Augsburg Fortress

Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: Second Edition

Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: Second Edition

In this fully revised and expanded edition, Nickelsburg introduces the reader to the broad range of Jewish literature that is not part of either the Bible or the standard rabbinic works. This includes especially the Apocrypha (such as 1 Maccabees), the Pseudepigrapha (such as 1 Enoch), the Dead Sea Scrolls, the works of Josephus, and the works of Philo.
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800699154
  • eBook ISBN 9781451408508
  • Dimensions 7 x 9.25
  • Pages 450
  • Publication Date December 27, 2011


Prologue: exile – return – dispersion

1.     Tales of the dispersion
2.     Palestine in the wake of Alexander the Great
3.     Reform – repression – revolt
4.     The Hasmoneans and their opponents
5.     The people at Qumran and their predecessors
6.     Israel in Egypt
7.     The Romans and the house of Herod
8.     Revolt – destruction – reconstruction
9.     Texts of disputed provenance


"This well-written book provides excellent introductions to both the Jewish literature of the Second Temple period, written in various languages, and the history of the era. The general overviews of the historical background and the content analysis of many literary compositions are essential for an in-depth understanding not only of this literature but also of the background of early Christianity and, in a way, of civilization as a whole.... This is an excellent textbook for university and college courses."
—Emanuel Tov, J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible at the Hebrew University

"When Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah was first published in 1981 it quickly became a standard. Nickelsburg's second edition is a thorough revision and reorganization that updates all of the bibliographies and substantially expands the treatment of Qumran documents. Lucidly written, this second edition offers a reliable and clear map of the complex and varied terrain of the literature of second Temple Judaism. Ideal for teaching purposes."
— John S Kloppenborg, Associate Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto School of Theology

"George Nickelsburg has taken an authoritative text that has served us all so well for more than two decades and has performed the great service of updating and expanding it. Now the reader will find not only his judicious treatments of the latest scholarly studies but also coverage of more texts from the Qumran and other Second Temple literature. He has taken what was very good and made it even better."
— James VanderKam, John A. O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame

"A terrific book made even better by this extensive updating. Nickelsburg is a superb guide to this wide body of texts, their literary forms and historical contexts, and why they matter for religious history.... Rarely does the same book provide both a foundational introduction for students to a field of inquiry and make significant contributions to advance that field. This book does just that."
— Margaret M. Mitchell, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago

"The re-edition of George Nickelsburg's introduction updates and expands an extremely valuable tool for the study of Jewish literature of the Second Temple Period. Nickelsburg carefully sets a wide range of literature within the complex political and social context of the history of Israel in this period. Nickelsburg deftly introduces the primary sources and the problems of their interpretation. He does so in magisterial dialogue with an impressive array of recent scholarship, which will provide a solid foundation for any students engaging in the study of this phase of Jewish life and letters."
— Harold Attridge, Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament and the Dean of the Divinity School at Yale University

"George Nickelsburg has been at the forefront of scholarship on Second Temple Judaism for more than thirty years. No one knows this literature better than George Nickelsburg, and no one is more judicious in evaluating the scholarly literature. This revised edition of his classic textbook will serve students well for a generation to come."
— John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School


"This very comprehensive volume is the latest, and probably best, in the growing market of student textbooks in early Jewish studies. It covers the Septuagint, almost all of the corpora conventionally designated Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha (up to the second century CE) and Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as Philo and Josephus. Each chapter includes a historical introduction to a particular period, and then introduces the literature from it. The chapters all have extensive bibliographies appended and the CD-ROM includes a study guide with chapter summaries, study questions and web resources, and a database of photographs.

As one would expect from Nickelsburg, the scholarship is very up-to-date, and the decisions are well grounded and not eccentric. The volume will be particularly useful for NT postgraduate students venturing into early Judaism, and is so competitively priced that it is only slightly more expensive, though rather more comprehensive, than the introductions to the apocrypha of Harrington and DeSilva. Complex issues such as the Christian composition or transmission of works such as The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs and Joseph and Aseneth are treated with admirable good sense and clarity. The book is extremely easy to read and the treatments are generally well-proportioned; occasional, in the cases of some narrative works, Nickelsburg yields to the temptation of fairly detailed plot summaries (e.g. Tobit, Judith). Overall, however, this volume exhibits the benefits of a lifetime not only of research into these texts, but also attempting to discuss them with clarity and depth to students."
— Simon Gathercole, Journal for the Study of the New Testament Booklist 2007