Mar 15, 2018

Determining the Jewishness of the Pseudepigrapha

While the Jewishness of the pseudepigrapha was generally accepted in my theological training, recent scholarship has challenged this assumption. In seeking to address this issue, James Davila has identified “five signature features” that help to verify the Jewishness of a given text. Davila’s features are:
  • Substantial Jewish content and evidence of a pre-Christian date;
  • Compelling evidence that a work was translated from Hebrew;
  • Sympathetic concern with the Jewish ritual cult;
  • Sympathetic concern with Jewish Law/Torah and halakah;
  • Concern with Jewish ethnic and national interest.
James R. Davila, The Provenance of Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, or Other? (Leiden, Brill, 2005), 65 as referenced in John J. Collins, “Early Judaism in Modern Scholarship,” in Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview, ed. John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 9.

One though struck me as I was thinking through this list. Namely, what if one applied the list to the New Testament. Would it affect the debate about the Jewishness of the New Testament?

1 comment:

John Byron said...

That's an excellent point, Charles. I have appreciated Davila's work in this area and it is clear that some documents are full of Christian interpolations. But the push towards minimization goes a bit too far, in my opinion.