Outline of this page
- The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
- The Old Otpseud E-mail List
- The Course in Previous Years
- Textbooks for the Course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
- A Classified Bibliography for the Course
- Links to Related Sites
- Schedule of Classes and Assignments
This site was created and is maintained by Dr James R. Davila, Reader in Early Jewish Studies, for the honours course DI4716, “The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha,” which has been taught in the spring semesters of 1997, 1999 and 2002. In the spring of 2007 it is being taught by Dr Davila and Dr Grant Macaskill, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at St. Mary’s College.
This course (or “module,” as they say in the British system) explores the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, a loose collection of ancient quasi-Biblical writings fictionally attributed to biblical characters or set in the Old Testament period but rejected from the mainstream scriptural canons of both Judaism and Christianity. We shall study the orthodox and heretical interests and concerns of these documents; the reasons for their exclusion from the major canons; the problem of sorting out who wrote and edited them, when, and why; and the influence of these works after antiquity. The focus this year will be on texts preserved in exotic ancient church languages including Coptic, Ethiopic, Latin, Slavonic, and Syriac), but all texts will be read in English translation and no knowledge of any ancient languages is required or assumed.
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog will open on 9 February and will accompany the web page during the semester while the course is running. The blog will go on hiatus sometime in May. While it is running, it will act as a kind of bulletin board for the course: we will post summaries of course material, reflections on this material, notices of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in the media, etc. Comments will not be enabled on this blog. For more information, follow the link and read the About the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog page.
Note also my blog PaleoJudaica, which has been running for the last several years and will continue to run concurrently with the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha blog. PaleoJudaica is a weblog on ancient Judaism and its historical and literary context.
The Old Otpseud E-mail list
In previous years an international e-mail discussion list (otpseud) on the Internet went with this course, with contributions by the students, the instructor, and outside participants. For a retrospective overview of an early version of the course and some pedagogical reflections, see my article “Enoch in Cyberspace: The Internet Meets the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in Computers and Texts 15 (the newsletter for the CTI Centre for Textual Studies at the University of Oxford).To get a list of all the files available on the otpseud archive send the message:
The majordomo system is “case sensitive,” meaning that any message you send to it must be written, as above, without capital letters.
You can have the list archive sent to you by sending the case sensitive messages:
get otpseud otpseud.0202
get otpseud otpseud.0203
get otpseud otpseud.0204
get otpseud otpseud.0205
to the majordomo address (“otpseud.0202” is the archive for February 2002, “otpseud.0203” is the archive for March 2002, etc.).
The course in previous years
Textbooks for the Course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
The following are the textbooks and reading assignments for the course in 2007:
James H. Charlesworth (ed.), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments vol. 2, Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends, Wisdom and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms, and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1983, 1985) [abbreviated hereafter as OTP]
James R. Davila, “The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha as Background to the New Testament,” Expository Times 117.2 (2005): 53-57. Available online, but requires a paid personal or institutional subscription to access.
James R. Davila, “Pseudepigrapha, Old Testament,” manuscript of article forthcoming in the Dictionary of Early Judaism (ed. John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow; Eerdmans). Available only to the students registered in the onsite course. Sorry.
Robert A. Kraft, “The Pseudepigrapha in Christianity,” in Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha (ed. John C. Reeves; SBLEJL 6; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994), 55-86. This article is also available on Professor Kraft’s website and can be accessed by clicking here. This is a foundational article for the study of the pseudepigrapha.
The following books are also highly recommended for this course, but are not required reading:
John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998)
James R. Davila, The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, or Other? (JSJSup 105; Leiden: Brill, 2005)
George W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between The Bible And The Mishnah(2nd ed.; Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005)
James C. VanderKam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2001)
Links to Related Sites
Follow this link for some related sites on the World-Wide Web.
Classified basic bibiography for the course
Introduction and Methodological Reflections (JRD)
Read: Davila, “The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha as Background to the New Testament” and “Pseudepigrapha, Old Testament” (see above)
Schedule of classes and assignments
Week 1 (9 Feb) Lectures
Week 3 (23 Feb) Lectures
2 Enoch, part 2 (GM)
Read: OTP 1:158-221
Week 4 (2 March)
Similitudes of Enoch (JRD)
Read: OTP 1:29-50 (1 Enoch 37-71)
Week 5 (9 Mar) (Seminars begin)
Apocalypse of Abraham (Maria Elliott)
Read: OTP 1:869-902
Week 6 (16 Mar)
Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah (Oliver Jackson)
Read: OTP 1:721-53
Week 7 (23 Mar)
Ladder of Jacob
Read: OTP 2:401-11
Spring Break (24 March- 8 April)
Week 8 (13 Apr)
Testament of Moses (Fiona Grierson)
Read: OTP 1:919-34
Week 10 (27 April)
Week 11 (4 May)
Cumulative Index of Texts Covered in the OTPSEUD Course – see ‘Abstracts & Lectures’ on the expanded menu to the right of this page.