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Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   429
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2004
Publisher   Baker Academic
ISBN  0801031036  
EAN  9780801031038  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
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 Jesus' 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.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Description
In this accessible book, David deSilva introduces the Old Testament Apocryphal books and summarizes their context, message, and significance. Now in paperback.
"DeSilva does a fine job of placing the Apocrypha within the historical context of the Jewish world in which early Christianity was forged."--"Publishers Weekly"

Buy Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance by David Arthur Desilva & James H. Charlesworth from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780801031038 & 0801031036

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More About David Arthur Desilva & James H. Charlesworth

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David A. deSilva (Ph.D., Emory University) is professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary. His works include An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation; Perseverence in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews"; and Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture.

David A. Desilva has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cascade Companions
  2. Guides to the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
  3. Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The best book on the Apocrypha in print  Oct 7, 2005
At present, there are 4 books in print that provide a survey of the books of the Apocrypha. The oldest, An Introduction to the Apocrypha (1957), is an excellent survey by Bruce Metzger. It includes thorough summaries of each book, and a good history of these books in the Christian church. However, it only discusses the 15 books of the Apocrypha recognized by the Western churches. It does not discuss 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151, which are included in the Bible of the Eastern Orthodox churches.
More recent publications include Invitation to the Apocrypha by Daniel Harrington (1999) and Stories Between the Testaments: Meeting the People of the Apocrypha (2000) by Marjorie Kimbrough. Harrington's book provides background information, a well written and thorough summary of the contents, and the significance of each of the 18 books of the Apocrypha. The author's focus on the issue of suffering in the books of the Apocrypha further adds to the value of this book. However, this book provides only a very brief discussion about the history and canonical status of these books in the Christian church.

Kimbrough's book provides good, but brief summaries of each of the 18 books, along with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. However, this book provides only a very sketchy (less than 2 pages) discussion on the history and canonical status of these books in the Christian churches.

David deSilva's book, Introducing the Apocrypha, begins with an excellent discussion of the value of the Apocrypha, and a good overview of the history and canonical status of these books in the Christian church. He emphasizes the importance of these books for all Christians, regardless of one's position concerning their canonicity. He then has a chapter on the historical context in which the books of the Apocrypha were written. The chapter on each book of the Apocrypha includes a discussion of the structure and content of the book, the textual transmission, the author, date and setting, the book's genre and purpose, the formative influences in the writing of the book, and the book's theology and influence. Overall, of all the books in print, deSilva's book provides the best and most thorough survey of each book of the Apocrypha and the history of the Apocrypha in the Christian church. The author combines a thorough knowledge of his subject with a writing style that is easy to read and understand.

Should one be interested in a more detailed study of the history of the Apocrypha in the Christian church, you should obtain The Apocrypha in Ecumenical Perspective, edited by Siegfried Meurer.

 
Re-Introducing the Apocrypha: Its Message, in Context.  Jan 29, 2005

"And now behold, I am bending the knees of my heart;
imploring you for your kindness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned;
and I acknowledge my transgressions
I earnestly implore you;
forgive me, O Lord, forgive me! (Prayer of Manasseh 11-13)


Apocrypha & Deuterocanonicals:
Apocrypha means 'hidden things' (in Greek). The Apocryphal books of the Bible fall into two categories: texts which were included at some point in some canonical version of the Bible, and other texts of a Biblical nature which have never been canonical. Those are compositions which profess to have been written either by Biblical personages or men in intimate relations with them.
Deutero means behind, or further from, these books called 'Deuterocanonical,' mean 'books added to the canon.' Deutrocanonical books of the Bible are those of or constituting a second or subsequent canon, books which are included in some version of the canonical Bible, but which have been excluded at one time or another, for textual or doctrinal issues.
Most of Old Testament Apocrypha are part of the wider Alexandrian canon of the OT, known as the Septuaguint (Seventy translators). OT books discovered within the Dead Sea Scrolls has confirmed the authenticity and contents of fourth century Alexandrian unicials, ex. Codex Sinaiticus.
Psalm 151, in spite of its inclusion in Orthodox liturgy for centuries, has only been included in 'The Harper Collins NRSV,' 1989 edition, after its discovery and confirmation in the Hebrew Psalter, within Qumran's cave 11 discovery.

The Mutilated Bible:
It is true that "the Apocrypha is an endless source of fascination for the scholar and lay reader of scriptural texts." It is also valid to state that they are canonical for two thirds of Christians, (Orthodox and Catholics), debated by the founding Churches of antiquity, and sealed by Athanasius of Alexandria, and accepted in faith, by all Christendom.
Even for the reformists, just around the turn of the nineteenth century, "When the British and Foreign Bible Society undertook to provide the copy of the bible for presentation to King Edward VII at his coronation in 1902, F. Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury ruled that a 'mutilated bible'(lacking the Apocrypha) was unacceptable for the purpose, and as the Society was prevented by its constitution from providing an 'unmutilated' edition, a suitable copy has to be procured at short notice from another source." F.F. Bruce, The canon of scripture.

Apocrypha's Stepchild Status?
In response to Cahners review, 'the Apocrypha's Stepchild Status', following, I quote the most informed Evangelical authority on 'The canon of Scripture', "A controversy broke out in Germany later in the nineteenth century over suggestions that the apocryphal books, because of their theological 'defects', should no longer be printed as part of the Bible. The case for retaining them was persuasively argued by some of the leading conservatives among Protestant theologians," F. F. Bruce.
The books of apocrypha satisfy Luther's criteria of canonicity. New Testament writers quote the Septuagint and/or paraphrase the Apocrypha. Kurt & B. Aland, the foremost 'N.T.G.' authority on Greek New Testament writings; present a list of over 200 New Testament citations and allusions to Apocryphal and Pseudo-epigraphal writings in their standard work, 'The Text of the new Testament, 1979).


Re-Introducing the Apocrypha:
Included withinin the most ancient unicials of the Alexandrine Septuagint (Greek Bible), are the books of the Apocrypha, standing as a witness to the enduring faith of the Jewish people, their Diaspora living between the testaments, who never gave up the belief in the continuity of Adonai's revelation. Contemporary Christian readers of all factions find these books helpful as they provide the essential historical background for the better understanding of Jesus days and the Jewish origins of early Christianity.
deSilva, upon explaining the crucial importance of studying the Apocrypha books, and examining their historical content, and the era in which these writings emerged, proceeds skillfully through each of the books, utilizing available tools of interpretation, providing the needed background milieu, and information as to the dates and circumstances of their writing. Surveying the content and message of each book, he introduces the readers to the the Apocrypha's links to the Old Testament and any relevence to the New Testaments writings. Biblical students and lay readers would be motivated to search on their own and explore these fascinating and holy books.

Authority Testimonial:
"This is certainly the best introduction to the Old Testament Apocrypha."
James Charlesworth, The Eminent Authority on the Apocrypha
 
Take the time to explore these texts  Dec 16, 2004
I have to admit to some fascination with the Apocrypha. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, fell away from the church altogether during my educational years, and then I chanced to marry the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. I now serve as an elder in the Presbyterian church among my other jobs. Given this background, and combined with an interest in the reformation and the formation of the canon of the Bible, the Apocrapha has held special fascination for me.
To those not aware, the Apocrapha consists of books considered as part of the canon in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, but not in the protestant tradition. DeSilva deals with these issues in the introduction, then goes on to give a summary of each of the books of the Apocrypha.
I used this opportunity to read each of the books first and then I read DeSilva's chapter on each book. He does a wonderful job of summarizing each book and pulling out the salient points. He is especially adept at discussing the purpose of the author in writing the book and the theology that the book presents.
To those whose faith tradition includes the books of the Apocrypha as part of their canon, this book will serve as an excellent overview to aid in the study of these books. To my protestant brothers and sisters I recommend that you take the time to get to know and learn about these books. They offer a fascinating insight into the jewish world between Malachi and Matthew and I believe that studying them will enhance your appreciation both of the Old and the New Testament.
 
The best book on the Apocrypha in print  Mar 30, 2003
At present, there are 4 books in print that provide a survey of the books of the Apocrypha. The oldest, An Introduction to the Apocrypha (1957), is an excellent survey by Bruce Metzger. It includes thorough summaries of each book, and a good history of these books in the Christian church. However, it only discusses the 15 books of the Apocrypha recognized by the Western churches. It does not discuss 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151, which are included in the Bible of the Eastern Orthodox churches.

More recent publications include Invitation to the Apocrypha by Daniel Harrington (1999) and Stories Between the Testaments: Meeting the People of the Apocrypha (2000) by Marjorie Kimbrough. Harrington's book provides background information, a well written and thorough summary of the contents, and the significance of each of the 18 books of the Apocrypha. The author's focus on the issue of suffering in the books of the Apocrypha further adds to the value of this book. However, this book provides only a very brief discussion about the history and canonical status of these books in the Christian church.

Kimbrough's book provides good, but brief summaries of each of the 18 books, along with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. However, this book provides only a very sketchy (less than 2 pages) discussion on the history and canonical status of these books in the Christian churches.

David deSilva's book, Introducing the Apocrypha, begins with an excellent discussion of the value of the Apocrypha, and a good overview of the history and canonical status of these books in the Christian church. He emphasizes the importance of these books for all Christians, regardless of one's position concerning their canonicity. He then has a chapter on the historical context in which the books of the Apocrypha were written. The chapter on each book of the Apocrypha includes a discussion of the structure and content of the book, the textual transmission, the author, date and setting, the book's genre and purpose, the formative influences in the writing of the book, and the book's theology and influence. Overall, of all the books in print, deSilva's book provides the best and most thorough survey of each book of the Apocrypha and the history of the Apocrypha in the Christian church. The author combines a thorough knowledge of his subject with a writing style that is easy to read and understand.

Should one be interested in a more detailed study of the history of the Apocrypha in the Christian church, you should obtain The Apocrypha in Ecumenical Perspective, edited by Siegfried Meurer.

 

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