This is a substantial first introduction to the Jewish literature of the period between the testaments. Its nine chapters discuss the books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls against the relevant historical background, in chronological order, and the discussion of each work is supplemented by a valuable bibliography. When treating specific works, the author first outlines their contents and then discusses their significance and, briefly, the critical problems connected with them. However, the emphasis is on the writings themselves and their significance. His depth of perception makes this far more than a technical manual. 'One important factor that holds together the largest part of this corpus of literature is its common setting in hard times: persecution; oppression; other kinds of disaster; the loneliness and pressures of a minority living up to its convictions in an alien environment. Within this context these writings may be read and appreciated as a sometimes powerful expression of the depths and the heights of our humanity and of human religiousness and religious experience.
In them we may see ourselves as we have been or are or might be: the desperate puzzlement of Enoch's decimated humanity; the anguish and the ecstasy of a Tobit; the courage of a Susanna or a Judith; the defiant tenacity of the Maccabean martyrs; the desolate abandonment of an Aseneth; and the persistent questioning of an Ezra'.
Publisher: SCM Press