Review: Jewish World Around the New Testament: Collected Essays I

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‘The NT Student and scholar must use the Jewish literature int he first place to understand Judaism. Only someone who understands early Judaism for its owns sake will be able to use Jewish texts appropriately and accurately in the interpretation of the NT.’ – From the Introduction.

Richard Bauckham, former Professor of New Testament at the University of St.
Andrews
and now emeritus professor, has written extensively on the subject of Second Temple Judaism for over 30 years. Now, Mohr Siebeck has collected 24 of Bauckham’s previously published works into one outstanding volume with a promise of a second to follow.

What has Bauckham wrought? Over thirty years of exemplar scholarship within the field of Second Temple Judaism in which he has led in the area of attempting to understand the writings, the writers and the world of the New Testament through the richness of the Judaism(s) of the period. This volume is a collection of twenty-four essays first published by the author between 1976 and 2008, including a few which have been updated for republishing.

Never forgetting that as the New Testament was being written, the writers still considered themselves wholly Jewish and so to discover their world, Bauckham uses the  Apocrypha, Old Testament pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic literature,  the works of Josephus and Philo, as well as early Christian literature excluding the New Testament and other Greek and Roman works from that time period.

The Essays cover a wide range of mini-subjects, each presented in good form. Discussing such issues from the specific arena of certain writings and their influence on the New Testament to the problems dealing with the delay of the Parousia. Arranged in the author’s chronology of writing, it presents much more than the study of the period, but the development in scholarship, field wide but more especially in that of Bauckham. Each essay presents an element for discussion which is introduced, examined, and then summarized. Brief footnotes, as excepted in journal articles, are included.

In the introduction, Bauckham writes,

Their God is unequivocally the God of Israel and of the Jewish Scriptures that they treat as self-evidently their own. Jesus for them is the Messiah of Israel and the Messiah also for the nations only because he is the Messiah of Israel.

Bauckham, as a scholar, does not deny the central tenants of the Christian faith and indeed has written extensively before of the early Church and their placing of Jesus within Jewish Monotheism, but manages to move the many developed Traditions of various sects of modern Christianity back to its core, of a sect of Second Temple Judaism.

If anyone, scholar or lay person, finds him or herself in a sudden bewilderment of the world of the Peter, Paul and James, or if the interest rises in 2nd Temple Judaism and interaction with early Christianity (excusing the fact that ‘Christianity’ didn’t rise until after the destruction of the Temple)

The Essays are as follows:

1. Introduction
2. The Martyrdom of Enoch and Elijah: Jewish or Christian?
3. Enoch and Elijah in the Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah
4. The Rise of Apocalyptic
5. The Delay of the Parousia
6. A Note on a Problem in the Greek Version of 1 Enoch 1. 9
7. The Son of Man: ‘A Man in my Position’ or ‘Someone’?
8. The Apocalypses in the New Pseudepigrapha
9. Pseudo-Apostolic Letters
10. Kainam the Son of Arpachshad in Luke’s Genealogy
11. The List of the Tribes of Israel in Revelation 7
12. The Parting of the Ways: What Happened and Why
13. The Messianic Interpretation of Isaiah 10:34
14. The Relevance of Extra-Canonical Jewish Texts to New Testament Study
15. Josephus’ Account of the Temple in Contra Apionem 2.102-109
16. Life, Death, and the Afterlife in Second Temple Judaism
17. What if Paul had Travelled East rather than West?
18. Covenant, Law and Salvation in the Jewish Apocalypses
19. The Restoration of Israel in Luke-Acts
20. Paul and Other Jews with Latin Names in the New Testament
21. The Horarium of Adam and the Chronology of the Passion
22. The Spirit of God in us Loathes Envy (James 4:5)
23. Tobit as a Parable for the Exiles of Northern Israel
24. The Continuing Quest for the Provenance of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
Particulars of First Publication
Index of Scriptures and Other Ancient Writings
Index of Ancient Persons
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Place Names

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