Between the Testaments: Early exemplars of scriptural formation

Susan Docherty, Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism at Newman University Birmingham, explores how studying intertestamental Jewish texts can be part of an authentically Catholic way of engaging with Scripture.

Introducing the Pseudepigrapha
The designation of 2019–20 as the Year of the Word presents a timely opportunity to highlight the value of the Pseudepigrapha, a corpus of scripture-inspired writings dating from 350 BCE to 100 CE which form an important bridge between the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. With two exceptions – the Book of Jubilees and 1 Enoch, which are both still accepted as biblical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church – none of these works have ever become part of any canon. Nevertheless, they commanded wide appeal and considerable authority within early Judaism, and their influence and popularity among Christians persisted well into medieval times. No fewer than fifteen manuscripts of Jubilees were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, more than the number of copies of the majority of biblical books. The Enochic literature is similarly well attested at Qumran and is also quoted as an authoritative source in the New Testament Letter of Jude (vv. 14–15), and by Church fathers such as Origen and Tertullian.

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