Typology of Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literature in Antiquity, c. 200 BCE to c. 700 CE
The first aim of our project was to work out the procedure, terminology and theoretical framework for a new description of literary features of ancient Jewish texts. This has resulted in a systematic generic Inventory of all structurally important features to be found in the anonymous or pseudepigraphic ancient Jewish literature, insofar as they are complete. We do however make some exceptions for the large Dead Sea Scrolls, which are therefore included in the descriptions and contribute to the Inventory. The Inventory will be explained in a forthcoming book, and a draft version of it is to be published on our website by October 2011. The second aim was to create a short literary profile of every anonymous or pseudepigraphic Jewish document meeting the criteria above. It covers the period roughly from 200 BCE to 700 CE. Works belonging to the following four groups of sources are included, sources which are essential for understanding ancient Judaism as well as the milieu of emergent Christianity: the pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, the apocrypha of the Old Testament, the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls, and rabbinic literature to the end of the Talmud. The number of texts is approximately 375 (counting separately the Tractates of Mishnah-Tosefta-Talmuds). The literary profiles will be published in a database and made accessible without restriction on the Internet in the Summer of 2011. A sample database which will demonstrate some of the features of the finished database may be available before then from the Project website. Further aims of the Project are to contextualise the genres of ancient Jewish literature by comparing them to other cultures of antiquity with which Jews were in close contact and to evaluate the dominant genre labels used in current scholarship on the ancient Jewish sources.
A. Samely, P. Alexander, R. Bernasconi, R. Hayward, Profiling Jewish Literature in Antiquity. An Inventory, from Second Temple Texts to the Talmuds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199684328.do#.UcwCc-tQ1cd ; a whole issue of the Journal Armaic Studies is devoted to papers from the project: Aramaic Studies 9:1 (2011), including A. Samely, P.S. Alexander, R. Hayward, R. Bernasconi, “Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features in the Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literature of Antiquity, pp. 199–246, in addition to a number of other papers (see partial list for ROS through: http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/person/D0977938-7E5A-4551-9F37-3A27B01D4E15). Thee publications concern: (a) a systematic account of the Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features (b) sample desriptions of key texts of ancient Jewish literature achieved by applying the new framework.