Jewish Literature in New Testament Times
The Apocryphal Literature
What was Apocryphal Literature in Judaism?
SECOND LIST OF WORKS.
A second list of works which have never been included
in the Scriptures, whether Jewish or Christian, is given below. These consist of
writings which were either never of canonical status, or which were considered
as representative of individual or group viewpoints.
The Book of Jubilees - 200 - 150 B.C.
The Testimony of the Twelve Patriarchs
The Psalms of Solomon
- 100 - 50 B.C.
The Assumption of Moses - 1 - 50 A.D.
Adam and Eve
The Martyrdom of Isaiah
The Books of Enoch
The Sibylline Oracles
In this list several of the books can be dated approximately, whereas others
cannot. The Book of Enoch, for example, is apparently composed of sections
written at different times, all of which were finally combined not long before
the Christian era. Some of its phraseology is paralleled in the New Testament,
especially the well-known passage in Jude 14, 15, which is an exact replica of
Jude 14-15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied
about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His
saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of
all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all
the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
The Book of Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, II Baruch, II Esdras, and parts of
the Sibylline Oracles belong to the class of apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic
literature is predictive, generally using symbolism which seems bizarre and
often inconsistent with itself. Uniformly it prophesies terrible physical
judgments on the wicked, from which the righteous shall be delivered by the
supernatural intervention of God. Angels are frequently actors in the drama of
apocalypse. Many apocalyptic works are pseudonymous, or are ascribed falsely to
eminent men who never could have written them. For example, the Book of Enoch
was not written by Enoch, but it was attributed to him because he had a
reputation for piety and for wisdom.
In style and in imagery the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Daniel have been
classed as apocalyptic, although they could not rightly be called pseudonymous.
Revelation, in the New Testament, is also of the same literary type.
Apocalyptic literature was usually produced in a period of persecution, when
men's hopes turned to future deliverance. It was intended to encourage the
believers to persist in their allegiance to God, and its imagery discouraged
outsiders from attempting to grasp its meaning. The fact that certain books in
the canonical Scriptures are apocalyptic does not disqualify them as inspired
writings, since the Bible is an inspired Book.
John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."
Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism
Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D.
the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began
his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the
word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D.
were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around
200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were
known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men
were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their
commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew
means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by
Brief Historical Background
The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud
The Purpose and Heart of the Law
- A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart
The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
The Greek Period 331-167 B.C.
The Period of Independence 167-63 B.C.
The Roman Period 63 B.C. to the time of Christ
The Old Testament Canon
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Great Synagogue
Preparation for Christ