We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


Early Jewish Writings and New Testament Interpretation

C.D. Elledge

Publication Date - 26 May 2023

ISBN: 9780190274597

224 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches

In Stock


Early Jewish Writings and New Testament Interpretation is a concise, introductory volume to orient undergraduates, seminarians, and interested readers to some of the most important early Jewish writings that currently inform New Testament interpretation. While the literature of Early Judaism is vast, five specific literary categories stand at the forefront of modern New Testament research. These include wisdom writings, apocalypses, rewritten scriptural narratives, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the writings of Philo and Josephus. Individual chapters explain their respective contributions toward interpreting the theological ideas, socio-historical settings, and literary features of specific New Testament writings.

The volume further describes literary collections that the church would later classify as “apocrypha” and “pseudepigrapha,” providing an historically nuanced perspective on what “scripture” might have looked like prior to the formation of the biblical canon. Interpreted within their ancient context, many of these writings offer insight into a religious environment in which Judaism and the nascent church were still emerging religions that had not yet gone their “separate” ways. The reader of the New Testament today can, therefore, understand the indebtedness of the New Testament literature to traditions found in contemporary Jewish works, while also appreciating the creative, new ways in which the church interpreted them.


  • Provides a guided reading of select early Jewish writings, including their literary, historical, and theological features
  • Explains the unique contributions that each writing offers for understanding problems in New Testament interpretation
  • Offers analysis to enhance our understanding of the relationship between Ancient Judaism and Christianity
  • Demonstrates how different scholarly approaches have interpreted the literature of this era, noting both their contributions and limitations

About the Author(s)

C. D. Elledge is Associate Professor of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where he teaches courses in New Testament and Early Jewish literature. After completing his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, Elledge served as a Fulbright Scholar at the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology and the Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem.

Table of Contents

    1.Forms of “Scripture” in Early Judaism
    Early Judaism
    Canon and “Non-Canonical” Literature
    Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical Books
    Dead Sea Scrolls
    Philo and Josephus
    This Book

    2.The Glory of Wisdom
    The Dimensions of Wisdom
    Sages and Scribes
    Wisdom Writings
    The Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira
    The Wisdom of Solomon
    Wisdom in the New Testament

    3.In the Last Days
    Apocalyptic Literature
    Apocalyptic Thought
    1 Enoch
    Post-70 CE Apocalypses
    4 Ezra
    2 Baruch
    Apocalypse of Abraham
    Apocalypticism in the New Testament

    4.Rewriting Scripture
    Explicit Interpretation
    Implicit Interpretation
    Rewritten Scriptures
    Biblical Antiquities (Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum)
    Scriptural Interpretation in the New Testament

    5.In the Wilderness
    The Community of the Dead Sea Scrolls
    Scriptural Manuscripts and Their Interpretation
    Rule Documents
    Legal Writings
    Psalms, Hymns, Prayers
    Wisdom and Apocalypticism
    The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament

    6.Jews, Greeks, and Romans
    Philo of Alexandria
    Philo and the New Testament
    Josephus and the New Testament

    Works Cited
    Index of Sources

Related Titles