Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance

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9780801023194: Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance

The status of the apocryphal (or deuterocanonical) books has been one of the longstanding areas of disagreement among various Christian traditions. David deSilva suggests, however, that whether one views these books as Scripture (Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians) or not (Protestant Christians), these books should be read and studied for their inherent value.

The books of the Apocrypha are a witness to faith, specifically the faith of Jewish people living from 200 B.C.E. to 100 C.E. Contemporary Christian readers find these books to be surprisingly relevant. In addition, they provide essential historical background for understanding the Judaism of Jesus¹ day and the Jewish matrix of early Christianity.

After explaining the value of studying the Apocrypha and surveying the historical context from which these writings emerged, deSilva proceeds through each book of the Apocrypha (as found in the NRSV). Using all the tools of a skilled interpreter, he provides the necessary background details (date, circumstances of writing, etc.) before surveying the content and message of each book. Along the way, readers are introduced to connections between the Apocrypha and the Old and New Testaments and are encouraged to embark upon their own exploration of these fascinating books.

Especially suitable for classroom settings, this substantive, up-to-date, and well-written volume is accessible to and will be enjoyed by clergy and laity as well.

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From the Back Cover:

"This is certainly the best introduction to the Old Testament Apocrypha." -- James H. Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary

"David deSilva has written an excellent introduction to the Apocrypha that is fully informed by contemporary scholarship and written in a style that is readable and accessible to laity and beginning students. Introduction to the Apocrypha also provides a substantial discussion of the content of these books and a better indication of their literary character than one usually finds in an introductory textbook. It can be recommended without reservation for students at all levels." -- John J. Collins, Yale University Divinity School

"It is still customary in some quarters of the church to assume that not much happened between the time the last portion of the Old Testament was written and the first events of the New Testament era began. This in fact is not true, and indeed anyone who reads David deSilva's fine introduction to the Old Testament Apocrypha will realize that the period was a fertile one for Jewish writers dealing with issues ranging from theodicy to justice to wisdom. DeSilva does a fine job in fluid prose of introducing Christian readers to these books and helping them understand the context from which the Judaism of Jesus' day (and his followers') arose. Highly recommended." -- Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

About the Author:

David A. deSilva (Ph.D., Emory University) is Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and an ordained elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He is the author of over twenty books, including The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude: What Earliest Christianity Learned from the Apocrypha (2012), Seeing Things John's Way: The Rhetoric of the Book of Revelation (2009), An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation (2004), and Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture (2000), as well as a hundred journal articles and contributions to reference works and collections of essays.

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