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More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project

A project by Richard Bauckham (rjb@st-andrews.ac.uk) and James R. Davila (jrd4@st-andrews.ac.uk), University of St Andrews, Scotland

UPDATE (17 November 2009):  Professor Davila has presented a paper at the University of Edinburgh in October which combines and fully updates the two 2006 papers: More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (PDF, 207 KB) (handout MOTP Edinburgh Handout (PDF, 111 KB)).  He is also presenting another paper on the project at the Society of Biblical Literature meetings in New Orleans later this month: Practical Challenges in Publishing the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project (PDF, 129 KB). Click on the links to download the papers as pdf files.

UPDATE: Davila has recently presented two conference papers on the project. Together they summarize and comment on most of the texts: "More Jewish Pseudepigrapha" (International Society of Biblical Literature meeting, July 2006) and "More Christian Apocrypha" (Ottawa Workshop on Christian Apocrypha, September-October 2006)

UPDATE: Our Leverhulme Research Fellow, Dr. Alexander Panayotov, arrived in January of 2006.

UPDATE (18 August 2005): Another article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

UPDATE (4 August 2005): Articles on the project have appeared in the Scotsman, the Telegraph, the Times, and TotallyJewish.com.

UPDATE (28 July 2005): The project has brought the University of St. Andrews a major research grant from the Leverhulme Trust. Press release Ancient Texts (PDF, 95 KB).

It is now twenty years since the second of the two volumes of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth, was first published. The two volumes have performed an invaluable service in making available in English translation a wide range of Jewish and Christian works that can be roughly classified as 'Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.' These volumes have become indispensable for scholars and postgraduate students (as well as many others) working in the fields of early Judaism, New Testament and early Christianity.

We believe there is now a need for a supplementary volume, for which we are using the working title More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, primarily in order to make available in a similar way many other Jewish and Christian works in the same categories as those included in J. H. Charlesworth's two volumes. In addition the progress of research since those two volumes were published means that in some cases there is important further textual evidence of works that were included in them. We expect to be able to compile a volume similar in size to one of volumes of Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

Any such project needs to be quite clear about the criteria for inclusion. The category of works we shall include we define as texts that are attributed to Old Testament characters or set in the Old Testament period, whatever the provenance of such works. We shall follow Charlesworth in interpreting relationship to the Old Testament a little generously, so as to include, for example, Sibylline Oracles, or Jewish wisdom literature. We shall also set a chronological criterion for inclusion, since without a chronological limit the relevant literature could be vast. Provisionally, we are working with ca. 600 CE (the rise of Islam) as the cut-off date (later than Charlesworth's date of 200 CE). Much of the literature we are considering has been little studied and is difficult to date. So we intend to include works for which a reasonable argument for a pre-600 date either has been or can be made, whether or not we are ourselves entirely convinced of this proposed date. We will include a few clearly later texts whose content bears directly on early material. Our aims, in this respect, are modest: We do not expect (or expect the contributors to this project) to settle all issues of date, provenance and so forth. Our primary aim is to make the texts available in English translation, so that others become aware of these texts and can work on them.

Following the practice of Charlesworth's volumes, we shall not include works that fall into other well-recognized categories of Jewish or other literature: Dead Sea Scrolls (except in cases of overlap with Pseudepigrapha), Nag Hammadi library, Rabbinic literature, and Hekhalot literature. We also shall normally not include sermons, homilies, or the like which retell Old Testament stories but which are clearly not intended to be read as originating in the Old Testament period.

The following is a provisional and still incomplete list of works to be included:

Complete or Substantially Complete Works
Adam, Creation of (Slavonic)
Adam, Horarium of
Adam, Octipartite (Slavonic, etc.)
Balaam Text from Deir Alla
Cave of Treasures
Daniel, Armenian Seventh Vision of
Daniel, Syriac Apocalypse of
Daniel, Two Byzantine Greek Apocalypses of
Danielis, Somniale
Danielis, Lunationes
David and Goliath (Aramaic 'Song of the Lamb')
David and Solomon, Selendromion of
Elijah, Hebrew Apocalypse of
Sheva Eliyyahu (Sheva Zutarti) (The Adjuration of Elijah)
Enoch, Ethiopic Vision of
Ezekiel, Visions of
4 Ezra, Armenian version of
5 Ezra
6 Ezra
Ezra, Vision of (longer version)
Gad the Seer, Words of
Geniza Wisdom text
Jeremiah, Coptic Apocryphon of (History of the Captivity in Babylon)
Jeremiah's Prophecy to Passhur
Joseph, History of (Syriac)
Joseph, Narrative of (Coptic)
Levi, Aramaic
6-7 Maccabees
Massekhet Kelim (Treatise of the Holy Vessels)
Melchizedek legend in Chronicon Paschale
Melchizedek, Story of (Greek)
Midrash Vayissa'u (Book of the Wars of the Sons of Jacob)
Moses, Eighth Book of
Moses, Sword of (Harba di-Moshe)
Naphtali, Hebrew
Palaea Historica
Pseudo-Philo, Sermons on Jonah, Sermons on Samson
Satanael Text (Slavonic)
Sefer ha-Razim (Book of the Mysteries)
Seven Heavens, Apocalypse of the
Shem, Treatise of (Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic versions)
Signs of the Judgment
Sibyl, Latin Prophecy of the
Sibyl, Tiburtine
Solomon, Hygromanteia of (Epistle of Rehoboam)
Solomon, Testament of (Vienna manuscript)
Ten Tribes, Apocryphon of the
Visions of Heaven and Hell
Sefer Zerubbabel (Book of Zerubbabel)

Manuscript Fragments
Abel apocryphon, Coptic fragment of
Adam and Eve, Life of, Coptic fragments
Daniel, Greek oracles of
Enochic Book of Giants (Aramaic and Manichaean [Iranian and Turkish?] fragments + Midrash of Shemihazai)
2 Enoch (additions)
Two Coptic Enoch apocrypha
Geniza fragments of unknown texts
Jacob, Ladder of (Hebrew prayer from)
Jacob and Joseph, Apocryphon of (Greek)
Papyrus fragments of unknown texts

Quotation Fragments
Quotations, biblical, of lost works
E.g., Num 21:14-18, 27-30; Josh 10:12-13; 2 Sam 2:17-27; 1 Kgs 8:12-13 LXX)

Quotations, OT related, not attributed to a specific work
"The prophet" -- two quotations from Epistula Apostolorum 11, 47

Quotations of named works or stories
Abraham, astrological work of quoted in Vettius Valens
Abraham, 'Inquisitio' of
Baruch, Book of (Hyppolytus, Ref. 5.20-22; 10:11)
Daniel (quoted in Armenian fragment of Papias)
Elijah, Apocalypses and Apocrypha of (fragments)
Ezekiel, Apocryphon of (additional fragments)
Hystaspes, Oracle of
8 Maccabees (Seleucid History in Malalas)
Life of Mani, auotations from unknown texts in
Moses, Assumption of (fragments)
Moses, Testament of (fragments)
Noah, Book of (material in Book of Assaf/Asaph)
Patristic quotations of unknown texts
Surid Legend (Arabic legend of the Pyramids and the Flood)
Zechariah and King Joash (Historia Ecclesiastica of Salaminius Hermias Sozomenus; PG 67.1269b)


We hope also to include a comprehensive list of all known (extant or lost) Old Testament Pseudepigrapha from antiquity to the present.

We welcome any suggestions or comments that would help us make this collection as useful as possible.

Contact details

St Mary's College
The School of Divinity
University of St Andrews
South Street
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9JU
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462850
Fax: +44 (0)1334 462852