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Ancient Texts For New Testament Studies: A Guide To The Background Literature [Hardcover]

By Craig A. Evans (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   539
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.26" Width: 6.34" Height: 1.36"
Weight:   1.99 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2005
ISBN  1565634098  
EAN  9781565634091  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
One of the daunting challenges facing the New Testament interpreter is achieving familiarity with the immense corpus of Greco-Roman, Jewish, and pagan primary source materials. From the Paraphrase of Shem to Pesiqta Rabbati, scholars and students alike must have a fundamental understanding of these documents' content, provenance, and place in NT interpretation. But achieving even an elementary facility with this literature often requires years of experience or a photographic memory. Evans's dexterous survey-a thoroughly revised and significantly expanded edition of his Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation-amasses the requisite details of date, language, text, translation, and general bibliography. Evans also evaluates the materials' relevance for interpreting the NT. The vast range of literature examined includes the Old Testament apocrypha, the Old Testament pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, assorted ancient translations of the Old Testament and the Targum paraphrases, Philo and Josephus, Rabbinic texts, the New Testament pseudepigrapha, the early church fathers, various gnostic writings, and more. Six appendixes, including a list of quotations, allusions, and parallels to the NT, and a comparison of Jesus' parables with those of the rabbis will further save the interpreter precious time.

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More About Craig A. Evans

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Craig A. Evans is a Professor of Biblical Studies and the Director of the Graduate Program in Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

Craig A. Evans currently resides in Kentville. Craig A. Evans has an academic affiliation as follows - Acadia Divinity College, Wolfville, Canada Acadia Divinity College, Ca.

Craig A. Evans has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement (Hardcover
  2. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
  3. JSP Supplements (Paperback)
  4. Sheffield Reader
  5. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature
  6. T & T Clark Academic Paperbacks

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
an excellent resource  Oct 1, 2007
For a one stop resource that will introduce you to a very wide swath of literature relevant to the new testament, this is a gem!
It gives summaries of scores of ancient texts stemming from the literary/cultural background of, and contemporaneous with the new testament.
This resource will give someone the introductory data for grasping the wider literary world before and during the new testament cultural milieu.
Deals with the:
Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Versions of the Old Testament, Philo and Josephus, The Targums, Rabbinic Literature, New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Early Church Fathers, Gnostic Writings, and briefly touches on Greco-Roman authors/writings as well.
A fine study tool!!
A Helpful Introduction to Primary Sources  Dec 10, 2005
Craig Evans describes the book's purpose in the preface, "The purpose of this book is to arrange these diverse literatures [that have been discovered and published in this last generation] into a comprehensible and manageable format" (xi). He divides _Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies_ into eleven types of writings, which form the first eleven chapters: (1) The Old Testament Apocrypha, (2) The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, (3) The Dead Sea Scrolls, (4) Versions of the Old Testament, (5) Philo and Josephus, (6) The Targums, (7) Rabbinic Literature, (8) The New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, (9) Early Church Fathers, (10) Gnostic Writings, and (11) Other Writings.

Where are the Greco-Roman writings? They have a small section in the eleventh chapter titled, "Other Writings." Evans admittedly only writes "the briefest thumbnail sketches of these writers" (287). For example, Evans's discussion of Pausanias is quite short: "Pausanias (second century c.e.) was the author of Description of Greece, a guide with special interest in monuments" (294).

More welcome, however, is the short section titled, "Greco-Roman Authors on Jesus and Early Christianity" (298-300), yet this also is too brief, but at least this section includes bibliographies. The question must be raised: Why is Greco-Roman material lacking in this work? It is true that scholars have over emphasized the Greco-Roman background during the early and mid twentieth century, and that shifts towards a greater emphasis on the Semitic background has been made since the publications of works by people like E. P. Sanders. Also, Evans's own works have tended to show more of a preference to Jewish and Semitic sources than Greco-Roman ones. Still I find the downplay of Greco-Roman sources to be a flaw in _Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies_--especially in light of recent research, namely that of the socio-political background studies of the New Testament.

The twelfth and final chapter of the work gives examples of New Testament Exegesis. Here Evans looks at over half a dozen of examples where familiarity with the ancient sources has been strategic to their interpretation.

While the first appendix simply charts the inclusion of the apocryphal books in the various canons (i.e., Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Coptic), the following five appendices are actually quite helpful. I have already put a sticky note at the beginning of the second appendix: "Quotations, Allusions, and Parallels to the New Testament." This is superior to the indices found on pages 887-901 of the USB Greek New Testament (1994), as it contains a number of biblical and extra-biblical material ordered by the New Testament verse reference. The example from 2 Cor 4.6 reads: "Gen 1:3; Isa 9:2; Corp. herm. 7:2-3; Cicero, Tusc. 1.26; Seneca, Ep. 44.2" (387). The third appendix is also helpful: "Parallels between New Testament Gospels and Pseudepigraphal Gospels." The fourth appendix discusses the use of parables: "Jesus' Parables and the Parables of the Rabbis." The fifth appendix explores the idea of competing miracle workers around the time of Jesus: "Jesus and Jewish Miracle Stories." The last appendix covers the topic of "Messianic Claimants of the First and Second Centuries."

A word should also be said about the indices of _Ancient Texts for New Testament Study_. This text is a reference tool; it is unfortunate that so many reference books have very poor indices that make them difficult to navigate. Evans's work, however, does not fall into this category. It is a superb example of indices done right. There are almost a hundred pages for the three indices found in this work. These indices are as follows: Index of Modern Authors, Index of Ancient Writings and Writers, and Index of Ancient Sources. The index of Ancient Writings and Writers is organized to help the reader find references easier (e.g., the Book of Jasher is listed in the Bs under Book of Jasher as well as in the Js under Jasher, Book of).

All in all, Evans's Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies is a helpful tool for the beginning student looking to learn more about certain ancient sources, as well as for the experienced scholar looking to locate key bibliographical references. In addition to Evans's volume, there is also an Old Testament counterpart which should be promising as well: Kenton L. Sparks, _Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible_ (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2005).

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