professor Emeritus of Bible, Hebrew University, Jerusalem