The Hebrew Bible represents no mere collection of books but a stunning array of literary genres. To fully illuminate the history and culture of the Old Testament, it is necessary to compare these ancient writings to similar texts written concurrently by Israel's neighbors. Beginning with an overview of the important literary archives of the ancient Near East, Sparks provides exhaustive references to the ancient literary counterparts to the Hebrew Bible's major genres. Surveying the ancient writings found throughout Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Palestine, Sparks provides a brief summary of each text discussed, translating brief portions and linking them to literarily similar biblical passages. Exploring over thirty genres--wisdom, hymns, love poetry, rituals, prophecy, apocalyptic, novella, epic legend, myth, genealogy, history, law, treaty, epigraphic materials, and others--it offers an exemplary guide to the fertile literary environment from which the canonical writings sprung. Rich with bibliographic material, this invaluable catalog enables the reader to locate not only the published texts in their original ancient languages but to find suitable English translations and commentary bearing on these ancient texts. A number of helpful indexes round out this outstanding resource. Providing students with a thorough introduction to the literature of the ancient Near East--and time-pressed scholars with an admirably up-to-date research tool--it will become a syllabus standard for a myriad of courses. (From the distributor's website.)
The Context of Scripture illuminatingly presents the multi-faceted world of ancient writing that forms the colorful background to the literature of the Hebrew Bible. Designed as a thorough and durable reference work for all engaged in the study of the Bible and the ancient Near East, and involving 63 of the world's outstanding scholars in the field, it provides reliable access to a broad, balanced and representative collection of Ancient Near Eastern texts that have some bearing on the interpretation of the Bible. Translations of recently discovered texts are included, alongside new translations of better-known texts and in some cases the best existing translations of such texts.
The substantial three-volume work, with its specially designed page layout and large format, features full cross-referencing to comparable Bible passages, and new, up-to-date bibliographical annotations with judicious commentary. Its many distinct advantages over other collections will ensure the place of The Context of Scripture as a standard reference work for the 21st century. (From the publisher's website.)
Volumes in Writings from the Ancient World provide teachers, literary critics, historians, general readers, and students direct access to key ancient Near Eastern writings that date from the beginning of the Sumerian civilization to the age of Alexander the Great. Volumes typically offer historical and literary background to the writings, the original text and English translation, explanatory or textual notes, and a bibliography. (From the publisher's website.)
This anthology brought together the most important historical, legal, mythological, liturgical, and secular texts of the ancient Near East, with the purpose of providing a rich contextual base for understanding the people, cultures, and literature of the Old Testament. A scholar of religious thought and biblical archaeology, James Pritchard recruited the foremost linguists, historians, and archaeologists to select and translate the texts. The goal, in his words, was "a better understanding of the likenesses and differences which existed between Israel and the surrounding cultures." Before the publication of these volumes, students of the Old Testament found themselves having to search out scattered books and journals in various languages. This anthology brought these invaluable documents together, in one place and in one language, thereby expanding the meaning and significance of the Bible for generations of students and readers. As one reviewer put it, "This great volume is one of the most notable to have appeared in the field of Old Testament scholarship this century."
Princeton published a follow-up companion volume, The Ancient Near East in Pictures Relating to the Old Testament (1954), and later a one-volume abridgment of the two, The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (1958). The continued popularity of this work in its various forms demonstrates that anthologies have a very important role to play in education--and in the mission of a university press. (From the publisher's website.)
Tablets of poetic mythological texts unearthed during the excavation of Ugarit have been edited and translated to shed new light on the religion and literature of the ancient world. (From the publisher's website.)
This pioneering work that first appeared in 1972 in German was the first to compare the conceptual world of a biblical book with ancient Near Eastern iconography. Eisenbrauns' English edition of Keel's classic work provides the 21st century scholar with his groundbreaking methodology. Generously illustrated with photographs and line drawings. (From the publisher's website.)
First published in 1973 – and followed by Volume II in 1976 and Volume III in 1980 – this anthology has assumed classic status in the field of Egyptology and portrays the remarkable evolution of the literary forms of one of the world’s earliest civilizations.
Volume I outlines the early and gradual evolution of Egyptian literary genres, including biographical and historical inscriptions carved on stone, the various classes of literary works written with pen on papyrus, and the mortuary literature that focuses on life after death. Introduced with a new foreword by Antonio Loprieno.
Volume II shows the culmination of these literary genres within the single period known as the New Kingdom (1550-1080 B.C.). With a new foreword by Hans-W. Fischer-Elfert.
Volume III spans the last millennium of Pharaonic civilization, from the tenth century B.C. to the beginning of the Christian era. With a new foreword by Joseph G. Manning. (From the publisher's website.)
The latest edition of this highly praised anthology of ancient Egyptian literature offers fresh translations of all the texts as well as some twenty-five new entries, including writings from the late literature of the Demotic period at the end of classical Egyptian history. The book also includes an extensive bibliography. (From the publisher's website.)
Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (or DJD) is the almost complete 40 volume series that serves as the editio princeps for the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is published by Oxford University Press. Volume 39 provides an introduction for, and summaries of, the preceding 38 volumes. (From Wikipedia.)
The Dead Sea Scrolls library is being digitized online, here and here.
The inscriptions dealt with in this book come from the Old Testament period (c. 1000 BC to c. 200 BCE) and constitute an important additional source for our knowledge of the Hebrew language and the religion, history and customs of ancient Israel. The corpus includes texts like the Lachish and Arad letters, the Siloam tunnel inscription, the recently discovered religious texts from Kuntillet Ajerud, and the hundreds of seals, seal-impressions and weights that are now known. Each text is given a unique reference number according to a specially devised system, with an indication of its date and place of origin (where these are known) and one or more bibliographical references. It covers all complete words in the texts (including prepositions and names of persons and places), and also the Egyptian hieratic numerals and other symbols that were used in them. (From the publisher's website.)
This is the sequel to the first volume of Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions: Corpus and Concordance, published in 1991. It contains some 750 inscriptions from the Old Testament period which were mainly published for the first time between 1990 and 2000. Some were discovered in regular archaeological excavations, others come from private collections. The new material includes ostraca from different sites, which are of religious, literary and historical importance, and extensive information about the personal names which were in use in the biblical period. The number of coin-legends and other texts from the Persian and early Hellenistic periods has also been enlarged. Each text is supplied with a brief description, an approximate date and publication information. The concordance provides an easy way to discover which Hebrew words and proper names occur in non-biblical sources and helps greatly to widen the basis for Hebrew language study. (From the publisher's website.)
This book collects all known Jewish inscriptions in Egypt between the third century BC and the sixth century AD. The entry on each inscription provides text, translation, bibliography and commentary. Hitherto, it has been necessary to refer to an older collection (1952, but essentially pre-war) together with a separately published revision (1964), with very limited indexing. Here the aim has been to include inscriptions not in the earlier collection, to bring together the necessary information on each inscription, and to supply full indexing. The inscriptions form a vivid primary source for Jewish history and religion. (From the publisher's website.)
This volume deals with the Hebrew texts of all nine manuscripts discovered between 1896 and 1982 of the Book of Ben Sira that is reckoned among the deuterocanonical biblical wisdom literature and was written in Jerusalem about 180 BCE.In the first part of this volume the Hebrew manuscripts are offered in facsimile, i.e. presenting the real textual state of the recovered texts. The second part of this volume offers in a more convenient and functional way than in former text editions a synopsis of all Hebrew Ben Sira texts which are available in more than one manuscript. (From Google Books.)
The writers of the Bible depended on other sources for much of their work. Some of these sources may be lost forever, but many have recently come to light. Known as the pseudepigrapha, they are made available here in volumes. (From the publisher's website.)
Expansions of the "Old Testament" and legends, wisdom and philosophical literature, prayers, psalms and odes, and fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works.
Western culture has been shaped largely by the Bible. In attempting to understand the Scriptures, scholars of the last three hundred years have intensively studied both these sacred texts and other related ancient writings. A cursory examination reveals that their authors depended on other sources, some of which are lost and some of which have recently come to light. Part of these extant sources are the pseudepigrapha. Though the meaning of the word can be disputed by scholars, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha is a collection of those writings which are, for the most part, Jewish or Christian and are often attributed to ideal figures in Israel’s past.
The publication of Volume 2 now completes this landmark work. Together with Volume 1, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, these new translations present important documents, many for the first time in English, for all those “People of the Book” to study, contemplate, and understand.
This second volume contains: Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends Clarifications, enrichments, expansions, and retellings of biblical narratives. The primary focus is upon God’s story in history, the ongoing drama in which the author claims to participate. Wisdom and Philosophical Literature Various collections of wise sayings and philosophical maxims of the Israelites. Prayers, Psalms and Odes Until recently, the Davidic psalms were considered to be the only significant group of psalms known by the Jews. This is no longer true. This section presents other collections of hymns, expressions of praise, songs of joy and sorrow, and prayers of petition that were important in the period 100 b.c. to a.d. 200. Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works After the Babylonian exile, Judaism increasingly began to reflect ideas associated with the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, often filtered through the cultures of Syria and Egypt. These fragments are examples of how this mix of cultures influenced Jewish writings.
Together, both volumes of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha present literature that shows the ongoing development of Judaism and the roots from which the Christian religion took its beliefs. Using the very latest techniques in biblical scholarship, this international team of recognized scholars has put together a monumental work that will enhance the study of Western religious heritage for years to come. (From the publisher's website.)
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1
by Richard Bauckham, James R. Davila, and Alexander Panayotov (Editors)
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (OTP) (Volume 1) stands among the most important publications in biblical studies over the past twenty-five years.
Intended to complement James Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, this new two-volume collection adds a great many previously unpublished or newly translated texts. Providing the reader with virtually all known surviving pseudepigrapha written before the rise of Islam, OTP presents the sacred legends and spiritual reflections of numerous works that were lost, neglected, or suppressed for many centuries, with authoritative yet accessible introductions to each text. (From the publisher's website.)
Textual Traditions and Translations of the Hebrew Bible
Edited by Karl Elliger and Wilhelm Rudolph in cooperation with numerous other scholars - 5th, revised edition 1997 prepared by Adrian Schenker - based on the St. Petersburg Public Library manuscript B19a (the "Leningrad Codex"). Includes a text critical apparatus as well as the complete Masora parva by G.E. Weil and references to Weil's edition of the Masora magna published separately. Foreword in English, German, French, Spanish, and Latin. With an English and German key to the Latin words and abbreviations and the other symbols used in the apparatus. (From the publisher's website.)
This resource is also available online; download and install the SBL Hebrew font for a more aesthetic presentation.
The most accurate edition of the Leningrad Codex in print, the Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia presents a thoroughly revised, reset, and redesigned edition of the Hebrew Bible meticulously prepared by renowned masoretic scholar Aron Dotan.
The BHL includes features that suit it for research, classroom, and liturgical use. Scholars will find this a welcome edition of the Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, whose text and layout it precisely follows. A foreword and five appendices provide the researcher with important details and distinctions about the codex. In addition to being a scientific edition, it was originally commissioned in Israel to follow the necessary adaptations that qualify it for Jewish liturgical use, such as divisions into weekly portions and their subdivisions for synagogue reading. Students, too, will find here an ideal text for classroom use, with an uncluttered format and printing that is matchless for its readability. (From the distributor's website.)
The study of the surviving Septuagint fragments has a long tradititon at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and V&R has already published editions of said manuscripts as early as the 18th century CE. The Septuagint represents an interface between Jewish and Christian life and belief. Hence, it is of major importance with regard to religious and cultural history. The first volume of the LXX edition, provided by the Septuaginta Unternehmen (founded in 1908) and edited by Werner Kappler, was published under the title »Psalmi cum Odis« in 1931. This opus titled »Editio major« was, thus, available briefly before the end of the Weimar Republic. And yet, the text-critical edition has, to this day, not been completed: a total number of 40 volumes is envisaged, a third of which was published by 2010. In 2015, the entire Septuagint edition should be brought to completion. (From the publisher's website.)
The Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of Jewish sacred writings) is of great importance in the history of both Judaism and Christianity. The first translation of the books of the Hebrew Bible (plus additions) into the common language of the ancient Mediterranean world made the Jewish scriptures accessible to many outside Judaism. Not only did the Septuagint become Holy Writ to Greek speaking Jews but it was also the Bible of the early Christian communities: the scripture they cited and the textual foundation of the early Christian movement.
Translated from Hebrew (and Aramaic) originals in the two centuries before Jesus, the Septuagint provides important information about the history of the text of the Bible. For centuries, scholars have looked to the Septuagint for information about the nature of the text and of how passages and specific words were understood.
For students of the Bible, the New Testament in particular, the study of the Septuagint's influence is a vital part of the history of interpretation. But until now, the Septuagint has not been available to English readers in a modern and accurate translation. The New English Translation of the Septuagint fills this gap. (From the publisher's website.)
Since its first publication in 1935, Alfred Rahlfs' Septuagint edition has provided an important basis for Septuagint research worldwide. To ensure that this will continue to be the case in the future, the internationally acclaimed Septuagint researcher, Robert Hanhart, has re-edited the German Bible Society's reference edition of the Rahlfs-Septuagint.The Greek Bible text and the critical apparatus were corrected and supplemented in far more than a thousand individual places. As of now, the resulting - favorably priced - "Editio altera" will be the new definitive Septuagint reference edition. From now on, for any academic work performed on the Greek Old Testament, the following equation will apply: Septuagint = "Rahlfs-Hanhart"! (From the publisher's website.)
The Aleppo Codex is the most important surviving manuscript of the Bible that includes vocalization (nikud), accents (te’amim), and the Masorah (the traditional annotation to the biblical text). As its name signifies, it is a bound volume of vellum leaves with writing on both sides. The importance of this manuscript, probably written in Tiberias more than a thousand years ago, lies first and foremost in the fact that it is the oldest existing manuscript Bible and also the most exact. It was written by the scribe Shlomo Ben Buya’a, while the vocalization and accents were added by the greatest of masoretes, Aharon Ben Asher. The Codex was apparently brought from Jerusalem to Cairo, where it was consulted by Maimonides when he compiled the halakhic rules governing the writing of a Bible, and he also referred to it when he was manually copying a Torah scroll. In the late fourteenth century the Codex was transferred from Jerusalem to Aleppo, which local Jewish tradition claims to be the Aram Soba mentioned in the Bible. For centuries it was kept in an iron strongbox opened by two keys, held by two trustees. The box was kept in the ancient synagogue, in the “Cave of Elijah” on a large stone pedestal, under a veil of sanctity and mystery. For instance, anyone obliged by the community’s court to take an oath had to swear on the Codex. Aleppo’s Jews believed that their community was blessed in consequence of the presence of the Codex, and that once it would be removed, disaster would befall their community. For this reason (with a very few exceptions), the rabbis of Aleppo prevented scholars from examining the Codex.
Following the UN resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in part of Palestine, rioting broke out in Aleppo during which Arab rioters caused damage to the Jewish quarter, especially to its synagogues. The Codex suffered damage, and part of it disappeared. Of the original 487 leaves, only 294 remained. Members of the community concealed the surviving sections in various places for about ten years. In 1957 they were smuggled out of Aleppo to Turkey. Thanks to the efforts of Izhak Ben-Zvi, second President of the State of Israel, the Codex was brought to Jerusalem and deposited in the Ben-Zvi Institute on January 23, 1958. Since then it has been the subject of much research and great efforts have been made to bring it to public attention. Several critical editions of the Bible have been published on the basis of the Aleppo Codex.
Today the Codex is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where it can be viewed in the museum’s Shrine of the Book. A complete facsimile edition of the surviving sections was published by the Magnes Press and is available to the public. (From the publisher's website.)
The Leningrad Codex (or Codex Leningradensis) is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew, using the masoretic text and Tiberian vocalization. It is dated AD 1008 (or possibly AD 1009) according to its colophon. The Aleppo Codex, against which the Leningrad Codex was corrected, is several decades older, but parts of it have been missing since 1947, making the Leningrad Codex the oldest complete codex of the Tiberian mesorah that has survived intact to this day. (From Wikipedia, retrieved 10/17/2012).
The Codex Vaticanus B (Vat. Gr. 1209, written in the fourth century) is considered to be the oldest extant copy of the Bible, and is, along with the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the two main witnesses supporting modern Greek texts and English translations. It contains in Greek most of the Old Testament with the Apocrypha (excluding 1 and 2 Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasses) and most of the New Testament. Codex B is believed to have reached the West in 1483, during the Council of Florence, as a gift from the Byzantine Emperor Giovanni VIII to Pope Eugenio IV.
This beautifully executed facsimile faithfully reproduces the 1560 pages of the original manuscript conserved at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and is enriched by a further volume of Prolegomena essays by Paul Canart (in French), Pierre-Maurice Bogaert (in French) and Stephen Pisano (in English). (From the distributor's website.)
The Codex was hand-written in Greek by fourth-century scribes, only 300 years after the time of the New Testament, making it one of the earliest and most reliable witnesses to the biblical text. It contained the Old and New Testaments in Greek, the text adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians.
The Codex was preserved for centuries at the monastery of St. Catherine’s, Mount Sinai, until Constantin von Tischendorf drew worldwide attention and notoriety to it in 1844. In the years following, its pages were divided and dispersed. Now, over 160 years later, after an extraordinary and historic collaborative effort by the British Library, the National Library of Russia, St. Catherine’s Monastery, Leipzig University Library, and Hendrickson Publishers, all the extant pages of Codex Sinaiticus have been brought together in print form to a worldwide audience in this handsomely bound, one-of-a kind, facsimile edition.
Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, conservators, and curators, and painstakingly photographed using the latest high-quality digital technology and a careful imaging process, this facsimile provides a life-like view of the original pages of the Codex. The delicate beauty of this important text—its parchment, inks, and scars, all visible in incredible detail—allows the fascinating textual history of the Christian Bible to come alive in a fresh, meaningful way. The generous trim size, protective cloth covering, and slipcase make this facsimile an attractive part of any biblical scholar’s library. Accompanied by a 32-page booklet, the Codex would be a stunning addition to a church, university, or seminary library, as well as to a museum or personal collection.
What texts can I find in the Codex Sinaiticus?
As it survives today, Codex Sinaiticus comprises just over 400 large leaves of prepared animal skin, each of which measures (13.6 inches) wide by 380mm (15 inches) high. On these parchment leaves is written around half of the Old Testament and Apocrypha (the Septuagint), the whole of the New Testament, and two early Christian texts not found in modern Bibles. Most of the first part of the manuscript (containing most of the so-called historical books, from Genesis to 1 Chronicles) is now missing and presumed to be lost. .
The Septuagint includes books which many Protestant Christian denominations place in the Apocrypha. Those present in the surviving part of the Septuagint in Codex Sinaiticus are Tobit, Judith, 1 & 4 Maccabees, Wisdom and Sirach.
The number of the books in the New Testament in Codex Sinaiticus is the same as that in modern Bibles in the West, but the order is different. The Letter to the Hebrews is placed after Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians, and the Acts of the Apostles between the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles.
The two other early Christian texts are an Epistle by an unknown writer claiming to be the Apostle Barnabas, and ‘The Shepherd’, written by the early second-century Roman writer, Hermas. (From the publisher's website.)
Codex Alexandrinus is one of the three earliest and most important manuscripts of the entire Bible in Greek, the others being Codex Sinaiticus, also in the British Library, and Codex Vaticanus in Rome. It is therefore of enormous importance in establishing the biblical text. It is also one of the earliest books to employ significant decoration to mark major divisions in the text. (From the British Library's website.)