From the crisis of the Babylonian exile to the rise of rabbinic Judaism—a span of over six hundred years—the Jewish people produced a wealth of literature that lies outside the Hebrew Bible. Today it goes under names such as apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, Josephus and Philo, apocalyptic literature, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mishnah and targums. But line by line, scroll by scroll, it represents the history and theology, the hopes and prayers of a living and diverse Judaism. It is an engrossing subject in and of itself, but for students of the New Testament it offers an invaluable context for understanding the words and actions of Jesus as well as the conversion and thinking of Paul.
Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period is an introduction to this literature and places it within its historical context. Riding the explosive growth of knowledge of this period, Larry R. Helyer guides students to the heart of the matter. What were the pressures and realities, the questions and dreams that nurtured and provoked these written expressions? And how does this literature throw light on the text of the New Testament and origins of Christianity?
If you like this resource be sure to check out IVP New Testament Studies Collection (14 vols.).
The literature of Second Temple Judaism is so vast that few college or seminary students ever receive a decent introduction to it at all. Here, in one volume, are references to judicious samplings from every major corpus, complete with introduction and background, and detailed explanation of relevance for New Testament studies. A wonderful gift for students and professors alike. Perhaps many will now actually teach, and teach substantially, on the topic
—Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
There are many useful books on Second Temple Jewish literature, for which reason I nearly passed this book by. But once I began actually examining it, I recognized the thoroughness of Larry Helyer’s acquaintance with the sources and how carefully he has prepared this book with New Testament students in mind. I believe it will provide an excellent resource for those who want access to the most important materials for New Testament study.
—Craig S. Keener, Professor of New Testament, Palmer Seminary
Larry R. Helyer was Professor of Biblical Studies for twenty nine years at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Now retired, he continues to write on theological topics and serve as an adjunct professor in the United States and abroad. He is the author of Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period.