08 Second Temple Jewish Writings

OFB, 121–35

Overview of chapter eight

This chapter concludes the discussion of Jewish texts in the Bible, but also lays a foundation for the early Christian texts that will be examined in the next part of the book. "Second Temple" is a neutral term that describes this literature for the period from which it derives, but avoids sectarian labels such as "post-biblical" (from a Jewish perspective) or "inter-testamental" (from a Christian point of view). These are the writings of the Apocrypha and the pseudepigrapha (from the Greek terms meaning, false writings).
  • The chapter begins with a discussion of the historical period, including the emergence of Hellenism as a major cultural influence (pp. 121–23).
  • This is followed by a survey (pp. 123–26) of the major literary collections among these Jewish writings of the Second Temple period.
  • The focus then turns to the Greek Bible (the Septuagint, pp. 126–27) and the Apocrypha (pp. 128–30), before a brief discussion of the apocalyptic literature that is so characteristic of this period (pp. 130–33).
  • The concluding cameo essay (pp. 133–35) reflects on Second temple Judaism as a living religious tradition at the time of Jesus.

Web links of particular relevance to this chapter include: